Friday, April 25, 2014

Of Ancient Malawi’s Mbona, prisms and White Light…

Update of an earlier post in this blog

Prism drawing from the Internet

A very bright white light flashing like the sun and resembling lightning hits the roof of a building on a bright hot October day in Malawi as a young woman approaches the building almost tripping in the process.
As the brightness of the light in a flash temporarily blinds her eyes she looks down and is suddenly confused with red spots that resemble blood appearing on the dusty ground before a mysterious watchman grabs her arm before she hits the ground.
She looks into his pigeon shaped eyes, smooth dark skin with a well shaped beard with hidden dreadlocks under his huge fedora looking brown hat.
So go such tales told by some female Mang’anja Sapitwa healers who believe in the power of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) but also ancient Malawi’s Mbona.
She suspects the woman in the said tales probably came face to face with their version of a different Mbona like serpent spirit who on rare occasion myths appears like a man through the flash of a bright white light in so-called folklore.
Unknown to the woman there seems to be a scientific explanation to the way red light travels in a prism but NOT for winged mizimu (spirits) and how the royal ones with new bodies in the afterlife reportedly appear.
Photo not connected to this post from
“The reason why you see spots after looking in the sun is that a process called photo -bleaching occurs in the cells of your retina. The retina is populated with cells called rods and cones, and they are full of light sensitive pigments.
“By looking directly into the Sun, you are sending the cells into overdrive, causing the black spots. Once the cells have regenerated, normal vision returns. Staring into direct sunlight for prolonged periods however, can cause damage to your eyesight,” partly reads
According to another website, visible light is actually made up of different colors. Each color bends by a different amount when refracted by glass.

“That’s why visible light is split, or dispersed, into different colors when it passes through a lens or prism. Shorter wavelengths, like purple and blue light, bend the most. Longer wavelengths, like red and orange light, bend the least.”

The dispersing of light or other electromagnetic radiation into its component parts produces a spectrum.  A glass prism of angle 60 degrees can disperse white light into its different colours.

The seven colours of the spectrum of White Light are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
“The different colours of light have each a different frequency and wavelength. The different colours are refracted by different amounts. Red light has the longest wavelength and is refracted least.Violet light has the shortest wavelength and is refracted most.”
Now close up the image of the sun’s surface almost looks red and like the surface of a red blood cell according to a Sun view Twitter handle

Sun View Twitter photo from
Red blood cells perform the most important blood duty with a single drop of blood containing millions of red blood cells which are constantly traveling through your body delivering oxygen and removing waste.

According to information on red blood cells are red only because they contain a protein chemical called hemoglobin which is bright red in color.
Red Blood cells photo from the Internet

And in the English in Malawi Revised Edition Pupils’ Book 6 about ‘The Colours of the Rainbow’ light waves from the sun, strike the tree and reflect back into a person’s eyes.
“The person sees the tree because it reflects light waves.  If there is no light, as in a dark room at night, a person can see nothing.
“Light waves are not all the same length.  Some are longer than others.  The sun sends out a lot of light waves of different lengths at the same time.
“They are all mixed up together.  When the waves are like that, they show no colour.  They are ‘white’ light.  But if one takes from ‘white’ light all the waves of the same length, one gets colour.”
It’s a known fact that the prism takes white light and divides it into colours mainly with Red (long), Green and Blue (short). Water droplets and water vapor are also online described as good absorbers of the red wavelengths.
Now this theory is also what some of the ancestors of his ancient land seemed to have seen when looking at the rainbow (leza).
According to the English Chichewa/Chinyanja dictionary compiled by Steven Paas the names of God on p169 included Leza (referring to the Lord of space, who stretches the rainbow).
Others are Chiuta/Chauta defined as the great and “a chicken that covers its wings” and a “cow resting under a tree."
And there is also Mphambe (Almighty, rain and thunder are His symbols, Mlezi (sustainer, nourishes all), Mlengi (Creator), Namalenga and Chanjiri.
One of the ancient beliefs in line with the colours of the rainbow and the number seven included the belief in 7 spirits of which 4 were male of a positive charge and 3 female of a negative charge pulling each other to create Light.
These 4 male spirits connected to the mythical 4 winds of Sapitwa are Tomasi Bona of the North Wind, Tagoneka Mbona of the West, Chandiona Gonekela of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Nthandi) of the East.
The 3 mythical winged female negative charges used in battle and connected to specific hills or mountains are Dziwe Ntambamwana (witchcraft pool), Sungamwana (Keep the child) and Ife Zonse (all of us).  Dziwe Ntambamwana was believed to appear as a woman with reddish eyes as if drunk from red wine.
This blog will give more details about ancient Malawi “science” and myths & tales once it’s made available.

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Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star. this space.