Sunday, December 7, 2014

Was ancient Malawi Mbona’s Thyolo Mountain shrine like Stonehenge or not?

This blog is appealing to mountain hikers to confirm if there are rocks like the 3 stone traditional cooking place on top of Thyolo Mountain and the size of the huge rock said to be in between them.
Or are the villagers who gave this blog that information lying?
Are the rocks like Stonehenge in the UK? According to UNESCOS’s World Heritage list “Stonehenge and Avebury, in Wiltshire, are among the most famous groups of megaliths in the world.
“The two sanctuaries consist of circles of menhirs arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. These holy places and the nearby Neolithic sites are an incomparable testimony to prehistoric times,” reads
Stonehenge photo and the sun taken from
Stonehenge photo and the sun taken from

The author of this blog captured Thyolo Mountain from a distance and it barely can be seen but there is an obvious part standing out like a sharp peak or rock.  So far online the only beautiful photos of Thyolo Mountain show it looking flat and easy to climb near Tea Estates as in this blog
British Anthropologist Brian Morris in his book ‘Animals and Ancestors: An Ethography’ also confirmed a Mbona shrine on Thyolo Mountain. 
This is on top of official stories including on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website that “Mbona’s head was placed at Khulubvi sacred groove, where the shrine exists today.”
Oral history also talks of Mbona’s head being buried at Ndione where it sprouted a river to this day that flows into the Shire River.
However online photos don’t show the “forbidden part” of Thyolo Mountain where the ancient shrine is believed to have been just like many online photos don’t show the “forbidden side” of Sapitwa on Mulanje Mountain where an ancient shrine is believed to have been.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as of special cultural or physical significance.
“A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as of special cultural or physical significance.”

Shrines and sacred sites in Malawi have been in existence since 1500 AD They were used by our ancestors to offer sacrifices to their Mphambe (God) in times of drought or other calamities. These sites are spatially located in different areas throughout Malawi reads a Malawi National Commission for UNESCO submission about Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines on 1 February, 2011.
Khulubvi sacred shrine is located in Nsanje District, in the lower Shire Valley in Southern Region of Malawi.
“It is an important spiritual place among the people of Mang’anja tribe. It is a place where the Mang’anja worship the spirit of Mbona. According to Mang’anja oral tradition, Mbona was a legendary figure with super human powers who lived in the area during the rise of the Lundu Kingdom.
Sacrifice to Mbona photo taken from
Sacrifice to Mbona photo taken from

“Mbona is said to have had magic powers of bringing rain, creating wells of water on sandy lands, creating forests where they did not exist and hiding from enemies by turning into other creatures such as guinea fowls.
“It is said that Mbona’s uncle Mlauli, who was also a magician envied his nephew and wanted to kill Mbona. Mlauli, however, failed to kill Mbona because he wished to die on his own by telling Mlauli and his enemies to cut his throat with a leaf of a reed after other weapons had failed to harm him.
“His head was cut and placed at Khulubvi sacred groove, where the shrine exists today. People who knew his magic works began coming to the place periodically to worship the spirit of Mbona. A traditional hut within Khulubvi natural thicket of approximately 100 square metres was constructed as a worshipping site,” further reads the UNESCO website on
Some ancestors believed some ancient royal spirits could be re-born through a woman by somehow implanting themselves in their womb. It was believed that a spirit could only become man by being born of a woman.
Mbona whose name means Seer as in –ona to see was one such mizimu (winged spirit).
Tomasi Bona of the spirit of the North Wind also known as Napolo was also believed to become man when born of a woman and also to be at the centre of the 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) which in oral Myths and Tales were put in one place as Chivomerezo (agreement).
In Sapitwa Mythology, the West wind was Tagoneka Mbona (we’ve put to sleep Mbona) who was in the beginning but born again of a woman, the South was Chandiona Goneka (it’s seen me put to sleep) and the East was Nthanda mwana wa mwezi Nandi, (Sirius, child of the moon).
However this part of ancient Malawi has never been captured by scholars and historians for reasons best known to themselves unlike scholars and historians in other countries who don’t edit the ancient history of their own countries.
There is a possibility some scholars and historians deleted that part because they found it “primitive” and “pagan” despite it being part of ancient history no longer believed by the majority of Malawians today.
Online there is rich information from a Cherokees of California in the United States in a blog about the “Four Wind Messengers” by David Michael Wolfe, Virginia Cherokee Descendant, Cherokee American Artist N.G.E.D and Historian.
He partly wrote on his blog without erasing any part of his culture that “the Four Winds in that culture are spirit beings, the Creator’s messengers that were placed at four corners of the world in the beginning of time by the Creator.
“The task of the Messengers is to attend to the cycle of the four seasons of the year.
When people do wicked things, disobey their priests and refuse to listen to their counsel, the Creator, “Ouga”, sets all four wind messengers against the earth to destroy crops and bring hunger to punish people for their wicked actions,” further reads
Four winds in other different cultures like this online one about "Four Wind Messengers by David Michael Wolfe Virginia Cherokee Descendent Inage.i AniYunwiya Cherokee American Artist N.G.E.D. and Historian" taken from
Four winds in other different cultures like this online one about “Four Wind Messengers by David Michael Wolfe, Virginia Cherokee Descendent Inage.i AniYunwiya Cherokee American Artist N.G.E.D. and Historian” taken from

In Malawi there is nothing online about the ancient 4 winds of Sapitwa (mpepho zinayi) and nothing drawn by artists to capture this.  There is also nothing about a Sapitwa river called Tambani which was believed to be like an “oracle” of future events as it would change colour from blue to black and when it was red it meant bad news in oral myths and tales.
According to this blog’s own amateur Sapitwa mythology, in the beginning there was a world of spirits for an unknown time maybe millions of years including the winged ones which have never been human and those who went on to occupy other “worlds” including earth.
On earth the spirit (mizimu) said to have existed in the beginning was Tomasi Bona (atom) or a word which sounds like atomic mass.
He’s said to have originated elsewhere into a primordial mound/anthill as electrical energy with water bodies below since in the beginning they believed there was water and spirits which lived there because for them termite mounds are a good indicator of ground water.
Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M'manga Mudzi mound photo?
Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M’manga Mudzi mound photo?

From there he is said to have exploded like lightning into other spirits in twos and this lightning was throughout the new created world.
Under the M’manga mudzi anthill tree or mound there was said to be several water bodies which healers refer to as Nyanja and inside that mound the Tomasi Bona spirit is believed to look like an elderly man (munthu) who evolved from a serpent spirit in oral tales.
The Primordial Mound locally known as the M’manga Mudzi anthill tree (chulu) stands out with three distinct trees growing out of it, mainly mpolowoni, m’manga mudzi, and msamba mwana.
Now mpolowoni is the main tree and udindo (responsibility of Tomasi Bona.  M’manga mudzi is the one used for kusilika grounds before some sacred dances by digging it into the dirt while msamba mwana is used during childbirth.
According to a plant expert, mpolowoni in English is known as the Steganotaenia Araliacea tree and its family name is Umbelliferae.
A female healer in the village in Mulanje says mpolowoni is some kind of “bush” science.
“Chochepa chimakulitsidwa ndi kuima pamwamba anthu apansi azafuula ngati mphambe mpolowoni,” she explains.
In a nutshell it means a small thing is made big by standing on top and the people (anthu but mizimu like in spirits) below will shout like thunder mpolowani which is like lightning. The above Chichewa saying also briefly means “as above so below.”
“Mlauli drew his kandalanga dagger to stab Mbona, but its blade bent as if it were something utterly soft. He thought that he could cut Mbona’s throat like a chicken’s but Mbona told him mockingly,“Uncle, when your rival stands on an anthill, never say ‘I have caught you’ until you are up there yourself.”

He went on, saying, “If you want to kill me do not bring against me anything made of iron as an arrowhead or spears and knives. Those have no power over me as I’ve eaten medicine against them.
“Instead, use the sliver of a maize stalk or the leaf of a reed: those are the things dreadful to me.  You will see that I die like a chicken.  However uncle when I’m dead, I beseech you to bury m head at Khulubvi where I ended my journey.
But my body is to be buried here, ” – wrote Fr J. M. Schoffeleer in his book ‘River of Blood: The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi c. A.D. 1600′ about “Mbona’s death.”
River of Blood The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi, c. A.D. 1600 J. Matthew Schoffeleers
River of Blood
The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi, c. A.D. 1600
J. Matthew Schoffeleers

If Mbona’s head was buried at Khulubvi then on which anthill was his body buried this blog asks many authors, scholars, historians and experts in ancient asing’anga (traditional healers) like Mbona of royal blood.
It remains a mystery why Fr J. M. Schoffeleer and those who wrote about Mbona for reasons best known to themselves only wrote where Mbona’s head was buried but not his body yet the author clearly states in his book that he was buried in an anthill which is also known as a termite mound and that he used medicine.
This blog can reveal that when Mbona said when one stands on an anthill they’re untouchable he was talking about “sambani chulu” which is only found at Sapitwa and not Khulubvi.
Mbona sourced Sambani Chulu from Mpolowani (the Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) which held upwards and bathed in so that those with nyanga charms could not touch him.
It is also drawn as an E in the man shouting of the 3200 BC African alphabet.  This tree was believed to make his skin (khungu) as slippery as a tortoise (kamba).
Mpolowani and Sambani Chulu also played a role in the area where the Tomasi Bona (Atom) meteorite or asteroid known as Nthanda fell in the EAST in Mulanje and the source of the M’manga Mudzi anthill/termite mound.
Names given to this spirit are Napolo, Mbewula as in run away so fast or get away from me and Robert.
Tagoneka Mbona was the spirit believed to have been born through a woman called Nyangu and it’s his head that is believed to have been buried at Khulubvi.
The spirit/snake Mbona was often mentioned by the early missionaries and travellers, and was specifically associated with 2 shrines, one on Thyolo Mountain, the other at Khulubvi forest at the foot of Malawi hills near Nsanje is information written in the ‘Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography’ by Brian Morris to prove that Mbona shrines were not only in Khulubvi.
Morris online is described as an “emeritus professor of anthropology at Goldsmiths College at the University of London an a “specialist on folk taxonomy, ethnobotany and ethnozoology and on religion and symbolism.
Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography Paperback – October 1, 2000 by Brian Morris  (Author)
Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography Paperback – October 1, 2000 by Brian Morris (Author)

For those who like adventure, some villagers in Thyolo around Satemwa Tea and Coffee Estate who live near Thyolo Mountain claim there are huge rocks on the mountain like mafuwa meaning the three rock traditional cooking place with fire.
Now they claim in the middle of that is a huge rock which is shaped like a termite mound and that can clearly be seen right behind the Mwala wa Mthunzi rock along the Thyolo road.
That rock belonged to an ancient chief called Mthunzi and it was used for nsembe (sacrifice offerings) and is directly across Thyolo mountain because somewhere there was an ancient shrine for Mbona where Mlauli is believed to have buried his heart meaning ancient Malawi’s Mbona’s heart is in Thyolo.
Mwala wa Mthunzi belonged to a Mang'anja chief whose name was Mthunzi and not the "Rock of Shade" or "Rock of Shadow" online translations says a Sapitwa priestess (nsembe)
Mwala wa Mthunzi belonged to a Mang’anja chief whose name was Mthunzi and not the “Rock of Shade” or “Rock of Shadow” online translations says a Mang’anja priestess (nsembe) in Mulanje

This blog has not seen those huge rocks yet but it’s worth exploring and photos are needed.
So that is the Thyolo Mountain shrine of Mbona and the 3 rock traditional cooking place with fire means Sirius, the brightest star which in Chichewa is Nthanda mwana wa mwezi, Nandi of the East.
The sign for that is holding the hands close to the chest near the heart to represent 2 triangles which symbolize Sirius. Chifuwa is the chest.
That is where Mbona’s heart is…as UNESCO on their heritage site only mentioned a head being at Khulubvi and the rest of his story involves Sapitwa of Mulanje Mountain where Menno Welling found an ancient rain shrine but said he “did not know the deity”.
There is a possibility that the rocks on Thyolo Mountain were used for ancient Astronomy and not Astrology…could it be the the ancient Stonehenge of Malawi….if so then the information UNESCO has needs to be updated because it’s incomplete and just as important.
Ancient Malawi's Mbona symbol to represent fire and the Sirius 'star' and black rooster (tambala)
Ancient Malawi’s Mbona symbol to represent fire and the Sirius ‘star’ and black rooster (tambala)

The University of Texas under ‘Astronomy in ancient Africa online shows classes about the Ng’amoritung’a stones and rocks while we most likely have something similar on Thyolo mountain but some are growing maize there.
The side near Satemwa Tea Estate looks green while the other side away from the estate they have cut trees!
We might not value ancient rocks and history but there are many in the world who do and study such things so maybe the experts and the learned can get researchers to investigate and foreign colleges to have such things in their syllabus one day.
Part of the University of Texas website reads and I quote:
“Lastly, a Turkana concept which made me smile: back in 1996, I was in Eliye Springs, supposedly also researching the Rough Guide, but actually taking a short break from it all. Problem was that the lift back to Lodwar I’d arranged never turned up, and to cut a long story short, I ended up having to hire a local to guide me 50km across the desert to Kalokol on foot and night.
“Wonderful for the first few hours, the mzungu’s feet began getting sore rather quickly thereafter … “How far are we from Kalokol” I’d ask. “Not far”, he said. Same question an hour later, then at half-hourly intervals.
“Finally, he turned and explained, “if you walk faster, the distance will be shorter”. He’s absolutely right, of course – except it took us wazungu until Einstein and our modern comprehension of space-time to work that one out,” –

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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.