Seeing what not many eyes see, hearing what few hear – “African Spirituality” Diaries Promo


A middle-aged woman walking down the streets of Blantyre in Malawi, Africa on a hot October day arriving at her destination is suddenly blinded by a bright white light flashing like lightning without thunder or rain which hits the iron sheet roof of a huge building with a roar, temporarily blinding her as she falls to the ground.

Looking down she notices red spots on the dusty ground as if blood and she blinks her eyes strongly affected by the very bright flash of light.

And just before her knee scraps the rough ground, a gentle hand suddenly lifts her up and she finds herself face to face with a bearded watchman wearing a brown fedora and with very friendly looking eyes.

The woman can’t help but notice the pitch black dreadlocks peeking out of his fedora. Unknown to her, his hair is the source of his power so it’s never cut.

Puzzled the woman asks for the owners of the place and the watchman tells her to look for them behind the “mansion.”

But alas when the woman finds the occupants and explains how a kind watchman gave her the directions, the owners of the place don’t know what she’s talking about and bluntly tell her they don’t have a watchman.

Confused the woman peeks at the entrance near the gate and sees the now mysterious watchman squatting near a rock and waiting for her to give him instructions.

She then summons the man with her hand and he approaches her like he’s ready to serve, a smile constantly covering his smooth dark skinned face.

The woman wants to use the ladies and he tells her gently to use a nearby pit latrine used by some workers who were building a nearby brick wall. Entering the pit latrine the woman is surprised to find it sparkling clean and the smell of perfume in the air.

When she exits she notices various colourful flowers nearby she never noticed before and once again she sees the watchman dressed simply in brown trousers, a pink shirt and brown fedora with a nearby hill appearing closer than usual.

This behaviour is strange to the woman because though she does not know or recognize the man before her, she can sense kindness and love in his eyes by the way he looks at her as if deep into her soul.

On departure after the visit, she again finds the man still squatting near the gate and waves him good-bye after he asks her if she had a nice visit.

After narrating her experience to some elder women, they tell her point black that she has most likely met a good type of spiritual being which comes with a bright flash of light with a roar of thunder like a Lion.

In ancient times dreadlocks were sacred and never cut anyhow just like the mane of a lion to represent power and strength. The dreadlocks also represented serpents similar to Greece’s mythical Medusa.

However women who grew dreads hid their locks under scarves, turbans with veils or even “wigs” so that she was “bald” like a lioness and the hunter in a relationship.

Dreadlocks were easily recognized by those who saw such beings in the same way the male lion is recognized by its mane.

“The mane of the adult male lion, unique among cats, is one of the most distinctive characteristics of the species. It makes the lion appear larger, providing an excellent intimidation display; this aids the lion during confrontations with other lions and with the species’ chief competitor in Africa, the spotted hyena.

A lion’s mane is also used to mark a more powerful and dominant one with full dark ones meaning stronger lions. According to 10 Facts about Lions posted on, lions also hate hyenas because they view a hyena as a “thief of lion food.”

“Everywhere Lions go, hyena follows them. Not infrequently, they can take over the lions. Lions communicate in different ways and one of them is roaring. Lions have strong sonic waves and once they cast it, it will spread in all directions as far as 5 miles.

“In lions, lioness hunt more but unfortunately, the lion eats more meat. The male lion consumes 15 pounds of meat a day, while the female one only eat 11 pounds a day,” further reads the website.

It’s through the wisdom of Royal symbolic animals like the Lion and Lioness that the Diaries of African Spirituality will explain in detail the ancient making of the now extinct African Priesthood who used to work closely with Lion Kings and the Creator because it was once said behind every successful man is a woman and this including ancient extinct Priestesses.



Nature’s Beauty: Mwala wa Mphini (rock with traditional scars)

Mwala wa Mphini
Photo from Malawi’s Dpt of Antiquities for a similar published story I wrote

When an elderly Malawian hears the Chichewa word mphini  they might first think of incisions traditional healers locally known as asing’anga make to administer either herbs straight into the bloodstream or for protective charms hence // and similar slashes in opposite and various positions depending on the “treatment.”

Others will remember tattoos, traditional scars or marks ancestors in some cultures regarded as beauty in women from the head to toe.

According to Mayi Jarden, a local healer based in a Mulanje village who deals with the spirit world, some specific //slashes were also viewed as the click of the Abathwa where both the Pygmies and Bushmen in English were grouped together but locally known as Abatwa and Abathwa respectively. Mphini 2.jpg

Online sources show stone-aged tools indicating that people who are known as Abathwa, Akafula or Amwandionerapati lived in Malawi since around 8000 BC” making them the country’s first settlers.

Now healers who claim to know the ways of the AbaTwa in relation to herbs and healing also value Mulanje Mountain forest reserve including Dziwe la Nkhalamba and some areas near Lake Malawi and other areas in the country where there is water and ancient rain shrines.

It’s because of the definition of the word mphini  that many Malawians concluded that the rock in Lake Malawi National Park Cape Maclear called Mwala wa Mphini was created by the ancestors.

“No” say some healers attributing its creation to an act of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) hence natural and not mankind creating the marks on the rock.

But there are still rumours of ancestors somehow creating the marks on the rocks but that is not true.

In an email response, Samba Sarah Kambalame, Monuments Officer for Malawi’s Department of Antiquities said the Mwala wa Mphini monument is a tattooed geological structure.

“The name Mwala wa Mphini in literal translation means “Rock marked with traditional scars” Its geomorphic formation presents a picture of scars that amaze locals and visitors. It dates back to the Iron Age.

Mphini besides medical traditional incisions are also used as beauty or tribal marks in Africa and more common among the elderly in Malawi

“Many myths are told about the rock’s origin and healing powers. Many believe it to be a sacred rock; local medicine men make healing and protective concoctions from chipping aggregates of the rock,” she explains.

Internet sources explain that geological structures as faults and folds are the architecture of the earth’s crust.”

“Geologic structures influence the shape of the landscape, determine the degree of landslide hazard, bring old rocks to the surface, bury young rocks, trap petroleum and natural gas, shift during earthquakes, and channel fluids that create economic deposits of metals such as gold and silver.

“Folds, faults, and other geologic structures accommodate large forces such as the stress of tectonic plates jostling against each other, and smaller forces such as the stress of gravity pulling on a steep mountainside.

“An understanding of the structures that shape the earth’s crust can help you see when and where the crust was subjected to pushing or pulling,terrane accretion or crustal rifting,” further reads

The same website also explains how stress refers to the forces that cause rocks to deform and three three basic types of stress that deform rocks including compression (pushing together),tension (pulling apart) and shear (twisting or rotating).

“In response to stress, rocks will undergo some form of bending or breaking, or both. The bending or breaking of rock is called deformation or strain.

If rocks tend to break, they are said to be brittle. If a rock breaks, it is said to undergo brittle behavior. If rocks tend to bend without breaking, they are said to be ductile, further reads the same website.

Mwala wa Mphini, eroded rock in Lake Malawi National Park, Cape Maclear, Malawi



Mystery inside Zomba Plateau’s Chingwe’s Hole

Chingwe’s hole photograph taken from the Malawian explorer website


Mystery, legend, imagination and myths more than concrete facts surrounds Zomba Plateau’s Chingwe’s Hole also nicknamed an abyss of nothingness by some Malawian bloggers.

The hole is the source of rumours ranging from alleged mentally disturbed people being thrown in to enemies of some ancient chiefs.

Some believe the place to be haunted by spirits (mizimu) whose origins are not known and whether they are believed to be ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo) or not.

Other Malawians assumed the mentally challenged or disturbed were also thrown down that pit in ancient times just because there is Zomba Mental hospital in the area.

But one thing remains clear and not as sketchy….which is the hole being known as a dumping site for deceased lepers.

Chingwe's hole
Photo from Malawian Explorer Blog

Those who have attempted to climb inside, estimate it to be about 10 meters deep although villagers in the area reportedly estimated it at 30 meters before it was filled by dirt and other things.

So it has a bottom full of sand or dirt.

According to Samba Sarah Kambalame, the Monuments Officer in Malawi’s Department of Antiquities, officially Chingwe’s hole is a “historical place and known as an area where unwanted people were thrown including lepers and some with disabilities.”

But it is not known if research has been done to establish if there are indeed many bones inside the hole the way it was done with the “Leper Tree” of Malawi.However the hole still has a horrible reputation and is also viewed as a bottomless cave.

Some say it reaches the base of the Rift valley, others give specific depths writes Aku Kalizang’oma in his blog titled ‘The Abyss of Zomba plateau, Chingwe’s Hole’ in his Explore Malawi blog.

“Whatever the case, the secrets that the victims might have kept have long been taken with them beyond the plains. If you find yourself on the plateau, do you have the courage to gaze through the abyss?,” asks Kalizang’oma.

Another mystery is the origins of the chingwe name which means rope.

Photo from Malawi Tourism website

According to a Victoria Falls online Guide a Great Chief of Central Africa was allegedly Chingwe.

Quoting information from a Zimbabwe farmer’s website the guide quotes a John recalling how as a child he was told “tribal legends by the son of a village chief, stories of a great and powerful Chief, Chief Chingwe, who ruled from what is today Zimbabwe to Tanzania, Uganda and beyond.”

“It was said that the Chief held court on Zomba Plateau and threw all his enemies into a vertical hole in the plateau. In the sixties the hole was discovered, full of human bones, however history has yet to be rewritten,” alleged the website.

So far most known evidence available online is about the trunk of the Leper Tree which reads: “The grave for people who suffered from leprosy in the past.” You can still poke your head into the hollow and see skulls and skeletons lying at the bottom.”

Leper tree
Leper Tree photo taken from

Time will tell if the suspected bottomless pit of Zomba Plateau also has evidence of lost human life inside its mysterious Chingwe Hole or if it’s ancient name really was a person’s name or just a phrase for a rope or string in the vernacular one might need to get out of there smoothly.

“Zomba Plateau is unique. A great slab of a mountain rising to 6000ft (1800m), it has vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress but elsewhere the vegetation is wild and mixed.

“The plateau top is criss-crossed by streams and there are tumbling waterfalls and still lakes. There are driveable tracks right round the top from which are views of such splendour that they were described in colonial times as “the best in the British Empire”.

“Whether walking or driving, there is always something to see. Wildlife includes leopards, although sightings are rare. More in evidence are giant butterflies and, on the lower slopes, baboons. Birdlife includes the long-crested eagle and the augur buzzard.

Accommodation on the plateau includes a luxury hotel, the famous Sunbird Ku Chawe, set at the very edge of the mountain; and a large camping site. Fly-fishing for trout is possible in season and horse riding can be arranged,” reads the Malawi Tourism website about the so many breathtaking places to visit in beautiful Malawi including Chingwe’s Hole.

Sunbird Ku Chawe
Sunbird Kuchawe photo not connected to this blog from

Avoiding Sun Rays to reach Dziwe la Nkhalamba (pool for the elderly) on Mulanje Mountain

Dancing has its roots in Africa (parts of my first article published in 1996)


Inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee, Sungamwana ee, uzamudalise ee….inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee” (oh you our mother yes, come, come yes, Keep the Child yes, bless this one yes….). –  part of a sacred Dziwe la Nkhalamba song by elders who held suspected Mibawa canes or walking sticks which might be a type of African Mahogany in English.

They would tap on the ground three times while moving their feet in rhythm with the sacred music while the seeds they wore around their ankles added more beats.

Music has been defined as the art of combining sounds or sequences of notes into harmonious patterns.  One tends to wonder if music can affect one’s soul which is the seat of emotion, sentiment and aspiration through dance, a movement of measured steps.

Dziwe pool
It took me more than an hour to walk up to Dziwe la Nkhalamba on a hot day so I had to rest twice as it was exhausting but worth seeing where elders used to dance and sing to summon a spirit called Chinsinsi Sungamwana they believed was in a pool to appear

Most countries in Africa use music in traditional rituals and rites to invoke various spirits which possess a host’s body, usually the dancer.

Drums are the main but not only instrument used, with the talking drum being dominant, conveying messages with each beat.  Only trained dancers and drummers would be able to comprehend the message projected.

Drums are common in Malawian traditional music with both men and women using these instruments.  Various dances are performed in rural areas for different occasions from maganje, nsembe to festive celebrations.

In the Northern region Vimbuza is a common dance in which spirits possess the body which shakes violently while using all muscles while following the beat of the music.

Only one who is guided by the spirit can perform this dance.  Watching vimbuza one can see some similarities with the 1980s craze which was known as break-dancing.  There was a certain movement in which one would shake the whole body from head to toe as if having a fit or being possessed.break-dance-silhouettes-file-eps-format-35775081

These were the robot and wave where one behaved as if they were having an electric shock.

Gule Wamkulu the secretive masked spirit dancers from Malawi were said to be sexually explicit in that song but no confirmation but anyway during the Kamuzu days till democracy many traditional songs became politicized with some even worshipping leaders.

Some can see some similarities between Michael Jackson’s  hit video ‘Thriller’ and some of Africa’s sacred masked dancers including the way he seemed to grab his front the way pop-star Madonna also did.

The yells and screams are also similar to some of Africa’s masked dancers so one can definitely conclude dancing has its roots in Africa with it touching the soul of the continent. Thriller







Trying to understand the language of birds….eagles, falcons

Once upon a time Malawi had parrots but don’t know it’s Chichewa name…is it Chingolopiyo?

Don’t criticize the king, even silently, and don’t criticize the rich, even in the privacy of your bedroom. A bird might carry the message and tell them what you said” – Ecclesiastes 10:20 Good News Translation (GNT)

I would be most grateful if holy people familiar with biblical verses would teach us outcasts what the above verse means as many in Malawi laugh at me when I pay attention to birds and consider that primitive though I’m trying to figure out local mythology about them.

Are those parrots which repeat words a person says?

 My area of interest are the birds which Malawians don’t usually eat including owls, falcons, eagles, hornbills and the Sacred African Ibis. Yes some might eat those but they’re not that easy to catch unlike the others and many Malawians consider birds appearing in a home evil although they were all created by Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God). 


 It’s just before the rainy season in Malawi when the sound of natures’ trumpets is heard….waaaaah! waaaah!! Waaaaah!!! cry the Trumpeter Hornbills in the busy commercial city of Blantyre startling me as I lay down on my bed in Soche East near Soche mountain.

I peak out of my room to see two huge Trumpeter Hornbills eating papaya from my tree with their big round eyes seeming to stare right through my soul. Even as I approach them they didn’t fly off but kept looking at me while moving their heads.

As if being guided by an invisible conductor the birds cry in unison like babies even louder again as if telling a story of sorrow which no man can understand.

Their constant cries can make those with creative minds wonder what they’re trying to say using bird language.

For me the way they cry varies and sometimes it sounds like sorrow but when some guests to my home saw the birds they freaked out and got scared with Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) creations.

Zambia 1 S 1964
World of Coins taken from

For years these birds showed up at my former home and former workplace but these days I rarely see them landing but flying by. Previously I would hear them and as soon as I found the tree where they are, there would be silence so I figured they could somehow think but that cry was something else.

I would then assume that their cry was normal for everyone hence them not reacting unlike me who never grew in a village hence I would always be surprised when they went quiet when I found them and would stare at me.

I also see a lot of falcons, hawks and suspected eagles which seem to cry when something tragic is about to happen.  I usually spot eagles near royal homes or traditional healers with royal blood and when they make their not so usual cry it alarms me as if fore-telling something while falcons or hawks flying in circles and other movements seem as if they’re writing something in the sky.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

Eagles and falcons fascinate me and till this day I’m always happy to see them wherever I am in the world as they remain my favourite strong birds but the sacred African Ibis and Northern Bald Ibis are not seen as often.

The last time I saw suspected Northern Bald Ibis they were flying in a V-formation and flew above me for about 15 minutes giving me enough time to study them, their beaks and how they flew and how the last would end up first and so forth.

It was like watching nature’s jet show.

Northern bald ibis
Northern Bald Ibis

When visiting Mangochi I usually witness African Fish Eagles flying past and in my ears I can hear them flap their wings but there is another eagle looking bird which when it appears and cry I expect something specific to happen depending on where and how it lands.

I’m also told the term [m]vundulamadzi is African fish eagle in English and means the Eagle is so strong when it hits the water that it’s believed to make the fish at the bottom come up to the top in confusion.

African Fish Eagle
Online photo of African Fish Eagle in Malawi

So if there is one thing I will always remember about my former Malawi Housing Corporation home in Soche East, Blantyre; that would be the many birds that “kept me company” in thick and thin and made my garden beautiful.

I love gardening and would always plant different types of flowers and grass because the green helped sooth my migraine headaches so the flying birds always complimented the colours and I would love listening to their daily songs and watching them land before me.

The shrieking cry of the Hamerkop always alarmed me and gave me the creeps as it was like they were foretelling disaster and it’s one bird I can easily catch if I wanted to but I don’t as I see them really close including those that land near shopping places in Limbe.

Hamerkop landing photo from the Internet
Hamerkop landing photo from the Internet

The other colourful ones whose names I don’t know were like an alarm clock to wake me up in the morning and some were there right above the door at the entrance to my house to remind me it was getting dark hence they were ready to sleep.

“Rise up this mornin’, smiled with the risin’ sun, three little birds, pitch by my doorstep, singin’ sweet songs of melodies pure and true, saying’, (“This is my message to you”)….”Don’t worry ’bout a thing,’cause every little thing gonna be alright” sang Legend Bob Marley in his famous Three Little Birds song sounded real to me although unreal.

Of course the birds of the night like bats (mleme) once found its way into my house but I kicked it out and suspected they were attracted to the fruit trees I had outside but some were eventually uprooted including the banana tree.

Same with a white owl which once landed in front of me during the day near a home whose occupants were cruel to me.Malawi owl.jpg

It would stare directly into my eyes and a similar one appeared near my kitchen during the day when I opened the gate to let in a visitor who gave me the creeps.

The owl made a 360 degree turn and with one eye open and the other closed it stared at the guest who got nervous so we had to chase the damn owl away.

Same thing with pigeons and doves which showed up I would read into them and got the feeling pigeons prefer being around places where there is peace or people who have peace of mind.

However I never saw a parrot near my home although some claimed many could be found at a nearby Soche mountain but had “fled once human beings encroached the forest reserve or bush.”

Where there was “Long live Kamuzu” is no longer there and older healers who used to trek up the hill claim wild animals, birds and snakes that used to be there fled as humans replaced them.

Long Live Kamuzu
‘Long Live Kamuzu’ photo taken from Malawi@fifty Facebook page

Local birds known as Namzeze most likely swallows have fallen flat on their backs before me several times including in an office where I used to once work.

For some reason I fail to pick them up as their eyes make me feel sorry so it’s usually those near me who do that for me and let them go as I have no use for them.

It was also very normal for some birds to lay their eggs in my hanging flower pots near the entrance of my house or in many places on the roof of that former rented home.

But I never knew the types of birds they were as they varied and would always SING and DANCE even on gloomy days.

One that would sleep on a chord for my dish right near my bedroom would always stare straight into my eyes whenever I peaked unlike some others which would get startled….fly away and always come back to their resting place.

It was not unusual to always find white bird pooh on the doormat of my house as a bird always slept there and in many other holes near my bedroom.

There are so many other birds I have seen which would take a book to document so would like to hear other tales about them besides my personal experiences.

Blue Swallow

However there are some villagers in Malawi who claim there are a few “gifted” people who can somehow understand what such birds are saying and that it allegedly warns of something about to happen in the world.

How this is done remains a mystery but there are some people who still believe the behavior and sounds of some birds and animals can somehow foretell the future.

They also believe the Trumpeter hornbill is a mbalame yamizimu (spirit bird) with a natural horn (nyanga). Other beliefs about this bird and the spirit are not allowed to be shared on this blog.

This is in contrast to the Helmeted Hornbill with the “casque not hollow but is filled with ivory and is used as a battering ram used in dramatic aerial jousts.

Hornbills are locally common resident of the tropical evergreen forests of BurundiMozambiqueBotswanaCongoKenya, the Caprivi strip of Namibia and eastern South Africa, where it feeds on fruits and large insects according to the unofficial and easily edited Wikipedia.





Gebet’a – World’s Oldest Board Game

Ethiopianism-Ethiopiawinet Online Revival

“One of the earlist evidence of the game are fragments of a pottery board and several rock cuts found in Aksumite Ethiopia in Matara (now in Eritrea) and Yeha (in Ethiopia), which are dated by archaeologists to between the 6th and 7th century AD; the game may have been mentioned by Giyorgis of Segla in his 14th century Ge’ez text “Mysteries of Heaven and Earth”, where he refers to a game called qarqis, a term used in Ge’ez to refer to both Gebet’a (Mancala) and Sant’araz (modern sent’erazh, Ethiopian Chess). The similarity of some aspects of the game to agricultural activity and the absence of a need for specialized equipment present the intriguing possibility that it could date to the beginnings of civilization itself; however, there is little verifiable evidence that the game is older than about 1300 years. Some purported evidence comes from the Kurna temple graffiti in…

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Behind colourful masks: Telling stories through words, pictures and videos….traveling with me back to ancient times