A young woman walking down the streets of Blantyre 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 looking 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 friendly looking eyes.
The woman can’t help but notice the pitch black dreadlocks peeking out of his fedora. Unknown to her this is the mythical spirit of Mbona and 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 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 behavior is strange to the woman because although 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 met a spiritual being called Mbona who appears with a bright flash of light with a roar of thunder.
Ancient Mbona’s symbols were lightning and thunder in connection with rain because he was an ancient rainmaker who used the power of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) but was accused of witchcraft and demonic activities to this day.
This is why there are no songs in Malawi about Mbona unlike the songs composed by some youth in Zimbabwe about their ancient prophet Chaminuka.
Many in Malawi label Mbona as a magician (matsenga) person who was evil because he is also believed to appear as a serpent spirit in myths and tales which talk of ancient chiefs who are given new bodies in the afterlife.
Mbona was also a man who never cut his hair and grew thick dreadlocks which were covered and resembled the movement of lightning and thunder for rain. Whenever he would show and shake his dreadlocks in visions or dreams it would mean he was very angry.
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 like Greece’s mythical Medusa.
It’s because of his pitch black dreadlocks that Mbona was also known as mwana wamkango (child of the lion, lion’s cub).
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.
This is why in ancient times Mbona had to have a “wife” even in death because the relationship was like that of a lion and a lioness with the ancient female priestesses being very powerful and passing on messages and warnings from Mbona as his messenger and prophetess. Mbona also watched over his “wife” just like a lion watches over the lioness.
Now Mbona’s dreadlocks were easily recognized by those who saw him 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…
“Sexual selection of mates by lionesses favors males with the densest, darkest mane. Research in Tanzania also suggests mane length signals fighting success in male–male relationships.
Darker-maned individuals may have longer reproductive lives and higher offspring survival, although they suffer in the hottest months of the year. In prides including a coalition of two or three males, it is possible that lionesses solicit mating more actively with the males who are more heavily maned,” partly reads the unofficial Wikipedia.
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 http://www.dailyworldfacts.com/lion-facts/, 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.
This blog will continue revealing some of ancient Malawi Mbona’s secrets once information is given and permission granted. This blog will also continue documenting some parts of ancient Malawi’s oral history as a hobby and not as an endorsement.