Of donkey kicks, tail fly-whisks and minibus rides

Online ancient Egypt’s Tutankhamun fly-whisks are described as either horse-hair or donkey hair. What was their use? Was it similar to Malawi Myths and Tales?

Agnes Mizere - Malawi Best Blogger 2015

Image Donkey kick photo from http://www.amazon.com/Donkey-Kicking-Back-Transfer-Material/dp/B009OQMO4G

It was a rainy dull day in Blantyre when I wanted to board a Highway minibus on my way to Limbe to run some errands.

As usual touts breathing into my face each tried to convince me to board the minibus they would eventually get money for and as usual I asked them not to touch me and they obeyed.

One then rushed to the minibus he was calling passengers for and opened the front door.  Noticing that the minibus was almost full I started boarding when I noticed a male passenger in the front seat quickly getting out and giving me way to sit in the middle.

I usually don’t like sitting in the front seats of minibuses and worse still in the middle but on this day I was exhausted and anxious to get to my destination on time.

As the minibus departed…

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Of ancient Malawi’s Rays of Light, Fire and black Roosters (Tambala)

Black Rooster photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_shumen_rooster.jpg

Kokoliriko…Kokoliriko…Kokoliriko [Cocka-doodle-doo, Cocka-doodle-doo, Cocka-doodle-doo],” cries the black rooster (tambala), it’s neck sticking out and red fiery comb shining on its head like fire to show off its strength!

According to internet sources, the rooster is polygamous, but cannot guard several nests of eggs at once. He guards the general area where his hens are nesting, and will attack other roosters that enter his territory.

“During the daytime, a rooster will often sit on a high perch, usually 0.9 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 feet) off the ground, to serve as a lookout for his flock. He will sound a distinctive alarm call if predators are nearby.

“The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn (“cock-a-doodle-doo”) and will almost always start crowing before 4 months of age. Although it is possible for a hen to crow as well, crowing (together with hackles development) is one of the clearest signs of being a rooster.

“He can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory. However, this idea is more romantic than real, as a rooster can and will crow at any time of the day.

Roosters will occasionally make a patterned series of clucks to attract hens to a source of food, the same way a mother hen does for her chicks,” partly reads the unofficial online Wikipedia.

Cocks are also known to possess congenital aggression toward all males of the same species including in “cockfights”.

Cockfight photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COCK_FIGHT.JPG

This is why in Malawi there are still people who believe that the black cock (tambala) is a sign of strength and power.  A Lilongwe-based “spiritual” man also claims that a lion fears a cock because of the red comb on top of its head which shines like fire!

Such beliefs are also captured in tales in the Ulendo Series Mtunda 3 Chichewa for Standard 3 books which talks of other animals thinking the rooster has fire on its head.

Animals including the lion feared the rooster because they feared the fire on its head would burn and kill them.

Aesop’s Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002) also captures myths of lions fearing roosters but in this case, “a lion who had noticed the donkey crept up and was about to pounce when the rooster let loose a squawk. This frightened the lion (for they say that lions are terrified of the rooster’s crowing) and he turned tail and ran.”

“Kale Tambala anali mfumu yomveka pakati pa mbalame zonse ngakhale nyama za m’tchire.  Palibe wina amachita mwano kaya masewera ndi Tambala.

Onse amamuopa popeza panali mbiri yoti Tambala ali ndi moto pamutu pake ndipo wochita naye masewera akhoza kutenthedwa. Mbiri imati onse okhudzidwa ndi motowo, basi imfa ndi yomweyo mpaka kupserera.

Motowo unali wosenzera pamutu……Nyama zonse ndi mkango womwe zimawopa Tambala,” partly reads the Ulendo Series Mtunda 3 Chichewa for Standard 3 book.

Besides such tales controversy rages over the mythical “crowing crested cobra” some locally refer to as resembling mbobo (variety of mamba) or songo (cobra) but those who know better can explain.

Drawing Dr Karl Shuker from http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2012/09/nandi-bears-and-death-birds-my-top-ten.html

It’s believed to be a beast like a cobra with a crest on its head which resembles a cock’s comb and a loud, distinct cry like the crow of a cock.

“Well known to both those who know snakes and those who know the literature on animal myths and anecdotes, the ‘feathered serpent’ is more often known as the Crowing crested cobra.

“In some versions the snake has the head of a chicken, complete with combs and wattles, in others it has merely a crest of feathers. This fabulous serpent is, of course, highly poisonous. In most cases it is believed to have the ability to kill its human victims merely by looking at them…

“Stories and sightings that supposedly pertain to the Crowing crested cobra come from South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, and apparently as far north as the Central African Republic,” partly reads http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/WSS/post.php?blog=33&post=1370

Over the years there has also been debate that the so-called Crowing crested cobra might be a mythical fire spitting dragon which in ancient Malawi was also a description for the feared Napolo that “breathed fire through its nostrils” according to a translated oral story.

Fire was a part of ancient rituals which including rubbing rocks among other things besides a sulfur rock nicknamed “zwangendaba” which some traditional healers today use to make fire in their hands by rubbing it with oil among other things.

Fire was also the way some saw the sun in the sky, feeling it could burn the whole world if “it came down” because of its heat and ancient beliefs associated with its rays among others.

Sun light rays photo from http://www.wallpapershd2014.com/1920X1080-12/imagepages/image488.htm

Both were also connected to the Light in that with both human beings are able to see….even at night with fire.  Some go further and talk of dzuwa makala (sun charcoal) meaning lit charcoal at night also helps them see.

The sun (dzuwa) was also used as a metaphor meaning one that sees all like in the All-Seeing eye of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) hence the phrase I see you (ndakuona).

According to the man, one could see with their two eyes all physical things of this world and with their spiritual eyes, mystical things and non-physical one such as spirits (mizimu), creatures and beasts (zirombo) in the after-life or astral realm.

Some ancestors of this ancient land believed that one would be able to see the spiritual realm once the veil of secrecy or mask is carefully removed for one to see the face.

This came with a price because it was believed that the “spirit” chose whom it wanted to see it and those who tried without permission paid with their life.

Malawi which is a modern day derivation of Maravi means “land of the fire” or the “rays of light” on some websites like http://www.malawithewarmheart.com/index.php?catid=5

Sunset photo from the Internet

Now when ones’ eyes were open and they could “see” it was believed to be bright and the light like the sun while those who could not “see” were considered to be blind like those trying to find their way in the dark hence the sun setting before night.

The bright sun represented an open eye and wide awake brain while the closed eye represented one asleep and not awakened like the sun setting or the moon.

Now of those two “eyes” the right was said to be the seeing eye of wisdom like a snake and the left eye representing a goat.

Rooster feathers photo from http://www.ebay.com/itm/20-6-8-STARDUST-BLACK-ROOSTER-COQUE-TAIL-FEATHERS-/140538875112

This blog will share more information once more oral stories are made available and approved.



Ancient Egypt’s Isis, Malawi’s woman of hamerkop (nantchengwa) bird?

Internet photo of ancient Egypt’s Isis (Aset) and Horus (Heru)

“O Isis, O lightning that turns into god, extend your blessing on the people of that time.  You left your will in magical prayer, Lightning: A Perfect Mind, And all your kindness, for your so beneficial gift, for the strength of your light, we praise you, Isis…..

“Daughter of earth and sky, under your form of lightning, you show your dual origin by uniting both your parents in your embrace. You are the true benefactor of mankind, the Divine Mother….

She is a thing. She is lightning. Remember that lightning, or thunder, is a feminine word in Greek as well as in French. Is lightning a thing indeed? In this particular context, lightning is both the flash that provides enlightenment and Isis, Great Goddess of Ancient Egypt.

I am Lightning making the perfect mind.  I send the power to those who come to me.  Do not ignore me, you Greeks, armed with your beliefs.  For I am the first and last, the great goddess and the most humble of your servants.

For I am the one who is honoured in the old religion, the one who is despised in the Greek worship.  I am the one who is sterile because enlightenment is not transmitted by heredity, and numerous are my sons because I have awakened many,” partly reads online sources about ancient Egyptian goddess Isis.

Internet photo of “Isis Papyrus”

According to http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/isis.html the origins of Isis remain unclear.  Isis was her Greek name, but she was known to the “ancient Egyptians as Aset (or Ast, Iset, Uset), which is usually translated as “(female) of throne” or “Queen of the throne.”

Now in ancient Malawi, the hamerkop locally known as nantchengwa was the lighting bird of the mythical and powerful first woman who fell from grace and who like many in other parts of the world was similar to Isis.

Her symbols were based on this bird including the positioning of her legs and feet to show the two ways to the mythical underworld of Sapitwa.

This blog is exploring similar beliefs in different cultures and countries as part of amateur research and will attempt to draw ancient Malawi’s first one whose colour was blue with a full-figure.

Now it is only natural that lightning and thunder should powerfully affect the human imagination all the world over. Even when their causes are more or less understood there are few or none but must feel a peculiar thrill at sight of the flash and sound of the answering roar.

To the primitive mind lightning is a living thing, instinct with destructive power, thunder the voice of some angry spirit or supra-mundane animal. Lightning is, perhaps, most often conceived of as a bird, and there seems no reason to doubt the good faith of those who declare they have actually seen it.

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

Various descriptions are given of it: sometimes it becomes identified with an actual bird; thus the Amandebele give the name of isivolovolo both to the ‘bird of heaven’ (inyoni yezulu) and to the white-necked fish-eagle, which flies at a great height and whose droppings possess magical properties.

Dudley Kidd, in Bomvanaland, had a brown bird pointed out to him as the lightning-bird. He was about to shoot it, but was dissuaded, and therefore presumably was unable to determine its species, as he gives no further information. The bird known to Afrikanders as ‘hammerkop’ (the tufted umber) seems in some way to be associated with lightning as well as rain; to destroy its nest is to bring down a storm”, partly reads http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/mlb/mlb17.htm.

Internet photo of Hamerkop (Nantchengwa) bird

The mythical lightning-bird of ancient Malawi is also the hamerkop locally known as nantchengwa which has a triangular-shaped head and is known for its shriek cry as if some wicked women laughing or something.

This bird is also used by some local traditional healers (asing’anga anyanga) but since this blog does not have permission to publish how, readers familiar with ancient Malawi myth and tales can figure out how and it has nothing to do with lightning strikes as is the case in other Sadc countries.

Now looking at the image of the ancient Egypt figure of a woman with one leg bent reminds some uneducated Sapitwa healers of a Hamerkop known as Nantchengwa in Malawi.

It’s quite an ugly looking bird with a triangle shaped head and a cry that seems to shriek when flying by.

It also doesn’t fly steadily, kind of staggering then flying straight like the Maat image online gliding high in the sky like an airplane unlike other regular birds like the crow which seem to use more energy.

Some Sapitwa healers claim the Hamerkop known as Nantchengwa in Malawi when flying has one leg which looks lame.  They also claim that it represents the two ways in their so-called underworld with one leg stretched out in one direction and the other bent in another direction.

Hamerkop flying photo from http://www.planetstillalive.com/africa/zambia/zambia-birds-2/page/2/

However the unofficial online Wikipedia says the “Hamerkop, also known as Hammerkop, Hammerkopf, Hammerhead, Hammerhead Stork, Umbretter, Umber bird, Tufted Umber or Anvilhead, is a medium-sized wading bird (56 centimetres (22 in) long, weighing 470 grams (17 oz)).

“The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. It ranges from AfricaMadagascar to Arabia, in wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, lakesides, fish pond, riverbanks and rocky coasts inTanzania.

There are also many legends about the Hamerkop.

It is also known in some cultures as the lightning bird, and the Kalahari Bushmen believe or believed that being hit by lightning resulted from trying to rob a Hamerkop’s nest. They also believe that the inimical god Khauna would not like anyone to kill a Hamerkop.

According to an old Malagasy belief, anyone who destroys its nest will get leprosy, and a Malagasy poem calls it an “evil bird”. Such beliefs have given the bird some protection,” adds the unofficial Wikipedia.

Scopus, a database of abstracts and citations for scholarly journal articles, received its name in honor of this bird, as the Hamerkop is renowned for its superior navigation skills. http://tolweb.org/Scopus_umbretta/26330

Note:  This blog is still researching ancient Egypt’s Isis among others so those with other information feel free to critique what the Sapitwa healers claim based on photos they’re shown.  Thank-you.

Isis depicted with outstretched wings (wall painting, c. 1360 BCE)




Ancient Malawi’s Napolo sea monster hills and water tales….

Photo for different story but not the actual Napolo monster taken from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2012/03/chewa-story-of-napolo-ancient-rain.html

A young Malawian priest (for nsembe sacrifices) at the top of a certain mountain notices huge bubbles and froth at a nearby water body as if someone had not properly poured beer into a glass.

It’s as if nature is providing a warning signal. Sensing something wrong and on close investigation the man sees the bubbles now appearing like boiling water and froth all over the place.

Internet beer foam photo not related to this article

Rushing down the mountain he warns the villagers that Napolo is about to erupt and re-locate to the nearest river or lake so goes a tale told by one Blantyre based healer from Mulanje.

Napolo which can scientifically be described as a landslide would shake the mountain and surrounding areas and move with rage and a roar.

He said in ancient times, healers who feared Napolo would rush to the spot where they saw bubbles and offer a sacrifice (nsembe) including mapira (sorghum) to avoid the mythical Napolo serpent spirit from “coming out” and causing destruction.

The man claims in ancient times people were forewarned and able to avoid its deadly path since it moves in a straight line with water and destroys and removes everything in its path.

He also claims the same thing would happen when Napolo moved from the lake back to the mountain after a period of time.  According to this healer that is why in ancient times nsembe offerings were also done at lakes.

Times have changed now and when healers notice such things, many don’t listen to them because such beliefs are ‘primitive’ and ‘old-fashioned’.

However for young Namilanzi also from Mulanje, she claims Napolo also affects the Ruo River at her village near the border Mozambique.  When they see bubbles and whirlpools they scream (thawa) run!!!! in the vernacular assuming Napolo is passing by in a straight path.

Napolo is a mythical serpent spirit said to sometimes appear as an elderly man with white hair but a spirit in ancient times and a sea monster when in water bodies.

In ancient myths and tales, “monsters” [zirombo] like python spirits were believed to somehow live in water, rivers and deep pools.

This “royal” spirit is also said to be the “ancient owner” of Gumulanje Mountain now known as Mulanje mountain say some healers .

Part of Mulanje Mountain of the mythical Sapitwa peak

They also claim that Sapitwa is the original name of the whole Mulanje Mountain and that the white haired spirit known as Tomasi Bona of the North wind is also found at “Kuba”.

Sapitwa in the vernacular is something like “where no man goes”.  But obviously with time and many centuries later this has changed and the only place for the “where no man goes” legend is Sapitwa Peak.

Some of these women of Sapitwa who have never had a chance to be heard and were not involved during most investigations and research involving the mountain, claim it was also special to their Mang’anja ancestors and Abathwa pygmies locally known as Akafula or Amwandionerapati [from where have you seen me].

Female traditional healers have a lot of oral stories to tell so this blog is one way of sharing some myths and tales in their oral history through writers. This blog is not endorsing their beliefs but just telling their story as it is never been told before.

Now for the first time in the history of Malawi this blog almost has the names of the 7 hills of Napolo but will need assistance with spellings since this information is not online for now.

The 5 hills of ancient Malawi’s Nyangu have also been made known.  They’re Michiru hill, Machemba, Sapitwa, Chirwa and something like Namakiti.

Representing the face of the mythical ancient one of Dziwe la Nkhalamba

Now the 7 hills of ancient Malawi’s Napolo serpent are also Mulanje Mountain with its Sapitwa peak, with Napolo’s tchila [tail] said to be at Machemba, Michiru, Chirwa, Namakiti, others on Mulanje Mountain and something like Nang’ombe.

This blog needs assistance verifying this information and spellings of the same names.

There is a lot of official and accurate information about Mulanje Mountain online and even some myths, tales and legends about it.   One such legend is about Mulanje Mountain and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ as indicated in this photo:Lord of the Rings

Elsewhere in Europe stories about mythical monsters in water bodies also exist.

An Italian geologist, Dr Luigi Piccardi claimed that sightings of the “Nessie” monster in the dark waters of Loch Ness in Scotland are the simply result of bubbles caused by geological forces.

Popular opinion is divided about whether a surviving plesiosaur lives in Loch Ness or whether the modern myth of the monster is the result of a string of elaborate hoaxes.

“The geologist, from the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Florence, said that historical descriptions of the monster often include details of the earth shaking.

“He claims that sightings of the monster are linked to bubbles rising from the bottom of the Loch caused by seismic activity along the Great Glen fault system, which runs beneath.

Although people may not associate Scotland with earthquakes, Luigi said that the fault line is ‘very large and very active’.”

The geologist told Italian newspaper, La Repubblica: ’There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault.’

Dr Piccardi in the same article points to an old biography about Saint Columba, written by Adamnan, that says the monster appeared and disappeared when the earth shook.

Hoaxed photo of Loch Ness monster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hoaxed_photo_of_the_Loch_Ness_monster.jpg

“Written in 690AD, the text describes a story about the saint crossing the River Ness when his disciple is attacked by a monster and is saved when he asks for the protection of god.

“Many people have noted that the description is very vague and mentions an ‘unknown beast’ with a loud roar. It does not support any scientific explanation as there are no bubbles or mention of an ancient monster dwelling in the loch itself,” partly reads the Daily Mail article.


Ironically some online sources from around the world also suggest bubbles and froth indicating tsunamis but from a scientific and not mythical point of view.

Tsunamis in lakes can be generated by fault displacement beneath or around lake systems. Faulting shifts the ground in a vertical motion through reverse, normal or oblique strike slip faulting processes, this displaces the water above causing a tsunami read various online sources.

On December 26 some years ago, British schoolgirl Tilly Smith, 10, sensed something was wrong while on the beach with her family. Her mind kept going back to the geography lesson Mr. Kearney gave just two weeks before she flew out to a Thai resort with her family.

“The water was swelling and kept coming in,” recalled Penny Smith, Tilly’s mother. “There was froth on it like you get on the top of a beer. The sea was like a millpond before [the swelling began].”

The Smiths, from southeast England, were celebrating Christmas at Maikhao Beach in Phuket, southern Thailand. Deadly tsunami waves were already on their way—triggered by a massive earthquake off northern Sumatra earlier that morning.

“The beach was getting smaller and smaller,” said Penny Smith, 43. “I felt compelled to look, but I didn’t know what was happening. Then Tilly said she’d just studied this at school—she talked about tectonic plates and an earthquake under the sea. She got more and more hysterical. In the end she was screaming at us to get off the beach.”

Tilly’s father, Colin Smith, 46, said other tourists on the beach were alerted by his daughter’s concerns as he took Tilly and her seven-year-old sister back to the hotel swimming pool.

Penny Smith added, “I didn’t know what a tsunami was, but seeing your daughter so frightened made you think something serious must be going on.”

She remembers seeing a yacht being tipped vertically in the bay. “Then it was as if the entire sea came out of the water. I was screaming, ‘Run!’, partly reads the National Geographic news on


Oarfish also believed to be a “sea monster” http://www.2oceansvibe.com/2013/10/16/you-need-to-see-this-54-metre-oarfish-sea-monster-they-found-photo/

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 http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/SeaWiFS/TEACHERS/sanctuary_3.html

“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 https://twitter.com/SunViewer

Sun View Twitter photo from pic.twitter.com/YLuJMAs3Od

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 http://www.fi.edu/learn/heart/blood/red.html 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.



Of Two Ways to the Sapitwa Underworld, mythical Nyangu tales

This post is an update to an earlier one about the Two Ways to the Sapitwa Underworld not as an endorsement but just documenting oral stories.


Amateur photo of Mulanje mountain taken when I was in a minibus as it drove past

If there is one place in Malawi that has been mysterious for centuries and the cause of many myths and tales, then Sapitwa, the highest peak of Mulanje mountain is the one.

So many tales have been told about Sapitwa ranging from ancestral spirits somehow providing free meals to some allegedly covering those who trek to forbidden areas without following rules, with a white cloth.

White is the colour of the dead in ancient Africa and somehow meaning the chosen person has joined the spiritual or astral realm. Ancestors of this ancient land believed that “spirits” or what others call ghosts always appeared as white as paper.

They also believed that the female ones always covered their hair with a veil like the first Nyangu because it would supposedly move like a snake which sounds like an African version of the Medusa tale. It is said such women never cut their hair and it formed into primitive dreadlocks.

Now civilization and Christianity among others came to Africa so this brief article is not an attempt to verify or justify tales and myths of this ancient land called Malawi, but to in a little way share some oral history and it’s tales the way many learned people do online with tales and myths about ancient Egypt including tales about “pagan” Osiris (Ausar), Isis (Aset) and Horus (Heru).

Isis depicted with outstretched wings like Nyangu  (wall painting, c. 1360 BCE from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis

It’s history and gone but globally so much is documented about ancient times but not much about Malawi except for some Mbona stories and research. For some reason, myths and tales about Sapitwa have been excluded making all that is written sometimes appear half-baked.

Now as is the case in the ancient history of other nations, there are also some similarities between some ancient Malawi stories told by some uneducated Sapitwa healers who can’t read and write this alphabet and ancient Egypt’s Osiris, Isis and Horus or Ausar, Aset and Heru.

In ancient Malawi, priests and priestesses (ansembe) responsible for sacrifice offerings (nsembe) somehow believed that the “spirit” or “soul” of a person entered and left the body through a person’s genitals as silly as that might sound to many of us.

So for ancient Malawian priests and priestesses responsible for nsembe (sacrifice offerings) that area represented life and its creation and so forth.

This blog won’t go into specifics but they claim that is why when some get possessed they feel a tingling sensation down there.

They also believe that demons enter a person through there too hence ancient beliefs in sex being sacred and reserved for “married” couples or for specific ancient rituals.

This blog has not yet researched similar beliefs in other cultures and countries but for now this blog has information that Egyptologists called the ankh the symbol of life and it represented the male triad and the female unit, under a decent form according to information posted on the unofficial online Wikipedia.

The ankh is also described as the “key of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning “cross with a handle”) and it was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “life”.

“It represents the concept of eternal life, which is the general meaning of the symbol.[citation needed] The Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest.

“The origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted. One of the earliest suggestions is that of Thomas Inman, first published in 1869,”partly reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankh.

Ankh drawing from the Internet

Another symbol that is similar to many other cultures and countries including ancient Malawi is where Isis is depicted with outstretched wings in a wall painting (1360BCE) with her left knee bent and the right leg straight.

Those who know the ancient Egyptian meaning of this position please feel free to share so this blog can learn about foreign cultures and analyze.  In ancient Malawi a similar symbol was used for the Two Ways to the Sapitwa Underworld and was a direction to the right or left.

Again this blog will not go into details till it’s amateur research is completed.

But what is interesting to know is some similarities globally and the fact that pyramids with their triangular shapes somehow resemble mountains with a sharp pointed peak according to Sapitwa healers who were shown photos of pyramids.

For unknown reasons, mountains globally have myths and tales attached to them and many are fully documented online.

In this ancient land now called Malawi, healers claim Sapitwa was the source of the 4 winds, mainly North, South, West and East which were said to be involved in rainfall and the drawing of the primitive ancient African cross.

Now this ancient African cross is now drawn with ufa woyera (white maize flour) which in ancient times could have been mapira (sorghum) but since there is no information posted online from our experts I will repeat what those of Sapitwa say. Now it is this African cross which was like a key to the so-called underworld of Sapitwa which today we could call the astral realm for lack of a better word.

Ancient African cross representing the mythical 4 winds of Sapitwa

In ancient times, the Sapitwa healers believed that 4 positive male spirits charged the right side and that three negative female spirits charged the left side and together that made a total of 7 pulling each other to create light which to them was like the sun or lightning.

Another is a circle with an African cross in the middle to symbolize the mythical elderly man with white hair and a beard who’s said to have been appearing at Dziwe la Nkhalamba (swimming pool for the elderly) centuries ago and somehow providing free clothes which were usually robes gathered from rocks there.

The entrance and foundation in the tales was said to be a white rock whom ancestors of this land believed was at Dziwe la Nkhalamba.  In such myths and tales, the ancient priestesses were the ones who were believed to guide souls to their destiny.

In the photo below I’ve attempted to re-create some drawings I saw with some Sapitwa healers but basically in their primitive and now “pagan” beliefs they thought souls enter from the south and approach two ways.

One was to the right and the other to the left and in between was an upright serpent spirit whom they claimed was the spirit of a king.

In some other ancient African cultures, it was believed when some kings pass on they become the upright cobras, black mambas or the python which in their tales would also be drawn upright as to them these spirits spoke like human beings.

My attempt to draw the Two ways of the so-called Sapitwa underworld. What I saw as people might be souls but I’m not sure as I quickly saw the hieroglyphics looking stuff of their beliefs I suspect are hidden on the mountain

Now in their primitive beliefs, they thought when a soul gets to the two ways, the serpent spirit in the middle would chose which direction they should take.

On the left was a monster with horns and fire and scary eyes while on the right there was a tunnel and bright white light. It is this black tunnel which some believe could be a black hole into the so-called astral realm but no research has been done to verify this tale so it will always be a myth.

This blog will post more info once it’s sourced from Sapitwa this month-end when little money is available to travel to Mulanje. Hopefully there won’t be any more attempts to hack this innocent blogger’s account.

Of ancient Malawi’s hidden gold treasure and two Tilapia fish?

Gold photo taken from the Internet not connected to this oral story

A young Malawian woman in a vision sees a huge two-edged sword locally known as kandalanga with a white handle and pure gold handle and can’t help but notice how the gold seems polished and sparkling, its effects seeming to hit her eyes.

She struggles to carry the sword assisted by a hexagon shaped man with a yellow measuring tape who is trying to make her catch a huge silver fish in shallow water.

Trying to make sense of the dream, the woman notices how the fish is wriggling but can’t use the heavy sword to catch it the way a fish eagle locally known as mvundulamadzi does.

Fish eagle photo from the Internet

This is also the nickname for a mythical two-edged sword used by ancient Malawi’s Mbona and the elder Bona for its actions were considered to cause confusion the way a fish eagle does when it touches down with a thud to stir up the water and confuse the fish upwards so go some oral stories.

This blog is trying to establish if the fish is Lake Malawi’s Tilapia (chambo) fish species or another type found in other rivers of Malawi.

However the other fish species is not known but believed to be in the salty waters of the Indian Ocean which can be accessed from Mozambique which borders with Malawi.

In ancient Egypt two fish were very powerful symbols with a deep meaning.

Both fish were Tilapia and the Nile perch and iniconography, there was often a man spearing both at the same time, in reality it was quite impossible.

“And that’s where it gets interesting. Indeed, if tilapia is a fish living in shallow water, mainly in lakes, river banks or ponds, the lates is living in the waters dark and deep, in the bed of the river. You could not catch them at the same time and therefore the representation of a man catching both at the same time, has a hidden meaning.

Tilapia was associated in many ancient poems with sunrise and the light blue of turquoise and with protection because the female is during danger sheltering her babies in its mouth among other things.

The two fish were also represented following the solar boat since one represented the night and the other the day.

Oreochromis of the squamipinnis group. Photo copyright © by M. K. Oliver taken from http://malawicichlids.com/mw10100.htm

In the “Book of the Dead” song 14, it is said the deceased when he wants to join the solar bark: “You see a real Tilapia in its turquoise pool…”And” I hold the true tilapia guiding the speed boat on the water…”

And catching at the same time, two so different fish in ancient Egypt iconography is first to be didactic, a good teaching method to remind and warn about the properties of the different fish but it is “mostly a representation for man of his control on the day and on the night: it is to say his mastery on his destiny,” partly reads http://www.gigalresearch.com/uk/article-201301.php

Sapitwa healers claim the gold on the sword is from the treasure of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) and does not belong to mortal beings like us. They also claim many ancient kings in the region hid their treasures including gold in “sacred” mountains where no man goes they say.

Although gold in ancient times is said to have been administered as medicine by shamanic practitioners locally known as asing’anga, this blog is still investigating how gold was sourced in ancient Africa.

Gold as a metal has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinagejewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history.

Most of the Earth’s gold probably lies at its core, the metal’s high density having made it sink there in the planet’s youth. Virtually all discovered gold is considered to have been deposited later by meteorites that contained the element.

The asteroid that formed Vredefort crater 2.020 billion years ago is often credited with seeding the Witwatersrand basin in South Africa with the richest gold deposits on earth reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold .

However, the gold bearing Witwatersrandrocks were laid down between 700 and 950 million years before the Vredefort impact. These gold bearing rocks had furthermore been covered by a thick layer of Ventersdorp lavas, and the Transvaal Supergroup of rocks before the meteor struck.

“What the Vredefort impact achieved, however, was to distort the Witwatersrand basin in such a way that the gold bearing rocks were brought to the present erosion surface in Johannesburg  on the Witwatersrand, just inside the rim of the original 300 km diameter crater caused by the meteor strike.

“This brought their rich gold deposits to the notice of humans in 1886, and launched the Witwatersrand Gold Rush. Nearly 50% of all the gold ever mined on earth has been extracted from these Witwatersrand rocks,” further reads the unofficial online Wikipedia.

Egyptian hieroglyphs from as early as 2600 BC also describe gold, which king Tushratta of theMitanni claimed was “more plentiful than dirt” in Egypt.

Gold bars photo from Wikipedia

Egypt and especially Nubia had the resources to make them major gold-producing areas for much of history. The earliest known map is known as the Turin Papyrus Map and shows the plan of a gold mine in Nubia together with indications of the local geology.

The primitive working methods are described by both Strabo and Diodorus Siculus, and included fire-setting.

According to the same online source, gold played a role in western culture, as a cause for desire and of corruption, as told in children’s fables like Rumplestiltskin, where the peasant’s daughter turns hay into gold, in return for giving up her child when she becomes a princess, and stealing the hen that lays golden eggs in Jack and the beanstalk.

Another recent study has claimed water in faults vaporizes during an earthquake, depositing gold. When an earthquake strikes, it moves along a fault.

“Water often lubricates faults, filling in fractures and jogs. About 6 miles (10 kilometers) below the surface, under incredible temperatures and pressures, the water carries high concentrations of carbon dioxide, silica, and gold.

“During an earthquake, the fault jog suddenly opens wider. The water inside the void instantly vaporizes, flashing to steam and forcing silica, which forms the mineral quartz, and gold out of the fluids and onto nearby surfaces.”

“The world’s oceans contain gold…. At 10 parts per quadrillion the Earth’s oceans would hold 15,000 tonnes of gold.”

Other major gold producers are the United States, Australia, Russia, and Peru, as well as, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. Mines in South Dakota and Nevada supply two-thirds of gold used in the United States.

Gold is currently valued at around US$62,000 per kilogram and the genuine wealth and real money according to http://matterhornassetmanagement.com/gold-is-money/

“Throughout history no paper currency has survived in its original form. Paper currencies are normally inflated away until they are worthless. The purchasing power of the US dollar has declined by 90% since 1950. The situation is the same for most currencies.

When governments come under financial pressure they can never resist printing money to pay for debts, be they war debts or just excessive spending. Gold is the only currency which has no liability attached to it

So far no paper currency has survived intact over a longer period whilst gold has represented real money for several thousand years. When paper money fails investors who own gold still have a currency which holds its value despite the fact that banks may be bankrupt,” further reads the same source.

Gold, hidden treasure in the Ocean?