SAPITWA hidden name revealed…Malawi’s ancient mountain of SAN and TWA?

SAPITWA means the ancient mountain of the ones nicknamed “San” pronounced as sun but SAMALANI (WARNING) and the TWA of ABATHWA/ABATWA for THAWA (RUN AWAY)….it’s the mountain of mizimu (spirits) who are different from ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo).

This blog is not endorsing the use of the name “San” as the correct name of the actual great people is the /XAM Ka !Ke…this blog is only repeating an oral story about the mythical side of SapiTWA as told by a descendant of ancient Malawi’s Abathwa about the ancient SANDAWE people.

Kwamikagami -Distribution of Pygmies and their languages according to Bahuchet (2006). The southern Twa are not shown taken from
Kwamikagami -Distribution of Pygmies and their languages according to Bahuchet (2006). The southern Twa are not shown taken from

Mulanje Mountain known for its majestic Sapitwa peak is an important and mythological mountain in ancient Malawi myths and tales.

However the mythological side of Mulanje Mountain should not be confused with the real geographic Mulanje Massifsaid to measure approximately 22×26 kilometres with a maximum elevation of 3,002 m at its highest point, Sapitwa Peak.

The mythical Sapitwa is described as a dwelling place for various spirits including gods and goddesses, and marvelous plants and trees like the cedar. Mulanje Mountain is also known as the “Island in the Sky” and the place of mizimu (spirits) in various tales.

Amwandionerapati or Abathwa (short people) also known as Akafula and strong fighters were believed to be found on Mulanje Mountain.Mulanje mountain

The mythical spirits of the short people with protruding bellies and armed with axes in myths are believed to still guard a sacred entrance to the mythical kingdom and ask the dreaded question, “Mwandionera pati.” (“From where did you see me?”)

If one answers the question wrongly, the Abathwa (short people) slap the person hard on the right cheek and that could either cause death or serious injures according to myths.

The said people never liked being referred to as being short and were believed to be very strong and warriors. Their legend is told by many traditional healers in Malawi who source their herbs and concoctions from the mountain.

If the person answers “From very far away”, they are believed to have access to the first entrance of the mythical realm of the mountain before having to pass a serpent spirit.

Sapitwa is mythically known as a “forbidden place” because it is home to a royal spirit family who get offended when certain rituals are not followed when one goes there according to some healers in Mulanje.

The origins of the word SapiTWA as told by an elderly priestess (nsembe) explains a bit about the other Abathwa of Africa and not the one given the term “Bushmen” who also used the Abathwa name.

“In this context we use the word ABATHWA for the people of the /XAM Ka !Ke instead of the term ‘San’ and ‘Bushman’. Our ancestors used to call themselves ABATHWA.

“Both two terms ‘Bushman’ and ‘San’ were taken on and used by the Anthropologists in connotation, while the term Bushman was given to us by the European settlers and the term San was given to us by the Khoi-Khoi” partly reads

“Botswana 063” by DVL2 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Now the Abathwa/Abatwa of SapiTWA are pygmies and they are also the ones who guard the astral realm of Mulanje Mountain so the priestesses are told the ways of TWA.

SApitwa is the “San” but they have a correct name and their history and they are different from the TWA. Sapitwa healers don’t speak on behalf of them but only as those who have learned some of the ways of the TWA of SapiTWA.

PI is Phiri which is a mountain in Chichewa/Chinyanja but one with a high peak giving it the shape of the sacred triangle somewhere like a Pyramid.

Sandawe online photo
Sandawe online photo:  Are these the same ones a village woman in Mulanje talks about?

PI might also be like PTAH also said to be spelled like Pteh or Peteh and vocalized as Pitaḥ in ancient Egypt which for Sapitwa priestesses sounds like -pita as to go in the Chichewa language of Malawi and hence the mountain of the Abathwa or Abatwa.

“The Batwa, also known as Twa, Abatwa or Ge-Sera people of the Great Lakes Region are ancient tribe once specialists in hunting and gathering, and are said to have been the first inhabitants of the mountainous forests of the Rift Valley and one of the first homo sapiens in the world with Kalahari San people,” reads

Now in Chichewa/Chinyanja the word SAPITA means DON’T GO THERE and comes from -PITA hence KUPITA which means TO GO.

In Malawi the word SAPITWA is also used to mean DON’T GO THERE and it was the ancient name of the whole of MULANJE MOUNTAIN and not only the PEAK as today.

Photo from blog on
Uganda Safari tour’s ‘The tales of the Batwa People – Pygmies of Uganda photo from

So SAPITWA means the ancient mountain of the ones we nicknamed “San” and the TWA….it’s the mountain of mizimu (spirits) who are different from ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo).

It’s also the mountain where MBONA as in -ona to see and BONA also as in -ona and feast can be found as they’re found in so many other places. So Sapitwa oracles are also from MBONA and TOMASI BONA.

Most Malawians don’t know the real meaning of SAPITWA and tourists have never been to the hidden part as claimed online because no MORTAL BEING GOES THERE UNLESS THE SPIRIT TAKES THEM THERE say Sapitwa priestesses.

There is also some confusion between the Pygmies called TWA as in Abathwa/Abatwa and the dwarf life spirits many healers fight against known as Ntokoloshi or Ntokoloshe but “Tikoloshe, Tokoloshe or Hili” in “Zulu mythology.”

A certain lady after reading a blog about the Abathwa of Mulanje Mountain thought they are evil spirits and this has been a problem where pygmies have sometimes been viewed with suspicion.

However Sapitwa stresses that the Abathwa are not evil and similar to the one known in ancient Egypt or KMT as PTAH hence Abatwa. PTAH was not evil and he was not a Tokoloshe.

So Abathwa as in the Amwandionerapati who guard SapiTWA are not the Tokoloshe dwarf-like water spirits but are like the ones in the fiction movie called HOBBITS who are fighters but not called evil.

Besides wars where anything is used and allowed in battle some who are not fighters use Tokoloshe to harm those they’re jealous of or hate for various reasons.

The Tokoloshe “can become invisible by drinking water and they’re are called upon by malevolent people to cause trouble for others.” – according to

Ptah - The God of Craftsmen, Rebirth, and Creation travel pictures from Egypt by Dr. Günther Eichhorn not connected to this blog's oral story.
Ptah – The God of Craftsmen, Rebirth, and Creation travel pictures from Egypt
by Dr. Günther Eichhorn not connected to this blog’s oral story.

The way to get rid of him is to call in the n’anga as in the NGANGA who include Sapitwa healers.

Some internet sources claim that Akka is “a modern Ba-Twa with an x cross as is shown on Ptah the lord of Memphis, it was from his name Egypt was derived,as Hwt-ka-Ptah (home of the ka (soul) of Ptah) transliterated as Aígyptos by the later Greeks, what’s interesting is his apparent connection to the Great lakes region.

“Pan was connected to Bes, a central African or Great Lakes God worshiped all over the Med he is a Ba-twa or Pygmy he may also be linked to Ptah who is also a Ba-twa.”

According the unofficial online Wikipedia a pygmy is a member of an “ethnic group whose average height is unusually short; many anthropologists define pygmy as a member of any group where adult men are on average less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) tall. Other anthropologists do not agree to group peoples based on stature as height is neither an accurate reflection of culture nor genetics.

A member of a slightly taller group is frequently termed “pygmoid”. The term is best associated with peoples of Central Africa, such as the AkaEfé and Mbuti”, partly reads

“The term pygmy is sometimes considered pejorative. The term pygmy, as used to refer to diminutive people, derives from Greek πυγμαίος Pygmaios via Latin Pygmaei (sing. Pygmaeus), derived from πυγμή – meaning a fist, or a measure of length corresponding to the distance between the elbow and knuckles.

Ancient Egypt's Ptah internet photo
Ancient Egypt’s Ptah internet photo

“However, there is no single term to replace it. Many prefer to be identified by their ethnicity, such as the Aka (Mbenga), BakaMbuti, and Twa. The term Bayaka, the plural form of the Aka/Yaka, is sometimes used in the Central African Republic to refer to all local pygmies. Likewise, the Kongo word Bambenga is used in Congo.”

The online sources also describes African pygmies as living in several ethnic groups in RwandaBurundiUganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo (ROC), the Central African RepublicCameroon, the Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

“Note the X running across the chest of both,also of interest is the fact that the this ethnic group still goes by the name Akka or Bakka pural while the ancient Kemities regards them as belonging to the world of the ancestral spirits.” Read more:

5 thoughts on “SAPITWA hidden name revealed…Malawi’s ancient mountain of SAN and TWA?”

  1. I like yoi work Agnes. I hope to collaborate with you as I will be doing my research on Cultural Heritage and Tourism.

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