Myths, tales and Mbona secrets….names for 4 winds of Sapitwa

Mulanje mountain (2)
About 100 kilometres south-east of Blantyre and less than an hour drive, is Mulanje mountain with its famous Sapitwa peak majestically beckoning people to see its beauty.

Mulanje Massif is said to measure approximately 22×26 kilometres with a maximum elevation of 3,002 m at its highest point, Sapitwa Peak.

Sapitwa which basically means “don’t go there” in the vernacular and also known as the mountain where “no man goes” is a place said to be home to ancestral spirits and their god.

It is also forbidden to reveal secrets about the place so as to avoid the wrath of the spirits but this writer will take the risk and try and disclose a little until the right time comes and the spirits decide.

Anyway traditional healers say this god does not allow anyone to approach sacred places but follow several rules including fasting, not going there while drunk, not eating certain foods like pork and mice and not going there while “hot” which basically is after intimacy.

Those who disobey are said to “disappear” into the spiritual realm while others who tread near places said to have certain herbs are said to suddenly find oneself naked and having to be intimate with the nearest person. Other rituals include walking backwards in certain areas to avoid facing the wrath of the spirits.

Dziwe la Nkhalamba 2

The key of all this is said to be at Dziwe la Nkhalamba at a certain hidden white rock said to be the foundation of all their beliefs but no man can find it they say.

The place was once known as a swimming pool for the elderly and those who saw an elderly man with white hair and wrinkles were said to be lucky and “blessed.” Clothes were also said to appear some times for the lucky few.

Some villagers also believe some parts of the mountain are always cloudy in some areas with black clouds. Black is the colour of a cloth used in rain rituals and the sign of black which absorbs heat more than any other colour and believed to signal rain.

Some traditional healers who live near the mountain claim the colour white is the colour of the dead like in ghosts. They also believe that all spirits appear as white and they claim the female ones have their hair covered as it moves like snakes when shown in public.

This is why many of them claim that once a spirit covers a person with a white cloth, that person disappears and joins the spiritual realm.

For some traditional healers known as asing’anga amizimu who claim to practice Mbona’s teachings, Mulanje Mountain is the source of rain and they believe there is also a Mbona spirit there besides the Bona one.

They usually draw a cross with ufa woyera (maize flour) to represent the 4 winds of Sapitwa as in north, south, west and east but it’s only now that the actual names of the 4 are known.

African cross

The names of the mythical 4 Napolo winds of Sapitwa were Nangumi as in the Chinyanja name a Mermaid but actually also a Whale found in the Indian Ocean and most likely the Blue Whale.

Nangumi was believed to be a mermaid in white with long dreadlocks as in uncut hair bending her back and lifting rocks followed by Chivomelezo meaning all agree, Kwawa as in to crawl and Thawa ndiyende meaning run away while I walk which is something people usually do when it starts raining heavily.

Now of these four Napolo winds, Nangumi (whale) was of the  East Chivomelezo (agree) of the West,  Kwawa (Crawl) of the North and Thawa ndiyende of the South.

In ancient Malawi Myths and Tales Kwawa also meant Mstinje as in River in the same why some Americans call strong winds that frequently blow across Greak Lakes in autumn November witch while ancient Malawi’s were not but believed to be mizimu (spirits).

Children of Napolo included Biton of the South believed to be on “Kuba” mountain which is actually Mt Namuli in Mozambique near the Indian ocean.

These winds are said to bring rain after being provoked by a two-edged sword or the pointing finger and the recital of certain words as most of their rituals involve sending words and requests to the 4 winds with lubani (incense) to their god.

Woman not mermaid and python drawing from

This is what the Mbona practicing healers of Mulanje believe and oral information that has never been documented before about ancient history long gone.

A lot of tales are connected to the place and well-documented in various books, documentaries and research ranging from mysterious food appearing which one must eat alone to spirits “kidnapping” people who seem to disappear forever.

Now ancient Malawi’s Napolo’s real name was Tomasi Bona the spirit (mizimu) responsible for the North wind and connected to myths and tales about rain, floods and landslides.

Napolo is a destructive serpent spirit believed to live in mountains, hills and mounds but he is NOT Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) who only does good and does not harm his creation in ancient oral stories.

Ancestors believed that the Creator lived beyond the sun and way up in the sky.

Tomasi Bona’s name means he has the “world in his hands” and a “feast”.  In myths and tales he was believed to fight to get back what he lost in the end.

According to oral stories, he originated from one of the M’manga Mudzi termite looking mounds somewhere in Malawi and a lake and plenty of water is believed to be underneath it.

His symbol is a circle with a cross inside meaning complete and what goes around comes around meaning in the end there would be destruction using water.

As explained in an earlier blog, Tomasi Bona also known as atom or aTomu is the mythical elderly spirit believed to lead 7 others known as Tagoneka Mbona of the West wind and sunset, Chandiona Goneka of the South wind and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East wind and the sunrise.

These included 4 spirits of positive charges and 3 of negative charges which are Sungamwana, Dziwe Ntambamwana and Ife Zonse pulling each other to make light.

Termite mound
Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M’manga Mudzi mound photo?

Now what is interesting is that when said in Chichewa, Tomasi’s abbreviated name is atom or should we say Atom like in the same way this author’s name would be amizere or Amizere when addressing her name in Chichewa.

Now an atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force.

“Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule.

“An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion.

“An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element,” read online sources.

Ironically there are other foreign cultures with similar myths suggesting atoms including in ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians believed that Atum was the first god to exist on earth and that he “rose from the waters of chaos (Nun)” just like ancient Malawians believed that Atom was the first god (mizimu) to exist on earth and that he also rose from the waters of chaos hence his current name of Napolo.

The unofficial Wikipedia online encyclopaedia describes Atum as being the ‘complete one’ and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle.

Now Atum in the Heliopolitan creation myth, Atum was considered to be the “first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu).

“In the Book of the Dead, which was still current in the Graeco-Roman period, the sun god Atum is said to have ascended from chaos-waters with the appearance of a snake, the animal renewing itself every morning…”

“Atum was a self-created deity, the first being to emerge from the darkness and endless watery abyss that existed before creation. A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos, he created his children—the first deities, out of loneliness…and he’s also known as the finisher of the world,” further reads the unofficial and easily edited Wikipedia on

The spirits whom scholars call gods also do things according to plan and it is believed they relocate from the mountain to a lake hence Napolo said to be a serpent spirit known as Mbona working its way to water where it lives for some time and creating landslides.

According to the Wikipedia, scientifically the “mountain island” rises up more than 2500 meters above the plains around.

“This setting is responsible for the Massifs role as a rain barrier that forces the clouds to come down in the form of rain. This becomes very visible if we take a look at the annual normal rainfalls, on and around the massif.

“On plateau level, at around 2000 m.a.s.l., we annually experience more than 100 inches of rain, however, in the low plains around the foot of the Massif, the annual rainfalls, range around 40 inch. In the plains around the Mountain, it normally only rains in the rainy season, while it rains all year long, on plateau level. The rains are just more intense and frequent then in the dry season,” partly reads the on-line encyclopaedia.

It adds that there are “still differences in the amounts of rain, around the Massif. The south-west face of the Mountain, is the weather side, around Likhabula, Lichenya and Mulanje Boma, which experiences the highest amounts of rain, due to the south-east trades of the southern hemisphere, that drive the moist air from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Mulanje region.

“Therefore the North-west face of the Massif experiences lesser rains, as it is situated in the shadows of the high Peaks of the Massif.”

It is not known why villagers belonging to a priestly clan have always connected Sapitwa to rain way before books and the internet were created but one fact remains, Sapitwa Peak remains a beautiful mystery and it is hard if not impossible to trace the spirits that live there, but there is something on that mountain beyond it’s astral realms say the herbalists.

Sapitwa Peak is also a tourist attraction and it is important for one to go up there with a guide and travel safely to see nature’s beauty.



Of ancient Malawi’s Inferno lust demon….Nkhuni (Firewood)

2nd Circle - Lust in Dan Brown's Inferno
2nd Circle – Lust in Dan Brown’s Inferno not connected to this blog post

She stands with a rock of fire in her left hand to symbolize chigololo (adultery) as a metaphor for lust and not the actual fire used for cooking.

Her name is Nkhuni an ancient mythical demon of ancient Malawi who comes with the fire connected to sexual acts done in secret and in the bush.

In ancient times she was connected to the Machemba hill part of Mulanje Mountain massif but the mythical ancient part in such tales.

Online photo: closeup-of-burning-red-fire-wood-on-black-background.jpg
Online photo: closeup-of-burning-red-fire-wood-on-black-background.jpg

This blog has always been curious to know why adultery or intimacy outside marriage is connected to a bush like ukwati waku thengo, mimba yaku thengo.

In the Chichewa language the word Tengo means a Bush just like Tchire and others hence mimba yapa tchire.

It’s also interesting to note that the bush where many adulterous (chigololo) took place was also referred to as “Wanda” as the process one levels the bush when looking for firewood and also when preparing to be intimate.

The Chinyanja word Wanda is also appearing in the below link of late Father Jan Vermeullen of Missionaries of Africa where Wanda is defined as (1) to lay flat, make level, as levelling grass when walking. (2) to spread everywhere.

According to online sources firewood remains the dominant source of both domestic and commercial energy requirements for Africa’s rural populations.

“It is used for food preparation, beer brewing, tobacco curing and meat smoking as well as heating and lighting in rural households. Substantial increases in human and bovine populations as well as decreasing forest areas have led to fuelwood shortages being reported in many countries.

“In Malawi, fuelwood shortages reportedly reached crisis levels as early as 1975 (McCall and Scutch, 1987),” partly reads

After this blog revealed ancient Malawi’s 7 spirits of the earth and 7 of the universe, it’s now time to reveal one of three mythical ziwanda (demons) beginning with NKHUNI.

According to elders, adulterers who cheated on unsuspecting wives or husbands were demonic and under the fire of Nkhuni…not the fire for cooking but the fire of lust.

Online traditional stove photo not connected to this blog post
Online traditional stove photo not connected to this blog post

So those who committed adultery in the dark so that their spouses don’t know were believed to be possessed by demons as in ziwanda and this does not apply to couples on separation or those practicing polygamy as the ancestors.

Now this demon of the north worked with a hidden one of the south and a male Kumbani Ndituluke of the West meaning “Dig I should come out”.

And this blog repeats an earlier story about a professional ‘God-fearing’ Malawian woman happily married to the man of her dreams has one dark secret which she cleverly keeps hidden from prying eyes.

She’s taken many young men to bed and openly committed adultery whenever her faithful husband treks out of town because the lust within her is unbearable and enough to betray the love she has for the husband she married in church.

This scenario is different from abused wives neglected by husbands who seek comfort and love elsewhere because of empty and loveless marriages.

Now the jealous woman who deliberately cheats on a loving husband is also a known liar and gossiper who sleeps her way around and destroys innocent people whom she envies because they’re either better than her in some skills or prettier.

She also uses magic charms like kwakwananda [monitor lizard] love charms to keep her husband and to attract many other men she constantly strips naked for even on her marriage bed.

Young men are usually encouraged to run away so fast from such women as they are believed to be possessed by the Dziwe Ntambamwana red female demon which will eventually destroy them and the women involved by taking them down the destructive path of Satan.

Now the Dziwe Ntambamwana one is this tale is Nkhuni.

Internet photo of Love versus Lust
Internet photo of Love versus Lust

Men who cheat and openly commit adultery and make their wives suffer are also believed to be possessed by the same female demon and viewed as un-masculine because in ancient times “real men” took care of their extended families even when several wives were involved.

It’s not unusual to hear the term “sugar mummies” these days on top of “sugar daddies” who are usually married people who have sexual relations with younger people outside their marriages in exchange for money and a “comfortable life”.

However those who usually come under attack are single people or sex-workers who never took vows but stand accused of fornication among many things unlike some who hide behind marriage vows taken before God who remains Almighty.

For the older people who cheat sexual satisfaction and adventure is said to be the main culprit.  However many traditional healers attribute such lust and negative behavior to Satan or what those who read the Bible claim is a “Jezebel like spirit”.

In ancient Malawi polygamy and not adultery was openly practiced in which wives and families knew each other and not the modern day scenario were secret lovers are hidden and not known say Sapitwa healers.

They also reveal how many healers who use nyanga (horn) rituals in so-called get rich business schemes prescribe criminal incest and sexual intercourse as part of their evil recipe to get the demons into the person requesting.

That is why shocking and criminal things like telling a person to sleep with one’s parent or child like an animal have been happening quietly for many years.

Temptress of lust online photo taken from
Temptress of lust online photo taken from

Such nyanga healers don’t hide that they source their powers from Satan.  It’s not the purpose of this blog to dig and research the dark secrets of Satan but just to only repeat a little part of oral stories that sexual intercourse with many partners is the ancient Malawi definition of Satanism because it also spiritually involves blood.

When asked what is the way forward, healers agreed with religious figures that it is best and safer for one to be faithful in a marriage and not have sex outside marriage to avoid the risk of attracting demons.

Healers also commend sex-workers for being open and not hypocritical by openly stating they make money from sex as a job and try to protect themselves and clients during the act unlike some married couples who secretly behave like sex-workers in hidden dark corners but pretend to be holy and pure in public.

It’s safer not to commit adultery and be faithful to one’s partner both sides of spiritual views seem to agree upon and advice counselling for couples who neglect their spouses.