Category Archives: Ancient history of Nyasaland

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples#mediaviewer/File:Pygmy_languages_(Bahuchet).png
Kwamikagami -Distribution of Pygmies and their languages according to Bahuchet (2006). The southern Twa are not shown taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples#mediaviewer/File:Pygmy_languages_(Bahuchet).png

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 http://www.khoisanpeoples.org/peoples/abathwa-1.htm

“Botswana 063” by DVL2 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Botswana_063.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Botswana_063.jpg

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 http://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com/2013/03/batwa-people-one-of-first-people-on.html

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 http://gorillastour.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-tales-of-batwa-people-pygmies-of.html
Uganda Safari tour’s ‘The tales of the Batwa People – Pygmies of Uganda photo from http://gorillastour.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-tales-of-batwa-people-pygmies-of.html

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikoloshe

Ptah - The God of Craftsmen, Rebirth, and Creation travel pictures from Egypt by Dr. Günther Eichhorn not connected to this blog's oral story. http://guenther-eichhorn.com/egypt_ptah.html
Ptah – The God of Craftsmen, Rebirth, and Creation travel pictures from Egypt
by Dr. Günther Eichhorn not connected to this blog’s oral story.
http://guenther-eichhorn.com/egypt_ptah.html

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples

“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: http://egyptsearchreloaded.proboards.com/thread/1698/batwi-gods-kemet#ixzz3TEyZymLK
Advertisements

E=mc2……ancient Nyasaland’s Tomasi Bona (atom) creation tales

 

M'manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi
M’manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi

Malawi is a beautiful land rich in ancient history and myths & tales about spiritual beings (mizimu) which were close to chosen women who were given the gift of ancient African prophecy (ulosi wakale).

This blog attempts to update an oral story told by some Sapitwa healers in Mulanje of a time many centuries ago before floods when creation began on a mound by spirits which they say existed way before that.

 Once again, this blog is not endorsing this oral story but only repeating words told by the healer and names used here are not the same ones used in other ancient Malawi stories.

This is the myth and ‘bush’ science told to this blog:

A young woman trying to sleep in the middle of the night suddenly feels faint and collapses into deep sleep and has a strange dream or vision.

She sees a bright light above her in the sky and in front an elderly man with white hair dressed in very bright white clothing with wrinkles clearly defining his face and slanting eyes which resemble a leopard.

His loud voice speaking with an echo hits her ears as one message is repeated over and over again with the echo.

As if looking through a bright tunnel and towards the sun, the young woman in her dream tries to look at this bright being up above and before her with eyes like a leopard.

And then suddenly as if with a big bang he speaks, his loud voice echoing loudly with a message about the things he hates most.

She looks up and still sees this elderly man in white staring at her as he says something like:

“Ine ndimadana ndi anthu amene amanyoza mizimu chifukwa mizimu yonse ndi yanga” [I don’t get along with people who insult spirits (souls) because all spirits (souls) are like mine as in importance].

Startled the woman notices the elderly man’s face looking very angry as it disappears into the distance until she’s left in pitch darkness with an image of an angry leopard.

This “vision” was shared with this blog not as an endorsement or acceptance of words told but as a way of documenting ancient beliefs as told by the very few who still follow or believe in them.

Now this vision in the oral story is that of the hidden one but this blog cannot share his name which is a word but only that it’s a mythical kingdom that is said to have existed before time in ancient Malawi myths and tales….in other words way before Tomasi Bona’s (atom) creation.

Bush maths explaining how ancient Malawi's Tomasi Bona (atom) evolved from one to eight mizimu (spirits)
Bush maths explaining how ancient Malawi’s Tomasi Bona (atom) evolved from one to eight mizimu (spirits)

According to Sapitwa mythology, in the beginning there was a world of spirits for an unknown time maybe millions of years including the winged ones which have never been human and those who went on to occupy other “worlds” including earth.

On earth the spirit (mizimu) said to have existed in the beginning was Tomasi Bona (atom) or a word which sounds like atomic mass.

He’s said to have originated elsewhere into a primordial mound/anthill as electrical energy with water bodies below since in the beginning they believed there was water and spirits which lived in water because for them termite mounds are a good indicator of ground water.

From there he is said to have exploded like lightning into other spirits in twos and this lightning was throughout the new created world.

Under the M’manga mudzi anthill tree or mound there was said to be several water bodies which healers refer to as Nyanja and inside that mound the Tomasi Bona spirit is believed to look like an elderly man (munthu) who evolved from a serpent spirit in oral tales.

The Primordial Mound locally known as the M’manga Mudzi anthill tree (chulu) somewhere in a remote village of Malawi stands out in the bush with three distinct trees growing out of it, mainly mpolowoni, m’manga mudzi, and msamba mwana.

Now mpolowoni is the main tree and udindo (responsibility of ancient Malawi’s first winged spirit called Tomasi Bona (atom). M’manga mudzi is the one used for kusilika grounds before some sacred dances by digging it into the dirt they say while msamba mwana is used during childbirth.

Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from http://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=143340&image_id=8
Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from http://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=143340&image_id=8

According to a plant expert, mpolowoni in English is known as the Steganotaenia Araliacea tree and its family name is Umbelliferae.

According to Macphilip Chikapa on Facebook reacting to a post about it, mpolowoni can be used as a warm compress to “massage an injured body part (kunthowa in Chichewa) by removing the central stem and the outer sheath burnt on fire.”

“Since it has more concentration of water (the outer sheath it heats up the water content in it, by getting out from the fire after been heated you blow air with the mouth through the hole pointing toward the injured part. The heated moist air comes out from it and massages the injured part”, he explained.

And a female healer in the village in Mulanje explained that mpolowoni is some kind of “bush” science.

“Chochepa chimakulitsidwa ndi kuima pamwamba anthu apansi azafuula ngati mphambe mpolowoni,” she explains.

In a nutshell it means a small thing is made big by standing on top and the people (anthu but mizimu like in spirits) below will shout like thunder mpolowani which is like lightning.

The above Chichewa saying also briefly means “as above so below.”

What is the meaning of this "Tarot Card" for as above so below online may I ask?   Is it good or bad?
What is the meaning of this “Tarot Card” for as above so below online may I ask? Is it good or bad?

Some of our ancestors believed that mpolowani is like lightning in a zigzag from above to hit the ground like “fire” with positive and negative charges hence their “primitive” beliefs that mizimu (spirits) operate or appear with lightning.

So the priestess would symbolically hold the mpolowani upward while the other hand was pointing downwards.  This position might be global as it is evident in some painting and statues throughout the world.

Now the ancestors claimed that before Mbona, one of the mythical 7 winged spirits of ancient Malawi appeared there would be a white bright light that would blind the eyes and by the time one opened them they would see him.

Now within the mythical 7 mizimu (spirits) of ancient Malawi were the mythical 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) and Mount Mulanje among others which were a positive charge (+).  The first 4 positive charges were:

1.Tomasi Bona (atom, world in his hands, feast) of the North Wind

  1. Tagoneka Mbona (we’ve put to sleep Mbona, see) of the West Wind
  2. Chandiona Goneka (it’s seen me put to sleep) of the South Wind
  3. Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Sirius, child of the moon)

And the 3 negative charges (-) pulling with the 4 to make light were:

  1. Sungamwana (keep the child)
  2. Dziwe Ntambamwana (demonic witchcraft pool)
  3. Ife Zonse ( all of us)

All these are today drawn by some healers using ufa woyera (refined white maize flour) or mapira like in sorghum at a right angle.  So from this one can do the math to calculate something similar to:

“I am One that transforms
into Two
I am Two that transforms
into Four
I am Four that transforms
into Eight
After this I am One,” about ancient Egypt’s Atum.

Atum, finisher of the world online photo
Atum, finisher of the world online photo

The simple maths these uneducated village women calculated involve Tomasi Bona (atom) as the mythical one winged spirit (mizimu) below in the mount splitting into 2 to make 4 which includes the one spirit from above and then splitting into another 2 to make 6 and finally another 2 to make a total of 8 with 1 above and 7 below.

For them mizimu (spirits) always split into or form into twos like pigeons (nkhunda) whom they claim are always born in twos with a male and female creating an opposite charge of positive and negative with One and Two being the important numbers of ancient Malawi’s Tomasi Bona.

Rameron Pigeons, Chelinda (Nyika Plateau) not connected to this story taken from http://www.gobirding.eu/Trips/Malawi5.php
Rameron Pigeons, Chelinda (Nyika Plateau) not connected to this story taken from http://www.gobirding.eu/Trips/Malawi5.php

This blog is investigating to see if ancient Malawi’s “bush” science is similar to the equation E=MC2 first demonstrated on paper by Albert Einstein in 1905.

The ‘E’ stands for energy and the ‘M’ stands for mass. The ‘C’ stands for the speed of light, which is in the ballpark of 186,000 miles per second (about 300,000 kilometers per second) when it travels through a vacuum according to Nasa.

So the energy contained in an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the speed of light squared. One of the most important implications of this equation is that energy and matter are essentially interchangeable.

“In other words, a specific amount of mass correlates to a specific amount of energy, and because of the magnitude of the ‘C’ constant in the relativity equation, we know the transition from matter to energy releases an incredible amount of energy. It was this line of thinking, in fact, that led to the development of nuclear power and the atomic bomb”,  according to http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/e-mc2-letters

Now ancient Malawi’s Tomasi Bona spirit was nicknamed Atom or atomu and his name meant he had the world in his hands and feast.  He was also known as Mbewula which for local healers means to run away so fast or get away.

They use that term because they claim Tomasi Bona is the strongest and most powerful of the 7 earthly spirits in their oral tales.  He is the ancient elderly spirit with white hair which used to appear at Dziwe la Nkhalamba with clothes in various oral stories villagers in Mulanje talk about.

'How To Make It Rain; A Malawian Ancestral Story of Mbona the Rain Maker" photo from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
‘How To Make It Rain; A Malawian Ancestral Story of Mbona the Rain Maker” photo from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html

However they say Tomasi Bona is not Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom they say is up above in the sky and beyond the sun in a place where mortal beings cannot go.

The other mizimu (spirits) are Tagoneka Mbona of the West, Chandiona Goneka of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East.

All these spirits involve maths and equations but the ancient Malawi equation does not include Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).

The Creator for them remained hidden and they went through spirits to send messages including ancestral spirits and their deceased kings whom they thought became like gods. 

Now Tomasi Bona leads the four positive charged ones of the mountain and three negative ones of water but they rotate with one negative energy one doing good.

The four positive male charges are said to pull the three negative female ones to produce Light say healers.  This bush science is also used to explain lightning (mphenzi) and how the mythical four winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) work.

This is the reason why Sungamwana (keep the child) of the three female negative charged ones was said to do good unlike Dziwe Ntambamwana who is said to be in the pool of Dziwe la Nkhalamba which is also viewed as a place for ziwanda (demons) who in myths guard the entrance to the other world somewhere on a rock there.

Online lightning is described as beginning with the water cycle in a process similar to evaporation and condensation.

“It is common knowledge that lightning is generated in electrically charged storm systems, but the method of cloud charging still remains elusive,” reads http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm

How lightning works photo taken from http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm
How lightning works photo taken from http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm

Globally lightning is viewed as a “fascinating part of weather with positive and negative lightning strokes.”

“Most cloud-to-ground strikes are negative, and a much less common number are positive. The only difference between the two kinds is the reversal of polarities in the cloud base. Normally the negative charge collects in the cloud base, with a corresponding net positive charge in the ground under the cloud. Lightning strikes originating from this  configuration are negative strikes.

“But if the cloud base becomes positively charged relative to the top of the cloud, the ground below then assumes a net negative charge, and any lightning that develops will be a positive strike,” is one explanation given online by Wendell Bechtold, Meteorologist Forecaster, National Weather Service at the Weather Forecast Office in St. Louis, Minnesota.

Black clouds photo taken from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
Black clouds above for ancestors meant rain below. This Black clouds photo taken from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html

David Cook, a meteorologist at Argonne National Laboratory says online that “90 percent of all lightning strokes are negative strokes, meaning that they were initiated by a large concentration of negative charge in the cloud-base; this tends to induce an area of positive charge on the ground.

“The positive lightning stroke is exactly the opposite, with a positive charge concentration in the base of the cloud inducing a negatively charged area on the ground. Positive strokes are most common in severe thunderstorms just prior to tornado formation and are being studied heavily now as possible predictors of severe weather and tornado formation,” he says.

 

Of ancient Nyasaland maths, Sirius Star and “sacred” Triangle……SAPITWA

Image
Hands drawn to the chest to symbolize two triangles and fire of Sirius

It’s 2012 as the year comes to an end in Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre in Malawi when just before the stroke of midnight a very bright light flashes above the head of a woman hunting for fireworks in the sky in the township where she lives.

She’s home for the New Year and in her neighbourhood various homes are showing off their own amateur firework displays.

Puzzled with the white bright flickering light above her head which seems to moving fast, the woman realizes it’s not a firework but a very bright star ushering in the New Year in Blantyre on the West side of her home as Mulanje is on the East side, where the sun rises in the morning.

Image
Sirius internet photo which healers say appears like a white ancient cross

Unknown to her, some healers who trek to Sapitwa on Mulanje Mountain earlier gave sacrifices of mapira (sorghum) among other things in an unidentified place on the mountain as they waited for that star they call Nthanda yaku m’mawa which is the star from the east although another definition is morning star but theirs is Sirius.

For the ancient healers of Malawi, this star was the same shape as their “primitive” African cross of the 4 winds of North, South, West and East and they played on this by associating all from the East as being from Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).

The 4 winds of Sapitwa cross is also drawn with 4 hidden right triangles to represent the four mythical winged spirits out of 7 spirits with the 3 forming a triangle within it and an upright serpent spirit in the middle to represent royalty just like in other beliefs on the continent.

These healers believe in a Creator of this Universe they call Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe etc and they claim 4 male spiritual beings with a positive charge and 3 female spiritual beings with a negative charge to make a total of 7 pull each other to create Light including lightning.

Image
Ancient Malawi Sapitwa 4 winds cross drawn with flour and having 4 hidden right triangles

The 4 spirits and their winds are:

Tomasi Bona                  – North   –  the world in the hands/feast

Tagoneka Mbona            – West   – put to sleep Mbona

Chandiona Gonekela       – South – it’s seen me put to sleep

Nthanda mwana wa mwezi [Nandi]   – East – Sirius star like in Nthanda yaku m’mawa African cross and child of the moon

And the three negative female charges are named Dziwe Ntambamwana (magic pool), Ife Zonse (all of us) and Sungamwana (keep the child).

The suspected comet one is Napolo also known as Mbewula to run away from also appears like an elderly man like Tomasi Bona.

Now of these Nyangu is a mythical water spirit whose colour is blue and she’s part of a “sacred” three and appears with her breasts showing to symbolize feeding the gods and the nation…making her a nurturer and mother figure.

The first one fell from grace and healers believe she’s now being replaced with a new one to join the “sacred” three as healers believe “winged spirits” (mizimu) are androgynous and can change genders so the old headless Nyangu spirit with breasts can appear as Mbona and eventually somehow becoming 100% “man” bringing a change to the “sacred” triangle and so forth.

This blog is investigating whether or not this process is symbolically represented by the V formation on birds when flying which also looks like a triangle.

Snow geese in V formation Internet photo not connected to this blog
Snow geese in V formation Internet photo not connected to this blog

Now the Sirius star in ancient Malawi was associated with the first Nyangu and according to a female Sapitwa healer, their star symbolizes the birth of a new year.

One can see how the numbers 3, 7 and 4 were played and how powerful 7 was to ancient Malawi according to oral stories of some Sapitwa healers and how spirits were attributed to land, water, hills and the winds.

They hold their hands to the chest as a sign to remind them of three spiritual beings they treasure and hold dear in their heart represented by the sacred triangle.

Image
Internet Sirius hieroglyph

It is a secret story of ancient kingdoms memorized for centuries and passed down they claim including the names of their ancient kings and queens and captured mostly in oral stories and drawings we will call the “Sapitwa Book of the Dead.”

The hands imitate taking fire from the three stone/rock open fire traditional cooking place to support a pot (mafuwa) to draw the 2 triangles that make a bright star on one’s chest.

One would be an upright triangle to symbolize the highest peak of Mulanje Mountain, Sapitwa and the other would be an upside side triangle, the opposite which is water.

So up above was the mountain and down below was water. And for the healers, the fire symbolizes the brightest star in the universe which is the Sirius.

Face of elderly Tomasi Bona drawing online defined as a "Unit Circle" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_circle
Face of elderly Tomasi Bona drawing online defined as a “Unit Circle” with a radius of one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_circle

This symbol said to be of ancient kings also symbolized the foundation of their kingdom to ensure order in their villages with people living in harmony and peace. The star symbolized by fire was held closely to the chest.

Image
Pointed Triangle also used to represent the highest peak of Mulanje Mountain….Sapitwa and others globally

Meanwhile, the unofficial Wikipedia online describes the Dogon people of in Mali, West Africa also having “traditional astronomical knowledge about Sirius that would normally be considered impossible without the use of telescope.

In the religion of the Serer people of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania, Sirius is called Yoonir  in their language.

The star Sirius is one of the most important and sacred stars in Serer religious cosmology and symbolism. The Serer high priests and priestesses, (Saltigues, the hereditary “rain priests”) chart Yoonir in order to forecast rain fall and enable Serer farmers to start planting seeds. In Serer religious cosmology, it is the symbol of the universe,” adds the unofficial Wikipedia.

Despite the myths and tales associated with the suspected Sirius star, science seems to confirm only one fact; that it is appears on New Years’ Day.

According to Earth Sky science news http://earthsky.org/tonight/star-sirius-torchbearer-of-the-new-year  “Sirius in the constellation Canis Major – the legendary Dog Star – should be called the New Year’s star.

This star – the brightest one in our sky – celebrates the birth of every New Year by reaching its highest point in the sky around the stroke of midnight. That’s the case this year, and every year.”

The same websites states that “Sirius is highest in the sky at midnight every New Year’s.  Astronomers call this a midnight culmination of Sirius.

As the New Year rings in, Sirius is at its highest. By midnight, by the way, we mean the middle of the night – midway between sunset and sunrise….as evidenced in an image credited to Yuuji Kitahara and posted on http://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/sirius-the-brightest-star

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and its name is derived from the Ancient Greek Seirios (“glowing” or “scorcher”). The star has the Bayer designation Alpha Canis Majoris.

“Sirius was both the most important star of ancient Egyptian astronomy, and one of the Decans (star groups into which the night sky was divided, with each group appearing for ten days annually).

“The heliacal rising (the first night that Sirius is seen, just before dawn) was noticed every year during July. Early Egyptians used this to mark the start of the New Year (‘The Opening of the Year’). It was celebrated with a festival known as ‘The Coming of Sopdet’.

Isosceles right triangle online resembling healers "primitive" cross with right triangles http://www.maa.org/publications/periodicals/convergence/proportionality-in-similar-triangles-a-cross-cultural-comparison-the-student-module
Isosceles right triangle online resembling healers “primitive” cross with right triangles
http://www.maa.org/publications/periodicals/convergence/proportionality-in-similar-triangles-a-cross-cultural-comparison-the-student-module

“As early as the 1st Dynasty, Sophis was known as ‘the bringer of the new year and the Nile flood’. When Sirius appeared in the sky each year, the Nile generally started to flood and bring fertility to the land.

“The ancient Egyptians connected the two events, and so Sopdet took on the aspects of a goddess of not only the star and of the inundation, but of the fertility that came to the land of Egypt with the flood. The flood and the rising of Sirius also marked the ancient Egyptian New Year, and so she also was thought of as a goddess of the New Year,” partly reads an internet source.

In mathematics, the Pythagorean Theorem – or Pythagaras’ theorem is a relation in Euclidean geometry among the three sides of a right triangle.

Internet photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pythagorean.svg
Internet photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pythagorean.svg

It states that the square of the hyptenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. The theorem can be written as an equation relating the lengths of the sides ab and c, often called the Pythagorean equation,” partly reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_theorem

In right angled triangles the square on the side subtending the right angle is equal to the squares on the sides containing the right angle. The proposition is especially important in architecture.

Builders have since ancient times used the theorem in constructing buildings by a process known as “squaring a room” and in building the Great Pyramids.

Internet photo of Auset (Isis), Ausar (Osiris) and Heru (Horus) while ancient Malawi's was Tomasi Bona, Mbona and the Nyangu "spirit"
Internet photo of Auset (Isis), Ausar (Osiris) and Heru (Horus) while ancient Malawi’s was Tomasi Bona, Mbona and the Nyangu “spirit” (mizimu)

‘Mbona, ancient Nyasaland’s Osiris and dweller of “Funeral Mountain”

Dziwe la Nkhalamba (pool for the elderly) - Photo by Menno Welling taken in 2010 for a different story
Dziwe la Nkhalamba (pool for the elderly) – Photo by Menno Welling taken in 2010 for a different story

It was ten years ago on 13 April, 2004 when a Malawian village woman had a strange dream and saw the letters MBONA and blue deep water as chairs and tables were floating on top.

This woman also saw the colour black which symbolizes dark clouds which bring rain.

Malawi’s ancient Mbona was viewed as a rainmaker although in reality he only pointed his two-edged kandalanga sword to the North for Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe to bring rain claim some Mulanje-based elders.

Mbona  illustration from Mtunda, Chichewa for Standard 8 book
Mbona illustration from Mtunda, Chichewa for Standard 8 book

Black in ancient Egypt was also said to be the colour of the life-giving silt left by the Nile inundation, which led to the ancient name for the country Kemet meaning the “black land” according to some internet sources.

The colour black was seen as symbolizing fertility, new life, and resurrection as seen through the yearly agricultural cycle and it also was the colour of Osiris, the “black one” and the “resurrected god of the dead” and “Dweller in the Funeral Mountain” according to various internet sources.

For the women of Sapitwa, black also symbolizes Mbona who came back to life and is viewed as the dweller of the mountain of the dead known as the mythical realm of Sapitwa.

Mbona like ancient Egypt’s Osiris is considered to be a ruler of the underworld but not Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) who remains the Creator of this Universe and the One and Only Almighty forever and ever.

Osiris statue taken from http://www.timetrips.co.uk/god%20osiris.htm
Osiris statue taken from http://www.timetrips.co.uk/god%20osiris.htm

Now in the symbolic Napolo dream the woman was near shallow water but could clearly see spiral shapes in the water ahead of her which in her eyes resembled a serpent spirit and left a strange mark in the whirlpool.

She kept a distance because in real life she feared deep water and cannot swim and the spirals looked like they would draw her into an unknown place.

There was also an elderly man with a hexagon shaped head and yellow measuring tape in his right hand earlier in the dream. He showed her a dilapidated building on top of a mountain and he was measuring it as she watched.

The man kept showing her the measurements and took her on a tour inside as she paid attention to the details and drawings on the walls which will be documented as some aspects of ancient Malawi history after verifying with experts.

He then showed her a small stream and she could see a big silver fish in there. The man then gave her a huge two-edged sword with a golden handle to catch the fish which looked like chambo but she refused as the thought terrified her.

She also had a vision of the Wild African Custard Apple tree locally known as Mpoza which in ancient times would burn on its own to symbolize the presence of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).

Internet photo of African Custard Apple Tree (Mpoza)
Internet photo of African Custard Apple Tree (Mpoza)

Its orange dancing flames would engulf the tree which would somehow not burn up so go oral ancient Malawi stories.

Online research and a quick message to an elder in Lilongwe has confirmed that ancient kings and people of this land believed the Wild African Custard Apple tree locally known as Mpoza will light up with fire to represent the presence of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) in their beliefs.

Now centuries ago the ancestors of this land used to offer sacrifices (nsembe) at the Wild Custard Apple Tree locally known as Mpoza used for prayers or requests to their God.

These sacrifices are either traditional beer, thobwa (sweet beer) or maize flour among other things. Similar things are captured in the book ‘Galu Wamkota: Missiological Reflections from South-Central Africa’ by Ernst R. Wendland, Salimo Hachibamba and posted online on http://books.google.mw/books?id=8K8kktAilwkC&pg=PA459&lpg=PA459&dq=Mpoza+tree+sacrifices&source=bl&ots=_tWTbZpFkd&sig=wCnTDrcI3n0e2aXgRf-1lY2WOPU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=U-XxUtDgLaTH7Aa7-4CIAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Mpoza%20tree%20sacrifices&f=false

“The kachisi shrine itself had to be built underneath the tree known as mpoza or katsongle. The people believed that only God comes through those trees and not through any other tree.

“In their songs they praised their God by saying Chauta wathu mwalandira nsembe zathu, mutikondadi Namalenga wathu; mwalandira nsembe wathu mutikondadi Mphambe wathu, mwalandira nsembe zathu, mutikondadi. (Our God, you have received our offerings, you truly love us, our Creator; you have received our offerings, you truly love us, our Almighty One, you truly love us!”

“Notice here that there are three names for the God whom we mentioned: First we have Chauta meaning God of Gods, then Namalenga, the Creator, finally Mphambe, the all powerful God. All these names are given to the same God,” further reads the book.

The Mpoza tree is also valued by healers throughout Malawi who follow the teachings of Mbona.

Photo taken from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
Photo taken from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html

However, the official and accepted Mbona story by the valuable custodians of that culture is documented under Unesco’s Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines world heritage site.

“Khulubvi sacred shrine is located in Nsanje District, in the lower Shire Valley in Southern Region of Malawi, It is an important spiritual place among the people of Mang’anja tribe. It is a place where the Mang’anja worship the spirit of Mbona.

“According to Mang’anja oral tradition, Mbona was a legendary figure with super human powers who lived in the area during the rise of the Lundu Kingdom.

Mbona is said to have had magic powers of bringing rain, creating wells of water on sandy lands, creating forests where they did not exist and hiding from enemies by turning into other creatures such as guinea fowls.

“It is said that Mbona’s uncle Mlauli, who was also a magician envied his nephew and wanted to kill Mbona. Mlauli, however, failed to kill Mbona because he wished to die on his own by telling Mlauli and his enemies to cut his throat with a leaf of a reed after other weapons had failed to harm him.

“His head was cut and placed at Khulubvi sacred groove, where the shrine exists today. People who knew his magic works began coming to the place periodically to worship the spirit of Mbona.

A traditional hut within Khulubvi natural thicket of approximately 100 square metres was constructed as a worshipping site,” further reads the Unesco cultural heritage website about Mbona.

Some ancestors believed Mbona was “gifted with powers from the heavens” and would invoke the rains during a drought using his two-edged knife/sword locally known as kandalanga to point to the north to provoke the four winds which consist of the north, south, west and east to form the ancient African cross used by some village “Mbona healers”.

Deep blue ocean water
Deep blue ocean water from the Internet

Ancient Nyasaland rocks for sacrifices (nsembe)

Image
Mwala wa Mthunzi along the Thyolo Road

Driving along the Mulanje via Thyolo Road on the right side one cannot help but notice a small rock that stands out from a distance along the road in the middle of nowhere.

This rock named Mwala wa Mthunzi and known as the “Rock of Shadow” is actually the rock that belonged to an ancient king called Mthunzi say some Sapitwa healers.

In colonial times the road constructors apparently failed to get rid of it, as it kept returning to its original spot overnight forcing them to divert the road say various online sources.

Image
This Mwala wa Mthunzi would produce smoke in ancient times

Other rituals there involved one walking around the magical stone three times using a small stone normally found on top of the rock go some other tales in the area.

The rock was also accused of causing a flood which reportedly destroyed the first new road and such places were said to have serpent spirits which represented deceased ancient kings.

Sapitwa healers insist small rocks and huge ones like hills and mountains were rains shrines for ancient kings and their priests and priestesses today locally known as asing’anga amizimu but the ones who deal with nsembe (sacrifices).

The descendants of some of these ancient healers would trek to various hills and mountains to make their offerings which included mapira (sorghum) among others.

Image
Beer vessel found in 2010 at suspected Dziwe la Nkhalamba shrine – Photo from Menno Welling

In the Mulanje area this included Mwala wa Nkhalamba (rock of the old) in the area of Dziwe la Nkhalamba.  Some years back, around 2010 Menno Welling and some students from Catholic University studying archaeology discovered a rain shrine in the area and beer vessels.

However, at the time they found a beer vessel and blue beads among others, they had not identified the deity connected to the shrine.

This blog will reveal that name once permission is granted.

Most of these sacrifices and offerings were made to Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) say the Sapitwa healers.  They also say their ancestors would go through the “spirits” of kings (mafumu) whom they felt were close to the Creator.

These kings were seen as living “gods” and were believed to become “gods” in the afterlife usually represented as serpent spirits. The priestesses were also viewed as powerful and this blog will later explain who some of the ancient ones were.

According to female healers, the “owner” of the “rock” called Mount Mulanje in ancient times was Gumulanje during the time of a great flood they say.  Gumula means destruct so in the afterworld they claim he is a winged spirit that destroys evil.

A Google search shows a book titled Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography and written by Brian Morris also talks of ‘gods’ of hills and mountains of Malawi.

http://books.google.mw/books?id=pwWUUqApcj8C&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=soche+mountain+god&source=bl&ots=alf4h8JB59&sig=veQlSMs3oWetqbmYZd5Lhbrg1mo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MhH1UouqLdLxhQfG64CwBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=soche%20mountain%20god&f=false

“The ‘god of Mountain Soche‘, he noted, was Kankhomba, a deceased Nyanja chief, whose spirit as a ‘local deity’ received the supplications of the Yao chief Kapeni. Offerings of flour (ufa) and beer (mowa) were made to the spirit as gifts (mutulo) and prayers for rain.

“In her valuable study, Alice Werner indicates that rain ‘deities’ and rain shrines were associated with many other hills of the Shire Highlands – near Mloza crater on Mulanje (Chief Chipoka), as well as on Malabvi, Michiru, Mpingwe, Thyolo and Ndirande mountains during the 1800s,” further reads the book.

Other hills include Zobwe near Mwanza and Michiru known as a hill of spirits (ndi phiri la mizimu) where offerings (nsembe) were made at a shrine (kachisi) at the summit.

“Equally, important; the shrines where nsembe (offerings) were made was not only associated with mountains, but also a place where snakes (njoka) had their abode (Department of Antiquities, 1971: CO 3/1, BT 15/2),” further reads the book by Brian Morris.

Image
Dziwe la Nkhalamba photo in 2010 by Menno Welling

This blog will publish the names of the hills of Malawi and their ancient chiefs and which ones have “tombs” once the information is made available.

‘Ancient Malawi nsembe (offering) hand symbols’

Suspected ancient Malawi priests and priestesses with some descendants who are today grouped together with asing’anga (traditional healers) had rituals and hand symbols they used at Sapitwa which centuries ago was reportedly the name for the whole Mulanje Mountain, a female Sapitwa healer claims.

These healers are known as ansembe (those who make offerings). Their symbols were usually made before they gave offerings (kuthira nsembe) to their God or gods as in spirits which today includes mapira (sorghum), ndalama (money) and mpunga (rice).

In ancient times they would offer nyama (meat) from animals including cows but today they say it’s mainly sorghum, money and things like rice.

Although the few remaining still offer such sacrifices they call nsembe, more research is needed to find out the many other meanings of hand signs and ancient symbols they used.  So far the ones of Sapitwa are female and the suspected ones of “Kuba” are male.

This blog is still investigating this rich history that has never ever been documented and more information will be made available once it’s known.  This is amateur unfunded research to inspire experts and the learned to document their ancient African history by going to the people.

Some nsembe hand symbols and WATCH THIS BLOG FOR EXPLANATIONS OF EACH SYMBOL:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Fellow Malawians assist this blog if some Chichewa words are spelled incorrectly or if the translations are off as the female healer speaks Chinyanja with a deep accent. This is being done as an effort to document some part of the ancient history of this beautiful land.

Sapitwa of Mulanje Mountain (mythology)

This article is an amateur attempt to document the ancient beliefs of the mythological Mulanje Mountain and the mythical kingdom of Sapitwa. 

For the official real mountain range in Malawi, see Mount Mulanje on the local tourism site at http://www.visitmalawi.mw/index.php/places-to-visit/mountains-and-plateaus/mulanje-mountain

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.

Mulanje mountain (2)

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.

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.

Image

The non-mythical Mulanje Mountain and its forest reserve is believed to have been home to the first Malawian settlers historically, known as Amwandionerapati or Abathwa according to http://hastingsmaloya.blogspot.com/2007/09/unveiling-beauty-mt-mulanje.html

A document posted online as “Malawi’s Cultural Policy – Unesco” states that “the Late Stone Age Period is the period that hosted the earliest inhabitants of Malawi locally called Akafula/Abatwa or Amwandionerapati, referring to their body structures.

“Toward the end of this period, Early Iron Age people migrated into Malawi from areas located to the northwest. The Iron Age people made and used iron tools. For several centuries, they coexisted with the Late Stone Age people but eventually they either forced the Late Stone Age people to move into remote areas or be assimilated by them…”

Image

These mythical dwarves are also believed to occupy Michesi Mountain in Phalombe and anthropologist Brian Morris in his book ‘Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography’ writes that the mountain is not only associated with the spirits of the dead (mizimu), but also with the Batwa people….who still have a living presence.”

He writes that there are oral traditions relating to these people also known as Akafula, the diggers.

A lot of tales are connected to Sapitwa 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.

Historical development

The Mountain is mentioned in various legends and myths including the Napolo legend.  Napolo, the mythical serpent that lives under mountains and is associated with landslides, earthquakes, and floods in Malawi, inspired the poems in Napolo and the Python (African Writers Series).

“Napolo lives on and still has an impact on Malawians today, as evidenced by a recent reggae hit about the great Python. Napolo also lives on in the poems of Steve Chimombo”(Napolo Python African Writers Series).

 Amazaon book

Some villagers in Mulanje say the mountain is full of treasures including precious stones and “it must not be touched to avoid a natural disaster like Napolo.”

Villagers believe landslides that happen there are somehow caused by a serpent spirit when it relocates from the mountain to water by travelling in a straight path and like a tractor removing and throwing anything in its path.

When bubbling water in the past was noticed on the mountain, elders would rush with sacrifice offerings (nsembe) and sprinkle maize flour on the spot to prevent it erupting so go the tales.

Sapitwa is also the name the ancestors of the land gave Mulanje Mountain according to Mayi Emma Jarden, a traditional healer locally known as asing’anga amizimu (spirits) and based in Chisitu, Mulanje. She can only read unknown writings which resemble hieroglyphics.

Sapitwa in the vernacular is something like “don’t go there”.  But with time and many centuries later this name might have changed and the only known place for the “where no man goes” legend is Sapitwa Peak.

Mythical location of Sapitwa

The mythical part of Mulanje Mountain is said to be controlled by a spirit or the god of Sapitwa which does not allow people to approach ‘sacred places’ before following 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 sexual relations.<

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 themselves 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.

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 claim Sapitwa healers.

Image
They also claim 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.”  In ancient times clothes were also said to at times appear there on the rocks.

Some villagers also believe some parts of the mountain are always cloudy 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.

The colour white was believed to be the colour of the dead like ghosts and spirits and if one covered a person with a white cloth it was also believed they would disappear into an astral realm.

Where no Man goes but spirits?

The African cross drawn with maize flour was symbolic of a key to the so-called underworld of Sapitwa which some call an astral realm.

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.

Image

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 the 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.One path 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.

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.

Now that serpent spirit had a name which is the other “Mbona” of the mountain, not to be confused with the Nsanje one and the so-called mythical veiled woman of Sapitwa remains hidden.

Inhabitants

In the Sapitwa mythology, ancestral spirits of the dead live in the astral realm of Mulanje Mountain and spirits which have never been human so go the tales.

Of these are 7 spirits guided by their god of which four are believed to mythically control what is believed to be 4 winds used by healers to send requests with incense.

In the myths the royal spirit family consists of Tomasi Bona of the North wind of their god, Tagoneka Mbona of the West wind, Chandiona Gonekela of the South wind and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi [Nthandi] of the East which in English would be the Sirius star and child of the moon.

These four include the ancient Malawi god of rain and rain shrines are believed to be on the mountain.Tomasi Bona in their beliefs was summarised as meaning the whole world in his hands and feast while Tagoneka Mbona meant put to sleep/serpent spirit.Chandiona Gonekela was summarised as it’s seen me put to sleep and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East which in English would be the Sirius star and child of the moon.

In Chichewa Nthanda yaku m’mawa means the African cross from the east and mwezi means the moon both seen in the sky and drawn by the ancestors of healers of this land so go the tales.

The other three spirits include a name which sounds like Dziwe Ntambamwana named after a pool/witchcraft but not to be confused with the Ntambanana River in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Ife Zonse meaning something like us all.The last is Sungamwana meaning keep the child for good.

Mountain as a source of rain

According to some other traditional healers throughout Malawi who practice teachings said to originate from the mythical figure Mbona, Mulanje Mountain has also been a source of rain and one of its symbols was the African cross drawn with ufa woyera (maize flour) to represent the 4 winds as in north, south, west and east.

The northern wind in their rituals involved heavy rains and the south showers, while the west represented the darkness and tainted while the east is holy and represents Chauta, Namalenga and Mphambe (their God) among other names.

During droughts in ancient times, these winds were said to bring rain after being provoked by a two-edged sword in the hands of a “godlike” figure and the recital of certain words as most of their rituals involved sending words and requests to the 4 winds with lubani (incense) to their “heavenly” kingdom claim the traditional healers whose ancestors were ancient “priests” and “priestesses” whose major role was nsembe (offerings) rituals.

However officially and not in the Mulanje Mountain myths, the globally known Mbona is in Nsanje at Khulubvi. Unesco on http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5602/ under the title ‘Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines’ states:

“Mbona was a legendary figure with super human powers who lived in the area during the rise of the Lundu Kingdom. Mbona is said to have had magic powers of bringing rain, creating wells of water on sandy lands, creating forests where they did not exist and hiding from enemies by turning into other creatures such as guinea fowls.”

Image
Sirius connection

Some female Mang’anja healers based in Mulanje claim to offer sacrifice offerings (nsembe) of mapira (sorghum) and other grains at the mythical Sapitwa following the teachings of their own version of Mbona.  They say this is also when they count down to Sirius (nthanda yaku m’mawa) and the New Year.

For them, Saturday is always a special powerful day…the day of the hidden veiled spirit woman of Sapitwa and December 21 the most powerful day just before December 31 when their very bright star appears in the expected North.

These women say their ancestors prepared for a new season of planting fruit trees in the continued rainy season of January as the leaves of such trees like avocado and mango were believed to be used for healing some ailments.

Other fruit trees grown in Mulanje in December/January during the rainy season include papaya and banana.

For the healers of Sapitwa, January which comes after their Sirius star symbolizes a new beginning and season.

sirius_600

The star they locally call nthanda yaku m’mawa because they claim it’s a cross from the east which to them symbolizes all that is holy and from their Creator.

The star is usually always expected to appear around the time which would be the stroke of midnight on December 31…like a firecracker ushering in the New Year.

Description

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.

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 LikhabulaLichenya 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.”

This is a small attempt to start unofficially documenting the Sapitwa mythology but not for use elsewhere but only for this blog and websites connected to it. More information will be posted on this blog when made available. It’s been 14 years of amateur research and bit by bit ancient secrets are being revealed as part of the myths and tales. Experts can do their own research and document the official mythology of Sapitwa, Mount Mulanje for records purposes.

Afro
Agnes Dumisani Mizere (Nankhoma) in her 100% natural self trying to give a voice to the VOICELESS…the untold and erased history of women of MALIYA…peace