MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART FOUR

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this epic myth of the Nyanga people.

PART FOUR

Nyanga riverThe evil Chief Shemwindo believed Mwindo was now dead and he rewarded the men who entrapped the child in the drum and tossed him in the river to drown. He gave each one of them a new bride to show his appreciation.

Mwindo’s mother Nyamwindo was inconsolable at the thought that her baby had been slain. Shemwindo warned her to stop being upset or he would kill her, too. Immediately Nyamwindo went from being the favored wife to being the despised wife of the chief’s seven wives.

Meanwhile the gods above signaled their displeasure with Shemwindo’s evil behavior by causing a storm that lasted for seven days (Regular readers will remember that in Part One I explained that the Nyanga people consider seven the perfect number. Even Nyanga villages without seven separate kinship groups will still have seven separate kinship huts because of their reverence for the number.)

When the storm had passed Mwindo, still alive inside the drum at the bottom of the river, caused the drum to float back to the surface. When some women from the village of Tubondo came to collect water from the river the child began singing another song of defiance promising that he would be the doom of Shemwindo. 

The women raced back to the village and told everyone about Mwindo still being alive. Chief Shemwindo and his armed minions raced to the river to see the drum spinning on the surface of the water. From within Mwindo repeated his latest song about how he would bring on Shemwindo’s downfall, then caused the drum to submerge so he could travel to consult with the Chief’s sister Iyangura.

Bursting free of the drum the determined toddler began walking the river bottom toward the lair of Mukiti the serpentine god of the river. In Part Two Mukiti had a premonition about the arrival of Mwindo in his territory and had ordered all of his subjects – the animal life in the river – poisonous and hideous fish, crabs, snakes and crocodiles – to attack the semidivine child on sight and tear his spine out.

Like the infant Hercules strangling the serpents sent by Hera, Mwindo defeated all the subaquatic creatures who tried to bar his path. The youthful hero battled his way through every opponent by wielding the conga-sceptre he was born holding. (The conga-sceptre was a riding-crop sized staff made from an antelope’s tail. This conga serves as a weapon for Mwindo and enables him to fly plus perform other deeds, similar to the norse god Thor’s enchanted hammer Mjolnir.)   

After a full day of combating the river-creatures Mwindo arrived at the calmer, shallower water of the river. Mukiti’s sister, the goddess Musoka lived there. Just as various pantheons like Vietnamese, Iroquois and others feature the deities of hard rain as male and gentle rain as female, the Nyanga depict the highly revered goddess Musoka as the deity of the calm shallows of the river but her brother as the deity of the swifter, stronger waters of the bulk of the river.  

Mukiti was being kept aware by fishes of the unstoppable progress of Mwindo and the river-god had sent a message to his sister Musoka to prevent Mwindo from advancing any further. Musoka greeted Mwindo but caused a dam to form to prevent him from proceeding to face her brother. The semidivine Mwindo was growing at a greater than normal rate and by now was the size of a little boy.

Our hero politely returned Musoka’s greeting but boasted openly that nothing would stop him. Just as he had defeated all the creatures set upon him by Mukiti he would overcome this physical obstacle that Musoka had set in his path. Mwindo dug down into the river bottom, burrowing underneath the dam and emerging on the other side.

Shortly afterward, the young hero stood before the serpentine river god himself and challenged him to fight. +++

I WILL EXAMINE ADDITIONAL PARTS SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES. 

FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: PART ONE OF MWINDO

FOR ANOTHER EPIC MYTH CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/

FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM  BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

10 Comments

Filed under Mythology

10 responses to “MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART FOUR

  1. Now this is getting interesting. You go Musoka!

  2. Nice to see a new epic!

  3. I liked the Philippines epic better.

  4. Mwindo seems like movie material.

  5. aDaNzi

    White people have no business writing about our gods.

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