Tag Archives: African mythology

MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART FOURTEEN

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

PART FOURTEEN

elevated hutStill pursuing his evil father, Mwindo arrived at the subterranean realm of Sheburungu, home of the Nyanga creator deity Ongo. (Though Sheburungu was often used as an epithet for Ongo.) Ongo’s kingdom was inhabited by children who never aged. (Michael Jackson’s ideal world!)

The children of Sheburungu gathered around Mwindo and followed him as was the custom in all Nyanga villages when a newcomer arrived. The little boys and girls asked the semidivine hero for food and – as an indication of Mwindo’s good heart despite his tendency to egotism and boastfulness – he resolved to feed them all. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART THIRTEEN

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

PART THIRTEEN

cavernMwindo, the semidivine hero, stood at the entranceway to Munundu, the subterranean realm of the aardvark god Ntumba. (Munundu was also used as an epithet for Ntumba himself.) Mwindo had spotted his evil father Shemwindo hiding inside Munundu and talking with Ntumba himself.

The hero sang a song about all the evil Shemwindo had committed and demanded that Ntumba send him out or he would destroy his entire kingdom and defeat him as he had defeated Muisa the god of the dead. Inside Munundu the aardvark god told Shemwindo how annoyed he was at the trouble he had caused by seeking refuge in his kingdom. Still, he directed him to a rear cavern through which he could escape if Mwindo carried out his threats.  Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART TWELVE

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

PART TWELVE

aardvarkThe semidivine hero Mwindo briskly walked through the land of the dead, making his way to the hut in which the death-god Muisa had hidden his evil father Shemwindo. Mwindo would at last have his revenge on his father for his crimes against him and against their home village of Tubondo, which now lay in ruins back on the surface. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART ELEVEN

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

PART ELEVEN

african beesAfter spending another night with Kahindo, the goddess of good fortune, the semidivine hero Mwindo reported to the hut of the death-god Muisa the next morning.

The new “impossible” task that Muisa commanded Mwindo to carry out was the harvesting of honey from the deadly African honey-bees in the land of the dead. If the hero succeeded in this task the death-god promised to reveal to him where his evil father Shemwindo was hiding. If he failed then Muisa would kill him and he would never leave the realm of the dead. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART TEN

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

PART TEN

banana treeMwindo, having survived the initial gauntlet of traps from Muisa, the god of the dead, spent the night with Kahindo, the goddess of good fortune, in her hut. 

Come morning in the land of the dead Mwindo reported to Muisa. As the death-god had threatened the previous evening, he had a task to assign the semidivine Mwindo. If the hero succeeded at the task Muisa would tell him where he could find his evil father Shemwindo. If he failed he would be slain by Muisa and never leave the land of the dead.

Muisa commanded Mwindo to plant banana trees there in the land of the dead and cause them to grow and produce bananas despite the fact that no fruit had ever grown in that lifeless realm.

Given the amount of time it would take to plant acres of banana trees let alone for them to try to grow Muisa figured that even if Mwindo’s magic was strong enough to accomplish the miraculous deed it would keep him occupied for months.   Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART NINE

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

PART NINE

Kahindo

Kahindo

Mwindo prepared to pursue his cowardly father Shemwindo into the land of the dead ruled by the god Muisa. The semidivine hero’s Aunt Iyangura was frightened for Mwindo’s safety but he assured her he could take care of himself in the land of the dead.

To further comfort his aunt he pulled the rope from his pouch of magical implements and tore it into two pieces. He gave one piece to Iyangura and he kept the other on his person. Mwindo told Iyangura that her end of the rope would act as a life token so she would know he was still alive.

(Life tokens such as this have been covered previously at Balladeer’s Blog in Vietnamese, Malagasy and Philippine myths. They were usually a plant of some sort which would reflect the physical state of the myth’s hero on their travels. As long as the plant was alive then his loved ones would know the hero was still alive as well.) Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART EIGHT

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

PART EIGHT

Nyanga territoryThe semidivine Mwindo, clad in the iron garments his uncle the bat god had made his subjects forge for him, prepared to attack his evil father’s village of Tubondo single-handed. His aunt Iyangura pleaded with him not to go, fearing he would end up as dead as the army of bats which attacked Tubondo in the previous episode.

Mwindo told his aunt that he had to go, and to provide her partial comfort he left her his battle axe and his magical pouch containing the enchanted rope. Wielding only his conga-sceptre (a riding-crop sized staff made of antelope tail) Mwindo went up the hill to attack Tubondo.   Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART SEVEN

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

PART SEVEN

batsThe semidivine Mwindo, his aunt Iyangura and Iyangura’s handmaidens set out from the home she occupied as the Ritual Wife of the river god Mukiti. The object of their expedition was Mwindo’s attempt to overthrow his evil father Shemwindo and become the new ruler of the village of Tubondo.

The first night the travelers stayed with Mwindo’s maternal uncle, Yana the bat god. (As with so many other ruling families around the world the Nyanga aristocracy claimed to be related to the gods.) Yana had the creatures he was the lord of prepare a goat of hospitality (as opposed to the wildebeest of misgiving) as a meal for the guests. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART SIX

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

PART SIX

lightning boltsKasiyembe, acting at the behest of the serpentine river god Mukiti, had tried to kill the semidivine Mwindo but failed. Mwindo had survived all of Kasiyembe’s death traps and so, in anger and frustration Mukiti’s henchman had called on the Nyanga lightning god Nkuba to strike Mwindo dead.

Nkuba, a very ill-tempered deity who was always delighted to oblige when asked to unleash his bolts, began raining down lightning on Mwindo. Our hero began singing another magic spell, composing it in his head as he went along.  Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART FIVE

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

PART FIVE

Nyanga river 2Mwindo now stood before Mukiti, the serpentine river god himself. The semidivine hero still held his conga-sceptre (a riding-crop sized club made from an antelope tail) in one hand, his axe in another and had his pouch of magic implements slung around one shoulder.

Mwindo and Mukiti exchanged challenging words with Mwindo’s being the most overstated and foolhardy. (Remember, part of the point of this epic is that Mwindo eventually learns to be humble and to be a good ruler, similar to Gilgamesh in Sumerian myths.) Before the two powerful figures could engage in all-out combat they were interrupted by the arrival of the woman Iyangura, who was Mwindo’s aunt and Mukiti’s ritual wife.  Continue reading

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