Tag Archives: The Mwindo Epic

MWINDO: THE FINALE OF THIS AFRICAN EPIC

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

PART NINETEEN

MwindoThe lightning god Nkuba looked down from the sky and prepared to attack the semidivine hero Mwindo in order to avenge his (Nkuba’s) friend, the monster Kirimu. That seven- headed creature had been slain, cooked and served as a meal by Chief Mwindo for killing three of his devoted corps of Pygmies. 

The morning after the village of Tubondo had feasted upon the remains of Kirimu, Mwindo had a premonition of impending danger. He announced to his people that his supernatural senses had revealed to him that the bad-tempered god Nkuba had taken offense at his actions against the monster Kirimu. The lightning god was coming for revenge. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART EIGHTEEN

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

PART EIGHTEEN

Film, 'Jason And the Argonauts', (1963) Todd Armstrong as Jason fighting the seven-headed Hydra.

The semidivine Chief Mwindo set out to find and battle Kirimu, the seven-headed monster terrorizing his domain. Mwindo was guided by Nkurongo, the sole remaining Pygmy from the foursome who had encountered the creature while hunting a wild boar for the Chief.   

Mwindo carried with him his signature weapon – his conga-scepter, a riding-crop sized staff made of antelope tail. When the Pygmy had led the hero to where Kirimu had slain his comrades the pair saw that the creature was lying in wait in the jungle, ready to strike at anyone who attempted to retrieve the boar slain by the Pygmies. Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART SEVENTEEN

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

PART SEVENTEEN

Pygmies

Pygmies

This part of the Mwindo Epic picks up with the semidivine hero having been the chief of the village of Tubondo for an unspecified amount of time. One day he was in the mood for a meal of pork so he sent four of his loyal Pygmies out into the jungle to catch a wild boar for him. They set out with their hunting dogs on leashes.

The four Pygmies traveled far off into the jungle but could not find any wild boars or other large game. They began to suspect some supernatural predator of having whittled down the game population in the area. After a few days of searching fruitlessly for a wild boar the four Pygmies at last spotted and speared a boar. 

While the quartet of hunters were slicing off the meat they were attacked by Kirimu, a huge monster with a tough black hide, seven heads with one large eye each, a horn on each head, teeth like a dog and a swollen belly with room for plenty of victims.  Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART SIXTEEN

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

PART SIXTEEN

Nyanga ChiefIn the restored village of Tubondo, with all the dead brought back to life by Mwindo it was at last time to pass judgment on the captured Shemwindo. In some versions of the Mwindo Epic the semidivine hero sits upon a throne made of spears as if deciding the fate of prisoners of war. Other versions claim Mwindo’s friend Nkuba the lightning god sent down copper chairs for Mwindo and his Aunt Iyangura to sit on while judging the former Chief Shemwindo. 

Still other versions depict Iyangura’s husband Mukiti the river god sitting alongside Mwindo and Iyangura as they decide Shemwindo’s fate. Some versions claim the trio floated in the air in the copper chairs provided by Nkuba.   Continue reading

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MWINDO: EPIC MYTH OF AFRICA PART FIFTEEN

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

PART FIFTEEN

Nyanga territoryThe semidivine hero Mwindo at last stood face to face with his evil father Shemwindo. After the villain had led his heroic son on a long chase through the various realms of the gods that honeycombed the subterranean region Mwindo finally had satisfaction.

There in the hut of the Nyanga creator deity Ongo the two adversaries eyed each other with the intense hostility born from prolonged conflict. Mwindo had bested Ongo at the Nyanga gambling game called Wiki and – as good as his word – the creator god had turned Shemwindo over to the victor.     Continue reading

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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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