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Biography 04: The Origins of the Gods

Credo Mutwa Village SowetoIn many western countries, when an old person dies it is simply the death of an old human being who has gone through life and whose days on earth now come to an end. But in Africa, the death of an elder- an old man or an old woman, becomes a supreme disaster because in the mind of that elder often carries knowledge passed down from parent to child. Knowledge that is not only valuable to Africa and her children, but to human kind as a whole. No matter where you go in Africa, no matter how deep into the interior of the dark continent you tread, you will find very ancient stories which are incredibly similar.You will find African tribes and races who will tell you that they are descendants from gods who came out of the skies thousands of years ago. Some however say that theses gods came to them from the sea in magical boats made out of reeds or wood or copper or even gold. In some cases these gods and goddesses are described as beautiful human beings whose skins were either bright blue or green or even silver. But most of the time you will find it being said these great gods, especially the ones that came out of the sky were non human, scaly creatures, which lived most of the time in mud or in water. Creatures of an extremely frightening and hideously ugly appearance. Some say that these creatures were like crocodiles, with crocodile like teeth and jaws, but with very large round heads. Some say that these creatures are very tall beings with snake like heads, set on long thin necks, very long arms and very long legs. There are those that tell us that these gods who came from the skies travelled through the lend in magical boats made of bright metal, silver, copper or gold. Boats which had the ability to sail over water or even to fly through the sky like birds.

It is further said that some of these sky gods carried their souls in little bags which hung from their belts. These souls being in the form spheres of crystals clear material. Spheres which could float about in the air, and which emitted a dazzling light. A light which could illuminate an entire village at night. We are told that some very brave African chiefs used to hold these great gods hostage simply by snatching their little shiny soul globes away from them and hiding them in holes deep in the ground.

Throughout Africa we are told that these mysterious beings taught human beings many things. They taught human beings how to have laws, knowledge of herbal medicine, knowledge of arts and knowledge of the mysteries of creation and the cosmos as a whole. We are told that some of these gods had the ability to change their shapes at will. They had the ability to assume the shape and the appearance of any creature that there is on earth whenever they had good reason to do so. A sky god could even turn itself into a rhinoceros and elephant or even a stork, a sky god could even turn turn itself into a rock or even a tree.

We are told that some of the gods used to travel through the sky in swings made out of brightly coloured lengths of rope. The Wutwa people of the forests of the Congo told me about one such god, who swung through the sky on a swing whose ends were attached to the clouds in the sky and who could go anywhere, no matter how far away, and come back before sunset on his magical swing.

In Africa these mysterious gods are known by various names, in West Africa, in the land of the Bumbara people these amphibian or reptilian sky gods are known as Zishwezi. The word zishwezi means either the swimmers or the divers or the gliders. It was said that these sky gods could dive from above the clouds down to the top of a mountain whenever they felt like it, they could also take deep dives into the bottom of the ocean and from there fetch magical objects and then bring them to the shore, placing them at the feet of the astonished black people.

In West Africa again, these creatures are called the Asa, which means the mighty ones of magic. It is from this word asa, a word that speaks great magical power that comes the name Asanti, which means a king, but literally means, the child of asaand as you know Asanti gave birth to the word, Ashanti.

In the land of the Dogon people we find the famous Nommo, a race of reptilian or amphibian beings who were said to have come from the Sirius star to give knowledge and religion to the black people of Dogon. Incidentally, scientists have never explained the meaning of Dogon; it means God Almighty and the Dogon people know themselves as the children of the God Almighty.

There are tribes in various parts of Africa which regard themselves as God’s chosen people. These tribes call themselves by a name which means god. In South Africa there is a tribe that calls itself the Tonga,and another very large group which calls itself the Tsonga. And in Zimbabwe there are two tribes ,one of which is called the Batonga, and another that is called the Tongaila. The name Tonga, Tsonga or Donga means people of god and you will find these people living in some of the holiest and most spiritual places in Africa. For example, the Matonga people of Northern Zululand live in the area of the sacred St Lucia Lake which is believed by the Zulu people and other tribes in Natal to be the place where, hundreds of years ago, the great earth mother arrived in a boat of reeds, accompanied by her son and his two wives.

And she came to give laws, culture, religion as well as healing arts, and other mysteries to human beings. It is said that the great earth mother was a huge woman, very, very fat with bright green skin and so was her son and his two wives. There once existed in Zimbabwe a very sacred place called Kariba Gorge, which is now covered by a huge lake as a result of the damming of the Zambezi River at this place. In Kariba Gorge there lived two remarkable tribes, the Batonga, which means people of God, and the more remarkable tribe whose name is the Tongaila. Tonga as you know means God, but the word Ila also means god, thus the Tongaila people are called the people of the God Ila- the wise old god, who according to some stories created the earth and everything in it. The Tonga and the Tongaila used to tell me that not only are the chosen people sent by God to guard the Kariba Gorge, but they are also in yearly touch with the great gods who come from the stars, whom they call the Bananaila, the children of Ila. Now let us go to West Africa for a while, in the land of the Dogon, there, one is told that when the Nommo arrived from the sky in their fantastic sky ship, there were several of them, thirteen or fourteen of them. And they created a lake around their sky ship and every morning they used to swim from their sky ship to the shores of the lake and there preach to the people who assembled in large numbers around the lake. It is said that before the Nommo departed, returning with a great noise back to their home star, they first chose one of their number, killed it and cut its body up into little pieces and then gave these pieces to the assembled people to eat in the first sacrificial ritual of its kind on earth. When the people had eaten the sacred flesh of the star creature and drunk its blood mixed with water, the Nommo took the lower jaw of their creature and by some incredible fact of magic brought the whole creature back to life again. We are told that this is the way that the Nommo taught our people that there is no death and that behind every death there shall be a resurrection.

And also that an individual must sometimes sacrifice himself or herself for the good of the community. It is the Nommo, we are told that taught the people of Africa about the mysteries of reincarnation, about the belief that, that which goes away, gone off on the wings of death, will always come back again on the fragrant wings of life. In the land of Nigeria, we hear of how the great mother goddess, Mawi gave birth to human beings after having created the world, and that after a number of centuries, people on earth became filled with selfishness and other forms of negative behaviour and the great mother who was now in the land of the gods, sent down her daughter, Gabato, to earth to once more place human beings upon the path of righteous. It is said hat Gabato arrived on earth in the mouth of a great serpent with all the colours of the rainbow, And this serpent, crawled all over the earth, and such was its size and so great was its weight that wherever it went it created gorges and valleys and canyons. What I found was very astonishing, was that in many countries of the world, amongst the aborigines of Australia, and amongst the native people of the Americas, as in Africa, you find belief in the rainbow serpent. And you also find belief in the feathered serpent.

In the Americas, in South and Central America mostly, the feathered serpent is called Quetzalcoatl, and amongst my people, the Zulus, we find belief in a serpent called Yndlondlo. The Yndlondlo is said to be a huge mamba or a huge python, whose neck is covered in greyish blue feathers, like the feathers of a blue crane, and at the top of the serpents head grow three feathers. One green one, one red one and a white one which look like huge ostrich tail feathers. The Yndlondlo, like the (South) American Quetzalcoatl, is associated with God the Son.

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