Biography 05: Mysterious Africa the History of the Cross

A mystery that has fascinated African’s for thousands of years. Seen in cross section, this rather dull looking crystal shows a cross like pattern in it. It shows a pattern of the kind that our people of olden days used to call the perfect cross, or the cross of the sun.

Before I tell you more, I wish you to know that the thing known as a cross was not brought to Africa by missionaries, knowledge of the cross in its many forms, was here in South Africa from the remotest of remote times. It was already known to the mystics of Africa long, long before the Christian religion was established in Europe, and further more, the various types of cross were used by African healers and mystics for either good purposes, or evil ones. Africans believed that the cross, either made of wood, ivory or metal was a powerful object, possessed of great magic, capable of unleashing powers of healing, or renewing or powers of destruction and killing. There were three types of cross that Africans used for healing, there was the T-shaped cross known in Western mysticism as the tau cross, then there was the proper cross of the kind we are told Jesus was crucified upon. A cross with a long stem and short arms. Then there was the unsaid cross, known to white people as the Ankh, which many western thinkers wrongly assume to have been only known to the ancient Egyptians. This ankh was actually known by our people as the knot of eternity, or the knot of eternal life, and it was used even by Khoi San people, for purposes of healing.

The greatest users of the ankh, were the almost extinct Khoi Khoi or Hottentot people. The Khoi Khoi said that the unsaid cross represented their great sun god, Heitsie-Ibib. The zulus, Xhosas and the Swazis and other Ngoni speaking peoples of South Africa also believed in a sun god, who died each evening to be reborn again each morning. Who died each winter and was reborn again each spring. They believed that this beautiful son of God the Father and God the Mother whom they knew by various names, had lost his left leg in a savage fight against a terrible dragon, some say a gigantic crocodile which walked on its hind legs, its rear legs much, much longer than its fore legs. The symbol of this handsome God of the sun, this hero God and bringer of peace, was also the unsaid cross, Which the Zulus called Mlenze-munye. The Swazis knew him as Mlente-munye. The name Mlenze-munye or Mlente-mmunye mean the on legged one. The one with one leg. And incidentally, when Africans saw the cross which missionaries often hung around their necks, they immediately recognized it as the symbol of the eternal God with one leg who dies and is born again forever and ever. And they respected missionaries as messengers from this God. Which is why in some part of Africa missionaries were called a name which is also one of the many names of the African sun god, namely Muruti, which means the great teacher, a name by which Twana speaking, Owambo speaking and Sotho speaking people still call missionaries to this day.

Our people believed also in what they called the perfect cross, the most powerful cross of all. This was a cross that had all its four wings of exactly equal length. The cross of the kind that white people call the Celtic cross. A cross which is often imprisoned within a circle, with all its wings of exactly equal length, our people used this cross, drawing it in its many forms, healing some of the most horribly diseases to which the body is prone. Before a person was treated for cancer, the herbs, the powdered herbs which were to be used in this treatment, were first laid out on a piece of clean springbok skin on the likeness of the perfect cross, then spoon after spoon, they were taken and poured into a clay pot which had been blessed several times. There were forms of the cross, which unlike these which I have briefly described which were used for healing, were used for extremely destructive purposes and one of these is what the white people call the Saint Andrews cross. The X-shaped cross which even today we find teachers in mission schools using to mark a wrong answer written by a pupil in his or her exercise book. Africans believed that the X-shaped cross possessed great powers of evil, and they used it to put curses upon people. It may be of interest to you to learn that when a Xhosa person from the Eastern Cape, says that you are crazy, you are mad he says, “Uphameene.” And the literal meaning of this word is, “You have a cross put upon you,” across which has made you cross witted, mad. In ancient times and even modern times, when a African artist, woodcarver or decorator of any kind draws a cross, he or she must take great care to only draw one of those crosses that heal and not to dare to draw, carve or render in beads, one of the evil crosses, because Africans say that the first person that gets affected by a negative engraving or a negative drawing is the artist himself. And the first person to be affected by a positive drawing or a positive engraving is the artist himself or herself.

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  • Babi Karim

    I’m so grateful and thankful for coming accross this web site to be able to express my gratitude to this information about “crosses” especially the Ankh.
    I’ve researched a bit and bought a book about the “Ankh” from an African-American author to quench my curiousity and interest concerning this symbol.
    I’m from West Africa and my African name in “Katzina-Language” is Barmee – the language spoken in the area between Upper-West Ghana and Burkina – which literally means ” a long life-man or a man with a long life”. It can also mean a poited nose man.
    So I ‘m so excited to the fact that I always have been attracted to this symbol since my childhood and I was happy to see Baba’s photo wearing a silver Ankh on the DVD cover of David Icke’s interview.
    Thank you so much for answering my questions and may Devine Sacred Oneness bless you and increase your health.

    Thank you so very much too, Mr. Web-Master

  • Marcus Guy

    Dumela Moruti,

    Peace and blessings from the United States. My name is Marcus however during my two recent trips to South Africa, I have been given the name Bongani Monwabisi. Interestingly, I received my first name while visiting the Afrikaaner monument in Pretoria by a Zulu woman. It’s quite a long story that I will have to share with you some day. I recieved my second name “monwabisi” which is Xhosa while attending a church service in Saint James church in Witsands community in Capetown.

    I have a brother who has been living in South Africa for 13 years developing sustainable communities (energy efficient housing, solar stoves,) and training the community members on how to build there own houses in Capetown, Kimberly, and Johannesburg.

    I wanted to write to you to thank you for this important information about the Cross. I have been studying the African origin of the religion which is today called Christianity and I am fascinated and very proud to know that the signs, symbos, eschatology, and doctrines that make up Christianity had its origin in the breadbasket of Humanity among the Koi Koi and the Twa people. It is my understanding that this knowledge was then passed down into Ancient Kemet (Egypt) then to the rest of the world.

  • Themba Mthembu

    Ngithanda ukuzwakalisa intokozo,nokubonga ,ngezifundo engizithola kule website yakho mkhulu.Ngifisa ngathi abantu abaningi nabo bangathola ithuba lokuthi bayifunde ukuze ulwazi lwethu lungashabalali.

  • Lauren Clark

    Greetings from the United States! I am truly grateful for this website. I am a young African-American women who was born in the United States, and I must say that I continue to yearn and hunger for the knowledge, spiritual and emotional healing that the African continent has to give to me. I have traveled and studied in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania. I can’t get enough of the motherland. It is so rich, diverse, spiritual, and knowledgeable!! I have some knowledge of the Khoi Khoi people, and want to learn more about them, as I find the women to be so beautiful!!!

  • Sofia

    This is some really interesting information it’s so nice to find out positive information that has been learned & spread all over the World and used by many peoples and cultures for millenia now!

    Some things here that I had never heard,read or known about before,that helps out a lot.

  • monique

    it's nice to know that the ankh is truly and african symbol. it apears in many different african cultures. like in west africa amongest the akan-asante-ppl they have a fante doll statue shaped like an ankh which symbolizes life and fertility. i've also seen it to be an adinkra symbol which is associated with the akan ppl. in the united states the ankh is promoted to be only of egyptian origins. but, when you go to any africa shop you will see the ankh promoted as an africa symbol.

    • Angela


      If you ask them, many West Africans who practice traditional religions will tell you freely that their gods and symbols have their origin in ancient Egypt, so Egypt is very important to ALL African people. There were various African tribes who contributed to the establishment of that particular civilization. The Twa people were definitely among them. (The Twa were all throughout Asia and Europe as well.) Howbeit, many scholars of African antiquity believe that ancient Egypt was “our best performance AS A PEOPLE.” I believe this wholeheartedly. However, when Mizraim was conquered by the Arabs, it is quite obvious to me that many of the original inhabitants fled south of the Sahara and spread elements of their languages and religion wherever they went. This may be how the ankh and sun cross ended up in Western and Southern Africa. If you listen carefully, you can hear strong Hebrew influence in various West African words. Hebrew is an African language, a Phoenician dialect which has its origins in ancient Egyptian. To me, Loa sounds a lot like Eloha, the Hebrew word for god. It was VERY interesting to read what Mr. Mutwa has said about the “perfect cross” (Celtic) and of the ankh or “unsaid cross”. The unsaid cross was carried by an Egyptian goddess known as Iusaaset who was closely associated with the acacia tree of life. The acacia was valued for its healing properties. Another spelling for Iusaaset is “Jusas”. Sounds a lot like “Jesus”, doesn’t it? Incidentally the Greek word “Iaso” means “to heal.” Iusaaset was a healing power. I ardently believe that she and Auset-Meri (a.k.a. Isis; a.k.a. Virgin Mary; a.k.a. Iaso – a minor Greek goddess.) to be one and the same. Jesus “the healer/savior” is merely her male aspect (Heru/Osiris). Many African traditionalists will tell you that their gods ascended from the heavens as androgynous beings. Please forgive me if you already know this. I don’t mean to sound like a “know-it-all.” I just wanted to share what I’ve learned from my own studies thus far.

      Peace and Blessings

      • Angela

        I meant to say that the gods DESCENDED to earth. And Iusaaset was considered the grandmother of all Gods, meaning that she created the first gods and watched over the birth of later gods. She is a very ancient deity who is closely associated with Amen. She may have been an aspect of Amaunet, the female counterpart of Amen whose name we were taught to seal our prayers with in both Christianity and Islam. Amen has no beginning or end. It is an androgynous being represented by the sun. Iusaaset was represented by the moon. The ankh or unsaid cross is their symbol for life. So the story appears to be the same all throughout Africa…until the missionaries came.

  • Baphelile

    Words can never express my gratitude for this information. I was born and raised in South Africa, Johannesburg in a township called Alexandra (which is older than the famous Soweto township, known for the Youth Uprising against the “old” aparteihd government) but I never knew the information on this article. I was given a gift of your book Indaba My Children and now I know why, as a recentrly initiated Sangoma myself, I know that I have a lot to learn from you and from my African culture as I feel I can never move forward without knowin (fully understnading) my past and where I come from. Thokoza Dhlozi! Ngiyabonga kakhulu Baba Mutwa.