MYTHOLOGICAL ZAMBIA


By
Moono John

A myth by definition is a story that usually explains some things about the world and involved gods and other supernatural beings.A myth is also said to be a classic or legendary story that usually focuses on a particular hero or event and explains mysteries of nature, existence or the universe with no true basis in fact Myths are deeply connected to the traditions and religious beliefs of the culture that produced them. A myth often explain certain aspects of life, comes from or why people die.
Myths have been a huge part of oral, written and visual story telling in many literally works for thousands of years. Humans have always used myths to explain natural phenomena and life’s mysteries. For example, in Greek and Roman mythology, myths served as both science and religion in both cultures for centuries.
Myths among Zambians are so sacred and are not to be questioned by any stretch of imagination
For example, here are some of the major myths in the Zambian culturally sphere.
The ‘Nyami Nyami’ is a River god in the Zambezi river and is believed by the Tonga people as their protector. His initial home being the site where the Kariba Dam is today. Nyami Nyami was angered by the construction of the Dam as that displaced him. He unleashed a great flood in 1957 which led to the death of 17 people who were working on the construction of the Dam.



Additionally, the Lungu people in Northern Zambia believe in the water Spirit of Kapembwa who stays in Kapembwa village. Kapembwa is said to be the protector of travellers across the Lake Tanganyika and in the past it is believed that virgins were thrown off the cliff into the Lake to appease the Spirit of Kapembwa.
Furthermore, Kitabo the water mermaid resides in the Kafue River and does protect the children from waves and rapids, swallowing only those who are not virtuous, especially those not offering sacrifices.
The Tabwa people of Northern Zambia have a sacred place known as the Balancing Stones in the Nsumbu National Park near the shores of Lake Tanganyika where the fishing god resides. Fishermen usually have a ceremony before the fishing season seeking good fortune from the fishing god
Ntumbacushi Falls are a series of falls in Luapula Province where the Chishinga people have a sacred space and believe that the water from there has the ability to rid whoever bathes in it of bad luck. Future Chiefs are said to bathe in it for the same reason before their installation as Chiefs
Lake Kashiba a sunken lake in Mpongwe on the Copperbelt. The lake is believed to be home of ‘Ichitapa or Isoka Ikulu’ a monster that preys on the shadows of men, paralysing them and causing them to fall into the Lake and bodies are never recovered.
The Spirit of Mutumuna is found on the Chishimba Falls of Kasama District in Northern Zambia. The Spirit of Mutumuna is said to be living south of the falls in the shrine. Chitemwene is the Chief Priest who tenders the shrine making a fire that never goes out. Visitors to the Mutumuna Falls are forbidden from insulting each other, having sexual intercourse or fighting around the falls premises as a way of respecting the Spirit of Mutumuna.

Some of the other most common myths that make rounds in the Zambian society are:
A pregnant woman is not supposed to eat eggs because she will end up giving birth a child with a bald head.
If one wants to have a bald head, you just to cut your hair and smear eggs in the head and your head will permanently be bald.
Do not whistle at night otherwise one of your family members will go to join the ancestors.
Never call the name of a colleague when you are in the bush lest witches and wizards gets his or her name for bewitching later in the night.
Eating using your left hand is a curse.
Ants are good medicine for stomach ache.
If you are experiencing a stomach ache, just rub your stomach against the wall and the stomach ache will go.
Standing while your friends are seated is never encouraged among peers. It is believed that the one standing is sucking the blood of those that are seated

Myths form part of the rich oral literature that is old and is down from generation to generation. Before, the computer era, these statements were never questioned and were regarded to be very sacred as they had some religious connections in some cases.

Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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