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TREES ARE SACRED: A Case of Nakonde’s Muzombo tree

Yohane Mbeeya Moono

At the height of the creation, God had ensure that the earth’s surface was covered in vegetation. Part of that vegetation were trees. These trees came into being by God’ s sacred command which meant that they were a source of life for the tree itself and the surrounding it is found in.

In African tradition, the significance of trees cannot be overemphasized. Trees provide a good breathe of fresh air to mankind during the summer when temperatures tend to reach fever pitch. Apart from that, trees are a source of shelter for both humans and animals. Birds tend to put their nests in trees because they feel it is safe in the trees.

Furthermore, trees are played an important role in the development of trade in the African society. Many recognized trade sites where Africans conduct their trade with different groups of traders often had a tree in the surrounding. This was to make it easy for the traders to recognise the location of the trade site.Sites such as the Big Fig Tree in the heart of Kabwe and The Ing’ombe Illede in Siavonga served such purposes.

Different tree species in different locations of different parts of the continent did host markets. Therefore, it must be noted that trees have always been of great economic value to the continue. These trees were and are still being sold as timber and are used for all different beneficial purposes.

Slaves were often traded under such trees like the earlier mentioned Big Fig Tree in Kabwe which is a national monument. This is because the significance of the tree has been historical underpinned. Different parts of the country have such sacred trees that are worth of preserving for national and cultural heritage.

Big tree species like the fallen Muzombo tree of Nakonde were often used for spiritual purposes. Traditional leaders often preferred to house their shrines on such trees so that the citizens of that particular area would easily know the location of the sacred traditional shrine. Shrines under such trees often define what the African religion is based on.

The Muzombo tree of Nakonde albeit now fallen has so many legendary stories about it.The tree was brought down in 2019 to pave way for the construction of the Nakonde-Kanyala Road connecting Zambia and Malawi on the North-eastern side of the country. Nakonde has never been the same ever since the tree was cut. Reaching the site of the fallen Muzombo tree feels as though a part of who we as Zambians and Africans is dead. Therefore, in the fallen state, the tree needs to be preserved and stories about the mighty Muzombo tree documented for posterity.

Furthermore, the cutting down of the tree meant that the history attached to this legendary tree will be lost in oblivion and the young generations will never know why the Muzombo tree was so revelled by the adult generations before them. One of the legendary story about the Muzombo tree is that the tree was never pierced by an axe. Each time one tried to place an axe in the tree, the axe would get broken or remain stuck in the tree. The tree was therefore regard as a sacred tree and its eventual cut down meant a piece of important national history being thrown away.
Such trees are a rare sight and should always be preserved as a national monument and for cultural heritage.

African and Zambian history can never and will be complete without the mention of how sacred and important trees have and will always be of who Africans and Zambians are.

Climate Change negative effects have befallen this generation because our lack of environmental intelligence on how important trees to the maintenance of the ecosystem and biodiversity.

Trees will forever be a sacred place for the posterity of humans and the earth.

Picture: Taken in 2019 when the tree was brought down


Published by MyWritings

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

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