Overview

Kalumba Forges the Sun


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(Luba/DRCongo)

Kalumba (Sendwe Mwlaba) is the creator god.

In the beginning, Kalumba came from the east and was the one who forged the sun. He is black and resembles man. He sits far away from the earth; the sky is near in comparison. Kalumba was alone. He took a stick and held it in his arms. He said, “My child.” He carved a stick in human form. He stood it up. Kalumba (also the word for wind) blew on the stick. The carved form walked. This carved form had no name. After walking, it bore twins. Kalumba showed them things for food.

Sendwe Mwlaba sent two people, a man called Kinbaka-Baka and a woman called Kinbumba-Bumba, the parents of all mankind, to spy out the land to the west. They found it all dark, all night, and returned to report this. The moon was in the sky, but it became necessary for Kalumba to forge the sun. They slept, and saw only the moon. They said that where they had come from there was light, that they would return home and bring the sun. They went back to report. They said, “Give us a sun, we will go and wash the land.” They washed the land, and could see one another. They brought a dog, named Kalala Kabwa; they brought birds that make a noise before sunrise. They brought a fire-making stone and iron. They brought with them the power of reproduction, ngoya (God had earlier created Ngoya, the queen ant), for animals, plants, and people. There were many small rivers. Kalumba, the creator, sent the names for them.

These first people in the land had two children, twins, a boy and a girl. Kalumba knew that both Life and Death, wrapped up in grass cloth and tied to a pole as if for burial, would pass along the path to try to reach the people. So he appointed Dog and Goat to guard the path in order to allow Life to pass, but not Death. Kalumba, the creator, sent both Dog and Goat to guard the path. He said, “Go, lie on the path.” Dog said, “I shall not go to sleep while I am guarding!” Dog and Goat talked crossly to each other. Goat said, “If you undertake to guard the path, you will surely fall asleep!” Dog said, “No, I shall not sleep.” Goat said, “See how I jump around. I am lively, I could not possibly fall asleep.” Finally, Goat's feelings were hurt, and he went home, leaving Dog to guard by himself. Dog stayed there to guard the path. He made a fire—and went to sleep. Then Death slipped past him. When Goat returned, they swore at each other because of what had happened. Next day, Goat watched. He did not sleep on the path as he was guarding. Life came along, and Goat caught him. People said, “If Goat had watched, Death would have been intercepted.” Dog cursed Goat, saying, “You have ears far apart, and horns between.” Goat cursed Dog, saying, “You have shiny eyes that are always looking for something to steal.”

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Subjects: religion.


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