Likuube's Jealous Wife Originates Death

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(Nyamwezi, Sukuma, Sumbwa/Tanzania)

Likuube, the supreme being, a very remote spirit, created the world. He is also called Limi (Sun) and Kilya Matunda (Creator).

He created a man and a woman who lived in Mwirunde, in heaven above the earth. They descended from there in the form of rain. They multiplied, dispersed, and populated the earth.

A powerful creator, Kilya Matunda, made all things, including stones, plants, animals—and finally two women, Nabashindi and Nashingo, whom he married. Nabashindi was clever at basket making, Nashindo made pottery. One day the two women, wanting to display their skill, produced perfect examples of their art. They called their husband to judge. Kilya Matunda, impressed with both the basket and the pot, and uncertain as to which of the two he should give the prize, decided to test the durability of the two pieces. He threw the basket and then the pot to the floor. Nabashindi, having won the contest, became the favorite wife of Kilya Matunda. She died first, and he buried her in her house, remaining there day and night, pouring water over the grave. When Nashingo brought him food, she put it in front of the door because she was not allowed to enter the house. A plant grew on the grave of Nabashindi, and when Kilya saw it, he was pleased, knowing now that she had not died, that life is immortal. He left the house one day to collect fuel, and when Nashingo saw this, she entered the house to satisfy her curiosity. She was surprised when she saw the plant on the grave. She realized that it was Nabashindi, and took a hoe and destroyed it. Blood came out of the stem and filled the room.

Subjects: Religion.

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