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Mulungu and the Emergence of Life from a Termite Hole


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(Kamba/Kenya)

The creator of all things, Mulungu gives good things to all humankind. He is invisible: it is not known what he looks like or where he lives.

Of the first men, one pair, a man and a woman, came out of a termite hole. Another pair, a man and his wife, were thrown down by Mulungu from the clouds, bringing with them a cow, a goat, and a sheep. They fell down on the rock Nsaue, southeast of Kilungu, and there built a village. Both pairs had children, who married among themselves and formed new families. From some of their descendants came Kamba clans; others gave origin to the Masai, the Kikuyu. On Nsaue are seen some marks in the rock, which are said to be the footprints of the first men and their cattle; there are also said to be marks of the stool of the head of the family. The first human beings who came up out of the termite hole had various kinds of seeds in their left hands. The first seed was put into the ground in small open places. They did not understand how to work at or loosen the ground. One year, when they wished to sow again, a huge tree had fallen and was found lying over one of the small fields. With great effort, they succeeded in getting the tree away, then they sowed the field. When the crop was ripe, it was found that the plants at the place where the big tree had fallen were much more vigorous than at other places, because the soil there was looser. There were also less weeds. From this arose the idea of loosening the soil with a stick, and in this way came the digging stick.

Man was originally to live forever, but the chameleon, which Mulungu sent to announce the news, lingered on the way and stammered when delivering the message. Meanwhile, Mulungu sent a weaver bird, which flew swiftly and told people that they would henceforth die and disappear like the roots of the aloe tree. Then humans began to die. But the dead continue to live in another world, a world that is similar to that of the living. See also: Ngai.

Subjects: Religion.


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