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Mwuetsi


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Africa

In the mythology of the Makoni tribe of Zimbabwe, the primeval man and the moon, Mwuetsi. The sky god Maori created Mwuetsi, gave him a horn filled with ngona oil, and put him to live at the bottom of a lake, but Mwuetsi insisted that he moved to the earth. When he discovered that the earth was desolate, without grasses, bushes, trees, and animals, Mwuetsi wept bitterly. ‘I tried to warn you’, said Maori. ‘You have started on a path at the end of which you shall die. I will, however, give you one of your kind for two years.’ Thus was created Massassi, a maiden and the morning star; he also let her have a fire-maker. With the aid of Mwuetsi's horn of ngona oil Massassi bore grasses, bushes, and towering trees. They lived in plenty till the time came for Massassi's departure. The distress of Mwuetsi was so great that Maori decided to give him another woman; she was called Morongo, the evening star. From their union came chickens, sheep, goats, cattle, and children. Although told of his impending death and warned not to produce further offspring, Mwuetsi still slept with Morongo. As a result she gave birth to lions, leopards, snakes, and scorpions. Afterwards Morongo preferred the snake and Mwuetsi turned to his daughters, but one day he forced Morongo and the snake bit him. Then Mwuetsi sickened; rain did not fall; plants withered; streams ran dry; animals and people died. From the hakata,‘sacred dice’, Mwuetsi's children learned their sick father should return to the primeval lake. They strangled Mwuetsi, buried him, and chose a new king. Later Morongo was buried near his grave.

This is a myth of the development of the world. Ngona oil is potent stuff, connected with lightning, the quickening spark of life. Another Makoni legend tells how a king once broke the horns from the moon. New horns appeared immediately, but mankind was left in possession of two mysterious ngona horns. Mwuetsi continued on his way to death, like the temporarily injured moon, leaving in his children's hands the custody of the world.

Subjects: Religion.


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