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Walumbe's Fatal Admonition


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(Ganda/Uganda)

Walumbe was the god of death, the brother-in-law of Kintu, the first king; he lived with his father, Gulu (Mugulu), in the sky. The king alone made offerings to this god, and he only did so at the bidding of the other gods in order to prevent Death from killing the people wholesale. Each king, when crowned, sent an offering to Walumbe to appease him. The souls of the dead had to go to Ntanda, where Walumbe's temple was located, to give an account of their deeds; when they had done this, they were free to return to their own families, to be near the graves in which their bodies were laid.

Mpobe was a hunter. He hunted rats with his dogs one day, and, after a long chase, pursued the rats into a large hole. Deep in the hole, he saw people, a garden, houses. He kept going and finally came to Walumbe, Death, who allowed him to return to his home—with the admonition that he must not speak about the place. But at his mother's urging, he told her of his experience in the land of the dead. That evening, he heard Death calling him. He kept putting Death off, finally hiding in the forest. Death allowed him to remain alive until he had settled his affairs and consumed his property, and then Death took him. See also: Kintu.

Subjects: Religion.


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