Islam in Ancient Africa: Part Three


THE first whites were referred to by our ancestors as veganda-jena (white-skinned), vasinamabvi (those without knees) because whites came wearing trousers to a land of hot climate.
Whites were called vapembepfumi (wealth plunderers) because they plundered the wealth of the blacks they found in these lands.
Whites were also called varoyi (witches) because blacks always thought it a bad omen for one to dream of a white man as it was a sign of witchcraft.
Although these names may seem derogatory now, they are more appropriate for the white man than the name murungu.
Murungu is derived from ‘MuLungu’ which literally means ‘Lord’ and is an ancient name for our Creator.
The word is used all the way from Kenya to Zimbabwe and this is evidence that the use of the word predates the coming of the Europeans into Africa.
The Sena in Malawi still call on Mwari as ‘MuLungu’.
However, they call the white man muzungu just as the case with Tanzania (Tanganyika). In Remba culture, MuLungu means Mwari and the name mulungu is given to Remba men.
When a Remba man is being called people simply say ‘mulungu’, ‘mushavi’ or ‘weZhou’.
In China, the Lord is symbolised by a mighty dragon which is dominant in the sky, on the land and in the seas.
The Chinese name for Lord is ‘Long’ which is identical to ‘MuLungu’ and the Chinese gave this title to their Emperors because their kings had a strong connection with God and were considered divine.
The dragon was used as a symbol for their kings and also sages.
In Gongfu (kungfu) philosophy, the complete man is the manifestation of the long (lord) and the likes of Bruce Lee were named after “long”.
Bruce Lee’s Chinese name was Li Xiao Long and this meant “Li the little lord/ sage/ dragon”.
The word “long” is interchangeable with “she” in China and this corresponds with the Shona use of the word “Ishe”.
She means Lord in Zimbabwe and is attributed to our God and also the lords among mankind.
In ancient Hebrew “Ish” meant Prince and can be found in the name Israel which meant Prince of the Lord.
The use of the word murungu while making reference to a white man is a recent adaptation by blacks which has been forced upon them over generations by their white oppressors who disliked their original titles which I listed earlier.
The whites worked very hard to put an end to the now seemingly derogatory names that blacks had given them.
Even in English, the original names of the Caucasian white man were Barbarians, Vandals and so on.
Why should they then score a name like murungu in our lands where the whites have committed some of the most gruesome acts in history towards blacks?
The whites did not only seek out a good name for themselves but they also sought to demonise the names that empowered the blacks.
A good example is the demonisation of the n’anga.
First, n’anga was the Shona word for prophet/ priest in Zimbabwe.
The word muporofita is simply the English word of ‘prophet’ when spoken in the Shona tongue.
The Christian missionaries demonised the n’anga and called him a heathen and witch doctor so as to weaken the influence of these spiritual men who are also known as sages or saints.
The Christian missionaries also demonised the word mhondoro when it is the Shona word for angel.
The word angel is Hebrew for ‘powers of the Lord’.
In Remba culture, the most honourable title a man can be called is mhondoro.
For instance, great men like our President Robert Mugabe are commonly spoken of as mhondoro because their works prove that the Lord is behind them.
Such men were the ideal kings of our ancestors and hun’anga, humhondoro and husvikiro were usually the foundations to the royalty of a lineage.
Chaminuka was, but a regular man, but he became a lord solely because of his spiritual powers.
The word n’anga is not only found in Zimbabwe, but can be found with the same meaning in lands as far as Ethiopia, India and Cambodia.
The whites realised the strength and influence of the ancient blacks.
How they were connected by common cultures and names such as n’anga (naga) and mulungu (long) regardless of great distance and time.
The whites then sought to dismantle this strong cultural and linguistic structure by way of demonising the words which empowered the blacks.
This is why the whites called the blacks they enslaved from West Africa niggers and Negros.
This was to make the word n’anga (naga) seem derogatory to blacks so that they would abhor it and not search out its meaning.
In Ethiopia, the Falasha (strangers) who are also known as Beta Israel are kinsmen of the Remba and from them comes the Negus (King).
Ras Tafari was the last ruler of their kingdom of whom many of us may know of. For thousands of years, the Falasha people were affectionately referred to as the Buddha (Enlightened ones) and this was an empowering name until the European missionaries demonised that name through the Christian churches.
Today the word Buddha in Ethiopia has been degraded to almost mean witch, and this is also what the European missionaries tried to do with the word n’anga in Zimbabwe.
In Mberengwa, it is not uncommon to hear people say; “VaRemba varoyi.”
VaRemba follow mapira and carry out initiation ceremonies on sacred mountains. VaRemba had been portrayed as heathens by European missionaries because they refused to denounce their culture for Western Christianity.
In Mberengwa we had the Lutheran Church and it banned VaRemba from attending their schools solely because of their cultural resilience.
VaRemba were only allowed to attend school in 1959, but until then VaRemba had been isolated and were almost made outcasts.
VaRemba resorted to great secrecy in order to survive the trying period of colonisation.
As the world is now getting enlightened on its transcendent history, VaRemba are beginning to unveil the truth behind their story which has been enshrouded in great myth.


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