The precise origin of the Dogon,
like those of many other ancient cultures, is undetermined. Their civilization
emerged, in much the same manner as ancient Sumer, both sharing tales of their
creation by gods who came from the sky in space ships, who allegedly will return
one day. The early histories are informed by oral traditions that differ
according to the Dogon clan being consulted and archaeological excavation much
more of which needs to be conducted. Because of these inexact and incomplete
sources, there are a number of different versions of the Dogon's origin myths as
well as differing accounts of how they got from their ancestral homelands to the
Bandiagara region. The people call themselves 'Dogon' or 'Dogom', but in the
older literature they are most often called 'Habe', a Fulbe word meaning
'stranger' or 'pagan'. Certain theories suggest the tribe to be of ancient
Egyptian descent - the Dogon next migrating to the region now called Libya, then
moving on to somewhere in the regions of Guinea or Mauritania.
Around 1490 AD, fleeing
invaders and/or drought, they migrated to the Bandiagara cliffs of central Mali.
Carbon-14 dating techniques used on excavated remains found in the cliffs
indicate that there were inhabitants in the region before the arrival of the
Dogon. They were the Toloy culture of the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC, and the
Tellem culture of the 11th to 15th centuries AD. The religious beliefs of the
Dogon are enormously complex and knowledge of them varies greatly within Dogon
society. Dogon religion is defined primarily through the worship of the
ancestors and the spirits whom they encountered as they slowly migrated from
their obscure ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara cliffs. They were called the
'Nommo' There are three principal cults among the Dogon; the Awa, Lebe and Binu.
The Awa is a cult of the dead, whose purpose is to reorder the spiritual forces
disturbed by the death of Nommo, a mythological ancestor of great importance to
Call it magic, juju, voodoo, traditional medicine. Shehu Sani, President of Kaduna based Civil Rights Congress (CRC), prefers to call it "spiritualism and African artistry".Whatever it is called that traditional medicine men or marabouts were convened at the Transcorp Hilton to do, Shehu Sani's CRC asked them to put Western technology to shame by detecting where four year-old Madeleine McCann is, and who her kipnapper is.These spiritualists, to provide sacrificial animals for whom between N40,000 and N50,000 was expended, are going to come out with a declaration tomorrow, at the expiration of the one week they asked to complete their search. They were gingered by Shehu Sani, who, saying thatsince Western technology has failed to locate the little girl, urged them to surprise the world.
Portuguese police have also taken a cue and have turned to psychics and
How-ever, whereas the Policia JudiciÃ¡ria had two
dossiers of apparent visions and psychic sightings of Madeleine,
placing her at locations across the world, the Nigerian or African
spiritualists maintained that the girl is still in Portugal. The media
have reported a series of raids on London homes but there were no
traces of the missing girl. It was not clear whether a "vision" was the
source of information that led to Portuguese police asking their
English counterparts to raid a home in London.
The Post Chronicle reported
that already a top psychic, Diane Lazarus, who said she knew where the
girl is, the people she iswith, and that they have changed her clothes
and are moving her around, has traveled from South Wales to Portugal to
help find the girl.
The British girl was
abducted from her bed in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where her
parents were holidaying a month ago, trigg-ering a huge search that has
taken Kate and Gerald McCann across a number of European countries.
They met with Spanish interior mini-ster and were blessed by the Pope.
When Madeleine was taken
away, her parents had gone out to dinner with a number of friends, one
of whom thought she saw a man carrying a child wearing clothes that
matched those worn by the girl at the time. The friend, who arrived
late for the dinner, said she did not realise the import of what she
saw until thirty minutes when Kate McCann went to check on the girl and
her brother and sister. The Portuguese police,however, d......
From an interview with Credo Mutwa : Zulu Shaman, World renown traditional healer, Zulu
Sangoma and High Sanusi
In many western countries, when an old person dies it is simply the death of
an old human being who has gone through life and whose days on earth now come to
an end. But in Africa, the death of an elder- an old man or an old woman,
becomes a supreme disaster because in the mind of that elder often carries
knowledge passed down from parent to child. Knowledge that is not only valuable
to Africa and her children, but to human kind as a whole. No matter where you go
in Africa, no matter how deep into the interior of the dark continent you tread,
you will find very ancient stories which are incredibly similar. You will find
African tribes and races who will tell you that they are descendants from gods
who came out of the skies thousands of years ago. Some however say that theses
gods came to them from the sea in magical boats made out of reeds or wood or
copper or even gold.
In some cases these gods and goddesses are described as
beautiful human beings whose skins were either bright blue or green or even
silver. But most of the time you will find it being said these great gods,
especially the ones that came out of the sky were non human, scaly creatures,
which lived most of the time in mud or in water. Creatures of an extremely
frightening and hideously ugly appearance. Some say that these creatures were
like crocodiles, with crocodile like teeth and jaws, but with very large round
heads. Some say that these creatures are very tall beings with snake like heads,
set on long thin necks, very long arms and very long legs. There are those that
tell us that these gods who came from the skies travelled through the lend in
magical boats made of bright metal, silver, copper or gold. Boats which had the
ability to sail over water or even to fly through the sky like birds. It is
further said that some of these sky gods carried their souls in little bags
which hung from their belts. These souls being in the form spheres of crystals
clear material. Spheres which could float about in the air, and which emitted a
dazzling light. A light which could illuminate an entire village at night...
There are no Christmas decorations, the radio stations are still playing hip-hop and rap and some children recoil at an image of Santa decrying it as evil."His costume looks phoney and his face is strange," says eight-year-old Ifunanya Chima when shown a picture of the benign bearded old man in his trademark red cloak with white fur trimmings. "We prefer masquerades," he told me referring to the traditional colourful dancing which is a big part of the festive season here.And there is also hope of a white-ish Christmas in this sub-Saharan West African country. For a dusty harmattan haze hangs over most of the country as the north-east trade wind sweeps in from the Sahara Desert.
Markets across the country are heaving with punters hoping to net late bargains.
Soon, the major cities will
become ghost cities as most people return to their native villages to
share the traditional "Christmas rice".
"I can't spend Christmas in Abuja," says Nick Ibechukwu who owns a business in Nigeria's capital city.
"I have to go back to my
village in the east to join the rest of my family and relatives because
this is the only time in the year that we get to see one another."
Christmas in Nigeria is a
time for new clothes, long distancetravels for family reunions, and
lots of colourful masquerade dances in most villages.
And for now, it does not matter that half of Nigeria's 130 million people are Muslims with a handful of pagans.
At Christmas, most
Nigerians forget their religious differences and just share their
Christmas rice - a dish of boiled rice eaten with very spicy chicken
"I celebrate Christmas because it's a time for loads of fun," says Ibrahim Idris, a Muslim in Abuja.
Christmas clothes take the
place of Christmas gifts as excited children and adults try to outdo
one another in showing off their best wear during the festive season.
There are big retreats for
Nigeria's fast-growing Pentecostal Christian sects,b.......