Guest Author - Dawn Denton
The ‘Children of Woot’, or the Kuba people, have their home in central Africa, today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. The Kuba people have a strong belief system that consists of nature spirits, spirits of dead kings, witchcraft, reincarnation and most importantly Mbombo or Bumba, the creator god or the Sky Father.
Mbombo was a giant, white entity who was alone in the darkness on an earth that consisted of only water. One day he felt an intense pain in his stomach and suddenly expelling the sun, moon, stars and planets from his mouth. The warmth from the sun dried the earth and clouds appeared.
Again Mbombo vomited. This time he expelled nine animals: a big black cat (Tsetse Bumba), a crocodile (Ganda Bumba), an eagle (Ponga Bumba), a fish (Yo Bumba), a goat (called Budi), a white heron (Nyanyi Bumba), a leopard (Koy Bumba), a tortoise (Kono Bumba) and a scarab. These creatures each played their role in the birth of all animal life on our planet. The heron gave birth to all the flying birds except for the kite, the scarab the insects, the crocodile the snakes and iguana, and the goat all the horned animals.
He vomited again. This time he expelled men and along with Earth Mother (who gave the Kuba people the art of mat weaving) Mbombo had nine children of his own. His sons decided they would like to help their father and complete Creation. The first to take on the task was Nyonye Ngana who brought forth white ants. Sadly he died soon afterwards and as a sign of respect the ants dug deep into the earth to bury him and helped to change the barren land to fertile soil. Chonganda created the first plant which led to the growth of the trees, flowers and grasses. Chedi Bumba created the last bird, the kite.
Life on earth was flourishing, but the big black cat, Tsetse Bumba, which had a volatile temperament, was misbehaving and Mbombo banished him to eternity in the sky as the thunderbolt. But Mbombo was proud of what he had achieved and presented his creation to mankind. He appointed Loko Yima as “god upon the earth” and withdrew to heaven to rest. The woman of the waters was Nchienge and her son Woto became the first king of the Kuba people, the divine ruler, father of fertility and the link with Mbombo, the creator.
Today, Woot, the first human being, and another son of Mbomba, is the most revered as he was responsible for naming each human, the plants and the animals, and is seen as the father of the Kuba civilization. The two youngest of his nine sons gave the world the skills of sharpening tools. This tragically introduced evil into the Kuba community when the sharpened tools were used for bad deeds.
Mbombo is not formally worshiped, but he remains a figure of recognition, respect and admiration as he was responsible for giving the Kuba kingdom their rich oral history and sense of community and kinship.