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Hlulani Rivah Masingi
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Masingi…The Great Serpent?!

12 March 2014, 16:33

Garingani wa Garingani….

Once upon a time there was the great healer, Masingi!!! He lived down in a deep hole that lay in the center of a beautiful clean dwelling. It is said that he could bring anyone who has a death posing illness back to health.

One day, in the household of Mashava, the head of the house Khazamula fell seriously ill; he became so ill that he could not even eat vuswa anymore (vuswa is porridge or pap in Xitsonga). His family tried everything they could to help him, nothing they did for him helped him. But luckily, Khazamula was blessed with five brave & strong sons so the family had many hands for assistance.

Khazamula's wife, the mother of the five sons, asked her children to go to Masingi, the great healer so that they ask him to restore their father back to health. The five children all heard their mother's request, and so the eldest brother, Xitetemba, set out to Masingi's home.

Now, everyone who visited Masingi had to sing to him, for he lived very deep down inside a deep dark cave and could hear very little. So the eldest approached the outside of Masingi's dwelling, knelt down and sang to Masingi to come out and heal his father. Masingi heard the young man's beautiful yet sorrowful song, then he gathered all his herbs and charms. He came up from his very deep home, exiting his beautiful dwelling toward Xitetemba.

Xitetemba saw Masingi, the great healing snake come out of his cave, and before he could sing his next verse, he quickly got up, turned and ran home for fear of the creature. When he got home, his family asked Xitetemba what had caused him to run home with such haste and without Masingi the healer. He tried to explain his fear, tried to explain what he saw. But because of being irritated, they would not listen to him for they were too busy accusing him of wanting his father to lick heaven. Since no one would listen to him, he kindly told them to send another person.

Magezi, the second oldest of the brothers agreed to find Masingi. He, too, ran home at the very sight of the terrifying snake, and the people scolded him too for running. The third son, Giyani, then set out to bring back Masingi; yet, he also fled home. The fourth son, Malamulele, did likewise. It seemed that no one could bring back Masingi.

It was then the fifth son Matirhumi, volunteered to go to Masingi to bring him back to heal his father. To his father, he was the favorite son, though he was the youngest. His brothers warned him that if they failed, he would not succeed either. But he resolved to try.

Matirhumi, unlike his four brothers before him, stood afar off from the dwelling. From there, he sang to Masingi, who gathered up his herbs and charms and came up through his hole and out from his dwelling. Unlike his brothers, Matirhumi resisted the urge to flee like but remained still and loked upon Masingi approach him. Slowly, Masingi slithered towards Matirhumi, then he stopped at his feet. Matirhumi showed no fear and continued to sing Masingi's song, and Masingi curled around Matirhumi’s shoulders. With the serpent wrapped around him, Matirhumi walked home without fear, still singing the song.

His family saw him coming from a far distance and they immediately knew why the other brothers had fled. The villagers also ran for their lives as Matirhumi and Masingi approached! It was just the three of them when he finally got to his father’s hut.

Masingi unwrapped himself from Matirhumi and took up his herbs and charms. The great healing snake looked at Maringana, and provided him with medicine, he licked his skin with his forked tongue. As the great healer worked, those who fled before, crept back towards the hut. From farther, they asked Matirhumi what snake he had brought back with him to his father. Matirhumi yelled back that the snake was Masingi the healer, and there was nothing to fear. Khazamula recovered his strength and his family held a feast with vuswa, lots of meats and Xikwembu-Nteki (Xikwembu-Nteki means God Take Me, it is a home-made beer slightly similar to Umqomboti).

Masingi stayed for only at the Mashava household for a few days and said his goodbyes. The people gave him herds and flocks in thanks, and without fear this time, a great number of them accompanied him back to his home, singing with Matirhumi, who again carried Masingi on his shoulders. As Matirhumi parted from the great serpent, Masingi gave him more herbs to use should his father fall sick again, and he reminded the boy that, should he need more, he could come back to Masingi, the great healing snake and sing for him. To this day, Khazamula remains proud of the bravery of his youngest son.

Pthuu Choyoyo!!! Xa mina i Bazi ro Famba hi ku Rhula!

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