Book 1, Chapter 8

[73]                  About the priests of their idols, sacrifices and cere­monies, and the way and manner in which each one of those exercises his diabolical office  Chapter VIII[1]

There is no kingdom without a king, laws, customs, nor a republic without a government, nor laws without a law-giver nor captain without a company, nor a parish priest without parishio­ners.  This barbarous Giaga people and also the non-Giagas have laws and customs like a kingdom even though they have no king, government like a republic, laws and law-givers, captains and companies, parish priests and parishioners and these are the heads and priests of their idols and congregations where like teachers they teach their congregants what they ought to do and observe to emerge as perfect observers of their laws, rites, customs and ceremonies.  Therefore, friendly readers, I will begin to describe in a simple style the madness of these teachers and satraps so that their trickery should be known by whoever wants to be of use to the souls of these Ethiopians and supposing that among them there is no first nor second with all that I start with the priest who is called by these people by his duty, is called the rain and comes to be called ganga ÿa inuulla that is priest of the rain.

1.  Ganga ÿa inuulla[2] Priest of the rain

The opinion which these ignorant barbarous heathens without the light of faith have, and also many who are new to it, is that the rain and the making of rain is in the hands and power of the king or lord who governs the kingdom or province[3] and they have recourse to him as if to worship him for this they also foolishly believe he has the power to punish them when he is dead as if he were alive, so when they find themselves in need of water, they go to the lord with some gift to ask for water. He goes to the tomb of their ancestor and with humble and loving manners asks on his vassal’s behalf for the grace they want and in order to move him more to concede it he goes on recapitulating as in little songs, singing [74] and retelling their heroic actions and if he is reluctant they assume it is because of hunger or thirst and pour on the tomb edible and drinkable things with various ceremo­nies until the rain comes, but it is to be noted that they do so at the customary time for the rain to come so as not to have their trickery discovered.  After they have taken in the harvest of vegetables and millet, which they cannot do without license and the first is the lord, who cuts it with a particular knife, they return to the grave to offer it as a deed of thanks pro gratiarum actione.[4] Others do differently, they tie up the reigning lord and conduct him to the grave of his ancestral lords and they force him to ask for rain, this does not consent to? their actions but with a tearful voice he demands to be released from the bonds in exchange for the concession of the much desired rain, or else they make this request by means of the priest, promising to make offerings on the fulfillment of the demand and each one who is made lord and who governs must have a similar minister and if one is lacking he must find one and pay him well according to custom.[5] This minister of Avernus and false priest makes his lies seem true, a place away from the tumult of the people at the top of some hill or on the banks of some river, or behind some wall or a stone under some special trees

*they go to the Lord with some gift, he then goes to the tomb…

called Mucumbi or Mupulu and a plant called muzequia [muzekwia] which comes to be the balsam from whose fruit they make oil.[6] Underneath these trees he keeps various pots full of water, wood and plants, and when he sees the sky covered with clouds, a manifest sign of rain; dressed in the bark of a tree beaten into the form of a piece of cloth and anointed with the juice of various plants and pounded charcoal and his body decorated with various garlands [girlande] composed of the above-mentioned plants he looks at the sign of thunder and lightning, if it appears on the right side extends his hand towards it to bring the rain as STET and if it is on the left he does the same and he goes on doing various devilish ceremonies until the rain comes, you can say it is because of good work or bad according to your convenience, and with this water refills his pots using it as holy water to dispense and make his ceremonies as if it were the water of Holy Saturday.  Other make use of small horns [75] which when sounded make the rain come and others do other things to fool the people.  These remain accepted with great profit, this is all on the priest who is so called, but as this foolish people attribute to the false priest who invokes the first inventor[7] of this diabolic art the honor and ? with they owe to Blessed God, it happens that he and they are severely punished as I have seen many times with my own eyes.  Now it remains to see the trickery of the priest who as his duty they say is to send the rain to go elsewhere when it is much of it so as not to damage the fields and he calls himself.

2. Ganga ya burilla auulla[8] [Nganga ya burila avula] Priest who orders the rain to go away.

When The rain is so abundant that it might damage the fields or raise up some impediment to some important business of theirs, they turn to the priest whose task it is to make it go elsewhere  These priests practice various ways of fooling the people; some of these liars take out the neck and tail feathers of a cock, and make them into a hyssop which is tied to the top end of a staff four to five palms high, together with the leaves of special trees, chew up some roots and sprinkle them on the hyssop and seeing the falling of rain they wave it about as if they wanted to ward off flies against the falling rain and also making a great fire, they spread the hyssop beside the fire throwing with water[9] and flour towards the rain saying to it that it should go elsewhere:  admire the insanity of the priests others with their bows, and with the handles of their knives on which they put animal tails and various powders of different plants and feathers of various birds and with these they threaten the rain so that it should go elsewhere.  Others divide it with their hands like a bishop when he gives the benediction and others do differently; they can be recognized as liars and prevaricators and others use small horns which they blow against the rain.  These priests are not able to enter forests of trees or houses during this time because they believe that an arrow? will kill them inside and not outside.  Others make it a rule not to wash themselves in the rainy season for fear of [76] death,[10] but as Blessed God is the one who gives rain when He wants and it pleases Him and equally holds it back at His pleasure, thus it comes about that these ministers cannot not ensure except when He wants and pleases; I have found myself very many times with similar priests and instead of their sending it elsewhere, it poured down strongly on us:  what is this if not Divine Virtue and in order to show up the lying tricksters.  The King D. Felipe of Maopongo called Angola arij King of Dongo, held to be a priest of the rain was in the province of Kisama with the Portuguese army in the year 1655[11] and ready to march against the enemy; a great rain fell, and when the General saw it he ordered the army to halt while the above mentioned king went out with his horns in the field and began to blow them against the rain in order to send it else­where.  These instruments did not have the strength to send it elsewhere but in order that all understood openly the trick Blessed God allowed the heavens to drop so much water that it soaked the king and the spectators of that lie and the and the general had to say “what a foolish king and what stupid specta­tors”, so that the king was scorned when they hoped to gain honors.  They also perform various ceremonies, but all are false and full of trickery to take money from people’s purses nor is there a lack of remedies for the way these makers of lies hide their evil because if the ceremonies do not work they incriminate those involved those present of some secret sin or lack of inobservance of some precept or the displeasure of some idol of theirs,[12] or of too small respect and reverence which they have and which renders them unworthy of rain.

3. Ganga ya Ita Priest of war[13]

There is much esteemed among these ignorant people one of their priests who is called priest of war.  This minister of Avernus to capture not only the general but also the soldiers makes, I say, various belts of the hide of an animal called Sengo[14] a local crocodile, and in these he puts the hides of various ferocious animals, human bones, human blood and having reduced it all to powder, they make their reliquaries? according to their virtue and power.  Others make an ointment of the above-mentioned things and stuff it into horns and the shells of turtles or hens (eggs?) to cure wounds something truly marvel­ous for I have seen hundreds cured with similar unguents? and regain their health and in certain occasions of war I saw two people pierced with spears or arrows [77] not only through the arm, but the chest and back and in a few days they recovered, others I have seen who were pierced in the arm, or the legs or thigh and they healed perfectly and in dangerous places.[15] It would be good for healing Europeans also if it did not involve invocating to the Devil and sacrifices to the first inventor of that art;? they give to each one precepts to keep such as to one not to eat [eggs], to others not to have intercourse with women and other things to others as if it does not work they can attribute the guilt to disobedience and to non-observation of the precept.  To others they give various powders to throw against their enemies, to others their Ibunghi[16] which are animals’ tails much esteemed amongst them, so that no one but officers and nobles can carry them and others do various other things and those unhappy people when many think of fleeing usually fall into the trap without seeing it and the minister on all counts is paid very well.  The first to take up the relics of this false priest is the general of the army and when he has to take them he causes the fire to be put out throughout the army then he takes up the quiuquo[17] which is a little piece of wood in which he makes a little hole able to re? the point of a stick the size of a finger which he agitates until it gives fire? and lights the string and this is their flint and steel and with this fire they light up the whole army as if it were the fire of Holy Saturday, first at the principal residence of the lord and officers, taking beside the fire a cord as I described in Chapter VII[18] and whoever trips over? [garbled] has his head cut off and they eat flesh and go about performing various Satanic ceremonies such as going to the rearguard and there they kill men and animals and spill human fat; the man must have a beard and equally they kill a gelded bull and a white hen and pour the blood into their military instrument called moquququo,[19]­ When function has been done if it is war time they play it and led by their general and animated by him armed with a bow and arrow made with great skill, in which there are various Diaboli­cal relics, all the work of the priest, they do various warlike acts; If it is not war time they practice various protections [78] against war, like giving [caria] to some plants to others various powders, to others pieces of wood, to others little horns, but o miserable people how many of them I have seen laden with similar things dying a thousand different deaths without these relics, and protections of their false priests being of the least use and these foolish tricked people do not attribute the victory to the Author of Life as they ought to:  but they attrib­ute it to their ancestors and the losses they assign to them also as if they had not been liberal and grateful enough to them and they try to show their repentance and placate them with sacrific­es and ask their pardon for the wrongs they have done and in order to not recommence their past wrongs:  they make large promises, something which many Christians do not do, being not only ungrateful to their creator, but also to the souls of their close relatives, giving them a funerals not of prayers and masses but of curses and insults and they will obtain stringent punish­ments and be subjected to the fearful final sentence, and these even though they are reprobate goats did not experience such rigorous punishment because they had less knowledge that they have of Blessed God.  This is all I can say honestly of this minister, using the required caution in writing so as not to contaminate the ears of the hearers and I pass on to another.

4. Ganga ya quibanda  Priest of  sacri­fices[20]

The ordinary way of the world is to give preeminence to the best and most honored, but one must give this diabolic minister primacy? not because he is the best and most honored, but for being the worst, as is the custom of Ethiopia and I too put him also in this place of ill-will in order to avoid offending not only my readers’ ears but also their sense of smell which would be scandalized by the sulfuric smell of Sodom and Gomorrah, but as I have promised to speak of each one I must keep my word.  This diabolic minister is called kibanda, goes about dressed in women’s clothes and is called by the name of mother, exercising the vice of Gomorrah worthy of eternal fire.[21] This man makes little belts and sagnus (?) snares? against lions made of croco­dile skins with various satanic relics inside and he sells these, things of which he has many and he gives to each one who buys them [79] precepts to keep because if they do not work he will have something to hide his lies and tricks, that is their trans­gression of the kishila? given them; not all of them do the above mentioned things because some are doctors who cure people, others practice various arts but all exercise the vice of Gomorrah.  When they make their sacrifices they dress like Pontiffs in various animal skins such as those of lions, tigers, wolves, dogs, etc. and various little bells which they call Pambas.[22] They also dress in many pieces of bark of a tree called bondo[23] beaten into the form of cloths, and so dressed they also up powder and beautify the face and beautify themselves with various colors, adorning themselves? with them, such as green, red, black, white and yellow they make the sacrifice,[24] killing a dog, a snake and a cock and they take the head of the first of these and they go to bury it to give proof of excellence of the master priest; if when asked where it is buried he points with his hand is held to be a great priest and a bishop, no one can be lord or govern if he does not have such a master according to they style of Ethiopia, and if he does not have one he must obtain one by paying him well.  When someone is appointed to govern must kill a man either from his own people or one captured in war, in the following manner.  The lord is equipped with bow and arrow and the subject kneels before him, and placing the arrow against the right eye he releases the blow and it passes through the poor wretch and immediately the minister separates his head from his body and the lord anoints himself with that blood, and a similar case took place in the year 1657 in the Province of Libulo not more than a half ? from where I was.[25] This minister of Avernus is so revered that there is no law which will condemn him to death whatever crime he commits even if it is for crimes for which this penalty applies apply; such as having intercourse with one of the concubine of the lords and the punishment which he is given is only throwing him outside their village without doing anything worse.  When one of these minis­ters dies it is the office of the eldest to call all the others to perform the exequies and sing the office of their dead one.  The Congregations performs various diabolical functions and they take him to the place designated for the grave, normally a long distance from inhabited areas and they do this at night so as not to be observed because no one [80] who is not of their congrega­tion can be present at the funeral.[26] When he is placed in the grave the major chaplain or his vicar ? nominates someone who goes into the grave, enters where the body of the dead person is an opens up his middle and cuts out his heart, liver, lungs and the extremities of his limbs of which they make their relics and Satanic ceremonies[27] and others use them as precious relics of these so much esteemed ministers? for whom the punishment of Sodom is already prepared in Hell if they continue, where there will go also the bad Christians guilty of this vice and, most serious of all, the ministers of the true Sacrifice who are the wisest in things of our Holy Faith and in the Knowledge of the True Creator  This is all that happens to the priest:  anyone else would get killed. and this is enough about this diabolical minister

5.  Ganga ya Scili [Nganga ya Xili][28] Priest of Xili and centurini (?) inte?:  belts?

If Europe, mother of the arts, esteems and honors those arts which work most at the embellishment of the human person, and are also most helpful in its conservation, no less is the esteem which Ethiopia gives to those who work to give to their patri­cians not only an interesting appearance and to beautify their black persons but also to make them strong and to maintain their health and to resist their adversaries.  One of these is a priest called Ganga ya Scili that is priest who makes little belts centurini (which are their relics) which are truly embellishments of the black body being covered not of precious cloths of Silk or brocade, but of a land crocodile called Sengo a (Arenzia) rela­tive of that of the water called gandu;[29] now they think that beauty consists in having their temples and body bound with one of these, which, with the curious objective, that seeing their faces one would think them not human people but some horrible monsters risen out of the cavernous Fane (centre?) of the earth, They already have relics which they carry inside, because in addition to their beauty, they say they are good against lions and any other ferocious animals and also as protection against various pains and sicknesses and in order to join the relics together he (the priest goes into the woods and get white earth called Pemba which in Italy is chalk and also get red earth called uconde [I say into the woods][30] and saying various words, he scatter these and dig up various tree roots, partly to burn and partly to make an ointment with bones of [81] all sorts of ferocious and poisonous animals and of men and with plants, all is burned and made into an ointment and that done, he makes a sacrifice, killing over it an animal, calling on the first inventor of this art and infernal master, so that he may give virtue and strength to persevere to those who use it (the oint­ment) and this, then sells very well to those who want it and to anyone who buys it is given precepts to keep in order to cover up their lies if it fails to work.  He does other things which are more Satanic than human which would take a long time to tell, but many of these I have seen made use of by lions and other fierce animals without any of these relics being of any use to them and I have also found myself many times with people laden with similar protections running away from them and being devoured and I being firmly equipped with the Holy Crucifix escaped from them without receiving any harm or molestation.[31] They also use the above mentioned Pemba for various evil things and to fool the people more completely; he gives it at the time of their sacri­fices as a sign of peace and reconciliation like the peace that is given among Christians on the Holy Missal and it all results in this minister filling his purse with great profits and even who these ignorant people recognize the trick they allow them­selves to be seduced and even deprive themselves of ordinary sustenance to buy these diabolical protections and they go miserably to the precipitous abyss without their money.

VI  Ganga ya Mulogij[32] Priest of witch­craft

That answer given to the proposal of the blessed Christ in adherence? of his servant Job by the minister of the Tartarean, habitations of a skin? for a skin, has such force among these Ethiopians that they do not neglect anything which might be helpful for the conservation of their own lives and for this, is why the above mentioned minister, and those who depend on him are so feared therefore he is very much esteemed and feared by these ignorant people, because they say it is his duty to give poison to people in order that they may die, and as is well known that the name of death alone causes all to pay heed to him, giving him much reverence and honor.  This man has many ways of giving poison to one in drinks customary among them to others in, food and to others through breathing [82] into in the face of their enemy and this I saw in they year MDCLX [1660] take place in the army of the Jaga Kasanje when two Ethiopians quarrelled with each other from far away.  One said to the other, “I will avenge myself on you if you come close to me.” and the other one so as not to show himself afraid of his enemy advanced towards him and was hit in the face.  He fell on the ground as if dead, Immedi­ately I ran up to him and after a time returned and made a diligent investigation of the one who had done the injury, I found that in his hair there was poison composed of various powders.  He gives it to others at the entrance of their houses and in places where they customarily live and go for immediately following the office (religious service?) to others at other times to not be discovered, and as various accidents occur to them from various causes and death is not rare it is all attrib­uted to poison, and think that no one can die if not from it and to free themselves more from the suspicion than from the danger they go to him for a protection and he gives it to them; but first he is well paid and without this nothing works and some­times after paying the minister they also pay to death the tribute of the traveler, Many times I have seen those diabolical ministers seized and in their arsenals one could find all sorts of things which would take a long time to describe.  It is enough to say only that they are as shameful to men as to women; I will only add that performing the diabolical ceremonies he has inter­course with his own daughter? and someone who hated another in order to do him evil took poison from this priest and hid it in the house of his enemy and in a few days it killed fourteen people without any illness at all it alone made them die.  they do other things which will not be related and this suffices for this minister of Averno[33]

VII  Ganga ya Bulungo[34] Priest of the ordeal

Even though all this is dealt with under oaths I have placed the following here, because it concerns high respect and justice.  This minister holds to exercise his office, in a calabash or vase or purse diverse powders of special herbs and woods which have the power to render senseless those who take them.  These are mixed with powdered snakes, fruits of various [83] trees and plants and all this is made into a mixture:  then he takes the roots of the banana which is a fruit bearing tree of this country and chews them as if they were stones and the cry appears* to surrounding people to be part of its nature and remains with them stuck in his teeth without being able to swallow and then de­clares who is guilty and who is innocent and this is known by whether he cannot swallow it, or swallow it.?  Others give the ordeal in the fruit of the palm called Emba[35] mixed with various powders and diluted in water and it is first the minister who makes the trial (?), after him the accused, it does no harm to the minister (but I say this is because he has taken the anti­dote), but if the accused is guilty he is ?.  He pays the minis­ter well in order to obtain the antidote, and for a good payment he

* crying out to surrounding people?

frees him from death and as the reward of this minister is great he is ordinarily with the lord of the city, province of Kingdom whichever it is, and for this reason it is found difficult to remove him from there.  In one place where I found myself in the year 1660[36] two Ethiopians took the said oath and they paid the value of twelve Italian cruzados, I say this in order for the reader to be able to figure out what goes on with this minister and his office.  The poor people, as they do not recognize the trickery of the ministers pay them well and they suffer in their purses, their persons and in their honor.  Many of these I have seen many driven out of their senses which in my judgement was for no other reason than because they were poor and had not sweetened the mouth of the minister with a good offering and let this suffice for such a minister.

VIII  Ganga ya Zumbi[37] Priest of the spirit and soul

If the Philosophers erred concerning the state of souls after the present life, it is no wonder to hear the diverse opinions of these people, the heathens also have such opinions and they like the others*, go wrongly in the world subject to the common misfortunes the living as if they too were Travellers.  The opinion of others is that on leaving this mortal body they enter into other bodies and others have other beliefs; they show themselves on the one hand crazy and the other ignorant.  These Ethiopians equal those who foolishly believe in these and worse errors and go on in error without following the Doctrine of Zamolixe which he taught to the Getti, that is that the soul is immortal and that ? with death it does not perish; but only changes to

* ie.  philosophers

a better habitation; but these our Ethiopians, believe the opposite of this.  They call the soul by the name of Zumbo [Nzumbo] and they believe in its immortality in the following manner.  They stupidly affirm that these souls wander about or remain in one place, needing like travellers to eat and drink and to dress and such is their foolishness that it is their firm belief that the soul can hurt relatives and enemies, and they are so firm in this foolishness of theirs that to cure them it would be necessary to have the support of the Cross because frequently they are attacked by it* whether sleeping or conscious.[38] They therefore hold for this office a sacrament I say which is the proof result? of their foolishness, to which they turn in their necessity; when someone is sick, he sends for a witch-doctor?[39] divination, Zumbo is working in this sickness he sends for the priest who immediately gives him medicine against the Zumbo which is working in that sickness, If when it is applied the remedy does not work he sternly asks for divination again (if he himself is not a diviner)? to find out whether it is a sick­ness caused by the Zumbo, if he answers yes and that the Zombo wants to take him with him, as such is the foolishness of these black people who think? it has strength and power to punish and reward, the priest is by the relatives to the grave of the dead person whose Zombi is causing the sickness; he makes many protections and with these he goes to the grave which they call Imbila,[40] wearing only the clothes he wore in his mother’s womb and rubbed all over with leaves, he begins in the absence of the relatives of the deceased to call to his Zumbo; at these voices the relatives run up and begin to dig and if it happens that they find the corpse intact they cut off the head and they say blood issues forth by a stratagem of the minister and with this he mixes various herbs and powders and rubs

* ie. this foolishness

the body of the sick person with it, the corpse of the dead person is burned and made into a powder to put in food as if they were apothecaries of Venice, so that we can say the sick person eats the dead person.  Now there remains something very curious to know which is that the lord doctors of Europe will not know how to decide, which is to cure the sufferings of those who are killed in wars or eaten by lions and other wild animals[41] and also those buried in their own belly this can be called the sam? of medicine and the quintessence of it [85] on say friendly readers, there was no lack of an inventor and father of lies to fool and teach the priests also that the Zumbu transforms itself in animals and has the same strength and courage as if it were alive,[42] so that they [priests] can show themselves excellent and expert in arts and in curing those who are plagued by some Zumbo of whom no one knows where he is buried; it suffices for this excellent doctor to know merely where he lived or where he usually went, for him to transfer himself there  He then bounds up various leaves and prepares various ? nets of fine cords and puts this in the neighborhood of his house or where he usually went and if there happens to be some animal caught there like a rat, for vorpo, snake, worm or whatever animal which is in abundance in all places, he immediately says that this is the Zumbu of the dead person who is working on him.  He burns it and divides the cinders in two parts:  one of which is put in the food like a spice which he gives to the sick person and from the other he makes an ? with which he rubs the sick person; The lying priest also has another trick and it is to feign the speech of the Zumbo, to bewail himself and to argue with the living person because he did not kill a fat goat and good hens on his grave; what would the wretch not do on hearing these voices which come from within a house where the priest or disciple is, who pretends to be the Zumbo of the deceased and he invents whatever he thinks will give him a bigger reward; In the end he immediately tells the sick person that if he wants to free himself of the Zumbo he should kill fat goats and hens and give drinks to the person who is in the flames of burning hell, the sick person does what the doctor orders and gives him good pay and to the dead person in order to remain free of him, he gives not only what was ordered by the priest but also doubles it so as to be more likely to be left-in peace (:) and as it is recognized that the reward is great for the most part they place the blame on the Zumbo and on the transgression of some precept and since none of the animals and drink are allotted to the sick person or, I say, to the dead person if not a sprinkling of blood or wine and all the rest is for the use of the priest and his followers, he gives them much credit, because for the priests as for their followers the goal is nothing other than to fill their bellies as much as the can and this is easiest when they fool people.[86] He makes his divinations, he speaks with the dead according to himself and gives people to understand a thousand lies, sometimes pretending to be a dead person, sometimes a living one; fooling these Ethiopians without having studied necromancy or agenomancy.


[1].  Cavazzi’s description of religion focuses on priests and idols rather than

belief and cosmology, which reflects the general approach of Capuchins to African religions, which held that if idols could be burned and priests eliminated, the residu­al religious feeling of the people could be harnessed for Chris­tianity, and hence they devoted little to the study of cosmology, cf. Thornton, “The Development of An African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1491-1750,” Journal of African History 25  147-68 (1984): 152-3.  For all that, however, it is possible to comprehend cosmological notions from Cavazzi’s description.

[2].  Ganga ÿa inuula = nganga ya invula (priest of the rain). Cavazzi may well have derived his information on this from such a priest he captured and interviewed in Lubolo in 1658, MS B, pp. 409-10.

[3]. The idea that political rulers had control over the rain is reported from one of the earliest descriptions of Ndongo, Antonio Mendes Letter of 1563, Brásio, Monumenta 3:             Fernão de Sousa considered the ability to bring rain, or at least partici­pate in rain making as an acid test for the legitimacy of the proposed puppet king Ngola Hari in 1625, see Heintze, “Ende”, p.

[4].  In Latin in the original

[5].  Mendes notes that at one time the ruler of Ndongo had 11 such rainmakers put to death., Brasio, Monumenta 3:      These two examples suggest that the power to make rain actually lay in the hands of the ancestors of the rulers, and the role of the priest was to help conduct proper mediation between the living and the dead both for the ruler and his followers.

[6].  Mucumbi = mukumbi; Mupulu = mupulo; muzequia = muzekia .  I am unable to find a modern botanical name for these trees.  On the significance of trees, see MacGaffey MS, pp. 35-6.

[7].  Practitioners today also connect themselves with the founder of a charm, or to the first person to discover it:  thus estab­lishing a contact with the dead, who possess such powers, MacGaffey MS, p. 23.

[8].  Ganga ya burilla auulla = Nganga ya burila avula.  See Illustration IO?.

[9].  An example of homology, fire being antithetical to water (rain).  MacGaffey MS, p. 8.

[10].  A second example of homology, similarly reproter in modern times, ibid, p. 8.

[11].  Cavazzi arrived at this kings capital at Mpungu a Ndongo in May 1655, presumably then accompanied him into the field in Kisama with the Portuguese army, Leguzzano, Descricao, 2:  430.

[12].  The making of charms in general, or other services often caused the user to observe some taboo, as Cavazzi notes else­where, see the discussion of this in connection between beliefs concerning the living and the dead in MacGaffey MS, pp. 7-8.

[13].  Ganga ya Ita = nganga ya ita, war priest.

[14].  Sengo = nsengo.  There are two types of crocodiles found in Angola, Corcodilus svulgaris? and Crocodilus niloticus which probably explains the two Kimbundu terms, nsengo and ngandu, which Cavazzi uses for them.

[15].  Cavazzi had substantial experience first hand in war, as he went south of the Kwanza with Portuguese and Ndongo armies on several occasions.  He describes military operations in Lubolo in 1658 in particular detail, MS B, pp. 517-30.

[16].  Ibunghi = ibungi.  This might be the Italian plural of Ibungo, or a double plural, ibungo being plural of kibungo, or ibungi, the plural of kibungi.

[17].  Quiuquo = kiyuko.

[18].  Chapter VII on pp. 69-72 above, which does not contain such a reference, hence this is probably a false lead to the chapter number of an earlier version of the manuscript.

[19].  moquququo, probably a misspelling of moququo, see note 61 above.

[2].  Ganga ya quibanda = Nganga ya kibanda.  do Couto, Gentio p. ubanda = sorcery.

[21].  Most seventeenth century observers were struck by the homosexuality of the kibanda, for which there seems to be no modern analogy.  Cadornega, Historia 3 : 259-60; Belotti, “Avvertimenti” (ed. Maconi), Avvertimento XXXIII; Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, no. 46 calls him “great mother”.

[22].  Pambas = mpamba

[23].  bondo = mbondo (often rendered in Angolan Portuguese as imbondeiro) the baobab tree, Adansonia digitata L, Cadorenga, Historia 3:  365-7.

[24].  An nganga kibanda is probably illustrated in no. 15

[25].  These events probably took place in 1658.

[26].  The “congregations” of these priests are not a general group of worshipers, but a group of students, initiates and assistants; see the description on one’s congregation in the letter of Pero Tavares, 1631, in Brasio, Monumenta 8:

[27].  The keeping of relics of the dead forms an important part of central African cosmology, charms and the like necessarily incorporate animate and inanimate elements, while the relic preserves the line between living and dead, MacGaffey, MS pp. 6-11.  The misete, reliquaries were made for all sorts of people, this description is one of the best in Cavazzi.

[28].  Ganga ya Scili = nganga ya xili.  Also cited in Belotti, “Avvertimenti” (ed. Maconi), Avvertimento XLI.

[29].  See note 188 above.

[30].  That these ingredients are obtained in the forest and bush is a fundamental part of their significance; village and forest represent opposed worlds connected with the living and dead, MacGaffey, MS p. 315.

[31].  Cavazzi refers specifically here to his experience of encountering lions on the road to Njinga’s court in 1658, MS B, pp. 509-12.

[32].  Ganga ya Mulogij = nganga ya muloji.

[33].  Witchcraft is a common belief in central Africa, and charms made for its purpose are not essentially different from those used in beneficial purposes, the distinction is laid out in MacGaffey, “Religious Commissions of the Bakongo” Man, New Series    (1970)          The cosmology and recepies for various harmful, or cursing charms is discussed in MS, pp. 24-9.

[34].Ganga ya Bulungo = nganga ya bulungo.  The priests who administer this ordeal are described in several other seventeenth century sources:  Cadornega, Historia 3:  319-20; Simoes Brandao, “Ritos gentilicos” (ed. Assumpcao), p. 372.  See pp. 112 below

[35].  Emba (mba) the oil palm, Elaeis guineensis Jacq., Cadornega, Historia 3:  357-58.

[36].  Probably Kasanje, although in 1660 Cavazzi spent time in Ambaca, Mpungu a Ndongo and Massangano and ended the year in Matamba.

[37].  Ganga ya Zumbi = Nganga ya nzumbi.  The nzumbo seem to be the recently dead, or those in the transitional process between living and dead (see MacGaffey, “Cosmology” pp. 4-5).  Beliefs about them are recorded as well in Cadornega, Historia 3: 262-6 and Simoes Brandao “Ritos gentilicos” (ed. d’Assumpcao), p. 373.  The term seems etymologically related to nzambi in Kikongo (see MacGaffey, “Cosmology” pp. 7-9.)

[38].  The recently dead are unpredictable, often stay around their tombs and are quite demanding of, and dangerous to, their immedi­ate surviving kin.  As time goes on they become more stable and predictable–some modern Kongo philosophers hold that territorial spirits are simply the long dead, MacGaffey, “Cosmology”, pp. 7-8.

[39].  The term “witch” here refers to the general Capuchin custom of equating all indigenous religious actors with witches, even though the local people would not perceive them as such.

[40].  Imbila = mbila or grave, see pp. 130-36 for more, do Couto, Gentio p.     has nbila = grave.

[41].  People who die violent deaths are likely to enter a fourth category of the dead (after ancestors, territorial spirits, spirits that activate charms from the spirits of the “first to discover it”) called ghosts, MacGaffey, “Cosmology” 9.

[42].  It is common for the recently dead to possess or transform themselves into animals:  Queen Njinga was said to return as lions in Matamba, and Cavazzi’s attitude towards this is clearly revealed in his description of this period in Istorica Descrizione, Book 6, no. 121, and this text, Book 2, pp. 223-4 (with less detail).