25 Common types of Makishi spirits
25 Common types of Makishi spirits
King of the Makishi, mask associated with the chief. If a chief’s son or nephew is being initiated, Kayipu must be made.
Bodyguard or son of king, always accompanies him. Biggest and most majestic of Makishi with huge round head dress. Kapalu follows Kayipu wishes, like slaughtering goat or keeping discipline. At the actual ceremony, he is crowd control – a stick wielding security figure that ensures order. He has a feathered head dress and fierce “red” eyes
Father of all Makishi, aggressive character with huge head and open mouth. Wears skins and feathers, carries a sword, a spear or whips in each hand. He carries children away to circumciser and distracts women’s attention so they don’t hear their children’s cries
Thought to be a royal ancestral spirit, mask has a huge hemisphere shaped head. Like Kayipu his royalty makes him inaccessible to the people
Also aggressive, but well liked. First likishi to appear at the Mukanda preparations, brings families messages about what they need to do to get ready for son’s Mukanda. Carries whips and sometimes spear. One job is to prevent mothers snatching children away at the first ritual bath.
Long conical head mask. He teaches the initiates how to do the kuhunga dance – all initiates expected to perfect this. He is very strict instructor.
Assists Chikuza with teaching. Although he does give chase, a friendly, protective spirit. Mask is a central cone rising out of his head with “horns” from the side that join on top.
Angry mask recognisable by keel-shaped projections at the back of his head. Protects camp and initiates. Typical anti-social behaviour serves to insult and chase people by running and crashing into things “he is the angry one”
The ugly one – distorted features to represent foreigners or outsiders, to accustom people to outsiders
Pelican who represents adaptability as can live on land and water. Diviner who blesses initiates.
Hyena who represents undesirable elements of society
The trickster hare spirit
Lion spirit, announces the return of the boys to the village with roaring and head shaking
Makishi with a pot of burning coals on his head. Disciplining function, supposed to eat up evil elements in society.
Small potbellied creature, who writhes in pain, representing someone poisoned because of stubbornness and naughtiness
Quiet, dignified old man, walks with stick. Key role as tutor to initiates
(19) Chileya Chamukanda
White cotton on his head, represents foolish old ancestor, quite humble, does anything audience asks of him. Role of “fool” to break tension and entertain crowd
Usually carried shoulder high into arena. Noted for elegance, grace and fine way he steps. Evaluates initiates at end of Mukanda
Ideal of womanhood, represented with breasts and nowadays wears a bra for modesty. Represents perfection with grace and good manners
Younger version of Pwevo, usually a teenager. Performs gymnastics and acrobatics – especially famous dance between two poles. More modern makishi
Wears wig of braided hair, seen as older vain or stylish woman.
Old woman – mother of all Makishi. Takes over teaching from women, instructing boys in moral and social issues, especially respect for elders
Also an elderly woman spirit
Source: “Ceremony!” by coordinating author Tamara Guhrs and editor Mulemga Kapwepwe
Yiannis of Masks-etc on http://www.masks-etc.com/mukanda.htm
Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 09, June 2012)
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