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25 Common types of Makishi spirits

25 Common types of Makishi spirits

25 Common types of Makishi spirits

(1) Kayipu
King of the Makishi, mask associated with the chief. If a chief’s son or nephew is being initiated, Kayipu must be made.

(2) Kapalu
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

(3) Mupala
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

(4) Kateya
Thought to be a royal ancestral spirit, mask has a huge hemisphere shaped head. Like Kayipu his royalty makes him inaccessible to the people

(5) Katotola
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.

(6) Chikuza
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.

(7) Kalelwa
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.

(8) Utenu
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”

(9) Katoyo
The ugly one – distorted features to represent foreigners or outsiders, to accustom people to outsiders

(10) Kanyengenyenge
Pelican who represents adaptability as can live on land and water. Diviner who blesses initiates.

(11) Munguli
Hyena who represents undesirable elements of society

(12) Ngulu
Bushpig spirit

(13) Kalulu
The trickster hare spirit

(14) Ndumba
Lion spirit, announces the return of the boys to the village with roaring and head shaking

(15) Mbachi
Tortoise spirit

(16) Chikishikishi
Makishi with a pot of burning coals on his head. Disciplining function, supposed to eat up evil elements in society.

(17) Ndondo
Small potbellied creature, who writhes in pain, representing someone poisoned because of stubbornness and naughtiness

(18) Chizaluke
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

(20) Ngaji
Usually carried shoulder high into arena. Noted for elegance, grace and fine way he steps. Evaluates initiates at end of Mukanda

(21) Pwevo
Ideal of womanhood, represented with breasts and nowadays wears a bra for modesty. Represents perfection with grace and good manners

(22) Mwanapwevo
Younger version of Pwevo, usually a teenager. Performs gymnastics and acrobatics – especially famous dance between two poles. More modern makishi

(23) Chiwigi
Wears wig of braided hair, seen as older vain or stylish woman.

(24) Inambunda
Old woman – mother of all Makishi. Takes over teaching from women, instructing boys in moral and social issues, especially respect for elders

(25) Kashinakaji
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)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Victoria Falls