Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Wanja, Mnuko Uvundo and Tunguja Mwitu...

Khadija Baushi is a young mother. She is 20 years old. Khadija gave birth on 4th July 2012 to a baby girl and named her Rayan.  She uses indigenous knowledge to care and protect her new born baby

Use of Wanja (Eye pencil):
The mother and child use wanja to protect them from the evil eye.In case there is no wanja, charcoal is used. Khadija Baushi gave birth on the 4th July and will remain inside the house for forty days as per Islamic religion. During the forty days indoors Khaija is taken care by an elderly woman who massages both Khadija and her child every morning and evening for forty days.
During the massage the elderly lady (Mkunga) uses Simsim oil/mafuta nazi, ubani wa moto, na habasoda.  The mother would then recites Suratul Fatiha, Nas, Falak and Ahad three times religiously. This is to protect the baby and the house from any evil doing. Use of Habasoda is used to protect one from Hassad and its also believed to be antibiotic medicine. Habasoda seeds are mentioned in the Quraan that if there is any medicine that can protect one from dying then it’s “Habasoda”
The Simsim oil is thick and is preferably used on mothers and child because it keeps their body warm. New born babies and mothers are delicate and their bodies are said to be open (Poles) and therefore it’s good to use simsim oil. Simsim oil has to be applied on the fore head “UTOSI” to protect the cold”

Apart from the above, also widely used by the Digo community as medicine and protection from evil eye are:

·         Mnuko uvundo
·         Tunguja mwitu
Khadija Baushi:

Had this to say on the above plants:
Mnuko Uvundo is a wild plant found in bushes and forest. It is small and green in color and the plant is very important to the community. It is mostly is used as

·         Medicine:  The plant is used as medicine especially for new born babies, for stomach ache and also chest pains, the leaves are used to wash the baby and some is kept near the baby to protect it from evil eye.
·         The plant is also used as vegetables  

Tunguja mwitu:

Tunguja mwitu is also an important plant in the community it goes hand in hand with mnuko uvundu.  While one can use mnuko uvundo to protect him/her or the child from evil eye, tunguja mwitu is used in healing in case somebody has looked at you, hear your voice and liked then it’s said (AMEPIGWA ZONGO) “Zongo” The Zongo is said to happen when:
·         The Zongo Person set an eye on you and  liked you
·         Hear  your voice and liked it
This also applies to metal things e.g. moving cars, machines electronic and even plants:
Interestingly with zongo the person doing it, happens to like you but without his knowledge he/she harms you.

Apart from Tunguja mwitu which is poisonous and dangerous also there is also Tunguja, a plant almost resembles Tunguja mwintu but the fruits are more oval. The fruits are used as vegetables by the Mijikenda’s


To human beings: once one is said “amepigwa zongo” no herbal, scientific medicines, or even witchcraft can cure the sick person. The diseases include:
·         Severe headache pains
·         Stomach ache pains etc.

The result of Zongo is death if not discovered early enough.

Metal items e.g. cars; electronic machines stop working immediately after the “zongo” act. It is only the people who are familiar and know about the zongo act can help sort out the zongo mazingambwe, but this again depends with the individuals if you believe in it or have an idea ya (mila na desturi)

Result of the “Zongo” act:

  • Written off machines and loss of property.
  • The machines are left an unattended for a long time causing them to rust and eventually declared scrape
 For those familiar with mila na desturi usually applies the indigenous knowledge to sort themselves out of the mess and for those who are not familiar with the custom end up losing the loved ones and even their property for lack of ELIM U ASILIA – (Indigenous knowledge)

Application of Tunguja mwitu

  • Get the tunguja mwitu fruits from the bush (7) in number , small stones (7) in number and a big sufuria full of water
 The above items are then put in a sufuria full of water and mixed (kupekecha). The mixture after the “pekecha” exercise form the foams (povu), then it proves the existence of Zongo act; on the other hand if the exercise is performed and no foam is formed then this proves that there was no zongo act.

The foam is then applied all over the body, or items affected by the zongo act. The exercise is done repeatedly till no more foam is formed. When applying the foam, usually the person performing it chant “if it is a zongo mazinga mbwe” let it go. The exercise is repeated three to four times a day to make sure the zongo is completely wiped out

Time, to perform the exercise: Unless the exercise is very urgent the time preferred is very early in the morning 4am – 5am and in the evening 6.30pm and 7pm

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