Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/439

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Bavili Notes. 383

Bakici Bad (Ngangas of the sacred groves) are. The latter are Bantu Nzambi, the former, Bantu a Ndongo} It will be seen from this that the religion of the Bavili is divided into two great divisions, and that the old Portuguese sailors and missionaries were most taken by the Ndongoistic pranks of the Zinganga nkici, and that they looked upon this part of the religion of the Kongo people as the whole. This error has been the cause of much misjudgment of the native religion, and is perhaps one of the causes of Miss Kingsley's taking Professor Tylor's definition of fetishism as serving to describe the complete religion of these people. As Pro- fessor Tylor says, fetishism is the doctrine of spirits embodied in or attached to, or conveying influence through, certain material objects ; but this is not the whole of the religion of the Bavili. It is only the lower part ; co- existent with which is the higher part connected with the kingly office and sacred trees, lands, rivers, animals, omens, and seasons.

Let me tell you how a nail-fetish is made, and describe some of the names and uses of fetishes of this class.

When a party enters the wood with the Nganga (or doctor) attached to the service of the fetishes {Zinkici Mbowu), into which nails are driven, for the purpose of cutting the muamba tree with the intention of making a fetish, no one may call another by his name. If he does so, that man will die, and his virtue will enter into the tree and become the presiding spirit of the fetish, when made ; and the caller will of course have to answer with his life to the relations of the man whose life has been thus wantonly thrown away. So, generally speaking, a palaver is held, and it is there decided whose life it is that is to enter into the nmamba tree, and to preside over the fetish to be made. A boy of great spirit, or else, above all, a great and daring hunter, is chosen. Then they go into the bush and

^[Zinganga, pi. o{ nganga, priest. Bantu, people, pi. oi Mzmtu, man.]