“Buen Nsambi, Buen Nsambi, Munalongo eeee… Si mi Palo bobo son carire, y me engando son batalla… Va con licensia de Tata Nsambi. Vamos Saluda Nsambi que son primero.”
I feel when it is time to sit down and get serious about this creative force that gave birth to all that is living, My words could not even give him the credit due that he so well deserves. This figure for many a time that I heard we do not believe in him, In the back of my mind and to all the people who said such foolishness that I confronted my relationship with Nsambi never faltered. The creative force that was born from pure energy itself.
(Ngolo muna Nsambi aka The energy of Nsambi) The Big Bang speaks of this convergence in the universe which alters and puts into play all that is seen and unseen. Living and dead so for us to put a Christian concept to the notion of this ever-present force has bastardized the creative force of nsambi. Nsambi is not a bearded man or woman yet the creative force of birthing would lean more to an energy which would be considered feminine in nature. But then all living organisms are female until the act of conception and fertilization occurs. Cell division causes this change in all and distinguishes male from female.
For nsambi the only Iconic figure that would and should represent him is the Yowa cross if we are speaking of sacred Pati-mpemba(sigil) that is drawn in chalk to represent that omnipresence. In many houses of Palo mayombe he is represented by some type of herb. Any other iconic figures like the christian cross is denigrating that ever-living force and though many of our Palo Brothers who were taught to hold a cross do not recognize that this was a symbol of torture and oppression and not a sacred part of Palo Mayombe.
Nsambi represents the 4 polarities of earth and the universe. This is an excerpt taken from the sacred texts section to explain a bit of the 4 and what it represents in the Kongo cosmology taken from the bavili tribe and it states from (At the Back of the Black Man’s Mind, by Richard Edward Dennett, , at sacred-texts.com)
(“The name for God is NZAMBI and its literal meaning is the personal essence (IMBI) of the fours (ZIA or ZA = fours). What then are the fours? They are the groups each of four powers called BAKICI BACI, which we have just discussed. The prefix BA the plural of N proving that these powers are personalities or attributes of a person, that is they are not ZINKICI like the mere wooden figures. Each group may be said to be composed of (1) a cause, (2 and 3) male and female parts, and (4) an effect. The group NZAMBI itself may be said to have four parts-(4) NZAMBI the
[1. Most people are under the impression that the native does not mention or fear NZAMBI very much, because in his broken English he tells us that “He is good too much.” I don’t think we are quite right in taking him at his word. As a matter of fact, I think that it is rather owing to his respect and fear of him, that he says as little about him as possible. In trouble he uses the word NZAMBI as an exclamation.]
abstract idea, the cause, (2 and 3) NZAMBI MPUNGU God Almighty, the father God who dwells in the heavens and is the guardian of the fire, NZAMBICI God the essence, the God on earth, the great princess, the mother of all the animals, the one who promises her daughter to the animal who shall bring her the fire from heaven, (4) KICI, the mysterious inherent quality in things that causes the BAVILI to fear and respect. This word was translated as “holy” by the first missionaries that came to the Congo, but many people now speak of it as “fetish,” and in Seven Years Among the Fjort, I write of NKICI as evil. I had then only heard the word used in connection with fetish as NKICI and had hardly heard of the BAKICI BACI.)”
In the Afro cuban understanding of Palo Mayombe the ever-present Nsambi has taken a back seat to another identity called Mambe. This representing the first nkisi on earth made by man but is not nsambi. Many people have said that Nsambi does not exist yet we can trace its cult following to Africa. Places like angola, Nzambia, Zaire, Tribes like Mbundu, Bavili, Lemba and many others. Yet some crack pot historians have never heard of this.
Nsambi gave everything life and takes it away in Mayombe he is venerated and respected as such. Many other branches have created their own ideological formulas on him, making him into almost a Minkisi status. Names like Kunankisi nganga which is a syncretized Oduduwa in palo mayombe which has no business in our understanding of palo mayombe but to each is own. I am offering a version of Nsambi that is closely formulated to the identity the Bakongos, and our elders held as an understanding of his strength, endurance and his ability to create and destroy humanity. Tata Musitu