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The Dying Nyau Masquerades of Malawi

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Nyau is a secret society of the Chewa, an ethnic tribe of the Bantu.

The Nyau consist of initiates that are regarded as mature members of the society. The Nyau society is made up of people from the Chewa and Nyanja people.

Whenever the Nyau performs with the mask, women and children run away into their houses because they are considered fierce representing male knowledge.

There are men that wear the masks and are considered as the spirits of the dead. And understandably as spirits, the masquerades may act with impunity and allegedly there have been attacks and deaths during performances in the past. But due to westernization, the activities of the Nyau has reduced.

This Nyau tradition is very old and dates as far back as the 17th century and their belief includes communication with the dead. And they also believe that God is present in every life form. They believe that God is both male and female. The male god is in the sky and the female is on earth.

Read also: Ancient village that predates pharaohs discovered in Egypt

The initiation of men into the secret society starts with the men living in a wooded grove where dead people have been buried in the past. They scare people who try to interview them by saying in their native tongue ‘you are now playing with fire you will get burnt’.

Typically, the Nyau perform their masked dances during burial ceremonies, memorials or during their initiations.

Girls are also initiated into this society, for them, it is called Chinamwali.

During the dance, each person represents the mask of the animals which they wear. There is a hierarchy in the different forms of structures worn and the wilder the animal the fiercer their performance.

Culture

Owners of South Africa bar where teenagers died in 2022 to pay fine or go to jail

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The owners of a South African bar where 21 teenagers died after drinking contaminated alcohol during a party in 2022 have each been ordered to pay a fine or be sent to jail for 100 days.

The couple, who owned the Enyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape province, were found guilty of selling alcohol to under-18-year-olds.

The children had attended a party to celebrate the end of mid-year exams at the Tavern where they met their untimely deaths.

Their deaths of the teenagers who were all under the age of 18 with the youngest only 13 years old girl, had caused outrage in the country with many calling for the legal drinking age to be increased.

A toxicology report had, however, revealed that the victims died from suffocation due to overcrowding but further investigations and test later emerged that traces of the poisonous chemical, methanol, were found in their bodies.

The toxicology report is yet to be concluded, but forensic pathologists have suggested their deaths were caused by something they inhaled or ingested.

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Ugandan TikToker remanded in prison for insulting President Museveni, traditional ruler

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Popular Ugandan TikToker, Ibrahim Musana, also known as “Pressure 247”, has been remanded in prison for allegedly insulting President Yoweri Museveni as well as “using abusive and demeaning remarks he made against the Kingdom of Buganda and the Kabaka” deemed to be hate speech.

According to media reports, “Pressure 247” was sent to the Luzira Prison where he will be cooling his feet till March 7, where his bail application will be heard.

The remand order was given when he appeared before the Buganda Road Court on eight counts under the Computer Misuse Act (2021), following complaints from the Buganda Kingdom.

The 27-year-old entertainer was charged with allegedly promoting hate speech and spreading malicious information via his TikTok videos following complaints filed by the Buganda Kingdom.

According to prosecutors, Musana allegedly shared content on his TikTok account between August 2023 and February 2024 that disparaged and incited hostility towards four Ugandan leaders, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, President Yoweri Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, and State Minister for ICT Joyce Naboosa Ssebugwawo.

Musana who pleaded not guilty to the charges, asserted that he was unaware that his actions constituted an offense. He also told the court that he was suffering from psychological challenges and had been receiving treatment at the Butabika Mental Hospital.

He further explained that he felt a spiritual obligation inspired by past Buganda Kings to restore their tombs but lacked the necessary financial resources, and pleaded for forgiveness and leniency.

Despite Musana’s plea for forgiveness and promise to refrain from attacking leaders and removing the contentious content from his TikTok account, the Magistrate rejected his plea and ruled that he should remanded in prison pending his bail application.

His oral bail request was also denied due to insufficient documentation from his sureties.

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