B-ra Ray Phiri, the light and the Ancestor’s baChewa.

In memory of Ray “Chikapa” Phiri.


Phiri waChewa by Vanguard Mokaba. 

In the African Pantheon of Gods, Ra is the sun God, a masculine energy… Ra/ Re as prefix that denotes “the father, male figure”.  Patriarch God, Ra-maseli is regarded God king supreme among the southern Sotho… This supposedly a deformity of Pharaoh Ra-moshes, Rameses / Ramses. One who tries not to be a skeptic will see a link.
“Ra” (followed by persons name) is regarded a term of endearment and respect for a male who has come of age, and has rose beyond the familial uncle role, to a communal “uncledom”, in some regions of southern Africa… The Christians then told us of an eternal brotherhood of light… And hence Brethren. Eventually  got to “Bra”smangmang, as in bRA Ray Phiri… I suspect it follows a similar logic to the mess reduction above… But don’t quote me, Read along and don’t question my logic yet. 

The word “Ray” meaning beam of light, is from root “Ra” / Egyptian Latin/ meaning Sun. Sunray would then be “beam of light from sun”. On the metaphysical, these names we are given at birth also have the power to animate and almost dictate our actions, and be prophetic in our lives. Most creation Stories tell us it was through sound that all things came to exist.
And when it was dark how did we recieve light from the sun…? Bra Ra(y) Phiri was a light Soul sent from the Sun to embody light within music to lift our vibrational frequency… These things happen all the time all over the world, and as we raise our consciousness, we’ll start to see the God in each other… And the devil in the things that the devil favours. But we were too sleep to notice and too afraid to speak… and boy did he bring the damn light, because the bearers of light are such. 

The kemetic system believed Someone’s Name (ren) and Shadow (Sheut) were as important as Body, Heart, spirit (ka) in make up a human soul being… Into a fivefold manifestation. The name is the part of the soul that continues to live for as long as there exists those who call upon this name… This may care to explain also, the Obsession of Africans with recording Ancestors names in Praise songs, and in our clan and surnames… Because the Ancestral, they continue living in the SOUND of the said name. Vumani bo!

“Khawuphinde Mzala… Speak your mind Ungahlebi”

The Phiri are Chewa people originally from Malawi and one of largest ethnic groups in Malawi. They are related to Tumbukas and Nsenga people whose historically origin links them to the  Bembas with whom they share a similar origin including their migrations from Luba region in Zaire =Kongo. The Phiri’s alternatively are Nyasa or Nyanja known to have lived with  Ngoni people in Mozambique/Malawi. The Phiri’s are associated with royalty and the most noble in Chewa people known to wear their “Nyau” masks (Nyawu /nyawo/foot/connect to Earth). These masks belonging to a secretive noble society with knowledge of using movement as “Actheogen” ( Actions that can help reveal the divine within or give us access to the spirit world… I made this word up, so don’t try Google it. I fused the words Action + Entheogen to describe actions that awake the divine in us). Here’s an interesting thing… This strangely Mesmerisimg choreography that Bra Ray Phiri was always famous for, appears to be adaptations of ancient Dances of the ba Chewa people, dances that allowed access to the spirit world… 

“Nyau” (Nyawu/nyawo) dances involved intricate footwork, flinging dust in the air. Dancers respond to specific drumbeats and songs depending on the mask type/ avatar or character. The dancers, described as “fleet-footed or nimble-footed” (Bra Ray was Known as “Mshana Sbungu” literally meaning ‘wormboy’ a compliment for his elasticity… These dancers, appear in masks representing the channeled spirits of human being or animal; the weak-kneed run away from sights of such dances. While it may be considered in many places to be a folk dance, this is certainly not the case; Nyau should rather be considered a religious dance, as its function is to communicate with the ancestral world. Music is the religion.

He narrated once how his father created puppets that he incorporated into his performance as a guitar stringing local musician of crocodile Valley… A citrus farming village. It was these puppets that inspired the legendary dance moves he’s quoted as saying. See, what I’m trying to say is, our Ancestors express themselves through us carrying their memories as scars in our DNA. Memory is DNA, the secret to eternity, the secret to reincarnation… Listen to the Whispers of the birds.

The prophet continued to speak and move, but we didn’t listen and watch, instead, we continued to dance and carelessly enjoyed because his words sounded like music. Long may we wake.

Ye are Gods.

​”We will sit and wait for the food to come… And wait until our Stomachs growl as they devour themselves with themselves because there is nothing else.

But it is there.

The food is dished, the bearer of the pitcher pours for all to quench and thirst no more… The flies also watch, waiting to taste our food but they defile it… Shitting all over it… The flies, To themselves they are well intentioned… So they continue to shit on our food… As We wait for the food to come to us, and thus we must starve and die… Or poisoned to learn a lesson. Something.

The dust finally laydown, after it had teleportated from his feet and veiled everything around. their feet shook though still, as if having recharged and the surge and it’s jolts still lingers up and down, sideways in the body. Shivers. Sweats, breaths, nothings. Ground. Source. Totem. Phiri. Blood Memory. BaChewa Energy soaring… The whistlers whistled, the language of the bird was heard as on Whispers in the deep.

Yes, he must’ve remembered.

Memory is all that matters. The sacred dances long ago. Sacred lives. Village fires and masks. He remembered… Him or another in him, reincarnated Nyau master to call the Ancestors to soothe their people like only song could under oppression. Lokwelapha kuSaNgoma… Imilozi whispered their response in the deep beyond.. Moving. Deep Whispering is better than hollering. There are those who listen and not hear.

Spirits awaked, vertex he spun as he stomped the sacredness out of the earth through the feet to come out as sound, calculating the force at which his foot hits the earth, sendING precise, the correct frequency to Gaia, like only they could. Lifting our spirits with sound as our Ancestors lifted boulders with Sound, and they carry us again, awake. Now.

yet we wait for the food to come to us. 

Remember He was a Phiri, with the blood of the Chewa and their Nyau moves that transport us to other worlds… To bring us closer to visions of the future… He spoke his mind, what we thought were Whispers He heard outloud… To bring us visions of the future… Who hears him? 

 But we are waiting, still waiting to understand the quieting Whispers in the deep… We can’t afford to have them disappear… Silence, they’ve been silent before, disaster. Deafening death disguised as peace and quiet. Who will tell us of the secrets of beyond and speak their minds bengasabi? 

Again, we wait, Like we wait for the food to come… While our stomachs digest nothing but themselves, and us. Squirming in agony, blaming the food, but the food has no limbs or will to come to us, begging us to nourish us.

Unless by grace.

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