Could the Kontomble be the Netchers of the Ancient Egyptians?
by Asar Imhotep
"In basically all of the African oral histories I have been able to study, they all talk about these spirits of nature (or ancestor teachers) who actually taught them civilization and high science. In the Dogon, Egyptian and Zulu traditions, they all claim these teachers came from the star Sirius system. A matter of fact, the same word for teacher or instructor in the Mdw Ntr written script is the same word for the star Sirius – SBA (Seba, ka-suba in Kiswahili). Among the Fulani and Bambara of West Africa, this lexical fossil survives in the term SUBAA which means an initiated teacher AND student.
Malidoma Patrice Some, Of Water and the Spirit Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman
"I decided to do a little experiment of my own with "reality" versus "imagination" when I was home visiting my village in 1986. I brought with me a little electronic generator, a television monitor, a VCR, and a "Star Trek" tape titled The Voyage Home. I wanted to know if the Dagara elders could tell the difference between fiction and reality. The events unfolding in a science fiction film, considered futuristic or fantastic in the West, were perceived by my elders as the current affairs in the day-to-day lives of some other group of people living in the world. The elders did not understand what a starship is. They did not understand what the fussy uniforms of its crew members had to do with making magic. They recognized in Spock a Kontombleof the seventh planet, the very one that I describe later in this story, and their only objection to him was that he was too tall. They had never seen a Kontomble that big. They had no problems understanding light speed and teleportation except that they could have done it more discreetly. I could not make them understand that all this was not real. Even though stories abound in my culture, we have no word for fiction. The only way I could get across to them the Western concept of fiction was to associate fiction with telling lies.
My elders were comfortable with "Star Trek," the West's vision of its own future. Because they believe in things like magical beings (Spock), traveling at the speed of light, and teleportation, the wonders that Westerners imagine being part of their future are very much a part of my elders' present. The irony is that the West sees the indigenous world as primitive or archaic. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the West could learn to be as "archaic" as my elders are?
Malidoma Some in his works Of Water and the Spirit and Healing Wisdom of Africa, describe a spirit being, whom in his culture, they call the Kontomble. Some recalls an experience he had as a young boy in the field with his mother in which he stepped on a rabbit and gave chase following the rabbit in the bushes of a savannah. At the end of his chase, he states that he met a small man which the Dagara call the Kontomble. He goes on to describe the situation and the Kontomble as so I moved the last clump of grass, and I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Instead of the rabbit, there was something extraordinary, like a doll, a doll about a foot tall of a human being, except that the doll was alive, sitting on something like a tiny chair. He further illustrates his experience on pg. 40 and states:
"What was captivating to me was the fact that I was dealing with a person smaller than me, yet older than me, with a long white beard, sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time, talking to me.
...His head was covered with hair so white and so shiny that it seemed unnatural. His beard was so long and white too, reaching almost to his chest, and he wore a traditional Dagara mantle, also white.
Kairin Kleiman in her work The Pygmies Were Our Compass, recalls the stories of the Bantu with these same beings. These beings, however, are called mimbo niombo in the Kongo) and according to the tradition were introduced to the Bantu by the Batwa. She goes on to state:
The key among these are the “mimbo,” or “spirits of the trap.” The Ngbaka Ma’bo consider mimbo to be the spirits of deceased Batwa individuals, in contradistinction to the spirits of their own ancestors, the kulu-se. They say that the Batwa ancestors were ‘given” to them by the Batwa themselves, although no Aka individuals participate in the mimbo rituals that the Ngbaka Ma’bo perform today. One of four different miniature humanoid spirits ventured by the Ngbaka, the mimbo are described as 30 cm in,height and covered in fur, with long hair that falls to their knees. They live exclusively in the forest inhabiting trees and termite hills and moving about only at night.
This is a very telling account of these ancestors. In both accounts they are very short spirit beings who are found in the bush or forest. Keep in mind as well that Malidoma Some says the kontomble are about 1 foot in length. The Ngbaka Ma’bo (a Bantu people of the Republic of Congo) state that the mimbo are
30 cm in height. (For the record, 30.48 centimeters = 1 foot).
Kleiman seems to be of the opinion that Ngbaka Ma’bo people are actually referring to a mythicalized representation of the Batwa (pygmies) of the forest.