Nyaminyami is a well known and respected water god of the people from the Tonga tribe, who believe that the deity has been kind to them in times of hardships. He lives peacefully alongside his lovely wife, however everything changed when the government decided to build the Kariba dam. It is said that this dam was to be built beside the giant rock, which is believed to be the home of Nyaminyami.

The Tonga people feared this built for they believed it would anger their deity, and so they warned and talked to the workers to stop the build. Instead of believing their warnings, the workers just laughed. They proceeded with the build by first evacuating all the people to higher ground and uprooting thousands of trees.

One day, a thunderstorm came along and flooded everything which resulted in wrecked houses and dead animals. The Tonga people believe this was not an ordinary flood, and that it was caused by the deity himself. Despite this, the workers still continued to build up the dam.

Nyaminyami’s rage continued on and intensified as floods came by frequently. This was stronger than the previous one for many people have died, included some of the workers. The people believe once again that it was the deity that caused it and they also believe that the dam has separated him and his wife.

No matter how many warnings the Tonga people send out and failure they receive, the construction of the dam continued until it was finally finished. The statue of Nyaminyami was built on the highest part of the river Zambezi, to pay tribute and respect to him. The Tonga people still live on the higher ground but they sometimes feel the ground shake. They still believe that this is Nyaminyami’s rage who still wishes to destroy the dam to be with his wife once again.  Though the people do wish for Nyaminyami to have his wife back, they still wish that the dam will not break for they are aware of the consequences to follow.


This synopsis was translated by Faith Santos. Originally written by Glaizel Tarun & Kaye Marfil.

Filipino Version of the Story: https://anglibronilola.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/nyaminyami-ang-diyos-ng-ilog-zambawi/#more-43

Nyaminyami is the River God of Zambezi. It is part of the mythology of Africa.

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