Mfuniselwa J. Bhengu



This paper seeks to trace the origin, nature and content of Bonaabakhulu baseKhem Brotherhood and how Mankanyezi, an African sage, who was an initiate of this organization, was trained in African wisdom. Again the paper will try to establish the connection between this organization and ancient Zulus 



In this great continent over which the sphinx still gazes, guarding the eternal mystery of life, may the flame within the hearts of its varied peoples be lit, so that once again from African soil may resound the old message ‘Thou art the light, let that light shine.’” (Harvest).


The story of the human race in Africa dates back to more than 50 000 years before the mythical creation of Adam in 4 240 BC. This story was written by Lord Khem (or Ham) popularly known as ThauThau-Harama(the Greek Thoth-Hermes) who was the scribe of the African builder Gods called Bonabakhulu baseKhemu(i.e. the ancient ones of Khem). 


The land of Khem (or Ta Shema), writes Bowen (1927), came to be known as ancient Ethiopia (African Atpu) to the Greeks. The names Ethiopia and Egypt (the African Hakaptah i.e. land of God Ptah) were named after the ancient African God Tapa (or Pata). His shrine is in the Sudan (i.e. land of the Blacks).


Long before the rise of ancient Egypt, Africa South of the Sahara had known two major civilizations in Punt or Tanutra (i.e. central and Southern Africa) and Ethiopia or Khem, which covered Southern Egypt, Eritrea, Abyssinia, the Sudan and surrounding territories.  


It was the Ethiopian Prince Mena who established Egypt by uniting lower and Upper Egypt in 5 619 B.C. Thus ancient Egypt is not the oldest state in Africa.


The earliest civilization was established by the gods of the First Time (Zep Tepi) from Punt or Tanutra who came to be known as Shamsu Hara (Greek Shemsu Hor i.e. followers of Horus).  The relics of the civilization established by the followers of Horus are still found at Maphungubwe, Zimbabwe, the Sudan, Yemen, modern Ethiopia, Egypt and Benin and the Area of the Great Lakes.


Lord Khem brought the religion of light (Karaism), which taught that the light (Kara), which was God, dwelt in the heart of every human being.  


To the sacred (or divine) rulers, he taught them to “Look for the light” (i.e. the divine spark) or the “God within” every individual. To the people he taught the motto that: “Thou art the Light, let the Light shine”.


The teachings of Lord Khem attracted students like Thales, Solon, Pythagoras and Plato – the Hermetic teachings – and passed them to the world as Greek philosophy or more specifically Pythagoreanism. The African religious philosophy of Light (Karaism) came to be known as Hermeticism and passed as Greek philosophy.


However, Hermeticism did not disappear from the face of traditional Africa. In his book entitled: “The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland,” Bent observed that the African founders of the Zimbabwe Temple practiced the religion of Light (Karaism) and this God of Light was also called UmbeNyambe or Zambe (i.e. the word of God). 


Indeed, our African continent is not a dark continent. Western scholars made the world to believe that, before colonization, Africa was a Dark Continent without a literary tradition. They also excised ancient Ethiopia and Egypt from Africa and made them part of the so-called near East to obliterate the African origins of ancient Ethiopian and Egyptian civilization.


As Harvest puts it: If we wish to penetrate into the mighty secrets of Africa of its peoples, of its meaning in god’s plan, we must make ourselves part of it, and seek the underlying unity….Let us look once more for the light so splendidly revealed in the teachings of Tehuti, also called Hermes.


The Secrets of Africa

In an article that appeared in The Theosophist magazine, on August 1927, entitled ‘The Ancient Religion in Africa’, written by Patrick Bowen, tells us that the ancient Africans were a profoundly spiritual people and extremely psychic. To them, like to traditional Africans today, the world of higher being was a reality. Bowen is better known for his work ‘Saying of the Ancient One’ which he published.


Mr. Bowen wrote: 

Many years ago, when I, a boy of ten or twelve years of age, I followed my father’s wagon through the wild Bushlands of the Northern Transvaal…I met and gained the friendship of many natives–principally Zulus–of the class known as Isanusi, a term popularly but improperly interpreted as “Witch-Doctor.  


Outside of the records of the ancient wisdom in Egypt, little is known of its diffusion in the rest of Africa. Some evidence of the continent-wide existence of the ancient doctrines and movement can be found from the following narrative. 


The most interesting of African mystery teachings came to us from Bowen through his book entitled: “The Saying of the Ancient One”. The fragments in this book are translations of chapters from the mystic writings of the African sage, Mehlo Moya (i.e. the spiritual eyes).


The Saying of the Ancient One was written in an archaic Bantu language called Isinzu.  According to MehloMoya, this Isinzu manuscript is a translation of some very ancient records found in a subterranean chamber in one of the ruined cities of Southern Africa, belonging to the Maphungubwe-Zimbabwe cultural complex. The original records were written in veiled symbols, akin to the Sabean script, on tablets of ivory or stone.


The African Sage, Mankanyezi, also told Patrick Bowen of a secret society to which he belonged: “Whose members are the guardian of the wisdom-which-comes-from-of-old; they are of many ranks, from learner to master, and Higher Ones whose names may not be spoken; and there is one member at least in every tribe and nation throughout this great land of Africa“. 


The Brotherhood is called, in the ancient Bantu speech, Bonabakhulu abaseKhem, that is, the Brotherhood of the Higher Ones of Egypt. (Khem, hence chemistry, was an ancient name of Egypt). It was founded by a Priest of Isis in the reign of Pharaoh Cheops, to spread The Wisdom which comes from of old among all races and tribes of Africa….


The grades of the Brotherhood are: 

(1) the Pupil,

(2) the Disciple

(3) the Brother

(4) the Elder

(5) the Master

(6) the Sangoma

(7) Abakhulu-Bantu, i.e. perfect men, for whom rebirth has ceased, who dwell on earth in physical form by their own will, and can retain will and can retain or relinquish that form as they choose.


Mr. Bowen seems to have been recognized early in life for some special qualities by members of those who were among Initiates of the Ancient Brotherhood of Wisdom living among the Zulus and the descendants of the old Bantu race of South and South East of Africa.


Who was Mankanyezi?


He further explains his African experience: Many years ago, when I, a boy of ten or twelve years of age, followed my father’s wagon through the wild Bushlands of the Northern Transvaal, Portuguese East Africa and Mashonaland, I met and gained the friendship of many Natives—principally Zulus—of the class known as Isanusi, a term, popularly but improperly interpreted as “Witch Doctor”. Why those men, who with Europeans and even with their own people are always intensely reserved, should have favoured me with their confidence is something I do not, even now, clearly understand, yet they certainly did so. I recall a conversation with one of their number, by name, Mankanyezi (The Starry One), with whom I was particularly intimate, which impressed me deeply; so much so that I have never forgotten it. My father had declared his intention of placing me in care of a Missionary, in order that I might receive some education, and learn white men’s ways. I repeated his words to Mankanyezi, who shook his head doubtfully on hearing them and said:

“Your teachers are doubtless learned men. But why do they strive to force their beliefs on us without first learning what our beliefs are? Not one of them, not even Sobantu, knows anything of our real belief. They think that we worship the spirits of our ancestors; that we believe our spirits, when we die, enter the bodies of animals. They, without proof or without enquiry, condemn us, the Isanusi, as deluders of our more ignorant brethren; or else they declare us to be wicked wizards having dealings with evil spirits. To show how ignorant they are, I shall tell you what we teach the Common Man (ordinary Native). We teach that he has a body; that within that body is a soul; and within the soul is a spark or portion of something we call Itongo, which the Common Man interprets as the Universal Spirit of the Tribe. We teach that after death the soul (Idhloziafter hovering for a space near the body departs to a place called Esilweni (Place of Beasts). This is a very different thing, as you can see, from entering the body of a beast. In Esilweni, the soul assumes a shape, part beast and part human. This is its true shape, for man’s nature is very like that of the beast, save for that spark of something higher, of which Common Man knows but little. For a period which is long or short, according to the strength of the animal nature, the soul remains in Esilweni, but at last it throws aside its beast-like shape and moves onward to a place of rest. There it sleeps till a time comes when it dreams that something to do or to learn awaits it on earth, then it awakes and returns, through the Place of Beasts, to earth and is born again as a child. Again and again-does the soul travel through the body, through the Place of Beasts, to its rest, dreams its dream and returns to the body; till at last the Man becomes true Man, and his soul when he dies goes straight to its rest, and thence, after a space, having ceased to dream of earth, moves on and becomes one with that from which it came—the Itongo. Then does the Man know that instead of being but himself, apart, he is truly all the tribe and the tribe is he. This is what we teach, I say, for this is the utmost the Common Man is capable of comprehending; indeed many have only a vague comprehension, even of this much. But the belief of us, Wiser Ones, is something far wider and greater, though similar. It is far too wide and great for Common Man’s comprehension—or for yours, at present. But I may say this much, that we know that the Itongo is not the mere Spirit of the Tribe, but is the Spirit within and above all men—even all things; and that at the end, all men being one in Spirit, all are brothers in the flesh”.


Mankanyezi, continues Bowen, was a pure Zulu, of the royal blood. What his age might have been, it is not knownbut certainly he was at least seventy’. He was a tall, lean man, light chocolate in colour, of a distinctly Jewish cast of countenance, without a trace of the Negroid, with the exception of his snow-white hair which was frizzled. Both by the natives and by the few white hunters who knew him he was regarded as a powerful magician, but only once did I get a glimpse of this side of his character.


A year or two subsequent to the talk above quoted, (writes Bowen)  in company with a famous Boer hunter named Sarel Du Pont, I met Mankanyezi near the Limpopo River, and he gave us a direction to the Great Lakes of the North, and said: “Much farther, I think. You will ere you again see this river visit the Great Lake of the North (Lake Nyassa). To the eastward of that lake, you will visit the springs of another river, and there you will meet one of my elder brothers”.


“Indeed”, said Du Pont, “if it should happen that we go so far, which is not our intention, how are we to know this brother of yours? I suppose he is not your brother in reality, but merely one in the Spirit, as you say all men are?”Mankanyezi replied:


He is, as you say, not my brother in the flesh. I call him my elder brother because he is an Elder in the Family (Society) to which I belong, whose members are the guardians of the Wisdom-which-comes-from-of-old. There are many of us—one at least in every tribe and nation—throughout this great land. We are of many ranks, from the learner to the Master, and to those Higher Ones whose names may not be spoken, I am a common Brother; he of whom I speak is my Elder.


Sarel Du Pont“But”, I asked in some surprise, “how can you know this man, seeing you have often told me you have never travelled beyond the Zambezi?. Mankanyezi“I know him, because I have often seen him, though not in the flesh. Often have we spoken together. Do you think the mind of Man can travel only in the flesh? Do you think thought is limited by the power of the body? See this, and try to understand”.


As he spoke he pointed to a lizard which basked in the sun, near by. Fixing his eyes upon it, he extended his hand, palm upward, towards it, and began to breathe slowly and regularly. In a few seconds, the beady eyes of the little reptile turned towards him. It took a little run forward, then stopped, its sides expanding and contracting, rhythmically. After a few seconds’ further pause, it again darted forward and settled itself upon the old man’s open palm. He let it rest for a minute, then slid it gently among the leaves where it quickly concealed itself. He looked at us and smiled gently. “That is witchcraft perhaps you will say”, he said, “perhaps I sent an evil spirit to call the lizard to me. Or perhaps it is itself an evil spirit which serves me. If I tell you that my mind went out and entered its brain and our two minds became one, you will not believe. Some day, perhaps, you will understand”.


Over a year later, near the source of the Rovuma River, to the east of Lake Nyassa, we put up at a Native village, and there met an old man (a Masai—not a Zulu) who greeted us as friends of his brother, Mankanyezi. From careful enquiries made by my companion, it became certain that this man and Mankanyezi could never have met. The one had certainly never been south of the Zambezi, and equally certainly the other had never been north of the river. Yet there was no question of their intimate knowledge of each other, a knowledge which could not have been gained second hand, for a thousand miles separated their dwelling places, and the tribes had no point of contact whatsoever.


Continues Bowen: About the time of Dr. Jameson’s Raid on the Transvaal, I entered the service of the B.S.A. Co. (Chartered Company), and since then down to 1924, I was almost continually employed by one or other of the Colonial Administrations from the Equator to the Cape, always in some capacity which brought me in intimate contact with the Natives. Of the existence of the Society, mentioned by Mankanyezi, I received constant assurances, and once came in close touch with certain of its higher ranks. Some years after the Boer War, I was engaged in work on behalf of the Natal Government, in a certain large Native Reserve, in the course of which I was astonished to find occupying a remote, inaccessible valley, a small community of people—perhaps less than a hundred of all ages and both sexes—who were certainly not Zulus, nor, in fact, of an African Race I had ever seen. Had it not been for the fact that they lived the life of the Natives, and identified themselves in all respects with their Bantu neighbours, I should have said that they were members of some Southern European Race. In colour they varied a good deal, from the brown of a high caste Hindu to pure white. Their features were of pure European type, more uniformly classical indeed than is usual among Europeans.


Who was Mandhlalanga?


Continues Bowen: The chief of this little community bore the Zulu name of Mandhla-langa (Strength of the Sun). He was a man of striking appearance, well over six feet in height, slight of figure, with wavy, snow-white hair, olive complexion and features which, with the exception of the cheek bones which were rather prominent, were almost pure Greek in type. Among the Zulus, he bore the reputation of being a supernatural being.


Mandhlalanga, continues Bowen, is a master, or teacher in the Brotherhood mentioned by Mankanyezi. He has travelled in Europe, Asia and America. He speaks English and other European languages perfectly, but his talks with me were conducted in the secret Bantu tongue, which to the ordinary Native has been dead for ages, and of the continued existence of which few Europeans are aware. In the following quotations, the reader must realize that many obscurities are probably due to the difficulty of rendering in English the exact shades of meaning.


From the first, Mandhlalanga was extremely friendly towards me, and showed a desire to win my confidence. He gave me invaluable aid in the work upon which I was engaged, and that, eventually, I completed it successfully was largely owing to him. As regards himself, he remained for a time rather reserved, however. He and his people, he gave me to understand were Berbers, or rather Khabyles (he pronounced the name Kha-beel-ya, the “Kh” he pronounced as a guttural), from North Africa. But what they were doing five thousand miles from their native habitat, or why they chose to identify themselves with the Zulus, he did not explain. [Berbers were the original black Africans of North Africa]


Time, however, brought about a change in his attitude. One day I was speaking of the inexplicable manner in which news of distant happenings spreads among the Natives, when suddenly he said:

Thought is speedier than the electric spark and needs no wires for its conveyance. All it requires is a brain to despatch it and another to receive it. Would you believe if I told you that I and others of the Brotherhood to which I belong can transmit our thoughts one to the other, no matter how far apart our bodies may be? [This still remains a mystery to the author]


Continues Bowen: This was a rather startling statement, but I recalled what I had learned from Mankanyezi. I replied, “Yes, I think I might believe that, but I should be more sure if you explained how it is done”.


Mandhlalanga’s response: “To attempt to explain our science to you”, he said, smiling, “would be rather like trying to explain the differential calculus to a child who is ignorant of simple addition. However, I am satisfied that you have a mind unclouded by the average European’s prejudices and preconceptions, so, if you will, I will take you as a pupil and teach you the simple addition of our lore. Whether you ever reach knowledge of the differential calculus, will depend entirely on yourself. I can teach, but I cannot guarantee that you can learn”.


Bowen: After some consideration I agreed to become Mandhlalanga’s pupil, and for a year continued under his instruction. Then circumstances arose which led to my abandoning my studies and quitting this portion of the country. I never again encountered my teacher, nor for some considerable time afterwards did I ever receive a communication from him. With another of his fellows, however, whom I met at that period, I have several times been in contact, and have received from him communications at infrequent, though regular intervals. The sum of the information I gained from Mandhlalanga, during that year, is not very large, and I am so far from clear concerning its exact significance that I shall make no attempt at explaining it. I shall content myself here with certain extracts from the copious notes I made of his discourses at the time they were delivered and allow the reader to interpret them as he sees fit.


Ithongo and its Explanations


Mandhlalanga explains the concept of Itongo as follows:

The Itongo (Universal Spirit) is ALL that ever was, is, or ever shall be, conceivable or inconceivable. The Itongo is ALL things, all things are of IT; but the sum of all things is not the ItongoThe Itongo is ALL the power there is, all power is of it; but all power, perceivable or conceivable, is not the ItongoThe Itongo is ALL the wisdom there is, all wisdom is of IT; but all wisdom conceivable is not the ItongoALL substance, ALL power, ALL wisdom is of IT, and IT is in them and manifest through them, but IT is also above them and beyond them, eternally unmanifest.


Man who is of the Itongo can never know the Itongo while he is man. All he can know of IT are certain manifestations which come within the range of his perceptions.

The pupil is generally taught that the manifestations are three in number. Namely:

1.    Universal Mind.

2.    Universal Force.

3.  Universal Substance or Matter.


[The pupil would be like a student at a university institution level]


What is Force?: What we call Force is not a separate manifestation. It is simply certain of the lowest, or grosser grades of Mind. Force is simply that portion of Mind which endows Matter with Form. It is that portion of mind which transmits the idea of Form to the higher grades where Consciousness dwells. Let the pupil think and he must see that this is so. Colour, size, shape, what are they? Simply light vibrations which when passed on to the Consciousness give the idea of Form. And what is vibration? It is Force. Heat, cold, hardness, softness, varieties of taste and smell are all vibrations, and therefore also Force. If you make Force a separate manifestation, then also must you make those planes of Mind which transfer the ideas of passion or emotion separate manifestations.


In the beginning of a Cosmic Cycle the Itongo first manifested in all the many grades of mind, downward into all the grades of Matter. But at first both Mind and Matter were unindividualizedWhen, how, or why, only the Itongo can know. Individuality began in the highest planes of Mind—those planes which touch on pure Spirit. Understanding of what occurred is best gained by the following conception. Think of the Cosmos, just before individuality began, as a vast, amorphous ocean of Mind and Matter, its surface ripples and upper reaches, those planes of Mind which touch on Spirit; growing denser and denser, downward till matter, in Etheric form, is reached: downward till Ether becomes Gas, which may be likened to the mineral-charged lower strata of the ocean; downward till gases become liquids (muddy water); finally into solids (thick mud).


The beginning of individuality in this Cosmic Ocean may be likened to the starting of myriads of tiny “whirlpools” among the ripples of the surface (the Spiritualized Mind). These “whirlpools” under the force of a growing flood-tide, extended deeper and deeper, till at last all strata were involved in the swirl. Thus we have Individuality set up, extending from Spiritual Mind to the Physical Plane. The “whirlpool” on the surface represents the birth of the Soul. Its extension to the muddy depths represents the Soul’s descent into matter. In matter the Soul has reached the aphelion of its cycle, and now it begins its long, slow return journey. By the process of evolution it climbs slowly upward, from mineral to plant, from plant to animal, from animal to man; through all grades and states of human development, shaking off, slowly and painfully as it climbs, the gross accretions gathered during its descent; up through the lower mind to the higher, it climbs, till at last, its cycle complete, it merges with its source, the Itongoand ceases to be Individual, being one with the ALL, explains Mandhalanga.


On Man and his Destiny

Mandhlalanga discoursed thus:

Man is an individual, having in him, as has everything on the physical plane, all the attributes of the Cosmic Ocean of which he is an individualized portion. He has reached on his upward journey the stage of personal consciousness. I speak of Man in general. There are undeveloped men whose personal consciousness is but rudimentary as there are others who have transcended personality and know their real Selves—that immortal portion first individualized from the lofty planes of the Spiritual Mind.


Man is on a journey, the goal of which is union with the source of his being—the ItongoTo reach that goal he must first pass through all experience the Cosmos affords, and must shake off all accretions accumulated on his descent from individualized Spiritual Mind into grossest Matter. To do this, he is born and born again, for his physical body dies, as do his lower mental principles; only his higher mental principles which are akin with the Itongo survive individuality bestowed upon them at its opening.


The Principles of Man


(1) The Physical body (Umzimba). 



This is merely the etheric counterpart of the physical body, and not really a separate principle, normally. But in certain abnormal states it is partially separable from the physical body. It is the medium through which the Lower Mind (or Force) functions.


(2) The Etheric Body (Isitunzi).

That portion of the Mind which shows as Life-force and other forms of what we call Energy.


(4) The Animal Mind (Utiwesilo).

The planes of Mind which manifest as passions, emotions, and instincts.


(5) Human Mind (Utiwomuntu).

The planes of Mind which manifest as human consciousness, Intellect, higher emotions, etc.


(6) Spiritual Mind (Utiwetongo).

The higher planes manifesting Spiritual Consciousness.


(7) Itongo

The Ray, or spark of Universal Spirit which informs all lower manifestations.


My teacher (referring to Mandhlalangagave the following account of the Brotherhood in which he holds the rank of Master:

We call our Brotherhood, Bonaabakulu abaseKhemuusing the ancient Bantu speech which is the mother-tongue of the most widespread group of languages in the Continent. The name may be tendered in English as The Brotherhood of the Higher Ones of Egypt.


The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in the reign of the Pharaoh Cheops; its founder being a priest of Isis. It has as its objects the spreading of the Wisdom which comes from of Old among all races and tribes in Africa, and the study and practice by its members of what we call Ukwazikwesithabangowhich means that science which depends on the power of thought. It is the only true science there is.


The following are the grades of the Brotherhood and some of the powers and functions they exercise.

(1) The Pupil.

The Pupil is one under probation which lasts from one to three years. During this time he is under instruction by a Master and subjects himself to certain disciplines. If found worthy he enters the Brotherhood as a Disciple, at the end of his period of probation. If unworthy he is dismissed back to the world.


(2) The Disciple.

The Disciple is an avowed member of the Brotherhood and subject to its disciplines. Under instruction he develops certain powers. That which in English is called “Mesmerism”, is usually one of the earliest to develop.


(3) The Brother.

A full member of the Order with many developed powers, of which I may mention, only, power of communication by thought with those of equal or higher development, and what European occultists term astral consciousness.


(4) The Elder. 

An advanced Brother.


(5) The Master. 

The teacher of all lower grades. The Master has many developed powers (clairvoyance and clairaudience on the Etheric Plane, and control in a certain degree of Master, among many others). Mastership can be attained only by one who in a past life has reached Elder brotherhood.


(6) Those who know (Isangoma).

Of these it is not permitted to speak save to say they have attained consciousness on the Plane of the Real Self. Only one who has reached Mastership in a previous life can gain Isangomanship.


Besides the above, we have lay Disciples and lay Brothers. They are men who are prevented by circumstances from becoming vowed to the Brotherhood. They are subject only to self-imposed disciplines and receive but such teaching as can be given from afar. We have many lay Disciples, not merely in Africa but in Asia, Europe and America. Lay Brothers, however, are but few, for without direct instruction from a Master few can reach this grade without incurring grave dangers. We constantly warn all unavowedDisciples against the danger of attempting to attain a brother’s powers, unaided by the direct instruction of a Master.


Let it not be thought that our Isangoma, elevated though they be, represent the supreme development possible to Man on the Physical Plane. It is not so. There are others, not of any Brotherhood, save the Brotherhood of All. We call them Abakhulubantu (that is, Supreme Ones, or Perfect Men). These are men for whom the necessity for rebirth has ceased. They dwell on earth in physical form by their own will, and can retain or relinquish that form as they choose. I speak of them but to assure the Pupil of their existence. Few, below the Grade of Master, have ever seen one in the flesh, though all, from Disciple upward, may meet them in the spirit.”


Of the occult powers wielded by Mandhlalanga and his fellow Master, I saw several examples, but of these I do not feel at liberty to speak here. The reader has had, already, sufficient food for thought. I shall conclude with a rather cryptic quotation from Mandhlalanga on The Source of the Brothers’ Power. Mandhlalanga had this to say: 

Of the source of the power we wield, the Pupil can learn but little until he attains Discipleship. But let him ponder this much. I have likened Individuality to whirlpools in the Cosmic Ocean. But all that Ocean has not been cast into individuality. Between the “whirlpools”, myriad though they be, stretch wide, smooth spaces, identical with them in composition. Now it can well be conceived that a “whirlpool” by setting up minor vibrations within itself may send out ripples through the smooth spaces which will strike upon and affect in some degree other “whirlpools”. All the “whirlpools” are constantly doing this. Now suppose a “whirlpool” to have gained power to control its internal vibrations and to send them pulsating through the Ocean towards whatever objective it desires, can you not see that it may produce upon that objective whatever effect it desires? Now think of the “whirlpool” as being a Man. Is it not clear that by getting full control of the vibrations of his higher planes, he may despatch through the Cosmic Ocean of which he is a part, ripples of various kinds and intensities, which, according to their nature and strength, will produce effects on all strata, from the highest, which is of course the most sensitive, even down to the “slime” and “mud” of the depths. 


There is abundant evidence that The Saying of the Ancient One came from ancient African wisdom tradition embodied in the Great Sphinx – the Mighty Altar that guards the Holy Land where the Nahar (Greek Nile) River meets the Mediterranean sea. Records still exist of great antiquity, preserved and partly disclosed, which contain ancient African wisdom.


Connection Between Bonaabakhulu BaseKhemu Brotherhood and AmaZulu


Bonaabakhulu basekhemu Brotherhood’ actually refers to the Zulu ancestors who were born and bred, lived and some died in ancient Egypt and some were dispersed throughout the whole world. They lived under and the reign of King Khufu of ancient Egypt. They served King Khufu


It is clear from the writings that the AmaZulu are the descendants of Horus Kings, and acquired their Khemetic and Gnostic philosophy from God Ptah (Hermes), through ancient Egyptian Mystery schools. That is why the ancient Zulu priests would conduct their affairs and always acknowledge their source of knowledge to Bonaabakhulu basekhemu’, meaning the Khemetic Mystery school priests of ancient Egypt, who were of Zulu/Bantu extraction.


The African brotherhood (Bonaabakhulu Abasekhemu) is considered the oldest and predate any treaceablelineage of every other religious tradition on earth today. It goes back to approximately 3900 BCE. The next closest tradition in terms of age would be Vedic tradition, which based on the Rig Veda, could be traced back to about 1500 BCE, and even the Vedic tradition would appear also to owe some of its spiritual science to Kamit or Nsemi. The earliest written parts of the Bible would have been written 1000 BCE, based on a tradition dating back to about 2000 BCE. Moses lived about 1300 BCE during AKHENATEN time. The Bonaabakhulu Abasekhemu Brotherhood of AmaZulu, South Africa trace their origin to a priest of Isis during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu of the 3rd dynasty (3900 BCE) and builder of the Great Pyramids. 


The genes of the South African Bonaabakhulu Abasekhemu Brotherhood are found in every tribe and nation throughout the great African continent, and indeed beyond. The Bonaabakhulu Abasekhemu Brotherhood are of the oldest group with traceable origin, and the fact that the name can be easily re-written in Kikongoas “Children of our ancestors, our father Creator” means that they strongly related not only to the KongoBantu people but also to the original man, Adam. 

Southern African records, which were destroyed by the Portuguese and others, revealed that the forebears of the builders of Maphungubwe and Great Zimbabwe, simply called The Builders, left behind them a family of Wise Ones who acted as teachers and priests.


The universalism of African culture and religion was highlighted by Theodore Besterman in his collected “Papers on the Paranormal (New York: Garrett 1968 p. 103). Besterman provides abundant evidence of the philosophy of reincarnation and the transmigration of souls in Africa. 


Ancient African wisdom survived the Roman, Arab and European plunder, slave trade and colonialism and remained to inform medieval African civilizations in Western, Central and Southern Africa.


The greatest exponent of the African doctrine of Divine Light (Kara) was the African Sage, Plotinus (204-270 AD). Plotinus, whose philosophy was misrepresented as neoplatonism, described the Divine Light (Kara) as the One Good or the Beauty and represented the spirit or word (Khem) of God (Ptah) upon the Chaos (Nun) created the universes and all animate and inanimate things. 


In other words, the motive force of all living and non-living things is the Word or Spirit of the Unknown and Unknowable God.


The Teachings of Bonaabakhulu baseKhem Brotherhod

The following were taught at mystery schools of ancient Egypt:

1. The interaction of the negative (Nut/Ntu) and positive (Ra) produced the triune principle ThauThaumaatkara (gr. Thaumturgewhich created twelve macrocosmic gods through a process of transformations and adaptations.  These celestial bodies constitute the macrocosmic universe. The macrocosmos replicated itself and produced the microcosmos which is structurally and substantially the same.  This relationship is embodied in the law of analogy which says “As Above, so Below”. According to this law, the macro-microcosmic order and all animate and inanimate things within it evolved from the One or the Good, and the mother thereof is the moon (Ma/Maia) and the father thereof is the sun (Ra), in short, Mara or Maria.


2. The ancient pillar (Zindj-ka-Fura) contains the totality of being which we must unpack in order to understand the nature of reality.


The Ancient Pillar consists of the following:


Kabachat/Mundu (ether)

= Manu (water)

Aakhet (fire)

Rastau (earth)

Amenti (air)


3. Both the Cube (Kaba) and ancient pillar (Zindj-ka-Fura) consists of four elements (water, fire, earth and air) and the fifth element (ether or quintessence) called Mundu or Kabachat.  The fifth element comprises:

Ka+ba+ chat = Kabachat

u + ndu = Mundu

u + ntu = Muntu

M + u + nhu = Munhu

o + tho = Motho

Mind  + thought + word = Higher Self

Spirit + soul+ reason   Higher Self


4The quintessential quality of the human personality is called Ubuntu, UbunduBotho etc. This ethereal (or quintessential) quality of the human personality is also shared by the word, or intelligence of the Unknown and Unknowable God ThauThaumaatkara or Usarmaatra: Usara + maat + ra               Usarmaatra

Mena maat + ra              Menmaatra

Nuba  maat + ra             Nubmaatra

ThauThau + maat + kara   ThauThaumaatkara

Ka + ba  chat                   Kabachat

M + u + ndu                          Mundu

M + u + ntu                         = Muntu

M + u + nhu                        Munhu

M + u thu                         Muthu

M + o + tho                          


5The inner human personality (i.e. divine spark, God within or indwelling spirit) is consubstantial with the universal word or intelligence of the Unknown and Unknowable God. 


Hence, the African Sage, ThauThau-Harama (Greek: Thoth-Hermes), said that the deceased are immortal gods and the living are mortal gods.


He proclaimed that the human being is the greatest miracle (magnum miraculum Homo Est). The adage was the foundational principle of African humanism which was adopted, adapted and distorted by European renascent philosophers.


6. Both theology and science are based on time, space and matter. Time flows from, and it is linked to, being, becoming and passing away.  Time, not being is recorded in calendars which relates to physical rather than the spiritual reality which inform them.


7All the western calendars are adaptations of the ancient African zodiac of Dandura (the Greek Dendera)which is substantially the same with the zodiac of Matendere which was found near Great Zimbabwe and taken to Cape Town Museum.  


The Danduran Zodiac comprises:

•        The Great Mother (Hathara)

•        The Great Bull (Hara)

•        The four cardinal gods or points (Kheru)

•        The seven cows (Het-heru)

•        The twelve divisions of heaven (Bemben) called zodiac (Bakare)

•        The twenty four divisions of heaven (24 hours) of the day

•        The thirty-six deacons divided into three ten days months (10 X 3 = 30)

•        The twelve divisions of heaven multiplied by 12 months of 30 days each (12 X 30 = 360 days)

•        The number 360 represents a circle or revolution called IAO (or Jah i.e. the beginning and the end) which reproduces five elements on five successive days.  These five days are called the birth days of the gods. 


These gods are:

1.     Usara (gr. Osiris)

2.     Sethe (gr. Set/Sutech/Satanuka)

3.     Usasi (gr. Isis)

4.     Naphta (gr. Nephtys).


Thus, the zodiacs of Dandura and Matendere give us a year of 365 days.


The IAO (or JahAbaraka or Abakara (Greek Abraxas) manifested itself as the lion or Leo (pard) known as the king (Fura or Kapha) of Ethiopia (African Atpu).  The King Kapha (Greek Caephus) became the prototype sacred (or divine) king of Ancient Africa (both Ethiopia and Egypt).  The concept Kara(or Raka) found expression in the Charaoh (Greek Chirho) monogram.


8The Karaite theology is embodied in the Sphinx (or Iynx) symbol also known as the Bemben (Latin. Bambino) stone, which represents the primal god’s child. The Sphinx is the only earthly symbol of the African Mystery God (IHVH) popularly known as Jah(u) or Jehovah.


Al-Karibuyan) which comprise:

•       P = God (Cube or ancient pillar)

•       Four Beasts before the throne of God which symbolize:

o       The four winds

o       The four cardinal points

o       The four rudders of heaven

o       The four gods which preside over the four quarters of the world


The Book of the African Sage ThauThau-Harama (Greek: Thoth-Hermes) which deals with God and celestial matters was adapted by the Essenes (a branch of the Great Kara Brotherhood) and renamed the Ethiopian Book of Enoch


9. The Bull of Heaven (IAO or Jah) divided itself into fourteen parts corresponding to the seven Pleiades stars and the seven outer planets which culminated into the universal word of intelligence called ThauThau-Harama (Greek Thoth-Hermes) who created the cube (Kaba) or ancient pillar (Zindj-ka-Fura) which reproduces all earthly life.


10. The fourteen parts of the One or the Good, plus the universal word or intelligence, constitute the fifteen descending lunar gods and their fifteen ascending lunar counterparts. Together these gods (15 + 15 = 30) constitute thirty (30) days of the lunar months.  In other words the thirty (30) lunar days determine the relationship of God, time and the human being.


The thirty (30) days of the lunar months correspond to the twelve divisions of heaven and add up to (30 x 12 = 360) days of the year. This annual cycle generated five gods on five successive days bringing the total number of a year to three hundred and sixty five. The number 360 represents evolution and involution (i.e. the beginning and the end). The number 5 (five) represents five constitutive principles of the ultimate reality.


 The Ultimate Reality

We have said God is unknown and unknowable. The first manifestation of God took the form of ten primal principles of being which culminated in the Great Mother (Hathara). 


The Great Mother (Hathara) generated the son (Hara or Kara) who came to be known as Karana (or Harana). 


The son (Karana or Harana) is symbolized by the three stars of the Orion (Urhana) belt also known as UsarmaatraNedemba (or Nedomba), Makolobeng, Luonde (i.e. the place of the pigs). 


The son was the triune principle which became the foundation of the law of generation which says in a right-angled triangle, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.


The Law of Squares






a2                +          b2             =         c2

Usara2        +          maat2      =         Ra2

Nuba2        +          maat2      =         Ra2

Mena2        +          maat2      =         Ra2

Usara2        +          Usasi2     =         Hara2

Osiris2        +          Isis2         =         Horus2

Harana2     +          Mara2      =         Kara2

Mind2         +          soul2        =        word2

Spirit2         +          soul2        =        reason2

32                 +          42                    52

9                   +          16             =        25

25                 s25                      =       s25

                                                =       5


In this law of squares, the number 25 represents the 25 divisions of heaven and the number 5 represents the five constitutive principles of being.


The number five (5) represents the ether or quintessence and the four elements. Therefore, we talk about five elements. But the fifth element is a triune element comprising mind, thought and word or spirit, soul and reason. It therefore follows from this that the numbers 5 and 7 are substantially the same and are both vehicles of primal life.


Perhaps one needs to explain who was Hermes since he features quite a lot in this paper.


Who was Hermes?

The ancient Ethiopian founders of ancient Egypt introduced a theosophy (i.e. Divine wisdom) and sciences, which came to be attributed to the ancient Ethiopian (or black African) sage – Harama or (Thoth-Hemes). In other words the Hermetic philosophy and sciences, which were taught in dynastic Egypt came from Khem or ancient Ethiopia’.

He was an Ethiopian (black African) sage. Hermes Trismegistus, who the Greeks called Hermenubis or Thoth-Hermes, and was known to the Romans as Mercurius, while the Arabs and Jews called him Idris and Enoch who is the “Father of World Religions” wrote thousands of books, which are found in his collected work called “Corpus Hermeticum” which was found in his tomb by archaeologists. Forty (42) of these books later became a compulsory study for all those who entered the Order for priesthood. That was in the year 10 490 BC. Hermes developed what is now called the Hermetic Philosophy and Science.


There is much confusion in ancient and modern learned circles about who Hermes actually was. Scholars of mythology said he was just a myth, as was Mercury, his equivalent to the Romans. His Egyptian equivalent, say some scholars, was the Egyptian god “Thoth.” The god Thoth or Hermes, was the moon god, who was the god of time and of its divisions. He was the measurer and the god of measurements. He was also the conductor of the dead, and god of human Intelligence, to whom are attributed all the productions of human Art. To the pagan Egyptians, all the literature of Egypt is attributed to Hermes. All the writings that relate to the different sciences, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and music of the Egyptians were called by the Greeks “The Hermetic Books.”
  In Greek mythology, Hermes was known as the son of Zeus and Maia. He was the god who invented dice, music, geometry, the interpretation of dreams, measures and weights, the arts, letters, etc. He was also regarded as the patron of public treaties, as the guardian of roads and writing. Thoth to the Egyptians was considered a great king, a teacher of mankind, who had left books of magic and mystery behind him. Numerous books of such a sort once existed in Egypt. Clement of Alexandria claimed he knew of 42 so-called Hermetic fragments which could be found in the works of StobaeusCyrillusSuides and Lactantus.
 The Hermetic Books fall into two groups: The first deals with Astrology, Alchemy, etc.; while the others are dialogues describing the soul’s regeneration in terms like the Cabala. This is the blasphemous doctrine that man can reach perfection through his own efforts by journeying through the higher spheres of knowledge, then after death, become God. Tradition says the Egyptian mysteries were a key to a complete knowledge of the Universe and man. And this so-called knowledge was preserved in these Hermetic books which were believed for centuries to be written by Hermes Trismegistus. These books were universally accepted among the doctors of occultism as authentic books of Hermes until the early 17th century, when they were proven to be a fraud. They had actually been written as late as the second and third centuries AD, by a succession of anonymous Greeks living in Egypt.
  However, even though these Hermetic Books were not directly from Hermes, as the occultists said, there are still some interesting facts to learn about who Hermes was, this legendary god of wisdom. To start, we need to take a deeper look at the other gods of the Orient who were the Eastern equivalent to the Western god Hermes. They were known in history as Nebo (Nabu) and Eel. Alexander Hislop, who spent years tracing down ancient gods to Babylonian origin, has some very interesting facts compiled from the ancient past in his book The Two Babylons. In this book Hislop states the following: 


 If Ninus was Nimrod, who was the historical Eel? He must have been Cush; for Cush begetNimrod (Gen. 10:8), and Cush is generally represented as having been a ringleader in the great apostacy. But again, Cush, as the son of Ham was Hermes or Mercury; for Hermes is just an Egyptian synonym for the “son of Ham.” Now, Hermes was the great original prophet of idolatry; for he was recognized by the ancient Egyptians as the author of their religious rites, and theinterpreter of the gods.”
 To the occultist, tradition says the Egyptian Mysteries were a key to a complete knowledge of the Universe and of man. But the truth is, Egypt received its knowledge of the ancient Mysteries from Babylonia. In the traditions of the ancient writers, Ninus is said to be the son of Eel who Gesenius the ancient scribe identifies as Nebo, the Babylonian prophetic god. And Hyginus, another ancient scribe, shows that Nebo was Mercury. And, Hyginus tells how a similar legend was written about the confusion of tongues as stated in the Bible. Hyginus is quoted by Hislop:
  “For many ages men lived under the government of Jove (evidently not the Roman Jupiter, but Jehovah of the Hebrews), without cities and without laws, and all speaking one language. But, after that Mercury interpreted the speeches of men (whence an interpreter is called Hermeneutes), the same individual distributed the nations, then discord began.”
  Now the ancient Egyptians often named places, cities, and towns after their chief gods. A mount called Nebo east of Jordan over against Jericho, in Moab, part of the Abarim range, with a top called Pisgah, is where our Lord told Moses to view the land which he couldn’t enter because of his transgression. The word “Nebo” means height.
 The word “Baal” means Lord, but the name “Eel” means “The Confounder”. The ancients often got the two names Baal and Eel mixed up as do modern scholars today. The Scriptures themselves show that Baal and Eel were two distinct gods with two distinct names. In Jeremiah 50:2; 51:44 we read: “Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish and conceal not; say, Babylon is taken, Eel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces, her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.” “And I will punish Eel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.”
 Now, Eel the Confounder or, in other words, the god of confusion, was himself to be confounded by the destruction of Babylon, the origin of all pagan religions. Today, the city of Babylon is just as it was predicted to be, and now is a symbol of religious confusion throughout the world which will, in these last closing days, unite under one banner.
 To the Romans the god Eel, who actually was Nimrod’s father Cush, was worshipped as Janus, the two faced god, the god of gods. 


Ancient Egypt was founded by Hermes (of Ancient Ethiopia)

The name of Cush is also ‘Khus‘ for ‘sh‘ frequently passes in into s; and Khus. Nebo and Eel are synonymous. And the symbol of this god (the club) is called the hammer in Scripture.


The word Her is synonymous with Ham, or Khem – the burnt one. This name formed a foundation for covertly identifying Ham with the Sun, and so deifying the Patriarch after whose name the land of Egypt was called. The Scriptures themselves state that Egypt was founded by Ham. “Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the Land of Ham.” “Her is the name of Horus, who is identified with the Sun, which shows the real etymology of the name to be from the verb to which I have traced it. 


Then, secondly, ‘Mes‘ is from Mesheh for, without the last radical, which is omissible. Mesh, ‘to draw forth.’ 
 What all this means is “Mes” was used by the ancient Egyptians to show the genealogy of the name applied. This will explain the Egyptian names of Kings of Egypt such as Rameses, which means “The Son of Ra,” who was the Egyptian Sun-god, whose incarnation was “Osiris.” Hence, “Hermes” or “Her-Mes” means “The Son of Her,” or Ham, who was Cush. “And the sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, and Phutand Canaan.”
  Now it was really Cush who was worshipped as Hermes, Eel, Nebo, Mercury, etc., that was generally represented by the ancients as their god who was the author of Astrology, Magic, Spiritualism, etc. 


Hermes”In all the old manuscripts and records which contain the legend of the craft, mention is made of Hermes as one of the founders of masonry”. There are two persons of the name of Hermes mentioned in sacred history. The first is the divine Hermes called by the Romans Mercury. Among the Egyptians he was known as Thoth. Diodorus Siculus describes him as the secretary of Osiris; he is commonly supposed to have been the son of Mizaim, and some say he was the same as Osiris. 
The second was Hermes Trismegistus or Thrice Great, who was a celebrated Egyptian legislator, priest, and philosopher, who lived in the reign of Ninus, about the year 2670 (BC). He is said to have written thirty six books on theology and philosophy, and six upon medicine, all of which are lost. There are many traditions of him; one of which, related by Eusebius, is that he introduced hieroglyphics into Egypt. This Hermes Trismegistus, although the reality of his existence is doubtful, was claimed by the alchemists as the founder of their art, whence it is called the Hermetic science, and whence we get in masonry, Hermetic degrees. And whence we get in Masonry, Hermetic rites and Hermetic degrees. The legend of the craft in the old constitutions refer to Nimrod who was first to teach the arts of masonry! Now here lies a key to understanding the mysterious rituals of Freemasonry. Just as the women who worshipped Thammuz were led to weep for the god because in the myth all the images wept for him, so does the Freemason mimic the myths of the Sun-godsduring their Hermetic Rituals. Just as the Roman Catholic is taught to mimic the death of Jesus Christ during Holy Week, so does Freemasonry imitate most of the myths of Baal worship. Here from their own publications we will learn the real purposes and goals of the leaders of Freemasonry.




It is clear from this that the history and nature of Bonaabakhulu baseKhem Brotherhood originated from ancient Egypt, and that it trained those carefully selected few to become Izangoma. You start as a Ithwasa and graduate into becoming a Sangoma. A Sangoma should be fully possessed with Itongo spirit. In Zulu we say: Ungenwe yithongo or idhlozi.


Secondly, clearly there is a connection amongst the ancient Zulus, ancient Ethiopians (Nubians) ofancient Sudan or Nubia, Hermes, Pharaoh Khufuetc (see my article ‘Beyond UMnguni – Our PrimvalFather’, 2015 by Bhengu).

If we are to believe what Bowen says about Mankanyezi’s origin and race, then we are, logically speaking, influenced to believe the argument that says the AbeNguni/Zulus originate from ancient Egypt, and they actively participated in the civilization of ancient Egypt.




Books and Articles


Besterman, T., 1968, Papers on the Paranormal, New York 


Bhengu M.J., 2014., AmaZulu: Ancient Egyptian Origin, second edition, Mepho Publishers, Durban. 


See also Bhengu’s article ‘Beyond UMnguni – Our Primeval Father (2015), published in Bhengu’sblog (


Bowen P.G., (n.d.The Sayings of the Ancient One, Rider & Co, Paternoster House, Paternoster Row, London EC4).


Joseph H. and Cranston S.L., 1977., Reincarnation – The Phoenix Fire Mystery Julian Press/ Crown Publishers Inc. New York 1977 p. 190-191).


 Mutwa. V. C. (2003) Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies and Mysteries, Destiny Books, Rochester, New York

National Geographic: Culture RecordThe Zulu Nation in South Africa Record.  Ethnologue Language  Family Tree Record National Geographic: Culture RecordThe Zulu Nation in South Africa Record.  Ethnologue Language Family Tree Record    


Nabudere N., 2008: Towards an Afrikology of Knowledge Production and African Regeneration. The Marcus-Garvey Pan-Afrikan Institute, Uganda.


Ngubane J.K. 1979. The Conflicts of Mind, Book in Focus, USA, New York       


The Quantum Vision of Simon Kimbangu, 1921.





       Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 3, No. 2. (Spring 1969) © World       Wisdom, Inc.


The Bible

Psalms 105:23, 27


Isaiah 46:1, 


Jeremiah 50:23.


Romans 1:23, 24



About MJ Bhengu

I am an Independent Researcher on Afrikan philosophy, Afrikology and Egyptology. I am an established and experienced author, self-publisher and managing director of Phindela Publishing Group & Editor-in-Chief of INQABA Journal, a quarterly publication that specializes on Afrikology. I am an Afrikan of Nguni (Zulu) extraction, but then a global citizen. I am black, but I am in the total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the Earth...I am black not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all cosmic eluvia. I am truly a drop of the sun under the earth.
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  2. lesego9081 says:

    Great works here Mr Bhengu.

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