Mamlambo, noun

Forms:
Also Momlambo, and with small initial.
Origin:
ZuluShow more Zulu umamlambo, literally ‘one of the river’ (plural omamlambo).
In Zulu mythology: a female water spirit, usually in the form of a snake or a woman requiring sacrifice, sometimes of human life, in return for her favour.
1937 B.J.F. Laubscher Sex, Custom & Psychopathology 32The Mamlambo demands a sacrifice before she bestows her favours on a man, and this penalty or sacrifice takes the form of someone dying in his family.
1955 J.B. Shephard Land of Tikoloshe 84‘Your son is indeed sick..to death..he has a Mamlambo.’..A Mamlambo is not the sort of creature you like to keep in a respectable family. I cannot describe it..for nobody has seen one, though it is well known to assume different shapes; at times it appears as a baboon, or a skunk, or a wild pig, but it is just as likely to be a lovely woman. It is always female.
1962 W.D. Hammond-Tooke Bhaca Soc. 285The snake is perhaps the most sinister of all..familiars, for when it is obtained ‘something must be slaughtered for it — but not a beast or a goat’. This is said to mean that the owner of a mamlambo must kill his father or mother to propitiate it.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 48Mamlambo the mother of the river is a mythical snake that lives under the water in river pools. She escapes from the river as a beautiful woman.
1978 A.P. Brink Rumours of Rain 356If a man desires the Momlambo, if you want to sleep with her under one kaross and untie her inciyo, then you must kill your own father in your heart.
1982 B. Maseko in Staffrider Vol.5 No.1, 22Mamlambo is a kind of snake that brings fortune to anyone who accommodates it. One’s money or livestock multiplies incredibly. This snake is available from traditional doctors...Certain necessities are to be sacrificed in order to maintain it.
1990 J. Knappert Aquarian Guide to Afr. Mythology 150Mamlambo means ‘the River Mother’; she is the goddess of the rivers of Natal and will appear to those who sacrifice to her.
a female water spirit, usually in the form of a snake or a woman requiring sacrifice, sometimes of human life, in return for her favour.

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