Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T [U] V W X Y Z

UMAMLAMBO

(WO-mam-LAMB-oo)
The umamlambo is perhaps the most significantand powerful familiar that an African VAMPIRIC WITCH can hope to have, especially among the Xhosa people who live in southeast Africa (see AFRICAN VAMPIRE WITCH, LIVING VAMPIRE, and TIKOLOSHE). There is a saying among them, "witchcraft goes through the breasts," and in the spirit of this tradition the umamlambo is often passed down through a family line. Fortunately, the umamlambo is considerably adaptable, for if it is passed from a female witch as an inheritance to a male witch, the umamlambo will assume the form of a woman. Then, it will work its way into his life, eventually moving into his home. When they marry, the witch's father will immediately begin to die, but the witch will become wealthier and always have good luck.
The umamlambo, whose natural form is thatof a snake, has the ability to shape-shift into any creature it desires. When not in the witch's home, the umamlambo resides in its own underwater home where it is attended to by lizards. Its progeny is called ICHANTI.
Anyone who makes direct eye contact with theumamlambo will die unless he is immediately treated by an herbalist. This happens most often at the water's edge when a person bends down to drink or collect water. To prevent meeting the umamlambo's stare, it is advised to first throw a stone into the water as this will make the umamlambo blink and oftentimes withdraw.
Source: Broster, Amagqirha, 60; Hammond-Tooke, Rituals and Medicines, 75; Marwick, Witchcraft and Sorcery, 371; Royal Anthropological Institute, Man, 129
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