Somhlolo's Dream

© The Times of Swaziland, Sunday, 8 February 1998


By Dr Ben Dlamini

"It is impossible to say that the Bible came here as the Umculu referred to by Somhlolo because instead of unity and peace, it brought a sword and division among the Swazi people."

SOBHUZA I, popularly known as Somhlolo (Father of Mysteries), left the Swazi Nation a great legacy in the form of a prophecy that influenced greatly the basis of Swazi life and philosophy.

It is related by Dr. J.S.M. Matsebula that: "One night, shortly before his death, Sobhuza had a vision. In the morning he called his councillors and told them he had dreamed that white skinned people with hair like the tails of cattle would arrive in his country, bringing with them two things: UMCULU and INDILINGA.

"When translated, these words respectively mean a scroll or book and a round piece of rnetal or money.

"The book was taken to represent the Bible, and Sobhuza advised his people to accept this but to try and avoid money. He warned them that they must never harm these white people, for if they spilt a drop of the white man's blood their country would be destroyed and they would disappear as a Nation." J.S.M Matsebula (History of Swaziland) P.13.

According to Matsebula, Sobhuza I died in1836. What is questionable is the interpretation that he saw just any white people in the vision.

There is evidence that Sobhuza had already seen some white people who came to assist him in fight against some of his enemies. This vision did not only come to Sobhuza. It had come to Shaka a decade earlier.

It came to Ntsikana in the Transkei which already had a lot of white people among them. It came to Nongqause in 1857 when there was a promise of abundance and happiness for the black people. She promised that the enemies of the black people would be drowned in the sea.

Nor was this type of vision confined to Africa. In all countries of the world, there were seers who were seeing wonders that would soon occur in their countries.

In America many people like Miller expected the return of Christ in 1844. In Germany Wolfe and his followers were expecting the return of Christ.

In 1833 Wolfe and his followers migrated to Israel to await the coming of Christ in Haifa on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Even today their houses are still there below the Shrine of the Bab,with the message, "The Lord is nigh" written on top of their doors.

In Persia there was Shayk[h] Ahmad, and after him came Siyyid Kazim. These two were leaders of religious groups who were telling all the people in Persia and Arabia to go out into all regions to search for the promised one who was already in their midst.

In fact that was correct. Both the Bab and Baha'u'llah had already been born at that time. The Bab had been born in 1819, two years after the birth of Baha'u'llah in 1817.

The dream of Somhlolo was therefore referring to these great figures who were expected by the whole world. The coming of the missionaries who brought the Bible in 1844 was only necessary to fulfil the words of Christ that before his return the gospel would be taught in all the world as a witness.

It is impossible to say that the Bible came here as the Umculu referred Co by Somlilolo because instead of unity and peace, it brought a sword and division among the Swazi people.

The churches brought enmity and fights between members of one family. The families abandoned the strong moral principles on which Swazi culture is based. It caused people to disrespect their ancestors.

The churches are the ones which promote the love of money and they themselves are divided because of internal in-fighting over the money. The church created the demand for money.

The vision referred to a special person who had hair like tails of cows. He brought a book. Somhlolo recommended that it would be good for his people to accept this book and shun materialism which is represented by money.

In both the old and new testaments these two events are described. One is the coming of a New book brought by someone who fitted the description given by King Somhlolo. The other is the Iridilinga or money or materialism or commercialism which plagued the whole world. The Bible advises the people of the world to shun materialism

My contention is that the Book or Umculu was the new Book of the Laws of God that was brought by the Bab and Baha'u'llah in 1844. It may not have come to Swaziland in 1844, but the Baha'i message finally arrived to Sobhuza II in 1954.

It came to Sobhuza II when he was greatly worried by the divisions of the churches and had in fact asked the priests to find the foot of Christ. Characteristic of the misunderstanding of Priests, they bought tickets to Israel to look for the foot of Christ.

They could not understand a simple message from King Sobhuza that Christ taught unity and love, and there was only one Christ and yet there were so many Christian sects who hate one another so vehemently.

He therefore, asked them to find the foot of Christ, which meant the true spirit of teachings of Christ of oneness, love and fellowship, which does not exist in the Christian churches.

The description of the person in the vision by Somhlolo-Sobhuza I was similar to the one seen by Daniel 7:9-10:14. It states, "I beheld till thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was White as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool:... the judgment was set, and the Books were opened... I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before Him.

"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: His dominion is an everlasting dbminion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

You would easily think that the passage refers to Christ, but in reality it does not, because Christ never claimed to be the Ancient of Days or to have an everlasting kingdom; but also this very passage is repeated in Revelation which shows that it refers to events which would occur even after Christ.

The hair here is described as like "pure wool" and the nearest to this description a Swazi can give is "tails of cows" because there were no sheep at the time.

The description is also given in Rev. 1:13; 18: "...And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

"His head and his hairs were white like wool and white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters... I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the Keys of hell and death."

The umculu (Book) that was seen by Somhlolo is also described in Rev.l: 69. "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side sealed with seven seals... And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

"And he came and took the hook the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the lamb, having everyone of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sung a new song, saying Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof..."

In Daniel and in the Revelation we have two beings involved. There is the Ancient of Days who [is] seat[ed] on the Throne and the Son of Man or the Lamb, which of course no longer refers to Christ, because it is Christ in Revelation talking about things to come after him.

The Bab who announced his Mission from God in 1844 was executed in 1850 as a sacrificial Lamb like Christ. Baha'u'llah (Glory of God), as the great manifestation from God seats on the Throne.

The seven spirits refers to the Seven major religions that existed before the coming of the Religion of the Bab, Babism and that of Baha'u'llah, the Baha'i Faith. The seven religions that came before are Sab[a]ean, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam.

And in Rev, 10:2,8: "And he had in his hand a little book, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth ... and the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the Angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth".

And in Rev 2O:ll-l5: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away... and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the Books were opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works ... and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

The second part of Somhlolo's vision involves the indilinga - money or materialistic attraction or commercialism. This is the subject adequately covered in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.

Rev. 17:1-5, 18: "Come hither, I will shew into thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon the many waters - with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornications, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication...and I saw a woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications.

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINAIONS OF THE EARTH.... and the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth".

Those who are not so young will recall that Prince Madevu, the father of Khanyakwezwe in Timbutini, spared no one, not even King Sobhuza teIling about Babylon, the mother of harlots.

And Rev, 18:2-4 "And he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen and is become the habitation of devils', and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

"For all Nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and Kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

"I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."

Ruth Moffet - in the New Keys to the Book of Revelation p.109 comments: 'There are many interpretations of this beautiful woman, this siren bedecked with gold and precious stones, who is called:

"MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH". Babylon is today called Baghdad, the home of Saddam Husein. It is still causing problems for all rulers.

Count Tolstoy, in his classic prophecy of this day, describes this woman as a siren, a supervenus, whose voice clinked like gold. She had in her hand three torches.

One with which she set flame to the nations of the world; one with which she set flame to the family relations, which became disrupted and chaotic, and the third torch, with which she set flame to the churches and to those before the altars.

Tolstoy, in his prophecy, further describing this supervenus, tells how when the world was inflamed, he looked and saw upon her forehead her name written in letters of scarlet "COMMERCIALISM'.

How could Somhlolo express Commercialism better than describing a round object - money - which should not be accepted to supersede the "UMCULU" the book.

I believe firmly that Somhlolo spiritual[ly] came into contact with both the Bab and Baha'u'llah and prepared his people to investigate and accept their teachings.

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