© The Times of Swaziland, Sunday, 8 February 1998
DID SOMHLOLO'S DREAM HAVE
ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE BIBLE?
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)
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
In America many people like Miller expected the return of Christ in
1844. In Germany Wolfe and his followers were expecting the return of
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
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
"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
"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 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
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
"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
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"
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.
©Copyright 1998, The Times of Swaziland