Concept

Nyami Nyami

Summary
The Nyami Nyami, otherwise known as the Zambezi River God or Zambezi Snake Spirit, is one of the most important gods of the Tonga people. Nyami Nyami is believed to protect the Tonga people and give them sustenance in difficult times. The River God is usually portrayed as male. Variously described as having the body of a snake and the head of a fish, a whirlpool or a river dragon, the Nyami Nyami is seen as the god of Zambezi Valley and the river before the creation of the Kariba Dam. He is regularly depicted as a snake-like being or dragon-like creature with a snake's torso and the head of a fish. It can be found as pendants on jewelry, usually carved out of wood, stone or bone, occasionally ivory, silver or gold both as a fashion accessory and as a good luck charm similar to the wearing of a St Christopher medallion. Elaborate traditionally carved walking sticks depicting the Nyami Nyami and its relationship with the valley's inhabitants were popular with tourists visiting Zambia
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