Kilimanjaro legends – Chagga folklore

Wonder how Mawenzi got it's jagged formation? The Chagga people know.

[This is an excerpt from Kissing Kilimanjaro: Leaving it All on Top of Africa.] A local Chagga legend explains how Kilimanjaro's 3 great peaks softened from treacherous lava formations to the more hospitable mountain we know today.  Long ago, there were two neighboring giant volcanoes in East Africa: Kibo was the taller and grander, while Mawenzi was smaller and constantly jealous of his more impressive neighbor (Shira was no longer a separate peak by this time). Kibo was also the more industrious of the two, and Mawenzi was forever taking advantage of him. Mawenzi would frequently let the fire go out of his hearth and come begging Kibo for help and food.  The generous Kibo would always stop his work of pounding dried bananas with a pestle and mortar to gather coals for Mawenzi and send him off with some sustenance.  Mawenzi was a terrible cook and always loved what Kibo would prepare. Sometimes he would let his hearth go out two or three times in a row to test Kibo’s patience. One day, after letting his coals burn out, Mawenzi sought out Kibo. But Kibo was not at home, so Mawenzi decided to help himself to what was there. Dragging the hot embers back to his hearth, Mawenzi grumbled and complained about having to do his own cooking. As Kibo returned, he saw from a distance the red glow of his coals being taken. He found his hearth barren and all his hot coals missing. He was so angry he grabbed his pestle, ran to Mawenzi, and struck a crashing blow on the head, rendering Mawenzi with the jagged formation we see today and himself dormant.
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