In the heart of Africa, within the Kruger National Park in South Africa is a private game reserve called Timbavati.
Timbavati is the home of many of South Africa’s greatest animals, but it is most well known for a one of the rarest creatures of all – the white lion.
The folklore of the local Shangaan people have for hundreds of years spoken of how these creatures came to be.
Four hundred odd years ago there lived a mighty queen. Not only was she queen, but also a great spiritual person and the Rain Queen of her people. She was known as Queen Numbi, the ugly.
Although ugly in appearance, her people loved and respected her and when illness struck, feared for her life.
According to legend, Numbi’s legs and stomach swelled up and she was running a fever. Modern medicine tells us that this could have been a condition called ‘Elephantitis’ which could have been caused by Malaria.
As Queen Numbi got closer and closer to death, her people prayed to the ancestral spirits for help and healing. For months nothing happened and Queen Numbi got worse.
One day, when Queen Numbi was extremely close to death and her followers were at their wit’s end, night fell and the stars started appearing.
Suddenly one star grew bigger than the rest. As the people gazed upwards, the star got closer and closer. It is said that the animals in the bush started making a huge noise when the star got near.
People started shouting:
“Timbi le!”, “It has come down!”
“Timbi le vaa ti!”, “It has come down to the ground!”
Slowly the bright light floated down before touching down not far from the hut of the great Queen.
With her servants helping her, Queen Numbi was helped out of her hut and saw the bright light illuminating the whole area. She knew exactly what to do.
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