Ma Kengue, Diety of Palo Mayombe: The Earth Shaker

Ma Kengue:

The religion of Palo Mayombe involves the worship and ultimate reference of Nzambi, the Supreme Deity who they relate to through the kimpungulu (plural form of mpungu). These kimpungulu are lesser deities who interface between the Supreme God, Nzambi and man, enabling communication of messages to and fro. Ma Kengue is one of such deities. He is also called Tiembla Tierrra or Pandilanga. He is known as the Sky Father; the early Creator of all living creatures. He is believed to dwell on the mountain top and is expressed both in male and female forms.


Ma Kengue is known for his deep wisdom and excellent fatherhood. He is very peaceful and understanding. However, like other deities, he can cause adverse effects when provoked. He is said to be able to take the role of a fierce warrior and cause earthquakes in the event of injustice. He is believed to be full of insights and knowledge. He epitomizes patience, justice, balance, peace, and wisdom.

Ma Kengue is seen as being in charge of the earth, hills, and mountains. Some would refer to him as the Owner of all the things in the world.

Tasks/ Functions:

Ma Kengue is he who blesses a man with wisdom and insight. He endows with knowledge and forethought. He plays the role of a Father to his devotees. He also ensures that justice is carried out. If the contrary occurs, he rises to the occasion. He is known to be a Protector. He is also believed to be the deity that balances good and evil on the earth.

Ma Kengue is consulted on matters of healing, cleansing from bad spirits, protection from evil, blessings, spirituality, success, peace, mystical insights and wisdom.

He is also regarded as an important part of the creation of all living beings.


Ma Kengue also receives sacrifices and offerings which would include unsalted rice, cocoa butter, coconuts, white yam and everything white. These sacrifices should be left in forests or mountain tops. His sacred color is white which is a representation of peace and his dedicated number is 8.


Ma Kengue is associated with the Lady of Mercy of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orisa Obatala of the Santeria and Yoruba religion. This is due to their very similar characteristics and functions. Though some Paleros do not believe in this combination of several beliefs from different faiths. They prefer the undiluted teachings as it was handed to them.


Ma Kengue is one of the deities which an nganga can be dedicated to. When a Palero seeks to build his nganga or shrine, the human remains of the dead ancestor who is also called the nfumbi, is placed into the pot so that the nfumbi inhabits the pot. It is referred to as a sort of giving a means of expression to the deceased. 

The nganga would also be dedicated to one of the deities. Divination has to be carried out to determine which of the deities an nganga belongs to. The Palero is then under the protection, guidance, and blessing of both the nfumbi and the mpungu.