Apparently the Mngwa cat or Nunda has been featured in African native songs for over 800 years and some still believe that this mythical cat survives in remote corners of the coastal forests of Tanzania. ‘Nunda’ means ‘the strange one’.
This huge, ferocious cat is grey-striped (or black). It is widely feared because of nighttime attacks on people. However, it seems to be a legend developed to explain away the violent deaths of people at night.
It has been speculated that it is a monster sized variant of the medium-sized African golden cat (not possible).
A respected scientific journal of the 1930s, Discovery, seriously discussed the existence of the Mngwa.
A British administrator in Tanzania, William Hitchens, reported that some natives had been attacked by the Mngwa. He believed it was a man-eating lion. However the tracks and fur samples were not those of a lion.
Sources: Cat World by Dr Morris and Karl P.N. Shuker: Mystery Cats of the World. Robert Hale: London, 1989 and Simon Welfare and John Fairley: Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Bonnier, 1981.