Muntu

"People are bantu; the singular is muntu. Muntu does not mean exactly the same as person, though, because it describes a living person, a dead one, or someone not yet born. Muntu persists through all those conditions unchanged. The Bantu speak of “self” as a vision residing inside, peering out through the eyeholes of the body, waiting for whatever happens next. Using the body as a mask, muntu watches and waits without fear, because muntu itself cannot die. The transition from spirit to body and back to spirit again is merely a venture. It is a ride on the power of nommo, the force of a name to call oneself. Nommo rains from a cloud, rises in the vapor from a human mouth: a song, a scream, a prayer. A drum gives nommo in Congo, where drums have language. A dance gives nommo where bodies are not separate from the will that inhabits them."

- Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible