|UFDC Home||| Help ||
|Table of Contents|
CITATION SEARCH THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
|Table of Contents|
Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Table of Contents
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 13, No. I MARCH 1949
Correspondence relating to the Death of Bishop Hannington.
SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY 1
The Masaka Cylinder: an Interpretation of its Use M. BEQUAERT 23
Arabic Correspondence Captured in South-West Bunyoro in 1895: with
a note on Arab Traders in Bunyoro H. B THOMAS 31
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoja-II J. M. WATSON 39
Maize Names as Indicators of Economic Contacts A. C A. WRIGHT 61
Extracts from "Mengo Notes "-VII - 82
The Death of Speke in 1864 - H. B. THOMAS 105
A Trout from the Siti River - T. H. E. JACKSON 107
Lango Clans FR. A. TARANTINO 109
A Note from Luuka County, Busoga BENET L. JACOBS 111
The Practice of Running Goats with Cattle - 113
"The King of Ganda" By Tor Istam A. C. A. WRIGHT 114
Published on behalf of
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
AMEN HOUSE LONDON E.C.4
Price Shs. 7/50 (7s. 6d.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
OFFICERS FOR 1949
His Excellency Sir John Hathorn Hall, K.C.M.G., D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C.
Dr. G. ap Griffith
Rev. Fr. F. B. Gaffney, w.F.
The Hon. Secretary
The Hon. Treasurer
The Hon. Librarians
The Hon. Editors
Mr. E. W. K. Bulera
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Mr. B. D. Gupta
Mr. G. A. Kassim
The Chevalier Macken
Mr. A. G. Macpherson
Mr. E. McCully Hunter
Mr. G. P. Saben
Mr. L. P. Saldanha
Mrs. K. M. Trowell, M.B.E.
Mr. J. A. Addington
Mr. C. W. Stuart
Miss J. Larter
Mrs. B. Saben
Dr. G. ap Griffith
Mr. W. V. Harris
Hon. Vice-Presidents :
R. A. Tito Winyi II, C.B.E. Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.
Sir E. F. Twining, K.C.M.G., M.B.E. Dr. A. W. Williams
Mr. Norman Godinho, M.B.E. Mr. Justice Mark Wilson
Mr. E. B. Haddon
Sir A. R. Cook, Kt., C.M.G., O.B.E.
Mr. E. J. Wayland, C.B.E.
Dr. H. H. Hunter, C.B.E., LL.D.
Mr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G.
Sir H. R. Hone, K.B.E., M.C., K.C.
Mr. J. Sykes, O.B.E.
Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, D.S.O., M.C.
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, M.B.E.
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, O.B.E.
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, O.B.E.
Mrs. K. M. Trowell, M.B.E.
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
The Hon. Editors
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, D.S.O., M.C.
Mr. O. S. Keeble, A.C.A.
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.
Mrs. A. Tenniswood
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
SUBSCRIPTIONS.-The annual subscription (expiring 31st December) for
ordinary members and institutional members is Shs. 20. A double subscription of
Shs. 30 entitles two members of a family to all the rights and privileges of full mem-
bers, except that they receive one copy only of each issue of the Society's periodical.
Any member who has reached the age of 55 can become a life member by paying a
lump sum equal to the amount of ten annual subscriptions. A member who has not
yet reached the age of 55 can join for life by paying the same sum plus the number of
subscriptions by which the age falls short of 55.
The annual subscription for associate members is Shs. 2/50. Associates are
admitted to lecture meetings and may use the library : but are not entitled to receive
the periodical, to vote, or to borrow from the library.
Bankers' Order forms may be obtained from the Secretary. Completed
Bankers' Orders should be sent to the Society in the first place, not direct to a Bank.
Members are requested to keep the Secretary fully informed of changes of
PUBLICATIONS.-The Uganda Journal is published by the Society half-
yearly, in March and September. Back numbers of most issues of the Journal and
of other publications of the Society can be supplied as advertised on the back cover
of the current issue.
The Journal provides a medium for the publication of historical, literary and
scientific matter relating to Uganda and its inhabitants. The number of pages in an
issue varies: the aim is an annual volume of 200-240 pages.
Contributions in the form of short notes or records, as well as longer articles, are
invited. They should be submitted in duplicate in double-spaced typescript, carefully
revised before despatch. Only in exceptional cases can the Honorary Editors arrange
for manuscripts to be typed. Wherever possible, illustrations should be drawn
boldly on a large scale in Indian ink on Bristol board, so that they can be directly
reproduced at about half-size, and appear as figures in the text. Where possible,
figures should be drawn or grouped to fit the type-block (6x4 in.) when suitably
reduced. No half-tone shading or wash must be introduced into such drawings.
All lettering on illustrations should be inserted lightly in pencil, and will be finished in
uniform style by the Press.
Photographs and wash drawings will appear as plates, with one or two photo-
graphs per plate. The prints or negatives must be of first-rate quality, suitable in
size and character to the reduction contemplated. Half-plate and post-card size
prints or enlargements with glossy finish are the best choice for full-page or half-page
Authors receive twenty separate copies of their contributions free of charge:
additional separates may be obtained at a cost of ten cents a page if ordered at the
same time when the manuscript is submitted.
Material offered for publication should be sent to the Honorary Editors at the
The Society is ready to consider entering into arrangements with other institu-
tions for exchange of publications.
MEETINGS.-Meetings, at which papers are read by members or visitors, are
held periodically in Kampala. Notices of meetings are not sent to members but are
advertised in the local press. A member wishing to read a paper should communicate
with the Secretary. The Society reserves the right to publish, in whole or in part,
any paper read at a meeting.
LIBRARY.-The library contains over 1,600 books and periodicals, chiefly on
African subjects, with a number of English newspapers and reviews. It is open to
members: Monday to Friday-10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday-
10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Books may be borrowed against a deposit of Shs. 20, not more
than two volumes being taken at a time. Members resident away from Kampala
can borrow by post, on application to the Honorary Librarians.
ADDRESS.-The Society's Rooms, which include reading and lecture rooms
and the library, are situated in the old Sikh Barracks, at the corner of Nakzasero and
Kyagwe roads, Kampala. The postal address, to which all communications should
be addressed is:
THE UGANDA SOCIETY,
Rules for the use of the library are as follows:
1. The library is open to ordinary members and associate members for
reading at the hours announced in the Journal and on the Notice Board.
2. Books should not be returned to the shelves after use. They should be
left on the table by the door.
Ordinary members are entitled to take books on loan under the following
3. A member wishing to borrow books from time to time is required to
pay a library deposit of Shs. 20, to be retained by the Society until the member
signifies his wish to discontinue borrowing. The money will then be refunded.
4. Deposits should be paid to the Secretary (or posted to the Hon. Librarians):
a receipt will then be given.
5. The Hon. Librarians are authorized to prohibit altogether, at their discretion,
the removal of certain valuable books, or books in constant use. Such books will be
clearly labelled. Current unbound periodicals are on no account to be taken away.
6. Books taken on loan by Kampala members may be retained for not
longer than two weeks in the first instance but three weeks will be allowed for members
who live more than twenty-five miles from Kampala. An extension of this period
may be granted by the Librarians at their discretion.
7. Not more than two volumes may be taken or retained by a member at
8. The catalogue number of the book, the name of the author, and the name
and address of the borrower must be entered in the loan book by, or in the
presence of, the clerk.
9. Within reasonable limits, the cost of outward postage to up-country
members will be defrayed by the Society.
III. LOSS OR DAMAGE
10. A member who loses or damages a book will be expected to defray the
11. A member who fails to make good the loss or damage of a library book,
or to return a borrowed book after a second reminder, will forfeit the whole or
part of his deposit, and also his right to borrow further books from the library
until his deposit is renewed.
The library is open to members at the following hours:
Monday to Friday .. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday .. .. 10a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Members are asked to note the new classification system now being put into
operation at the Society's Library: up to date it is working well.
Some time ago a specially appointed Library Sub-Committee ruled that the
Society's collection should be based on Uganda in the first place, and thereafter with
subjects directly concerned with conditions in East Africa: it is this policy which
guides the purchase of additions to-day.
There is an ever-growing list of library subscribers, who are reminded that the
library contains many books of interest to children. There are books on birds
and wild animals, and some of the early travel books too are interesting to young
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
G. AP GRIFFITH Hon. Editors
W. V. HARRIS
C. R. S. PITMAN, D.S.O., M.C.
R. A. SNOXALL
(assisted in England by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.)
Published on behalf of
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
AMEN HOUSE LONDON
PRINTED IN GREAF BRIT.tN 3 IIEWDLEV BRO1HI.R>
109 KINGSWAY, LON;)ION, V'i.t.2 : AND ASHFORI), KENI
Correspondence relating to the Death of Bishop Hannington
SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY
The Masaka Cylinder: an Interpretation of its Use M. BEQUAERT
Arabic Correspondence Captured in South-West Bunyoro in 1895: with
a note on Arab Traders in Bunyoro H. B. THOMAS
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoja-II J. M. WATSON
Maize Names as Indicators of Economic Contacts A. C. A. WRIGHT
Extracts from Mengo Notes"-VII -
The Death of Speke in 1864
A Trout from the Siti River
Lango Clans -
A Note from Luuka County, Busoga
The Practice of Running Goats with Cattle
"The King of Ganda" (By Tor Istam) -
H. B. THOMAS
T. H. E. JACKSON
FR. A. TARANTINO
BENET L. JACOBS
- A. C. A. WRIGHT
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE DEATH OF
By SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY
THE letters which follow all relate to James Hannington, first Bishop of
Eastern Equatorial Africa. The first two have been inserted to show what
manner of man James Hannington was; the remainder deal with events con-
nected with his death.
With three exceptions, the letters are reproduced from original letters, or
copies, received by the British Consul-General at Zanzibar. Two of the excep-
tions (Letters 11 and 12) are addressed by Alexander Mackay and Robert Ashe
respectively to Dr. Wilhelm Junker, when the latter was in Bunyoro. These
have been taken from Vol. III of Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin Pascha. The
third exception (Letter 8) is from Father Simeon Lourdel to Cardinal Lavigerie
it is printed in the original French in the Abb6 Nicq's Le Pere Simeon Lourdel.
After perusal of the whole correspondence, readers will doubtless be able to
reach their own conclusions as to the facts connected with the death of Bishop
Hannington. None the less I venture to submit my own findings regarding the
1. Despite the oft repeated statement that in taking the Masailand route
Bishop Hannington disregarded all advice given to him, the evidence is that he
took the advice of men on the spot, who were generally regarded as competent
and well qualified to express an opinion (Letter 7). It is true that this advice
was not the advice given to the C.M.S. Committee in London by the explorer
Joseph Thomson but, as both Mackay and Kirk point out (Letters 7 and 9),
Hannington passed through the Masai country without difficulty. His death
was due to causes which had arisen in Buganda and regarding which neither
Thomson nor any person outside Buganda had any knowledge at the time that
Hannington set out on his last journey.
2. The letters of Mackay and Ashe, which pointed out that Thomson's
visit to Kavirondo in 1883 had caused alarm in Buganda (Letters 4 and 5), did
not reach Sir John Kirk at Zanzibar until after Hannington had set out on his
last journey (Letter 3) and Kirk's attempt to communicate the information to
Hannington was not successful.
3. The underlying motive for the killing of Bishop Hannington was the
fear that he was the leader of the vanguard of one of several potential invading
forces. Various events had given Mwanga, the King of Buganda, cause for
alarm on this score. Amongst them may be mentioned:
(a) Exaggerated reports of German activities at Zanzibar and on the
adjacent mainland (Letters 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14).
(b) Exaggerated reports as to the movements of Emin and Dr. Junker
to the north of Buganda (Letters 4 and 14).
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
(c) Exaggerated reports as to Joseph Thomson's movements in Kavirondo
(Letters 4 and 5).
(d) Exaggerated reports as to the activities of the Belgians in the Congo
Free State (Letter 6).
(e) Exaggerated reports as to the motives of Dr. Fischer's expedition for the
relief of Dr. Junker (Letters 7, 11 and 14).
(f) Suspicion regarding the object of Mackay's periodical visits to the
southern end of Lake Victoria (Letter 4).
(g) Knowledge that certain followers of the C.M.S. in Mwanga's Lubiri
were in the regular habit of communicating to the missionaries reports regarding
Mwanga's attitude towards those missionaries (Letter 6).
(h) Bishop Hannington actually entered a region of Busoga, which Mwanga
regarded as part of his dominions,' with a retinue whose number seems to have
been much exaggerated in the reports received by Mwanga. After having thus
reached the back of the house ', the Bishop persisted in advancing, even when
told by the leaders of drunken and excited mobs that he must stop (Letters 6, 7.
8, 12 and 16).
4. The massacre of Bishop Hannington's porters was not so great as some
accounts of the tragedy allege (Letters 9, 10, 15 and 17).
The letters fail to disclose the reason why Bishop Hannington dtd not carry
out his original intention of embarking in the C.M.S. boat in Kalirondo and
proceeding across Lake Victoria to Buganda. He appears to have written to
the missionaries in Buganda to inform them that he was making for Kwa Sundu
and would proceed thence to what appears to have been a somewhat nebulous
place to all parties concerned, to wit, Sendege, where the Mission ooat was to
await his arrival at the end of October (Letters 6 and 7). On arr val at Kwa
Sundu, Hannington decided to continue his journey on foot throat gh Busoga.
He reached this decision at a time when it was quite impossible for him to
communicate his change of plan to the missionaries in Buganda. There must
have been a reason for this change but, unless the Bishop's diary discloses it,
there seems to be nothing on record to show what that reason was.
In the absence of evidence on this point, it is difficult to see how any other
conclusion can be reached than that of Mr. H. B. Thomas, namely, that
" Hannington's real error of judgment was that he did not adhere to the arrange-
ments set out in the letter in which he finally advised the missionaries in Buganda
that he intended to follow the Masailand route. . Relying on -he Bishop's
letter, Mackay had assured Mwanga that Hannington would not pass nto Busoga.
Thus his arrival at Luba's had every appearance of calculated dece t."2
As Mr. Thomas says, this appears to have been an error of judgment, but
it would be unfair to the memory of a brave man, imbued with a vei y high sense
of duty, to characterize it as anything more than that. Our wisdom after the
event tells us that the Bishop was wrong, but it is the duty of his critics to try to
I "The King informed me that Usoga was the 'cooking pot of Uganda', without
which his country could not exist."-Lugard to Administrator-General, I.B.E.A. Co..
24th December 1890, para. 35.
2 'The Last Days of Bishop Hannington', Uganda Journal, Vol. 8 (1940). p. 21.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 3
place themselves in the position in which he was at the time he reached that
decision. Whatever the reason for his change of plan, James Hannington had
at the time no information which might have given him possible reason to believe
that such a change might be fraught with danger either to himself or others.
In conclusion, it is clear that one cannot judge of this tragedy unless one
can obtain some understanding as to what manner of man Mwanga was. For
that reason the contemporary estimates of his character given by Alexander
Mackay and Charles Stokes (Letters 6 and 16) are of considerable interest,
especially the former.
LETTER I.-Earl of Chichester to Earl Granville
Cobham Hall, Gravesend, October 6, 1884.
I have been asked by my friend, Bishop Hannington, to mention his name
He is going to take charge of the C.M.S. mission at Lake Nyanza, etc., in
He thinks he may be of some use in checking the slave trade, and no doubt
will at all times correspond with our Consul at Zanzibar, who, as you are aware,
has been very active and useful in this matter and much interested in the C.M.S.
Bp. Hannington is a good. simple-minded man, who has already spent
some time in that part of Africa.
He does not expect or ask you to do anything, but only asks me to name
him to you, in order, I suppose, that if you should hear of him, you should know
that he is a good man, and not a fanatic or imposter,
LETTER 2.--Bishop Hannington to Sir John Kirk
Bishop's House, Frere Town. May 4, 1885.
Dear Sir John,
Many thanks for your letter about the expedition. I have also had a visit
from Genl. Matthews and feel glad at what I believe is a very wise stroke of
policy. I only wish our Govt. would throw themselves more into it. I see
no reason why we should not still endeavour to carry out the idea of planting a
station at Chagga. I hope shortly to apply to you in person for letters from
the Sultan and yourself.
Vice-Consul Smith is forwarding a letter from Mbaruk. wh. you will see
bears my attestation.'
I Mbaruk bin Raschid El Mazrui was descended from the former rulers of Mombasa.
From about 1872 onwards he had been in a constant state of rebellion against the Sultan
of Zanzibar. At the time of Bishop Hannington's visit he was living more or less as an
outlaw in the hinterland immediately behind Mombasa. Dawson. in James Hannington
(1905 edition, p. 312). refers to the Bishop's visit to Mbaruk.
4 UGANDA JOURNAL
I was at Maiba on business and en route determined to havc a look at
Giriama and Fulladoyo. I proceeded within a few hours of the latter place
when I was met by messengers who (to make their story short) said Mbaruk,
hearing of my coming, threatened them with war. 1 then decided to see him.
I expect that I was simply taking a risk. In the end he asked me for a peace.
He told me emphatically that he was tired of his present life and askec my advice
as to what he should do. I told him to write to you and said I was sure you
would tell him all you could and give him the best advice.
He asks in his letter for British protection for himself and people, but I
incline to think his full meaning is to place himself under your directions. I told
him it would be months before he could get an answer during which time he
must keep perfectly quiet.
I hope I shall not bring down wrath in going to places and meddling with
matters that do not strictly concern me.
I am expecting to come to Zanzibar before vy. long.
With best regards and thanks,
yrs. v. sincerely,
Bp. E. Ec. Africa.
LETTER 3.-Sir John Kirk to Marquis of Salisbury
Zanzibar, July 29, 1885.
I have the honour to report that the Right Reverend Bishop Hannington
of the Church Mission Society left Mombasa on July 20 for the Victoria Lake.
The course he desires to take will be nearly a straight line passing by Teit:a
and Lake Naivasha to Kavirondo, the first part over country to which Mr. Joseph
Thomson devotes but a few pages of his book-the second over an unexplored
He travels with no European companion and but a small carav in of about
two hundred native porters.
Bishop Hannington will visit the new station to be opened in C hagga and
give orders as to arrangements needed to put it in working order.
I shall try to forward to the Bishop full details of the perseci tion of the
Missionaries in Uganda by the new King, to whom I have already wi itten letters
of which Bishop Hannington is the bearer.'
I have, et..,
JoH N KIRK.
S"The persecution of the Missionaries is an allusion to the content of the tw
letters which immediately follow. They had only just been received at the time that Ki;r
wrote to Lord Salisbury. It would appear that Kirk's attempt to communicate to the
Bishop the contents of those letters was unsuccessful. Hannington continued his journey,
in entire ignorance of the changed attitude towards missionaries in Buganda. He was also
equally in ignorance of the suspicions which had arisen on receipt of the ne s that Josepi
Thomson had reached Kavirondo.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 5
LEITTER 4.-A. M. Mackay to Sir John Kirk
Msalala, June 8, 1885.
To Sir John Kirk. K.C.M.G., Her Brit. Majesty's
Consul-General and Political Agent, Zanzibar.
In forwarding the accompanying letter from Revd. Mr. Ashe, may I crave
the favour of being permitted to explain that the cause of the recent outbreak of
suspicion as to our object in coming to Buganda was the visit of Mr. Thomson
to the N.E. corner of the Nyanza.
A large party of elephant hunters had gone about the same time to Ugaya
f-om Usukuma. Report connected Thomson's visit to Kavirondo with the guns
.f the hunters, and as I was frequently crossing the lake, suspicion rested
The Katikiro, or vizier, of Buganda, a half brother of Kyakoja who has gone
So the coast, has ever been particularly hostile to Europeans, probably because
le feels he has been slighted in all despatches from Foreign Governments.
The trouble we were in, as Mr. Ashe describes, has now pretty much passed
over, but a decree then made is in force, viz., that we are to employ no Baganda
or other natives as servants, unless we buy them as slaves. As we may not have
any Wangwana about us in case of exciting suspicion, we are thereby placed in
a very inconvenient position when we require work of any kind done in the way
of building or cultivation. We are, moreover, practically prisoners in the
country, not being allowed to go near our own boat on the lake without extra-
ordinary trouble in endeavouring to obtain a King's messenger to accompany us.
Some four or five years ago, in Mutesa's reign, you had the great kindness to
address a note to that King, requesting him to grant us permission to travel
through his country and leave it at our pleasure. I have every reason to believe
that your kind recommendation on our behalf was then of no little value.
May I therefore humbly pray that you will have the great goodness to
advise the new King Mwanga to allow us to have liberty to travel through his
country and leave it without molestation, when any of us desires to cross the
Lake. Also that he will permit us to engage servants for wages as in civilized
Slavery alone is legal in Buganda. Other form of service to foreigners is
penal. As British subjects we do not feel warranted in purchasing slaves.
May I take the liberty of informing you that Emin Bey with another
Muzungu (? Lupton)2 have recently been endeavouring to effect an escape to
the coast. They applied to Kabarega for permission to pass through his country
to Buganda, but that King has refused to allow them to pass. They then tried
1 As the next letter shows, on 30th January 1885 four boy followers of the C.M.S.
were seized when accompanying Mackay to Lake Victoria. As Ashe (Two Kings of
Uganda, pp. 133-135) shows, Mackay had on the previous day declined the services of a
mubaka, whom Mwanga wanted to accompany him on his projected voyage. This refusal
increased Mwanga's suspicions as to the purposes of the voyage and led to the arrest and
subsequent murder of three of the boys.
2 Emin's white companion was Dr. Junker. Frank Lupton, Governor of the Bahr-
el-Ghazal Province, had fallen into the hands of the Mahdi in May 1884.
6 UGANDA JOURNAL
to pass through the country of the Bakedi, and were beaten back X ith loss of
men. On a second attempt with a larger force they succeeded in defeating the
Bakedi and in fortifying themselves in their land.'
Buganda will probably send an army to rescue them from Bunyoro and
give them a free passage on way to Unyamwezi.
Of Dr. Junker I know absolutely nothing unless perhaps he i,, company
I have the honour to be, Sir,
your obt. servan:.
A. M. MACKAY.
LETTER 5.-Rev. R. P. Ashe to Sir John Kirk2 (extracts)
To Her Majesty's Consul-General, Zanzibar.
I write to inform you that on the 30th of January. while accompanying
A. M. Mackay Esqre. C.E. to the Nyanza, we were set upon by an army of the
King of Buganda, that our servants, four lads, legally acquired, w :re bound,
and that we ourselves were hustled and threatened with loaded guns, at d insulted.
and were thus marched some eight miles and then bidden to go our ways, our
servants being seized and carried off. On laying the case before the chief judge.
he justified the treatment on the false ground that we were bringing Europeans
and secreting them in a neighboring country3 and that we were taking Baganda
out of their country. He further ordered that we should be bound and taken
out of the country-this we escaped by paying a large indemnity which the King
termed a fine.
The next day two Baganda were burned alive for having been with us at
our house, and my adopted boy4 contrary to any shadow of reaso 1 was also
roasted alive-all three being first brutally mutilated. Our pleading our case
had been cut short by our being dragged from the judgment seat, and driven out
by a mob, who were quarrelling over our various articles of clothing. We were.
however, allowed to reach our house in safety.
.. Hoping that you will see your way to address a strong renonstrance
to the King of Buganda on his treatment of British subjects,
I beg to subscribe myself your obedient humble servar t
ROBERT P. ASHI. C.M.S., Buganda.
I The foundation of all these rumours was that Junker with a small following had
reached Anfina's island on the Somerset Nile in the hope of making his wav thence through
Buganda down to the coast ; he had been involved in no hostilities whatever. See Junker.
Travels in Africa. Vol. 3 (1882-1886), Chap. XII.)
2 This letter is undated, but appears to have been written almost immediately after
the events narrated therein. Those events are described in fuller detail yo Ashe in
Chapter XIII of Two Kings of Uganda.
3 This is, of course, an allusion to Joseph Thomson's arrival on the eastern shores
of Lake Victoria at the end of 1883.
4 Yusufu Lugalama, a Muhima boy, whom Nikodemo Sebwato emancipated and
handed over to the care of the C.M.S. missionaries.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 7
To Sir John Kirk, Her Majesty's Consul General, Zanzibar.
Should you write to the King of Buganda, it would be well that the letter
should not be forwarded through the mission.
LETTER 6.--A. M. Mackay to Church Missionary Society, London (extracts)'
Buganda, 29th Sept., 1885.
From what the Bishop had written us, we gathered that our letters would
find him about Uyuri.2 . It appears now, however, that the Bishop is
coming via Chagga. . When I came to Buganda, Mwanga was a little boy.
But in all these years a whole generation of little black fellows has shot up into
manhood. It would be very hard to describe Mwanga's character. I have
perhaps had more opportunity of knowing him than my brethren have had. He
knows how to behave with dignity and reserve when he thinks the occasion
requires that; but he soon throws off that assumed air, and chats familiarly.
Black men are all very vain, nor is our king free from this defect. But none can
fail to see that he is fitful and fickle, and I fear, revengeful. One vice to which
he is addicted is the smoking of bhang. I cannot say precisely what are the
temporary effects of the drug, as I have never tried it. I believe that it induces a
sensation of temporary delirium, and, if persevered in, causes a peculiar insanity.
At all events, bhang smoking was an offence in Mtesa's days. The Wanyamwezi
are largely addicted to it ; but I believe they will not allow their chiefs to smoke
it. It is supposed to make them savage or fierce.
This being so, one cannot place much confidence in Mwanga's stability.
Under the influence of the narcotic he is capable of the wildest and most unpre-
meditated actions. Recently I have had occasion to find him guilty of such.
But generally the young fellow is amiable. I only hope that by trying to obtain
some personal influence with him some good may be done. These kings and
their great chiefs will only listen to admonition when given in the most gentle
way, and at a suitable occasion. Otherwise. they are apt to resent any good
. Again and again I have seen the various store and other houses at the
court literally converted into reading rooms. I have almost feared that such
extreme publicity might lead to a sudden check some day. . They are,
besides, very eager to learn to write, and are at all times scribbling on boards, or
any scrap of paper they can pick up. Invariably some or other of them sends a
semi-legible note containing news of anything said by the king affecting us ..
I read with alarm of the German doings at the coast, as we had tele-
grams to 17th June mentioning that the German fleet had been ordered to
Zanzibar, while Lourdel had information that a force of 700 men was to occupy
Usagara. . The matter was besides much complicated by the letters from
Bishop Hannington informing us of his intention to cross the Masai country and
strike the Lake at Kwa Sundu near Busoga.
I The letter is of the nature of a periodical progress report and passages which deal
purely with mission work have been omitted.
2 To the south of Lake Victoria.
8 UGANDA JOURNAL
It is only natural that these natives (should) be very jealous for their land.
In Buganda they look on the Lake as a natural barrier, preventing invasion from
the south. When the Egyptians were north at Mruli, Mtesa was ever trembling.
From the west they fear nothing. The Congo State may some day ilarm them
not a little. But the sore point is Busoga. From there they knovv the solid
ground stretches off east all the way to the coast, and an army coming in that
direction will find an open road. Mtesa use to twitch (sic) me by sa /ing, You
white men would like much, would you not, to see the country behind Busoga?
That I would never allow."
I could see well how much our deep troubles this last spring owed their
origin to the rumour of Thomson's visit to Busoga, although he was none again
before they hardly knew here. What would it be now when the report came
out that a great man was coming with a large party that very way to Buganda,
while at the same time the white men were making war on Seyed Burgash?'
The case looked serious. . Now, the beginning has been made at the coast
Bismarck versus Burgash. Who will win? And then, too, the English ar2
coming to the jealously guarded land of Busoga, at the other side 1o Buvuma.
One white man is supposed to be a host in himself.
On Friday (25th inst.) Ashe and myself went to court to congratulate the
king on his safe return. . We then told him that we wished his permission
to let the boat go to Kavirondo to fetch his guest whom we had been expecting
for some time. He was our Bishop, a chief of the Church, and o ir superior.
We mentioned that his reason for coming that way was to avoid the Germans
(Badutchi), who had some misunderstanding with Seyed Burgash. We did all
we could to remove from the king's mind suspicion as to our having my connec-
tion with the Germans. . King: Is the Bishop an Englishman? "-" Yes."
-" Is he bringing much bintu (goods)? "-" He will not come em ty handed.
but he is a chief not of this world's goods, but of religion ; he is a great teacher."
-" Do you not want to go to fetch him? "-" I do not want to go myself, but
we should like the boat to go to Msalala, where Mr. Stokes will join her and go
to Kavirondo to try and find the Bishop."-" Where is the Bishop just now? "
"He is probably at Chagga."-" Is he coming through Busoga? "--" No, he
means to reach the Lake somewhere in Kavirondo, leaving Busoga far to the
north, and Ukerewe to the south." Is he coming alone? "-" Not likely, he
is a great man and does not travel alone ; he will have one assistant '? chaplain)
with him, and perhaps another."-" Is Stokes coming with him? -" Perhaps,
I don't know."-I then asked him if he would kindly send a mubaka (messenger)
with the boat, and to this he consented. He gave us a cow on leaving.
Next morning the king had a council of his chiefs. . Mwanga made a
speech to them on his relations with white men from the beginning. . He
then narrated every word of our conversation with him yesterday, adding what
I have omitted to mention above, that we had asked him to build a house for
the Bishop, as we were short of accommodation. The chiefs then expressed
their opinions on the situation. All seemed to be of one mind, that white men
were all one, and that we and the Bishop were only the forerunners )f war. We
were only waiting for our headman to come, when we would commence to eat
I Sultan of Zanzibar.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 9
the country. Kangao would go and fight the Bishop. Ngobya said that, when
you see running water, you may expect more to follow; the only way was to
stop it at the source. We were drawing these white men here; hence he
counselled that we should be killed, so as to stop the evil. . Mugema
remarked that our house had been a year and half in building ; who would
undertake a like work again? The general opinion was that the Bishop was
not to be allowed to come, especially as he was coming by a back door through
the Masai and Busoga. (N.B.-The Baganda call the Masai 'Basaba', and
know of their presence to the north-east of Busoga. They do not know that the
tribe also extends southward, as far as the Wahumba.)
The king suggested that Sematimba be sent in the boat to inquire and spy
how many men the Bishop had with him, and what goods, and return in the first
instance to report. Koluji's advice was that the whole party proceed first to
Msalala, instead of establishing themselves over there, behind Uvuma; and
that the king might send for them, if he liked. Kangao remarked that seven
ships of Bazungu had been lost off the coast of Buvuma, as the Lubare (lake
spirit) would not allow them to come here.'
Koluji's advice was adopted, and Sematimiba got instructions accordingly
not to bring the Bishop's party direct here, but to convey them to Msalala, and
return here to report.
Next day was Sunday. . On Monday we meant to go again to court.
S. Mr. O'Flaherty thought it was necessary for him to go to meet the Bishop,
and try, if possible, to bring him direct to Buganda. He accordingly went to
court, and saw the Katikiro in his own place. That official expressed alarm at
the news that he had heard, and closely cross-questioned O'Flaherty on what he
knew. The king was afterwards seen, and after O'Flaherty's explaining by the
aid of a map that the Bishop's route does not lie near Busoga, he obtained
permission to go himself in the boat and bring the party straight on here, the king
alleging that he wished to have many Bazungu, English, French, Germans, and
all, at his court. The Arabs were present, and reported on the doings of the
Belgians at Unyanyembe and Karema. and also in Manyuema (now in Congo
Sematimba was not there, however, but he came to me afterwards, saying
that he was perplexed, as the king had given him positive instructions to convey
the Bishop and party to Msalala, while he had not been sent for to get other
instructions to bring them direct to Buganda. He could not, therefore, go until
he had seen the king again. I advised him to do so. He waited at court all
yesterday, but did not see his majesty. Meantime, Mr. O'Flaherty has changed
his mind, and thinks he will not go.
Wednesday, 30th.-Mr. O'Flaherty waited all day at court, but did not see
the king ..
Thursday, October 1st.--Took with me a large school-map of Europe;
found a grand burzah ; king on throne ; Katikiro and all great chiefs present;
bodyguard drawn up, and lords of the cord predominating ..
1 Kangao did not quote chapter and verse in his authority for this remarkable state-
ment, which shows what history may become when coloured to meet some immediate
10 UGANDA JOURNAL
1 asked the king to send for our Bishop, who was an Englishmal like our-
selves ; let him send a messenger in our boat and bring him. He was the king's
guest. The king at once replied, I have given you Sematimba; h( will go."
On Sematimba being called forward, 1 asked again: This messenger will go in
the boat and bring the Askofu (Bishop) and brethren direct to this? Mugema
said, No" ; and others echoed, No." Koluji was sitting behind the Katikiro.
He rose and came forward, and, kneeling in front of the throne said," Sematimba
will go to Msalala, where he will find Stokes, and go with him to find tt e Askofu.
and take the latter back to Msalala, where he (Bishop) must wait until tne king
sends for him."
The Katikiro also added that Sematimba was to remain with the Bishop at
Msalala, and send on here his assistant, Nsubuga, in the boat to report concern-
ing the new party and their goods. All assented to this finding, whi:h, by the
way it was brought forward, was evidently a previous resolution. The king
also assented, and so did I. I then explained that Mr. O'Flaherty did not mean
to go, but that if the king wished one of us to go in the boat, I was prepared to do
so. To this Mwanga replied, I wish you to stay here where you are.' Orders
were given for a cargo of plantains to be supplied, and Sematimba then left.
The court soon after rose.1
LETTER 7.-A. M. Mackay to Sir John Kirk
Buganda, 27th Oci.. 1885.
Sir John Kirk, K.C.M.G.,
H.B.M. Political Agent,
Three days ago news arrived here that Bishop Hannington and another
Englishman had reached Busoga at Wakoli's, only some four days' jot rney from
here. The King of this country immediately held a council with I is leading
chief, and resolved to kill the Bishop and his whole party. We hear that
Bp. Hannington and his white companion (Mr. Fitch?)2 had come on only with
a score of Wangwana. Three other Englishmen are reported to be behind with
a large caravan.3 Whether these latter will hear of the Bishop's death, and turn
back in time we cannot tell. On the 25th inst. a gang of men was despatched
by this king to kill the Bishop and his whole party (we understand and his
I This letter is printed more or less in e.tenso in Chapter XV of Ashe, Ti o Kings of
Ugatda. A footnote to the copy in the Zanzibar archives says "Mr. O'Flaherty also
writes to the same general effect; but there apparently is a little discrepancy in dates. It
seems from the above that the decision to send for Bishop Hannington and ake him to
Msalala was on September 26th, the leave to Mr. O'Flaherty to bring him direct to
U-Ganda on September 28th or 29th, and the reversal of this in favour of the former
decision on October 1st. But Mr. O'Flaherty puts the first decision on October 2nd, and
the leave to him on October 3rd. so we are uncertain whether this was a mistake. or
whether he was not a second time successful with the king after Mr. Mackay s letter was
2 The white companion was Hannington's Goane'e cook, Pinto.
3 This rear party consisted in actual fact of the African pastor, Rev. W. H Jones, and
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 11
Wangwana also) and to seize their whole goods and guns and bring them to
This order was given secretly, but we are absolutely aware of its truth.
The court here wishes us to believe that an order was merely sent to turn the
Bishop back, as Buganda may not be entered from that side, which they call a
back door, lit. 'behind the king's house'. They say that after being turned
back, the Basoga may kill the white man, but this king cannot help that. This
story is merely to blind us. We know for certain that the distinct command was
given here to kill them outright. The Bishop and his companion are said to
have been now several days in stocks, three on each man, on neck, arms and
legs. They were arrested by a Muganda chief named Mutesa who had gone in
that direction on a marauding expedition. They were put into the hands of
Luba, chief of Usoga, and tributary to Uganda. The latter will doubtless be
empowered to kill our brethren to prevent the story getting out that it was the
Just now as I write the messengers sent from here should have arrived at
Luba's. The execution will probably take place today, if not already over. I
only fear that the three brethren whom the Bp. left to come on, will fall into the
same trap, as also Dr. Fischer whom I hear of as intending to go that way to look
for Dr. Emin & Co.1
Every day we have gone to the court and endeavoured by fair words to get
the order cancelled, and an order sent to merely send the Bp. and party back to
Kavirondo, where we hope our boat is now with Stokes. But the King invariably
refused to see us.
Last June I wrote you telling you what trouble we got from the mere report
of Thomson's visit to the E. of Busoga. On that occasion they first gave the
order to tie us up and drive us away and burn our house.
On paying a heavy indemnity (13 bales of Merikani and Bafta) they ended
by mutilating and burning to death several of our boys, and when we then asked
permission to leave quietly, they absolutely refused, and set a guard on the port
where our boat was. The vessel too was swamped, and most probably by order.
Some time after they allowed us to rescue it, but continued to refuse us permission
Again and again the authorities have pressed us to bring more Englishmen
here. But the chief minister is strongly opposed to Europeans. He and the
other chiefs are ever suspicious that we mean to take the country. Unhappily
the news of the German doings at Zanzibar (as by telegrams up to June 17th)
arrived by our mail, along with the Bishop's letter stating his intention to cross
the Masai to Kavirondo. Alarm was at its height. The court counselled
killing all the missionaries here, as we were only the forerunners of invasion.
Ultimately they professed to believe our assertions that we had no connection
with the Germans, still they were afraid of the Bishop, and sent messengers with
our boat to embark Stokes at Msalala and thence to find the Bishop about
I Fischer reached the southern end of Lake Victoria. Whilst at Kageyi, he learnt of
Bishop Hannington's death. Being warned that it was unsafe for him to enter Buganda.
he proceeded up the eastern shore of Lake Victoria and thence by Joseph Thomson's route
down to Mombasa. It is evident that Fischer's near approach caused considerable alarm
12 UGANDA JOURNAL
Sendege (Kavirondo?) but on no account to fetch the Bishop or any of his party
direct to Buganda, on the other hand to convey them all to Msalala and return
here to report. We wrote Stokes to that effect. The boat left this o; the 2nd
inst. and should have been at Msalala by the 10th or 12th. The Bishop expected
to reach Sendege by the end of the month, so that Stokes would have found him
there about this time.' For what reason he changed his plans, and ve turned to
come all the way by land, we cannot tell. We almost fear that Slokes not
finding the Bishop, may be tempted to go into Busoga to look for hini, and be
Feeling is running stronger and stronger against foreigners ; the more the
mission work of teaching succeeds, the stronger grows the suspicion that we are
here for political ends, and that we are striving only to estrange the mirds of the
people from their rulers. Our assertions to the contrary are of no avail. Every
day we expect the worst, and now that they have dealt so with the Bi;hop and
his party, we have only too just ground for alarm. No more missionaries need
come here, by any route, while the present regime exists. Invitation i; now no
guarantee for protection. To remove suspicion we have frequently in past
years requested permission to leave in peace, but that has invariably been
refused, unless some of us remain. They continually mention the death of
Lieut. Smith and O'Neill by Lukonge. No notice ", they say, was taken of
that by England. How can anyone touch them? By what road would an
army come? These are their own suggestions, for we have too gooc. sense to
make any references to possibilities of which we know nothing.
We hear of a chance of forwarding this to Usukuma and hope to get it
conveyed secretly and under cover of the Frenchmen's letters. The3 too are,
I fear, in little better position than ourselves.
The Bishop wrote us in his last that he was acting on your advice3 and
I In Chronicles of Uganda, p. 72, Ashe tells us that. though we had been unable to
communicate with Hannington, he had written to tell us of his intention of coming to Lower
Kavirondo, and asking us to send the boat to meet him ". As Mackay's letter :o Kirk of
27th October (Letter 7) shows, Hannington fixed the rendezvous at Sendege. This place
appears on Joseph Thomson's map as lying close to Lake Victoria in 'Lower K ivirondo '.
and as being to the north of an island called 'Ugingo', which is apparently a much
displaced Rusinga. Thomson himself had never visited Sendege and the uncertainty as
to its precise position, coupled with the similar uncertainty as to the time require d to reach
the place, hardly suggest that it was likely to make a suitable rendezvous. No e planation
has ever been given as to why Hannington did not adhere to his original plan of proceeding
to Buganda by water.
2 Writing to his father on 9th December 1885, Mackay says, Stokes, heari ig nothing
of the Bishop. waited only two davs off Kavirondo, returned to Msalala, thence to Uyui
(A. M. Mackay by his Sister. p. 267).
3 Kirk had a number of reasons for recommending the Bishop to take the route
through Masailand. He was growing increasingly anxious regarding the safety of the
Bagamoyo-Unyanyembe route to the south of Lake Victoria. In 1878 a carav in belong-
ing to the White Fathers was attacked near Tabora and later the same ye. r another
caravan under the leadership of Mr. Penrose of the C.M.S. was massacred in th it vicinity.
In 1880 a Belgian scientific expedition under Captain Carter was likewise massacred
between Tabora and Ujiji. In the same year another caravan of the White Fathers was
attacked on its way to Lake Victoria and a lay brother was killed (Coupland. Erploitation
of East Africa, p. 263; A I'assaut des pays nbgres, pp. 159, 218). Subsequent reports
also led Kirk to believe that the high-handed methods adopted by a number ,f German
caravan leaders were likely to increase the hostility of the tribes of the interior ard to invite
reprisals against innocent persons.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 13
that of Gnl. Matthews,1 Consul Smith,2 and Mr. Wakefield,3 in determining to
come direct from Mombasa to Kwa Sundu.4 The Masai have proved not to be
dangerous. He and party have been victims of Baganda treachery only.
There are not a few native Christians here who are friends to us, and from
whom at any time a truthful report can be got, but I regret to say that any
explanation given by the authorities of the country will be found to be absolutely
untrue. They are the veriest adepts at deception.
The English Consul5 is well known here. We all look to you to aid us as
you think fit. A letter written in plain English hand in the Kiswaheli language
would be read by several of the King's people. That might help to ensure a
letter in Arabic being faithfully translated by the Arabs. Probably a letter
from you to the King asking us to be conveyed with our baggage safely to
Usukuma would be received with respect. Your messengers will generally find
a passage from Kageyi, by engaging either Said bin Saif's dhow, or Sungoro's,
if canoes are not to hand.
A. M. MACKAY.
LETTIR 8. --Father Simon Lourdel to Cardinal Laiigerie (translated extract)6
Ste. Marie de Roubaga, November 24, 1885.
On our return from the journey which Mwanga took in the month of
September and on which I had accompanied him, we received the news announc-
ing the German plan to take possession of Bagamoyo and Usagara. At the
same time the English preachers, having been informed that their Bishop,
Hannington, was arriving by way of the Masai country, asked the king for
permission to go and look for him on the eastern shore with their vessel. They
unwisely added that he was a great man and had in his following a number of
people.7 Mwanga. who was already made hostile by learning from the Arabs
of the German invasion, was further angered by the news that the English were
coming from the eastern side (which he calls the back of his house) and forbad
Mr. Mackay to go himself with the vessel to look for them.
I General Lloyd Matthews was the commander of the military forces of the Sultan of
Zanzibar. He had been a British naval officer and had some experience of travel on the
East African mainland.
2 Lieutenant C. S. Smith, R.N., British Vice-Consul at Mombasa. had in the course of
his duties travelled a good deal on the East African mainland.
3 Rev. Thomas Wakefield. of the United Methodist Free Church Mission at Ribe
near Mombasa, had been in East Africa for over twenty years and had during that time
made a number of valuable contributions to geographical knowledge.
4 In his letter to the Committee of the C.M.S. of 7th May 1885. Hannington says,
"Last night the V(ice)-C(onsul) and I were closeted with (James) Martin (who accompanied
Mr. Thomson) for three hours : and Martin says, Go (Dawson, James Hannington (1905
edition), p. 326).
5 The words 'Balozi' and 'messenger have been deleted.
6 Printed in French in Nicq, Le Pere Simdon Lourdel, pp. 309-310.
7 Mackay gives his version of his conversation with Mwanga in his letter of 29th
September to the C.M.S. (Letter 6). Nevertheless the version of that conversation, which
was later reported to Father Lourdel, may well have been, either intentionally or even
unintentionally, so altered as to make its purport appear to be what Father Lourdel says.
14 UGANDA JOURNAL
He then held a Council, at which the chiefs were unanimous in saying that
all white men were pursuing the same end, that the English minister and the
Bishop were only the forerunners of conquerors, and that they were oily await-
ing the arrival of their chiefs before eating the country.
One of them wished to march against the Bishop and fight him. When
one sees water gushing out of the earth ", said another, one expects 't to con-
tinue to flow; the only way of preventing it is to stop it at its source." He
therefore advised killing all the white men, so as to cut off the evil at its roots,
and the general opinion was nearly all in favour of his advice.
Doubtless for the sake of change, Mwanga decided to send to Hannington
one of his chiefs (Sematimba), who was to conduct him to the land of Msalala,
at the south end of the lake After the royal messenger had returned to the
capital, the question could be discussed as to the desirability of receiving the
Englishman in Uganda.
A few days later we learnt that a stranger was arriving by the Uso za route.
Angered by this news, Mwanga sent an order to kill him. The English, who
knew quite well that the white man referred to could only be Hannington, went,
but without success, to intercede with the king to revoke his decision ; for two
days they were unable to obtain an audience.
It was after that (Oct. 26th) that they had recourse to me and begged me to
intercede on their behalf for their Bishop's life. As the king used readily to
receive me, I acceded to their prayers and, by insistence on my part, I obtained
from Mwanga (the promise) that he would not put the white man to death, but
would simply send him the order to retrace his steps.
Was the king's promise false, or had his order already been carried out?
The truth is that we learnt some days later (5th Nov.) that the murder lhad been
carried out ..
LETTER 9.--Sir John Kirk to Marquis of Salisbury
Zanzibar, February 11, 1886.
I have the honour to forward herewith a letter, dated the 26th November,
addressed from Kavirondo by one of the late Bishop Hannington's native
followers, giving circumstantial details of the murder of the Bishop and of most
of the party then with him, by order of the King of Uganda.
The writer of this letter having safely returned to the mission station at
Mombasa, will, no doubt, furnish to the Society by this mail more full and
reliable details of the journey than I have been able to collect from the illiterate
Zanzibar porters, who have returned with him. I therefore add nothing to
what is here stated.
We must now await further intelligence from Uganda as to the position
of Messrs. Mackay, O'Flaherty and Ashe, who were being detained virtual
prisoners by the King.
It appears that the lives of a few of Bishop Hannington's servants, who
knew trades, were spared, in consideration that they might be useful: at all
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 15
events, a gunsmith and a builder seem not to have been killed at once, but taken
forward with the plunder.
It is a fact worthy of note that Bishop Hannington, without difficulty,
passed the dreaded Masai Land, following nearly the route of Mr. Joseph
Thomson, thus showing how comparatively easy it is for subsequent travellers
to pass a country once it has been mapped and described, and where the natives
have been well-treated by the first Europeans.
Wherever Mr. Thomson has passed, he has left a good name, and we know
that the jealousy of the young King of Uganda against foreigners coming from
the coast, which ended in the Bishop's death, is partly due to recent German
doings, of which exaggerated accounts have spread inland.
I have, &c.,
LETTER 10.-Rev. W. H. Jonest to Sir John Kirk
Sundu's Village, Kavirondo, November 26, 1885.
With great sorrow of mind I sit down in this far-distant land to write these
lines for your information, the great loss our Society has sustained in the death
of the Right Reverend Bishop Hannington. The Bishop's caravan safely
arrived at Kavirondo ; and on the 8th October we got into Sundu's village.
Next day the Bishop told me he would proceed on to Uganda, and while there
he would ask if any of the missionaries there would like going to the coast. I,
as in duty bound, submitted to the Bishop's plans. On the 9th and 10th October
fifty of the best men of the caravan were selected for the Bishop. His goods,
sufficient to take him to the coast via Unyamwezi, were packed according to
his orders. For the last five days previous to this, the Bishop had a bad foot.
On the 10th it grew worse. On the llth he got a little better. On the 12th,
though I insisted upon his Lordship not to go, owing to the bad state of the
Bishop's foot, his Lordship started away with fifty men. The Bishop passed
Tindi's and Tunga's villages on his way towards the Lake, which is only three
days' journey from this. His Lordship went on with the only fifty men coasting
the lake, though his Lordship was asked to take more.2 On the tenth day of
his Lordship's journey3 the caravan arrived at a place Unyalla,4 which is four
days' journey from thence to Mtesa's capital. The Chief of the village asked
I William Henry Jones (' Fundi Jones') was a Yao from Nyasaland who, as a child,
had been rescued from slavery by a British cruiser. He was then trained by the C.M.S.
at Nasik in India as a blacksmith but was later sent to the C.M.S. Mission Station at
Frere Town. near Mombasa, as a catechist. He was ordained by Bishop Hannington
shortly before the two set out to reach Buganda through the Masai country. Extracts
from Jones' diary of this journey are printed in E. C. Dawson's James Hannington.
2 Information from other sources suggests that if Hannington's caravan had been
numerically stronger it would have added to, instead of diminishing, his peril. As the
letters of the missionaries in Buganda show. the rumours which reached Mwanga led him
to believe that the Bishop was the advance guard of an even stronger invading force.
3 Hannington reached Luba's headquarters on 21st October.
4 Luba's headquarters were at the place now known as Kakubi.
16 UGANDA JOURNAL
the Bishop how long his Lordship was on the way from the coast? The Bishop
answered three months. A hongo of ten guns and ten barrels' of powder was
demanded from the Bishop. The Bishop thought that the hongo was too much.
Here the Bishop and his caravan were detained for eight days, and not allowed
to go forward and backwards till, as his Lordship was informed, orders came
for him to do so from the great Chief, which I suppose was meant the Sultan of
Uganda. During the eight days the Bishop was confined separate13 from his
men. All the goods of the Bishop were taken and lodged in the Chi f's house,
who is the representative of the great Chief. The fifty men of the Bi -hop were
allowed to go about, and it was during those eight days that our men were told
by the natives of the Uganda missionaries and their work, for a messenger was
accordingly despatched to the great Chief to inform him of the arrival of the
Bishop. On the night of the eighth day the messenger returned from the great
Chief, and the Bishop was informed that he would be set free the next day in
order for his Lordship to proceed on to see the big Chief. But on the dawn of
the next day's sun the fifty men were disarmed, and then caught and ticd two by
two, and confined in separate houses. At 5 p.m. the Bishop, his cook Pinto,
and some of the men, though not all, were taken to a certain place, far from
the village, and there killed. The Bishop and his cook were fired at w th guns,2
while the rest of the Bishop's men were speared. The four men who escaped,
one of them was speared on the right arm. The Bishop was the first whom the
ruffians shot. I find by reckoning the days that our dear and beloved Bishop
was murdered on the 31st October, 1885.3 On the 8th November got the
sorrowful tidings from Serenge of Rabai and from two of the Zanzi )ar men,
who were eye-witnesses of these most sad transactions. After fifteen days
Phillip, of Frere Town, turned up, and it is he who confirmed the report given
by the first three men ; himself having been lost on his way to this place. Such
is the sad and melancholy news I take the liberty of submitting to your Honour,
and to the civilized world at large. I have 153 men with me, and though my
way is being blocked owing to the Bishop's death, I must endeavour to push on
towards the coast for life or death.
Whether the Uganda missionaries got to hear the death of the Bis lop I do
not pretend to know. I have waited to see whether the Uganda missionaries
would hold communications with me, but it appears to me that they are in total
darkness as to the Bishop's caravan's whereabouts. I have heard of Mr.
Hooper's caravan; probably he is nearing Uganda. It may be, for ought I
know, that the Bishop's death is known on the coast, and if so my letter will
prove nil. I humbly pray that these lines find you in good health, Sir, through
the goodness of our great and covenant-keeping God.
I remain, &c.,
WM. H. JONES.
1 "Ten guns and three barrels of powder" according to the entry in Hannington's
diary for 21st October. As the diary also shows, Luba's men stole seven guns later on
during the day.
2 From information obtained at a later date, E. C. Dawson came to the conclusion
that the Bishop was speared and that "the report which was at first received that the
Bishop had been shot arose, no doubt, from the fact that a signal gun was fired close to
him just as the massacre commenced ".
3 In actual fact. 29th October 1885.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 17
P.S.-On my arrival at the River Tsavo, near Ndara, I got to hear that the
news of the Bishop's death is all over the coast, and we are reported as having
been fighting for eight days with the natives ; our powder having been finished,
we were surrounded and finally cut to pieces one and all of us. I thank God
that there has been no such thing, and all such reports are without foundation.
I arrived at Rabai on the 4th February wonderfully preserved.
WM. H. JoNEs.
LETTER 11.--A. M. Mackay to Dr. Wilheln Junker : undated' (extracts')
My dear Sir,
My three letters will explain all. . We should like to you stay with us,
but that is not advisable as we are men suspected of being political agents. The
Germans have had a quarrel with Zanzibar about some new colony they have
made there. This has made much alarm here and in consequence they have
killed our Bishop (in end of October) who came by way of Masai and Busoga.
My brother Rev. R. Ashe encloses a note for you. Dr. Fischer came to Kagei
for you. but the authorities here were afraid to fetch him.3 I don't just know if
he has left there ..
A. M. MACKAY.
(IWritten in one corner of the letter.) Do try to send Emin's men out of
danger till the war is over. They are a cause of alarm here and will seriously
LETTER 12.-Rev. R. P. Ashe to Dr. Wilhelm Junker4
Natete, Buganda, Victoria Nyanza,
February 6th, 1886.
My dear Sir,
I need only add to what Mr. Mackay has written to you, by saying how
pleased we shall both be to receive you here, or to render you any assistance in
our power. It is perhaps unnecessary to warn so old an African traveller as
yourself to exercise the greatest caution and forebearance in any dealings with
these Baganda. They are full of suspicion and the most trivial act may be
interpreted by them as an act of hostility. Mr. Mackay has mentioned the sad
death, or rather murder, of the English Bishop Hannington which tool place in
October 1885. He seems to have been anxious to reach here rapidly and seems
I The letter encloses one from Ashe dated 6th February 1886. and \\as forwarded
from Bunyoro by Junker to Emin on 17th February.
2 The letter is mainly concerned with plans for securing to Junker a passage to the
southern end of Lake Victoria and thence to the coast. The letter is printed in full in
Emin Pasha's Tagebiicher. Vol. Ill pp. 168-169.
3 Fischer had been commissioned by the family of Dr. Junker to go to the rescue of
their brother (cf., Letter 14).
4 Printed in Emin Pasha's Tagehiicher. Vol. III. p. 168.
18 UGANDA JOURNAL
to have objected to waiting until a formal messenger had been despatched fiom
the King to bring him.'
Any stores of any kind, provisions &c., which we have will at your
Trusting that you will get safely through every trouble,
believe me to be, dear Sir,
yours very faithfully,
ROBPRT F. ASHE.
LETTER 13.-Sir John Kirk to Marquis of Salisbury (extrac:)
Zanzibar, March 12, 1886.
I have the honour to enclose in original two letters received from Mr.
Mackay of the Church Missionary Society in Uganda, giving further details
regarding the events attending the murder of Bishop Hanningtonl and his
Zanzibar attendants by order of the King of Uganda.2
I also forward for conveyance to the Church Missionary Society tlhe abstract
diary kept by Bishop Hannington during his journey from Mombasa to
Kavirondo. In this, however, nothing has been entered subsequent to his arrest.
So far, the details given by Mr. Mackay agree with what has becn told by
the men, who were eyewitnesses of the murders, but escaped to return with the
main body of the caravan. The one spoken of by Mr. Mackay as gel ting away
after being wounded was not retaken by the Waganda, as suppose, but has
safely reached the coast.3 The Bishop was shot first and then spea:ed, when
1 In his diary Bishop Hannington recorded that on 19th October we fell in with a
Waganda mob sent to subdue Usoga . Most of their leaders were drunk, and in a
most dangerous mood, coming round me, shouting and yelling, and ordering me about.
Whereupon I took a high hand, and in spite of overwhelming numbers, I refused to stop."
Two days later he records that on arrival at Luba's they "demanded that I should stay
three days ; this I refused, and when the same demands were made, I jumped up and said,
I go back the way I came. Meantime the war drums beat. More than a thousand soldiers
were assembled. My men implored me not to move, but laughing at them I pushed them
and the loads through the crowd and turned back. Then came an imploring message that
I would stay but for a short time I refused to hear until several messages had arrived;
then, thinking things were turning in my way, I consented; said I would give a small
present and pass. My present was returned, and a demand made that I should stay one
day; to this I consented, because I fancy this man can send me on in canoes direct to
Mwanga's capital, and save me a week's march." Later that day, when takir g some of
his men to look at what he believed to be the Nile, the Bishop was forcibly seized and
made a prisoner. It is clear that Hannington never realized that custom required that
he should be escorted to Mwanga by a formal mubaka. As both on 19th and 21st October
he had to deal with an excited mob, his failure to grasp this fact would appear to be quite
understandable. But, as Ashe suggests, his unwitting violation of recognized custom.
which was doubtless exaggerated in the reporting of it, added yet more fuel to ihe fires of
mistrust and suspicion.
2 Unfortunately copies of the letters were not retained by Kirk. but pa-t of their
contents can be ascertained from Kirk's letter to Lord Salisbury. A marginal I ote shows
that Mackay's letters were dated 8th and 22nd December 1885, respectively.
3 This man had a spear wound in the right arm. He managed to reach the Rev. W. H.
Jones at Kwa Sundu, and to accompany him to the coast (Dawson, James Hannington
(1st edition 1887), p. 418.
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 19
his body was cut in sunder; this was also done to his Goanese cook, named
Pinto, who no doubt is the second white man spoken of as being killed..
I have, &c.,
LETTER 14.-Sir John Kirk to Marquis of Salisbury (extracts)
Zanzibar, July 3, 1886.
I have the honour to report the return to Zanzibar of Dr. Fischer, the
African traveller and naturalist, sent in search of Dr. Junker, the missing Russian
explorer, of whom no news had reached Europe since the Equatorial Provinces
were isolated through the Mahdi rising.
While detained at Kagei, at the south of the Nyanza Lake, Dr.
Fischer was warned not to trust himself in the hands of the King of Uganda, who
invited him to cross the lake,' and at the same time he heard of the murder of
Bishop Hannington. Unable, therefore, to reach Unyoro, where Europeans
were said to be living, he made a detour round the east of the lake to Kavirondo ;
but when at the village of Sundu, visited by both Mr. Joseph Thomson and
Bishop Hannington, he feared it would be impossible with the equipment he
possessed to reach the Nile by the circuitous route he had proposed. He there-
fore returned by Mr. Thomson's route between Kenia and Kilimanjaro to the
coast, which he reached after much privation, and with the loss of about seventy
of his Zanzibar attendants, of whom some were killed while many perished by
It is only since Dr. Fischer reached Zanzibar that definite intelligence
has been received of both Dr. Junker and Emin Bey.
Dr. Fischer gives a most interesting account of the position in Uganda, and
of the attempt to get him into the country for the purpose of his being made a
prisoner or killed. Of the murder of Bishop Hannington, and of the war under-
taken by Uganda against Unyoro, in order to destroy Junker and Emin, he
speaks openly and without reserve, attributing those events to the action of his
countrymen here, and the impression thereby given that no country is safe where
white men once enter.
Dr. Fischer states that King Mwanga came to know about the same time
of his proximity with a considerable force from the south, of Emin Bey's approach
from the north with an Egyptian army (he also being known as a German), while
news reached of a large party coming from the east through Masai-land, and
there were European, not Arab, intriguers present with the King, who told him
the English and Germans were in this acting in accord.2
1 In his letter of February 1886 to Junker (Letter 11). Mackay says the authorities
in Buganda were afraid to fetch Fischer.
2 Fischer was never in Buganda and there is not a vestige of foundation for the
allegation which he makes as to the presence of European intriguers in that country. On
the contrary, as is only to be expected, the evidence is that Father Lourdel of the Catholic
Mission did his utmost to try to persuade Mwanga to spare Bishop Hannington's life
(cf.. Letter 8).
20 UGANDA JOURNAL
In order to prevent a junction of these forces in Uganda, it was decided to
cut them off in detail. The Bishop was therefore killed on the frontier, in
accordance with this plan, while Dr. Fischer. had he not been warned, would
inevitably have fallen in a like manner. The Germans to the north were, how-
ever, out of the King's power unless he made war on Unyoro, and for this there
were many excuses, besides the getting slaves and cattle.'
Dr. Fischer is clear as to this being the cause of these disasters, and he
speaks plainly of the ill effect upon the minds of native Chiefs, and of the still
more influential coast Arabs and Swahilis, who live at every court, end carry on
a constant correspondence with the coast, produced by the recent doings of
Germans here and in Usagara ..
I have. &c.,
LETTER 15.-A. M. Mackay to Sir John Kirk (extracts)'
Buganda, December 26, 1886.
Dear Sir John,
I have not yet had an opportunity to acknowledge your lett r of the 5th
July, to hand here on the 18th September.
.I have received a note from one of the Bishop's bois named
Christopher Boston. who had made his way, with two others, from Luba's to
Magu in Usukuma. Their names are Aliman (Bishop's steward) and Kikutu.
The writer complains of a spear wound in the side which refuse; to heal. I
have sent directions to Said-bin-Saif at Magu to send all three to Msalala.3
More recently another of the Bishop's men, a Zanzibari n:tmed Hamis
Turki, escaped from Luba's hands and arrived here. He report's that some
thirteen or fourteen of the younger members of the caravan wert saved from
being murdered with their companions by the Basoga making slaves of them.4
Of these some six or seven, including a man from Kavirondo, who was the
Bishop's Kirangozi, after a few months' time succeeded in making their escape
to Wakoli's to the north-east of Luba's. Ibrahim, the Bishop's Hedmnan, seems
1 Fischer is of course asserting as positive fact what could in reality be no more than
surmise. None the less, certain facts, which are well established from other sources,
suggest that some of his conjectures may not be very far from the truth.
2 Much of this letter is taken up with the discussion of ways and mean of succouring
Emin Pasha. Only those portions which deal with Bishop Hannington'" caravan have
been printed here.
3 All three eventually reached Zanzibar. Kikutu was the Bishop'! chair bearer.
Christopher Boston was speared at the time that the Bishop was murdered. He was left
on the ground for dead, but during the night revived and crawled for manm miles through
the forest, until eventually he was befriended by a native, who knew Mack )l. The other
two were at the last moment spared from the massacre. They made th ir escape after
about two weeks' captivity and, on reaching the shore of Lake Victoria, persuaded some
fishermen to carry them to Usukuma (Dawson, James Hannington (1905 ec ition), pp. 385-
4 One of these married a Musoea woman and he and his children have only recently
died (Thomas, 'The Last Days of Bishop Hannington '. Uganda Journal, Vol. 8, p. 25).
Another was the Kavirondo boy who eventually carried the Bishop's rem: ins to Mumias
(Jackson, Early Days in East Africa. pp. 76-78).
CORRESPONDENCE ON DEATH OF BISHOP HANNINGTON 21
to have been among the number, but where he is I cannot tell, as only the three
above-mentioned have rounded the lake to Usukuma. After they fled, those
remaining were put in the stocks, lest they should flee also, and some of them
taken to one of the islands. By this man's account there are still seven
Wang'wana prisoners in Luba's hands.
Some time ago I found some men from Usukuma here, who were going to
Busoga to look for ivory. I gave one of them a quantity of cloth and copper to
try to redeem as many of these unfortunate prisoners as he could, and send them
to Wakoli's, whence they might find means of returning to Usukuma in company
with some elephant hunters from there, who find a way round the east side of the
lake. I feared to have them brought this way in case of their being murdered.
Hamis confirms, quite independently, the account I gave you long ago of
King Mwanga having ordered the murder of every one of the Bishop's party.
The reason, he heard, was the King's fear of the Basoga being able to get guns,
etc., direct from the coast, and then throwing off their allegiance to Buganda.
Doubtless, if that road were once really open such would be the result. The
country to the north-west of this would also be able to hold its own if it could
get supplies by an independent route. At present the road that way is practic-
ally blocked ..
When this man returns to the coast and those now at Magu, you will be able
to question them as to particulars of the massacre. He tells me that the Basoga
refused to kill any of the party and left the Baganda to do the murderous work
I have, &c.,
A. M. MACKAY.
LETTER 16.Colonel C. B. Euan-SmithI to Marquis of Salisbury (extracts)
Zanzibar, July 28. 1888.
I have the honour to report that I have had several interviews with Mr.
Stokes . who has just brought down a large caravan from the south of Lake
Victoria Nyanza. I have obtained from Mr. Stokes much information regard-
ing Uganda and the vicinity. In the time of the late King Mtesa this gentleman
resided for some. time in Uganda as an employee of the Church Missionary
Society, and since that his marriage with a native lady, the daughter of a Chieftain
of rank, has given him special opportunities of informing himself about native
He tells me that the principal faults of the King Mwanga are those that
may be attributed to his extreme youth, dense ignorance, and the conflicting
counsels of the Arab, native, and European advisers by whom he was surrounded.
Mr. Stokes considers that the inordinate and exaggerated idea of rank, power
and influence of the King of Uganda possessed by the late Mtesa and his son
Mwanga is mainly due to the teachings of Mr. Mackay,2 who for many years
1 Sir John Kirk's successor as Consul-General, Zanzibar.
2 It must be borne in mind that this ex parte statement comes from a man who was
not on good terms with Mackay and is also given at second hand.
22 UGANDA JOURNAL
resided in Uganda and was but recently expelled. Mwanga really does not
know where to turn for advice. The murder of the late Bishop Haniington is,
as I am informed by Mr. Stokes, regarded by the native community as being
mainly attributable to intense fear and as being almost justifiable fot the same
reason. Mr. Mackay is represented as having informed the King that the Bishop
was a very great Lord and was accompanied by a retinue suited to his rank.'
The King's fears, being excited by this statement, were intensified by his ignor-
ance. He could imagine no really great man travelling without a very large
number of armed men and, having heard that forty or fifty men were ac :ompany-
ing the Bishop, he concluded that they were but the avant garde cf a larger
party behind. When he found that the Bishop was against his wish at d instruc-
tions approaching from the quarter which he especially desired to keep closed,
he gave orders for him to be attacked in an access of alarm, and, having once
given the order, he could not be induced to countermand it. This statement
seems to be in all probability very near the truth ..
The Arabs and natives constantly informed the King that the English were
coming to attack him and take away his kingdom. Mr. Stokes informed me that
the King's character is largely influenced by his keen appreciation of what is
best for his own interests and that above all things he desires to see constant traffic
and trade established between his dominions and the coast ..
I have, &c.,
C. B. EUAN SMITH.
LETTER 17.-Captain A. E. Smith2 to Sir Francis de Winton3 (extracts)
Mombasa, August 1(. 1891.
Dear Sir Francis,
Herewith a fuller account of my journey to Usoga and back. I hope the
reading of it will not bore you ..
April 28. . Went to pay a visit to Lubwa, Bishop Hannington's
murderer. He said he wanted to be friends with the White man. I staved there
a few days, but, as Lubwa produced no ivory as promised, came away none the
richer except for a small herd of cows and sheep. Lubwa is in doubt as to whom
he should fear most, Mwanga or the White, and tries to temporise w ith both.
There are still some of the Bishop's porters in his town, and he has some Swahilis
hanging about him ..
May 4.-Back to Wakoli's ..
Good-bye. Sir Francis, yours sincerely,
A. E. SMITH.
I See note to Father Lourdel's letter to Cardinal I.avigerie of 241h Nove bnber 1885
2 Of the I.B.E.A. Company's service and Ist Life Guards, later Colonel Eric Smith.
C.B. According to Sir Frederick Jackson he holds the record for having led caravans to
and fro between Mombasa and Uganda more times than anyone else. not excluding
3 Administrator of the Imperial British East Africa Company.
THE MASAKA CYLINDER: AN INTERPRETATION OF
By M. BEQUAERT, Graduate in the History of Art and Archaeology,
Museum of the Congo Belge, Tervuren, Belgium
With an APPENDIX dealing with DIVINATION BY MEANS OF FAT
By THE REv. FATHER M. PAUWELS
N 1945, Mrs. Margaret Trowell published in Man (Vol. XLV, Sept.-Oct.;
Item No. 100) a description of a cylinder of baked pottery exhibited in the
Uganda Museum at Kampala, of which she was at that time Curator.2 Mrs.
Trowell gave no interpretation of this cylinder, though she commented on a
certain resemblance to an archaeological specimen from Southern Rhodesia
known as the rosette cylinder of Zimbabwe.
Thanks to the extreme kindness of the Rev. Father M. Pauwels of the White
Fathers Mission (Congregation de Lavigerie), it is now possible to offer a reason-
able explanation of both cylinders.
THE MASAKA CYLINDER
The Masaka cylinder (Fig. B, Uganda Journal, Vol. 10, p. 151) is some
140 mm. high and 80 mm. in diameter; its surface is covered with a large
number of protuberances or bosses. The ends are flat and bear at the centre a
small hole about 20 mm. deep. Eleven small irregularly distributed holes of
the same depth penetrate the sides at a particular angle. One narrow hole
pierces the cylinder from side to side.
At the top and bottom of the cylinder and at various points on the lateral
walls there are traces of what appear to be a roulette patternwork which seems
to have been made with the type of roulette of plaited reed still used in the neigh-
bourhood of Masaka to decorate pottery.
The cylinder is made of baked clay ; it was turned up by an African woman
cultivating near Ntusi (Masaka District), and was lodged in the Uganda Museum
shortly before the publication of Mrs. Trowell's note in Man. Local natives
cannot explain its use or purpose.
THE IGICUMBI OF RUANDA
On 27th February 1947 the Rev. Father Pauwels described to me in con-
versation certain objects of baked pottery made in Ruanda for ritual purposes
known there as igicumbi or igicyunga. He drew me sketches of them and I
noticed immediately a resemblance to the Masaka cylinder.
I A free rendering into English of a literal translation by A. C. A. Wright.
2 See also 'The Rosette Cylinder from Ntusi' by Margaret Trowell, Uganda Journal,
Vol. 10 (1946), p. 151. The description there is, if anything, rather fuller than that con-
tained in Man.-[ED.]
24 UGANDA JOURNAL
At my request, Father Pauwels has furnished further sketches, d cawn from
memory, of these igicumbi; also a descriptive account of the Ruarda rites in
which they are used. He has very kindly allowed me to publish these. His
specimens, which I myself have not seen, are preserved at the Museum of Native
Arts at the Central Ruanda Seminary at Nyakibanda near Astrida.
Father Pauwels was a missionary in Ruanda; he is a good draughtsman
and an excellent observer, who has always taken infinite pains to record exactly
and objectively. I can thus submit with confidence the first-hand evidence
which he has provided. Figs. 1-4 are reproductions of his sketches they are.
in my opinion, important to the archaeology both of Uganda ant Southern
Fig. I illustrates an elegant igicumbi of the sort used by the rich Abatutsi
aristocracy ; it is fairly regularly formed and presents a not unpleasing outline.
It has an enlarged base or foot known as ndiba, and a flat top or tible called
umutwe (the head), the latter marked by a narrow groove. The table is linked
to the base by a narrow waist called mu nda (the belly). The object is about
100 mm. high, and the table is about 100 mm. in diameter. The up er surface
of such igicumbi is often decorated.
The most interesting part of the cylinder is its top. On it there is a groo c
which radiates from a central hole to cut the circumference at a nic<. which is
called ilembo. The whole surface is covered by a series of regular markings.
A native, standing before the igicumbi with the ilembo nick imn ediately in
front of him, calls the far side of the table ki mugongo or mubihek literallyh.
'at the back '). The right of the observer is described as the right kit mulyo)
of the table, and the left of the observer is its left (ku moso).
Fig. 2 represents the type of igicumhi used by the Abahutu peasants. It is
a solid reel of less elaborate form. The same three essential parns, the foot
(ndiba), the head (umuitwe) and the waist (mu nda) are easily distinguished.
The surface of the head has the same central hole.
Fig. 3 illustrates a still cruder form. The ndiba (foot) and tie iuniiwe
(head) are simply swellings of the shaft. A central cavity and indicate r markings
All these igicumbi may be made of either dried or baked clay.
THE USE OF TIE IGICUMBI'
In an appendix to this paper is a description by Father Pau'vels of the
ceremony in which the igicumbi is employed. As this is of some length and i:.
ethnographical rather than archaeological, I am repeating here only enough of
it for the function of these curious specimens to be understood.
The oracle or fortune-teller places a ball of fatty mutavu (a combustible
substance specially prepared for ritual purposes) in the depression in the middle
of the table of the igicumbi. He then puts the igicumbi into a large earthenware
pot tilted to one side (Fig. 4), lights the mutavu and observes the size an d direction
of the flame. From its position in relation to the markings on the table the
oracle draws conclusions which enable him to advise the person who has sought
THE MASAKA CYLINDER 25
1(" Mc_ k" tno M Lek-)
-<= --- 4 kuu hvY'iF 4. sO
V -- natbr
Fig. 1, igicumbi used by the Abatutsi aristocracy; Fig. 2. igicumbi used b) Abahutu
peasants : Fig. 3. a still cruder form of igicmbhi: Fig. 4. the igicumhi in the tilted pot
26 UGANDA JOURNAL
INTERPRETATION OF THE MASAKA CYLINDER
The Masaka cylinder is generally comparable in shape and size to the
igicumbi of Ruanda. There are the same two flat surfaces, top and bottom.
bearing the same type of rectangular markings as the igicumbi ; there is also a
small hole penetrating the cylinder laterally. The cylinder differs from the
igicumbi in that its surface is decorated with bosses, and contains eleven small
holes, whose purpose I cannot guess. Nevertheless, I think we are justified in
regarding the Masaka cylinder as being used for divination by obsei ovation of
the flame-movements of a mass of burning matter placed upon it; in other
words it is a type of igicumbi.
The juxtaposition of geography should be noted; the District of Masaka
is but a short distance from the Kingdom of Ruanda.'
THE ZIMBABWE CYLINDER
Miss G. Caton-Thompson has described in her book The Zimbabi e Culture
(Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1931) some of the features of this specimen i. There
is a sketch of it at Fig. A on p. 151 of Vol. 10 of the Uganda Journal.
The Zimbabwe cylinder measures 200 mm. in diameter and 8) mm. in
height. One of its ends (we will call it the top) contains a small hole. No
publication which I have seen states definitely whether or not this hole penetrates
the cylinder completely.
The sides of the cylinder are decorated with four equidistant rows of bosses
in low relief. The top carries, as decoration, two bands, one surrounding the
central orifice, the other at the circumference ; between these bands are three
concentric rings of bosses. In addition, two grooves run at right angles to one
another from the central hole. These grooves seem to have been made after
the original carving ; one is more conspicuous than the other. I an ignorant
of the bottom end of the cylinder, which is carved in soapstone; ;also of its
weight. It was found in 1889 by A. and W. Posselt in the shadow of a rock not
far from the Zimbabwe ruins in Southern Rhodesia. It is preserved in the
INTERPRETATION OF THE ZIMBABWE CYLINDER
Miss G. Caton-Thompson believes that the Zimbabwe cylinder -nay have
been a base or ringstand, serving to hold in a vertical position a staff or small
elephant tusk. The original decoration of the upper surface consisted of the
two carved bands and the three rows of bosses. The grooves cut right across
this decoration and, according to Miss Caton-Thompson. have nothing to do
with its original purpose.
The Zimbabwe cylinder may originally have been intended as a base to
support some other object but, consequent on the cutting of the grooves, it now
presents characteristics which relate it unmistakably to the Masaka cylinder
and to the igicumbi of Ruanda. The grooves divide up the surface in such a
1 Mrs. Trowell, after seeing this paper, has made further inquiries Itnong the
Abahima. They insist that although they know of this method of divination among the
Abatutsi they themselves do not practise it.-[ED.]
THE MASAKA CYLINDER 27
fashion as to create guiding marks for divination purposes ; possibly a flame
or smoke was led through the central channel from a fire or hearth beneath the
It would be of interest to add to this list of ritual objects used for divination,
and descriptions of others still in use in Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Nyasaland
and the two Rhodesias would be of value. Possibly readers of the Journal will
'KULANGUZA URUGIMBU' (DIVINATION BY MEANS OF FAT)
By THE REV. FATHER M. PAUWELS
This method of divination is used as much by the Abatutsi as by the
Abahutu. The following are required by the oracle for his seance:
1. FAT. This must be the fat of a cow, goat or sheep ; best of all that of
an animal sacrificed to the barimu (ancestral spirits) or one whose entrails have
been used for divination, particularly if the prophecy was favourable.
[NOTE.-The goat is little used in divination, but very widely in the cult of
the ancestral spirits. A sheep cannot be sacrificed to a man's spirit unless the
man was known to have eaten mutton during his lifetime ; nor can the fat of an
animal that has died be used for this purpose.]
2. AN UBUTWIKO PLANT, which has olive-green leaves and small, clear
yellow flowers. It is still called sometimes by the name Imanamana (meaning
thing of Imana, i.e., God), or, when in flower, Imanayeze (God is propitious).
The plant is dried in the sun and reduced to powder, and is then mixed
with the pounded fat. They are mixed, not necessarily by the oracle himself,
in equal proportions to make a lump the size of one's fist. The oracle then
divides the lump into eight to twenty small, sausage-shaped pats. which are
given the name imitavu (singular: umuitavu or inutam).
3. THE IGICUMBI OR IGICYUNGA, referred to in the above article. This
is more or less in the form of a cotton-reel. It is made of clay (sometimes, but
not always, baked), is usually 80-100 mm. high and is sometimes modelled with
considerable taste. The top is in the form of a circular plate called the umutwe
(head) ; it is frequently ornamented with patterns. In its centre there is a hole
in which the oracle places the pat of prepared mutavu. In front there is a
groove-the ilembo-a name used for the gateway into the courtyard opposite
the principal hut. The far side of the umutwe is called ku muigongo (on the
back) or imubiheko (from the verb guheka, to carry a child); it is on her back
(1,, :'- '..r' .-) that a mother carries her child.
The right side of the umutwe is called ku mulyo (in common speech
kw'ibulyo); the left side is called ku moso (commonly kw'ibumoso).
The lower surface of the igicnibi is called ndiba (the foot) ; the cylindrical
portion joining the top and bottom is called mu nda (in the belly).
The oracle performs as follows ; he is usually seated inside the house near
th;- fire. First, he puts a pat of mutavu on the igicumbi, rubs it lightly on the
28 UGANDA JOURNAL
right side with a drop of saliva (imbuto) and recites the first phrase of invocation
known as impagarike as he places the igicumbi inside an earthenware pot tilted
to one side. He takes particular care that the ilembo groove of the igicumbi
faces towards him. He then lights the mutavu fat by means of a twig taken
from the household fire.
The placing of the igicumbi in a pot is, of course, solely to protect the flame
from the wind. The flame itself is known as akajanja (little claw or talon).
The rite of kulanguza urugimbu consists simply of examining the direction of the
flame. As the mutavu burns, the oracle watches very carefully through the
mouth of the pot, to see whether the flame extends right or left, oi stays in
If the results are favourable, the stance is closed ; if they are unfavourable
the seance continues, for then some spirit or other is interfering with the oracle.
To identify this spirit several imutavu pats may have to be placed on the
igicumbi. This is the second phase of the oracle, called uguculika.
After uguculika is completed, it only remains to make the correct offering
to the spirit (muzimu) to please and placate it. For this purpose the or acle puts
yet another mutavu pat on the igicumbi. This is the third phase of divination,
Finally, in the fourth phase (rwanzire), another pat of mutavu i; used to
discover if the sacrifice advised in the third phase will cause jealousy of any
other spirits (bazimu) and if so whether conciliatory sacrifices should ')e made.
[NOTE.-Imitavu which have given an unfavourable reply are thrown away
after use. They are called the imitavu yirabuye (the imitavu wh ch have
Imitavu which have given a favourable reply (imitavu yeze, the imitavu
which have whitened) are generally preserved in a small earthenware pot
(akabya). Those which have given a favourable response in the first stage
impagarike (urugimbu rweze rwa impagarike) or in the fourth stage rwanzire
urugimbu (rwezo rwo rwanzire) are often carried as amulets.
Those which have been favourable in the third stage umnw namuko
(urugimhu rweze rw' unwunamuko) are carried on the elbow when an animal
is to be sacrificed to the spirits.]
When the augury has been completed, the oracle wraps the mute, vu weze
(the propitious mutavu) in a piece of cloth made from the bark of the mutaba
(kind of fig-tree) and leaves it in a basket until the following day.
Next day the ceremony of uguhereza takes place, i.e., the client is presented
with the mutavu amulet. Since this presentation of the fat (guhereza um uigimbu)
is less important than the presentation which follows divination with chickenss
or with a sheep, the presence of the oracle is not necessary, it is only essential
that the umuse' and two children should appear. The children are called
abana b'isugi and must be children whose mother has never lost a child.
Before the guhereza presentation, the fat which provided the faourable
augury is whitened with lustral waters (ingwa, white earth-chalk mixed with
I An individual who must belong to one of the aboriginal Abahutu clans o' Ruanda
such as the Abagessera or the Abazigaga.
THE MASAKA CYLINDER 29
water) to which is added a piece of twig of the umwishywa plant (a climber with
magical properties). It is then wrapped in banana fibre (uterere twiza), or a
piece of barkcloth. Among the Abatutsi the amulet is decorated with fine beads.
At the ceremony, the oracle or one of the umuse presents the amulet to the
client with both his hands extended, and the client receives it in the same way.
So as to make a sort of sign of the cross he takes the amulet from each side
Signs by which the oracle recognizes whether the augury is favourable or not :
(1) If the left side of the umutavu is extinguished first, it is a good sign.
(2) If the flame passes into the ilembo groove and goes towards the back
(mugongo) it indicates that the spirit of an old woman is trying to inter-
fere with the spirit of an umukulambere, i.e., a spirit of an ancestor.
(3) If the flame passes from left to right at the back (mugongo) this indicates
that it has been pushed by a nmuzimu demanding the sacrifice of a goat.
(4) If the flame burns with difficulty it indicates that it is affected by the
spirit of a dead man who died a violent death.
(5) If the flame passes to the left of the ilembo groove it shows that it is
affected by a spirit which is jealous of the honour paid to another
Types of formulae pronounced by the oracle in the first two phases of the
(I) Formulae of the first phase called impagarike:
(a) Umvu Mana y'i Ruanda, ngira impagarike mu Ruanda.
Listen, O God of Ruanda, I have made the invocation in Ruanda.
(b) Nd'tumukulanmbere mu rugo rwanjye.
I am the ancestor in my house.
(c) Sinzira abarimu n'abalozi.
I am not attacked by the spirits and the sorcerers/ magicians / poisoners.
(d) Nsekera abana n'inka n'unmugore.
I laugh at my children, my cattle and my wife.
(e) Usanze ndapfa, ndapfusha abana, etc.
Evil attacks me, attacks my children, etc.
(f) Rwaka neza, inseko igeze kw'isuka (used instead of wishime cyane)
Burn well, and you may rejoice greatly.
(g) Ukubite akajanja ka moso, maze mulyo wishime.
Strike the flame from the left, so that the right may be glad.
(h) Ugurule me malembo, no mu biheko.
Turn yourself aside from the front and from the back.
(i) Uzabe Imana, nguhangure.
Let it be God, I will wrap you in barkcloth.
) UGANDA JOURNAL
(j) Nguherezwe n'abapfumu, ngutuze mu gituza.
The oracles will give you to me, and I will wear you as an amulet on
(k) Untuze me Ruanda.
Let me live in peace in Ruanda.
(2) Formulae of the second phase called aguculika:
(a) Umva Mana y'irwanda, ngir'ichyo nzira, kintera, kinsama, I insgarira.
Listen, O God of Ruanda, I have something which I fear, which strikes
me, bites me and is bitter to me.
(b) Nzira kanaka, ni we muzimu untera, unyicira abana, etc.
I am on bad terms with a certain spirit, who is afflicting me nd killing
my children, etc.
(c) Usanze ali we untera.
It is always he who has intentions against me (strikes me).
(d) Ube uniuculi (guculika-to turn over, bend) ube ulmuchuho.
Be opposed to him, be hard on him.
(e) Ukubite akajanja ka miulyo, maze moso yishime.
Strike the flame from the right so that the left side may again rejoice.
(f) Umva ikinsindire.
Listen to him who gives me the victory.
(g) N'ukugutereka intango nkakubyaklurukiza.
The intention is to offer you a great pot of beer.
(h) Nkaguha amata, nkakulongorera umugeni.
I will give you milk also, and in your honour I will marry a sti anger girl.
(i) Usanze al'ibyo, udodore, udabagire ?
Is that what you desire?
(j) Ware, watire neza, watire ku nda nkuko wabazwe.
Divide, divide yourself well, divide yourself in the belly as you were
when you were cut up.'
I The oracle here alludes to the animal sacrificed to provide the fat for 1 he dance.
ARABIC CORRESPONDENCE CAPTURED IN SOUTH-
WEST BUNYORO IN 1895: WITH A NOTE ON ARAB
TRADERS IN BUNYORO
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
ON 20th June 1895 Lieutenant Seymour Vandeleur of the Scots Guards, at
the head of a column of Sudanese troops, carried by assault' an Arab trading
station, which he calls Mwenda's, snugly secreted in the wilds of Buyaga, at that
time still within the boundaries of Bunyoro. A week later Juma bin Fakir and
Mzee bin Suleman, as they were retreating towards the German sphere, fell into
Vandeleur's hands, and were later tried by the Commissioner at Kampala for
gun-running and slave-trading.
Among the material captured at Mwenda's were some Arabic letters which
have remained for more than fifty years among the records of the Secretariat at
Entebbe. With the permission of His Excellency the Governor it recently
became possible to arrange for their translation.
Mr. Yahya Alawi, Information Officer, Zanzibar, was good enough to
undertake the task ; and as a result of his efforts their contents can now be
The correspondence consists of fourteen separate sheets of Arabic writing
together with an addressed envelope. Three other letters in Swahili in Arabic
characters, with some portions of the Koran on the back, proved indecipherable.
In general these letters make no startling revelations. But they are of
interest by reason of the light which they throw upon a way of life and upon
features of central African economics which have now long passed away. The
text of these letters, with the omission of some trivial repetitions and obscure
passages, is printed below. The names of all persons mentioned are quoted as
they may be of interest to readers at Zanzibar and the Coast whence most of
those named probably emanated. Few, however, seem to have been persons
of note, and some names are clearly those of slaves or freed slaves. Even a
person claiming to be a member of, say, the Barwani family may have had an
Arab father and a slave mother. The days of the great Arab merchant ventures
had already passed away.
There was clearly a widely spread web of trading connections in which
numbers of Arabs with others of mixed Swahili blood were engaged. The
acquisition of ivory seems to have been their principal pre-occupation. There
is no mention of trade in guns or powder though such were probably a particu-
larly useful form of currency for obtaining ivory. Domestic slavery was an
integral part of the Arab way of life and several individual slaves are referred
to: but there is little evidence of trading in slaves. In contrast with the southern
1 In circumstances described in Vandeleur's Campaigning on the Upper Nile and
Niger (1898). p. 88: see also 'Imperatrix v. Juma and Urzee', Uganda Journal. Vol. 7
(Oct. 1939). p. 72.
32 UGANDA JOURNAL
Sudan and Nyasaland, this section of Africa was never a.hunting ground for
alien slave raiders; for, under the rulers of Bunyoro-Kitara and B jganda, it
had long enjoyed governments sufficiently strong and organized to secure it from
such intrusions. Adopting modern phraseology, primary production of slaves
was a state monopoly operated by the rulers, who dealt with Arab traders as
middlemen in the chain of distribution. Through all one catches glimpses of
the life of a body of men of amazing enterprise and boldness who, v within their
own ethic, conducted themselves in an ordered and civilized manner.
Turning now to the letters.
No. 1 (3rd November 1893) is part of a letter or perhaps a receipt.
Juma bin Fakir al Baluchi 4 maunds ivory. 22 Rabi Thani (i.e.. Rabi I1)
1311. Written by Umar bin Taha bin Umar el Barwani on the above date.
Juma was one of the two Arabs captured by Vandeleur on 26th June 1895.
On the whole it seems likely that the maund employed at this time in the east
African ivory trade was the Bombay weight of 28 lb., rather than the Indian
standard maund of 82 2/ lb. On this showing the quantities of vory dealt
with point to quite modest transactions. If the larger figure were assumed,
9 maunds in letter No. 4 below would represent say 740 lb. of ivcry needing
say fifteen carriers for its transport: in the context this seems unlikely. The
frasila may be reckoned at its present weight of 36 lb. I can, however, suggest
no reason for the employment of two so little differing measures of weight.
El Barwani is the name of an Arab clan still numerous in Zanzibar and Oman.
No. 2 (8th November 1894) is apparently an I.O.U.
Mwinyi Bakari bin Kombo al Murimi (i.e., probably a native of 'the
Mrima', the mainland opposite Zanzibar) has declared that he is indebted to
Khamis bin . the Baluch in six maunds of ivory and he will repay it after
3 months from the date hereof. Written by his own hand. ; Jamadi el
Awwal 1312. Witnessed by Muhammed bin Saleh Zidjali and Itakari Wadi
(i.e., of the household of) Mfumo. written by Badawi on the above date.
No. 3 (18th January 1895) is an envelope addressed to Al Walid (i.e, Father "
-a courtesy title to an elder) Wadi Mjwabu, slave of Sarahiq bin Said, at Bandar
Kaziwa. with a letter.
To Sheikh Wadi Mjwabu. After greetings and compliments. Your young
brother is very well. There is nothing here worth writing to you. Sharif has
arrived and I have given him details of all I hold for you as you wished in your
letter. He will stay here some time. He seems dull but the state of the road is
good. May Allah make things bright and spare you long life. Your kind
letters enliven us. The slave Fadhl is on the way now. Wadi Majudi is
arriving at Kaziwa. . Written by Tawakkal, slave of Bint (i.e., daughter
of) Ali bin Said Barwani. Baraka Wadi Taufiki and Kitwana send you salaams.
20 Rajab 1312. Your friend Maalim Haj bin Khamis bin Juma Sawabili of
ARABIC CORRESPONDENCE CAPTURED IN 1895 33
Kaziwa or Kiziwa is mentioned in several letters. It is not by analysis of
the correspondence possible to identify this with certainty. If. as may well be,
this refers to the Kiziba country, Bandar Kaziwa means literally the port in
Kiziba referring perhaps to some Arab settlement near the recently established
German port of Bukoba. It would fit the evidence, but is less likely, if Kiziwa
were in fact the station referred to by Vandeleur as Mwenda's after the local
Munyoro chief. The map in Vandeleur's book shows a village and tract
Kisimba not far from the site, and this name may have been used by the Arabs
for their station. In the latter case it is remarkable that the existence of a British
fort at Hoima only about thirty miles away since February 1894 appears to
cause no concern to the writer.
No. 4 (18th January 1895). Letter.
To the beloved brother Saadalla son of Musa, slave of Ali bin Seif el
Barwani. Your brother is well and prosperous. This letter comes to you from
Kiziwa. The news is good and pleasant. Wait for the arrival of the slave.
He will hand over to you 9 maunds of ivory from Mwinyi Shomari and
1" frasilas ivory from Hasan. Make sure you receive these. Anything I can
do for you here let me know. Give my salaams to brother Kitwana and Baraka
and Mwinyi Chande and brother Khamsin. From your loving brother
Tawakkal the slave of Bint Ali bin Said el Barwani. 20 Rajab 1312. Kitwana
says he is expecting the brother, Fundi Baraka.
No. 5 (19th February 1895). Two letters on one sheet, probably copies retained
by the writer.
To Sheikhs Khalfan and Rasam Ashikeli. After greetings. Your letter
and Harub with ivory have arrived. We informed you of everything. You
should get yourself ready. News from Nyoro is alarming. Do not keep any
ivory with you. Should you delay send all ivory you have and also from your
slave Razakalla if he has any. Also tell Haj bin Khamis . to leave the
ivoiy with me as deposit. He owes me ivory not money. I want to settle my
accounts with people at the Coast. So tell him it will be better if he comes
soon with what is required, but if he will be delayed in Nyoro I shall send the
ivory to the Coast. Salaams to all from here. Sheikhs Seif bin Khamis and
Seif bin Saad, Said bin Abdulla, and Harub bin Said send you salaams. Your
children are all well and also your mother. She sends you many salaams.
From Suleiman bin Zahir al Jubiri. 22 Shaban 1312.
To the beloved our well-wisher Haj bin Khamis the Shirazi (i.e., a coastal
native claiming Persian ancestors from Shiraz). After greetings and compli-
ments. Your letter and ivory have been received. You said I should keep the
ivory as deposit with me. You know, O Haj!, how badly in need of ivory I
am. So make haste, the news of Nyoro is alarming. If you will delay, I shall
send the ivory to the Coast. You owe me ivory so do not delay in Nyoro.
Give my greetings to Khalfan and Rasam and your slave Razakalla. From
Suleiman bin Zahir. 22 Shaban 1312.
The addresses seem to have been located in the heart of Bunyoro. Military
activity was causing the writer uneasiness. Early in February 1895, Kabarega's
34 UGANDA JOURNAL
followers, who were perhaps trying to get into touch with Arab caravans bringing
in arms and powder from the German sphere, broke back into Toro in strength
and killed two chiefs who were friendly to the British interest. This tiredd the
British occupation forces to activity and after some skirmishing between Hoima
and Fort Baranwa, where the military route from Buganda crossed the Kafu
River, a column was concentrated at Hoima. which, under the command of
Major Cunningham, set out north-eastwards towards the Nile on 20th February,
in order to make a direct attack on Kabarega, who was organizing disturbances
from that direction.
Khalfan was, according to Vandeleur, the leading Arab of Mwenca's settle-
ment and had been in Bunyoro for two years. He may well be t e Arab
named Halfan who, about June 1889, had been captured in a brilliant cutting
out' expedition in Lake Victoria when the Christians under Gabriel, fighting for
Mwanga, disposed of two Arab dhows: and who was subsequently -ansomed
by the Arabs at south of Lake Victoria on payment to Mwanga of 50) lb. gun-
powder, 70 muzzle-loading guns and 9 bales of calico. (See Ashe, Chronicles
of Uganda (1894), p. 135; also Nicq, Le Pere Simion Lourdel (3rd ed.. 1932).
pp. 479 and 504, where this feat is described in exciting detail.)
No. 6 (26th March 1895). Letter.
To my beloved friend and brother Saadalla Wadi Musa, slave of Ali bin
Seif el Barwani. After greetings and Allah's blessing. Your brother is quite
well. This letter comes to you from Kaziwa. News from here is pleasant.
I want you to come and stay with us as you have no work at present . and
we have received no information from you. How is that? We wrnt you to
come immediately without fail. You should receive from Mwiny Shomari
9 maunds of ivory which he owes me. If he hands over to you iv.ry or (?)
simbi accept, but not slave. Also receive from Hasan 1I frasilas ivory-it
should be ivory, not simbi nor (?) teeth nor slave. 3 pieces of cloth vhich you
sent have been received. I have heard Mwana Pisu is dead. Take what she
has left from the slave. He and Juma are slaves of Bint Ali bin Seif. I should
like you to note down all these. Give our salaams to brothers Khamsi i, Baraka,
to your slave Fadhil and the rest. From here Maalim Haj bin Khantis, Feiruz
bin Amani and Sharif all send salaams. From your brother Tawal kal, slave
of Bint Ali bin Said el Barwani. 29 Ramadhan 1312.
'Simba' is the Bunyoro word for cpwrie shells, perhaps here :,ignifying
money 'teeth may be hippopotamus teeth.
No. 7 (14th April 1895). Letter.
To my respected friend Mohammad Saleh Zidjali at Kaziwa. After com-
pliments. Your friend is well and happy. There is nothing of importance to
report to you. We have got your property from Ngongori. . 4lagah is
still with him. Your slave Baruti was caught by a crocodile, but ht escaped.
We hope he will get better. Give our salaams to ail your children. From
this place all send you salaams, Badawi bin Abdulla and Bilal. From your
friend Mwinyi Chumu bin Mwinyi Kondo. 17 Shawwal 1312.
ARABIC CORRESPONDENCE CAPTURED IN 1895 35
The writer, from wherever he wrote, had not, it seems, heard of the fight
on 2nd March 1895 referred to below. I cannot identify Ngongori ". if it be
No. 8 (14th April 1895). Letter.
To Sheikhs Abdulla bin Muhammad and Ja'afar Jeraj. May Allah save
you. I am quite well. Nothing to tell you except that on the 4th day of
Ramadhan there was a fight on the water between Europeans and the Sultan.
The Europeans were defeated. From people's stories it is said that 4 Europeans
have been killed, 2 Englishmen and 2 Frenchmen. I am still in the service of
the Sultan. I had asked to leave but I was told to wait the return of his people
from the Arabs. They will return in the month of Shawwal. On their return
1 shall come back to you with what I have in ivory. My dear friend please
look properly after your maid-slave Sikudhani. If you find her displeased let
me know. Excuse my troubling you. Give my salaams to Sheikh Mansur bin
Said, Adsani, Muh'd bin Abrahim and all Arabs at Kaziwa. From here Sultan
Kuricha bin Kanras (i.e., Kabarega son of Kamurasi) and all others send their
salaams to you. From Badawi bin Abdulla bin Salim. 17 Shawwal 1312.
The writer of this letter seems to have been in attendance on the Sultan "
i.e., Kabarega of Bunyoro. The 4th Ramadhan 1312 corresponds with 2nd
March 1895 and identifies this fight with Major Cunningham's unsuccessful
attack, launched from Kajumbura Island downstream from Masindi Port, upon
Kabarega's position on the Lango shore of the Nile. As a result of this action
Captain Dunning died of wounds a few days later. Cunningham himself was
seriously wounded while Captain Ashburnham had a bullet through his helmet
(Vandeleur, p. 60; Uganda Journal. Vol. 6 (Jan. 1939), p. 129). Arabs are
thought to have been present with Kabarega on this occasion. The reference to
' Frenchmen seems to be some misconception by the writer.
No. 9 (15th April 1895). Letter.
To the respected Governor Sheikh Mansur bin Said bin Nasor at Bandar
Kaziwa, whom Allah protect. May peace, blessings, and felicitations fall upon
him. Your humble friend is well and happy. Nothing has taken place here.
On 4th Ramadhan there was a fight between Europeans and the Sultan. The
Europeans were defeated both on the water and on the territory of the (?)
Wakari. According to people's story, 4 Europeans were killed, 2 British and
2 French. Losses in men both on the Europeans' side and the Sultan's were
6 killed and (?) a seventh wounded. Keep us informed of the news reaching
you, whether it is frightening or otherwise. Let us know if there is any fear of
danger. We have handed over to Mwinyi Dushi, out of the property of
Ahmed bin Raschid, 4 frasila and 2 maunds of ivory and the maid-slave Yasmin.
At the time I received orders from the Sultan the maid-slave was at Mizirandoro.
When I left for Kiziwa the maid-slave was taken away. I have given him a
receipt in the presence of Mwalim Mwiri, Baraka slave of Farhan bin Othman,
Mwinyi Shomari and the people of camp Kiyuko. So keep the maid-slave with
you until my arrival. You should ask her to make a statement. With best
salaams to Abdulla bin Muhammed, Ja'afar Jeraj, Ahmed Darwish, Muhammed
Ibrahim and all others. From your beloved friend, Badawi bin Abdulla bin
Salim. 18 Shawwal 1312.
36 UGANDA JOURNAL
This letter is by the same writer as No. 8 but written on the following day
and contains the same news regarding the fight on 2nd March. lTh writer is
justified in claiming a victory, for the British force had withdrawn to Hoima
where it was preparing for a new attack which was launched successfully on
22nd April 1895. Misriandura appears on Vandeleur's map about m-id-way
between Mwenda's and Hoima ; Musirandulu is still a village narne (see
1:250,000 Sheet 'Hoima', North A-36-N, 1911 edition). I cannot identify
camp Kiyuko: it is perhaps in the same area. Wakari' is perhaps Wakedi.
No. 10 (15th April 1895). Letter from the same writer as Nos. 8 aad 9, who
does not think it necessary to give information regarding the fight of 2nd April
to his beloved slave". He seems to have a romantic interest in Sikudhani,
after whom he inquires in No. 8.
To our beloved slave Sikudhani. Greetings. We are all \\ell Nothing
has happened to tell you about. Please let us know all the news, go d :rnd bad,
and how you are. I have sent to you some provisions with Saleh Almwezi the
Muslim: . .ghee with Feraj, slave of Abdulla bin Nasibu. Sal; -mis to all
your masters. From here all send salaams. From Badawi bin Abdulla bin
Salim. 18 Shawwal 1312.
No. 11 (15th April 1895). Letter.
To the dear Sheikh Mwalim Mwera bin Muhonzo at Unyenyena. Greet-
ings. Your friend is well. There is nothing to write to you about. Since
you left we have no news of you. When you find anyone coming here do give
him your letters to us and let us know of all your needs, we are ev-r ready to
meet them. If you can manage to take on credit 2 or 3 pieces of cloth for
the use of your slaves, do so. From Mwinyi Chumu bin Mwiiivi Kondo.
18 Shawwal 1312.
Unyenyema might be Unyamyembe, an early name for Tabora.
No. 12 (15th April 1895). Letter.
To our dear well-wisher Farhan bin Othman at Kitingola. Greetings.
Your friend is well and happy. 1 am sending to you with Kitwana one bundle
of ivory, the mark is lost. Get it weighed and refund one frasila to Fundi
Baraka on my behalf. Take two frasilas to square the account between us
and keep what is left over from these three frasilas until we rreet. From
Mwinyi Chumu Kabiji Shirazi. 18 Shawwal 1312.
Kitingola is probably Kitangule, the post on the southern side of the Kyaka
Ferry across the Kagera River.
No. 13 is part of a letter without date, with names of sender anc addressee
.Kitwana, slave of Abdulla bin Nasibu al Matafi sends his salaams
to you . he returned to the town and settled down . a mai-of-war on
the sea. They returned to the land . property that was lost. Mother of
Ramadhan, your slave mother of Juma, Baraka wadi Taufik, Tavakkal slave
ARABIC CORRESPONDENCE CAPTURED IN 1895 37
of Bint Ali bin Said Barwani . all send you salaams, also Kitwana Bilal.
What is the news from Hamed bin Thuwein bin Sultan bin Imam, King of the
Land and the Sea?
Hamed bin Thuwein was Sultan of Zanzibar from 5th March 1893 until
his death on 25th August 1896.
The lacunae may have referred to slave-running in the Indian Ocean:
perhaps a slave dhow had been chased by a British cruiser and forced on shore.
No. 14. Address only.
To our respected brother Baraka Wadi Tuweni. May Allah save him.
NOTI.- In order to attain uniformity in the conversion of Muhammadan
dates to our calendar it has been assumed that the Muhammadan day abstracted
from a conversion table begins at 6 p.m. of the corresponding Gregorian day,
e.g., 4th Ramadan 1312 extends from~ 6 p.m. on 1st March to 6 p.m. on 2nd
In his story of Ahmed bin Ibrahim in the Uganda Journal (Vol. 11 (Sept.
1947), pp. 80-97) Sir John Gray gives some account of the relations of East Coast
traders with Buganda in the middle of the nineteenth century. At much the
same time a similar but more restricted intercourse was developed with Bunyoro.
When Speke reached Karagwe in November 1861 he found, at Kafuro, an
established Arab settlement (" good English peas growing "). This was at the
time the most northerly regularly occupied depot of the Zanzibar Arab traders
and from it radiated contacts with Buganda, Bunyoro and Ruanda. Caravans
to and from Buganda passed through Kafuro, and, crossing the Kagera River at
Kitangule near the present Kyaka Ferry, took the road by way of Masaka to
Mutesa's capital, where there was as yet no permanent Arab settlement.
Efforts to open up trade with Ruanda were largely fruitless owing to the
hostility of its rulers. With Bunyoro, however, there was a direct line of com-
munication which, crossing the western confines of Buddu, avoided Buganda.
Over this road there seems to have been much coming and going. Rumanika
of Karagwe and Kamurasi of Bunyoro exchanged envoys and brides: while
ivory and slaves, accumulated by Kamurasi, some from far-away Acholiland,
were brought down to Kafuro, sometimes by parties of Baziba, who were great
traders, in exchange for trade goods. It was by this road that Spoke's com-
mander-in-chief' Baraka was able to travel from Karagwe direct to Bunyoro
early in 1862 while Speke was visiting Mutesa.
Kafuro probably lost some of its importance as Zanzibari traders came to
reside permanently at Mutesa's capital and began to make use of water transport
for communications with their stations to the south of Lake Victoria--at first
by canoes following the islands off the western shore of the lake and later by
sailing dhows built by the Arabs, some of which may have made direct passages
across the open lake.
Mutesa sought to reserve Arab goods and trade for himself and did not
encourage the Arabs settled in Buganda to extend their trade into Bunyoro. It
38 UGANDA JOURNAL
was not perhaps until 1877' that the first Zanzibari merchants in person reached
the capital of Kabarega (who had succeeded Kamurasi in 1870) by the direct
road from Karagwe: and they seem to have had a regular settlement there when
Junker (1886) and Casati (1888) were in Bunyoro.
Meanwhile, as related by Sir John Gray ibidd., p. 92) Ahmed bit Ibrahim
had been murdered at Kafuro at the end of 1885, and this station was some time
after abandoned. So that when Stanley passed this way with Emin Pasha in
August 1889, no Arabs were encountered in all this region to the west of Lake
Under Mutesa's successor Mwanga, the Arabs in Buganda gradually came
to take a hand in politics on the side of a Muhammadan party. For a short
time in 1888-89 they were in the ascendant; but when the Christian; restored
Mwanga to his capital at Rubaga early in 1890 most of the Arabs probably
retreated with Kalema's supporters to Bunyoro. where some of th:ir fellow
countrymen may have remained throughout these disturbed years.
By the Anglo-German Agreement of 1st July 1890. Karagwe and the Kiziba
country fell into the German sphere. In November 1890 Emin, on behalf of
the German Government, established a station at Bukoba, and in March 1891
an outpost at Kafuro, in charge of which he placed an Arab-Abu Bekr bin
Mohammed. This man had been recruited by Stuhlmann, Emin's lieutenant,
when the latter had visited Mwanga at Rubaga2 on Emin's behalf in Decem-
This appointment of Abu Bekr to Kafuro may well have encouraged the
East Coast Arabs to revive their trading associations with Bunyoro. But, in
the territory which was now becoming German East Africa, they no longer
enjoyed the freedom which had hitherto been theirs. Under German rule they
had perforce to comport themselves as honest ivory traders eschewin, any open
trade in slaves and gunpowder. The Germans would not, however, be unduly
concerned how they conducted themselves when they slipped north: rds across
the Kagera River and were lost for a while in the unsettled hinterland of the
British sphere which extended to Bunyoro. Here they doubtless carried on
some surreptitious gun-running and added to their stock of domestic slaves, a
condition which was still recognized by the German authorities.3 When they
did return to the German sphere it was with a fine store of ivory which helped
to swell the exports from German East Africa.
Some Arabs were probably present with or near Kabarega throui hout these
years until the final retreat of Khalfan from the British sphere in luly 18954
following the capture of Mwenda's. Such were Khalfan, Juma and lrzee who
in their own circles in the German sphere doubtless had a reputation as enter-
prising merchants who had engaged in hazardous speculations wlich unfor-
This is the inference from Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888), pp. 67 and 115.
2 Stuhlmann was surprised here to meet Lugard who had arrived a few davs before.
3 The Imperial Government's Verordnung of 1st September 1891 regulated proceed-
ings for the emancipation of slaves.
4 See Uganda Journal, Vol. 7, p. 72.
5 I am greatly indebted to Sir John Gray for identifications and assistance in prepar-
ing these notes.-[H.B.T.]
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA-II
By J. M. WATSON
TRAGELAPHUS SCRIPTUS DAMA (Neumann). Common Bushbuck.
TRAGELAPHUS SCRIPTUS BOR (Heuglin). Nile Bushbuck; Harnessed Bush-
Teso: Aderit, aderin. Karamojong: Aderit, ngaderin Ekoloba,
TAXONOMY: There is considerable confusion in the classification and
separation of the various races of Bushbuck owing to the extraordinary amount
of variation in colouring and marking depending on sex, age and locality. There
are, however, two fairly distinct and well defined groups, the Common Bush-
buck (subspecies dama) and the Harnessed Bushbuck (subspecies bor). In the
former, body stripes are absent in the adult male, and the animal is heavier and
carries larger horns than the latter, which retains the body stripe throughout life.
Matschie, who is responsible for the creation of numerous races of Bush-
buck, has described two other races from Karamoja and its neighbourhood.
(i) Tragelaphus scriptus dodingae. Type locality Kedef valley, western
foothills of Dodinga range, east-north-east of Dufile, near the Sudan-Uganda
border. The Kedef valley is, I think, the Kidepo valley. In the map accom-
panying Powell-Cotton's In Unknown Africa, the Kedef river is shown rising just
north of Mt. Morongole in Dodoth country which is part of the Kidepo catchment
area. Alien (1939) considers this race doubtfully distinct from T. s. bor.
(ii) Tragelaphus scriptus locorinae. Type locality Naringepur, south of
Dodinga Mts., Uganda. Naringepur, or more correctly Lochorangomur, is
actually in Turkana, being a river flowing eastwards between Mts. Mogila and
Zingote. This race includes Tragelaphus locorinae laticeps (Matschie), based
on a skull and skin obtained at the north-west foot of Mt. Kadam. The skin
agrees closely with typical locorinae in colour, but is smaller ; the skull is
Locorinae is typically a large form; its general colour is bright ochry
rufous with very dark under parts. Allen considers it to be doubtfully distinct
The Bushbuck of the northern slopes of Mt. Elgon, in the Sebei country,
determined at the British Museum as T. s. heterochrous (Cabera), is based on
about three dozen skins. Allen makes heterochrous a synonym of locorinae.
I have not seen Schwartz's revision of the Bushbucks, and am therefore unable
to quote his views.
Tragelaphus scriptus barker, the Giant Bushbuck, first described by J. G.
Millais from material obtained in the Imatong mountains, southern Sudan,
40 UGANDA JOURNAL
appears to be confined to well-wooded uplands and is therefore likely to occur
in Labwor, Nangeya, Morongole and other similar localities ; it diffrs from
T. s. bor in possessing considerably larger horns. Ward (1935) states that it is
probably synonymous with T. s. dodingae.
Captain Pitman regards barkeri as merely the largest of the damni group.
He considers dama itself to be a relatively large race ; locorinae larger, 'lodingae
larger still, with barkeri the so-called 'Giant '. There is similar var nation in
size and horn length in the sable antelope, depending on range.
From my very limited observations I venture to suggest that the Bushbuck
of Teso is of the dama group while that found at higher altitudes in K aramoja
is referable to bor. Several specimens of the latter, identified by the. British
Museum, have however been collected by Captain Pitman along tlie Aswa
(Moroto) river on the Lango-Acholi border. Captain Pitman notes t! at while
T. s. dama is the plains Bushbuck of Uganda and is widespread from th: foot of
Mt. Elgon to south-west Kigezi, both it and '. s. bor (which is typic it of the
Nile region) occur in the Mabira forest in east Mengo (Buganda Provin :e).
DISTRIBUTION: Bushbuck are found throughout Teso wherever there is
thick bush approaching to forest, and a good water supply for the daily drink ;
in the Bugondo hills, they are fairly common in the numerous thi kly-clad
ravines. In Karamoja, Bushbuck are restricted to the neighbourhood of well-
wooded mountain streams; they are plentiful on the Lia river above Moroto
township, and 1 have seen them within a short distance of the summit of 1V t. Zulia.
DESCRIPTION: The male Bushbuck is larger than the female; t stands
30-36 in. at the shoulder, and weighs up to 120 lb. Distinguishing fea ures are
the low withers, not exceeding the height of the hips; the short sncut: the
short fan-like tail; and the large and expanded ears. The body is marked
with a series of contrasting white patches, the most noticeable of whici are the
white chin and lips, and the white upper throat; the white bar across tie lower
throat; the two white spots on the cheeks ; the white bar on the insi e of the
thigh and forelegs; the white patch at the axilla and the groin ; and the two
white spots above the hoofs. Female Bushbuck are hornless. Juveniles are
bright rufous with white spots and stripes.
T. scriptus dama. Male. General colour of the body buffy ocl raceous,
darker below than above. No collar of short hair at the base of the necl ;
dorsal crest white. In adults, no white transverse stripes but numero is white
spots on the flanks. The immature male is striped and spotted like the female
but has the dark blackish breast and belly, and the dorsal mane of short hair, of
the adult maje.
Female. Pale reddish brown, not darker on the under parts. Bodx crossed
by four to six transverse stripes ; rows of spots on flanks and hindquar ers.
T. scriptus bor. Male. General body colour varies from pale brownish
(bor) through brownish ochre suffused with grey (dodingae) to bright ochry
rufous particularly dark on the back (locorinae). Breast and under part i always
dark. White spotting as in dama. Dorsal crest black, diffuse ; collar of short
brown hair present. The body is crossed by eight to ten transverse whitish
I ( )
(a) Bushbuck : (b) SilttLunga : (c) L.esser Kudu : (d) Grealer Ktiudu
. 1, ,
F G- 2
) Eland (f) Giraffe (g) Wrt-Hog (h) Bsh-Pig
(c) Eland ; (f) Giraffe : (g) Wart-Hog ; (h) Bush-Pig
MI ale Ha iessed Buslibtick
Phloto la phlc id hitk n igili. hapailcu iit. /01, I" 1. ti ui
Immature Bull Eland
",; ..... .. ,Pho r uupheda M iual n"I fa-il. Phol phed la Ri,, Achol
by I J.. Eggeling 4rhl[, hbi;nk hv H" 1 F !,!,,n t i', b
CFI. \ Fl;. 6 FIG. 7
abH Situtung. mallillnd race Hippo Spoor in sand Giraffe Spoor
y. IV. J. Lggeling
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 41
stripes, with a short upper longitudinal band extending from the shoulders to the
middle of the body and continued on the hindquarters in the form of a series of
Female. Body colour chestnut; breast paler than the sides with white
markings as in the male. Collar of short hairs absent ; crest replaced by a dark
stripe and occasional white hairs.
Of the two races, the Harnessed Bushbuck (bor) is the smaller. Roosevelt
gives the following measurements: Head and body, 49 in.; tail, 7 in.; hind
foot, 41 in. ; ear, 51 in. Measurements of a female Common Bushbuck (dama)
given by the same authority are very similar.
The horns of the male Bushbuck form a close spiral and are black-tipped.
The following record measurements from Uganda and the Sudan are of interest:
T. s. danma (Uganda). Length on front curve, 207 in.; girth, 63 in. tip to
tip, 81- in.
T. s. bor (Lutuku, Sudan). Length on front curve, 14s in girth, 41 in; tip
to tip, 75 in.
T. s. barker (Imatong Mts.). Length on front curve, 213 in; girth, 61 in.
Instances have been recorded of females bearing horns. Brocklehurst
(1931) mentions the case, reported in the Field in 1935 by Lieut.-Colonel Friend
Addison, of a horned female shot on a farm at the mouth of the Tugela river
The ears of the Bushbuck are large and rounded, a characteristic feature of
all antelopes which rely on hearing rather than on sight.
BIOLOGY: The Bushbuck, as its name implies, is a beast of the thicket and
undergrowth. Because it is solitary and almost entirely nocturnal, it is seldom
seen, but sometimes, especially in the evening or early morning, it may be encoun-
tered away from thicket, singly or in pairs, or possibly a buck and two does,
grazing quietly. It is adept at moving about in the thickest undergrowth and,
if pressed, can cover distances of fifteen feet or more at a single bound. Despite
the nature of its habitat, it shows little fear of human habitation, and will venture
forth to visit a vegetable garden adjoining a house. It will nibble at grass but is
chiefly a browser, and it can play havoc with a marrow-bed, sweet-potato patch
or plot of beans. It is the bane of anybody who attempts to raise vegetables
When alarmed or disturbed, both sexes will utter a sharp bark, half-way
between that of a dog and baboon. I have also heard a call, consisting of a
rapid succession of barks, which I ascribe to a Bushbuck on the move; a few
minutes previously I had distinctly heard the usual single bark.
The male Bushbuck is the fiercest although the smallest member of the
Tragelaphinae, and is an ugly customer when wounded. Drummond (1888)
recalls an instance of a wounded Bushbuck being responsible for the death of a
man. The males fight much among themselves during the breeding season.
I have seen a very small youngster in January.
MISCFLLANEOUs: The spoor of the Bushbuck is small for the size of the
animal. Lyell (1929) notes that the animal seems to impart a forward pressure
42 UGANDA JOURNAL
when walking; often only the tips of the spoor are visible. The flesh is
considered good, except in the rutting season when, according to Lyell, that of
the male is tainted rather strongly.
LIMNOTRA GUS SPEKII SPEKII (P. L. Sclater). Speke's Situtunga; Marsh
Teso: Emalit, imalin.
DISTRIBUTION: Confined to the reed-beds and papyrus swamps fringing
the Kyoga lake system. Inquiries on Tisai island, at the east end of Lake
Salisbury, elicited the information that the Situtunga is not known so far east.
Mr. A. L. Stevens shot a specimen with a good head at Sambwe. in Serere
county, in 1926.
DESCRIPTION: The Situtunga is very closely allied to the busi~buck. It
stands 40-45 in. at the shoulder, and weighs up to 230 lb. The upper side of the
male is uniformly greyish brown without any obvious stripes and .pots; the
under parts are whitish. The hair is unusually long but there is no d( rsal mane,
and the tail is less bushy than that of the bushbuck. There is a distinct white
bar in front of the chest, a white spot on the forethroat, two white chevron marks
on the nose, and a white spot on the cheek below each eye.
The female is tawny rufous with faint indications of the white stripes of
the bushbuck ; it has a dorsal stripe along the back.
Juveniles are rufous, spotted and striped with white.
Roosevelt gives the following measurements of a male Situtunga shot in
the vicinity of Lake Victoria. Head and body, 45 in. ; tail, 12- in.; hind foot,
191 in. ; ear, 51 in.
The hoofs are elongated, and the long toes widely flexible, enabling the
animal to move freely about its spongy domain of swamp and sudd. Chapman
(1921) points out that the pasterns are elongated also, and that the under surfaces,
instead of being clothed in hair as in other animals, are furnished with a naked
horny substance, virtually a "sort of pad as elastic as the rubber iyres of an
automobile "! Chapman gives the measurements of fore and hind f )ot as 7 in.
and 71 in. respectively.
The horns, carried by the male only, are similar in shape to those of the
bushbuck but are generally larger; the spiral is more open and tie tips are
white. The measurements of the Uganda record given by Ward (1935) are :
On front curve, 327 in.; straight line, 261 in. circumference, 8 in.; tip to
tip, 12- in. In the Annual Report of the Game Department for 1928, the Game
Warden writes, Good heads are only obtainable on the mainland. Those of
the Sese islands appear to be gradually decreasing in size, probably from over-
stocking and inbreeding, and those attaining 26 in. are now considered good
trophies. On Nkose island, 23 in. is considered a good head."
The race on the Sese islands and on Damba has been named sy vestris arid
that of Nkose meinertzhageni. The slot-making portion of the hoofs of the
latter are only 1 in. long, compared with the 41 in. of the nominate main-
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 43
BIOLOGY: The Situtunga, shy and wary by nature, is essentially a water-
loving animal but at night it leaves its usual habitat of reed-brakes and sudd to
feed on the grassy meadows near its home. It is an excellent swimmer, and is
capable of covering considerable distances. Moreover, owing to the nature of
its feet, it can make its way through the most impassable swamps, developing a
network of well-beaten tracks through the reeds and papyrus. These same
elongated hoofs, however, render progress on solid ground difficult and awkward.
When danger threatens, the Situtunga will sink its entire body under the
water, exposing only its nostrils above the surface. When the male does this,
its horns stick out of the water, so that hunters are able to locate it and spear
it from canoes. When feeding at night the animals associate in pairs or small
parties. They are reputed to utter a bark somewhat similar to that of the bush-
buck but rather more muffled and less dog-like. According to Speke, a male
at bay is fierce and aggressive.
MISCELLANEOUS: Duke (1934) states that the ears of a male offspring of a
captive female Situtunga sired by a bushbuck resembled those of its mother.
Its coat was more rufous than a male Situtunga of the same age but its hoofs
were definitely Situtunga-like-see photos in Uganda Journal, Vol. 2, p. 161.
Unfortunately this interesting hybrid, and a female born to the same parents a
year later, both died early from rinderpest (Pitman, A Game Warden Takes
Stock, p. 225).
The venison, according to Shortridge (1934). is rank and unpalatable.
STREPSICEROS IMBERBIS AUSTRALIS (Heller). Lesser Kudu.
Karamojong: Esarich, ngisaricho.
DISTRIBUTION: Lesser Kudu are widespread in the south-east of Karamoja
from Mt. Moroto to the Turkwel and westwards as far as Lotome and the eastern
foot of Mt. Kadam. I believe that they occasionally stray as far west as
Mt. Napak, for 1 remember examining a horn which had been picked up in that
neighbourhood. They are undoubtedly common in the region of Amudat, and
I have frequently seen them in the early morning between Amudat and Moruita.
In the north, Mr. T. W. Chorley informs me that he has seen them in the vicinity
of Lonyili near the Sudan-Uganda boundary ; there is little doubt that they
occur also on the innumerable hills of north-central Jie.
DESCRIPTION: Possibly one of the most beautiful of all the antelopes, the
Lesser Kudu stands about 40 in. high at the shoulder and weighs about 230 lb.
The body colour is tawny brown, the sides crossed by twelve or thirteen con-
spicuous transverse white lines running from an ill-defined white and black
dorsal stripe to the under parts. The mid-line of the chest is marked by a black
stripe; the under parts are pure white. The neck, somewhat paler than the
rest of the body, carries a white patch on the forethroat and another (oval) one
near the base of the throat. The seal-brown head is marked with white chevrons
in front of the eyes, two white spots on each cheek, and a short white splash
above the eyes.
44 UGANDA JOURNAL
The female is similar in size and colour to the male-possibly a little
The horns, borne by the male only, are of the open spiral type. T ie distance
between tips is a little over half that of the greater k udu, i.e., some iere about
15 in. The record trophy, from Tanganyika, measures: On outt ide curve,
33- in. ; straight line, 253 in. : circumference, 7 in. : tip to tip 17 in Captain
Pitman has measured Uganda heads of just over 32 in.
BIOLOGY: The Lesser Kudu is both a browser and a grazer, freqi renting the
dry inhospitable thorn scrub which is typical of so much of Upe co nlry. Its
habitat, which suggests that it must be fairly independent of wat n, is very
similar to that of the dikdik but its range is more restricted. The females are
gregarious and form small parties. One such group, consisting of fou r animals.
encountered in a cleared grazing plot four miles east of Amudat, made off, at
my approach, at a dignified pace, clearing the five-foot thorn fence wit i apparent
ease. On another occasion, a party of four females with a bull behind crossed
in front of my car near Cholol hill.
When startled, Lesser Kudu utter a sharp barking call.
MISCELLANEOUS: Percival (1924) describes at length the difficulties of
hunting the Lesser Kudu. He spent twelve hours in obtaining hi! specimen
and was unable to travel upright for more than ten yards in ever', hundred.
Lesser Kudu hunting in West Suk is, however, relatively easy, for the bush is
much less dense than in the coastal region to which Percival refers. I am told
that the animal is easy to spoor if dew has fallen and if the hunter is f prepared to
start early when the trail left by the Kudu in the dew-sodden grass is till visible.
STREPSICEROS STREPSICEROS BEA (Heller). Greater Kudu.
Karamojong: Amakata, ngamakatai.
DISTRIBUTION: Thinly distributed throughout the rocky hill country along
the Kenya-Uganda escarpment northwards from Mt. Moroto, e.g., on and in
the vicinity of War hill and Muget hill in eastern Dodoth. Napal near the
Teso-Karamoja boundary, is a Greater Kudu sanctuary and, altl'ough this
locality does not resemble its normal habitat, the local Karamojoing confirm
that it is to be found there. The county Chief of Bokora recently saw three
males in the neighbourhood of the Michoko stream at the north-wes corner of
the mountain. On Mt. Moroto, within the cedar belt, I was shown the tracks
of a beast which my guide assured me were those of the Greater Kudu ; this
gloomy forest is certainly not the type of environment with which 1 I would
associate the antelope but it is possible that it is more catholic in it: choice of
home than is generally thought.
DESCRIPTION: The male Greater Kudu, the noblest of all the antelopes,
stands 58-60 in. at the shoulder, and weighs between 500 and 600 lb. The
general body colour is described by Roosevelt as ochraceous-tawny ; he median
dorsal region is darker, with a white stripe along the dorsal line from withers to
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 45
rump. The sides are marked by six to eight transverse white bands. The
under parts are ochry with a broad blackish stripe extending medially on the
breast. There is a thin mane of long brown hair from nape to tail.
The conspicuous chevrons in front of the eyes form a white arrowhead on
the bridge of the snout. The characteristic white throat-marks of the lesser
kudu are absent, and the throat is adorned with a long fringe or beard of brown
hair. The Greater Kudu is another species which relies more on hearing than
on sight. Its ears, therefore, are large and rounded, broader than those of the
The female is smaller than the male ; the throat mane is absent and the
body stripes are more conspicuous.
The magnificent open spiral horns of the bull measure up to 60 in. on the
outer curve. The Uganda record as given by Ward (1935) is: Length on outside
curve, 55 in. ; straight line. 44 in.; circumference, 10 in.; tip to tip, 303 in.
Colonel G. K. Stobart shot a specimen with 521 in. horns (outside curve) in the
neighbourhood of Mt. Zingote in north-west Turkana.
The female is normally hornless but specimens with slender and distorted
horns are said to occur occasionally in South Africa.
BIOLOGY: The typical habitat of the Greater Kudu is rocky hill country
covered with thick thorn bush and scrub. It is both a browser and a grazer,
feeding in the early morning and evening, and lying up in some shady thicket
during the heat of the day.
In many parts of Northern Rhodesia, however, the Greater Kudu is a
parkland species, and Captain Pitman has frequently seen bulls with magnificent
heads grazing in the open close to villages in the early morning. He once saw
four bulls, all with heads of about 55 in., grazing in the open at mid-day.
The females, like those of the lesser kudu, associate in small parties; the
bulls for the most part remain singly by themselves.
Although on rare occasions a wounded bull Greater Kudu has attempted
to defend itself, it is normally a shy and inoffensive creature, albeit elusive and
cunning. It possesses excellent hearing, sight and sense of smell. The body
colour provides realistic camouflage and the animal can move stealthily from
one piece of cover to another, remaining almost invisible. When suddenly
disturbed, it plunges off in a wild rush, with nose stretched out and horns laid
flat along the back. Although it is an excellent jumper, it prefers to go under
rather than over an obstacle. The preliminary rush for safety is seldom pro-
longed, and the beast almost invariably comes to a standstill after a hundred
yards or so to satisfy its curiosity as to the cause of its alarm. Although rather
ungraceful in gait and carriage, it is an active climber, following its own well-
beaten paths through tangles of rocks and bush. It will take to water readily
should occasion demand.
Skeletons of Greater Kudu have been found with horns interlocked, indicat-
ing that the bulls fight among themselves.
The call, uttered especially in the rutting season, is a combination of roar
and bark ; it is somewhat similar to that of the bushbuck, but louder and with
greater carrying power. The animal is said to be particularly noisy when lions
46 UGANDA JOURNAL
are in the vicinity. Wilhelm (1933) reports that cows sometimes lie fl;t on the
ground, springing up in front of the hunter with a startled bark.
Hamilton (1933) gives 210 days as the average gestation period.
MISCELLANEOUS: Shortridge (1934) states that the narrow, lozenge-shaped
spoor is proportionally much smaller than that of any other large antelope.
The spoor is very neat, the animal walking lightly on the tips of its hoots. The
same authority reports that the flesh is excellent, especially that of cows and
TAUROTRAGUS ORYX PATTERSONIANUS (Lydekker). East Afric, n Eland.
Teso: Egwapet, igwapeto. Karamojong: Egwapet, ngiwapeto.
DISTRIBUTION: The Eland is widespread and generally plentiful Ihrough-
out western and central Karamoja from north to south. It is catholic in its
choice of habitat, and is at home both in the bush country beloved by the
Bright's gazelle and in the more open plains. It probably strays into north-
west Teso in the Okok area and possibly also into south-west Teso. I have
seen more Eland in Karamoja than any other of the larger or medium-sized
antelope except the gazelle.
DESCRIPTION: A bull Eland, weighing perhaps 1,500 lb. and standingg
65-70 in. at the shoulders is the largest of all the African antelopes. I he body
colour tends to vary with age from the buff of the younger animals to the 1 lue-dun
of the bulls. The colour of an old bull varies from iron-grey to a vwry dark
grey-black, sometimes almost blue-black. The nape of the neck bears a broad
mane of long brown hair terminating at the withers. A dorsal stripe runs the
length of the back. The thinly-haired tail, buff above and white below, carries
at the tip a tuft of long black hair. The sides are marked with two or three thin,
white, widely-spaced transverse stripes which become less distinct with age; the
under side is pale buff with a blackish stripe on the chest and belly. The blackish
snout is ornamented with a white chevron which tends to disappear as th, animal
grows older. A characteristic feature of the Eland, irrespective of age or sex, is
the well-developed maned dewlap.
Young males are somewhat reddish in colour ; the body stripes are more
numerous and the belly markings more distinct than in the adult.
Fully mature bulls develop on the forehead a heavy mat of cinnamon-brown
hair which Selous frequently found to be damp and matted and to emit a strong
odour. This may be due to the peculiar habit recorded by Wilhelm (t933) of
rubbing the forehead tuft in places where the cows urinate.
The females are similar to the males but do not develop the forehead mat
of hair nor do they carry the white chevron on the snout (which is drao rather
than blackish). The young, which begin to sprout horns within a few weeks of
birth, are miniature replicas, complete with dewlap, of their female parents.
Roosevelt (1913) records the following measurements of an adult bull
Eland shot near Loita in Kenya: Length along curve of back, 106 i. ; tail,
32 in. ; ear 101 in. ; hind foot, 29 in. An adult female was a few inches shorter
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 47
The Eland is the only member of the Tragelaphinae in which both sexes
carry horns. They are of moderate length and stoutness, have a screw-like
pattern, and point upward and outward. The horns of the cow are similar to
those of the bull, but more slender. The measurements of a male trophy shot
in Uganda by Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins are: Length on front, 301 in.; circum-
ference, 11t in.; tip to tip, 16| in. Captain Pitman has measured Uganda
horns of over 31 in.
BIOLOGY: The Eland is both a grazer and a browser and, like the zebra
and the Karamoja donkey, always appears in the best condition, with sleek
body and satin-like skin. Possibly this is due to its wide range of habitat
which enables it to obtain some form of sustenance whatever the state of the
season. The stomach contents of an old bull which I examined consisted almost
entirely of grass with a number of seeds of Courbonia virgata intermixed. The
Eland feeds in the morning and evening, resting only during the real heat of the
day. It rests either standing or lying down ; if in the former position it keeps
flies at bay by constant switching of its tail. When there is an abundant supply
of water the Eland drinks regularly every twenty-four hours but I have seen it
during the dry season in areas where water is non-existent and I therefore assume
that it can live without water for long periods.
The Karamojong aver that the Eland is partial to snakes. In 1933 Sir
B. H. Bourdillon shot, at Kanamugit, an Eland with a partially decomposed
grass snake in its stomach, a fact which gives strength to this apparently singular
While it feeds, the Eland will blow like an ox ; and the female utters a
feeble bleat to call its young. Otherwise, the animal is silent.
In South Africa the Eland is reported to be particularly fond of visiting
salt-licks but I have not noticed any sign of this in Karamoja.
The Eland is gregarious, forming parties of half-a-dozen to thirty indi-
viduals. Within the group, two or three bulls will live in apparent harmony
with one another, which stresses the docility of these animals. South African
observers have reported, however, that during the rutting season the bulls fight
fiercely, and Steinhardt (1924) mentions that the clashing of their horns can be
heard at a considerable distance. The largest herd I have encountered in
Karamoja consisted of about twenty-four animals: the migratory droves of
100 to 200 beasts, which occur in South Africa are, I think, unknown in this
The Eland is wary and difficult to approach. It has a well-developed sense
of hearing but relies chiefly on its sight. For this reason the ears of the Common
Eland are narrow and pointed whereas those of the Giant Eland, which relies on
hearing, are large and rounded. The Giant Eland does not occur in Teso or
The Eland, when suddenly startled, takes the most prodigious leaps, quite
out of keeping with its size. A cow or young bull will sometimes bound over
1 1 have seen a herd of over 100. south-west of Rom, just within Acholi.-[ED.]
its neighbour's back with little or no exertion ; this athletic display lasts onil
for a few seconds, and then the more usual gait-a walk or smart trot--is
resumed. At its normal pace the animal can cover great distance's without
stopping ; indeed Drummond (1845) states that on one occasion he I ursued on
foot a trotting Eland for eleven miles before he was able to shoot it. the first
and last Eland that 1 ever fairly ran unwounded to a standstill ". He adds.
" although personally in the highest of training, I was completely dole up, and
felt the effects of it for several days after". This, I feel, is quite under-
Despite its great size, the Eland is extremely timid and inoffel sixe, even
when wounded. Selous records that it will always run against wind ind that if
a horseman endeavours to turn it from its upwind course, it may m; ke a half-
hearted attempt to charge, a charge which is easily avoided.
In captivity the cow breeds regularly every year, the period oi gestation
being 8 to 9 months. In Kenya most of the young are produced in October
and November though some are born in April.
The droppings are unexpectedly small--about the size of grape .
MISCELLANEOUS: Eland meat is excellent eating ; it is paler in c lcur than
that of other antelopes and of a more delicate flavour. It resembles veal or
beef in taste. The flesh is unique among that of African antelopes in being
streaked with fat. This fat, of which there is a plentiful supply, dot s not clog
the palate and greatly improves the quality of the flesh. Eland fat was at one
time extensively used by early pioneers for the manufacture of candles, while the
hide was greatly prized for reins or raw-hide ropes.
Percival draws attention to the peculiar smell, as of herbs, ol a freshly
killed animal, especially if it has been run down and shot. Lyell notes
the sweet aromatic smell which clings to the place where Eland lave been
The spoor is very similar to that of the buffalo or domestic c x, though
possibly not so rounded as that of the former. Moreover, the Eland, being of
greater size, takes a considerably longer stride than either. Lyell notes that
despite its great weight it leaves but a faint spoor on hard ground, .hough on
soft earth its tracks are as deep as those of the buffalo. The forefeet are
considerably larger than the hind.
The Karamojong state that the lion, the most feared enemy of he Eland,
will deliberately drive it on to damp black cotton soil', where the balling of
the clay-like earth on the hoofs of the animal so reduces its speed that it quickly
falls a victim.
Eland have been successfully domesticated but their ability to leap over
the highest of confining fences militates against their ever becoming a useful farm
animal. Captain Pitman has a note of an old Eland bull jumping a solid wood
stockade 8 ft. high in Northern Rhodesia, but states that antelopes generally
are afraid of wire fences of a height in excess of 5 ft. unless the wire is diamond
or square pattern which provides some definition, which a strand lence does
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA
1-amily: GIRAFFIDAE. Giraffes.
GIRAFFA CA MELOPA RDALIS ROTHSCHILDI (Lydekker). Uganda~ Girale :
Baringo Giraffe: Five-horned Giraffe.
Teso: Ekori, ikorio. Karamojong: Ekori, ngikorio.
TAXONOMY: Allen (1939) includes two races of Giraffe. rothschildi and
cotuoni, both of which are likely to occur in Karamoja. The latter form,
described by Lydekker from a single specimen shot by Major Powell-Cotton
on the Koten plain in the Taposa country not far from the Sudan-Uganda
boundary, differs from rothschildi in possessing neck spots of chestnut-brown,
instead of black, which are more regular and quadrangular in form without any
tendency to be split up by lines radiating from the centre. However, a careful
examination of a herd of Giraffe anywhere in Karamoja at once reveals the
existence of a great variety of colour and pattern and I feel inclined, therefore,
to include all K'aramoja Giraffes, whether from the north or south, under the
one subspecies rothschildi.
The name Lado Giraffe which was applied to the cottoni form is somewhat
unfortunate. It was so called by Lydekker as he considered Lado to be a
better known locality than Taposa. Actually Lado is on the west bank of the
Nile and many miles west of Koten.
DISTRIBUTION: The Giraffe is widespread throughout Karamoja, except
in the more hilly and mountainous areas and in those localities where the acacia
vegetation is replaced by broad-leaved trees and bush. It is a not infrequent
visitor to Teso in the north and cast but does not penetrate far into that district.
A few probably still exist in the lake shore area of Kaberamaido county, near
Kagaa. Until 1920 there were three Giraffe in the old Kasilo county now
amalgamated with Serere county-but in that year two were killed in a native
hunt, while the third fell into a game-pit in 1929.
DESCRIPTION: The Giraffe stands 15-17 ft. high, from feet to top of horns;
a record giant shot in Kenya measured 19 ft. 3 in. The height of a male at the
shoulder is between 10 and 12 ft.: females are considerably smaller. A female
which died in the London Zoo scaled 1,142 lb.; males must weigh three-
quarters of a ton or more.
The colour of the large regular spots, separated one from another by a
network of narrow yellow-fawn reticulations which are broadest on the neck,
appears to vary with age and sex, and ranges from reddish chestnut to almost
black. Below the hocks and knees, the legs are cream-buff. The white face,
fully spotted, and the white backs of the ears contrast noticeably with the general
darker coloration of the neck. Other peculiarities of this oddity are: the long,
prehensile, upper lip, projecting far in advance of the lower; the almost
prehensile tongue, up to 18 in. long, the terminal third of which is black ; the
elongated neck, which, despite its length, possesses only the normal seven
cervical vertebrae ; the absence of rudimentary digits or false hoofs of the
other ruminants : and the absence of canines in the upper jaw.
The horns "-two lateral projections and a frontal boss-are not part of
50 UGANDA JOURNAL
the skull. They develop independently and only in adult age become fused
with it. They are permanently covered with hair-bearing skin, and the lateral
horns of the young carry tufts of hair which gradually disappear with age.
The median boss or frontal horn is well developed in both sexes, even in the
Specimens with five horns-a central boss, two laterals and ; rudimentary
pair arising from the back of the skull close to the first vertebra-are not
uncommon and were first obtained by Sir Harry Johnston at the north-east
corner of Mt. Elgon. He notes, however, that females shot in ihe same area
possessed the normal three horns only.
The cow possesses two mammae.
BIOLOGY: The habitat of the Giraffe is typically the orcha-d-like acacia
country which characterizes so much of central and western Kaiamoja, but it
is also very much at home in the more open black cotton soil areas where there
is an abundant growth of Balanites aegyptica and Acacia seyal. It is particu-
larly fond of the leaves of the latter tree.
The Giraffe is normally a browser but reliable observers have reported that
it will at times eat grass. It has been seen far from the neighbourhood of trees.
but it is possible it was then feeding on the leaves and twigs of small bushes
hidden in the grass.
Cotton plants do not come amiss to it, and parties of Giraffe fr m Karamoja
occasionally pay unwelcome visits to shambas in the neighbourhood of Nariam
in eastern Teso, where they crop the bushes.
I have encountered this animal in entirely waterless areas and the Kara-
mojong inform me that it is completely independent of water. Nevertheless,
it is a frequent visitor to the Lodon waterhole in the Napak crater but it may
be attracted there by the saline nature of the water rather than by actual thirst.
A South African observer notes that females in young appear to require more
water than animals in the normal state. When about to drink, the Giraffe first
straddles its forelegs wide apart in a series of little jerks. The neck is then
lowered so as to bring the muzzle in reach of the water, and at the ,ame time the
front legs are inclined backwards thereby throwing the whole weight of the
body on to the hind quarters--a movement which results in a noticeable flexion
of the knees.
The Giraffe is usually encountered in small parties of six to a dozen
members, but in the neighbourhood of Maru hill in central Jie country I came
across a herd of thirty or more animals. Old bulls are sometimes met singly
and Schillings (1907) records that one such lonely creature entered into a close
and friendly alliance with two solitary elephants. During the he at of the dav
the Giraffe will sleep or doze in some shady spot either standing, without move-
ment of ears or tail, or on occasions lying down. In captivity the latter position
is frequently adopted. Roosevelt (1915) describes a Giraffe aslep on its feet.
eyes closed and head gently nodding, which permitted his party to approach
within thirty yards before it awoke.
Percival (1924) remarks on the extraordinary manner in which a herd c'
Giraffes, standing about or feeding, will suddenly, with one accord, all drift
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 51
away in the same direction as though in obedience to some signal. He stresses
that there is no possibility of one animal watching the other as many of the
beasts adopt positions whence they cannot see their neighbours.
When disturbed, Giraffe at first move off at a stately and dignified walk, but
if pressed break into a ludicrous camel-like gait with fore and hind legs of the
same side moving in unison, tail erect and inclined to one side with tassel hanging
down, the long neck moving up and down with the head moving in regular
undulant snaps. Despite the apparent clumsiness of this motion, the animals
possess remarkable powers of judgment in avoiding branches and trees. Selous
(1908) when a young man (which, as he says, does not excuse the thoughtless
cruelty of the act ") vaulted on to a slightly wounded Giraffe which had adopted
a kneeling position as an ox at rest. The beast arose to its feet and set off at a
gallop with its rider clinging to its neck. After travelling some distance it knelt
down again and allowed Selous to dismount. He found the motion easy and
experienced little or no difficulty in retaining his seat.
The Giraffe is a friendly, peaceful and timid creature and seldom if ever
shows viciousness or ill-temper. Roosevelt describes a solitary cow which, after
allowing him to approach within a few yards, attempted to strike or paw him
with one foot. It was finally driven off with clods of earth. The female
naturally shows fight in defence of her young and will, for example, attempt to
trample on a dog which tries to chase her offspring. A dam at Whipsnade
adopted an aggressively protective attitude towards her keeper with whom she
was normally on the most friendly relations. Well authenticated cases are on
record in which lions, possibly the only foe of the Giraffe other than man, have
been killed by well directed blows of the feet. The animal's sight, the range of
which is greatly enhanced by its height, is markedly good.
The adult male is entirely silent but both the female and young are known
to utter cries of a sort. A captive youngster of some two to three months
bellowed like a calf to a cow on the arrival of its bottle ; another blared in a
similar manner when caught. The cow utters a low call-note to attract her
young; an old cow in captivity uttered a husky grunting sound when tantalized
Bull Giraffes have been observed fighting. They use their massive heads
to deliver smashing blows on one another, the chest being the chief object of
attack. Astley Maberly (1931) describes such an encounter. It consisted for
the most part of a pommelling match in which the neck, shoulders and chest
took the brunt of the attack. Frequent rests were necessary between bouts
and the whole contest, carried out in complete silence, lasted for about half an
hour after which the contestants broke away, apparently none the worse for
I have never seen a really young Giraffe and I assume, therefore that the
female retires to some secluded place to give birth, rejoining the herd when the
calf is a few weeks old. I have noticed a few very small Giraffe in a herd in
March. Pitman (1942) gives some interesting data on the rate of growth of a
young Giraffe at Whipsnade. At birth it was 5 ft. 2 in. high ; on the following
day 6 ft. 3 in.; four days later 6 ft. 6 in. The rate of growth after that for a
while was 2 in. per week. The period of gestation is about 141 months ; twins
52 UGANDA JOURNAL
although uncommon are not unknown. Maturity is reached between four
and five years.
Young Giraffes in a herd associate together in nursery parties which are
tended by one or two aunts '. Percival (1924) comments that tiei; favourite
occupation consists of licking each other. Pitman records that a juvenile in
captivity at Entebbe delighted in licking the bare arms of human visitors, its
glutinous saliva drying to form a thin rubbery film. A young Giraffe when
ridden down and cut off from its dam can be induced after a time to follow the
rider back to camp, but much care in rearing is necessary in the early stages of
captivity as the young are very prone to stomach troubles, and vould almost
appear to have no natural instinct to avoid poisonous vegetation
The droppings have been well described by Shortridge (1934) as resembling
large acorns. One end of the cone-shaped pellet is flattened.
MISCEILLANEOUS: The spoor of a bull Giraffe is not unlike tliat of a camel
though very much larger; the two halves are widely separate ind are inde-
pendently rounded in front. The width is about 10 in. Cows mnd immature
animals leave a much smaller print, with the two halves much closer together
and bluntly pointed.
Before it was afforded protection, the Giraffe was one of thr chief objects
of hunters both black and white. Its hide is one of the toughest in the world
and the most durable sandals are prepared from it. It was used to manufacture
the shield of the Karamojong warrior. Giraffe fat when rendered down is equal
to the best lard. The tongue and marrow bones are especially t, sty. Accord-
ing to Sclous, the meat of a cow is well worth eating ; that of ar adult male is
hard and tough, resembling coarse beef, and is only palatable in the form of
soup. Some old bull Giraffes give off a strong pungent odour, noticeable at a
considerable distance; an animal in such a condition was refe red to by the
Boers as a stink-bull'.
The tail of the Giraffe is possibly one of the most prized items of the Kara-
mojong full ceremonial dress. The elwado, as it is called, is attached to the
left arm just above the elbow and at the present time has the value of a fully
mature ox. The tail hairs are employed for various purposes including the
binding of the aloket (see Oryx: Miscellaneous notes). Pitman '1942), quoting
the report of a reliable game guard. records that the Karamojong, now no longer
permitted to hunt the Giraffe, obtain these valued hairs by cutting, them from off
the tail of a sleeping animal with a pair of large scissors!
In Karamoja many Giraffe used to fall victim to the ubiquitous wheel-trap
and some may occasionally do so to-day, although I think such poaching
incidents are few and far between. Selous found that the most certain method
to effect a kill was to jump from his horse behind the fleeing Giraffe and aim
for the root of its tail, for the bullet thus placed will penetrate to the heart and
lungs and soon prove fatal. He found that a wounded animal invariably ran
against wind and that it was possible by galloping alongside ind shouting to
direct it to camp for the final coup de grdce and subsequent cutting up. It
was, however, quite impossible to persuade it to turn right round in its
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA
Section: SUINA. Pigs. Hippopotamiuses.
Family: HIPPOPOTAMIDAE. Hippopotamuses.
HIPPOPOTAMUS AMPHIBIOUS AMPHIBIOUS (Linnaeus). Hippopotamuses or
Teso : EmIiria, imiriai. Karamojong: Epiria, ngipiriai.
DISTRIBUTION: Although I have made frequent canoe trips on lakes Kyoga,
Salisbury and Gedge, 1 have seen very few Hippo in these stretches of water and
those that 1 have observed have been single individuals. I am reliably informed,
however, that they are widespread and not uncommon in this lake system;
possibly persecution has driven them into the depths of the swamps where they
are not obvious. Bishop Kitching (1912) tells of attempts to shoot Hippo by
night on Lake Salisbury and notes that by the time the moon rose, great dim
black heads were dotting the smooth water around us in all directions ". This
statement suggests that in some localities they were then very abundant.
Forty or fifty years ago Hippo were not unknown in Karamoja. An old
man still living well remembers as a child being taken to see the carcase of a
Hippopotamus within a stone's throw of the present Kangole rest-camp. I
gather, however, that such visits were even then rare occurrences and possessed
considerable news value. Tradition also states that Hippopotamuses were once
regular visitors to the Namalu area at the north-west foot of Kadam mountain.
The Kelim river, which forms part of the Karamoja boundary in the south, was
dubbed the Kiboko river by the Swahili porters of the ivory traders, which
suggests that Hippo were once abundant in that locality also.
It is difficult to offer a satisfactory explanation for the disappearance of
Hippopotamus from these areas without accepting the theory of the gradual
desiccation of Karamoja. Old maps show two stretches of water, lakes Kirk-
patrick and Kagate, which were, respectively, within easy walking distance (for
a Hippo) of Kongole and Namalu. It is probable that these so-called lakes
were merely large and extensive swamps in which there remained a sufficiency
of water throughout the year for Hippo to live permanently therein, and from
which they made periodic excursions up neighboring rivers and streams, either
in search of food or for quiet and solitude in which to rear their young. These
mysterious swamps no longer exist: in 1903 Powell-Cotton endeavoured to
find Lake Kagate but without success. It is very doubtful whether any European
has ever set eyes on them and they were presumably put on the map from
DESCRIPTION: Pitman (1942) has given a very full account of the Hippo-
potamus and its habits, and the following is largely based on his observations.
Average weight, 21 tons, though a very large male in the London Zoo scaled
8,960 lb. and a female from East Africa only 2,800 lb. Height at shoulder,
4 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. 10 in. Length from tip of nose to root of tail, 14 feet; the tail,
which is laterally compressed and flattened, is about 2 ft. long. The legs are
short and thick : the four toes, all of which touch the ground, are encased in
rounded hoofs. The coarse hide is bare of hair except for the tip of the tail,
the inside of the ears, the muzzle between the nostrils and the lit s, and a few
scattered bristles on the face and neck. These bristles consist of clusters of
fibre-like hairs sprouting from a single white root. The hide o0 old bulls is
extremely tough, more than 2 in. thick on the back. The colour varies from
greyish black to chocolate, from pale brown to almost pink; albinos are not
unknown. When a Hippo leaves the water, the hide secretes a carmine oily
'sweat' (containing crystals and corpuscles) which functions, apparently, as a
lubricant to prevent the hide from drying and cracking.
The eyes-set in "semi-circular redoubts" as Chapman (1'121) so aptly
describes them-and the nostrils form the highest points of the head and thus
allow the Hippo to breathe and see with the least possible exposure.
The full complement of teeth is forty; four incisors, two cani es and four-
teen molars in each jaw. The canines of the lower jaw develop into huge
curved tusks which may reach 2 ft. in length with a circumference of 7 to 9 in.
Malformed tusks, up to 64- in. long on the outside curve, have been recorded.
The two central incisors of the lower jaw project horizontally outwards and
may measure 20 in. in total length, although possibly a third onll is exposed;
these provide their owner with useful tools for digging. The teeth do not
discolour like elephant ivory and were used in former days for the manufacture
of false teeth.
The female possesses two mammae only.
BIOLOGY: Hippo are found singly, in small family parties, ii, schools of a
dozen or more individuals, or (though not in Teso or Karamoja) in aggregations
totalling as many as 150. They spend much of their time, especially during the
day, in water, where they are completely at home. They are excellent swimmers
and have the power of remaining under water for periods of four tc live minutes.
Selous, who made a number of careful observations, records 4 minutes 20 seconds
as the longest time a Hippo remained submerged. When unmolested, the time
spent underwater tends to be considerably less. For choice, the animal prefers
shallow water in which it can stand, kneel or lie with only the nostrils, eyes and
top of the head exposed. It is thus an easy matter to sink the head beneath the
surface, which it does, in the presence of danger by drawing backwards to avoid
a splash. In deeper water it will float with only the upper parts of the head
When not in the water, Hippopotamuses lie up in some dense reed-brake
or, more often, bask in the sun in a group on the edge of a sandbank where,
yawning frequently, they pass the day. At night each animal sets out in search
of food on the dry land and if it is unable to find a nearby suppl---it is said to
require 400 lb. of green matter per day-it is quite prepared t( travel up to
twenty miles to reach a productive feeding ground. Its food conm ists largely of
grass and lake-shore vegetation, but garden produce does not come amiss and
by tramlpling alone it can do an incredible amount of damage. Despite its low-
slung ungainly body, the Hippo is an active creature and can clamber up steep,
almost perpendicular banks eight to twelve feet high. Where the animal is
plentiful it produces characteristic bush paths which eventually develop into
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 55
miniature canyons, just wide enough to permit the Hippo to pass, frequently with
a small ridge of untrodden ground along the centre.
Although almost silent and extremely stealthy in localities where it is
frequently molested, away from danger it will blow with considerable gusto
when coming up to breathe. The usual call ", commencing with a short series
of panting breaths, develops into what has been variously described as
" trumpeting snorts or throat warbles and is not infrequently capped with a
far-carrying sound approaching almost a roar or bellow.
Hippopotamuses are undoubtedly brave but not on the whole vicious,
although there are innumerable recorded instances in which they have charged
unprovoked, especially if the object of their wrath is between themselves and
water. Canoes have been overturned by them (though the occupants, once in
the water, are generally left alone), and cattle have been killed by Hippo when
swimming across a river. A Hippo, when attacking a canoe, is capable of
extremely accurate judgment of distance, but, to avoid being overturned when
the tell-tale v-shaped ripple is observed approaching the boat, it is only necessary
to drive the canoe forward along the line of advance. In a few seconds the
Hippo will be seen to break surface in the exact position the boat occupied at
the start of the attack.
The inquisitive nature of the Hippo sometimes leads it to attack night
travellers carrying lamps, camp fires, cars with their lights on, etc. A cow in
defence of her calf is inclined to attack unprovoked and if one chances to stumble
on a youngster in some secluded spot it is wise to move away as quickly as
possible, for the dam will almost certainly charge although she is not likely to
follow far. A solitary soured bull, ill-tempered from multiple wounds, should
In the mating season the bulls fight furiously among themselves at night.
Such bouts, which are accompanied by much noise, frequently end in the death
of one if not both of the contestants. The weapons of attack are the wicked
up-curved tusks of the lower jaw with which the most terrible wounds can be
inflicted. A single well-placed upward thrust may reach the heart and bring
the combat to a rapid conclusion. Between rounds, much time is spent in
eyeing one another and regaining wind and strength for a further onslaught.
Mention must be made of the playful and frolicsome nature of the Hippo.
Friendly dog-like tussles in the water, accompanied by porpoise-like leaps, have
been witnessed, and Pitman describes a rare but delightful scene in which a
female Hippo, bored by attempts to make her demonstrate for the benefit of a
photographer, slowly lay down in the shallows, then "up went her four feet
into the air, well above the water-level came her big tummy, and then quite
unconcernedly she had a good roll ".
The Hippo is gifted with a good sense of smell and its sight is fair, certainly
better than that of either the elephant or rhino.
Much information on the breeding habits of the Hippopotamus has been
gathered in recent years from observations made in zoological gardens, where
the bull appears to serve the female only once. The gestation period is about
240 days. Birth takes place on land in some secluded spot close to the water,
and there is some evidence to suggest that the Hippo may make a deliberate
56 UGANDA JOURNAL
attempt to drive away crocodiles from the vicinity of the future nurse ry. Pitman
suggests that there is probably no particular breeding season. The young,
which weigh at birth about 100 lb., are able to swim very early; observationss
made at the Zoo suggest that they are more at home in the water lhan on land
in the first few weeks of their lives. In one instance the mother s lowed great
concern when the calf wandered out of its depth and she endeavored to raise
it up on her head out of the water. The calf soon learns to ride on he mother's
back and will sometimes adopt a standing position, possibly to av, id falling a
pray to crocodiles. Suckling takes place under water; at the Zoo a cow was
observed to submerge her body completely, then turn on her side, ;t which the
calf commenced to suckle, coming up to breathe about every twenty seconds.
In South Africa, spoor of cow and calf have been noticed far fror water and
there is a belief that the pair retreat from the normal haunts t avoid the
jealous rage of the father. The calf is weaned in a few months, r :aching full
maturity at the age of eight years. As a youngster it is full of phi ck and will
endeavour to charge anybody who attempts to interfere with the carcase of
The droppings, dark green in colour, and watery and straw-lik : in texture.
are scattered far and wide over bush and grass by the judicious wa iging of the
tail as they leave the body. Evacuation also takes place under waler or above
the surface; in the latter case, the large stern protruding out ot the water,
accompanied by the frantic wagging of the tail, is a particularly ludicrous sight.
MISCELLANEOUS: The meat of a half-grown animal is said to te excellent,
reminiscent of good quality veal in taste and appearance; a pri me cow will
provide 200 lb. or so of well-flavoured cooking fat. The bones, like those of
the elephant, are marrow-less (the marrow is contained within the tissue of the
bones, which are solid, not with a central cavity). The hide is :sed for the
manufacture of whips.
The length of time between death and the subsequent rising of the carcase
to the surface depends largely on the temperature of the water and the contents
of the stomach. During hot weather, which hastens putrefaction a d the pro-
duction of gas, the corpse may rise within an hour; in cold and deeo water the
period may be extended to six hours. The floating carcase, to vhich little
attention is paid by the rest of the school, is a remarkable object, the four legs
protruding upwards from the bloated hide at an angle.
The spoor-a hazard to Jinja golfers and a curse to anti-maliria squads
(for the hollows when full of water provide admirable breeding places for
mosquitoes)-is somewhat larger than that of the rhino. It is about 9 to 10 in.
across and is at once distinguished by the deep imprint of the four tos.
The Hippo acts as a host to the tsetse fly. In the Western Rift. and in the
Nile between the Murchison Falls and Lake Albert, an obscure and unknown
disease, possibly associated with overcrowding, has on more than ore occasion
accounted for the death of a considerable number of animals. The disease is
extremely swift in action-on one occasion seventy beasts perished in a few
days, while on another the total mortality was fully one thousand- nd is verve
local. Up to the present no detailed investigation of it has been possible.
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA
Family: SUIDAE. Pigs.
IPHACOCHOERUS AETHIOPICUS AELIANI (Cretzschmar). Warrt-Hog.
Teso: Eputir. iputiro. Karamojong: Eputir, ngiputiro.
TAXONOMY: Lonnberg has distinguished the various local races of the East
African Wart-Hog by the length of the post-orbital region of the skull, that of
the race aeliani, the type locality of which is the eastern slopes of Abyssinia and
Kordofan. being characterized by its relative great length and narrowness.
Hollister (1924), applying this feature to a large collection of skulls from East
Africa, found that those most approaching typical aeliani came from widely
scattered regions including the Nzoia river, Sotik and Taveta. On geographical
grounds it is reasonable to presume that the Wart-Hog of Teso and Karamoja
is referable to this race.
DISTRIBUTION: The Wart-Hog is common throughout Teso and Kara-
moja. It avoids areas which are heavily populated, e.g., Kumi and Ngora, and
undoubtedly prefers a more open and less dense habitat than that of the bush-
pig. I have not encountered it on the larger mountains of Karamoja but it
appears perfectly at home in the arid acacia bush of that district.
DESCRIPTION: The barrel-shaped body of the Wart-Hog stands about
30 in. at the shoulder and weighs (adult male) between 180 and 200 lb. A male
specimen shot by the Smithsonian Institute Expedition under Col. Roosevelt
measured: Head and body, 56 in. tail, 17 in.; ear, 51 in.; hind foot, 11 in.
A Wart-Hog obtained by Powell-Cotton measured 37- in. in girth.
The enor:nously enlarged head of this superlatively ugly creature is charac-
terized by the great length and flatness of the face and the narrowness and
shortness of that portion of the skull which projects behind the orbits. There
are two pairs of wart-like dermal protuberances on the sides of the face between
eyes and tusks. An elongated ridge-like fold, extending towards the angle of
the mouth, supports a vigorous growth of horizontally directed white whiskers.
The massive upturned tusks (canines) of the upper jaw are considerably longer
than those of the lower ; the lower side of the bases of the former come in
contact with the points of the latter to form a cutting surface. The exposed
length of tusk, which is devoid of enamel except at the tip, measures on the
average about 9 in. although the corresponding measurement of the Uganda
record is 21 in. The full complement of teeth is thirty-four.
The body, which is uniform blackish, is almost entirely bare except for a
long thin mane of coarse hair extending from the nape to mid-back and appear-
ing again on the rump. The naked tail is slender and carries a tuft of hair at
The female is somewhat smaller than the male and lacks the facial warts
except for a rudimentary growth below each eye. Her tusks are not developed
to the same extent. She possesses four mammae.
The young, unlike those of the bush-pig, show no signs of spots or stripes ;
they are a uniform umber brown.
58 UGANDA JOURNAL
BIOLOGY : The Wart-Hog is frequently seen during the daytime. either a
single male, a pair, or a family party. Its food consists of grass, root i (e.g., those
of Lannea humilis, of which it is particularly fond), and carrion whe n available.
It is generally considered a water-loving animal fond of wallowing in the mud
but I have so often seen it in stretches of waterless country that 1 an bound to
conclude that it can exist for long periods without drinking. It relishes the
leaves and tubers of sweet potatoes, and can do a considerable amount of damage
in an isolated plot.
When feeding it frequently adopts a kneeling position, the 'knees' of the
front legs being protected by horny pouch-like pads. Although a silnt creature
on the whole, it will utter an occasional grunt when feeding. If alarmed, it
breaks into a rapid trot, tail held straight up with the tuft hanging li nply down,
and when really hard pressed will take refuge in an old ant-bear ea -th which it
enters backwards so as to face its enemy. Drummond (1875) note that when
Wart-Hogs emerge from the hole they turn a somersault on to th: back of it
instead of coming straight out like a normal animal and as that is the spot where
one would normally stand more than one man has had his legs ripped open
before he learned wisdom of experience ".
The Wart-Hog, virile and tenacious of life, shows considerable bravery in
face of immediate danger and will sometimes turn and charge valian ly. A dog
which attempts to chase the young is likely to meet trouble from the sow; if
she comes within reach, she will rip him badly or bite off his tail. According to
Percival (1924), the latter punishment is a favourite one.
Beaton (1947) draws attention to the fact that the Wart-Hog will attack
and fearlessly destroy any snake encountered. When it views a sn; ke it drops
on its knees and, after jerking its head from side to side, lunges forward and
bites the snake behind the head. A puff-adder was thus killed by a pair in
captivity when quite young. Leopards and lions undoubtedly tak( heavy toll
of the Wart-Hog population ; many fall victims to rinderpest.
Occasionally the Wart-Hog will associate with other animals. It has been
suggested that it adopts this security measure owing to the weakness of its eyesight.
The young-two to four-are farrowed usually in an old ant-bear earth.
I have seen a family party of parents and four youngsters in October A South
African observer has stated that when molested the parents will ci.rrv off the
young in their mouths to a place of safety. The gestation period s just over
MISCELLANEOUS: Shortridge (1934) notes that the tracks of a trotting Wart-
Hog are equidistant and form two parallel lines extraordinarily wide apart for
the size of the animal.
I have never tasted the flesh, which Pitman regards as excellent, served
cold, but there seems to be some difference of opinion as to its quality Percival
(1924) considers it very poor eating, although he too says that the head baked in
the skin in a hole where a good fire has been kept burning for some hours and
with the hot ashes raked atop can be very good when cold. Other authorities
state that the flesh of adult but not ancient animals, although inclined to be hard,
is otherwise good eating, while that of youngsters is excellent.
WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 59
The Wart-Hog makes an interesting and affectionate pet; one I knew
developed the habit of occupying a chair or couch in the manner of a cat. A
specimen lived at the Zoo for over twelve years.
POTAMOCHOERUS PORCUS KENIA (Lonnberg). White-faced Bush-Pig.
POTAMOCHOERUS PORCUS DAEMONIS (Major). Bush-Pig.
Teso: Epege, ipegei. Karamojong: Epege, ngipegei; Ekuroboyo,
TAXONOMY: I have never examined a Bush-Pig, consequently I am quite
unable to express an opinion on the race to which the Bush-Pig of Teso is
referable. Specimens from Mt. Elgon have been identified by the British
Museum as Potamochoerus porcus daemonis (Major), which is the race occur-
ring in the lower altitudes of Kenya. The white-faced form, keniae, has been
recorded from Mau, Ngong and Nairobi and two specimens were obtained by
Mr. G. W. Foster on Mt. Kadam in Karamoja. The Bush-Pig varies greatly in
size and colour.
DISTRIBUTION: In Karamoja, the Bush-Pig is confined to the hilly and
mountainous regions. It is particularly partial to damp and muddy patches in
the mountain forests and I have noted its rootings in the cedar belt below Sothdek
summit of Moroto mountain, along the Lia river above Moroto station, on the
top of Zulia mountain near the Sudan boundary and at the foot of Kadam in
the dense forest around the Namalu springs.
I am uncertain of the status of the Bush-Pig in Teso as I fear my informants
were at times inclined to consider the Bush-Pig and the wart-hog as one and the
same animal. But wherever thick, shady bush and forest with an abundant
supply of water occur there the Bush-Pig is likely to be found.
DESCRIPTION: The Bush-Pig stands about 30 in. at the shoulder and weighs
up to 200 lb. In South Africa it grows to a greater size than the wart-hog, but
in East Africa the available records suggest that it is very similar both in build
and weight. The general colour of the coat, which is fairly abundant, is black.
In immature individuals it is mingled black and rufous, the rufous predominating
on the back and forehead, the black on the sides of the neck, chest and limbs.
There is a prominent whitish dorsal mane. The colour of the keniae form is
somewhat similar except for the face, which is white; the ears, a patch round
the eyes and a streak above the whiskers are black. The dorsal crest which
extends from behind the ears to the middle of the back is black with long white
tips; the sides of the back are rich rufous, mingled with black ; the flanks, sides
of neck, under parts and limbs are black.
The face of the adult male is adorned with two pairs of ridge-like
prominences, one above the root of the upper canines and the other on the sheath
of the same. The top pair projects upwards for an inch or two and in old boars
carries a low wart-like structure. The ears are tufted with long hairs.
The full complement of teeth is forty-two, two less than that of the wild
boar of Europe. The exposed portion of the lower canines averages between
60 UGANDA JOURNAL
6 and 7 in., the upper canines about 3 in. the summits of the up[ er pair are
worn down by the action of the lower ones.
The newly born young are marked by a series of longitudinal bu'f stripes on
a dark brown ground colour. The sow has three pairs of mammae.
BIOLOGY : The Bush-Pig is almost entirely nocturnal, seldom if 'ver during
the day leaving its retreat in some thick and shady covert. It feeds normally
in small sounders of four or five, but parties of twenty have been recorded. The
diet of the Bush-Pig is a mixed one-berries, wild fruits, grubs accordingg to the
Tepes of Mt. Moroto), reptiles and eggs all being included. It can do a great
deal of damage to both grain and root crops and in South Africa t lhas been
accused of destroying ostrich eggs. Like the wart-hog, it will adopt a kneeling
position when feeding.
The Bush-Pig is very fleet of foot-it travels with its tail depressed-and
is an excellent swimmer. Unlike the wart-hog it does not run to ground when
alarmed but relies on its speed and the nature of its habitat to outwit its eneny.
It is brave, tenacious of life and aggressive, requiring little provocation to induce
it to attack it can bite savagely. In one instance an African hunter was so
severely wounded that his leg had to be amputated: on another occasion a
party of Bush-Pig banded together and successfully treed a leopard probably
one of their chief enemies.
The sow farrows in some convenient hole such as a deserted ant-hear earth.
the litter numbering between five and six.
MISCELLANIFOUs: The spoor is very similar to that of the wart-log, about
21 in. long. Only two of the four digits on each foot actually touch tlhe ground.
The flesh, especially that of a porker, is reported to be of good flavour
although the texture is somewhat coarse ; Pitman regards the flesh of sows and
youngsters as excellent.
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC
By A. C. A. WRIGHT
M AIZE, Zea mays L., is now a plant of primary economic importance to the
world. The writer, who is an administrative officer and not a botanist,
had his attention drawn to the complicated question of its diffusion by a chance
argument with a friend on its origin. One party said, Of course, it is Indian
corn. it must have come from India." The other said, No! I think that Indian
means West Indian and that it came, like the potato, from America via the West
Indies! From this point we started to consult authorities, and the result. which
may be interesting to readers of this Journal, is recorded below.
An Agricultural Officer referred us to Mr. P. J Greenway's paper on The
Origins of Some East African Plants' (East African Agricultural Journal,
Vol. 10, 1944-45. p. 251). where a summary of some generally accepted views
on maize states:
Maize, Zea mays L., khindi or iuhindi . is an American plant of very
ancient cultivation in the New World. Explorers in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries found it from the Great Lakes of North America to Chili. The evidence
points to Central and Southern Mexico as (its) original home.
Columbus met it on his first voyage in 1492, and he and his men ate it with relish
and made bre.id from it. Within a short time maize had been carried to, and grown
in. nearly every other continent.
Apparently the first maize brought to Europe by the Spaniards came from the
West Indies and it was established in Spain. It is known that from the year 1500
maize was sent from America to Seville for cultivation, and from there it was intro-
duced into other parts of Eastern Europe, Turkey and North Africa, and it was
recorded in Ethiopia in 1623. The Spaniards also took it to the Philippine Islands.
Some authorities say that maize had reached China by crossing the Pacific
before the discovery of America. Two missionaries, Herrada and Marin, in 1575,
refer to the sowing of maize among pine trees in China. Maize also seems to have
reached Asia from the west by way of Turkey, South Russia, Arabia or Persia. An
indication of this latter origin is given in one of its Indian names makka or makkai
jari or joari= Mecca millet, and its cultivation in India did not become general till the
beginning of the last century. Since the Swahili name is khindui or minzhindi -Indian,
one wonders if it was not finally established on the East African coast from india and
then only at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
in West Africa it was know in Guinea in 1658, it is believed to have reached the
Cape about 1650 through the Portuguese, and it was no doubt planted in the Portu-
guese settlements on the East African coast."
A recent and highly technical article on plant genetics by Gordon Haskell'
indicates that many of the questions relating to the origin of this cereal are still
far from settled. The last two paragraphs of that article, quoted here, indicate
the degree of uncertainty:
For a long time much attention has been paid to the history of the corn plant,
concerning the origin of the present forms and how it spread through the North
S' Corn (tZe mays L.) Genetics in the United States.' Nature. Vol. 161.
62 UGANDA JOURNAL
American continent with the movements of the early American Indians. In addition,
corn is one of the few cultivated plants the prototype of which has so fir not been
discovered growing wild in nature, and its ear, so different from the female inflores-
cence of other members of the Gramineae, offers interesting material for ir vestigation.
There is a division of opinions as to the source of corn. Mangelsdorf, Reeves and
Merrill believe corn is a specialized product of selection by early Amerizan Indians
of a grass that grew wild on the American continent. The present site of this
prototype is still to be located, but evidence points to South America as he primary
centre of origin. Teosinte (Euchlaena) is a hybrid between maize and Tripsacum,
and is not a progenitor of maize, although where teosinte grows as a weed in Mexican
corn-fields there is a high incidence of hybridization. On the other hand, Edgar
Anderson suggests that besides genetical indications, there are several pieces of
ethnological evidence which suggest Burma as a possible source for tl e origin of
corn. He has enumerated several pieces of circumstantial evidence showing similari-
ties between Asiatic and Pre-Conquest civilizations. In addition, it is mnown that
other members of the Tribe Maydeae, to which maize belongs, occur in tropical
Asia. . At the present time, although much light has been shed on these prob-
lems, the origin of corn still awaits a final solution."
There is little doubt that the first considerable civilization to use this cereal
as its staple food was the Mayan. This society first developed on the highlands
of what is now Guatemala about the time of the decay of the Roman Empire
in the fourth century A.D. and gradually extended over most of tlie Yucatan
The Mayas depended on a simple system of extensive agriculture, whereby
the forest was burnt down and the rich forest soil planted with maize. Gradually.
tough savannah grass spread over the plots, and as the Mayas had only the
pointed digging stick as an agricultural implement, they were unable to grapple
with the problem of eradicating the grass. They were forced to move elsewhere,
to burn down new forests, and create new agricultural areas.
The religion of the Mayas was originally based on a simple cult designed
to increase the fertility of the maize; but under the influence of a powerful
priestly class it developed a sadistic character involving mass human sacrifice.
This phenomenon was also a characteristic of the Aztec and Ince- religions.
The same cult in simple and less repulsive form is preserved by LongfMllow from
the traditional myths of the Ojibwa-Algonquin Indians of the North American
plains in his famous poem the 'Song of Hiawatha'. which describes; the ritual
death and rebirth of the Maize Spirit Mondamin:
"Till at length a small green feather
From the earth shot slowly upward.
Then another and another,
And before the summer ended
Stood the maize in all its beauty,
With its shining robes about it,
And its long, soft, yellow tresses
And in rapture Hiawatha
Cried aloud, It is Mondamin!
Yes, the friend of man. Mondamin! "
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 63
And still later, when the Autumn
Changed the long, green leaves to yellow,
And the soft and juicy kernels
Grew like wampum hard and yellow,
Then the ripened ears he gathered,
Stripped the withered husks from off them,
As he once had stripped the wrestler,
Gave the first Feast of Mondamin
And made known unto the people
This new gift of the Great Spirit."
The bloodstained Mayan cult of Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered
Serpent) of Mexico probably sprang in its origin from some simple myth of a
dying culture hero, like the death and burial of Mondamin the Maize Spirit at
the hands of Hiawatha.
The Mayas were great architects, artists, astronomers and mathematicians:
but their civilization was doomed because they could not invent the metal hoe,
or better still the plough, to deal with a technical economic problem-the
removal of grass from agricultural plots. Their civilization was already dying
by the time Columbus reached America. The story has been told by Dr. S. G.
Morley in his recently published work The Ancient Maya (Carnegie Institute,
1947). The Spaniards paid little attention to the Mayas for they were
hypnotized with the wealth of gold and silver possessed by the Inca and Aztec
civilizations. Both these latter civilizations also depended for food on maize,
probably first developed by the Mayas.
It must be remembered that by the bulls of Pope Alexander VI, which were
consolidated into the treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, everything east of a line
drawn through the Atlantic at a point 370 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands
was assigned to Portugal, while every thing west of it was accorded to Spain.
The line so drawn just enabled Portugal to claim Brazil; but all the Caribbean
islands, as well as the greater part of the American continent, were Spanish.
Maize was introduced into Cuba by the Spaniards at an early date from
America and according to the Oxford English Dictionary it is from an obsolete
Cuban word mahiz' that the Spanish word maiz found in both Spanish and
Portuguese2 is derived. This passed into English as 'maize' about 1565, and
practically the same form mais or mais passed into French, German and all the
north European languages. Nevertheless it is significant that the old name for
maize in England (as recorded both by the O.E.D. and Chambers' EncyclopaediaI
I According to Mr. W. R. Wrench of the Public Works Department, Uganda, who
lived for many years in Guatemala, the name for maize in the Kekchi Indian language
(supposed to be directly derivative from ancient Mayan) is ixim pronounced 'ishim ', of
which the Cuban word appears to be a mctathesis.
2 It will be objected by Portuguese speakers that maiz is not the ordinary word now
used in Portuguese to describe Zea mays, but milho which has passed into the English
mealie through the Cape Dutch milje. I have checked, however, that the word maiz
appears as correct but old usage in three Portuguese dictionaries. It appears that like the
Italian word miglio (with which it is practically identical in pronunciation and meaning) it
was originally a word used to describe millet (Sorehum vulgare) and was subsequently
applied to Zea nmas. See in particular Novo Diccionario Inglez-Portuguez by Jacob
Bensabat: Lisbon. 1880.
64 UGANDA JOURNAL
was Turkey corn or Turkey wheat, which is identical in meaning wi h the name
still in normal use in France (tourquet or ble de Turquie) and Ifaly ( ran turco).
I have not been able to consult the Enciclopedia Italiana as to the reason for
this, and in default put forward the following hypothesis.
The Moors of the Kingdom of Granada, after their crushing defeat in 1492
by the forces of Ferdinand and Isabella, were partially expelled 'rom Spain
between 1499-1502, and finally expelled (by the Edict of Charles ',) between
1527-30. The Christianized Moriscos were partly annihilated md partly
expelled after their revolt between 1568-70. These Moorish peo le were a
highly cultivated community with a more developed literary anc economic
civilization than the contemporary Spaniards. It is probable that tl ey became
acquainted with the maize plant soon after its introduction into Spa n and that
they took it with them as exiles to Tangier and the North African co; st, whence
it rapidly diffused through that part of the Moslem world which lay -wound the
Mediterranean sea, i.e., Turkey, Syria and Egypt. It is noteworthy th it in Egypt
maize was known as esh er-Rif, i.e., corn of Morocco, or durra shami -sorghum
of Syria. The name 'Turk in England during the sixteenth century) was often
used indifferently with 'Moor' to indicate a Moslem. It seems probable,
therefore, that maize at one period was obtained more easily in Weste rn Europe
from the Moslem regions of the Mediterranean than from the West indies and
hence was known to the English as Turkey corn (both Egypt and Syria were then
parts of Turkey) and to the Italians as gran turco. Later, when trade was in full
swing between England and the Caribbean during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries the name Indian corn replaced the name Turkey corn ii common
We come now to the question of the introduction of maize into E st Africa.
It would at first seem natural to attribute responsibility to the Portug iese, who,
after their first penetration by the voyage of Vasco da Gama (1498). were well
established during the sixteenth century. Sir John Gray informs rn. that "a
Portuguese manuscript of 1634, which I am translating for Tanyan I Notes
and Records, shows that at that date there were Portuguese planter- ettlers in
Zanzibar and Pemba, who were growing maize amongst other crops. They
grew their crops mainly for the benefit of the Portuguese garrison at M4ombasa,
which could not rely on its immediate hinterland for food. At thai time the
Mombasa hinterland was peopled by a tribe, which appears to be icentifiable
with the Wa-Langulo, now living in the upper reaches of the Tana rivwr. They
were a nomadic and unfriendly tribe: consequently the Portuguese h d to look
elsewhere for their food."
It is. however, not without significance that. throughout the who'e coastal
region of East Africa, maize is known as muhindi or khindi, and not is mreno
or kireno.1 The latter name, which is the regular adjective for Port iguese in
Kiswahili, is presumably derived from the constant habit of the Portuguese people
(as shown in their documents) of alluding to themselves as the people of the
King, i.e.. reno. The fact that the Swahilis attribute the derivation of their
maize to India is made the more puzzling by the further fact that the Indians
themselves attribute its origin to the Moslems and not to the Portugu-ese. In
I Standard English-Swahili. Swaihili-Einglish DictimoarY. Oxford Uni. Pless. 1939.
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 65
Hindustani, maize is known as makkai joari, i.e., sorghum of Mecca; variations
of this form such as makka or maki have spread over a great part of India. The
name arabeki used in Northern Somaliland for maize supports this line of
economic contact through Arabia, since its meaning is merely Arabian grain.
Of the two names in common use in Ethiopia the one given by Armbruster' is
obviously of Arab origin: it is ya bahir, 'the grain from over the sea'. The
alternative Amharic name masilla is presumably derived from the Portuguese
word maizal, meaning 'a field sown with maize'" which is, of course, itself a
direct derivative from the word maiz.
In this connection it is not without significance that the word for maize in
the kingdom of Kongo at the mouth of the Congo river (which the Portuguese
first reached in 1484 when Diego Cao erected a stone pillar there) is masa. The
Portuguese during the following century were in close relations with the kingdom
of Kongo and without doubt the word for maize spread through a series of
dialects there, practically in its original form.
Sir Harry Johnston3 records the following names used in this area: Kisi-
kongo-masa; Kikongo-masa, masasi; Angola language (Libolo, Kimbundu,
Ngola)-masa: Kasai and Upper Ogowe (Teke) languages-mnasa, sa. It
appears that in many of these Congo dialects of Bantu the word masa has been
taken as a plural form, i.e., ma-sa, of which the root is sa. Possibly new words
have been formed by the addition to this imagined stem sa of a final particle, e.g.,
in Central and South Congo dialects sa and ngu form a new word sangu, and in
the Northern Rhodesian dialects sa and ka form a new word saka. I ask for
enlightenment on this as the derivation suggested may be absurd.
It is clear that Mr. Greenway's suggestion that maize only reached the East
African Coast in the nineteenth century is very far from correct. It may be that
the name muhindi is not the original Swahili name, but one which overcame
(perhaps as late as the nineteenth century) an earlier name in common use as a
result of the large trade in cereals organized by the Banyans of Cutch and
Kathiawar, who were encouraged to settle on the East African Coast by the policy
of the Seyyids of Zanzibar.
If however muhindi is a genuine early name,1 it would suggest that maize
was introduced by the Banyans to the East African Coast from India at some
period during the mid-sixteenth century. It is however still possible that this
introduction may have been through indirect Portuguese agency, for the Portu-
guese headquarters were at Goa and maize plantations may have been started
there before they began elsewhere in India, although in this case the Indian name
makkai joari becomes meaningless. On this question the volumes in the Hakluyt
edition of Afonso d'Alboquerque's Commentaries, dated about 1530, are likely
to be the only reliable source: unfortunately I have not been able to obtain
them for study.
It is accepted that the Portuguese introduced maize into West Africa. Their
I Initial Amiharica, Vol. 11. by C. H. Armbruster. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1910.
2 Diccionario Prosodico by Antonio Jos6 de Carvalho and Joao de Deus. Porto, 1895.
3 A Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages. Oxford. Vol. 1
(1919), pp. 370. 383. 416, 512, 537 ; Vol. II (1922).
4 Students of early Swahili literature should be able to provide an answer.
66 UGANDA JOURNAL
responsibility is recalled by the Mandingo tubab nyo, which 1 understand from
Sir John Gray means, literally, 'the bearded man's grain' (tubah can be said
to be synonymous with European). There are, however, a sei es of West
African names for maize such as oka, and agbado (in the Yoruba, Ibo, Bini
languages, etc.) which require explanation. I hope that some student of West
African languages will be sufficiently interested in this article to follow up the
question and investigate them. So far as can be gathered from a list of names
prepared at Kew,' oka is merely the equivalent of the English word corn, to which
are added a series of adjectives defining the type in question. The Oxford
English Dictionary says of corn: "Locally, the word is understood to denote
the leading crop of the district; hence in England 'corn' is= whea,. in Scotland
-oats; in U.S., as short for Indian corn, it is= maize." By extension of this
definition Sorghum vulare on the West Coast of Africa was known to the English
traders as Guinea corn since it was the leading cereal crop of the Cuinea Coast.
This name was used for a time in England, but has become obsolete.
We now come to the question of how maize reached the region of the
Central African Lakes. The obvious route would be up the an ient caravan
road which was eventually followed by Speke from Bagamoyo lo Tabora to
Karagwe and thence to Buganda and Bunyoro. Up this route M,'. J. Hornell2
has suggested that there came by culture contact not only the techniq ue of making
the sewn Baganda canoe, but also the flat bar-zither, and the quadrilateral hut
(the last of the three not penetrating beyond Sukumaland until tlie nineteenth
century). To this list one may well add the technique of the xy!ophone, and
the cultivation of the banana, sweet potato and colocasia, none .f which are
believed to be indigenous to Africa but derive respectively from In ia, America
and Indonesia. As Sir John Gray remarks, "The trade route from the coast
opposite Zanzibar to the Central African Lakes was open as ea 'ly as, if not
earlier than, the first century A.D. In about A.D. 50 a certain Diogenes informed
Marinus of Tyre that he had travelled from Rhapta to the Central Lakes. He
may not have personally done what he alleges; but he clearly got his; informa-
tion from a person or persons who had used this route. The infor nation given
to Marinus of Tyre was incorporated by Ptolemy in his book. The Portuguese
records show that though they never used this route, they knew of it. Arab
geographers knew of the route even earlier than the Portuguese."
Now I consider that it is not without significance that in two areas of East
Africa, where it is definitely established that maize was introduced from the
Coast, the plant is known by a set of names which directly indic;Lte its origin.
The first name is found among the Nyika group of tribes who extend from the
Akamba and Pokomo, in the north, to the Sambara, Segeju, etc., in the south.
The root name for maize throughout these tribes is pemba. Sir Harry Johnston
(op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 103, 119) gives details as follows: Pare-Gweno dialects-
pemba, hemba, iemba; Sambara-muhemba, mapemba; B(ndei-mam-
phemba; Zigulu-mpemba; Chagga-mahemba, yembe, imba Kikuyu-
mbemba; Kamba-mbemba; Pokomo-ma-pemba; Taita-ibemnba; Taveta
1 Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information of the Royal Botanic Gardeas, Kew, 1936.
2 Indonesian Culture in East Africa ', Maln, 1928. No. : Indonesia 1 Influence on
East African Culture'. J.R.A.I., Vol. LXIV. 1934.
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 67
--ihemba. As a reason for this root name pemba, which I have no doubt
relates to the Portuguese occupation of the island of that name as a centre of
cultivation, Sir Harry Johnston on p. 39 of Vol. II gives an interesting note
collected by Miss Dora Abdy of the U.M.C.A. in 1915, to the effect that the
Wahadimu. are said to be the original inhabitants of Zanzibar island, but are of
different origin to the Wapemba. It is said that the Portuguese found Pemba
an uninhabited island and that they brought thither from the mainland some of
the Wazigulu and Wasegeju, who called themselves, on arrival, 'Wapemba'
(the deceived). The Wapemba still pierce their ears and wear their clothes in
the same way as the Wasegeju. In this connection Sir John Gray has noted that
" In 1634 the Wasegeju were living near Malindi and did not move down to the
Tanga regions until a century or so later. The Wanyika generally do not appear
in Portuguese records until 1728." As is well known, the Sultan of Malindi
made a treaty of friendship with the Portuguese at the time of Vasco da Gama's
visit in 1498, which lasted until the expulsion of the Portuguese from the Coast
two centuries later. Nothing is more probable than that he should have been the
agent to obtain slaves from the hinterland for the Portuguese plantations on
Pemba. It is also probable that, as these people took the opportunity in subse-
quent years to trade and mix with the people of the mainland, they should have
taken maize back to the tribes of their own confederacy under a name which
indicates their origin.
The second set of names for maize which can be held to indicate its origin
is in use all around Lake Nyasa ; these names are formed from the root manga.
Sir Harry Johnston (op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 225, 241, 247) gives Yao--ci-manga.
i-manga; Cuambo-li-vila-manga; Cimazoro (Cikunda)-pia-manga: Copodza.
Cinyungwi and Cisena-ma-pira-manga; Cimbo or Cicinjiri-pa-mangwe:
Ci-mananja and Ci-nyanja-ci-manga; Cipeta (Ma-vavi)-pa-manga; Ci-cewa
-ci-manga: Karana-ci-manga: Angoni--ki-manga. He gives a note on
page 241 that the ma-pira-manga of the Cisena means 'sorghum of the sea
coast'. Now there is no doubt that the people who brought maize to the
Nyasa area were the Arab slavers of the Coast. This community are still to-day
often known as Manga', a word defined by the Standard Swahili Dictionary
as: "a name of Arabia, especially the region of Muscat in the Persian Gulf.
It is used to describe various objects connected with or derived from
In view of these two fairly widely accepted root names, the variety of names
for maize found in the Lake Victoria region makes a startling contrast. Again
consulting Sir Harry Johnston (op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 63) we find that the Ruanda
people call maize ekigori or ma-nyoronyoro, i.e., 'the grain of the Nyoro
people'. Both the Nyoro and the Ziba call it eki-choli, and the Ganda ka-soli:
these names are variants (as is the Ruanda eki-gori) of the root name 'Shuli' or
' Acholi', by which the nearest Luo people to the north of Nyoro were known.
Families of these Luo people established themselves, after the movement of the
Hima southwards into Ankole and Ruanda, as the ruling dynasties of the Nyoro,
Toro, Ganda and Soga tribes, and at the period of maximum expansion of the
Nyoro kingdom during the seventeenth century they raided as far south as Ruanda
and Karagwe. The establishment of the present Nyiginya (Tutsi) dynasty as
68 UGANDA JOURNAL
the overlords of Ruanda is dated by Pere Pag6s to the period during the eighteenth
century when the leadership given by the Tutsi towards a united effort by the
Banyaruanda to resist these raiders led to the annihilation of the Nyoro forces
and the killing of King Cwamali.'
It is further significant that the Acholi call maize anuagi,2 i.e.,' the grain of
the Anywa or Anywak ', who are their close relatives to the north-( ast and who
live around the Gilo and Pibor rivers half in the Anglo-Egyptialn Sudan and
half within Ethiopian territory. The most obvious line of connection between
the present Acholi and the Anywak is via Farajok and Lafon hill in Torit district.
The latter hill lies only four days' march from the southernmost Arywak settle-
ments. The Anywak call maize igalla,3 i.e., 'the grain of the Gala (or Oromo)
people', of whom a large section (the Macha Galla) live in the adjacent area
around Gore to the north-east. It is known that the Galla did not occupy this
area at least until the seventeenth century. Their first raids into Eihiopia from
what is now the Southern Ogaden area into the province of Bali began, according
to the Abyssinian Chronicles, about 1557, probably under pressure ,f the Darod
and Ishak Somali moving south from the Makhar Coast. Hence it is recognized
that the Galla were not established as permanent residents of Central Abyssinia
till late in the seventeenth century. The first Portuguese embassy lo Abyssinia
lasted from 1520-1526. The record of its Chaplain Alvarez has been published
in the Hakluyt Edition. I have been unable to consult this volume, but it may
well be that maize is not mentioned and on the whole the probabilities are against
the introduction of maize into Ethiopia at such an early date as this, though it is
not entirely impossible. It is however quite probable that either the second
Portuguese mission of 1541 (which was a fighting force under Ch'-istopher da
Gama) or the third mission in 1557, led by the priest Oviedo and consisting of
Jesuit missionaries, brought the cereal to Ethiopia. The balance of probabilities
between Portuguese and Turkish agency in this matter is about equal. The
Turks in 1538 had occupied the Yemen and established strong garrisons in all
the sea board towns, including Aden, while a powerful Ottoman fleet in 1540
controlled the Red Sea. It was the Turks who first introduced into I thiopia that
new and powerful weapon, the matchlock or bunduq,4 whose value was first
realized and applied in north-east Africa by the Imam of Adel, Ahnmad Gran
ibn Ibrahim el Ghazi, in his campaign of 1540 against the Negus of Ethiopia.
Ahmad Gran obtained a force of 200 trained arquebusiers or matchlo:kmen from
the Turks to assist him and his jihad against the Christians, and the Ethiopians
found themselves quite unable to stand up to this new and terrifying weapon.
The Portuguese forces themselves in August 1542 were hard pressed and it was
not until a lucky shot by an arquebusier killed the Imam at the battle of Wagara
I Un Royauine Hlnaite au Centre de I'Afrique by Pere Pages (Percs Blancs). Inst.
Col. Belge, 1933.
2 An Outline Grammar of the Acholl Language by A. L. Kitching. Revised ed..
1932 ; A Study of the Acooli Language, Grammar and Vocabulary by J. i. Crazzolara
(Oxford Univ. Press, 1938).
3 The Political System of the Annak by E. Evans-Pritchard (London, 1 40.
4 Sir Harry Johnston in a footnote in his The Nile Quest (1903) has traced the origin of
the Arabic word bunduq (plural banadiq) from the sixteenth century name for matchlocks,
which were normally known from their chief place of manufacture (Venice) as venadiq or
vanadig throughout the Mediterranean.
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 69
on the 22nd February 1543 that the future of Ethiopia as a Christian State was
The fourth, and in its way the most important, mission to Ethiopia was that
of the Spanish Jesuit, Peter Paes, who reached Ethiopia in 1603. He proved to
be not only an able statesman but a great scholar and a remarkable handyman.
He excelled as an architect, mason, carpenter and agriculturist, and all his
efforts until his death in 1662 were spent in trying to improve the general con-
ditions of the Ethiopian State. The introduction of maize into Ethiopia is
frequently attributed to him and this view is probably correct, unless the crop
had already been introduced as suggested above. The Amharic words for maize
have already been given earlier in this paper. From the Amhara there is little
doubt that the Oromo obtained maize, which they call bekollo1 or boqollo.
E. Cerulli in his monograph 'The Folk Literature of the Galla '2 indicates
the importance of the maize crop to these people in Ethiopia. I have not been
able to find in either Foot's or Viterbo's3 vocabularies any analysis of the deriva-
tion of the word bekollo or beqollo. Perhaps some scholar of the Ethiopian
languages can assist with its meaning and derivation. Cerulli, on page 60 of his
monograph, states that qollo is a fertility spirit, but 1 do not know if this has any
connection with the root of the word beqollo.
The chain of linguistic links is, therefore, still not complete to establish the
hypothesis, which I suspect to be true but cannot yet prove, that maize reached
Bunyoro and the Lake Victoria region from Portuguese sources through Ethiopia
via the Amhara, the Macha Galla, the Anuak and the Acholi.
I am doubtful of the exact route; indeed it seems probable that there was
more than one; but the most obvious line would seem to be from Gambela to
the Pibor river and then along Khor Veveno to Lafon hill and thence to Jarajok,
Opari, Palaro, Gulu, etc. An alternative route may also have run via the Boma
plateau towards the Didinga hills and so through Dodoth and Karamoja to
Lake Victoria. The reason for suggesting this latter route is that it fits the
general lines of Luo diffusion postulated by Father Crazzolara:4 it also seems
to provide the only reasonable explanation of another set of names for maize
which derive from the root dum. These are found in the Eastern Luo dialects
of Kavirondo in the form odume,5 and in the adjacent Bantu dialects, vide Sir
Harry Johnston (op. cit., Vol. I, p. 78), as follows: Lugosa-bi-dumia; Lunyoro
-ama-dumwa; Luwanga, Lubarasi, Lurimi-ama-duma: Lusinga-ka-duma;
Kiguzii (Kisuba or Kisoba)-ci-ama-dumo.
For want of a better explanation I would suggest that the Eastern Luo,
whose word odume has passed into all these Bantu dialects, first obtained maize
when they were in contact with the Dathenik people far to the north. The
latter are now usually known as Gelabba or Marille; but they were formerly
known variously by a series of nicknames, as Pume, Bume or Dume. They
SA Galla-English, English-Galla Dictionary by E. C. Foot (Cambridge Univ.
2 Harvard African Studies, Vol. III. p. 41.
3 Grammnatica e Dizionario della lingua Oromonica bi E. Viterbo. Published
U. Hoepli. Milan, 1892 (reprinted 1936).
4 The Lwoo People' by J. P. Crazzolara (Uganda Journal, Vol. 5, p. 1).
5 Dholno Grammar (St. Joseph's Society. Mill Hill). published by the Consolata
Catholic Mission, Nyeri. 1938.
70 UGANDA JOURNAL
cultivate maize to-day in considerable quantities in the lower ;alley of the
It may be noted that in recent times the Luo have adopted a second general
word for maize, banda, which is derived from the Nandi word for naize pande,
itself a derivative from the Kikuyu hembe. This change from nb to nd may
be considered surprising, but I have myself frequently heard Nilotics make this
particular error in pronouncing unfamiliar Bantu words. The Suk word for
maize, pembe, is an intermediate form.
To complete the list of names for maize used in the Uganda area it is
necessary to refer to the dialects of the Fort Portal District. Sir Ha rry Johnston
(op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 49) records n-kusa, abi-kusa and ebi-gusa for the Amba, Toro
and Konjo dialects. The root kusa or gusa is very close to the rooti of the word
mu-gusha, which is the normal name for sorghum in the same area. Presum-
ably maize received its name here by analogy, as is sometimes the case. There
is of course the alternative possibility that nkusa may refer to the Nkuse river
which is the boundary between Toro and Bunyoro and the meaning would hence
be the 'grain from across the Nkuse', i.e., from Bunyoro. Against this it must
be remembered that the Nkuse river was not a proper frontier till the British
made it one in the 1890s. The other word for maize in common use in the whole
of this area is ebi-choli.
Sir John Gray has suggested to me that since mwemba is tie word for
sorghum in Luganda, this same root name for sorghum may perhaps be found
in the group of Nyika dialects already quoted and that the names for maize,
which I have suggested are derived from the place name Pemb;,, are really
formed by analogy from an old name for sorghum. Here we must defer to
linguistic experts who are familiar with the Nyika dialects, and who will perhaps
express an opinion on this point.
As will have been noticed, I consider maize to be a food gain of such
importance that it tends to be labelled immediately on introduction to an area
as the grain of the people or area from whence it has been brought. Lest
however it should be felt that I am unfairly overstressing, as a lingui ,tic general-
ization, a common human tendency, I quote below at length from a letter from
the learned Father C. Muratori of the Verona Catholic Mission at Torit, to whom
through the kindness of Mr. M. Wordsworth, the District Commissio:er of Torit,
I was able to submit the first draft of this note.'
As will be seen, Father Muratori does not agree with the linguistic basis of
my argument, from his experience among Nilotic and Nilo-hamitic tribes of the
1 Some small grammatical amendments have been made to the letter without any
alteration of the sense. Its phonetic script has been changed into a more familiar form
to render it easily intelligible to ordinary readers.-[A.C.A.W.]
The reference works consulted by Father Muratori were:
A Study of the Acooli Language by J. P. Crazzolara (London. 1938).
Outlines of a Nuer Granmar by 1. P. Crazzolara (Vienna, 1933).
The Lwoo People' by J. P. Crazzolara (Uganda Journal. Vol. 5. 1937-8 .
Die Kafa-Sprache by Leo Reinisch (Vienna, 1888).
Bari Grammar by L. M. Spagnolo (Verona, 1933).
B'ari-English-ltalian Dictionary by L. M. Spagnolo (Sudan Govt.).
Grammatica della lingua Cunama. Catholic Mission, Barentu, Eritrea.
The Eastern Sudanic Languages by A. N. Tucker (London, 1940).
An English Guide to Bari-LotNuko-Acoli by C. Muratori (in preparation .
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 71
Southern Sudan, but I have endeavoured to meet some of his points. Father
Muratori's letter is printed in smaller type; my own comments are interspersed
in type of normal size.
I do not consider that the name of a plant, alone, is a safe indicator of the line
of introduction of a new crop. To prove this requires some other elements, e.g. a
common name found throughout all the area, contiguity of place, and so forth.
For instance, in Italian, maize is called frumentone (thick frumentum), or gran
turco (Turkish grain). But, so far as I know, maize was not introduced into Italy
by, or through, the Turks.'
The word frumentone is a nickname, as is gran turco, which is derived, I imagine.
from the resemblance of the tasselled cob to the Turkish tarboush. So also the
Bari, some Nilotes and some Sudanic tribes use a Bangala root for maize (gbaya
aboi; abou. Bari; bomuk), though in my opinion they received the plant not from
the Bangala region at all but from the Arabs.
Frumentum (of which frumentone is the modern Italian form) is simply the
Latin name for corn. It was no doubt applied in Italy just as the English word
corn' was applied to the new cereal 'maize' when it was first introduced in
England. The various Italian dictionaries I have been able to consult all give
' Turkish grain' as the secondary translation of gran turco, for which the first
translation is' maize'. I am very doubtful if gran turco can be merely a descrip-
tive nickname derived from the appearance of the cob.
Owing to the wide use of nicknames by Nilotic and Nilo-hamitic peoples (every
man, every bull, every foreigner, every sacred plant has its own nickname), we have
to distinguish between a general term for maize-which may be of foreign origin--
and nicknames, which are generally of local origin. I think it is clear that in course
of time a nickname may become the general term for a new plant, e.g. the word used
in Toposa is ngalakeny, which means literally 'deceiving birds', because the flower
is at the top of the plant, while the cob is lower down, hidden in a sheath. At other
times the name of a native plant can be applied to a newly-introduced plant, e.g. in
Lotuko the plant Jatropha curcas is commonly called nelugong gala, though nelugong
is properly the term for the Ricinus (castor oil) plant. At other times a name may
be given arbitrarily by a chief, e.g. in Loppit when the Chief Medeyyang introduced
maize he called it loyyo. It can even happen that a new name may overwhelm the
old one, e.g. the word bomuk for maize in Bari is of Bangala origin and overwhelmed
and replaced the original Arabic term, which survived only in Lotuko and neigh-
These facts explain the multiplicity of names for maize used by various tribes,
whether or not the grain was first introduced under a foreign name.
Thus, from the Arabic esh cr-Rif, we find the Lotuko and subtribes using
oserri, the Didinga loseri, the Acholi of the Southern Sudan loceri and the Madi
Esh er-Rif, the Sudan Arabic name for maize, is itself an interesting indicator
of geographical origin. Rif, so far as 1 can establish, means a hill or escarpment
and is used commonly both for the Atlas mountains of Morocco and for the
Eritrean and Ethiopian escarpments. To both these areas maize was certainly
introduced before it reached the Sudan plains. Two other alternative names
I Father Muratori, when writing this, had not seen the argument in the early part of
this paper dealing with Turkey corn and gran turco. which was completed subsequent to
72 UGANDA JOURNAL
are given by S. Hillelson in his Sudan Arabic, an English-Arabic Vocabulary
(Sudan Government, London, 1935) namely dura shami-the' sorghum of Syria'
-and makadi, whose meaning I do not understand (unless it is makka-di in which
case it is presumably 'the grain from Mecca '). It is probable that if maize was
introduced from Syria it came originally from Turkey, so we become slightly
more confident of the geographical interpretation of the word gran turco. The
way in which esh er-Rif has been modified to oserri, loseri and loceri is most
From the Bangala form gbaya (but note in contrast the Lingala fcrm masango)
are derived directly the Zande and Kresh form ngbayya and, a modifi ation of this,
the Western Dinka about; the Pori (Lokoro) aboi and the Anywak of Bibor aboi.
It is also possible that the Bari term bomu-te (pl. bomuk) is derived from the Bangala
root boma, used for fruit in general. We have also the Moru-Adi mbamu, and the
Avukaya mbanmu and ojile (also found as mbomu and ojiga). The Madri use the
word mbombo as well as loceri, while the Lububo use the slightly modified bemu.
I have collected the following other names- the Moru-Miza, Moru-Balimba,
Moru-Audri toromo, and the Logo mundwo (which may be derived from Mundu,
the name of another tribe). 1 am not acquainted with the structure ol Bantu lang-
uages, and do not know if anyone would dare link the Lingala term masanga with
the Nyasa eki-manga? There are also the Kunama terms nafokina md ogiraba,
whose derivation I cannot trace.
I should like to know the origin of the root ba or bo meaning maize, which
Father Muratori has shown to have spread from the Bangala g- aya to the
various Sudanic dialects of Moru forming m-bamu, m-bombu, beniu, etc., and
which passed (dropping the prefix en route) into a number of Nilotic dialects,
e.g., Dinka, to make forms such as a-bou, a-boi, etc. My opinion is that the grain
was originally introduced into the Moru area from the south-west by contract
with the Mangbettu. Schweinfurth in his The Heart of Africa (1872) suggests
this south-westerly derivation in a reference to the 'Babuckur' (i.e, Abukaya)
in Vol. II, pp. 36 and 154. It seems to me against all reason and probability
that the introduction of maize can have proceeded from north-east tc south-west
in the opposite direction to the movement of the new words for it, whose form-
ation in this area seems to have developed (according to Father Mu atori's own
account) from south-west to north-east. The exception seems to be among
those Moru sections, who have obtained maize directly through contact with
the Bari, and who consequently not unnaturally call it da-bari just as the Logo
tribe call it mundwo, having obtained the grain from the Mundu tribe. For
the same reason, the Lugbara call maize kaka, having obtained it through the
I do not think any Bantu student would consider linking masang (of which
the ma- is clearly a common form of Bantu prefix) with eki-manga, o' which the
root manga is a well-known nickname of the Hadrami and Omani Arabs, who
came down to Zanzibar with the monsoon every year. It may be pointed out
that there is a large area called Masango, now I believe in Galla occupation,
immediately south of Gore and east of the Anuak area. I do not know whether
the Lingala name quoted by Father Muratori is derived from this area, but on
the whole I consider it improbable and suggest that we must look elsewhere for
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 73
A list of maize names used in the south-west Sudan area is given, I find, by
E. Evans-Pritchard in an article, 'The Non-Dinka People of the Amadi and
Rumbek Districts', in Sudan Notes and Records, Vol. XX, 1937, Part I, thus:
Bongo-atibel; Mittu-konuberi; Baka--mbamu; Beli-mainyataba;
Gheri-konuber ; L6ri-kabori; Sopi-maiyeribeli; Nyamusa-tolomu ;
Morokodo-toromo : Biti-tolonmir (u): Wira-tolomur (u). Perhaps some
officer or missionary working in Amadi or Rumbek District will provide the
descriptive meanings of these words.
It may be noted in passing that the Fulani word for 'corn' (i.e., Sorghum)
is mbayeri and for maize mbayeri Masar (' Egyptian corn'). The root of the
Sopi word maiyeribeli appears to be identical except that the name Beli has been
added. It would be interesting to know if there is any record of Fulani contact
in this area of the Sudan. The Beli word mainyataba appears to be almost
identical with the Nuer maintap.
The Kaffa term for maize is amari-yango; the Somali, ghellei (besides mhindi);
the Suk, pembe (the stalk mochen) ; the Nandi, mopcho (plant) and ipandio (corn);
the Toposa, as already stated, use ngalakeny; the Acholi of Uganda, anywagi;
and the Nuer, maintap.
The Kaffa term amari-yango is clearly a reference to the introduction of
maize by the Christian Amhara into the Kaffa area; for Bieber (Das Kaffa,
Vienna, 1923) states definitely that the Christian section of the Kaffitcho popula-
tion (who are mostly Amharic half-breeds with the local population) are called
Amaro. I have noted that in Lunyoro the maize flower is called oruyange;
but I do not claim that this necessarily has any connection with amari-yango.
The Suk word for maize (pembe) and the Nandi word (pande) are both derived
from the Kikuyu form of the root pemba, discussed at the beginning of this
paper: both the Suk and Nandi first obtained maize by contact with the Bantu
Kikuyu. The Nuer word maintap must be a modified word for 'corn' or
'bread', as I know that etap is used for bread' in Ateso.
I do not think that the Somali word ghellei is by any means a general term.
Around Harar and Jigjiga, the word arabeki, whose derivation from arab is
obvious, is commonly used. My impression is that ghellei is another geo-
graphical name taken from the name of the tribal group of the Gheledi, who
during the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries established their dynasty in the
central agricultural area of the lower Webi Shibeli valley and were still the most
important power in the southern Somali Coast in the middle of the nineteenth
I have also collected the following secondary names. The Bari, in addition to
the word bomuk (from Bangala), meaning maize in general, use wanjawanja (from
wanja, a baitworm) for a variety with a long cob. The Nyangwara of Yei call
maize sekremeti, from the oath Sacramenti!", so often used by the Belgians and
I have already shown how the Lotuko word oserri or oloserri is derived from the
Arabic esh er-Rif. To oseri must be added a number of subvarieties, e.g. oserri
otuko, the variety with the small seeds, oserri kacipo or akacipo, the variety with big
seeds recently introduced from the Boma plateau (another similar variety had already
been introduced from the Bari country). The oserri otuko had a number of special
74 UGANDA JOURNAL
nicknames depending on its conditions of growth, e.g. etuye-because it grows low
when cultivated outside the lowlands; appelinyaku, when it takes on a red colour
(Otuko children play a game called appelinyaku onudak adi iyali, i.e., boasting the
red corn-cobs on the fire'); olomodok when it assumes a blackish colour (from
olomodok, a wild plum); orryama okide Tukutuku, when it becomes spotted-a
reference to the coming of the Belgians (who were nicknamed Tukutuki.').
The Owudo (an Otuko subtribe) use the general term oserri as in Lotuko ; but
a particular variety with flat seeds is called duluma, meaning I brought it from
Duluma (Uganda)'.' Another variety from the south, with long thiCk seeds, is
called nyakama: the majority of the Acholi of the Sudan call the s:,me variety
mukama, which the Acholi Panyikwara have modified to mukanmb. Another
variety, with long spotted seeds, brought from the Boma plateau, is called kacipo.
It is not hard to understand the reason for the name oserri kac'po for the
variety of maize introduced from the Boma plateau, for one of the common
nicknames of a tribe of that area is 'Kacipo' or 'Kacepo', whence no doubt
this variety of maize was obtained. The reason for the name nya-kama given
by the Owudo to the variety from the south is quite obvious to anly Uganda
resident, particularly in view of the fact that Father Muratori records that the
Sudan Acholi call this variety mukama. It must have been obtained from
Bunyoro, where 'Mukama' is the title of kingship.
The Loppit (an Otuko subtribe related to the Bari) use loseri as a general term
for maize; but the term loyyo for the variety with thick seeds, introduced by Chief
The Nilo-hamitic Lango (of Torit District) use oloserri as a general term for
maize, but the word appaca (literally, 'the despised', from ipacc-o, to despise')
for a variety with thick seeds. The Dongotono (another Otuko subtribe related to
the Bari) also use this root pacca.
The Madi use loseri as their general name but know also mbombo, a variety
with the points of the seeds depressed.
The suggestion that eki-choli of Lunyoro and ka-soli of Luganda may derive
from the Acholi tribal name has to be studied by considering all the 'acts on the
spot, not excluding the oral traditions of the peoples concerned. On grounds of
theoretical linguistics, a person might well consider linking together the vord ka-soli
with the Anywak i-galla, the Galla be-kollo, the Somali ghellei and even the ma-silla
of Amharic, on the grounds that phonetic sound-shifts exist for all these changes
from 'k' to 'gh', from k to 'c', and from c to s (in Lotuko k to s' is
common, and in Bari 'k' to g'). A link of this nature is very likely, because the
road Khartoum-Gondokoro-Uganda was open to trade before the Arabs went
inland from Gondokoro. So far as is known they never reached Lelful hill (the
Lafon of the maps). They reached Oronyo in 1861 and Tirrangore (the Tarangole
of the maps) in 1863, and thus, since the Arabs took maize wherever the / made their
stations, the grain reached the Uganda Acholi before it ever reached the Pori (or
Berri) people on Lepful hill, or the Acholi of the Sudan.
My opinion is that to derive the Acholi word anywagi for maize from the
Anywak tribal name and to take this as proof of contact is to go against the best
evidence which is available. I set out my reasons for saying this below.
1 I cannot trace any published reference to Uganda being called 'Duluma'. This
name was, however, sometimes used for the coast near Mombasa, as this is the area
occupied by the Wa-Duruma tribe.-[A.C.A.W.]
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 75
To accept that the Acholi called maize anywagi because they received it from
Lepful hill, it is necessary first to show that the people of Lepful are known as
'Anywak' by any of the surrounding tribes, or at least by the Acholi of Pajok.
This is not the case. Actually, these Pori people of Lepful are called Lokoro',
i.e., 'the people of the shells', by the Acholi of Pajok, 'Pari' by the Lotuko. and
'Beri' (even in Father Vinco's time) by the Bari.
I am ready to accept Father Muratori's statement that the Pori of Lepful
are not known as Anywak' by any of their immediate neighbours, but this does
not prevent the southern Acholi referring to them along with the real Anywak
to the north of them-all vaguely as' Anywak'. My own impression about the
Pori people, when I visited Lepful, was that they had become by association with
Loppit, Lokoiya and Lotuko folk greatly modified from their original Luo
culture forms. For example, they appeared to have regular age classes. This
is an institution unknown among the earlier groups of the Luo, whose society is
organized everywhere on a system of patrilineal and patriarchal clans, in which
the chief (who is the dominant male agnate of the central family of the cluster of
clans to which he belongs) holds his power by virtue of the possession of magical
regalia, drums, spears, stools, necklaces, etc.
However, I do not wish to press the correctness of my hypothesis in this
particular instance to the exhaustion of the reader. Father Muratori has himself
provided sufficient examples of the general working of terms for maize used as
a geographical indicator of tribal contact for me to be happy to wait until some
evidence as to the meaning and derivation of this word anuagi can be produced
Father Muratori states that the Acholi name 'Lokoro' for the Pori of
Lepful means 'the people of the shells'. This may well be true; but, if so, I
cannot follow the derivation. Gagi is the Acholi for cowrie, which is the only
shell likely to have been introduced. The Swahili word for cowrie is kauri
which indeed might easily have passed into lo-koro, if Swahili or Arab merchants
had direct access to Lepful; but how could it have developed into this form,
having passed by the medium of tribal exchange through the Luganda nsimbi
and the Acholi gagi? The importance of the cowrie in Central Africa, both as
a fertility charm and as money, is however so great that a study of the words
used for it might well produce important evidence. Incidentally, Father
Crazzolara, on page 8 of his 'The Lwoo People' (Uganda Journal, Vol. 5,
1937-8), points out that the name 'Lo-kor' was given to the people of Lepful on
account of the section called 'Koor' whose leader had this name. He recently
informed me that the Lepful deny any line of connection between Lepful and the
Anywak since the arrival in Lepful of the last (Koor) group of inhabitants. In
view of Father Vinco's findings in 1852 we must not, I think, accept this denial.
We know definitely that the maize plant was introduced into the Lotuko country
about 1870, rather as a curiosity, by the Lotuko chief Mayya at Oronyo, and by
the Loppit chief Medeyyang about the same time. It is unlikely that the Pori, who
out of contact with the Arabs, received it before the Lotuko, or that the Loppit, who
were in continuous trade relations with the Pori across a distance of only sixteen
miles of flat plain, should only have imported it at the time of the Arabs if the Pori
had already been using it long before. Father Angelo Vinco, who stayed at Lepful
76 UGANDA JOURNAL
hill from 27th June to 15th September 1852 eating the local food and making minute
observations of the life of the people, does not make any mention of having found
maize either in the Pori country or in the Bari country (where he remained from
27th February 1851 until his death at Gondokoro on 3rd January 1853).
It may be noted that Sir Samuel Baker (1863) made no mention of finding maize
in the Bari, Lotuko or Acholi countries, though Schweinfurth in 1870 found it as a
garden plant growing in certain chiefs' compounds among the Zande and Mang-
bettu. Admittedly there is a notice in a report of Emin Pasha's about 1880 that
maize was growing in various parts of his Province; but even he could not affirm
that the natives had in general adopted it. Of course, the Bari may have known it
before ; but the plant only entered into their regular economy as a crop well after
There is no evidence in Uganda to show that maize was widely grown and
cultivated as a crop before the Arabs arrived; indeed it is only in quite recent
years (since 1940) that it has ceased to be a garden plant and become a crop.
However, according to Mr. Ham Mukasa, maize has certainly been in cultivation
in Uganda for more than a century, just as a variety of cotton was known and
used sporadically for making thread in Bunyoro and elsewhere long before it
was introduced as a commercial crop after Mr. Borup's experiments in 1903,
and just as indigenous coffee was used for ritual gifts, for making blood brother-
hood and for the ritual of kingship, long before coffee was of economic value for
export. Admittedly Lepful is a small place and Father Vinco must have got
to know it pretty well during his stay; but if maize cobs were not in season at
that time it would not have been difficult for him to miss a few plants of maize
among the fields of sorghum (as I have seen maize grown by the Acholi). They
would indeed have been quite difficult to find even if he was looking for them,
and there is no reason to suppose that he was. I do not therefore regard Father
Vinco's omission of any mention of maize at or near Pori as conclusive evidence
of its absence at the time of his visit.
I recently noticed on reading through John Petherick's Egypt, the Sudan
and Central Africa, published in 1861, that this British traveller visited a tribe
near the Djour (Jur) in the Bahr-el-Ghazal area (he called them D6r' but I
understand that they are now usually known as 'Bongo') in Dece nber 1855.
Here he found maize being grown, and he gives its local name-mnatabaelP-
on page 482 of his book. He records also, on page 297, that he obtained a
quantity of beads from the Jur, which he established on the excellent authority
of an exporting Venetian bead merchant to have come through from the West
Coast by barter trade. If beads followed this route, maize seeds may have also.
I quite agree with the evidence that Father Muratori has produced that
maize only became common in the Southern Sudan after its introduction by the
Arabs and that it was spread by them to the Lotuko, whence it was dispensed
to the Pori. I consider, however, that the old word in Pori for maize was
probably overwhelmed by the dominance of Lotuko words and culture in
I think we may take it for granted that the Pori received maize from the Bari,
with whom they had for long maintained continuous trade relations, via Bilinyang,
Nyiggilo (east of Lirya) and Okulla hill. This is supported by the follow ing:
I cf. the word atihel recorded by Evans-Pritchard in the article quoted a o e.
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 77
(i) The maize flower is known in Pori as binyo-a clear derivative of the Bari
word bini used for the same part of the plant.
(ii) Father Vinco records that a strong Bilinyang-Bari colony was established
on Lepful hill before his time.
(iii) Father Vinco records that the trade route Pori-Anywak lost its importance
and fell into disuse after the Egyptian boats began to arrive at Gondokoro.
(iv) The best evidence indicates that maize entered the Lotuko and Loppit
countries as a sporadic crop from Arab sources about 1870 via the Bari. Such a
situation could not have occurred, at any rate as regards Loppit, had the Pori already
been in possession of maize at that time.
In view of this, we may conclude, firstly, that the maize plant did not reach the
Pori from the Anywak; nor did it reach the Acholi of Uganda from Pori, since the
Acholi of the Sudan do not refer to the grain as anywagi at all, but as loceri, using
the word of Arabic derivation. Secondly, that the maize plant reached the Pori
.area rather late, i.e., after it had been spread through the Lotuko and Loppit terri-
tories and into the Uganda Acholi country. This was probably because the Pori
grow a great deal of sorghum on the fertile lands around Lepful hill and did not
require a supplementary cereal crop. Thirdly, since we have shown that the Pori
began to know and use this new crop after the Uganda Acholi, it is impossible that
the Uganda Acholi could have imported it from them and called it anywagi after
We have, therefore, to find another explanation for the Uganda Acholi word
anywagi and my suggestion is that it is a local nickname. The Acholi, in contrast
to the Lotuko, who were on good terms with the Arabs, were generally on bad terms
with them, and consequently would not be likely to adopt through association with
the Arabs the Arab name for this grain as did the Lotuko. My opinion is that most
probably the word is derived from the resemblance of the maize flower or the cob's
tassel to a ram's tail, which is often used as a dancing ornament on the arm. Thus
the nickname would be 'like a ram', i.e., (prefix) a-nyok. anyogi, and thence
anywagi. The Bari word for a maize flower (bini) is also the word for a ram's tail.
Incidentally, Father Crazzolara in his dictionary records the presence in Acholiland
of a plant called anywaki with large leaves and it is possible that the Acholi called
maize (which also has large leaves) anywagi from a fanciful resemblance to this
plant, just as I have shown above that the Lotuko called the Jatropha curcas plant
nelugong gala from a fancied resemblance to the Ricinus plant nelugong. As I have
not seen the anywaki plant, I cannot assert this definitely.
Though I deny that the word anywagi derives from the tribal name Anywak,
and hence do not regard it as a reasonable proof or indication of the traditional route
Uganda-Pori-Anywak, I do not for a moment wish to suggest that such a route did
not exist. Indeed I am in a position to give important historical confirmation of its
existence and use; but first a note of clarification.
The traditional route of which we are speaking ran from north to south, from
the Bahr-el-Gebel region to Pori, to Lotuko, to the Ifwotu pass, to Pajok and into
northern Uganda, without any diversion to Opari. This is the natural route, because
the Lokoya mountains completely cut off Opari, and make a diversion to Opari not
only difficult but useless. It is the route that Sir Samuel Baker used: after crossing
the Kinatye river he went to Tirrangore and thence through the Ifwotu pass to Lotti
in the Sudan Acholi country. This also was the route followed by that part of the
Pori people who emigrated from Lepful to Pajok during a great famine and returned
to Lepful about fifty to sixty years ago. The route continued from Pajok to Uganda
through Agoro, and this remains the common route for Pajok people travelling to
78 UGANDA JOURNAL
Uganda on foot up to the present day. It was also the route used, in the reverse
direction, by the Koryok, the bulk of whom were Owudo, when they cami not later
than 200 years ago from the south to the Imatong mountains, passing thence to
Kimodonge (near Torit) and so to the settlements which they occupy to-da i.
The traditional route can thus be described as running from Anywak o1 Veveno
to Pori, through Lotukoland between the Kos and Kinatye rivers and by way of the
Ifwotu pass to Pajok, and then through the Agoro pass to Uganda.
Historical confirmation of this traditional route is found in a letter of Father
Vinco's, who after a short visit to the Bari country in 1850, returned there again in
the following year and explored it widely from 24th January 1851 until 3rd January
1853. During 1852 he stayed for a time at Lepful hill, as recorded above.
On his first visit to Bari in 1850 Father Vinco had noticed people wearing sea-
shells and many copper rings. On his second visit he ascertained, afte repeated
inquiries, that these had been obtained from the Cioko (the Shogo of Baker), twelve
days south-east of Bilinyange, and that the Cioko obtained them from tl e Quenda
(the 'Quanda' of Baker), four days south-west of the Cioko. The Quenda chief
was at that time Cerebombi (Baker's 'Cherrybombe'). About August, the Quenda
were in the habit of coming to the Cioko giving these objects in exchange for ivory.
In 1852 Father Vinco sent two Pori native merchants, who were experienced
travellers, with gifts for the Cioko and Quenda chiefs. These two Pori were called
Lailon and Abugi respectively.
Lailon and Abugi came back from the south after two months, br nging two
Cioko envoys; but from the Quenda they brought no messengers, only thanks for
the gifts, and invitations from the chiefs Aurelin and Cerabombi that Fa her Vinco
should visit them. The two Cioko informed Father Vinco that the Qi enda took
ivory to the Mua (the 'Mwa' of Baker, whose chief was Mtesa) where some white
people, wearing clothes and praying and speaking like the Turks (Arabs) were
coming by feluccas, giving blue shells and copper rings in exchange for elephant
tusks, which they were taking away to a big river whose water was salted. Father
Vinco wanted to go and visit these chiefs, but could not because he had fever.
Later, he was prevented, first by a tribal war between the Pori and the Bari, which
deprived him of guides (only to be found among the Pori), and finally by his own
death. The fact that guides could only be found amongst the Pori confirms the
special trade relation Pori-Uganda, as well as the route Pori-Lotuko-Pajok-
Father Vinco mentions also that when he ascended to the top of Lepful hill, he
was shown the direction of the Nyagi (Anywak) tribe, distant four da s' journey,
and was told that it was there that the Pori and other tribes of the Bahr-el-Jebel region
bought beads-red, white and blue. He was told that the Gelab (Arab) merchants
took these beads to Fazogli from Khartoum, and, that from Fazogli they were
brought by successive stages to the Anywak country and thence to all the Bahr-el-
Jebel region. The beads, he records, were called dignaji ", i.e., dinyaji.
All these facts point to a large and regular trade route existing before the
Nile route was opened to Egyptian boats from Khartoum. The route ran from
Khartoum to the Indian Ocean, and may be divided into three main parts:
(i) A northern section from Khartoum to Fazogli, managed by Arab
(ii) A central section from Fazogli to Mua, managed (Fazogli to Cioko) by
Anywak and Pori merchants and (Cioko to Mua) by Bantu merchants.
(iii) A southern section from Mua to the Indian Ocean, managed by Arab
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 79
Father Vinco's Cioko, if it is identical with Baker's 'Shoggo', as Father
Muratori suggests, is undoubtedly Pajok (or Farajok). Baker, in the map in
his The Albert Nyanza (1867), shows' Shoggo' in the centre of the Farajok area.
The term Quenda, which Baker incorrectly thought to correspond with' Quanda '
(and thus 'Ganda'), is the title-Mukwenda-of one of the county chiefs of
Bunyoro. Cerebombi, or 'Cherrybombe', is of course Kyebambe-the royal
king name of the Mukama Kamurasi, which he earned by killing his predecessor.
The term' Mua ', for Buganda, is derived from the old Nilotic name-Muwahwa
-for that territory; it was used also by the Banyoro. The Jo Luo in Kenya
still call the Bantu Kavirondo generally the Aba-Mua.
To the best of my knowledge there is no evidence of any migration to Uganda
of the racial stock now known as Anywak. The occurrence of a name there
suggesting this cannot by itself prove that there was, for names are formed in many
different ways in different languages. Just as one swallow does not make a summer,
so also one name does not prove a racial movement. 1 may say in passing that 1
do not consider that the last word has been said on Pori-Anywak affinities; indeed
it may turn out that the Pori are more closely related to another Luo family. In
this connection it may be mentioned that Father Negrini found a Jur grammar (for
the Luo of the Bahr-el-Ghazal) a good help in learning the Pori dialect. Moreover,
Father Crazzolara who is a great authority on the Luo peoples of the Sudan (the
Shilluk and the Nuer) and those of Uganda (the Acholi and the Alur), and who has
visited other places of Lwo settlement, never speaks of having found Anywak groups
in Uganda or Kenya.
I fully agree with Father Muratori that one name by itself proves nothing
of migration; but we are not dealing with 'one swallow' but a large and
impressive flock of similar words, clan names, place names, ritual, etc., all
supported by a very full native traditional history describing the occupation of
the district of Bunyoro by people of Luo stock and their inter-marriage with
the aboriginal Bantu inhabitants.
However, even if I am not correct on this point, it does not invalidate my
main hypothesis, namely that names of maize can be used as indicators of
contact. I hope that this article, whose main conclusions are summarized below.
will stimulate students both of African languages and of botany to comment on
the validity or otherwise of my arguments in respect of areas with which they
It is not of course suggested that maize is the only plant which can be used
to clarify our knowledge of past movements of population but, owing to its high
economic importance, and its known dates of introduction, it is one which can
probably be more easily studied than any other.
(1) Names given to maize seem generally to have been formed according to
one of three patterns:
Either, (a) a geographical nomenclature indicating the area whence it was
introduced, or the people who have introduced it, e.g., the Kiswahili mhindi, the
Sudan Arabic esh er-Rif, the Indian makkai. This is much the commonest form
80 UGANDA JOURNAL
of nomenclature but it is often difficult to follow, as local knowledge is usually
necessary to understand the reference intended.
Or, (b) a nomenclature deriving from the name of the commonest cereal
already used in the area to which maize was introduced, e.g., the English 'corn',
the Italian frumentone, the Cyprian sitaros.
Or, (c) a pure nickname describing the nature of the plant, e.g., the Toposa
name ngalakeny (' deceiving birds'), quoted by Father Muratori.
Subsidiary to these three main forms are the vulgarizations caused by
inaccurate imitations. Such are the Lotuko oseri, from the Sudan Arabic esh
er-Rif the various Nyika forms of the word pemba, extending to mbemba,
etc.; and the various Indian modifications of makkai joari to maki, elc.
(2) It appears likely that maize was introduced into Ethiopia both from
Turkish sources (via Harar) and from Portuguese sources (via Massaw a) during
the sixteenth century. This is supported by what we know of the history of the
grain as well as the variant names still used in Amharic.
(3) Although it is not certain that maize was first introduced into the Lake
Victoria basin via the line Gambela-Veveno-Lepful-Farajok-Palaro-Masindi,
there is nevertheless a probability that this is the case.
(4) It appears certain that this line, and its extension northwards from
Gambela to Fazogli-Sennar-Khartoum, was in existence as a trade-route before
the Nile route was opened.'
The Editor has drawn my attention to the extensive list of vernacular names
for maize contained in The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa by J. M.
Dalziel (Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, 1937). So far as I can judge
on a superficial examination of this list, a large number of these We:,t African
names follow the same general rules I have suggested above, beirg in fact
geographical indicators of the immediate origin of the grain, e.g., the Hausa
name for maize masara, meaning Egyptian corn, derived from the common
Arabic name for Egypt (Misri). However, to examine this list thoroughly and
to draw useful conclusions as to the probable routes by which maize has pene-
trated into the various tribal areas demands a detailed knowledge of the history
and geography of the West Coast of Africa beyond that of the writer of this
Another useful list of maize names with a rather wider geographical exten-
sion than that in The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa is contained at
page 177 of the Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information of the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, for 1936.
The most extensive list is still, however, that to be derived from Sir Harry
Johnston's monumental compendium to which I have referred repeatedly above.
As this book may not be in the hands of many students, I give a short selection
I There are grounds for thinking that this route (or a line parallel to it slightly farther
east) was known for many centuries as the way round the vast swamps of tie Bahr-el-
Ghazal. It is my own belief that by this route the practice of iron working was brought
to Uganda from Meroe by gold and iron prospectors involved in the ancient Fazogli
MAIZE NAMES AS INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC CONTACTS 81
of some of the maize names recorded by him in East and Central Africa concern-
ing whose origin it is hoped correspondents may be able to give some explanation.
(a) Sukuma (south shore of Lake Victoria)-diimbukiri.
(b) Nyamwezi (south of the Sukuma)-mudege.
(c) Hehe and Sanga (Upper Ruaha river) mazabeli or mazabere,
Kinga (north of north end of Lake Nyasa) J majaberi, and ama-tsebele.
QUERY: Has this name any connection with the tribal nickname
'Matabele'? It is recorded that people of Nguni stock were raiding at least
as far north as this during Livingstone's time.
(d) Matumbi (Coast region Lower Rufiji river) -ma-rombe.
(N.E. coast of Lake Nyasa) I ma-rombe, ma-lombi,
Sutu or Manundi, Kimatengo, Kesi or Kisi I ki-lombi, di-rombi.
Nyakusa, Nkonde, Wandia (Nyasa-Tanganyika plateau)-iik-rombe.
Ngindo (Moqambique, south of Upper Ruvuma river)--ci-rombe.
(e) Kabwari. Kilegu. Guhu Lungu. Mambwe (all
Rhodesian and Congo tribes west of Lake Tanganyika)-ki-saka.
Bisa (east of Lake Bangweulu)-ma-saka.
Ungu (east of Lake Rukwa)--ma-saka.
Nyika (between Lake Rukwa and Chambezi basin)-i-saka.
(f) Ndau, Teve, Tomboji (Portuguese East, Sofala hinterland)-ma-bonore.
EXTRACTS FROM '" MENGO NOTES "-VII.
RUBBER-PLANTING ALONG ROADS'-(I)
"H IS Excellency the Commissioner has instructed the Botanical Depart-
S ment to plant a row of rubber trees along the roadside from Entebbe to
Kampala, in all about 4,000 trees of Para, Castilloa, Funtumia and Ceara rubber.
The work is now in hand. It is hoped that these roadside plantations will
afford object lessons concerning the relative values of the different kinds of
rubber in varying conditions of soil, aspect, altitude and drainage. His
Excellency's private opinion is that, if a planter intended cultivating rubber in
Uganda on a commercial scale, it might be well for him to start with all four of
these varieties, and so be certain, at the end of nine or ten years, of having one
if not all four varieties proving a success. It is hoped that the planting of these
rubber trees along some of the chief main roads of the Protectorate will ultimately
provide a revenue amply sufficient to maintain the roads in excellent condition.
(Uganda Notes, July 1906, pp. 100-101.)
RUBBER-PLANTING ALONG ROADS-(2)
"The Botanical and Scientific Department are making preparations
for planting rubber trees along the Kampala-Hoima road, a distance of
126 miles ..
(Uganda Notes, February 1907, p. 32.i
TRANSPORT STATISTICS: KAMPALA-MUNYONYO
"Messrs. Campbell & Co. have forwarded us some statistics of transport on
the Kampala-Munyonyo road. The figures cover the four month, from April
to July inclusive, and include some 234 tons of cotton and 48 tons of jther goods,
exported, and 203 tons of imported goods. These goods were all carried on
waggons and carts and the figures have no reference to goods carried up and
down the road by porters."
(Uganda Notes, September 1907, pp. 146-147.)
I For a fuller account of this scheme see A Project that Failed' by Small Ovoid in
the Empire Forestry Review, Vol. 25, No. 2, 1946. There is a separate ii the Society's
Library.-[ED. Uganda Journal.]
EXTRACTS FROM "MENGO NOTES" 83
By THE REV. S. R. SKEENS'
"Luba, the well-known chief associated with the death of Bishop Hanning-
ton, isdead. He died on July 17th, 1906, at his own village.
This fact should be widely known, for Luba has been the subject of so
many prayers, and yet, alas! he died as he lived, a heathen, without evincing
any real interest in the things of God. I know several missionaries had spoken
personally and faithfully to him about his soul, yet it was a subject from which
he endeavoured always to turn, and to pass off for something else. Like Gallio
of old, he 'cared for none of those things'. Outwardly he was friendly to all
the missionaries and their work ; he helped sometimes with the building of a
church; he generally gave the missionary who visited him a present of some
kind. Once when a party of some twelve missionaries came up-country, he
gave a big feast in their honour.
But his heart never seemed to have been touched by the Gospel. When his
wives, through the reading of God's word, became more enlightened and desired
to be baptised, they were secretly hindered ; perhaps sent to some other village
out of the way, and persecuted in some way or other.
Luba had a keen sense of humour, and enjoyed a good laugh thoroughly.
Once he told a story about a wonderful parrot of his which had learnt to talk
so well that it could say anything, could sound the bugle calls, could say
Otyano? ('How are you? '), and could even kuba endulu, which is to sound
the alarm by shouting out loudly and beating the hand against the mouth at
the same time.
I said to him,' Well, what happened to your parrot? 'Oh! he replied,
'A leopard came one night and carried it off.' 1 said, 'Why did it not kuba
endulu? The old man roared with laughter at the mental picture of his
favourite parrot being carried off by a leopard, screaming out and beating its
claw against its beak.
Because of his old age Luba was respected a great deal in Busoga. He was
made the president of the native court. He was one of the few remaining chiefs
of the old kind, now rapidly dying out. The old Wakoli (called at one time King
of Busoga), Zibondo, Gabula, Miro, and now Luba, have all died, all belonging
to that generation, conservative and unprogressive as regards civilization and
education, and unresponsive to Christianity and morality.
I do not know that drunkenness was a particular failing of Luba's, but
vice, sensuality and extreme laziness were the characteristics of the old type.
Add to these obstinacy, dirtiness, an extreme dislike for authority of any kind,
a great timidity, barely concealing the Ishmaelitish tendency underneath to lift
up his arm against one and every man, and you have an idea of the character of
the people as a race.
Of these old Busoga chiefs I know only of two who remain, Nanyumba and
Tabingwa. The latter, now suffering from an incurable disease, is evidencing
I Further notes on Luba by Mr. Skeens can be found in 'Reminiscences of Busoga
and its Chiefs' (Uganda Journal, Vol. 4, p. 185).-[ED. Uganda Journal.]
84 UGANDA JOURNAL
in his last days a greater accessibility and readiness to hear the Christian teacher.
He has lately sent a grandson to be taught at Kamuli, and is building church
for a Protestant teacher at his village."
(Uganda Notes, October 1906. pp. 151-152.)
THE KABAKA'S FIRST VISIT TO MTESA'S TOMB, SEPTEMBER 1906
By C. W. HATTERSLEY
"Old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new is a true
saying of most if not all things in Uganda. But old customs die hard, and
especially when strong superstitions are attached to them.
Up to Mwanga's days, times of great excitement were the occasions on
which the King visited the tomb of his father or predecessors, for on those days
some of the greatest sacrifices of human beings took place. Sacrifice is perhaps
scarcely expressive, butchery would more fully describe the events.
The numerous matambiro (killing places) in different parts of the country
bear evidence to the numbers killed in honour of the spirits of the departed
kings, which were (and probably still are) believed to live in the tombs.
September 14th saw King Daudi paying his first visit to his gr ndfather
Mtesa's tomb at Kasubi.
Mounted on his white pony, he was accompanied by Mr. Sturrock, his tutor,
a great believer in keeping up the old (decent) customs ; the Katikiro ;nd other
Regents in rickshas; and a large following of other chiefs, some on bicycles, the
rest on foot. The boys of Mengo High School also joined the procession.
Arrived at the tomb, the entrance of the Kabaka was greeted by some sixty
women deputed to keep the tomb, yelling in the approved style, beating the open
mouth with the hand the while (kukuba endulu).
Partially hidden as they were in the dark recesses of the tomb, the effect was
very weird, and more so when they commenced beating the old histoi ic drums
and singing the old-time chants in honour of their king.
It being the first occasion on which Europeans had been present, it was
a revelation to know that women were such experts at drumming with tile hands,
the rhythm being perfect.
The tomb itself is not the mound shown to visitors, but is a second one
concealed by hangings of cloth. On this event the grave was exposed, covered
with new barkcloths. and hung with the old royal leopard and lion skins, the
ones used by Mtesa, or Mukabya as the Baganda always call him.
Daudi was accommodated with a seat between the two mounds. together
with his brother Prince Suna.
But to us, and probably to the Baganda too, the most interesting objects
were the balongo which were shown to the public for the first time. No
European has ever been allowed to see them before.
These are frames, the lower part of which contains the umbilical cord of
the individual to be commemorated as alive, for the natives speak of them still
as human beings and address Mtesa's as Kabaka.
EXTRACTS FROM "MENGO NOTES" 85
There were four in all, the others being Nkinzi Lubuga, Nawati Lubuga,
Nakologwe Luhuga of Sebukule.
The frames are beaded most beautifully, completely covered with tiny,
many-coloured beads, arranged in pleasing patterns. The base of the King's
is also beaded, but those of each Lubuga are plain barkcloth.
The balongo are not now kept in the tomb, but carefully guarded by the
women in charge. On this particular occasion they were for the first time
photographed by special request of the Katikiro, who begged I would go for
that purpose as they wished much to have a record of such events, and be able to
keep pictures to show to their children in years to come.
The old royal spears, shields, guns and walking sticks were also pointed
out to enquirers, and historic musical instruments including a fine beaded flute
were used ; the Kabaka being as much interested as the other visitors.
After the ceremony, adjournment was made to the Lubuga Damali's where
a tent was erected and tea and cakes served.
Damali was anxious that she should be allowed to kill a fatted bullock and
cook loads of plantains, and make the king a royal feast, but the time involved
made the visitors decline the honour, and they requested that the feast might be
cooked and sent along to the Lubiri at Mengo next day.
This was done, and the king invited some of his retinue to go down and help
eat the abundant supply of food, the Mengo High School boys numbering over
100 being included. After the feast the guests were invited to stay for a chat
and the boys to sing to the king.
How very different to the old style, what days of terror have passed!
According to the natives who were then present the lives of none were safe, and
they thus describe events:
The king entered the courtyard and when a portion of his following had
entered, gave orders to close the gate and all who remained outside were to be
seized and killed. Again on leaving the tomb the door was closed on a signal
from him and all who remained inside killed. So that even his friends were
But tradition says one day a sage came along with a proverb and said to
Mtesa: 'My lord, a king had a great and mighty forest, but he had a passion for
felling trees, and he felled and felled till none were left. Not that he used
the trees, he merely felled them for pleasure.' Said the king. 'What a fool
My lord,' said the sage, You have a mighty nation of good men, but you
keep on felling them by the thousand. What will become of your glorious nation
if you thus destroy all your men? '
Mtesa saw the wisdom of the reasoning, and tradition says had no more
butchering, but Mwanga had apparently not much sentiment and reverted to
the old style.
One word about the balongo. These were not originally intended as objects
of worship, but the idea gradually grew that the spirit was still contained
therein and they were practically worshipped, receiving the same salutes as
The visit of a ruler to a tomb was always with the avowed object of saluting
the spirit of the departed, still resident in the tomb, and presents of food, firewood
and other things were regularly brought to the spirit."
(Uganda Notes, December 1906, pp. 182-185.)
BANKING IN UGANDA-(1)
In reply to a letter we sent to the National Bank of India commending their
opening a branch in Entebbe, we have received the following reply, which may
interest our readers:
'Uganda has always had a great interest for us, as we fully realize its
enormous possibilities, but we have been unable to establish ourselves earlier
owing to the want of suitable communication for the transport of specie and
other necessaries for the carrying on of business. We trust that our opening
now may help the development of the country, in the case of which tl e Mission
Industries have already contributed so largely. As communication is extended
and as trade develops, we trust by and by to be able to open out in other
(Uganda Notes, January 1907, p. 5.)
BANKING IN UGANDA-(2)
"On October Ist the Uganda Treasury Savings Bank was inaugurated, and
offices opened for the purpose of receiving deposits from the natives at her two
principal centres, Entebbe and Kampala. The Treasurer at Kamplla is Mr.
H. A. MacKenzie."
(Uganda Notes, November 1907, p. 180.)
BANKING IN UGANDA--(3)
"The opening of a branch of the National Bank of India at Kampala is a
great boon to the Mission, as well we are sure as to the trading community and
indeed all residents in this district. We wish the Bank every success, and hope
to see branches opened at Jinja, Hoima, Toro, Masaka, and other European
centres as time goes on and the trade of the country extends."
(Uganda Notes. February 1911, p. 19.)
BANKING IN UGANDA-(4)
"The National Bank of India have opened another new branch at Jinja.
We are glad to see their business spreading thus, as it demonstrates that the
trade of the country is increasing satisfactorily."
(Uganda Notes. July 1911, p. 101.)