|UFDC Home||| Help ||
|Table of Contents|
|Early History of Buganda|
|Ambatch and African Blackwood and...|
|Photography in Uganda|
|Some Notes on the Basoga|
|Index to Volume II|
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Early History of Buganda
Ambatch and African Blackwood and some other Light and Heavy Uganda Woods
Photography in Uganda
Some Notes on the Basoga
Index to Volume II
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA LITERARY
AND SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY
Vol. II. APRIL, 1935. No. 4.
Early History of Buganda. ... .. .. ... ... J.M. Gray.
"Mbwa" Flies .. ... ... ... ... ... .. EG. Gibbins.
Ambatoh and African Blakwood. .. ... W.J. Eggeling.
Photography in Uganda. ... ... .. .. Dr. A. T. Sohofield.
Some Notes on the Basoga. ... .*.. ... 0C L. Bruton.
NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE.
The Uganda Journal
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA LITERARY
AND SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY
Vol. II. APRIL, 1935. No. 4.
Early History of Buganda.
"Mbwa" Flies. ... ...
Ambatch and African Blackwood.
Photography in Uganda ...
Some Notes on the Basoga.
A Note on the African Buffalo.
Bees Nesting in Key-holes.
An Ascent of Mount Mikeno ...
An Aerial Phenomenon. ...
A Buganda Fable. ... ...
... ... ... ... by J. M. GRAY.
... ... ... ... by E. G. GIBBINS.
... .. ... ... by W .J. EGGELING.
... ... ... by DR. A. T. SCHOFIELD.
... ... ... ... by C. L. BRUTON.
by G. H. E. HOPKINS.
... .. ... ... by T. W. CHORLEY.
... ... ... ... ... by R. M B.
... ... ... ... by MARK WILSON.
... Written down by R. S. SHACKELL.
Early Explorers in Ankole.
... ...... by R.M.K. KASULE.
... by R.W. MALING.
THE UGANDA LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC
There are no restrictions as to membership of the Uganda Literary and
Scientific Society. Membership is open to all races and to Institutions and
Clubs. No entrance fee is imposed. The annual subscription, which is payable
in advance on ist July of each year, is Shs. io for single membership and Shs. 15
for double members. The double membership is introduced for the convenience
of families and entitles two members of a family to all the rights and privileges
of a full member except that they receive only one copy of each number of the
Additional copies of the Journal may be obtained from the Hon. Secretary
and Treasurer, price Shs. 2/50 per copy. A limited number of bound copies of
Volume i and a few single copies of each of the first two numbers can be obtained,
either from the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer or the Uganda Bookshop, price
Shs. to for the bound Volume i and Shs. 3 for single copies. Arrangements have
been made with the Uganda Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd., Kampala, to
bind the volumes of the Journal at a cost of Shs. 2/50 per volume. All subscriptions
and contributions to the Journal should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary and
Treasurer, P.O., Kampala. No guarantee is given to return any MSS. submitted.
Articles should be typed on one side of the sheet only and should not contain
matter likely to cause political or religious controversy.Those submitted by
Government Officials must comply with Colonial Office Regulations; they should
either be submitted u.f. s. the Head of Department concerned or they should
be addressed to the Editor, with a request that he will obtain the necessary
permission for publication.
THE UGANDA LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC
HIS EXCELLENCY SIR B. H. BOURDILLON, K.C.M.G., K.B.E.
E. J. WAYLAND, ESQ.
P. L. FENTON, ESQ.
MRS. H. H. HUNTER.
MRS. C. G. MOODY.
MARK WILSON, ESQ.
R. A. SNOXALL, ESQ.
DR. A. T. SCHOFIELD.
OMW. E. S. W. KIRONDS.
Honorary Secretary, Treasurer, and Editor :
E. F. TWINING, ESQ., M.B.E. (o01tgoing).
JOHN SYKES, ESQ. (incoming).
Representative in Great Britain :
E. B. HADDON, ESQ., 3 Cranmer Road, Cambridge.
N. B.-The Society's Postal Address is P. O. Box 263, Kampala; and
its Bankers the National Bank of India, Ltd., Kampala.
This number completes Volume II oftheJournaland coincides with the departure
on leave of the Editor. Satisfactory arrangements have been made for the carrying
on of the Society and for the continuance of this quarterly Journal. By the end of
its second year the Society will have fairly consolidated its position. The member-
ship has now passed the figure of 500 which is the minimum number necessary for
financial reasons if the annual subscription is to be kept at its present low figure
but there is ample room for further expansion. A small reserve has been built up
and by the end of this financial year the excess of assets over liabilities should be
about 200. It is to be hoped that there will be no slackening-off in the present
support, both as regards membership and also in the matter of contributions to the
Journal. It has been the experience in many countries with a small population
that a publication like this flourishes for a few years and then is forced to reduce
itself owing to apathy and lack of support. There should be no reason for such a
falling-off in the case of Uganda. Our knowledge of the country, though constantly
growing, is still comparatively small and this Journal should prove to be a useful
medium of disseminating such knowledge.
By the time that this appears in print a Special General Meeting of the Society
will have been held for the purpose of approving the altered constitution and electing
certain new officers. The constitution, which incorporates the new title of the
Society, has been drawn up on broad lines giving the committee wide executive
powers whilst retaining the control of major policy in the hands of the general body
of members. It is intended to have a number of copies of the new constitution
printed and any member may obtain one free on application to the Honorary
For those who have not already made arrangements for the automatic payment
of their subscription on the ist July, a banker's order is enclosed in this number. It
will be greatly appreciated if members would make use of this, for the non-payment of
subscriptions punctually involves much additional work for the Honorary Secretary
and also considerable avoidable expenditure in reminding members that their
subscriptions are overdue. In no circumstances will copies of the Journal be sent to
those whose subscriptions are outstanding.
Contributors and correspondents are asked to note the new address of the
Society. Before handing over the duties of Editor to Mr. J. Sykes, we would like to
express our thanks to all those who have assisted us in our work and in particular to
Mr. Mark Wilson and others who have given up much of their spare time to reading
proofs and preparing matter for publication.
In the last Editorial we referred to Mr, T. P. O'Brien as being in charge of the
British Museum Archaeological Expedition to Uganda. We have been asked to
state that this is incorrect. The correct name is the African Prehistoric Research
Since the last number of the Journal we have received many applications from
various Societies and Learned Bodies to exchange the Journal for their publications.
The Committee has decided that at this stage we should only agree to exchange in
cases where the Society will receive a publication of general interest to members.
We have to acknowledge the receipt of the following:-
Bantu Studies, Vol. VIII, Nos. 1,2,3 and 4.
The Spiked Whal Trap & its Distribution.
Fighting Bracelets & Kindred weapons in Africa.
Fish Hooks in Africa & their distribution. by K. G.
Two Kinds of Fishing Implements. Lidblom of
I. The Plunge Basket in Africa & elsewhere. Stockholm.
2. The Circular Cast Net in Africa.
The Uganda Church Review.
A miscellaneous collection of publications from the Art, Historical & Scientific
Association of Vancouver, B. C.
Any member may borrow these works on application to the Honorary Secretary.
Lt. Col. Stoneham of the Kitale Museum has kindly offered to present the Society
with a copy of his book on Uganda Birds.
In future the postal address of the Society will be P. O. Box 263, Kampala.
Early History of Buganda.*
By J. M. GRAY.
I feel a great deal of diffidence in presenting this paper upon a subject about
which I feel a great many of my readers know a great deal already, but perhaps
I may be excused if I approach the matter from a point of view which has pos-
sibly not been presented to them before.
Every nation in the world has a history of some sort. It is generally a very
long history because nations are not made in a day, but sometimes, though it is a
long history, very little is known about it. The reason for this ignorance of a nation's
earlier history is because in the past the members of that nation did not put down
in writing the events which happened during their life time. This is particularly true
of the Baganda. As is well known, the Baganda did not know how to read and
write until the Arabs first came to their country about ninety years ago, and very
few of them applied themselves seriously to the task until after the arrival of the
Christian missionaries sixty years or so ago. Since that date a great number of
Baganda, as well as members of neighboring races, have tried to make up for past
omissions. One could mention a number of names but they really are so many that,
if one tried to mention all of them, one would be sure to do an injustice to some
people by forgetting to name them.
I should however in particular like to mention the names of three people who
are no longer living. They are Sir Apolo Kagwa, the late Katikiro of Buganda;
Andereya Duhaga, the late Mukama of Bunyoro; and Daudi Kasagama, the late
Mukama of Toro. The first in particular did very valuable work forthe preservation
of the history of his country. I am by no means saying that everything he wrote
was absolutely and entirely accurate. No historian can ever lay claim to infallibihty.
But everybody who may hereafter try to write something of the history ofBuganda,
will have to acknowledge his indebtedness to Sir Apolo Kagwa.
What I am going to endeavour to narrate here is the history of Buganda before
the Arabs and the Europeans arrived. As I have already explained, I am at once
handicapped by the fact that nobody who was living in those early times ever put
into writing anything about the events which happened in his lifetime. What one
has to do in the circumstances is very much what a detective has to do when he
is sent out to investigate a crime of which there have been no eyewitnesses. A good
detective knows that he has to look for evidence in the shape of clothing, weapons,
This contribution was originally a lecture delivered to the Uganda Literary Debating and
Social Club. It was printed in the Club's journal, The Beacon, and in view of its interest
it is now reprinted with the consent of the Editor of The Beacon.
implements, footmarks, and things like that. When he has collected everything
which may possibly have any connection with the crime, and examined everything
so collected very carefully, he may be able to prove how the crime was committed,
and who committed it. Similarly, a historian has to look about him, find what
pieces of evidence exist today, collect it all together, examine it very closely, and
then by careful comparison and sifting he may be able to say what happened many
years ago and who did it. There are various kinds of evidence for which a historian
is always on the look-out. I am not going to enumerate them all but shall mention
just a few, which I have found useful in trying to learn something of the history of
One piece of the evidence is the customs of the people themselves. As my
readers are aware, particularly amongst the older people of Buganda there is often
an ingrained habit of always doing a certain thing in a certain way before doing
something else. If you were to ask one of these people why he did it, he would
possibly be quite unable to explain and just tell you "That is the custom". But just
because a custom appears to be meaningless nowadays, that does not show that it
never had a meaning. Every custom, good or bad, had a meaning, good or bad,
when it first began.
I will give you one example. No Kabaka of Buganda was ever held to be or
thought that he was king of Buganda until he had gone to the top of Budo hill and
gone through the ceremony of "eating Buganda". Why should he want to go
through such a ceremony? And why should he climb up Budo hill and not some
other hill? A well-known tradition in Buganda gives us the answer. When Kintu,
who is claimed to be the founder of the race, came to Buganda, he came as a
conqueror. He found a number of petty kings in the country and conquered them.
One, whose name was Bemba and whom legend has converted into a snake, gave
him a great deal more trouble than all the others, but Kintu eventually overpowered
him by guile, if the common legend is to be believed. Bemba's last stronghold
was on Budo hill. When Kintu had destroyed him and had got possession of that
hill, he felt he had really conquered the land. Consequently all Kintu's successors
felt that they must show that they had really got possession of Buganda by ascend.
ing Budo hill and going through this ceremony.
I will refer to yet another custom. Every Kabaka of Buganda has had a
"Namasole" or Queen-Mother. Supposing his real mother died before or after he
became Kabaka, he none the less had to appoint somebody as his official mother.
When, for instance, Mulondo's real mother died during his lifetime, another woman
of her clan was appointed Queen-Mother, in her place. Again, Mutesa's real
mother was sold as a slave by Suna, when Mutesa was a child. She was taken to
the Coast and never more heard of (1). None the less Mutesa had a Queen-Mother,
about whom early European visitors to Buganda have written a good deal. Obvi-
ously the post was not created because the Baganda felt that the woman who had
given birth to the Kabaka ought to be held in particular reverence. The Namasole,
moreover, held her own courts, had her own estates, and exercised powers which
(1) This is disputed by some Baganda. See Uganda Journal, Vol. I, pp. 23 and 128; and
Vol. II, pp. 83-85.
in many ways resembled those of the Kabaka himself. Except for the "Lubuga"
(or Queen-Sister) no other Muganda woman was ever accorded so much honour-
or in fact any honour at all. Why then should there be a Namasole treated al-
most as an equal of the Kabaka himself?
The answer may surprise the Baganda, who nowadays do not believe in the
succession of women to the throne. Once upon a time women did rule as kings in
Buganda. There is abundant evidence of the truth of this and there is an explanation
as to why this should be so. When Kimera came to Buganda, he found part of the
country being ruled by a woman named Naku, who was the daughter of a former
king. Naku had a husband named Sebwana, the son of Mukibi, the founder of the
Lugave clan, who was said to have been driven off the mainland to the Sese islands
by Bemba before Kintu's arrival. Sebwana does not appear to have counted for
much. Naku decided to marry Kimera instead of him and, having done so, declared
Sebwana to be desposed. According to tradition Sebwana, who was absent from
home when the marriage took place, decided that the best thing to do was to run
away and thus preserve his life. There can be no doubt that Kimera conquered the
land, but if anybody had asked him by what right he said he was king he would
not have said "by right of conquest" but "because I have married the daughter of
the late ruler of the land". Naku in fact, if tradition is to be believed, had a great
hand in making and unmaking kings. She took a dislike to her second husband,
Kimera, because she believed he was responsible for her son's death, and persuaded
her grandson to murder him. She was probably a very unpleasant female, but she
was a very important one-so important in fact that every Kabaka from Kimera
onwards always had a wife from her clan and called her Naku. The reason for
this is obvious. Kimera had conquered that clan but wanted to pacify the members
thereof by marrying into the clan. This, it may incidentally be observed, affords an
explanation of the fact that in the old days the Kabakas used regularly to obtain
wives from almost every one of the Baganda clans. They wanted to be secured on
their thrones by means of marriage alliances. It also explains why the sons of a
Kabaka, contrary to the universal custom, adopted the totems of their mothers and
not those of their fathers. Kimera's grandson, Tembo, was recognized as king be-
cause he was descended through his grandmother from the old rulers of. the land
and therefore lawfully entitled to the throne. The custom of adopting the mother's
totems was continued by his descendants long after its real purpose had been
Another source of information for the history of Buganda is the old religion of
the people. A large number of the gods and goddesses of the country were once upon
a time real people. They were evidently people of some importance, who showed
themselves by their acts to be more remarkable than the people amongst whom they
lived. When they died their ignorant and superstitious neighbours, who had
thought them very marvellous in their lifetime, decided that they must be something
more than mere human beings and so deified them. The stories told about some of
these deities are in fact stories told about people who once actually lived. Kibuka
is one good example. When Nakibinge, King of Buganda, was being attacked by
the Banyoro, he sent to the god Wanema on the Sese islands to ask for his assist-
ance. Wanema agreed to send him aid provided Nakibinge handed over one of his
sons to him. A prince of the Buffalo clan was handed over and the prince's mother
was accorded the title of wife of Wanema. Kibuka, Wanema's son, was sent to the
mainland. He and Nakibinge fought the Banyoro near Mbale in Mawokota. Kibuka
is said to have flown in the air during the fight, but both he and Nakibinge were
killed. Kibuka's body was found and was buried at Mbale. A temple was erected
over his remains and a priestess appointed as guardian thereof. About forty years
ago the temple was destroyed during the civil wars. Some of the relics were, how-
ever, saved and examination showed that they were those of a human being. In re-
cognition of the fact that their clan had provided a prince as a hostage for Wanema
and of the sacrifice made by that prince's mother, a woman of the clan was for ever
afterwards appointed as the wife and priestess of Wanema. Here again is an ex-
ample of a custom, which once had a reason for its creation. Added to this is the
further interesting point that it shows that Wanema and Kibuka were originally
human beings and not balubale (deities). Wanema was an independent ruler of the
Sese islands, who became an ally of the ruler of Buganda in a war against the
A third source of information is what is known as tradition. This source has
to be scrutinised with very great care. Stories of the past are handed on by word
of mouth from one person to another and each fresh narrator is liable to alter the
story as he tells it to the next person. Sometimes he misses out bits of the story;
more often he tries to improve it by adding little embellishing touches of his own.
The result is that very often in the course of transmission the story gets so altered
as to be entirely different from that which was originally told. A common fault
about these story-tellers is their tendency to glorify their own kinsfolk or their
ancestors or their tribe at the expense of everybody else. For example, it is a
tradition common to all the peoples of the Uganda Protectorate who live to the south
and west of the Nile that their countries once formed part of a single kingdom, but
none of the different races agree as to what was the nationality of the rulers of that
single kingdom. The Baganda say he was a Muganda named Kintu. The Ba-
nyoro say he was a Munyoro named Isimbwa. Yet again, the people of two races
generally agree that in the past they used often to fight each other but they will
nearly always disagree as to which party were the victors. The traditions of the
Baganda, for instance, have a lot to say about their successful wars against the
Banyoro, but very little about their defeats by the latter. Similarly the Banyoro
according to their traditions were constantly fighting the Baganda and very fre-
quently beating them. If one accepted both sets of traditions as entirely true, one
would begin to wonder why there are any Baganda or Banyoro alive today. Ac-
cording to all accounts they ought utterly to have killed each other off.
Another danger about traditions is that the members of a family or clan may
often either invent them or improve upon them so as to support a claim to a parti-
cular post or office or a particular piece of property. For example, if a man wants a
piece of land, he may think he will strengthen his claim by saying his grandfather
owned it. He may then think that he will better his claim by saying his grand-
father's grandfather also lived there, as he realises that it will be very difficult for
anybody to bring any evidence going back to such a remote time to prove that what
he alleges is untrue. This sort of evidence therefore has to be scrutinised with the
closest possible care. If, however, it is corroborated by another person, who.is not
shown to have any particular motive for being untruthful, one has some grounds for
believing there is a substratum of truth in it.
Some people will tell you that all traditions are unsafe to believe, but I am not
one of them. The history of great countries like Greece and Rome begins with
traditions, which were reduced to writing when writing became known. Some of
them are absurd on their face and some contradict each other, but of recent years
further evidence has been obtained to prove that there was a great deal of truth in
those traditions. Take the case of Homer's Iliad-that long poem about the siege
of Troy. People used to say that siege never took place. The poem speaks of the
marvellous palaces of the Greeks who besieged Troy. People said that the poet had
invented those marvellous tales. But of recent years people have been digging at
Troy and in Greece and have found buried under the ground remains which prove
that a great deal of what the poet said was true. A legend or tradition alw ays con-
tains a grain of truth. How big that grain is is not always easy to say. But experience
does show that people who can neither read nor write very often preserve in their
memories the stories of past days with far greater retentivenesss than those who
can read and write and by reason of this ability are concerned and burdened with
more mental distractions than their less literate brethren.
I should like to give just one example, which shows with what faithfulness of
details a story can be handed down from one generate n to another. In 1876
Stanley visited Buganda. One night when he was sitting before a camp-fire, a Mu-
ganda told him the story of how Kimera came to Buganda. Stanley, who knew how
to write shorthand, took it down as it was told to him and subsequently published
it in English in a book called My Dark Companions and their Strange Stories. Thirty
years after Stanley heard the story it was told by an aged Muganda to Sir Apolo
Kagwa, who also put it into writing-this time in Luganda-and published it in his
history of the Kings of Buganda. I am not going to set out that story in full,
but it will perhaps be remembered that tradition has it that Kimera was a great
hunter and that he had two dogs to assist him in the chase. One of the dogs was
killed by a lion. The other was called Semagimbi. The two people I have mentioned
wrote down the story of Kimera in two entirely dif erent languages--English and
Luganda. Neither of them had an opportunity of consulting or comparing notes
with the other. Yet they each tell the same story about Kimera having two dogs,
and Stanley and Kagwa-thirty years apart-both give the name of Semagimbi to
one of those dogs. Both writers are in agreement as to the main points in the
story, though they each received it from the mouth of a different informant, but it
is clear that that story was so imprinted in the memory of those informants that
.they each narrated the story to their respective listeners almost as if they had been
reading it from a printed book.
When one of these traditions admits a fact which reflects adversely on the race
of the narrator, for example, when the Baganda admit that they were defeated by
the Banyoro in the reign of Nakibinge, we have a fairly strong guarantee that that
tradition is truthful. Again, when a tradition prevalent in one race is repeated in
the traditions of another race, we have so to speak the evidence of two witnesses,
which is very often, though not always, better than the evidence of one witness,
and therefore have strong reasons for accepting it as true. I should like to give
one example of this, which does not come from Buganda. Some two or more cen-
turies ago the Mukama of Bunyoro was a certain Cwa. He was a great fighter and
a great raider. He led a strong expedition into Ankole and Kiziba. Whilst it
was returning rinderpest broke out and the captured cattle died. The inhabitants
of the raided countries rose against Cwa as he retreated and he was either killed
or else died. He left no children and for some years his sister, Dunego, ruled as
Queen of Bunyoro. Cwa, however, had left a wife behind in Kiziba, who was
taken prisoner and gave birth to a son shortly after her husband's death. Some
Banyoro, who were on a visit to Kiziba, discovered that son and brought him back
to Bunyoro. The rest of the story resembles the Biblical one of Athaliah and
Joash, excepting that the Munyoro Athaliah was not put to death but sent into
exile. This story is common to both Baziba and Banyoro traditions and therefore
must have some foundation of truth.
I have treated at considerable length the sources of the early history of
Buganda and therefore fear I have left myself very little space to tell about the
actual history of the country itself. In any case that history is so very full that it
is impossible to do it real justice in a short paper. I will, however, now set out the
salient features of it as briefly as possible.
The first point to be borne in mind in connection therewith is that the
Baganda, like all other nations in the world, are in origin a mixed race. The second
is that they have not always lived in Buganda but have come from elsewhere and
settled there. These two facts are proved by the traditional histories of the clans
of the Baganda. There are over thirty Baganda clans, but many of them give very
different places as their country of origin. The Grasshopper clan say they came
from Busongola in the Western Province. The Bushbuck clan say they came from
Bunyoro. The Yam clan say they came from Mount Elgon. and the Sheep clan
say they came from Bugwere in the Eastern Province. Furthermore, each of these
clans gives a different date as that of its arrival in the country. The Colobus
Monkey clan say they were already in the country when Kintu came. The Mush-
room clan say they came with Kintu. The Grasshopper clan say they came in the
time of Kintu's son, Cwa, and the Bushbuck clan say they came in the time of
Cwa's grandson, Kimera.
Each of these clans was, I believe, at first an independent tribe owning its own
small piece of territory and having its clan head as its paramount chief. That chief was
not subject to any overlord and very often was at war with all the neighboring clans.
The clansmen did not call themselves Baganda or call their country Buganda. If
one had asked any one of them his race or country, he would probably have answer-
ed, "I belong to such and such a clan and my country is called Bulondoganyi" (or
some other district of the modern Buganda). There is a good deal of evidence going
to show that this theory is true. If one plots out on the map the ancestral estates
of many of the clans, one finds that the oldest of those estates are very often all to
be found in a comparatively small area. For example, almost all estates of the
Nvuma clan are in Kyadondo; of the Hippopotamus, Jackal, Reedbuck, and Bird
clans in Kyagwe; and of the Otter clan in Gomba. Again, in later times the Kabakas
of Buganda were in the habit of treating the heads of some ot those clans more or
less as equals and certainly as having some of the attributes of royalty. Nankere of
the Lung Fish clan is one.example and Kakoto of the Bird clan another. Thirdly,
long after the members of many clans ceased to reside entirely in one locality and
had acquired estates in other parts of Buganda, some clans still remained more or
less separate units and were clearly regarded as a tribe apart from the other clans
of Buganda. When, for instance, Katerega decided to conquer Butambala and
Gomba, he entrusted the task to the Sheep and Ntalaganya clans. These two clans
performed their task and were rewarded by being given large estates in those counties.
From that date right down to the time of Mutesa the county chief of Butambala
was always selected from the Sheep clan. From the time of the conquest of Gomba
until the reign of Mutesa's grandfather, Kamanya, the chief of that county was,
except for a short interval in the reign of Semakokiro, always chosen from th : Ntala-
The clans began to cease to be tribes and to combine together to form a single
nation about the time that Kintu arrived in the country. In fact the credit for this
welding of them into one nation seems to be due to the man Kintu. When I refer to
Kintu, I must explain that I do not think everything ascribed to Kintu was done by
Kintu himself. I believe that at about the time at which he lived, a lot of rather
outstanding men came into Buganda as invaders and that owing to the lapse of many
centuries memories have got confused, with the result that things which were done by
others of these men have been wrongly ascribed to Kintu instead of to the persons
who really did them. Kintu, however, personifies the movement of his age and it
is convenient to speak of him as having achieved everything which is attributed to
him, although this may not have been so in fact.
There are various traditions as to the direction from which Kintu came to
Buganda, but the most general one is that he came from the region of Mount Elgon
through Busoga. Until very recently he was recognized as one of the principal dei-
ties in Busoga. It is therefore possible that the people personified by Kintu stayed
some little time in that country before they came on to Buganda. They were not a
single tribe but clearly a group of tribes which allied themselves together. Four.
teen at least of the present Baganda clans claim either to be descended from Kintu,
or to have accompanied him to Buganda, or tohave arrived there during his lifetime.
Though one legend says Kintu found no inhabitants in Buganda, when he
arrived, this is clearly untrue. At least five (the Civet Cat, Lugave, Reedbuck, Colo-
bus Monkey, and Bird) clans claim to have been settled in the land before he came.
Of these, Ntege, the head of the Civet Cat clan, ruled over part of Busiro. He
was killed, or at any rate deposed, by Kintu. To this day the name given by the
older generation of Banyoro to the neighboring country is "Obuganda bwa
Ntege." It is clear therefore that Kintu found the country already occupied by people
who probably belonged to much the same race as himself. It seems further clear
that the people who were in the land when Kintu arrived were in considerable
distress. A large number of the clans were being oppressed by the man Bemba,
whom I have already mentioned. The Lugave clan say they were driven off the
mainland by Bemba and had to take refuge on one of the Sese islands. Some
members of a branch of the Heart clan say they were driven out of Busiro by
him and forced to flee to Buddu, which was then part of Bunyoro. These oppressed
people asked Kintu to aid them and, as I have already mentioned, he finally
overcome and killed Bemba on Budo hill. According to tradition Kintu was-except
on the very rare occasions of sudden paroxysms of anger-a person of a singularly
mild and gentle character. All legends emphasise this point, Amongst the pagan
Basoga he occupies a, singular position. Most pagan deities are rather terrible
people whose displeasure it is desirable to propitiate by frequent and large
presents, but the Basoga used formerly to regard Kintu as a kindly-disposed
god to whom intercessory prayers could be o ffe r e d so as to secure that a journey or
other venture would be successful. He, or the persons whom he represents, must
therefore have been outstanding amongst the people with whom he or they lived.
Kintu himself is said to have laid down certain customary laws, which are
observed by the Baganda until this day. He is also said to have laid the founda-
tions of the system of government which now exists in Buganda. It would seem
therefore fairly clear that he united a group of tribes, which were entirely indepen-
dent of each other and often warring against one another, into a single confedera-
tion which was the beginning of a compact kingdom. It must, however, be remem-
bered that the area of his territory was not very large. It comprised the county
of Busiro and parts of the counties adjacent thereto and possibly the lake-shore
of Kyagwe, but not much else.
I do not propose to spend any time upon Cwa but to proceed to his alleged
grandson, Kimera. I call him alleged grandson because I do not believe he actually
was a descendant of Kintu. For reasons, which I have already given, he or his
supporters decided that it was advisable to assert such descent so as to lend colour
to his claim to the throne of Buganda. The real truth seems to be that Kimera
came from Bunyoro and conquered Buganda. The story that he was the son of
Wanyana, the wife of Wunyi, Mukama of Bunyoro, and that he was thrown into
the water when a baby, and rescued thence by a potter is probably well known to
my readers. But the Baganda have copied that story from the Banyoro, and the
Banyoro in their turn have copied it from some other race. The story was in fact
first told nearly two thousand years ago by the ancient Greeks, who called the in-'
fant child Perseus and his mother Danae. Wunyi, the husband of Kimera's mother,
is said to have been the first of the present dynasty in Bunyoro. He came from
the Acholi country and his name and title of Okali suggest that he belonged to a
Nilotic race. He supplanted the light-skinned Bacwezi as ruler of Bunyoro. Like
Kimera, he claimed to be related to the people whom he supplanted, for reasons of
diplomacy, but it is none the less clear that he drove the Bacwezi out. It seems
equally clear that Kimera, who is traditionally supposed to be Wunyi's son, con-
tinued the advance began by Wunyi and invaded and conquered Buganda. The
Banyoro in fact say that Wunyi's brother, Kato, did conquer Buganda and set up
an independent kingdom there. Kato is clearly the same person as Kimera and
there is a great deal of evidence confirming the legend of the Banyoro. Six of the
present Baganda clans claim to have accompanied him to the country. Three of
these (the Jackal, Edible Rat, and Sheep) say they came from the no them shores
of Lake Victoria and the Sese islands. The other three (the Buffalo, Bushbuck,
and Squirrel) claim to have come from Bunyoro. Another clan, the Reedbuck, which
claim to have come sometime before Kimera's day from Bunyoro and settled in the
Mabira forest, say they seceded from Bunyoro in Kimera's time and that he was the
first Kabaka of Buganda to whom they acknowledged allegiance. When Kimera
arrived, he is said to have expelled a large number of clans whom he found already
in the country from their ancestral lands and to have given them to other clans and
in particular to the Buffalo and Bushbuck clans. This seems to suggest conquest.
Furthermore there is one interesting point in connection with the Bushbuck clan.
The bushbuck is the totem of the Babito, the royal clan of Bunyoro. Until quite
modern times no Kabaka of Buganda could take a wife from this clan. The reason
that is commonly assigned for this is that Kimera was murdered whilst hunting
a bushbuck, but that hardly seems a sufficient reason. What seems to me far more
probable is that the members of the Bushbuck clan were in the early days recognized
as Babito of the royal clan and that any Kabaka who married a Mubito woman
would be regarded as having married within the prohibited degrees of kinship and
I think therefore the Baganda have got to face the fact that once upon a time
people from Bunyoro overran their land and conquered it. As I have, however, al-
ready explained Kimera married a woman who claimed to be Queen of the country
and thereby no doubt won over a number of his conquered subjects to his side,
We can pass over the next four kings of Buganda without comment and come to
the eighth Kabaka, Nakibinge. As I have already mentioned he was attacked, and
defeated, by the Banyoro. He seems in fact to have suffered a really disastrous
defeat as a result of which the Baganda lost Bweya (Butambala), which fell into the
hands of the Banyoro. But his defeat emphasised one thing. The Baganda were
no longer a number of loosely-connected tribes, but had become a more or less
united and organised people. Many of Nakibinge's leading chiefs fell in the fight
with the Banyoro at Mbale (Mpigi). Had it not been for the fact that Nanono, one
of the Kabaka's wives, rallied the fleeing Baganda the defeat might have been even
more disastrous. Nanono seems to have been a remarkable woman and ruled the
country for some fifteen months after Nakibinge's death. It is even said that she
would have been recognized as Kabaka if she had had a male child. As her only
child was a girl, a son of Nakibinge was eventually chosen as king.
All Nakibinge's children were infants at the time of his death. Mulondo in
fact was so small that it is said that, when he was in Lukiko, his chiefs could not
see him. A special stool-the royal throne Namulondo-therefore had to be made
so that the child could be set on it and made visible to his subjects. This little
episode seems to me to illustrate a great deal. It shows that by this time the clans
had realized that they must unite together and not fight among themselves, and
that the best means of showing a united front against their enemies was by all
alike showing an undivided loyalty to the son of their late king, even though he
was a mere child. The chiefs of those days were living in difficult times and had
to defend their country against the Basoga as well as the Banyoro. If one of
the heads or leading members of one of the clans had thought the time a good one
for setting himself up as Kabaka, the result would probably have been civil war,
and the Basoga and the Banyoro between them could have easily overrun and
conquered the whole land. By showing this unity and loyalty in the time of defeat
the Baganda showed that they had become a nation.
It took a long time for the Baganda to recover from the set-back caused by
Nakibinge's defeat. It was not until the reign of the fourteenth Kabaka, Katerega,'
that the country began to show any marked signs of recovery. As already men-
tioned, Katerega was able to annex the counties of Gomba and Bweya (Butambala)
to his kingdom, but this was really little more than recovering territory which
had been lost by his great-grandfather, Nakibinge.
Katerega was succeeded by three of his sons in turn. Of these the sixteenth
Kabaka, Juko, must be mentioned because of one particular legend connected with
him. At one time, he had his capital at Baka in Busiro. Whilst he was there,
tradition says he had a quarrel with a witchdoctor. To show his annoyance, the
witchdoctor put out the sun for three whole days. Many people will say this is a
very ridiculous story and obviously quite untrue. But none the less it has a grain
of truth in it. We have the traditional pedigree of the Kabakas of Buganda and
we know from this that Juko must have lived some two hundred and fifty years
ago. Now though the sorcerer certainly did not do it, none the less we know for a
fact that the sun did disappear at Baka for a short time in the middle of a day two
hundred and fifty years ago.
Astronomers are able by certain scientific calculations to tell us that in 168o
there was a total eclipse of the sun and that the central line of that eclipse
passed within a mile or so of Baka itself. The legend therefore has a very large
foundation of fact and we can be tolerably certain that in the year 168o there was
a Kabaka of Buganda named Juko who lived at Baka.
Except for this episode neither the reign of Juko nor those of his five immediate
successors have any great importance. The reign of the twenty-second king,
Mawanda, was marked by the effective subjugation of the Bulemezi district, the
greater part of which up to that date had been reckoned as part of Bunyoro, and by
raids into Busoga which enabled the Baganda to found settlements in the vicinity
of Jinja. But really marked extension of the boundaries of Buganda did not occur
until the reign of Junju, the twenty-sixth Kabaka. At this date the once powerful
kingdom of Bunyoro, which was being ruled by Duhaga I, was beginning to break
up. One of Duhaga's nephews had set himself up as an independent ruler in Koki.
Duhaga made several efforts to recover Koki with the result that the nephew
invoked the aid of the Baganda. A chief living in the north of Buddu also rebelled
against the Mukama of Bunyoro and made blood-brotherhcod with Junju. With
these two allies Junju found it a fairly easy task to invade and overrun Buddu.
Duhaga personally led an expedition against him but was completely routed and
Buddu was permanently annexed to Buganda.
Junju was desposed by his brother, Semakokiro, and subsequently murdered
by members of the Lung Fish clan. As amongst the ancient Hebrews so amongst
the Baganda, a man who stretched forth his hand against the ruler of the land to
slay him had committed an offence, which could only be punished with death. The
Amalekite, who said he had killed Saul, knew that by Saul's death David had at-
quired the throne and thought he would win favour by claiming to have killed Saul,
but David felt it was his duty to put the An alekite to death for slaying the king. In
the same way when the Bakunta of the Lung Fish clan killed Junju they enabled
Semakokiro to gain the throne, but Semakokiro thought it was his duty to put them
to death. The Bakunta escaped this fate by fleeing into Ankole. After some wander-
ings they settled on the shores of Lake Edward, where tl-ey are today and where
they still retain most of their Baganda customs despite the fact that it is nearly
one hundred and forty years since their ancestors fled from the country and that
force of circumstances has made them marry into the various local tribes of the
Semakokiro came to the throne about the end cf the eighteenth century. It was
in his reign that cloth was first imported into Buganda. Just about this date we
know for a fact that Arabs and Swahilis on the coast began to venture inland with
cotton goods to exchange them for slaves and ivory. They did not, however, reach
Buganda at this date. Semakokiro used to send to Karagwe to obtain this cloth in
exchange for ivory. On one occasion the chief in charge of one these trading ex-
peditions was robbed of his ivory and murdered. Semakokiro thereupon personally
led an expedition into Karagwe to punish the wrong-doers and returned with a large
number of cattle. Shortly after his return from this expedition Semakokiro died.
The date of his death can be fixed with an approximate degree of certainty as about
Kamanya succeeded his father, Semakokiro. He is remarkable for having
extended his influence far beyond Buganda. He had to fight one of his brothers
to gain the throne. In that war he was assisted by a Muziba prince who had been
forced to flee from his own country. As a reward for his assistance Kamatya gave
the chief a band of men, who reinstated him in his own district in Kiziba. There-
after Kamanya interfered with considerable effect in the affairs of the leading chiefs
of Kiziba. Those chiefs had hitherto been disposed to regard the Mukama of Bun-
yoro as their nominal overlord. Thenceforth they came to regard the Kabaka of
Buganda in this light.
Kamanya also extended his influence in Busoga by a series of successful
campaigns and twice defeated and drove out the Kumam, who under pressure from
the Lango had invaded Buruli, and won a number of victories over the Banyoro,
from whom he wrested a portion of the county of Buwekula. He seems to have
gone definitely to work to try to extend the boundaries of Buganda and for that
purpose issued orders that every boy in his kingdom was on reaching puberty to
be trained in arms.
Kamanya died about 1832 and was succeeded by his special directions by his
favourite son, Suna, who was then only a boy aged about twelve to fifteen. Suna
was a warrior almost from birth. As a mere child he had of his own accord ac-
companied one of his father's expenditions against the Basoga. As a man he
fulfilled the promise of his younger days. Early in his reign the Kumam once more
crossed Lake Kioga and penetrated as far as Bulemezi. They were effectively put
to rout once for all. Expeditions followed into Toro and Ankole. Busoga was
also overrun as far as Kigulu county. In about 1848 the first Arab and Swahill
traders arrived in Busoga. Three of them accompanied one of the Baganda raids
into Busoga, taking with them firearms. In about 1850 a Baluchi soldier named
Isa bin Hussein, who had fled from his creditors in Zanzibar, arrived at Suna's
court with his musket. Suna constituted him his personal bodyguard and gave
him a small chieftainship in Buddu. Isa also acquired a large number of wives
from Suna and it is interesting to note that one of his descendants was living until
very recently upon the land which Suna had given him in Buddu. Another visitor
was an Arab trader, named Snay bin Amir, who arrived in 1852. Five years later
he gave the European explorer, Captain Burton, a most interesting and valuable
account of his experiences in Buganda which Burton subsequently published.
Another Arab, who visited Suna, was a really remarkable man named Ahmed
bin Ibrahim. Suna had the reputation of being an exceedingly cruel man, who
used on the slightest pretext to order his subjects off by the score to execution.
Ahmed bin Ibrahim was so shocked by this that he stood up, at great personal
risk to himself, and rebuked Suna for his cruelty. The Kabaka was astonished by
this boldness and asked Ahmed why he called the practice wicked. Ahmed then
began to expound to him some of the elementary principles of the Mohammedan
religion. Suna proved a ready listener and asked to be told something more. He
even began to learn some of the earlier verses out of a Koran, which either Ahmed
bin Ibrahim or some other Arab gave him. That book afterwards passed from Suna
to his son, Mutesa. After Ahmed bin Ibrahim's departure, Suna's interest in the
new religion began to wane. Some of the later Arab and Swahili traders were
guilty of very high-handed conduct, with the result that Suna eventually expelled
them and gave orders that in future no foreign trader should be allowed to cross the
Kagera River. In 1857, shortly after the issue of this decree, Suna died of the small
pox whilst personally leading an expedition into Kiziba.
With Suna's successor, Mutesa, we come to modern times and this paper must
be brought to a close. I hope, however, that I have made one thing plain. The
Baganda originated from very small beginnings. From a group of disunited and
mixed tribes they became welded into a single compact race. Like all nations, they
have had their ups and their downs, but despite all vicissitudes the general trend of
their history has been one of a slow but steady progress.
Ashe, Rev., R.P.
Burton, Sir R. F.
Fisher, Mrs. R.B.
Gorju, Rev. J.
Johnston, Sir H. E.
Kagwa, Sir A.
Le Veux, Rev. P.
Nicq. Rev. A.
Roscoe, Rev. J.
Stanley, Sir H.M.
Wilson, Rev. C.T.
and Felkin, R. W.)
Chronicles of Uganda.
Two Kings of Uganda.
... Ky'Abakama ba Buayoro.
.. The Lake Regions of Central Africa.
... Uganda and its People.
... Forschungen im Nil-Kongo-Zwischengeliet.
... Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda.
... Eatre le Victoria, I'Albert, et I'Edouard.
In Full and Glad Surrender-The Story of the Life and Work
... The Uganda Protectorate.
... Mpisa za Baganda.
Ebika bye Buganda.
Engero za Baganda.
Basekabaka be Buganda.
... Manuel de Langue Luganda.
... Le Pere Simeon Lourdel.
... Kiziba,-Land und Leute.
SThrough Central Africa.
... The Baganda, their Customs and Beliefs.
The Northern Bantu.
The Bageshu and other Tribes.
The Bakitara or Banyoro.
Twenty-five years in East Africa.
... Articles in "Mucnno."
Journal of the Discovery of the Nile.
In Darkest Africa.
My Dark Companions and their Strange Stories.
... Mit Emin Pascha ins Hers von Africka.
S Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan.
By E. G. GIBBINS.
There must be few people in Uganda who have not at one time or other
experienced the cruel bite of the blood-thirsty mbwa* fly. It is an experience not
readily forgotten, for the excruciating wheal caused by the poison from the bite often
lasts as long as a week. Who has not cursed this little creature while playing a
round of golf at Jinja, or when playing a barbel in the turbulent waters of the Nile
below, or perhaps when picnicing in the delightful shade of a forest glade near the
falls of the River Sezibwa? Those who take to the gun and are lured to the district
of Bugerere in search of game at seasons when the fly is prevalent receive such
maltreatment that they seldom repeat the visit. Others who go further afield may
be surprised by the same irritating bite in depths of a Toro forest or on the banks
of the treacherous Mubuku or it may even be on one of the islands in Lake Victoria,
for such is the wide distribution of flies of this type. In these days of motor transport
the traveller by road is seldom troubled but in the days of foot safari it was a ter-
It is the African who suffers most from its ravages. In 1863, when relating
to the world his epic discovery of the source of the Nile, Speke, who aptly des-
cribes the mbwa as a small black fly with thick shoulders and bullet head, stated
that it "infests the place and torments the naked arms and legs of the people with
its sharp stings to an extent that must render life miserable to them". Not only
does the fly produce an irritating bite, but it also conveys an unpleasant disease
which is very common among the native inhabitants of certain districts, where it is
known by the name olukuku. The native does not care to reside within the infested
areas, but should he not be so fortunate as to own arable land elsewhere he may
have no alternative. The close proximity of water for domestic purposes and the
fact that the region covers one of the most fertile cotton-growing districts in
Uganda is often sufficient inducement to encourage him to settle there. Neverthe-
less, in spite of this incentive, huge tracts of extremely valuable country remain
uninhabited and the control of the insect presents a problem for the future. Those
who do reside in the fly areas cover themselves as much as their means allow
them; banana-leaves are wrapped round the legs while cultivating and those on
Government duty are issued with pantaloons.
*Mbwa is the Luganda name by which Simuliid flies are known to most Europeans and
Africans in Uganda; the word translated into English signifies a dog and refers to the fero-
city of the bite of the insect.
Olukuku is the Luganda name for a skin disease which recent researches have
shown to be a condition known as onchocerciasis. The microscopic larvae of the
adult worm, present in this disease, are found under the skin of the affected person
in extremely large numbers; a single snip of skin, about the size of the small finger
nail, may reveal the presence of over a hundred. The larvae increase in size and
though the male reaches only three centimetres, the female grows to about eleven
times that length. Later they pair and encyst, forming small nodules under the
skin. It is the minute larvae which the mbwa imbibes with its blood feed.
Passing through the stomach wall, the larvae travel to the thoracic muscles where
metamorphosis takes place. Later they make their way to the proboscis, which
they rupture and leave of their own accord, entering man at the site of the bite.
Mbwa flies belong to the family Simuliidae of which there is a single genus- -
Simulium. The species are extremely numerous and are represented under suitable
conditions in all parts of the world. Some thirty species are known to occur in
Uganda. Only the female imbibes blood; the male is seldom encountered and makes
no attempt to bite.
Though Speke called attention to the presence of the mbwa in 1863, forty years
elapsed before the insect was described and made known to science. In 1903 the
late Dr. Cuthbert Christy (the tragic circumstances of whose death in the Belgian
Congo two years ago were recounted by Captain Pitman in his article in this Journal
on the Mabira forest)* sent several specimens, which he had collected near Jinja,
to the British Museum; these were subsequently very aptly named by Theobald
Sinuliu, m damnosum. Since its description this species has been found in almost
every country in tropical Africa. Apart from two other species collected in 1911
by Dr. S.A. Neave, when on a journey through Central Africa, the existence of the
remaining twenty-seven species in Uganda was only recently established.
Like many other biting insects the mbwa is aquatic in its early stages, but
whereas in the case of the mosquito the larvae and pupae come to the surface to
breathe, those of Simulinm are especially adapted to extract the necessary oxygen
from moving water and remain submerged, sometimes at a depth of from two to
three feet, until metamorphosis is complete. Unlike the mosquito the mbwa is
unable to live in still water or in water which remains stationary over short periods;
this is owing to an insufficiency of oxygen in such waters Streams and rivers are
the only breeding places of Sinmulitum except in the case of one species whose early
stages were recently discovered on the wave-beaten rocky shore of one of the islands
in Lake Victoria. If taken from their natural habitat they soon become asphyxiated
When about to lay her eggs the female crawls along a grass-stalk or rock and
enters the water, usually in or near a fall, carrying beneath the wing a small bubble
of air and continues her way down until she reaches a suitable spot Here she lays
her eggs, which are stuck to the surface in a single layer and appear as an irregular
patch. She then releases her hold and the small air-bubble carries her to the
surface, whereupon she loses no time but flies away immediately, the wings being
unaffected by their immersion.
*See Uganda Journal, Vol. I, No. 1, p. 10.
The tiny egg, which is oval and about a millimetre in length, soon begins to
show signs of life and in a short time the larva emerges and fixes itself nearby,
utilising its sucker-like basal end as a means of attachment. Progression is
extremely slow and is accomplished with the aid of a thoracic proleg, which is also
provided with a terminal sucker, by a characteristic looping-movement; the body is
bent forward so as to enable the larva to grip the support with its proleg, the basal
end is then released, drawn forward and attached near the proleg. Should the larva
become detached and carried away by the current it is able to regain its former
anchorage on a fine silk-like thread, much in the same way as a spider returns to
its web. The food of the larva consists of microscopic animals and plants, of which
an abundant supply is usually found about its habitat. When full-grown it becomes
dark and peculiarly club-shaped. Then it stops feeding and selects a suitable place,
where it spins a cocoon around itself and pupates; later emerging as an adult fly.
Many of the watercourses of Uganda are particularly suitable for the early
stages of these small insects. The fly has been successfully reared from pupae
taken in the dashing torrents of Mount Ruwenzori at an altitude of 7,000 feet, in
the waterfalls of Mount Elgon at 9,500 feet, in the rapids of the Nile and in
innumerable other smaller streams, as well as from the wave-beaten rocky
shores of Nsadzi Island in Lake Victoria. The degree of aeration of the water
was found to be the all-important factor: certain species were only found in places
where the water was aerated to an extreme degree, while others were found in cool
sluggish streams where no aeration was perceptible, although doubtless a small
amount of excess oxygen was present. The temperature and illumination of the
water and the presence of vegetation or of organic and inorganic matter in the
water were found to be important secondary factors. One species of Simulium was
found with the aid of an electric torch, breeding in the darkness of a mountain
stream as it passed through a rock cavern situated in dense forest. Many species
did not confine themselves to one particular type of habitat, while others were
more specialised and could be correlated with certain peculiarities of their breed-
Hunting for the early stages of Simulitum damnosum in the region of the source
of the Nile was not without its little thrills and amusing incidents, which compen-
sated in a small way for the unpleasantness of being continually bitten by the fly.
A wary eye had to be kept for crocodiles, which were always lurking in the vici-
nity, and the violence of the water nearly carried one off one's feet. A passing
tourist seeing me almost up to my neck in the river inquired if I were searching for
gold! Three weeks passed before the early stages were located. Initial work on
flies of this family in the region of Ruwenzori had supplied much information as
to their likely whereabouts, but the presence of two other species (both new to
science), which have since been described by the writer, rather complicated matters.
It was first necessary to perfect a system whereby the pupae could be conveniently
isolated and the adult bred out singly in captivity. This done, large numbers of pupae
were collected from different types of habitats, the adult on emerging being care-
fully compared with flies caught in the act of biting. Still the elusive pupa evaded
the searcher until one day a long, pendulous grass-stalk with pupae attached was
drawn up from deep water. On critical microscopical examination some of the
Simuliniii ii dalliosulm, female, with its abdomen distended after a blood feed. Note its humped-back
appearance and large scaleless wing. Legs and wing of right side not shown. X42.
Simuliuml larva attached to rock (a).
Cocoon fixed to a grass-stalk showing the pupa inside (b).
Note the anal gills and anterior proleg of the larva and the
long slender respiratory filaments of the pupa.
Tip of proboscis (labrum-epipharynx) of the female,
very highly magnified, showing the terminal hooks
which enable the insect to grip the skin of its victim
while in the act of imbibing blood.
Simnuliiim dlamniosum (a), Simiulium iadersi (b).
al .: _;''s "
Photo W.J. Eggeling.
The River Nile near Jinja showing the breeding place of Sim ilium damnosimn. The rocky islet separating the fierce
rapids in the centre of the picture is typical of those with luxuriant pendulous grasses from which the early stages of
Similiuim dilnl,,osmi were obtained. (Block kindly loaned by the Royal Entomological Society of London).
pupae were seen to be slightly different from any previously found. They were
attached to the very end of the stalk and were lying snugly among those of another
species. The long grass-stalk was the clue; it was estimated that the pupae came
from a depth of two to three feet and when a search was made on rocks lying in
aerated water on the river bed at this depth many more specimens were found. It
was a happy day, some time later, when the adults emerged and the female was
found to be identical with the vicious fly. The male, which had never been seen
before, was a handsome fellow with a striking, velvet-black pattern on the thorax.
The prevalence of Simulium damnosum is to a large extent governed by the rise
and fall of the Nile, the species being more abundant during the dry season when
the river is low. At its period of greatest activity the female travels great distances
in search of food and a single specimen was even captured in the act of biting in
Kampala,* over fifty miles from its breeding place. The female is active between
sunrise and sunset; with darkness its activities cease. In the cool of the early
morning there are few on the wing but as the day brightens so they increase. On
dull days they are not so active as on bright ones, though they are more prevalent
in the shade of forest than in open spaces in strong sunlight. Houses are not
entered, but the fly is troublesome on open verandas and under open grass-shelters.
The tiny creature will attack any naked part of the body, but especially the lower
extremities. It is apt to crawl up the arm under the sleeve of a coat or up the leg
beneath shorts. The naked skin is always chosen in preference to the hairy, but it
will bite through thin stockings. Alighting quietly on the skin, the fly wanders
rapidly around patting the surface with its fore-legs as it searches for a suitable
spot. It then thrusts its head well down, pushes its formidable proboscis in, and
commences to feed greedily. On its departure a tiny trickle of blood flows from the
bite, which ultimately develops into a small, extremely irritating wheal, which often
persists for several days. A characteristic red spot, formed of congealed blood and
left at the site of the puncture, appears to be diagnostic of the bite of this insect.
Simulium adersi, the island species, had previously attracted the attention of
Professor G. D. Hale Carpenter who, when in the Uganda Medical Service study-
ing the tsetse fly, had been troubled by its blood-sucking habits. His observations
have been recorded in his interesting book A Naturalist on Lake Victoria, but he
was unaware of its breeding place and it was due to Mr. C. W. Chorley, Sleeping
Sickness Inspector, who brought in some adults for examination, that the writer's
curiosity was aroused and a special journey was made with the object of finding its
early stages. It was expected that the insect must be breeding in a small stream
on the island and when a search for a stream failed the only alternative appeared
to be that they had flown from the mainland. They were, however, of a species
26.1.35. It is amusing to relate that while the writer was taking tea in his garden
on Mulago hill and thoroughly absorbed in reading through the proof of this paper his
attention was suddenly distracted by the severe irritation set up by a recent insect bite
showing the characteristic red spot of the nibwa fly. Several minutes later two specimens of
Simuliumt damiwsum were captured in the act of biting. Subsequently a third specimen was
very kindly presented to the writer by a neighbour who was being similarly maltreated and
further reports of the presence of this cruel creature in the vicinity of Kampala have since
come to hand.
not found elsewhere and the wave-beaten rocky shore presented a possible breeding
place although it was difficult to imagine how the larvae could survive a period
when the water might be placid and therefore without excess of oxygen. Search
was made and far out in the water where the rocks received the most buffeting many
larvae and pupae were found which, when reared, gave adults identical with the
species found biting on the island. It was a unique discovery, for the early stages
of Simulium had never been previously recorded from lake water in any part of the
world and the explanation of their existence in such a habitat may be found in the
fact that the lake is said by the local inhabitants to be never still on that side of the
Whereas Simulium damnosum is prone to attack the lower extremities,
Simulium adersi goes for one's head and neck and particularly the ears. Dr.
Carpenter records that they are especially eager to bite in the early morning or
evening when rain is threatening. The species is apparently not a carrier of
Onchocerca, for no cases of this disease were found when a survey was made of the
population of this and a neighboring island.
High up amidst the delightful surroundings ofRuwenzori is another annoying
species. It had been found breeding in the River Mpanga, but none of its kind
had been taken on the wing until my attention was called to the insect, as being a
source of annoyance to a well-known Toro planter at his beautiful country home
at Mitandi, situated on a spur 6,000 feet above sea level on the slopes, of the
Ruwenzori foothills. The fly, which was new to science and has since been given
the name Simutlium ruwenzoriensis, does not appear to bite man though it is very
annoying on account of its habit of flying round the head, alighting on the face
and crawling into the eyes.
Yet another species of medical importance occurs in the forest region of Toro
and in Ankole. The writer collected specimens of the female in the act of biting
him but did not have the opportunity of searching for its breeding-place. In the
Belgian Congo and in Kenya this species, which is known as Simulium neavei, has
been associated with onchocerciasis.
Carpenter, G.D.Hale (1920) "A Naturalist on Lake Victoria." London.
Gibbins, E. G. (933) Studies on Ethiopian Simuliidae, Simulium damnosum, Theo.
Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond. 81. 37.
Gibbins, E.G. & Loewenthal L.J.A. (0933) Cutaneus Onchocerciasis in a Simulium
damnosum-infested region of Uganda. Ann. Trop. Med.
Gibbins, E.G. (1934) Further Studies on Ethiopian Simuliidae. Trans. Royal Ent,
Soc. Lond. 82. 51.
Neave S.A. (1912) Notes on the blood-sucking insects of Eastern Tropical Africa.
Bull. Ent. Res. 3.275.
Patton W. S. & Evans A. M. (1929) "Insects, Ticks, Mites and Venomous Animals
of Medical & Veterinary Importance" p. 205
Roubaud, E. (1915) Description de deux Simulies nouvelles des hautes regions de
l'Afrique tropical (Dipt. Tipul.). Bull. Soc. Ent. France. No.
18. pp. 293-295.
Speke J. H. (1863) "A Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile." p. 465.
Theobald, F.V. (1903) Report on a collection of mosquitoes and other flies from
Equatorial East Africa and the Nile Provinces of Uganda.
Rept. Sleeping Sickness Commission, 3.40.
Ambatch and African Blackwood
and some other Light and Heavy Uganda Woods.
By W. J. EGGELING.
To most people who have had an opportunity of examining both woods it
comes as a surprise to learn that Ambatch (Herminiera elaphroxylon Guill & Perr)
and African Blackwood or "Ebony" (Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill & Perr), which are
respectively the lightest and the heaviest of our Uganda timbers, should belong to
the same plant family. Such surprise is quite understandable, for whilst the wood
of the Ambatch is spongily-soft, open-grained and whitish and decidedly lighter
than cork, that of the ebony is very hard, close-grained and dark purple-black, and
weighs nearly 80 lbs. per cubic foot.
It is only when one examines the flowers of the two trees that one becomes
satisfied as to their relationship-both exhibit the characteristic pea-flower of the
Schweinfurth (1), who gives us an excellent, and perhaps aknost the earliest
description of the Ambatch, writes of it as follows:-
"The Ambatch is distinguished for the unexampled lightness of its wood, if
the fungus-like substance of the stem deserves such a name at all. The weight
of this fungus-wood is so insignificant that it really suggests comparison to a
feather. Only by taking it into his hands could anyone believe that it were
possible for one man to lift on his shoulders a raft made large enough to carry
eight people on the water. The plant shoots up with great rapidity by the
quiet places on the shore, and since it roots merely in the water, whole bushes
are easily broken off by the force of the wind or stream, and settle themselves
afresh in other places. This is the true origin of the grass barriers so frequently
mentioned as blocking up the waters of the Upper Nile and in many places making
navigation utterly impossible".
Sir Harry Johnston (2) describes in still greater detail this formation of sudd.
He shows (p. 8 ) how the Ambatch trees "swell as they grow, and finally make quite
a wall or breastwork of pithy wood, behind which masses of floating vegetation col-
lect". He notes also (p. 15o) that "on many of the northern creeks of the Victoria
Nyanza, protected from the waves of the open lake, this sudd or vegetable growth
is gradually creating a soil and filling up the bays with what some day may be a
land surface of peat, perhaps afterwards coal".
His description in another place (s) of an Ambatch as "a gouty bean with orange
blossoms" scarcely does the tree justice. Seen when in full bloom, standing out in
the waters of one of those picturesque bays near Entebbe with the sun shining on
its large, handsome, orange flowers, the tree makes a pretty picture, not the least of
its attractions being the unusual, conical, swollen or "gouty" stem. Wherever it oc-
curs it provides a favourite breeding-place for numbers of lake birds including Cor-
morants, Darters, Hagedash Ibis, green-backed Herons and Weaver.
Although the tree has no commercial value the uses to which the wood is put
by natives are interesting. On Lake Albert and on Lake Victoria it is used for floats
for nets and lines. On Lake Nakivali and at Katunguru on the Kazinga Channel, as
we learn from Worthington (4), the Banyankole fishermen are in the habit of fixing
a torpedo-shaped lump of Ambatch wood to the shafts of their fish spears. He adds
"This does not materially impede the spear's passage through the water, but causes
it to bob up to the surface again in the event of a miss".
The same author tells us (p. 153) how "probably the most primitive craft in the
world to-day is made and used by certain inhabitants of Lake Chad in West Africa,
people who live a semi-aquatic life in swamps and can travel nowhere except by
water. They cut logs of the Ambatch tree ...... .(and) every man and woman
has such a log about eight feet long, slightly flattened below and pointed in front,
and he or she, when wishing to visit a nearby village, sits astride the log in the
water and swims with an overarm stroke at a truly remarkable speed which is
described as 'the rate of a fast runner' ".
An advance on this type of craft and constructed of the same material is des-
cribed on page 156 of the same book:-
"Another kind of bundle boat, which may be regarded as the climax of this
type . . . can be seen on Lake Baringo in the Rift Valley of Kenya. The
material here consists of desiccated branches of the Ambatch tree, which festoon
the shores. Each canoe has an overall length of little more than ten feet and a
beam of two and a half feet. The floor is very thick, composed of layer upon layer
of ambatch bundles of three to four inches diameter, all securely fixed together
with grass lashings every eight inches or so. Sides are built on, each composed
of about four more branches secured in the same way on top of one another. The
craft has a pronounced sheer and is evenly tapered to the stern and bow, where
slender branches are fixed in such a way that the stern and bow project upwards
and slightly inwards, the points being about a foot above the level of the sides.
The canoe is capable of carrying two people and a good pile of dried fish or
other cargo. Ambatch wood is very buoyant, but is somewhat porous, with the re-
sult that the craft becomes more or less water-logged after a passage of two or three
miles from the island to the mainland. Before a return journey can be made it has
to be hauled out on to the beach where the high temperature and hot sun dry it up
in a few minutes".
Turning to Blackwood the first point of interest to be noted is that in Uganda
the tree is confined in distribution almost entirely to the valley of the Nile. It is
known to the Baganda as Motangu, and to the Madi as Poyi. The Banyoro, aware
that the tree is found in their country only on the lakeside flats have called it Mu-
funjo, this name being identical with that given to papyrus. They explain this by
saying that both are only found near water.
In actual fact however Blackwood does not require much water. It is true that
it is commonly found on riverine or lakeside flats, but these are usually dry and bak-
ing for the greater part of the year. In Madi the Blackwood grows on some of the
driest and rockiest ground imaginable.
The tree itself is very uninteresting. It is small and insignificant, prickly, of
very irregular growth, and usually has several stems. The flowers are small, white
and sweet-scented. The sapwood is yellow. The heartwood is generally said to be
insect proof, but a specimen from Uganda in the Kew Museum shows the boring of
some insect (5). The root is said to be used in Madi as a cure for toothache (6).
The chief value of the Blackwood in commerce lies in its use in turnery. Owing
to its exceptional qualities in this respect it has recently been chosen as the standard
Empire timber for this purpose in comparison with which the value of all other
Empire woods for turnery is judged. Unfortunately in Uganda the tree attains only
small dimensions and the majority of the logs available are neither large enough
nor sufficiently straight for export. There is however a very small local trade in
carved figures, walking sticks and such turned articles as hairbrush backs, candlesticks
menu-holders, and chessmen. It is also used for inlay work.
Whilst describing a visit in 1877 to Kabarega, king of Unyoro, Emin Pasha (7)
remarks that the mallet used by the Banyoro in preparing barkcloth is most com-
monly made of Blackwood. This is certainly no longer the case, chiefly because all
accessible supplies of the wood have now been cut out. Today, as in Buganda, the
mallets are generally made of Nzo (Toddalia nobilis Del and T. grandifolia Engl.),
though Mukanaga (Hymenocardia acida Tul.), a small, hardwooded savannah tree
is sometimes used instead, The latter species because of the hardness of its wood
is also known as Mutatabamkubebe. "that which cannot be eaten by insects." It finds
its chief use as a pestle for grinding corn.
In addition to Ambatch and Blackwood there are a number of other Uganda
trees which are distinguished either for the lightness or heaviness of their woods.
Amongst such timbers may be mentioned especially Mujua (Alstonia congensis Engl.)
Musodo (Ricinodendron africanum Mull, Arg), and Mulimbi (Bombax reflexum
Sprague), the first two of which are both likely to prove of considerable economic
importance. Of heavy woods Muhimbi (Cynometra alexandrii C.H.Wright), Mumara
(Erythrophloeum guineense G. Don), and Nkunya (Mimusops cuneiflia Bak.), are
perhaps the most important, all three timbers deserving to be more widely known
than is at present the case.
A few notes on each of the above timbers may not come amiss, as all of them
present some points of interest :-
Mujua (Pattern Wood or Stoolwood):
The Alstonia is one of the commonest trees of the Bunyoro forests, it being
estimated that there are some 16,ooo,ooo cubic feet of this timber in the Budongo
block alone (8). It is a light wood both in colour and weight (24 lbs. per cubic foot
at io% moisture content). Three Uganda logs were submitted to the Forest
Products Research Laboratory in England in 1932, and a report on the preliminary
tests carried out on these has since been published t9). The report indicated that
the timber was suitable for joinery, corestock, box-making, and possibly for match
blocks. It has also been used for making engineers' patterns. Clear long boards
are unfortunately not easily obtained owing to the prevalence in the timber of
numerous ducts or latex channels. This defect should not however debar the wood
for use as box shooks, for which purpose it is eminently suited.
Both Mujua and Musodo are undergoing trial at the present moment for tea
and rubber chests.
The native uses for the tree are varied. Dawe (10) records its use in Bunyoro
for bowls for serving vegetables, as also for making the bodies of certain stringed
instruments. On the Gold Coast it is one of the favourite timbers for the famous
Ashanti stools, which are carved out of solid blocks of the wood (11) (12). It is
moreover regarded as one of their best native substitutes for quinine, the bark
being boiled in water and the liquor drunk as a cure for malaria (11). The roots
are also used medicinally, as an enema (1) (1s).
With a weight of only some r1 -12 lbs. per cubic foot when dry, this is a very
light timber indeed. The tree is a large one found in the same type of forest as
Mujua, but is much less common. It is estimated that in the Budongo forest there
are about 16 trees per i oo acres (8).
The wood, which requires careful seasoning, as it is liable to become speedily
discoloured and mouldy unless properly treated, is suitable for much the same
purposes as Mujua. It excited no little interest at the 1934 Building Trades
Exhibition in London, and it is thought likely that it will prove useful for pattern-
Seeds of this tree were tested at the Imperial Institute (18) in 1908 and were
found to contain 47% of a drying oil which was stated by varnish manufacturers to
be intermediate in quality between tung oil and linseed oil, and superior to the
latter for many purposes. On the West Coast the oil is used locally for soap
Mulimbi (Red flowered Silk Cotton):
When in full bloom the Mulimbi is one of the most beautiful of the forest trees
of Uganda. The flowers are large (often nearly three inches long), bright red and
borne whilst the tree is leafless. It is known within the Protectorate only from
the forest regions of T o r o and Bunyoro but is distinctly worthy of cultivation
elsewhere. It can be raised either from seed or cuttings. The fruit yields a white
Kapok or Silk Cotton used by natives for stuffing pillows. The wood is soft,
light in colour and weighs about the same as Mujua.
The Banyoro are strangely superstitious about this tree. They dare not cut
it, fearing that if they do so they will die. Any specimens which the Forest Depart-
ment have cut down for wood samples or herbarium material have had to be felled
by imported labour. Until recently a young Mulimbi stood at the side of the Masi-
ndi-Butiaba road between Mile 54 and the Labour camp at Mile 542. To pass this
tree the telegraph line had to make a detour. Early in 1934, when new telegraph
posts were being erected along this road, a courageous native (Munyoro) line-foreman
came with four porters to cut down the tree and straighten out the line. The porters
refused to touch the tree. In the heat of the moment and to show his superiority
the foreman cut it down himself. Afterwards he was distinctly nervous. We are
glad to be able to state however that he is still alive.
A better name than Ironwood for this tree is hard to imagine. The timber is
extremely hard and heavy, weighing over 80 lbs. per cubic foot when green and 70
Ibs. per cubic foot at about zo% moisture content. It is very durable and two samples
which were buried by the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours in a white
ants' nest near Mombasa were retrieved a year later showing very little damage by
the termites (s1), It has been tried for various purposes such as engine buffer
beams, bolster bars for waggons, pier piles, bridge work and even milestones. The
main timbers of the new Nkusi bridge between Hoima and Fort Portal are of this
species. The timber should prove excellent for sleepers and mine timbers, the sole
draw-back being its weight.
Large and often almost pure stands of Muhimbi are to be found in the Budongo,
Bugoma and the Toro forests as also in Bwamba. Unfortunately the bigger trees
are generally unsound, and long straight lengths are difficult to obtain.
Dawe (10) writes of the tree as follows:
"Practically the whole of the Semliki Forest, especially the portion lying at the
lowest altitude, is composed of Cynometra alexandrii, and a fine handsome tree it is
when in bloom. I first saw trees of it in flower in this forest; they look at a distance
as if they were laden with snow, and remind one in fragrance of the British hawthorn;
the rosy hue of the young graceful foliage also lends fine colour to the landscape."
A little later in the same publication he states:- . it is the only tree
I have observed in Africa which is in any way ignitable in its green and growing
state. The natives frequently light fires at the base of this tree, when passing through
the forest, in order to cook their food. In many cases I have seen trees burnt to the
ground, having ignited from the fire left burning at the base of the tree; in some
cases I have observed trees completely burnt, leaving only a pile of ashes to mark
the spot. In exceptional cases the fire spreads to a second tree, if in close proximity
and of the same kind. There is however, little or no danger of a forest fire, for
I have seen no other tree except this Cynometra which is ignited in this way."
Whilst not wishing definitely to contradict Mr. Dawe I would like to suggest
that he is mistaken in supposing that a fire could spread from one tree to another
and believe that in cases in which neighboring trees have been found burnt down
fires must have been ignited under both separately. Young Muhimbi most certainly will
not burn, and old trees only with difficulty, unless, as often happens, they are hollow
in the centre. In such cases when a fire is lit at the base the draught up the middle
(there is nearly always a hole into the centre high up) will keep the whole tree
smouldering for weeks till it finally falls.
No native uses for Ironwood have been recorded though Vermoesen (16) states
that in the Congo the natives attribute to it a host of magical properties.
The specific epithet alexandrii was given to the tree in honour of Mr. Alexander
Johnston, Private Secretary to the Special Commissioner of 1899, who first discovered
it on the Kiriname River in Toro.
Mumara (Ordeal Tree):
This is another heavy timber weighing some 63 lbs. per cubic foot. The wood
is very hard and cross-grained and blunts saws quickly. It somewhat resembles teak
when freshly cut and is extremely durable. The heartwood is proof against termite
attack. The timber is well adapted for use as sleepers, in bridge building, or for piles.
The species is widely distributed in Uganda and can be found in most forest
areas. On Bugala Island of the Sesse group there is an almost pure stand of Muinja, as
it is known in Buganda, near Lutoboko Pier. The undergrowth has been cut out to
supply fuel for the Lake Steamers and in general appearance and habit of the trees
the forest resembles nothing so much as a beech wood in England.
In Bunyoro the bark of the Mumara is used medicinally. When powdered and)
boiled in water a beautiful red liquid is obtained. This is a powerful emetic when
taken in large doses. In olden times the liquid was used on the West Coast as an,
ordeal poison in trials for witchcraft. Innocent persons vomited the liquid, those,
who died were pronounced guilty (1), (12).
On the Gold Coast the liquid is sometimes put into water to kill game animals'
and fish; the poisonous bark is also mixed with food and set out as a rat poison. The
Knobo people there sometimes grind the dried bark and sniff the powder up the
nose to cure faintness (11).
Nkunya is a very hard, close-grained, rich red wood weighing some 60 lbs. per
cubic foot. The Public Works Department have reported that it is especially suitable)
for constructional work submerged in water, bridges, etc., as it is of exceptional
strength and durability. Conversion of the timber is however expensive owing to
The tree occurs in quantity in Uganda only in South Buddu, where it is one
of the largest and commonest trees of the marshy lakeshore forests. Dawe (10) records
that the handsome red wooded lances that come from Bukoba are said to be made
from this species. Mr. C. E. Ashman, late Manager of the Government Sawmills at
Katera, has a golf club, an iron, of which the shaft is of Nkunya. The club has
been in use now for nearly three years and has proved very satisfactory though
distinctly on the heavy side.
(i) The Heart ofAfrica- Georg Schweinfurth (1873).
(2) The Uganda Protectorate-Sir Harry Johnston (1902).
(3) The Nile Quest-Sir Harry Johnston (1903).
(4) Inland Waters of Africa -S. & E. B. Worthington (1933).
(5) The Useful Plants of Nigeria-J. H. Holland in Kew Bulletin, Additional Series
IX. (1908-2 2).
(6) Transactions of the Linnean Society. Vol. XXIX-Captain J.A. Grant in ( 872).
(7) Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888).
(8) Bunyoro Provisional Working Plan-Forest Department Minute Paper (1933).
(9) Report on Preliminary Tests of Mujua (Alstonia congensis). Forest Products
Research Laboratory (1933).
(io) Report on a Botanical Mission through the Forest Districts of Buddu and the
Western and Nile Provinces of the Uganda Protectorate-M. T. Dawe (i 906).
(1x) Plants of the Gold Coast-F. R. Irvine (1930).
(12) West African Forests and Forestry-A. Harold Unwin (1920).
('3) Some African Oils and Oil Seeds Ricinodendron heudelotii (R. africanum)-
Imperial Institute (1908).
(14) Twenty West African Timber Trees-(Vol. II of Forest Trees and Timbers of
the British Empire) edited by L. Chalk and J. Burtt Davy (1933).
(15) Uganda Forest Department Annual Report (1931).
(16) Manueldes Essences Forestidres du Congo Belge-C. Vermoesen (1923).
Photography in Uganda.
By DR. A. T. SCHOFIELD, A.R.P.S.
When I was asked to give this paper it was suggested to me that it should be
technico-popular. I take this to mean that it should be sufficiently technical to be
useful but not so as to be boring, though the many fine pictures in our recent Ex-
hibition made one feel that there are many photographers in Uganda who could
help us all on the technical side without any fear of causing boredom.
I had better begin with a short account of the apparatus used in photography.
The camera, everyone knows, collects the rays of light from the objects before it
and allows them to act on a sensitive plate or film. It is in fact just a holder for
the lens and sensitive material, a sort of box excluding all light other than that
desired. There is little to say about modern cameras; they are all efficient and
considerably more portable than in the old days. I was glad recently to find that
the experts in Washington of the National Geographical Society of America
bought their cameras in London, built by a well-known English maker-in other
words, the finest cameras made to-day are English. Even the cheaper cameras of
to-day are workmanlike and capable of fine results, so an expensive camera is not
essential to good pictures.
We come next to the lens, the optical arrangement for collecting the rays of
light and correctly focussing them upon the plate. Modern lenses of the anastig-
matic variety are all good and there is little to choose between the various makes,
but in Washington I was again glad to find endorsement for my own favourite,
the English Ross Xpres, as the finest lens made to-day. My own 'battery' includes
lenses by Ross, Dallmeyer, Cook, Wray (all good English makes), Voightlander and
Goertz, and though there is very little between them yet I prefer the Ross Xpres
for all-round work.
I am often asked if I advise one of the fashionable ultra-rapid lenses, aperture
F 2.5 or larger. Certainly in Uganda, if not everywhere, one hardly ever has
occasion for a faster lens than F 4.5 especially with the very fast modern plates and
films, while generally F 8 is enough, so I consider that the expense of these bigger
lenses is unnecessary. Remember that every increase in the speed of a lens (i.e., its
effective aperture) is at the expense of the depth of focus, and so much greater care
in judging distance and more accurate focussing are necessary. To show what I
mean, as well as to introduce my next point, I may say that a 6-inch lens focused
at infinity, at F 8 has everything from 80 feet onwards in focus, while at F 2 the
nearest point in focus is 300 feet away. In fact, the more one stops down the deeper
is the part of the field in focus, as the following table shows (six-inch lens);
F 2 focused at infinity: 300 feet onwards in focus.
F 4 ,, ,, i6o ,,
F 8 ,, ,, 8o ,,
F 16 ,, ,, 40 ,,
F 32 ,, 20 ,, ,
or, again, the same lens focused at 20 feet,
at F 2 gives objects in focus from 19 to 21 feet.
at F 4 ,, ,, 18 ,, 22
at F 8 ,, ,, 6 ,, 27
at F 16 ,,,, 13 ,, 40
at F 32 ,, ., to feet to infinity.
You will readily see from these two tables that the focussing at the wide apertures
has to be very much more carefully carried out. My next point uses this information,
for it follows that if we wish to get as much as possible of our picture in focus we
must use the smallest stop we can, consistent with a full exposure. Especially when
photographing a view or still subject we can get a sharper picture all over the field
by stopping down.
While on this subject of stops perhaps it will be useful to give a table of the
relative speeds of the various apertures (or stops) commonly used. Taking F 8 as
the average one used and so our standard, the exposure values are:-
F 2 F 3 F 4 F 5.6 F 8 F i F 16 F 22 F 32 F 45
1/16 1/8 1/4 1/2 I 2 4 8 16 32
(i.e., the squares of the F numbers give the relative values in terms of exposure
Thus, if the correct exposure at F 8 is 1/25 second, at F 5.6 it would be
1/2 this, or 1/50 second; at F 4 it would be 1/4 of this, or 1/100 second; at F 32 it
.would be 8 times, or 1/3 second.
There is another point before we leave this hurried mention of the lens, and
that is that a lens, like everything else, needs to be looked after. Especially in the
Tropics lenses get vitrified as well as dirty, while our Uganda roads are far more
dusty than at home. An occasional clean is necessary and an old linen handker-
chief is best for this; do not use silk, for you will remember your first schoolboy
'experiments in Physics when you rubbed a glass rod with silk to produce electricity.
The next part of our apparatus to be dealt with is the shutter, the opening and
closing of which makes the exposure. It goes without saying that an accurate
shutter is a necessity to make the best use of the finest lens. I will not go into the
various shutters but would again advise an occasional overhaul. A sticky shutter
may only be due to a speck of dust, but my own practice is to send my cameras for
a thorough overhaul each time I go home on leave; it costs little and keeps them
in condition for many years of service. Apart from this, however, keep a watchful
eye on your apparatus. Especially the leather bellows need attention in our climate
and a little black shoe-cream should be rubbed in occasionally.
THE KATIKIRO OF BUNYORO.
(Ilford S.R. Panchromatic Plate. No Screen 3.30 p.m.
A. T. S.
1/25 Sec. F.8.)
(Ilford S. R. Panchromatic Plate with "Alpha' Filter.
10 a.m. 1/25 Sec. at F.16.)
We come now to the back of the camera, the sensitised plate or film and its holder.
Needless to say, this holder needs to be in good order and light-tight. If we get
fogged pictures or scratched films we should look over it-perhaps another speck
of dust or a bent back is all the cause. And if you use a roll-film, never wind on the
film with the camera closed, as this is liable to cause lines scratched along the film
by the pressure of the closed bellows.
The sensitive material itself-the plate or film-requires a larger mention. Again
let me say that most modern material is good and capable of first-class work, but
I believe a general discussion of the different makes would not be so valuable as a
rather dogmatic account of my own experiences and preferences. I have tried the
plates and films of several companies, but my experience is quite definite that no
other material stands up to our Equatorial conditions so well as Ilford's. I have had
frilled plates, blistered prints and other unsatisfactory results at times, but always
only when I have temporarily deserted Ilford's or had to fall back on another source
of supply. With just ordinary care I have never had trouble with Ilford plates,
while I consider the new Selochrome film equal, if not superior, to anything else.
Every one of the pictures I exhibited at the recent exhibition was taken on an Ilford
plate or film and nearly all were enlarged on Ilford paper, though to be quite fair I
ought to say that a few of the prints that I considered among my best were on Kodak
Royal Bromide paper, a very good paper indeed which I would use more often if
it cost less, and 1 could get it more readily.
My own preference is for plates rather than films. I know they are more bulky
and perhaps not so handy for travelling, but certainly my best results are on
plates. For one thing, a stouter emulsion is possible on a flat support like glass
than on a flexible film, while the far greater range of varieties and speeds of
plates enables one to use a suitable plate for different subjects. Further, several
sorts can be carried ready, whereas the film must be used as it runs, while a
single plate can be developed without waiting for the rest of a half-dozen to
be exposed, and can, if necessary, receive separate treatment according to sub-
ject and exposure. I find, too, that a plate is easier to handle when doing one's
own printing and enlarging.
As to varieties, I use Ilford S. R. Panchromatic plates for all landscape
work, for close-ups of a black skin and for flashlight work at night. For general
snapshot work I use Ilford Auto-filter plates, and I always buy backed plates. I like
the Zenith series of plates and I have used the new, very fast, panchromatic plates,
which are excellent, but are hardly necessary out here as well as needing to be
developed very soon. The old-fashioned Ilford Special Rapid plate is still among
the best, and I once used some after they had been out in Uganda at least fifteen
years-a great testimony to their robust character and reliability. My advice is to
choose a reliable make and stick to it. Familiarise yourself with it in every way and
learn how to get the best out of it by careful examination of your results.
Having dealt briefly with the apparatus and material, we now come to the prac-
tical making of the picture. I assume that the subject is accurately focused at the
correct distance, that the picture we want to take is "composed" to make the best of
the subject, and that now we want to be sure of the best possible result. To do this we
must expose correctly-over-exposure gives a dull, flat picture while too little exposure
gives us the ghostly, indistinct and darkened print. Modem plates and films give
us considerable latitude but still the perfect picture is only obtained by the perfect
exposure. To find this there is no doubt that a good exposure-meter is the best
guide. The one I have found most useful out here is the old-fashioned Heydes. The
"Justophot" is good too, but only gives a general reading where the Heydes can be
used on whatever part of the subject one wants. The newer photo-electric meters
(like the very excellent 'Photoscop') are even better and very quick to use. I have
found, though, that the exposure-meter is only a guide and that we need a slightly
greater exposure out here on the Equator than that given by the meter. The ex-
planation for this is not quite clear, but I will give you may own ideas for what they
are worth. To begin with, I believe our altitude (4,000 feet) and the very hot air
mean that there are fewer droplets of water in the air and so less blue and more
yellow in the light. But I believe the reason to be the far greater contrast between
light and shadow. The old-fashioned rule was: "Expose for the shadows and the
rest will take care of itself'. The point is that our shadows under the fierce sun of
the Equator are more intense and deeper than at home and that therefore we need
more exposure to get out any detail-the alternative is a "soot-and-whitewash"effect.
Again and again people have come to ask my advice as to why they do not get such
good results as they used to in England and in nearly all cases it is a question of
under-exposure, while several professional photographers have told me that they
did not get good results until they gave a more generous exposure. To get some-
what closer to conditions at home, it is better to choose a time when the sun is over
halt-way down-the times for the best results are from 3.30 to 4.30 p.m., or 8 to 9
a.m.- The sunlight value is then about as good as an English day in June, though
still the shadows are much denser.
An exposure-meter, therefore, is advisable though it must be used with dis-
cretion. But if you have not got one, is there any rough rule to go upon? My
general advice, using Autofilter plates, Selochrome or Verichrome film, is I/50
second at F 8 for average subjects, at F i for distant subjects, and 1/25 second
for close-ups during the times I have mentioned as the best.
There comes in here a small matter that I am surprised is not taken up more
generally-the use of a light-yellow filter on the front of the lens. Even the most
modern plates or films are not equally sensitive to all the colours of the spectrum,
while even if they were our eyes are not sensitive in quite the same way. For
instance, the blues of a distance make up a lot of the beauty of a scene as we see
it, yet they come out dead white on most plates and films, while the plate is also
very sensitive to the ultra-violet rays which are invisible to the eye. To count-
eract these effects and to produce a compromise between what our eyes see and
the impression the plate takes up, we need to interpose between the light and the
plate something which will cut out the ultra-violet rays and this excess of the
blues. Such a thing is the "filter," usually a piece of thin glass coloured a light
yellow. It is placed on the front of the lens, and I advise everyone who wants to
get the best out of our lovely Uganda landscapes to get one. And when buying a
filter, do not go to the makers of the camera but to the makers of the plates or
films you use; different makes of plates are slightly different and so the best
results with a given plate are obtained with the tilter recommended by the makers.
Using Ilford Panchromatic plates, my usual filter out here is the "Alpha" though at
A. T. S.
KARAMOJA PLAINS from Mt. ELGON
Deep Red Filter on Pane. Plate (brings out distant hills, 126 miles away,
which were invisible to the eye. 1 Sec. at F.32, 9 a.m.)
(Ilford Pane. Plate: "Alpha" Filter. 4 p.m. 15 Sec. at F. 22.)
I - -
A. T. S.
(Ilford Auto-Filter Plate: 1/25 Sec. F.4.5., taken at 6 p.m.)
home I use an "Iso" or "Aviol II." Especially with panchromatic plates these bring
out the clouds in a landscape and generally level up the tones. Remember, how-
ever, to double the calculated exposure.
A further piece of advice comes in here, and that is to use a lens-hood. It
only costs a shilling or two-one I have in constant use actually cost i/3d when
new-and it is most useful. It enables one to take pictures into the sun, to get
those delightful 'against-the-light' effects and in almost all cases it makes for a
brighter picture if we prevent all unnecessary light from falling upon the lens.
One last point before we leave the question of exposure. I strongly recommend
the use of a stand for the camera, especially for landscape work. For one thing it
enables us to give steadier and longer exposures than are possible in the hand, and
so the lens can be stopped down to get that greater depth of focus and finer definition
that I mentioned earlier on. Most ot my own landscapes were taken with a stand
and at an exposure of 1/2 or 1/4 of a second, stopping down to F 32 so as to get
practically everything in focus, right from the foreground to infinity. A stand also
makes certain that we have got what we want in the picture-- e all know the picture
that would have been so good if only Mary's head had not been cut off!
Having exposed our plate, we now have to turn it into a picture. Of course we
can send it to a professional firm to do it for us, but if we want to learn our faults,
learn to get better pictures, the first thing to do is to decide to do our own work.
We learn more in this way than from any amount of critical advice about a finished
print. We develop the negative and remember the circumstances of each, asking
ourselves why this one is better than that, and so on. while there is no doubt what-
ever that a waste of our own time and energy in the dark-room teaches us more
quickly than anything else to take greater care next time whenmaking an exposure.
Again, we cannot then put blame for a bad result on anyone else-usually it is our
own fault anyway-and so our pride makes us decide to do better next time.
Developing in this climate is not a big problem. Certainly without running
water it is a little more troublesome, but as it is less than a month since water was
laid on at my house I think I can safely say it is not a necessity. In fact, running
water is not an unmixed blessing and even now I have it I still do everything as
before in dishes and tanks. This uses very little water but, what is more important
than that, one takes more care-a running tap may only be washing a part ot the
print. Another very important point is that we do not get variations in temperature
which are the chief cause of filling and blistering. Working at the temperature we
have in this country, and perhaps running water from a tank or pipes that are out
in the hot sun, before we know where we are a whole batch of plates may be spoilt.
It is changes in the temperature of our solutions and washings that matter, not the
actual heat. This leads to another practical point: don't use fixer directly it is made
up, for hypo cools the water as it dissolves. Always have a large bottle of fixer
standing ready so that it is at the room temperature. Hypo is very cheap indeed so
throw it away after use rather than risk spoiling your results.
I always have two pails of water standing in my dark-room so that I can
finish off everything at the temperatures of the room. Some experts who came
out here tried using ice to cool their solutions down and had endless trouble.
The point was that the different baths were at different temperatures so that
the gelatine alternately swelled and shrank and finally blistered and frilled. So
never use ice; just use water and solutions that have been standing in the room
for an hour or two and so are all at the same temperature. Eight or ten separate
changes of water with the plates or prints moved about in each, are quite sufficient.
The dark-room in this country is not a great difficulty. We only have to
wait till 6.30 p.m. and the ordinary bathroom is good enough. For changing
plates, developing, and so on, one gets used to working by touch in absolute darkness.
This is essential, of course, when working with panchromatic material, though
a red lamp is possible with other plates. With a thick black cover to place over
the dish or tank, one can turn on an ordinary torch to take the time. The
time-and-temperature method of developing is best, varying the time given in
the temperature tables only according to the subject. For instance, open landscapes
require one-third longer, and close-up portraits one-fifth less, than the average
subject to get the best negatives. I always soak my plates for ten minutes in
clean water before putting them into the developer. This prevents any air bubbles
and therefore clear spots in the film.
Personally, I use the Ilford Pyro-soda formula for developing, and do
this as soon as possible after they are exposed. In our hot climate, good plates
keep very well in their tins before exposure, but once they are exposed the
latent image deteriorates quite soon and a good picture may be lost by waiting
too long before developing it. The plate is left in the developer for the required
time, with occasional rocking, then a quick rinse in clean water and it is put
into the fixer. An acid fixer is best. It is cleaner in action and acts as a slight
hardener to the film. When working at over 75 degrees, I use the chrome-alum
hardener-fixer. A thorough wash in several changes of clean water and each
plate is swabbed over with a pledget of wet cotton-wool to remove any specks
of dirt before it is stood to dry in a dust-free part of the room.
Lastly we come to the final processes-the production of the print, etc. Here
also, we learn very much more by doing it ourselves. I personally put every negative
into the enlarger straight away, but it is not everyone who possesses one. At any
rate, we make our first print, by enlarging or otherwise, though space will not allow
of my going into the subject. The print is made and then a decision come to as to
what part of the whole is wanted in the finished picture. It is perhaps trimmed
top or bottom, from one side or the other, till we have what we think is best. Enlarg-
ing the portion that has stood our revision now takes place, and it is most fascinat-
ing, We get beauties out of a picture that are quite unsuspected in a small print,
It is not, however, till we come to make lantern slides that we really get to
know the faults and beauties of our negatives and our work. It is a very easy process
and most enjoyable; so much so, in fact, that I have made far more slides than I
am ever likely to use. For reasons of space however I am unable to describe the
process in this paper, which I must now conclude.
I am afraid my account of "photography in Uganda" has been somewhat sketchy,
but I hope that some of the advice I have been enabled to give here from my own
experience may be of use to amateur photographers amongst the readers of the
Journal and will encourage them to come forward with an account of their own ex-
periences in pursuit of this most fascinating hobby.
Some Notes on the Basoga.
By C. L. BRUTON.
The Basoga are the second largest tribe in the Uganda Protectorate, but apart
from a section of Roscoe's work The Bagesu and Other Tribes and that portion of
Sir Harry Johnston's book The Uganda Protectorate which relates to this tribe, no
anthropological record has ever been written regarding them. Their origin and
early history must therefore be based upon the above works, a few references by
other writers and such information as can now be obtained from the older members
of the tribe.
I with to make it quite clear at the commencement that this paper does not
claim to be an anthropological history of the tribe. It is merely the endeavour of
one who has some acquaintance with the Basoga to record certain tribal legends
and to show how they have responded to the influence of civilization and the pro-
gress they have achieved in spite of various adverse circumstances.
There are three native legends regarding the origin of the Basoga. The first
tells us that a famous hunter, by name Mukama, came from the eastern side
of Mount Elgon into Busoga, passing through the present Bugishu and Budama
Districts seeking for a place where he might settle.. He is said to have been
accompanied by his wives, various followers and two dogs. Eight sons were born
to him on the journey and during residence in Busoga. These sons were subse-
quently apportioned certain areas over which they ruled.
Mukama, when he had completed the above distribution and also apportioned
grants of land to various favourites, proceeded to Bunyoro and established his
kingdom there. He never returned to Busoga from Bunyoro but died thel e of small-
pox. After his death it was unlawful for the relations of Mukama in Busoga to look
at a person suffering from small-pox. It was also customary for a member of the
Ngabi clan when he met another infected with small-pox not to pass him without
touching him or piercing one of the spots of the infected person. Moreover, it was
not permissible to refer to the disease as small-pox but by the name Mulangira
(Prince), for it had touched their ancestor's skin.
After Mukama's departure to Bunyoro particular ceremonial rites were per-
formed in Busoga with regard to any grandchild of Mukama's who was called Mukama.
The medicine-men were summoned by the father, and on their arrival a special hut
was built and a fence erected round the house (called the Lubiri) and the son lived
there alone with his mother. The child was given special food and water, and at a
later date the medicine-men met again for consultation and the carrying out of the
requisite r tes, which consisted in slaying cows and goats and the gift of a brownish-
coloured dog to the child. On the completion of the ceremony the mother and son
returned to their own home. The heads of both the mother and child were then
shaved; the hair coJld not be shaved during the period they were in the Lubiri.
Grandsons called Mukama never ate fish.
The burial ceremony of a Mukama also differed from the ordinary ceremony.
The death was reported to the Mukama of Bunyoro who sent the funeral bark-cloth
and all the necessary requisites for the funeral rit< s. On occasions he used to appoint
the heir or send back the son of the deceased, if he happened to be in the Lubiri at
Bunyoro, to be the heir. (1)
The second legend states that the Mukama did not come to Busoga at all but
sent over his eight sons to rule the land as there were no competent rulers among
There is a third version that Kintu was the man called Mukama, and he it was
who came into Busoga from the eastern side of Mount Elgon. This story further
relates that when he had left his sons in Busoga he himself crossed into Buganda
where he established himself as King of the Baganda.
Kintu is also related to have returned to Busoga and lived in a place called
Buswikira which is at Igombe, Bunya, where he died and was buried. Afterwards
his tomb became a rock and the supposed place of his burial is worshipped even
to-day by a certain number of the Basoga.
These legends as told by the elders of the present day differ from the accounts
given by Roscoe and from the st, ry in the Uganda Handbook that a son of Wunyi,
who was a grandson of Kintu, was given Busoga.(2)
In connection with the two legends I have related above the names of the sons
given to me with their hereditary titles and lands, are as follows:-
NAME. TITLE. LAND.
Okoli Wakoli Bukoli
Muzaya Buzaya Buzaya
Ngaboni Zibondo Bulamogi
Ingoli Ibanda Ngobi Kigulu
Kitimbo Gabula Bugabula
Nyiro Tabingwa Luuka
Nkono Nkono Bukono
Kakaire Menya Bugweri
(1) This does not agree with the account given by Roscoe: (op. cit. p. 132).
(2). It should be noted however that the Baganda and Banyoro legends differ very little
on this point; the Baganda say that a son of Wunyi was given Busoga, the only difference
being that it was given to him by his grandfather, Kintu, instead of by his father, Wunyi.
It is possible that Menya was the Katikiro (Prime Minister) of Mukama and not
So much for the legendary history of the Basoga as related by the oldest
members of the tribe, certain points of which wou'd, I think, be contested by
both the Baganda and Banyoro.
Banyoro and Baganda Influence.
There is no doubt, however, that an invasion by the Bakitara or Banyoro took
place and that later the Basoga came under the sway of the Baganda. As Roscoe
points out, the effects of the rule of Kitara are still plainly visible, for the people
followed in many ways the customs of the Bakitara. For example, at puberty they
used to extract the six front teeth in the lower jaw; and many of their ceremonies-
especially those connected with death and mourning-are similar, I believe, to those
of their former over-lords. Their language also was much influenced by that of the
Banyoro, but I propose to deal with this point under a separate heading.
Roscoe further points out that though the Basoga were not subject to any
fixed taxation whilst they were under the suzerainty of t h e Baganda, and
though the tax in itself was not heavy, nevertheless the oppressive methods
adopted by the collectors for feathering their o w n nests caused the chiefs
of Busoga, in later years, to ask that the British would free them from the yoke of
The practice also which existed of sending the sons of Busoga chiefs
first of all to the court of the King of Kitara (Bunyoro) and subsequently to that of
the Kabaka of Buganda would obviously inculcate a bias towards the customs and
manners of those courts.
The early accounts of the Basoga indicate that they appear to have been a
people of little or no attraction. The Rev. A.L. Kitching (now the Bishop of the
Upper Nile) in his book On the Back-Waters of the Nile wrote:-
"Another tribe as difficult to deal with are the Basoga. With a high reputation
for expert thieving and a nature that seems to be unable to believe in the honesty
of the intentions of any other person, the average Musoga slinks through life on
the principle of "Do somebody or you'll be done".
In addition to being expert thieves they appear to have been very heavy drink-
ers and smokers of bhang, and their inability to combine against a foreign enemy
certainly resulted in their country being over-run first by the Banyoro and then by
Miss Welsh, a C.M.S. Missionary who first came to Uganda in 1907, and who
has spent the whole of her service in the Busoga District, is of the opinion that there
is no real Lusoga language; there are many dialects, but agreement as to the correct
way either to pronounce or to spell certain words is difficult of attainment. In the
north there is a distinct "H" in the language, but no southerner will agree to this.
To the best of my knowledge the only effort to record the Lusoga language was a
"Reader" compiled by Mr. Rowling of the C.M.S. which, I gather, was in the Kigulu
dialect, but this was rejected by other members of the tribe who stated that it was
not true Lusoga.
As already recorded, many words are similar to Lunyoro, especially in the north
of the district. It would seem, however, that unless some agreement can soon be
arrived at co-relating the various dialects the language will become a lost one, as
the tendency to dispense with it in favour of Luganda becomes more marked yearly.
In spite of this lack of cohesion, which is not surprising when the varied origins
of the tribe are considered, the country was thickly populated and extremely rich
in food and cattle, which undoubtedly encouraged invasion by neighboring tribes.
The Uganda Handbook tells us that the Bukoli country was regarded as "The
Promised Land" by caravans from the Coast, after their long safari through the
deserts and hostile tribes of what is now Kenya Colony.
At the end of the nineteenth century, however, sleeping sickness spread rapidly
throughout the southern portion of the district and continued to decimate the popu-
lation for a considerable period. They also endured a terrible outbreak of small-
pox in 1900 and serious famine in 1908.
Constitution and Government.
Sir Harry Johnston in The Stoiy of My Life, p. 368, states:
"Other agreements were made with regard to Busoga, a large country
immediately on the east of the Nile, where it quits the Victoria Nyanza. The
Basoga were a race nearly allied in blood and language with the Baganda".
This is the only reference to an Agreement with the Basoga that I can find.
In the Memorandum by the chiefs of Busoga on the proposed federation of the
British East African dependencies in 1928 they state:
"Prior to 1892, the year when the British Government was founded in the
Uganda Protectorate, we were quite prosperous and had our own Government
which can claim to be a fairly constitutional government, and had our own
customs which differ very widely from those of the other tribes of Kenya Colony
and Tanganyika, but differed very little from those of the natives of Buganda".
In their Memorandum which was submitted to the Parliamentary Joint Committee
on Closer Union, 1931, they state:
"From time immemorial we possessed in Busoga our Native Administration
and our Paramount Chiefs, now the Saza Chiefs, who ruled their own countries
independently as Kings. These Chiefs had under them subordinate Chiefs who
assisted them in the administration. The Paramount Chief had the right to give
away or sell some of the land".
It is quite definite that there was never a Paramount Chief over the whole
of the Basoga. They do not claim this, nor does there appear to have been any
attempt at a combined Lukiko or Parliament in any area. Whether there was an
appeal from the superior chiefs in Busoga to the Kabaka of Buganda as stated
by Roscoe (3) is disputed by the present Basoga.
The difficulty of finding suitable chiefs during the early stages of the British
Administration was considerable, in fact so devoid were the Basoga of ability to
lead that a number of Baganda chiefs were appointed. As administration progressed
these Baganda chiefs were replaced by Basoga and the present day chiefs have
demonstrated in a very practical manner that they possess marked administrative
ability and powers of leadership. They have been selected for the most part from
the old hereditary ruling families, and under close administration this appears to
have been justified. The highest post, that of President of the Busoga Lukiko, is,
as we have seen, not an hereditary title but was created by the Protectorate
Government in 1918.
Ownership of land before the arrival of the British Administration, and the power
to grant such ownership, is a matter of doubt. Roscoe (4) states:
"The clans of the Basoga did not keep themselves entirely separate or confine
themselves strictly to their own localities but to a certain extent they scattered
and mixed. Each clan however had land which belonged to it and the head of
the clan was known as the Mutaka or freeholder. This land could not pass from
tie ownership of the clan, and a clan member who was granted land by the head
of his clan could not be deprived of it. There was always plenty of land, and a
clan member who desired to possess some had merely to apply to the head of
the clan, who would allocate him a certain defined portion. A member of another
clan might be allowed to cultivate land but only as a tenant (muziha) whose
land might be taken from him if it was required for a member of the clan to
which it belonged".
I find it difficult to believe that the acquisition of land was so simple a matter,
and from information I have received it appears that a portion ot land would only
be granted by the leading chief of the clan if gifts commensurate in value with the
area of land apportioned were forthcoming. These gifts were made through the
Abazaire (parents) and the Katikiros. The gifts consisted of ivory, cows and
goats, and the areas were approximately:
(i) A Mitalla, i.e. sufficient land for a Mutalla Chief.
(2) A Kisoko, i.e. sufficient land for a Kisoko Chief.
(3) A "peasant's portion", i.e. sufficient land for one garden.
(3) Roscoe: op. cit., p. 99.
(4) Roscoe: op. cit., p. 98.
Moreover, in the event of the owner transgressing any tribal law, he could be
discharged from the land apportioned him and no refund of the gifts was allowed.
For so severe a penalty the offence committed must naturally be a serious one.
Provided, however, the owner of the land transgressed no law he was free to make
what use of the land he wished and could apportion it to his sons. On his death
his sons inherited the land.
There was, I think, no appeal from the decision of the leading chief regarding
the apportioning ot land. Ownership of land was entirely dependent on the ability
of the individual to hold it. Might was right.
The Basoga for some years past have pressed for a system of land tenure
similar to the 'Mailo' system set up under the 900o Agreement in Buganda. Their
repeated requests have, however, always been refused by the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, and the alternative offer of eighty-five square miles for the leading
families is still under consideration.
Although the question of land tenure has been under discussion for a consid-
erable time it has not retarded progress in agricultural production. The increase
in the acreage under cotton is practical proof of this, and last season's figure of 232,
ooo acres, (5) which is a record for the district, in a year of extreme climatic difficulties
during the planting period, indicates that the present day Musoga has not inherited
his forebears' idle characteristics.
Moreover, the desire for education and the willingness to pay for it is borne out
by the founding of Busoga College, a building costing ~ 7,500,-- 5,ooo of which was
sanctioned from the Native Administration Fund on condition that 2,5co was
collected by voluntary contribution. This sum was forthcoming from the Basoga
and the building has already been erected, and the school is now operating success-
The Basoga are essentially a home-loving people with little tendency to
migrate or seek employment outside their own area, and they prefer to develop their
own plots of land rather than to work for a wage for someone else.
(The writer is much indebted to Miss Welsh of the Church Missionary Society for
the information she so kindly furnished; to Mr. D. W. Robertson, D.S.O., M.C., the
present District Commissioner of Busoga,for revising this paper and making some very
helpful suggestions; and also to Omwami Yekonia Lubogoand Omwami Yekonia Zira-
bamuzale for their assistance in the collection of the legends quoted).
(5) This is the 1933 figure; there has been a further increase in 1934.
A Note on the African Buffalo.
By G. H. E. HOPKINS.
It is hardly possible to read more than one or two books on big game without
being struck by the difference in the views of the different authors on the relative
degree of danger to be experienced in hunting those species of game animals
which are usually classed as dangerous--one author will have a healthy respect
for lion, while despising elephant, buffalo, etc., a second will put buffalo first on
the list and think nothing of the others, while a third will have no respect for any-
thing but elephant.
For this reason an incident which (to the writer's very meagre experience of
buffalo) would appear somewhat out of the ordinary is perhaps worthy of being
put on record.
On safari in western Ankole recently I had occasion to shoot meat for my
porters and accordingly went out one evening to seek what I might find. The
country was open grass-land interspersed with clumps of small bushes (an impor-
tant point because it is possible that difference of terrain may explain, to some
extent, the different opinions mentioned above). After a short time a herd of
three buffalo, two of which were certainly bulls ard the third believed to be of the
same sex, was encountered. By taking advantage of a small valley and, in the
later stages of the stalk, by flitting from bush to bush, I eventually found myself
less than fifty yards down wind from the buffalo and ensconced behind a small
clump of bushes with two other clumps some fifty yards to the rear, my boys
having remained behind in the valley by my instructions. Picking out one bull I
fired at him, gave him a second shot to "mak siccar" and he dropped stone dead.
This was whe e the unexpected began to happen: the two remaining buffalo
milled around a little and one of them endeavoured several times to lift up the
dead beast by hooking a horn under his neck. Finally they took up positions
one on each side of the corpse, one facing in my direction and the other in
the opposite direction (it is probably desirable to mention that I am convinced
that from first to last they had no idea from whence the danger came.) Far
the simplest way out would have been to shoot them both but I was unwilling to do
this as we now had all the meat we required. But from the positions they had
taken up they would not budge and, as darkness was approaching, it became obvious
that if they would not move I must. Neither of the bushes to my rear was in a
straight line between the buffalo and the bush which sheltered me but by means of
a somewhat uncomfortable but very lifelike imitation of the Serpent () I was enabled
to retreat unperceived to the valley and thence to the road and my car. By this
time darkness had fallen but by means of the car-lights I was able to drive back
over the plain to the spot where the buffalo had fallen. Arrived there, the first object
on which the lights fell was the dead buffalo and the second the live ones, still on
guard some hour and a half after the shots were fired Nor did the lights, revving
up the engine, and the use of both electric and bulb horns on the car induce them to
depart, though all this took place within about thirty yards of them. But after about
ten minutes of this treatment they were obviously nervous and (in bottom gear and
still making all possible noise) I advanced towards them. At the moment when the
car had come within little more than fifteen yards and when I had decided that if their
nerve did not break almost immediately mine would, they trotted slowly away and
did not return.
Now all this may be a commonplace to those with more experience of buffalo-
hunting than the writer but I have not seen such behaviour recorded and would ask
your more experienced readers if it is in any way common. The points which
particularly struck me were the courage of these buffalo, not so much in the first
instance when they may very well not have understood what the danger was, but in
withstanding for ten minutes close-range frightfulness in the way of horn-blowing
and engine-revving, and also their strategic skill as shown in the positions they took
up to guard the corpse-positions which enabled them to maintain a look-out in
practically every direction.
(1) "Upon thy belly shalt thou go". Gencsis iii, 14.
Bees Nesting in Key-Holes.
By T. W. CHORLEY, F.R.E.S.
Minute stingless bees of the genus Trigona (formerly known as Melihona) are a
nuisance in many buildings in Kampala and for a number of years people in Jinja
have complained that they are unable to unlock their verandah doors because these
bees have built their nests in the lock, using the key-hole as an entrance. The bee
which causes the trouble in Kampala has been identified as Trigona btaunsi, Kohl.,
but it is possible that other species of the genus have the same troublesome habits.
This bee is a very small black insect about an eighth of an inch long, or very
slightly larger than the "mbwa-fly" (Sinulium) which they somewhat resemble.
This has on at least one occasion led to a report of"mbwa-fly" breeding in the cracks
Like its relative the honey-bee Trigona is a social insect but its colonies are
much smaller, consisting of a queen and two to three hundred workers instead of a
queen and as many as eighty thousand workers, besides drones, in a strong colony
of the honey-bee. The drones of Trigona are not yet known. The cells in which
the larvae are reared and where honey and pollen is stored are different from those
of the honey-bee. The latter builds a number of combs with hexagonal cells arranged
on both sides and made entirely of wax (which in time becomes considerably stre-
ngthened as the young bees emerge and leave their pupa skins behind), whereas
Trigona builds a small cluster of round cells jumbled together and not unlike a bunch
of grapes. The cells are built of a combination of wax and a resinous gum called
propoliss"; the cells intended for honey and pollen are nearly twice the size of those
utilised for brood rearing. The bees can obtain propolis from most of the coniferous
trees grown in Uganda, but they also obtain it from indigenous trees.
The natural nesting places of Trigona are cracks in the mud walls of native huts,
termite hills and in cracks of dry wood sheltered from rain, but with the introduction
of locks and other devices Trigona has changed its habitat to a large extent and
thus becomes an annoyance. I have found these bees nesting between the panels of
a door, and verandah supports and garage shelters also afford good nesting sites; on
one occasion they were found nesting in a hand cotton-gin between two supports
where a bolt was not fastened down tightly. They have also been found nesting in
the deserted burrows of carpenter bees which riddled the beams of a garage roof.
The nest is very easily detected: a tube resembling an old-fashioned blunder-
buss and from one to two inches long is seen protruding from the site of the nest
unless the bees are constantly disturbed. This tube is built of a mixture of wax and
propolis and several bees may be seen at the entrance acting as guards; should a
strange bee lose its way or endeavour to enter the nest in order to steal the honey
it is seized upon by the guards who catch hold of it with their jaws and do not let
go until it is almost dead with exhaustion (it is quite possible that in some cases
such intruders are killed).
When a colony of Trigona is established in a key-hole the mixture of wax and
propolis with which they build their nests soon blocks up the hole to such an extent
that it becomes very difficult and involves the use of a considerable amount of force
to insert the key to turn it, or get it out again. This nuisance may last for a very
long time, locks at the Agricultural Laboratories having been infested for at least
three years, during which various remedies were tried, before an effective preventative
was found. Various repellants and insecticides, including Jeyes' fluid, creosote,
chloroform, etc., were found to be successful for a short time but after periods of
six to eight weeks (sometimes less) the trouble would recur.
After much experiment it was found that vaseline (either crude or pure) is
entirely successful in keeping Trigona out of the key-holes. It is used in the
following manner: Unscrew the door-handles and lock and take the lock to pieces,
taking particular care to note where each part goes so as to prevent trouble in
reassembling the lock. Boil the pieces of the lock (including the key if necessary)
in water for a short time, to soften the wax and propolis, then clean each piece of the
lock by scraping and dry it thoroughly with a cloth. Smear vaseline thickly over
the whole of the inside of the lock, reassemble it and replace it.
Two locks treated by this method nine months ago have never had bees in
since. The vaseline dissolves the propolis and thus prevents the bees obtaining a
foundation on which they can build. In addition it acts as a preventative of rust.
An Ascent of Mount Mikeno.
By R. M. B.
The following is a brief account, from a climber's point of view, of the ascent
of Mount Mikeno (14,544 feet) in the Parc National Albert, Congo Belge.
The afternoon of December 21st 1934, saw three enthusiasts (the Manager, the
Entomologist, and the Writer) interviewing an extremely helpful Administrateur
Territorial at Ruchuru. All preliminary arrangements were satisfactorily made and
they were able to return by nightfall to their camp at Bunagana on the Kigezi-
Congo border. The next morning there was a hasty packing of two cars, a hurried
journey to Birunga at the foot of Mikeno, a further call in Ruchuru and a visit to
the White Fathers' Mission at Rulenga, some 15 miles from Birunga. The
remainder of this day can be passed over quickly; we were fortunate to obtain
such porters as we required with a minimum of delay and, before sunset, after an
easy four hours' walk, through a drizzling rain reached a camp site, just above the
Bamboo Zone at a height of about 9,500 feet. Here were two grass huts and a flat
clearing in the forest on which a tent could be pitched. It was here, in the smaller
of the two huts, that the Manager showed a new and unexpected side of his
make-up. The night was both cold and damp and something rather out of the
ordinary in the way of food seemed called for; so a one-dish meal was cooked, the
ingredients being added at irregular intervals according to the Manager's erratic
whim. I shall not give the recipe in detail but sufficient to say that an excellent
Karisimbi from near Van Hoof's camp on Mikeno.
i- .**. ...*
result can be obtained by adding cheese, chocolate, potatoes, ham and rum to the
broth of mutton stewed in curry powder. Wet blankets, a cold night and anticipation
of a hard day's work in the mountains are essential to the enjoyment of such a dinner.
On the morning of the 23rd we breakfasted in our sleeping bags and got away
by sunrise. The morning was clear and cold and we had every prospect of a
reasonably fine day for the ascent. At about 1o,ooo feet in the gap between Mikeno
and Karisimbi lies the grave of the famous American Naturalist, Carl Akeley, who
died on the mountain in 1926, while studying the Mountain Gorilla, in this, the most
typical of his habitats. For the next 3000 feet the route lay up the steep side of
the mountain, through the rapidly changing belts of vegetation into the alpine zone
proper to a little ridge plateau on which Father Van Hoof camped when making
what seems to have been the first ascent of Mikeno in 1927.
Luckily the day was fairly clear and we were able to get some idea of the work
in front of us. The mountain is capped by a rocky tower, some 0ooo feet in
height, and the ridge we were on seemed to run straight to the central and steepest
part of this tower. This final tower was not pure rock either but composed of a
series of walls of lichen-covered basalt together with a series of ledges and over-
hanging walls of moss. It is hard to imagine a more forbidding prospect. It is
not easy to describe in detail the last two hours or so of the climb, which proved to be
easier than it looked. There was a simple little chimney, perfect in its way, a steep
wall of about 30 feet with an awkward finish over an overhanging bulge of moss, a
pleasant little interlude in a gulley, fairly free from vegetation, and a final struggle
up a very exposed and almost perpendicular wall of moss, some 500 feet or so high.
The summit itself was bare of vegetation, and small patches of snow were present
in the more sheltered corners. We were accompanied throughout by three Africans
who proved themselves to be sound and careful climbers. One in particular showed
himself to be a climber of no mean skill and his handling of the last 500 feet, which in
places needed quite delicate climbing and on which a slip would probably have
proved fatal, was indeed a pleasure to watch. The descent luckily proved easier
than the ascent and it was a tired but extremely happy party which hurried into
camp at 7.30 that evening.
Mikeno appears to have been climbed twice before-on both occasions by Belgian
parties-the first recorded ascent having been made in 1927 by Father Van Hoof
of the Ralenga Mission with two experienced alpinists, M. and Mme. le Bruin. The
second ascent was made in July 1934, by the three brothers Ryckzt of Kigoma on
Lake Kivu. All three parties seem to have followed the same route by the south
face of the mountain from the gap between Mikeno and Karisimbi.
Should anyone be unaware of its position it may be mentioned that Mikeno and
Karisimbi form the central group of the Bufumbiro or Birunga volcanoes, of which
the three most easterly are in Uganda territory. Karisimbi is the highest peak in
the range and stands 14,865 feet while Mikeno, Karisimbi's nearest neighbour,
reaches a height of 14,544 feet. With the possible exception of the two active
volcanoes, which form the western outposts of the range, Mikeno is undoubtedly of
the greatest general interest, while from the climber's point view it presents the
unusual phenomenon of being a distinctly difficult peak, which is not composed of
solid rock nor reaches the level of perpetual snow. It seems pretty certain that no
easy, or tourist, route could be found on Mikeno.
An Aerial Phenomenon.
By MARK WILSON.
One evening towards the latter end of 1929-the 7th of November to be exact--
the writer was one of a group of five or six persons gathered on the tennis courts
at Mbale in the Eastern Province. The usual somewhat lethargic mixed-doubles
match was in progress and it was about a quarter to six by the clock A thunder-
storm-the herald of the November rains-was brewing in the darkening sky. Sud-
denly one of the players who was about to serve paused in the act and pointing with
his racket towards the northern sky exclaimed, "Hullo! there's an aeroplane." He
was adjured by the others to get on with the game, but when a couple of double
faults had brought the set to an inglorious end everyone gathered on the edge of
the court to watch the aerial passer-by. Five years ago an aeroplane was not such
a commonplace sight in Uganda as it has now become. And the aery vessel to
which the attention of the tennis players had been directed was no ordinary one.
Streaking across the sky from north to south at an estimated height of about three
thousand feet and at a pace which was variously adjudged to be anything from 150
to 200 miles per hour was a curious torpedo-like machine, silvery green in colour,
and in size and behaviour entirely unlike any air-vessel previously known to the
onlookers. It appeared to be about seven or eight miles away, and flying on a
horizontal course. Larger and bulkier than the average aeroplane, it was neverthe-
less graceful in a plump, streamlined fashion; there was a peculiar unobtrusiveness
about the wings which looked fin-like in their stubby brevity; and the prominent tail
of the ordinary aeroplane was conspicuously absent. Moreover from the pointed
stern was issuing a thick white trail of smoke or steam.
Idle curiosity changed to eager speculation as the curious machine hurtled
across the sky towards Tororo. Those were the days when England was still conduct-
ing those experiments with giant airships which ended so disastrously on a French
hillside near Beauvais in October 1930. At that time R ioo-the elder sister of
the ill-fated R Ioi-was undergoing her trials and one of the lady onlookers, gre-
atly daring, and doubtless somewhat bemused by the unusual size and appearance
of the visitant, suggested that it might be R ioo flying to the Cape. That sugges-
tion was not seriously received by the rest of the party, for obviously no airship
could rattle across the sky at such a break-neck pace as this. Greater value was
given to the theory of a male member of the party who hazarded the opinion that it
might be the R. A. F. machine which about that time was being prepared for the
first attempted non-stop flight from England to the Cape, and indeed that opinion
held the field for the rest of this remarkable evening, though in fact no such non-
stop flight was then in process, and when the first attempt was actually made seve-
ral months later it ended in a disastrous crash in the Libyan desert many hundreds
of miles northward of Uganda.
But to return. Quickly the curious flying machine crossed three-quarters of
the horizon and the spectators were about to seek their homes and the usual solace
of sundown in the tropics when suddenly and the without warning the aerial visitor
headed steeply downwards at an angle of about 600 to the horizontal and plunged
to earth behind a slight fold in the rolling plain which extends many miles to the
south-west of Mbale.
Consternation filled the minds of the tennis players. It had crashed! Come
down in flames! Plunged into the Mazimasa swamp! The amazing speed, the
steep descent, the heavy trail of smoke! It could only mean one thing-disaster!
So assured were the onlookers that they had just been casual witnesses of a
probably fatal crash that with all speed the party broke up and returned to their
several homes. Hurriedly first-aid outfits were prepared, brandy-flasks filled, and
a message sent to the doctor to have beds ready in the Hospital. All the available
men in the station-there were four-crowded into a car and set off on the Butaleja
road which passes near the great Mazimasa swamp ten or twelve miles from Mbale.
Meanwhile unsought corroboration had appeared in the voluntary statement of
an ayah who mentioned to her Memsahib that she had seen an ndege ya Ulaya (bird
of Europe) whilst playing with her charge on the cricket ground, but that it had
'fallen down'. With their apprehensions so reinforced the party set off to seek what
they might find and render such aid as they could.
A few miles regardless of speed limits-and then the storm broke. Through
blinding sheets of rain and amid the almost continuous thunder and lightning of a
tropical storm at its worst the rescue party drove on through the now pitch-dark
night. Arrived in the vicinity of the swamp a somewhat sleepy and reluctant
Gombolola Chief was hauled forth from his cosy hut and questioned as to whether
he had seen anything. He strenuously and no doubt truthfully protested that he had
not, and was obviously hoping against hope that the mad Bazungu would depart
into the storm from which they had emerged and not keep him standing any longer
in the drenching rain, the thunder and the lightning.
But the Bazungu had no intention of leaving him in peace. They insisted on
him rousing his retainers with their cock-and-bull story of a great aeroplane from
England which had plunged into the swamp. Well, what if it had, mused the rain-
soaked chief? What was the use of looking for it in the thousands of acres of mud,
water and papyrus of the Mazimasa swamp ? And anyway wouldn't it do tomorrow
when the daylight had come again and the rain ceased ?
But, of course the mad Bazungu never take a sensible view like that and off
they set, with the shivering chief and his men reluctantly leading the van, to a little
knoll on rising ground some two miles distant, with the rain still pitilessly pouring
down, the thunder roaring and the lightning flashing. A spluttering Deitz lamp or
two showed the winding native path through the wet elephant grass. The going
was as heavy as a paper-chase over ploughed land. Several times the eager sear-
chers looking over the swamp caught glimpses through the tall grass of what might
be flares-signals of distress-but might, of course, be only the marshy Will-o'-
the-wisp or even prolonged flashes of sheet lightning.
At last the dripping party reached the rocky knoll and entirely ignoring the
risk of snakes and of broken limbs on the dark and slippery rocks climbed to the
top. Before their eyes stretched acres and acres of papyrus swamp, intermittently
lit up by lightning flashes, and away in the distance the dim line of lights marking
the Mbale township. But nothing else-either then or in the subsequent hour which
they spent on the top of that rocky knoll. So at last they turned back to the road
and thence home, frustrated and depressed.
Inquiries were continued next day. The chief was ordered to turn out all his
people and scour the countryside for signs of the missing aeroplane. The authorities
at Jinja and Entebbe were notified by telephone and asked to make enquiries as to
whether any machine flying over East Africa was reported missing. The answer
was in the negative-then and subsequently. No aeroplane was known to have
been in the vicinity and none was unaccounted for. Nothing in the way of an aerial
visitor had been observed at Soroti or Lira to the northward. But late in the day two
travelling natives, strangers in the district, were brought in to the Police Station
alleging that they had seen an aeroplane 'falling down' on the previous evening. Un-
fortunately the European Police Officer was absent when they were brought in and
before his return they had slipped away from the Police Station verandah and were
never seen again. An Indian in the Bazaar stated he had seen an aeroplane flying
towards Tororo at six o'clock on the previous evening, but beyond convincing the
tennis players of the efficiency of their own eyesight his information was not very
That, for all intents and purposes, is the end of the story, as far at any rate as
the facts are concerned. Needless to say, however, nothing else was talked about
in those parts for several weeks, and many theories were put forward. Those
whose own eyes had not seen the phenomenon talked learnedly of optical illusions
and mirages and looked up the station dictionary to see what exactly the latter
word meant. But the tennis players would have none of it. They had seen, and
seeing is believing. Some of the more imaginative suggested that the eerie thing
was without doubt a messenger from Mars, which had unfortunately chosen the
deceptively flat surface of the swamp to land upon, but that theory was usually put
forward rather late in the evening. Meteors were also mentioned.
Some of the scientific readers of the Journal may be able to advance some sug-
gestion to account for the phenomenon here described. The writer himself, who
saw the strange visitant and assisted in the search, has no explanation to offer, and
merely writes it down as one of the two mysterious, unexplained experiences of his
life. The other is a ghost story-a true one. But that, of course, is another story.
A Buganda Fable.*
Written down by R. S. SHACKELL.
The following was recounted to me by a Muganda who represented it as being
an original Baganda tale. Be that as it may, it was new to me and seemed worthy
of re-telling. So beyond rendering it into suitable English, I have written it down
as he told it.
The Lion, the Jackal and the Hyena.
A Lion, Jackal and Hyena went for a stroll in search of food, but meeting with
no luck agreed that whichever of them first knocked his foot on a stone should
be eaten by the other two, unless he was able to show that he was thinking so deeply
that he had not noticed the stone.
The Jackal was the first to knock his foot, but when the other two wanted to
eat him he said that the reason he had done so was because he was wondering what
people did with their old clothes as no one was ever able to say what had happened
to all the clothes he had ever had. The Lion and the Hyena agreed that this was
such a profound reflection that they would not eat the Jackal.
Proceeding on their way they came to some very stony ground. Here the
Lion knocked his foot but although the others noticed it they thought it best to say
nothing, inwardly excusing themselves on the ground that the Lion's mind must
surely have been engrossed with some matter of deep import.
The next one to knock his foot was the Hyena. When asked for the thoughts
which had so absorbed him that he had kicked a stone he replied that he was
laughing. Thereupon the other two set on him and quickly devoured him.
A little further on the Jackal again knocked his foot. In answer to the Lion's
threatening enquiry he said that he was wondering why some stones were so small
and some so large and when he came to a large stone he kicked it to see if it was
solid. This satisfied the Lion.
Not long afterwards they came to a cave having a large entrance and at the
other side a narrow exit. The Jackal said, "Our ancestors were very wise and knew
how to make use of this cave. Let us do the same." He showed the Lion how to
enter the cave and then how to make an exit at the rear of it. The Lion entered
quite easily but when he tried to pass through the narrow exit stuck halfway. The
Jackal immediately went back to the front of the cave and, coming up behind the
Lion, started to eat him. After a while the Lion asked the Jackal to come and eat him
from the front but the Jackal replied that he could not bear to see his friend eaten
and preferred to miss such a painful sight by remaining at the rear.
A different version of this fable has already been given by Mrs. Baskerville in
her book, "King of the Snakes", but it was thought that the variation here given would
be of interest. R. S. S.
(To The Editor, "The Uganda Journal.")
Herewith you will find an extract from a letter by a correspondent writing in
Luganda about the grasshoppers (Ensenene) in the Tula-Nkunyonyole issue of
the 31st January, 1935. Is it true, as the writer suggests, that the grasshop-
pers come to these parts of Africa every year from the Sahara and West African
deserts ? I think it will be very interesting to your readers, especially the learned
entomologists, to know this. May we hope to hear more from some of them
through the Journal about this mysterious Ensenene question in addition to the
information given in your last number by Mr. D.R. Buxton, to whom I tender here
my sincere thanks?
9TH FEBRUARY, 1935.
Extract from a letter in Luganda about the Nsenene question.
"Munnyonnyozi owa December 7 1934 ku muko ogwa 7, Om. S. K. Sempa
Muna - Gombe. Yabuza Ensenene gyeziva.
Ensenene ziva mu Congo French, zisibuka mu Dungu edene eriri mu North
Africa, eryoluberyeberye eriyitibwa "sahara" eriri ku luyi Iwe Bugwanjuba
(West Africa) zizalirwa mu Taka nga Enswa, era zirya Taka y'emere yazo gamba
nga Enswa. N'Ebiwuka ebirala ebibuka, mu ntuko zabyo muttaka.
Mpozi gerageranya, nti Ebitonde ebyo mu Mazzi birya ku byo mu mazzi
n'Eby'omuttaka bwebityo, nga "mungu" bweyabiwa.
Kyamazima Ensenene zibuka mu Biswa, era Ebiswa ebyo biri mu Dungu eryo
edene. Guba mukisa Ekiswa okukikubako ekimunye eri abatambuze abayitamu
n'Engamira. Era enaku zona zitambula nga ziva ku West.
Sebo, nange bwenawulira banyumya bwebatyo, sigana Abasomibo abayinza
okunyonyola obulungi okusinga awo."
(Sd.) D. KATB: RA,
(Copied as it was printed in "Tula-Nkunyonyole").
Extract from a letter in Luganda about the Ensenene question.
"In Munyonyozi of 7th December, 1934, page 7, Omwami S. K. Sempa Muna-
Gombe, asked where the grasshoppers come from. Grasshoppers come from the
French Congo, originating in a big desert called "Sahara" which is in the north-west
of Africa. They are born in the ground like white ants; they eat earth and this is
their food, just like white ants and other flying insects which come from the
Perhaps you will remember that water creatures eat what is found in the
water and those which live in the ground do the same, by God's ordinance.
It is true that grasshoppers fly from ant-hills and these ant-hills are in that big
desert. It is a very fortunate thing for the travellers who pass through that desert
on camels to find an ant-hill where the grasshoppers come out; for they always fly
from the west.
Sir, this is what I heard from people talking about the grasshoppers and I am
ready to defer to your readers who can explain better than I have done".
(Sd.) D. KATB:RA,
"Early Explorers in Ankole"
(To The Editor, "The Uganda Journal.")
With reference to Mr. Lukyn Williams' article "Early Explorers in Ankole" he
mentions that in Toro there is a tradition that the Bachwezi came from the West
and later disappeared into the Crater Lakes. I venture to say that this is not
quite correct. It is a traditional story amongst the Batoro and Bakonjo that the
Bachwezi rose from these craters and after a short stay in Toro vanished to Kan-
I first heard this "legend" in 1913.
R. W. MALING.
26th January, 1935.
INDEX TO VOLUME II
BERE, R. M.
BRASNETT, N. V.
RUTON, C. L.
CHORLEY, C. W.
CHORLEY, T. W.
COOK, SIR ALBERT
DAVIES, DR. K. A.
DUKE, DR. H. L.
EGGELING, W. J.
GIBBINS, E. G.
GRAY, J. M.
HOPKINS, G. H. E.
LOWTH, MAJOR N. C. L.
MARRIOTT, J. W. F.
O'BRIEN, T. P.
SCHOFIELD, DR. A. T.
SHACKELL, R. S.
SIMMONS, W. C.
SYNGE, P. M.
THOMAS, H. B.
An Ascent of Mt. Mikeno.
Some Notes oa the Basoga.
A Native Crocodile Trap.
Observations on Bird Migrations on Nsadzi
Isle, Lake Victoria ...
Bees Nesting in Key-holes.
Further Memories of Uganda.
A Glimpse of Uganda's Past.
An Interesting Hybrid .. ...
Ambatch and African Blackwood.
Early History of Buganda.
The Riddle of Biggo. ... ...
Notes on Uganda Mosquitos and Methods
Mankind at War with the Insects.
A Note on the African Buffalo ...
The Story of the Entry of the Alur into the
West Nile ...
The Kampala Musuem....
Some Notes on the Reign of Mutesa ..
Pre-History and Uganda.
Photography in Uganda. ...
A Buganda Fable. ...
Mweso-The Board Game. ...
Mimicry. ... ... ... ...
Some Notes on the Mountains of Uganda.
A Federal Capital for Eastern Africa-Some
Early Proposals. ... ... .
Ruwenzori and Elgon- Footnotes.
Jackson and von Tiedemann. ...
THOMAS, H. B.
THOMPSON, A. D. F.
TWINING, E. F.
WAYLAND, E. J.
WILLIAMS, DR. A. W.
WILLIAMS, F. LUKYN
Ernest Linant de Bellefonds and Stanley's
Letter to the "Daily Telegraph" ..
The Uses of the Banana.
Uganda Medals and Decorations. ...
Some Notes on the Biggo bya Mugenyi.
Storks .. ... ...
Blood-brotherhood in Ankole.
Early Explorers in Ankole.
An Aerial Phenomenon ..
Busoga Death and Burial Rites.
Printed and Published by the Uganda Printing and Publishing Company. Limited.
P. O. Box 84 Kampala. for the Uganda Literary and Scientific Society.