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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Table of Contents
The Uganda Society
Past climates and some future possibilities in Uganda
More about Mweso
A guide to the snakes of Uganda, part II
Abakama ba Bunyoro Kitara
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
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The Uganda Journal.
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
Past Climates and Some Future Possibilities in Uganda
with a Note on The Deluge ...
More about Mweso ...
A Guide to the Snakes of Uganda, Part II ...
Abakama ba Bunyoro Kitara ... ...
(Lunyoro with English translation).
The African's Skin
Lions Catching Monkeys
A Note on Chamaeleons
E. J. WAYLAND.
R. S. SHACKELL.
CAPT. C. R. S. PITMAN.
by L. J. A. LOEWENTHAL.
by C.APT. C. R. S. PITMAN.
by W.C. SIMMONS.
Kiganda Drums ...
Kayozi ... ...
Bees Nesting in Keyholes
The Scottish Institute of Anthropology
by I. K. AGENDA.
... ... by CAPT. C. R. S. PITMAN.
... ... by X.
... by H. J. ROSE & OTHERS.
Uganda Society-Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, held on Sept. i6th, 1935.
... . ... ...
THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
His EXCELLENCY SIR B. H. BOURDILLON, K.C.M.G., K.B.E
DR. H. H. HUNTER, C.B.E., LL.D.
MARK WILSON, EsQ.
Honorary Vice-Presidents :
SIR ALBERT. R. COOK, KT., C.M.G.
THE RT. REV. BISHOP E. MICHAUD, C.B.E.
E. J. WAYLAND, ESQ.
MRS. H. H. HUNTER.
MRS. C. G. MOODY.
H. B. THOMAS, ESQ., O.B.E.
K. D. GUPTA, ESQ.
H. JOWITT, ESQ.
OMW. S. W. KULUBYA.
DR. A. T. SCHOFIELD.
Honorary Treasurer, and Editor :
JOHN SYKES, ESQ.
Representative in Great Britain :
A. R. MORGAN, ESQ., O.B.E.
R. P. CALDWELL, ESQ.
THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
r. There are no restrictions as to membership of the Uganda 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. i5/- 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 Journal.
2. Additional copies of the numbers of Volume III, i.e. the current Volume,
of the Journal may be obtained from the Honorary Treasurer, P. O. Box 262,
Kampala, or from the Uganda Printing and Publishing Coy. Ltd., Kampala
(Business Managers). Price Shs. 2/50 per copy.
Numbers of the current Volume are also on sale at the Uganda Bookshop,
The bound Volumes I and II and single numbers of those Volumes are
obtainable only at the Uganda Bookshop, Kampala. Prices are as follows:-
Vol. I, Shs. 12/-; Vol. II, Shs. i5/-; single numbers, Shs. 3/-.
3. Arrangements have been made with the Uganda Printing and Publishing
Company Ltd., Kampala, to bind Volume I of the Journal at a cost of
Shs. 2/50 and subsequent Volumes at Shs. 3/- per volume.
4. 'Separates' of articles will in future only be printed if ordered in advance.
Orders should be placed with the Editor or with the Honorary Treasurer.
Prices of 'separates' vary according to the length of the article and the number
and nature of illustrations. Minimum price 20 cents.
5. Blocks of illustrations may be purchased on application to the Honorary
Treasurer or Editor. The price of these is usually half the cost of production.
6. Subscriptions should be sent to the Honorary Treasurer, P. O. Box 262,
Kampala, from whom Banker's Orders may be obtained. Members are parti-
cularly requested to pay subscriptions by Banker's Order, if possible. See also
Paragraph (8) below.
Under no circumstances will the Journal be sent to those whose subscript-
ions are outstanding.
7. Contributions to the Journal should be sent to the Editor, P. O. Box 262,
Kampala. No guarantee is given to return any MSS. submitted. Articles
should be typed in double spacing 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.
Those sending photographs should send glazed prints if possible.
8. The postal address of the Honorary Secretary is P. O. Box 161, Kampala
The postal address of the Honorary Treasurer and of the Honorary Editor
is P. O. Box 262, Kampala.
From November ist, 1935, the Business Managers of the Society will be
the Uganda Printing and Publishing Coy. Ltd, P. O. Box 84, Kampala, to
whom all communications for the Honorary Treasurer should be sent as from
9. The postal address of the Society's representative in Great Britain is A. R.
Morgan, Esq., O. B. E., 66 Brodie Avenue, Mossley Hill, Liverpool. Members
resident in the United Kingdom may send their subscriptions to him.
10. The Society's Bankers are the National Bank of India, Ltd., Kampala.
i1. Members are particularly requested to notify the Honorary Secretary of
any change of address.
The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Uganda Society are pub-
lished in this number of the Journal, and the Annual Report and Accounts have
been circulated to all members.
The Accounts show that, though the Society's financial position is sound, yet
the cost of production of the Journal and of other activities, together with overhead
charges, is barely balanced by the present revenue from subscriptions and sales.
Such a position cannot be considered satisfactory, as it means that the Society
has not been able to add to its reserve fund, and-that if it is to do so in future years,
there must be a considerable increase of membership, and of revenue derived from
The new Honorary Secretary, Dr. A. T. Schofield, outlined to the General
Meeting his proposals for the recruitment of new members, which included the
appointment of Local and Community Secretaries.
An important feature in Dr. Schofield's programme is to have in future
regular meetings for lectures and for other purposes, and that such meetings shall
be held on a fixed day in each month and at a fixed time, so that members may
be able to keep the evening free from other engagements.
We have no doubt that Dr. Schofield's proposals will commend themselves to
the general body of members and will prove effective.
About one hundred subscriptions for 1935/1936 are still outstanding, and we
would most strongly urge those in arrears, to all of whom reminders have been
sent, to pay up as soon as possible.
As from November ist, the business management of the Society will be taken
over by the Uganda Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd.
We welcome the election of Dr. H. H. Hunter as our new President. The
Society is highly honoured in that one, who is universally recognized and honoured
as a pioneer in the development of the Protectorate, has consented topreside over
We would also express our thanks to the retiring President, Mr. Wayland, for
the work he has done during his year of office. Mr. Wayland was not only one of
the leading spirits in the original Uganda Literary and Scientific Society, but was also
largely responsible for the revival of that Society in 1933, and since then, by his
work on the Committee, by his lectures, and by his articles in the Journal has in
no small measure contributed to the successful development of the Society's
His Presidential Address is published in the present number.
Of other contents of this number, we would draw special attention to the
article on "The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara" as it is the first which the Journal has
published in Lunyoro. It is interesting that this article, which is based on extensive
researches, has been written in direct reply to a request for information about the
history of Bunyoro, emanating from Brussels, and we are much indebted to our
Munyoro contributor, K.W., for responding to Dr. Derscheid's appeal, published in
the January number of Volume II.
We have to acknowledge the receipt of the following:-
Occasional papers of the Rhodesian Museum. Nos. i to 4 (1932-'1935).
Musee du Congo Belge "Bibliographie Ethnographique du Congo Beige". Vol.
I and Vol. II, Fascicules I and II.
Musee du Congo Belge "Les peuplades du Congo Beige" Vol. I.
Man. June, July, August, September, 1935.
E.J. Wayland. "Rifts, Rivers, Rains and Early Man in Uganda" (from "The
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute" Vol. LXIV, 1934).
H.B. Thomas. "Gordon's farthest south in Uganda in 1876" (from "The
Empire Survey Review", Vol. III, No. 17, July 1935).
Sudan Notes and Records. Vol XVII, 1934, and Vol. XVIII, 1935, Part I.
W.C. Simmons. "The Purbeck Coast of Dorset" (Lecture given to the Uganda
Society on June i9th, 1935).
Bulletin of the Imperial Institute. Vol. XXXIII. No.2. (July 1935).
Past Climates and Some Future
Possibilities in Uganda.
By E. J. WAYLAND.
If you proceed southward along the Hoima-Fort Portal road* you will pass on
your right, at Mile 32, a small hill called Gwanjula on which you will find some
easily accessible outcrops of one of the most interesting rocks, in its way, Uganda
affords (65)t. It is not much to look at; its prevailing colour is a dark slate-grey,
but it contains a remarkable conglomeration of stones differing among themselves
very greatly in type, composition, hardness and size.
You know how on many shore-lines you may find coarse shingle in one place,
small pebbles in another, sand in a third, and perhaps mud in yet another place,
and where all these materials exist in the same area you may trace them from
coarser to finer grades as you proceed oceanward. The action of the sea, you will
observe, has sorted the materials in accordance with their size and weight. Rivers
behave similarly in this respect, and you may see this natural sorting along the
shores of our great Lake Victoria. Indeed water which is not at rest tends always
to sort out its mechanical load, if it carries one, into grades according to the
dictates of the forces at work: that is the lateral transporting power of the water
and the vertical pull of gravity. One sees this effect not only in modern deposits,
of course, but also in ancient ones which, still preserving the internal structure and
grain originally consequent upon this sorting action, are now hardened to form
It is clear that our Gwanjula rock was once in a loose or soft condition, for
had it not been so the pebbles could not have found their way into it; but you will
realise that theselpebbles are not sorted as they are in what might be called a normal
sedimentary conglomerate; and not only so, but the matrix in which they are set
is peculiar. It was not at one time a sand or a clay, as one might expect, but
crushed rock-not disintegrated and broken down under the chemical action of
Hoima is near Lake Albert and Fort Portal is near Ruwenzori.
t Numbers in brackets refer to the list of works at the end of this paper.
weathering, but rock which has been literally comminuted by physical force. And
there are additional points of interest with regard to the pebbles; many of these
have a curious nosed shape, and some are flattened on one or more sides, as
though they have been worn down on a grinding stone; and what is more, some are
Not infrequently it happens that when, by reason of intense pressures that
develop within the earth's crust, strata are fractured on a large scale, the rocks in
the fracture planes, along which movement takes place, suffer crushing and grinding,
thus presenting any or all of the features I have just mentioned. But the Gwanjula
rock, with certain of its genetic associates, has a very wide distribution in Bunyoro,
irrespective of fractures. It is a definite deposit interbedded with ancient conglo-
merates and other fluviatile strata which have their own related story to tell. Large
fracture planes (faults) are present, it is true, but they clearly post-date the de-
position and hardening of the Bunyoro Series of deposits, for they cut through
and displace them.
In order to determine the nature and origin of the Gwanjula rock, and of the
associated less abnormal conglomerates and shales we must match them with modern
deposits whose mode of formation we can observe. A striking but superficial match
for one unit of the Bunyoro accumulations, namely the Gwanjula rock, is provided
by certain volcanic mud flows (or lahars, as they are called) of the Netherlands East
Indies (19), and also by other non-volcanic mud flows in Utah, Nevada (7).
But a complete match, not for a limited part but for the whole of the conglo-
merate group and its associates down to all essential and diagnostic details (a
number of which, together with certain characteristics of distribution, I have omitted
to mention for the sake of simplicity), is provided by morainic and other deposits
for which glaciers are responsible in various parts of the world. This conclusion
may be unexpected, but the match is of the order that leaves no room for doubt.
It is as conclusive as a finger print.
Those of you who hail from the north of the Tweed, andmany others who have
been in Scotland, will recognize the word till in associations other than those of the
money-box, husbandry or the preposition.. Till is a tenaceous clay, composed
largely of comminuted rock, containing many stones and boulders; its southern
name is boulder-clay. Some of the stones and boulders are scratched, and not
infrequently the deposit is underlain by a grooved, scratched and polished rock
Till, or boulder-clay, is a ground moraine. In the course of its formation under
the main mass of a moving glacier or ice-sheet . .-materials are derived
to a large extent from the abrasion of the rocks over which the glacier or ice-sheet
passes, the rock fragments thus incorporated in the sole of the glacier being
employed as tools for the carrying on of the work. Owing to the high pressure
under which it is formed, and the fineness of the rock-flour which forms the
matrix, the ground-moraine becomes much compacted, and, when finally abandoned
by the ice, forms the stiff, tenacious deposit . (75).
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After that description it is hardly necessary to point out that stones which
happen to be wedged in the bottom of the ice act like the teeth of a fileand assist a
glacier materially in the work of gougeing out its valley, and that in the process
the stones become faceted and scratched while at the same time hard rocks such as
may form the valley bottom, acquire a decided polish, much grooving and scratch-
As a result of careful and lengthy investigation we have been driven to several
important conclusions with regard to the Bunyoro Series* of rocks, and three of
them are these:-
(a) The Gwanjula rock was once a till.
(b) The associated conglomerates, which are strongly developed and
extend for many miles along the outcrop were once outwash-
gravels-that is they belonged to a great fan of detrital material
which was deposited from sub-glacial streams emerging from
underneath an ice-sheet, and
(c) The ice development was decidedly extensive.t
This, you may say, is after all not very remarkable, for are there not glaciers on
Ruwenzori to-day? True, but they are of the Alpine type, being confined to high
altitudes and disappearing at no great distance below the snow line, which in
Uganda is about 14,000 feet above the sea, while the ancient glaciers of Bunyoro,
as my colleague Dr. K.A. Davies has shown, were of the Piedmont type. That is
to say they were low-level glaciers covering a vast plain and fed from mountainous
sources. I cannot here go into the evidence but it is completely satisfactory.
We have then to visualise a time when much of Bunyoro was covered with ice,
at any rate to within one degree of latitude from the equator. And if this is true of
Bunyoro it is probably true of much larger areas.
I think you will agree with me that this savours of the ridiculous, but the
evidence for the Piedmont glaciation is quite incontrovertible, and it may be added
that more or less similar cases can be quoted from other parts of Africa, and from
other countries too.
At one time in the geological past, for example, Indian glaciers extended to the
ocean. The Bunyoro glaciers did not, we believe, make contact with the sea, but
they reached a great inland lake that came into being, endured and passed away
aeons before the Victoria Nyanza appeared; and you can, if you like, picture that
ancient lake perched up some 1o,ooo feet higher than Lake Victoria on a plateau
supporting glaciated mountains. There is nothing to uphold this view, however,
and much presumptive evidence to put against it, and I for one, find an hypothesis
of mere convenience, that demands such remarkable topography, not readily
For the sake of confirmation specimens of the Bunyoro tillite were submitted to
authorities in South Africa, Australia, India, America, and Britain. They all agree
as to its glacial origin.
t Geologists will be interested to learn that varve shales are developed.
Alternatively then it would seem that, apart from some unthought-of explanation,
we are faced with two apparent possibilities (a) that the earth has on one occasion, or
more, passed through a phase of such low temperature that an Ice Age obtained even
at the equator, or that (b) land masses now situated on the equator were once a
long way from it.
The answer to the first alternative was provided many years before the question
it involves was asked; for in 1871 Professor Tyndall, in a Christmas lecture to
young people at the Royal Institution in London, pointed out that a glacial epoch
demands more solar energy* than the earth receives to-day, not less, because
without that factor the high evaporation necessary to maintain the snowfall to
produce and feed the ice-sheets by way of glaciers could not take place (63). It is
curious how often that point has since been overlooked, or lightly considered;
although it was pressed by Huntington in 1914 (8s). It is vital and conclusive.
Reduce terrestrial temperatures and you inhibit an ice age at its source.
As to the second alternative: that opens up the question of drifting land masses,
than which few problems have been more hotly debated in geological circles of
recent years. But I cannot undertake to discuss that now. It involves a matter
of lost continents, the distribution of living things, and some kindred subjects not to
mention some complicated geophysics; all of which is interesting to a degree, but
largely off the track of our present enquiry.
It follows from the Bunyoro and some other evidence, then, that Uganda has
experienced a climate as widely different from that which it now enjoys as one can
well imagine. But that was very long ago, not, as you might suppose, during the
Great Ice Age, but aeons before that humanly important event.
Uganda's earliest climatic record is not, however, provided by the Bunyoro
glacial development; for it appears that in times still more remote this country
experienced a much less rigorous climate.
In the Kabale District, Ankole and south-western Buganda there are rocks
which display marked banding of seasonal character. The banding consists essential-
ly of alternations of relatively coarse and very fine silt, indicative of stronger and
weaker flows of the streams that transported the sediment to its resting place. Re-
presentative samples of these beds have been critically examined by Dr. Robert
Sayles, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, an outstanding authority on the subject, who
has compared them with similar rocks from other parts of the world (51). We be-
lieve these strata to be older than the glacial beds of Bunyoro.
Seasonal banding is also exhibited by some clays that lie concealed beneath the
murram of Entebbe. They belong to what might be called the African "coal
measures" (Ecca beds) and, although much younger than the Bunyoro Series, they
are very ancient.
Short-wave radiation terrestrially converted into heat-long-wave radiation-that is heat.
These climatic happenings, evidence of which has been so long preserved in
the almost imperishable record of the rocks, are of such immense antiquity that from
a severely practical point of view they hardly interest us. It is otherwise, how-
ever, with another extended episode which, although it belongs to a remote past,
confers upon us great benefit to this day.
Before expanding that statement I must digress in order to explain that the
normal geological climate during the five hundred or more millions of years through
which we have rocky testimony of it, was essentially genial as regards the earth
as a whole, and we have it on metereological authority (13) that while the tem-
perature of the equatorial belt was much as now, that of the polar regions was some
3000 F. higher than it is to-day. The vast ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic did not
exist, and for this reason the normal geological climate is called a warm one. But
these genial conditions have been disturbed at enormously long intervals by glacial
episodes of relatively short duration, and we are,it seems, living in the decline of
the latest of these, well known to you as the Great Ice Age.
Now it is to be noted that the warm periods were, without exception, periods
of low topographical relief, while the glacial periods occurred during the episodes of
mountain building, when the crust of the earth was thrown into ridges and folds by
the periodic outbursts of the pent-up forces of the globe (18 and 69).
These periods of violent disturbance are known as revolutions.* There have
been at least four of them which, to give them their European names are the
Charnian, the Caledonian, the Hercynian and the Alpine. The glaciation evidenced
by the Bunyoro deposits which, so far as we can tell, is contemporaneous with the
tillites of Magaliesberg (the Ongeluk glacial zone) in the Transvaal, Griquatown in
Griqualand West and of the lower Orange River valley (the Namees tillite) in
Namaqualand (25), occurred, it seems to me likely enough, in the Charnian, and we
are now witnessing the decline of the Alpine revolution.
During the long period that elapsed between the Hercynian and Alpine
revolutions the surface inequality of this continent was much reduced; mountains
and hills were gradually worn away by denudation and vast areas were levelled to
a plain. In the latter part of this regime, at any rate, the climate of Uganda, in
common with surrounding countries, was either tropical with wet and dry seasons,
or tropical with wet and dry spells. Now the combination of such a climate with
a topography of almost no relief resulted in a want of lateral flow of sub-surface
waters (derived from rainfall) owing to flat gradient, and when the dry weather came
the erstwhile stationary ground water rose in response to evaporation and capillary
action and thus, as the years rolled on, there was a repeatedly alternating (down-
ward and upward) movement of water into and out of the ground. The presence of, for
a time, stationary water beneath the surface resulted in the decomposition of the
Curiously enough, it is commonly supposed that the word "revolutions" employed in
this respect is a recent introduction on the part of American geologists. It was used in
Britain, however, in a very similar connection more than a century ago (see "A Note on
the Deluge and Its Possible Equivalent in East Africa", p. 112).
stocks: minerals broke down, some substances were dissolved while others passed
into colloidal solution, and the consequence of this chemical activity which accom-
panied the wet seasons (or spells) and of the upward movement of the resulting
solutions during the succeeding dry seasons (or spells) was that certain substances
were leached from below and deposited near or at the surface (74) to the end that
underneath a blanket of indurated subsoil there is now a porous zone which has
yielded the materials for the induration above it.* That indurated subsoil is late-
rite, better known to you as murranm.
The significance of this material in the economy of Uganda need not be stress-
ed in Kampala, but it is worth while to point out that the porous zone below the
murram is extremely important to us, because when, for one reason or another, it
is well developed and the murram is sufficiently jointed (cracked) or is otherwise
rendered fairly permeable, the porous zone becomes a sort of underground reser-
voir into which hand-dug wells can be sunk with success; not only so, but even
a slow yielding porous zone, useless for such shallow wells, will provide water to
cracks and joints in the solid rock beneath; so that an appropriately placed bore-
hole will yield a good supply. In West Nile, Madi and Gulu and in some other
places the porous zone is in general a tolerably quick yielder and will thus supply
hand-dug wells sunk into it; further east and south it commonly happens that it
is a slow yielder, but that it has contributed for long ages, and is still contributing,
to deeper sources which can be tapped by the drill.
All this, you will agree, is extremely important if, as I believe, it is to prove
the salvation of the drier districts of this country.
From what has been said you will not be unprepared to learn that neither
Uganda nor the continent of Africa is unique in the matter of meteorological adven-
ture. Once there were palms, such as Pandanus and the fan palm, cactus and cro-
dile where our own Thames now flows in a very different setting. Indeed it has
been shown of late, by Mrs. E. M. Read in a paper on "British Floras antecedent to
the Great Ice Age", that the fossil flora of the London clay presents "a large
preponderance of tropical, mostly Indo-Malayan forms" (61). In some such re-
latively early times a temperate flora flourished in high latitudes beyond the polar
circles, Magnolia grew in the Arctic and the tulip tree (Lirzodendron) in Iceland
(55), while the brown coal beds of sub-Antarctic islands reveal the one-time presence
of the 'monkey puzzle' (Araucaria) whose habitat, in these days, is much further
south (40). One might mention, too, that during part" of the time that elapsed between
the Hercynian and Alpine revolutions, to which I have already referred, coral reefs
flourished not far from the site now occupied by Oxford (4)-so instances could
be multiplied, but it is desirable here to consider, for a while, the latest of the
more important interruptions of the warm periods; I refer, of course, to the
Great Ice Age.
Although characteristic of very flat ground, this process can and does take place on
sloping surfaces, where, for one reason or another, lateral sub-surface flow is inhibited
or greatly retarded,
It is true that during those days, which were also those of our Stone-age ances-
tors, Mt. Elgon, now so seldom snow-capped (and never for more than a few hours
or days at a stretch), supported glaciers whose moraines can still be seen (44), and
that the glaciers of Ruwenzori descended some 4,000 feet lower than they do to-day;
nevertheless lowland glaciation did not occur and Uganda cannot be said at that
time to have experienced an Ice Age. It is significant, too, that despite the much
longer glaciers, the snow caps on the equatorial mountains were not much more
extensive than they are now (13). This can only mean that precipitation was then
greater than it is to-day, and that implies a correspondingly higher evaporation rate,
which in its turn necessitates more heat; so it would seem that during the Great
Ice Age the mean temperatures of East Africa as a whole were higher than they are
at present, not lower as has been maintained (36). But, after all, that is precisely
what, according to the late Professor Tyndall, we ought to expect (as).
More heat, consequent upon additional energy received from the sun, leads to
greater evaporation, and thereby not only to heavier snow-fall on high mountains and
in colder climes, but also to higher rainfall in the lower latitudes; and so we should
expect to find that Uganda's rainfall was heavier during the Great Ice Age than it
is now; and that in fact is what was discovered sixteen years ago (70).
The evidence, as we have it, goes to show that during those days much of
northern Europe, northern Asia and of North America were under gigantic ice-
sheets one of which one might mention in passing, reached the outskirts of what
we now call greater London. Then, too, the Antarctic ice-sheet, as Captain Scott
first pointed out (~4), was far more strongly developed than it is to-day, and Mawson
(to) and others have demonstrated the wide extension of the south polar glaciation
in the past. It is worth noting that Scott concluded that "greater severity of
climate would have meant more sterile ice conditions and therefore there can be
little doubt that at the period of maximum glaciation the climate of Victoria Land
was milder than it is at present".
Now it is generally conceded that the Great Ice Age comprised four glacial
periods separated by interglacial phases when the ice-sheets stagnated or with-
drew according to the conditions ruling at the time, and because the non-glaciated
areas were characterized by high rainfall during the glacials one would expect no
less than four periods of heavy rains, or pluvials* as they are called, in non-
glaciated areas such as Uganda; but curiously enough my work in this country has
revealed but two such pluvials (although it must be admitted that each shows evidence
of a swing, during its regime to drier conditions), and these two pluvials are separat-
ed by a long interpluvial. This you will say is not in accordance with expectation.
Neither was it, but, as we shall see shortly, it is found to fit the latest explanation of
the Great Ice Age, to which I shall again refer very shortly.
The pluvials of Uganda are evidenced by lake sediments overlying pre-existing-
soils or sub-soils; aqueous deposits that have become land surfaces and (as evidenced
The term Pluvial period was first used by A. Taylor in 1852 to indicate a time when, ac-
cording to him, British and other rivers were flooded by reason of the melting of
the Pleistocene glaciers and ice-sheets.
by stone tools, etc.) the home and hunting grounds of early man; silts and gravels
that thickly cover such surfaces; alternations of silts and taluses indicative of
periods when rivers could and could not move heavy loads; waterfalls which no
longer function as such by reason of insufficient flow during the rains, and some
other phenomena (70).
I have mentioned the latest explanation of the Great Ice Age, There have been
an incredible number of attempts to account for this interesting climatic drama; many
of them are ingenious, not a few are wild and some are pathetic, but nearly all of
them have "missed the bus", as the'graphic expression has it, with regard to the
interglacial periods. These are quite distinct from the extremely long warm periods
that separate successive Ice Ages which, as we have seen, are more or less closely
associated with geologic revolutions (the Charnian, the Caledonian, the Hercynian,
and the Alpine). The interglacials are phases of the Great Ice Age, and any
hypothesis that fails to account for them as integral parts of the Ice Age must, in
my view, be held inadequate. The matter is too complicated for discussion here,
but the theory that I would like to put before you in the very briefest outline is one
produced by Dr. Simpson, the Director of the Meteorological Office, London, and
is known as the "solar radiation theory" (57, 58 and 69). It appears to be not so
widely known as it should be, nor is it universally accepted (8).
As we all know, our sun is one of the stars, and, in accordance with Simpson's
view, it is a variable star; that is to say its activity is cyclic in that at long intervals
it emits more energy than it normally does. When this happens, earth temperatures
increase, evaporation becomes greater and consequently there is more precipitation
(that is rain and snow) than at other times. It should also be added that there is a
greater temperature gradient between the equator and the poles. Therefore the ice
caps grow, the storm belts move further south and there are rainy times in non-
glaciated areas. But as the temperature rises there comes a point at which melting
begins to accelerate over snow-fall and the ice caps begin to dwindle; meanwhile
the rains continue in the non-glaciated areas. When the temperature begins to fall
again these glacial events are repeated in the reverse order; so that for every cycle
of increased solar radiation there should be two glacial episodes separated by one
interglacial, while in the non-glaciated areas there should be one pluvial period. I
need hardly say that the implications of the theory are much more involved
than this very simple outline which serves, however, sufficiently to show why, if the
explanation is correct, the number of Uganda pluvials is half that of the glacials of
higher latitudes (67). The Great Ice Age, it is held, comprised two cycles of
solar radiation. Hence the four glacials and the two pluvials.
It has already been pointed out that the glacial decline is not complete, from
which it would appear that here in Eastern Africa we should be living in a pluvial
decline. But the decline is not an entirely one-way process. There are oscillations,
if only of a minor sort, and these are of considerable importance.
That ever present help in lulls of conversation, "the weather", we know has been
all wrong this year; it was not all that could be desired last year. Nor yet the year
before. But when was it ever right? Some aver it follows an ominous trend indicative
of a climatic change for the worse in these parts, and since it would appear from
what we have learnt that this is not impossible, nor excessively unlikely, it behoves
us to enquire how indeed we stand in this regard; for it is of prime importance not
to ourselves alone, but to those who shall come after us.
Weather is the local and temporary variation of climate, but climate is no
parochial affair. In the last analysis it is under solar control and, as Simpson has
been insisting for the benefit of recalcitrant gepjogists, because of this and because
of the globular form of our planet, every climatic zone of the earth affects and is
affected by every other climatic zone (57). But climate and weather are complicated
affairs; dependent not only, if primarily, on the energy the earth receives from the
sun (itself a variable depending on the amount of energy emitted per unit area, the
position of the earth in its orbit, and its distance from the sun as determined by the
precession of the equinoxes) but also on the surface relief of the globe, and of course
the earth's rotation and on some other factors. There are, you will gather, many
interactions, and at times these have had all important repercussions in human
Evidence of the.post-pluvial wet (or moist) phases, or epi-pluvials as I have
elsewhere called them (ss), is slender in this country because, unlike the pluvials,
they were insufficiently pronounced permanently to record themselves except in
closed lake-basins, and we had little or nothing of that sort in Uganda. True,
there are the crater lakes of Toro and Ankole, but they receive no streams or rivers
which could have brought in sediment wherewith to build up beaches and thus
mark ancient levels; and in any case many of our crater lakes are very recent.
In parts of the rift valley in Kenya, however, it is different; and it was there
that the first evidence of these epi-pluvials was found by Dr. Leakey in the basins
of Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha (36).
After the second pluvial declined, there was a dry spell followed, as Leakey
has shown, by an epipluvial called the Makalian, during which Lake Nakuru rose
some 375 feet. Then followed another long dry spell which, having effected the
more or less complete disappearance of the closed rift valley lakes, was in its turn
succeeded by another epi-pluvial called the Nakuran when the waters of the lake,
from which this episode is named, reached an altitude of 145 feet above that of the
This evidence, I believe, tends to be over impressive, for when climatic conditions
maintain a nice balance between precipitation into and evaporation out of a lake
with no effluent, it requires no very great disturbance of that balance (provided
that the new conditions thereby brought in are sufficiently sustained) to cause the
impounded water to reach a decidedly high level, or to disappear altogether, as the
case may be.* For that reason, among others, I hold that the epi-pluvials, thus
*In a paper entitled "Le lac Tanganyika" (Mouvement Geogr., 33, 1920, Cols. 625-641!
34, 1921, 49-58) by R. Theeuws, the author says: The lake is divided into two basins by a
submerged bar 250 metres below the surface. On either side of this bar is the same tribe,
while elsewhere the tribes on either side of the lake are quite different. Also the natives
have a legend of the submergence of this isthmus and the joining of the lakes. At the
present rate of excess of inflow over evaporation, if there were no outflow the lake would
rise 250 m. in not more than 1300 years.
evidenced, are in no way comparable with the pluvials, important as the former
undoubtedly were, in the affairs of primitive peoples who experienced them (67).
The meteorology of so-called post-glacial time (and, to us, of post-pluvial time)
is a matter for serious attention, and it is salutary, in this connection, to remind
ourselves that trends of civilisation have frequently followed changes of climate, and
have experienced no small measure of control by droughts, or periods of vivifying
rains and occasionally floods engendered thereby.
Very naturally, this brings to our minds the Noachian Deluge, about which,
indeed, I am frequently questioned. It is an interesting subject, and perhaps the
Publication Committee will permit me to add a note upon it to this paper. All I
propose to say at the moment is that the Deluge, having at one time been regarded
as completely legendary has of recent years achieved considerable status in the
annals of archaeology, for in Mesopotamia the excavator's spade has revealed
silts and other sediments that can be no other than those of this remarkable event
(78). Unfortunately it cannot be dated with accuracy, but it is not beyond the bounds
of possibility that the so-called World Flood may be correlated with part of the
Makalianepi-pluvial, between 4,000 and 5,000 B.C.
A long period of drought centreing around 2,200 B. C., and forming part of what
is called the 'sub-Boreal dry' or Climatic Optimum (2,500 to i,ooo B. C. approx.),
was historically important. It caused not only the evacuation of Susa, in Elam
(North-West Persia), Anau, near Askabad, in Transcapsia, and of Tripoljie, near
Kiev in Poltava (South-West Russia), but brought about a great dispersal of
Aryans. This fateful movement of Steppe peoples,and the similarly actuated exodus
of Canaanites from Arabia and the penetration of Egypt by the Hyksos (or Shep-
herd Kings), who brought with them the horse from Asia, foreshadowed the modern
The Optimum, which like other climatic phases had its fluctuations, has left its
mark in many parts of the globe, not excluding Eastern Africa (64 and 14), engendered
several great movements of nomadic and agricultural peoples. "The Aramaean
nomads from Arabia entered Mesopotamia, the Indo-European agriculturists
entered India and Persia, Indo-Europeans for the first time came into contact with
Syria . .the Hittites entered Asia Minor, the Achaeans settled in Greece"; and
during this period "Minoan civilisation suffered a devastating blow" (o). It
would appear, too, that the Iron Age of the Mediterranean area began in those days
and was a European introduction from the mountain zone.
You will all have read of the Fimbul Winter of the Twilight of the Gods when,
so we learn, "The sun still continued in its course through the heavens, but shone
mistily as through a veil and gave no warmth in summer for three years" (39) and
Shad a 'carry over' which, according to Norse legend, was manifest for many
generations. All this, it seems, "can reasonably be attributed to a great change of
climate for the worse, which occurred about 85oB.C."(1s) and marked the beginning
of what is called the sub-Atlantic period, which is archaeologically datable. In
Britain, Ireland and in Europe, this period was characterized by great growth of
peat indicative of heavy rainfall, and there were untoward events on the Continent;
as, for example, the destruction of villages on Lake Constance and the abandonment
of Alpine settlements. Nor, it seems, was Eastern Africa (including Uganda) totally
unaffected, for a rise of the rift valley lakes, already mentioned, in Nakuran epi-
pluvial times has not unreasonably been equated to the sub-Atlantic period (14),
Still nearer our own time we have the climatic vicissitudes that played so
important a part in the welfare of ancient Rome (34). The significant dates in this
connection are:- B.C. 450-250, 250-200, 200-Ioo, B.C. ioo-A.D. 5o, A.D.
80-200 and 200 onwards.
The full-blooded life of Rome for the two hundred years following 450 B.C.
was rooted in intensive agriculture. Those were the days of the early Republic and
of very heavy rainfall, which began to decline, however, about 300 B.C.
Fifty years later, and until B.C. 200, the decrease of rainfall was marked,
and the period was one of economic stress. The next century, which was
characterized by low rainfall, witnessed a great weakening of agriculture and an
accompanying increase of debilitating malaria. Roman civilisation ebbed low.
Then followed a period of heavy rains between B.C. Ioo and A.D. 50. Agriculture
revived (partly, it must be confessed, in response to the enactment of certain laws*)
but grain was replaced to a large extent by vine and olive. Luxury and comfort
blossomed apace and reached their full expansion between B.C. 75 and A.D. 50; but
thirty years later, subsequent to the beginning of a long spell of light rains,
prosperity waned, and the years A.D. 180-190 were those of distress and famine.
From A.D. 200 onwards the rains were light but decreasing, and following a slight
economic rise about 210 A.D., there began the long decline and fall of which
Gibbon has written in such illuminating detail.
A survey of six distinct widely separated Asiatic lake basins, including
Gyoljuk, in Armenia, Seistan, in Persia, Lop Nor and Turfan in Turkistan, Lake
Kashmir (south of the Himalayas) and the Caspian Sea, "proves that a great
change took place in the early centuries of the Christian era. The only hypothesis
which will fit all the facts is that of a change of climate in a direction of greater
aridity throughout these regions. Except in Kashmir [the lake area south of the
Himalayas] the change brought disaster. Scores of once prosperous oases were
abandoned for lack of water. The inhabitants were driven away in waves of migrat-
ion to confound the civilised world . As the Steppes became drier Northern and
Central Europe were, after a long period of blighting cold, becoming warmer and
more and more habitable. History records the coming of horde after horde.
Nothing could stay them, Rome and the Roman civilisation fell before them" (20).
These correlations of human activity with climatic regimes are too close and
too many to be chance coincidences, for others could be produced to swell the number;
but the foregoing are enough for the moment to point the issue.
It would seem then that during early historical times in Europe, coincident with
marked climatic changes that did much to mould the course of human affairs, we had
in East Africa two moist periods; first the Makalian and afterwards the Nakuran.
* Those of Spurius Thorius in 111 B.C.
These were separated by a drier period which has been correlated with the Climatic
Optimum of approximately 2,500-1,000 B.C.
It is important that chronological correlation in-so-far as it is applicable, leads
us to connect marked dry periods in the lower lands and latitudes with shrinkage
of the ice on high mountains and in polar regions, and to associate wet periods in
non-glaciated areas with glacial advances elsewhere. But with regard to such
correlations caution is essential; for the evidence as we know it, impressive as it is,
is largely circumstantial, although it accords with meteorological findings which in
simple outline are as follows.
Permanent anticyclones exist over the polar ice-caps and, because of their
structure, precipitation (rain or snow) is much more marked beyond the anticyclones
than within them. If then the ice-caps increase in size, the precipitation zones (if
one might be permitted for the moment to call them that) and storm belts are pushed
equatorwards (10). But, even so, small glacial expansions could hardly be expected to
have any appreciable effect in Central Africa, unless (and this is the point) such
expansions are but the reactions in higher latitudes to some change, or changes, capable
of affecting the climate of the globe as a whole, over and above the necessary interplay
of climatic zones. And here one naturally turns to Simpson's radiation theory. But
that, you will say, is all very well for the Great Ice Age, but conditions to-day
are very different; and can we, after all, draw from the study of prehistoric climates
any conclusions which would be of utility in these practical modern days?
Some of the most recent work in America very strongly supported the view that
we can (50), and it must be remembered that we are not yet out of the Ice Age; and
although we are aware that its amelioration is by no means a one-way regression,
it would seem reasonable to suppose that, on the whole, the tendency is for climatic
conditions to return to those of the warm periods; unless, of course, our present stage
is only interglacial.
Evidence goes to show that, during the last 7,000 years, at any rate, there has
been a large scale but gradual tendency towards aridity, and an attractive case can
be made out to show that superimposed upon this trend is a regular succession
of climatic cycles approximately 640 years in duration, each including an average of
something like 300 years of increasing aridity, which have produced a series of
alternating periods of migration and consolidation in Europe and Asia, where
the effects can be traced between the years 2,300 B.C. and 1,600 A.D. (32). The
imposed cycles during the 300-year periods of migration have, for the time, magnified
the desiccation trend, while during the 3oo00-year periods of consolidation they have
J. C. Curry, quoted above, points out (20) that "the year 1840 should have
marked a wave-crest of migration, of desiccation and of a low level of the Caspian
Sea. A marked drop in this level did occur about 1820, but it was evidently not
connected with any cause sufficient to bring about disaster in the Steppes or a very
serious economic upheaval. From the generally 'settled' conditions of the last 200
years it follows that either the primary or secondary cause of desiccation, or both,
have ceased to exercise their former influence".
It is more than unlikely that both causes have failed, but in the case ot
the first mentioned, because "the Primary cause must be regarded as being con-
nected with the last glacial cycle" (20) its failure might be taken to mean that we are
not, after all, living in the final decline of the Great Ice Age, but in an interglacial
period. Although we cannot tell for certain, it would seem on general grounds
that it is the secondary rather than the primary cause that has failed. Certainly
there are no indications of an approach to wetter conditions in East Africa during
the last century.
We are getting to know a good deal about past climates. There is, for instance,
the remarkable work of Gerald de Geer, his associates and followers on the gigantic
self-registering thermographs provided by banded clays, or varve clays as they are
called, wherein are recorded, by layer after layer of silt, the annual meetings of
ancient glaciers and ice-sheets through long periods of time in lands as widely
separated as Sweden, Iceland, North America, Chile, the Argentine and north-west
Himalaya. It is surprising that not only are these records, thus preserved, so
full of detail, but that they can be chronologically connected from place to place.
It is to be noted, too, that seasonally banded clays deposited in early human times
have been studied in Kenya (2, 3, 21-24, 44 and 4).
Then, too, much has been learnt by the study of floral remains, and particularly
the pollen content, in peat deposits, for they are found to register ecological changes
brought about climatically (9 and 16); while the annual rings of long-lived deciduous
trees, both living and fossil, give evidence with regard to rainfall in the past and its
periodic variations; and reliable information with regard to winds in glacial days
has recently been obtained in Bermuda (62).
Abyssinia, too, provides interesting evidence by means of which Dr. Erik
Nilsson has enlarged our knowledge of late. He makes out a case to show that
"the tropical belt of low pressure extended further to the north during the last
Pluvial period than it does at present" (45).
As to the cyclic weather conditions which we experience to-day we have, of
course, the sunspot cycle with a somewhat varying period whose average length is
about 11 years; and it is well known that at, or near, sunspot maximum the equat-
orial lakes are high (12). This was so in the years 1895, 1906, 1917 and I927-28.
The next coincidence of this sort will probably be in 1939.
In a brief but arresting note (66), Mr. W.C. Simmons has pointed out that
periods of food shortage in Uganda appear to be similarly periodic, and are essent-
ially due to failure of the short rains of the preceding year. 1898. 1908, 1918-19
and 1928 provide well-remembered examples. Plotted against the sunspot curve
these periods are found to be only just beyond the maxima at the top of the down-
ward trend. A peculiar position.
We have much to learn about such matters as these; and it has been shown of
late that the true sunspot cycle is not from maximum to maximum, but between
minima-not succeeding minima, but alternate ones at intervals of 22.6 years (1). If
this is as well established as it appears to be, one can safely predict the next true
mninimum in 1946. Moreover, it has now been discovered that solar radiation rises
to a crest "with medium sunspot numbers and declines thereafter as sunspot numbers
increase" (1) *from which it would appear that our famine years follow immediately
upon times of reduced solar radiation; so their position on the curve videe p. 105) is
not so peculiar after all! And may it not be that the coincidence of the high lakes
and sunspot maxima is due to a lag in the rise of the lakes?
Clearly the matter deserves further investigation.
Then there are the well known Bruckner cycles with a periodicity of about 35
years. These include three sunspot cycles during which, in continental areas, a cool
wet spell with low barometric pressure and relatively frequent storms is followed
by a comparatively warm, dry spell with higher pressure and fewer storms.
Generally speaking the Brtickner cycles characterise the higher latitudes while
the eleven-year cycle is more strongly expressed in equatorial regions. The Briickner
cycle can be traced back for many centuries.
With these and other complications, and the short time-range through which
exact instrumental observations are available, it is manifestly difficult to establish
any definite trend upon which weather cycles may be imposed at present, but there
would appear to be two major possibilities, namely that terrestrial climates are
trending toward a warm period, or they are swinging back to another ice age. In
either case they are at present "betwixt and between" and are in that regard un-
If the globe is heading for a fully developed ice age, rainier times are in store
for those who may succeed us in Uganda and the civilisation of Europe, North
America, and northern Asia is doomed to perish in an icy grip while newer civilisa-
tions spring up nearer the equator If, on the other hand, a warm period lies before
us, there may come a day when intrepid archaeologists will probe the equatorial
desert for ruined towns and cities-outposts of a then vanished Empire to which
you and I, in this year of grace, have the honour to belong.
Perhaps Mr. Dunne, the talented author of the "Serial Universe" can pop into
the future for us and, being back in time for tea, tell us what the climate is in A.D.
2,000. But short of sure foreknowledge, we can at least observe the present
trend and make our plans accordingly.
Some years ago, when I was last in northern Karamoja, I came to know the
chief of a strange and dwindling tribe recognized by the Dodotho, and other peoples
It is further stated that "superimposed upon the sunspot influence on solar variation
there appear to be three pulses of regular periods of about 25,15 months and 11 months
respectively, and of amplitudes which are large enough, when combined in similar
phase, nearly to overpower the maximum sunspot effect on the solar constant values".
t In the past the tendency has been for civilisation to move gradually away from the
of the north-east, as the Wanderobo.* He spoke feelingly of days, not many
decades past, when one, Longalesi by name, a king among rainmakers, controlled
the elements and brought unfailing rain to thirsting lands (68). But Longalesi is
gathered to his fathers, and there is no issue inheriting his power. To be sure there
are wizards who perform as best they may, but they are not as he, and the crops are
poor and often meagre, for the rains these days are seldom what they were and are
frequently uncertain. Nor does this story stand alone. There are, for example, men
of sober years who will tell you that here, or there, in such and such a place, water
could be had in the driest months by digging where none can now be got in times
of drought, and to my knowledge certain springs have disappeared since 1920.
Then, too, we have the ancient forts of the stranger (Biggo bya Mugenyi) and
the ancient irrigation works in the Masaka district, which must have been
constructed, surely, at a time when the Katonga river and its tributaries were better
provided with water than they are to-day (71).
E.V. Fuchs, the leader of the Cambridge Expedition to the East African
lakes, 1930-31, remarks (26): "So short a time ago as 3,000 years Lake Nakuru was
145 feet above its present level. If the fall of the lake were to continue at this rate,
it would be dry in two hundred years". But Nakuru, which I am informed, is already
shallower than it was when Fuchs wrote, is not the only lake that exhibits this
decline. Fuchs continues:-
The fall of the lakes is an indication of reduction of precipitation, and when the lakes
are dry it will be because the rivers are dry. We have only to look at Lake Rudolph, where
precipitation has been reduced to 10 inches or less in the year, to find a desert area which,
but for the lake, would be unable to support a population of any kind. The vast areas of the
Kenya plains are tending towards a similar condition, so that, with the exception of the
highlands over 6,000 feet, the prospect of Kenya within the next two centuries is indeed a
In Uganda matters do not seem to have progressed so far, for the fall in the lakes' can
to a large extent be attributed to physiographical causes, such as river capture and earth
movement. However one cannot expect that Uganda will be unaffected by the increasing
aridity of the Kenya climate. Furthermore, examples have been cited of how erosion is lead-
ing to the loss or reduction of lakes, which will inevitably tend to a further reduction of
precipitation, so that the future does not hold out a roseate future for an agricultural
From many parts of Africa, and from Asia too, one hears that the country is
drying up, and this assertion has led repeatedly to the discomforting prediction that
the globe is entering upon a period of blighting desiccation; but that no such con-
clusion can be upheld by evidence J.W. Gregory showed more than twenty years
ago (2a). It can be demonstrated, too, that the earth has never suffered desiccation
as a whole, even during the warm periods; but local desiccation, albeit covering
wide areas, is, like poverty, always with us-except may be during glacial epochs
at their maxima. It is, therefore, the possibility of wide-spread though localised
(perhaps one might call it zonal) desiccation against which, whenever practicable,
I was unable to discover any generic name for these people, but the tribe is divided into
three sections: the Kokosora, the Ulugum and the Luterem. Each section has its own
we must direct at least palliative measures. This is now obvious, but for far too
long Man in Africa has been aiding and abetting to an alarming extent any natural
trend that may exist towards aridity; and if no such tendency has been naturally
established, then Man himself has promoted desiccation.
It should be almost uncalled for in these days to stress the evils of deforest-
ation, annual firing of the grass, overstocking, the resulting soil erosion and its
detrimental effect upon the climate; although indeed we cannot keep this object-
lesson too clearly in view, nor too constantly in mind. It has been patent in South
Africa for many years, and in 1914, before the war, a Select Committee was
appointed to consider the question of droughts, rainfall and soil erosion.
The consideration of the Committee was devoted to four subjects: (1) The rainfall of
South Africa: its occurrence and variation; (2) erosion of the soil: its causes and extent; (3)
desiccation; and (4) possible remedial measures.
With regard to the rainfall, there does not appear to have been any definite diminution
during the period for which records are available. There has always been considerable
variation in the distribution and nature of the rainfall from year to year and from month
to month, and this variation increases with the distance from the coast. Some evidence as
been obtained indicating that there are periods of maximum and minimum rainfall corres-
ponding with certain cycles, but this is not sufficient to enable any such cycles to be defined.
The condition of the soil and the vegetation on it do not affect appreciably the total amount
of the rainfall, although it probably influences its local character and distribution.
When erosion of the soil has commenced, its continuation is greatly facilitated by the
high elevation of the South African sub-continent and the consequent rapid run-off of the
rain-water. Various agencies have contributed to the denudation of the soil, such as the
burning of the veld, the cutting of trees and bush for fuel or timber, railway construction,
and the grazing of the stock. Much damage has been caused by the way in which roads and
tracks have been made; in many parts these have been laid without any regard to construc-
tion or drainage, and become converted by the ordinary traffic of the country into channels,
down which the rain-water rushes from the slopes into the main valley, carrying with it the
loosened portions of the surface soil. The combined effect of these different factors has re-
sulted not only in the waste of rain-water which would have been of great value to agriculture,
but also in causing the irretrievable loss of much of the richest soil.
There is no doubt that, in spite of the apparent constancy of the total rainfall, many
parts of the Union have been gradually drying up at a rate varying with the locality, soil,
and gradients. Unless this process is checked, such parts of the country must ultimately
become useless and uninhabitable. The direct cause of the desiccation is the erosion of the
soil and the consequent diminution or disappearance of the water-supply' (3s).
Speaking of a later issue Mr. C.W. Hobley informs us:-
In 1920 the Union Government of South Africa appointed a Commission to enquire into
the best means of avoiding losses by drought, for an impression had grown up that South
Africa was gradually undergoing general desiccation. It is, however, interesting to note that,
after careful enquiry, they came to the conclusion that there was little evidence of change of
climate, but that since the entrance of the European, enormous tracts of country have been
more or less denuded of the original vegetation, with the result that rivers, vleis, and water-
holes described by old travellers have dried up, disappeared, or only occasionally carried
water. The consequent prospect is stated in very striking terms: "The simple unadorned
truth is sufficiently terrifying without the assistance of rhetoric. The logical outcome of it
all is The Great South African desert uninhabitable by man" (29).
Undoubtedly man has played a most active part in promoting this distressing
state of affairs, and according to some meteorological evidence it would appear
that, either because of, or independently of man's activities, the rainfall of South
Africa has decreased (i). Similarly it has been shown that the Sahara is en-
croaching dangerously upon our West African colonies (so).
The same disturbing story of how Man, unbeknown to himself, has ruined,
and continues to ruin, vast areas of fertile land and turn them into desert is true of
many parts of Africa, not, unfortunately excluding our own Protectorate. The
Geological Survey of Tanganyika has an illuminating publication on the subject
-(62). Nor was the matter unconsidered from the early days of the corresponding
department in Uganda.
The sequence of events in this humanly promoted desiccation process is this,
Wanton destruction of vegetation by felling and fire; rapid erosion of soil from
slopes engendering run-off in place of percolation, the silting of rivers and the
failure of springs and wells; the prevention of reforestation (largely by grass fires),
the hardening of the ground and the conversion of steady rains to those of a type
unfavourable to soakage into the desiccated soil.
In regard to that last point, experiments in America have shown that the disap-
pearance of forests does not affect the amount of rain that falls, so much as the
manner of its falling (5 and 6); that is to say, gentler and more lasting rains that
percolate into the ground are replaced by heavy downpours of short duration
which are largely dissipated by run-off and evaporation. Our late Forestry
Adviser, however, concludes that there are parts of the world in which forests can
and do influence rainfall "not only appreciably but possibly enormously", and
among such places he includes parts of Kenya and Uganda (42 and 43). But, however
that may be, when aridity has advanced so far that a desert supervenes, moisture-
laden clouds pass by to release their rains over less heated lands elsewhere. Such
thirstlands, preventable as they may have been at one time, are generally beyond
redemption, and Karamoja, among other places, seems to be heading that way.
Summed up then the position is this: the study of the Gwanjula rock reveals
to us a climatic regime in the Uganda of the far-distant past amazingly different
from that which now obtains. Enquiring into the nature of pre-Gwanjula and
post-Gwanjula climates of geological time, we find that the Gwanjula glacial deve-
lopment evidences a climatically untoward event or short series of events*, sand-
wiched between more genial episodes. We find, too, that such events tend to be recur-
rent at long intervals; and that after several changes, we are even now in transition
from one climate phase to another. We cannot be certain what the nature of that
'other' will be; but it would seem that there are two alternatives, one being heavy
rainfall and the other desiccation. On general grounds, and on what little evidence
there is, it would appear that here in Eastern Africa the latter alternative is likely.
At any rate, there is no evidence of a shift toward wetter conditions, and we know
that rainfall has been heavier in the not very remote past.
There is evidence which can be taken as indicative of an interglacial period in the
Bunyoro glacial development.
A very serious consideration, however, is that Man is either assisting the
trend toward aridity or locally countering its opposite, and the effects of his
depredations are more marked than the natural climatic tendency, whatever that may
be. Therein, perhaps, is our salvation.
What of the future? One cannot say with certainty, but there seems every
reason to hope that it lies in no inconsiderable measure in our own hands; for within
limits man's damaging activity is reversable. It is then not unreasonable to suppose
that by the judicious planting of trees, and a wise, measured and continuous policy
of water conservation and a furtherance of sound extension of agricultural practice
rendered possible by such measures in the British African territories, we may, for
as long a period as need concern the most far-visioned of us, stem and roll back the
wave of desiccation which unfought will, sooner or later, envelop Uganda from the
north, the east and the south.
Fig. 1. View in part of the Kikagati-Nsongezi gorge (E.410-E.430. S.103'-S.0059' approximately) looking
toward its westward end at Kikagati. Near top left is seen the remains of a Pliocene erosion plat-
form below another of earlier date. In late Pliocene times the climate became arid, but about the
end of Pliocene days, or at the beginning of Pleistocene times, the 1st Pluvial started and (a lower
base level bein already in existence in the Rift Valley) the Pliocene erosion level was cut into, and
the Kagera incised its channel, leaving behind it high-level gravels as it cut its way downward to
grade, remained at grade for a period, cut its way down again, and so on, in response to the combined
effect of pluviations and earth movements. In this way four terraces were formed.
- -___ -- I
Fig. 2. Middle distance shows the Veterinary Department's camp at Nsongezi. It is situated on a sloping
surface at the eastern entrance to the Kikagati-Nsongezi gorge. The sloping surface is that of the
remains of a 'pediment' which stretched from one side of the (now) gorge to the other. A pediment
such as this, and there are many in Uganda, is typical of arid or sub-arid weathering. It has been
cut into by the rejuvenated river of Pluvial I and later times.
Crl__ _______ _
Fig. 3. Pluvial I deposits, now hardened to form ironstone, overlain by uncemented gravels of Pluvial II
times (the Native stands with his back to them). The Pluvial II deposits include lumps and boulders
of Pluvial I. Sandstone at their base. (View near Nsongezi).
Fig 4. Bands of ironstone at the top of the Kaiso beds (Pluvial I, part 2). These mark the drying out of
Lake Albert at the end of Pluvial I times. ( = the on-coming of the dry interpluvial). They yield
large quantities of fossil bones, including remains of the three-toed horse, a pigmy hippopotamus,
crocodiles, extinct species of elephant, fish and molluscs, etc., etc. (View near Kaiso, Lake Albert).
Fig. 5. A climatic break, or oscillation, in Pluvial II. This is called the M-horizon. The
part here depicted is marked by the large stone on the left and the camera case on
the right. It is very widely distributed and is indicative of a time when the rivers
and lakes dwindled considerably (but they did not dry up). The M-horizon is
packed with stone-age tools, flakes and cores. It was a land surface, and below it
and above it are thick deposits of sediment laid down under water. (Picture taken
in an excavation made at Nsongezi).
Fig. 6. View on the Kagera river (left bank) about halfway between Nsongezi and Lake Victoria. It shows
a break in sedimentation in Pluvial II times and is probably the equivalent of the M-horizon shown
in Fig. 5. The sediments were deposited in an extension of Lake Victoria.
A NOTE ON THE DELUGE AND ITS POSSIBLE
EQUIVALENT IN EASTERN AFRICA.
That the Biblical story of the Noachian Deluge was true, even to details, was
long unquestioned; but doubts concerning the completely miraculous character of the
event as recorded in Holy Writ, are not all of very modern growth.
Nicolas Steno (1631-1687), a Danish anatomist and Vicar Apostolic in the north
-of Europe, produced, in 1699, a very remarkable work entitled De Solido intra solidum
naturaliter content in which he fought stoutly against the then prevailing view that
fossils were but freaks of nature (lusus nature) (38), and attempted to explain the Deluge
by natural if extremely hypothetical causes. The theologians, disposed as they were
to look upon the Great Flood as preternatural, now beheld in fossils, thanks to Steno,
indubitable evidence of the catastrophe. This attractive idea died hard, and as late as
1726 J.J. Scheuchzer of Zurich( 672-1733), described certain relic by the name of
Homo diluvii testis, under the conviction that the skeleton was that of one of the
wicked men who brought about the Great Flood and perished in its waters (63). As
a. matter of fact, it was a huge fossil salamander (Cryptobranchus scheuchzeri) which
had been dead for millions of years by the time the first men appeared on earth,
and was found in beds of upper Miocene date at Oeningen, in Baden. But Robert
Hooke (1635-1703), the mathematician and natural philosoher, much of whose work
published in 1705 was written nearly twenty years before that date, held that fossils
were inadmissible as evidence of the Flood. For his day his views were amazingly
advanced. He remarked, for instance, that the ammonites and petrified turtles of
Portland were apparently denizens of hotter countries, and that it was necessary to
suppose that England once lay under the sea of the torrid zone ; and this he attempted
to explain by changes in the earth's axis of rotation and a shifting of the centre
of gravity-all of which has a very modem sound.
The Noachian Deluge he accounted for by differential vertical movements be-
tween land and sea (30).
John Ray (1627-1705), the celebrated naturalist, whose delightful volume of
physico-theological discourses, published in 1693, is one of my treasured possess-
ions (49), remarks: "First, those that hold this Deluge was altogether miraculous
and that God Almighty created waters on purpose to serve this occasion, and when
they had done their work destroyed them again, dispatch the Business, and loose
or cut the Knot in a few words"; and after devoting sixty pages to a detailed
-discussion of theories and possible causes of the Flood, he concludes by following
Steno to some extent by hypothesising the displacement of the earth's centre of
gravity towards the middle of the Eurasian continent, for that, according to him,
would cause the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to "press upon the Subterraneous
Abyss, and so by mediation thereof, force the water upward and at last compel it to
Trun out at those wide Mouths and Apertures made by Divine Power breaking up
-the Fountains of the great Deep."
While he did not seem to see the inherent difficulties of this hypothesis, he
fully realized that it left America 'in the air', so to say; but he inclined to the view
that there were no people in that continent in ante-diluvial days, so there was no
need for a beneficent God to flood it. But, after all, many Divines from the time
of Charles II onward considered that the Deluge might be partial, not universal;
and that, of course, had been the view of a number of philosophers, not excluding-
In the early days of the last century a distinction was made between the older
stratified deposits and the more superficial drifts, the latter being classed as "diluvial".
William Buckland, ( 784-1856), Reader in Geology and Mineralogy in the University
of Oxford and Dean of Westminster, did much to further the study of these; but
the issue in those days was not clear, and in his "Reliquiae Diluvianae", published
in 1823, he was hampered, as were many other investigators, by the tradition of the
universal Deluge; a circumstance which led a friend of his to perpetrate the following
"All was darkness once about the Flood
Till Buckland rose and made it clear as mud".
Seven years later, Edward Pidgeon held that the Deluge was the most recent
of a series of long separated world catastrophes (for which, be it noted, he used
the word Revolutions*) (48); but in 1826 Buckland, in his famous Bridgewater
Treatise (16), was commendably cautious with regard to physical evidences of the-
Noachian Deluge.t Nearly fifty years later we find Hugh Miller contending for a
very local effect of the Flood (41), which he attributed to the subsidence of a long
strip of land associated with volcanism-much in the same way as the late Prof,
J.W. Gregory, in 1893, accountedfor the Great Rift Valley (27). Hugh Miller remarks,
significantly enough, "I must hold that the theologians who believe that the Deluge
was but co-extensive with the moral purpose which it served are more in the right,
and may be more safely followed, than the theologians who hold that it extended
greatly further than was necessary" (41).
These Revolutions were regarded as periods of intense tectonic and volcanic activity,
during which all life was extinguished, and after which creation started anew-like a
gigantic process of trial and error!
t The so-called diluvial deposits, referred to above, were originally lumped together as
"Extraneous" Rubbish. On close examination, however, they were found to present-some
perplexing problems, and the Rev. Dr. W.D. Conybeare (1757-1857), a geological high-light
of the first half of the last century and part-author, with W. Phillips, of a deservedly famous
work "Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales" (2nd Ed. 1822), admitted three
deluges before the Noachian Flood, apropos of which Buckland added "God knows how many
catastropes beside, so we have driven them out of the Mozaic record fairly".
Originally a strong diluvialist, Buckland, after a visit to the Alps in the company of the-
illustrious Agassiz, became an emphatic glacialist; and it is amusing in this connection to,
record that at the end of a heated debate at the Geological Society on November 18th, 1840(
the very Reverend Dean expressed the hope that when his opponents should come to be damn-
ed they should suffer "the pains of eternal itch, without the privilege of scratching" (72).
The early glacialists were commonly treated with derision by the supporters of then more-
orthodox views, who obtained a good deal of fun at the expense of those who believed that
an ice-sheet once reached as far as Finchley, north London (which indeed it did !); and I
remember seeing somewhere, (in Sir A. Geikie's "Life of Murchison" I fancy) an etching de-
picting Buckland equipped for an arctic climate, with bags and rolls of maps, standing-on a
surface scoured with prodigious scratches. In addition to this there were two scratched
blocks of stone, one of which, according to the legend was "scratched by a glacier 3,333
years before the creation" and the other, if I remember rightly, "scratched by a cart-wheel
on Waterloo bridge the day before yesterday", the whole "scratched by T. Sopwith".
From Hugh Miller's time onward the Flood plays no considerable parting
geolgical literature, except by possible implication from the works of now silenced
antagonists of pioneers in Pleistocene glacial geology (31); and until recently it was
commonly regarded as of probably small and, in any case, uncertain significance.
The unique feature of the legend, however, is its almost world-wide distribution;
and one may reasonably ask, if the widely implanted traditions which are based upon
it are no more than localised and embellished (or degraded) accounts of a very
unusual rise of, say, the Euphrates (which indeed was for long the common view),
how comes it that other natural events that have led to human migrations of first
importance have not been similarly immortalised?
The Rev. Thomas Kelly Cheyne, who wrote the article on the Deluge in the
Encyclopaedia Britannica (17), regarded the probability of the Flood traditions being
based on a local event as extremely slight, and found it easier to believe that they
all derive from a celestial myth which arose among early agriculturists. But there
remain, of course, the highly improbable suggestion that there were many
unconnected origins for the various flood legends, and the possibility that disastrous
floods occurred in many places at much the same time and were genetically
connected. Indeed the latest work suggests as much.
As the reader is doubtless aware, the joint expedition of the British Museum
and the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Mr.
C. L. Woolley (1928-9), working at Ur of the Chaldees, the home of Abraham,
which ancient city perished "paradoxically enough", says Speiser, "for lack of
water . at some period near the end of the Christian era" (59), unearthed and dug
through fluviatile sediments which could be none other than those of the Deluge of
Holy Writ (73). Professor Langton's University of Oxford Expedition discovered
similar evidence at Kish. This catastrophe, it is found, preceded the first Kish
dynasty, but it cannot be definitely dated except that it is doubtless much more
ancient than the Babylonian myth which goes back to 2,0oo B.C., the text of which
is derived from a still older tablet believed by scholars to be indicative of a much
,more ancient and shorter story.
Starting at a surface which Woolley and his archaeologists at Ur dated' as
3,200 B.C. (qV and 59), though some authorities regard it as later, the excavators dug
down through no less than eight superimposed occupation levels containing the re-
mains of private houses, pottery and so forth. The levels were distinct in one
stylistic aspect or another. Thus, for example, the 4th level produced a peculiar
form of painted pottery known as reversed slip ware, while the 6th level yielded a
three-coloured ware in buff, red and black and a remarkable plum-coloured pottery.
Below the 8th level there was a sudden change and a still more ancient horizon
containing the remains of pottery kilns was unearthed; beneath this again at 40 feet
below the '3,200 B.C. level', the -excavators encountered the top of an alluvial
stratum, eleven feet thick, which proved to be a deposit of silt left by the Great
Flood, below which other occupation sites were found.
The Flood stratum proves to be a marker of great importance, for its de-
position spanned a period of significant changes in Mesopotamia during which
extended burials gave place to flexed burials, hand-made pottery to 'wheel pottery,
the days of little more than traditional history to those of written' records" -in fact
the passage from prehistoric to historic times, and of a non-mechanical to a
Nor is that passage without chronological significance. If we allow a thousand
years from the bottom of the Kiln deposit to the '3,200 B. C. level', and remem-
ber that an interval must have elapsed between the time when the Flood finally
subsided (after, no doubt, numerous minor inundations), and the time when the
land became safe for a city site, 5,000 B.C. does not seem altogether unreasonable
as the date of the beginning of the Flood, and one is probably safe in regarding the
Deluge as an important event which occurred sometime between 5,000 and 4,000
Brooks, writing as a meteorologist about two years before the now famous
discoveries by Woolley and Langton says of the Flood legend: "if it refers to a single
event in Mesopotamia it must be very old, but beyond the fact that it is probably
earlier than 4,500 B.C., it cannot be dated" (13), while Messrs. Peake and Fleure
in 1927 tentatively correlated the Deluge with a recognized climatic event
of rather more than 4000 B.C. (17). Not every authority will find the details of their
chronology acceptable, although the correlative association of the Flood with a more
than local change of meteorology may be sound enough; indeed on both climatological
and archaeological grounds it is far from impossible that the Deluge was one of
many local expressions of a retrogression of climate which occurred between 4,000
and 5,000 B.C.-part of the 'Atlantic Wet' period-when the glaciers advanced
on the Norwegian side of the Kiolen mountains and also on the Alps, and when the
rainfall of Europe and of Asia reached a high maximum (18). And if this correlation
is correct, it seems possible that the latter part of the Makalian epi-pluvial, that
is the older of the two post-Pluvial moist periods of Eastern Africa (37), when
Lake Nakuru stood at some 375 feet above its present level, was not entirely
unconnected with the event we have been considering. It is for that reason, and
because I am so often asked about the Great Flood in relation to the Pluvial Periods
of Uganda, that I have ventured to deal with the matter at such length in this
E. J. W.
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Geol. Surv. Uganda (Research Note No. 9) for 1927.
65. -- (1928). "Tillite and Varved Beds", Ann. Rept. Geol. Surv. Uganda, (Research
Note No. 4) for 1927.
66. (1929). "African Pluvial Periods and Prehistoric Man", Man, No. 88, July.
67. (1930). "Pleistocene Pluvial Periods in Uganda", J. Roy. Anthrop. Inst. July-
68. (1901). "Preliminary Studies of the Tribes of Karamoja", J. Roy. Anthrop.
69. -- (1931). "The Cause of an Ice-Age": (a Review). Q.J. Roy. Metrol. Soc., July.
70. -- (1934). "Rifts, Rivers, Rains and Early Man in Uganda", J. Roy. Anthrop Inst,
71. -- (1934). "Some Notes on the Biggo bya Bagenyi", Uganda Journal, Vol.II, No.I.
72. WOODWARD, H.B. (1907). "The History of the Geological Society of London", London.
73. WOOLLEY, C.L. (1934). "Ur Excavations" Vol. II, London. (Brit. Mus. Agents),
74. WOOLNOUGH, W.G. (1927). "The Chemical Criteria of Peneplanation" and "The
Duricrust of Australia", (Pres. Address, Roy. Soc., New South Wales), Jour, and
Proc. Roy. Soc., N.S. W. Vol. LXI.
75. WRIGHT, W.D. (1914). "The Quarternary Ice Age", London.
More About Mweso*
By R. S. SHACKELL.
If, when you come to read this article, you should happen to see first the rows
of symbols and figures which it contains, you will probably conclude that it is an
article intended solely for bald-headed pure mathematicians, statisticians, world
chess champions and the like. Not so; and if you will kindly bear with me while I
explain you will, I trust, find that there is not a headache in a line of it.
Think for a moment of an article on Contract Bridge in your favourite news-
paper. To assist his explanations the writer makes use of symbols and terms which
save words and time. He writes of North, South, East and West, mixes figures
and letters, uses the letter "J" to denote a knave and so on; in other words he uses
an easily understood system of notation. Well, for Mweso there is no such system
and in order to make explanation and comment possible, I have been obliged to
devise a simple one. The mere fact that I have devised it is in itself, you may say,
a guarantee that it is simple. You shall judge.
Fjrst of all one has to denote the players. One cannot very well use the terms
"White" and "Black" because there are no colours in Mweso; moreover the words
are apt to have a special significance in this country which it would be as well,
perhaps, not to stress. In the true scientific spirit of enquiry one should try to
divest oneself of bias so that one does not give even unconscious preference to one
side or the other and it is as well not to be handicapped by one's terms. After
much thinking I have selected the txo terms "Player" and "Opponent" to designate
respectively the player moving first and the one moving second, but I hasten to add
that if these two words conjure up unwanted associations you may choose your
The next thing is to designate each of the squares on the board. Here is a
diagram which does this.
* A previous article showing how the game is played in and around Kampala appeared
in Volume II, No. 1, of the Uganda Journal,
H G F E D C B A
J K M N P R S T
T S R P N M K J
A B C D E F G H
(I) Diagram of Board.
(It will be noticed that the letters "I" and "L" have been omitted because of
their similarity to the figure "I" and to each other, and the letters "0" and "Q"
because of their likeness to the symbol for zero and to each other.)
By affixing to the letter indicating the square from which a move starts the
number showing how many men were in the square, and by giving the letter
indicating the square in which the move finishes one is able to record any single
move with precision. For example, one gets
to show that "Player's" fifth move was to take the six men he had in "N" square
and to distribute them one each to squares "P", "R", "S", "T", "A", "B". There
still remain, however, one or two other matters to provide for. If, in the example
above cited, square "B" was empty the move was finished but if it had contained,
say, 4 men the move would have been relayed to square "G". Our method of
recording this would be
using lower case letters for the relayed part of the move. Similarly if square "G"
contained 2 men the next relay would be recorded
and the complete move
Let us go back now to the start of the move 5. N6--B. Player may have seen
that Opponent's squares "N" and "E" contained respectively 4 and 6 men. As he
has at least one man in his own square "P" (because one of the men N6 will have
been distributed to it) he can take Opponent's men by moving backwards with the
five men now in 'B". So we get :-
b5-p x N4E6
the small arrow denoting the backward move and the multiplication sign the
capture. In the third line which shows how the captured men have been distrib-
uted the relay is shown as starting from "b" although the first of these io is
actually distributed to "c". The reason for this is to secure uniformity in the
system of notation and because in theory the captured men are placed in square "b"
and then lifted and distributed to "c", "d", "e", "f", etc. In practice, of course, the
hand that gathers the men from Opponent's "N" and "E" carries them across the
board and starts to distribute them from "c" onwards without pause. Now it may
so have happened that Opponent's squares "N" and "E" contained only i and 2
men respectively but that his squares "K" and "G" contained 7 and 9 men. In
this case the move would have been like this:-
b5-p x NIE2
b3*-s x K7G9
And there is our complete system of notation. Let us see how it works when
we come to record an actual game. The following one has been selected, not
because it is particularly brilliant, but because it has the merit of being short.
A (2 only) to S
H (2 only) to K
m2-p x NIE6
2, C6-J x T2Ai 2. S2<-P x NIE2
c3-f s3<-n x-PiD8
3. H2-K x SiB2
m3-r x MIF7
a4<-p x N5E7
5. J6-S x K5G2
s6<-j x T2A2
6. A34-R x M3F2
f3--j x TiAi
7. H2-K x SIBI
n3 -- s
t7 *-j x TiAi
t2 --r x MiFI
b9 -mx RICI
3. G3-K x S3Bi
4. D7-M x R2C2
8. P2-S x KIIG2
pr3-k x S2BI
t2 4-r x M2F5
t7 --j x T8A7
j4 -p x NIE
and wins because
Player's only moves
S All the moves above this line denote the opening of the game when
) each player, having started with four men in each of his front row of
squares, proceeds to place them as best pleases him. As soon as one of the
players by making a legitimate move captures some men the game is joined
and thereafter all moves must be strictly accordingly to rule. Until then there is
no restriction and men may be distributed in any manner. In the present game
Opponent makes the first capture and this constitutes his first move.
4 4 4 4 4 4
I I I I I I I I
2 I I I I
2 6 6 6 6
2. Position at close of opening.
Both players have offered gambits and Opponent now accepts, i. G4-M, etc.
3. Position after Opponent's first move.
Player and Opponent each make their second moves and we get the following
4. Position after Opponent's second move.
(2) 3. H2-K x SIB2, etc. The following move would win an extra
S man :-
3. G2-J x T2A2
m3-r x MIF7
2 2 1 I I
8 3 1
S 4 4 7 1 9 2
3 3 3 2 2
5. Position after Opponent's fifth move.
() Moves 4 and 5 on each side call for no comment but Player's move 6
(3) A3*-R x M3F2, etc., does. Player has missed his opportunity.
m2-p x NIE2
m3-r x M3F2
g2 -j x TAI.
(A forced move)
7. H3-M x RiCi
h2 -k x S2BI
and wins because the
only move left to
Opponent is 7. P2 -S
() Passing over each player's Move 7 we come to Player's Move 8. R2-T,
4) etc. Player has made a bad oversight. When lie finished the relayed
move m4-s he should have taken Opponent's KiGr and continued:-
Even so Opponent's position looks pretty black as the diagram shows ;
I 2 2 I
8 2 3 I 2 II
7 1 3 i 5 2
6. Position after Player's eighth move.
but now watch him go in and win. A game of Mweso is never lost until it is won!
Having established a system of notation it is now possible to consider one or
two openings. First of all "The Fourteen Game"-"Kyeso Kyanyinya".
4 3 3
7. "Kyeso Kyanyinya"--" The Fourteen Game."
From the usual start of 4 men in each square of the front row the men are
placed as shown in the diagram. The opening takes its name, obviously, from the
14 men placed in square "A". The essential thing to note is that these 14, if
distributed in the usual way, will connect with the 2 in "S" and that the 3 in "S"
will then connect with the one in "B". "B" will now have 2 men and as all the
squares except "S" will now be occupied the move can be relayed round the board
until it comes to a square which has two occupied squares facing it. Whilst
waiting for the other player to lay himself open, one makes pretty-pretty play with
the men in squares in "C" and "D" thus :-
Take 3 in "D" and place 2 in "E" and i in "F"
,, 2 ,, "E" I "F"' I "G"
9, 3 9, "C" I," I ,, ",, E
,, 2 ,, "F" ,, ,, "G" ,, I ,, "H"
,, 2 ,, "D" ,, ,, ,, "E" I ,, "F"
,, 2 ,, "E" ,, ,, ,, "F" ,, ,, "G"
and relay g3-k
Here one stops because, if one goes on, the connection with the 14 in "A" is
broken. By now it is most probable that the other player will have done some-
thing whiich will give cause to bring the 14 into play, but if not they should be
played AI4-S, s3-b, etc. The io men in "J" have all the time been left as a bait
to entice the other player to commit himself by taking them at any moment when
there should happen to be a man in "H".
3 3 3 3 3
8. "Kyeso Kyansanve"-"The Seventeen Game."
This opening is considered the best for achieving "Nkutemye". Having
placed one's men as shown in the diagram one plays a waiting game with the sets
of three men as follows :-
and so on.
It is probable that one will lose a few men but it is possible that before all the
moves with the 15 men have been exhausted there will arise a chance to bring the
17 men into play and sweep the board-for preference bringing off the "Nkutemye"
coup. (This coup, it will be remembered, consists in taking all the men in one's
opponent's squares "T" and "A", and "H" and "J" in one move.) It will be noticed
that when the 17 men in "H" are distributed the last man falls into "J" and that
every other square on one's own side of the board receives one man. If, therefore,
the other player's squares "T" and "A" yield three men and square "M" has still
three men plus the one it acquires when the 17 men are distributed the relay will
take the move to "T" and, if the other player's "J" and "H" are occupied, to
"Nkutemye". Consider also the following :
4 7 8 3 4 5
2 I I
i 2 3 .3
9. Player to move and win "Nkutemye."
H17-J x TIA
k5--s x KG7
b2--t x J2H4
The above t.wo openings are well known in and around Kampala, but in other
parts of Africa, where there may be modifications of the method of play, there will
doubtless be other standard openings.
In the previous article which I wrote on this game I started off by saying that
if you stood and watched a game you would probably not understand how it was
played. If in addition you do not understand Luganda, your curiosity to know
what causes the bursts of laughter which usually punctuate a game-especially
when there is a number of onlookers-will remain unsatisfied. The following are
In olden days when the executioner chopped off a victim's head he used to
precede the act with the formula "Ku Iwa Kabaka!"-"In the name of the King!".
Nowadays when a player is about to execute "Nkutemye" he says the same.
The Baganda have a saying about a snake in a pot. "If you leave the snake in
the pot you will get no food. If you try to hit the snake for six you will break the
pot." With the same mock-seriousness that a Contract player might sit down to a
four and say,"I play the Pernambuco convention, partner", a Mwesoplayer, after going
through a complicated series of moves to get his men set will exclaim "Kyeso kino
ye musota guli mu ntamu"-"This is the snake-in-the-pot opening."
In Buganda the person who occupies the traditional place of the European
mother-in-law is a man's brother-in-law. If a man displeases his brother-in-law the
latter can take his sister away and bestow her elsewhere. In the same mock threaten-
ing tones that a Contract player who was fifteen hundred points down might say to
his partner "This has gone far enough. We now play with the gloves off!", a Mweso
player who is several games to the bad will say as he distributes his men "Kino
kye kyeso ekitayesebwa namuko !" "This is the opening one does not play with one's
All of which compels one to ask "Where does the back of the black man's mind
A Guide to the Snakes of Uganda.
By C. R. S. PITMAN.
Further Notes on Folk-Lore.
"Many savages believe that by annually casting their skins serpents and other
animals renew their youth and live for ever". This is a quotation from "Folk-Lore
in the Old Testament" by Sir J.G. Frazer and this belief is wide-spread in Africa.
Widely diffused throughout the world amongst aboriginal and uncivilised
natives is a prevalent faith that but for the guile of the serpent man would have
been immortal, and this self-same belief is prominent in the opening of Biblical
The story of the perverted message, in a variety of forms with a diversity of
animals-and not necessarily the serpent-as messenger, occurs generally through-
out Africa; how the message of immortality was being conveyed to man and either
through the malice of the messenger did not reach the correct destination, or through
his tardiness arrived too late. The general hatred of snakes on the part of mankind,
or the dread the serpent so frequently inspires in the human race is supposed to be
the direct result of the belief that far away in the dim ages this legless scaly
creature, which crawls on its belly, did by an artifice deprive man of the immortality
which was being conferred on him. It is curious how universal and deep-rooted is
the dread of the serpent.
I have endeavoured to obtain confirmation of a story I once heard about the Nandi
of Kenya, that there used to be a tribal belief to the effect that East Africa and the
Nandi would be overrun by an alien race when a great serpent came out of
the sea and its head reached the Victoria Nyanza. It is claimed that the prophecy
was fulfilled on the completion of the Uganda Railway to Kisumu, which made
the domination of a white race assured, the sinuous steel track following a shining
course across the low-lying rift resembling a gigantic serpent when viewed from
the elevated western scarp.
As it is not mentioned by Hollis in his comprehensive work on the tribe it may
not stand the test of exhaustive investigation. He does however mention that "A
snake is also killed if it enters a house, and a hole has to be made in the wall
in order to eject the body, as it may not be thrown out of the door. But if a snake goes
on to the woman's bed, it may not be killed; as it is believed that it personifies the
spirit of a deceased ancestor or relation, and that it has been sent to intimate to the
Woman that her next child will be born safely. Milk is put on the ground for it to
drink, and the man or his wife says: (English version) 'If thou wantest the call, come,
thou art being called'. It is then allowed to leave the house. The same authority
also records "If a snake enters the houses of old people they give it milk, and say:
(English version) 'If thou wantest the call, go to the huts of the children' and they
drive it away"; and, "The Orkoiyot (witch doctor) is supposed to receive power from
certain snakes which he is believed to carry about with him in his bag." Amongst
Nandi omens "A snake crossing the path is an unlucky omen for a journey": the
snake is also a clan totem. On pp. 86-87 certain charms against snakes and snake-
bite are mentioned: on p. 125 there is a proverb: and on p, 138 an enigma.
In "The Masai," pp. 266-269, Hollis quotes a fable about the serpent, elephant
and Dorobo; and on pp. 307-308 records beliefs concerning the association of souls,
spirits and snakes and gives notes on sacred snakes.
In "Myths and Legends of the Bantu" by Alice Werner references to snakes
will be found on pp. 44-45, p. 97 and p. 204.
In "The Akikuyu" C. Cagnolo mentions "In killing a snake if it is cut into two
pieces, one must slaughter a goat," and on p. 185 "If a woman being with child
kills a snake the child will be called 'Njoka-snake'. If she sees other snakes, she
will no longer kill them, for that would be like killing her son".
The Dinka, Bari, Latuka, and other Nilotic tribes, also pay reverence to snakes.
There must be awaiting record many superstitions concerning snakes, which
are extant amongst the diverse tribes of Uganda, and all who are interested are
invited to co-operate in making known these curious and interesting beliefs.
Relative Toxicities of Snake Venoms.
Recently in South Africa some important investigations have been carried out
in connection with the relative toxicities of various South African colubrine (elapine)
and viperine venoms. The results have been detailed in the "Transactions of the
Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene," Vol. XXVIII, No. 6, April, 1935.
In view of the paucity of the technical information available on this important
subject a series of tests were made with live animals of various sizes and their
reactions were carefully noted. In particular the antigenic properties were examined
of the several venoms which were used in the experiments. This is a question of
major importance, for in the preparation of a polyvalent serum it is essential that
one anti-toxin in no way neutralises the benefits of another.
As the properties of individual venoms, their appearance and the extent of yield
is detailed fully in the comprehensive notes dealing with each species included in the
Uganda Systematic List, these remarks are confined to the general aspect of the
First it must be remembered that yields of venom obtained by manipulation of
the glands are greatly in excess of the quantity a snake can inject at a single bite,
though on the other hand figures which apply to snakes in captivity may be two or
three times lower than those of the same snake under average natural conditions.
Also the rate of re-filling of the glands in captivity may be less rapid than in the
wild state. As a rule-though there are notable exceptions-re-charging appears to
be relatively slow.
The experiments conducted were based as far as possible on the minimum
doses necessary to produce fatal effects within a period of twelve to twenty-four
hours. Desiccated venom was introduced into the several subjects. Experience
tended to show that if an animal survived for twenty-four hours (i.e. without any
neutralising treatment) it usually recovered,
Mamba (Dendraspis angusticeps) venom generally is considerably more potent
in effect than that of either the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje)or the black-necked cobra
(Naja ntgricollis), which are much the same.
Of the viperine venoms that of the puff adder(Bitis arietans)proved more potent
than that of the Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica), which is remarkable in view of the
reactions of a human being who was bitten in America by a captive specimen, but
this question will be discussed in the notes on the latter species.
It was discovered that the pig is highly resistant to the venoms of African
Colubridae as well as to that of the puff adder. This resistance is natural and not
necessarily due to the snake's inability to inject the contents of a full bite owing
to the thickness of the skin and the layer of fatty tissue.
The meerkat and certain South African species ofmongoose exhibit a remarkable
degree of resistance to the Colubridae venoms, though not nearly so immune to those
of the Viperidae. It is not yet known whether any Uganda representatives of the
mongoose tribe possess equal powers of resistance. The meerkat is a natural
enemy of snakes.
It is of course of the utmost importance to test the neutralising properties of a
serum against multiple fatal doses as opposed to the use of a comparatively small
number of minimum fatal doses.
It has been previously mentioned that in India there is authentic record (or
records) of an elephant having succumbed from the effects of being bitten by a
hamadryad or king cobra. This is extremely interesting as the South African ex-
periments do indicate that the weight or mass. of an animal may be an important
governing factor in the quantity of venom necessary for a lethal dose. At the
same time it is by no means a case of the bigger the animal the bigger the dose
required; for instance the relatively small meerkat is weight for weight one thousand
times more resistant than the sheep to the venom of the Cape cobra. But in regard
to puff adder venom the meerkat's powers of resistance are in no way comparable
with its amazingly high tolerance to colubrine (elapine) venoms.
The most suitable South African polyvalent serum has accordingly to counter-
act the noxious bites of the species of dangerous snakes to be feared most, i. e. the
Cape cobra and the puff adder. The anti-venene produced must not only neutralise
these specific toxins but also has to exert a wide group action in order to be effective
in the treatment against any poisonous species likely to be encountered. Fortunately
in South Africa the properties of puff adder and Cape cobra venoms indicate that
they are the antigens of choice, and anti-venene obtained by their use as a combined
antigen exerts a powerful neutralising action against the venom of all typical South
In the case of Uganda it is probable that the most efficacious polyvalent
ser.um would result from a combined antigen of Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) and
puff adder venoms. A number of venoms are definitely undesirable and unsatis-
factory as antigens, but from tests the polyvalent action of the two above cited for
the locality specified cannot be improved upon. The above two are the most de-
sirable antigens to be converted into anavenoms both as regards polyvalent group
action and the high neutralising value of the resulting anti-venene.
The addition of Bitis gabonica serum is definitely harmful to this polyvalent
and it appears that a specific anavenom will have to be prepared for this peculiarly
deadly species. There is also the possibility that an anti-venene prepared with the
toxin of the Gaboon viper will prove polyvalent in group action to all African
For the purpose of this "Guide" it is unnecessary to refer other than briefly to
the question of general classification. The reader from what has gone before should
have realized that snakes, on account of their widely divergent dentition and speci-
alised methods of killing their prey, can be divided into several well-defined groups,
and attention has been drawn to this grouping. It is not intended to indulge in
numerous scientific terms, which are bewildering and to the layman often unintellig-
ible, but it is not possible to avoid completely the use of all such terms. It will
however be endeavoured to explain the meaning where their use is necessary.
The Class of Reptiles is divided into four Orders, the lizards and snakes being
combined in the Order-Serpentes (Squamata of some authors).
An order is divided into families (and subfamilies), which in their turn are made
up of genera (plural for genus). The respective genera contain the species, a desig-
nation which is alike in both singular and plural. The placing of species in one or
another genus means that they are markedly different, or indicate generic distinction.
All species are designated by at least two scientific names.
As an example let us take the technical name of the puff adder. This appears
in the scientific list as Bitis arietans.
Bitis is the generic name and all the species of that genus have the first half
of the name thus applied. Arietans is the name indicating the species-in fact it is
known as the specific name. There are three Uganda members of the genus Bitis
Bitis arietans-The Puff Adder.
Bitis gabonica-The Gaboon Viper.
Bitis nasicornis-The Rhinoceros-horned Viper.
But the scientific name goes further, for in the strictly scientific list the puff
adder would appear as Bitis arietans (Merrem). The last name signifies that of the
scientist (or authority) who first described the puff adder as a new species.
The fact that the scientist's name appears in parenthesis is of particular signi-
ficance, for it conveys the meaning that, since Merrem named the puff adder,
classification has been re-arranged from the results of later detailed investigations,
species have been re-grouped and a later generic arrangement produced. The original
fullname for the species has inconsequence been changed, but the specific name still
stands, though the first and full designation has been altered. The parenthesis
enclosing the name of the authority of the species always indicates such a change.
Scientific names are based on Latin or Greek and have of course very definite
meanings. They are usually derived from pronounced characteristics of the species
described, though not infrequently are a classical rendering of the name of the
discoverer or of the type locality. A "popular" name is of no use in designat-
ing groups or species amongst scientists of various languages.
One other point worth considering relates to trinomial nomenclature. It is a
modernized method of denoting enough definite variation occurring among species
to warrant a defining varietal or subspecific name. Its intricacies do not warrant
discussion here: an example is Typhlops schlegelii mucruso.
On the variations and arrangement of the scalation covering snakes' bodies
scientific separation is to a great extent based.
If one grasps the significance of species it should not be difficult to follow the
lines of classified arrangement of snakes.
Prominent differences between lizards and snakes are the movable eyelids
of the former, and the loosely constructed, alternately movable jaw-bones of the
latter. In addition to a subsidiary grouping based on dentition the main differen-
tiation of series is as follows:-
(a) The more primitive types of snakes, degraded burrowing species with
vestiges of pelvic bones and internal rear limbs. It includes the pythons and boas
which also possess internal, rear limb bones.
(b) The families Colubridae and Elapidae which to a great extent are referred
to as the "Colubrine" snakes, and include "a radiation from a vast non-venomous
aggregation to fanged species." It is by far the most extensive in this simple
grouping and embraces solid-toothed harmless, rear-fanged mildly poisonous, and
front-fanged highly toxic, species. Externally its terrestrial members bear a certain
likeness which renders them distinguishable.
(c) The most highly specialised serpents, the long-fanged viperine types,
equipped with poison-conducting teeth of excessive length, which have previously
been described in detail.
Boulenger, in "A List of the Snakes of East Africa" which appeared in the
"Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London" in 1915, gives a simple key which
should enable the determination of the family to which a snake belongs.
In coloration snakes are of every hue and combination thereof, and it is often
claimed that the serpent's coloration is of peculiar significance; for instance it is said
to be "protective," "warning" and so forth. It is not correct however, as I have often
heard claimed, that all brightly-coloured snakes are highly poisonous, and in
Uganda the majority of species which are vividly hued are innocuous.
The extensive range, combination and variation of coloration is detailed fully
in the notes on individual species. Colours begin to fade almost immediately after
death, and in particular the bloom or lustre, which is a conspicuous feature after
sloughing, quickly disappears. Specimens preserved in alcohol lose to a great extent
their natural colours: in formalin the typical coloration can often be retained but the
material then becomes so brittle that it is almost valueless for other than superficial
Before proceeding to the systematic list, a few of the scientific terms made
use of from time to time are explained.
Ventrals-The broad shields on the under surface of the body.
Subcaudals--The shields or broad scales on the lower surface of, or below, the
Labials -The small scales edging the lips.
Ocular--The shield covering the eye in the blind snakes,
Supra-ocular-The shield (or shields, if divided) above the eye.
Anal-The last ventral scale adjoining (or above) the vent.
Rostral-The most forward scale of the head representing the nose (or beak).
Frontal-The large scale in the centre of the top of the head.
Caudal-Pertaining to the tail.
Dorsum-Back or the top of the back.
Order SERPENTES Linnaus.
,, punctatus punctatus
S schlegelii mucruso
Natrix olivacea olivacea
Lycophidion capensis capensis
Mehelya chanleri butlerer)
,, irregularis (=emini)
Philothamnus semivariegata semivariegata
Coronella semiornata semiornata
Duberria lutrix shiranum
Leptodeira hotambceia hotambceia
Trimerorhinus tritaeniata tritaeniata
Boulengerina (annulata)? subsp.?
Of the seventy-eight species figuring in the Uganda List fifty-nine or approx-
imately seventy-six per cent, are harmless, a term which is here used to embrace
the non-venomous species, the giant constrictors and the mildly poisonous back-
fanged varieties, of which many are innocuous as far as man is concerned.
The remaining twenty-four per cent. comprising nineteen representatives are
definitely venomous, though of these fortunately only ten are deadly to man. The
other nine are highly toxic to certain vertebrates but for a variety of reasons the
results of a bite are unlikely to prove fatal in the case of a normally healthy human
being. Included in the deadly species is one of the back-fanged snakes Dispholidus
typus, the boomslang, which for a long time was believed to be innocuous, until
the highly toxic qualities of its poison were discovered when a European in
South Africa nearly succumbed as the result of a bite,
It has been mentioned previously how rare are authenticated cases of human
fatalities in Africa due to snake-bite, and in this connection it is impossible to sug-
gest any proportion in which the different classes of snake-bite occur. The relative
abundance of the various deadly species, i.e. viperine and colubrine (elapine), is no
index, for their food, habits and temperament are important modifying factors.
The relative incidence of the various classes of bite can only be obtained by very
carefully scrutinised statistics, and these unfortunately are not available.
A few species appear provisionally in the Uganda List but endeavour has been
made as far as possible to avoid the inclusion of those which no longer occur within
the Protectorate limits though they did when the political boundaries extended very
much further to the north, east and south-east than at the present day.
The characteristics of the various families (and subfamilies) are discussed in
Order SERPENTES Linnaeus.
This family consists of very degraded burrowing forms, mostly of small size
with cylindrical bodies and short heads and tails. In some species the eyes being
buried under the head shields are scarcely perceptible; in others they become
indistinguishable when the snake is about to slough, and then temporarily its vision
is obscured. In consequence, as a key characteristic, the distinctness or otherwise
of the eye for purposes of classification must be used with caution.
These snakes are referred toby a variety of popular names, some of the best
known being blind snake, earth snake, worm snake, blind worm, slow worm and blind
SQUAMATA of some authors,
They are- entirely adapted to a subterranean existence, and to a great extent
are nocturnal. Unlike those of the normal snakes, the scales are smooth, rounded
and highly polished and of much the same size above as below. The inclination of
all members of this family when extracted from their hiding places is to re-enter the
ground as quickly as possible.
The tail is extremely short, a feature which is usual among burrowing reptiles,
and terminates in a tiny though pronounced spine, which enables the tail to obtain
additional purchase when required. At the same time this spine in the eyes of
the ignorant is apt to be regarded as a stinging organ, and to many natives is
an object of terror. The end of the tail is acutely prehensile and extremely muscular.
The mouth is tiny and the jaws are practically toothless: the minute teeth are
set on the transverse edges of the maxillary bones. There are vestiges of pelvic
bones and rear limbs hidden beneath the skin.
Naturalists in the past hesitated to classify these creatures as snakes, for they
were commonly believed to be lizards. Possibly they have undergone degradation
in adaptation to their burrowing life and insectivorous diet, which is restricted
mainly to termites (or white ants) and also includes grubs, insects and small ants.
Certain species are frequently found living in termite nests. The bodies are often
bulging with a thick, internal layer of fat, which from the nature of the diet is
surprising. An unpleasing attribute probably common to all, though accentuated in
certain types, is a power to emit at will a foul-smelling, pungent cloacal discharge.
These little snakes, no doubt on account of their habits, are free of ticks, though
nematode worms are sometimes found in the stomachs.
The prevailing coloration is brown, usually without trace of pattern: in appear-
ance and size some are worm-like.
Typhlops the largest genus of the family is the only one occurring in Africa,
where it is represented by about four dozen species, only half-a-dozen of which are
found in Uganda. The distribution in Africa of this curious and interesting genus is
however in many cases still imperfectly known.
Earth snakes are rarely met with except after heavy showers especially at the
termination of periods of prolonged drought, when they are induced to come to the
surface over which they wander in search of fresh quarters, though in suitably
humid localities they are not infrequently found feeding above ground.
The legless lizards of the genus Siaphos superficially resemble these degraded
Many natives believe that the various species of Typhlops possess a head at
either end of the body and nothing will convince them that all members are absolutely
harmless. The immunity of the European from harm when handling specimens
is attributed to white man's magic!
These snakes are perfectly quiet in captivity, although they are poor speci-
mens for exhibition purposes. They will often feign death if they think intruders
are near, and can be placed round the wrist or neck and will stay there, a fact
which is made use of by snake-charmers to impress the ignorant.
SOn account of the close fitting, highly polished scales earth snakes are not easy
to handle, as they are slippery and very muscular, and wriggle actively when caught.
In soft ground burrowing is accomplished with astounding speed, and members
of this genus can flatten themselves to a remarkable degree, so as to be able when
necessary to negotiate crevices considerably less than the normal diameter of their
bodies. The driving thrust of the head is extremely powerful, and I have kept
captive specimens which have easily forced their way through tough cardboard and
escaped. When burrowing the wedge-shaped snout quickly bores a tunnel into
which the body can easily follow: if it is necessary to withdraw the head once
digginghas commenced, the front of the head can be contracted vertically and laterally
so that it can be extricated without difficulty, which is not the case when one
tries to prevent a hurrying Typhlops from disappearing into the ground. The body
does not taper to any appreciable extent as this would be a hindrance to burrowing
The Luganda name for these snakes is "mugoya".
Genus TYPHLOPS Daudin.
TYPHLOPS MOSSAMBICUS Peters.
Mozambique Blind Snake.
(Plate I, Fig. 1).
Native names-Luganda, "Mugoya", a name which is applied equally to all
species of Typhlops.
Distribution-South Africa, north as far as Tanganyika Territory.
Occurrence in Uganda-This is included as a Uganda species in Loveridge's
"Check List of the Reptilia recorded from the British Territories in East Africa"
which appeared in 1924 in the "Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History
Society". But its occurrence is doubtful and so far no authentic Uganda specimens
have been traced. Loveridge in 1934, when checking this Uganda list, wrote "I
believe this was admitted to my list on the basis of a Sternfeld record".
Description--According to Boulenger "Dark brown; lower surface of head and
anal region yellowish".
Habits-Do not differ from those typical of the genus.
"Fauna der deutsche Kolonien (Sternfeld, 1910). Mradscli (Uganda).
This locality has not been traced, and as far as present-day Uganda is concerned is
TYPHLOPS PUNCTATUS PUNCTATUS (Leach).
Spotted Blind Snake.
(Plate I, Fig. 3).
Native names--Luganda, "Mugoya".
Distribution-Found mainly in the existing Equatorial forest region, without
penetrating far into the Rain Forest, and extending as far west as the Gold Coast.
It is also common in the forest "islands" left in Eastern Africa, as well as in certain
regions where forest once existed in relatively recent times, i.e., parts of Kenya,
Tanganyika and the south-western Sudan.
Occurrence in Uganda-In Uganda this species is evidently widespread and
authenticated localities include West Nile, Sango Bay, Masaka, Entebbe, Kampala,
Mabira Forest (abundant), Jinja, S.W. Mt. Elgon, Budongo Forest and Teso.
Description-Recorded up to a length of 470 mm. (Congo) and two feet (East
Africa), with a maximum diameter of 13 mm. The largest Uganda (Mabira)
specimen measured is 21 inches long of which the tail is half-an-inch, with a girth
of 21 inches just above the tail. Its stomach was thickly lined with fat giving it a
swollen appearance.The measurements of a few Mabira specimens are:-
TOTAL LENGTH. TAIL. GIRTH.
21I inches inch 21 inches.
I54 ,, -
Loveridge records range of size 300mm. (Mabira) to470 mm. (Ujiji, Tanganyika).
The coloration is very variable but that of specimens examined from Sango Bay,
Masaka, Entebbe, Kampala and Mabira Forestis remarkably uniform and is equivalent
to that of Boulenger's variety T.lineolatus. Above, dark brown, each scale with a small
yellowish spot. Each ventral scale yellowish in the centre and brown on the borders.
In some examples the ventral scales are uniform yellowish. Elsewhere (Boulenger
quotes "Lado" as a locality), though I have come across none in Uganda, specimens
occur uniformly coloured above and below, but there is no record of this type from
the S.E. Sudan nor from the Belgian Congo Rain Forest border, from which region
the colour is described as, "dark grey above and below, with a light yellowish spot
corresponding to each scale, producing a lineolate appearance."
The edge of the snout is slightly more obtuse than in congestus. Loveridge
describes a Tanganyika specimen in which "the yellow spots being absent dorsally
the entire surface is dark brown while beneath the yellow spots have coalesced to
* Loveridge has recently described from Kaimosi, Kakamega, Kenya-Typhlops kaimosce,
which differs from T. p. punctatus and all other East African members of the genus
Typhlops in possessing an ocular which is broadly in contact with the nasal shield below
the preocular, thus separating the latter shield from the upper labials. Above, uniformly
black. Total length 215 mm ; head and body 211 mm.; tail 4 mm.; diameter at mid-body
5 mm. Tail ending in a spine.-C.R.S.P.
form large blotches resulting in a mottled ventral surface". Boulenger also quotes
varieties "with scattered irregular blotches above and below": "The yellow spots
on the upper surface confluent into longitudinal lines separated by black streaks;
lower parts uniform yellowish": "Black above, each scale paler, brownish in the
middle; lower parts uniform yellowish": and, as for the last but "with irregular
yellow spots or large blotches above, or yellow with irregular black blotches above".
Habits-Do not differ from those typical of the genus. Stomach contents exam-
ined have been full of tiny insects, grubs, termites, and small ants. On occasion,
when handled, this species can produce a most strongly smelling and offensive
Eggs were forming in the ovaries of the 2 i inches specimen which was killed
in mid-September. These and the previously mentioned thick lining of fat were
contributory causes to its swollen appearance.
A specimen caught at dusk on a damp evening outside a house on the outskirts of
the Mabira Forest was feeding on ants. Another was found early in the morning in
a dark forest patch near Lake Nabugabo feeding greedily on little red "safari" ants,
Dorylus wilwerthi, which were on the move in their millions.
TYPHLOPS CONGESTUS (Dumeril and Bibron).
Blotched Blind Snake or Mottled Blind Snake.
(Plate I, Fig. 4.)
Native names-I have no definite records, though in most colorations it is
probably referred to in Luganda by the name of "Mugoya".
Distribution-This is the characteristic Typhlops of the Rain Forest, which
occurs in some of the forest islands of Eastern Africa, and to these latter and
the Forest Province it is probably confined.
Occurrence in Uganda-The precise range of this species in Uganda is not yet
properly known, but definite localities are the Budongo and Bugoma Forests in
Description-Loveridge considers congestus to be a synonym ofpunctatus, but
all records to which I have had access, as well as all specimens examined, indicate
that those separated as congestus average much larger, both in length and diameter,
than those allotted to punctatus.
Of the specimens collected by the American Museum of Natural History
Fifteen identified as puncfatus average 242 mm. in length, and 8.2 mm. in
Twenty-seven identified as congestus average 444 mm. in length, and 19.4 mm,
Of this series of congestus the length ranges from 209 mm. to626 mm., and the
diameter from to mm. to 30 mm.
Boulerger also regards punctatus and congestus to be synonymous: it is possible
that the examples separated as T. congestus may in reality prove to be the larger
specimens of punctatus.
The Uganda specimens examined indicate that congestus is easily the largest
representative of the local species of Typhlops. Specimens from the BudongoForest
are a dull, dirty or yellowish ivory very broadly blotched above with blackish, dark
brown or grey-black; some generally have the same dark coloration above and pale
below, but the paler coloration broadly and irregularly invades the dark flanks.
The above mentioned Congo specimens are mainly characterized by "a uniform
brownish-yellow venter, dorsum dark brown, more or less invaded by the transverse
flecks of the ventral color, or, vice versa, the dorsal color may extend laterally on
to the venter; there is never a sharp horizontal dividing line between the dorsal and
Two specimens in this collection "differ from the normal congestus in being
nearly uniformly mottled, the yellow slightly predominant below, the darker color
above." Two others "are still more distinct in coloration, the yellow being reduced
in one to a few yellow spots along the mid-ventral line, in the other to a single spot
beneath the tail."
Habits-In habits it is typical of the genus and I am not aware of any especial
TYPHLOPS SCHLEGELII MUCRUSO (Peters).
Variable Blind Snake, Grey Burrowing Snake or Grey Blind Snake.
(Plate I, Fig. 2.)
Native names-Luganda, "Mugoya."
Distribution-Loveridge, in a revision of this species, (Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool,
Vol. LXXIV, No. 7, October 1933, pp. 214-222), restricts the range of the nominate
form, T.s. schlegelii, "to East Africa south of the Zambesi," and for the range of the
race mucruso gives "Angola, Central and East Africa north of the Zambesi except
for a small area in Central Tanganyika." Its northern limits in the Nile region are
in the southernmost (Mongalla) Province of the Sudan,
Occurrence in Uganda-It is not yet possible to define the precise limits of
the range of this snake in Uganda, which can only be detailed with accuracy
after a good deal of intensive collecting. It will probably be found to be
restricted to the regions of typical and drier savanna. Emin Pasha obtained
T. schlegelii (= T.s. mucruso) in the Lado Enclave. There is a "Uganda" specimen in
the British Museum (Natural History).
Description-Not having examined any locally-acquired material it is necessary
for me to quote from descriptions of specimens of extra-territorial origin, and the
qualification of "Variable" in one of its popular names is evidently well-merited.
Loveridge records in twenty-two Tanganyika specimens, a range of measure-
ments in total length from 132 mm. to 485 mm. with mid-body diameters of from 5
mm. to 15 mm.: and in seven examples from Angola, Lake Tanganyika, Zanzibar,
Mombasa, Uganda and the Lado Enclave, a range from 273 mm. to 6io mm.
An East African specimen of 2 ft. 34 inches, has been recorded.
The maximum length of several specimens personally examined in Northern
Rhodesia was 21I inches, of which the tail was one quarter of an inch only.
These Northern Rhodesia specimens are of three varieties:-
(a) mottled ivory and black;
(b) yellow-brown to bluish-grey, with even lines of tiny white dots, separated
by narrow zones of the dark ground, along the whole length of the body,
producing a lineolate effect;
(c) similar in general markings to (b) but of a rich golden hue with a definite
The scales are often darkly bordered.
The stubby, spine-terminated tail is as broad as long.
This Typhlops has also been described as "yellow or pale olive above". Other
colour variations include uniform olive-brown above; or parti-coloured yellow and
olive-brown, the latter colour forming irregular blotches: lower parts uniform yellow.
It is possible that colour variations are most pronounced in the larger and older
Prior to sloughing it is probable that the old epidermis becomes opaquely white
giving a general colourless appearance; hence the descriptions "colorless except for
a little buff on the belly" and "uniform pale greenish-grey above, pale buff beneath."
The entire under surface is usually white, or yellow, or at least a longitudinal
median area of whitish.
Loveridge comments on the natural provision, in my own experience by no
means confined to this species, whereby "These snakes lay up stores of fat, presum-
ably for estivation through the long dry season", and he suggests "that this is
responsible for the swollen bodies of some specimens".
UGANDA SNAKES I.
(Line drawings of dorsal view of heads).
7Tvp1 lops iIlossaOnibirts.
Typhllops schlegeli lintcrl-so
Tvphlops pfmwfalitts pmuntacits.
UGANDA SNAKES II.
Typhlops sudanensis (Dorsal view).
Typhlops sudanensis (Lateral view).
In the greater part of this species' habitat in Northern Rhodesia the period of
estivation is as protracted as eight consecutive months in the twelve.
Habits--In habits it does not differ markedly from the other Uganda
representatives of the genus.
Loveridge records "It would appear as if very large adults, which are rarely
encountered, live deeper underground than the smaller snakes, only coming to the
surface when the first rains fall after a long dry season". Most certainly the largest
specimen I obtained in Northern Rhodesia was found dead on a road, having been
run over in the dark by a car, after three hours of deluge at the beginning of the
According to Loveridge "An adult male emitted a very strong-smelling cecal
discharge when first captured". This seems to be a characteristic common to most
species of Typhlops.
Stomachs examined were full of tiny insects, mainly ants and termites:
Loveridge found two leathery snake's eggs, measuring 14 mm. x 6 mm, in a stomach
TYPHLOPS SUDANENSIS Schmidt.
Sudanese Blind Snake.
(Plate, II, Figs. I and 2.)
Native names-None known.
Distribution-Little is as yet known regarding the distribution of this snake
which Schmidt suggests is "a species of the Sudanese Subprovince, related to crossii
in Nigeria and somalacus in north-east Africa." The type-locality is Faradje in the
N.E. Belgian Congo, about fifty miles west of the Uganda border.
Occurrence in Uganda-So far there is no record of the occurrence of this
species within Uganda limits, though its type locality is so near the West Nile
district that it can be admitted provisionally to the Uganda list.
Description-This species was described as new by Schmidt from six specimens,
collected in I91 and 9g12 respectively, from Faradje and Garamba in the N.E.
Belgian Congo. It is very slender,. and the six examples above mentioned varied
from 172 mm. to 469 mm. in length, and 3 mm. to 8 mm. in diameter. In life the
colour of the entire body is pink.
The head is almost beaked, a characteristic which should readily distinguish
sudanensis from any other Uganda species. The curious shape is well-illustrated
in the drawing of the lateral view of the head, As the British Museum (Natural
History) lacks any specimens, acknowledgment is due to Mr. K. P. Schmidt whose
illustrations of the type have been copied. Good field characteristics are the
slenderness of the body combined with the very large rostral and its sharp cutting
Habits-Mr. H. Lang has recorded "These blind worms have been dug by
workmen from under a hillock, about five feet below the surface of the ground. They
are pinkish in colour, the smaller specimens superficially resembling earthworms".
TYPHLOPS BLANFORDII Boulenger.
Blanford's Blind Snake.
(Plate I, Fig. 5.)
Native names-Lukiga, "Keerumeera aweeli" (meaning "two-headed").
Distribution-This species is mainly confined to the North-Eastern Sub-
province, and an example collected in South-Western Uganda (Nov., 1933) extends
very considerably its known range.
Occurrence in Uganda-A specimen obtained at Mushongero on Lake Mutanda
in S. W. Kigezi, in the south-western extremity of the Protectorate is the only
Uganda record. Five other specimens in the British Museum (Natural History) are
Description-The local specimen unfortunately was not critically examined,
but superficially, in coloration and marking, it resembled punctatus for which it was
Boulenger gives "Olive-grey, basal half of each dorsal scale blackish: a narrow
whitish strip along the middle of the lower surface".
The length was i23 inches, of which only a quarter of an inch is tail.
Habits-In habits it is unlikely to differ from the other Uganda members
of the genus.
(For reasons for referring the family to GLAUCONIIDME and the genus to LEPTO-
TYPHLOPS see Flower, "Proceedings Zoological Society of London", 1933, p. 802).
Leptotyphlops is the genus occurring in Africa, of which two species are found
Generally speaking the African representatives resemble the members of the
preceding family (Typhlopidc) and, though cylindrical, glossy and worm-like with
the same burrowing proclivities, are very much smaller. They differ, however, in
having the teeth confined to the lower jaw bones.
As none of the species is much thicker than the lead out of an ordinary pencil oc
more than a few inches in length, these little creatures, aptly termed "worm snakes",
are more likely to be overlooked than recognized.
In coloration some members of the family are practically colourless or pale
fleshy pink exactly like a worm, though more usually they are jet or silvery black,
or a blackish grey. When handled they are just as active as their larger Typhlops
relatives but, on account of their tiny size, much more difficult to hold.
The mouth is minute so that only the tiniest insects, including termites, are
consumed. The members of this genus are of course absolutely innocuous.
In general habits they resemble Typhlops. After heavy rains they often enter
verandahs and buildings on the ground level, and are usually ignored, being mistaken
for worms. They are normally chiefly nocturnal.
In Africa this family is restricted mainly to the savanna or semi-arid areas, and
its absence from Madagascar indicates that, like most of the others absent from this
island, it entered Africa from the north and at a period subsequent to the separation of
Madagascar from the Continent.
I have never witnessed nor tried to test the swimming capabilities of snakes of
the genera Typhlops and Leptotyphlops; but Flower (P.Z.S. 1933, p. 804) concerning
Leptotyphlops cairi records "Takes readily to water. At night, when the electric
light was switched on suddenly, the snake was often found resting or swimming in
the water. When crossing shallow water it seemed to prefer crawling on the
bottom of the pond to swimming 'on the surface". In connection with the same
specimen he also notes "Absolutely quietall day. Not crepuscular. Becomes active
some hours after sunset. Very. active for several hours at night".
Possibly the above constitutes a-good general description of the normal habits
of members of this genus.
Likely places in which to search for them include at the roots of shrubs and in
the soil beneath logs; they are also often found when stumps are being removed from
land prior to cultivation.
The Luganda name "mugoya" does not differ from that applied to representatives
of the genus Typhlops.
LEPTOTYPHLOPS EMINI (Boulenger).
Emin's Worm Snake.
(Plate II, Fig. 3.)
Native names-Luganda, "Mugoya".
Distribution--This species, described from Bukoba in Tanganyika Territory
(west of the Victoria Nyanza), is known to range to the south end of Lake Tanganyika
Glauconia emini. Recorded from Ruwenzori by Sternfeld (Fauna der deutsche Kolonien,
As well as to Kampala on the northern shore of the Victoria Nyanza. It has also
.been recorded in East Africa from Kilimanjaro, Voi and Taveta.
Occurrence in Uganda-So far Kampala is the only Uganda record of its
Description-About 4 inches is the usual length of this tiny species though
the maximum is about 2 inches longer. In colour it is usually uniform blackish.
Habits-In habits this little snake is unlikely to differ from L. conjunca. Of an
example obtained at the south end of Lake Tanganyika it is recorded "Taken by
digging in sandy soil beneath a log on a hill-side."
Synonymy-Loveridge in litt. suggests "Specimens of Glauconia signata Jan.
recorded by Sternfeld (in 1908) from Uganda are possibly this species."
LEPTOTYPHLOPS CONJUNCTA (Jan.)
Jan's Worm Snake.
(Plate 1I, Fig. 4.)
Native names-Luganda, "Mugoya".
Distribution-South-Eastern and Eastern Africa, westerly to north-west of
Occurrence in Uganda-Little is known of the precise local range of conjuncta
except that it occurs commonly at Entebbe,
Description-About 6 inches is the maximum length of this diminutive species,
which in colour may be blackish, dark slaty-gray, plumbeous black, silvery black or
grey-blue, and usually whitish below.
Loveridge's description of the little worm snakes "These can best be compared
to the blacklead of an ordinary pencil which they resemble both in length, diameter
and colour" is peculiarly appropriate.
Habits-In common with other members of the genus this species lives
chiefly on termites.
At Entebbe, at certain seasons during heavy rains it frequently enters buildings
on the ground level, and is then rarely recognized as a snake. On one occasion two
small children were found playing with one which had entered an enclosed
At Entebbe Loveridge recovered a specimen from the stomach of a young
burrowing viper (Atractaspis irregularis).
(To BE CONTINUED. )
Abakama ba Bunyoro-Kitara.
Okujura ebaruha eyahandikirwe Dr. J.M. Derscheid, Professor wa Colonial
University eryomu Belgium, omukicweka ekyakasatu ekyomukitabu ekyakabiri
ekyetwa Uganda Journal ekya January 1935 okuruga harupapura rwa 252 okuhika
253, kandi nomubigambo by'Om: Bere ebiri omukitabu ky'okubanza ekya January
1934 omukicweka ky'okubanza harupapura rwa 67, nsangire nti kinsemerire
mpandike bike ebikukwata habihandiko ebyo, kandi mboine nti nikisemera okutaho
okuhingisibwa kw'amabara ga Bakama ba Bunyoro-Kitara.
i. Abakama ba Bunyoro-Kitara Ab'orulyo Rw'obulemi Rw'Ababito.
Banu nikihikira okubahandika okuruga ha Bakama abokubanza okuhikya ha
Ababito abalemi omubusinge bunu bati:-
i. Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi.
2. Ochaki Rwangi'ra.
3. Oyo Nyimba.
4. Winyi I, Rubembeka.
5. Olimi I, owa Kalimbi.
6. Nyabongo I, Rulema.
7. Winyi II, Rubagirasega.
8. Olimi II, Ruhundwangeye.
9. Nyarwa Omuzikyakyaro.
o1. Chwamali I, Rumomamahanga.
12. Kyebambe I, Omuzikya.
13. Winyi III, Ruguruka.
15. Kyebambe II, Bikaju.
16. Olimi III, Isansa.
17. Duhaga I, Mujuiga.
18. Olimi IV, Kasoma.
19. Kyebambe III, Nyamutukura.
20. Nyabongo II, Mugenyi.
21. Olimi V, Rwakabale.
22. Kyebambe IV, Kamurasi.
23. Chwa II, Y. Kabalega.
24. Kitehimbwa, Y. Karukara.
25. Duhaga II, A. Bisereko, M.B.E.
26. Winyi IV, T.G, C.B.E.
II. Abakama Abandi.
Abakama abasoboroirweho abo Ababito tibali bo ababandize.
Abakama Abatembuzi nubo babandize okulema ensi enu Kitara yona ekiri nsi
emu, abo obubarugireho abana babu Abachwezi balema Kitara enu yona nabwo ekiri
nsi emu etakabaganizibwemu abo obubarugireho nubwo nibeta abana babu Ababito
okugirema n'okuhika hati, namabara gabu nugo agolekerwege okubanza, kandi
n'okwahukana okw'Obukama bwa Kitara nuho kwabandize ha Bakama abo Ababito
Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi na Kato mugenziwe bombi bali barongo, Isingoma Mpuga
Rukidi obuyabaire Omukama wa Kitara, akaha mugenziwe Kato (Kimera), Abaganda
nibeta Kintu, ekichweka ky'ensi ya "Muhwahwa" hati erukwetwa Buganda, kandi
nabagenzibe abandi akabaha ebichweka eby'ensi ebindi.
Kandi ekichweka ekya"Karokarungi"niyo ensi hati erukwetwa Nkole yagirekera
Ruhinda Omukumirizi, kandi Abakama Abachwezioubakaba balekire amagana gabu
ag'ente omukichweka eki ekibakaba basoroire okuba amalisizo g'amagana gabu,
kandi habw'Omukumirizi onu okuba n'Ekikwato ky'Omukama Engoma, nk'okuki-
manyirwe uti abajwekwaga bona Omukama yabahaga engoma, n'amachumu nonu
engoma egi eyiyasigaire nayo niyo Bagendanwa, n'okuhikya hati ekiroho nekirindwa
mu Ankole. Kandi ensi ya Busoga yagiha Kiiza, kandi kimanyirwe Obukama bwa
Kitara hati oburukwetwa Bunyoro Kitara okuruga omubuhangwa bwabwo ira naira
tibukalemwaga Obukama obundi hanu mu Afrika, kandi emitano yabwo yali migazi
okukira obusinge oburoho bunu nk'okworasoma haby'obusinge bw'Omukama
III. Banu Nubo Abakama Abatembuzi:-
1. Kintu namukaziwe Kati.
5. Ira lya Hangi.
8. Nkya I.
9. Nkya II.
I7. Ngonzaki Rutahinduka.
18. Isaza Mukama wa Kitara.
19. Isaza Nyakikoto.
20. Bukuku (Omulinziw'Engoma ya Isaza).
IV. Okusobo'ra Abakama Abatembuzi.
Amabara g'Abakama bamu Abatembuzi, ningumya kandinintekerezahabw'emyaka
okurabaho mingi amabara gabu agamu gakabura, habw'okuba Abakama abo
Abatembuzi ababandize batabe n'engeso nkezabaijukuru' babu Ababito, ez'okulinda
Amagasani, nk'okukiri ha-Bakama Ababito, kandi Omukama Isaza ayahererukire
ha-Bakama Abatembuzi akalema ati Obukama bwa Kitara, kandi nuwe yabandize
n'okuchwe ebichweka by'ensi ebigazi okubigabira Abanyoro nabyeta Amasaza nugo
ganu agorekerwe hanu;-
i. Nyamenge akamuha Kitara.
2. Ntege ya Koya ,, Muhwahwa (hati Buganda).
3. Machumulinda ,, Nkole (Ankenda).
4. Ntembe ,, Busoga.
5. Kabara ,, Bugangaizi.
6. Nyakirembeka ,, Mwenge.
7. Kagole Rusijamiryango ,, Busongora.
8. Nyangoma ,, Buruli.
9. Nyamirwana ,, Bugahya.
10. Nsinga ,, Bugoma.
ii. Ichwamango Bugungu.
12. Kaparo ,, Chope.
13. Kalega ,, Bulega.
14. Mukwiri ,, Buiru (Budu).
15. Nyakadogi ,, Busindi.
16. Nyakaranda ,, Bunyara.
Abakama banu Abatembuzi omubusinge bw'obulemi bwabu, abantu-bakagenda
nibakanya omubichweka by'ensi, kandi n'enganda nuho zabandize okweyahuranamu
Kandi Omukama ogu Isaza akabura, baitu abantu abaira bagamba nti akagenda
omubukizi bwemoso, kandi nomubyahandikirwe J. Roscoe M.A., ha page 324, baga-
mba nti akabu'ra okuzimu kunu tikirikyo.
V. Abakama Abachwezi nubo Banu.
Abakama Abatembuzi obubamazire okuruga ha Bukama hasigaireho Bukuku
ayali Omukumirizi ow'Omukama Isaza, omusaija onu Bukuku akaba anyima muha-
rawe ibaralye Nyinamuiru, omu hali batabani ba Isaza ibaralye nuwe Isimbwa
akazara hali muhara wa Bukuku, Nyinamuiru omwana ibaralye nuwe Ndahura.
Okuruga aho okulema kw'Abachwezi kwatandika; okuteraniza hakinu Isimbwa
akaba anyina mutabaniwe omukuru ibaralye nuwe Kyomya ouyazire ha-Nyabiryo
Omuchwezi kati, kandi ganu nugo mabara g'Abakama Abachwezi:-
2. Mulindwa. Akalinda engoma Ndahura obwakaba agenzere omunsi
ezahara, akaikarayo muno n'abantube bakatekereza nti akabura,
nukwo Mulindwa okulinda engoma. Omukama Ndahura obuyaga-
rukire yasanga Mulindwa ha-Bukama atagonze okugaruka okuba
3. Wamala. Onu nuwe yakomerwe okuba Omukama omukiikaro
ky'Omukama Ndahura ise, nubwo Mulindwa ayali musigire naihwaho
nagarukayo omunsiye Bulega. Wamala naba Omukama ayakomerwe
Ndahura ise, nubwo Omukama Ndahura nagarukayo omunsi ezi.
VI. Okusobo'ra Ha-Bakama abo Abachwezi
(i) OMUKAMA NDAHURA
Omukama Ndahura kimanyirwe kurungi nti nuwe Mukama ow'okubanza omu-
bachwezi, obuyamazire omwanya mwingi nalema Obukama bwa Kitara, akaramaga
omunsi okurwanisa abemi abakaba bemire Bukuku Omulanzi ayalindaga Obukama
bwa Kitara Isaza amazire okurugaho abantu oubatekereza nti akabura, kandi obu-
yamazire okutekaniza Obukamabwe kurungi akachwa ebichweka by'ensi ebigazi
yajweka Amasaza ati:-
i. Bwera, Buiru na Karokarungi yabijweka Wamara omutabaniwe.
2. Buruli yagijweka Dubanga.
3. Mwenge Mugenyi.
4. Kitara (Kyaka) ,, Ibona.
5. Bunyara ,, Muga'ra.
6. Bulega ,, Mulindwa.
7. Muhwahwa (Buganda) ,, Kyomya.
8. Sese ,, Mugasa Ibebe.
9. Bugoma ,, Kanyabugoma ise Nsinga.
o1. Toro na Busongora ,, Kahuka.
II. Bugahya, Bugungu, Chope ,, Kiro.
Omukama Ndahura obuyamazire okujweka Amasaza ganu yaikara kurungi
ha-Bukama-bwe, kandi akagonza okuramagira ebichweka eby'obukizi bw'obulyo
naraba omubichweka binu Toro, Ankole agenda omubichweka bya Kiziba na
Karagwe hati erukwetwa Tanganyika Territory, kandi obuyamazire okusingura
ebichweka ebi yaikarayo ali Mulemi wabyo okuhikya obuyaferireyo, kandi tikiruku-
manywa ekiikaro nambere yazikirwe.
(a) Omukama onu Ndahura (Omuchwezi) akaramagira amahanga maingi
(b) Habw'okuramagira amahanga maingi kigambwa nti abantu beyaramagisize
bakaija n'endwara nyingi eziyasangire onmu Mahanga hayaramagaga nkazinu: -
Oburundu, Ebisonde n'ensindi.
(c) Akombeka enju nkoto muno akagyombekera emyaka ena eyaina emiryango
ikumi namunana akagyombeka Bwera (Budu) kandi akakora oburaro (orutindo)
omubichweka ebi ebya Toro nahandi, hati bunu babweta obura'ro bw'enaku.
(d) Omukama Ndahura akalema okurugi'ra mu Kavirondo n'okutana na
Abisiniya (Abyssinia) n'okuraba omunsi ya Congo n'okumarayo ensi erukwetwa
Tanganyika Territory, nikyo osangira orulimi rwaba Kitara nirubazibwa omubi-
chweka ebi ebinyakugambirweho.
(ii) OMUKAMA WAMARA
Omukama Wamara Omuchwezi akagweterwa ise Ndahura yaikara Bwera
(Bu'du) kandi Omukama onu akalema emyaka mingi obukama bwa Kitara hati
erukwetwa Bunyoro Kitara omukulemakwe akahika omumitano yaise Ndahura na-
mbere yakahikaga okulema nk'emitano enyakusoboroirweho eruguru kandi akaikara
n'obusinge atabeho n'obulemu bwona obuyarwaine ataramage nka ise Ndahura.
Kandi obuyaikaire hangomaye hakaija abantu abafumu abaragura abarugire omu-
bichweka by'ensi eya Kiira (Nile) bakaija nibamuragura nibagamba nti "Haija ebibi
ha-Bukama bwawe", nasanga ebintu byetwekerwe bibali hamutwe nimugenda
okuruga omunsi muno rundi halija abantu abandi nibababinga hangoma
yanyu, kinu kikarugi'ra hante eyaisirwe abafumu b'Omukama Wamara
habw'okumuragu'ra, kuba baitaga ente nibagirora eby'omunda byayo nuho baihaga
oukragura n'okumanya ebiribaho omu busumi bw'omu maiso, ente enyakugambi-
rweho eruguru obu yaisirwe obubagenzire okurora omu nda yayo batasangemu
amara gayo, abafumu b'Omukama Wamara kyabalema okumanya n'obukwakuba
okwetegereza amakuru, nubwo okweta omufumu anyakugambirwehoga kara
ayarugire nseri ibara lya nuwe Karongo, bamugambira nk'okubaisire ente
y'okuragura tibasanga amara gayo omu nda yayo, bamusaba abasob'ore amakuru
gakyo. Nawe yabagambira ati "Mulete endyamiti" bagireta nubwo yabaragira ati
muteme mwase omutwe gw'ente egi; bagutema bagwasa basanga amara g'ente gali
omu ruhanga omu mutwe gw'ente nikyo yabaraguliire nk'okukisoboroirweho
(iii) OKUHANURA KW'OMUKAMA WAMARA
OmukamaWamara obu yaboine abantu be bona batarukuhu'ra kurungi n'abakazi
be haija omugayo, nubwo yaijuka abafumu ekibamuraguire, yayeta bene babu
Abachwezi n'abagamba ati mubohe ebyanyu tugende turuge omu nsi, nubwo
baimukize nibagenda okukuratira Ndahura isebo hayagire, abantu abandi bagamba.
nti Abakama Abachwezi bakegoromora omu nyanja kunu tikiri kikyo, kimanyirwe
nti bakagenda omubichweka by'ensi ezigambirwehoga. Kandi Omukama Wamara
obu akaba akiri omu muhanda akaijuka nk'okuhatasigaireho Omukama ha ngoma
ya Kitara, nubwo yahanu'ra n'abasaija'be abakuru nti omu habatabani bamwene
wabu Kyomya abarongo (Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi na Kato hanyuma ayayeyesere
wenka Kimera) abayazaire hamukazi Nyatworo omukwongakati muhara wa
Rabwongo omusaija omu Lango kisemera atabarwe abe Omukama. Nubwo natuma
Omunyoro Wisaza lya Bugoma ibaralye Kanyabugoma Kansinga omugamba
ikwenu, okutabarayo abana abo, Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi na Kato Kimera, yabareta
nabambu'ra gwa Chope yabahikya omunsi ya Kitara Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi
yaba Omukama wa Kitara.
Binu nibyo ebikwato ebyasigirwe Omukama Wamara omu Bunyoro Kitara:-
(a) Engoma Kajumba n'Engoma Nyalebe, akabisigira omusaija Mubimba
(b) Amahango (Amachumu) Obuta Nyapogo n'Omufuko Nda-yampunu n'Ekondo
Rwahusungu, Ekitebe Kaizirakwera n'Omuhyo Kabindango n'Omwigo gw'Obukama
akabisigira Mugungu oruganda-rwe Mubwzjwa, nabaragira nti abana bange obuba-
Kandi akasiga n'abakazi ababiri (Abago) Iremera oruganda-rwe Munywagikati
ra' Bunono. orugarda-rwe Muitirakati, nabo akabaleka okwoleka abana be
eby'Obukama ebyomu Kikali ky'Omukama nahati bikiri ebikwato by'Obukama.
Kandi Omukama akiri hakulema Obukama bwa Kitara akakora bingi omuku-
lema'kwe, nuwe yalimire enyanja egi eyetwa Wamara enyakuli Mityana omu Isaza
lya Singo n'ebindi.
S VII. Okulema Okwabakama Ababito.
Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi na mugenziwe Kato Abaganda oubeta Kimera rundi
Kintu, ;KatiyabugoTpa Kansinga anyakugambirwehoga omubichweka byeruguru
obuyabahikize omunsi ya Kitara. Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi yaba Omukama wa Kitara
omukiikaro kya Wamara ise, abantu abasigirwe ebikwato by'Obukama Mubimba
na Mugungu, baleta ebikwato by'Obukama hali Omukama Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi,
yalema Obukamn bwa Kitara okuhikya emitano yona hali Wamara ise yakahikaga.
Kandi n'abago ababiri abasigirwe omu kikpli baragi'ra Omukama emizizo yona
ey'obukapia eyakakorwaga omu kikali n'okuhikya hati, enganda ibiri ez'abakazi
abo abagambirweho eruguru nikyalindwa habw'emirwa yabu ey'omu kikali. Kandi
Omukama IsingQma Mpuga Rukidi obu yamazire okuguma ha Bukama bwa Kitara
nubwo'yajweka nmugenzi we Kato Isaza lya Muhwahwa hati erukwetwa Buganda
obuyamazire okuikara omukichweka eki asangire ensi eri ngazi nubwo okwemera,
mugenzi we Omukama Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi, nubwo Kato okweyeta ibara lya
Kimera, nagamba Nanyowe mezere mu nsi Muhvahwa hati erukwetwa Buganda,
baitii mik'uru. we Omukama Isingoma; Mpuga Rukidi atagonze okumurwanisa
yamuleka yafoka oku Oinukama.Okuruga hall Omuk4ma onu Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi
n'okuhikya hali Omukama onu anyakuroho R. A. Tito Winyi IV, C.B.E. nurwo
oruka'ra rwa Ababito orukiroho nirulema.
( BIRYONGERWAHO. )
... ... .
Table showing the relationship between the three dynasties that have ruled in BUNYORO-KITARA,
namely the Abatembuzi, the Abachwezi, and the Ababito and their connection with the royal family of Buganda
KINTU with his wife KATI.
From whom descended the 19th and last King of this line.
ISAZA WARAGA RUGAMBO
Nabiryo (1) Isimbwa
(of the Abachwezi Clan)
(of the Bakwonga
Clan, daughter of
Labongo, a Lango
ISINGOMA MPUGA RUKIDI
(Successor of WAMARA, and ancestor of the
ABABITO Kings down to the present Mukama
TITO G. K. WINYI IV., C.B.E.).
(daughter of BUKUKU the Gate-guard
who succeeded ISAZA as King)
ABAKABAKA OF BUGANDA
(Called KINTU by the Baganda. Given Buganda
(Muhwawha) by his brother ISINGOMA RUKIDI,
and ancestor of the royal line of Buganda down to the
present Kabaka, Sir DAUDI CHWA, K.C.M.G.).
NOTE. The royal family of Ankole (Abahinda)
The present Mugabe, E. S. KAHAYA, M.B.E., traces descent from RUHINDA, the
Gate-guard, who was given Ankole (Karokarungi) by ISINGOMA RUKIDI.
The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara.
With reference to the letter published by Dr. J. M. Derscheid, Professor,
Colonial University of Belgium, in No. 3 of Volume II of the Uganda Journal of
January 1935, on pages 252 to 253, and also Mr. Bere's article-in Volume I'of
January 1934, No. i, on page 67, I have found after reading them that I should
write in summary with regard to those articles, as I have found that there should
be some alterations in the list of names of the Bakama of Bunyoro-Kitara.
I. Bakama of Bunyoro-Kitara of the Ababito Dynasty.
These should properly be written down from the first Bakama up to the present
ruling Ababito as follows:-
i. Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi.
2. Ochaki Rwangi'ra.
3. Oyo Nyimba.
4. Winyi I, Rubembeka.
5. Olimi I, owa Kalimbi.
6. Nyabongo I, Rulema.
7. Winyi II, Rubagirasega.
8. Olimi II, Ruhundwangeye.
9. Nyarwa Omuzikyakyaro.
o1. Chwamali I, Rumomamahanga.
S i. Masamba.
12. Kyebambe I, Omuzikya.
13. Winyi III, Ruguruka.
15. Kyebambe II, Bikaju.
r6. Olimi III, Isansa.
i 7. Duhaga I, Mujuiga.
18. Olimi IV, Kasoma.
19. Kyebambe III, Nyamutukura.
20, Nyabongo II, Mugenyi.
The Translation here given is that supplied by the author. In some places additional
explanation is given.-(Editor).
21. Olimi V, Rwakabale.
22. Kyebambe IV, Kamurasi.
23. Chwa II, Y. Kabalega.
24. Kitehimbwa Y. Karukara.
25. Duhaga II, A. Bisereko, M.B.E.
26. Winyi IV, T,G., C.B.E
II. Other Dynasties.
The above mentioned Bakama are not the first kings of Kitara, but the
previous ones (Abatembuzi) are those who settled and reigned in Kitara before it was
disamalgamated as is shown below.
The latter after going away, their sons Abachwezi ruled the whole of Kitara
instead, and after the departure of the Abachwezi, their sons, Ababito, were then
asked to come and rule over Kitara up to the present time, their names being
already shown in the proceeding Section I.
The separation of Bunyoro-Kitara began during the reign of the Ababito
kings Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi and his brother Kato, both being twins. The former,
after gaining the throne of Bunyoro-Kitara, gave a part of country "Muhwahwa,"
now known as Buganda, to the younger twin Kato Kimera, who is called Kintu by
the Baganda, and he also gave other parts of the country to his other, brothers.
The part of country called "Karokarungi," now known as Ankole District, was
given to Ruhinda, the Gate-guard, in whose hands all cattle belonging to Abachwezi
were left, because that land had been-kept apart for grazing purposes. Ruhinda, the
Gate-guard, obtained an insignia (a royal drum) for it was customarily known that
every nominee was given a drum and a spear by the Mukama. The drum which
was left with him was known as Bagendanwa, which is still being kept by the
Mugabe of Ankole up to date. It was then that Ankole become a separate kingdom.
Besides these Rukidi gave also the country of Busoga to Kiiza, i.e., "Next to
It is well known that the kingdom of Kitara, now known as Bunyoro-Kitara, has
never been ruled by any foreign kings in Africa, and its boundaries were vaster than
those of the prseent time, as it will be shown under the Mukama Ndahura Omu-
III. A List of The First Kings (Abatembuzi).
The following are the names of the first kings (Abatembuzi).
i. Kintu with his wife Kati.
5. Ira lya Hangi.
6. Kazoba ka Hangi.
8. Nkya I,
9. Nkya II.
i7. Ngonzaki Rutahinduka,
18. Isaza, Mukama of Kitara.
19. Isaza Nyakikoto.
20. Bukuku (Isaza's drum-keeper).
IV. The Description about the First Kings.
Owing to the long period which has elapsed, I am certain in my mind that some
of the names of the first kings (Abatembuzi) have been lost because it is said that
Abatembuzi had no habit of keeping a record of kings' tombs, as their grandsons,
And the last Mukama of the Abatembuzi (first kings) called Isaza reigned, and
it was he who first divided the kingdom of Kitara into the following counties:-
x. Nyamenge being given Kitara.
2. Ntege ya Koya being given Muhwahwa (now known as Buganda).
3. Machumulinda being given Ankole.
4. Ntembe being given Busoga.
5. Kabara being given Bugangaizi.
6. Nyakirembeke being given Mwenge.
7. KogereRusijamiryango being given Busongora.
8. Nyangoma being given Buruli.
9. Nyamurwana being given Bugahya.
io. Nsinga. being given Bugoma.
i1. Ichwamango being given Bugungu.
12. Kaparo. being given Chope.
13. Kalega being given Bulega.
14. Mukwiri being given Buiri (Bu'du).
15. Nyakadogi being given Busindi.
16. Nyakaranda being given Bunyara.
The people increased greatly in parts of the country during the reign of these
kings, and the clans started to divide themselves into families. And the Mukama
Isaza disappeared, but the men of old said that he went away to the North whereas in
the description of the Rev. J. Roscoe, M.A., on page 324, it is said that he went
under the ground, but this was not so.
V. The Abachwezi Kings.
When the first kings left the kingdom, they left Bukuku in charge, who was a
gate-guardian to the king Isaza. This man had a daughter named Nyinamuiru,
and one of the king Isaza's sons called Isimbwa had an intercourse with Bukuku's
daughter (Nyinamuiru), and she gave birth to a son called Ndahura, from whom
the reign of the Abachwezi began. In addition to this Isimbwa had a first son
called Kyomya, whom he had got from Nyabiryo of the Abachwezi clan, and the
following is the list of the first Abachwezi kings :-
2. Mulindwa. He was in charge of the kingdom during Ndahura's
absence in foreign countries. Having stayed there for
a long period, the people thought that perhaps he had
died and then Mulindwa was put in charge of the king-
dom. On returning, the king Ndahura found Mulindwa
on the throne and he did not want to depose him.
3. Wamara. This king was nominated by Ndahura his father to be
kingin his place, after which Mulindwa, who was in charge
was sent back to Bulega. When Wamara became king
in Ndahura's place, the Mukama Ndahura returned to
his former country.
VI. Short Details on the Abachwezi Kings.
(i) KING NDAHURA.
It is well known that Ndahura is the first king amongst the Abachwezi. He
reigned over the kingdom of Kitara for many years during which time he united
the land by fighting against his men who had rebelled against Bukuku of the
Balanzi clan, who had been in charge of the kingdom when King Isaza had dis-
appeared, and the people were thinking he was dead. After defeating them he re-
organized his kingdom into the following counties:-
r. Bwera, Buiru and Karokarungi being given to Wamara, his son.
2. Buruli, being given to Dubanga.
3. Mwenge, being given to Mugenyi.
4. Kitara, (Kyaka) being given to Ibona.
5. Bunyara, being given to Muga'ra
6. Bulega, being given to Mulindwa.
7. Muhwahwa (Buganda), being given to Kyomya.
(This man did not rule there a long time. As he liked to be near his
brother Ndahura, he was transferred to Bugahya and Kaganda and
Rusirri took his place.)
8. Sese, being given to Mugasa Ibehe.
9. Bugoma being given to Kanyabugoma, son of Nsinga.
So. Toro and Busongora, being given to Kahuka.
iT. Bugahya, Bugungu and Chope being given to Kiro.
When the king Ndahura had distributed these counties thus, he then reigned
over his kingdom peacefully. After a while he wanted to enlarge his kingdom by
attacking the southward countries of .Kiziba and Karagwe, which are now in
Tanganyika Territory, enrouting through Toro and Ankole. When he had conquered
them he decided to remain there as a king also of that side and died there, and the
place where he was buried is unknown.
(a) The king Ndahura (Omuchwezi) fought against many countries and
(b) It is said that owing to fighting in so many countries, his warriors caught
several diseases which they had found there, such as smallpox, syphilis, etc.
(c) Whilst there he built an enormous house at Bwera, ofeigteen doors, which
took him four years to-accomplish and he made bridges in Toro and elsewhere. These
are now called the "bridges of disaster".
(d) The king Ndahura ruled from Kavirondo to the borders of Abyssinia and
extended to the Congo, ruling a great part of it, and also ruled as far as Tanga-
nyika Territory; that is why the Bakitara language is found spoken in much of the
(ii) KING WAMARA.
The king Wamara (Omuchwezi) succeeded his father Ndahura and stayed at
Bwera in Buiru (Bu-du). This king ruled the kingdom of Kitara for many years,
stretching as far as to the boundaries ruled by his father Ndahura, as explained in
the above paragraphs. He ruled peacefully without any fighting as his father used
to do. Whilst on his throne, there came strangers from beyond the Nile who were
soothsayers. They foretold him "There will be perils in your kingdom, that is we
have foreseen the burdens being carried by people on their heads leaving this
country, and some strangers will drive you away from your kingdom"; This was
caused by Mukama Wamara's soothsayers, who used to slaughter bulls and examine
the bowels from which they, could foretell what would happen. One day, when a
bull was killed, they could not find anything inside. This could not be traced by the
Mukama's soothsayers, and consequently the soothsayer called Karongo, who had
come from beyond the Nile, was consulted in the matter and asked to tell them what
it meant. He also asked for an axe and ordered them to chop the head. After doing
so they found the bowels inside the skull, and he therefore foretold them as it is said
above within this paragraph.
(iii) KING WAMARA'S DISCUSSION.
The King Wamara, after seeing his people and his wives being disobedient, he
immediately remembered what the soothsayers had foretold him, and he called his
brothers (Abachwezi) and said to them: "Pack up all your things and let us go away
from this country." They also together with their king went away and followed the
previous king Ndahura where he had gone to. Therefore all the people who were
left behind thought that the Abachwezi had vanished into the sea, whereas it was,
not so, and whereas it was known that they had gone into the countries mentioned in
the preceding paragraphs. The Mukama Wamara, whilst on his journey, remembered
that there had been no king left on the throne. He then debated with his elders that
one of his brother Kyomya's twins (Isingoma, Mpuga Rukidi and Kato, who
afterwards called himself Kimera,) whom he had got from a lady Nyatworo of the
Bakwonga clan, daughter of Labongo, a Lango man, would be sent for from Lango
to succeed him. Afterwards he sent the country chief of Bugoma called Kanyabugoma
son of Nsinga, an outspoken man, to go for the twins. He brought them across the
Nile into Chopi and so to Kitara, and Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi became the king of
The following are the regalia left by King Wamara in Bunyoro-Kitara:--
(a) Two drums, called Kajumba and Nyalebe were left with a man named
Mubimba of the Basita clan.
(b) Spears, arrows called Nyapogo, a quiver called Nda-yampunu (pig's
stomach), a crown called Rwahusungu, a stool called Kaizirokwera, a sword called
Kabindango and a royal stick were left with Mugungu of the Babuijwa clan. King
Wamara ordered these people that all these insignia should be handed over to his
brother's sons as soon as they arrive.
In addition to these he left his two wives behind, named Iremera of the Banywagi
clan and Bunono of the Baitira clan, instructing them that they should guide his
brother's sons how they should use the regalia during ceremonies. The regalia in
question are still in possession up to date and are hereditary.
During King Wamara's reign he did many great things; one of them he did, for
instance, was to dig an artificial lake called Wamara, which is now at Mityana in
VII. The Ruling of the Ababito Dynasty.
After Kanyabugoma son of Nsinga, mentioned above, had brought the two
brothers Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi and Kato, whom the Baganda call Kintu, into
Bunyoro-Kitara, the former became the king of Kitara, succeeding his father's
brother Wamara, and the two men Mubimba and Mugungu, as mentioned before,
brought the regalia which they were keeping to the king Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi,
and from thence he reigned over the kingdom of Kitara to all the boundaries which
his uncle Wamara had reached. The two ladies who had been left in the royal
enclosure showed the Mukama all the necessary ceremonies according to the royal
customs. These two clans-women are still being kept as the official advisors on the
ceremonies. The king Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi, after being established on the
throne of Kitara, he then gave his brother Kato the county of Muhwahwa, which is
now known as Buganda, in the place of Kaganda Rusirri, who was Saza chief
during the reign of the Abachwezi.
Kato after finding there that the land was spacious rebelled against his brother
Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi, and called himself Kimera saying that he is also king of
Muhwahwa. His brother Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi did not like to fight him, so he
left him alone as a king there. From the king Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi up to the
present Mukama R.A. Tito Winyi IV, C.B.E. is the direct line of the Ababito
( T BE CONTINUED.)
The African's Skin.
By L. J. A. LOEWENTHAL, M.D.
It used to be an axiom that the colour of the African's skin was of some special
service to him in withstanding the effects of the tropical sun. Being axiomatic,
this belief was not for many years examined as closely as it deserved to be. "Here
is a man," one said, "whose skin is of a different colour from ours, living in a
climate different from ours-ergo, the colour of his skin has the property of making
him a suitable denizen of that climate." Put in this way the fallacy is obvious
enough; yet we encounter day after day people who are incautious enough to adopt
it as a basis for argument.
Heat and Colour.
Asa prettyexample of how much we know and how badly we apply our knowledge
let us consider the following statement: "The black skin of the African protects
him against the heat of the tropical sun." An elementary knowledge of physics
tells us that dark, dull surfaces retain heat while white, shining surfaces reflect
it. If we take two white plates, coat one of them with lamp-black, and place both at
an equal distance from a fire, we find that the blackened article becomes hot much
more quickly than the other. Many similar experiments lead us to the same con-
clusion. It is not the blackness of the African's skin which keeps him cool; he keeps
cool in spite of this blackness. Sir C. J. Martin has investigated this question and
finds that the skin of the Negro absorbs 84% of the sun's energy, that of the average
blonde only 57%. If it be remembered that only the absorbed heat rays increase
the temperature of the subject, it will be realized that the African labours under a
positive disadvantage when it comes to keeping cool! If our "Tropical Outfitter"
in England tried to sell us suits of black palm-beach material instead of the custom-
ary lighter shades we should not be greatly impressed with his ideas of comfort in
the Tropics; but many of us have different views where integuments and not clothes
are in question.
Light and Colour,
Besides its heat rays the sun emits those of light and also a group of invisible
rays collectively called the "Ultra-Violet." Defeated on the question of heat, the
champion of the sable skin shifts his ground and claims that the African's skin is
black in order to protect him against these invisible and terrifying rays. The
European's skin, he says, must be protected against them by the insertion of red
material-some of the more broad-minded allow that orange will do-otherwise
these rays will penetrate his normal clothing, or his hat, his hair, his skin, his fat,
muscles, bones and fibrous membranes and will wreak their wicked will on his
otherwise unprotected brain and spinal cord. But not if he takes the precaution of
dyeing his underclothes red or, in the case of the broad-minded, orange.
This belief is somewhat shaken when we know that even the most penetrating
of the ultra-violet rays are arrested by a piece of notepaper-and not even pink
notepaper at that. They are arrested in the superficial layers of the skin of the
blondest Nordic and, although they may cause the most disagreeable inflammation
in such people, the acquisition of a moderate degree of bronzing is sufficient to
render them harmless. A moderately-bronzed European, or an Arab, or an Indian
does not suffer from sunburn; so far as we know; the ultra-violet rays do him nothing
but good. Why then is it necessary for the African to have a skin which is so much
more pigmented? In the absence of a convincing reply to this question we conclude
that it is, in fact, unnecessary. If even now this conclusion is not acceptable, let us
remember that the inhabitants of Malaya and Central America do not require
anything more than a medium-brown colour in order to protect themselves against
the sun and that there is no evidence that the sun in Africa differs at all from the
sun in other tropical regions.
The arguments refuted above are teleological and hence attractive at first sight.
Human nature likes to see the end for which all things are shaped and looks
askance on phenomena which serve no utilitarian end. The hypothesis, then, that the
colour of the African's skin serves no useful purpose is likely to be criticized severely.
Yet do we know why some horses are black and others white or brown ? Apart
from dwellers in the Arctic regions and those showing concealment-patterns (e.g.
leopard, zebra, etc.) have we any idea why some strains of Nature's numerous species
are black, while others are brown or grey? Is there a teleolgical explanation for the
cerulean stern of the mandrille-a phenomenon by the way, which is duplicated in
over 60% of Negro infants and is known as the "Mongolian Spot"? It just happens.
Once a characteristic has obtained its place in the germ-plasm of a living org-
anism it is transmitted from generation to generation by certain complicated rules.
If this characteristic handicaps the subject in the struggle for existence the strain
dies out and, with it, the harmful trait. In other cases the part of the germ-plasm
producing, say, pre-natal death is linked with the part responsible for the colour of
the animal. Thus Dunn demonstrated the action of a lethal factor in certain
strains of fowl, which is closely related to the factor determining their colour. In
his example progeny which was expected to yield equal numbers of coloured and
white specimens produced very few of the latter, the egg-cell having died before
full development could take place.
This excursion into genetics is necessary in order to emphasize the following:
if a factor (e. g. blackness of the skin) appears in a strain, and is a "dominant"
factor, there is no reason why it should die out, provided that its presence is not
actually harmful. If, therefore, one cares to postulate that a "black" strain ap-
peared suddenly in the present African races countless generations ago, it is not
necessary to search for a cause, for such occurrences are often accidental, nor is it
possible to refute this hypothesis in our present state of knowledge.
Another attempted explanation calls in the well-known internal secretions.
A few years ago the word "glands" was sufficient to take the place of explanation
in accounting for most of the phenomena in biology. One gland, however, the
pituitary, may have some connection with the problem of the African's colour.
The secretion of this gland tends to make the individual tall, in the long-legged,
lanky way, and further tends to increase the development of the jaws. By its action
on other glands too, it frequently causes an excessive deposition of pigment in the
skin. It is noteworthy that the darkest races in Africa have the build and jaw-
character described above, and to a marked degree.
Certain observers, again, contend that the deposition of pigment in the skin is
analogous to the laying down of a useless, but harmless, by-product. There is some
evidence that excessive activity of the sweat-glands and persistent flushing of the
skin are both liable to favour the deposition of pigment. This evidence however,
though extremely interesting, is outside the scope of this paper.
Adaptation of the African Skin.
If the colour of his skin does not protect him against the heat of the sun, or
rather handicaps him, how does the African escape the discomforts of the torrid
In the first place, he does not stay out in the mid-day sun if a house or a
patch of shade is available. Some African tribes actually manufacture their own
sunshade by working fat and clay into their hair and producing a circular plate
about a foot in diameter, enough to shade almost the whole body when the sun is
at the zenith and the subject standing up.
Secondly, the African's skin, though dark, has certain compensations. It
secretes a far greater quantity of grease than that of the light races, and this gives
it its typically glossy appearance. In our experiment with the plates it will be re-
collected that one was coated with lamp-black; had a black varnish been applied
instead, the temperature of the plate, though still rising above that of its untreated
fellow, would not have risen so sharply. The glossiness acts by reflecting a certain
proportion of the heat of the fire.
It is common knowledge that sweating reduces the temperature of the body;
evaporation of a fluid cools the surface which it is leaving. The work of,Homma
suggests that the Negro is equipped with three times as many sweat-glands as the
European, and it is well known that each individual gland is better developed and
has a broader duct.
Finally, the blood-vessels in the African's skin are both more numerous and
nearer to the surface than those of the white races. The purpose of this arrangement'
(to be teleological)is apparent when we consider the analogy of the motor-car radiator.
It is probable that the advantages inherent in the skin of the African outweigh
the disadvantage of colour and that the white skinned races, though they tend to
adapt themselves to hot climates by developing a browner, greasier and more freely
sweating skin, will never be so well-suited to a life out-of-doors in the Tropics. It
must not, however, be thought that the peculiarities outlined above are anything more
'than slight. Nature seems to dislike producing her effects with a sledge-hammer,
and if, as we have seen, the African is fairly well adapted to the Tropics, he is by no
means incapacitated from living a useful life in the temperate regions, or even, as
in the example quoted by Sequeira, from successfully accompanying an expedition
to the North Pole.
Crew, F.A.E. (1925). Animal Genetics. Edinburgh.
Fleure, H.J. (1926). Racial characters of skin in relation to Health. Brit.
Med. J. II, 953.
Id. (1927). The Races of Mankind. London.
Id. (1927). Characters of the Human Skin. Oxford.
Homma, H. (1926). On Apocrine Sweat Glands in White and Negro men
and women. Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. XXXVIII,
Martin, SirJ.C. (930). Croonian Lectures. Lancet. Sep. i3th et seq.
Meyer, H. and Kirchoff, H. (.932). Zum Problem des Lichtschutzes de Haut.
Dtsch. Med. Woch.LVIII, 4.
Miescher, G. (1930). What protects the skin against Light? J. State Med.
Sequeira, J. H. (1932). The Influence of Light and Heat on the Human Body.
East. Afr. Med. Journal VIII, 332.
Lions Catching Monkeys.
By C. R. S. PITMAN.
Mr. F. Lukyn Williams, recently-in charge of the Ankole district, has contrib-
uted the following:-
"Lions. A report was made to me gratuitously one day by an old man, who
stated that he had just seen a lion catching monkeys by putting its tail in its urine
and switching it up at the monkeys in the tree, which at once came down and were
caught. This is not out of keeping with the method sometimes employed by these
carnivora when they wish to stampede cattle in a kraal. The smell of urine,
switched from the tail, drives the cattle to the other side of the kraal where another
lion can leap the fence."
It is probable that the offensive agent to which reference is made is the pung-
ent glandular secretion which can be exuded at will by most of the carnivores and
viverridae, particularly the males.
It is hoped that this record will lead to the submission of other legends, no
matter how extravagant, concerning the lion.
A Note on Chamaeloons.
By W. C. SIMMONS.
Everyone living in Uganda must have, at one time or another, taken notice
of those peculiar reptiles called chameleons, a name which appears to mean 'ground
lion' and which is a misnomer. The Baganda, who call them nawolovu, have
generally a very decided fear of them, and nothing would induce most Baganda, to
touch a chameleon or to allow one to approach closely. It is this kind of reaction that
is often encouraged by the menacing attitude assumed by reptiles or insects (e.g. the,
mantis) and it is of considerable help to the animal in escaping molestation.
Chameleons have so many peculiar characteristics that they are now regarded
as a distinct sub-order of reptiles. The tongue is a long worm-like organ which can
be suddenly protruded for a distance more than the length of the body, to catch in-
sects, particularly flies, which adhere to the sticky club-shaped tip and are withdrawn
into the mouth. The soft tuberculated skin has the well known character of changing
colour, and the tail can be coiled into a spiral and is prehensile. The eyes are set
on large prominent cones, which are covered with skin except for the little pupil
openings at the end, and each eye moves independently, so that while one eye is
seeing where the next deliberate foothold is to be, the other is ranging round
for flies. The feet are also peculiar, so that, though they have the usual five-toed
character, the fore-feet have the digits united so that three digits are internal and
two are external, and in the hind-feet the opposite holds and the great toe and the
next form one side of the grasping foot and the three smaller toes the other. The
body is flattened and the animal can stand unusually high up on its legs. Its
movements are deliberate and slow, and there seems every reason to believe that these
slow movements help in the concealment which is attained by the change of colour
to match the surroundings. In fact this weird animal has so many peculiarities that
it is always an interesting thing to watch at close quarters, and not a few residents
in Uganda have, at one time or another, kept one among the plants on the verandah.
Some birds prey upon these reptiles and there is a record by Professor G. D.
Hale Carpenter ('A Naturalist on Lake Victoria', p. 163) of an attempt by a hawk
to catch one, which was frustrated by the strong hold the animal kept on the tree
with its tail.
In the garden to our house in Entebbe there grow several of those beautiful
leguminous trees (Melletia?), which at a certain season are covered with sprays of
blue wistaria-like flowers and at this time the hum of the various bees, many of
colossal size, which come for the honey and pollen can be heard from a distance.
Birds take their toll of the bees and one day, while we were at tea, a large chameleon
about six inches long in the body and seven inches in the tail, altogether say thirteen
inches, was heard to fall on the grass close to our table. Now the lawn under the
tree, being also overshadowed by a mango tree, is thin and the dominant colour is
of the dark earth. I think it was the noise of a large bird in the tree that made us
look up, for I know I turned and saw the chameleon before it reached the ground and,
while it was falling out of the sunlight and for an instant on touching the earth, it
was bright green, and then the sudden change to near black was very striking,
and as wonderful as one used to believe the chameleon's change of colour to be.
It had dropped about twenty feet and fell with a thud and this stimulus, so un-
usually sudden, may have caused the very rapid change in colour.
Now I have lately been able to watch a large chameleon of the same species pre-
paring to lay its eggs in one of the flower beds. The spot chosen was a bare patch
of earth out in the sun in a bed of those asters called Michaelmas daisies. The operat-
ion of excavating a hole started about mid-day on June I3th and continued till
late in the evening after dark. The front 'hands' were used to grab up the soft red
earth, which was pushed back under the body towards the back limbs. When a
little pile had collected under the middle of the animal the hind limbs took over and
pushed the earth and picked up little stones and put them as far behind as could
be reached. This business went on with regular clockwork precision for hours and,
when the hole was over six inches deep, it became necessary to have a good foot-
hold for the hind limbs on the earth above. Round pebbles at this stage caused
great trouble by slipping down several times, before the hind feet, so like hands,
could grasp them and place them properly behind. Every now and then the
chameleon came out sufficiently far to give a good push back to the earth and clear
the hole, which was about seven inches deep at seven in the evening.
When the head was down below, the whole animal was dark in colour without
any markings, but when she came out into daylight, a distinctly lighter shade was
assumed, and it looked as though the stimulus to colour change comes through the
eyes, so that when the head was in the dark hole the whole body was dark in colour.
The tail was, during the digging, held out straight behind and not coiled. The
actual laying of the eggs must have taken place at night because by seven in the
morning the hole was filled up level.again.
The chameleon stayed near the hole most of the next day among the Michael-
mas daisies, being then the green colour of the leaves. As one has heard that some
natives believe that after laying the eggs the female nawolovu dies, it had better be
put on record that this one seemed none the worse for the experience, but was
allowed to go free.
It has been noticed before that the lizard whose male has a blue head which
the Baganda call konkomi, also lays her eggs in a hole, burrowed a little more
quickly, in a sunny bed and also carefully covered, and that disturbing the nest
to count the eggs results usually in their death, so that the chameleon's eggs are
being left alone and with average luck little chameleons will hatch out to continue
the good work of fly-catching.
(To The Editor "The Uganda Journal.")
With reference Mr. Lush's article on "Kiganda Drums" in the JulyJournal,
may I suggest two amendments on Page 21.
(i) In the Proverb "Awalungi tewaba etc." the word "oleka" should be inserted
(2) The meaning of the Proverb "Gye ziregerwa etc." should be "The drums
are not beaten where they are made." An alternative rendering of the Proverb is
"Ziregerwa Kyagwe, zivugira Singo." "They are made in Kyagwe, and beaten in
I. K. AGENDA.
(To The Editor "The Uganda Journal.")
With reference Mr. Lush's article on "Kiganda Drums" in Vol. III. No i, in
which "KAYOZI" is translated on page 24 as "Jumping Rat":
The rodent popularly styled "KAYOZI" is the GIANT RAT-Cricetomys
emini preparator, which is abundant in arid about the Mabira Forest.
It is an enormous brute, just like the big brown rat, but mouse-colour and about
three times the size of the normal rat.
It is not a "Jumping Rat".
C. R. S. PITMAN.
SBos Nesting in Key-Holes.
(To The Editor, "The Uganda Journal.")
As one who has suffered much from their activities, I was much interested in
Mr. T. W. Chorley's article on "Key-Hole Bees" in the April 1935 Uganda Journal
(page 299) and I am thankful to him for suggesting an effective remedy.
It appears to me from my own personal observations that Trigoma prefers to
attack key-holes which are exposed to strong sunlight.
To the list of curious places, in which the bees may nest, may be added spare
wheels of motor-cars. A year or two ago I found a nest in the spare wheel of my
own car. The wheel was on the back of the car, and when the latter was in the
garage, was in strong sunlight during a good part of the day. The actual place
chosen for the nest was one of the holes in which the bolts securing the wheel to the
stub-axle are fitted.
Although the car was out of the garage in constant use and the bolt-hole
cleaned out several times, I had great difficulty in getting rid of the bees, and in
the end only check-mated them by putting the wheel on to the car for use on the
road. The spare wheel substituted was not similarly attacked.
Scottish Institute of Anthropology.
The following letter, addressed to the Honourable the Chief Secretary, is
published by his permission.
It should be of interest to our Scottish Subscribers.
THE INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY,
15, North Bank Street,
l2nd February, 1935.
I am directed by the Council of the Scottish Anthropological Society and by
the Standing Committee on Anthropological Teaching in Scotland to bring to your
notice the facts that an Anthropological Society is now in existence, and that
Anthropology is now being systematically taught in Scotland. We should be greatly
obliged if you would (by a notice in the Gazette or otherwise) bring these facts to
the notice of Government officers, missionaries, and others interested in Anthropo-
logy, and especially such of these as are of Scottish. birth or live in Scotland.
Our interests are not confined to Scotland, but include every branch and
aspect of Anthropology relating to every part of the world, though in certain respects
(as in the case of folk-lore) we are paying special attention to Scotland. We have
jointly established an Anthropological Library and Museum, open to students and
The Scottish Anthropological Society provides a series of lectures during the
winter months on subjects of anthropological interest. It is arranging for the
publication of a most important series of Gaelic folk-tales collected by J.F. Campbell
of Islay last century. Plans are being made for the holding of an Anthropological
Congress in Scotland in July of this year; and the possibility of establishing a Folk
Museum is being investigated.
The Institute of Anthropology provides courses of lectures on anthropological
subjects, and grants certificates and diplomas to those who carry out certain pract-
ical work in addition to attending the lectures and passing the necessary exam-
We hope that Scotsmen and Scotswomen all over the world will support us.
They can do so by joining the Scottish Anthropological Society, for which the ann-
ual Subscriptions amount to one guinea for full members, and five shillings for
associates. They can do so by taking the certificate or diploma courses at the
Institute of Anthropology. They can also do so by presenting or lending specimens
and books to the Museum and Library.
Many people coming home from out-of-the-way places bring objects of great
anthropological interest which they might be willing to entrust to the Anthropolog-
ical Museum. Occasionally there occur "revivals" or new religious movements
amongst native tribes, and these lead to the abandonment or even destruction of
many old religious emblems. If these can be salved, they are of great interest.
Government officers are sometimes compelled to confiscate native articles which may
have led to the commission of crimes suchh as those due to witchcraft, trials by
ordeal or divination). All who are in contact with non-European peoples can obtain
information, photographs, sketches and implements of anthropological interest.
May we, through you, appeal to all such people to give or lend objects of
anthropological interest to our Museum ? May we also appeal to your Government
to remember our Museum if at any time specimens or reports of anthropological
interest are being allocated to Museums or Libraries in the United Kingdom?
We are, etc.,
H.J. ROSE, M.A., F.B.A., President of the Scottish Anthropological Society.
Vice-President, StandingCommittee on Anthropological Teaching
in Scotland. Lecturer on Social Anthropology in the Institute of
Anthropology. Professor of Greek, University of St. Andrews.
G. R. GAIR, M.A., Hon Editor, Scottish Anthropological Society. Director of
the Institute of Anthropology.