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Front Matter 1
Front Matter 2
Front Matter 3
Front Matter 4
Front Matter 5
Front Matter 6
Front Matter 7
Front Matter 8
Front Matter 9
Front Matter 10
Front Matter 11
Front Matter 12
Front Matter 13
Front Matter 14
Front Matter 15
Front Matter 16
Front Matter 17
Table of Contents
Capax Imperii - The Story of Semei Kakunguru
Soil Erosion and Agricultural Planning
An Approach to African Music
The Uganda Society
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Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
VOL. VI. NO. 3.
Oapax Imperil-The Story of
Semal Kakunguru... ..H.B. TuouAs, O.n.E.
Sell Erosion and Agricultural Planning-
R.N.T.-W.-FIENNFS, B.A., (CANTAH), M.R.P.V.s.
An Approach to Afrioan Music.
.............................. ..... K P. W ACH~ F4e AN, PH.D.
Two Plant Problems ...................W. J. EaOELINO.
NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE
FOR YOUR LOCAL LEAVE
Situated amidst magnificent surroundings the
Highlands Hotel, Molo, offers to visitors every com-
fort and convenience. The hotel is well appointed.
Own farm-8oo acres Stock-Butter, milk, cream,
etc., always plentiful. Electric light, abundance of
hot and cold water, etc. Superb golf course, (one
of the highest in the Empire), with grass greens,
adjoins the hotel. Fine shooting and trout fishing,
polo and hunting to be had in the vicinity.
The Shopping Centre for Ladies'
and Gentlemen's Outfitting,
Children's Wear, Boots and
Shoes, Household Hardware and
KENYA and UGANDA
PLAYGROUND OF AFRICA.
The growing popularity of these young East African territories and
their exceptional appeal to world experienced tourists as well as to the mole
casual holiday maker, become increasingly evident each year.
The tropical coastal belt, the vast plains inundated with multitudes of
game of all descriptions, the extensively settlcd and cultivated highlands, the
great African lakes and the placid and colourful waters of the Nile comprise
a variety of attractions sufficient to satisfy the most exacting demands.
Let us send you free illustrated literature describing these territories
and the comfortable and modern travel facilities afforded by the
KENYA and UGANDA RAILWAYS and
The Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours.. Nairobi,
The London Representative, East African Railways and
Harbours, Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square,
London, W. C. 2., England.
The Railway Representative, East African Office,
2, Maritime House, Loveday Street, Johannesburg,
THOSE. COOK AND SON LTD.
those fortunate individuals on HOME LEAVE begins in
February and continues with unabated vigour until June.
(I Considered your air booking yet ?
q Made any preliminary enquiries about accommodation ?
Q Realised that services fill up rapidly between February & Junte?
If reasons of economy prevent you from travelling both ways by
air, why not travel one way by air and avail yourself of the many
advantages of Air/Sea interchange.
Whatever your plans-BOOK EARLY. Our office in Kampala
(P. O. Box 523 Phone 325) will be delighted to assist you in any way,
Uganda Sugar Factorg Ltd.
NANJI KALIDAS MEHTA, Esq. M. B. E.
PIONEER SUGAR MANUFACTURERS
& SPIRIT DISTILLERY OWNERS
P.O. Box i.
VITHALDAS HARIDAS & Co., Limited..
General Managers for
Uganda (Kakira) Sugar Works Limited.
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KENYA SUGAR LIMITED.
(INCORPORATED IN KENYA)
Nile Industrial & Tobacco Co., Ltd.
(INCORPORATED IN UGANDA)
Sugar, Cigarettes, and Tobacco, Manufacturers. Ginners
and Cotton Merchants, Importers and Exporters.
Kakira Sugar Works:-
Holding about 13,000 acres of land with approx, 9,000 acres under
At Mile 9 Jinja-Iganga Road. Employing about 4,000 Africans,
300 Indians, Europeans, Mauritius. About 30 miles of Light Railway.
Water supply to the Factory by means of pumping plant on Lake
Telephone: Kakira Factory 125.
P. 0. Box 54, JINJA. (UGANDA).
Kenya Sugar Limited -Works and Plantations:-
At Ramisi Estate (Digo District) near Mombasa.
P. 0. Box 158, MOMBASA.
TOBACCO FACTORY at Kakira (Jinja).
COTTON GINNERIES (Uganda).
i. Bukoboli 5. Mbulamuti 9. Kabiramaido 13. Chagweri
2. Busowa 6. Kakira io. Pilitoki 14. Batta
3. Bubinga 7. Kabiaza I Amaich 15. Jaber
4. Kamuli 8. Butiru 12. Aboki 16. Kalaki
Ruvu and Kiberege.
Other Plantations totalling about 4000
acres Freehold land.
i. Bukoboli 2. Busowa 3. Bukona 4. Bubinga
YOU MAY SPEAK ON THE TELEPHONE BUT
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HAVE YOU TRIED THE
STOCKED ONLY BY
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in any Part of Uganda.
SPECIALISTS IN :
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and Plate Glass
All other classes of Insurance
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.I: ,:..' '. .. -4 0
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I a a i I .. .....I
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Next Sailings from MOMBASA
HOMEWARDS VIA SUEZ CANAL HOMEWARDS VIA THE CAPE
STEAMER MOMBASA (Departure) STEAMER MOMBASA (Departure)
s.s. "UBENA" 1939 Feb. ist s.s. "AD. WOERMANN" Jan. 12th
s.s. "WATUSSI" ,, 27th s.s. "NJASSA" Feb. 8th
s.s. "USAMBARA" Apr. 8th s.s. "WANGONI" Mar. 8th
s.q. "UBENA" May 2nd s.s. "AD WOERMANN" Apr. 16th
s.s. "WATUSSI" Jure 5th s.s. "NJASSA" May i4th
s.s. "WANGONI" July 7tt s.S. "USAMBARA" June 22nd
*Turning at Lourenco Marques
COASTWISE EXCURSIONS TO SOUTH AFRICA:-
The K.U. R.&. H. grant cheap booking facilities in
connection with these steamer excursions.
Coastwise Excarsion-return tickets and ordinary return tickets
in the Mombasa Durban range are interchangeable with the U. C. Line,
H. A. Line, B. I. Line and K.P.M. Line.
For tull parucalars of passenger fares and freight rates apply to:-
Mombasa:-DEUTSCHE OST-AFRIKKA-LINIE, Generalagentur.
Cable: "Ostlinie", P. O. Box 210.
Nairobi and Kitale:-Messrs. DALGETY & CO. Ltd.
Njoro and Nakuru:-CARL JUNGBLUT, Njoro.
ELDORET:--Roeger & Co. Cable: "Roeger."
Kisumu and Kampala :-BOUSTEAD & CLARKE, Ltd.
Tanga, Moshi and Arusha:-USAGARA COMPANY, Ltd.
TAYLOR & CO. LTD.
S Milk Stout
Agent for Kampala, Jinja & Districts:
P. O. Box 25 Kampala
THE UGANDA STORES LTD.
and PROVISION MERCHANTS
Wine and Spirit Merchants, Tobacconists.
-Under Experienced European supervision. We are therefore able to advise
upon your requirements for all occasions. All our goods are of best
quality, and as we have fresh arrivals of goods by almost every steamer,
you are assured that our stocks are always new.
We Specialise in catering for the wants of our upcountry friends and
maintain a section devoted to this class of Trade.
Our Fully Experienced European Butcher Purveys
The Primest Meat Obtainable.
P.O. Box 16.
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
Vol. VI. JANUARY, 1939. No. 3.
Capax Imperii-The Story of Semei Kakunguru ... by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
Soil Erosion and Agricultural Planning
... ... by R. N. T.-W.- FIENNES, B.A., (CANTAB), M.R.C.V.S.
An Approach to African Music ... ...... by K. P. WACHSMAN, PH.D.
Two Plant Problems ...
by W.J. EGGELING.
hIS EXCELLENCY SIR PHILIP E. MITCHELL, K.C.M.G., M.'.
JOHN SYKES, ESQ., M.A.
CAPTAIN C. R. S. PITMAN, D.S.O., M.C.
SIR ALBERT R. COOK, KT., C.M.G.
H. R. HONE, ESQ., M.C., K.C., LL.B.
DR. H. H. HUNTER, C.B.E., LL.D.
H. JOWITT, ESQ., B.A., M.ED.
THE RT. REV. BISHOP E. MICHAUD, M.B.E.
E. J. WAYLAND, ESQ., C.B.E.
H. R. HONE, ESQ., M.C., K.C., LL.B.
G. L. R. HANCOCK, ESQ., M.A.
NORMAN GODINHO, ESQ., M.B.E.
OMw. B. K. MULYANTI.
OMw. BALAAMU MUKASA, M.A.
R. W. A. COOPER, ESQ.
Honorary Assistant Secretary:
DR. G. AP GRIFFITH.
W. N. R. LEE, ESQ., M.A.
Acting Honorary Editor:
R. S. SHACKELL, ESQ.
MESSRS. BELL & Co., CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS, KAMPALA.
S. R. HOOPER, ESQ.
The Business Managers,
THE UGANDA SOCIETY,
Private Bag, Kampala.
who will arrange for one to be despatched post-free, by Registered Book Post, to
any part of the world.
At the end of this number will be found a list of members who have joined the
Society since the last list was published in the July number up to the time of going
to press. Members will doubtless feel gratified at this result of the efforts of their
hardworking Honorary Treasurer, aided and abetted by the Honorary Secretary
and the Business Managers and will, it is hoped, do their utmost to second those
efforts. The greater the membership of the Society the greater becomes the possi-
bility of enlarging and improving the Journal, and, may we add meekly, of attract-
ing to its pages a more varied selection of contributions.
Writing of contributors reminds us to draw attention to a small matter which
is often overlooked. When prints, sketches, maps and the like are sent to illustrate
an article they should not be attached to the manuscript with a paper clip. In the
post the pressure of other letters in the mail bags causes the paper clip to leave
an impression on the prints which cannot be erased and which appears in the
reproduction. Care should also be taken to wrap the prints in several folds of
paper so that they do not receive an impression of the post mark. And lastly,
it is better to write the titles on a separate piece of paper and to use reference
numbers than to write on the back of the prints.
Since the issue of the last number of the Journal the Society has had the
misfortune to lose its Editor, Mr. R. A. Snoxall. As many members will know,
towards the end of November Mr. Snoxall injured his leg very badly and as a
result was obliged to fly home to obtain treatment which was not available in this
country. The loss is felt keenly as he was an indefatiguable worker on behalf of
the Society, and the Journal, in particular, owes much to the tremendous amount
of time and care which he devoted to its production. We feel sure that all members
will wish to join in commiserating with him in his ill-luck and in wishing him a
speedy and satisfactory recovery and, at the end of a pleasant leave, -which he
starts in January, a safe return to their midst.
A temporary arrangement for the carrying out of the Editorial duties in connec-
tion with the production of the present number was hurriedly made and then,
starting with the April number, for the Editorial mantle to fall upon the shoulders
of Mr. R. J. R. Potts of Makerere and Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins of the Agricultural
Department as Honorary Editor and Honorary Assistant Editor respectively.
To turn to matters of more ordinary significance we have to chronicle the
appearance of Captain Pitman's "A Guide to the Snakes of Uganda" which, as
readers will remember, appeared serially in the Journal. It presents a handsome
appearance in its half-bound, dark blue cover and the Society is very grateful to
Mr. S. Foote, the Acting Government Printer for the care he has taken to make
such an attractive volume. Copies have already been despatched to all advance
subscribers and, in addition, seventy-five copies have been sent to Simpkin
Marshall, Limited, the well-known publishers, who are handling the book in
England. For the benefit of those who are not aware of the facts it may be well to
give a brief description of the book. In the first place the author will need no
introduction either to those in Uganda or to those in all other parts of the world
who are interested in the subject of snakes and the Society may consider itself
fortunate in having been allowed to publish the work of such an authority without
payment to him. It is no exaggeration to say that the book fills a gap in existing
knowledge and that it is likely to remain the standard work of reference on its
subject for many years. The present edition consists of 500 copies, each one
numbered and each containing 23 coloured plates depicting every snake known to
occur in Uganda and some which occur just outside its borders and which, it is
expected, will be found subsequently; 18 plates of line drawings; 2 diagrams; and
2 maps. Apart from its List of Contents the book contains a Scientific Index, an
Index of Popular Names and an Index of Vernacular Names, and has a Foreword
by Mr. H. W. Parker, Assistant Keeper of Zoology at the British Museum. Those
wishing to obtain a copy should send Shs. 30/- to:
Capax Imperii-The Story of Semei
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
Among the dim shadows into which dissolves the history of central Africa
during the past half-dozen centuries, are signs of kingdoms, hegemonies and
movements. Their utter submergence is, perhaps, evidence that the cycle from
primitive organism through rank fecundity to decay which is so characteristic of
the world of nature in central Africa extended also to the political field as it existed
prior to the penetration of European influences. Their establishment demonstrates
Africa's capacity to throw up leaders of outstanding ambition, energy and ability.
Such a leader was Semei Lwakilenzi Kakunguru. His career has a special
interest for it displays a cross-section through that stirring period of Uganda's
history when the old order was giving place to the new. He was perhaps the last
of the conquistadors of central Africa.
Kakunguru (1) was not a Muganda by birth. He was born about 1870 near
Chibanda in southern Koki and was of the Mamba (Lung-fish) clan. There is no
evidence to support his pretensions, put forward late in life, that he was a Mubito
of the royal house of Koki. Yet his clear-cut features witnessed the large propor-
tion of Bahima blood in his veins, and gave distinction to his appearance in any
From the Rev. R. P. Ashe ('Two Kings of Uganda') we learn that Bahima
slave boys were much sought after as pages by Baganda chiefs. They had a bearing
which flattered their masters, and Ashe records a curious belief that Bahima
children "are far more stupid at remembering their parents and early life than are
slaves from other countries; no doubt because they are much cleverer and brighter
people, and so take longer to become developed either mentally or physically".
He speaks of Kalenzi Genda (Go, little boy) as a common boy's name; it is some-
what reminiscent of Kakunguru's second name Lwakilenzi. Lugalama, one of
Mackay's three young pupils, who were the first Christian martyrs of Uganda, was
a Muhima child taken in Karagwe in a Baganda raid.
Perhaps we may surmise that in some such way Kakunguru at an early age
found his way to Buganda, and there he became a convert to Christianity of the
Protestant persuasion. He is said first to have come to notice as a skilled elephant-
(I) The name, Kakunguru, by which he was later universally known, does not seem to
have been assumed until about 1892/3. It is not a special chieftainship name as is, for exam-
ple, Kimbugwe or Mulondo, but is rather an honorific surname.
hunter, who supplied Mwanga with ivory with which to make purchases from
the Arab traders. He was among the Christian readers under Apolo Kagwa and
Honorat Nyonyi Entono, who retreated to Ankole following the Muhammadan
coup d'6tat of October 1888.
With the turn of the tide came his first opportunity as a captain in war. In
1889 he fought a successful action against the Muhammadans which materially
contributed to the restoration of Mwanga, and in the following year won another
victory at Kijungute. He was rewarded by Mwanga with the appointment of
Mulondo, the Sabawali of the Sekibobo of Kyagwe, thus becoming chief of Bulon-
doganyi, the area bordering on Bugerere and the Nile.
The next clear record regarding Kakunguru carries affairs to December 1891.
For the latter half of that year, during Lugard's absence on the expedition to Lake
Albert, Captain Williams with a very meagre force was in command at Kampala
Fort and amid the intolerance of the Protestant and Roman Catholic parties his
firmness and tact alone kept Buganda from civil war.
A most fruitful cause for dispute was whether a chief when changing his reli-
gion should retain the office and estates, with the control of the peasant occupiers,
which he had attained as a member of the religious party from which he had
seceded. The 'Case of Mulondo' is one of a number in regard to which Williams
was later subjected to wild accusations of partiality. It nearly precipitated war and
is of interest, as illustrating the conditions of the times (Lugard, 'Rise of our East
African Empire,' Vol. II, p. 306).
A shamba holder in Mulondo's district, a nominal Protestant, had become a
Roman Catholic, and the usual dispute was taken up before the Kabaka at Mengo.
At this time news reached Kakunguru that his own village was threatened by the
Futabangi (bhang-smokers)-by which name the bands of pagan dacoits then at
large, were known. Williams gave him permission to go to defend his own country
house, but warned him to keep away from the disputed shamba. The Catholics,
hearing of his departure, concluded that the forcible acquisition of the disputed
.shamba was planned, and a party of Catholics followed hot-foot. A fight resulted,
and it is characteristic of Kakunguru's leadership that while 13 Catholics were killed
the loss of his own party was much smaller.
Lugard had returned to Kampala on 31st December 1891. In the middle of
January 1892, the Futabangi in Kyagwe had grown bolder, and contingents of
Protestants under Kakunguru-who was already regarded as "the most renowned
warrior in Uganda" (Blue Book, Africa No. 2 (1893), p. 35)-and of Roman
Catholics under the Sekibobo, Alikisi Sebowa, left Mengo to suppress the disorder.
The difficulties of administration are well illustrated by this feature, that all
duties as well as all privileges had to be shared on party lines so that the balance
of power should be maintained. The Protestants encountered and routed the Futa-
bangi before the arrival of the Catholics, but both Kakunguru and Alikisi Sebowa
were absent when, on 24th January 1892, fighting between Protestants and Roman
Catholics suddenly broke out at the battle of Rubaga. Kakunguru brought his
force back to Mengo, but the Sekibobo's army with the whole Catholic population
of Kyagwe now began a retreat, circling round the north of Kampala, with the
object of reaching Buddu. At the same moment, the Rev. R. H. Walker, Rev. R. P.
Ashe and F. C. Smith of the Church Missionary Society, with many thousands
of refugees, started to retire from Buddu towards Kampala taking a similar northern
route. The risk of a collision was imminent, but Kakunguru was rushed out
from Mengo and dispersed the Catholics thereby saving, in all probability, the
lives of the three missionaries who reached Kampala safely on 8th February (Ashe,
'Chronicles of Uganda').
In the latter half of February 1892, Kakunguru in command of 600 Protestant
Baganda accompanied Captain Williams on an expedition to re-open communica-
tions with the south of the Lake. Bugala, the main island of the Sese group, was
captured by the Protestants from its insurgent Catholic occupiers. Little opposi-
tion was encountered and a deal of looting doubtless occurred, but there is little
reason to believe the stories of atrocities which were subsequently circulated.
Buganda was now in a state of great disorganization and Lugard concluded
that, in the absence of the king, the offices rendered vacant by the flight of the
Roman Catholic chiefs should be provisionally filled. On 12th March, Nikodemu
Sebwato, the Pokino, having lost Buddu to the Catholics, became Sekibobo, and
Kakunguru, the Mulondo, was appointed Kimbugwe, the office which had been
held by Stanislas Mugwanya. The latter, however, seems to have retained his title
as Kimbugwe of the Catholics when Mwanga was restored, by agreement between
both parties, a few weeks later. The Kimbugwe was not then, as now, a county
chief, but was an officer, only second in importance to the Katikiro, in close atten-
dance upon the Kabaka.
Lugard leaves on record high tributes to Kakunguru. He is one of a number
of specified "absolutely reliable loyal men" (Africa, No. 2 (1893), p. 863). In 'The
Rise of Our East African Empire' (Vol. II, p. 460) Lugard is even more selective,
"There were but three men in Uganda whom I thoroughly trusted, but in them I
had implicit faith. They were Zachariah (Protestant), Sekibobo (R. Catholic), and
Mlondo (Protestant)-the last was not a Muganda by birth". These three men
will be more readily recognized under the names of Zakaria Kisingiri, Alikisi
Sebowa and Kakunguru.
In April-May 1892, Kakunguru with a Baganda army again accompanied
Captain Williams on the expedition to Busoga in the course of which Miro was
restored at Iganga to his chieftainship of Kigulu, (Uganda Journal, Vol. IV, p. 190).
On Lugard's departure from Uganda in June 1892 he was asked to take
letters of greeting from Mwanga and his chiefs to the Queen and to the Directors
of the Imperial British East Africa Company. Of these Kakunguru, signing as
Simei Kimbugwe, was a signatory, (Africa No. 2 (1893)).
On one more occasion Williams and Kakunguru were associated. It became
necessary to subdue the Bavuma islanders, who would not refrain from interfer-
ence with the lake-route to Busoga. An expedition was organized towards the end
of January 1893, in which Williams had the assistance of the whole of Mwanga's
war fleet with 2,000 Baganda gun-men and 3,000 spears all under Kakunguru's
command. Before this display of force the Bavuma soon collapsed, (Macdonald,
'Soldiering and Surveying in British East Africa').
Kakutigurt was one of 40 Christian chiefs who, in April 1893, as a gesture
appropriate to the advent of the British Government to Uganda, signed a compact
to free their slaves.
Kakunguru was soon again in action. After a stay of less than three months,
Sir Gerald Portal had left Kampala at the end of May 1893. The Muhammadan
party, dissatisfied with their share of office and power under Portal's settlement,
and relying upon receiving assistance from Selim Bey and the Sudanese, broke
into rebellion. Captain J. R. L. Macdonald, who had succeeded to the command
in Uganda, delivered an ultimatum to lay down their arms by 1 p.m. on 18th
June. Promptly to the moment, Kakunguru, who held a Protestant army firmly
in hand, advanced upon the recalcitrant Muhammadans concentrated at Natete.
They broke and fled and were pursued by the victorious Baganda to the borders of
At this time Major 'Roddy' Owen and William Grant were with the Sudanese
garrisons in Toro, and with the latter the retreating Muhammadans hoped to join
hands. Entirely cut off from Kampala, Owen and Grant were in a situation of the
gravest danger. An expeditionary force of 7,000 Baganda under Kakunguru was
accordingly assembled and left Kampala on 26th June. Twelve days later they
had found Owen at Fort de Winton (the remains of which can still be seen a few
miles north of Kyegegwa, Mile 134 on the Kampala-Toro road) and put themselves
under his orders. The Muhammadans were pursued westwards and, on 18th
July, were overwhelmed on the banks of the Mpanga river. (See 'Roddy Owen-
A Memoir', by Bovill and Askwith).
On Colonel Colvile's arrival in November 1893, it was decided that Kabarega
must be dealt with. A vast Baganda army of which Kakunguru was appointed
generalissimo by Mwanga was assembled to the south of the Kafu river. Super-
vised by Kakunguru, who was mounted, in the tradition of the great ones of
Buganda, on a man's shoulders, the Baganda built a causeway across the Kafu
river at Busamba, and over this, on New Year's Eve 1893, Colonel Colvile and
his Sudanese regulars passed to the attack of Kabarega's capital at Hoima. The
Baganda pursued the retreating Banyoro into the fastnesses of the Budongo forest.
Active operations were suspended in February 1894, when the Baganda army
Throughout the campaign Kakunguru had proved himself a master of organi-
zation. Of him Colonel Colvile remarks in his official despatch (Blue Book,
Africa, No. 4 (1895), p. 68) "To Kakunguru, the general of the Waganda, my
thanks are specially due alike for his ready acquiescence to all my orders, his
well-directed influence with his chiefs and men, his skilful simultaneous concen-
tration at Kaduma's of 15,000 troops and for his brilliant surprise and defeat of
Kabarega's army in the Budongo Forest" (see also Colvile's 'Land of the Nile
Springs', p. 80). Kakunguru received the 'Unyoro' (East and Central Africa 1891-
On 9th April 1894, in Mwanga's baraza at Mengo in the presence of Colonel
Colvile, the territories south of the Kafu were divided as the spoils of war. From
the Kitumbi River westwards, that is roughly the present Bugangadzi and Buyaga,
was allocated to the Roman Catholics; north Singo and Buruli went to the Protes-
tants; while to Kakunguru fell the chieftainship of Namionjo, that is roughly the
present Bugerere. Thus was born 'Bunyoro Irredenta'. It is of interest that at this
time Kakunguru handed over to Colonel Colvile as a free gift a group of shambas
around the Government station then on Nsamuzi hill at Entebbe. It was probably
at this time also that Kakunguru, who was now a man of property, bought from
Mwanga for two tusks of ivory and a Snider rifle the Nyanjerade land which has
since been incorporated in the site of Makerere College.
The position of a baron of the marches was peculiarly in tune with Kakun-
guru's temperament. He set off at once for his new domain and in the following
month Captain Gibb, on the Mruli Expedition, passed through Bugerere and
reported "In Namyonja I found that the Kakunguru had already taken possession
and by his wise and considerate conduct induced the Wanyoro to continue in their
shambas and work in unity with his people." (Africa, No. 4 (1895), p. 99).
Kakunguru, in fact, came into conflict with Kwambu, the paramount chief under
Kabarega of the Banyala, the indigenous inhabitants of Banyoro stock, of Buge-
rere. Kwambu was driven to take refuge in an island in Lake Kyoga, but was
later allowed to return in a subordinate position. Among his new subjects Kakun-
guru gained a reputation for being autocratic but not unduly oppressive.
Kakunguru was now clearly one of the most prominent men in Buganda; the
Katikiroship was, however, occupied jointly by Apolo Kagwa and Stanislas Mug-
wanya in accordance with Portal's settlement of 7th April 1893, and he was thus
debarred from reaching the highest position in the kingdom. But his ambitions
were doubtless flattered when on 15th October 1894 be married Nakalema, the
Protestant Lubuga and Mwanga's sister (1). The occasion which is described by
Dr. Ansorge, who was present ('Under the African Sun,' p. 104), seems to have had
many of the features of a 'society' wedding. The marriage was dissolved by a
judicial divorce in 1905. He then married, again with royalty, Besemerisi, daughter
of Kabaka Kalema; this union also was followed by separation in 1918.
Precipitate operations against Kabarega had resulted in the loss of Captain
Dunning who was mortally wounded in an attack on Kajumbura Island (down-
stream from Masindi Port) on 2nd March 1895. Kakunguru was not present and
indeed it seems that though he took part in a score of fights he was never involved
in any serious reverse. A more carefully planned campaign was launched in April
under the command of Major G. Cunningham (Blue Book, Africa No. 1 (1896) ).
The objective was Kabarega's position on the Lango shore opposite Mruli.
Columns converged on Mruli, from Kampala, from Hoima, and from Busoga.
The last, under William Grant, comprised a fleet of 123 canoes with a company
of Sudanese and 400 Baganda under Kakunguru coming from Namionjo by way
of Lake Kyoga. Concentration was perfectly timed; and the deployment of the
canoes on reaching the scene of action must have been a most impressive spectacle
and one which will never again be seen in Africa. The operations were successful
though Kabarega eluded capture.
It is said that a dispute regarding the distribution of cattle captured in this
expedition led to the final breach of relations between Apolo Kagwa and Kakun-
guru. It was inevitable that such a clash should come, for there could hardly be
(i) Kakunguru is said to have been previously married to another of Mwanga's sisters,
Nawati, who had soon died.
room in Buganda for two such dominating personalities. The dispute went against
Kakunguru; he resigned his position as Kimbugwe, an office which, since there
were two Katikiros, had lost much of its influence; and he seems to have withdrawn
from participation in Buganda politics.
He remained, however, ready to take the field. The tribes around Mumias
had attacked more than one caravan passing along the road to the Coast. A
punitive expedition was decreed. Kakunguru with 900 armed Baganda volunteers
was despatched to Mumias. Captain Claude Sitwell, who had just reached Mumias
from the Coast in company with Mr. Berkeley, the new Commissioner, was put in
command with William Grant. Between 10th August and llth September 1895,
the Ketosh, Kabras and Kikelelwa tribesmen were, after some sharp fighting,
brought to reason. It is on record that Kakunguru's wife with a bevy of attendant
females accompanied the force. The Baganda auxiliaries did not take part in the
subsequent first Nandi Campaign (Nov.-Dec. 1895) as it was decided that they
should in future be employed only in operations which were concerned with the
immediate protection of Buganda.
Captain Sitwell, in the course of a patrol of northern Buganda, in February
1896, visited Kakunguru at his home in Bugerere, and discussed means of coming
to terms with the 'Bakedi', the naked tribesmen from the far side of Lake Kyoga,
who were thought to be in league with Kabarega, and who periodically raided on
the southern side of Lake Kyoga. With them, Kakunguru was already gaining
touch, laying the foundations of the influence which played so great a part in his
subsequent career; and, in September 1896, he brought a deputation of Kumam
and Teso chiefs to Mengo to ask for protection against the Lango. It was during
this period that he constructed at Galiraya in the northern extremity of Bugerere
the substantial brick fort of which the remains may be seen to-day.
Mwanga's final flight from Mengo took place in July 1897. Disaffection spread
to Busoga, and in September a Muhammadan outbreak was imminent. But
Kakunguru had so far extended his influence that he was .able, at the behest of
George Wilson, who was acting as Commissioner at Kampala, to restrain the chiefs
of northern Busoga from throwing in their lot with the disaffected (Africa No. 2
(1898), p. 41).
A few weeks later the Sudanese mutiny had broken out and the mutineers,
having reached Busoga, threw themselves into the fort at Luba's. Kakunguru, with
a contingent of Baganda, was soon on the scene, joining the investing force under
Major Macdonald on 27th October. This was not, however, the type of warfare
that afforded scope to his talents; moreover Apolo Kagwa, the Katikiro, was in the
camp, and would be regarded as the Baganda leader; thus there is no record of
Kakunguru's having taken any outstanding part in the siege.
The mutineers evacuated Luba's fort in the first days of January 1898, and
made north through Busoga. Thus, entirely unexpectedly, there was a serious
threat to Kakunguru's own district and, on 12th January, he was sent off with a few
Baganda guns to return to Bugerere. He had not long to wait for, on 22nd
January, the Sudanese appeared at the Kakoge ferry (a few miles south of Nama-
sagali) and proceeded to cross the Nile. Some days were occupied by their
passage, but on the 29th they advanced to Kakunguru's headquarters at Bale.
Kakunguru fell back northwards on his fort at Galiraya. Confronted by an over-
whelming force and with ammunition running short, on 31st January, Kakunguru
evacuated his fort, which was thereupon occupied by the mutineers. He had first
the good sense to make away with most of the canoes so as to impede the further
retreat of the Sudanese and seems to have slipped by the enemy joining Major
Macdonald's pursuing force which was now advancing northwards. In the face
of this threat the mutineers, on 19th February, evacuated the Galiraya fort which
was thereupon reoccupied by Kakunguru. They crossed the Sezibwa to Kabagambe
where they were cornered on 23rd February 1898. (Africa No. 7 (1898) and No. 1
Kakunguru was mentioned in Macdonald's Mutiny despatches and received the
Uganda Medal as well as the Queen's Mutiny Star (Uganda Journal, Vol. II,
In June-July 1898, Kakunguru accompanied Captain Kirkpatrick and Surgeon-
Captain McLoughlin of the Macdonald Expedition on a reconnaissance of Lake
Kyoga, (Austin, 'With Macdonald in Uganda', p. 135).
The fugitive kings, Mwanga and Kabarega, had found their way to south
Lango where they continued to be a potential threat to the peace of Uganda. The
Wakeddi Field Force, under Lieut. Col. J. Evatt, assembled at Mruli during March
1899, and advanced by land to Chiawanti. Here they were joined by Kakunguru
and by Andereya Luwandaga, the Kimbugwe, with a fleet of canoes and 440
Baganda auxiliaries. The force was ferried across Lake Kwania to the Namasale
peninsula and, on 9th April 1899, surprised and captured both Kabarega and
Mwanga at Kangai. It is generally agreed that Kakunguru's influence enabled
him to induce the Lango to reveal the enemy's movements; and it is even claimed
that he personally extracted Kabarega from the swamp in which he had taken
refuge. A photograph of Kakunguru with the captured Kabarega is reproduced
in Sir Harry Johnston's 'Uganda Protectorate', Vol. I, p. 235) (').
Only meagre information is available regarding Kakunguru's doings for the
next two years; (2) though they were perhaps as eventful as any in his career. At
the close of the operations against Kabarega and Mwanga, Colonel Ternan, the
acting Commissioner of Uganda, placed him in charge of the area to the north of
Lake Kyoga to bring the unruly tribesmen under control and to keep the region
free of mutineer fugitives. These arrangements must have been very agreeable to
Kakunguru's ideas. He was given a small number of Government guns, but no
other subsidy, and made his headquarters at Bululu.
When, early in 1900, Sir Harry Johnston took in hand the preparation of the
Uganda Agreement the position of Kakunguru called for special consideration. He
was so fully occupied in his new sphere that he had virtually given up all control
over Bugerere, and doubtless was quite unwilling to accept a subordinate position
(I) Of Kakunguru (in contrast with Sir Apolo Kagwa, of whom there must be dozens
of published photographs), very few portraits are extant. Only two others come to mind-
in the Rev. Martin Hall's 'Through my Spectacles in Uganda' (portrait about 1896) and
J. B. Purvis 'Through Uganda to Mount Elgon' (portrait about 1907).
(2) For some details, see Driberg 'The Lango'.
as one of the twenty county chiefs of Buganda in the regency of which Apolo
Kagwa was the leading personality. Bugerere county was accordingly allotted to
Matayo Nsubuga, a clan kinsman of Kakunguru who was not, however, endowed
with the same measure of tact and ability as the latter.
Kakunguru had already attracted to his standard numbers of enterprising
Baganda who sensed opportunities of loot. Many Banyala also followed him from
Bugerere including Kwambu's son, Kalema (who had suffered indignities at the
hands of Matayo) and Musabira and Kazana ('). This large scale emigration was
a sore point with the Native Government at Mengo for Kakunguru held out pros-
pects of larger and better mailos with all the allurements of a freebooter's life.
Kakunguru had not, in fact, at this time (March 1900) extended his influence
beyond the Kumam people of the Kyoga peninsula and some of the Teso around
Bugondo; the great bulk of the Lango people were untouched and so remained.
But he had made headway as much by diplomacy and just dealing as by force of
arms, and it is a tribute to his leadership that many of his assistants were Banyala.
The area was at peace and was beginning to export food for the Bunyoro garrisons.
Johnston was impressed by his good work, which "compares favourably with
what might have been done by a European official". Kakunguru by his renuncia-
tion of office in Buganda had forfeited the salary of 200 a year with eight square
miles of official land attaching to a county chieftainship under the Uganda Agree-
ment, (though he received, as did other chiefs of that rank, eight square miles of
private land in Buganda, whereas Apolo as a regent received some 62 square miles
of private land). The solution proposed was that Kakunguru should be graded
as a third class assistant (equivalent to an Assistant District Commissioner). He
would receive the current salary of that post of 200 a year and should impose a
hut and gun tax on his people for the benefits of the Protectorate exchequer (Africa
No. 6 (1900) p. 13). The salary but not the rank was approved by the Foreign
Office, but it is not clear that it was in fact paid.
At the same time Johnston directed him to extend his influence eastwards
through the Teso country where scattered Sudanese mutineers, Baganda rebels and
Arab slave-dealers were harassing the country. With a small army of Baganda,
armed mainly with muzzle-loaders, Kakunguru made his way to Naboa where he
established his first boma, removing shortly afterwards to Budaka. Later, intending
to extend his authority over the Bagishu who had annihilated an expedition of 40
armed Baganda at Bududa, he moved his headquarters to Mpumude ('I have
rested'). Here early in 1901, in response to an invitation, the Rev. and Mrs. W. A.
Crabtree visited him; and they were so much impressed with the possibilities for
missionary work that they decided to remain. Sir Harry Johnston found Kakunguru
established at Mpumude in April 1901. Together they climbed Nkokonjeru, over-
looking the present Mbale station, and Sir Harry, standing upon a rock and waving
(i) When Kakunguru's administration at Bululu ceased in 1902, Musabira was left
behind and maintained a hold on the surrounding Kumam. He was killed by the Lango
in 1903, and was succeeded by his relation Kazana who, unassisted by Government, extended
his influence over the whole Kumam area. This very considerable influence Kazana placed
unreservedly at the disposal of Government when, in 1907, British administration, was com-
menced at Bululu (Wallis, 'Handbook of Uganda' (1920) p. 69).
his arms to the west and north said,'-if report may be believed-"I will ask that
you be made Kabaka of all this country". Sir Harry sailed from Mombasa upon
the termination of his commission within a month; and no such authorization was
ever sought from the Foreign Office.
At the same time Kakunguru received orders from Johnston to proceed with
Captain T. N. Howard and a company of Uganda Rifles (apparently a part of
Johnston's escort), to join an expedition which was then taking the field under
Major Delme-Radcliffe to subdue, in north-west Lango, the last concentration of
Sudanese mutineers. Kakunguru brought with him 200 armed Baganda. The force
passed through Teso, already peaceful and orderly under Kakunguru's rule, crossed
Lake Kyoga on 16th May and eventually joined Delmd-Radcliffe near the Tochi
River on 29th. It was then found that small-pox had broken out among Kakun-
guru's people. They were bundled off into quarantine at Foweira whence they
returned to Bugondo in canoes. They seem to have taken no part in the campaign,
which virtually ended with the storming of the mutineers' stockaded village at
Amoru on 25th July 1901.
Kakunguru entertained no doubts of the conclusiveness of his appointment as
Kabaka of Bukedi. He handed over Mpumude to Crabtree to become the C.M.S.
station of Nabumale and moved his headquarters to Budaka, where he hoisted a
Union Jack, which seems to have been given him by Johnston, and set about con-
solidating his rule. The area was divided into counties and Baganda were appoint-
ed as saza chiefs with titles similar to those in Buganda. Grants of land were made
to his followers; and on the stocks of his guns were cut the words 'Kabaka Kakun-
guru'. For himself, at Naboa, he prepared his tomb-an immense pit 30 or 40
Much excellent work was meanwhile being done throughout Teso and the
plains of Bugwere, Bunyuli and Budama. Good straight roads, many of which
remain to-day, were made and planted with trees, and swamps were embanked.
Inter-tribal fights were suppressed with a firm hand, selected Baganda followers
were installed in fortified bomas, and the foundations were laid of a system of native
Lukikos on the Buganda pattern. There can be no question that Kakunguru paved
the way for the British Administration and saved it much initial trouble.
But after Johnston's departure the less sunny side of the picture began to
appear. The drift of Baganda from their own country continued, and the Regents,
appealing to Kakunguru to check this emigration, received a lordly reply that he
was giving his followers much better estates than they would get in Buganda and,
as he was king of the country, he wished to have with him as many of his own
countrymen as cared to come.
Complaints began to filter through of the treatment and condition of the natives
and, in the latter half of 1901, W. R. Walker, a junior administrative officer, was
sent to reside temporarily at Kakunguru's headquarters. He soon learned the true
state of affairs. Almost all cattle, sheep and goats had been appropriated by
Kakunguru's Baganda followers; while the natives were found to be practically
destitute and were being ousted from their land or relegated to the position of
The British Government determined that the time had come to take direct
responsibility for the administration of the Bukedi country. Walker was sent
back with orders to open an administrative station at Budaka. It was a delicate
task for he had only 20 police, while Kakunguru's boma was surrounded by a high
earth-wall and moat and contained some 400 Baganda armed with Sniders, Reming-
tons and muzzle-loaders. For three weeks there was extreme tension, but largely
owing to the good offices of Father C. J. Kirk who, towards the end of 1901, had
founded the Mill Hill Mission station at Budaka, Kakunguru was persuaded to
evacuate the boma without incident and proceeded to establish himself at Mbale
about February 1902. Kakunguru's organization was taken over, and numbers of
his followers remained in service under the British administration. They provided
the nucleus of the Baganda agents by whose sterling efforts the Nilotic areas were
later brought under control almost without even a display of force, and their
inhabitants instructed in the elements of administration.
Thus did Kakunguru's star pass its culmination. The remainder of his career
is of less general interest and is a more fitting subject for a political dossier.
At Mbale, which may be said to have been hitherto non-existent, Kakunguru,
who had now no official standing, settled down, en grand seigneur. His influence
wrought a remarkable change on the country side, which was soon flourishing with
the well-cultivated shambas of his followers. He still remained on terms with
the British Administration. Some of Kakunguru's men were killed by the Bagishu,
and, in December 1902, William Grant, the Sub-Commissioner from Jinja, with the
3rd Company, King's African Rifles, under Lieut. Tidmarsh, patrolled from Mbale
as far north as Sebei. Kakunguru with 204 guns (an indication of his still consi-
derable following) accompanied the column, and this is perhaps the last time that
he took the field. On its return through Tororo, the force had a hostile reception
at the hands of the local chief, Uguti, and had to fight its way across the Malawa
At the end of December 1903, Colonel Hayes Sadler the Commissioner arrived
in Mbale on tour from Lake Kyoga. He was impressed both by Kakunguru's
personality and obvious powers of command and by the oasis of civilization which
he had created with his Baganda settlement. Already 35 Indian and other traders
had been attracted to Mbale, where a considerable bazaar had sprung up. (Africa
No. 12 (1904) ).
Hayes Sadler decided to remove the district headquarters from Budaka to
Mbale, and this change was effected in January 1904. At the same time Kakunguru
was appointed a saza chief over a portion of the surrounding district, and the grant
of a private estate of 20 square miles adjacent to the new Mbale station, which
seems to have been assigned to him when he left Budaka, was confirmed. This
land was surveyed in December 1908. But fixed metes and bounds, whether of
land or of political influence, were incompatible with Kakunguru's principles, and
the restriction imposed upon his claims by this demarcation, which should, in his
view, have comprised a square with 20 mile sides, was one more of the grievances
with which his life was hereafter crowded,
The hum-drum work of administration under the immediate superintendency
of a district officer had little attraction for Kakunguru, and he soon developed into
a hindrance rather than a help. He was visiting Entebbe, called in perhaps to
ventilate his grievances and to answer for his shortcomings, when Sir Hesketh Bell
arrived as Governor in April 1906. Bell, following the advice of George Wilson,
the Deputy Commissioner and A. G. Boyle, the Sub-Commissioner of the Eastern
Province, thought that there might be scope for Kakunguru's talents in Busoga
where it was hoped to weld the scattered chieftainships into a tribal organization.
He was thereupon transferred to Busoga while retaining his Mbale chieftainship
which was attended to on his behalf by a deputy. For some years he did good
work in his new sphere. For the first time the various Basoga chiefs came into
common council with Kakunguru as President of the Busoga Lukiko; and, in due
course, a Court of the Lukiko was formally constituted (1Ith August 1909).
As his official residence, he was assigned a small hill, also named Mpumude,
some three miles north of Jinja (it was here that Kabarega of Bunyoro died in
1923). But, in 1907, in spite of warnings he commenced to build the enormous
brick house on Kirinya hill of which the remains, overlooking the port at Jinja,
are still visible. He was compelled to evacuate Kirinya on account of sleeping
sickness in April 1909.
By devious means he thereupon purported to purchase from Kyebambe, its
hereditary guardian, the hill of Batambogwe, some eight miles south-west of Iganga,
where was the abode of Kinkankano, the earthquake god of the Basoga; and here
he embarked once more on the construction of a pretentious brick house. This
house also was never finished for Kakunguru was passing through a period of
financial embarrassment. having become entangled as a sleeping partner in a trading
venture in Jinja under the style of S. Kakunguru & Co. This venture collapsed
leaving Kakunguru personally liable for a large sum of money, which he eventually
liquidated by the sale of his land at Buundo in Buganda.
In these projects Kakunguru was ministering to his now all pervading passion
for personal aggrandisement, and the governance of Busoga only claimed his
interest so far as it seemed to offer a field in which to carve out for himself a new
kingdom. His special duties of tutelage of the Basoga chiefs were more and more
neglected, and at length the Government decided that his usefulness in Busoga
was exhausted. In truth there was now no real place for him in the complex of
modern administrative machinery, which was taking shape around him. In July
1913 he left Busoga and returned to Mbale, and, on 30th December 1913, the post
of President of the Lukiko of Busoga was abolished.
At Mbale he resumed his position as a saza chief, retaining a special salary
and privileges; but his former influence among the 'Bakedi' had meanwhile largely
disappeared. Though continuing to show the same courteous exterior by which
he had always been distinguished, he was now an embittered and disappointed
man ready only for obstruction and dissent. The Malaki sect which came into
being towards the end of 1913 found in him one of its earliest supporters; but later
he adapted it to notions of his own, and founded a 'Christian Jew' religion whose
teachers he maintained at his own charge (1) The anti-medical attitude of the Malaki
(I) His tenets are examined in 'The Soul of Central Africa' by the Rev. John Rosooe,
an old friend, who stayed with him for some time during 192o.
r6tsuasion brought him into continual opposition to the Administration. in t
typical case, Kakunguru had a herd of some 1,200 cattle in Budiope, Busoga.
About December 1920 the area was heavily infested with pleuro-pneumonia and
these, with all other herds in the area, were inoculated. Kakunguru, who repu-
diated all forms of medicine for man or beast, thereupon disclaimed ownership of
the cattle. The Government, embarrassed by the presence of over a thousand
ownerless cattle, had to pass a Straying of Animals Ordinance (1922) which per-
mitted the sale of the cattle and the payment of the proceeds to Kakunguru.
In recognition of his past great services Kakunguru was awarded the King's
Medal for Native Chiefs in Silver-Gilt in 1921. But he was now a fanatical old
man, with a considerable talent for quoting the scriptures, who held aloof from all
contacts with Europeans; and in 1923 he was retired from his chieftainship, receiv-
ing a Government pension of 300 a year. He continued to reside on his Mbale
estate where he died on 24th November 1928.
In Kakunguru's character there was nothing mean. Money meant little to him
except as an instrument of power, and a means of supporting retainers. He amas-
sed no great wealth, and, even during his years of virtual independence, it was his
followers, rather than he, who despoiled the local natives.
It was his tragedy that he was born half-a-century too late. Given that half-
century and discounting the fact that Kakunguru's opportunities flowed from the
British occupation of Uganda-the British Government of 40 years ago might well
have found as an established fact in the region extending from Samia to Bunyoro, an
organized kingdom, comprising a vast population of indigenous serfs, administered
by, and for the benefit of, a small immigrant caste of Baganda.
There is an infinity of pathos in one of the last scenes. In the evening of his
days the old warrior sat down to open up a ledger account of his dealings with
the British Government. He struck a balance showing that he was owed something
over a million pounds sterling. The imperious soul of the temperamental aristo-
crat must have revolted at the sordidness of the new dispensation which left no
alternative but to assess the achievements of a life-time in such a debasing currency.
Charity bids posterity to think chiefly upon his soaring spirit.
(I am greatly indebted to accounts of Kakunguru's life prepared by the late Mr. P. W.
Perryman, C.M.G. and by Mr. Justice J. M. Gray, to which I have been accorded access
by the courtesy of the Government of Uganda).
Soil Erosion and Agricultural Planning
By R. N. T.-W.-FIENNES, B.A., (CANTAB), M.R.C.V.S.,
Veterinary Research Laboratory, Entebbe
"Confess yourself to heaven;
Repeat what's past: avoid what is to come:
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue:"
Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4.
In the study of plant communities, one is forced to the realisation that the
fundamental factor determining their character is the climate. To a certain extent,
it is also true that the climate will be affected by the community; for instance in
certain circumstances, forest will increase rainfall: but the effect of the vegetation
on the climate is undoubtedly secondary to that of the climate on the vegetation.
Erosion is a normal physical process, which is also dependent on both the
climate and the vegetation. Soil is removed or rock is weathered by the influences
of wind and water, influences which may be controlled to a considerable extent by a
vegetation capable of diminishing their violence and forming soil more rapidly
than it is removed. The process, which is responsible for the destruction of the
land, should strictly be called 'accelerated erosion', and it occurs when the rate of
soil removal exceeds that of soil formation. Fundamentally, therefore, this process
is dependent on the climate.
There is a great deal of evidence to show that in the course of history major
climatic changes do occur, and that these have led to a disappearance of human
activities from formerly fertile areas. Once flourishing cities have been unearthed
from beneath the desert sand, deep wells which gave them water have been long
since dry; the city of Darius at Sousa is merely one well known instance. The
Sahara itself is intersected with wadiss' or dried up river beds. But in spite of this
evidence the controversy is still raging as to whether the Sahara is advancing or not.
The French school of thought believes that it is; Lavauden (1) was of this opinion,
and Stebbing (2) after a special study of the problem supports it. But Stebbing's
conclusions are challenged by Rodd and Falconer (3). Brynmor Jones (4) has
added a critical summary of the position based on the findings of the Anglo-French
Commission. This paper should be consulted by all interested in the subject;
although it still leaves the position uncertain, it does demonstrate that if the desert
is encroaching in some parts, it is receding in others; while it is further evident that
some desert fringes have remained stationary for hundreds of years.
CLIMATE OF THE EAST AFRICAN TROPICAL BELT
It is often claimed that the climate is becoming drier, as the result of destruc-
tion of forest and other human activities. This claim requires to be examined.
The basic factors, which determine the climate of the tropical belt have been
described by Walter (5); the following is an extract from his work:-
"North and south of the tropical belt lie two anti-cyclonic or desert-
producing zones. These regions are divective regions; that is to say that gene-
rally the surface air is flowing out of these anti-cyclonic zones. Between them
lie the tropics.............. This is the great advective region of the world, and
surface air flows into it from north and south.
The relative position of the tropical belt to the two anti-cyclonic regions is
determined by the migration of the sun, north and south, between summer and
winter. During the southern winter, when the sun is at its extreme limit north,
the southern anti-cyclonic area has penetrated well into East and Central
Africa, and the tropical advective zone has penetrated well into Egypt."
"The rain over the lake area is continuous throughout the year, intensify-
ing as the migrating rain belt passes over the area in its journey north and
The type of rainfall described in the advective regions is known as 'orographi-
cal' and is dependent ultimately on the monsoon. The non-seasonal rain in the
lake area is known as 'instability rainfall'. Grinstead (6) estimates the radius of
'instability rains' from Lake Victoria to be about 100 miles.
These at any rate are the basic factors, which determine the rainfall in Uganda.
Ultimately this is dependent on the waxing and waning of the sun's radiation, and
is outside the control of man. Experts are divided as to whether the sun is waxing
or waning. Wayland (7) considers that the climate is becoming drier, but is unable
to say whether the downswing is part of a major or a minor climatic cycle; Bowman
(8) equally admits that "any but the most general predictions are unreliable."
Schumann & Thompson in South Africa (9) conclude that there is no permanent
diminution of rainfall. Brunt (10) shows that the demonstrated climatic cycles may
or may not be real, since statistical analysis of their observation fails to confirm
that they do in fact occur and states that "it is of small account whether the so-
called cycles are real or not." Kinser (11) also concludes that "our longest records
show that there has been no permanent change in climate." Clements & Chaney
(12) state that "Man will never be master of his environment and hence his destiny
until he understands the universal ebb and flow of processes and compels these to
his own advantage." This is indeed encouraging.
Let us leave these learned men to their dissertations and conclude that as far
as is at present known the climate is not changing more than temporarily; and let
us further conclude that for a given latitude there is a basic amount of moisture
which may be precipitated if conditions are favourable at the time of year, when
the advective zone is present, i.e., when the sun is overhead at noon; we may also
take it for certain that large expanses of water such as Lake Victoria do induce a
constant degree of local precipitation in their vicinity, and that such precipitation
is intensified as the rain belt passes (cf. also Jensen (13) in this connection).
THE RELATION OF FORESTS TO RAINFALL
The influence of forests on rainfall is the subject again of dispute amongst the
experts. Lowdermilk (14) supports the views of Nicholson (15, 16, 17) of Kenya,
and we are therefore justified in accepting them. Nicholson believes that forests
may be effective in increasing 'orographical' rains", i.e., those naturally following
the advective zone, to about 3% of their total; 'instability rains', i.e., lake shore
rainfall, can be increased to a very great deal, while cyclonicc rains' are not affected
at all. He states that "the influence of forest is probably very local. Very extensive
forest tracts are therefore not as valuable as smaller and more numerous forest
tracts." He states also that 'occult precipitation,' i.e. from mist, etc., may be
induced up to 25% of the annual rainfall by forests. This 25% is of importance,
since it forms the basis of many claims for more extensive afforestation of the land.
It seems, however, that a great deal of the moisture involved in this precipitation is
derived from the forest itself and cannot be considered as additional. Thus forest
soil is depleted of moisture to a depth of 1 metre (Lowdermilk (14)). Stockdale (18)
supports this statement, and Nicholson (17) states that this has an adverse effect on
the water table, and that less water is available for springs, irrigation and stream
flow. The U.S.D.A. "Soil and Water Conservation Studies" (19) also makes the
point that a leaf canopy intercepts rainfall to a large extent, and that this is evapo-
rated without ever reaching the soil; this seems to account in part for the mist that
hangs over forest.
Forests such as the Mabira, therefore, attract a considerable degree of local
lake shore rainfall; further away from the lakes, the influence is confined to 3%
of the normal annual rainfall, but it must be remembered that part of this 3% is
restored to the atmosphere by transpiration and reprecipitated at each forest belt,
and is utilised over and over again; its value in stimulating the growth of vegeta-
tion is thus out of proportion to its amount. Nevertheless this is attained at a
sacrifice of soil moisture, and moisture in springs and streams. It is, therefore,
necessary that forest belts should be arranged in strategic positions in order to
exert their maximum influence for good; the prevalent idea that indiscriminate
afforestation automatically creates a satisfactory rainfall is probably erroneous.
THE RELATION OF RAINFALL TO VEGETATION IN GENERAL
Desert zones to the north and south of the equator give way progressively to
zones of increasing rainfall, until the maximum is reached at the equator. We have
seen the reason for it. We have seen that we cannot alter this state of affairs,
except very locally and then only to a small degree.
If the argument is followed so far, it will be agreed that the effect of the climate
must be paramount in determining the nature of the vegetation of a given area.
Lewis (20), Savage (21), Clements and Chaney (12) may also be consulted in this
connection. It would be ridiculous to attempt to grow tropical rain forest on the
edge of the Sahara; it is a vegetational type suited to growth under conditions of
considerable moisture, to which, as we have seen, it can itself contribute: but
where the inherent factors determining climate are adverse, it could not increase
precipitation because it could not be established. It is even doubtful whether
tropical rain forest could be established outside the range of influence of the great
lakes; from studies in Lango (unpublished data) it is my belief that it is not the
natural climax vegetation in that district; Scott (22), describing plant communities
in central Tanganyika, in the "Fly" areas, believes that thorn thicket is the climax
vegetation in those parts. However that may be, it is probable that hand in hand
with the varying climate north and south of the equator, there is a series of vegeta-
tional communities, until the scrub region of the desert fringe is reached and that
these communities are largely determined by the factor of rainfall, quite apart from
the influence of man and his domestic animals. The desert edge probably tends to
advance and recede as the climate becomes moister and drier successively. Bow-
man (8) writes of "Our expanding and contracting desert", and believes that the
present series of droughts (in the U.S.A.) is just another downswing of a long
series of climatic ups and downs.
This desert fringe, which is now perhaps slightly encroaching, is the home of
the 'pestilential goat', the donkey and the camel; these domestic animals are
blamed for causing the encroachment of the desert. Perhaps they do aid it, but
the desert was there first, of that there is no doubt, and the animals were introduced
by man, because they could live on thorn bushes ('browse') and under conditions
where other animals would die. Their influence in causing the encroachment of the
desert is often vastly overestimated.
THE EFFICIENCY OF VARIOUS TYPES OF VEGETATION IN CONTROLLING EROSION
Stockdale (18) considers that vegetal covers are of importance in the control
of erosion in the following order: 1. Forest; 2. Scrub; 3. Grassland. In so far as
Acacia scrub is concerned Bayer (23) has a poor opinion of it; this is shared by
the writer from observations in Uganda; and he would include in this statement
other kinds of scrub as well. Williams (24) in Russia believes that grassland is
the most important soil cover from the erosion point of view. In the case of
forest, the litter formed is normally one of the most effective agents in combating
soil erosion (Meginnis 25. Stockdale 18); but in tropical forest litter is to some
extent removed by the depredations of Termites, and in primary forest is absent
altogether; thus forest in the tropics may be of less value in erosion control than in
other parts of the world. It is possible, therefore, that grassland and forest might
be classed equally first in importance in the control of erosion. Grassland admit-
tedly usually gives rather higher figures of run-off and erosion than forest, but this
is counterbalanced by the greater degree of retained soil moisture in grassland
This is in any case a minor point; what must be insisted on as of primary
importance is the inter-relationship of the two. Thus we have seen that the
afforestation of watersheds is of great importance, since it does ensure absorption
of water into the soil as opposed to surface run-off. Otherwise, forest is most
valuable in numerous small tracts which may normally increase annual precipita-
tion by 3%; but it reduces the soil moisture and it also occupies land which
would be otherwise of value for dwellings, agriculture or grazing. Grassland
provides for both absorption of rainfall and those things, which are lacking from
forest land, a high water table, spring and stream flow, and space for human
The perfect soil cover ensures the maximum penetration of moisture into it
with the minimum of run-off and removal of soil. McIntyre (26) states that "Vege-
tation, whether tree, shrub, weed or grass, functions in four ways to impede soil
movement. The aerial part, the litter and the roots act mechanically. In addition,
the influence that a particular species has on its associated species may control
their vegetative density."
Experimental work on grasses has shown that they are perfectly satisfactory
in controlling erosion from these points of view. For details of work in the U.S.A.
Ayres (27) may be consulted, in South Africa the University of Pretoria Progress
Report (28), and in Tanganyika Staples (29). Gorrie (30) says that "forest cover
is of relatively minor importance compared with the main issue, which is the effi-
ciency of plant cover as a whole."
FACTORS WHICH ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PLANT COVER
Mr. J. T. Kennedy, in one of his profounder* moments, informed me that
the cure for soil erosion was the elimination of Man. This is of course the perfect
solution of the problem, but is difficult of accomplishment. Other deep thinkers,
supposing that the African can live on bread alone, advocate the abolition of cattle;
and suppose that, in any case, the land could be more usefully used for cash crops.
This is the most dangerous doctrine since it is always the wish to put more land
under the plough for cash crops, that leads primarily to erosion. Uganda suffers
from this, since the Native often has no alternative but to plant cotton, in order to
pay his poll tax. If the land is unsuitable for cotton, erosion may follow. There
often then follows a great deal of ill-informed talk on the subject of the depreda-
tions of cattle and overstocking. It is this aspect with which I am concerned, and
which leads me to a discussion of native methods of stock husbandry and grass
burning, about which there also exists some misconception.
OVERSTOKING AND EROSION
Although overstocking is widely blamed as a cause of erosion and it is often
recommended that the stock population be reduced in order to make room for an
increased growth of cash crops, yet we find that in many parts of the world, poor
land is said to be only suitable for stock raising. Thus Thorp (31) states his belief
that a radical change from arable farming to animal husbandry offers the most
hopeful means of saving the grassland loess soils of north-west China. The Drought
Investigation Committee in South Africa (32) reported that less than 15% of land
in South Africa was suitable for cultivation and that the country is and must be
predominantly pastoral. In the U.S.A. large tracts of land are said to be only
useful for stock raising (Gorrie 30).
These points emphasise the necessity for suiting agricultural activities to the
region on which they are to be practised and to the prevailing climate. The danger
to be apprehended from overstocking is to be feared most greatly on those lands,
which the Americans term submarginal; such lands are poor and unsuitable for
agriculture, overstocking of them leads to extensive sheet erosion. But it is usually
Mr. Kennedy has incidentally objected to this passage, since he states that he has no
bad agricultural practice that has rendered the land sub-marginal in the first place.
Natural sub-marginal lands do occur; in Uganda they are represented by areas
where thin soil overlies ironstone and these, if heavily grazed undergo some degree
of erosion. They are, however, self preserving, since when the grass is kept short
by grazing the fires even if only annual are so poor as to be unable to control the
growth of trees; scrub forest is developed, and a satisfactory ground cover is
formed; albeit the land is lost as pasture. In such a situation, further trouble is
only experienced if the trees are cut for any reason, either building or for firewood.
It is this, which appears to be causing some of the trouble in the eroded areas of
Teso. But the writer has only a limited knowledge of these areas; in Lango only
the initial process is seen and is of importance since wide areas of land are becoming
lost for pasture and would seem to be a factor in causing emigration from Kumam.
Nevertheless, such places where the soil is thin are probably in any case best left
for forest, which might be expected in time to deepen the soil horizon.
On rich deep soil, the influence of cattle in causing erosion is entirely subsi-
diary to that of other agricultural activities. Such land has been shown at Ngetta
Farm near Lira to be capable of supporting 1 to 2 oxen per acre throughout the
year without signs of overgrazing: this is far more than the land is called on to
support in any part of Uganda. But if agriculture is a primary influence in causing
erosion and reduces the land to the sub-marginal type: then cattle put there to
graze may finish the process; to the casual observer, cattle are then the sole cause
of a serious progressive erosion.
In general, the African does not like to keep his cattle on rich fertile land, since
such land becomes quickly infested with disease carrying parasites such as Ticks
and Helminths, and a heavy mortality of the stock results. Hornby (33) describes
a similar situation in Tanganyika and shows that the health of stock is in inverse
proportion to the fertility of the area in which they are kept.
In reading through the proofs of what was written nearly a year ago, it is necessary to
comment on three matters in the light of more recent literature on the subject and of
further experience since collected.
r. Professor Stebbing has now produced a reply to the paper of Brynmor Jones, under
reference above, entitled "Africa and its Intermittent Rainfall-The role of the Savannah
Forest," (Journal of the Royal African Society, August 1938). The position does not,
however, appear to have been materially altered by this.
2. The writer has in the meantime been stationed for some months in Teso and has
been given the opportunity to study the erosion problem as it occurs there. Eastern Teso,
as far north as the Karamojan border is a highly specialised area from the vegetational
point of view. Much of it must be classed as 'submarginal' land unsuitable for intensive
cultivation. The root causes of erosion in this region are typographical, since the entire run-
off water of the greater part of Karamoja passes over it and finds its way into Lake Salis-
bury, and thence via Lake Kioga into the Nile. The existing maps, which show the rivers
of Karamoja as draining into the Aswa river and so to the Nile are erroneous. This was
pointed out by the writer to Government in a memorandum, and has since been confirmed
by aerial survey.
3. The scholarly report on soil erosion in this country by Messrs. Wayland and Bras-
nett has since been published. It does not, however, appear necessary to revise any of what
Ps been wrien in the light of it,
THE PLACE OF STOCK IN LAND RECLAMATION
Garland (34) describes an area at Poona on the tension belt between thort
scrub and mixed deciduous forest with a rainfall of 24 ins., which after closure
for forty years had only produced very inferior grasses and a few scrub trees. A
forty acre area was then divided into four paddocks and each was grazed as closely
as possible before the cattle were moved on to the next: it was possible after five
years to maintain twenty cows on the area throughout the year. Good grasses had
replaced inferior ones, and in spite of heavy grazing, natural tree regeneration had
begun and erosion had been checked. The land was in a condition in which it
could be used at will either for forest or pasture purposes.
A similar state of affairs is reported in the Basutoland Annual Report, (45)
from which the following is an extract:-
"A large scale 'deferred grazing' experiment has been in progress for the past
two years, and while no definite conclusions can be arrived at until the rotation
which is being practised has been completed, there is evidence that remarkable
results will be secured. This experiment covers (3) 1,000 acre areas of grazing
of relatively inferior natural pasture, badly eroded in parts, and carries 1,200 horses
and cattle. The rate of stocking mentioned is extremely heavy, in fact far too
heavy, and yet, due to the anti-erosion measures practised in conjunction with a
simple form of deferred grazing, this number of stock has been maintained and the
improvement in pasture density and growth is remarkable."
Observations at Kelle Cattle Quarantine in Lango have shown that a similar
state of affairs is in operation there. By moving the cattle bomas from place to
place, eroded soil was induced to produce a rich growth of Bluegrass (Cynodon
dactylon) on the site of the old boma; a large area of ground was covered in this
way and its carrying capacity for stock improved. By rotational grazing with pad-
docks, a larger area could be covered more quickly. This if found to be applicable
there is the obvious treatment for badly eroded areas such as those described in
Teso. It must, however, always be remembered that paddocking can only be
effective if undertaken hand in hand with the devolpment of water supplies.
Grass burning is not inevitably the iniquitous process that it is often depicted.
In understocked country,-and the greater part of Uganda is understocked-it is
the only satisfactory method of pasture management. Without it the country goes
to forest and is lost as pasture, and in addition the natural famine of pasturage
which occurs north of the equator in December is intensified since the young
growth of grass induced by burning is not present. Scott (22) states that in Tangan-
yika, protection from fire would be useless if the land were required for pasturage.
Myers (35) concludes that in British Guiana, burning is clearly innocuous and
almost certainly beneficial, being almost the only type of pasture management
possible in a primitive cattle industry with almost no fences. American workers
(Aldous 36; Fowells and Stephenson 37; Heywood and Barnett 38; and Heywood
39), fail to demonstrate any soil deterioration due to burning. South African
workers (Bews 40; Thompson 41; Drought Investigation Committee 32) are gene-
rally hostile, but usually admit that burning is beneficial on what they term 'sour
in Uganda, under the usual conditions of under-stocking burning, as elsewhere,
is the only practicable form of pasture management applicable to native methods
of cattle keeping; that is a range system combined with night kraaling as a protec-
tion against wild animals. The dominant grasses in the various parts of the Protec-
torate, Themeda triandra in Ankole, Hyparrhenia (spp.) around Lake Kioga, Ele-
phant Grass round lake Victoria, are adapted to burning and suffer no ill-effects
from it; they grow quickly again after burning and produce good fodder for cattle.
But where stocking is heavy and the grasses are eaten short, these tall grasses
disappear and are replaced by shorter varieties, which are not adapted to burning
and are largely killed by it: burning of such a ground cover destroys it, it is not
quickly replaced and erosion either by wind or water may occur. Where South
African workers object to burning, it is usually found that they are writing of these
In certain parts of Uganda, this does occur; the dominant grasses are so heavily
grazed as to disappear; and the practice of burning is then not beneficial. The result
is similar to that of overgrazing, since the grasses are killed off except for annuals
which return and die naturally each year, and scrub forest invades the land.
Burning is thus an adjuvant factor in the process described under over-grazing
where bush invades the pasture and drives out the cattle. In these areas a modifi-
cation of native method is necessary.
MODIFICATION OF NATIVE METHODS OF STOCK HUSBANDRY
In searching the literature on this subject, one is struck by the remarkable
unanimity of the recommendations given in widely different parts of the world by
different workers. Wherever, numbers of stock are too great for the older method
of range pasturage, the universal recommendation is-paddocking, rotational
grazing, development of water supplies. In India, a complete change over of
method is said to have taken place, since the introduction of British rule (Gorrie
(30). King (42) recommends it in South Africa; Leppan (43) also in South Africa
considers that all economic and political measures are supplementary to controlled
veld management; the Drought Investigation Committee of South Africa (32)
emphasise the need of developing water supplies hand in hand with paddocking;
this aspect of the matter has been frequently emphasised by Mr. W. F. Poulton
as Director of Veterinary Services. In Kenya, Halcrow (44) believes that paddock-
ing combined with grass cutting is necessary, since otherwise the numbers of
cattle that could be kept on the land in the dry season would be unable to control
the growth of grass in the wet. This point is important; but in many parts of
Uganda the upland grazing need not be used in the dry season, since large areas
of swamp become dried and can be grazed by the cattle. Uganda is blessed with a
natural system of irrigation, effective over a large part of the country; the gorges of
the Murchison Falls, stemming back the waters of the Nile, force them to flow up
the swamps when the pressure of water is great in the wet season. Receding in
the dry season they lay bare thousands of acres of pasture, under the creeping
Panicum (Panicum repens) and other valuable grasses.
It is not necessary to enforce a change in methods of pasturing stock, where
the land is, as generally, understocked. In the few parts where there are so many
cattle as to be to 'the detriment of the carrying capacity of the land' (cf. Hornby's
definition of overstocking 33) a change of method should be made under compul-
sion from Government, and that change should be in the direction of paddocking,
rotational grazing, and development of water supplies. Paddocking involves the
removal of trees over wide areas, and these should be replanted with selected
species in numerous small tracts, such as have already been shown to be most
effective in attracting rainfall.
The need in short is for a Planned Agriculture. Many will say this cannot be
done in an African country. But by tactful handling it could be done with the
willing co-operation of the Natives. The Lango and the Teso are already becoming
interested in the idea of paddocking, and Chiefs in Lango have been enquiring
as to the cost of fencing.
The unanimity of the literature on the subject is quite remarkable, and I do
not think there can be any doubt that this is the correct procedure.
1. The climate of East Africa is largely due to factors outside the control
2. Nevertheless, by judicious afforestation Man can induce some degree of
local precipitation, especially near the shores of the great lakes.
3. A progressive diminution of rainfall is traceable from the equator north-
wards and southwards; and changes in the character of the vegetation go hand
in hand with this.
4. The prevention of soil erosion depends primarily on the maintenance of
the soil cover. Forest and grassland are satisfactory, each in a somewhat different
way. The action of the one is complementary to that of the other and they should
be alternated. The action of forest in bringing rainfall is most effective in small
but frequent tracts.
5. Cattle are not a serious menace to good agricultural land, and the natives
do not like to keep them on such land. They may be a danger to what are known
in the U.S.A. as sub-marginal lands, which are unsuitable for agriculture. Agriculture
may, however, cause deterioration of good land; after which the cattle may be put
on to it and, are then blamed for the whole process, when worse erosion follows.
6. Cattle can be used effectively in the reclamation of eroded lands by rota-
tional grazing methods developed hand in hand with water supplies. Land is
reclaimed in this way more rapidly than by natural processes or afforestation.
7. Grass burning is the only effective means of pasture management in under-
stocked country. This is the primitive native practice.
8. Grass burning may cause damage in areas stocked so heavily that the
dominant grass has given way to sub-dominants not naturally adapted to burning.
Where burning and over-grazing go hand in hand, scrub forest invades the land
which may be lost as pasture. The danger of such a situation is when the scrub
forest is cut for domestic purposes; extensive erosion may then occur,
. Where sich conditions reign, paddocking and rotational grazing should
be introduced together with development of water supplies and planting of small
forest tracts in strategic positions.
10. The need of a Planned Agriculture is stressed.
I. The Equatorial Forest of Africa, Its Past, Present and Future. Pierre Lavauden,
Journ. R. Afr. Soc. April 1937.
2. The forest of West Africa and the Sahara, E. P. Stebbing, London, 1937. The
Threat of the Sahara, E. P. Stebbing, Journ. R. Afr. Soc., May 1937.
3. The Sahara, Hon. Francis Rodd, and Dr. J. D. Falconer, Geogr. J. XCI. 4.
4. Dessication and the West African colonies-Brynmor Jones, Geogr. J. XCI. 4.
5. The Climate and Weather of East and Central Africa, Walter A., East African Agr.
J., I, 6, 1936.
6. The Climate and Weather of East and Central Africa, Grinstead, W. A., East Afr.
J. I, 2, 1936.
7. Some past climates and future possibilities, Wayland E. J., Uganda J., III.
8. Our expanding and contracting Desert, Bowman I., Geogr. Rev. 25, I.
9. A study of South African Rainfall, Schumann T. E. W., and Thompson W. R.,
Univ. Pret. ser. i, No. 28 (1934)-
1o. Climatic Cycles. Brunt D., Geogr. J., 89 (1937), 3.
II. Is our climate changing?-Kinser J. B., Sci. Digest, I (1937), No. i.
12. Environment and Life in the Great Plains--Clements F. E. and Chaney R. W.,
Carnegie Inst. Wash. Sup. Pub. 24 (1936).
13. Evaporation and Rainfall studies in the north-west Minnesota Lake Region-
Jensen J. C., Amer. Phil. Soc. Proc., 36 (1936), No. 5.
14. Studies in the role of Forest Vegetation in Erosion Control and Water Conservation
-Lowdermilk W. C., 5th. Pac. Sci. Cong. 1933, V.
15. The Influence of Forests on Climate and Water Supply in Kenya-Nicholson J. W.,
E. Afr. Agr. J., II. i.
16. Do., ibid. II, 2.
17. Do., ibid. II, 3.
18. Soil Erosion in the Colonial Empire-Stockdale Sir F., Emp. J. Exp. Agr. V., 20.
19. Soil and Water Conservation Investigations-U.S.D.A., Tech. Bul. 558, 1937.
20. Moisture conservation in relation to erosion control under Red Plains conditions
in the south-west-Lewis H. G., Amer. Soil Survey Bul. 16 (1935).
21. Drought Survival of native grass species on the Central and southern Great Plains,
1935.-Savage D. A., U.S.D.A., Tech. Bul. 549 (1937).
22. Ecology of Certain Plant Communities of the Central Province, Tanganyika Terri-
tory-Scott J. D., J. of Ecol., 22, 1934.
23. Soil Erosion in Acacia Scrub-Bayer A. W., S. Afr. J, Sci., 30, 1933.
24. Erosion and Soil Conservation-Jacks and Whyte, Imp. Bur. Soil Sci. Tech. comm.
No. 36, 1938.
25. Influence of Forest litter on surface run-off and soil erosion-Meginnis A. C., Amer.
Soil Survey Bul., 16 (1935).
26. Trees and Erosion Control-McIntyre A. C., Amer. Soil Survey Bul., 16 (1935).
27. Soil Erosion and its control-Ayres, New York, 1936.
28. Progress Report on Soil Erosion and grassland experiments, Univ. Pret. 1935.
29. Run-off and soil erosion tests in semi-arid Tanganyika Territory. 2nd. rep.-
Staples R. R., Rep. Dept. Vet. Sci. Tang. 1935.
30. The Use and Misuse of Land.-Gorrie R. M., Oxf. For. Memoirs 19, 1935.
31. Geography and Soils of China-Nanking, 1936.
32. Drought Investigation Committee, South Africa, Report, 1923.
33. The control of animal diseases in relation to overstocking and soil erosion-
Hornby H. E., Emp. J. Exp. Agr. V, 18, 1937.
34. Forests in relation to climate, water conservation and erosion,-Union of South
Africa, Dept. Agr. and Foresty, Bul. 159, 1935.
35. Savannah and Forest Vegetation of the Guiana plateau-Myers J. G., J. of Ecol.,
36. Effect of Burning on Kansas Blue-stem Pastures-Aldous A. E., Kansas Sta. Tech.
Bul. 38, 1934.
37. Effect of burning on forest soil.-Fowells and Stephenson, Soil Sci. 38, 3.
38. The effect of frequent fires on chemical composition of forest soils in the long-leaf
pine region-Heywood and Barnett. Flo. Sta. Bul. 265, 1934.
39. Soil changes associated with forest fires in the long-leaf pine region of the south-
Heywood F., Amer. Soil Survey Bul. 17 (1936).
40. The World's Grasses-Bews.
41. Rainfall, Soil erosion and Run-off in South Africa-Thompson W. R., Univ. Pret.
ser. I, 29, 1935.
42. The Menace of Soil Erosion in the Transkei-King N. L., Territorial News, Jan. 14,
43. The organization of agriculture with applications to South Africa, Johannesburg,
44. Pasture Problems in the Trans Nzoia-Halcrow M., East Afr. Agr. J. III, 4.
45. Basutoland Annual. Report, Department of Agriculture, 1935-196,
An Approach to African Music
By K. P. WACHSMAN, PH.D.
An approach to African music mainly depends upon the place where it is
undertaken. In Europe it will be made in a calm, objective mood. African music
there presents itself through the medium of gramophone records, ethnographical
collections, and in the atmosphere of the lecture room.
But here in the field it can be heard everywhere. It enters the ears whether
they are prepared and willing to listen or not. It is obtrusive, and defence is
impossible since one cannot avoid it as in the case of an ugly picture by shutting
or turning away the eyes. One must react to it, and the more conscientious may
even try to account for their reaction. In particular those concerned with the
education of the indigenous race-whether in Mission or Administration-simply
cannot keep up the attitude of the audience at home. It is not surprising therefore
to find on one side a nervous contempt for African music, and on the other side an
equally nervous enthusiasm for it.
It is true that there are frequent occasions in the field when the question
of native music is raised. It is actually connected with arts and crafts and also
with the teaching or study of the vernacular; it has however not yet been discussed
in Uganda as an historical issue.
Musicologists and musicians are grateful and indebted to artists and teachers
who confess an active interest in native music. A scheme to further indigenous
arts and crafts must extend its responsibility to music. But-without regarding the
possible cause for it-music often appears to have been left behind in such
schemes. A good instance is provided by Achimota College. There, among the
arts and crafts which receive attention, an attempt has been made to cultivate
tribal music. It was done by simply asking the African masters who were willing
and able to teach this music, to do so. The last report from Achimota however
is not very hopeful about this experiment whereas, in the case of the other arts
and crafts, the report contains much encouragement and inspiration.
The study of the vernacular has also directed attention towards indigenous
music. The peculiar situation of the African languages in so far as they are
changing from spoken to written or "literature" languages is also existent in music.
Western music is mainly expressed, taught, spread, and even created in writing,
whereas music in Africa still corresponds to a language exclusively serving oral
The significance of the vernacular in a song can hardly be exaggerated accord-
ing to native opinion. If African students offer to sing African songs in all proba-
bility the music of some of them will be of European origin; yet the Luganda
or Kiswahili verses sung to the foreign tune makes it an African song in their eyes.
The other extreme, where the importance of the tune exceeds the weight of the
words, can also be found in Uganda. The singer on the record which will be ana-
lyzed later invents names and words which make no sense in his poem in order to
preserve the formal element and to signify the climax in the tune. Such words
and lines are known as ebisoko.
There are indeed many objects on which the interest of the linguist and of the
musicologist are focused in common, and where collaboration is of great
advantage to both, but however grateful both parties concerned may be to each
other it is certain that at one stage of common effort their interests will begin to
diverge. There must be a stage when the aspect of music becomes so prominent
and exclusive that an analogy to another branch of art or linguistics can no longer
meet its needs. Here we refer to the typical qualities of music differentiating it
from any other art and accomplishment, and to the reality underlying music. The
first concerns the details of structure and make-up, and the second the meaning
of the actual music or performance.
The distinction between music and the other arts is easily drawn. While the
objects of arts and crafts can be seen and handled, and whereas the object of
language is usually a concrete message, music is something invisible, capable of
penetrating obstacles and making its way round corners without losing shape and
distinction. It can be effective over a great distance and in darkness, and it acts
upon human emotions with great force. The object of music cannot be seen and
handled, only the instrument producing it. All these features make it easy to
conceive the idea that music has a supernatural quality, and humanity has provided
a multitude of instances which show that this quality of music has been recognized.
A few examples may be given. Australian tribes believe the sound of a bull-
roarer in the bush to be the tribal parents. Tribes in West Africa may grant an
audience to their king by leading the applicant to the royal drum-house after days
of reverential waiting. The powerful sound of the drum and its affinities to the
supernatural make such an attitude possible. In Uganda drums are associated
with members of the royal family. Another most striking instance is provided by
several tribes which consider the vibrating air of a flute to be the home of a
spirit. Since blowing through the mouth is profane-one eats and talks through
it-the flute is blown through the nose.
In the presence of the supernatural one never behaves profanely. Hence the
hiding of the face behind a mask, of the body behind the unnatural gestures of a
dance, and of the voice behind a distorted voice production. The Gregorian chant
employed in a mass is an example of the convention that one must not employ
one's natural voice in the face of God.
Perhaps these instances seem too remote and another more accessible may be
quoted. The early Christian Church admitted that a man could be possessed by
the Holy Spirit, which could of course manifest itself through his v9ice, The Holy
Spirit was called pneuma, that is "wind, breath", and wind and breath are the
home of the supernatural in the above instances. As regards the taboo for women
in this country to avoid the endere-a notched flute-it cannot be stated, for the
time being, whether it has any connection with such views.
This excursion may be excused since it gives the approach a background which
goes beyond music as recreation, hobby, entertainment, ornament, a means of
education, or as a mental tonic in church, work, and military service. All these
functions form the surface of a musical culture where it becomes visible. The
approach would be superficial and useless if it did not aim ultimately at the mean-
ing of music for the African. To accomplish this the first line of approach should
be to get hold of all possible circumstances associated with music in Africa until
the reality underlying the functions mentioned above is understood. Things with
no obvious relation to the actual tune played or sung by the people will thus have
to be discussed.
Such a state of affairs has induced an English writer to abandon the whole
idea concerning the meaning of music and to content himself with a sturdy of the
details which the ears can hear. According to him the range of its usage does
not concern the musician and his experience; to him the actual shape of the tunes,
that is their intervals and harmonies, is of fundamental importance and represents
the essence of music. These details have been mentioned above as exemplifying
the typical qualities of music differentiating it from any other art and accomplish-
ment. A thorough investigation cannot afford to omit these details and his
suggestion should lead to their study as the second line of approach to African
The task would be to study the music of a certain area of Negro Africa or
even one restricted to the Protectorate. The area seems big enough; to draw the
boundary still wider seems foolish. And yet, experience has shown how useful
it is to establish contact with other areas however remote or great they may be.
Our historical knowledge of Africa is so little that one cannot neglect those links
with African history which come to light when contact with other cultures has
been attained. Therefore a third line of approach, leading to the background of
music in the world, is advisable.
Three different lines of approach have been pointed out. The first aims at
elucidating the social functions and mental conditions associated with the develop-
ment of a particular musical culture with a view to understanding the meaning of
African music to the African. The second line deals with the actual make-up of
the tunes and the last one draws attention to the importance of establishing
contact with neighboring or distant musical phenomena. They will be illustrated
by examples occurring in Uganda. For reasons of convenience the last line will
be followed first and the first line last. For the purposes of illustration the
Luganda bow-harp or enanga is taken.
Occurrences of the bow-harp outside Uganda are soon comprehensively
quoted. There are very few tribes nowadays which know the instrument and only
a small number of places where it was known centuries or millenniums ago in which
its use has since died out,
A Luganda Bow-harp or niimnyni.
-- --- -
The bow-harp is reported from the country inhabited by the Fang, from parts
of French Equatorial Africa, and from the mouth of the river Congo. Specimens
from this region of West Africa display all the characteristics of the instrument:
1. The bow-which contributed to the technical term-leading to
2. the cavity attached for the purpose of resonance,
3. the skin stretched over the sounding body, and
4. the strings fastened through the skin and running from it upwards to the
top end of the bow or neck.
In Africa the strings are kept m tension by tuning pegs. The pegs are fixed
to the free end of the bow, standing sideways. Ornamental figures joined to the
bow or the sounding box seem to be the exception. An instrument from French
Equatorial Africa stands on a pair of human shaped legs and carries a human head
on the top of the neck. In Uganda not a single specimen with figures has been
shown or reported to the writer.
J. H. Speke in the "Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile" (1863)
shows (page 212) a picture of the court musicians of King Rumanika of Karague
which includes the bow-harp. In Uganda itself the Baganda play it, and the
Banyoro know it under the name of ekidongo. Amongst the Nilotics the instru-
ment seems to be popular and the Sebei possess a bow-harp with a sound box of
a peculiar shape. As far as present day Africa is concerned the survey is com-
Abroad only one corner of the whole world possesses bow-harp music to-day
-Burma. Each single feature of the design of the instrument is repeated in the
Burmese harp. The tuning is done by movable strips of wool (?) which keep the
strings in position, a device employed in the bowl-lyre, the so-called Busoga harp
This survey would be poor if it were not that Archaeology has added a few
countries and brought to light with the spade a number of specimens. Archaeolo-
gists have improved our knowledge of the bow-harp considerably and supplied
information about its associations. Reliefs and wall paintings have been made
available which show the instrument in its surroundings, more often in ceremonial
guise than in scenes from every day life. Similarly the finds allow the details of
the design to be recognized. A small harp from the time of the 18th dynasty
-about 1450 B.C.-has been rescued and is now exhibited in the British Museum.
A wall painting from the tomb of Nakht of the time of Amenhotep II shows a
larger type manipulated by a lady musician who is standing.. Another big bow-
harp is reproduced on a relief from a tomb of the time of the 5th dynasty-about
2700 B.C.-the musician playing the instrument seated. The tuning device consists
of pegs. The number of strings varies: 13, 9, 8 and 7 are observable. In Asia exca-
vations have proved the existence of the bow-harp in Sumer in the 4th millennium
B.C. A fragment of a vase includes a scene with a group of musicians holding the
instrument. If the reproduction at the disposal of the writer can be trusted, one
instrument has 5 and the other 7 strings, the tuning device possibly being pegs.
Sculptures from India, Java, and Kambodja show the bow-harp in use in former
These finds suggest that the bow-harp has always been the musical tool of
higher civilizations and that in a particular culture the ruling classes have been
associated with it. It is interesting to note that in Buganda the instrument occupies
a similar social position.
The great respect which the enanga enjoys is underlined by the following
statements made independently by two Baganda. The one said that only a "royal"
enanga could be played to a chief and that the harp of the common man, the
enanga y'abakopi, was not fit for such service; the words he used were okulongosa
and okuyonja, the first implying the idea of cleanliness and being well finished and
prepared and the second of being embellished. The other Muganda admitted
that there was a kind of common enanga, but said that the music of the two
varieties was entirely different.
The bow-harp occupies a royal position in the King's palace, the Lubiri.
According to one informant the omulanga, the player of the instrument, was the
only one allowed to perform in the same room with the Kabaka and his wives. On
open air occasions he will join the other musicians but keeps silent while they
play; when his turn comes, the band pauses and listens to him. A famous player,
Mayanja, whom the two great abalanga to-day claim as their teacher, was blinded
by king Mwanga, as people say, to prevent him from seeing the royal ladies when
he had the privilege of playing before them. It is interesting to compare this with
the story of Bwembya of the Bemba tribe in Norhern Rhodesia where the same
was done to a court musician and where the same reason for blinding the man
was given-the protection of the honour of the king's wives. But, Bwembya adds,
everybody knew that this was only a pretext for a deeper motive. To-day the
omulanga will still take occasionally the attitude of a blind man bending over the
harp, his eyes invisible to the audience. A relief from the tomb of Pa-aten-mheb,
a stone carver of King Amenhotep IV shows a blind man and his bow-harp.
(Perhaps it is noteworthy that in Germany "Der blinde Harfner" is a familiar
association; he is a man, destitute and yet in high esteem, full of old songs.)
Enquiries after the enanga to-day meet the answer that perhaps a few old
men know how to play it, but that they refuse to pass on their knowledge to the
younger generation. There exists great pride amongst the few who master it. Not
infrequently the opinion can be heard that the art is doomed to die out. An expla-
nation for this retreat may be put forward. The' ruling classes in Buganda were
the first and most eager to accept education. The sons of the chiefs soon came
into contact with civilization and were easily prejudiced against native instruments.
The enanga lost its home and the people who had not yet been touched by civili-
zation and education could not provide a new one since they were of lower social
standing. The name enanga, however, has been preserved and fixed to the harmo-
nium and the organ, the outstanding representatives of Western music in Uganda.
To-day even a violin will be called enanga. Another testimony to the high position
of the enanga in olden times is the occurrence of two bow-harps on the badge of
a native school for Kiganda music. The master, Omw. Y. Byangwa, a Muganda
most passionately fond of the music of his people has chosen these instruments as
the adequate representation of his aims.
I Ten Africans. Margery Perham. London, 1936.
he term enanga is also applied to the royal instruments of the court ot
Bunyoro and Toro, but signifies a trough-zither instead of a bow-harp. The
instruments enjoy great honours. Only women are allowed to play them. The
Bahima of Ankole also make and play a trough-zither called enanga, to be used
by women only. Omulanga may be translated by "Announcer," or "One who
expounds." A map showing the distribution of the bow-harp would lend itself to
ethnological speculation. The Nilotics and the Sebei play it, the Banyoro play it,
King Rumanika and the Kabaka of Buganda value it as special members of their
bands; ancient Egypt knew it, and only a restricted area in West Africa is reported
to possess it. There also is the application of the term enanga to the royal instru-
ments in Toro and Bunyoro and among the Bahima. Perhaps in future days the
bow-harp may provide a clue is the solution of the problem of the migrations which
brought into being the tribes of present-day Uganda.
The same form was reproduced in all the instruments mentioned above. The
different features are also found in the earth-harp, the appearance of which does
not betray them at first sight. It consists of:
1. The bow-a wand stuck into the earth-and
2. a cavity-a pit dug into the soil in front of the wand;
3. a pit covered by a piece of bark and, fastened through it,
4. the single string.
One end of the string is tied to the free end of the wand, the earth-harp thus
being completed. The pitch is altered by the left hand of the player; he grasps
the string near where it is knotted to the wand and by altering the strength of his
grasp or pull the desired pitch is produced. The forefinger of the right hand plucks
the string. The compass of the instrument is about a fifth and the sound is quite
strong. The Luganda for the earth-harp is sekitulege or ekitulege. It has,not
been traced outside the continent. In addition to Uganda the earth-harp occurs in
Futa-Djallon (Senegambia), the Cameroons, Northern Congo, and amongst the
Shambala. Judging from its function in Uganda as a toy for children its age
must be great. In the Ituri forest it is played by grown-up Pygmies. From an
evolutionary point of view the earth-harp may be considered to be the precursor of
In order to render the account given above more plastic and to show the
significance of the related facts, a brief account will be inserted here of another
instrument at home in Uganda. The European term for it, Busoga harp, is well
chosen in so far as it points out the route which the bowl-lyre, Luganda endongo
or entongoli, has taken. It entered the Protectorate from the East. Sir Harry
Johnston 2 shows a picture of the endongo from Kavirondo. It occurs in Abyssinia.
There are no other places in Africa which possess the instrument. Outside Africa
it is known only in Arabia and Syria. The bowl-lyre, quite in contrast to the bow-
harp, exercises a great attraction to the common folk. The Kabaka has a band
composed of abadongo. The endongo may be played with other instruments. It
is recognized as a very recent instrument in Toro and Bunyoro and even the
2 Uganda, Vol. II, p. 753.
baganda say that it came originally from Busoga. There seems to be no social
fetter fastened to it in the minds of the people. No trace of its existence in ancient
civilizations has been discovered. For tuning no pegs are employed but strips of
wool twisted round the yoke. All these details show a mode of origin different
from the enanga.
Reports from travellers and the proofs provided by Archaeology show the
function of the bow-harp to be that of accompanying a singer, perhaps in collabora-
tion with a few other instruments. In Egypt it is operated together with a double-
oboe and a lute, or with a group of singers and a flute. In Buganda it serves as
an accompaniment to a singer; a record from the Fang shows it together with
soloist and choir.
Having considered this line of approach, the study of the music produced on
the enanga and of the tuning of it may now be undertaken.
Judging from a record from the Cameroons the task of the bow-harp is
restricted to the contributing of rhythm. The instrumental part and the song here
lack the tonal union which is the rule in Western music.
The song "Kayanga" an analysis of which will be given below enjoys however
a more intimate relationship between instrument and singer. This relationship
will be demonstrated by the formal and tonal structure of the song and it will be
also corroborated by the system of tuning employed on the enanga.
"Kayanga" was recorded in Kampala by Odeon on Disc No. A-242. 197/a.
The player and singer is Samwiri, a young omulanga, who was a pupil of Mayanja
and who is alleged by rumour to have died recently. The record itself is unsatis-
factory. The microphone obvoiusly was directed to catch the words and leaves
the bow-harp in the back-ground; the latter hardly ever manages to come through
the vocal part. The balance of the performance is badly disturbed in this way.
The sound of the enanga is very subdued, which is not in the spirit of the music;
the omulanga possesses a great knowledge of the technical and acoustic peculiarities
of his instrument and takes great pains to produce the desired sound quality.
The parts in which the bow-harp is audible are the solos, the introduction, the
interlude, and the finale. But even so it is possible to obtain an idea of the colla-
boration which exists and which can be checked by careful repeated demonstra-
tions with an enanga.
It is a common experience that in the case of an African performance not
only the strange sound but also the utter inability to grasp the unaccustomed
musical form causes disquiet to the European listener. It may be a good beginning
therefore to concentrate first on the text of the song, which can be fixed in writing
with comparative ease. This is the more advisable and justified in the case of
"Kayanga" since the poem to an enanga accompaniment need not have a proper
meaning. Of thirty two songs sung to the writer only very few could be said to
possess a meaning at all, and hardly one which made sense from the beginning
to the end. Even taking into account that, as so often happens in poetry, the
meaning of the words may be somewhat obscured, most of the songs do not lend
themselves to any interpretation however free it may be. The omulanga himself
was incapable of giving an interpretation beyond the actual performance. One
player when asked for such an explanation mentioned that there existed an old
man who was good at interpreting the songs although the latter could not play
himself. The omulanga confessed that he made up words for himself, and varied
his words and sentences, according to his musical intentions. Many reasons for
this are given by the people, e.g., that the omulanga did not want his audience to
snatch from him the knowledge of the song, or that the song was old and intelligible
only to old people, or that the musician wanted to excite interest, or wished to
gain time while he thought of something else, or that in general one must be
familiar with the whole art in order to make head or tail out of it. But the truth
probably is that-at any rate in bow-harp music-the performer follows the music
only and does not care much about the dictionary meaning of his words. The
omulanga stated definitely that the words must have the one quality: to fit the
music. Often he does not articulate but hums the tune (okumumunya). Even the
pronunciation of single words has to suffer for no obvious reason. Thus "abasala'
is enounced "abasalya", or "kuja" enounced "kujang" if at the end of a musical
phrase, or "eGomba" becomes "eGombang".
If this is so the analysis of the poem written down in words from the record
is bound to be valid for the structure of the music itself. A correct translation of
the song is impossible since the meaning of so many words, names and lines is
obscure. For this reason the Luganda only will be given in this paper:
(a) 1. Yaye baba-nze omutema nte, abange!
Yaye baba-nze omutema nte, abange!
(b) 2. Omufumbo, omufumbo sabana,
Omufumbo, omufumbo sabana.
Sabana omufumbo eyansenza.
Yampanga omwenge nga nenywera,
Yampanga ekibugo nga nebika.
Yampanga etoke nga nerira.
(a) 3. Omwanyin'omu wa Ntale.
Gwenyimba nze owamuno.
Mu Kyaziza gye twayita
Yaye 'gyetwayayanga ne Ntale.
Yaye 'gwe wa'fe mu'na 'Sere.
Yaye 'gwe mwanyin'omu wa Ntale.
(c) 4. Sabalongo bwosanga asimbye,-engoye nga mwambala.
Ani yalaba Waswa ngasimbye,-engoye nga mwambala.
(e) 5. Gwenyimba nze yanfunah Kyekaka Kayanga, nyini sebo.
Yaye, Mbu abad'atya nze bwetwayita,
Yaye, mbu mwanyin'omu wa Ntale,
Yaye, mu Kyaziza gye twayita,
Yaye, gye twayayanga ne Ntale,
Yaye, mu 'na'to nze Nanjala.
(a) 6. Banange nze Wakifumbe
Banange nze Wakikatu
Eryange nze Sebirumbi
Mbu eryange nze Wakisonko
Mbu eryange nze Sebirumbi
Mbu eryange nze Sebirumbi
Banange nze Wakifumbe.
(e) 7. Abade atya nze bwetwayita
Kyekaka mbu mwanyin'omu wa Ntale.
Yaye, mu Kyaziza gye twayita
Yaye, fe twayayanga ne Ntale
Yaye, bwetwatuka eGomba
Yaye, Kitunzi ne Kasuju
Yaye, Mukwenda ne Kasuju
Yaye, mu Kyaziza gye twayita
Yaye, 'fe twayayanga ne Ntale.
(a) 8. Erinya nze Wakikatu
Banange nze Wakifumbe
Banange nze Wakayayu
Mbu erinya nze Wakisonko
Mbu eryange nze Sebirumbi
Banange nze Wakikatu.
(e) 9. Sango bwetwa'ja, Kayanga Kayanga,
Gweng'amba Kayanga ayagala engoye okwambala abange
(a) 10. Ate no tatema nte
Ye wuno omutema nte
Ye wuno omutemi w'ente
So'no omutema nza'de.
Abange abuzibwa mubuze
Abange n'obuzibwa mubuze
Ate 'no akerebwa mukere.
(b) 11. Omufumbo, omufumbo eyansenza
Omufumbo, omufumbo eyansenza
(a) 12. Omuzungu abuzibwa, nkubuze
Ate 'no okerebwa, nkukere
Munange obuzibwa, nkubuze
Ate 'no abuzibwa .....
(a) 13. Omwanyina omu wa Ntale
Yaye, mu Kyaziza gye twayita
Gye twayayanga ne Ntale
Yaye nze 'na'to nze Nanjala
Yaye, nze mwanyin'omu wa Ntale,
(d) 14. Sabalongo, wowe! ndeka muganda wange
Abade omunene ngatanude okuko'ga
Ndeka muka'de wange
Abade omunene nga'tanu'de okuko'ga
Aa, abakulu abatuzala
Aa, amafumu n'engabo engwe
Aa, mbu asitude atabala
Aa, mbu asitude omufumbo
Nange nalose ntabala
Aa ndeka bwetwagunywanga
Aa mbu asitude atabala!
Listening to the record one will be struck by the ease with which the music
takes shape and how naturally the sound-chaos breaks up into sections. The
sections are numbered with arabic figures. They are formed by sentences, excla-
mations, and word groups; they appear immediately as units with the same strength
of conviction as the cadence in Western music defines a unit. As the poem is com-
posed of sections so the music consists of motives or themes.
The musical units are characterized by the frame into which they are built.
Again an analogy to European music may be allowed. Most Western music can.
be reduced to the relationship of tonic and dominant; this holds true even for a
complex opera by Richard Strauss. There, the play between the two poles of tonic
and dominant can be compared to the function of the two corner notes represented
by the frame, this in the case of "Kayanga" being the interval of a fourth. It can
be recognized by the tendency of the two frame notes to serve as the centre around
which the recitative circles, or by the frequency with which they are employed.
They show a greater certainty in pitch and intonation than do the other notes.
Their frequent use and function in carrying a recitative suggests that notes around
them are caught into their orbit. These notes have been called satellites. They
appear beside or even instead of the frame notes. If the frame note is D the
satellites may be C and E. These two form the interval of a major third and one
could argue that this could serve as a frame. In that case D would assume an
entirely different task, it would overbridge a distance which is too great for voice
and instrument to be crossed without halt. As a note bridging over a great interval
D, however, would lose the definition which it no longer requires.
According to the above criteria "Kayanga" can be analyzed. Intoned by the
enanga, in the prelude, is the frame E-A. Constant repetition of E and A now
makes sense. The note G in the frame functions as satellite to A. Between G and
E undefined notes no longer surprise; their task of overbridging the gap from G
to E may even lead them to divide the interval into equal parts with no other
justification than symmetry. The singer often does not bother at all to give his
voice a certain pitch on these notes. The fourteen sections of "Kayanga" would
thus carry the following frames:
1: A-g-E. 2: E-d-B,. 3: A-g-E. 4: D-c-A,. 5: (c)-A-f.
6: (a)G-E. 7: (c-b) A-E. 8: g-E. 9: (c) A-g-f. 10: (a) g-E,
11: E-d-B,. 12; (a)-g-E. 13: A-g-E. 14: G-e-D,
The Capital letter represents the frame note, the small letter the satellite, and
letters in brackets those notes which are either satellites outside the frame or frame
notes which have been used only very indistinctly.
The sections 1, 3, 10, 12, and 13 have the distinct A-E frame. Numbers 5 and
6 should also belong to it because of the preponderance of A in 5 and of E in 6.
The absence of A in the latter may be explained by the predominance of its satel-
lite G. Sections 7-8 and 9-10 correspond in structure to 5-6. The three sections
5, 7, and 9 distinguish themselves very much from their companions 6, 8, and 10
by a flourishing tune which simply bursts the frame, while 6, 8, and 10 tend to be
more recitative. The flowing curves of 5, 7, and 9 justify their treatment as a
motive or pattern by themselves.
A different frame is used in sections 2 and 11, the corner notes being E and B;
another frame is employed in section 4, with D and A as corners, whilst the frame
G-D is used in the final eleven lines. Thus the 14 sections of the poem are
divided between 5 different frames-if we count the frames employed in 5, 7, and 9
as an independent group.
This may seem a dull set of statistics, which it actually is as long as no inter-
pretation of the accumulated facts is attempted. As at the beginning of the analy-
sis it is advisable to resort to the poem and the words for the solution of the
problem. It may be useful to observe the distribution of the five frames over
the 14 sections; it probably provides a clue to the principle according to which they
In the text of "Kayanga" on pages 155-157 the five frames are indicated by the
letters a, b, c, d, and e. From the point of view of symmetry and grouping the
following scheme is suggested:
a. b. a.c. a.b.a.c.
e. a. e. a. e.a. or e.a.e.a.e.
b. a. a. d. a. b. a. d.
The scheme brings into the poem and the music a threefold division. The first
part serves as an introduction. The second part starts straight away with
"Gwenyimba nze" "The man about whom I am singing", coming to the point and
leading to the climax, the name "Kyekaka Kayanga". The name is mentioned
three times only in the song and each time the most flourishing and melodious
frame (e) is employed; all three instances being in the middle part. The last part
is a variant of the first following the universal scheme ABA. The transition from
the middle to the last part is not quite distinct. On the one hand section 10 is the
companion of 9; and on the other hand it contains the word omutema which takes
up the beginning of the first part again.
The distribution of the frames seems to correspond to the little significance
which can be guessed from the text. The support expected from the poem in
tracing the make-up of the song is not yet exhausted. It was observed that all three
occurrences of "Kyekaka" or "Kayanga" were included in the middle part. All
three instapces are followed by ebisoko. It is impossible to give a reliable defini-
tion of ebisoko. Refrain would not meet the case and would overlook the implica-
tion of senseless, disconnected word inventions about which all informants have
been agreed. But it is sufficient to note that in "Kayanga" ebisoko follow the
climax immediately and provide a perfect contrast in music and text.
The final section possesses a frame of its own, the interval G-D. The intro-
duction of a new frame at the end represents a genuine finals. It reminds the
European musician of the principle that one must not give away the tonic of one's
composition before the real end, or in the Gregorian chant that one of the deciding
criteria for a church mode is the last note, the finals.
The question of the scale of African music is of fundamental interest to Euro-
pean listeners. An attempt therefore will be made to construct a scale out of the
material which the frames provide:
A, B, c D E f+ G A b c'
The capital letters indicate frame notes, the small letters show those notes
which frequently have been touched but did not take part in the frames, and the
brackets above and below show the frames themselves. It may be noted that it
would be wrong to state that the scale was pentatonic, however suggestive the
diagram may be. It must be kept in mind that the tone material at the disposal of
the singer is not in the least restricted to five notes only. He chooses four or five
frames which together with the possible variants need not fear comparison with
Western heptatonic music and its harmonic implications. This restriction to what
is said to be the Pentatonic scale is economy in form and material, which in the
hands of a bad musician becomes as boring and dull as the tonic-dominant relation
The diagram brings into the foreground another feature which up to now
has not made itself felt in the analysis, the key position of D and E in the system
of frames. Indeed the whole system can be moved around the two notes as a
door moves on its hinges. The two notes take part together only in sections 2, 11
and 14. In 2 and 11 the note E is frame note and D acts as its satellite, whereas
in section 14 the relation is reversed. The solo after the song has finished seems
to be in doubt which of the two is the real finals, but as far as the record discloses,
E is chosen. These key-notes, as they may be called, occupy a striking position
in the system according to which the bow-harp is tuned. They have a special
name, enjawuzi from okwawula to divide; probably the term is taken from their
position in the middle of the harp. This alone would not justify the application
of a special name for them. Measurements taken on several occasions daily for
eleven days made it certain that their key position is based on a less haphazard
foundation. The notes D and E never decreased or increased in distance beyond
the pardonable margin, which was less than a quarter tone difference between the
greatest and the smallest distance. The other intervals, though fairly accurate, did
not show such certainty in intonation and tuning.
Material relating to the tuning and technique of the enanga is so ample that
space prohibits its treatment in this paper. The finds which have been made justify
the second line of approach. It has become obvious that it is well worth while to
search after the "musical grammar". The last line of approach leads away from
it, in the hope of approaching the meaning of music to the African.
It has often been said that it is the concern of Philosophy and not of music
to inquire into the meaning of music. In the case of Africa the meaning of music
to the Africans has been considered as a problem rather of Psychology and Anthro-
This argument does not suffice to exclude the problem from a paper which
deals with an approach to African music. At the beginning it was pointed out
that there is a necessity for accounting for our reactions. It was the starting-point
of the approach, and the inquiry as to the meaning of music was the first one to
It is true that music if genuinely understood is not in need of an analysis. To
give an example: a Sonata enjoyed by a musical European does not require an
account of its meaning to the listener. A native song performed to an African
does not call for an explanation as to the immediate effect. However if song and
audience in these instances were exchanged the relation between music and listener
would be disrupted. The act of consuming the music would lack a fundamental
quality which would make impossible a genuine connection between music and
audience. In terms of Anthropology and Psychology it could be said that the
context, function, and sentimental value were unknown, or that the mental pre-
paredness or racial substance, or whatever it may be called, was different in the
It may be questioned whether the unconscious relation which should exist
between music and audience can be replaced by conscious effort, research and
intelligence. Although in all probability the result will be negative it can still be
expected that an inquiry into the meaning of Negro music to the African will serve
to check our judgment and to control our reactions. It will lead perhaps-if it
will not result in a genuine experience-to appreciation and enjoyment.
On the subject of the meaning of African music the difference between lecture
room and field is much felt. One cannot question a record about its context, nor
can one render alive the actual music underlying observations contained in ethno-
graphical publications. It is amazing how little books say on the subject of music,
but one cannot blame authors who as a rule had neither a musical training nor a
comprehensive knowledge of Non-European music. In the field the background
of related activity accompanies the performance so that the European listener
has access to the synthesis of both.
An example has been provided by the musical experience brought home by a
European from his journey to an island in Lake Victoria in a canoe. He said that
the song which the rowers sang with their work appealed to him very much and
that he thought he understood what the men felt. He was right because the context
out of which the song grew was open to him. The movement of the boat, the
scenery, the heat of the day, the activity of rowing, the circumstances of the journey,
all this was within his understanding. His experience took shape very much
like the experience the song meant for the Africans. The psycho-physical basis of
the musical experience was existent in him too since he was a passenger with the
others in the canoe.
Would it be as easy as in the above instance if the performance had been given
by an enanga player with a song where even the significance of the text was
obscure? On the one hand the musical effort is more complex and refined than in
the case of the singing boatmen, on the other hand the complexity has no meaning
to the European. The song "A kawologoma" has an accompaniment of 27 notes
of the right hand and 26 notes of the left hand which are joined in a sort of counter-
point forming the one theme which is repeated throughout the song. The counter-
point as such should appeal to the Westerner since it is an accomplishment of great
refinement, but the constant repeat is monotonous. The complexity has no other
reaction upon the European than would be produced by something chaotic, and
the monotony fails to bring about the relief which constant repeats may bring to
the African. Professor Von Hornbostel, the teacher of the writer, formulated this in
the following way: "Bodily motion is freed from effort by repetitions. It is
moulded into a precise shape, and proceeds in accordance with its own laws and
seemingly by itself. Along with it, and as part only of the whole movement, speech
forms itself rhythmically and tonally. Thus vitality is heightened above its normal
state. The movements are relieved of the constraint which in everyday life binds
them to the pursuit of their immediate aims." 3 He sees in this process the meaning
music has for the African. A boy in a school once wrote in a composition that if
he heard his neighbour beating the drum he knew that the neighbour was happy.
This happiness is the outcome of the process which von Hornbostel explains, m
the same way as the ecstasy of a dance is the outcome of it. The enanga perfor-
mance too comes within reach of his view-point.
It is most instructive to go along the whole range of the practice of music in
Africa and to become conscious of its scope and the manifold occasions where
this relief takes place. Von Hornbostel is also of the opinion that in the relief the
individuality is lost, the production of the music being seemingly given up to an
independent spirit from whence a superhuman character comes into the music.
The study of all the implications would grow beyond the space of this paper. But
for our purpose this line of approach could be indicated by quoting two instances
which represent the two possible extremes between which any other instance could
The first is taken from Tanganyika. A missionary went up a river in a boat
on an inspection tour. The Africans who manned the canoe expressed dissatisfac-
tion with their wages by making up a song about it and singing it all day long. At
sunset the boat was put ashore and a camp improvised. Then the men left the
missionary without any attendance and joined the next village for a talk or a feast.
3 African Negro Music, Memorandum IV of the International Institute of African
Languages and Cultures. London, p. 32.
On the following day the complaining was continued. But the missionary knowing
the language well enough and being able to accompany himself on the sansa
(akadongo kabaLuru) answered by a song which put his case before them, telling
them how badly they looked after him in camp and that they should take him too
to a village when they went there. The result was satisfactory. That night he was
taken to a chief's residence where he was received and looked after properly.
The story is amusing but shows with great clearness the function which music
can assume in Africa. The whole event transferred into a European atmosphere
would lose the musical form and be degraded to a discussion.
Quite a different idea emerges from the second instance which might occur
anywhere in Africa. Details need not be given since everybody in the
field knows them, a dance at night. Observers from West Africa have reported
that the people dance and drum and sing for more than a week with no rest or
interruption. The dancer who has exhausted his strength will still not give up, but
prefers to collapse: and all to the same tune! The dullness of the music to
European ears could not be over-exaggerated. And yet such a judgment would
have done injustice to the feast. Repetitions there were, but the result must have
been not mere dullness. There must have been that relief from the body of which
von Hornsbostel speaks, the liberation of the soul and the loss of the individuality
to the spirit of the ngoma.
The two examples form extremes. Other examples could be placed between
them. There is the rare sight of a woman standing on the cultivated plot close
to her husband who does the work while she plays to him the little sansa (a set of
lamellae fastened on to a board over a bridge). There are the clan beats in
Buganda, the proper relations of which to music have not yet been investigated.
There is 'the blower of the endere who produces a music the dramatic character
of which is reminiscent of the story of the struggle of Apollo with the dragon
which was blown on an oboe in ancient times. In Buganda the flute has mostly
a bucolic character. There is the story teller who sings about heroes of the people
and accompanies himself. His accompaniment represents a true picture of his
excitement. In a climax a special pattern will be used, because the playing hands
on the tube-fiddle, the endingidi, will be influenced by the excitement which pos-
sesses the singer. The playing hands will change their movements accordingly and
by altered fingering will produce a different scale on the string.
With Europeans the psycho-physical is subdued beyond recognition by the
aspect of aesthetic pleasure. The latter has become the medium through which
recreation is gained; even the emotions evoked by sacred music have to suffer the
check of aesthetic satisfaction, an attitude which the Fathers of the church detested
like the devil. In addition to all this a musical experience is influenced by tradi-
tions. A National Anthem has an entirely different result on people of foreign
nationality. There is hardly any understanding of native tradition in the case of
a Westerner listening to African music. In connection with the enanga the associa-
tion with the chiefs in Buganda would be such a tradition, or the custom that the
9mulanga "can teach only his own child", i.e. retains a hereditary function.
This article has attempted to show the bow-harp not only in Uganda but in
the strata to which it belongs. It then proceeded to give the application of a
musical grammar and finally, to sketch the background of musical experience
against which the enanga is to be appreciated. The three lines cannot serve as a
substitute for the genuine experience of the African, but the endeavour to protect or
even to develop indigenous music has as much, if not more, justification after the
three lines of approach have been tried, as a sympathy for folklore or a general
enthusiasm for things African.
The art of the omulanga, with which this paper is mainly concerned, is carried
on by very few men only. If it dies out all the associations shown in this paper
die with it and the people in Uganda have to suffer the loss. For those who have
no illusions about the future of Kiganda music the urgency of at least collecting
and preserving in Phonogram-Archives what is left at the present time, should be
The writer is indebted to Omw. Mulira and Omw. Sekaboga for their help in
language questions, and to Owekitibwa Omuwanika Kulubya for his efforts to
support his researches.
Two Plant Problems
By W. J. EGGELING
The tree fern Cyathea dregei Kunzl. is known in Uganda only from Toro
District, where, as far as it at present known, it occurs only on the Fort Portal side
of Butiti Hill, close to and on the upper side of the main Kampala-Toro road.
Seen from a distance the plants'appear to be only 3-5 ft. high but on going closer
one finds that the stems are often twice as long as this for every plant is growing
from the side (or occasionally from the bottom) of a hole 4-12 ft. deep and 1-3 ft.
diameter. These holes are all man-made and, being sited on ironstone, were pro-
bably once the source of material for iron-smelting. None of the ferns are growing
elsewhere than in these pits and the question at once arises what is the real habitat
of the fern and from whence came the spores which led to the colonisation of
The orchid Disa eminii Kraenzl. presents a very similar problem. This species
occurs in Uganda in a number of localities around Lake Victoria, always in swamps
near the lake shore and always associated with sphagnum moss. Sphagnum is
found scattered here and there throughout these swamps but attains its optimum
development only in small patches in areas which are annually burnt. In these
patches the moss is dominant, associated with very few other plants, and it is in
this Sphagnum Society and apparently only in this society that Disa eminii occurs.
Now it is possible, though scarcely probable, that this orchid occurs only in a com-
munity originating from man's activity and the question again is where, if any-
where, does it occur in an environment not due to the work of man? None of the
specimens of the plant in the Kew herbarium gives any clue to any other habitat
for the species.
*Past records of this plant from Uganda are nearly all referrable to C. dekenii Kuhn.,
from which C. dregei is easily distinguished by the almost smooth stem and lower part of the
petiole. C. deckenii, which has these parts markedly prickly, is the common fern of E.
Africa and is abundant in wet patches of the Hema (Kibale) Forest, on the Bwamba Pass,
and in other parts of Toro; also in Kigezi, Ankole, Bugishu and on the Sesse Islands,
"Word Importation '
To The Editor,
Mr. R. A. Snoxall in his intriguing article on "Word Importation into Bantu
Language" (Uganda Journal, Vol. V, No. IV) mentions the ease with which many
apparently disconcerting words and ideas in foreign languages are becoming
I have vivid recollections of an amusing example of this ready facility of the
The incident was during the heats of a Uganda Native Athletic Association
Annual Championship Meeting a few years back. We were experiencing consi-
derable difficulty in making the competitors understand that on the command
"Get set" they must remain on their marks and wait for the pistol.
At last Mr. Serwano Kulubya (Omuwanika), who was assisting at the starts
ejaculated in desperation, "Amakulu gakyo 'seti buseti' "-" It means just get
ALLAN J. Lusn.
25th May, 1938.
The Uganda Society
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Merchants Importers Exporters
Branches at:- MOMBASA, NAIROBI, TANGA, DAR-ES-
SALAAM, TABORA, MWANZA, CHUNYA, and Vol.
John Fowler & Co. Ltd.
Robey & Co. Ltd.
W. & T. Avery Ltd.
Chillington Tool Co.
W. T. Henley's Cables.
Ransome & Marles Bearing
Magnolia Antifriction Metal
Colman's Blue & Starch.
Quinnette Fruit Crushes.
Morris Cranes & Elevators.
Erskine Heap Switch Gear.
Rownson's Sanitary Ware.
Girl Brand Beer.
Ferguson's Paints & Dis-
BOOKING AGENTS FOR UNION CASTLE STEAMSHIP CO, LTD.
AND IMPERIAL AIRWAYS LTD.
LLOYDS AGENTS, UGANDA & LAKE PORTS.
GUARDIAN FIRE & MOTOR INSURANCE AGENTS
Galvanised Iron, Round Iron Bars, Building Material, Piece Goods,
Disinfectants, Sanitary Ware, Mining Tools and Machinery, Hoes, Jembies,
Matches, Motor and Cycle Tyres, Baling Hoops and Studs, Liquor, Paints,
Refrigerators, etc., etc.
All the Best Residential and
Office Accommodation in Kampala
Buildings of all Types for every purpose
in all streets.
Very Good Corner Sites.
Write or call now for full Particulars
at Norman Godinho's Office.
Telephone Box 9 Kampala. Telegrams
4 P "Godinho."
VITHALDAS HARIDAS & Co., Limited
P. 0. Box 54.
Telephones JINJA OFFICE 29, 121, 79.
IMPORTERS and EXPORTERS.
UGANDA-(1) Bukoboli, (2) Busowa, (3) Bubinga, (4) Kamuli, (5) Mbulamuti,
(6) Kakira, (7) Kabiaza,(8) Butiru, (9) Kabiramaido, (10) Pilitok, (11)Amaich,
(12) Aboki, (13) Chagweri, (14) Batta, (15) Jaber and (16) Kalaki.
KENYA-Malikisi. TANGANYIKA-Ruvu and Kiberege.
Other Plantations totaling about 4,000 acres Freehold Land.
1, BUKOBOLI. 2, BUSOWA. 3, BUKONA. 4, WEIBUGU.
THE UGANDA TIMBER SALES
TIMBER MERCHANTS AND EXPORTERS
P.O. Box 168, JINJA
TELEGRAMS: "TIMANDA," JINJA.-TELEPHONE 68, JINJA.
Buchanan's Saw Mills
(Budongo and Busoga)
Sikh Saw Mills
Kitumbezi Saw Mills
Uganda Timber and Produce Co.'s
Balmoral Saw Mills
Williams and Barnard's Saw Mills
Navivumbi Saw Mills
Uganda Agents for The East African Timber
Co-Operative Society Ltd. Kenya.
Our KAMPALA GODOWNS stock:
MVULE, MAHOGANY and PODO
GODOWN AGENT: Mr. H. MACLEVIN.
Telephone 1o9, Kampala. P.O. Box 25, Kampala
THE UGANDA TIMBER SALES
GENERAL MERCHANTS- STOCKISTS- IMPORTERS EXPOR-
TERS-CLEARING AND FORWARDING INSURANCE-FREIGHT
Dealers in PIECE GOODS, CEMENT, C.I. SHEETS, BUILDING
MATERIALS, CHEMICALS, EXPLOSIVES, ESTATE AND MINING
Agents :- Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika Territory,
N. SHAH & CO.
P. 0. Box 240
_ ___...._._. 1_~~_D_~
Ring or Write
THE BOMBAY TRADING STORES
THE BOMBAY TRADING STORES
Phone i i
P.O. Box 65
The Shop that's worth Shopping.
Varied Stocks of:-
Fresh and tinned Provisions from Home and
local from well-known houses.
Fresh Imported Fish and Fruit every mail
Wines, Spirits and Beverages of all kinds.
Cakes, Sweets, Pastries, Chocolates,
Fudge, Bread, etc., etc.,
Enjoy your cool drinks at our LOUNGE BAR
PINTO JUNIOR AND COMPANY
Phone 59 KAMPALA (UGANDA) Box
Aglnts for :-
Beck's Bremen Beer.
Messrs. John Begg Ltd., Glasgow.
..,_ 1 i I _~_1I-_ I L I. ~jI-IIIIYI~LrIIL~n IIC~-Ys~-r~Pm---~=iCI
off .0 6
BATTERY-OPERATED AND ALL-MAINS WIRELESS SETS.
SPECIALLY MADE FOR EAST-AFRICAN CONDITIONS.
FOR PARTICULARS, DEMONSTRATION AND PRICES
Twentsche Overseas Trading Co., Ltd.
SP. O. Box 162 KAMPALA:
Agent for Jinja:-
DHARAMSHI HEMRAJ. P.O. B. 107, JINJA,
.. . . . . . . . . . . [ I -I I -"
Hoima Cotton Company Ltd.
NANJI KALIDAS METHA, Esq. M. B. E..
Sisal Growers, Cotton
Ginners and Merchants.
Sisal Plantation & Factory, Simsim Oil Mill
at MASINDI PORT, UGANDA.
Rubber, Coffee & Sugar Cane Plantations
BUUNDU & BUJENJE,
Telephone 263 P. 0. Box No. 363.
TELEGRAMS (HEAD OFFICE
BRANCH) "PATEL PRESS'
ESTABLISHED 1924. INCORPORATED 1935.
D. L. PATEL PRESS,
GENERAL AND COMMERCIAL PRINTERS,
STATIONERS AND BOOK-SELLERS.
BOOK-BINDERS & RUBBER-STAMP
WHOLESALE PAPER MERCHANTS.
ACCOUNT & EXERCISE BOOKS
SOLE DISTRIBUTORS KENYA & UGANDA.
"NATIONAL" LOOSE LEAF BINDERS & SHEETS.
"BUTTERFLY" GUM STRIPS AND SEALERS.
OPPOSITE POST OFFICE KAMPALA.
VITHALDAS HARIDAS & Co., Limited
General Managers for:-
UGANDA (KAKIRA) SUGAR WORKS, Limited.
(Incorporated in Uganda)
KENYA SUGAR LIMITED
(Incorporated in Kenya)
Nile Industrial & Tobacco Co., Limited
(Incorporated in Uganda)
SUGAR WORKS AND PLANTATIONS
At Ramisi Estate-Near Mombasa.
KAKIRA SUGAR WORKS
Holding about ii,oco acres of land, mostly under cultivation, at
mile 9, Jinja and Iganga Road.
Employing about 5,000 Africans, 200 Indians, Europeans and Mauri-
tians. About 36 miles of Light Railway.
Water Supply to the Factory by means of pumping plant on Lake
TELEPHONES:- Kakira Factory 125, JINJA OFFICE 29, 121, 79.
P.O. BOX 54, JINJA.
SOLE DISTRIBUTORS FOR
DIAMOND T. TRUCKS
AMERICAN BANTAM CARS
---urmrr-I.li..r. .t L i i I. ii ; .. _.L I ii i; I
The Whisky most
suited to tropical
till going Strong most refreshing.
Smith Mackenzie & Company, Ltd.
Stocks obtainable from N. SHAH & Co.
. . . _i 111 0 111 r. Il - 0ii li Iil I l i I 1 i [ i
BOOKSELLERS & STATIONERS
RARE & VALUABLE BOOKS ON UGANDA.
BASKET WORK & CURIOS
Scholastic & Artists' Materials
SOLE AGENTS for REMINGTON TYPEWRITERS
P. O. Box 145 Kampala. And at Mbale
W. BOYD & CO., LTD.
Printers, Bookbinders, Delamere Avenue,
Manufacturing Stationers, P. 0. Box 775,
Publishers. N A I R 0 BI.
WE specialize in Legal, Com-
mercial and Shamba printing. All
Work entrusted to us delivered
promptly. We have one of the
most modern jobbing presses in
Eastern Africa and guarantee first
class work at moderate prices.
ASK us for an estimate for your printing