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|Table of Contents|
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
Front Matter 18
Table of Contents
From Negro Sculpture to Modern Painting
Giovanni Miani and the White Nile
The Nature and Characteristics of the Supreme Being Worshipped among the Acholi of Uganda
Index to Volume VI
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Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
VOL. VI. APRIL, 1939.
From Negro Sculpture
to Modern Painting ..... M AROABET TROWELL.
Giovanni Miani and the
White NHe ..................... H. B. Tuo5s as, o.. BE.
The Nature and Charac-
terislics of the
Supreme Being Wor-
shipped among the
Aoholl lo Uganda. ...........RNATC BOCCAsSINO.
NOTES, CORRESPONDENCE ETC.
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
Photo: Capt. F. Roberts.
The Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile are one of the wonders of East
Africa-Here the waters, of the mighty Nile thunder down in giant cascades from
the lip of the cliffs. The roar of the waters fills the gorge with awe-inspiring
sound as thousands of tons of water pour through the narrow cleft to the pool be-
neath and spray leaps up caught and transfigured in the sun-But that is not all.
The great pool at the foot of the Falls stretching from bank to bank is alive. Hip-
popotomi break the surface with great grotesque pink snouts and rise like creatures
of another world. The young of the species disport themselves on the rocks or
move lazily in the sun. Great crocodiles float in scores, disappearing with a flurry
on sound or movement to rise a hundred yards away. Their great bulk hides half
the glistening sand of the tiny coves among the giant trees. With a rushing
sound a monster emerges from the undergrowth, moves at incredible speed for
the water and is gone in an instant with a splash. Here in this enclosed gorge is
all the wild river-life of old Africa, unspoiled by man's intrusion. The Murchison
Falls are one of Natures most closely guarded secrets, but
KENYA and UGANDA RAILWAYS and HARBOURS
holds the key to this place of enchantment.
DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING FARES AND SERVICES
FROM ANY STATION OR PORT
THE RAILWAY REPRESENTATIVE-EAST AFRICAN OFFICE,
2, Maritime House, Loveday Street,
P. O. Box 1052 Johannesburg.
those fortunate individuals on HOME LEAVE begins in
February and continues with unabated vigour until June.
( Considered your air booking yet ?
Q Made any preliminary enquiries about accommodation ?
I Realised that services fill up rapidly between February & J une?
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 Factory 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.
(INCORPORATED IN UGANDA)
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. O. Box 54, JINJA (UGANDA).
Kenya Sugar Limited -Works and Plantations:-
At Ramisi Estate (Digo District) near Mombasa.
P.O. Box 158, MOMBASA.
TOBACCO FACTORY at Kakira (Jinja).
COTTON GINNERIES (Uganda).
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a 7. Kabiaza I1. Amaich 15. J
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Ruvu and Kiberege.
Other Plantations totalling about 4000
acres Freehold land.
li 2. Busowa 3. Bukona 4. B
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connection with these steamer excursions.
Coastwise Excursion-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 full particulars of passenger fares and freight rates apply to:-
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and PROVISION MERCHANTS
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Under Experienced European supervision. We are therefore able to advise
upon your requirements for all occasions. All our goods are of best
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you are assured that our stocks are always new.
We Specialise in catering for the wants of our upcountry friends and
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'THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
; BANKERS' ORDER
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Standard Bank of S. A. Ltd. Double Subscription 15/- per annum.
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Please to pay to the credit of the account of the Uganda Society, at National Bank of India, Ltd., Kampala,
S the sum of ..... .. ............ ........................... .... ........Shillings; and the same sum on each successive
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(Name and Address in BLOCK LETTERS)
SUGANDA PRTITING & PUBL RHING 00. LT&
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
Vol. VI. APRIL, 1939. No. 4.
From Negro Sculpture to Modern Painting, ... ... by MARGARET TROWELL.
Giovanni Miani and the White Nile. ... ... ... by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
The Nature and Characteristics of the Supreme Being
worshipped among the Acholi of Uganda. ... ... by RENATO BOCCASSINO.
Sailing on the Victoria Nyanza in 1908. ... ... by SIR ALISON RUSELL, K.C.
A Note on the Saza of Bugerere, Buganda Kingdom. ... ... by A.O. JENKINS.
His EXCELLENCY SIR PHILIP E. MITCHELL, K.C.M.G., M.C.
JOHN SYKES, ESQ.,
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.,
DR. H. H. HUNTER, C.B.E.,
H. JOWITT, ESQ.,
THE RT. REV. BISHOP E. MICHAUD, M.B.E.
E. J. WAYLAND, ESQ., C.B.E.
DR. L.D. AHMED.
NORMAN GODINHO, ESQ., M.B.E.
G. L. R. HANCOCK, ESQ.,
H. R. HONE, ESQ., M.C., K.C.,
OMW. BALAAMU J. MUKASA.
OMW. B. K. MULYANTI.
MRS. H.C. TROWELL.
DR. A.W. WILLIAMS.
W. N. R. LEE, ESQ., M.A.
Assistant Honorary Treasurer
C.R. HALL, ESQ.
R.J.R. POTTS, ESQ.
Assistant Honorary Editor.
G.H.E. HOPKINS, ESQ.
R. S. SHACKELL, ESQ.
S. R. HOOPER, ESQ.
The Uganda Society
The desired minimum of 500 members (See Vol.: II. No.2. Vol. V. No.l. etc.)
has at long last been attained, thanks to the efforts of our Honorary Treasurer.
In Number I of this Volume we published a complete list of all our members,
excluding Government Departments; in Number III a list of nearly one hundred
additional names was added and now we welcome the following new or rejoined
BIDGOOD MIss M.B.
LEIGMAGGER, REV. FR. 1.
O'SULLIVAN, DR. M.
RAINSFORD, DR. & MRS. C.R.C.
REESINCK, RT. REV. MGR. J.
ROBINSON, MR. & MRS. J.F.,
SCHETT, REV. FR. S.
WILLIAMS, MRS. A.W.
WILLIAMS, DR. M. AILEEN.
ZUURE, REV. FR. A.,
NIGERIAN DEPARTMENT OF
P.O. Masindi, Western Province.
c/o Medical Dept. Entebbe.
Uganda Police, P.O. Kampala.
P.O. Box 93 Kampala.
D.C.'s Office, Fort Portal, Western Pro-
c/o H.M. Syndicate, P.O. Box 77,
St. Joseph's Mission House, Bressanone,
A. & E. Investment Co., Ltd., Butiaba,
P.O. Box 71, Kampala.
Veterinary Department, Kampala.
Imperial Hotel, Kampala.
Catholic Mission Hospital Nsambya, P.O.
Box 464, Kampala.
c/o Merchant Bank, P.O. Box 222,
Makerere College, Kampala.
Haslar, Galwall Park, Belfast. N. Ireland.
Vicar Apostolic or the Upper Nile, P.O
Box 321, Kampala.
King's College Budo, P.O. Box 121,
Veterinary Department, Entebbe.
Catholic Mission, Ngora, E.P.
King's College, Budo, P.O. Box 121,
P.O. Hoima, Bunyoro, W.P.
c/o Medical Dept. Mulago, P.O.
Kamuli Catholic Mission Hospital, Bu-
C.M. Namilyango, P.O. Box 381, Kampala
AGRICULTURE, Ibaden, S. Nigeria.
We regret that, in the list shown in Volume VI. No.3, the names of the follow-
ing members were included although they appeared in Vol. VI, No.1.
Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Forrest,
Mr. L.G. Margach, O.B.E.,
Mr. D.G. Maurice.
The following Students of Makerere College have joined the Society as
Private Post Bag,
Please note that my address for the time being is as
and is likely to remain so for the next .................months.
NAME (in block letters) M
It is with a feeling of considerable dismay that we find ourselves elevated to the
Editorial chair of so erudite a Journal as that of the Uganda Society, and this feeling
is doubtless shared by many others. Rumour, indeed, lifting its subtle head like one
of Uganda's snakes, whispers that before becoming an editor we were not even a
member, and rumour for once is right. Whether it reflects to a greater extent
upon ourselves for unaccountably failing to join the Society than upon the Society
itself for being apparently unable to find one its number willing to accept so hon-
ourable a position is a matter for conjecture. If any there be, however, who feel
with misgivings that the Editorial pen has fallen into the hand of the Philistine,
the remedy is obvious; and we shall surrender the post with all the will in the world.
Referring once more to Uganda's snakes we should like to quote an extract
from a letter written by the Chief Secretary to our President, which members will
be equally pleased to read:
"I am directed, by the Governor, to inform you that His Excellency has re-
ceived a dispatch from the Secretary of State in which the publication 'A Guide
to the Snakes of Uganda,' by Captain C.R.S. Pitman, is commended.
The Secretary of State has been impressed by the excellence of this work
which he considers reflects great credit, not only upon the author, but also on your
Society which has done so much to facilitate its production. He wishes an expres-
sion of his appreciation to be conveyed to Captain Pitman and to the Society; and
His Excellency is happy in doing so to associate himself with the tribute".
On behalf of the Society we thank Mr. H.B. Thomas for very kindly presenting
us with a copy of "The History of Smith, Makenzie & Co, Ltd."
Our thanks are also due to Mr. R.S. Shackell for stepping so efficiently into the
breach caused by the sudden departure of Mr. Snoxall, and getting out the last
number of the Journal.
Many complaints have been received that members do not get lecture-
notices until after the date of the lecture. In a highly migratory population such as
is constituted by a large proportion of our membership, this is inevitable unless
changes of address are notified promptly. In this and future numbers of the
Journal members will find a perforated slip for the purpose of notifying changes of
address. It is hoped to maintain an up-to-date register of addresses of members
and they will assist greatly if they will notify changes of address on the slip and
send it to the Honorary Secretary as promptly as possible.
Communications are still being received addressed to officers of the Society,
both past and present, at their private Box numbers. We would remind members
that the Society has one address only, from which all correspondence is collected
and sent to the various gentlemen who are at the moment concerned. Considerable
time and trouble is thus saved. The address is:-
PRIVATE BAG, KAMPALA.
We feel that this Editorial would be incomplete without some brief mention of
the departure from this country of Mr. E.F. Twining. For his spade-work at its
inception and the help he has so frequently and so generously given ever since.
the Society owes him a debt of the deepest gratitude. Mauritius has gained a man
of wide outlook and tireless energy. We wish him the best of luck there.
NOT I CES
Dr. Williams has taken over the duties of Hon. Secretary and Mr. Shackell
those of Hon. Librarian.
Members who wish to sell copies of Volume I, No. 2, of the Journal should
communicate with the Editor stating their price.
Except in the case of Vol. I and Vol. II, for which prices may be obtained on
application to the Hon. Treasurer, all the back numbers of the Journal may be
bought at 3/- each (2/6 to members). Vol. I, No. 2 is out of print.
Members are reminded that this number completes Volume VI, and that sub-
scriptions for 1939-40 are due on June 30th. A Banker's Order Form will be found
in this issue. Members who have already signed Bankers' Orders would perhaps
pass this one on.
The following lectures have been given to the Society since the publication of
the last number:-
December Hon. H. Jowitt.
"Anecdotes of Zululand".
January J. Sykes, Esq.,
"The Sanders Saga".
February Captain C.R.S. Pitman, D.S.O., M.C.
"The ten Plagues of Egypt, and the passage
of the Red Sea by the Children of Israel".
March G. Milne, Esq.,
"Amani and its Work".
A. Paterson, Esq., M.C.
"The World's Prison Problem".
We have pleasure in recording the appearance of some recent publications on
Property among the Ciga in Uganda-AFRICA Vol. XI-3. pp. 325-341
Stone Age Cultures of Uganda-MAN, 38.60-LS.B. Leakey
Kinship Organisation of the Banyankole-AFRICA. Vol. X-2. pp. 129-158.
History of Uganda Land and Surveys of the Uganda Land and Survey Depart-
ment-Uganda Government Printer-
H.B. Thomas &
Arts and Crafts of Uganda-M. Trowell.
Handbook for dressers & Nurses in the Tropics-Sheldon Press-
Gesange und Uganda-Archiv. f. Musikforschung-Z. 2 pp. 185-242
The teaching of African Languages in African Schools-AFRICA. Vol. XI-1.
pp. 73-79-A.V.P. Elliott.
Some notes on the Bahima and cattle industry of Ankole-Uganda Govern-
ment Printer-W.L.S. Mackintosh.
We acknowledge with thanks receipt of the following publications sent in ex-
change for the "Journal": -
"Man," January and February, 1939.
Bulletin of the Stoneham Museum, Kitale, No. 36.
Publications du Comit6 d'Etudes Historiques et Scientifiques de I'Afrique
Occidentale Franqaise, S6rie A, No. 7.
Journal de la Soci6t6 des Africanistes, Tome VIII, Fascicule 1.
Bulletin of the Imperial Institute, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4
"Bantu Studies" Vol. XII, No. 4
"Tanganyika Notes and Records" No. 6, December, 1938
Bulletin du Comit6 d'Etudes Historiques et Scientifiques de l'Afrique Occid-
entale Franqaise, Tome XXI, Nos. 2 and 3
Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society, Vol. XIV,
Nos. 1-2, February, 1939
"The Nigerian Field", Vol. VIII, No. 1, January, 1939
"Bibliographie Ethnographique du Congo Belge, 1937", Serie I, Vol. III,
Annual Report, 1939, Stoneham Museum, Kitale.
From Negro Sculpture to Modern
By MARGARET TROWELL
African Art is a most difficult subject upon which to write; our knowledge
of it is as yet meagre and, because its form is so totally different from that of our
own art, our opinion of it may vary between that of the long-standing resident who
believes he has never seen anything worth calling "art", to that of the eminent
art critic who declares:
"We have the habit of thinking that the power to create expressive plastic
form is one of the greatest of human achievements, and the names of great sculpt-
ors are handed down from generation to generation, so that it seems unfair to be
forced to admit that certain nameless Africans have possessed this power not only
in a higher degree than we at this moment, but than we as a nation have ever
possessed it. And yet that i' where I find myself. I have to admit that some of
these things are great sculpture-greater I think, than anything we produced even
in the Middle Ages. Certainly they have the special qualities of sculpture in a
And it is not only the European who is guilty of lightly dismissing the carvings
of old Africa as primitive and crude. The vast proportion of educated Africans
to-day have no regard for, or interest in these uncivilized relics. Yet it is interesting
to note that a further knowledge of the great art of the world far from leading the
African away from his own art only seems to teach him to appreciate its real
A group of East African students who had been learning to paint, had also
been shown from week to week a number of reproductions of painting and sculp-
ture. They were discussing the characteristics of four very different types of sculp-
ture-Greek, Gothic, Eastern and African. After a number of very interesting
comments, over half of the boys decided that they really liked the African carving
best. On being pressed to give reasons one remarked slowly "Well, it's so much
more life-like," and this met with the approval of the whole class. By all our
criteria "life-like" was the last adjective I should have bestowed upon it however
much I admired it. What he meant was that it was truer to life as he felt it, a very
different thing from correct proportion and anatomy and so on.
Now if the educated African with his very different form of expression can yet
feel the emotional content of the best of the African Art that is now so rapidly
passing, I do not think we need fear that in the rush of modern civilization his
art will be completely swamped. That its form may absolutely change is, I believe,
*From an essay on Negro Sculpture in "Vision and Design" by the late Mr. Roger Fry.
inevitable; but something of the traditional sense of form and pattern will live
through. This development of a modern African Art is something to which I
want to return later.
The understanding and appreciation of any art must presuppose the under-
standing of the particular culture and conditions of life to which the artist belongs.
That is why it is so extraordinarily difficult for us to take an African work of art
out of the void, as it were, and try to appreciate it. Our line of thought, our likes
and dislikes, our cultural background, all this is so set, and our ignorance of other
modes of thought is so profound, that we find it incredible that beauty can exist
in forms other than those which we have been taught to appreciate.
There is no space to enter upon an analysis of all that goes to make up our
prejudices in the matter of art. I can but give you a bare list of some of the points
which need to be considered. They are chiefly historical. We come at the end
of a long line of tradition, starting perhaps at the almost mathematical Greek canon
of perfect beauty, deadened by the unimaginative Roman efforts to reduce it to a
mere formula for copying, enriched again by the wave of Byzantine riot of colour
and form brought by the barbarians from the east, tamed and yet exalted by the
dreams of the Gothic builders, domesticated by the demands of the merchant Prin-
ces, turned to a mere unimaginative copying of observable facts by an age growing
ever more materialistic, and finally carried wildly down unbalanced paths of post-
impressionism and sur-realism by a generation sick both of hard facts and of pretty
Out of all this welter of tradition and new growth many of us cling desperately
to two facts; bewildered we may be, but we will demand with our latest breath
that art shall be pretty and that it shall be photographically true to life.
It is curious that these are the chief criteria we take with us when we set out to
judge a work of art; it is ridiculous when we use them to judge a work of art of a
civilization other than our own. We do not say a piece of literature is a great
work of art only if it possesses a sugary sentimentality or prettiness; we know
that if it speaks of reality it must be greater than that. We do not demand of
music that it shall give us just the dog's bark and the cock's crow and the sound
of the house-boy sweeping the floor; we know that the genius of the musician must
be roused by the sounds which he hears but we grant him freedom to create
rhythms and harmonies which are spiritual rather than factual copies. Yet when
the artist seeks this freedom we look on him with suspicion.
If we are to attempt at all to enter into the art of another people we must
recognize first that this desire: to have accurate photographic representation, scienti-
fic perspective, correct proportion and all the rest of it is a desire which is parti-
cularly our own, belonging to our age and our civilization, and which, I would
add, is not really shared by the great artist of any age at all. It is the result of an
over-emphasis of the importance of science, of the discovery of the camera "which
cannot lie,"and of our strictly logical type of mind which likes to build one fact
upon the other and reject every brick which does not fit into its preconceived plan.
To the artist it is in part an offence and a stumbling block. The truths of
which he speaks are so much deeper than the outward temporal aspect of things
that he is unconsciously obliged to over-emphasise and exaggerate what to him is
important, and to suppress what does not contribute to his purpose,
Added to this, sheer photographic representation must break the rhythms of
form, tone and colour with which he is trying to express his thought, and it is these
rhythms which are the artist's chief means of conveying an emotional idea to us.
A third point always to be remembered in considering the work of a child or
of a less academically trained artist, is that photographic representation of three
dimensional form on a flat surface is a highly skilled job, and to insist on it is to
make the artist selfconscious, with the very great danger that he will lose those
other qualities of colour and form that we have said are of chief importance in a
work of art.
If, as I hope, we have now cleared our minds a little of our preconceived pre-
judices, and are ready to stretch the meaning of the word Beauty beyond any
bounds set by our own outlook on life, let us try with all the help that the anthropo-
logists and psychologists can give us to enter into the attitude of the African
artist, both of the rapidly passing pagan world and of the equally rapidly develop-
ing modern outlook. And in each case we will take some examples of typical
works of art, and try to appraise them sympathetically.
During the last few hundred years we have come to limit the meaning of the
word "art" to pictures. This is really only a specialized form of art; pictures,
painted on wooden or canvas panels, began in the thirteenth and fourteenth cent-
uries when the Italian merchant princes became the Patrons of Art in place of the
church. Before that we had big frescos in tempera which in their turn partly
evolved from painted sculpture; so that painting was just an offshoot of decorated
architecture. Anything which man makes, his house, his tools, his pots, can be
a work of art, and when we are considering the art of a people who had no paper,
canvas, or paint, we must use the word in this wider sense. Even the usual
distinction of "arts" and "crafts" gives the making of utilitarian but beautiful things
a lesser artistic value than painting or sculpture, a distinction which I think we
should try to avoid.
African Art is to be seen at its highest in the religious sculpture of the Congo
and the West Coast. Yet when we come to this fresh from our twentieth century
western civilization it is hard for us to appreciate the power and the mystery which
lie behind these forms so remote from our own mental outlook. All anthropologists
and missionaries tell us that the old religions of Africa were religions of fear.
Spirits of the dead were all around waiting to pounce on the unwitting offender;
these spirits were to be propitiated, or perhaps frightened away by yet more fearful
forms. Darkest Africa really was a jungle of intangible evil shapes and unnamed
horrors. To be in the right frame of mind to appreciate the carvings and masks
used chiefly in dances and religious ceremonies we have to abandon for the moment
our modern cynicism and go to them in the mood in which we sit down to read a
really gruesome thriller of the occult and supernatural kind-ready to have our
blood curdled and our hair made to stand up on end, yet realising that to the artist
this sensation was the real thing and no mere romancing.
One of our modem battlecries in the art world is "fitness for purpose" and
certainly it is one of the real criteria of a work of art. If the "purpose" is a linking
up of this underworld of horror with our everyday life nothing could be more
"fit" than these masks-truly their makers were masters of the macabre. To achieve
such an emotion of awe and fear and superstition there: must be distortion and
There is too an important point which we must grasp if we are to have under-
standing. Such works as these will never again be produced; they result from a
primitive outlook on life which M. L6vy-Bruhl describes as pre-logical and mystic.
To the pre-logical mind, as perhaps in a far lesser way to all truly religious and
mystical minds, the spiritual world enters into and participates in dead and inanim-
ate objects as well as in man's thoughts and actions. When the purpose is to
create ap object wherein the spirit may dwell, the importance lies not in that
object's visual likeness to the spirit (for it is a mere symbol accepted as such by
both artist and beholders) but in a meticulous attention to ceremonial observance
and ritual in the making. The result will be, first that the artist need not seek to
-make a copy and a likeness, and secondly, freed from this need, and working
under the stress of a religious emotion, that he will quite naturally and uncons-
ciously use the rhythms of form to express himself with a force that he could not
otherwise have achieved.
Thus it is that even the primitive carver may have a mastery over the aesthetic
values of rhythm and form which can only be achieved by the really great artist
who is working to the logical conceptions of representation. And again that is
why most of us find it far easier to admire African pattern work and decoration,
which as far as we know is strictly non-representational, than their figure carvings,
which judged logically have so little connection with what they represent.
We approach a work of art from two different sides, as it were--we ask
first that it shall be "like", and only appreciate form and rhythm as a make weight.
The pre-logical asks a symbol, and not being bothered about the likeness uncons-
ciously puts form and rhythm in the front rank. Probably the greatest art should
contain both aspects of artistic truth.
Those who have been in West Africa or who have seen photographs of Ashanti
stools in such books as Rattray's Religion and Art in Ashanti will appreciate the
Africans' love of beautiful form, for in these we are not confused by any suggestion
of representation. In these stools there is a really lovely combination of curve
and straight line-not an obvious curve such as you would get with a compass,
but a curiously flattened one; they are extraordinarily like a bit of Chinese archi-
tecture; there is a real sense of mass and balance, and the very simple decoration
gives them a richness and finish without fuss and ostentation.
Still trying to think of form, balance and rhythm rather than photographic
representation, let us look at the little wooden figure from the Belgian Congo in
Plate I. From the point of view of representation the artist has given us enough
to go on. By the physical characteristics and type of ornament we know that it is
a woman, and he has even portrayed the facial type with considerable skill, thick
lips, flattened nose, eyes, forehead, cheek bones, all of which show great observa-
tion. But it is the rhythm of form and balance that makes this a real work of
art, those great flat hands and enormous head, the emphatic diagonals of the
thighs and legs. Carve the thing again in correct proportion and anatomical
accuracy, and all beauty will have gone; you will be left with a wooden doll as
dead as a doornail.
WOODEN FIGURE. Belgian Congo
Reproduced, by permission, from The Arts of West Africa, edited by Sir Michael Sadler (Oxford
University Press on behalf of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures).
I'niwrsity Press on behalf of the International Institute of African Lan 'uages and Cultures).
In the mask shown in the second plate there is a brooding stillness that is
really mystical in our sense of the word. The absolute simplicity of form and
sparseness of detail is its secret. It is akin to Gothic sculpture, the type of European
art in which deep religious emotion is most truly expressed.
As the Pre-logical stage passes, the African ceases to be merely a part of the
tribe, which in its turn is subjected to the unseen forces behind the visible world,
and becomes an individual looking out on a world of individuals, noting all
their characteristics, and idiosyncracies with a shrewd eye, reaching a stage which
one might call that of journalistic or narrative carving; his sculpture thus becomes
a commentary on everyday life. As one would expect with this changed attitude
the form of his work alters; he is no longer carving a symbol but a representation
of an actual type. We have to admit that here too the African artist achieves a
signal success. I think that the types of European art with which it is fair to
compare it are the early illuminated manuscripts, the Byzantine ivories, or perhaps,
best known of all, the kind of early drawings one often sees reproduced in good
history books, such as the characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
It is easy to think that "an effect" or an "expression" is caught accidentally,
that because so much of this secular African carving is wooden and lifeless, any
characterization or significance that we may find in it is fortuitous. But our African
friends are great observers of human nature, and the nicknames they bestow show
a very shrewd summing up of character.-"Bwana-One-plate," for a mean bachelor
who never entertained; "He who-walks-in-cirles-and-goes-nowhere" for a man of
much verbal enthusiasm but little real energy; "She-who-falls-over-her-own-feet" for
an excitable woman. It would be surprising if this critical faculty did not carry
over into their works of art. One sometimes comes on a good character study
amongst the small wood carvings of Kenya, Tanganyika and the Congo, and a
recently published book by Professor Lips* gives a number of excellent examples.
Amongst these are tourists, American and otherwise, enjoying their first view
of foreign parts; a doctor sitting at his desk writing out a prescription, with a
good bedside manner but a coldly calculating eye; a little nun, pacing up and down
with her open prayer-book and a far away look on her little round face; and a
cruelly competent study of a Victorian school-marm, prim and severe, with high
collar and tight waist, hair scraped back, and a look of stern displeasure on hert
It was not on the aesthetic side that the old African fathers lagged behind but
on the spiritual and scientific, and it is an interesting matter for speculation whether
now, as he hears more of truth and goodness, young Africa will keep his hold on
beauty or not. Although the old carvings are great artistic expressions of spiritual
things, they are expressions of a low type of spirituality, which is why they fail to
satisfy our whole minds. Surely Christianity ought to be able to call out as
intense and vivid an artistic response as the old primitive religions. Christianity
should and can, and for its own sake it must. It has been trully said: "If Christianity
is to appeal to the best in Africans it must at some period inspire the artists of the
community." That it has hardly begun to do so is due to the timidity and conven-
tionality of its European exponents. If Christianity is to enter right into the
*The Savage hits back, by Professor Lips.
hearts of the people the artists must take it and clothe it, as it were, in the verna-
cular, and we must stand back and see our traditional forms and ornaments dis-
appear, and African types and African designs take their place. Good examples
of African Christian art are at present hard to find.
Truth was an even lazier yokefellow for Beauty than Goodness in Africa.
Science passed the African artist by and gave him no aid. He found no permanent
materials to inspire him in architecture, he had no permanent buildings in which
to store his works of art, he knew no methods of preserving them against white
ants and other pests; he had no paper; only a limited range of colour; and no
kiln to fire his pottery to the necessary heat; here in East Africa he did not even
discover the potter's wheel or weaver's loom. Under such conditions the most
ardent artist-craftsman might well sit down and decide that nothing could be done.
Yet in spite of his lack of initiative along technical and scientific lines the
African artist has produced beauty in everyday things to a remarkable degree.
The fine papyrus basketry from Ankole is a craft of very real beauty and skill,
yet the only tool used is an odd bit of wire for an awl and a dye of soot and blood.
Some of the black pottery of Buganda and Bunyoro would compare favourably
in form with many a valued piece from China, although technically as pieces of
good earthernware they are extremely poor.
Yet all this is passing. The old religious masks are going, must go, along with
the pagan religion that cannot fit into modern life. The baskets and the pots are
getting fewer because the petrol debbe is driving them away. The carvings of wood
and ivory, the stools and arrow quivers are, even where they still exist, being
prostituted and becoming mere curios for tourists to buy. The old craftsmen are
dying out and their sons no longer follow the hereditary trades.
Here in Buganda, however, we have the nucleus of craftsmen's Guilds which
might foster good craftsmanship much as did the Guilds in the middle ages. In
the royal household the Chief Potter, Chief Drum-maker, Chief Blacksmith and so
on are hereditary titles within the clans, and these chiefs have the superintendence
of many skilled craftsmen whose ranks may be entered both by hereditary claims
or by apprenticeship from outside. These Guild members pay the same tribute,
have the same privileges, and to a certain extent the same pride in their work as
had their forefathers; their organization is rudimentary but might be made the basis
for some scheme of technical training and co-operative work.
In French Equatorial Africa some very interesting work has been done along
these lines. First a careful survey was made of existing crafts-the matter being
studied from the artistic, technical and sociological points of view. Then craft-
schools were set up in two big market-places. Craftsmen were encouraged to come
and work there along their own lines, while a qualified European with a real
appreciation of African art was on the spot to help them with simple technical
developments such as looms and kilns.
Achimota college on the Gold Coast, which is extraordinarily lucky in having
Mr. Meyerwitz as its Art Superintendent, is now planning the same sort of thing.
He has been studying crafts in the villages and hopes to start at the college an Art
and Crafts Library with reproductions of the best in the art of every country and
MASK IN BLACKENED WOOD. Ivory Coast
Reproduced, by permission, from The Arts of West Africa, edited by Sir Michael Sadler (Oxford
University Press on behalf of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures).
every age, together with a collection of African crafts. He hopes not only to teach
the students of advanced education but, after study of native technical methods
and tradition, to develop indigenous art through the training of members of the
local craftmens guilds, working at crafts, music, drumming and dancing. In other
words to preserve and develop a real African culture.
We must not look on African arts and music as an interesting survival but
as the basis for a real African culture in the future, for art is as much a part
of fullness of life as science. We can only do this by first making a real study of
their past traditions, and then instituting technical improvements such as looms,
potters wheels and kilns, helping with marketing, obtaining and preparing mater-
ials, forming co-operative craftsmens guilds and so on.
African Art, as apart from crafts, will inevitably take a very different form
from the art of the past. When we consider the psychological and historical traits
that condition both form and content in art we see that this must be so. I do not
believe that we can artificially force the African to continue in his traditional
art form by cutting him off from the development which art has made in Europe.
He sees poor examples of European art everyday in book illustrations, advertise-
ments and so on, and we must therefore let him see all that we can of real art not
only of the west but of the east and of other earlier civilizations than our own. At
the same time we must not overburden him with the conventions and accretions of
present day art and think that we are giving him the root of the matter. I firmly
believe that if we lead him to respect his own great artistic past and allow him to
study the best of great periods in the History of Art, a kind of cross fertilization
will take place between his own and the outer world and a new African art will
In Nigeria a number of full-time native art-masters have already been trained
and are working along lines which seem to be most suited to develop an indigen-
ous art. An exhibition of the work of these artists was held last year at one of the
London art galleries and received considerable appreciation from a number of
English cities. In Kampala a group of young African men and women has been
formed whose work is distinctly encouraging. It is as yet too early to pick out
distinctive characteristics in their painting, yet one can safely say that the sense of
rhythm and design and a feeling for form which has always been associated with
every type of African art is definitely there. What they do lack, and what the
art of East Africa has always lacked, is that driving power of the imagination
which turns a work from a lifeless though competent statement into one which
really has power to move the beholder. This, I believe, is because few tribes in
East Africa have used their art in connection with their deepest emotions-as
fetishes, totems and so on, but have used it merely in the decoration of utilitarian
objects; and that is why the art of West Africa, although in many cases more
crude and primitive, seems far greater. Whether the art of East Africa will always
lag behind we cannot tell, but there seems no inherent reason why it should.
Given the right stimulus and the right encouragement these young painters may
yet build a tradition of speaking deeply, though simply, of their own experience
through the medium of painting. Many of them, especially among the less sophist-
icated, already approach it in this straightforward way and their work is capable
of calling forth an emotional response.
Giovanni Miani and the White Nile.
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
The Italian, Miani, who, in March 1860, made his way from Gondokoro to the
latitude of Nimule was the first European to approach the confines of the present
Uganda Protectorate, preceding Speke and Grant by nearly two years.
Little attention was paid in England to this remarkable achievement owing to
Miani's bombastic claims and to his obvious lack of scientific accuracy. Hence
only scanty information regarding him exists in English. A short biographical
note is given in Chapter I below.
Of recent years the researches and publications of Italian geographers have
made it possible to assess the value of his exploits. Miani's original diary of his
journey of 1859-60 has lately passed into public custody in Italy, and, in Chapter
II, is a digest of an article by Professor R. Almagih describing this diary.
References throwing some light on Miani's character and his estimation among
his contemporaries, which appear in the letters of E. de Pruyssenaere, a Belgian
merchant in the Sudan, seem to have escaped attention. Some extracts from these
letters are given in Chapter III.
Miani published an account of his journey of March 1860 in Cairo in Sept-
ember 1860. A translation is given in Chapter IV.
Accompanying this account is a notable map (a transcript of which is repro-
duced) showing a route and place names from Miani's 'Galuffi', across the present
Acholi District, to the Nile in the vicinity of Foweira (where Miani places 'Patico').
Though very imperfect this map would have been of considerable value to Speke
and Grant. The map and the improbability that a knowledge of it could have
reached Speke and Grant before they ceased to receive communications from
Zanzibar is discussed in Chapter V.
Perhaps the only account of Miani's life in English is contained in Italian
Explorers in Africa by Sofia Bompiani, (London, 1891), a reprint of articles which
had appeared in The Leisure Hour. This is, however, very inadequate and often
inaccurate, and its value is slight. But, in Italian, there is no lack of material.
A comprehensive bibliography is given by Professor Roberto Almagia in Chapter
XII (Gli Italiani nel bacino medio e superior del Nilo 1840-90) of L'opera degli
Italiani per la conoscenza dell'Egitto (Rome, 1926).
290 300 o(Meridan of Paris) 320 330 34
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Note :, _.
Transcript of a portion of map attache"----- -
to Mianis pamphlet of Isl. September r? 7 -,
186o. The original is more roughly executed
than is here i ndicatd.
Oriini \\de/ Nilo
al dire dei vecc i di Galuffi
300o 3: 333
SMore recently, biographies have appeared by Cappellini, (1927), Cimegotto
(1930) and E. Bellorini (1932). It is to Bellorini (Miani e Speke alla scoperta delle
Sorgenti del Nilo, Turin, 1932) that the following note is primarily indebted for
its facts. The accuracy of some of Bellorini's insinuations and conclusions is, how-
ever, open to question.
Giovanni Miani was born at Rovigo on 19th March 1810. His father is not
known. His mother, a poor sempstress, moved to Venice soon after the birth of
her son. Here she found refuge in the house of a nobleman, who provided for the
boy's education, and, dying when Miani was 26 years old, left him as his heir.
For some years Miani lived a careless and at times dissolute life, dabbling in
music of which he was passionately fond. In 1848 he became a volunteer in the
defence of Venice against the Austrians. The fall of the city (24th August 1849)
seems to have coincided with the final disappearance of Miani's inheritance, and
he left Italy for exile.
Following no regular occupation he drifted here and there in the Levant, and,
by 1852, had settled in Egypt, where he began to take an interest in the 'Nile Quest'.
In 1856, he was dragoman to two young Frenchmen of means, Revol and Poussel,
on a journey to Abyssinia; and later in the same year he travelled in an ivory-
trader's vessel from Khartoum to Gondokoro, then the southern limit of knowledge
of the course of the Nile. Returning to Egypt, he compiled a map illustrating his
ideas of the regions of the Upper Nile. Subscribers having been found, the map
was published in Paris, whither Miani, clad in Arab dress, had made his way,
in 1858. It was naturally largely imaginative, but it attracted the attention of
such a prominent geographer as Malte-Brun, and Miani was elected a member of
the Geographical Society of Paris.
Miani was now fired with the ambition to lead an expedition to discover the
source of the White Nile. Support was forthcoming from various quarters and
financial assistance was derived in particular from Revol who, however, decided
not to accompany the expedition. From Said Pasha, the Viceroy of Egypt, he re-
ceived a firman which gave him official recognition.
The expedition made a theatrical departure from Cairo on 9th May 1859,
taking the Nile route to Khartoum. But Miani was quite unfitted to be a leader of
men, and, dissensions coming to a head, his four companions left the expedition at
Khartoum. He then entered into an agreement with Andrea de Bono, a Maltese
ivory trader, and, early in December 1859, he left Khartoum for Gondokoro in one
of de Bono's vessels. An interesting contemporary impression of Miani is contained
in the letters of a Belgian, de Pruyssenaere, who was trading on the White Nile
when Miani ascended the river. Gondokoro was reached on 24th January 1860,
and, after some abortive local excursions, Miani, with a party of armed men, set
out for the south on 16th March. He crossed the Asua river and reached 'Galuffi'
on 26th March. But he could make no further progress and, on the 30th, he turned
back, reaching Gondokoro on 10th April. He was at Khartoum on 21st May and
thence returned to Cairo. Here he published, dated 1st September 1860, an
account, with a map, of his journey; a copy of these is in the collection of the
Royal Geographical Society of London.
By his success Miani gained the support of the Egyptian Government for a
new expedition towards the Nile sources. Leaving Cairo in December, 1860, he
and his three companions reached Khartoum in February 1861. But once again
discord intervened; the weeks passed by, and the venture finally collapsed without
getting beyond Khartoum, when Miani's vessel was burnt at anchor on 5th June
Returning to Egypt, Miani could gain no support for further exploration
work. Accordingly he crossed to Europe, visiting Italy, Paris and London. In
July 1862 he gave his ethnological collections to his beloved city of Venice. Again
affecting Arab costume as a means of attracting attention he moved to Vienna
where he solicited in vain the aid of the Emperor Francis Joseph and the Austrian
He now heard of the arrival of Speke and Grant at Gondokoro, and of their
discovery of the. main secrets of the Nile sources. Miani was not unnaturally
greatly disappointed that the prize for which he had striven had fallen into other
hands. From Vienna he addressed to Sir Roderick Murchison, the President of
the Royal Geographical Society, a 'protest' against Speke's claims.
Returning to Cairo he published, in January 1864, a pair of maps in which he
sought, by fantastic distortions of the topography, to discount the accuracy of
Speke's discoveries, and to exalt his own exploits. These were dedicated to Ismail
Pasha, who on Said Pasha's death in 1863, had become the ruler of Egypt; copies
of these maps are in the possession of the Royal Geographical Society.
Miani seems to have spent the next five years in fruitless and heartbreaking
efforts-in Italy, Vienna, Constantinople and Egypt-to find a patron who would
support a new expedition to elucidate his theories. But the substantial accuracy
of Speke's interpretation of the riddle of the Nile was no longer open to doubt; and
at length, in 1869 (the year of Sir Samuel Baker's appointment as Governor-
General of the Equatorial Province), Miani accepted the offer by the Egyptian Gov-
ernment of the modest post of curator of the newly created Zoological Gardens at
But Miani could not rest. In 1871, he joined a trading caravan, planning to
extend the discoveries of Schweinfurth beyond the Bahr-el-Ghazal-Congo water-
shed. He was now an ageing man with a white beard. His failing health could
not long support his courage and enterprise and, in November 1872, he died with
only a few native servants around him at Nangazizi (Tangasi) in the Monbuttu
country, approximately in the latitude of Wadelai. Two pygmy boys who had
been given to him by Munza, king of the Monbuttu, were brought with his effects
to Egypt, and were sent to Italy where they were well cared for in the home of
a Veronese nobleman, and for years excited the curiosity of the scientific world.
Miani's grave has lately been identified, and has been restored by the piety of
his fellow countrymen.(Q)
(I) The Italian explorer, Casati, claims to have recovered some of Miani's bones
from his grave in 1881, hoping to take them to Italy. He carried them to Bunyoro, but they
were lost when he had to fly from King Kabarega in I888. See 'Ten years in Equatorla',
1891, Vol. I p. Io5.
(Digest of an article 1 diario dei primi viaggi di Giovanni Miani by
Roberto Almagih in Bollettino della R. Societa Geografica Italiana, Serie 6-Vol.
II (1934), pp. 653-665).
It recently became known that an original manuscript by Giovanni Miani,
containing the diary of his journey to the sources of the Nile (1859-60) was in the
hands of a private owner in the city of Bologna. The manuscript has been pur-
chased by the Civil Museum of National Science in Venice, where it is now at the
disposal of students (').
The manuscript contains not only the diaries of the journey, but also a great
number of pencil drawings prepared to accompany a great 'History of Music'
which Miani as a young man planned to write. There are many original drawings
of musical instruments (Greek, Egyptian, ancient and modern, Peruvian, African
and from the Pacific) with descriptions and comments. From this it will be con-
cluded that Miani's projected work was primarily an ethnological history of
musical instruments. This material merits examination by a competent judge.
There are also drawings of musical instruments collected by Miani during his
These travel diaries consist of five note-books, four of which are bound
in covers with pages numbered consecutively from 1-321. The fifth, a small one,
is numbered separately. The first three refer to the most important journey, that
of 1859-60, and the first bears the title Journey to the Sources of the Nile under-
taken by Gni. Miani, 1859-60.
The fourth volume is inscribed 'Journal of the Expedition to the Sources of
the Nile by order of His Highness Mohamed Said, Ruling Pasha and Viceroy of
Egypt, directed by G.G. Miani' and refers to the journey which was begun in
1860 and failed miserably.
(t) Two recent biographies are, those of A. Cappellini 'Giovanni Miani, Recordl
biograflei e note di viaggio' Rovigo, 1927 and of C. Cimegotto 'Giovanni Miani esplor-
atore' Padua, 1930. See also R. Almagii 'Gli Italiani nel bacino medio e superior del Nilo
(1840-90)' in the volume 'L'opera degli Italiani per la Conoscenza dell' Egitto' Rome,
1926; and 'II viaggistore G. Miani e Ie sue raccolte etnograflehe' in 'Venezia' (the
monthly review of the City of Venice) 1927, pp. 511-31.
The text is entirely in the hand-writing of Miani, and it may be stated at
once that an extract from both these journals was published in the appendix to
the Trieste Observer in several numbers from 19th May to 13th July 1864, and
then collected, with many additions and insertions, in a now rare pamphlet Le
Spedizioni alle origini del Nilo. Ommagio all'illustre Cav. Signor Ferdinando
de Lesseps del Cav. Miani (1).
The original diaries contain nothing substantially new about the expeditions,
but they do give interesting particulars of the preparations and about the circum-
stances in which journeys of exploration were undertaken in those days.
The diary of 1859-60 is preceded by 18 pages of introduction. It begins with
the following "Twelve years now have 1 been, not reflecting on the consequences
of a very grievous war which caused me to lose my fatherland, substance and
family; but the duty of the honest citizen is before all to offer his right arm for the
service of Italy. Many were the journeys which I was the first of my time to make,
but to-day it is no great thing to travel through Europe, America and part of Asia.
After the misfortunes of Venice, my native city, I sought hospitality in the East
and found it because the citizens of Constantinople and Egypt opened their arms
Then follow notes on the difficulty of ascending the Nile to its source and
on former attempts, especially the well-known expedition initiated by Muha-
mmad Ali. On page 8 appears "1854-the first to discover the Sobat and to
navigate it to the kingdom of Gubba, remaining there a year, was Signor A de
Bono(J) in company with my dragoman Giovanni and Philip Terranova who gave
me his word of honour to join my expedition as a trader, but failed to do so (the
words in italics are crossed out).
(i) Venice, 1865, pp. Io8 with map. In the dedication to de Lesseps dated, Venice,
September 1865, Miani acknowledges that the pamphlet is an extract from the Journal.
It begins with a few pages of biographical notes written in a strain of bombast and self-
glorification. This pamphlet will be referred to hereafter as 'Op' with the number of the page
(2) These few phrases give an idea of Miani's style of writing. The first words refer
to the war (1848-49) in which Miani undoubtedly took part. A silver-plated cross, which
volunteers sewed on their coats, and inscribed 'War of Italian Independence, Venice, 22
March 1848, Miani-Artilleryman' is preserved in the museum of the Royal Italian Geogra-
phical Society. For the journeys previous to 1859 to which he alludes, see the biographical
notes in 'Op' pp. 5-12.
(3) The well known Maltese merchant and traveller, Andrea de Bono, was at first on
excellent terms with Miani, but later dissension arose. Only a fragment of the very
important journey of de Bono on the Sobat is published in 'Tour du Monde' 1860 II Sem.
pp. 384-52. More diffuse is the account of P. Terranova (of Somatina in Sicily) in
'Nouvelles Annales des Voyages' Vol. IV 1859 pp. 5-53. But there are no details of the
relations between Terranova and Miani, who states further on in the ms. that Terranova
had made a contract with him and had broken it.
S. -Later come notes on the Sobat and its population derived probably from de
Bono. There are references to other travellers, such as 'the renowned d'Escairac'
and to the merchant, Rubahabi of Dongola, who first penetrated into the Bahr-
el-Gazal. Miani speaks in rather unfavourable terms of the work of the Catholic
:Mission in central Africa, instituted in 1848, with headquarters at Khartoum and
stations at Santa Croce and at Gondokoro. These stations were abandoned in
The diary gives hitherto unknown particulars of his preparations for the
expedition. Having reached Omdurman on 20th July 1859, with his companions
who had signed on in France, Peghoux captain, Lory topographer, Dumas painter,
and Bertrand (the last named having joined at Cairo), he was received as a guest
by-Doctor Peney "a man whose heart is larger than his means"(').
Miani quickly got to know the principal members of the European colony,
the Sardinian vice-consul Dr. Natterer, and the merchants, Barth6elmy, Vays-
siere, Binder, de Bono, and de Malza- "the king of the White River" as Miani
calls him. Miani conceived the idea of calling together in Peney's house all the
members of the colony to arrange a pooling of the various commercial enter-
prises into a single company with the scientific object of the discovery of the
source of the Nile, and as its practical aim, the getting of ivory with which to
defray the costs of the scientific expedition. A meeting was held on 1st August
1859, and on two loose sheets there exists in Italian and French the original appeal
to the European colony as drawn up by Miani. Vayssiere wisely points out the
financial difficulties. (2)
But above all the French members of the colony were hostile-the first of
whom was probably de Malzac-and so were the French members of Miani's
expedition. On the other hand, de Bono was favourable to Miani who writes "it was
known that one day de Bono said, 'All the French of the colony are against
Miani because he is an Italian; I am his compatriot. I will associate myself with
him and together we will carry out the expedition'". In effect, Miani, being
abandoned shortly after at Khartoum by the companions who had come with him
from Europe, was able to continue his expedition thanks to a contract with de
(I) Alfred Peney (born at St. Genix in the department of Aine) formerly medical
officer in the French Navy, came to Egypt in 1840, as secretary of the Sanitary Council,
and then passed to Khartoum as inspector of sanitation. In 1858 he planned the explo-
ration of the sources of the Nile. He died at Gondokoro (26th July 1861) while trying to
carry out his project.
(2) Alessandro VayssiBre was the first of the numerous Savoyards who penetrated
into the Upper Nile to carry on the ivory trade, and had an establishment not far from the
mission station of Santa Croce. lie had relations with other Italian travellers, such as
Piaggia and Antinori, and himself undertook some note-worthy expeditions before dying of
fever near Lake No in 1861.
(3) Later Miani quarrelled with de Bono on financial grounds. For that reason the
'Op' says nothing of thesintervention of the Maltese merchant, while in the contract be-
iteen the two, dated Ist December 1859, and registered with the Vice-consul, Natterer,
there follow expressions far from benevolent concerning de Bono.
While waiting for a favourable opportunity to ascend the' Nile, Miani made
a voyage on the Blue Nile, up to Senaar. This occupied from September to Nov-
ember 1859 and is described at length in the manuscript (').
On page 117 of the ms. is the title Expedition to the source of the Nile and
there begins the journal of the navigation of the Nile as far as Gondokoro which
Miani made in company of de Bono. The ms. becomes a diary though on some
days there is only a phrase or word ( e.g. Jan. 4th-Calm). It is possible thus to
learn exact details of the journey which latest from 5th December to 20th
On 1st January 1860 the vessel was in the land of the Nuer; on 9th it reach-
ed the Santa Croce Mission Station, where was one priest, Antonio, a Tyrolean,
(probably Father Antonio Kaufmann of Campo Tures in Austria) with a German
hunter. The same afternoon it arrived at the station of de Vayssiere where it re-
mained until the 12th. On the 14th they reached the hunting lodge of Prince
Ibrahim, brother of the Viceroy; and on 20th they arrived at Gondokoro, where
was de Bono's nephew Amabile.
The diary contains ethnographical notes which are summed up in the 'Op'.
But certain are missing as for instance details about the Shilluk; and the notes on
the Niam-Niam are badly reported, possibly because Miani may have obtained
them from another well-known merchant, Petherick. The general observations
were probably composed at the Vayssibre station, and the notes on the Scir tribe
at the station of Ibrahim. The ms. has some pencil landscape drawings, others
which were pasted in their proper position are missing.(2)
At Gondokoro Miani found de Bono's nephew, with one Corsiuk Aga, in-
stalled in the station of the Austrian missionaries, which had been abandoned
in 1859. Miani comments very unfavourably on the work of the latter and on its ab-
solutely negative results, concluding with the remark "Such is the result of the
Austrian mission to Central Africa".(3)
The diary contains an account of a disastrous expedition by a certain
Scemuda, an ivory trader, and agent of the United States at Khartoum, to the
Liria, east of Gondokoro (near to which spot Vinco had been the first to pene-
trate). There are also notes on the customs and dress of the Bari.
(I) The narration occupies the end of the first volume and part of the second (pp.
39116). It contains many digressions and ethnological notes and is accompanied by
pencil drawings. So far as is known Miani does not mention these excursions again in his
writings, except for casual references.
(2) A small collection of Miani's drawing is in the possession of the Royal Italian
Geographical Society, but it is not certain that they refer to this journey.
(3) This unfavourable judgment reflects Miani's antipathy for the Austrians. The
only missionary for whom Miani has no hard words is the Veronese, Angelo Vinco, who
died near Gondokoro in 1853; but it is known that Vinco being an Italian was somewhat
penalized by the Austrian head of the Mission (Note: regarding Vinco, who reached the
neighbourhood of Torit about 1851, see 'Geographical Journal' August 1931, p. 192. H.B.T.)
Details of the Gondokoro Mission and of the work of Vinco can be read in the writings of
G. Lejean who visited Gondokoro in company with de Bono in January 1861; see G. Lejean,
'Gondokoro, Sketch of Journey to the White Nile' in 'Tour du Monde' 1862 pp. 397-98.
Miani tried in vain to pass the group of cataracts south of Gondokoro in
boats; then after a long halt, necessitated by illness, he decided to proceed by land
with an armed escort, and advanced by the right bank of the Nile as far as a
point where it joins tle Acioa or Ashua, a place called by him, Galuffi, where he
cut his name on an old tamarind tree, later found by Sir Samuel Baker.
Starting from Gondokoro on 28th January 1860, Miani, having passed the
first cataracts, reached the place (Rejaf. H.B.T.) where rises the isolated Gebel
Lebek or Gebel Loki, where on 30th January he accomplished in two hours the
ascent first made in 1850 by the Austrian missionaries led by Ignatius Knob-
lecher. Inserted in the diary is a pencil drawing of the mountain.(')
Between 7th and 9th February 1860 an unsuccessful attempt was made to
pass a succession of cataracts called Makedo (from the name of a tribe), cata-
racts which, as Miani states and other reports confirm, had been reached for the
first time a few years previously by an almost unknown Italian, one Ulivi.(2)
While waiting for the river to rise, Miani sent some of his people back to
Gondokoro to obtain an interpreter and additional escort. Then he decided to
return himself to Gondokoro, where he had trouble with his left foot and shortly
afterwards an intestinal inflammation which incapacitated him from mid-February
to mid-March. The diary at this period often makes sombre reading. Miani em-
ployed the time in organizing excursions in the neighbourhood in search of ivory
or of grain (one of these went into Liria), and one more ambitious expedition to
explore beyond the cataracts, which returned on 11th March after 16 days absence.
Under the date February 21st, there is a note that Vayssibre had been com-
pelled to abandon his station on account of the hostility of the natives. On
5th March is the following entry "The boat of Scemuda, loaded with American
goods, arrived with a cargo of grain and the crew report that the armed men of
de Malzac have destroyed a whole village in order to steal the cattle. Since every
four oxen can be exchanged for a fine tusk of ivory, they kill off the human in-
habitants in order to get their herds and thus carry on what they call an honour-
able trade. Such is the common history of traders in the Sudan, for, with few
exceptions, they obtain their ivory with slaves sold at Ali Kaka or with cattle"(3)
(') Miani refers to having found on the summit the inscription "1850 M.B.I.K." The
initials I.K. are those of Knoblecher (who calls the mountain Longwek); he does not know
the meaning of the first two letters. With Knoblecher were Angelo Vinco and two other
Italians, Fathers Emanuele Pedemonte and Gaetano Zara (Note: Andrea de Bono
records this inscription as "HM. JK. MB-J-E M 1850" see 'Voyage au Fleuve Blanc
en 1861' in 'Nouvelles Annales des Voyages', Paris, 1862. H.B.T.).
(2) In 'Op' page 18 mention is made of Nicola Ulivi, head of a military mission des-
patched into the Sudan by Caled Pasha about 1850. This is confirmed by A. Brun
Rollet 'Le Nil Blanc' Paris, 1855. But, two years before Miani, there had arrived at
Gondokoro yet another Italian, Carlo Piaggia. See, R. Almagia 'II prime viaggio Africano di
Carlo Piaggia' in the Historical Bulletin of Lucca, 1932.
(3) Miani thus confirms the fact that among Europeans de Malzac was the first to
follow, without scruple, this reprehensible practice. Two years before Piaggia had attempted
this cruel traffic of de Malzac, but was disgusted with it.
Having recovered his health Miani left Gondokoro on 16th March advancing
by the land route followed by the previous expedition, and it is here noted that
this march which took them to Galuffi, further certainly than any previous
European traveller, lasted for 10 days until 26th March.
The diary is, however, disappointing in that it contains no particulars of
importance not already noted in the 'Op' which on the contrary contains ad-
ditional details, mostly topographical, for instance regarding Mount Gniri and
other mountain groups seen on 19th March. The local names are the same save
for Ghumaki which, in the diary, is Ghumasi. Even on the subject of the Auidi or
Awidi there are only about 30 words in the diary while in 'Op' there are 120,
besides a dialogue. It seems that the small linguistic note in the diary was made
by means of an interpreter on 22nd March at the village of Labore.(I)
The march being continued on the 23rd, he forded the little river Acioa on
the 26th, "at 11 o'clock we halted on the Nile in sight of a large number of
cataracts called Mery." Then the march was continued until 2.30 p.m., the hour of
arrival at Galuffi, "when we saw the river flowing over a plain from the east and
then turning in the opposite direction."
At Galuffi, Miani again in bad health halted for two days. Then began the
return (Note: Belljrini says on 30th Mar:h, ie. after four days halt H.B.T.),
after he had cut his name on the trunk of the tree under which he waited; "we
waited under a large tamarind tree on the trunk of which towards the west I
wrote my name".
'Op' (pp. 45-51) has particulars which are not found in the diary, but all the
local information which Miani declares that he collected from the old men of
Galuffi concerning the course of the Nile is noted in the same manner in the
diary. Such information was, as has been stated, largely erroneous. The pro-
bable cause of these errors is that Miani had to make use of two successive
interpreters. "after my dragoman had translated for me from Arabic into Barri
and another dragoman from Barri into Barri-Ouidi, the old sheikh of Galuffi
said' to me........."
In the diary is also inserted, on a loose leaf, a calculation of latitude,
made from observations with a sextant; from these the latitude of Galuffi would
appear to be 234'S (sic!); the error is about one degree.
The diary continues on the subject of the return to Gondokoro, where they
arrived on l1th April (No'e 10th according to Bellorini, H.B.T.); but without
any particularly interesting details, except two trifling incidents on the 6th and
7th days. All the episodes relative to dealings with the natives, such as ethno-
graphical notes both on the outward and the return journey, are mentioned in
the 'Op'. At Gondokoro where Miani was received by Corsiuk and Amabile he
(I) Miani notes in the diary having celebrated with gunfire the anniversary of the
liberation of Venice (This seems to refer to the occasion (1848) of the declaration of the
Venetian Republic, of which the patriot, Daniel Manin, was elected the first president
remained until 29th April. The diary again follows, with daily entries, the return
journey to Khartoum and then to Cairo, where at page 275 ends the third volume
of the ms.
The diary continues, under the title already noted, with an account of the
preparations in Cairo for a new expedition. Miani interested many influential
persons including the Sardinian minister, Cerruti, and finally wrote to Napoleon.
He busied himself with finding resources and having got together a certain amount
acquired various instruments (theodolite, sextant, compass, etcX')
Miani obtained a firman from the Egyptian Government, which seems to
have assumed :he patronage of this new expedition. Accompanying him were
Giorgio Portelli, a Maltese sea-captain, a Venetian painter, Damin, and a photo-
grapher from Tuscany, one James.(2)
The expedition left Bulaq near Cairo on 2nd December. The diary contains
notes of letters sent to Dr. Visetti of Alexandria for publication in La Venizia
and Illustrazione Italiana but it seems that they were not used. The diary deals
at some length with the crossing of the desert from Wady Halfa to Dongola,
when James missed his way and was only found by a miracle. On 17th
February 1860 the expedition reached Khartoum where it was to collapse
miserably. Grave misunderstandings arose between Miani and his companions:
in 'Op', Miani accuses Portelli of having attempted to poison him and of this the
diary gives further particulars.(3)
The fifth volume of the ms. contains a diary of the journey from Cairo to
Wady Omor in the country of the Hababish and ends with the note "Five days are
missing from my journal stolen from me by these gentlemen, consequently
there is a gap as far as Omdurman". There are also two water colours-land-
scapes of the Nile with boats-signed by Damin painted on thin paste-board,
with the following note "Expedition to the sources of the Nile directed by
Monsieur J.J. Miani."(4)
(1) On the previous expedition Miani had with him a sextant, but he did not know
how to use it. In the diary while there are frequent temperature observations, there is no
sign of measurements with the sextant, with the exception of the erroneous calculation of
the latitude of Galuffi.
(2) In the diary, page 265, one reads "Meanwhile I went to Alexandria to seek some
educated young man of good will and I found Signor Portelli of Malta, a sea-captain, to
assist me in astronomical observations and Signor Damin an artist in landscapes and
costumes". He does not mention James. It appears that the latter signed on later at
Assuan. The text of the contract between him and Miani, dated Assuan 27th Dec. 186o
is in the diary.
(3) Portelli seems to have tried poisoning with photographic poisons obtained from
James. Miani called in Dr. Leopoldi Ori, an Italian physician, sometime resident in Khar-
toum. Then Portelli asked to return home and Miani gave him the necessary sum. Damin
seems to have remained in the Sudan and later is found associate with Piaggia. Of James
nothing more is known.
(4) The initials 'J.J.' should stand for Jean Jacques; it seems that Miani sometimes
went by the name Gian Jacopo. His own signature is, however, always 'G. Miani'.
With the diary is preserved a copy of the New map. of the basin of the Nile,
etc. which Miani had printed in Paris in 1858 to illustrate his plan for an ex-
pedition and which raised so much criticism and discussion; this copy has many
additions and corrections by Miani himself. This map, now very rare, has been
examined in Professor AlmagiA's already quoted article The journeys of G. Miani
and his ethnographical collections where are also reproduced the essential parts
of the map itself from a copy preserved in the museum at Venice. Two impres-
sions of this map exist, derived from the same source but slightly differing. On
the first the only title is (in French) New map of the basin of the Nile showing the
common origin of this river with the rivers of Zanzibar without the author's
name. To the second is added to the title 'drawn up and dedicated to the European
colony of the East by J.J. Miani, Member of the Geographical Society of Paris,
1858. Moreover in the first impression 'the Great Lake of Uniamuesi' has no outlets,
and at the north-eastern corner of it is written 'gold-bearing quartz'; while, in the
second the lake has two outlets, and near the above mentioned inscription is an
addition identifying it with the Biblical Ophir. The copy preserved with the diary
is a first impression with interesting manuscript additions and corrections.
Some of these alterations refer to the course of the Sobat, which is drawn as
though formed of many tributaries, the Kalia (the name given by Vinco to the
tributary of the Sobat first reached by him), the Suntu and, most noteworthy of
them all, the Bako Omo. This latter comes from the region of the Gallas Kara-
kra and is, in its turn, formed of a fan of rivers issuing from three
lakes situated in the area between 6 and 730' N and between 35 and
38020' E of Greenwich. They are Lake Tchocha, encircled by the Omo, Lake
Abala and Lake Kortchamo; from these latter there issues an affluent of the Omo
called Giuba. It seems clear that here is a representation, certainly somewhat
incorrect, of the lakes Scialla, Abai (Reg. Margherita) and Chiamo (the
Zuai further north appears on the map). It is not known from whom Miani ob-
tained these details. The map has certain additions in ink outside its border.
The great lake of Uniamuesi is furnished in the south with a long appendix in
the form of a tail and has in the middle of it an island or reef. At the north-west
there, issues in two branches the Bosso which, having flowed through the small
liake Liba, empties itself into the Bahr el Ghazal: while to the north are other
outlets (Aligi, Lob) which end in the White Nile; but this appears, as in the origin-
al map, to have its source in a great area of marsh, which feeds also the Ozi and
the Sabaki, tributaries of the Indian Ocean. To the south are many feeders of the
great lake, with their names; the coast of the Indian Ocean is prolonged to the
south and a route from Bagamoyo to the lake of Uniamuesi is shewn. From the
south-west of the lake issues the Manicongo or Zaire, with two tributaries,
Vamba and Banhara. Again in the north-west the map is filled in; there is a portion
of Lake Chad, Lake Fittri, and many watercourses which directly or indirectly feed
It is clear that Miani had prepared a new edition of the map. The additions
and corrections seem to belong to 1860 or the beginning of 1861, when Miani
(I) The Royal Italian Geographical Society has a copy of this map (2nd impres-
sion) with a few autograph notes by Miani but these seem to date from after the journeys
Was again at Khartoum; certainly they are later than the journeys of Burton and
Speke, which led to the discovery of Lake Victoria, but earlier than Speke's
second expedition with Grant. After that latter expedition Miani was engaged
in a campaign designed to belittle the discoveries made by the Englishmen.
It will be remembered that a map which shows the ideas of Miani "after the
journeys of Speke and Grant" is annexed to the 'Op' in which Miani refers,
here and there and always in a hostile tone, to the English discoveries.
(Note. In Bulletin de L'Academie royale de Belgique 2 me. sdrie, Tome XIINo.7.
Bruxelles (no date but from internal evidence written not earlier than 1861 and
before 1863) are Observations sur la carte du Nil de M. Miani by M. Ph. Gil-
bert, Professor of the Catholic University of Louvain (Offprint in Library of Royal
Geographical Society, London.) H.B.T.)
Eugene de Pruyssenaere was born at Ypres (7th October 1826); he was of
good family and became a barrister at Bruges. He first visited Alexandria 27th
February 1856. In the following year he ascended the Nile, joining Leopold Au-
bert of Brussels at Old Dongola on 6th February 1857 and reaching Khartoum
on 13th June 1857. Here they found Dr. Peney, Vayssiere, A and J. Poncet, and
the Catholic missionaries under Kaufmann. After some trading operations which
took them perhaps as far as Senaar they returned to Cairo (25th March 1858)
when Aubert went on to Europe to buy more goods, de Pruyssenaere'meanwhile
visited Palestine and, returning, had reached Korosko on 23rd October, and ar-
rived in Khartoum on 1st December 1858. During the next six years he seems to
made five journeys primarily for the purposes of trade; the White Nile 1859-60;
the Blue Nile, 1861; the White Nile and Sobat, 1862; the Blue Nile, 1863; the Blue
Nile, 1864. By 1862 he had settled down as a trader, marrying an Abyssinian girl. He
died at Karkodj on 15th December 1864, Jules Poncet being present.
De Pruyssenaere's travels, of which the fullest account is to be found in
Petermann's Mittheilungen Erganzungsband XI, 1876-77, E de Pruyssenaeres
Reisen und Forschungen im Gebiete des Weissen und Blauen Nil by K.
Kappritz, would prove of interest to students of the Sudan, but do not here qualify
for detailed comment.
In Bulletin de la Societe Royale de Gdographie d'Anvers, 1930, Tome
XLX, published in Antwerp 1930, is a Notice sur Eugene de Pruyssenaere de, la
Wostyne by Lieut. Col. Wautermann. The Notice which contains some useful
notes regarding the exploration of the Sudan in the middle of the nineteenth cen-
tury is followed by 26 hitherto unpublished letters from de Pruyssenaere mostly
to members of his family. These letters contain a number of interesting references
to his contemporaries in the Sudan such as Andrea de Bono, Vaudez, Vays-
siere and the Pethericks. Extracts will, however, here be confined to references to
From a letter to his brother Auguste, dated from the White Nile on board
ship about 7 N. Latitude 12th December 1859 ".........................................
The fever of the discoverers of the Nile is not finished for there has arrived at
Khartoum one named Miani at the head of an expedition. But it transpires that
this Miani is a swindler who has made away with its funds and the expedition
has been disbanded like that of M.d'Escayrac".
Prom a letter to his Mother, dated Agobar, 23rd January 1860. He relates that
he had recently been in the Bari country and having left Gondokoro on 16th
January had reached de Vayssiere's place at Agobar four days later. ".........Here
I found a certain M. Miani, whose journey of discovery of the sources of the
Nile has been pompously announced in European papers ('L'Illustration' in
particular). This M.Miani, whose profession is that of a cook on the pleasure
boats which make the journey from Cairo to Assouan or to Wady
Halfa, had made the acquaintance of a Frenchman named Revol and had
persuaded him that he knew the White River, and that it would be easy for him,
given the necessary funds, to find the sources of the Nile. The Frenchman, who
was rich, charged him with the organization of the journey and gave him 30,000
francs, with the promise of a further 20,000. M. Miani, who knows not a word of
Arabic or Turkish or of any other oriental language, and who is
quite simply from Venice, had acted the mountebank in Paris and
elsewhere in a mixture of Egyptian and Bedouin costume and having eventually
succeeded in recruiting a painter and a captain, returned to Egypt. There M. Revol
who had learnt to judge his M. Miani, dropped him, abandoning his 30,000 francs,
three-quarters of which had already been dissipated, happy to save the other 20,
000. Nonetheless M. Miani at length went on to Khartoum with the painter and
the trading skipper. There the expedition of the Nile found the chest empty and
the companions of M. Miani dealt with him as a sharper and separated from him.
The captain at length returned to Europe and the painter, an excellent young
man, with plenty of talent named M. Dumas asked M. Vayssiere for permission
to travel with him on the White River. I met them among the Nuers. M. Dumas
was suddenly taken ill with fever and died, being buried by Vayssiere. As for
Miani, he was still unwilling to desist from his sources of the Nile, and asked a
merchant named Latif Effendi (Note: a pseudonym of Andrea de Bono, H.B.T.)
for permission to embark on his vessel to go with the remnants of his expedition to
As the vessel was leaking it had stopped at M. Vayssibre's establishment.
M. Miani ignorant of the proper articles of barter among the blacks had brought
boxes full of children's toys, dancing-jacks, whistles, surprise packets, masks,
papier-mach6 animals, etc., which the blacks greeted with ridicule saying that they
would not give a pinch of tobacco for the whole cargo.
He was accompanied by a score of ragged rascals armed with useless guns.
A dozen of them wore breast plates and mediaeval helmets of white metal, dis-
carded theatrical properties; four others had card-board masks, two of them
representing the muzzle of an ass and two a goose's beak, doubtless with a view
to terrifying the savages. As for Miani he carried a great XIV century two-edged
sword, five feet in length and with a long cross hilt; upon his face a fencing
mask of metallic cloth to save himself, he said, from a certain insect which might
exist in this country and might settle on his face and whose bite is fatal; and for
the same reason he wore buck-skin gloves. It would be difficult to imagine a more
ludicrous masquerade: furthermore he had neither food nor ammunition nor
anything of that which he should have carried in place of geegaws. His rascally
Nubian servants told us that if he were so stupid as to wish to press on beyond
Gondokoro they would leave him to go by himself, so that the expedition
would not wait for his return.
There was a ridiculous performance when Miani went on horseback to inter-
view the Shilluk king, near Fashoda. He fell into a swamp and when, in his
fantastic attire, he emerged and was seen by the king, the latter and all his people
fled in dismay. This expedition, which has amused us all, is just going to leave
here, its refit being completed, and we await its return with impatience............"
From a letter to his friend Aubert, dated chezz Vayssibre' on the White
River, 24th January 1860. ".........There passed here a few days ago in a vessel of
Latif Effendi, an imposter named Miani, who, in Egypt, follows the profession
of cook for travellers on the river craft. Having succeeded in swindling a young
fool named Revol of 30,000 francs under the pretext of conducting him to the
sources of the Nile, he organized a ridiculous expedition, from which M. Revol
was the first to part company, leaving the remains of the 30,000 francs in Miani's
hands. I could tell you stories which would make you die of laughter both re-
garding the deeds and performances of this expedition on the White River and of
the stupidity of him who commands it, but I will save my pen and keep them for
our chat at Khar:oum."
From a letter to his Mother, dated 20th April 1860. "...............M. Miani
sent with the subsidies from the French Government in search of the sources of
the Nile, has found it more lucrative to establish himself at Gondokoro, where he
trades in negroes on a grand scale, in association with a Maltese and with a Turk
who was formerly a bashi-bazouk".
(When in the course of the year 1860, Miani returned to Cairo he pre-
pare a four-page pamphlet and map setting forth the results of his journey of
1859-60. This pamphlet, which is in the form of a letter, is of interest not only
as an assessment of his exploit by Miani himself, immediately after its accom-
plishment and before his judgment was embittered by Speke and Grant's suc-
cessful journey, but as evidence of his calibre as a geographer and a philologist.
A translation of this pamphlet, of which a copy is in the Library of the Royal
Geographical Society of London, is given below. The front page bears the title, on
the back of which, page 2, is pasted the map; pages 3 and 4 contain the text).
Expedition to the Sources of the Nile
Geographical Map and Extract from his Journal 1859-60
Cairo 1 September 1860
Egyptian Printing Press
The persons whom I had enrolled to accompany me on the discovery were
mercenaries and paid explorers, for at Khartoum they deserted me, insisting that
I should give them money to return to their own country, leaving me with small
resources. Thus they led the world to think that, instead of a journey of honour,
I was undertaking an expedition of self-interest.
Having formed an association with Signor Andrea de Bono I re-arranged my
expedition and made the journey.
The English explorers certainly make great progress in their explorations in
the southern hemisphere but then they possess great resources.
To-day in the northern hemisphere (near the Equator) an Italian alone, with
very limited help, has filled a space (beginning from 5' north latitude) of 3Y
in longitude and 6'in latitude which forms a square area of more than 18 geo-
graphical degrees, thereby causing the epithet 'unknown land' to be no longer
applicable to the Equator.
The missionaries of the 5th degree did not advance a step in the space of
12 years and Knoblecher did not get beyond Rejaf. At present these right reverend
fathers are retiring and, being hostile to travellers, they themselves set fire to their
own dwellings rather than hand them over to European Christians who have
lavished so much kindness on the above mentioned mission.
From Gondokoro where halted the expeditions which had preceded me, the
first idea was naturally to ascend the river-an impossible task.
On a sailing boat provided with oars I went to the cataracts of Makedo,
which had never before been visited, and 25 soldiers followed me by land.
After Makebo the river is partly navigable.
I made an expedition beyond the last mentioned point, but then the trea-
cherous escort deserted me.
Forced to return to Gondokoro I was able by means of the ivory which I
had found to hire 100 soldiers and 150 Bari porters; and so, across forests,
mountains and valleys, and through hostile peoples, I sought and found the
infant Nile, and finally at Galuffi I saw a succession of cataracts from which
point, after it has passed the mountain chain of the Gniri, the river becomes
But the lack of supplies, the vicissitudes of travel, and disease brought on by
privation hindered us: the season advanced and the equinoctial rains dragged
from my grasp the discovery which was so near at hand.
In the course of my journey, besides my small geographical contribution
to the advancement of science, I collected a series of languages, taken from the
different tribes which I visited. I found preserved in the language of the Auidi
(a language eminently monosyllabic) certain words relating to Egyptian divinities
The great cataracts of the river Acioa and of the Nile are called by them Meri,
which is Coptic for South or Flood.(')
The doctors of philology will one day explain how these words arose and
whether they came from the savages.
The stringed musical instruments which are in use among the Auidi resemble
those of ancient Egypt. Finally, I observed on the sculptures at Thebes a scene
of tribute in which I noticed leopards, giraffes, apes, elephants' tusks and gold,
proof that those very wise, civilized conquering people dominated these savages
of the Upper Nile in a region up to now unknown.
At Galuffi I cut my name on the trunk of a large tamarind tree, in the shade
of which the old men, whom I called together, told me that the sources of the
Nile were beyond Patico, where ended their tribe which adjoins that of the Galla.
They gave the names of the different countries, stretching thence in a straight
line, thereby giving me, so to speak, the key to a later expedition which I pro-
pose to undertake.
It may be seen from this journey that the Nile does not descend straight from
the Equator to Gondokoro as Signor d'Arnaud states to be the case. He had
The sources of the said river are not then between 29 and 30 longitude,
(Meridian of Paris. H.B.T.) but rather nearer 33, perhaps not far from Mount
Kenya or its volcano.
On the map of Signor Arnaud I read, to the west of the river 1 latitude, 28"
and 29" longitude, Tribe Madi. But this name is not that of a tribe.
Madi is a great town to the east of the Nile, belonging to the Auidi, situated
at 30o20' longi.ude, and 230' latitude.
The king of Madi who had received many gifts from me and whose wife, a
slave at Galuffi, I had at his earnest instance, brought back to him, was neverth-
less faithless to his promises: he wished to prevent me from passing that way
again, he attacked me and in consequence I destroyed him and his town.
On the map of the before mentioned Signor d'Arnaud is seen the river Sobat
which descends and winds, like the river Bli, towards the north, while it flows
parallel to the Nile towards the south; its sources are in Galla, and the kingdom
of Guibba is only about 8 days journey distant from Gondokoro.
(1) The savages told me that near its source the Nile is called Ame, which word is
probably the abbreviation of A-ME-RI (flood); because A-ME, in the Coptic to-day has
no significant meaning. It may be that, in ancient Egyptian, A-ME meant River and with
the addition of RI-Flood. This is a gratuitous supposition, but not entirely beyond the
bounds of possibility, because in the Latin language (which in its origins is probably allied
with Egyptian, either directly or through the Etruscan) we have the word, amnis, which
means river and seems not to be a word from Latium, since the true Latin name for river
is flumen: and this word, amnis, has great affinity with a-me, so much so that Pliny, in
describing the Egyptian canal reconstructed by Trajan (the present day Kalise which tra-
verses Cairo) calls it Amnis Trajanis,
To the west of the Nile is to be found the great tribe of Makaraka, settled at
Yambara, to-day very thoroughly explored, where runs the great river Gieri and
the Ire which has its source in the Bahar Gazal. Then more to the west is to be
found the river Faiscia (O KuAr) near to the Niam Niam, where is settled Ali
Amuri of Khartoum, an intrepid traveller, who has not yet been eaten.
He told me that among the before mentioned tribe a tradition is preserved that
long ago there descended the river three boats, manned by white men, who had
with them birds which talked. One boat was wrecked on the cataracts and the
crew was drowned; the other two returned. These bold travellers must have as-
cended the Zaire or Congo, when having found the land sloping to the north,
they perhaps searched for the Nile, from which they were not far distant.
These then, gentlemen, are the things collected by me on this expedition,
and, hoping to give pleasure to the Scientific Society, I have caused to be printed
this journey of mine (as best may be) in the hope that it will be useful to another
more fortunate than myself.
Your most humble servant,
That portion of central Africa, within which the geographers of the first half
of the nineteenth century had determined that the sources of the White Nile must
lie, had, to the south, been greatly contracted by the discoveries and enquiries of
Burton and Speke in 1857-58. On 3rd August 1858, Speke reached the southern
shores of Lake Victoria in the vicinity of Mwanza; while from the Arabs at Ta-
bora they learned that to the north of this lake, which was estimated to extend over
more than two degrees of latitude, lay the kingdom of Buganda.
To the north of this blank space on the map, little progress in ascending the
valley of the White Nile had been made since the Egyptian Expedition of 1841 had
reached the latitude of Gondokoro; and the Bedden rapids continued to mark the
limits of knowledge. Somewhat more southerly latitudes had, however, been at-
tained to the east of the river by the Austrian missionaries, who, in 1851, had ap-
proached the Latuka country; while, far to the west, John Petherick had, in the
course of journeys during the years 1853 to 1858, reached 'Mundo' on the confines
of the 'Niam-Niam' country which he claimed to be close to the Equator, though
it is doubtful if, even at his farthest south, he attained much beyond 4 north
When, in 1859, Petherick met Speke in England, his information was the
latest available regarding the regions of the Upper Nile; and, as a result of their
discussions, it was thought to be very possible that when Speke and Grant came
from the south they might strike Petherick's route to the west of the Nile.
Speke and Grant sailed from Portsmouth on a steam-frigate on 27th April
1860. At that moment Miani was still at Gondokoro on his return from his jour-
ney to Galuffi.
Having voyaged by way of Rio de Janeiro, Speke and Grant reached the Cape
of Good Hope on 4th July 1860; and, sailing in another warship on 16th July, they
reached Zanzibar on 17th August 1860. On 2nd October 1860 their caravan
marched out of Bagamoyo and on 6th October they were overtaken by a parcel
from Colonel Rigby, the Consul-General at Zanzibar. Their next communication
from Zanzibar seems to have been received in the Uzinza country, to the south-
west of Lake Victoria, when on 8th October 1861, packages and home letters
despatched from the Coast on, 30th October 1860 were delivered to them. Their
next news from the outer world was received upon their arrival at Gondokoro on
15th February 1863.
It is doubtful if anything was known in England of Miani's journey of March
1860, until a copy of his pamphlet of 1st September 1860 was received by the
Royal Geographical Society on 19th October 1860. It is thus quite improbable
that (at a period long before there was a submarine telegraph cable even to the
Cape) any inkling of Miani's exploit could have reached Speke and Grant be-
fore they were finally cut off from communication with Zanzibar. It is clear indeed .
that even Miani's name was unknown to Speke when, on 15th January 1863, he
encountered Miani's tree-Shadr el Sowar, the Traveller's Tree-in latitude
3034'33" north (according to Speke's determination).
There was no lack of readiness in England to acknowledge that Miani had
gone further up the Nile than any one from the Sudan. In the Athenaeum of 12th
January 1861 is a long notice (clearly based upon the pamphlet of 1st September
1860) extolling his enterprise in sonorous mid-Victorian phrases.
Sir Roderick Murchison in a presidential address to the Royal Geographical
Society on 27th May 1861 drew attention to Miani's travels; and when, some two
years later (22nd June 1863), he addressed the meeting of welcome to Speke and
Grant upon their return he remarked (Proceedings, R.G.S. Vol. VII (1862-63)
"In our days, one Miani, a Venetian, who had lived many 'years in Egypt, is
the person who got farthest southwards in ascending from Egypt; and he, not
being an astronomical observer, thought and has asserted, that he had reached to
the 2nd degree of north latitude, where he cut his name on a tree. He has even
written to me from Vienna what he calls a 'protest' against the river of Speke
being the true Nile. Speke, however, in passing southwards (sic H.B.T.) determined
the latitude of that very tree with Miani's name cut on it to be 3 N. latitude; and
as Speke has traced the waters of the Nile from 3S of the Equator, it follows that
the Venetian was never within about 400 miles of the headwaters of the Nile."
It was but natural that Miani's enterprise should be overshadowed by the
more comprehensive discoveries of Speke and Grant; and, in fact, thereafter his
name occurs seldom, and that vaguely, in English geographical literature.
But an examination of Miani's map reveals much that was confirmed by his
more fortunate successors. Miani's tree was situated to the north of the river
Unyama (which seems to be noted by Speke only as an unnamed nullah). But
plai-names in central Africa are habitually mobile, and Miani's Galuffis may
reasonably be equated with the Jaifi of Speke (though that lay to the south of the
Unyama) while. Zaipi is to-day, the name of a county of the East Madi sub-
Miahi,,was successful in interpreting from the information given him by the
ol( !ei at.,Galuffirthat, upstream from that point, the Nile followed a bow-shaped
co e and' was. eventually again encountered by a route which struck from
iGaif4 'i a south-easterly direction. At the end of that route (where would in fact
be Foweira) he placed 'Patico', undoubtedly the earliest reference on any map to
the later well-known station of Fatiko. Other of Miani's place names later record-
ed by. Speke are Palaio (Faloro), Pairo (Paira) and Pagnarq (Panyoro).
Clearly-Miani, in his journey of March 1860, made a substantial contribution
to the world's knowledge of the Nile. It was his misfortune that before the world
could appraise and utilize this contribution, it was rendered valueless by the more
extensive discoveries of others who, both materially and intellectually were
The Nature and Characteristics iof' the
S'prne Being Worshipped among the
Acholi of Uganda.
By RENATO BOCCASSINO
Inspector of the "Museo Preistorico-Etnografico
"Luigi Pigorini" of Rome.
,The figures most worthy of note in the religious practises of the Alibli of
it~iahda' are: the Supreme Being called LUBANGA: the Jok, (creatures 'of LU-
BANGA)"inferior and generally wicked spirits, which are sometimes usefu'inedi-
ators however between LUBANGA and men; and the dead, who-'are' given a
special cut (Abila'). I restrict myself in this paper to a brief resume of the main
chefacteristics' of the Supreme Being in so far as I have beeri able t& gather them
frdm the numerous texts I have collected and my frequent assistance at the sari-
fides"of' the Acholi during my stay of a year among them (March 1933'-March
"NAME- The"Supreme Being is called RUBANGA in some districts but idore
generally LUBANGA. Three words in particular are used with reference td Lhis
divinity, Wilobo '(earth), Woko (outside), RUpiny (daybreak, 'and also the, stcdes-
iorr"of- days up to the last). It is difficult to determine the precise meaning of'tlise
words. They are commonly supposed to be three other namies'of' LUBANOAs',but
smne arr of-the ,opinion that they denominate creatures of LUIBAGA,;:beiAUse
earth and day come from him. Others are more uncertain and uramise*that
Wilobo, Woko, and Rupiny are sons, brothers, or relations of LUBANGA; per-
lhap nrot even s6 closely related as that. It may be that the words are merely pro-
et'biaf drid handed down from generation to generation. They are' rarely used, and
inore'ofte,' by Women than by men.' They probably indicate something other 'than
thd-'ok and' the Abila.
(x) For a more extensive study of the Mythology of the Acholi see; 4 La -,ltbwgla
agil. Acioll -dell 'Uganda Sull' Essere Supremo, I primi tempi ela eaduta Idell' Utomo (con
test) in '.(The Mythology of the Acholi of Uganda on the Supreme Beigg, the first ,ages
and the fall of man, with Acholi texts and resume in English) ini'nthropos. St. Gablriel-
Modling bei Wien, Vol. XXXIII, 1938, page 59-io6.
LUBANGA is age-old. He came into existence in far away times, but they
do not know where, or when. All other beings come after Him even the jok,
"because the son cannot come into the world before his mother". They do not
know whether LUBANGA has a mother or a wife.
LUBANGA is an invisible spirit. No one even in the earliest times ever saw
his body; he has no home, but he is everywhere. He is known only through his
creatures and he has made all things that form them all men, even the dumb; may
come to know that he is LUBANGA.
LUBANGA is wise. He sees everyone even when they are in the thick of the
woods; they are not certain however whether he can see many people at night. The
Acholi also pray mentally because LUBANGA can see many people at night. The
thoughts. LUBANGA is powerful. Power the essential characteristic of this sup-
reme being. The Acholi attribute creation and the ordered disposition of the uni-
verse to him, even though they have not a word in their language corresponding to
'create' and use according to circumstances the verbs cweyo, to make or form;
kelo, to carry; keto, to put; cwalo, to send; cako, to begin; tyeko, to end; nywalo,
to generate; they have no mythical account of the creation, but say that man can
have no idea how LUBANGA acts because he is a miracle worker. LUBANGA
created the sun, the sky, the earth, the moon, and the mountains; fire, iron, rain,
thunder, and the great expanses of water; he also determined the succession of
night and day. He made the serpent so that without paws it can move more
quickly than man, and the tortoise so that it can remain under water without
dying. He also made the wild beasts which may be his dogs since they carry men
off from the villages.
He put man on the earth when it was ready for him, and gave it to him for
himself, then came on earth with the animals, first among which are the A KURU,
a bird whose song announces nightfall, the goat-the unit of exchange among the
Acholi,-the hen and ewe with which the body of a sick person is blessed. LU-
BANGA gave grass as food to animals, the beasts of the forest to the wild beasts,
and the trophies of the hunt, millet and fruit to man, to whom he gave a spear
and a hoe with which to provide for himself. LUBANGA taught man to plant seed
and cook food, and gave him beer, which even the poor can make. He allotted
work both to man and woman, gave them wood which vigorously rubbed pro-
duces fire, and water in which to cook their food. Everything received through
contact with other tribes and emigration to other districts is eventually due to
He introduced habits, customs, and ceremonies and appointed a head man to
help the people and act as judge in cases of dispute, because it is not good that
there should be no one to keep order in the district. LUBANGA manifests His
power above all in giving man his genitive faculty unaided by anyone or anything else
LUBANGA is conceived as the maker of all men black and white, "LUBANGA
is great because He has made all things and particularly because He has made
man". It is He who puts the child into the mother's womb, and gives it ten fingers,
two hands, two eyes, and two ears, when it is still in the womb. The maternal
womb and the infant's crying are also His making. Only LUBANGA has
this power, no jok can make a woman give birth; and since all women give bith
in the same way there is only one LUBANGA. When a woman is pregnant, for
the first time, she prays LUBANGA that she may happily give birth to the child in
her womb. The witch-doctor also prays to LUBANGA during difficult childbirth.
LUBANGA is perhaps the only BEING truly powerful; He might even be
called the powerful One'. The Acholi say "Abila is'more powerful than a man still
living because he is a pure spirit, and he who neglects to make a sacrifice does not
kill when he goes to the hunt but sickens and dies. Jok is more powerful still than
Abila because the latter can be pacified whereas Jok may kill violently. LUBAN-
GA is not only a great Jok. He is different from the Jok; LUBANGA is very
much superior to Jok and Abila because He has made all things and because He
is responsible for the birth and death of man."
LUBANGA continually keeps man in being. "We go to sleep in the
evening and awake in the morning; Were LUBANGA not powerful we should
never awaken again." Man's intelligence, sexual impotence, physical beauty are all
due to LUBANGA and not to man himself. Should a woman continually draw
attention to the beauty of her daughter she would be punished by LUBANGA,
who would take away her sons fromier and refuse children to her daughter.
Twins, hunchbacks, and those born deformed are also given by LUBANGA.
LUBANGA is truthful.-Jok can tell lies but LUBANGA tells the truth. The
witch doctor prays LUBANGA to assist Jok in telling the truth. The Acholi fear
to take an oath and when they do so they have no set formula, but say "that
which LUBANGA puts into their hearts". They consider it an extremely grave
matter to calumniate an innocent person, particularly as regards theft or adultery,
and thereby compel him to swear his innocence. Such an act must be redeemed by
a fine and a sacrifice of expiation. Certain acts called "kir, bad odour" are also con-
sidered as oaths, even though LUBANGA or other spirits are not mentioned at
the time; as when a woman tears away her beads and curses her husband or child-
ren, or swears at a child pointing her breasts at it, or goes in search of a daughter
who has run away with a young man to a neighboring village and there tears
down the topmost point of the temple of departed spirits, or when a man curses his
son as- brother, pointing against him his penis, or when a wife throws out of the house
the gourd containing bread, or when someone relieves himself in the house of
another, or during sleep urinates on another.
An expiatory sacrifice must atone for these acts; if it were overlooked, sick-
ness might come to the guilty one and his relations, and more than that; they
would rarely escape death, because "LUBANGA is all ears, and says you, have
sworn death, and kills you."
LUBANGA is good.-They say expressly "LUBANGA made man because
He is good" and sometimes call him 'father'. He loves His people and does not
desire their extermination by the Europeans. Unexpected assistance in moments
of grave difficulty is attributed to LUBANGA. If they escape from an enemy, a
lion, or a crocodile, or are not bitten by a serpent they stand upon, they say that
LUBANGA has assisted them, and LUBANGA is the only one who could save
one who imprudently goes out to swim without ever having learnt anything
about the art, or who faces a lion against the advice of others. Warned -against
beginning a' journey at night, or receiving some gift or other, they say "It is LU-
BANGA". If they are hungry during a journey and ask LUBANGA to help them
to find'honey, and walking a little further on they suddenly find some, "oh, look,"
they think or say, "I thought I would not find honey, but LUBANGA has helped
me and made me find some. It is LUBANGA". Returning home, "LUBANGA,
has taken care of me" they say. If a few men succeed in killing a hippopotamus
they attribute it to a favour of LUBANGA. The poor trust LUBANGA to assist
them with the dowry necessary for marriage. Two friends who become related
through the marriage of their sisters thank LUBANGA because "He has brought
them closer together". The Acholi trust in Him and call on him in every need
"because He is good," and He grants what they wish "because He is good." No-
one can live without calling on LUBANGA at some time or other; His help should
be implored on all occasions. Petitions, lamentations, and thanksgiving's are
short and informal; they sometimes make up prayers for special occasions. They
say "LUBANGA who made man puts prayer in his mouth. It is spontaneous
just as when you spank a baby it begins to cry without ever having been taught
by anyone how to do so." Private prayers are so free that they do not wonder at
some praying in one sense and others in another. They ask LUBANGA to free
them of sickness and epidemics "Thou canst see how few we are now, LUBA-
NGA"., and from sterility and difficult child birth. They pray for offcpring, good
medicine from their doctor, and health for a weak and frail child; they also thank
Him if an only child survives. The whole village joins a husband who prays for
his wife unable to bring forth her child. If a sick child is cured, they say LU-
BANGA is good; if it dies they say that LUBANGA is wicked. "LUBANGA if
it is Thy will that I should not see this child why hast thou formed him at all? I
should not have been permitted to see his eyes." When a child is born, the mother
prays LUBANGA that the child may suck well.
They also lament and beseech LUBANGA to hearken to them if the cattle
die, or if a lion preys upon them, if the cows do not give milk, if they don't make
a kill at the hunt, or don't catch fish; if they cannot become engaged either because
they cannot offer a dowry or because they are rejected by all the young ladies; if
there is no peace at home, if the seed does not germinate, or some calamity (lo-
custs, rain, drought) ruins the harvest. They pray during a journey that they may
not be stricken with sickness or held up by the rains, and also whenever they meet a
serpent in their path. A mother blesses her son before going to war, praying LU-
BANGA that he may return in safety. They sacrifice to jok, however, because
they cannot see the body of Lubanga: Jok of course speaks in the person of the
Witch-doctor; he is the emissary of LUBANGA and the intermediary between
men and LUBANGA, who, though often insensible to prayer, gives through Jok.
It is LUBANGA who lends assistance even when sacrifice is offered to Jok.
LUBANGA is Lord of all things even of life and death. -LUBANGA cultivates
the land of LUBANGA. They sometimes call cattle" the money piece of LUBAN-
GA".' Man belongs to LUBANGA who disposes of everyone's life and death.
Death is LUBANGA's doing but they do not know whence it comes, nor do they
know whether LUBANGA regrets or is happy when he kills men. The people
lament but LUBANGA is incapable of doing so. One man is born today and
another dies on the morrow. When a man is born LUBANGA decides of what
sickness he is to die. Men are born and die as LUBANGA wishes; no witch-
doctor and no Jok however powerful he be, can ever effect a cure when LU-
BANGA wishes otherwise. No witch-doctor can compel LUBANGA to take
possession of his body; he would call in vain and LUBANGA would never come.
When a woman is giving birth and fears being overcome she calls out to her
mother "Mother, I am dying." The mother answers "I am close by, my child;
if LUBANGA wishes to kill you it is His affairs; if He says you must happily
give birth you will do so." Or even "What can I do my child; only LUBANGA
knows what I can do". They reply to one who fears to lose his wife in child birth,
"Never fear, LUBANGA knows what will come about" and if the woman comes
through safely, "LUBANGA, I thank you very much; I thought my wife would
die, but instead she has been happily delivered". If it does not rain even after
having sacrificed to all the inferior spirits they exclaim, "This is indeed the
drought called 'daughter of LUBANGA which in olden times war the death of
everyone. LUBANGA is holding up the rain and is going to destroy us all." They
then go off into another district. Imprecations and lamentations are poured out
upon LUBANGA especially when the children die. "LUBANGA Thou hast be-
come our enemy, LUBANGA Thou hast become angry with me and wicked,
dost thou want to destroy us?" If they could they would spear him.
LUBANGA is He who rewards good and above all punishes evil-doing at
least in this life. LUBANGA once destroyed a group of people gathered for
a dance, but saved a-family which gave drink to a leper. LUBANGA decreed
the end of the Golden Age, during which men died, but returned to life again
after very short time and did very little work, since a tiny grain of millet ground
between two stones gave sufficient flour for bread and beer, because man broke the
cameleon's mother's pipe and because ten bridesmaids broke the blessing of LU-
BANGA by grinding a whole basketful of millet. Prostes:ations of innocence are
sometimes included in the lamentations made to LUBANGA and followed by
prayers of impetration. If a woman has no children or the. cattle die insistently,
theycry out "what have I ruined for Thee? I did not steal this woman (or this beast),
I bought this money with my very own hands (or this woman), this beast is the.
fruit of my labour. Why does not my wife have children?" A common expression
on the occasions is 'I have not stolen'.
LUBANGA punishes anyone who neglects to offer sacrifice (even sacrifice
due merely to the inferior spirits). He sent a deadly plague of small-pox once be-
cause sacrifice to a certain Jok had been overlooked. He did not second the desire,
however, of the latter to destroy the whole region. LUBANGA punishes those
who do not observe their duty of offering sacrifice to the departed soul of their
father; and also those who are continually engaged in dispute, by making them
unwillingly kill someone while out at the hunt and so be obliged to repay the
damage done. Even when the witch-doctor offers sacrifice that rain may fall (rain
belonging to LUBANGA) he warns the people to avoid quarrels and the beating
of children and dogs. One of their songs relates that LUBANGA sent grave sick-
ness among the Acholi of Patiko because two would-be chieftains quarrelled, 4nd
divided up the country.
LUBANGA prohibits adultery which was the cause of the first war. They
tell of a terrible famine which LUBANGA spread in a certain region because the
chieftain refused millet to certain of his neighbours stricken with famine, and gave
it only to beautiful women who came to ask for it, and committed adultery with
them. The Acholi are very much afraid of the spirit of one who dies in anger
because he may return to settle his vendettas. Such a spirit is called lacen; anyone
who has died voluntarily or involuntarily (at the hunt, for example) can become
lacen, if the indemnity demanded is not paid and the required expiatory sacrifice
is not offered. No soul can become lacen, however unless compelled to be so by
evil. They particularly fear the spirit of a son whose father denied him a marriage
dowry, of a slave killed for no reason whatsoever, of a father, elder or sick one of
family, to whom bread has been denied, of one allowed to die of hunger on the
cottage doorstep even though of another tribe; of a mother forbidden by her son
to remarry after the death of his father, or to whom meat has been refused by
her son; of one killed in the house of another who has not avenged him; of the
innocent victim of a serious vendetta, or of one who has been punished in vendet-
ta beyond measure or desert but yet very grievously; of a wife killed while run-
ning away to take refuge with another man, because her husband had been beating
her. The soul of a dog also killed in certain circumstances is a lacen. When the
lacen returns to kill, and begins to deal sickness on one of the family, or appears
to him in sleep, or makes him wander, the witch doctor is called in; it is his duty
to cast out the lacen by a special ceremony essentially of an expiatory nature but
also showing details of a magic character. The witch doctor does not always suc-
ceed and at times the lacen is so enraged that he kills not only the evil doer but the
whole family even his father and mother or son, and the very witch-doctor brought
in to cast him out. They explain this by saying that LUBANGA is truly sad, be-
cause one of his very own, born of himself, has been killed, and consequently he
agrees to the soul of the dead one returning and killing the one by whom he was
killed himself. The wild-beasts can also come back as lacen; they are the dogs of
It is not always easy to decide to whom the Acholi offer their sacrfices, be-
cause at times they name neither LUBANGA nor Jok nor Abila. This occurs
particularly when expiatory sacrifices are offered-usually a sheep. But as the
Acholi say they think of LUBANGA even when they do not name him in the sa-
crifice, and expect to be punished by him directly or indirectly whenever they omit
the necessary sacrifice, I am inclined to conclude that LUBANGA is still the cen-
tral figure to which the ceremonies of expiation are directed, particularly those
intended as expiation for sexual sins committed before and after marriage. I also
believe that the confession of sexual sins made by women during difficult child-
birth is directed to LUBANGA, because the Acholi believe generation to be some-
thing exclusively dependent upon LUBANGA. Sacrifice generally avoids or cuts
short punishment; but in some cases everything is useless. It can be truly asserted
that in some cases LUBANGA is inexorable. Certain sicknesses exclusively attri-
buted to LUBANGA and against which the witch-doctor can do nothing, are
probably consequences of certain acts which.LUBANGA never pardons, accord-
ing to the Acholi. LUBANGA's punishments are always severe, though he re-
frains at times from destroying a family or a tribe. Sterility, high child-mortality,
seriously dangerous diarrhoea and deformed children are in many cases punish-
ments for sins of the sufferer or his antecedents, particularly on his mother's side.
Very often the sick person and the sickness itself are called LUBANGA as also is
the expiatory sacrifice subsequently offered. They say that natural monsters must
not be killed, lest the mother be incapable of ever bringing forth children.
A certain laziness is indicated in the Supreme Being of the Acholi by the fact
that very often he does not punish wickedness directly, but leaves the matter to
inferior beings. These latter have appropriated much of the sacrificial cult to
themselves, although the sacrificial prayers are still occasionally addressed directly
to LUBANGA, and individual and non-sacrificial prayers almost entirely. Another
point illustrating this laziness is the assertion made by the Acholi that "they do
not understand how the Jok can do so much evil, in spite of LUBANGA being so
Notwithstanding certain negative characters, however, LUBANGA always re-
mains so great and so different from other spirits that he is the only being which
can reasonably be given the name of God (').
(i) I am most grateful to Mr. John Devine, a student in the Urban College of Pro-
paganda Fide in Rome, who was good enough to translate this paper.
Sailing on the Victoria Nyanza in 1908.
By SIR ALISON RUSSELL, K.C.
Note: (Sir Alison Russell, K.C., was Attorney-General, Uganda, from 1906 to 1912;
he was later Chief Justice in Tanganyika Territory and retired in 1929).
Those were the days! But now that I read about the fleet of yachts on the
lake, I feel that so far as sailing is concerned, these days must be quite as good.
The boat I had in those far off days was an old ship's boat to which someone had
added a fin keel with a good lump of lead. How she had come to be at the port of
Entebbe was a mystery; but there she lay, derelict and useless, with many of her
timbers rotten. The District Commissioner and I determined to rebuild her; and
from whom he got her and how, I do not know. As I have said, those were the
Anyhow, we engaged Ali, an Indian fundi, to repair her. He was a capital work-
man and a most amusing fellow, the proud possessor of a red beard, the sign of
a pilgrimage to Mecca. While the boat was being rebuilt, the D.C. was transferred
to Kampala, and I took over the boat and the rebuilding.
At last the day for the launch arrived. There was no mechanical means of
launching her, so the help of a party of Sikhs was obtained from the officer com-
manding. When we arrived with the boat at the water's edge, there was a slight
pause. However, officers go first, and anyhow the boat was mine; so in I went
and the boat was launched. I suppose the splashing and shouting we made would
have frightened away any crocs. There she lay afloat.
She was rigged as a sloop, with a fairly snug mainsail. I also made a large
spinnaker out of Americani, of the simplest construction and boomed out on a
long thin boathook. The boat sailed well and was dry and comfortable. She was
made fast to a mooring, with a rope led from the stern to the stone pier: hauling
on the rope brought her stern close enough to enable one to get on board: when the
rope was let go, she went out towards the mooring. She was christened Egypt, and
I had some of the best times of my life in her.
In those years sleeping sickness was rampant on the lake; and no one was
allowed to land on the shores of the lake or of the islands. Nor were we allowed
to go close to the shore, since tsetse would gladly come out to meet us. We used
to lie off the papyrus beds under the shelter of the islands, and very snug it was,
even though the storms raged over the lake at nights. There were many hippos
there at that time, but they never molested us nor we them. Our favourite cruise
was from Entebbe harbour, round the point where the Roman Catholic Mission
is, and up the bay to the ferry. And the next day we used to sail back again. A
dug out canoe was our means of getting ashore at the ferry. How well I remember
the lovely evenings, drifting in to the mooring with the lightest of airs, and even the
bump on the path that we used to ride over on the way back to the club!
I had no particular adventures, though I was caught out now and again in a
bit of a blow, and once I brought up all standing on a rock which I did not know
about-it was a nasty crack for the bulb, but luckily the wind was light and no
harm was done. The most adventurous thing happened in this way. A white pri-
soner escaped from the jail in Kampala. There was the most tremendous hulla-
balloo, cordons were drawn, and the telephone wires became quite hot. The
prisoner, however, did what no one expected: he bolted towards Entebbe. I do
not know whether he had heard of the Egypt, which was then lying at the ferry,
but he got on board, found the boat well supplied with food, and set sail. He
would have got clear away across the lake to a country from which there was no
extradition, but he ran on some rocks and there remained until he was taken off
in a police canoe. A gallant effort.
After several years in which the boat gave me the loveliest cruises, I regret-
fully left Uganda, and the boat passed to the Government Printer. In due course
he was promoted, and the boat went to Jinja. I last heard of her on Lake Kioga;
and I do not know where her honoured bones now rest. Hail and farewell!
Those were the days! I venture to wish all yachtsmen on the Victoria Nyanza
the best of luck and happiness.
A Note on the Saza of Bugerere, Buganda Kingdom.
By A.O. JENKINS
The following notes were obtained for the most part from the local
inhabitants during odd moments whilst touring Bugerere Saza. They cannot
be regarded as having any particular degree of authenticity as the information
when given was the subject of considerable, and at times even heated argument
on the part of my informants. They are, consequently, not the result of any
profound or lengthy study but, on the other hand, may be of some general
interest to those whose lot is cast in Buganda.
Bugerere now forms one of the twenty Sazas which comprise the Kingdom
of Buganda, but its incorporation in the Kingdom is of comparatively recent
date. It lies roughly between the River Nile and the Sezibwa a few miles North
of the Ripon Falls in the South and Lake Kyoga in the North, and was at one
time divided into two parts; Northern Bugerere or Namuyonjo's country and
Southern Bugerere or Bulondoganyi (Speke's "Urondoganyi") (I).
The local people are known as the Banyala (or Banyara) and are said to have
migrated originally from somewhere around Bugondo in Teso. One section
moved into Bunyoro in the Chopi area, thence to Kibulala in North Singo some-
where near Kiboga, mile 80 Kampala-Hoima road, thence to Mbuya near Kasan-
gati in Kyadondo, where they settled. Later they moved on again to Mukono
in Kyagwe, then to Namwezi near Nyenga, then to Mayangayanga on the
Sezibwa and finally into Bulondoganyi to Bwera Mondo (or Magala). They
were led by one Mukonga. A second section moved subsequently from "Bukedi"
across Lake Kyoga on the Nile direct into North Bugerere under a leader
called Namuyonjo from whom this area derived its name, or at least was known
thereafter as Namuyonjo's country.
These two sections of the Bunyoro eventually clashed and fought for the
supremacy of Bugerere. The Southerners under Kahira, a descendant of
Mukonga, fought it out with the Northerners at Magala hill and appear to have
got the worst of it, as Kahira's right hand man, Kojo by name, was killed, and
Kahira decided to proceed to Bunyoro to protest to the Mukama for having
set Namuyonjo against him. Kahira died en route somewhere in Bulemezi
and his son Mwangu took up the burden and succeeded in presenting his petiti-
ion before the Mukama of Bunyoro. He was successful in so far as he was
recognized as the leader of the Southern Banyala under the suzerainty of Bunyoro,
and was ordered to return to Bugerere and maintain peace in Bulondoganyi.
Mwangu returned accordingly and settled at Bulundu near Wunga in the Gombo-
lola of the Sabagabo of Bugerere. The Northern area remained under Namuyonjo.
(i) See footnote to page Io of Uganda by Thomas and Scott.
As far as I was able to ascertain, Mwangu's country was the whole of the
Southern half of Bugerere (i.e. Bulondoganyi) together with the East bank of the
Sezibwa even as far North as Kasokwe, the boundary on the North running
approximately from the Nile somewhere between Wunga and Budali, north-west
to the Sezibwa and west of Kasokwe. This left Namuyonjo with but a small
area of the North and North-East portion of Bugerere only.
It is then related that at some later date, though opinion on this is very
vague, some saying as late as Kamurasi or Kabarega's time, a Namuyonjo of
that day obtained the "crown" of the "Mwangu" (a title apparently by then) by
means of a trick. He asked for the loan of the "crown" from the Mwangu, and
having got it proceeded to Bunyoro and exhibited it to the Mukama as proof of
the defeat of the Mwangu and was thereupon recognized and appointed as the ruler
of all the Banyara. I am inclined to think that the foregoing is somewhat ancient his-
tory and possibly legendary, as at the time of the visits of the first Europeans
to this part of the world, in the middle of the last century, Bulondoganyi and
Namuyonjo's were separate entities, the one under Buganda and the other owing
allegiance to Bunyoro and even as far back as the time of Kabaka Semakokiro
(early 19th century).
I have been asked what the so-called "crown" consisted of, and frankly
I do not know but must leave that point to someone else to discover if this is poss-
ible, which I doubt.
It is asserted that the first Namuyonjo was a son of Mpuga Rukidi, the first
of the Babito kings of Bunyoro, and that his name was Chola, but against this it
is also alleged that Chola was a son of Mukonga the original leader of the South-
ern Banyala in their wanderings through Singo, Kyadondo and Kyagwe, and was
born at Kibulala and settled at Mbuya in Kyadondo.
In the time of Kabaka Mutesa Bugerere was more evenly divided, the bound-
ary between Bulondoganyi and Namuyonjo running approximately East and West
from the Nile to the Sezibwa, between Kakoge and Lwabyata, about three or four
miles North of Kayonza, the Gombolola headquarters of the Sabagabo, and
passing between the Mitalas of Nakisa and Kitwe. Bulondoganyi was governed by
the Omulondo for the Kabaka, and he had his headquarters at Busagazi in the
Gombolola of the Mumyuka. This place lies about two miles south of the aban-
doned Mill Hill Mission of Nazigo. In later times the Omulondo moved to Nateta
nearer Nazigo. The Mumyuka of Bugerere is still known as the Mulondo.
Namuyonjo's headquarters were at Misanga on the left bank of the Nile, half
way between Namasagali and the junction of the Nile with Lake Kyoga. He con-
tinued to owe allegiance to Bunyoro and was somewhat of a thorn in the side of
the Kingdom of Buganda. (i)
(i) Through the Dark Continent by Stanley, Volume I pages 398-9.
Towards the end of 1894, as a result of the operations by Colonel Colville
against Kabarega, Namuyonjo's chieftainship fell to Simei Kakunguru, (i) who
occupied the area in 1895 with little or no opposition from Kwambu, the Namu-
yonjo of the time, and thus the whole of Bugerere became part of the Kingdom
Mr. Daudi Namuyonjo, a Muruka Chief in the Gombolola of the Mutuba
I of Bugerere is the present-day "Namuyonjo" (regarded as a title) and a
grandson of Kwambu. He claims, I believe, direct descent from Chola who ac-
cording to him was a younger brother of Kintu and Rukidi, the first Kabaka of
Buganda and the first of the Babito kings of Bunyoro respectively.
(i) The story of Semei Kakunguru by H.B. Thomas, pages 128-129 Uganda Journal,
Vol. VI, No. 3.
In the last number of the Uganda Journal the name of the author of the
article An approach to African Music is wrongly spelt. The name is K.P. WACHS-
There is a further error in the same article in the second paragraph on p.
159. In the third sentence the words "that one must not" up to and including "real
end, or" entered the final proof by mistake, and should be deleted.
Old Azigara of The West Nile.
The Hon. Editor,
I have just read Mr. R.W.Maling's interesting note on 'Old Azigara of the
West Nile', in the October number of the Journal.
From his description there can be no doubt that this is the same animal which
I have always heard called 'Asanvura' by the Madi and Lugbara. Mr. Maling's
account tallies well with that which I have had from numerous independent Afri-
A European, with considerable experience of elephant hunting, whom I knew
well, but who died recently, told me once how he had made many attempts to
come up with Asanvura. He described how he came upon the immense track,
which he followed for a considerable distance. The track wound from side to side,
never continuing for long in one direction, and it appeared that Asanvura was
doing all he could to pick up the wind of a possible hunter. The track, however,
lead eventually Northwards to the Kaia River and the Sudan boundary. My friend
wistfully followed the track into the bed of the river and saw, where Asanvura
had climbed the steep bank into the Sudan, the deep scores made by his unusually
long tusks on the sloping ground.
I am, Sir,
28th December 1938.
The Hon. Editor,
We are indebted to Mr. Fiennes for his excellent summary of the literature
relating to soil erosion.
There is one point however, upon which I could wish that he had made
himself more clear. In his discussion of the value of grass burning he points out,
what is perhaps generally accepted, that Uganda is understocked. He approves
grass burning on the grounds that without it forest growth would be encouraged
and pasture reduced.
I am sure that Mr. Fiennes can explain what appears at first sight to be a
fallacious argument. It does seem, however, that an increase in grazing area is
hardly necessary if the present area is understocked.
I am, Sir,
GORONWY AP GRIFFITH.
The Agricultural Laboratories.
-23rd January, 1939.
INDEX TO VOLUME VI.
RUSSELL SIR, A.
WILLIAMS, F. LUKYN.
Migration Movements of the Madi, with
some tentative Conclusions.
The Na'ure and Characteristics of the
Supreme Being worshipped among the
Acholi of Uganda.
A Plant Collection from Karamoja.
Two Plant Problems.
Soil Erosion and Agricultural Planning.
The Native of Uganda and the Criminal Law
A Note on the Saza of Bugerere, Buganda.
Old Azigara of the West Nile.
Sailing on the Victoria Nyanza in 1908.
Capax Imperil-The Story of Semei Kakunguru.
Giovanni Miani and the White Nile.
From Negro Sculpture to Modern Painting.
An Approach to African Music.
Hima Cattle. (Partl).
.,, (Part 2).
The Drum Wango.
The Witch Tree.
The Old Lady.
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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 totalling about 4,000 acres Freehold Land.
2, BUSOWA. 3, BUKONA. 4, WEIBUQU.
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 Saw Mills
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 o09, Kampala. P.O. Box 25, Kampala
THE UGANDA TIMBER SALES
& Co., Ltd.
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
THE BOMBAY TRADING
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 RAND COMPANY
Phone 59 KAMPALA (UGANDA) Bo
Beck's Bremen Beer.
Messrs. John Begg Ltd., Glasgow.
BATTERY-OPERATED AND ALL-MAINS WIRELESS SETS.
SPECIALLY MADE FOR EAST-AFRICAN CONDITIONS.
FOR PARTICULARS, DEMONSTRATION AND PRICES
Twentsche Overseas Trading Co., Ltd.
P.O. Box 162 KAMPALA:
Agent for Jinja:-
DHARAMSIII HEMRAJ. P.O. B. 107, JINJA.
Hoima Cotton Company Ltd.
NANJI KALIDAS MEHTA, 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,