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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Table of Contents
The Power Concept in Lango Religion
Some Birds of Prey of Lake Victoria
The Supreme Being among the Acholi of Uganda
Notes, Reviews, etc.
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
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THOSE. COOK AND SON LTD.
A GUIDE TO
THE SNAKES OF UGANDA
Capt. Charles R. S. Pitman, D.S.O., M.C.
Corresponding Member of the Zoological Society
Game Warden, Uganda.
The above work which appeared serially in Volumes III, IV and V of
the Uganda Journal is now on sale.
While the book is a complete guide to Uganda snakes, it also has a
much wider interest and importance, for it deals with species of snakes that
are found from the East to the West Coasts of Africa, and from the Sudan
to the Union of South Africa. It is, in fact, the most comprehensive and
authoritative work on African snakes that has yet been published.
Of the greatest value are the 23 splendid coloured plates which give a
complete and accurate pictorial record of the snakes of Uganda-some 80
species in all. Not only are the heads, lateral and ventral sections of adult
snakes shown,but the differences of colouring and markings of young snakes
are also depicted. The book is further illustrated by 18 plates of line draw-
ings, two diagrams and two maps.
Another feature which increases the usefulness of the book is its index-
or rather indexes. Of these there are three-an Index of Scientific Names,
an Index of Popular Names, and an Index of Vernacular Names. There is
also a List of Contents.
The Foreword has been contributed by Mr. H.W. Parker, Assistant Keep-
er of Zoology at the British Museum.
The edition is limited to 500 copies, each one of which is numbered.
Post Quarto. 362 pages, illustrated with 23 fine Coloured Plates,
18 Line Drawings, 2 Diagrams and 2 Maps. Half Bound
Published by THE UGANDA SOCIETY, KAMPALA, UGANDA,
from whom copies may be obtained.
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
Vol. VII. JANUARY, 1940.
The Power Concept in Lango Religion
Some Birds of Prey of Lake Victoria
The Supreme Being among the Acholi of Uganda
NOTES, REVIEWS. ETC.
Two Antique Chairs for Namirembe Cathedral H.B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
A Legend of Some Hills in Bulemezi. G.W. NYE.
Photo of Group including the late Sir Frederick Jackson.
Private Bag, Kampala.
His EXCELLENCY SIR PHILIP E. MITCHELL, K.C.M.G., M.C.
N. V. BRASNETT, ESQ.,
CAPTAIN C.R.S. PITMAN, D.S.O., M.C.
Honorary Vice-Presidents Honorary Vice-Presidents
under Rule XV. (d). under Rule XV. (e).
SIR ALBERT R. COOK, KT., C.M.G. THE RT. REV. BISHOP E. MICHAUD, M 3.E.
E.J. WAYLAND, ESQ., C.M.G. H.B. THOMAS, ESQ., O.B.E.
DR. H.H. HUNTER, C.B.E. E.F. TWINING, ESQ., M.B.E.
H. JOWITT, ESQ., OMW. S.W. KULUBYA, M.B.E.
H.R. HONE, ESQ., M.C., K.C. R.A. THE OMUKAMA OF BUNYORO-
JOHN SYKES, ESQ., KITARA. M.B.E.
DR. L.D. AHMED.
MR. A. V. ELLIOTT.
NORMAN GODINHO, ESQ., M.B.E.
OMW. S.W. KULUBYA, M.B.F.
OMW. B.J. MUKASA.
OMW. B. K. MULYANTI.
DR. K. P. WACHSMANN.
S.H.H. WRIGHT, ESQ.
DR. A.W. WILLIAMS.
W. N. R. LEE, ESQ.,
Assistant Honorary Treasure)
C.R. HALL, ESQ.
R.A. SNOXALL, ESQ.,
S. G. Marsh, Esq.
The return of the previous Honorary Editor from leave was signalised by the
smallest issue of the Journal in the history of the Society, but fortunately a policy
of extreme caution and economy has not yet become imperative and we are
accordingly glad to be able to produce this time something in the nature of a more
normal number which we hope it will be possible to sustain in subsequent issues.
Since our last number the Buganda Kingdom has sustained a severe shock by
the death of His Highness the Kabaka, Sir Daudi Chwa II, K.C.M.G., K.B.E. on
November 22nd., and it is meet that we should record the sympathy which was
felt for Lady Irene the Nabagereka, the Ministers of the Lukiko and all the subjects
of the Kabaka by members of a Society such as ours which derives its main
interest from the past history as well as from the passing events within the kingdom
of Buganda. The Society should feel proud that a past President, Sir Albert
Cook, C.M.G., was chosen to deliver the funeral oration in Namirembe Cathedral
and was able to pay eloquent tribute to the ruler whom he had remembered from
birth as he had previously spoken on the happier occasion of the Kabaka's marri-
age and coronation on September 19th 1914.
At the same time we all wish to extend our best wishes to the new Kabaka
Edward Frederick William David George Walugembe Luwangula Mutebi Mutesa
II for a long, happy and prosperous reign.
Members will no doubt remember mention which has been made in past
editorials of the kind offer of Mr. Norman Godinho, M.B.E. to provide furniture for
the Society's rooms. The Editor is able to record with thankfulness that he has
actually written his editorial at a most handsome muvuli refectory table included in
this gift, and that as he looked round the room and saw the other two handsome
tables and bookcase and cupboard which had recently arrived as the first instalment
of this offer, he felt that the gratitude of members should be recorded to the
generous donor for the handsome and tangible expression of his goodwill to the
Society. In an editorial some time ago we mentioned that the Society's growing
library was stored in one inadequate cupboard but the provision of shelf-space and
bookcases now makes it possible to bind up and store in a proper manner all the
invaluable contemporary publications which we receive in exchange for our own
Journal. This task has been undertaken with zeal and efficiency by our Honorary
Librarian and it must be a cause of great satisfaction to him to see that the
Society's Library shows promise of being adequately housed.
It is pleasant to be able to record that in spite of the abnormal times in
which we are living the first lecture under the chairmanship of our new President,
Mr. N.V. Brasnett, attracted a record attendance. The Reverend Father Hughes
was the lecturer and under the heading of "Sixty Years in Uganda" gave his
enthusiastic audience an engrossing account of some of the ideals and the perform-
ances of the White Fathers' Mission. Although in such a historical survey some
recital of facts was essential, Father Hughes managed by a skilful blend of humour,
anecdote and serious tribute, to captivate his audience and leave them possessed of
many facts which he was able to bring out with only the briefest reference to his
notes. We sincerely hope that Father Hughes' no'es will prove to have been detail-
ld enough for us to secure this lecture for printing in the Journal, so that our
members who could not be present may have some chance of sharing the enjoyment
of the large number who were.
We acknowledge with thanks receipt of the following publications: -
Journal de la Societ6 des Africanistes, Tome IX, Fascicule 1.
Coutumiers Juridiques de l'Afrique Occidentale Franqaise, Tome III, Mauri-
tanie, Niger, C6te d'Ivoire, Dahomey, Guin6e Frangaise.
Journal of the East Africa & Uganda Natural History Society, Vol. XIV. No.
4 (65) September, 1939.
"Man" September, 1939, October, 1939, and November, 1939.
"Natural History" September, 1939 and October, 1939.
"Bantu Studies" Volume XIII, No. 3, September 1939.
"Sudan Notes & Records", Volume XXII, Part 2.
"Africa", Volume XII, No. 4, October, 1939.
"Journal of the Royal African Society" Volume XXXVIII, No. CLIII,
Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa, Vol. II.
Bulletin of the Stockholm Museum, No. 38, October. 1939.
THE POWER CONCEPT IN LANGO-RELIGION
BY T. T. STEIGER HAYLEY.
I lived among the Lango from September 1936 to May 1937 It is im-
possible to understand the religious philosophy of a people after living with
them for so short a time. It was particularly difficult where all those who have
been to school wish to have as little to do as possible with the practices of
their fathers. I did not find much desire for concealment on the part of the old
people once I had persuaded them of my good intentions. This was accomplish-
ed by eating, drinking, dancing and hunting with them. I explained that I
wanted to record their customs in a book so that their children would not forget
Lango traditions. This they begged me to do.
The lack of success of my endless quest for explanatory information was
not due to reticence but to ignorance. The beliefs of the majority were not
clear-cut, and, when pressed, they would say that only ajwaka (medicine-men)
understood these questions. But the ajwaka were no more sure, and on points
of detail their replies rarely agreed. Certain beliefs are so obvious to the
individual that it never occurs to him that there is anything requiring explanation.
Successive generations have learnt the ceremonial forms and the emotional
attitudes underlying them by imitation of their elders, without intellectual
explanations being desired save for the broadest principles. The invariable
answer to the question, "Why do you do that?" asked during a ceremony, was,
"Because it is the custom of the ritual observance (kite me kwer)", or "Because
the child will then become well". One was lucky to receive answers as detailed
as, "Because then no one will steal the blood", given me when the mid-wife
made a mark in the ground at the doorway of the hut soon after a birth.
Perhaps there are individual Lango who could interpret their religion, but I
never found one. Interpretation therefore must be based upon deduction from
behaviour on all occasions, particularly at ceremonies. For this reason I
adopted the policy of recording the many ceremonies witnessed, just as I noted
them down in my field note book. The result was not satisfactory and I have
decided not to publish the detailed records of these ceremonies. But should
anyone wish to consult these records, I should be only too pleased to lend him my,
I will try now to give what I consider to be the broad principles underlying
Lango religion. Other interpretations are no doubt possible, and whoever wishes
to find them must search through the dry descriptions of ceremonies which I
hope some day to publish in a more readable form than they are in at present.
It will be noticed that my interpretation follows very closely the view of
African religion held by J.H. Driberg. There is no need for me to apologise for
this lack of originality. I went out to the Lango determined to prove Driberg's
theories wrong. In the sphere of Lango religion I found that every new dis-
covery confirmed Driberg's hypothesis. I hope that I shall be able to give
convincing proofs of that hypothesis in what follows.
II. RELIGION AND MAGIC
The distinction between magic and religion is of practical importance. Some
would reserve the term "Religion" to designate that corpus of beliefs as to the
superphysical world and powers which forms the philosophical background to
the pattern of culture of a given society. The term "Magic" is then applied to
the processes arising out of these beliefs, by which man strives to control those
superphysical powers for his own or for society's ends. As Driberg has put it.
"Magic is the practice of religion". But he has also pointed out that it would
be better to avoid the term magic, for it suggests that it is a phenomenon
peculiar to primitive peoples, since it is not common to refer to our own religious
practices as magic. I consider that the anthropological distinction between
religion and magic is useful when analysing a culture. Those who cannot see
that the practices of their own religion are magic to the same extent as the
magic of the primitive, will not be persuaded of the similarity even were we to
jettison the word "magic" when dealing with the religious performances of
primitives. I shall therefore attempt to distinguish between religion and magic,
when describing the religious activities of the Lango.
Jok is the mainspring of all religion and magic among the Lango. Jok may
be considered as the Mana principle of the Lango. In pages 216-225 of The
Lango Driberg gives an account of Jok. For the sake of brevity and clearness
I will merely give an account of the principles underlying the term Jok. Most of
the evidence from which my deductions are drawn is to be found in the records
of the ceremonies that I witnessed, the rest is derived from daily conversations
and observations that cannot be recorded.
A. JOK IS A NATURAL POWER PERMEATING THE UNIVERSE, NEITHER WELL
NOR BADLY DISPOSED TOWARDS MANKIND, UNLESS MADE USE OF BY MAN. Under
this premise fall all the religious and magical manifestations of the Lango. The con-
ceptions of this Jok power we may term "Religion". The practices by which man
tries to use the Jok power we may term "Magic"-"White Magic" where the ends
are for the good of society, and "Black Magic" or "Witch-craft" where the ends are
harmful to society.
With this distinction between religion, white magic and black magic made
clear, I can proceed to analyse Lango religion on the basis of these three aspects.
B. ANYTHING OF AN UNUSUAL AND APPARENTLY CAUSELESS NATURE MUST BE AS-
SOCIATED WITH SOMOE ASPECT OF JOK POWER.
Under this generalisation come:-
1. ABNORMAL BIRTHS. While Jok power is considered to be respon-
sible for all births, it is particularly in evidence at abnormal births and
must therefore be controlled by special magical ceremonial. Where the abnor-
mality is of a purposeless kind, such as dentulous births and abnormal
deliveries, the event is unwelcome and looked upon as ill-omened. Not sur-
prisingly, this is particularly so in the case of abnormal deliveries, where the
death of mother or baby is the common result. A child born in this way may
even be called an ajok (sorcerer). The birth of twins is a happy event in so far
as two individuals arrive to strengthen the Clan. But again the presence of
lok power thus manifested necessitates careful magical control by those affected.
The twin ceremonies serve to exercise this control. The dancing and shouting at
the twin ceremony is called invoking Jok (gato Jok). The twin house (ot rudi)
is also referred to as ot Jok.
2. ABNORMAL NATURAL OBJECTS. These do not affect the life of the
Lango much. There is no cult of fetish objects. But any peculiarly shaped stone
or root that, as far as the people's knowledge goes, has not been caused by man,
is thought to be the outcome of Jok power, and may therefore be used for
magical purposes. The best example I had of this was at Amaich. The old
men had danced for rain a few days before my arrival round an outcrop of rock
about ten yards from the Rest House. They showed me two pieces of stone
which they called kide jok (stones of Jok). They showed how these fitted
together, and the stone thus formed was clearly a Bushman digging-stick weight.
This always remained in a crevice at the top of the rock. They said that it
had always been there, and that formerly there had been two of them. One
however had a habit of flying to other parts of the country. They had heard
that it was now at Abako hill a.s rain was required there. The fear of hills as
being associated with Jok power may come under this category, since they are
relatively abnormal protuberances in a flat country. The caves found in hills
and invariably used for rain-making purposes, as being ot Jok (houses of Jok),
must come within this category, as must bare patches of ground found in the
bush and termed jaro Jok (Jok's throshing-floor). A pregnant woman would
abort if she passed over one of these bare patches, it is believed.
3. MYSTIFYING OCCURRENCES. These denote the presence of Jok power
and are therefore the means by which ajwaka (medicine-men) prove their
worthiness as practitioners. Every ajwaka has a conjuring trick of some sort.
which is performed as the first essential to his treatment of a case. Examples of
this are numerous, but I will confine myself to a few striking instances:-
(a). I attended a lengthy exorcising ceremony at Awei near Adukui.
At an early stage of the proceedings we went into the patient's hut. On the wall
were two shilling pieces stuck there, apparently, by some magical means. "Look
Bwana", cried the ajwaka, "this is my work. I love my work. By putting these
shillings like this I earn much money. By this means I have obtained this wife
of mine and I will obtain another". He took the two shillings off the wall and
dropped them into the patient's hands. She returned them into his hands and
they repeated this several times. The patient then held them in her hands and
the alwaka closed his hands over her's. The patient then stuck the shillings onto
the wall. This certainly looked very impressive. Later I asked if I could take
them off. They were not stuck in any way. I tried to put them on the wall
again. At first I failed and the people said, "Jok does not like him, he does not
accept him (Jok pe game)". Then they said, "Jok why do you not accept
Bwana? Wt- ask you to accept him". The ajwaka said, "It is because 1 have
not held his hands". Enclosing my hands in his he said, "Jok will accept you
now". By this time I had discovered the trick. One had to find a rough pro-
jection on the wall and balance the shilling on that. I did this and it held.
"Look", they all cried, "Jok accepts him".
(b). I visited a famous ajwaka at Anwangi near Nabieso. She was
about to treat a boy, who was suffering from some internal complaint. She
gave me some of her "medicine" (yat) to hold, and I was able to secrete a little
of it. We proceeded to a clear spot near her hut. She carried a calabash of clear
water and a small broom. The mother held the baby in her lap while the
ajwaka made eight cuts in its stomach with a sharp knife, drawing blood in the
process. She told me to drop the medicine into the water. This medicine con-
sisted of a powdery substance, mixed with small black seeds. The ajwaka then
splashed the water all over the mother and child by means of her broom. When
she had finished, the bodies of mother and child were seen to be covered with
round jelly-like substances that seemed to me to be frog-spawn. All this, she
said had come out of the baby's stomach through the cuts. The spectators voic-
ed their approval. On returning home I put the medicine, which I had stolen,
into water. The small black seeds soon swelled up into globules just like frog-
spawn. I have since discovered in India a black seed with similar properties
and much used as a poultice, but I have not yet been able to identify it, save
that it seems to come from a variety of hollyhock.
(c). All over Lango I heard of the famous ajwaka called Oming, who
lived near Ngai. He had always been there, I was told, but no one had ever
seen his body, for he spoke out of the ground. I visited Oming's village. There
was a man called Jira, who was recognized as the intermediary between Oming,
(who was also referred to as Jok) and the people. Jira took me into his house
and many other spectators crowded in. He squatted in a corner within my
view but out of sight of the other spectators on account of an L-shaped projec-
tion of the wall. He had his back towards me. Jira began to call out, "Oming,
Coming, great one." He repeated this many times saying, "Come quickly Oming,
for the people want to go away." After a quarter of an hour of these prelimi-
naries Oming began to speak. It was clearly Jira himself, speaking in a gruff
staccato voice. He spoke very fast, always commencing with "i, i", or "ai, ai".
Oming would say, "i, i, you come to me?" and the people, or Jira, would
reply, "Yes we come". Jira's whole body shook with the effort of speaking in
the assumed voice, though there was no attempt at ventriloquism. But the people
could not see him on account of the intervening wall. They were overawed at
the voice of Oming, the famous ajwaka who spoke without a body.
(d). Another example concerned me. I was waiting in a village for
an old man to arrive, and to amuse the other old men round me -i did that
party trick by which a string is cut and then apparently joined together in the
mouth without any knot being visible. Immediately one old man drew me
aside and showed me an ulced on his leg. He begged me to give him medicine,
for if I could tie string in my mouth like that I could certainly cure him. I
told him to go to the dispensary for treatment. He laughed, saying that they
merely gave one water to drink there, whereas by my string trick I had shown
clearly that I had the power to cure him.
Such instances could be multiplied without number.
4. GOOD AND BAD LUCK. It is realized that in many quests there is
an element of chance. This is particularly so in hunting, fighting and travelling.
Some individuals seem to have better luck than others. The causeless nature of
this luck merits an association with Jok power. Reference may be made of a
person that his Jok is good (jokere ber) or bad; though it is more usual today to
say that his Obanga (the Christian God) is good or bad. A synonym of this ex-
pression is Winyo, which means literally "Bird". It may be said of a person that
he has Winyo (etye ki winyo), meaning he has good luck. It seems as though this
has become a specialised aspect of Jok power. The bird envisaged when referring
to Winyo is the pennant-winged nightjar (achulany), usually seen at dusk. It is
considered very fortunate should this bird fly round a person on the night before an
undertaking such as a hunt. It is also considered to be good luck for a bat (oliki
,o knock against one. But I did not find anyone who thought of the bat when dis-
cussing Winyo (see, however, The Lango p. 225-228). I do not think that Driberg
is accurate in translating Winyo as "Guardian Spirit". I think that "Luck" is a
more appropriate translation. I was told that animals do not possess Winyo. If a
man did not perform the prescribed magical rights on killing an animal, his own
Winyo might desert him so that he killed no more of those animals. But on kill-
ing a man (see The Lango p. 110 and 227) the head-dress was cut off and hung
on the tree by the fire-place, so that the slayer added the dead man's Winyo to his
own. This made him strong to kill other men. Moreover people would see the
number of head-dress hanging in a man's village and would not dare to attack him
or steal his cattle, for they would know what a strong man he was.
Winyo can be controlled to a certain extent, as can all manifestations
of Jok power. This is done by the old men. A father will give his son Winyo
before the son goes on a journey. On the night before a hunt the guardian
of the hunting area (won arum) with the help of his Etogo (a religious group con-
cerned with the spirits of the dead) will perform a ceremony for invoking
Winyo (gato winyo). The association of the Etogo on this occasion sug-
gests that there is a close connection between Winyo and Tipo (the spirits
of the dead). I think that this can be explained in the light of the
father being able to givt his son Winyo, which is always conferred by the
older generation on the younger. The Tipo of the dead will be able to give
Winyo to their descendants, and therefore the Etogo with their control over
the Tipo will be the most effective group for obtaining Winyo.
It is my tentative view that the causelessness of good and bad luck is
of such a special nature as to merit a specialised manifestation of Jok power.
The vague personification of this quality in the shape of a bird probably has
a historical origin impossible to discover now. It has been suggested to me that
the eagle of the Baganda kings may be linked up with it in some way. Professor
Seligmann is of the opinion that this eagle is connected with the falcon of the
Egyptian kings. So that the Winyo of the Lango might be traced back to
Egypt. But the tracing of such connections is of very little scientific value.
C. PHENOMENA AFFECTING SOCIETY, THE VICISSITUDES OF WHICH, WHILE
FAMILIAR, CANNOT BE PREDICTED OR CONTROLLED EMPIRICALLY, ARE ASSOCIATED
WITH JOK POWER.
Under this generalisation come:-
1. NATURAL PHENOMENA. Rain, hail, locusts, lightning, the failure
of the rains, or the destruction caused by hail, locusts and lightning can only
be explained as manifestations of Jok power, which must be controlled by the
appropriate magical ritual if the individual is to perform his daily work without
overmuch anxiety. Therefore we find a complicated organisation permeating
the whole social structure and used in order to bring down the rain at the
appropriate time. We find magical ceremonies and experts for the purpose of
warding off the incursions of locusts, or for turning hail into harmless rain, or
for protection from lightning. To swear by lightning is the most deadly of
oaths; the most civilised Lango will not undertake it lightly, for lightning is
fully charged with Jok power.
2. SICKNESS AND DISEASE. In his chapter on Religion and Magic
(The Lango, p. 216-240) Driberg gives a series of "Manifestations of Jok", such
as lok Atida, Jok Adongo, Jok Lango, lok Orongo, Jok Nam, Jok Omarari.
My short stay in Lango does not justify me in questioning any of his asser-
tions, and my evidence on Jok manifestations is particularly poor. However,
since my interpretation of the little evidence I obtained differs from that of
Driberg, I will record my views here for what they are worth.
An ajwaka at Awelo, named Okelo, gave me the following account. It
is a solitary piece of evidence and is probably false in details, but it illustrates
vividly the principle which I had deduced from general observations and the
accounts of many witnesses. He gave me a list of Jok manifestations, each of
which, he said, was a disease and each of which must be treated by a special
magical technique. The symptoms of the patient would give the clue to the
manifestation of Jok from which he was suffering. He would then go to the
aiwaka who knew the technicalities of that manifestation of Jok. Some of these
diseases, together with their treatment, had been known in Lango from the
beginning of time and therefore came under the generic term of Jok Lango. But
a number of the diseases with their treatments had come from the "Peoples of
the Lake" (Jo Nam: the Banyoro, Bakenyi, Baruli, etc). These diseases were
therefore termed Jok Nam. I had previously deduced this principle myself.
My informant then gave me the following list of diseases with their main
JOK LANGO: Jok Orongo: Shiverings all over the body: due to killing a
roan antelope (ochwil).
Jok Mama: Plague.
Jok Orogo: a type of madness.
Jok Omarari: a type of madness: usually caused by the jealousy
of an ajok (sorcerer).
JOK NAM: Jok Abani: aches in head and chest.
Jok Obanga: permanently bent back, or other bones crippled.
Jok Olila: a disease like dysentery.
Jok Kabejo: stomach ache.
Jok Odudi: aches in head and chest.
Jok Nyarakoe: aches all over the body.
I have said that this list of names and symptoms may not be accurate. I had no
time to verify it sufficiently. But I believe the principal to be true.
Sickness and disease are of the greatest concern to the Lango and much
time must have been devoted to their causes and cures. This accumulation of
experience has resulted in a threefold classification of sickness:-
(a) Sicknesses usually undergone by children: These are termed two.
They are considered to be inevitable and their treatment is stereotyped, consisting
of the inter-connected series of inter-Clan ceremonies, which I hope soon to
publish. In this category must be included common forms of illness occurring
to adults, which are not serious and are treated with well known herbs etc.
(b) Incurable sicknesses: These are also known as two. There is no
e'nianation of them, but they are recognized as sicknesses (two) and not as due
(c) Jok Sicknesses: These are thought to be caused by the particular
manifestation of Jok power entering the sufferer's body. Of such a person it may
be said, "Jok Oronga seizes him (Jok Orongo makee).
A medical training is essential in studying native diseases and their
methods of treatment, if pronouncements as to the accuracy of diagnosis or the
efficacy of native drugs and methods are to be of any value. I was given many
roots and herbs by prominent ajwaka and was shown how to prepare the drugs
from them and for what symptoms they were used. But this would have been
of value only if an analysis could have been made on the spot. The combination
of Anthropologist and Doctor might produce useful drugs at present unknown
to Europe. With this reminder of the worthlessness of a layman's views on
medical matters, I may say that I was very much struck by the definiteness of
the distinction between the different types of sickness. Most of the Jok diseases
were concerned with psychic disturbances or virulent diseases such as plague.
Rigid distinctions were made between the different types of psychic disease.
Epilepsy, contrary to expectations, was not considered to be a Jok disease. It
ranked as an incurable sickness (two) and was called ekinkwin. They realise
that it is an affliction that cannot be treated. Okelo of Awelo also told me of an
interesting affliction that is becoming more common. It takes the form of a fear
of crowds. The sufferer falls to the ground shrieking if he sees a crowd of
people nearby, "Because he fears the people". An Aloro policeman was a
recent victim of this. Okelo said that the name of this disease was ongech. Cold
water would be poured on the sufferer to bring him to his senses. In the case
of ekwinkwin and ongech, Okelo insisted that Jok power had nothing to do with
it. Yet, when referring to them, he said, "This is a bad Jok" (man Jok
marchh, meaning "This is a bad disease", though he again expressedly denied
the presence of Jok power in either of the diseases. This shows the close con-
nection that is none the less felt between all diseases and Jok power.
As independent evidence of this I might record a conversation held
during a meal at Ngai with the Jago (chief), the Aboke Dispensary dresser and
others. I was told that epilepsy (ekwinkwin) was nothing to do with Jok. It
was, a disease that made a man fall to the ground and froth at the mouth.
There was no cure for it. They said that other diseases which caused a person
to behave as if mad were due to Jok seizing the man's body. Of such were,
Jok Orongo, Jok Abong, lok Adongo, Jok Orogo, Jok Lango. As soon as the
person becomes ill he is taken to the aiwaka, who specifies what Jok has seized
him and what ceremony should be carried out in order to effect a cure. For
instance, if it is Jok Odongo, a sheep is killed and dragged into the bush. The
Jago, (a school boy from Awelo and a devout Christian) said that Jok is bad
in that he causes disease, but through the ajwaka he does good by telling you
what medicine to take to be cured. In order to make this good and bad aspect
of Jok clear to me, he said that the Jok which siezes a man is Satan, while
the Jok like Oming, which helps a man, is Obanga (the Christian God). Oming,
he said, is like a doctor. The Lango know that if they go to the English doctor,
sometimes they are healed and sometimes not. The same is so of their own
ajwaka. But they are more often healed by their own ajwaka than by the
English doctor, he said.
All types of madness are not immediately assigned to some form of
lok seizure. A boy of twenty near Aduku lived in the open near his mother's
house, sleeping in the ashes of his fire, naked and unable to talk coherently or
do any work. His mother denied that he was suffering from any form of Jok
seizure. She told me that she had come to the conclusion that her son's madness
must have been caused by a cow that had knocked him over when he was a
small boy and had injured his head. This was her theory in spite of the fact
that the madness did not develop till about fifteen years later. There was a mad
woman near Chiawanti, who abused me foully when I greeted her. I asked
what Jok had seized her, but they assured me that she suffered from no Jok.
They said that she merely talked nonsense whenever the moon was full. This
was not a Jok disease, they insisted.
On the other hand I was taken to the sister of a useful informant at
Ngai. She was suffering from a form of madness. She was living with her
parents in a small hovel of a hut. They had moved here from a large house
as they thought that the large house might have something to do with the girl's
condition. She was naked, would not talk but grinned all the time, and had to
be moved about by her parents. They said that this had started two years
UGANDA JOURNAL. 106
previously. Her husband had gone like this first but had now recovered. They
said that Jok Orogo had seized her body (Jok Orogo omako kome). They had
been to the ajwaka Oming, who told them to kill a goat and carry out a certain
ceremony at the husband's village. The mother told them that she considered this
to be the work of an ading (particular type of sorcerer). She explained that a
victim of theft will go to an ajwaka and cause a spell to be laid on the thief,
who would then become ill. She considered that her daughter's husband had
been afflicted as a result of some theft and had communicated the disease to his
The rigid distinction between curable and incurable phychic diseases sug-
gested to me the possibility that the Jok diseases were neuroses produced by social
causes, and that they fell into different categories designated by different Jok
terms, and that a specialist ajwaka in a particular Jok disease was capable of cur-
ing the psychic disturbances by means of his technique, which is concerned
chiefly with auto-suggestion. The whole process would then be comparable to
psycho-analytical methods. I have no proof of this, and merely want to suggest
it as a possible subject for inquiry. I had no time, nor the necessary medical
qualifications, to carry out such an inquiry myself. But, apart from this somewhat
fantastic suggestion, the evidence is sufficient for me to say that diseases of a more
or less unusual nature are considered to be directly due to the influence of Jok
power, which can be controlled by a magical technique known only to a specialist
ajwaka. It will be seen later how, once the Jok power has been controlled in this
manner, the patient is given a certain power over this manifestation of lok, so
that he may become an ajwaka specialising in this line himself.
3. MISFORTUNES. The occurrence of misfortunes of an inexplicable
kind denotes the presence of Jok power. The best example of this occurred
when my car turned over into the marsh on the Lira side of Akalu. There is a
bend in the road, which is narrow and steeply cambered with sandy margins.
Careless driving can easily lead to an accident here, and two other cars had come
to grief before me. A woman passing at the time told me this, and added that a
lorry had run over her foot at this spot. She said that it was quite clear that
there was Jok power in the tree at the bend (Jok obedo i yat cha).
D. JOK POWER IS PRESENT IN SITUATIONS AND OBJECTS DANGEROUS TO MAN.
Under this generalisation come:-
1. THE HUNT AND FIERCE ANIMALS. The hunt, with its dangers
to the individual, is an occasion pregnant with Jok power. Those animals which
are known to be particularly dangerous-elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard
-are also invested with Jok power in that, if killed, they will afflict a member of
the slayer's family with Jok Orongo, unless a purifying ceremony is performed.
Some witnesses denied that these animals possessed Tipo (spirits); it was their
"heads" that afflicted the village. Others said that they did possess Tipo. No
one was clear on this point (see The Lango, p. 229). No Lango will purposely
kill a roan antelope (ochwil) for fear of Jok Orongo, who will afflict a member of
the slayer's family of the same age and sex as the antelope. I could find no
better reason for the fear of this animal than that given by Driberg (The Lang6,
p. 121). Besides these animals, honey eaten from a tree will bring Jok Orongo.
This may be due to the danger from the bees, or to the fact that honey is most
frequently found during a hunt. It is usually seen simultaneously by a number
of men, and, should it be touched, a quarrel might easily start and break up the
hunt. For this reason it may not be gathered during a hunt. Before the hunt
many magical ceremonies have to be performed and the individual has his own
private magic. This is to ensure many kills, but also to protect the hunters
from the fiercer animals or chance spears.
2. FIGHTING. The dangers associated with fighting need no emphasis.
The whole occasion, from preparation, for battle to the celebrations on return,
was pregnant with Jok power and we find it attended with magical ceremonies
and observances, by which this Jok power was controlled for the benefit of the
3. JOURNEYS. A person going on a journey, especially in the old
days of internecine hostility, would be subjected to dangers on all sides. This
was a situation in which Jok power was felt to be imminent and the traveller was
specially guarded by magical ritual before starting out. His father, as we have
seen, being careful to give him Winyo.
4. BREAKING OF TRIBAL LAWS. The integrity of a primitive society
depends upon the rigid observance of the rules and customs of that society. The
more important the rule, the greater the generation of Jok power if it is broken.
This is well illustrated by Driberg, who pointed out to me that an ajok (sorcerer)
would have incestuous intercourse before carrying out a piece of black magic.
Incest is the most heinous crime, so the ajok is thus able to generate a strong
charge of Jok power for his nefarious aims by secretly committing incest.
E. JOK POWER IS PRESENT WHEN HUMAN BEINGS ARE IN A HIGHLY EMO-
Under this generalisation come:-
1. SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. The sexual act generates Jok power. Jok
power is considered to be responsible for all births, and, as we shall see, the
Tipo or spirit of a human being is considered as a chip of Jok power which
enters the woman's body at coition and is the source of life. It is said that
"the Jok power within a woman causes her to hear" (Jok ma lye iya omiyo dako
Intercourse is a ritual that must be carefully controlled. For this reason
adultery was rare and prostitution unknown before the coming of the British. A
woman committing adultery was said to "spoil her Clan". The danger came
from this careless and forbidden generation of Jok power. The children and
spouse of the adulterer would become very ill and probably die. Adultery used
to be a capital offence. To this day the Lango are very careful to have inter-
course inside a house. Even with the ubiquitous spread of adultery and prosti-
tution in modern Lango, the reasons for which I give below, sexual intercourse
UGANDA JOURNAL. i68
is rarely committed in the open. In the old days a boy from puberty to the birth
of his first child would live in a small hut raised on piles and called otogo. He
would never have intercourse except in his otogo. The Lango do not have inter-
course between conception and weaning. The purpose of intercourse is to
generate Jok power for the production of a new individual. Once that individual
is assured, intercourse would generate free Jok power which would be dangerous
as it is not directed to any specific purpose.
It is clear that illegitimate intercourse generates Jok power of a kind
that is anti-social and therefore very dangerous to the community. The most
dangerous of these illegitimate unions is incest. In the old days death to the
man was the invariable punishment for intercourse between Clansmen or blood
relatives. Driberg (The Lango, p. 209 describes a ritual that had to be carried out
by the man before he was killed in order to remove the spiritual effects of his
act. For he is said to have brought Jok power upon the girl (okelo Jok i kom
nyako). I was once in the Aloro Chief's court when a boy was brought in by his
uncle. The uncle was demanding compensation from him for causing the death
of his daughter by incestuous intercourse. The girl had died in childbirth and
the boy admitted that he was responsible for her death on account of the inter-
I have shown above that the ajok (sorcerer) may have incestuous inter-
course before carrying out a piece of black magic in order to generate a strong
charge of Jok power for his nefarious purposes. Elsewhere I cite the case of a
certain Ogwalachu who prevented the rain from falling by hiding the urine of
himself and his wife just after they had had intercourse.
The guardian of the Chiawanti hunting area (won arum), who has
magical control over the hunt, told me that he must on no account have inter-
course with his wife on the night before the hunt.
2. DANCING. Dancing plays a large part in magical ritual. They
danced for rain, they danced on the birth of twins, they danced at the Age
Grade initiations before a raiding expedition. Caught up in the rhythm and
excitement of the dance the individual feels himself endued with a power outside
himself. Jok power is generated by the dance and is harnessed to the require-
ments of the Tribe by the accompanying ceremonial. This does not apply to
the social dance in the same degree, though it may have applied to the old type
of Lango social dance, now obsolete. The unfailing mark of an ajok is that he
dances at night and alone.
3. STATES OF DISSOCIATION. In all exorcising ceremonies the patient
is reduced to a dissociated state. This is effected by the ajwaka with the aid of
his women helpers, usually five or more in number. These women sing
monotonous and endless songs to the accompaniment of rattles made by putting
seeds in long-necked calabashes. I have shaken these rattles to the accompani-
ment of the songs until my head has become quite dizzy, and can understand
how easily a partial hypnosis is induced in the patient by these means. At the
ceremony at Awei near Aduku the patient jerked her body convulsively emitting
great groans and dancing about the village in a demented manner. As soon as
she got into this state the spectators said, "Jok has come upon her". While in
this state she announced the name of the Jok that had taken possession of her,
This Jok was really a Tipo (spirit) for the Tipo then spoke through her lips and
gave the names of its wife and children. The ceremonies for catching Tipos in
pots (see p. 30) are commenced by inducing a dissociated state in the patient.
Under the influence of this the patient shouts out the name of the Tipo
that has seized his body. Later a similar state is induced in him and at the
climax of his excitement he expectorates the offending Tipo into the little pot
that '.as been prepared for its reception. On every occasion that I saw a person
in one of these dissociated states I was told that Jok had come upon her (a
woman was more susceptible than a man).
F. JOK POWER IS ASSOCIATED WITH EVERY HUMAN BEING, AS BEING THAT
PART OF HIM TO WHICH WE USUALLY APPLY THE TERM SPIRIT OR SOUL.
The Lango term for this human spirit is Tipo or, after death, Chyen.
1. THE NATURE OF THE TIPO AND THE CHYEN. I would first refer to
Driberg's article on "The Secular Aspect of Ancestor worship in Africa",
There Driberg deals in a masterly fashion with the problem of the spirit world
and the power principle. I wish to show the facts as they apply to the Lango.
In doing so I believe that Driberg's hypothesis will be amply supported.
The Tipo can be considered as a chip of the lok power which enters the
woman's body at coition and is the source of life. As Driberg points out, the
Jok power is conceived to be universal, formless and limitless. Though the
Tipo may be considered to be a chip of this Jok power, it is at the same time
part of the totality of Jok power. This was well brought out during the exorcis-
ing ceremony I witnessed at Awei near Aduku. A Tipo of a dead person was
said to take possession of the patient at one stage of the proceedings, but they
referred to this Tipo by the term Jok. It had an individuality, for, through the
patient's lips, it gave its name and the name of its wife and children, when on
earth. This was given at the request of the spectators in order to establish its
identity. Yet in spite of this individuality, it was considered to be one with Jok.
Jok power, in spite of its unity, is divided into a number of spheres of
influence. The Tribe is associated with a special reservoir of Jok power, thus we
hear of Jok Lango, (the Jok power of the Lango) and Jok Nam, (the Jok
power of the Bantu peoples inhabiting the shores of the Nile and the lakes). Each
Clan has its own reservoir of Jok power within the Tribe, and each Family has
its reservoir within the Clan. So that each Family, Clan and Tribe draws the
spiritual components of its individual members from a demarcated sphere of Jok
power. Just as the individual considers himself primarily as a member of a
group, so his spiritual beliefs show him the group character of his soul. The best
proof of this is to be found in the ceremony which makes a child "a child of the
ritual observance" (atin akwer). By this institution the evil of a succession of
infantile deaths is avoided. When several children have died, the parents may
decide to make the next arrival an atin akwer. The child is not named on birth.
A woman from another Clan carries out the ceremony and gives the child a
name usual in her own Clan. By this means the child is invested with the Jok
power of the old woman's Clan and escapes the apparently inimical Jok power
of its own Clan. For a Tipo can only afflict members of its own Clan, another
proof of this idea of reservoirs of Jok Power.
UGANDA JOURNAL. 110
The word Tipo is also used of a shadow. If asked whether a man
possessed a Tipo when alive, my witnesses pointed to the shadow and said that
he did, but that it was of little importance to him when alive, save that it was
often the cause of dreams. The Tipo, became important on death, for then it
was released from the body and could affect members of its own family and
Clan. The ways in which the Tipo of a dead man can affect the living are dis-
cussed below. The Tipo's visitations are always malignant and prove that the
funeral ceremonial has failed to translate it to the next status of ancestor. For
death marks a change of status in the same way as puberty and marriage, and
the funeral ceremonial is a rite de passage that covers the period of transition.
1 his funeral ceremonial is the concern of a group called the Etogo, which I dis-
covered among the Lango. The Etogo group is composed of members of
different Clans. It is a linking up of the Clans within the Tribe. This Etogo
group functions at all ceremonials which deal with the control of the Tipo. The
most important function of the Etogo is concerned with the ceremonies connect-
ed with the death of an individual, for dealings with the Tipo when in this
hyper-ensitive state can be very dangerous for members of the dead man's Clan.
Members of other Clans-the Clans which are affiliated in the Etogo group-
can alone control the Tipo with impunity. For the Tipo can only harm those
who partake of the same reservoir of Jok power as itself, that is its Clansmen.
While the Tipo is particularly noticeable when it is causing trouble, it is
also used as a medium through which the Jok power may be approached and
harnessed to the requirements of the living. This is the essence of Ancestor-
worship. A man, when translated to the status of ancestor, is in a position to
utilise Jok power for the good of living men. By means of a highly organised
and impressive ceremonial the whole company of the tribal ancestors was
supplicated by the massed action of the Etogo groups in those two vital tribal
interests of warfare and rain-making.
All peoples on earth have believed in some form of immortality. Perhaps
Wlis is a psychological necessity for an animal with a physiological system that
uiges self-preservation as a primary instinct and possesses at the same time a
cerebral cortex which provides him with the certain knowledge that whatever he
does, he is bound eventually to die. As Professor Malinowski has put it, "The
substance of which spirits are made is the full-blooded passion and desire for
life." But the Lango seem to have no idea of a spirit world comparable to the
Christian Heaven and Hell. At the death the Tipo leaves the body. Its
existence is then very vague. It is linked to air and is sometimes detected in
eddies of air. It is often identified with an eddy of wind. I witnessed a ceremony
at Akot near Aduku, where the Etogo of a sick man had come to exorcise a Tipo
tnat was making him ill. The sick man told the assembled Etogo members that
he had buried- his wife, who had died some time previously, near a certain pool.
Once, when he was washing himself in this pool, he saw an eddy of air (visible
by the leaves and dust it swirls round) come from her grave up to the pool. This,
!-e said. must have been the "wind" (yamo) of his wife, for it gave him a bad
head-ache. The Tipo is often found in the vicinity of the grave, as just described,
but may move about freely,
I11 UGANDA JOURNAL.
After the Tipo has been in this state for some time it is referred to as
the Chyen rather than the Tipo of the dead man. I could not discover the exact
point at which this occurred, and each witness insisted that the Tipo and Chyen
were exactly the same thing. But one witness, when pressed, said that if, owing
to the malignancy of the Tipo, it became necessary to dig up the dead man's
bones and burn them, you might see hair still adhering to the skull, "This is the
Chyen". This statement did not make the matter any clearer to me. It may be
that Tipo is used of a spirit while in the status of ancestor, and Chyen when it
passes into the third generation of ancestorhood, that is when it becomes merged
in the Jok power and waits rebirth, according to Driberg's theory. The burning
of the dead man's bones is the last extremity to which the Etogo goes in the case
of a Tivo which refuses to be pacified. My witnesses said that it would be
impossible for the Tipo of a man whose bones had been burnt to afflict the living.
Ferhaps the ceremony of exhumation and burning deprives the Tipo of its status
of ancestor and so labels it as Chyen. But I am uncertain on this point.
This brings me to the question of re-incarnation. I found very little
evidence for this belief. Family names recur in alternate generations. One
witness said that this enabled an orphan to be recognized, as he would have the
same name as his grandfather. I pressed this witness on the point and suggest-
ed re-incarnation. But he emphatically denied the suggestion. I am, however
ready to believe that the assumption of re-incarnation is there even if the belief
is not expressly formulated. A missionary told me that an old man working
down a well wanted some wood. The worker above him was about to throw the
wood down the well. The missionary stooped him, pointing out that it would
kill the man below. The latter replied, "That does not matter, I have plenty of
children". This may imply a belief in re-incarnation.
-Professor Radcliffe-Brown anointed out to me that, whether the belief in
re-incarnation is there or not, it is clear that the son takes the place of the grand-
father in the social theme, and this is felt so intensely as to be almost the
equivalent of re-incarnation. The Chinese author, Lin Yutang, illustrates this
point vividly. He says, "The Chinese family ideal is backed by the view of life
which I may call the "stream-of-life" theory, which makes immortality almost
visible and touchable. Every grandfather seeing his grandchild going to school
feels that truly he is living over again in the life of the child. His own life is
nothing but a section of the great family stream of life flowing on forever". This
is the implicit idea behind the re-incarnation beliefs of African peoples, I believe.
Orly on this assumption of re-incarnation can certain behaviours of the Lango be
logically explained. It must be remembered that the new Christian ideas have
taken firm hold of the Lango, and they have developed a strong inferiority
complex in regard to their own beliefs. Perhaps this is why I could not obtain
explicit information as to this theory of re-incarnation.
2. How THE TIPO AFFLICTS LIVING PEOPLE. The funeral ceremonies
are sufficient in the ordinary course of events to pacify a Tipo, which
is considered to have feelings of jealousy towards the living. But some Tipo
will not rest content. Of such a Tipo it is said that the dead man's "head is
bad" (wiye rach). The Tipo may only afflict a member of its own Clan and
usually it is one of its own family. This is evidence of the idea of a reservoir
UGANDA JOURNAL. 112
of Jok power peculiar to each Clan. Such a Tipo "seizes the body" of the person
(omako kome) and so causes him to be ill. The sufferer knows that a Tipo has
seized his body because he dreams of a dead relation. They say that a Tipo
brings dreams (Tipo okelo lek), and so they know whose Tipo is causing the
trouble. When examining a witness on this subject, I was asked why I question-
ed him when I must surely know if a person dreamed of a dead person he would
certainly begin to die himself. I said that I often dreamed of dead relations but
did not even begin to feel ill. No one present believed me.
Since the Tipo can only afflict Clansmen, the ceremonies by which it is
encouraged to leave the body of the sick person must be carried out by the
Etogo group. For the members of the Etogo group, being of different Clans,
are safe from the jealousy of the Tipo. A series of ceremonies is performed by
the Etogo in order to pacify a malignant Tipo. I will describe these ceremonies
as briefly as possible.
The first in the series is the ceremony to "cast a spell over sickness"
(gato twok, sometimes referred to as "cleansing the man's body" (lamo kom dano).
The most representative ceremony of this nature that I witnessed was at Akot near
Aduku. The sick man, in consultation with his Etogo, came to the conclusion
that the Tipo of his dead wife had seized his body. This was known because he
dreamt of her and had seen an eddy of air coming from her grave to the pool
in which he was once washing. This eddy must have been the Tipo of his wife,
for it gave him a head-ache. The visitation proved that the Tipo was male-
volent and, had not been pacified by the funeral ceremonies, which are ordinarily
efficientnt to lay it to rest. A sheep was tied up in a thorn tree and dragged
tound the patient's house on the inside, while the Etogo members walked round
the outside, stabbing the house with their spears and shouting, in recitative
chorus, exhortations to the Tipo to leave the village. The sick man and his
family sat in the centre of the house. The sheep was then dragged into the bush
followed by all, who had to return to the village by another path and were never
to look back the way they had come. The sheep was killed in the bush and a leg
was cut off and thrown in the direction from which the Tipo was supposed to
have come. Later the meat of the sheep was eaten in a ritual manner by the
Etogo members. But none of the patient's family could touch it, or they would
have been seized by the Tipo. Tipo of the dead can only enter the bodies of
Clansmen or very near relatives, such as husband and wife, to make them ill.
By the gato two ceremony the Tipo is first attracted into the body of the sheep.
While in the sheep it is dragged away from the village. It is imminent in the
flesh of the sheep, which is eaten ritually by the Etogo members and so absorbed
into their bodies. But it can do them no harm as it is not of their Clan nor
closely related. The patient could not partake of this meat, for he would then
have reabsorbed the Tipo which had just been drawn out of him. I found this
idea of mystic participation attached to all the ritual eating of the Etogo group.
Should gato two prove ineffective in laying the Tipo, the ceremony of
"killing a bull for sickness" (neko dyang me two) may be performed. The bull is
killed at cock-crow by an Etogo member, who may not enter the village, but eats
certain parts of the bull ritually, throwing other parts onto the grave of the
offending Tipo. The ceremony I witnessed was for a four year old girl.
At any period during a Tipo visitation the sufferer may go to an alwaka
who specialises in "catching" or "covering the Tipo" (mako Tipo or umo Tipo).
Such an ajwaka entices the Tipo into a pot by placing beer and pieces of meat
from a slaughtered bull in the pot. The cover of the pot is then swiftly clapped
on and the pot is eventually buried in the bush. I saw two very dramatic
performances of this sort.
The final extremity to which the Etogo will go is the exhuming and burn-
ing of the dead man's bones (golo chogo). This is a very dangerous business and
only the chief old man of the Etogo dares, or is able, to do it without hurt. He
does the actual exhuming. The bones of the dead man are then burnt at the
marsh and thrown into the marsh. A bull is killed and eaten ritually at the
marsh by the Etogou; it may not be taken back to the village. The grave of the
dead man is sprinkled with "medicine" (yat) so that the spirit (always called the
Chyen on this occasion) will not kill them. After this solemn ceremony the Tipo
of the dead man can no longer afflict the living.
Whenever a Tipo is causing sickness it is usual to consult an ajwaka
and he advises what ceremony is to be performed. If the ajwaka says that it is
not necessary to dig up the bones, then it is clear that the Tipo is causing the
trouble. But if the ajwaka orders an exhumation, and if the corps has not fully
decomposed and there is still hair on the skull, then it is clear that the Chyen has
been troubling the man. If a man quarrels with a relation during life, his Tipo
will bring sickness to him when he dies. ,
The Tipo of a dead man may also afflict his descendants, usually his
own or classificatory son by causing impotency. This is attributed to the jealousy
of the son on the part of the father, whose Tipo castrates the son.
The Tipo's jealousy may especially be aroused by the sowing of the dead
person's fields in the season following his or her death. The ceremony of
"mixing the seed" (rubo koti) is performed by the Etogo on this occasion, so that
the crops sown in these fields will not be blighted by the Tipo's malevolence.
This is a very important ceremony and I was lucky to see it performed on two
separate occasions, in spite of the reluctance of the performers.
After the funeral ceremonial is completed and the Tipo has shown itself
to be well disposed, it takes its place among the ancestors, the "people of the
dead" (jo ma to). By virtue of the close association, if not actual identification,
between the people of the dead and Jok power, the people of the dead can help
the living. They do this only on the supplication of the old men of the Tribe,
the elders of the Clans. Their co-operation is sought especially against those two
threats to the integrity of the Tribe-an enemy invader and drought. The massed
Etogo groups supplicate the people of the dead for rain and victory.
3. DREAMS. Dreams are not considered to be very significant, but
certain dreams are important and there are a number of stereotyped inter-
pretations for special forms of dream, which I will not record here. I have already
shown that the visitation of a Tipo is recognized by the sufferer dreaming of the
dead person. It is probable that dreams of dead persons cause the mental dis-
turbance known as a Tipo visitation, which is cured by the appropriate ceremony,
acting on the lines of auto-suggestion. During one of the ceremonies for catching
A hpo in a pot the ajwaka told me that the Tipo in the sick woman was that of
her mother. He said that it had seized her body now because she had been
very sorrowful and had not yet ceased to weep for her dead mother. He gave
her instructions not to let her mind dwell on her mother or she would continue
to be afflicted by the Tipo. A witness once said to me, "If you dream every day
that you are mad, you will become mad. Similarly, if you dream of a dead man,
you will certainly die".
Ogwangatolomoi of Anep said that dreams just come into your head.
You dream of a person or place because you have just been there or seen the
person. A woman witness said that people dreamed chiefly of death (to). She
said that the people of the dead made you dream and then you too would die.
One chief used to record his dreams and interpret them. I have a copy of the
dreams which he recorded in the course of three years. He said that, when a
man sleeps, his Tipo goes to Obanga (the Christian God) who tells it the things
winch the man dreams. This chief was a Christian and this is probably his own
theory. But there is a tendency to account for dreams by the nocturnal
wanderings of the Tipo of a living man.
Driberg describes a "cult of trees" (The Lango, p. 218). I found no case
of this, except that the famous Oming was said to occupy a tree in the bush. My
witnesses, however, admitted that they had heard of such a thing. When ques-
tioned as to how the Tipo announces its presence in the particular tree, the wit-
nesses said that the Tipo made its presence known in a dream. Whereupon the
little shrine (abila), etc, was prepared as described by Driberg. I show below
how the traditional activity of an ajok (sorcerer) may be accounted for by dreams.
VI WHITE MAGIC AND SICKNESS.
G. WHITE MAGIC IS THE TERM USED TO DESIGNATE ALL THOSE ACTIVITIES
WHICH AIM AT HARNESSING JOK POWER TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF MAN, WHERE
SUCH REQUIREMENTS ARE NOT OF AN ANTI-SOCIAL NATURE. Magical processes form
the practice of religion. This harnessing of Jok power is effected by the rites and
spells which are interwoven into all the Lango ceremonies and which are the out-
ward signs of Lango religion. The ends which the Lango strive to achieve by
white magic are those which their empirical knowledge or technique is unable to
grasp. All these occasions have been described above in the section on Religion.
They are the occasions where lok power is thought to be responsible, and where
human beings feel themselves impotent to control the power at work by means
other than those of magic.
Magical control over Jok power is a dangerous operation, only possible
for those who have a knowledge of the methods. The greater the immanence of
Jok power, the greater the danger involved in the controlling processes. The old
men, through knowledge and experience gained during their lives, are able to
exercise this control. The Etogo have control over the dead, and in the parti-
cularly dangerous operation of digging up a dead man's bones, as already des-
cribed, only the chief old man of the Etogo cares to do the actual exhuming, The
old men and women always direct proceedings during the stereotyped tribal and
clan ceremonies. All these ceremonies are of the nature of white magic. They
11i5 UGANDA JOURNAL.
give control over Jok power by means of the principles of the scape-goat and
sympathetic magic. While the rite and spell are being enacted, those present are
taught or re-affirmed in the religious dogmas that underlie all these practices.
There are certain occasions for which there is no stereotyped tribal or
clan technique. Only a specialist is capable of dealing with such manifestations
of Jok power. These specialists are the medicine-men and medicine-women
known as ajwaka. They correspond to our medical profession. The majority of
ajwaka are general practitioners to whom the surrounding people go for advice
and treatment for all the ailments with which they themselves cannot deal.
Others, besides their general ability, have learnt the technique of curing some
special disease, and have acquired notoriety in effecting cures. In order to under-
stand the nature of the ajwaka it is necessary to see how a person becomes an
ajwaka, what his methods are and what function he performs in the culture of the
The ajwaka's calling is not necessarily hereditary, except in the case of
rain-guardians (won kot). Women or men may become ajwaka, and in what
follows my remarks apply to both sexes. But an aiwaka desires to hand on his
knowledge, and if his son shows an aptitude he will probably teach him his
technique. Rain-guardians, such as those of Aduku, hand on their office to a
direct descendant. Lingo, the late won kot of Aduku, had quarrelled with his
eldest son, Oduralingo, and had handed on his esoteric knowledge of the younger
Ogwangalingo. There was much hesitation before the old men of the Clan
agreed that Ogwangalingo was fit to become rain-guardian, as Oduralingo seems
to have been the more capable of the two brothers.
Most ajwaka augment their earnings by having one or more apprentices,
who help them at ceremonies and to whom they hand on their knowledge and
methods, receiving payment in return. These apprentices have usually been
cured of some disease by the ajwaka. In the case of an ajwaka who specialises
in one of the Jok diseases, his apprentices would certainly have been cured of
that disease. In such cases it is the sensational nature of the disease that marks
out the person as being possessed by that type of Jok, and therefore capable of
being an ajwaka with power over that type of Jok. The majority of ajwaka are
women, and in every ajwaka's village that I visited I noticed a twin house (ot
rudi: a small grass-covered wooden platform built and maintained after the birth
of twins). I was expressly told that it was not necessary for a woman to have
born twins before she could become an ajwaka. But in every case which I saw
the ajwaka was either a twin, the mother of twins, or closely connected with
some one who was associated with twins, and the twin house was in a conspicuous
plzce in the village. This is not surprising when it is believed that lok power is
particularly immanent in both the mother and the twins. One ajwaka I saw had
only one breast, another had one eye and peculiar teeth. These disfigurements
seem to have marked them out as sufficiently abnormal to justify their practising
as aiwaka. For the principle governing the acceptance of an aiwaka by the people
is that he should be associated with some abnormality, which can be recognized
as a manifestation of Jok power. I was told that one day the chief, mentioned
above, who used to record and interpret his dreams, would be a famous ajwaka
on account of his interpretive ability, which obviously came from Jok power.
The methods of all ajwaka are very similar in principle. They may be
generalised under the four headings of Cause, Diagnosis, Psychological cure,
Medical remedy. When an individual suffers calamities, whether sickness or any-
thing else, in the face of which he feels impotent, he will go to his local ajwaka
and lay .the facts before him. The ajwaka questions the sufferer to discover the
cause of his misfortune. If he has been dreaming of some dead relation, it is
obviously a Tipo visitation due to the omission of some funeral rite. If the
sufferer has quarrelled with his Clansmen, this is the cause and he must make it
up. If he has stolen anything, this is the cause and he must confess and return
the stolen article. The aiwaka probably knows all the sufferer's personal affairs
already. But in any case he soon discovers some omission of ceremonial, or
some offence against custom or morality which is the cause of the trouble. Hav-
ing decided in his own mind what irregularity has been committed, he resorts
to his divining technique. This usually takes the form of a rattle (aia), in the
monotonous shaking of which the gruff, staccato voice of Jok is heard giving
instructions; this is really the ajwaka speaking in an assumed voice. The divining
may be done by means of sandals, and in one case near Kibuji the throwing of
the sandals was accompanied by such tremendous feats of belching that the
spectators were thoroughly overawed. Or it may be done by throwing cowries
and interpreting their positions. In this way the diagnosis is made known to the
sufferer, who i impressed by the fact that it comes by means of Jok power.
The divining is accompanied by a conjuring trick of some sort, which
is the invariable stock in trade of an aiwaka. This conjuring trick, examples of
which have been mentioned above, has two functions. It is the psychological
component of the cure, and it acts as the aiwaka's name-plate or advertisement.
The most important part of Lango cures is that conveyed by suggestion, to
which the Lango together with all Africans seem particularly susceptible. By
means of his conjuring trick the ajwaka demonstrates vividly before his patient's
eyes the control that he has over Jok power. His patients are interested only in
the conjuring trick and the accompanying ritual. That the ajwaka also gives them
a root to chew or medicine to drink is a minor consideration. Yet the ajwaka
knows a great number of highly potent drugs. These he obtains from roots and
herbs. This knowledge is the accumulation of centuries of experience passed on
down the lines of aiwaka, and known only to the initiated aiwaka. In every case
that I witnessed the ajwaka gave the patient some herb or root concoction after
the conjuring trick and ritual had been performed. I was given a number of
these drugs in their vegetable form, but it was impossible to have them analysed.
I placed a drop of one drug on an ant, which was killed at once. I have every
reason to believe that the more important ajwaka possesses a detailed knowledge
Af drugs of great medicinal value, and that they effect cures by means of them.
As the Jago of Ngai said, the people had discovered that they were more often
healed by their own aiwaka than by the English doctor. But the value of native
drugs is greatly diminished by the inaccuracy of diagnosis.
I have shown how the people are impressed by the ajwaka's display of
magic by means of his conjuring trick, and that the actual medicine that they
take does not interest them much. The conjuring trick for this reason also acts
as the ajwaka's advertisement. I have mentioned Oming, the oldest manifesta-
tion of Jok controlled by an ajwaka that I was able to find in Lango. All over
Lango I heard of him and his wonderful powers of healing. On each occasion
rmy informant said that no one had ever seen Oming for he was invisible and
talked out of the ground. I expected to see a display of ventriloquism, yet the
actual performance should not have deceived a childr. Jira, who was the inter-
preter of Oming, undoubtedly possessed a very wide knowledge of drugs, and the
crowds that visited him from all over Lango testified to their efficacy. But the
crowds did not come to Jira because of his drugs; but came because it was the
abode of Oming "Who spoke without a body". Jira's drugs would have been
valueless to the Lango without this tale of magic.
Every alwaka is aware that he is deceiving his patients by means of his
conjuring trick, but it is not a deceit practised merely for gain, as the missionaries
teach. He has been taught by the ajwaka, to whom he was apprenticed, that the
conjuring trick is an essential part of the cure, which from the psychological point
of view it undoubtedly is.
In our civilisation scientific knowledge has pushed back the realms
of the unknown further and further. Magic and religion deal with the unknown.
With the Lango medicine and religion are barely distinguishable, for the cause of
disease is unknown. The aiwaka is, therefore, both spiritual and medical adviser.
So it was with the Christian church before the days of science. Christ was
wonderful to the people of his time on account of the cures he effected. Follow-
ing discoveries in the scientific fields, religion was divorced from the technique of
the physician. Recently the medical world has begun to recognize the value of a
psychological accompaniment to the physical remedy. Much more use could be
made of it in our medical practices. At the other extreme are the Faith Healers
and the Christian Scientists, who can only recognize the psychological aspect of
healing and refuse what science has to offer. When seeking to give the Lango
the benefits of medical science, his psychological requirements should be recognis-
ed as of paramount importance. Confidence and faith are more essential than
good drugs to an African community.
In this section on Magic I do not seem to have described many magical
processes. The reason for this is that these magical processes are nothing more
or less than the ceremonies and rituals that permeate the whole of a primitive
culture. I hope to publish accounts of all the ceremonies I witnessed. They
n.ake dull reading for ceremonies are not interesting in themselves. They are
only useful to the researcher because he can deduce from them the mental
processes at work in the primitive mind. The researcher finds that those mental
processes are the same as our own mental processes. It is these mental processes
,nu fundamental beliefs that I have endeavoured to describe in this article. But
it must always be remembered that knowledge of these beliefs can only be deduc-
ed irom the ceremonies actually witnessed in the field.
.. V' [ V[BLACK MAGIC. io : ,- -
H. BLACK MAGIC IS THE TERM USED TO DESIGNATE ALL THOSE ACTIVITIES
WHICH AIM AT HARNESSING JOK POWER TO EFFECT ENDS OF AN ANTI-SOCIAL NATURE.
These activities may also be termed witchcraft or sorcery. This harnessing of Jok
power is done in secret by means of rites and spells. By this means one individual
brings misfortune on another or on the whole community.
A person who uses black magic is called an ajok (sorcerer), and the
punishment used invariably to be death. According to all my informants the
ajok is activated by jealousy (nyeko). This jealousy may be of a general kind
directed against society as a whole. Such an ajok might "tie up the rain" so as
to bring misfortune on the Tribe. Ogwangatolomoi of Anep told me that long
ago a man called Ogwalachu tied up the rain by hiding the urine of himself and
his wife just after they had had sexual intercourse. The people looked for this
urine; they found it and the rain fell. They killed Ogwalachu. Another
method is to catch some rain water in a pot and hide it. The rain will only fall
when the people find the pot. But more often the jealousy of the ajok is
directed against a personal enemy. Such an ajok may have heard of specific
black magic processes, which he uses against his enemy. These usually work
r'ccoraing to the principles of sympathetic magic or the pars pro toto principle, as
when Chief Ogwalajungu discovered one of his wives with the excreta and
ornaments of her co-wife's child, of whom she was jealous and whom she hoped
to kill by magic. An ajok of this type is called an ading and is not so dreaded
as another type of ajok who is recognized by his nocturnal habits, which have
been described so well by Driberg (The Lango, p. 241). This is the achudany,
and black magic resides in him constitutionally. He may even be unaware of the
malignant forces that he exerts. This type of ajok is hereditary. The son of an
established ajok is himself considered to be an ajok and is often abused openly
by this epithet. For he has "something inside his stomach" that makes him an
ajok. The unfailing evidence of such a person 'is that he whistles and dances at
night. He dances round a person's house and then lies down near the doorway.
'His stomach swells up to a huge size. Then he goes away and the owner of the
house will die
Driberg's account of black magic is more to be relied on than any
evidence I was able to find. But one of my witnesses, having explained how the
body of the ajok swells up, said that the person in the house did not actually see
all this but dreamt it. He remained on his bed, unable to move, and dreamt
the whole thing, crying out in his sleep. For this reason, should you hear some-
one call you at night from the door of your housq, you must never reply, because
it is probably an ajok calling, and if you reply you will die. Driberg, however,
thinks it is probable that the stomach of a man can be made to swell up by
means of native drugs, and that the story of the ajok may well be believed in its
entirety. The headmaster of the Aduku school said that he had always heard of
activities of the ajok, but had never discovered anyone who had actually wit-
nessed such a scene. He said that it might be possible for the ajok to eat some-
thing that made him swell up. Another witness said that the ajok was not
conscious of his nocturnal activity, which was performed as if in his sleep. It
is impossible to obtain direct and concrete evidence of this type of ajok and until
more explicit evidence can be produced, I would favour the dream theory, as I
do for the tree manifestation of the Tipo (see p. 34). The swelling up of the
ajok would then become a type nightmare. It should be remembered that the
primitive is apt to confuse vivid dreams with reality.
So great is the horror of an ajok, that even though the killing of an ajok
is now punished as murder, a nail is driven through the top of his skull at the
bregma and a stick is driven up his anus. The ajok dies about three days later.
A dead man's hair is always shaved at the bregma before burial, and this reveals
the nail, showing his family that he was an ajok. They are satisfied that he has
died justly and so the Chief does not hear of the murder, as he otherwise cer-
tainly would have heard. Should he have his suspicions, he turns a blind eye on it.
The last aspect of black magic is that which is approved by society. It
is aimed against those who have transgressed against tribal morality. A victim
of theft goes to the ajwaka, who sets in motion a spell again the unknown offender.
Death or sickness will fall upon the thief. This forms a powerful sanction to
tribal law, the removal of which leads to a breakdown of tribal morality. I found
that thieving was very common in Townships and in the C.M.S. Mission Station,
while it was exceptional in the villages. I was informed by an educated Lango
that, since Christians are taught not to desire to kill each other and not to visit
ajwaka, they may steal with impunity from each other. For Christians will not
and cannot set black magic in motion against a thief. No ajwaka will openly
admit that he practises black magic even for the ends just mentioned. The people
do not approve of it, even when directed against an offender, but they
grudgingly admit that such an action is justified.
The effectiveness of both black and white magic is due to suggestion.
But this is aided in many cases by the use of poisons. Until British Administra-
tion became effective, the Lango were very free from the terrorising aspects of
black magic and poisons. They still do not have such a dread of it as do many
African Tribes. But with the suppression of the right of private redress with the
spear, the use of poisons has increased and also the fear of black magic. Since
it is a secret process, no direct evidence of black magic can be obtained. But I
give here a few pieces of information that I gathered.
1. Should a man wish to kill an enemy, he can obtain a photograph of
the enemy and seal it up in a pot in the same way as when an ajwaka catches a
. Tipo. The man will then die, for his Tipo is thought to have been imprisoned in the
pot. The name for a photograph is Tipo, and to take a photograph of someone
is called "catching the tipo" (mako tipo).
2. One of my boys told me that a man had given him the following recipe
for killing an enemy. He was not sure what the actual substance of the "medi-
cine" (yar) was, but first you procured this. You put the medicine in a heap on
the ground very early in the morning so that you are not seen by anybody. You
flutter (buko) a chicken over it, uttering the names of the people whom you want
to kill. The chicken's head is cut off so that the blood trickles onto the medicine. *
If yov omit to do any of these or the subsequent actions, the medicine will kill
you. Then you drink some beer, eat some food and go to sleep till the evening. In
the evening you set off for your victim's village. You must not go along a frequented
path, as anyone you meet in the road will die. On reaching the village you
climb up a tree to see whether your victims are there. When they are all asleep,
you place the medicine in the centre of the courtyard. You must return home
by a different road from that by which you came to the village. The victims will
3. My boy also gave me the following bits of information. If you point
your finger at a man and think hard that you want to kill him, he will fall
down dead. You must point your finger at his back, and should he turn round
at that moment he will be saved. If a man walks round in a circle, you will die,
for this is a sure sign that he has medicine. If a man calls you by name when
you are asleep at night and you answer him, you will certainly die. But if you
remain silent all will be well.
4. Chief Ogwayajungu told me of a case that came before him. A young
boy killed a small squirrel-like animal called an awurunguru. An old woman saw
him do this and said to him, "Ah, your luck is in. Come tomorrow and I will
tell you why". When the boy returned to her she said, "Cut off the tail of
this animal and whenever you have a case or a quarrel with anyone all you
have to do is to dip this tail into the water that your enemy's cows or goats
drink and they will all die". Ogwalajungu gave this woman two months in
prison. "For", he said, "Everyone knows that the awurunguru is deadly. If its
tail is dipped in the water that the cows drink, they will all die". On killing
such an animal a man goes to an ant hill, from which swarms have been
already caught, and buries it in a deep hole there, stamping down the earth
5. When I was in the Kumam country I heard of a new form of black
magic that was causing terror in the district and had spread to Awelo and
other parts of Lango. The victim would see fire at night jumping from tree to
tree. He knew then that he would die unless he did something. One of the
teachers at the Catholic Mission at Lwala complained that this fire magic had
been set ,in motion against him. He asked leave of the Missionaries to visit a
local ajwaka to discover who had a grudge against him. That night his house
was burnt down, so that he seems to have had a legitimate ground for fear.
This type of black magic was looked upon with great dread by all whom I ques-
tioned in that part of the country. But I was not able to get to the bottom of it.
6. During a beer drink with Chief Ogwalajungu and others, the discus-
sion turned to the methods of ajok. They said that a common method was
to obtain a piece of the enemy's faeces. This would be put with iron and
worked on an evil in the manner in which a smith would make a spear. The
victim would then become quite impotent sexually.
The Christianised Lango have become sceptical as to the powers of Jok,
which was the great sanction to tribal morality. In the old days a boy would
form a platonic friendship with a girl. He would sleep by her side in his
small hut for months on end and they would have no sexual intercourse. In
those days adultery was the exception, prostitution was unknown and thieving
was rare. Since the coming of the British, adultery, prostitution and thieving
have become the curse of the country, as all Lango will lament. It is not entirely
i2l UGANDA JOURNAL.
the fault of the missionaries. The suppression of death as the punishment for
adultery and the introduction of a money economy have been the chief causes
of the rise of adultery and prostitution. But the fear of black magic is still a
sanction to right living among the majority of the people. Thieving is still
rare in the villages. The prohibition against the killing of an ajok and the
suppression of the right to private redress with the spear has resulted in an
increase in the use of black magic and poisons under British rule. Knowledge
of these processes has been gained from the neighboring tribes, chiefly the
Kumam and the Baganda.
With the growing disbelief in white magic among the educated Lango as
a result of missionary teaching, the disbelief in black magic is bound to increase.
As an example of this I might quote a conversation I had with the head-
master of the Aduku school, a very intelligent man. He said that poison was
undoubtedly put into people's food and water. If there was an outbreak of
plague, the people always attributed it to the work of an ajok. The headmaster
thought that it might well be the work of an ajok, who obtained plague fleas
from the people of the lakes and placed them in his victim's house. He said
that the alleged ability of an ajok to "throw" pieces of wood or stone into his
victim, thus causing a painful swelling only to be cured by an ajwaka who under-
stood the art of extracting the foreign body, was totally false. He had never
met anyone who had seen an ajok dancing at night, though he had always heard
of it, so he did not know whether to believe it or not. He thought that such an
ajok might be a person suffering from some sort of sickness that made him walk
about at night in his sleep and caused his stomach to swell up. All this is
interesting as showing the attempts made by educated Lango to give scientific
explanations for indigenous beliefs.
I would like in conclusion to sum up the salient principles of Lango
religious beliefs, so that the above article may become clearer.
A. Ajok is a neutral power permeating the universe, neither well nor
badly disposed towards mankind, unles made use of by man. The conceptions
of this Jok power we may term Religion. The practices by which man tries to
harness the Jok power for his own requirements we may term Magic-White
Magic where the ends are for the good of society, and Black Magic where the
ends are anti-social.
B. Anything of an unusual and apparently causeless nature must be
associated with some aspect of Jok power. Of such are abnormal births,
abnormal natural objects, mystifying occurrences, good and bad luck.
C. Phenomena affecting society, the vicissitudes of which, while
familiar, cannot be predicted or controlled empirically, are associated with Jok
power. Of such are the vagaries of natural phenomena, sickness and disease,
UGANDA JOURNAL. 121
D. Jok power is present in situations and objects dangerous to man.
Of such are the hunt and fierce animals, fighting, journeys, the breaking of tribal
E. Jok power is present when human beings are in a highly excited
emotional state. Of such are sexual intercourse, dancing, states of dissociation.
F. Jok power is associated with every human being, as being that part
of him to which we usually apply the term spirit or soul. This spirit is the
source of life, the cause of many diseases, the cause of dreams.
G. The ajwaka or medicine-men and the elders of the people control
these manifestations of lok power and harness them to the needs of society by
means of the rites and spells which form the ceremonial life of the Tribe. The
ceremonies are performed publicly; they are white magic; they are for the good
H. The ajok or sorcerer, by means of esoteric knowledge and secretly-
performed rites and spells, can harness this Jok power to further his own
purposes. He works in secret; it is black magic; it is anti-social.
SOME BIRDS OF PREY OF LAKE VICTORIA.
By C.W. CHORLEY
Before describing a few species of the birds of prey which I have been able to
observe from time to time on Lake Victoria it may be as well to give a number of
the distinguishing points by which these birds are known.
Vultures, eagles, hawks and other diurnal birds of prey, scientifically termed
Falconiformes, are readily known by their compressed and hooked beaks, power-
ful talons which arm their toes, and the twelve or fourteen quill-feathers of the tail.
All the Falconidae possess powerful hooked beaks, running straight out from the
skull and then suddenly curving towards the tip. These birds of destruction gain
their subsistence chiefly by chase, a complete contrast to the vultures whose usual
food is carrion.
Birds of prey must not be regarded as essentially cruel birds jand by no means
inflict needless pain on the object of their pursuit although they carry out with the
utmost skill and speed the great principle for which they were made and deprive
many beasts and birds of life. They effect their purpose by a single blow, or if
for example the animal attacked is small, the eagle kills it by gripping with the feet
and forcing the talons into its body, but again should the animal be large it is seized
by the back and head and its feet brought close together so as to break its spine.
The death-dealing talons are of such lightning-like velocity that the victim must often
be absolutely unconscious even of danger. Eagles make no use of their beaks for the
purpose of killing.
In the early hours of the morning very few of these birds are seen in the sky-
this is perhaps due to the early morning air being heavily laden with moisture and
they are thus unable to fly without great exertion. When the sun has sufficiently heat-
ed the earth's surface, we see vultures, eagles and kites flapping their way upwards
until about fifty feet from the ground and when they have reached an up-current their
labours cease as they soar in spirals to a height of perhaps 2,000 feet. Observations
on this circular sailing so commonly seen show the inclination of the wing planes
to be equally increased on the windward half and decreased on the leeward half of
the circle. At a glance it would appear that the upward current would drive the bird
backwards, not forwards, but on plotting the motion of the bird relative to the air
and remembering that its wings are slotted, the paradox is solved.
Birds are very frequently mentioned in the Bible and such as the osprey, vul-
ture, hawk and heron and many others, were classed as unfit for food. The Biblical
description however of "Birds of Abomination" is difficult to understand, as appli-
cable to the eagle for Moses in speaking for the Almighty reminds the Israelites in
the book of Exodus: "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare
you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself", There are many other quota-
tions referring to eagles which suggest admiration of their strength and speed as the
words of the Psalmist: "Making thee young and lusty as an eagle." The ancient
legend of Icarus, who made a pair of wings and singed them off by flying too near to
the radiant Phoebus, suggests how the Ancients were inspired to emulate the eagle
and the Arab legends tell us that birds accompanied Solomon when he flew through
the air on his magic carpet.
The time of departure on northward migration of the Kestrels roughly coin-
cides with that of the arrival of the cuckoos, and so the Basesse and Baganda con-
sider that they change from one to the other. When it is pointed out that this is
quite impossible, they state that a caterpillar changes into a butterfly so what is
impossible about the metamorphosis of a Kestrel into a cuckoo!
Baganda and Basesse withdoctors, amongst the innumerable animate and ina-
nimate substances from which they have concocted various kinds of medicine, have
produced some striking remedies for skin diseases and leprosy by making a powder
of bats' wings and the skulls and talons of eagles and hawks. I am not suggesting
that I consider such ingredients efficacious but rather incline to think that any cures
wrought were due to powerful suggestion.
Another bird pugilist, although not actually a bird of prey, is the beautiful ci-
nammon roller, of Oxford and Cambridge blue and cinammon colouring, (Eurysto-
mus afer rufobuccaliW), known by all the Baganda as Nkambo. This bird has never
been seen on any of the islands but is quite common on the mainland near the lake,
where its harsh cry can often be heard in the mornings and evenings. For some
reason these rollers consider themselves the police of their neighbourhood, and re-
gardless of whether they have nests or not will attack any eagle, hawk or falcon
which puts in an appearance. The rollers are incapable of inflicting any really serious
damage but when they attack the other birds invariably beat a hasty retreat. Why
such powerful birds, equipped with sharp talons and such vicious beaks, should so
easily yield to attackers which by comparison must be considered weak birds is a
Chief among the birds of prey on Lake Victoria are the fish-eagle, long-crested
hawk-eagle, the osprey, the Egyptian kite, vultures and falcons of various kinds.
OSPREY. (Panidion haliaetus).
The osprey is a rare and seldom-observed bird on the lake and I have come
across only one nest during my sojourn in Uganda. This nest was built in the month
of November on an old termite hill on the island of Luvia.
FISH-EAGLE. (Cuncuma vocifer)
Iris dark brown, bill dark greyish, legs whitish grey, cere greyish.
This noble bird-Makwanzi-is considered very naturally by the Baganda and
Basesse to be the king of the birds of the lake. The name, of white-headed eagle is
sometimes applied to this bird on account of the snow-white colour of the head, neck
and upper back, a peculiarity which renders it most conspicuous when perched on
the topmost branch of a tall tree or on a branch overhanging the water. The remain-
dr of the body is a deep chocolate brown, inclining to black on the lower back and
the upper tail coverts, but the tail-feathers are of the same white hue as the head
and neck. The immature bird is entirely of sombre tints and the white head and tail
do not begin to appear until it is fully four years old.
Fish-eagles are birds of prey, but are not fond of hard work and live mostly on
fish, which they catch for themselves or take away from the fish-catching hawks, the
ospreys. They can do their own fishing, but do not fish so cleverly as the ospreys, and
thus prefer to rob them. When there is a scarcity of fish, fish-eagles do turn to true
bird-of-prey tactics. They may then take any bird or mammal that they can handle
up to the size of a goose. These birds are very athletic in the air, despite their size,
and they have even been observed to turn upside down and strike their victims from
beneath. There are far more fish-eagles on the shores and islands of Victoria Nyanza
than anywhere else in Uganda. Their mournful scream can be heard when they soar
over the lake in circles at a height of 60 to 80 feet. When flying or perching these
eagles have a habit of throwing back their head until it almost touches the back, as
if they want to fill their lungs before giving full force to their screaming cry so that
the sound may carry to its fullest extent to be heard by the next pair of fish-eag'es
in the distance. These loud cries are usually responded to by the mate who follows
with screams of equal volume.
To what age they live it is impossible to say, but within thirty years is probably
the life span. An old eagle known for the past twenty years is still to be seen at Ga-
biniro Landing on Kome Island and when first seen it was quite unable to fly for
any distance. This old sky-king could be seen perched on the lookout on a dead tree
that loomed above the forest. His mate brooded amongst the partially leafless
branches of the old muvuli, and these birds had been reared in the same bulky nest
where they had now raised two fledglings safely to eaglehood. Actually this brood
was the eighth observed to have been reared from this nest. Strangely enough for
such regal birds Fish-eagles do not defend their nests but vacate them when inter-
When in flight the noise made by the rush of air between the massive pinions
as these birds leave their tree to sweep over the lake is quite loud. They hunt until
they see a fish and fly down and plunge into the water and seize their prey with
their talons. Unless the bird is watched closely its attitudes while preparing for the
downward cast and during the descent can easily be misunderstood. The usual des-
cription of the dive as "Like a thunderbolt" is (according to my frequent observa-
tions) an erroneous description of the feat performed by the fish-eagle. As it circles
over the water its gaze is fixed and intent, the flight seems automatic, steady, fairly
swift and rippleless, but immediately a fish is sighted, the attitude and pose become
comparatively strained and awkward, and the flight is checked by the enormous
brake-power of the outspread tail and backward beating of the wings. The eagle
passes over the spot, stretches out its legs and extends its talons to the utmost, flies
down and plunges breast-first with outstretched wings, with a mighty splash into the
water, to find it no easy task to rise again with a 21 pound fish. Splendid as the feat
undoubtedly is, it does not coincide with the description usually given of a headlong
lighting-like drop that almost baffles the eyesight.
The fish-eagle captures its food, not by the exercise of any very remarkable
fleetness of dive nor aptitude for fishing, but because of certain physical limitations
on the part of the fish which preclude it from looking up from the water and of thus
becoming aware of the approach of danger. However so effective are these methods
that a catch of nineteen fish during the day by two birds has been recorded. Much
of the catch was wasted and very little eaten before they dropped the remains of
their feast at the foot of the trees. Small monitor lizards, ducks and crabs are also
a diet of these birds.
The osprey and fish-eagle are natural rivals and it is their habit to fight when-
ever they meet; an osprey crossing the water is at once challenged by its foe; and its
nature prompts it always to accept the challenge. Their voices are alike, though dif-
ferent in tone and the stridency of the cries, as well as the size and strength of the
combatants, make these aerial combats a most impressive spectacle. A series of most
graceful yet savage aerial evolutions is repeated time after time until the rivals are
lost in the distance. The osprey with steady beat of outstretched wings, flies squaw-
king trom its enemy who attempts to alight on its back and then just as the fish-
eagle stretches out its talons for a grip it turns without a tremor, its long sweeping
wings out; for a moment it rests on its back to interlock talons with the eagle, but
the fish-eagle is fully alive to the risk of getting interlocked with such a heavy foe.
With a single flap the osprey rights itself and sails away with the fish-eagle in pur-
suit which when within striking distance swoops again and again only to be rebuffed
by its sturdy adversary. Once some feathers were seen to fly in mid-air, but what
would result if the two clasped talons while at their aerial combat must be left to
the imagination to decide.
The fish-eagle lays two white eggs in a nest of about four feet in diameter,
which is lined with leaves and small dry sticks and used year after year.
Iris yellow to orange, beak black, toes yellow, claw black, cere greenish yellow.
After many attempts to associate the crested eagle with any other bird in some
acknowledged genus, zoologists have at last been obliged to concede that it is a
single genus in itself, under the title of Lophaotus occipitalis. The Basesse and Ba-
ganda call this bird Wonzi. The most obvious external characteristic which seems to
distinguish this species is the manner in which the feathers of the head are arranged
and if this crest were to lie flat on the head the bird might be taken for any common
eagle. The general colour of this bird is slate-black,* blue-black, and black.
When perched it looks entirely black, with the tail barred alternatively with black
and grey. On the wings are white patches which cover the basal half of
the primaries and are very conspicuous while the bird is in flight. The wings are
not largely developed, but short and rounded as if they are not fitted for a swift
flight. This formation may be accounted for by the fact that the crested eagle is not
intended by nature to capture its prey on the wing.
A former member of the editorial staff tells me that he was once asked to identify a bird
from the description:- "Like a parrot in mourning", and that he had no difficulty in decid-
ing that it was this species. (Editor).
12i UGANDA JOURNAL.
This bird is mostly found on the outskirts of thick savannah bush, perched on
the summit of a dead tree or may sometimes be seen on a telegraph pole, whither it
has been attracted by bush fires around. There it can be seen noiseless until attrac-
ted by a rodent or bird, and it is especially partial to the weaver-bird, ground squir-
rel and mongoose. A black civet was once retrieved from one of these birds whose
talons were firmly holding its prey. With fierce eyes it looked jealously around as the
intruder endeavoured to despoil it of the fruits of victory. It was truly a magnificent
sight as its eyes seemed to flame with mingled fury and triumph.
The nesting habits of these birds lead them usually to nest well hidden in thick
forest. The nest is rather large and lined with green leaves, with two white eggs
sparingly blotched and streaked with a deep chocolate brown. In the case of the one
I observed it could be clearly seen that last year's rubble had been cleared away and
dead branches added to the bulky platform.
BATELEUR EAGLE. (Terathopius ocaudatus)
The Basesse and Baganda call it Pungu. Iris brown, bill coral with a black tip,
legs and cere coral. The Bateleur Eagle is one of our handsomest eagles and is one
which is noted for its exceedingly short tail, and the elongated feathers encircling
its head. Although very scarce on the islands, it is still found in many parts of the
mainland and throughout Uganda, but not in large numbers. The plumage of this
bird is dark brown with rump and mantle of bright red and brown. When sailing
overhead the outstretched wings are most noticeable by the pure white which makes
it so conspicuous as it glides in circles overhead. These birds seem to have their own
recognized areas and if intruded upon by another of their kind they fight most
fiercely and purposefully. They circle, turn and by various manoeuvres elude the
grasp of each other's cruel talons. The idea seems to be to endeavour to strike from
beneath and once a strike is made with the talons on the underside of the wing, the
birds fall in a slanting direction together. On two separate occasions these birds have
been seen to interlock and fall to earth, only to rise again after the lapse of several
A nest of one of these birds was found near the lake shore of Kyagwe in a
thick fig tree, overhanging the water. It was built of a few sticks without any lining
and it contained one solitary white egg with a dull red marking.
A bateleur was seen on Ziro Island together with many Egyptian kites, swoop-
ing after white ants and the Baganda state that they take small animals and even
TAWNY EAGLE. (Aquila rapax raptor).
Iris dark brown, bill black, feet yellow, claws black, cere yellow, feathers dark
brown with lighter brown underparts.
This eagle is a very rare visitor to Lake Victoria. It was easy to approach, but
while I was attempting to secure it, it gave battle, striking with claws, wheeling
round and round and defending itself with great vigilance. This bird was
kept in captivity for nearly a year and became exceedingly tame for an eagle, but
had a great dislike of my personal boys. It would feed on grasshoppers, rodents and
meat, but much preferred bread and butter and the same liking was shown by a fish-
eagle captured some years ago. No nest of this bird has been observed within the
TAWNY EAGLE. (Photo. C.W. CHORLEY.)
These beautiful birds of the kestrel family are many and I will confine myself
to a mention of one only.
The Bat-eating Buzzard (Machaerhamphus alcinus anderssoni) can usually be
seen late in the evening waiting for the numerous bats that swarm out of the houses
at Port Bell. A pair of these birds built a nest on the fork of a branch of a mutuba
tree where a number of green pigeons rested nightly. The nest was built of sticks as
a foundation upon which layers of moss, hair and other soft articles were deposited
and on it lay two eggs of a pale bluish green. Unfortunately, the pigeons have since
been shot at to such an extent that out of the many hundreds only a few are left. The
buzzards can, however, still be seen but they have abandoned the nest where they
have reared many families in past years.
There are four species recorded in Uganda and they are distinguished by the
shape of the beak, which is nearly straight above and curved suddenly and round at
the tip without any teeth in the upper mandible. They are known by the Baganda
and Basesse as Ensega. The vultures are probably the first creatures to detect a sick
beast and their sight is extraordinary. They quarter the skies at such a height that
they cannot be seen by the human eye, yet they see everything below. Some natura-
lists assert that the wonderful power of food-finding is owed wholly to the eyes,
while others attribute it to the nose, We shall I think be nearer the truth if we ascribe
the gift to a combination of the power of both organs.
Once I observed that when a beast had died and had been buried, within a very
short space of time vultures sailed out of the sky one above the other like the stars
of Orion's Belt coming down to the spot where the animal had been covered up.
Some flew past it after circling several times within a radius of 300 yards, then flew
off to the nearest tree, others came and performed similar manoeuvres but not one ap-
peared to know where the animal was. Whatever may be the general opinion of the
scientific world upon this subject, I cannot but think that we shall not easily dis-
cover the true cause of this food-discerning power. It seems to be mainly due to a
wonderful "instinct." The vulture is a carrion feeder and acts as a good scavenger,
but is under suspicion of being a carrier of rinderpest, by infecting the soil over
which game or cattle pass in their grazing.
To see a flock of the birds feeding on a dead carcase is a repulsive sight, a
feast over which buzz green and blue flies, myriads of ants and butterflies mix with
the blood soaked ground, and the scene is swarmed over by hissing vultures fighting
each other and striking with open wings. Some become so gorged that they have to
stretch their necks along the ground to press the food downwards, others glut them-
selves to repletion and then rest perched on the tree tops-a hideous picture not
AFRICAN KITE. (Milvus migrans parasitus). known by the Basesse and Baganda
010 UGANDA JOURNAL.
This kite is another carrion feeder and is a bold and familiar bird which haunts
the habitations of man and acts as a good scavenger by eating almost any nature of
garbage. On the islands they seem to be far more numerous than on the mainland
and can be seen daily around the fishing camps and feeding on the fish offal that is
discarded. They are rather troublesome to fish poachers as their presence usually
gives them away. They are good fishers and have been seen picking up small fish.
To catch these birds when they become troublesome to the poultry yard is not
difficult. An old blanket spread on the ground and carefully spread with grass and a
few pieces of meat on top will usually catch; a kite. They swoop down and entangle
their talons and the bird and blanket are soon rolled into a ball. Let the bird go and
it will usually avoid the place again.
The kite is a tyrant to other birds, especially crows and it is strange that they
are usually seen in company with one another. When a crow has found a dainty
morsel, it is immediately assaulted. At other times they can be been at play together
-pieces of stick and grass are taken high up into the air, dropped and retrieved
time after time by their wonderful manner of flight. I have a suspicion that some do
breed on the islands, in Uganda, but I have never actually seen a nest.
THE SUPREME BEING AMONG THE ACHOLI
OF UGANDA-ANOTHER VIEWPOINT
By A.C.A. WRIGHT.
Professor Boccassino's article published in Volume VI number 4 of this Journal
has caused, I believe, a good deal of alarm and dismay among those who have been
acquainted with the Acholi. It has however served to bring to the fore an interesting
point which required discussion as it is mentioned in "Uganda" by Thomas and
Scott, our official handbook. I refer to the first paragraph on page 96, where it is
stated that "The Acholi, Lango, Jopadhola and Lugbara have essentially monothei-
stic religions, Jok, the Supreme Being of the Acholi and the Lango being regarded with
a reverence which appears almost Semitic in spirit". This striking statement is sup-
ported in detail by Boccassino's findings, except that where the handbook speaks of
Jok, Boccassino uses the word Lubanga. I have been fortunate to obtain from Father
Crazzolara a short excursus on the provenance and usage of the word Lubanga
which I append at the end of this commentary. I prefer for the moment to examine
the wider question of monotheism among the Nilotics. I would mention in passing
that Boccassino was consulted at Gulu at the time of preparation of the returns for
the handbook and that therefore it is, to say the least, likely that his opinion had
some effect in moulding the generalization quoted above. Now it is difficult in a
matter such as this to do more than to express a conflicting opinion and discuss whe-
ther or not it is inherently more probable than the original opinion expressed. I will
therefore begin by describing this conflicting opinion.
To me it appears that the Acholi outlook on the world differs little from that
found and described by J.H. Driberg among the adjacent Lango, that is to say a be-
lief that the world is a vast plain enclosed by the vault of the sky which is itself the
floor of another country, and that this whole is charged throughout with magical
"force" something akin to our concept of electric potential. This force is often releas-
ed by change from its static condition and then becomes fluid and powerful, as is
seen in the lightning, whirlwinds, curious mountains and rocks, rivers, strange or
monstrous births and in various types of hysterical seizure. Such "abnormal" mani-
festations of power, while the "force" behind them or contained in them remains
purely neutral, can be of dominating effect for good or ill upon the life of humanity.
It is this concept of "force", which I believe Boccassino has mistaken for the wor-
ship of a deity. A nearer equivalent would have been the blind movement of the
Immanent Will that Hardy envisages in the "Dynasts", except that the Nilote does
believe that by certain magical ritual acts he can acquire a degree of control over
this blind movement. This is my opinion; it must however be remembered that the
evidence of reliable witnesses establishes that a fairly definite form of monotheism
exists among the Nuer (Naath), the Dinka (Jaang) and the Shilluk (Collo). Thus on
grounds of analogy we should therefore expect to find something of the sort among
the Acholi, a relative group. Father Hofmayr in his study of the Shilluk (') however
expresses the opinion that their religious ideas have developed under the influence
first of Christian theology from the kingdom of Aloa, (which came to an end about
the 14th century A.D.) and subsequently of the Moslem beliefs of those Arab invad-
ers who were penetrating the Nuba area at the same time. It is extremely probable
that certain Shilluk legends which he quotes have a Christian origin. The same
influences may have affected the Nuer and Dinka. I am inclined to regard the idea
of a High God as more recent and this rather vague concept of "force" (which
appears to approximate closely to the idea of manaa" found elsewhere among
primitive peoples (2) as ancient.
In all these discussions it must be remembered that anthropologists are largely
theorizing in the dark and that consequently all statements relating to the origin of
ideas must necessarily be of a highly speculative character. The theories of religious
decadence put forward by Father Schmidt, (that a form of monotheism is every-
where the most primitive condition, and that the variety of superstitious beliefs and
practices found in the world are merely a decadence from this primitive purity) have
much to recommend tiem in the present instance. There is little to show whether the
Shilluk monotheism is a development from the idea of manaa" or whether the much
vaguer Acholi belief in "force" is a decay of the Shilluk idea of God: the word Jok
or Jwok covers both conceptions. My impression is that development has taken
place in opposite directions in the two differing areas and that while the Shilluk re-
ligion has crystallized following the Christian form of a High God with a single
Hero-Mediator, the Acholi, under the influence of the Bantu worship of ancestral
heroes, have to some extent "personalized" their manifestations of Jok in the
opposite direction. This process has however not gone very far.
Early in the time I was in Acholiland I became aware of the existence of certain
shrines which had a sanctity far exceeding that of the ordinary ot Jok or "spirit-
house" found in every kraal. Most of these spots were on hills such as Keyo, Kilak,
Palee, Kalowinya, but there were some which had no mountain connection.
At first I considered that these spots were hallowed by the presence of "clan
spirits", deified ancestors similar in character to the Bantu Emandwa or Ba-
chwezi. On further examination I found that this was not necessarily the case and
that. though in a number of instances this was so, examples occurred where no his-
tory of heroic doings was recorded, but only of some strange abnormality. The Jok
of one clan for instance was called Log, on account of the manifestation of abnor-
mality which occurred there, in the birth of a monstrous child like a log, since it lac-
ked both arms and legs. Another Jok was associated with an earthquake, a third
with a curiously riven rock, and so on.
It was at this point that I began to appreciate the truth of Driberg's analysis of
Jok and to see that in many cases the sacredness of the shrines was not due to their
habitation by ancestral spirits, but to the maintenance in these spots of some degree
of spiritual "activity", much as iron will hold an electric charge for some time after it
(1) Die Schilluk by P. Hofmayr.
(2) See Definition of "rn.na" in Notes and Queries on Anthropology,
tGANDA JOURNAL. 32
has been taken out of an electric field. The purpose of sacrifice, lustration and pray-
er in these places is usually to revive the latent activity and bring it into play for
man's benefit. Some degree of ancestral hero-worship does, however, exist and can-
not altogether be discounted although the reconciliation of these ideas is not easy.
The Missions, however, have had little difficulty in defining their attitude. Both in
Acholiland and Kavirondo with one accord the word Jok has been adopted to trans-
late "devil" or at best "demon". (3).
Boccassino has followed implicity this interpretation and thus arrives at his
description of the Jogi as "creatures of Lubanga" I trust that my own account,
while not laying claim to any finality on this very difficult topic, will at least serve
to illustrate the extreme danger of making over-confident and unqualified genera-
We may now turn to a consideration of the word Lubanga. Boccassino dis-
cusses at some length in his article in "Anthropos" (of which the extract printed
in our Journal is a pr6cis) as to whether the word should be Rubanga or Lubanga,
not realizing that if this word is an introduction from the Bantu, as most authori-
ties agree, he is making a distinction without a difference as "L" and "R" are identi-
cal in nearly all Bantu dialects, certainly in those neighboring the Acholi. At first
I was inclined to regard Lubanga as a corruption of Rubanga (the word used in
Lunyoro to describe the Creator, derived in meaning from Okubanga-to create.
The conception is an extremely vague one and so far as is known there was little
cult attached to it). As against this derivation we have the fact that in Bunyoro
there is a cult of Lubanga connected with birth of twins, (Bangi means "twins" in
the Acholi tongue), while in Bariland there is a fertility cult centred round the ex-
pression Lubanga lo bolott (This fact is mentioned, but not discussed at length in
the Haddon MS on the Bari. (4)
Further I am informed that Okubanga in Lunyamwezi means to "bless'. There
are, therefore, grounds for thinking that Lubanga is an expression enshrining some
rather ancient and primitive idea connected with fertility and probably twin birth
I mention this as a qualification since I am not entirely convicted that the oral
tradition in Acholiland, received both by Father Crazzolara and myself, is correct.
i.e. that the cult of Lubanga is a recent introduction from Bunyoro by native doc-
tors shortly before the arrival of European missionaries.
This view has been recorded by Prof. Seligman in his standard work. (5) In any
case there appears little evidence to connect Lubanga even distantly with ideas of
My own experience of Lubanga cult in Acholiland has not been wide. Once
on safari in Koich I found a shrine in a kraal unlike the usual spirit hut (ot jok or
abila). It consisted of two forked sticks supporting a horizontal bar. In front were
three cooking stones, and below the bar a curious four-mounted pot. (This pot was
(3) Readers of Miss Harrison's "Theinis" will recall her study of this word and
(4) Dept. of Anthrop. Camb.
(5) Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan, footnote to the Section on the Acholi.
033 UGANDA JOURNAL.
similar in type, except that the number of mouths was greater, to the two-mouthed,
twin pot (Lurubu) used in all twin ceremonies. The Lurubu has been illustrated in
several travellers' books and specimens are in the British and Cambridge museums.
An 8-mouthed pot, now in the Cambridge Museum which is stated to have been
used for conveying drugged beer to the victims of the Kabaka of Buganda, may
belong to the same series of ideas. To return, I enquired about the antecedents of
this shrine in Koich and was informed that it was a shrine of Jok Lubanga and
that it had been set up as a result of an affliction in the clan of a disease which
sounded rather like tuberculosis of the spine. This had caused the death of two
children followed by humpback in a third. The local doctor (ajwaka) had pro-
nounced the matter to be beyond his control and advised that a famous Jopaluo,
or Chope, doctor, living in the neighbourhood of Kiryandongo, be called in. This
doctor was brought and after sacrifice and trial of the auguries, announced that the
trouble with the child was a visitation from Jok Lubanga, the great "spirit" of the
Jopaluo, or as Driberg might put it, the great type of manifestation of abnormality
as found among the Jopaluo. (6) A feast was then held in which all the family,
including the afflicted child, took part.
A quantity of drugged beer was consumed from' this 4-mouthed pot by the
child and its parents, and at the crucial moment after dusk when all parties were
rather lightheaded, the doctor suddenly hit the child on the back of the neck with
an axe, killing it. Its body was then swiftly buried in a big pot (agulu) which had
been prepared, and the shrine was built over the spot. This occurrence had taken
place several years previous to my visit, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of my
account, but give the story as I received it. The pot remained on the site and beer
was drunk out of it at a sort of annual commemoration, or in time of stress. Later
in Mahagi among the Alur I heard the same connection between Jok Lubanga and
humpback, but in Acholiland as a whole shrines of Lubanga are rare. I can only
remember seeing one other: it was in Farajok and of the same type as that already
described. A chicken had recently been sacrificed, but unfortunately I was too
rushed to have time to obtain details beyond the fact that it was a shrine to Jok
Lubanga. I notice that Father Crazzolara in his Vocabulary contained in his study
of the Acholi Language, while describing Lubanga as "a name for God adopted by
missionaries" finds that Nyarubanga is "a little known name, for, as it would seem
High God, an idea now nearly lost to the Acholi "- an alternative derivation of
this word might be read as "Begetter of Twins". I have however no grounds for
stating that this is in fact the origin of the word. It is nevertheless interesting
that Father Crazzolara should have found it necessary to qualify to some extent his
condemnation of the root banga (from the religious point of view) as a recent
So much for the concept of Lubanga, to which Boccassino attributes all, or
nearly all, the characteristics of the Christian God. His article is difficult to refute
because he constantly states his hypothesis as a first premis, for example Lubanga
is truthful (because) Jok can tell lies, but Lubanga tells the truth, "Lubanga is good
(because) the Acholi trust in him and call on him in every need, because he-is
(6) Note that in the tradition of Bunyoro recorded Lby K.V. Ndalura the Much-
wezi "gave Buruli to Dubanga his Son" (U.. J. Vol. Ill1 No 2 p. 158). This is almost cer-
tainly a rationalization of the tradition relating to Lubanga worship.
good" etc. In the section describing how Lubanga rewards good and evil, it is
interesting to see that Boccassino has picked up traces of a story connecting Death
and the Chameleon, which is found right through Bantu culture fom Central to
South Africa (See Werner Chap. 1 "Myths and Legends of the Bantu"). One
Acholi version of the story has already been published by Lees in "Gang Fables",
and this pointer to the interfusion of Nilotic and Bantu culture is of genuine interest
A further point of interest which Boccassino has brought up, (without un-
fortunately carrying us any farther on the way to a solution), is the question of the
meaning and inter-relation of the words Wilobo, Woko and Rupiny. Boccassino
states that it is difficult to determine the precise meaning of these expressions and
certainly he has made little contribution to that end. Lobo is earth, Wi or Wic,
"head of", (Query "spirit of" in this context?). I got myself a vague impression of
an idea of an "Earth Spirit', but am in no position to generalize from my own still
superficial knowledge. Woko is defined by Crazzolara as "the Universe, kind of
moving idea of the spirit of the Outer World, against which Man is impotent".
Piny literally means "Earth", and Rupiny the "Daybreak", when the day or sun
(ceng) breaks (ru) out of the earth pinyy). It has been stated in an article in the
Journal of the East African Natural History Society that there are traces of sun-
worship among the Ja Luo of Kavirondo, and though, so far as I know, this has
not yet been supported by other authority, the coincidence of ideas is extremely
interesting and calls for investigation. (7) It may be remarked also that Hofmayr
states that Jok Piny is used among the Shilluk as an expression describing Nyi-
kang, the Intercessor.
I have been able to collect no more references as yet on this point, but there
is here an opportunity for some really valuable work by a collection in Acholi-
land, Kavirondo or Budama (Jopadhola) of phrases and expressions, particularly in
such older forms as are found in riddles and proverbs, which relate to any of these
three words. Woko as defined by Crazzolara it will have been noticed is an idea
hardly distinguishable from the more generalized meaning of Jok as I read it, but
the shades of meaning expressed in Wilobo and Rupiny require further study.
As I thought that Father Crazzolara's comment on Professor Boccassino's
article would be of interest, particularly on the point as to by what means the
phrase Lubanga was adopted by the Missions, I have written to him and obtained
the following note.
Renato Boccassino and LubaDa Jok.
When I first arrived among the Aluur and Acooli (1910/19i 1) and weinquir-
ed who had created (cweo means to create, no other word besides it means the
same!) things or man, the answer was invariably: /'ok ays mucweo" "it is God who
created it", and everything thit is normally attributed to God was referred to
jok. There was not the slightest doubt for me thatjok was most fit to stand for
"God" Rubanga or Rubaija was heard of occasionally,
(7) The nearest established centre of a sun cult is in the region of Darfung among
the Burun according to Evans-Pritchard's investigations. It is probable that ifrther study
will reveal similar phenomena in Western Abyssinia,
It was the then head of the Mission who abolished jk in favour of Rubaija
He had formerly been among a Lwoo tribe in theSudan, where he had encouraged
the abolition ofJwak in f.iv ur of (Italian) 'Di," (!) His chief professed reason
was that it was very inconvenient thatjok should be used for "God" as that word
made part of th- word for lajak meaning black magician; besides, he would say,
jak was not the same as "God", as various ignoble tilings would occasionally be
said of jak.
The mistake came from the part of the Missionaries. Had these, possessing
ethnological knowledge, stuck took, it would have been the "one" and extremely
well fitted word to express the idea of our "High God": it was the jak par excel-
lence and in general as compared with the particular district or other I/os. The
pag in idea of "jak" was, n iturally, not exactly our Christian idea of God; who
could expect that? We came to convert them. M hitters we e very much similar
to those among Nuer where they distinguish between koth medhid, Big God, and
kitlh le 1tand small gods or spirits. The difference lies in the fact that the Nuer
speak explicitly of a "Big-Gid or koth mediid whereas the Acooli speak only
about jak, meaning, however, very much the same as the Nuer.
It was, however, taken for granted that the generic term jok could not mean
something independent from the many particularjogi with their peculiar names.
Based on such supposition n tives were urged by tiresome questions to make the
choice among the various names, as to which jok among the m ny had created
them. Such enquiries implied suppositions and questions wl ich most probably
had never occurred to their simple minds: it puzzled them, as they are still
puzzled at such questions. Witi hesitation they answered either that they
did no- know, which was more ne trly approaching truth but less sit factory,
or they decided for Rubaija or Lubaya (a).
Rubaja (2) was thus introduced andjak abolished.
The C. M. S. used "Alla" at that time and later took up Lubay)a, too. On
the other hand jak automatically became a "devil" in addition to "Citan".
This term has since been used in school and church by every denomination
and has thus influenced the whole country.
(1) The simple fact that I and r are hlre interchangeable, which is none of Lwoo
phonetic laws, points to its Bantu or Bunyoro origin, besides the fact that Rlbanmga
or PRuhanga is a common word for "spirit" in Bunyoro, from where it spread to the
northern Lwoo (Aluur, Acooli, Lango) tribes. None of the more distant Lwoo tribes
besides the latter know that word.
(2) Rubaga is in some parts thought to be something more than the rest of the jogi,
but is, of course, a jok himself; this fact is probably due, in addition to its Lunyoro
fame, to some peculiar rites with which it was surrounded by able ajwakas when it
was introduced; very much similar to "Deodit," who, being the ancestor of the Jaaij
(Dinka), has been introduced among and is thought by the Colloto be a very powerful
God, very nearly the same as "Jivok," which is clearly the one High-God" among them.
The famous ethnologist Dr. W. Schmidt of -Vienna, bised on existing
literature, including Mr. Grove's article on the Acholi in .Sudan Notes &
Records and Mons. A. Negri's big Ms. on the same subject, had come to the
conclusion that the Acooli were no longer Monotheists but Polytheists, i.e they
had no longer the idea of a High-God. When I heard this opinion from
Dr. W. Schmidt I was surprised, but after further inquiries, when I arrived
later again among the Acooli, I was compelled to agree with the correctness
of his statement in spite of my being aware of R.B.'s different opinion.
I had met Renato Boccassino in the Acooli Country itself (1933/34).
R. B. came to the, in my opinion, erroneous result as a consequence of his
peculiar method of inquiry. His chief assistants during his stay among the Acooli
wete Christians and his Acooli texts were written down by them. Notwith-
standing all that, a thorough perusal of his texts, as published in Anthropos
(B. XXXIII), will provide material enough to throw doubt on his conclusions,
Moreover, what R. B. attributes to Rubaija or Lubata may all, except the peculiar
rites for sacrifice or the like, be attributed to Jok (alone), or nearly all to other
Joks as well.
I shall here add some illustrative expressions taken down in 1936 wiih
reference to the present question.
An old Acooli, who had become christian and who was familiar with Rubayja,
said with great emphasis: "Acooli g'eo Lubapia ka, grieo jok; Lubaija ayo tye too me
neko dano; Lubaia ayo neko dano gcrato ka tido Lubaja". (The Acholi did not know
Lubaija, they knew jok; Lubaia means death, he kills people; (for this reason)
they go to cook to Lubaija).
Any pagan, and even many christians in spontaneous expressions will even
nowadays, if asked who made things and people, answer with "'ok ayo mucweo
dano, piny." Jok it is indeed who created people or earth. Or when a man happens
to see a nice thing he will say "This is as nice as if jok had brought it forth."
"man ber calo jok munywalo" And "Gin maber, kono dano maber, kano nyako maber,
jak mucweo; kono awobi maber jok bene mucweo. "A nice thing, a nice man, or a nice
girl, jok has created them; or even a nice youth; jok also has created him".
"Gin duct mabco jok mucweo" "All nice things are created byjok." These are
On the other hand they will say: "dano man rac calo pe jok mucweo dano
man gilar' alara: jok owaco ocwee maber, Labaia owaci ocweemarac." "this person
is ugly a i if he had not been created byjok;" there was a quarrel about this person;
'"jk wanted to make it nice and Luboaia wanted to have it bad (ugly)."
137 UGANDA JOURNAL.
"Komn gin moo muneen marac doi grwaco; Lubaya ayn mubalo ; onoijo dol koor
okwot ni: Lubaila nittoro koort"; of something that looks ugly they will say "It
was Lubanga who spoiled it"; if one is hunch-backed they will say "It was Luba-
nga who broke his chest."
Sacrifices or, better '"cooking" to Lubanga is effected outside a village; and
even dung of fowls is often added to the offering. This latter circumstance was
brought to my knowledge as something rather disgraceful by an old native. No
nuts or shrines for Lubanga are built in villages.
The brass plate to be seen on the edge of the back of the seat in the
lower right hand illustration bears the inscription In memory of Frederick
John Jackson-Born 1860-Died 1929-Governor of Uganda 1911-1917".
Two Antique Chairs for Namirembe Cathedral.
By H.B. THOMAS O.B.E.
Two chairs, which are illustrated in this Journal, have recently been presented
to Namirembe Cathedral by Lady Jackson in memory of her husband, the late Sir
Frederick J. Jackson.
Lady Jackson relates of their history that they are two of four chairs which
were said to have been sent by the Portuguese to Kilwa for the first Christian
Church established there about 1650. The history of these chairs is well known to
leading Arabs at the Coast. They were used as a throne by the Sultan of Patta or
Pate (a coastal island north of Lamu; at one time a considerable Arab settlement
but now deserted) whither they had been taken after the sack of Kilwa by the Arabs
It is alleged that, while seated on one of these chairs a Sultan of Patta was assassi.
nated by his brother, and that, at the first attempt, the sword slipped and cut off
his hand, making a gash on the fore part of the right arm of one chair which can still
be seen. In recent years they were used on the occasion of the visits to Mombasa
of H.H. the Aga Khan (possibly the visit of September 1899) and of the Duke and
Duchess of Connaught (1910).
Photographs of the chairs were recently submitted to the Keeper of the De-
partment of Woodwork of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is of opinion that
they are not of European origin and are likely to have been made in a Portuguese
centre in India such as Goa. His letter continues "There is an interesting sequence
of these Indo-Dutch chairs, some of which have been illustrated, but the 'Charles
II' type to which these roughly correspond is distinctly rare. The oval centres of the
back are commonly found in French chairs of that period. They are distinctly inte-
resting to students of European influence in the East. This view is based on the as-
sumption that the chairs are ancient; copies of 19th century date are by no means
The authority for the year 1650 as the date of the arrival of these chairs in Ki-
law is not known, but is not inherently unreasonable. Portuguese power in East Africa
had reached a low ebb during the first decades of the 17th century. But a great re-
vival took place in 1635 under Francisco de Cabreira, who, in commemoration of
his victories, erected the tablet which may still be seen over the entrance of the old
fort at Mombasa. For a few years Portuguese rule enjoyed an 'Indian Summer', but
1 9 UGANDA JOURNAL.
the decay could not be arrested. In 1698 the Imam of Muscat occupied Kilwa and
ejected the Portuguese. Elsewhere along the Coast there was a general massacre
of Portuguese, and the influence of Portugal thereafter virtually ceased to exist. It
may be that at this period the chairs found their way from Kilwa to Patta.
Sir Frederick Jackson, who was Governor of Uganda from 1911 to 1917, reach-
ed East Africa as early as 1884 and spent some years at the Coast. From 1902-1911
he was successively Deputy Commissioner and later Lieutenant-Governor of the East
Africa Protectorate (as Kenya was then named). It was probably during this latter
period that he acquired these chairs.
A Legend of Some Hills in Bulemezi.
By G. W. NYE.
The legend provides a striking example of the Baganda love for personification, and
indeed to this day, in spite of modern motor roads and culture, there is something essentially
personal and human in the way in which these large, shapely, flat-topped hills stride over the
countryside. So gigantic are their strides and so enormous their progress that the distance
separating the different sazas in annihilated and Muinda moves from Butambala far north
into Bulemezi. It would be well to remember this legend when one was next at Kateta camp
in Teso District and could look again into the vast distance across Lake Kyoga and see the
hills of Busoga and Northern Buganda. Editor.
The hill now known as Bowa (near the present Saza headquarters) was ori-
ginally called Muinda of the Monkey clan and was situated in the Saza of Butam-
bala near to Magongolo. The hill left Butambala for Bulemezi and there found
the hill Walusi governing all the other hills in Bulemezi and was ordered by Walusi
to take up the position where it now is.
After the arrival of Muinda, another hill Kangave, arrived from Magala and on
its way to Walusi (I) to receive instructions it met Kiyanja, brother of Muinda and
they immediately made blood brotherhood together. When Kangave (2) arrived at
Walusi he was told where to reside and Walusi also promised to send him a
woman called Nakalembeka to be his wife. Kiyanja overheard this and im-
mediately went and told Muinda, adding that he did not see why Kangave should
be given a wife before him (Muinda) as he was the first to arrive in Bulemezi.
Muinda became very angry and after some discussion the two brothers decided that
they would waylay Nakalembeka and capture her on her way to Kangave.
Nakalembeka and her retinue started off on their journey and at midday they
became tired and decided to rest on a hill called Munyolwe. As soon as they had
started resting a hill near by called Nabaleba went off to tell Muinda. Muinda
immediately ordered Nabaleba to attack the party and to spare only Nakalembeka;
which he did. Muinda then took Nakalembeka as his wife and changed his name
to Bowa because he had won her in a fight (okuboyera= to fight for); he changed
her name to Nabowa and the hill where the fight took place, Munyolwe, was
changed to Kituntu as the time of the fight was midday (ettuntu= midday). The
name Nakalembeka was given to a well which Bowa gave to his wife for her own
private use. From that time whenever a new Kangawo was appointed he had to
kill his first-born by throwing it into a well in order to cleanse the water as when
a Kangawo was transferred or died, the well used to flow with blood instead of
water. Bowa also changed his brother's name Kiyanja to Kibowa because he had
helped him to fight for his wife and the name Kiyanja was given to a river which
flows from Kibowa to Kamuli.
(1) Walusi a hill near to Wabusana.
(2) Kangave is a large hill near Semuto.
Kibowa heard rumours that Kangave was determined on his revenge for the
loss of his wife and that he was sending one, Bugomba, his brother to spy out the
land. When Kibowa told this to Bowa, Bowa thought that it would be an excel-
lent safeguard if all the boys born near Bowa were to be called Sebowa and the
girls Nabowa so that Kangave could not kill them on account of their blood
When Bugomba arrived, Kibowa reminded him of the blood brotherhood and
deceived him by saying that his wife had been captured on Nabaleba hill and not
-on Buzinde where they then were. (Bowa had changed Nabaleba's name to
Buzinde as it was he who had carried out the raid on Nakalembeka's party-
*okuzinda=to raid). Kibowa went on to tell Bugomba that he could not possibly
reach Buzinde as the river Nakaga would have to be crossed and would kill him in
the attempt. Kibowa then suggested a compromise whereby he promised to give
Bugomba a mutala called Namagala which was very similar to Magalo from
whence he and his brother Wangave had originally come. After Bugomba had
had been at Namagala for some time he went and raided a rich man called Katonga
and he called the place Gagga (mugagga=rich man) and the name Katonga was
then given to a nearby well. From that time Bugomba was called Kibunga of Na-
magala because he refused to return to his brother who gave the name Bugomba
to a hill nearby.
In the early days all chiefs selected to be Kangawo were chosen from the.
Mamba or Lung fish clan but when Kabaka Mawanda came to the throne he gave
the saza to Matumpagwa of the Monkey clan because Bowa looked upon him as a
brother. Matumpagwa made his capital on Buzinde hill and since then the Bule-
mezi saza headquarters have always been situated at Buzinde.
The talking of the hills was done through the medium of priests (Emmandwa).
Bowa had a priest known as Kalambika who lived on the hill called Gagga. Ka-
lambika used to go for short periods of rest to a hill called Mpumudde (okuwu-
mula= to rest).
Note (a) Most of the places referred to in the above can be found on maps of
(b) Children born near Bowa are still called Sebowa and Nabowa ac,
cording to their sex.
LEFT TO RIGHT.
Back Row:- H. F. Ward F. W. Brett (afterwards Provincial Commissioner in Tanganyika),
Miss Jackson, Miss Lora Jackson, The Aide-de camp to Sir H. Conway Belfield, (the Governor of Kenya
Colony), D.G. Tomblings (Aide-de camp to Sir F. Jackson, the Governor of Uganda).
Standing in the Middle:- Miss Belfield (Junr).
Front Row "- Lady Jackson,- Sir H. Conway Belfield, -Sir Frederick Jackson, Miss Belfield
(afterwarwards Mrs. Ward).
Sitting in Front:- "P. J." ("Puppy Jackson").
The Group was taken in 1913, 4" is reproduced by kind permission of D.G. Tomblings Esq., C.M.G. in whose
possession the original still rests.
"I AM NOT ARMED".
Poems BY GEOFFREY MASEFIELD.
The appreciation of poetry is a highly personal matter and it must take a specially
hardened critic to pass judgment upon a collection of poems lately born. Further,
Mr. Masefield covers much ground in a small compass. Like all of us, he carries his
sensibility about with him, but like few of us and not many poets, he is able to ex-
press his sensation of many different kinds of impact. The effect is to make a careful
reader of his poems think that he knows something about their author (though he
may never have met him), to embolden this particular reader to say that, at a general
view, he liked the author better than his poems. This statement is not so insolent as
it seems: for we may consider a poem sincerely written to be a part of its author,
and it is hardly surprising that a collection of miscellaneous bits may seem less
attractive than the whole person whose reconstruction they suggest.
But many of these 'bits' properly judged as each complete in itself, are satisfy-
ing and beautiful. Of the 51 poems, I find most pleasure in those on p. 31 (no title),
p. 44 (to Vergil), p. 56 (Sunimer), p. 58 (Winter), p. 62 (Spain), p. 67 (on a Cherry
Tree), p.71 (Epitaph on A.E Housman), p.75 (Portrait in Trinidad), p.82 (no title),
and p.87 (Death): and I believe these are best, for in them the form not only suits
the substance but seems to me in itself most nearly flawless. And I add the short
poem on p.17 for the vivid impression it has left.
Few of the poems of my selection are among the most ambitious in scope or
the most passionate in expression. I include one of the two pieces of 'free' verse and
two of the six sets of blank verse, and I wish that Mr. Masefield had published more
poems in the less restricted though not less exacting metrical forms.
Many others must please many readers-not least the blank verse entitled Uga-
nda. I foolishly paused in this poem after the lines:
'The slow way Baganda women move
Like ships progressing in unfavouring seas'
it is a true picture, for I suppose certain rather stoutly built ships do move most
strikingly in a choppy sea; but the word "unfavouring' held me up, and I am not
quite reconciled to it yet. This poem, like some others, infects the reader with the
poet's remembered emotion; even though he may be loth to share the poet's serw
that the charm of Africa, through overpowering is meretricious.
143 UGANDA JOURNAL.
Most of the poems are short lyrics in rhyming metre, and a part of their attrac-
tion lies in their precise and classical form. But the short lyric poem-unless it
simply sweeps you off your feet almost demands strict criticism: it can seldom
gather the momentum to carry the reader happily over loose rhyme and defective
rhythm. Nor can a short poem support a weak ending, as a long poem very well
may. If detailed criticism is to be given to Mr. Masefield's, it may be directed to-
There are several rhymes which shock the pedant-'Cause......Doors', 'Calm...
arms', 'Bleu...... her' 'Swoop......up'. an obtrusive 'pun' on p.39; in a smoothly rhy-
thmic poem there is harshness in the line,
'0 how I long to lay my head down soon'; and the use of the word 'rhythm' as.
a disyllable, which I find unpleasant. These flaws, as I consider them come mostly
at the ends of short poems and are therefore the more conspicuous. Sometimes dif-
ferent or fuller punctuation would lead the reader quicker to the sense, and in the
last poem of all the undoubted effect of stoplessness seems to me to dearly bought.
But it is worth suffering greater shocks than such as these to come upon Mr.
Masefield at his surest and best, and I am grateful to the chance which led me to
read this book of poems with attention.
"NO TIME TO WEEP".
Poems BY STELLA V. WOOD.
Published by the Uganda Printing & Publishing Co., Kampala
in aid of The Earl Haig Fund for Disabled Soldiers. Price 2/-.
Some time ago the Uganda Journal broke away from precedent by publishing
two poems by Stella V. Wood; in this number not only is a review printed of a
volume of poems published by a member of The Uganda Society, Mr. G. B.
Masefield, but also a second review, this time of a volume of poems recently pub-
lished by Mrs. Wood in Kampala, and now on sale in aid of The Earl Haig Fund
for Disabled Soldiers.
The volume of 43 pp. contains twenty poems of varying length, the longest
being of 66 lines and the shortest a fragment of but four lines. Throughout the
book the spirit underlying the title is in evidence and one finishes the volume with
the satisfied feeling that "the glory of the garden glorifieth every one" and that it
has summarily triumphed over the horrors of war. In fact so all pervading is this
love of the beauty of nature, this understanding of the language of flowers and the
secrets of small children, that such titles as "The Rape of Poland" and "Dual
Escape" seem to me rather forced and to suggest that the idea of war has tres-
passed like the beheading of Charles I into Mr. Dick's Memoirs. The reader can-
not help sensing that the author would be much happier without feeling constrain-
ed to bring in the war to what is undoubtedly a most pleasant volume in which
for example the gruesomeness of the last four lines on p. 13 should find no place.
For the same reason, and because I prefer first to note the few poems which least
appealed to me, I have the same criticism to offer on-"Moon into Blood",
"Leave", and "The Shadowed Minute", throughout which I feel that verses are be-
ing forced into a mould with which the author is unfamiliar and far from happy
and I much prefer the appealing fancies on p. 7, 9 and 11 (with changed titles!),
23, 25, 33 and 43.
Let me quote from p. 7 "The Rape of Poland" or as I should like to suggest
"Rosalie and Sepiria", six lines which bubble up irrepressibly in a poem into which
the spirit of war finds it well nigh impossible to intrude in spite of the title: -
"We sally out. On small pink toes
Across the dewy grass she goes
To where, on his haunches, that old man
Sits tinkering with a watering-can
And slips a fat, warm fist in his
And asks him how his Headache is".
How idyllic and beautiful the picture is and no wonder that they.........."plan
where shap-dragon and phlox
145 UGANDA JOURNAL.
Must go out of the seedling box;
And whether we should separate
The red-hot-pokers by the gate,"
Rosalie and Sepiria are engrossed in thoughts far worthier and eternal than
those of war.
"Every plant is loved and known
With ways and histories of its own,
And all the world is sweet and blest
In the discovery of a nest."
We watch the same idea, the same appreciation and whole-hearted enjoyment
of nature in p. 23 "England".
"The ragged-robin still will bloom
The Kentish Roads, and dazzling May
Will lift its beauty high; and birds
In lilac make their holiday,"
I feel however that the last two lines of this poem are rendered a little harsh,
even if intentionally so, by the hard beginnings of the last three words in 1.15 "0,
even in", followed by the word "quietest" which is here most noticeably trisyllabic.
By contrast the skilful unobtrusive alliteration on p. 29 in lines 5, 6 and 7 is
most effective and the picture of "Night's sombre signature scrawled by a stool
beneath a chair" is excellent.
I like "The Hawk" on p. 31, the swiftness of his striking and that of Death is
admirably brought out by the breathlessness of the metre and the shortness of the
poem. "Inquietude" on p. 33 is well entitled and most adequately conveys that
restless feeling which sometimes comes over us when the night is no beautiful that
we don't quite know what to do about it, when we fell that outside in the night
air everything is "fey" and inside in the lamp-light things are tangible and human
and safe. "We are best indoors!"
"Night Terrors" on p. 37 is good, apart from the expression, "How neutralis-
ing", which strikes me as essentially prosaic and 1 feel sure that the elder Mr. Weller
would have wished it replaced by "a more tenderer word", and I am bound to say
that I should agree with him. In the same connection I am not sure whether I
approve of the word "intolerable" in the first line on p. 15 though it is extremely
difficult to prove its guilt.
I must not quote more but will leave it to readers of The Uganda Journal
to purchase for themselves and enjoy this book of poems. The two shillings
expended goes to a fine war charity and the contents of the volume will convince
all readers of the inevitable triumph of good and of the impotence of war, to
brutalise all mankind and obliterate all that is beautiful. How fine it would be if
the last poem in the book proved to be a portent and that the next Christmas
morning could bring its message of peace and goodwill to all men.
//L11A ME1 s.mu
PIOEE SUA APF.TR
THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
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