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The Uganda Society
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The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOL. 10, No. 1.
Geology and its Service to Uganda
The Origin of the Lango
Two Lusoga Fables
A Rainmaking Ceremony in Teso
Extracts from "Meng'o Notes"-I
A Reason for Paying Poll Tax
J. H. Driberg
"Bantu" (by Clement M. Doke)
By K. A. DAVIEs
By FR. A. TALANTINO
By E. GirBA and E. KAy-uo
By A. C. A. WEIGHT 25
By C. M. HARRIS 29
By T. R. F. Cox
Mr. G, U. I Hopkins
M*. 0. Turner, oa..e., M.o.
t^(!i.resident Mr: W. W. R, Crqoap
$4WfVioe-Premident Mr. CL W. L. Fishlool
f;le Hon. Secretary and Treasurer Mr. D. K, Marphatia
'ihe Hon. Librarian Mr. B. J. Mukasa
>-he Hon. Editor Mr. B. E. Sebley
S.. T. R. Batten Mr. E. Dauncey Toni
IW R. M. Bere Dr. A. Williame
. ,'. ..
rary Secretary and Treasurer: Honorary librarian:
Captain E. M. Peruse, N.c. Mrs. B. Saben
-u 4 o.
:, foiwrary Editor :
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
SHonorary Vice-Presidents :
;: r.H. B.-Thomas, o.u.E. Mr. E. B. Haddon
i t. F. Twining, o.M.o., M.B.. Mr. Mark Wilson
4.A. Tito Wiyi II, o.B.N. MrNormnan Godinho, M.B.N.
? i':: AI. Cook, it., o.E.O., O.B.N. Mr. J. Sykes
S.f. E. Wayland, ao.B. Mr. N. V. Braanett
..'Dr. H. H. Hunter, O.B.N., LL.D. Captain C. R. S. Pitman, D.S.O., ,O. .
W: R. Jowt, .. o..- Mr. 8. W. Knlujhy, x.. .:
. Major-General H..R. Hone, Mr. E. A Temple Perkins
SO.B.N., M.o., x.o. Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, o.B.B.
...' Secrf aries :
. ': & Co., Ltd., Kan
,.Mr.,.-S. Keeble, A...
S Editorial ComsiJneue:
pala The. Hon. Editor
Mr. R. M. Bere
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Mr. F. Lukyn Williams
' i -
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
SUBSCRIPTIONS.-The annual subscription (expiring 30th June) for ordinary
members and institutional members is Shs. 10. A double subscription of Shs. 15 entitles
two members of a family to all the rights and privileges of full members, except that
they receive one copy only of each issue of the Society's periodical Any member who
has reached the age of 55 can become a life member by paying a lump sum equal to the
amount of ten annual subscriptions. A member who has not yet reached the age of 55
can join for life by paying the same sum plus the number of subscriptions by which the
age falls short of 55.
The annual subscription for associate members is Shs. 2/50. Associates are admitted
to lecture meetings and may use the library; but are not entitled to receive the periodical,
to vote, or to borrow from the library.
Bankers' Order forms may be obtained from the Secretaries. Completed bankers'
orders should be sent to the Society in the first place, not direct to a Bank.
PUBLICATIONS.-The Uganda Journal, the organ of the Society, is published
half-yearly, in March and September. Back numbers of the Journal, and other publications
of the Society, can be supplied as advertised on the back cover.
The chief aim of the Journal is to provide a medium for the publication of historical,
literary and scientific matter relating to Uganda and its peoples. Material offered for
publication should be sent to the Honorary Editor at the Society's address. The Editor
can arrange for manuscripts to be typed. Contributions in the form of short notes or
records, as well as longer articles, are invited. Authors will receive twenty separate
copies of their contributions free of charge. Additional separates may be obtained at
a cost of five cents a page if ordered at the time when the manuscript is submitted.
EXCHANGE.-The Society is ready to consider entering into arrangements with
other institutions for reciprocal exchange of publications.
MEETINGS.-Meetings, at which papers are read by members or visitors, are held
periodically in Kampala. Notices of meetings are sent to those members living in
or near Kampala and Entebbe; and to other members by request. A member wishing
to read a paper should communicate with the Secretaries. The Society reserves the right
to publish, in whole or in part, any paper read at a meeting.
LIBRARY.-The Library consists of books and periodicals chiefly on African
subjects, with a number of English newspapers and reviews. The Library is open to
members: Monday to Friday-5 p.m. to 7-30 p.m.; Sunday-10 a.m. to 12-30 p.m.
Books may be borrowed against a deposit of Shs. 20, not more than two volumes being
taken at one time. Members resident away from Kampala can borrow by post, on
application to the Honorary Librarian.
ADDRESS.-The Society's Rooms (including the Library) are situated in the old
Sikh Barracks, at the corer of Nakasero and Kyagwe roads. The postal address, to
which all communications should be addressed, is:
THz UGANDA SOcIETY, PBtrATn BAG,
Members are requested to keep the Secretaries fully informed of changes of address.
Three lectures have been given since mid-December :
On 21st December 1945, Pandit Rishi Ram spoke on "The Unity of Mankind";
On 8th February 1946, Miss Mabel Shaw, O.B.E., spoke on "An Experiment in
Education in Northern Rhodesia";
On 6th March 1946, Dr. K. A. Davies, o.B.E., delivered his Presidential Address,
1944-45, on "Geology and its Service to Uganda".
The Society tenders its congratulations to the following Members whose names
appeared in the New Year Honours List for 1946 :
Dr. K. A. Davies .. .. O.B.B.
Mr. X. E. Almeida .. .. M.B.E.
Mr. G. W. Peskett .. .. Colonial Police Medal.
Mr. V. E. Blad .. .. Colonial Police Medal.
Rules for the use of the library are as follows:
1. The library is open to ordinary members and associate members for reading
at the hours announced in the Journal and on the Notice Board.
2. Books should not be returned to the shelves after use. They should be left on
the table by the door.
Ordinary members are entitled to take books on loan under the following conditions:
3. A member wishing to borrow books from time to time is required to pay a library
deposit of Shs. 20, to be retained by the Society until the member signifies his wish to
discontinue borrowing, when it will be refunded.
4. Deposits should be paid to the clerk in the office (or posted to the Hon.
Librarian); a receipt will be given.
5. The librarian is authorised to prohibit altogether, at his discretion, the removal
of certain valuable books, or books in constant use. Such books will be clearly labelled.
Current unbound periodicals are on no account to be taken away.
6. Books taken on loan by Kampala members may be retained for not longer than
two weeks in the first instance (three weeks will be allowed for members who live more
than twenty-five miles from Kampala). An extension of this period may be granted by
the Librarian at his discretion.
7. Not more than two volumes may be taken or retained by a member at a time.
8. The catalogue number of the book, the name of the author, and the name and
address of the borrower, must be entered in the loan book by, or in the presence of,
9. Within reasonable limits, the cost of outward postage to up-country members
will be defrayed by the Society.
III. LOSS OR DAMAGE
10. A member who loses or damages a book will be expected to defray the cost.
11. A member who fails to make good the loss or damage of a library book, or to
return a borrowed book after a second reminder, will forfeit the whole or part of his
deposit, and also his right to borrow further books from the library until his full deposit
The Library is open to members at the following hours :-
Monday to Friday .. 5 p.m. to 7-30 p.m. -
Sunday .. .. .. 10a.m. to 12-30p.m.
The Library now contains 1,302 listed publications, mainly dealing with
Africa, with special emphasis on Eastern Africa. The Society is fortunate in continuing
to enjoy the benefit of the experience of Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E., in selecting and
purchasing books in the United Kingdom out of funds provided by the Trustees of the
King George V Memorial Fund.
Other acquisitions are the result of local purchase and gifts by Members to whom
the grateful thanks of the Society are due. The Hon. Librarian is anxious to expand
the Library still further and would welcome suggestions and advice for the further
improvement of the Library and its amenities.
In. addition to books, the Society desires historical records of all kinds, such as
albums of photographs, old maps, archives, etc.
Acknowledgment is made of books and papers presented to the Library by the
following: Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, Capt. C. R. S. Pitman, Mr. D. N. Stafford, Capt. E. M.
Persse, Mr. S. H. H. Wright, Mr. W. R. Wrench, and the British Council. Mr. F. H. Rogers
has presented a fine photographic study of an Acholi head, and a collection of game
trophies shot by himself.
All friends of the Society will be glad that the Journal is appearing once
more. From now on it will be published in March and September, i.e., twice
yearly instead of quarterly. This change should not affect adversely the
thickness of the annual volume-if anything rather the reverse. Our aim
remains, as before, a volume of about two hundred pages, amply illustrated
by photographs, drawings, maps and diagrams. To achieve this end it is
essential for the Editor to have the wholehearted co-operation of all
members of the Society, who are asked not only to contribute articles
themselves but also to urge their friends to do the same. Short notes and
jottings are just as much required as longer articles, and suggestions, too,
are always welcome.
It is hoped that there will be general approval of the new format, in the
choice of which the Committee has been guided not a little by the advice
of the Government Printer. We believe that the result will be a volume more
pleasing to handle and to admire than its predecessors. We have been
careful to ensure that the altered page is such as will enable those
members who maintain bound sets to cut down the volume to match the
earlier numbers, and at the same time to retain adequate margins.
The present number of the Journal contains the Presidential Address
for the year 1944-45--an address which for various reasons Dr. Davies was
unable to read to the Society during the period of his presidency. We are
pleased to print also, in this number, two fables in Lusoga-the first time
that the Journal has published an article in this language. No generally
approved form of writing Lusoga has yet been evolved: it has some curious
phonetics which by no means accurately represent the speech sounds.
Many of our members will have read with close attention a most
interesting paper by James Hornell on the construction and origin of the
sewn canoes of Lake Victoria which appeared in Tanganyika Notes and
Records-No. 15. The paper contains a valuable bibliography in which,
however, no mention is made of a short note on "Sesse Canoes", by C. M.
Harris, which appeared in the Kew Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information,
1931. The latter publication is not readily accessible, and for this reason
we reprint it, by permission, in our Journal. Mr. Hornell's account of the
construction of the Sesse canoe is in many respects more detailed than that
given by Mr. Harris, but the latter lists the types of timber used for the
different parts of the canoe-a point not touched upon by Mr. Hornell.
The subject of the uses to which different timbers, fibres, etc., are put
by Africans has been studied but little in Uganda, yet the subject is one which
would well repay investigation. If any members have any notes on such
usages will they please get in touch with the Editor ?
Members are reminded that the next number will be a reprint in Journal
format of all those articles of lasting interest which appeared in the five
Bulletins issued by the Society between 1943 and 1945. A complete index
to the first ten volumes of the Journal will appear as a supplement.
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOL. 10, No. 1 --MARCH 1946
R. M. Bere
W. J. Eggeling (Hon. Editor)
R. A. Snoxall
F. Lukyn Williams
Published half-yearly in March and September
Geology and its Service to Ugaala
The Origin of the Lango
Two Lusoga Fables
A Rainmaking Ceremony in Teso
Extracts from "Mengo Notes"-I
A Reason for Paying Poll Tax
J. H. Driberg
"Bantu" (by Clement M. Doke)
By K. A. DAVIEs 3
Fn. A. TARANTINO 12
TMBA and E. KArUH 17
'y A. C. A. WRIGHT 25
By C. M. HARRIS 29
By T. R. F. Cox
Geology and its Service to Uganda
GEOLOGY AND ITS SERVICE TO UGANDA.
By K. A. DAvIEs, O.B.E. (Director, Geological Survey, Uganda).
My subject deals with geology and its place in the pattern of the
management and assets of this Protectorate. I have chosen it, in the first
place, because it is one upon which I can write with most authority;
I feel, too, that there is often a profound ignorance amongst the general public
regarding the services they maintain. The third reason for introducing this
theme arises from a hope that I may realise amongst my readers a more
popular conception of a subject that is at once both fascinating and useful.
At this point I may add that I feel gratified that my last lecture to the
Uganda Society was the cause of one person taking such an interest in
geology that the subject is now taught in the highest form of one of our
Uganda schools; probably no other school in Central or North Africa and
only one or two South African schools teach this subject, though it is
becoming increasingly popular among the schools of Europe and America
(in Britain, Welsh schools are to the front in their appreciation of geology).
Geology is a subject that appeals as no other to manytypes ofmind, and inspires
an interest which frequently lasts beyond school days; geology is perhaps,
too, the best training ground in the collection and co-ordination of observed
facts. The reason for its non-inclusion in science courses in schools is largely
the conservative emphasis on what has been termed the unholy trinity of
mathematics, physics and chemistry.
With these few words on the science itself I shall pass on to discuss the
functions of and reason for a geological survey. I should like, at this juncture,
to point out that Uganda at the outbreak of the recent war employed
a larger staff and spent larger sums of money on this type of work than any
other colony; this was done despite the fact that the income from minerals
was only a small fraction of that derived from similar products in Nigeria,
the. Gold Coast, British Guiana and Malaya. It is especially important
therefore, in this country, to examine the reason for maintaining such
a department and to discover in what way value for the expenditure is
It is quite easy to understand the taxpayer who in times of slump demands
justification for the retention of a service whose label may suggest an
academic and scientific flavour only, that is, it is easy to understand him
if he knows nothing of the work that lies behind the title "Geological Survey".
Therefore let us examine the job itself. The primary aim of a geological
survey is to produce a map depicting the rocks that underlie the country
to be tackled, their extent and their relationships one to another. Ideally
this should be done without hindrance from other calls; in actuality, in the
earlier stages of geological work, map-making is fitted in only when there
is opportunity. This arises from the fact that a geological survey is a public
service and as such its first demands are of a day-to-day nature and aim at
a quick appreciation and development of the mineral resources of the country
served. An example of this offset from the main aim can be pointed out in
4 .The Uganda Journal
Uganda where during the war the main effort was rightly made along the
line of the search for and development of minerals needed for war purposes.
This does not mean that the mapping programme was shelved entirely, but
merely that it took second place. At the beginning of the war, however, so
much was known of the geology of Uganda from mapping that it was possible
to prophesy within a little where certain urgently needed minerals might
be found. It is hoped that now the war emergency is over it will be possible
to return to straight mapping of the country, and to a programme which will
deal with the Protectorate systematically, give all mineral products equal
attention, and have no need to emphasise the search for one or more in
particular. Thus, as the years go on, we shall be able more and more to
amplify the knowledge of the mineral wealth of the Protectorate and to
indicate whether such and such a mineral occurs and if it would repay
working under the conditions then prevailing.
Another prime danger to the usefulness of a geological department is
one common to many technical organizations, that is the tendency for
technical officers to be absorbed in petty administrative and other duties
which less expensive officers could tackle.
Uganda, in common with all tropical countries, is not an easy one to map
geologically, though even so it is probably the most pleasant of the Colonies
in which to pursue this work; this last quality, coupled with the realisation
that successive administrations have taken what scientific people would
term a praiseworthy view of geological work, may account for the popularity
of the Protectorate service. For many years before coming to Uganda, I did
research work in the field in Wales, on the Yorkshire Moors, in the Lake
District and in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. In these areas wherever
you went it was possible to see rocks in abundance. It was therefore also
possible to map with a great degree of accuracy, although a geological map un-
like a topographical one can rarely, if ever, be the last word in truth. Uganda,
however, like so much of Tropical Africa, is very different from Britain.
Along the mountain fringes of the east and west, outcrops are usually plentiful,
but even here the vegetation, for example on Ruwenzori, makes survey a very
difficult business. Throughout the centre of Uganda most of the rocks are
covered by the ubiquitous laterite which usually looks the same whatever
rock it overlies. This mantle is, as you may have realized yourselves, very
hard, and is usually about eleven to fourteen feet in thickness, though on the
flat-topped hills of Buganda it may be as much as forty feet thick. Such is
the effect of tropical conditions, too, that often below the laterite the rock
is itself weathered down to sixty feet or more and for this reason its
nature is not readily determinable. So, between the vegetation and the effect
of tropical weathering, mapping with accuracy is often impossible unless one
resorts to the expensive method of deep digging or probing with a drill.
The work of the Geological Department follows four main directions.
These are, firstly, the cultural one; secondly, the advisory one; thirdly, that
which seeks to develop the mineral resources of the country; and, fourthly,
the development of water supplies. I shall deal with them in the order
I have already touched upon the place of geology in scientific training
and I reiterate its importance here. It has been said that if any one of the
sciences were selected as the key to all the others-as that which in its subject
Geology and ite Service to Uganda
matter and its history enforces the true scientific method-geology might
be selected as that science. Its interest to the African is reflected in the ever
growing number of visitors to our offices and the increasing keenness with
which they examine the specimens and make enquiries regarding them.
The museum is then the mainspring of our efforts in this direction. I am
hoping shortly to improve greatly the building we have for this purpose and
to set out the exhibits in such a fashion as to arouse everybody's interest.
This implies the arrangement, in as attractive a manner as possible, of rocks
and minerals which are continually under the eyes of every African or other
inhabitant of the country and the explanation of the formation of these
materials in simple language. I would ask those who can cast their minds
back to a picture of geological exhibits to think less of the Natural History
Museum in Cromwell Road and more of the new Geological Survey Museum
behind the older building. Also, if anyone doubts that geological specimens
can be displayed so as to rouse the spirit of the most unimaginative of the
general public, then I would advise him to go and see the geological section
of the Welsh National Museum at Cardiff.
The final statement I would make regarding the cultural side of the
subject is that I look forward to the time when geology will be amongst the
subjects taught in the secondary schools of Uganda, as well as in a Makerere
freed from adherence to a narrow vocational training.
An example of the type of work which I have termed advisory is that
concerned with the siting of the Nile Dam. As you may know, two sites are
being considered, one at Mutir and another at Nimule. In both places the
proximity of considerable major faulting makes it necessary to take every
precaution before the actual site is chosen. Movement along the Albert Rift
fault system is still evident in the numerous earthquake tremors recorded
at Hoima and Fort Portal; on this account inclined drilling with diamond
drills has been recommended at the two localities mentioned.
Other examples of this side of our work, which are taken from what we
have done in Kampala, can be quoted. The first concerns the arbitration
on the price to be paid the contractors on the Kampala aerodrome; this
payment was fixed according to the material met with in the excavation,
because, as was to be expected, the removal of rock was charged at a higher
cost than that of murram or soil. Another example was afforded when there
was need in Kampala for a rock that would possess good qualities both in
concrete and as a road metal; as very large quantities were required it was
necessary to find the material within easy reach of the Township in order
to ecouomise transport. It was clear from the first that the many hard
quartzites in the area would not be suitable, because the sharp edges would
be destructive to tyres. An even and fairly fine grained granite was obviously
the best rock for the purpose, and examination of geological maps of the area
and a short reconnaissance soon pinned down the best material as occurring
on Jinja Hill on the Bombo road. In a similar manner advice was sought
of us when the digging of sand near the Port Bell road became a menace to
the health of the community on Luzira Hill. Examples of this kind can
of course be multiplied many times over, and it is in respect of advice too that
much can be done for other departments as well as for the public.
I suggested earlier that the first demand of a geological survey was an
estimate of the extent and value of the mineral resources of the country in
6 The Uganda Journal
which it is established. Let us now examine this side of the work which, in
most Colonial Surveys, far outweighs in its importance every other aspect
of geological work. My late chief, Mr. Wayland, insisted that water was the
most important mineral of all, and if a wide definition of minerals is taken
that is undoubtedly so; for the purpose of this paper, however, water is
Minerals and their development are regarded with suspicion by
many people who remember the conditions imposed on Britain by such
development after the Industrial Revolution; they think of Middlesborough
or Bilston, the Rhondda Valley or Nantwich. This sordid picture is of
course a measure of man's failure to foresee the results of the development
of minerals and to plan for such an eventuality. We have, however,
moved far from those bad old days, though the working of minerals by certain
types of mining organizations and especially certain individual miners still
leaves much to be desired.
It must be remembered that minerals are irreplaceable as assets; once
they are taken out the poorer the land becomes. It is of great importance
therefore that the working of the deposits should be done as efficiently as
possible. I personally consider that all mineral rights should belong to the
Crown who should also be responsible for seeing that only mining organizations
of repute work the deposits and that the benefits that accrue go, in the main
at any rate, to the State.
I have often heard it said that Uganda is an agricultural country. This
may imply just a narrow view point or it may signify wishful thinking. I may
say here and now that Uganda, relatively small as it is, possesses a variety
of mineral products whose proper working and processing could add very
considerably to the Protectorate's wealth and well being. I would also stress
that the most progressive countries are those which have an abundance of
mineral wealth to support their agriculture; Russia, the United States and
Canada are three countries which first claim attention in this respect. I also
consider that some measure of well organised industrialisation which might
spring from the working and processing of minerals would be of immense
assistance in this country, especially in absorbing the large numbers of people
who are continually leaving the land.
Man is rather apt to forget his dependence on the tools he uses daily.
Stone-age Man used the most suitable rock to hand and was prepared to go
long distances to get it; thus the smooth obsidian of the Kenya rift valley
is often seen here. Much later, when the knowledge of iron working became
known, he needed better tools with which to till the land and hunt game.
These demands then gave rise to the iron smelting industry of Metuli, of
Labwor, of Kigezi, and Bunyoro. Thus industry and agriculture marched
together profitably in the earlier days of Uganda.
In times of slump, geological departments are often early victims of the
axe, for even people in high places may fail to realise how such a department
justifies itself. For those who reckon service in pounds, shillings and pence,
I would point out that between '1927, when minerals were first found, and the
end of 1943 some 2,091,000 of these products were exported from this
country. It is obvious that in the progress of a geological survey some time
must elapse before sufficient knowledge is accumulated to indicate the
presence of minerals. Yet remembering that our department was formed
Oeotogy and its service to Uganda
in 1919 and that between then and now there was a slump of some eight years
duration, I may say that the Geological Survey has cost Uganda in all
165,000; during the same period some 147,000 have been paid in royalties,
rents and fees on mineral or mineral bearing lands, and that the gap between
expenditure and recorded income is fast closing. In many countries the
discoveries of minerals have been made by the private individual or company;
in Uganda most of the exports are derived from places discovered by members
of our Survey. It must be remembered, too, that most of the money spent
on mining goes into the payment of wages or purchases of local materials.
Prior to the war, Uganda's mineral exports, with minor exceptions,
consisted of gold and tin ore. A few hundredweights of bismuth and some
three tons of wolfram had been produced in addition to the gold and tinstone,
but the price of wolfram, whose metal, tungsten, is mainly used for war
purposes, was in peace time so low as to discourage the search for it in
Uganda. That peculiar group of minerals found in several parts of the
Protectorate and known as columbite-tantalite had been the subject of
a fluctuating demand between the years 1936 and 1939, and some fifty-nine
tons had been shipped abroad.
War demands on the production of minerals are noticeable to a greater
extent than on most commodities, and there is also of course an enormous
expenditure and wastage of the metals involved. The loss of many of the
sources of critical minerals early in the late war added to the difficulties of
Britain, so that all parts of the Commonwealth remaining untouched by conflict
were urged to do their utmost to find alternative areas of production.
In Uganda, where the mining industry was largely in the hands of the
small scale prospector without capital, a good deal of inertia had to be
overcome before any appreciable increase was apparent, and it would
certainly have been better to establish a State controlled mining concern
early in the war which would have undertaken the working of what were
known as critical minerals. The minerals of this category found in Uganda
are wolfram, tantalite and columbite, beryl and mica. I shall deal briefly
with each in turn.
Wolfram, as I have indicated previously, is the main source of tungsten
metal which in peace time was used largely in the filaments of electric lamps
but is needed in war in large quantities for alloys used in armour plate and
high speed cutting tools. The loss of 90% of the world's output in Burma,
China and other parts of the Far East, and the uncertainty of the Spanish
and Portuguese markets, placed the Allies in a difficult position with regard
to the supply of tungsten, and America turned to molybdenum and
vanadium to help tide over the shortage. Such was the success of the efforts
of prospectors and miners in British and non-British countries, however,
that the deficiency was soon made up and sufficient stock piles to last out
the probable length of the war were accumulated by the beginning of 1944.
In Uganda, wolfram was discovered by the Geological Department in
Buganda, and several more finds were opened up in Kigezi. By 1945 the output
from Uganda had been worked up to about one hundred tons a year, which
in my opinion could easily be doubled by proper working of the localities
known at present; in addition, further discoveries should yet be made.
When one considers that the world's output in 1937 was only thirty-eight
thousand tons, it will be seen that even a small country like Uganda can
The Uganda Journal
contribute quite appreciably to the general total. Whether or not the
fabrication of tungsten during war, time will have opened up peace time
application can only be seen later.
Tantalite. This heavy dark mineral, -which is not unlike wolfram in
appearance, is processed only in America, and its pre-war use had been
mainly applied to rayon manufacture, surgical instruments, the chemical
industry, fountain pens and radio construction. In war, however, it was
obviously of tremendous importance to the Americans whose new found uses
of tantalum metal have not yet been revealed in detail. General statements,
however, have been made to the effect that tantalum metal has been adapted
to new uses in recently developed instruments used in all kinds of war machines.
Tantalite is what one might term a semi-rare ore and the world output
cannot be much, if any, more than two hundred tons a year; exact figures
are difficult to obtain because they are always included with those of
columbite. Of the annual war output, Uganda produced possibly about
3-5%. This material was of such importance that as soon as the amount
of tantalite available reached one thousand pounds it was at once sent by
air to the United States. It must be remembered that exports of tantalite-
columbite and beryl were a Uganda contribution to reverse Lend-Lease.
Columbite, which is a mineral mixture allied to tantalite and containing
only a little tantalum metal but much columbium, had not the same war time
application that tantalite possessed and its production was encouraged mainly
to assist in the search for tantalite. Columbium metal, however, is being
increasingly used in vacuum tubes and for alloying in stainless steel intended
for use at high temperatures.
Beryl, the other of the three minerals processed in America, is entirely
different in appearance from columbite-tantalite, being glassy and com-
paratively light. It is used mainly for its metal content, beryllium, which
is alloyed with copper to make the finest known springs; these springs show
the lowest fatigue factor of all metals used for this purpose. Many other
applications too are suggested for beryllium.
This mineral was found during the war in two localities in Buganda and
the whole of the output was shipped to the United States. It is likely to have
a demand in future, though it seems improbable that the price will ever be
high enough to permit of the working of any deposit for beryl alone.
Mica. When a demand was made by the Ministry of Supply to increase
supplies of mica, samples were sent to the District Commissioner of Karamoja
(which was considered a likely area to carry it) and he was asked to show these
to the local chiefs. This resulted in the discovery of large deposits in Labwor,
and these produced what is considered a large output for a single mine.
Mica's principal use is of course as an insulator in electrical equipment.
If one considers the numerous ways in which this equipment was used in
the war it will be plain that the mineral must be of immense importance.
Other minerals exported in smaller quantities have been high grade
quartz crystals for sound ranging and radio apparatus, and bismuth which
is usually applied to medicinal purposes. An interesting fact concerning
quartz crystals was told me during my recent visit to Britain. An essential
unit of the transmitter in broadcasting is a piece of quartz of the highest
grade; this serves to maintain the station on a definite wave length. The
quartz used in the main London transmission is cut from Uganda crystal.
Geology and ite Service to Uganda 9
It must not be thought that the impetus to find and produce minerals
is given only by the need for materials for armaments; difficulties of transport,
and the need for the reduction of output of all kinds of manufactured articles
in the countries of supply, cause countries like Uganda to look for sources
within their own confines and to attempt some measure of local industry
to make up for the deficiencies. About one hundred and fifty tons of copper
carbonate have been produced by our department for manufacture into
copper sulphate, which as you probably know is an essential ingredient in
many plant sprays and is now in very short supply. An interesting offset
of the production is the trial by the Medical Department of some of the
crushed malachite as a measure against the snail which carries bilharzia.
Some initial success has been claimed in this application and several tons
of the ore have been supplied for the purpose. Phosphates and pottery are
two other examples of war time shortage, the first brought about by lack of
transport and the other by the reduction in production in England and
elsewhere. Failure to obtain adequate supplies of phosphatic fertilizer for
the greatly expanded wheat growing in Kenya led to the prospection and
development of the Bugishu phosphates about which sufficient is already
known to say that they rank amongst the world's major deposits of this rock.
Pottery, too, has been built up round the excellent clays discovered by the
Geological Department at Entebbe in the course of pitting operations
designed to investigate the extent of the possible coal bearing beds in the
It is the business of a geological survey to keep a little up its
sleeve, so to speak, in the matter of minerals. Should there be a demand
say for graphite, for talc, iron ores or anthophyllite-asbestos, amongst many
other minerals, we could ensure a good supply if the price was sufficient to
cover the costs of transport of these products.. If we were begged to produce
molybdenum, at all costs, we should at least know where to search for it.
The minerals which I have detailed give some inkling of the variety
of these products found within the Protectorate, and the list is far from
complete even of those we could produce in quantity.
Our work, too, encompasses not only the search for road metal and sands
but also for building materials such as brick and tile earths, limestone and
building stone. For example a recent survey by a senior member of the
department brought to light huge deposits of high grade limestone which for
purity are only equalled in East Africa by the corals and limestone of the
Coast. On this discovery has been created a small lime industry, which may
overcome the drawback of distance from Kampala and railhead by the
production of a higher quality lime than that obtainable elsewhere.
Finally, the variety of local calls on mineral products may be- gathered
from saying that we regularly produce a special grade of sand for use in plug
cleaning machines in the large garages of Nairobi, that we have produced
large quantities of kaolin for use in antiphlogistine and have even supplied
cave guano for the local golf course.
I shall now pass on briefly to water supplies, though I hope that one day
our work in that sphere will form the subject of a separate paper in the
Lord Hailey has rightly said that "the extension of drinking-water
supplies in semi-arid tracts has claims on the available resources of the
The Uganda Journal
African territories which are certainly not less than those of medicine or
education as a measure conducive to the promotion of native welfare". To
this might be added the corollary that the provision of water such as that
obtained from boreholes is of immense importance from the health point of
view not only in semi-arid areas but also in places in Africa which have
a plentiful rainfall but whose sources of supply are also sources of infection
of the many water borne diseases.
It does not need much effort in the minds of the people of Uganda to
conjure up a picture of the distress caused by the lack of water. I would remind
you for example of the women of Karamoja who formerly spent the greater
portion of their lives on the task of water carrying. Sometimes supplies were
so far away that the journey to the water hole was made one day, a night
spent on the spot, and the return journey made the next day; the amount
which one person could carry was so small that it sufficed for only a very
short time, when the journey was begun again. The time absorbed in this
task has been noticeable all through the Protectorate and has of course been
obvious in proportion to the dryness of the district.
Three methods of amelioration of water supplies are followed by the
Department. The first is the improvement of springs, the second is the
construction of reservoirs of various types, and the third is the drilling of
boreholes. The first method can only be applied in the wetter areas where
the springs occur; in the other and drier districts resort has to be made to
other methods of water supply. Reservoirs, which may be dams across
valleys combined with a deep hole dug behind the dam or merely tanks dug
on slopes, are normally constructed to meet the needs of cattle-owning
peoples, but the quality of the water varies widely from place to place; the
supply is also open to contamination by disease.
Borehole supplies are obviously the best for human consumption, though
the amount of water obtained in such wells in most parts of Uganda is usually
insufficient for the local cattle as well. Altogether four hundred and ninety-
one of these watering points have been installed throughout the Protectorate,
and their importance, especially in the drier parts of the country, cannot be
overestimated. They have obviated an enormous expenditure of human
effort and have brought pure water to many areas where even dirty supplies
were long distances away. In Acholi and West Nile a considerable reduction
in infection by bilharzia and guinea worm has been effected by installing
boreholes, and their effect on disease in other parts of the Protectorate must
be incalculable. A recent serious outbreak of dysentery in the Bufumbira
area of Kigezi caused many hundreds of deaths. It was pointed out by the
local medical officer that unless uncontaminated water supplies could be
found similar epidemics were bound to occur from time to time. It will
devolve upon us then to remedy this failing, which is by no means an easy
problem because drilling in the volcanic rocks of the area is fraught both
with great mechanical difficulty and with the difficulty of determining where
the subterranean water lies. Townships such as Masaka, Soroti, Lira, Gulu
and Arua have been supplied by boreholes, and only very rarely has the water
proved unpalatable because of contained iron.
The intention is to increase the number of these installations considerably
throughout the Protectorate and some 285,000 has been voted from the
Colonial Development Fund for water supplies generally throughout the
Geology and its Service to Uganda
country. This sum is to be spent within the five years beginning on January
All supplies, of whatever kind, necessarily involve a certain amount of
maintenance and in this matter the conscience of the people who use them
must obviously play a big part.
It follows, however, as I have indicated above, that the provision of these
supplies must be a very important factor in the future stamping out of disease
and in the reduction of the hardship involved in walking great distances
to get supplies.
Water and geology are also closely related in Uganda to problems of
soil conditions, soil erosion, tsetse fly and the possible use of swamps, and
the co-operation of the geological department is vitally necessary in all
measures taken to deal with these matters.
These then are the many sided activities of such an organisation as ours
and only by the nature of the work done can the value of a geological survey
At some time in the future, I have no doubt, more of the general public
will have received a training in geology at some period in their lives and
a greater appreciation of the work of geologists will thus be possible in public
opinion. For the rest I trust that what I have written here will have widened
the knowledge of geological work amongst the laymen of Uganda and will
have substantiated the claims of geology to be amongst the urgent needs
of the Protectorate.
THE ORIGIN OF THE LANGO.
By THE REVEREND FATH~ A. TABANTINo.
Ethnologists are not unanimous in deciding to which family of tribes
the Lango belong. The present article is intended as a contribution towards
the solution of this problem.
Many authorities, for instance Westermann, Seligman and Driberg,
regard the Lango as Nilotics. Driberg was the first white man to acquire
a real knowledge of the Lango-living with them for about six years as
a Government officer. He was keenly interested in the tribe and made
a detailed study of its language and customs. Because of his other duties,
however, he was unable to give to this work all the time he wished,
as he himself confesses(1).
Driberg (op. cit., p. 25) writes: "The Lango are a Nilotic tribe whose
language shows close affinities with the Shilluk, and their movements must
be co-ordinated with those of other tribes of the same family, which exhibit
a strong centrifugal tendency". He then quotes Westermann's conjecture
(The ShiUuk People, p. 1) that "the original habitat of the people will have been
in the country situated about the middle of their present seats, that is, along
the shores of the Bahr-el-Jebel and extending eastwards inland. Here one
division of the Shilluks, the Beri, are still living. The rest of the Shilluks
were forced to migration probably by the arrival of more powerful and
warlike tribes from the east, viz., the Bari and Latuka, who up to the present
inhabit this country. The Shilluks . emigrated in three directions:
south, north-east, and north-west. The division wandering south are now
known as Gang or Acholi . From the Gang a number of smaller divisions
have branched off into south-west, south, and south-east: the Lur (Aluru),
Jafalu (Jafaluo, Japaluo), Lango, Ja-luo (Nyifwa Kavirondo), Wagaya".
Possibly in further support of his belief that the Lango belong to the
Nilotic family, Driberg remarks on a later page of his book (op. cit., p. 29)
that "all tradition asserts that long ago the Lango were on good terms with
the Acholi and Alira, but subsequently quarrelled".
To speak of "good terms" between the Lango and Acholi would appear
an overstatement, because the mutual hatred and antagonism, nourished
by continuous wars, which governed the relations between the two peoples,
has been proverbial for long.
The alliance between the Lango and Acholi, as reported by tradition,
was of short duration. Very soon the Acholi made friends with the Madi again
and moved against the Lango, whose bordering clans, the Jo Amoa, Jo Arak,
Jo Anyeke, etc., have a long story of how they were beaten by this coalition
after their able leader Angulo had been killed in Acholi territory. Driberg's
claim of an alliance between the Lango and Acholi is not therefore a strong
argument for a common origin of the two tribes. It should be noted, moreover,
that he states in another place (op. cit., p. 28) that "the Lango were generally
(1) Driberg, J. H., The Lango, p. 9.
The Uganda Journal
The Origin of the Lango 13
on friendly terms with the Langudyang and Langulok" (both Karimojong
tribes)-and that no serious fighting between them is ever mentioned-
a statement which can be held to point in another direction altogether.
Before considering an alternative to the case summarised above, it is
necessary to answer the question "What do ethnographers mean by the word
Nilotic; and which are the Nilotic tribes Do these tribes include, as theword
Nilotic would ethnologically suggest, all the tribes from the basin of the Nile,
or do they include, rather arbitrarily, only the Shilluk and such groups as
were once united with them ? Many notable ethnologists, including
Westermann, Deniker, Trombetti and Schmidt, apparently group in the
term all those peoples who live or lived in the regions of the Nile. In this
larger sense they include many heterogeneous tribes. Deniker, for instance,
includes as Nilotic Negroes the following: Nuba, Fundje, Nuer, Shilluk,
Denka, Bongo, Kaliko, Madi, Bari, Acholi, etc. Trombetti (Elementi di
Glottologia) speaks of African peoples as being Bantu-Sudanese and Hamito-
Semitic as regards their languages. The Hamites comprise, according to him,
the Northern Nilotics, including the Nubi and Kunami, and the Southern
Nilotics, including the Denka, Shilluk, Bari and Masai.
Westermann, in his turn, distinguishes Sudanese Nilotics and Hamitic
Nilotics, and we find, in short, in these various groupings, a conglomeration
of unsatisfactory variety.
A second school of ethnologists, that to which Driberg belongs, is loath
to class together, as Nilotics, peoples which it regards as belonging to different
races. This school restricts the term Nilotic, contrary to its etymology, to those
tribes which speak the Shilluk or some related language. Thus Driberg
(op. cit., p. 9) classes as Nilotic: "Shilluk, Denka, Nuer, Anywak, Acholi,
Lango, Alur, Japaluo, Jaluo" ; and as Hamitic: "Latuka, Taposa, Dodotho,
Karamojon, Iteso, Akum, Turkana, Suk, Masai, Nandi, and the group of
tribes contained under the general heading Langu (Lango)". There can be
no quarrel with this division till further research has satisfactorily defined
just which tribes are Hamites, Semi-Hamites and Nilotics.
Father Crazzolara, in his paper "The Lwoo People" (Uganda Journal,
Vol.5) enumerates the tribes which form the Lwo language family, by others
called Nilotics, as follows :-
(1) the Jo-lwo(') of Kavirondo, (2) the Jo Padhola, (3) the Jo-pa-lwo
(of Bunyoro), (4) the Acholi, (5) the Alur and Jonam, (6) the Pari,
(7) the Anywah, (8) the Shilluk, (9) the Jo-lwo, (10) the Boor or Belanda.
To these ten tribes, the first five of which are found mainly in Kenya and
Uganda, and the second five mainly in the Sudan, Fr. Crazzolara adds
also the Lango and the Kumam, as tribes which speak the Lwo language
but are not of Lwo origin. Whether or not they are to be classed among
the pure Nilotics, i.e., originating from the Nile region, as Driberg and
others assert, or among the other groups, is considered below.
There are strong arguments in favour of Fr. Crazzolara's thesis that
the Lango are not of Lwo origin, firstly, the all important witness of the Lango
themselves. During the thirteen years that I have worked among them I have
(1) Fr. Crazzolara's spelling has not been followed.
14 The Uganda Journal
availed myself of every opportunity of satisfying my curiosity about their
true origin. Again and again in different parts of the country, I put the
question to elders of various clans-Were they, or were they not, Lwo ?
Invariably I obtained the unhesitating, categorical, negative answer: Wan
Lango, wan pe Lwo ("We are Lango, we are not Lwo"). To them, Lango
and Lwo are disparate, and it was in vain that I tried to involve them in
contradictions. I asked "How then can we explain your friendship with the
Acholi, the Jo-pa-lwo, if you have no common origin ?" Their answer was
invariable: "We have been their enemies since first we met" I
If such assertions had been made by isolated clan groups one could
possibly explain this last answer as referring to past quarrels and wars
between single groups and the Acholi. But when the same reply is received
from all the various clan groups, who in the past often fought bitterly against
each other, we cannot reasonably doubt the implication of the statement.
It seems, too, quite impossible that a whole tribe could forget its own origin
within two centuries, or that a whole tribe could indicate in unison an origin
which is in fact untrue. The common tradition of a whole people cannot
be erroneous, and cannot be overlooked.
There is a second fact of importance pointing to the different origin of
the Lango and Lwo. Tribes of the Lwo group (Acholi, Alur, Jo-pa-lwo, etc.)
readily recognize each other as relations. Members of the tribes are at home
with others of the group, and are treated accordingly. Is it possible that
only the Lango should form an exception-supposing they were Lwo and
had only separated from the others on moving south ? All these other tribes,
too, agree with the Lango in stating that no kinship relations exist between
them and the Lango. They say, moreover, that in the past they would stop
fighting amongst themselves and join together whenever the question of
fighting against the Lango arose. We find the same thing with the Lango,
as when they, under Owiny Okulo, moved against the Alur (Jonam) or, under
Angulo-Won-Erenga, fought against the Acholi.
If we consider the direction they came from and the time of migration
of the various groups, we must again be persuaded that the Lango and Lwo
are of different origin. Westermann assumed simultaneous emigration of
the Shilluk groups from their country of origin. According to him, the Lango
marched together with the Acholi, Alur, Jo-Pawir, etc., up to the moment
that they separated and settled in their present areas. According to
Westermann the Lango must have moved south-east, but according to the
Lango themselves they moved constantly from east to west. Wan Lango
wayaa kide ("We Lango come from the east") is their stereotyped phrase;
while the Acholi as constantly affirm that the origin of the Acholi was to the
north. Not seldom we may hear Lango stating that they are Karimojong,
and that their motives for separating from the Karimojong and Turkana
were the desire for better hunting-grounds, hunger, and the need for better
pasture-land for their cattle. When the Lango, two hundred years ago,
arrived in their present country they found that the Acholi, Alur and Jo-
Pawir had already separated and had for some time past occupied roughly
their present positions. The Lango forced the Jo-Pawir or Jo-pa-lwo to move
off from the eastern side of the River Toci and the north-eastern bank of
the Nile. The Lwo group, according to the Lango, had descended from the
The Origin of the Lango
north as one large group while the Lango were still living in an eastern
country among tribes which were not Nilotics. Westermann's theory cannot
stand, as regards the Lango, against such traditions.
A point which has been used with some effect by those who affirm the
kinship of the Lango and the Lwo is the very similar language of the two
tribes. But here again tradition demolishes the argument. All the Lango
agree that their original language was quite different from their present one,
and that it was similar to that of the Lango-dyang or Jiwe and that of the
Karimojong. There are still some old men who remember it fairly well.
Driberg (who differs from Westermann in his conception of the southward
movement of the Lango, in that he treats the Lango as a separate tribe which
migrated after the Acholi tribe, and not as an offshoot of that tribe) states
(op. cit., p. 25) "the vanguard of the Lango to have reached the Nile were
the present inhabitants of the country bordering on the River Tochi . ,
who have lived in close and continuous contact with the Acholi and have
to some extent assimilated their language . ". In another place (op. cit.,
p. 28) he suggests that the Lango must once have lived for a long period in
close contact with the Lango-dyang, as the language proves. Thus at an
earlier date the Lango are supposed to have assimilated the Karimojong or
Lango-dyang language and then later the Acholi language. What was their
original language ?
While agreeing that the Lango adopted the Acholi language for reasons
of convenience where they came into contact with the Acholi, I do not
hesitate to affirm that the original language of the Lango was that of the
The present-day vocabulary contains a remarkable number of nouns
with Karimojong roots, which are foreign to Lwo, especially names for
animals, plants, diseases, parts of the body and household objects and, in
particular, the terms for father and mother.
Is it not strange that among all Lwo groups only the Lango (supposing
they were Lwo) should include Karimojong words in their vocabularies ?
The Acholi were neighbours of Lango-dyang or related groups on a wide
front for nearly two centuries. They assimilated numbers of Lango-dyang
people, but nothing, that I am aware, of their vocabulary. Surely this is
a strong argument in favour of a Karimojong origin for the Lango ?
Racial distinction between the Lango and Lwo is, to my mind, clearly
proved by differences in important social customs. Among the Lango, there
are many instances of clans splitting up, the different parts settling far apart.
Although these off-shoots of the clan retained their original clan name (as
Arak, Atek, Okaruwok) adding only some qualifying word (as Arak-Atar,
Arak-Oromo) to distinguish them, yet in the all important matter of
marriage the kinship ties ceased with separation, the off-shoots considering
themselves thenceforth as so many distinct clans. Among the Lwo, on the
other hand, separated parts of the same clan consider themselves still, in
principle, as one exogenous clan group.
Lango clans are dispersed in small groups all over the country. Each
of these clan groups has its own clan chief but each clan, has one Rwot
adwong me atekere-big clan chief-who exercises jurisdiction according to
custom over all the various groups. Among the Lwo, each group is absolutely
independent of the others, each having its own Ladit, Jago or Rwot, as the
case may be. The generic Lango name for clan, Atekere, and even the proper
names of some of the Lango clans, are the same, with a little difference in
spelling, among the Labwor, Karimojong, Teso and Kumam tribes. Does
this not argue a similar common origin for all four tribes ?
Another important difference between the Lango and Lwo has reference
to the pak or mwoc custom of the Lwo or, better, the Jii tribes. A Lango
hunter in a communal hunt will shout out the name of his lover or favourite
wife when he kills a small animal, and the name of his mother when he kills
a larger beast (elephant or lion). The Lwo, on such occasions, cry out their
clan pak or, as the Acholi call it, their mwoc or motto. By uttering this
cry the hunter stakes possession of the animal he hits.
To conclude this argument that the Lango are not Lwo, but instead
are allied to the Karimojong (i.e., are not Nilotics but come from among the
races which are often called Half-Hamite), the following legend of the origin
of the Lango, as told by some old men of the tribe, is of interest. Lango, the
ancestor of the Lango people, had two brothers, Turkana and Jiwe. Their
father was not rich enough to provide a wife for all three of his sons but he
wished at least to provide a wife for the eldest. The others would have to do
the best they could for themselves, on their own account. Jiwe and Lango
naturally protested at this idea, so the father and the three sons sat down
to discuss the matter. They agreed that the father should keep all his goods
and that each of the three boys should provide for his own future. Before
they parted, however, the old father arranged a feast. He killed an ox, cut
it into pieces, and heaped all the flesh on the skin; he next poured a quantity
of beer over the flesh. He then invited Turkana, his eldest son, to take for
himself what he thought fit. Turkana took a great quantity of meat, shook
it well to cleanse it of beer, and departed. Jiwe, the second son, took nearly
all the meat that remained, but did not shake off the beer; then he too went.
For Lango, there remained only some entrails and most of the beer. In this
story, so it is explained, we have the reason why the Turkana live on cattle
exclusively, i.e., on flesh, blood and milk; why the Jiwe live partly on meat,
blood and milk, but cultivate also the dura from which beer is prepared;
and why the Lango, as distinct from the others, will take meat when they
can obtain it, but are chiefly intent on cultivating grain-for they are
The Uganda Journal
k ___ -'-C-~
Nkolwa and the Pots.
Two Lusoga Fables 17
TWO LUSOGA FABLES.
By E. GUMBA and E. KA]ur o.
(Illustrated by Mrs. K. M. Persse).
1. NKOLWA AND THE POTS.
There was once a potter whose name was Nkolwa. His pots were
beautiful and renowned, so many people bought them.
There came a time when there were large numbers of pots in the pottery;
and whenever Nkolwa went off to cultivate, about 8 o'clock each morning,
the pots would go outside too, just after he had gone, and would start to
dance and to sing :
"Nkolwa, Nkolwa, Nkolwa,
The pots made by Nkolwa.
Here we are singing and dancing,
Here we are dancing and singing."
This became a habit with the pots, and people who had previously had
no idea that pots could play and dance heard of this queer and wonderful
happening and were amazed; and the villagers hurried to Nkolwa's house
to watch the extraordinary performance. Nkolwa himself had no notion of
what was going on till told by his friends, who said: "If you don't know
what your pots are up to you had better investigate; you will find them
singing and dancing".
Nkolwa said to himself: "Forewarned is forearmed"; and he went
home at his usual time, and said nothing. The next morning he went out very
early, just as usual, as if he was going to cultivate, hoping to deceive the pots.
When the pots saw that it was time for their dance they came out one by
one; and Nkolwa, who had hidden himself among the plantain trees, watched
them, not blinking an eyelid. When they were all out, the first pot started
to sing, and they all began to dance. You would have been amazed to see
the dust that they raised.
Then Nkolwa took a heavy stick and broke all the pots, shattering them
into pieces, saying: "I have wasted my time making these things. I thought
they were ordinary pots, but they are unnatural".
And after that Nkolwa made no more pots.
MoBAL: You can dispense with luxuries. ("He who eats sweet things
can stop eating them when he wishes").
Nkolwa's pots, though a profitable side-line, were not essential to his
well-being. He could afford to stop making them when he found out that
they were causing trouble,
2. MR. TORTOISE AND MR. RABBIT.
Mr. Tortoise and Mr. Rabbit lived in the same village, and were great
friends. One day Mr. Tortoise asked Mr. Rabbit if he would come with him
next day to visit his wife's parents. Mr. Rabbit accepted with pleasure,
saying politely that he hoped the night would pass
z 00 The following morning Mr. Tortoise met Mr.
SRabbit on the road. They greeted each other cheer-
S, fully and went off talking happily of this and
that. On the way, Mr. Rabbit told Mr. Tortoise
C. that he had a second name. Mr. Tortoise asked
what it was, since he knew only that his name
4 Mr. Rabbit laughed heartily, and said: "Mr.
STortoise, don't you know ? My other name is
I:>Visitor". Mr. Tortoise did not understand what
SMr. Rabbit meant by calling himself Mr. Visitor
(though he was to find out later). He let it go
S When Mr. Tortoise and Mr. Rabbit arrived at
l their destination their hosts, who were looking out
for them, said to each other: "Here are our visitors".
At this Mr. Rabbit whispered to Mr. Tortoise:
"Talking of this and that". "See they are welcoming me, Mr. Visitor". The
people then called out: "Bring chairs for the
visitors". Mr. Rabbit whispered again: "Listen, they are calling for
chairs for Mr. Visitor". The owners of the house then said: "Let us go
and greet our visitors". Mr. Rabbit whispered: "See, they are coming to
greet me, Mr. Visitor". The people said: "Let us go and prepare food for
the visitors". Mr. Rabbit whispered: "Do you hear ? They are going to
prepare food for me, Mr. Visitor". The people said: "Catch fowls for the
visitors". Mr. Rabbit whispered: "They are going to catch fowls for me,
Mr. Visitor". Finally the people said: "The food is ready. Take it to the
visitors"; and Mr. Rabbit whispered again: "Do you hear ? The food
is ready and is to be brought to me, Mr. Visitor". When the food was ready
it was served up and placed before the guests. Then, according to custom, the
people who had brought it left the room before the strangers began their
Before he began to eat, Mr. Rabbit looked at Mr. Tortoise's fingers and
said scornfully: "I see your fingers are dirty. Please clean them".
Mr. Tortoise cleaned his fingers. When he had finished Mr. Rabbit looked
at them again, and said: "That won't do, they are just as dirty as they
were before. Clean them properly !" So Mr. Tortoise cleaned his fingers once
more, as best he could, but when Mr. Rabbit looked at them he was still not
satisfied and said angrily: "Look here Mr. Tortoise, your fingers are as
(1) It was the custom in Busoga, and still is with the peasants, for visitors to be
left alone during meals. None of the people in the host's house would eat with strangers.
The Uganda Journal
Two Lusoga Fables
dirty as ever-go out and clean them thoroughly with a piece of fresh banana
fibre. Why are you behaving like this ? You are in the home of relations;
aren't you ashamed to be dirty ? Go out to the banana garden again and do
your best to get clean".
Mr. Tortoise went out, rather hurt. He couldn't understand what
Mr. Rabbit meant by troubling him like this. Meanwhile, Mr. Rabbit was
enjoying the food. What he couldn't eat he hid in a satchel which he had
been carrying all morning and which hung over his shoulder.
When Mr. Tortoise came back into the house he found to his surprise
that the fowl had disappeared-all, that is, but the neck. "Where has the
fowl gone", he asked, but the shameless Mr. Rabbit said nothing. He only
picked up the neck, broke it in two, ate one piece himself and handed the
other to Mr. Tortoise. Mr. Tortoise did not speak. He was angry now.
When the Tortoise and Rabbit had finished eating, the empty dishes
were taken away. Soon after this the Tortoise's relatives said: "Now we
must say goodbye to our visitors"; and Mr. Rabbit whispered, as before:
"Listen, they are coming to say goodbye to me, Mr. Visitor". Then their hosts
came to see them off, accompanied them a short distance along the road,
and bade them goodbye.
No sooner had the Tortoise and the Rabbit parted from their hosts than
Mr. Tortoise said to Mr. Rabbit: "Dear friend, I have a pain. Go ahead,
please, while I retire into this thicket. I will catch you up later". So
Mr. Rabbit went on alone along the path, and Mr. Tortoise went behind the
thicket and then ran as fast as he could through the grass and rejoined the
road in front of Mr. Rabbit; and there he turned himself into a Kikoki
(a kind of bead).
Shortly afterwards Mr. Rabbit reached the place where the bead was
lying and said laughingly: "Well, fancy, there is Mr. Tortoise. He has
turned himself into a bead to trick me. It is you, isn't it, Mr. Tortoise ?
You can't fool me". And off Mr. Rabbit went, leaving Mr. Tortoise deeply
After Mr. Tortoise had turned himself back to his natural shape he said
to himself: "What shall I do now ? Is Mr. Rabbit to be allowed to eat my
fowl? No, I won't have it !"
So off Mr. Tortoise went through the grass, and joined the road again
in front of Mr. Rabbit. This time he turned himself into a cowrie-shell. Along
came Mr. Rabbit, whistling merrily. He saw the cowrie and said: "What!
You again, Mr. Tortoise ? I'm getting tired of this. You have turned yourself
into a cowrie; that might fool some people, but not me !"
Then off Mr. Rabbit went along the road, prouder than ever of himself,
saying scornfully: "What will that idiotic Tortoise be up to next; his
cunning is no match for mine. He is a fool; he doesn't even walk properly.
He walks as a baby does who is learning to walk. No Even a baby in arms
walks better than he. That Tortoise is the silliest creature on earth. If he
doesn't stop changing himself into beads and cowries I shall have to deal
with him severely".
The homes of the two animals were now close at hand and Mr. Tortoise
was thinking: "I can't let Mr. Rabbit reach home before I get my fowl
The Uganda Journal
back. I must do something quickly. I would rather die than see him get
away with it".
Now Mr. Tortoise knew where Mrs. Rabbit had been working that morning,
and that she had a baby which she usually carried on her back in a
barkcloth sling (Ngozi), as is the Basoga custom. So the next thing that
Mr. Tortoise did was to go into the field where
Mrs. Rabbit had been working, and there he
turned himself into a barkcloth sling, knowing
as he did so that this was his last chance of
outwitting his enemy.
Just after he had changed his shape, Mr. Rabbit
came along, singing, whistling and laughing, and
very pleased with himself. He turned off the road
into the field, and there he found, to his surprise,
Shis baby's sling. He at once began to blame his
wife saying: "What a careless wife I have. She
Shas left behind this sling. Does she want the baby
to be bewitched and die ?" Then he picked up
S s the barkcloth, folded it and thrust it into the
i satchel with the stolen fowl. So Mr. Tortoise had,
S'at the very last moment, won the battle of wits.
L He was grateful, and gave thanks for his luck.
Mr. Rabbit, meanwhile, was quite unaware that
-- he had been outwitted anddefeated by Mr. Tortoise.
He walked on quickly, still very proud of himself.
"Mrs. Rabbit had been working". As he went,he too thanked providence, for having
promptedhimtoenter the field wherehehadfound his baby's sling. He intended,
when he got home, to upbraid his wife for her carelessness in leaving behind the
cloth. Had it been found and picked up by a witch doctor this would have
meant death for their baby.
All the while that Mr. Rabbit was walking from the field to his home,
Mr. Tortoise superstitiously kept the little finger of his right hand in his
mouth (pressed tight against his teeth) to ensure that no mischance should
befall him. On his arrival at the house Mr. Rabbit took the satchel from his
shoulder and hung it on a post near the fireplace. Mr. Tortoise now wasted
no time. He quickly ate all the meat in the bag, leaving nothing but the
bones. When he had finished he was unable to get out, so he stayed where
he was, hidden in the bag.
Mr. Rabbit, who for some reason had forgotten all about it, did not take
down the bag till dinner-time. When he opened it, he found that it contained
no meat. Barring the bones, the only thing in it was Mr. Tortoise, who was
laughing to himself contentedly. "Why have you played this trick on me,
Mr. Tortoise ?" asked Mr. Rabbit; and Mr. Tortoise replied: "It was you
who first played tricks. You stole my fowl". "Go away, go away, you
deceiver", cried Mr. Rabbit, "I never want to see your face again". "The
same to you with knobs on", said Mr. Tortoise; "Goodbye" I
And that was the end of the friendship between Mr. Tortoise and
MORAL: Talk is not enough. ("A big talker is not always the wiser").
Two Lusoga Fables 21
1. OLUFUMO OLW'ENKOLWA N'OMUGHUMBI.
Mu nse edheira ghaligho omusadha omughumbi, erina lye nga ni Nkolwa
nga byaghumba obuganiko obukalamu Lubale yenka tinakidhi. Ku nse
edho abantu abagyanga okugula obuganiko eghughe tikyodo bulala.
Ekisera kyatuka nga obuganiko bweyaghumbanga bugheze mu nhumba.
Nkolwa tighagya okulima, tinobuganiko bubona ghano kunsanha eminha
ghegizanhira tibwira kuluya tibukina dindu, kenakolwembo bwekasulwiremu
Nkolwa, Nkolwa, Nkolwa,
Nkolwa obuganiko bwoghumba, Nkolwa nobuzanhira ku luya.
Nkolwa obuganiko bwoghumba, Nkolwa nobuzanhira ku luya.
Olwali olulala kegufuka muze gwa bwiseyibika Ab'ekyalo abatamanha-
nga nsambo Nkolwe yaghumbamu buganiko, Embughu yabugira, ati muli
ghano ekiri ew'omughumbi Nkolwa, okoba oti neyabaja amato yena, Mba!
Ghebateyeya Ku matako ti muto ti nduku oti nogya okubodha, okugya ewa
Nkolwa okubona ku Budholoto (Obuganiko) bwebwedhaga. Agho nini
Nkolwa eyali titabidhi bamusembula ziga (Namatu), bati oli ghano aye ekiri
eka kisa tikinigula eky'obuganikobwo.
Nkolwa gha talwa yakoba ati "Ndi mugezi n'omukobere"; yairayo eka.
Olwali olwo yewuniawunia nga butibuti oti agya kudhuba, me ghano ku
nsanha-yaira okumpi yekinza mu mpaganhi ey'ekigogo, tibwakoba atikisubi
(ow'ebusambira) otangwa ku moni (liso).
Munange! ghaba takali agho nga akaganiko kasoka kedholyayo kalala,
tinobwali busigaireyo mu ndhu ghetasigala, nga bughoireyo, takasoka
tikalwire tikaletereza lwemba olwabulidho (nga butibuti). Bukaunga
bwebwedhaga! ee, ng'omwegingo oguli mu luya! enkungu ghangulu male
ghene agho Nkolwa ghe yasikukira nekikono tiyalonsa nga abukonakona,
ati kodhi nibwenabuwumbanga nga nekibulobera nokukala ke Budholoto!
munange kabudhigimbuladhigimbula, okuva olwo tinokuwumba lekawo.
Namakzu ag'olufumo luno nigano, gati: "Alya ku kirungi Alekerera".
Aye ni Nkolwa, n'obuganiko, nibwakaba tibwal ibulungi tibuvamu
eby'amatano, gheyabughumukaku olw'eyikula lyabwo titalisobolo.
2. OLUFUMO LWA WANKUDU N'OBANGO.
Agho olwali olwo Wankudu n'Obango, bali ba kindhe kinene, bombi
batyamanga ku kyalo kirala, lwali lulala Wankuduyalagania Obango tayenda
amugherekereku e buko, Obango yavugirira n'eisanhu, tibwalwa bwakya;
Wankudu n'Obango bayaganana mukifo ghebalazana, balamusagania eranga
ab'omukago bwebakola tibaganaine.
Ghebaba tibagya tibanhumya, kukibono kino nikire tibakali mungire,
Obango yakoba Wankudu ati ndi nerina eirungi einho, Wankudu yabuza
ati mbaghe linaki eryo ? Kuba yamanha terinalye n'Obango ; Obango yeseka
inho, me yakoba ati ha Wankudu obwo toidhi lina lyange ? Ninze "Mageni".
Wankudu yakoba bukobe ati ale; kuba tiyamanha nsonga Obango yagiririre
22 The Uganda Journal
kwetaku lina lindi, se namakulu gerina tiyagamanha, kino yakimanha luma-
lira. Ghebaba tibakagwisa ghebagya okukyala, abantu abasoka okubabona
babakubira Dindu, tibwebakoba bati abageni baife, Obango yaweweta
Wankudu kaghola ati bona balikunkubira Dindu bati Mageni, abantu
abaghaka bakoba bati mulongole abageni ghebanatyama, Obango yakoba
ati bona bali kukoba bati mulongole Mageni ghanatyama, abantu abaghaka
bakoba bati tugye tulamuse abageni, Obango yakoba ati bona bo'ikukoba
bati (baidha kulamusa nze Mageni; abantu abaghaka bakobabati tugye
tufumbire abageni emere, Obango yakoba ati bona balikukoba bati baidha
kulamusa nze Mageni; abantu abaghaka bakoba bati tugye tufumbire abageni
emere, Obango yakoba ati bona balikukoba bati) bagya kunfumbira mere,
abaghaka bakoba bati mugemere abageni engoko, Obango yakoba ati owulira
bagya kungemera ngoko, abantu abaghaka bakoba bati emere nengoko bighire
mutwalire abageni, Obango yakoba Wankudu ati bona balikukoba bati emere
nengoko bighire mutwalire Mageni.
E mere bweyaletebwa mu maiso gabageni, yamegwa bulungi yalekebwa
agho abageni okwesangaza nemere nengoko. Gwali muze mu Busoga,
nimperaghano bwegukali, abantu abatali begerese mu Busoga obutalya
nabageni, nolwekyo bona tibalya nabo bavawo.
Tibakali kulya Obango yalinga ku bwala bwa Wankudu, yenhinhala
bwamukoba ati obwalabwo munaife bubi bunabemu, Wankudu yanaba
obwala, Obango bweyalinga ku bwala bwa Wankudu, yakoba ati edho engalo
edhitatukuire dhoyenda okutugemera ku mere! busa, busa dhinabemu
bulungi, Wankudu yadhikuta inho nga bwoyasobola mukisera ekyo, Obango
bweyalinga ku bwala bwa Wankudu, yamukoba ati nkukobere iwe tiwebona
aye irayo otunabire ife mubwala butukule okusingaku agho; Wankudu
kumukuzi guno yakuta engalo inho, kabiri bweyali mbo Obango yamudeba
tibwamukoba ati engalodho dhakusira naki edhitatukula bulungi, irayo
osikule ekigogo wekutire mu bwala butukule male oire olye; Wankudu
bweyaira era to bwala tibutukwire, agho ni Obango gheyamukobera ati,
wankobera oti ghano bukoirumebwo kabiri ghonhagaghalira otyo I nze muna
tikwikirize kulya ninze kulwiwulo lulala niwe tokali kutukula bwala, lero
olwo Wankudu okugya okuirayo k'omunhwa gumuli munhindo, ayera titaidhi
t'Obango amulimu akangodera.
Agho ghona ghona Obango nigheyadazanga mwine teno yelira ngoko.
Olumalira mu kwira yayagana t'Obango alire engoko amazegho (tilwayu
noluvuga) tighasigaire bwangoto ndala yonka. Wankudu yabuza Obango
ati obwo ombisizamu bwa Iweso kundyaku ngoko dhonadhona ? Kodhi
kaino n'obudhwa bwako katoire engoko dhombi kagholomeza mu Ndyanga
yako yekabita nayo butibuti. Akasadha k'Obango akawa ensoni mu maiso,
tikaladha bya Wankudu. tikamenha mu nkoto eyali tesigairegho ebikutu
bibiri, tikaghaku Wankudu ekindi tikona kalyaku ekyasigalagho; agho
Wankudu gheyako bera ati "Atega tabala dhiguluka" (e nhonhi). Bwebamala
okulya bakyalirirwa babwe baidha babatolaku ebintu, nokulingaku enhuma
tikwona kutuse kubageni, aghoni nabakaire ghebakobera bati katugye tusibule
abageni, kokabwidhibwidhi akana k'omulogo (k'Obango) kakoba munako oti
nibutibuti kati towulira baidha kusibula nze Mageni, olwo bakyalirwa babwe
babagherekeraku katono bakanga, ati Ogwatukali tigutusawabwire, mweraba.
Tibakabakanza Wankudu yakoba Obango ati "Mukagwa" ndingoti
nagwamu e Kidumusi, iwe mwogyenga nakwagana emberi, Wankudu yagya
Two Lusoga Fables 23
munsiko eyo Wankudu yeyabitira tamuketereza emberi amwesokeyo,
bweyatuka ghambe ri yafuka e Kikoki, Obango bweyatuka ku Kikoki yed-
hadhala, tebwakoba ati iwe Wankudu obwo wefusafusa e Kikoki nze nkulonde
nkute mu Ndyanga yange, Obango yaleka agho Wankudu takali kwefukulula,
aye timusungughavu, Obango yali yakavawo Wankudu yefukulula, yakoba
ati Nkakole ntya ? Obwo bwenebwene akasadha kano kaghanie kenda
kundiraku agho ngoko dhange dhagagho Obango agunhwanga yagutyamya,
"aye zena nagamusalira, kabiri Wankudu yaketereza emberi oti nolwasose,
yamusoka emberi yafuka e Nsimbi, Obango ghaba titakaladha nayo,
talikwefughira naluluzilwe, yagya okulinga ati kabiri ti Wankudu afuse
Nsimbi, Obango yamukoba ati, Wankudu wanefusafusaku oti tiri mwino, mbo
waloghoza oti tikumanhe, wena ni oli Igero" !
Igero. Gha! gha I bale wasubaghanga baira, aye ife abense dhino nani
akatusubagha. Obango agho gheyava tayandayanda bwagya bwakoba ati
odhuba, na bantu bona bepanka; katyo ni Wankudu yena ghali agho
namagezi agampubania ? Zena mbo Ofutwa ghendi agho gheneyewa, ha!
e kisadha nobulabi kirabi, ghoba nokutambula kitambula oti se nono omwana
ayega oktambula gu! mba nomwana yena Nkiro; nze ghekitalekerawo
kwefusafusa lero nkyagane nkityanketyanke kiwe ni mundhega! Mu
mase agho ghebali tibali kumukuzi ogwo bali tibaghunhiriza wabwe.
Agho Wankudu gheyakobera ati ha! obwo bwenebwene akasadha
k'Obango kano kenda kunkayira irala, enkoko edhaga agho dhonadhona
kadhindyeku mbaghetiki ? Senga ghuno tineka katuse ? Gha! gha! zena
kanedhube, niyakaba tineyesuta obudhwa, lero namubona, manti ghuno
nimukaziwe ghalima ndhidhigho male kabiri gwaki ? Muk'Obango yalitali
n'omwana yayonsa munaku edho, ayenga ghamubeka amubekera Ngozi,
ni Wankudu ghataisamu yagema engira egya kulubimbi, tatuse muk'Obango
gheyakanziza okulima yafuka e Ngozi. Obango nga bwomuidhi yamanha
bulungi ti Wankudu azira kyanamukolaku, era kebawukaine ni Wankudu
yagyanga tibweyeyembera, n'okwedhadhala tikwataire, mwino titomubuza
Obango tiyayenda kusoka kutuka ka takali kutukaku mukaziwe
ghalima, munange tiyalwa tagonyokera kulubimbi, gheyali yakatuka yagya
okulinga ati tabona e Ngozi y'omwanawe; obwoni yakoba ati omukazi ono
timusiru, yagya yaleka e Ngozi y'omwana wange ghano ayenda baloge
omwana wange ? Tiyalonsa tagilonda tagigholomeza mu ndyangaye omwali
engoko dheyaiba ku Wankudu tatayo. Ha! Wankudu tatuse mu ndyanga
yaisa ne Kikoyi bwakoba ati ninakabula Mwanhi "Lubale namusulira e Ibale".
"Owamagezi amanha gage", Obango olwobutamanha tini Wankudu
yena alimu agage (amagezi) tiyamanha tolumalira Wankudu e ngabo aidha
kugingiza Kibali, munange t'Obango omusikulikano tighomubita okumpi
ghakughanhula olukokola ofa titolamye, tiyeyuna okutontogola mukaziwe
olwokuleka e ngozi y'omwana ku lubimbi. Ti Wankudu ghali, talumye
nakala akansubi ak'okumukono omusadha tibwakoba ati Kagere Otanta.
Obango bweyatuka eka tatola ndyangaye mu nkwagha tagighanika ku
kikondo ekya ghaziko. Wankudu yena yabula kyakola tasenkenha ngoko
dhonadhona tadhimalawo, tinokubadhagala yebadhgala, akasera tikabisegho
Wankudu yekoba yenka ati "Amanina aye amaika", anti tinamagezi agokuva
mu ndyanga agazira, nti yebera omwo.
24 The Uganda Journal
Obango mukutuka eka ebibono byombi ekyokubuza mukaziwe ebyengozi
b6 nebya Wankudu titakabiladha, kodhi tighomukoba oti eby'okulya bighire
tiniwe mwine. Eby'oniusana tibighire buno Obango aghanule e ndyangaye
atolemu e ngoko, yagya okulinga ati ti ku Wankudu kwakuba amaiso,
akulingaku gheyataire emamba "Ti Kighunha Mpumpu n'Omugabe", ti
Wankudu olwomwiguto tembavu amasula bwaizagho, nti.Obango (Ofutwa)
kyamukuba ghununu yakoba Wankudu ati mukagwa ompubania, yena
Wankudu yamwiramu ati "Omuguya taba mwino" niwe ompubania
einho wamalaku ne njaye, olwo ti ni Wankudu takatya Obango, ghenagho
gheyamudhungira yamumalamu Walumbe (Omuzimu) ati nva nimumai-
sotutasambaganiragho. Weraba iwe akasadha akalogo.
Agho gheanabonera, Wankudu n'Obango tekindhe kibafa nabuli katyo.
Amakulu g'Olugero. "Omuguya Taba Mwino".
Photo 1. The rainmaker and her assistants singing for rain.
A Rainmaking Ceremony in Teso 25
A RAINMAKING CEREMONY IN TESO.
By A. C. A. WIGHT.
The rains proved very disappointing in Teso in March 1940 so early
in April the people of Ibaretok and Ikujaa villages, living in Kakuja
atongole of Kyere (Chele) gombolola, decided to carry out the rain dance
(elelekeja). It was said that this had not been held since the great drought of
1918, but this is certainly untrue. The people were led by their chief speakers
(ikeraban), two old men, Esabu, an ex-muluka chief, and Emitu, an ex-
askari who had served in the 1914-18 war and had worked since as a mutongole
chief. The dance took place on Sunday, 14th April, permission having
previously been obtained from the writer on administrative safari.
The party began to assemble about 8 a.m. at a rock known as Agirio
about three miles from the Gombolola Chief's house. By 9 a.m. some
two hundred to three hundred people had collected, women and men in
about equal numbers. The people were swathed in greenery, the creepers
ebomo, emoros and asimesam being used, as well as banana leaves. Garlands
were bound round their brows, chests and waists. Everyone was carrying
a branch of greenery in his hand, either Cape lilac (alira), bamboo (emakada)
or a type of bush used for fencing (elakas). A few boys carried the decorated
dancing sticks (esyepet) and wore bead armlets (apel) and leg bells (ichirin).
Many of the older women carried gourd rattles (akaen).
The rainmaker (amurwon) of this group happened to be a woman, Akoli
(Photo 1). She carried a small drum (idetet) which she beat monotonously in
regular slow time-bar! barn! bam! Her assistant and leader in the singing
was Sabrina Achute*. She carried a calabash full of water with a switch of
herbs and leaves lying in it. With this from time to time she asperged her
neighbours. The herbs were elakas, emotum, ekodep and the Gloriosa lily (echaut)
whose red and yellow flowers are thought to resemble the rainbow (etaluka).
The people processed in close order, dancing and singing as they went
round the rock Agirio, an insignificant granite outcrop in a country where
outcrops are common (Photo 2). The songs were recorded as they were sung by
Stephano Okurut (the District Office Interpreter). It was later explained that
they all belonged to the Ikaalen (flood) age set and formed a part of their
initiation dances (agworone). They were as follows :-
(1) Ipolon Oo akosikwenyi linga Oo iririt ipolon.
The pied-wagtail, Oh Oh, our bird is speckled, Oh Oh, it balances on
the edge of the flounce (of the thatch).
Ipolon Oo akosikwenyi meri Oo iririt ipolon.
The pied-wagtail, Oh Oh, our bird is striped, Oh Oh, it balances on the
edge of the flounce.
(The habits of the wagtail indicate it to be friendly to man and fond of
water. Hence the appeal).
(2) Oo oyoyaa oyoyaakimonyi isoda akiru.
Oh Oh, we supplicate, we supplicate, we cry, we also for rain.
Oo oyoyaa oyoyaa kimonyi isoda edou.
Oh Oh, we supplicate, we supplicate, we cry, we also for clouds.
*An amusing coincidence of name when Milton's poem to the water nymph Sabrina
The Uganda Journal
(3) Akimat aloto aide imare.
The old woman has gone to pick the beans.
Akimataa akimat etoro bonat ai ?
Old woman, old woman, where has she gone ?
Alot aide imare.
She has gone to pluck beans.
Akumat nakorekaje etoro bonat ai ?
The old woman of that village, where has she gone ?
Alot aide imare.
She has gone to pick beans.
(4) Okanyum atepe akiruk'okanyum.
Okanyum's rain has fallen on the simsim.
Okanyum edouidou akiruk'okanyum.
Okanyum's rain drops on the simsim.
After this the party moved up to a particular niche in the rock which
was ceremonially lustrated while the song and dance continued. The
procession, which had now augmented to about five hundred or six hundred,
moved off to the rock Atoi, in the middle of the marshes of Opar about three
miles away. Atoi is a cube-like lump of granite about forty feet high with
a flat top and vertical sides. It was stated that formerly the rainmaker
used to scramble up to the top to call for the rain but, a large flake
having cracked off, it was now too difficult to climb. The writer scaled it,
but found the descent "severe" as support is only to be obtained by the use
of very minute corrugations on the rock. Only one youth of several dozen
succeeded in getting to the top with the writer's assistance. In the meanwhile
the procession (after a halt for breath as most of the journey had been
performed singing and at the double) processed round the rock (Photo 3).
The song they sang here was:
Emiria idelelei kochori ee emiria.
The hippo floats on the surface of the lake, Eh, Eh, the hippo.
Emiria idelelei kokido Ee emiria.
The hippo floats on the sudd, Eh, Eh, the hippo.
Then they went to the next place, Emoru Angiro, about half-a-mile
further on. Here many of the women with children and the less vigorous
males sat down under the trees and bushes that were in that place. Meantime
the enthusiasts ran another mile or two to the edge of the swamp where they
cut papyrus (alodoi), water lilies (ekorom) and reeds (amakadan), and daubed
themselves with mud (erit). On their return, singing (Photo 4), the fainthearted
came out of the shade and rushed to take some of the papyrus stems. They
then formed a great procession, all holding papyrus stems erect, and marched
up the side of the rock to the half submerged cave which was the customary
place of supplication. Here another emurwon, who was said to be the most
important in the neighbourhood, made the prayer. As the people proceeded
up the side of the rock they sang :-
Akebakou achoe ebala cheu-cheu k'aboro k'ikorom.
He wears a crest, the lily-trotter, he glides lightly on the leaves of the lily.
(This was repeated several times with variations, thus :-
Akebakou echoe akebakou ebala cheucheu aboroikoram).
Finally the two imurwon got together in front of the cave and the people
formed a great circle round them. First the amurwon made a parcel of watery
Photo 2. The procession on Agirio rock.
h 'r J
Photo 3. The procession going round the rock Atoi.
A Rainmaking Ceremony in Teao
gifts, lily pads and roots, papyrus roots, and the roots of reeds (agongot), which
he placed in the cave. He then addressed the spirits thus :-
(Antiphonal from the people.)
The rain, let it descend Let it descend
Kodou Kodou !
Let it drop Let it drop
In descending, let it descend Let it descend
Now at once let it drop
Let it fall
Now at once let it fall
Let it drop
Let it fall
Let it fall
They then returned to the second song already recorded "Oo oyoyaa
oyoyaa kimonyi isoda akiru", which was followed by another song as they
marched off to the grave of the rainmakers, Otuke and Egole, a quarter-of-
a.mile from the rock. This was :-
Ijangari aladot ekosidou.
They are shaking the papyrus our rain.
Alodot ijangari ekosidou.
The papyrus shakes our rain.
Alodot k'oBisima, k'oPar.
The papyrus of Bisima, of Par
Shakes our rain.
The graves of the two rainmakers, Otuke and his son, were on opposite
sides of a remarkably large fig tree with aerial roots descending on every
side to form a great canopy. The people collected all round the tree and the
emurwon facing Otuke's grave put grass (emunyiri) and papyrus (alodoi)
on to the grave. He said :- (Antiphonal from the people.)
Edoukotep Kotep !
Let the clouds fall Let them fall
Koteputo edou kotep
In falling, the rain let it fall
The rain let it descend
Akirujelel akou k'Atukei
The rain let it descend on the head of Otuke
Let it fall
Let it descend
Let it descend
Then he moved round to the other side of the tree to the grave of Egole,
Otuke's son. Here he used the same phrases:-
Koteputo edou kotep Kotep !
Akirujelel akou k'Egole Jelel !
Tle Uganda Journal
As soon as these phrases were finished everyone hurled their papyrus
and reeds on to the graves, and tore the green decorations off their bodies
and heaped them on the same place. Then the emurwon completed the
ceremony by singing the song "Ijangari aladot ekosidou" several times.
Finally he said "Kikareosi !" (Let us rejoice) and the women broke out into
wild shrilling together with the noise of Rrrrrrrr as in the chorus of the English
song "Upidee". Then everyone went off, walking due west; afterwards they
split up and turned round severally to their homes.
The service apparently proved disconcertingly successful as the next
day an extremely heavy storm took place with heavy rain and such hail that
many Abdim storks were killed and a lot of damage to cultivation done. This
was followed by a week's steady rain. I heard later that during the fortnight
preceding the storms the dance ellekeja had been performed in dozens of
villages all round the Bisima basin. From the social point of view this
ceremony is important as recognizing the economic solidarity of a residential
group, the coterie of villages known by a common name. This residential
division is called the "etem" (lit. fireside circle), plural "itemuan", and it was
the meeting of this group in council which was responsible for the organization
of the initiation ceremonies (eigworone) at which each generation (aturi)
received its age set name (iwoye). These initiations were forcibly prevented
by Kakunguru's Baganda followers and it was the removal of this linchpin
of their social structure which led to the collapse of much that was valuable
in Teso life.
Photo 4. The procession coming from the swamp with papyrus wands.
Sesse canoe with "peace prow" and tokens of pieces of cloth. Jinja, Uganda.
[Photo. by C. M. Harris.
By C. M. HARRIs.
(Reproduced from the Kew Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, 1931, by
permission of H.M. Stationery Office and with the consent of the Director
of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew*).
Before the peaceful conditions of the present day, the tribes-the
Baganda and Basoga, and the island tribes, the Basesse and Bavuma-
inhabiting the northern shores of Lake Victoria were continuously engaged
in warfare. Their battles chiefly took place on the water, and the chief
objective was to ram and sink the canoes of the enemy.
In addition to these set battles, in which there were often as many as
100 canoes a side, piracy was rife, the catch from the fishing canoes commonly
being seized and the canoes sunk. Sides were always changing, however,
and the allies of one day might be the enemies of the next. It was necessary,
therefore, to show some token when canoes went on a peaceful errand, and
on these occasions a "peace prow" was carried which prevented ramming.
This false prow is shown in the sketch on this page and in the photograph
oppositet. On its top a totem was generally placed, such as the head of
STaIHr WITH CLOTH ATTACHED
KfEEL o BOT TOM PIECE
a cormorant or of a swamp antelope. Along a string which joined the top of
this false prow to the nose of the canoe tokens were hung to emphasise the
peaceful errand of the canoe. These tokens consisted of feathers, papyrus
heads, bunches of leaves, or, as shown in the photograph, pieces of cloth.
*The original article in No. 8 of the 1931 volume of the Kew Bulletin was amplified
and corrected in some further notes by Mr. Harris in No. 10 of the same volume. The
additions and corrections have been incorporated in the body of this reprint, and certain
of the scientific names have been amended in the light of more recent identifications than
were available to Mr. Harris when he wrote his paper-Ed.]
tThe blocks of the original illustrations in the Kew Bulletin, which were lodged in
London, were destroyed by enemy action in 1942. The present sketches are copies-Ed.]
30 The Uganda Journal
The Sesse is a "sewn" canoe and a considerable improvement on the
ordinary dugout which is still commonly used on the Lake. The origin of the
name is a little doubtful. It may be that they were originally made by the
Sesse Islanders, or the name may have been given to them as they are more
seaworthy than a dugout and capable of crossing in safety to the islands,
a distance of 20 miles.
The canoe is from 20 to 30 feet long, with a 3 to 4 feet beam. The bottom
is formed by a single log with a considerable camber. At the bow the log is
tapered to a round prow, 3 inches in diameter, and projecting 2 to 3 feet
beyond the stempost at surface level. The false or "peace" prow is fitted on
to this as shown in the above sketch and in the photograph. In the past
the projecting bottom piece was of course always tapered to a fine point,
serving as it did as a ram in warfare.
The log forming the bottom piece is cut with an adze from a large sound
log, generally of Mpewere (Piptadenia africana Hook.f.) as that is the
commonest tree around the northern shores of the lake. It does not provide
good timber, and any but seasoned heartwood easily rots and is eaten by
A better timber is provided by Nkoba (Lovoa brownii Sprague), which
is fairly plentiful along the lake shore and more easily worked : a consideration
when the natives' tools are not of the best quality steel. Other timbers used
are Mugavu (Albizzia coriaria Welw.) and Nongo (A. zygia Macbride):
these are both durable but hard to work and not plentiful in the size required.
Miovu (Entandrophragma 8pp.; generally E. angolense C.DC.) is not often
used as it is required for furniture, and Mvule (Chlorophora excelsa Benth.
& Hook.f.) of any size is scarce around Entebbe and too valuable.
The sides of the canoe consist of two planks of the same timbers as those
used for the keel. Those next the keel are of one piece and are bent round
fore and aft and held in position at each end by fitting into a slot in the stem
and stern posts. They are tied down to the bottom with raphia, through
holes which are burnt about 21 to 3 inches apart and 1 inch from the edge
of the plank. The planks, which are of unseasoned wood, are bent by being
first wetted and then heated by a small fire built on and below them. The
upper planks are usually joined towards each end by scarf joints sewn
The stem and stern posts are straight pieces of Mukokowe (Ficui
brachypoda Hutch.), or sometimes Nkoba, about 18 to 24 inches long and
21 inches thick, with a groove cut on the inside to take the ends of the side
planks. These posts are only tied down to the keel and the plank-ends tied in.
The thwarts are fitted after the lower planks, and are slightly flattened
in the middle to form seats. They are most important, as they both hold
*This statement requires modification. Mpewere, which is usually P. africana
Hook. f. but sometimes P. buchananii Baker-the latter commoner on the Islands-was
admittedly held in poor regard before the war because of the ease of obtaining better
known timbers. During the war, however, Mpewere was supplied in large quantities in the
form of sleepers to the Military for use in the Middle East theatre and became the
most popular sleeper timber from East Africa although occasionally attacked by Bostrichid
borers. It is likely to remain in use as a general purpose timber now that Mvule and
Mahogany are scarcer. It is known in West Africa as Agboin-its Trade name-and is
used there as a substitute for Mvule-Ed.]
Sesse Canoes 31
the sides of the canoe together and also keep them the required distance apart.
No particular timber appears to be used for this purpose, but Nkoba has been
identified as well as Mugavu and Nsambya (Markhamia platycalyx Sprague).
Ca b ~, '*
s W/MA &M/NA METH O or FIT ?r 6
/ / I PLANKS INTO GROOVEJ
S / /I/ THWARTS
.......KEL ".,,,'p., '
No nails enter into the construction of the canoe; everything is tied
or sewn by Bibo fibre (Raphia monbuttorum Drude). Holes are burnt, three
or four turns of raphia are then made through each pair of holes, and chafing
prevented by further horizontal binding. The binding is tightened both inside
and outside the canoe by forcing underneath it slips of a hard pliant wood,
Mperewere (Acalypha neptunica Muell. Arg.)*. The slips are about 3 feet
long and are made to butt together and so help to caulk the seams, which
are further caulked by the use of Ebyai (banana fibre).
*A forest undershrub-Ed].
32 The Uganda Journal
EXTRACTS FROM "MENGO NOTES"-I.
NOTE.-In 1900 the first Uganda newspaper appeared-a slim, four-
paged journal of five and three-quarter inches by nine inches, entitled Mengo
Notes. It was printed at the C.M.S. Industrial Mission at Mengo, appearing
monthly. In 1901 its size was increased, first to six pages and then to eight
pages, and in 1902 the title was altered to Uganda Notes. From February
1905 the paper was printed, with but slight interruption, by the Uganda
Company, Ltd. By April 1907 the number of pages had risen to twenty.
The journal was essentially a missionary publication, although in no
sense an official one because neither the Bishop nor the Church Missionary
Society was in any way responsible for it. It circulated among the British
in Uganda, and among the friends of the Mission at home. Its primary aim
was to keep missionaries on leave and in distant parts of Uganda in touch
with C.M.S. work in Buganda and the surrounding territories.
Mengo Notes, which antedated the Uganda Herald by twelve years, was
preceded by a more primitive production, issued quarterly. This earlier
publication, which circulated for two or three years before the advent of
Mengo Notes, was edited by the Rev. A. W. Crabtree. It was cyclostyled,
not printed, and chronicled events in Uganda under the headings of the
various Provinces. It is doubtful if any copies of this paper exist today. If
any do, the Editor of the Journal would be glad to hear of them.
That we are able to print below the first of a series of extracts from
Mengo Notes is due to the kindness of Sir Albert Cook whose article on this
early newspaper, published in Vol. 4 of the Journal will be remembered by
many readers. Further extracts from Mengo Notes, and extracts from
Uganda Notes, will be published from time to time in future numbers of the
Journal. Sir Albert owns what is probably the only complete set of
Mengo Notes and Uganda Notes in East Africa and the Society is deeply
appreciative of his action in lending the precious volumes. Both Mengo
Notes and Uganda Notes are quoted extensively in Sir Albert's book Uganda
Memories, published by the Uganda Society in 1945. Articles from Mengo
Notes and Uganda Notes which have been reproduced or paraphrased in Uganda
Memories will not be reprinted, as a general rule, in the present series of
extracts, which will cover the period 1900-1912, i.e., up to the time when the
Uganda Herald was first published.-Ed.]
"It has not been customary with the Baganda to think anything of
birthdays until the last few years, in fact scarcely anyone over ten years of
age knows when he was born. They can give some idea by the war of that
particular period, or by some great national event, but month or day they
never know. Now, many of the Christians keep a record, and those who
cannot tell their birthday keep the day of their baptism as their birthday.
But the Baganda did have feasts on special occasions such as on the birth
of twins; the entering into a new house; and the naming of children. Many
superstitions were connected with twins.
Extracts from "Mengo Notes "-I
The naming of most children was curiously enough often left till they
were quite young men and women, and then the day of naming them was
made the occasion of great rejoicing. When the King entered a new house,
for the feast of entering he killed ninety cows, ninety goats and had ninety
gourds of beer made; the number ninety being connected with the Lubare or
A chief who could not rise to such magnificence had to be content with
killing ten or twenty beasts, and a like number of sheep and goats; but even
with these great preparations the scramble for the food was so great that
few got real satisfaction out of the feast."
(Mengo Notes, August 1900, p. 16).
TRANINIG AT THE INDUSTRIAL MISSION.
"It speaks well not only for the intelligence of the Baganda but for the
sound training the boys have received at the Industrial Mission that three
boys were able to compose and set up the whole of the type for our last
number (of Mengo Notes), and to print it too whilst Mr. Borup was away.
They had no European assistance whatever beyond correcting proofs and
.a few suggestions as to the positions of the various articles.
Certainly there were a few trifling mistakes, but they were to a great
extent the fault of the proof-reader, who was at the time of going over the
final proof suffering from an attack of fever. If here and there the inking was
a bit uneven, the paper as a whole was a great credit to the little more than
one year's training the boys have had, and we venture to say that few boys
in England, with a like amount, would be able to carry through, from
composing to printing off, a paper in a more creditable way. Not one of the
boys knows more than a few words of English."
(Mengo Notes, September 1900, p. 17).
"We always dread to hear of mails coming by lake, as mishaps to dhows
are unfortunately common. A few weeks ago the first dhow built by the
Waganda under the direction of a Swahili joiner was launched, and was
carrying a number of Soudanese soldiers from Ntebe to Nandi when the
caulking gave way having been nibbled by some of the fish in the lake.
The boat rapidly filled with water and went down almost at once. It
fortunately happened that some canoes were passing and picked up the
passengers who would otherwise probably have been drowned, as the accident
happened at some distance from the land.
The Katikiro's second dhow left Munyonyo about two months ago, and
has not been since heard of. The Katikiro is about to send canoes to try and
obtain tidings of it."
(Mengo Notes, November 1900, p. 25).
34 The Uganda Journal
A LETTER FROM SIR H. M. STANLEY.
London, 25th June, 1900.
"My dear Zakaria :
I have received your welcome letter, with good news from Uganda. All
friends of the Waganda, and they are many in this country, love to know
that our brothers in Uganda are happy and contented. We have great faith
in Sir H. H. Johnston, that he will tell us truly what we ought to know in
order to make all your people as happy as we would wish them to be. We are
glad to know that what he has done already is pleasing to you, and we hope
you will be quite frank with your Commissioner, and tell him all that is in
your hearts, because brothers should be open-minded with each other, and
We have just voted a great sum of money to finish the railway to the
lake, and to put more steamers on the Nyanza, that the communications
between you and us should be rapid and certain. There are many people
in this country who still doubt whether the Waganda are as willing to work
as other people, and grudge giving more money until they are sure that there
is any trade to be got with Uganda. They say, if Uganda produces nothing
that the English want, is it worth spending money upon it. Now I want you,
and the other Regents, to do all you can to induce the people to work, and
show that we travellers have spoken the truth about Uganda. The English
want coffee, skins, ivory, rubber, gums, and such things. Those who live with
you should never be able to say that food is scarce, therefore there should
be plenty of bananas, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fish and meat. In fact all
kinds of eatables, for it is better to have too much than too little. Everything
you can produce . adds to the wealth of Uganda, and increases its
reputation. Then you should teach men to be carpenters, blacksmiths,
brickmakers and even stonemasons. The Waganda are very clever, I know
personally, but they can be cleverer, and when the railway reaches the lake
there will be a great demand for all kinds of workmen to build houses, stores,
shops, churches, schools, etc. On the Congo the churches and schools are
built of bricks. In Uganda you have finer and cleverer men than those on
the Congo. You have good soil, you have plenty of rain to make things grow.
I should like to hear that your people are preparing themselves for the great
change that is coming. It will not be as in the old days when the white people
did not know there was such a country as Uganda, or were surrounded by
ignorant black people; but you will have a railway, and white people will
be coming and going continually to do all manner of business with the
Waganda. What have you got to trade with them ? That is the question
the Regents should ask of one another, and if Uganda has nothing to sell
to the white men, then we travellers who have done so much for Uganda
will be utterly ashamed . ".
(Mengo Notes, January 1901, p. 36).
By THE REV. W. A. CRABTREE.
"In Buganda anyone wishing to speak of the peoples beyond Bunyoro,
Buganda and Busoga uses the term Bakedi. Every European knew that this
Extracts from Mengo Notes"-I
was incorrect for Kavirondo, but as for the rest until recently no one knew.
For some time I have had a desire to know more of these peoples, and
Semei Kakungulu's recent advance into Bukedi seemed the very opportunity
I wanted, and I offered to the Bishop at once to itinerate there . At
first it seemed impossible to take my wife with me, as the country was
rough and unknown, but later it was found possible . .
We went via Kyagwe. The point at which we got canoes to take us over
the Nile to Lake Kyoga is marked in the Times Atlas as Kakungulu Fort,
and is near to Kigembo's garden. Kakungulu has called it Galilea.
The canoes were two dug-outs, but so large that one easily contained
two cows, their calves and a donkey, not to mention men; and the other
took our loads and ourselves.
Kakungulu had written saying he would supply porters from fort to fort
on the Bukedi side, so we dismissed most of our Baganda.
The Nile here is bordered by a thick belt of papyrus a hundred yards
wide, through which a cutting had been made to allow of punting canoes,
and numerous floating islands of papyrus were dotted about the main course
of the stream. Here and there the water was covered with patches of lily
leaves where we had expected to find deep water, but probably the stalks
are as long as twelve feet. The width of the stream between the papyrus
belts is difficult to estimate, but it is probably a thousand yards. Lake Kyoga
was not visible till we had crossed to a sort of promontory on the Busoga side,
made by a ridge of hills running more or less parallel to the river. Rounding
the headland we entered the lake, and our course now changed from nearly
north to east, a half south. The papyrus belt was quite narrow, and we
landed at a place called Kibali in Gabula's country, Busoga. The people here
have been so much raided by the Banyoro that they have removed more
inland. A shorter way, we found, would have been for us to cross the Nile
and walk overland, as the dug-out canoes do not seem to exceed a speed of
a mile and a half an hour. From this camp I was able to get some good
bearings for my map, but it took me some days to get even a general
understanding of the lake. I do not think any correct map is yet made. The
Nile does not flow through it, but along one edge of it, and that the narrowest
edge of only a few miles in length. The rest of it literally sprawls over the
country for miles in the direction of E.S.E. from the Nile, gradually I think
trending more to S.E. Opposite a hill called Kigulu in Gabula's country,
or a little past it in a S.E. direction, the width narrows to perhaps a hundred
yards, is blocked with papyrus, and then opens out again into a lake. In this
part it is known as Kisiki's lake, from the Musoga chief whose country
borders on it. Two other lakes are Zibondo's and Tabingwa's, the former
made by the junction of two rivers, Lumbwuja and Negombwa, which soon
after find their way into Kyoga; the latter an arm, blocked up with papyrus.
The Baganda call this Mpologoma (lion). This lake appears to end somewhere
in the neighbourhood of Dunga's, a Kavirondo chief near Wakoli's north
border; I may add that a lake or sheet of water is visible from Muwanika's
fort, some twelve miles from here, but I can as yet get no reliable information
about it. It is too near to be Lake Rudolph, and there seems no evidence
that it is connected with Mpologoma from which there are numerous arms
36 The Uganda Journal
No canoes are owned by the Bakedi, but the Banyoro used to travel
all along the lake, hunting hippos and trading with the people on the lake.
side in strips of barkcloth, dried fish, and, I think, hoes. The large canoes
that we were in were cut in the forest that lines the banks of the Sezibwa
near its mouth, and dragged to the water. There seemed no big trees growing
anywhere near the water. Lake Kyoga is perhaps four miles wide in its
broadest part. Its length must vary according to the particular arm followed
up. The one at Kigulu may be fifteen miles, the part that goes past Bululu
perhaps twenty or twenty-five miles. Bululu was Kakungulu's first fort,
and is only some four to six days canoe journey from Kisalizi. There is
a mixture of people on the shores, but all the hinterland is filled with Bakedi
who cannot be trusted not to fight the visitor. The people are described as
generous and fearless, fighting one day and, if peace is proclaimed, coming in
freely to converse the next day. Needless to say the language is not a Bantu
one. Some speak a dialect which many Baganda learnt in old days for trade
purposes, and call Lumogera, so it is not difficult to find an interpreter.
... By far the greater number of Bakedi under Kakungulu speak a language
which I do not think has'hitherto been known to any European. The people
seem to call it Teso."
(Mengo Notes, May 1901, p. 51; June 1901, p. 58).
THE LATE KIBALE.
"A propose of the death of the late Kibale, the following letter
(a translation) is interesting. It was sent in reply to a letter of sympathy
addressed to one of his sons.
'My brother Mr. Hattersley,
How are you, my friend ? Thank you for your letter sympathising with
me in my father's death, it pleased me very much, Sir. . We buried him
on March 17th, and put in his grave 1,060 bark cloths and 560 yards of bufta
(linen). The people who congregated for the funeral numbered 16,000 or more.
He had very many friends because in the reign of Mutesa he was very kind
indeed and made very many friends. He did not treat anyone badly, he never
put anyone to death, and did nothing worse than cutting off ears. He was
a wonderful man and helped numbers of people to become chiefs because
he was the great favourite of Kings Mutesa and Mwanga. Therefore very
many mourned for him when he fell asleep.'
Good bye, my great friend, I am,
The value of the bark cloths and linen was over 50, and one is at first
inclined to ask, 'To what purpose is this waste ?' But Englishmen can
scarcely ask this when they remember what an enormous amount is spent
at the funeral of a person of high rank at home in a costly coffin, and the
number of expensive wreaths put on the grave, elaborate tombstone and so
on. In old days when a Muganda general returned from war, the king
welcomed him home and took his proffered spear, but when the king himself
was the general it was Kibale who always had to welcome him back to the
Extracts from Mengo Notes "-I 37
capital, and to Kibale he yielded up his spear on his return. It was only to
Kibale that an appeal might be made against any sentence passed by the
king, he only might approach the king with such matters. No wonder his
office was regarded as a great one."
(Mengo Notes, May 1901 (supplement), p. 54).
TRADE AT ENTEBBE.
"We are gradually getting into more civilized ways in Uganda. The
latest improvement is the establishment of a bakery at Entebbe, the
Government Residency. The proprietor is prepared to supply bread three
times a week at Mengo, a half pound loaf costing sevenpence. He will also
undertake confectionery if required. Another trader, an Indian, has brought
up an Aerated Water Machine, and has also imported Goanese tailors and
cloth, and supplies very good clothing to measure."
(Mengo Notes, September 1901, p. 72).
THE WOMEN OF ANKLE.
By Mrs. Maddox.
"We are just back from an itinerating tour in Kitagwenda and Ankole.
.At Lulembo, the capital of Ankole, we had a most warm welcome from
every one; the hold Christianity has got on the people is quite remarkable.
The King, Kawaya, and the Prime Minister, Baguta, have both publicly
burnt all their charms, houses, etc., connected with the old spirit worship,
and the latter has become a teetotaler. They invited me to go and visit their
women, and expressed themselves as quite willing that they should be taught.
The Bahima women are all kept in seclusion and have many customs which
remind one far more of the Far East than of Africa. For instance, when a big
chief died, up to within a few years ago, it was the custom of all his women
to put an end to themselves by drowning or strangling; a commoner method
still was for several to go into a little grass house, close up the door and then
set fire to the house, death by suffocation resulting in a few minutes. They
considered it a disgrace to go on living after the death of their husband.
The morning after we arrived at Lulembo I went up to Kawaya's
enclosure and was conducted into a large round house, the mud work on the
outside being ornamented with curious designs which reminded one of
ancient Egyptian work. Inside the house there were a number of mud
platforms raised two feet from the ground and fenced in with a palisade of
very neat reed work in two colours. The women spend all their time in the
semi-darkness on these platforms, for the higher class women do absolutely
nothing; the servants churn the butter and also plait grass mats, etc. The
women at first were very shy, and sat on the ground simply buried in their
cloths, but when they found they could understand what I said they gained
courage and lifted up a corner of the cloth to take a peep. Their language
is Lunyoro with just a few differences of pronunciation and a very sing song
intonation which is quite easy to follow and imitate after a little while.
38 The Uganda Journal
Some of Baguta's women have already begun to learn to read, being taught
by Maliza, a Christian woman from Koki, and Kawaya's women are now
most anxious to learn. Considering the dull secluded life they lead, I thought
them very intelligent and sharp; they asked most interesting questions about
the Future Life and also what would be the result if they believed what we
read in God's Book; must they give up beer, tobacco ? Must they come out
from their seclusion, etc. ? Our hymns especially attracted them, they prove
a most valuable help in teaching the elementary facts of Christianity.
At Ibanda, the Chieftainess is a very bigoted old heathen at heart; she
is of a very independent character, for when all the other wives of the late
king Ntale committed suicide, she alone refused, and being of another tribe
(Munyamwenge) she was not obliged to, and so was given a chieftainship
instead. She pretends to read and was most diligent in attending services
while we were there, but we heard that she unmercifully beat two of her girls
who showed a desire to read. Gwentonda, a chieftainess of a neighboring
village whom we visited, is really in earnest not only at learning herself but
also in calling together her people to come and be taught.
From Ibanda we went across country to Buzimba, a lovely spot
surrounded by hills some 6,000 feet high. It is the headquarters of Nduru,
and though he himself was at Lulembo, all his women were at Buzimba, and
numbers of his people. . The women there too were wonderfully interested
and keen on hearing all I could tell them about Uganda and England, and
the wonderful religion which gives woman freedom and makes her the equal
and not the slave of man. Some of the Bahima women are very beautiful,
quite fair skins and clear cut aquiline features. All were astonished at our
knowing Luhima. "We don't know Luganda, and we don't know Lunyoro,
but you know the real Lunyankole, and we understand all you say" said they.
They don't like to think they have any connexion with the Banyoro, so we
could not tell them that Lunyankole and Lunyoro were one and the same;
though by many tests they have been proved to be so.
From Buzimba we marched or rather scrambled and pushed our way
through the long grass, for there were no paths, down to Lake Kafuru to visit
the Island of Kigabirwa, from there to several places in Kitagwenda, and
thus home . ."
(Mengo Notes, September, 1901, p. 73).
A REASON FOR PAYING POLL TAX.
By T. R. F. Cox.
In the heat of a January day, at a gombolola in North Busoga, I was
rather warily working through the parade of old, diseased and crippled who
had come to apply for exemption from taxes when a little old man took his
place in front of me. I looked at him and said "Permanent exemption".
He said "No". I enquired "Well, what ?" He answered "Four shillings",
and was put down as paying four shillings in 1946.
When the inspection was over he came up again and said "Look here,
can't you write me down as paying four shillings permanently ? Every year
the chief makes me come up before the Bwana; every year the Bwana says
'Permanent exemption'; every year I've got to tell him that I want to pay
four shillings, and I'm getting tired of it". I asked why he insisted on paying
four shillings when he was offered permanent total exemption and he replied,
"Because I like the Government and I want to help the Government".
Accordingly I fell in with his wishes and to his chorus of "Nyanzi" I put him
down as paying four shillings a year up to 1950.
It is most unusual for an African peasant to be so sensible of the work
done for him by Government and so grateful as to wish to help the Govern-
ment in return. I, personally, have never come across such a person for
further enquiries brought to light the true facts. The old gentleman believed
that if he were written off the tax register he woild be written off altogether.
Other officers have since told me that they have found in other districts this
belief that as long as a man pays taxes he will continue to live but that as
soon as he stops paying he has, as members of the Forces say, had it.
40 The Uganda Journal
J. H. DRIBERG.
With the passing of J. H. Driberg, who died suddenly in London on 5th
February 1946, one more link with the early administration of the outlying
parts of the Protectorate has been snapped. He and his ways have almost
become a tradition to such tribes as the Lango, among whom he worked for
the first five years of his career in Africa as Assistant District Commissioner,
and later as District Commissioner.
We cannot do better than quote from the obituary notice in The Times
of 7th February 1946, on this "distinguished anthropologist and authority
on East Africa" :-
"Born in 1888, he went to Uganda in 1912 as an administrator, spending
the next nine years mainly among the Lango, Lugbara, and Acholi tribes.
He won the confidence of the natives to a remarkable extent by his
unorthodox methods, participating fully in their life, hunting-very
successfully-with native weapons and becoming a 'blood brother' of at
least one tribe. In the next ten years his work took him to many other
tribes in Kenya, Uganda, Abyssinia, the Sudan, the Congo, and Morocco,
and he also paid a six months visit, in 1929-30, to Soviet Uzbekistan.
He could speak as many as 11 African languages and obtained a deep and
scientific knowledge of the tribal cultures. In 1923 he established a firm
claim as an anthropologist with his classical work, 'The Lango: A Nilotic
Tribe of Uganda', and this was followed in 1930 and 1932 by 'The People
of the Small Arrow' and 'At Home with the Savage', the last of which
provided a most valuable and attractive introduction to the whole subject
of social anthropology."
To this list of achievements anyone who had the privilege of knowing
him would readily subscribe. If there ever did exist an administrator in
Africa such as that conjured out of the fertile imagination of Edgar Wallace
in 'Saunders of the River' we had him here in Driberg. His unorthodox
methods not only won the confidence of the tribes among whom he worked,
but were the admiration of his contemporaries, though they sometimes
caused embarrassment to his superiors. His dress was as unorthodox as his
methods. The figure of a large man, spear in hand, dressed in a kilt of the
London Scottish, wearing no hat, even though the sun beat fiercely on his bare
head, striding up and down the line of porters who carried his loads, and
having a word with each in their own tongue on their family affairs, could
not but impress the newcomer.
He believed in keeping to the regulations just so far as was necessary
to satisfy those in authority, who after all were his masters and paid him
for his job. He thought a junior A.D.C. should not learn too much law in
case he became obsessed with the legalistic view of Administration at the
expense of the personal touch. "Don't you be such a fool", he said to the
writer, when about to sit the local Law Examination, "as to get honours".
He was always interested in a junior officer, in whatever District he was
working, and was ready to give him any tips with regard to the elucidation
of native customs.
Many are the stories told of Driberg and his methods and idiosyncracies;
the Driberg saga has yet to be written-it should make good reading. To go
round Lango when he had left was an education: each spot had a tale to tell.
Here he challenged and fought with spears at single combat a truculent
chief (and what might have resulted in an unpleasant incident turned into
a supreme success), here he shot the large bull elephant, there he camped,
No reminiscence would be complete which did not make mention of his
lion. He himself has recounted some of its deeds in his not so well known
book, 'Ngato, the Lion Cub'. Many are the tales told of that lion. The
passengers on the lake steamer calling at Kelle Port had cause to be alarmed
one morning when, after taking up moorings at the pier at dawn, they
were awakened by what appeared to be a full grown lion prancing down the
deck and looking in at the open doors of the cabins, much as a dog is the
forerunner of his master On another occasion the Provincial Commissioner
and the District Commissioner had gone for an evening stroll, leaving the
Provincial Commissioner's wife in the camp. She thought she would improve
the shining moments by having a bath in her tent before the menfolk
returned. The playful lion, which she had not yet seen, thought the occasion
too good to be missed and proceeded to lie on its back and kick with its legs
at the tent ropes until the whole thing began to collapse and the muffled
cries of the inmate brought the servants to her help !
From Acholiland it was only a step across the border into the Sudan,
when Driberg was lent as civil administrator to the Dodinga, after a punitive
expedition by the King's African Rifles. He was later transferred to the
Sudan, and Uganda saw him no more.
The obituary notice in The Times concludes :-
"After leaving the Colonial Service he became a lecturer in anthropology
at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. As a teacher
he was eclectic, not subscribing fully to any of the several schools of thought
which exist in anthropology as in other sciences, but giving due credit
to all, and displaying a wide knowledge not only of social anthropology
but of primitive religions, social psychology, linguistics, and economics.
His own theoretical training in anthropology had been obtained at the
London School of Economics after he had read Greats at Oxford. He had
a profound admiration for and understanding of Islamic religion and
culture. He returned early in the late war to Government service which
took him to the Near East, and was more recently concerned with Arab
affairs in the Ministry of Information."
So passes one more friend of Africa, but his name will be handed down
from generation to generation. 'Driberg of the Lango' has surely more
cause to be remembered than 'Saunders of the River'.
F. L. W.
The Uganda Journal
"BANTU". (By CEMENT M. DOKE).*
This book, which deals with modern grammatical, phonetical, and
lexicographical studies which have been compiled in Bantu languages since
1860, is another typical scholarly and careful publication from the pen of that
acknowledged expert Professor C. M. Doke. One is as always when reading
his works staggered by the amount of careful research and compilation of
records which must have gone into the production of the work. If this care
and knowledge extended only to the southern Bantu languages, with which
Dr. Doke is more familiar, the feat would be prodigious enough but when
he goes on to describe with obvious knowledge and intuition the structure
and vocabulary of the most northerly Bantu languages, removed from
Johannesburg by a number of hundreds of miles, his erudition and skill become
all the more obvious. Considering the work which he has put into this
compilation, and the care with which he has obviously built up a library of
such publications on Bantu grammar and literature, one feels genuine regret
that so often in his footnotes he has to record "I have not seen a copy of
this". Possibly readers of this his latest book may. be stricken with remorse
upon reading that various works on local languages do not appear in his
library, and perhaps may even be encouraged to send them to him for
With regard to the northern zone of Bantu, with which I am most
familiar, most of the information is reliable and detailed enough, but one could
have wished that mention had been made of the present day process of the
building up of a general Luyia language which should have the effect of
unifying the many small groups hitherto loosely collected together under the
name of northern Bantu Kavirondo. It is true that at present very little
exists in this unified Luyia literature but some mention of some of the small
people such as the Kitosh, Samia, Wanga, Kakamega, and Maragoli would
have been welcome.
The book, which is bound in stout blue covers, has been produced by
Roneo-a process particularly suitable for a type of book which in all
probability will enjoy a rather limited circulation.
R. A. S.
*Published for the International African Institute by Percy Lund, Humphries & Co.
Ltd., 12 Bedford Square, London, W.C. 1.
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