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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
The Uganda Society
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Index to Volume 10, Nos. 1 and 2
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOL. 10, No. 2. SEPTEMBER, 1946.
Some Buganda Place-Names .. .. .. By R. A. SNOXAU 43
Clues to African Tribal History .. By MARGARET TROWEU. 54
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda .. By F. LUKYN WInIAMS 64
Awich A Biographical Note and a Chapter of Acholi
History .. .. .. .. .. By R. M. BERE 76
Livingstone and the Baganda .. .. By GEOFFREY MASEFIELD 79
Ruwenzori .. .. .. By R. M. BERE and P. H. HICKS 84
Lice .. .. .. .. By G. H. E. HOPKINS 97
Inter-Tribal History through Tribal Stories .. By M. E. HEAD 106
Lango Proverbs .. .. .. .. By T. R. F. Cox 113
Nuwa Mbaguta, Nganzi of Ankole .. By F. LUKYN WIULIAMS 124
The Rule of the Kings of Buganda .. .. By HAM MUKASA 136
Extracts from "Mengo Notes" II .. .. .. .. 144
Stomach Contents of Crocodiles .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI 148
The Reason for the Creation of the Post of Mugema
in Buganda .. .. .. .. By E.W.S. MUKASA 150
The Rosette Cylinder from Ntusi .. By MARGARET TROWEI. 151
Emile Jonveaux An Armchair African Explorer .. By H. B. THOMAS 152
Note on Earth Tremors on and about 18th March
1945 .. .. .. .. .. ByC.B. BIssET 154
Kaweri .. .. .. .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI, 158
Lake Choga and Surrounding Country .. By R. T. KIRKPATRICK 160
Kaweri .. By G. M. GIBSON, E. V. HIPPEL and R. O. H. PORCH 163
Kavirondo .. .. .. .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI, 166
Distant Views of Ruwenzori and Elgon .. .. By W. J. EGoELING 167
"Uganda Memories1897-1940"(bySirAlbertR.Cook) ..ByG.C.T. 168
INDEX To VOL. 10, Nos. 1 AND 2 .. .. .. .. 171
Index to Uganda Journal, Vols. 1-10
PRICE: SHS. 6
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
His Excellency Sir John Hathorn Hall, K.o.M.o., D.S.O., O.B.E., M.O.
Mrs. K. M. Trowell
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
The Hon. Secretary and Treasurer
The Hon. Librarian
The Hon. Editors
Mr. A. J. Braganza
Lt.-Col. W. W. R. Crosse-Upoott
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer
Mr. T. Parry
Hon. R. G. Dakin
Mr. C. W. L. Fishlock
Mr. D. K. Marphatia
iMr. E. M. K. Mulira
Mr. S. McKnight
Miss H. M. Neatby
Miss A. Nicol-Smith
. G. P. Sherwood.
S Honorary Librarian:
Mrs. B. Saben
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Mr. R. M. Bere
Mr. H. B. Thomas, o.B.3.
Mr. E. F. Twining, O.M.O.
R.A. Tito Winyi II, c.n.i
Sir A. R. Cook, Kt., C.M.O.,
Mr. E. J. Wayland, c.B.N.
Dr. H. H. Hunter, O.B.E., L
Mr. H. Jowitt, C.M.O.
Major-General Sir H. R. H
K.RB.., M.Q., K.O.
Mr. J. Sykes
Saben & Co., Ltd., Kam
Mr. 0. S. Keeble, A.C.A.
Mr. E. B. Haddon
,M.B.E. Mr. Mark Wilson
i. Mr. Norman Godinho, M.s.a.
O.B.E. Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, D.S.O., H.O.
L.D. Mr. S. W. Kulubya, M.B.E.
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins
[one, Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, o.B.E.
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins
pala The. Hon. Editors
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Mr. F. Lukyn Williams
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 hasreached
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 Segretaries. The Society reserves the right
to publish, in whole or in part, any paper read a 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 corner of Nakasero and Kyagwe roads. The postal address, to which all
communications should be addressed, is: THE UGANDA SOCIETY, PRIVATE BAG, KAMPA.A.
Members are requested to keep the Secretaries fully informed of changes of address.
Six lectures have been given since the publication of the last journal.
On 3rd April 1946, Col. D. Bell, o.B.E., (late) R.A.M.O., spoke on "Rehabilitation of
the African in Hospital".
On 23rd April 1946, Major R.T. H. Lonsdale, D.S.O.,M.O., spoke on"I fought at Arnhem".
On 27th June 1946, His Emineice El Sayed Ahmed El Bakri spoke on "Aspects of
common interest between Egypt and Uganda".
On 17th July 1946, Major A. I. G. Ramsay spoke on "With Marshal Tito's forces
in Montenegro, 1944".
On 16thAugust!l946, ProfessorF. Debenham, O.B.E., spoke on "With SoottinAntarctica".
On 6th September 1946, Sir John Gray spoke on "The first Arab to reach Buganda".
The Society tenders its congratulations to the following Members whose names
appeared in the King's Birthday Honours List for 1946:-
Major-Gen. H. R. Hone, C.B.E., M.C., .c... .. .B.E. Mr. A. I,. Stephens .. .. M.B.E.
Mr. S. Phillipson .. .. .. .. .M.G. Mr. R. I. Hett .. .. I..o.
Mr. J. Sykes .. O.B.E. Mr. I,. Sharp .. Colonial Police Medal
Mr. B. K. Mulyanti .. King's Medal for Chiefs (in Silver)
It is a pleasure to be able to record a steadily increasing membership.
Captain E. M. Persse, M.o., has had to relinquish the post of Hon. Secretary as he is
leaving Uganda 9n retirement: Mr. T. Parry fills the vacancy so caused.
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 12.30 p.m.
The Library now contains a total of 1,405 listed publications but many more have
since been acquired. The attention of locally-resident members is invited to the large
range of periodicals provided in the Reading Room.
That the Library is achieving further popularity is evidenced by the fact that Library
Deposits have more than doubled during the last Society's year.
The Society is again indebted to the Trustees of the King George V Memorial Fund
for a further grant of 50 to the Library Fund as well as for a special grant of 20 towards
purchases of books from local residents leaving the country.
Acknowledgment is made of books and papers presented to the Library by the following:
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, Captain E. M. Persse, Mr. Mill Irving, Captain C. R. S. Pitman,
the British Council, the Uganda Government and also to Mr. D. N. Stafford, who responded
to the appeal for old records by presenting a set of photographs of the internment of
Kabarega, Mukama of Bunyoro, and to Captain F. L. Guilbride for several interesting old
maps. The Society would welcome more photographs of historical interest for insertion
in an album to be kept in the Library. Mrs. Robinson of Budo kindly presented a copy of
"A collection of 101 Luganda proverbs compiled by A. R. Cook" for which we advertised
on the back page of the March Journal.
On the following pages are listed the accessions to the Library during the
period 1st April 1945 (the date to which the last printed Library List was
prepared) to 30th June 1946. It is intended to publish similar lists in the
Journal each year.
The list of accessions, unlike the printed list, does not provide
an index to articles which have appeared in the Journal, or to their
authors. These can be found, however, in the complete index to volumes 1-10
of the Journal, which appears as a supplement to this number.
Maps, parliamentary papers, etc., even though numbered and catalogued
in the Society's records, have not been included in the list of accessions, but
may be inspected in the Library. The same applies to various periodicals
which are placed in the reading room on receipt, but which may not be taken
away on loan. These include the following :-
Bulletin of the Imperial Institute
East African Agricultural Joirnal
Illustrated London News ..
Journal E.A. Natural History Society Periodically
Journal Entomological Society of S.A. .Periodically
Journal Royal Anthropological Society .Periodically
Journal Rhodes-Livingstone Institute .Periodically
Journal Royal Central Asian Society .Periodically
Libertas .. .. .Monthly
Man .. .. Every second month
Nature .. Weekly
Nineteenth Century Monthly
Overseas Education Quarterly
Picture Post .. Weekly
Spectator .. .. Weekly
Sphere .. .. .. .. Weekly
Studio .. .. .. .. Monthly
Sudan Notes and Records .. .. Periodically
Tanganyika Notes and Records Twice yearly
Times, Weekly, with Literary Supplement
United Empire .. .. .. .. Every second month
Uganda Herald, and many weekly papers in the vernacular.
ACCESSIONS TO THE UGANDA SOCIETY'S LIBRARY,
1ST APRIL, 1945 TO 30TH JUNE, 1946
1145 ALtN, B. M. Gordon and the Sudan. 1931.
1316 AMAKBO G'OKusABA. Kampala; Uganda Bookshop Press.
1195 ANDiEsoN, A. G. Our Newest Colony: An account of British East Africa. 1910.
1274 AwNTHOPOLOGY, Notes and queries on. 5th ed. 1929.
1161 ARMsTRONG, L.E. The phonetic and tonal structure of Kikuyu. 1940.
1338 ARNOLD, G. The Sphecidae of Madagascar. 1944.
1299 AsxwrTH, G. R., and Mai Bovill. Roddy Owen: a memoir. 1897.
1233 ATEso Prayer Book with hymns (in the vernacular). 1945.
1154 ATLAmc Charter and Africa, The. From an American standpoint. 1942.
1193 AusTI, H. H. Among swamps and giants in Equatorial Africa. 1902.
1202 AXELSON, E. South-East Africa 1488-1530. 1940.
1188 BK ,r J. A. Khedive's Expedition to Central Africa, Geographical notes of. 1874
1166 BAR, Samuel W. Ismailia. 1874. 2 vols.
1227 BABEs, Leonard. Soviet Light on the Colonies. 1945.
1285 BATTERnSY,.H. F. Prevost. Richard Corfield of Somaliland. 1914.
1300 BELTRAME, Cav. Ab. G. II Fiume Bianco e i Denka: Memorie. 1881.
1234 BIBLE. New Bible Maps. (Luganda place-names).
1342 BIGLAND, Eileen. Pattern in Black and White. 1940.
1343 BIKBY, Carel. It's a long way to Addis. 2nd ed. 1943.
1344 BLACKWELL, Leslie. African Occasions: reminiscences of thirty years of bar, bench
and politics in South Africa. 1938.
1384 BLAxmzE, W. G. Personal Life of David Livingstone. 1925.
1288 BoMPIANI, Sofia. Italian Explorers in Africa. 1891.
1273 BoNo, Emilio de. Anno XIII : The conquest of an empire. 1937.
1149 BOTELER, Captain Thomas, R.N. Narrative of a voyage of discovery to Africa and
Arabia in H.M. Ships Leven and Barracouta, from 1821 to 1826. 1835. 2 vols.
1128 BOURNE, H. R. Fox. The Other Side of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. 1891.
1299 BOVIL, Mai, and G. R. Askwith. Roddy Owen: a memoir. 1897.
1381 BOYBs, John. My Abyssinian Journey: a journey through Abyssinia from the Red
Sea to Nairobi in 1906 in the days of Emperor Menelik.
1226 BRADLEY, Kenneth. The Diary of a District Officer. 1943.
1318 BUAILSFORD, H. N. Subject India. 1943.
1385 BRrrISH Africa. The British Empire Series, Vol. II.
1217 BrrITIH East Africa Protectorate and Zanzibar, Precis of information concerning
the. Intelligence Division, War Office, 1900.
1277 BRITISH Empire, the Cambridge history of the: South Africa, Rhodesia and the
Protectorates. J. Holland Rose, A. PFNewton and E. A. Benians (Editors). 1936.
1238 BRITIsH Ornithologists' Club, Bulletin of the. No. CCCCLIV., vol. LXV. November
1301 BnuN-ROLLET, M. Le Nil Blanc et le Soudan: Etudes sur l'Afrique Centrale-
Moeurs et coutumes des sauvages. 1853.
1235 BUCHAN, John. The African Colony. 1903.
1139 BucHAAN, Angus. Three Years of War in East Africa. 1920.
1209 BUCKLEY, W. Big Game Hunting in Central Africa. 1930.
1224 BURGT, J. M. M. Van der. Dictionnaire Francais-Kirundi avec l'indication succinct
de la signification Swahili et AUemande. 1903.
1277 CAMBRIDGE History of the British Empire : South Africa, Rhodesia and the Protec-
torates. J. Holland Rose, A. P. Newton and E. A. Benians (Editors). 1936.
1271 CAMERON, Donald. My Tanganyika Service and some Nigeria. 1939.
1383 CHADWICK, N. Kershaw. Poetry and Prophecy. 1942.
1262 COANLEB W. A. Through Jungle and Desert: Travels in Eastern Africa. 1896.
1279 CHAPMiAN, Abel. Savage Sudan: its wild tribes, big game and bird life. 1921.
1281 CHnAPAN, Abel. On Safari: Big Game Hunting in British East Africa with Studies
in Bird Life. 1908.
1345 CHOLVans, Hedley A. The Seven Lost Trails of Africa: being a record of sundry
expeditions, new and old, in search of buried treasure. 1930.
1267 CHORLEY, T. W. Glossina palpalis fucipes breeding away from water. Rept. from
Proc. of Royal Ent. Soc. of London. Series A, vol. 19, March 28th,. 1944.
1130 CKarCH Missionary Society. A tribal survey of Mongalla Province. L. F. Nalder
1334 CxCHWuuARD, Albert. The Origin and Evolution of Primitive Man: lecture given
at the Royal Society Club, 1912.
1214 CLA&n, Mrs. R. S. Akarimojong-Swahili-English Vocabulary. 1945.
1183 COBHAM, Alan J. My Flight to the Cape and Back. 1926.
1346 COLLIE, Joy. Algerian adventure. 1944.
1280 CoL.OMB, Captain. Slave-catching in the Indian Ocean : a record of naval experiences.
1143 & 1144 COOK, Albert R. Uganda Memories (1897-1940). 1945.
1124 CORYNDON Memorial Museum, Occasional Papers No. 1. A contribution to the study
of the Tumbian Culture in East Africa. 1945.
1347 CoTLow, Lewis N. Passport to adventure. 1943.
1307 CourL ND, Reginald. Wilberforce. 2nd ed. 1945.
1348 CourLAND, Reginald. Livingstone's last journey. 1945.
1261 CROWFOOT, Grace M. Flowering Plants of the Northern and Central Sudan. 1928.
1212 CUNNINGHAM, Mrs. Wood and Iron : a story of Africa.
1349 DALY, Marcus. Big game hunting and adventure 1897-1936. 1937.
1327 DAnWIN, Charles. Coral Reefs Volcanic Islands South American Geology. 1910.
1180 DIKINsow, F. A. Lake Victoria to Khartoum with rifle and camera. 1910.
1350 DowER, Lavender. Epic failure (East African travel). 1939.
1185 DRIBERG, J. H. People of the small arrow (Tales of the Didinga, S. Sudan). 1930.
1275 DRIBERG, J. H. The Lango: Grammar and vocabulary only.
1131 Dur, H. L. Nyasaland under the Foreign Office. 2nd ed. 1906.
1211 DUGMORE, A. Radclyffe. The wonderland of big game. 1925.
1268 DUNDAs, Anne. Beneath African glaciers: the humours, tragedies and demands
of an East African Government station as experienced by an official's wife, with
some personal views on native life and customs. 1924.
1260 EAST African Industrial Research Board : Second annual report. 1944.
1320 EAST Africa in transition : being an examination of the principles of the Hilton
Young Commission. 1929.
1258 EAsT African Governors' Conference: White paper on East African air transport
1206 EDWARDs, A. B. A thousand miles up the Nile. 2nd ed. rev. 1889.
1233 EKrrABO Lokakilip Loka Ituna Kere (Ateso Prayer Book with hymns). 1925.
1133 EvAns-PRrrHAIRD, E. E. Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande. 1937.
1134 EVANs-PRITHrnAD, E. E. The Nuer: a description of the modes of livelihood and
political institutions of a Nilotic people. 1940.
1151 FABIAN Publications Ltd. Hunger and health in the Colonies. 1944.
1152 FABIAN Publications Ltd. Kenya: white man's country? 1944.
1259 FIENNEs, R. N. T.-W.- The ecology of the grasses of Lango, Uganda. 1940.
1179 FISHER, A. B. Twilight tales of the black Baganda. 1911.
1351 FRAsE~ Douglas. Through the Congo Basin. 1927.
1126 GANGULEE, N. Health and nutrition in India. 1939.
1190 Gassi, Romolo (Pasha). Seven years in the Soudan : being a record of explorations,
adventures and campaigns against the Arab slave hunters. 1892.
1296 GLEIcHEN, Count (Editor). The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan: a compendium prepared
by officers of the Sudan Government. 1905. 2 vols.
1204 GOADBY, F. M. (Editor). Journal of Comparative Legislation and International
Law. Vol. XXVI, Parts III and IV. 1944.
1352 GoaocK, Georgina A. Sons of Africa. 1928.
1323 GORT, General the Viscount. Despatches received by the Secretary of State for War
from General the Viscount Gort, v.c., K.O.B., O.B.E., D.S.O., M.v.O., M.O., Com-
mander-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Force (France and Belgium, 1939-1940).
Reprint of Supplement to The London Gazette of 16th October, 1941.
1162 GOTZEN, G. A., Graf von. Durch Afrika von Ost nach West 1893-94. 1895.
1160 GnRNT, Speke and, Expedition, Botany of the. 1872.
1159 GAPHIm : Stanley Number. April 30th, 1890.
1290 GREGORY, J. W. The Foundation of British East Africa. 1901.
1284 HATL, Mary. A woman's trek from the Cape to Cairo. 2nd ed. 1908.
1197 HANCOCK, G. L. R. Album of photographs, Uganda, 1927-33.
1198 HANcocx, G. L. R. Album of photographs, Ruwenzori, 1937.
1293 HARnI P. Wyn. Memorandum on policy in regard to land tenure in the native
lands : Colony and Protectorate of Kenya. 1945.
1252 HENDRICKX, Fred L. Some Kivu birds and their native names. From: The Ostrich,
1189 HIOHENs, Wm. and Alice Werner. The advice of Mwana Kupona upon wifely duty,
from the Swahili texts. 1934.
1196 HINDE, S. L. and H. Hinde. The last of the Masai. 1901.
1164 HINDEN, Rita. Plan for Africa. 2nd impr. 1944.
1205 HorFFANN, Wm. With Stanley in Africa. 1938.
1353 HOLE, Hugh Marshall. The making of Rhodesia. 1926.
1354 HOLMES, F. Ratcliffe. Through wildest Africa: A story of travel. 1925.
1315 HOPKINS, G. H. E. Notes on' trichodectidae (mallophaga). Repr. from Rev.
Brasil Biol. September, 1944.
1171 HOWELL, Father A. E. Leaves from a White Father's diary. 1941.
1293 HUMPHREY, N. The Kikuyu lands: the relationship of population to the land in
Thoughts on the foundations of future prosperity in the Kikuyu lands.
Nairobi: The Government Printer. 1945.
1221 HUTCHINs, D. E. East Africa Protectorate: Report on the forests of British East
1223 INGRAMS, H. Arabia and the isles. 1942.
1322 International Red Cross Committee in Geneva 1863-1943, The.
1283 JACKSON, H. C. Osman Digna. 1926.
1298 JACKSON, H. C. Black Ivory or the story of El Zubeir Pasha, Slaver and Sultan,
as told by himself. 1913.
1187 JANZE, Le Comte de. Vertical land. 1928.
1232 JARDINE, G. Murray. Abridged Swahili: Swahili grammar, vocabulary and phrases.
1230 JEFFEBIES, Richard. The wood from the trees. 1945.
1229 JEX-BLAKE, AJ.J. Gardening in East Africa: A practical handbook. 2nd ed. 1939.
1244 JOHNSON, Charles S. Growing up in the Black Belt: Negro youth in the rural South.
1355 JOHNsoN, Osa. Four years in Paradise. 1941.
1382 JOHNSTON, H. H. A comparative study of the Bantu and semi-Bantu languages.
1356 JONES, A. H. M. and Elizabeth Monroe. A history of Abyssinia. 1935.
1330 JoNEs, F. Wood. Arboreal man. 2nd impr. 1918.
1184 JONvEAUx, Emile. Two years in East Africa: Adventures in Abyssinia and Nubia.
with a journey to the sources of the Nile. 1875.
1228 JosI, P. S. The tyranny of colour. 1942.
1168 KEARTON, Cherry. Photographing wild life across the world.
1169 KEARTON, Cherry The shifting sands of Algeria. 1924.
1357 KEARTON, Cherry. In the land of the lion. 1943.
1236 KENNEDY, J. T.. Glossina morsitans in relation to a rinderpest epizootio, West
Nile District. 1929.
1293 KENYA, Colony and Protectorate of.
The Kikuyu lands: The relationship of population to the land in South Nyeri.
By N. Humphrey.
Thoughts on the foundations of future prosperity in the Kikuyu lands.
By N. Humphrey.
Memorandum on policy in regard to land tenure in the native lands. By
H. E. Lambert and P. Wyn Harris. Nairobi: The Government Printer. 1945.
1253 KENYA, The Museums Trustees of. Annual report for the year 1944.
1152 KENYA, White Man's country ? Fabian Publications Ltd. 1944.
1358 KIDD, Dudley. The essential Kafir. 2nd ed. 1925.
1247 KI-SWAmHI A Ki-swahili instruction book for the East African Command. 1942.
1359 KiuGE, E. and J. D. Krige. The realm of a rain-queen: A study of the pattern of
Lovedu society. 1943.
1163 LAGAE, Mgr. C.-R. Les Azande ou Niam Niam. 1926.
1293 LAMBERT, H. E. and P. Wyn Harris. Memorandum on policy in regard to land
tenure in the native lands. 1945. Nairobi: The Government Printer. 1945.
1263 LANDOR, A. Henry Savage. Across widest Africa: An account of the country and
people of Eastern, Central and Western Africa as seen during a twelve months'
journey from Djibuti to Cape Verde. 1907. 2 vols.
1265 LANGHELD, Major Wilhelm. 20 Jahre in Deutschen Kolonien. 1909.
1191 LEAGUE OF NATIONS. Nutrition: Final report of the mixed committee of the League
of Nations on the relation of nutrition to health, agriculture and economic policy
1203 LEAGUE OF NATIONS. Catalogue of selected publications on economic and financial
subjects. A guide to the documents of value in connection with the formulation
of postwar economic policies.
1124 LEAKEY, L. S. B. and Archdeacon Owen. A contribution to the study of the Tumbian
culture in East Africa. 1945.
1336 LEmIs, Michel. L'Afrique fantome. 1934.
1360 LUCAs, Charles (Editor). The Empire at war. Vol. IV, Africa. 1924.
1264 LUGARD, F. D. Order of Service in memory of, at Westminster Abbey. April 26th,
1146 MACMICHAEL, H. The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. 1934.
1153 MAiR, L. P. Welfare in the British Colonies. 1944.
1282 MAz.sr, M. -A white woman among the Masai. 1923.
1222 MARis, E. N. My friends the baboons. 1939.
1266 MARTINAGLIA, G. Some considerations regarding the health of wild animals in
captivity. Repr. from the S. Afr. Journal of Science. Vol. XXXIII, March, 1937.
1175 MAsoN, M. H. Deserts idle. 1924.
1361 McDoNALD, J. G. Rhodes: A heritage. 1943.
1172 MELLY, G. Khartoum, and the Blue and White Niles. 1851. 2 vols.
1333 MIGEOD, F. W. H. Earliest man. 1916.
1304 MILaALs, J. G. Life of Frederick Courtenay Selous, D.s.O., Captain, 25th Royal
.1210 MOFFAT, Robert. The Matabele journals, 1829-1860. Ed. by J. P. R. Wallis.
1945. 2 vols.
1356 MONBOE, Elizabeth and A. H. M. Jones. A history of Abysinnia. 1935.
1362 MOORE, E. D. Ivory scourge of Africa. 1931.
1308 MOBEAU, R. E. Clutch-size: A comparative study, with special reference to
African birds. Repr. Amani memoirs, from the Ibis. July, 1944.
1309 MoREAU, R. E. On the bateleur, especially at the nest. ibid. April, 1945.
1310 MOREAU, R. E. On the status of Phyglastrephus flavoatriatue kungwensis Moreau.
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1311 MOREAU, R. E. Mount Kenya: A contribution to the biology and bibliography.
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1312 MOREAU, R. E. Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya: some comparisons, with special
reference to the mammals and birds, and with a note on Mount Meru. Repr.
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1313 MoRAlu, R. E. Palearctic birds in East Africa. Repr. Zool. Society Egyp.
Bulletin 7, 1945.
1314 MoREAu, R. E. The half-collared kingfisher (Alcedo aemitorquata) at the nest.
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1321 MOBEAu, R. E. The dwarf parrots (Agapornie) of Tanganyika. Repr. Tanganyika
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1232 MunnAY-JARDINE, G. Abridged Swahili: Swahili grammar, vocabulary and
1253 Museums Trustees of Kenya: Annual report for 1944 and of the Coryndon Memorial
1215 Mutesa II, Okusika kwa Sabasaja Kabaka. 1943.
1363 NATHAN, Manfred. The Voortrekkers of South Africa: from the earliest times to
the foundation of the RepubJics. 1937.
1364 NESBIrr, L. M. Desert and forest: The exploration of Abyssinian Danakil. 1934.
1274 Notes and queries on anthropology. 5th ed. 1929.
1365 NTABA, Samuel Yosia. Man of Africa. 1943.
1191 Nutrition: Final report of the mixed committee of the League of Nations on the
relation of nutrition to health, agriculture and economic policy. 1937.
1215 Okusika kwa Sabasaja Kabaka Mutesa II. 1943.
1248 Omusajja n'omukyala we awamu. (Okufumbirwana).
1238 Ornithologists' Club, Bulletin of the British. Vol. LXV, No. CCCLIV. November
1124 OWEN, Archdeacon and L. S. B. Leakey. A contribution to the study of the Tumbian
culture in East Africa. Coryndon Memorial Museum, Occasional Papers, No. 1.
1380 PEnCIVAL, A. Blayney. A game ranger on safari. 1928.
1303 PEmHAM, Margery. Native Administration in Nigeria. 1937.
1167 PETERMANN, Dr. A. Mittheilungen aus Justus Perthes' geographischer anstalt.
1174 tPETHERICK, John and B. H. Travels in Central Africa, and explorations of
the Western Nile tributaries. 1869. 2 vols.
1292 PFEIL, Dr. Joachim Graf von. Die Erwerbung von Deutsch-Ostafrika.
1147 PILKINGTON, G. L. Handbook of Luganda. Repr. 1901.
1148 PILKINGTON, G. L. Luganda-English and English-Luganda vocabulary. 1899.
1278 PINTo, Major Serpa. How I crossed Africa: From the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
1881. 2 vols.
1319 PIA, C. R. S. Some animals in East Africa. 1934.
1325 PrITAN, C. R. S. Notes on the vertebrate fauna of Nkosi Island, Lake Victoria.
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1194 PORTAL, Gerald H. My mission to Abyssinia. 1892.
1208 PoINGLE, M. A. Towards the Mountains of the Moon. 1884.
1178 PRUEN, S. Tristram. The Arab and the African: Experiences in Eastern Equatorial
Africa during a residence of three years. 1891.
1366 RArPAL, J. R. Through unknown Nigeria.
1243 RErrz, Deneys. No outspan. 4th impr. 1945.
1272 REY, C. F. The real Abyssinia. 1935.
1367 REYNOLDs, A. J. African passage. 1934.
1257 Rhodesia Scientific Assocn. Ann. rept. 1945.
1176 ROBERTS, C. Clifton. Tangled justice : Some reasons for a change of policy in
1302 ROBESON, Mrs. E. C. G. African journey. 3rd impr. 1945.
1301 ROLLET, M. BaRu-. Le Nil Blanc et le Soudan : Etudes sur l'Afrique Centrale-
moeurs et coutumes des sauvages. 1853.
1368 RooME, W. J. W. Tefero : Tales from Africa. 1932.
1287 RoscoE, Rev. John. The Banyankole. 1923.
1305 SCOTT, J.G. Burma: A handbook of practical, commercial and political information.
1324 SCOTT, W. M. and E. L. Sturdee. A disease of parrots communicable to man
1369 SHEPHERD, R. H. W. Lovedale, South Africa : The story of a century 1841-1941.
1181 SHORTHOSE, W. T. Sport and adventure in Africa: a record of twelve years of big
game hunting, campaigning and travel in the wilds of tropical Africa. 1923.
1817 SERIDHARANI, Krishnalal. My India, my West. 1942.
1165 SIMNETT, W. E. The British Colonial Empire. 1942.
1160 SPEKE and Grant Expedition, Botany of the. Forming Vol. XXIX of the
Transaction of the Linnaean Soc. 1872.
1331 SURBEL., H. G. F. Modern man and his forerunners : A short study of the human
species living and extinct. 1918. 2nd ed.
1159 STANLEY Number : The Graphic. April 30th, 1890.
1269 STEER, G. L. Caesar in Abyssinia. 1936.
1291 STEVENS, Thomas. Scouting for Stanley in East Africa. 1890.
1370 STiGAND, C. H. To Abyssinia through an unknown land : An account of a journey
through unexplored regions of British East Africa by Lake Rudolf to the King-
dom of Menelek. 1910.
1295 STOCK, Eugene. The history of the Church Missionary Society : Its environment,
its men and its work. 1899. 4 vols.
1329 STODDARD, Lothrop. The rising tide of colour against white world-supremacy.
1246 STUART, Mary. African pattern : Letters to an Administrator. 1945.
1324 STURDEE, E. L. and W. M. Scott. Reports on public health and medical subjects,
No. 61 : A disease of parrots communicable to man (psittacosis). 1930.
1219 Repts. on the finance, admn. and condition of, in 1906.
1220 Repts. on the finance, admn. and condition of, in 1904.
1371 SYMONS, H. E. Two roads to Africa. 1939.
1242 TANGYE, Derek, One king : A survey of the Dominions and Colonies of the
British Empire. 1944.
1177 THOMSON, Joseph. Through Masai land : A journey of exploration among the
snowclad volcanic mountains and strange tribes of Eastern Equatorial Africa.
Rev. ed. 1897.
1182 THOONEN, Rev. J. P. Black martyrs. 2nd impr. 1942.
1201 TREVELYAN, G. M. English social history: A survey of six centuries, Chaucer to
Queen Victoria. 1944.
1170 TUCKER, A. N. The Eastern Sudanic languages. 1940.
1249 Tuyigirize okusaba. Kampala : The Bookshop Press.
1326 TYLOR, E. B. Anthropology : An introduction to the study of man and civilization.
1930. 2 vols.
1155 Rept. of a Conference convened by the Director of Education to consider the
Memorandum on Language in African School Education by the Advisory
Committee on Education in the Colonies. 1945.
1156 Intelligence Report, No. 33.
1157 ,, ,, No. 34.
1158 No. 35.
1250 Joint rept. of the Standing Finance Committe and the Development and Welfare
Committee on post-war development. 2nd ed. 1945.
1254 Rept. of the Commission of Inquiry into the disturbances which occurred in Uganda
during January, 1945. 1945.
1255 Rept. of the Civil Reabsorption and Rehabilitation Committee. 1945.
1256 Interim report of the Advisory Committee on the disposal of the cotton and hard
coffee control funds. 1945.
1339/1341 UGANDA. The pearl of Africa. 1938.
1337 UGANDA Volunteers and the war, by one of them. 1917.
1224 VAN DEB BUGT, J. M. M. Dictionnaitre Franoais-Kirundi aveo l'indication
succincte de la signification Swahili et Allemande. 1903.
1237 VAN SOMEREN, V. G. L. and G. R. C. Van Someren. Evacuated weaver colonies
and notes on the breeding ecology of Euodice cantans Gmelin. and Amadina
fasciata Gmelin. From: The Ibis. January, 1945.
1199 WALrER, E. A. Colonies : Series current problems No. 20. 1945.
1372 WALKE, E. A. The great trek. 2nd ed. 1938.
1373 WALER, H. F. B. A doctor's diary in Damaraland. 1917.
1328 WAA&cE, A. R. Man's place in the universe : A study of the results of scientific
research in relation to the unity or plurality of worlds. 4th ed. 1904.
1216. WALIS, H. R. The handbook of Uganda. 2nd ed. 1920.
1210 WALLs, J. P. R. (Editor). The Matabele Journals, 1829-1860, of Robert Moffat.
1945. 2 Vols. Oppenheimer Series No. 1.
1306 WALLS, J. P. R. (Editor). The Matabele Mission: A selection from the
correspondence of John and Emily Moffat, David Livingstone and others,
1858-1878. 1945. Oppenheimer Series No. 2.
1245 Watchman, The. Coast causerie : Historical, natural history, native lore and things
that happen at the Coast. Vol. 1, No. 1. December, 1944.
1374 WATrrVIn.T Vivienne de. Speak to the earth : Wanderings and reflections among
elephants and mountains. 2nd ed. 1936.
1270 WAUGH, Evelyn. Waugh in Abyssinia. 1936.
1276 WAUGH, Evelyn. Remote people. 1934.
1186 WxLma, H. O. Kenya without prejudice : A balanced, critical review of the
country and its people. 1931.
1207 WELLELEYr, Dorothy. Sir George Goldie : Founder of Nigeria. A memoir. 1934.
1173 WmBNE, Ferdinand. Expedition to discover the sources of the White Nile in the
years 1840-41. 1849. 2 vols.
1189 WEBm&B, Alice and W. Hichens. The advice of Mwana Kupona upon the wifely
duty, from the Swahili texts. 1934.
1335 WHITAKB, Joseph. Almanack for 1946.
1332 WILKnsoN, R. J. A history of the Peninsular Malays with chapters on Perak and
Selangor. 3rd ed. rev. 1923.
1375 WIIzAMns, P. B. In lightest Africa and darkest Europe. 1936.
1200 WILSON, C. J. One African Colony : The native races of Kenya. 1945.
1376 WILso, C. J. The story of the East African Mounted Rifles. 1938.
1231 WILSON, Rev. C. T. An outline grammar of the Luganda language. 1882.
1289 WILsON, C.W. From Korti to Khartum: A journal of the desert march from Korti
to Gubat, and of the ascent of the Nile in General Gordon's steamers. 4th ed. 1886.
958 WINGATE, F. R. Ten years captivity in the Mahdi's camp. 1882-1892. 1893.
1218 WOODWARD, E. M. Precis of information concerning the Uganda Protectorate.
Int. Div. War Office. 1902
1286 WooLr, L. Empire and commerce in Africa : A study in economic Imperialism. 1921.
1297 WnAY, Rev. J. A. Kenya, Our newest Colony : Reminiscences. 1882-1912.
1213 YouNoGHussAv, Ethel. Glimpess of East Africa and Zanziber. 1910.
Some corrections to the Library List of 31st March, 1945.
p. 8 1038 Courtney, R. should read 1028.
p. 9 946 Cromer ,, 964.
p.17 404 Hopkins 464.
-p.33 999 Political Memoranda should be ascribed to Lugard.
p.33 Pitmen, 777 renumber 777/a (duplicated on p. 4 Brit. Coun.).
p,36 Shortridge (as now spelt) 1016 renumber 1016/a (dup. on p. 22 Leith-Ross).
p.39 213 Tongue, E. Dauncey not Dauncy.
p.41 367 Watteville not Watville.
p.42 1052 Welby. For Melelik read Menelik.
p.43 Wingate, F. R. Insert the following omitted in error:-
958 Ten years captivity in the Mahdi's camp. 1882-92.
(This has been inserted in the additional list).
As was foreshadowed in the last editorial this number is a reprint in
Journal format of all those articles thought to be of lasting interest which
appeared in the five Bulletins issued by the Society between 1943 and 1945.
It is felt, therefore, that no introduction is specially required, except to say
that authors have carried out certain minor alterations and that the
appropriate illustrations have been added.
Whilst the Bulletins themselves need be carefully preserved no longer
it will not do to forget the part they played in keeping the Society alive
during the difficult later war years. It was in May 1942 (Vol. IX, No. 2)
that the Society was forced to state that it could no longer produce the
Journal but that it was intended to publish occasional papers, as circum-
stances allowed. After a considerable interval a slim green pamphlet,
printed on news sheet, appeared in December 1943 as Bulletin No. 1 and
thereafter, in steadily improving form, at regular intervals until the end
of 1945. This number, therefore, sums that series and finally closes a
particular chapter in the Society's history.
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOL. 10, No. 2-SEPTEMBER 1946
R. M. Bere
W. J. Eggeling
R. A. Snoxall
F. Lukyn Willii
t Joint Hon. Editors
Published half-yearly in March and September
Some Buganda Place-Names .. .. .. By R. A. SNoxAI, 43
Clues to African Tribal History .. By MARGARET TROWEI,, 54
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda .. By F. LUKYN WnJ~AMS 64
Awich A Biographical Note and a Chapter of Acholi
History .. .. .. .. By R. M. BERE 76
Livingstone and the Baganda .. .. By GEOFFREY MASEPIELD 79
Ruwenzori .. .. .. By R. M. BERE and P. H. HICKS 84
Lice .. .. .. .. By G. H. E. HOPKINS 97
Inter-Tribal History through Tribal Stories .. By M. E. HEAD 106
Lango Proverbs .. .. .. By T. R. F. Cox 113
Nuwa Mbaguta, Nganzi of Ankole .. By F. LUKYN WiiIAMS 124
The Rule of the Kings of Buganda .. .. By HAM MUKASA 136
Extracts from "Mengo Notes" II .. .. .. .. 144
Stomach Contents of Crocodiles .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI, 148
The Reason for the Creation of the Post of Mugema
in Buganda .. .. .. .. By E.W. S. MUKASA 150
The Rosette Cylinder from Ntusi .. By MARGARET TROWEI, 151
Emile Jonveaux An Armchair African Explorer .. By H. B. THOMAS 152
Note on Earth Tremors on and about 18th March
1945 .. .. .. .. .. By C. B. BISSE 154
Kaweri .. .. .. .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI 158
Lake Choga and Surrounding Country .. By R. T. KIRKPATRICK 160
Kaweri .. By G. M. GIBsoN, E. V. HIPPEI, and R. O. H. PORCH 163
Kavirondo .. .. .. .. .. By E. V. HIPPEI, 166
Distant Views of Ruwenzori and Elgon .. .. By W. J. EGGEIING 167
"Uganda Memories 1897-1940" (bySir Albert R. Cook) ..By G.C.T. 168
INDEX To VOL. 10, Nos. 1 AND 2 .. .. .. . 171
Index to Uganda Journal, Vols. 1-10
Some Buganda Place-Names 43
SOME BUGANDA PLACE-NAMES
By R. A. SNOXAuL
"Books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones" we need not go far
in Buganda to find either. Long before the advent of writing and reading
the stones were preaching their sermons and explaining their legendary or
historical descent, and the rivers (for "running brooks" do not abound in
Buganda) in their own names were publishing abroad a description of them-
selves, telling of pursuits which were followed on their banks, or giving in one
word an explanation for which a later and more civilised age needed at least a
sentence. Pursuits, history, legend, geography, geology how often are they
revealed in a place name "Lives there a man with soul so dead", who has
never been stirred by the sweetness of his country's place-names, an
Englishman for instance, by the musical picture of rural tranquillity painted
by the couplet of:
"Tring, Wing and Ivinghoe,
Three churches all in a row"
or by names of the beacon hills, of which Ivinghoe Beacon was one, which
proclaimed in his country's history the coming of the Great Armada, and the
beautiful crosses or monuments which Edward I caused to be erected in the
country towns of England, where the body of his beloved Queen Eleanor of
Castille rested on its last journey ? What Londoner has never wondered what
the original "Convent" garden was like, or how "chalky" Chalk Farm originally
was? There is romance in England's place-names Celtic, Roman, Saxon,
Danish and Norman, which cannot be equalled in the length and breadth of
the world, which can arouse a love, too great to be defined, for "this realm, this
earth, this England". Let us attempt to pursue the romance, if we can, in
the country of Buganda.
A mere catalogue of names, however comprehensive, however well
tabulated, can only succeed in being dull, and within the scope of this paper
I can but skim the surface, pausing for a moment here and there to dip into the
collection and extract a name which appears more informative, leaving the
final task to the people of the country themselves, in the hope that the pursuit
will stir within them as great a love for their country's past, gpd as high a
resolve for its future, as the sound of the place-names of England does within the
hearts of Englishmen.
Since the place-names of Buganda so largely follow the Bantu noun prefix
system, as is natural in the case of nouns or names, I have found it suitable to
subdivide most of those which I shall quote under their class prefixes, and to
try to see how the class prefixes and the nature of the places are connected.
At first sight one is struck by the number of place-names in Buganda which
begin with the prefix KA-, and in some cases it has been correctly assumed that
this is an abbreviated form of Kasozi a hill, and there seems little doubt that
Kampala itself was Akasozi ka mpala the hill of the impala, since some Kabaka
had found it a favourable hunting ground for that animal. The place name
Kasozi itself has obviously the meaning of a small hill. There are a number of
names, however, beginning with xA- where, although this may well be the prefix
KA- of the KA-BU class of small and often pleasant things, it can, owing to the
The Uganda Journal
nature of the places named, have no connection with Kasozi, and I very much
doubt whether the assumption that A- is an abbreviated form of Kasozi will
hold good in many cases. Of course, there is the modern development of Kasozi
into the meaning of "a cattle market" from the original one near Rubaga, which
has even more recently changed into Nalubabwe after the big market on the
Bugerere road. There are now places with this name in several parts of
Buganda, e.g., in Gomba and two others in Kyagwe. Kabira is probably the
nice little forest, Kalungu-the little desert, Kasaka-the small expanse of bush
country, Katosi-the muddy place, Kacenyi-the sandy place, and Kayanga-
the place near the lake, or where water collects. In fact, this class and the wA-
class, as we shall see later, contain most of the "Sandgates, Chorley Woods and
Chalk Farms" of Buganda. In this KA- prefix it is often difficult to see where
the idea of smallness, if any, exists, and where it is simply descriptive of a good
place in which to find certain things, in exactly the same way as we use the
expression a "good place for" in English. Thus Kabubbu may be a good place
for finding mbubbu grass, Kasubi a good place for grass, Kamuli a good place
for reeds, Kalisizo a good place for pasture (a Hima word), Kakubansiri -
a good place for mosquitoes, where however "good" has definitely no connection
with "pleasant"! For some time I was inclined to believe that Kasawo a
small bag, might come within this geographically descriptive class, and
particularly since an old Muganda told me that Kasawo was like the Entebbe
peninsula into which there was entry but from which there was no egress.
It was a most attractive theory that French and Luganda had the same line
of thought, and that Kasawo and cul de sac were the same things. However, a
folk-saying appears to provide the true derivation and forces us to abandon an
attractive theory. In place-names, as I have found, the most direct explanation
often appearing the obvious one, is probably not the correct one.
In fairly recent times there was a great fisherman who ran a flourishing
business at the river Lwajjali and many people went there to purchase fish,
each carrying plenty of cowries or money in skin bags, from which arose the
saying,"Ogenda otya e Nakadindiri, n'ototwala kasawo How do you expect to
go to Nakadindiri without a purse". Thus Nakadindiri became Kasawo, and
the derivation was further obscured because the Katikiro, Martin Luther
Nsibirwa, when he was appointed Gombolola chief of Nakadindiri, which
had by then changed its name to Kasawo, moved the Gombolola headquarters
several miles to the present site.
In such name as Kayunga however (from okuyunga to join), the name
of a place in Bugerere which can be said to join the Nile and Sezibwa rivers, it
is extremely difficult to detect any connection with the "KA-BU" class, and it is
probably a personification and belongs to class IA, i.e., that of Kabaka -
Kabona Katikiro, etc. This explanation may very well account also for the
KA- of Kanabulemu "the place of trouble or difficulty" and for other KA-
prefixes as well.
The very large class of WA- names contains as we should expect, since
the prefix is proper to the idea of place, the majority of truly descriptive
geographical names and gives us:-
Wandegeya the place of weaver birds.
Watutuma the place of the tutuma birds (Le Veux-Coucal).
Wampewo the place of small antelope (the empewo).
Wakaliga the place of lambs.
Some Buganda Place-Names
Wabusana the place of thorny bushes.
Wankulukuku the place of.small ant hills.
Wabiyinja the place of stones.
Wasozi the place of a big hill.
Wabitembe the place of "bitembe" plaintains.
Wabikokoma the place of "bikokoma" plants,
and of course a host of others. Another locative prefix Mu- is of interest,
although it is far from common, since it derives the place-name (Mu-nsa -
within the ditch), near Kakumiro in Mubende district, and discloses a sort of
Biggo bya Mugenyi, for around the hill on which this pastorate of the Native
Anglican Church now stands, there runs a man-made fosse or ditch some twenty
miles in circumference. I have heard no theory as to who constructed this
earthwork. It embraces a circumference of well over twenty miles and was
probably therefore far too extensive to have encircled any position defended by
a detachment of Soudanese. It is likely therefore to be of considerable
Corresponding with the Bantu prefix wA-, of place, we have KA- in
many Nilotic place-names outside Buganda, of which a most interesting
example is Kaberamaido, which if we split the word into its three component
parts, gives us Ka ber amaido where there are good groundnuts. The
name is of particular interest since it proves how mixed the Kumam area is,
for the noun amaido is Lusoga and Teso but ka and ber are Lango. Instances
of such mixed names in Buganda made up of Luganda and Lunyoro are
naturally not uncommon.
I have suggested that the KA- prefix so common in Buganda place-names
may in many cases have arisen from the tendency to personification, and
weight is lent to this supposition by the numerous place-names beginning
with NA-, the feminine form corresponding to the masculine KA- of class IA.
One of the first of this type which springs to mind is Namirembe the place
of peace, a very well known place of sanctuary in old Buganda in which
a fugitive could not be molested. One cannot resist in passing a comparison
of this beautiful Buganda "Peacehaven" with the Sussex one, the latter
designed to commemorate the end of the war of 1914-18 and to provide
cheap homes for the people, since become the prey of the speculative builders
and a track for countless charabancs.
How did the name Nakasero the place of the little basket, comprising
so much of the present Kampala township, arise ? Omw. Ham Mukasa, to
whom I am indebted for so much of my information puts forward the
"The Kabaka wanted to make a lake out of the river Nakivubo and
engaged a number of Bahima for the purpose, giving them for their camp the
hill of Nakasero. In their excavations they used a number of little baskets
(the forerunners of the metal kerai). When the Baganda went to sell food
to them they found every man working at the lake had his little basket, so
the name of Nakasero was given to the lake and from there spread to the
hill near, where the labourers lived. There was a song or a saying which said:-
"Ku Nakasero kwe nsanze Omuyima atabala ku nyanja it was on
Nakasero where I found a Muhima busy working on the lake."
The Kabaka was probably Mwanga II and the earthworks thrown up in
connexion with the building are there to see to the present day in the long dykes
The Uganda Journal
running across the flat expanse between the Kabaka's Lake and the short-cut
to Entebbe running from the Makindye road intersection to Mulangira Suna's
residence on the Entebbe road. Plausibility is given to the derivation in my
opinion by the transference of the name from the actual lake to the camp hill,
for the more direct derivation is often the less truthful in the case of place-
names as I have already mentioned and shall endeavour again to show later.
Other place names beginning with NA- which are geographically des-
Natete the place of etete grass with which the local houses were thatched.
With that we must compare Lutete, though it is extremely difficult to discover
the true implications of the different prefixes, perhaps the LU- may be
following after lusozi ibderstood.
Namaiba the place of doves.
Nakanyonyi the place of the little bird.
Nabusanke the place of bueanke, the waxbill birds, diminutive
little red-breasted birds which fly in dense flocks.
Namataba the place of rain puddles.
Namaliga the place of pasturage of fat sheep.
Nakonge the place of tree stumps.
Nakawuka the place of the insect.
Nakiwogo the place of big cassava.
Nandere the place of the nandere fish.
Nabitalo the place of wonders (I doubt whether this name is older
than the Mission establishment there).
These are but few of many names in this class. We can conveniently
include within this category some names having the same prefix, but derived
from folklore or from the occupations of the inhabitants, and amongst these
we find that rivers are often represented. Thus:-
Nakivubo from okuvuba-- to fish. How times have changed !
Nabisasiro (a river in Kyadondo), so called from the bisasiro or
rubbish which was brought down by it from the neighboring
hills. It is interesting here to refer to the letter from "K" in Vol. 8
of the Uganda Journal where bisasiro in connection with a
strait conveys a different meaning of spume or foam.
Nankinga (another river in Kyadondo), which derives its name from
the number of long-thorned mikinga trees which grew near it.
Nalukolongo (also a river in Kyadondo), takes its name from its
length and breadth.
Namumira (in Kyagwe near Mukono) the place which swallows
people, derives from the number of very deep pits which were
found there, from which ore was extracted for the making of hoes
and axes. Of further interest is the survival of the Lunyoro form
Nyamumira, for the people who dug the pits were reputed to
be more like Banyoro than Baganda.
Nasuti the renowned place, from the old Luganda word okusuta,
in more modern language okutendereza to praise, seems to have
deserved its renown for its people were not only skilful fishermen
and potters but also noted iron-workers. Possibly we should allow
a little for the natural tendency of my informant Omw. Ham Mukasa
Some Buganda Place-Names
to extol the excellency of his own abode but Rupert Brooke
had his Granchester!
Nakawa the pretty place, was a kibuga of the Kabaka.
Namiryango the place of the doors is stated to have got its name
from a remarkable house there which had entrances both from
the front and the back. It has become noteworthy since by
years of usage itsseems to have secured permission to trangress
the rules of orthography and to retain the letter "1" after the
vowel "i" in its place-name.
I should be interested to know whether the derivation which I have been
given by the Rev. Fr. van Berkel for Namalusu the small island off Port- Bell
is generally accepted. Literally translated one could render it as "Spittle
Islet" and I understand that it was a penal settlement of the Kabakas and
thus obtained its opprobrious name.
The Kiganda influence in the place-name of Nakuru is an instructive
reminder of the time when not so very long ago this part of Kenya was
within the Uganda Protectorate, for whereas Nairobi and Naivasha retain
the letter "i" as we expect to find (and do of course find in the name
Naigana, in a Lunyoro speaking part of Buganda in the Saza of Buyaga
in Mubende District) Nakkuru has come in for the double consonant of
Luganda in place of the "i" of other languages. On some maps Naigana
also has been adapted into Luganda and is printed Nagana.
Personifications give us some most interesting names thus:-
Seguku the father of logs, which is the name of a hill in Kyadondo
on which grew some very heavy trees which could not be carried
away either by those who had cut them or by those who had not,
but who came expecting to carry away firewood which they had not
had the exertion of cutting. About this place and these .people
the saying survives:- "Seguku ogwalema abatemi atagutema
tagusobola the father of logs was too much for the wood-cutters
and the people who did not cut it couldn't carry it away".
Semuto the wonder child.
Sekanyonyi the most wonderful of small birds.
Nalubale the abode of the great spirit which is the name for Lake
Victoria, encourages us to continue our searches for Lukwata
the lake monster who may personify the Lubale. Mr. Chorley
in Vol. 5 of the Uganda Journal suggested his connection with
Lake Albert is also personified in Lunyoro as Ruitanzige the killer of
locusts. This interesting personification with the prefix RU- or LU-, to be
found in the honorific Lunyoro titles such as Rukidi and Rukirabasaija and
therefore having no connection probably with the LU- prefix of length, is
reproduced in Luganda in the same connection in the two Kyagwe place-
names of Lutabazungu or Katabazungu and Lutabayindi, i.e., "the killer of
the Europeans" and "the killer of the Indians". In the case of the former
the name of the European killed in a collision between his motor cycle and
a motor car is preserved. He was a Mr. Diimmer a planter who lived at a
place called Bugule in the Mabira forest.
The BU- prefix of place-names is generally indicative of a somewhat
larger area than of one place and indeed as we know is in Luganda generally
The Uganda Journal
the prefix proper to countries. It is perhaps worth noting such names as
Bukusu the place of parrots, a place in Busiro County, the county itself
being an example of this very type of name and meaning the county of tombs,
where the masiro of the Kings of Buganda are found; Bulyankuyege the
place where people eat termites in Singo County; and Buswa the place of
ant-hills, which is very near Bukusu above.
Jinja on the Bombo road, just beyond Kawempe, personified as "the
stone", was such a noticeably large one that it is now the site of a quarry
of the Public Works Department.
Bira, also in the LI-MA class, is a large forest and the name also exists
in its plural form Mabira which suggests a collection of large forests, which
indeed it is. Names of natural objects are of course numerous in the IU-MA
class (suggestive of size), as in the other classes, but the name Bombo is
interesting not so much for its meaning of "creeping plant", as by its
transference throughout Uganda and Tanganyika, to an article of clothing
worn by the inhabitants of Bombo. I refer *to khaki shorts worn by the
K.A.R. Officers and men before the evolution of the modern battle-dress.
Among the post-war and between-the-wars generation of Africans throughout
the area I have mentioned, short trousers are known as "Bombo". It is
interesting to find under the word Bombo in the new Swahili dictionary
"a name given to a kind of very wide short trousers worn by some natives
particularly young Nyasa men" for might not the late Frederick Johnson
who compiled this dictionary have taken Nyasa men as synonymous with
K.A.R. in Tanganyika? In the dictionary the word is asterisked to show
that he did not consider it was of Bantu origin.
Another example of a place giving its name to clothing is Gayaza for
the special type of square-necked women's robe is known as "Kinagayaza"
from the place where it was evolved.
Instances are naturally numerous of the personification appearing in the
Mu- class of persons, although sometimes it is probable that the Mu- prefix
is from the second person plural of the verb, and came from the first word
of the legendary or historical saying which gave the place its name. I have
already given in the name munsa an example of the locative MU- and will
confine myself to but a few examples of the other two derivations arising
from the Mu- prefix.
Mutungo a village in Kyadondo, famous for its cultivation of entungo -
simsim, is an instance of the former as is Muyenga the hill on which
Kampala's high-level water tanks have been built. The origin of Muyenga -
the preparer of medicine, lies in the legend which tells how great witch-doctors
and seers came with the spirit Mukasa and slept on Muyenga hill while
preparing medicine which should cure all ills. These were the renowned
Sese doctors who provided Kabaka Semakokiro with his medicines.
The hill Mutundwe in Kyadondo is on the other hand an instance of
the second person plural, meaning "you are to be sold". This hill was a place
used for imprisoning the victims for sacrificial human slaughter and those
collected there had to await the Kabaka's sentence in the words of his envoy:-
"Sabasajja Kabaka alagidde nti ab'emisango emibi battibwe buttibbwa,
ob'emisango emirungi mutundwe. Muwulidde? Mutundwe Mutundwe" "His
Highness the Kabaka has decreed that guilty ones are to be killed
Some Buganda Place-Names
outright. Those of you not guilty you are to be sold. You hear? You are
to be sold to be sold"!
What was Mulago ? It is true that it was a royal Kibuga, and I incline
to believe that it has its origin in the Lunyoro word Murago a promise.
There is as we have seen nothing innately impossible in the Lunyoro origin
of a Buganda place-name, and one would like to feel that this royal Kibuga
had lived so wonderfully up to its name and justified its promise in the healing
and the comfort which it had distributed throughout the country.
As with the name Kasozi we should note in the case of Mulago also
another transference of the particular to the general for hospitals and
dispensaries of Government throughout Uganda are known as Mulago. The
names of the Mission headquarters in Kampala have also been conferred
upon even the smallest churches of the respective denominations up-country.
Next in order let us consider the large class of names which comes
from proverbial or legendary sayings and provides us in Buganda, as elsewhere
with those of the greatest interest.
First we will take the two well-known places of Gayaza (with this we
can include Kigayaza), and Mukono. If we admit the truth of the derivations
they would seem to imply great dissimilarity of character between their
inhabitants, for Gayaza was such a fertile, bountiful place that it made its
inhabitants lazy, since its name comes from the causative form of okugayala -
to be lazy, whilst the inhabitants of Mukono when asked whence came the riches
and prosperity of their village, were wont to reply with pride "Mukono
gumpadde from the work of my arm".
Kauga in Kyagwe was so noted for its plentiful beer that as its name
explains it was "swimming in it", to use a strikingly similar English expression.
It is interesting to compare this name with that of Namalwa, in Mubende
District, from the Lunyoro amarwa beer, meaning "the place of beer" and
there is every reason to believe that the description is most apposite.
Kansanga it finds me, the name of a river in Kyadondo, comes from
the first word of the saying, Kansanga n'embazzi nga ntema enku mu kibira
eky'e Bunga it finds me with an axe cutting firewood in the forest of Bunga.
Such names as this being abbreviations of Luganda sayings represent the
very essence of the Luganda place-name and their exact implication is extremely
difficult to convey in English.
Naja, which is short for Naja/na/nkumbi I came with a hoe, more
clearly indicates the difficulty of conveying the true sense in English for it
might best be rendered as "the home of the widower", and tells us that when
the man originally came there he had his wife to till the soil for him.
An interesting story is connected with Nkutula, the name of the site of
the Indian shops at Nagalama. Nkutula means "I tear", and in this case
probably "I strip off", for the story says that the place was frequented
by a band of youths who used to strip women of their clothing. From their
depredations at Nagalama arose the saying:-
"Abatemu b'omu Nkutula onobayita wa"? "The marauders of Nkutula
where will you escape them".
Mitiyana provides us with a derivation of great interest and further
shows us how we must be chary of accepting what often appears to be a plausible
50 The Uganda Journal
and obvious solution. It was thought that on the analogy Mitiebiri the
place-name Mitiyana meant "forty trees", but against this is the tonal
difference inherent in the two expressions Mitiyana and Miti ana, and also the
survival of the semi-vowel "y" in the spelling of the name. Some time ago
when I was addressing a refresher course at Mitiyana for the school masters of
the Singo Deanery, I told them how worthwhile it was in schools to endeavour
to interest both staff and pupils in local legends, and particularly in place-
names, and when one afternoon as the guests of the Mukwenda we visited
his headquarters at Watutuma, I enquired as to the origin of the name Mitiyana.
What I feel is the true derivation was provided by an old man who was present,
who told us that he had heard that the name came from the old Luganda form
of Miti-eyana the trees creak. This explanation accounts at the same time
for the pronunciation of the word, and for the presence of the letter "y", and
the archaic or Lunyoro pronominal prefix of "e", which in modern Luganda
would be GI- provides by its antiquity further proof. The Lunyoro survivals
in Singo names are numerous, and Singo, as history tells us, was the "march"
country between Buganda and Bunyoro.
It is reassuring to note that no less an authority than the late Bishop
Gorjuinhis book Entre le Victoria, I'Albert et l'Edouard, states that it is probable
that the forms muggo gwange and mitala gikoya have only replaced those of
muggo wange and mitala ekoya within the last hundred years. We have already
noted one Lunyoro form Nyamumira as surviving in Kyagwe and should
perhaps mention the Kyagwe village name of Ziba from Iziba a well and Kiziba
from the same root. I know of no place-name of Luzzi. Whilst on the subject
of the LI-MA- class I must mention a derivation suggested for Makerere, which
was that it was the plural of Kelele ("l's" and "r's" being confused as they
often are), and therefore that it really meant "large noises"! On this analogy
it would hardly be too fanciful to derive "ukelele" from Swahili and call it
"a nice noise"!
On the road to Kazi or Busabala the place whence the Kabaka's canoe
journeys started (Kabaka gy'asabalira amato ge), is a place called Ndikuttamada-
I will kill you on my return, concerning which the following story may provide
the derivation. When the Kabaka was on his way to Busabala one of his
followers annoyed him and he wished to kill him outright but one of his pages
interceded for him and the Kabaka relented so far as to send the unfortunate
man back to the capital to await his return with the ominous remark Ndi-
kuttamada. There are other places in Buganda with the same name, which
in their case probably came from the fact that they were places in the forest-
hollows in which it was likely that robbers would be lurking, who while they
might allow you to pass safely on the outward journey would get you on the
return. Some places which have more recently received the same name lend
weight to this theory, e.g., on the Kibanga road is a bad corner where motor
cars have been known to overturn this place is now called Ndikuttamada.
Does the name Nkokonjeru come within this category ? I am inclined
to think that it does, and that the first words of the proverb Nkokonjeru
tiyebika kamunye the white chicken cannot be hid from the hawk, may have
been conferred upon the places with this name, for reasons which I must admit
are obscure. Against my theory is the number of places named Ntenjeru -
the white cow, unless of course there is another proverb which would be
applicable which begins thus.
Some Buganda Place-Names 51
Kyosimbonanya what you plant you neglect, is another interesting
Kyagwe name and perhaps hardly an advertisement for the private school
of that name which is there.
Kyojomanyi forewarned is forearmed (in Buddu County Alexis
Sebowa's headquarters, an ex-Pokino) is another curious place-name with
a rather sinister inference which well-established local legend can alone explain.
In the saza of Koki near Rakai is lake Kijanabarora meaning, "It comes and
they see (it)" or "It comes when people are watching", probably indicating
that it is another of the lakes like Mutukula you are clean which appeared
to come so quickly that the story grew that it appeared almost overnight. The
name, with its Lunyoro verb Rora see, shows how closely archaic Luganda
and Lunyoro resembled each other, and how common are Lunyoro names
around the edges of the present kingdom of Buganda. Concerning Lake
Mutukula above-mentioned, Mr. Watson has given us a short account in Vol. 8
of the Uganda Journal.
We cannot dwell too long on this class of place-names, interesting as
they all are, but others will I have no doubt have occurred to many of you,
sufficient to show how far the origin of the name is now often merely a question
for surmise, and how if some of the old people now living have nothing to record
from local history or legend to account for the name, the true meanings will
become more and more mere matters of theory and conjecture. It is not
sufficient to record that a Kabaka said or did something in a certain place,
though that is all we shall probably be able to find out now of a number of
places, where actually if oral tradition had preserved the story as well as it
has preserved much of its country's history, we should have known the name
of the actual Kabaka concerned, and clan history might have given us further
details. It has been suggested that Nyanjeradde, which is in the form of a
greeting to the lake after a long absence, were words said by a Kabaka who
in coming from one of his abodes to another could not see Lake Nalubale or
Victoria throughout his journey, but it would have been much more satisfactory
to know which Kabaka thus gave a name to the hill on which the new
laboratories of Makerere College now stand.
Let us pass from this class of names to another which is of more recent
growth but none the less of interest, the derivations of which are already
becoming obscured. In Buganda are a number of places, particularly Mission
Stations, to which non-natives names have been given but which have been
in most cases so well assimilated into Luganda that their origin has become
already almost hidden. The name Entebbe may be mentioned here. It was
derived, prior to the advent of Europeans, from Entebe za Mugula the head-
quarters of Mugula, the head of the lung-fish clan, but the word has been so
constantly pronounced by Europeans in their way that it will probably never
lose the second "b" which in the true Luganda form should not be there.
The name Villa Maria needs no explanation as the headquarters of the
Roman Catholic religion in Buddu, though one would like to know by whom
it was originally given, as also that of Mitala Maria. Bikira from the Swahili
word for Virgin, also in Buddu, is the place sacred to the memory of the
Blessed Virgin. The two Mission names Virika and Bukumi (the place of
safety), the former inside Fort Portal and the latter in Mubende District, are
both of modern R.C. origin. Virika is dedicated to Notre Dame de Neige and
Bukumi to Notre Dame de la garden.
52 The Uganda Journal
Narozali is not however so obvious as "the place of the rosary", with the
common NA- prefix to give a true Luganda form.
Bujuni the place of help is another Mission in Mubende District, and
Busubizi in Singo is the place of hope. With Bujuni we should compare Kajuna,
the name of one of the oldest C.M.S. stations in Buddu, from the same root
with different prefix.
The name of Kijaguzo the joyous celebration or jubilee, which is also
the name of a royal battery of the Kabaka's drums, was given to the recently
founded Catholic Mission in Bulemezi in memory of the White Father's Jubilee
in Uganda which coincided with the founding of the post.
Galiraya in Bugerere, which was the home of Semei Kakungulu, is the
Uganda "Galilee". It was named by Kakungulu himself.
Interesting examples of misleading etymology are also to be found, for
when a European, an early arrival at Mbarara, asked with a gesture "What
is this" ? He was told Mburara embubbu grass, and he, thinking the whole
hill was called by this name, was responsible for the change of the name from
Karokarungyi. A second example is even more amusing, for there is an-island
of the Buvuma group whose real name was Mpaita, which has been marked
on maps as "Yempaita", i.e., "It is Mpaita" which was the answer given to
the European's question.
Here, I feel, after the modern importations, we must cease for the present
from our survey of place-names, and I must leave you to decide whether
we have been successful in extracting anything romantic from the somewhat
cursory search which I have been able to conduct with you through this paper.
As I have suggested at the start my aim is rather to stimulate further research
and to arouse interest amongst the people of this country themselves than to
attempt an exhaustive catalogue, so that, before the origins become completely
obscured, we shall be able to seek and find the true derivations of names,
which in their present form, may well differ as much from the original as
Bozeat, B-o-z-e-a-t in Northamptonshire, does from the original "Beau Site",
or as Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, from Burg-holm-stede "the homestead
on the hill", both in pronunciation and spelling.
To a people like the Baganda to whom the land means so much, whose
wealth has so largely come from the peasant cultivator, and in whose country
anything in the nature of a town is of such recent growth, the names of their
villages, hills, rivers, swamps, forests and deserts must be fraught with meaning,
but this meaning, so obvious to the people, particularly to the old ones, will
become obscured with the passing of time and the. increase in the number
of town dwellers. Thus for example we have Kabira a small forest, and
Mabira which by its different prefix almost conveys the sense of "a collection
of forests", but in the case of the former perhaps even the oldest inhabitants
cannot remember where it was, and in the case of the latter, which has become
so opened up, it is certain that its name conveys a different picture to the present
day schoolboy from that of the vast gloomy abode of the barely authenticated
Banakalanga, or dwarf men, who lived there in undisturbed possession in the
time of his grandfather.
It must remain a true task of the Baganda to ensure that their place-
names become none the less historical than the recent European importations
of Fort Portal, Lugard's Fort, Port Alice, etc., the origins of which are revealed
in any history book, and to endeavour before these origins become mere matters
Some Buganda Place-Names
of conjecture, to preserve the derivation of these names for their children to
understand. Oral tradition becomes weaker with the increase of literacy
and the time has thus come when oral tradition should be supplemented by
written. As an example of what I mean I should like to digress here and to
read a poem, of no poetic merit but rather in the nature of a nursery rhyme
to show how some old names near my own home at Hemel Hempstead in
Hertfordshire have been preserved. This is the first time as far as I know that
the poem has been written down, it was sent to me recently by my mother who had
heard it from her father and thought it had been handed downto himinhis family.
THE ENDS OF WEST HERTFORDSHIRE.
I have a friend
Lives at some End
In Hertfordshire, I know;
Can you my friend,
Tell me the End,
That I may quickly go?
Of places friend, There's Piccotts End
That are called End, And Water End
We have a score or so; Stags End by Gaddesden Row
To which to send Wards End on high,
My worthy friend, Bods End close by,
I really do not know. Bury Mill End down low.
There's Holtsmere End, There's Gossoms End,
And Nevel End, And Warners End,
Bennetts End by the kiln; And Fields End in between;
And Potten End, And Wood Lane End
And Harper's end, Redbourn Church End,
And Bourne End by the Mill. And Green End on the Green.
There's Snatchups End
And Frogmore End
And Moor End in a row.
"And now, my friend,
Choose your own end,
And say farewell, and go".
Already with town expansion and building schemes it would be difficult
to recognize Wood Lane End and Green End and -it is doubtful whether it
would be much longer remembered without such a rhyme that there was a
flour mill at Bury Mill End and a brick-kiln at Bennetts End.
In conclusion I should like again to acknowledge my debt of gratitude
to Omw. Ham Mukasa of the older generation who has recorded a number
of place-names with the derivations commonly accepted, and of the younger
generation to Messrs. Kakoza, Kasaja and Lubwama of the Education Depart-
ment for the ready help which they have always given which has been by no
means limitedto the collection of local Buganda names. I must also acknowledge
the encouragement and help which I have received from Mr. E. B. Haddon
and Mr. J.T. Kennedy, M.B.E., the latter of whom has listed a very great number
of names particularly in Buddu and on the borders of Ankole and whose
knowledge of the subject is far greater than my own.
54 The Uganda Journal
CLUES TO AFRICAN TRIBAL HISTORY
By MARGARET TROWEL
Uganda is one of the most interesting places in which to study material
culture and the culture contact of race with race. Here, within our compara-
tively small borders, we have had wave after wave of immigrants of many
tribes and races, and hundreds of years of unwritten and almost unguessed
history. It is, perhaps, the most fascinating side of the work of the
ethnologist to ferret out clues to this unwritten history. The clues may be of
several kinds there are the language clues, which the philologist is constantly
tracking down; there are clues hidden away in myth and legend, pointing to
some common origin, perhaps, between widely separated peoples; there are
clues in social custom and taboo, clan organization and the like; and finally
there are the clues of material culture.
The racial groups in the country are distributed as follows: to the south
of a line drawn through Lake Kyoga and the Nile we have the Bantu speaking
peoples, comprising a number of agricultural tribes who are probably the
earliest arrivals left in the country although they themselves were certainly
not the original inhabitants. Away up in the hill country to the west and the
east they have been least influenced by contact with later immigration; in
the central plains their culture has been overlaid and profoundly altered by
the influence of peoples of very different race and culture. Over this western
and central area spead the flood of Hamitic people with whom this paper is
chiefly concerned. To the north, and in broken groups in the east, we have
the Nilotic tribes and a wedge of half-Hamites both being negroid peoples
with a high proportion of Hamitic blood, especially the half-Hamitic Teso
Who are the Hamitic people, known to us chiefly through the Bahima of
Ankole but comprising also many other groups in the Belgian Congo and away
down south and west of Lake Victoria ? They are a light-skinned, long-faced,
fine-featured people of Caucasian stock coming from the north; but just how or
when they arrived is a problem upon which much work has yet to be done.
Some suggest that these Hamitic tribes were a Galla people from
Abyssinia who crossed the Nile in the region of Gondokoro, wandered south to
the west of Lake Albert, and settled in the plains by Lake Kivu. From here
different waves of immigrants wandered eastwards and entered Uganda. One
group formed the wide-spread kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, which at first
had its centre at Mwenge in the north-west, and later at Bwera on the
borders of Ankole. Then came fresh migrations of different peoples from the
north-east Kintu and his clans into Buganda, and the probable Nilotic
dynasty of the Babito kings into Bunyoro. These broke up and stemmed
the first Hamitic tide, and were followed by a fresh Hamitic wave flowing
into Ankole as the Bahima, a tribe which has succeeded in preserving its racial
integrity to a very great extent and has kept apart as a pastoral aristocracy
from the agricultural Iru whom it found in the country and whom it treated
as serfs. Amongst the Banyoro the ruling aristocracy would be more or less
pure Hamites, but a mixed middle class came into being when Bantu serfs
were made freemen and allowed to marry the daughters of the poorer Hamitic
Clues to African Tribal History 55
herdsmen. In Buganda itself the Hamitic element left its mark in the physical
features of the aristocracy and in the genius of the social organization of the
kingdom; but here, probably because the country was unsuited to cattle, the
Hamites never came or stayed in large numbers and were rapidly assimilated
into the Bantu culture. Pere Gorju(1), who made a most minute study of
clan history, claims that Ankole was only recently (in the seventeenth or
eighteenth centuries) occupied by the Bahima.
If these Hamities only arrived in Uganda comparatively recently how is
it they have completely lost their Hamitic language? We may say that a
certain amount of intermarriage was inevitable and that the children would
naturally learn their mothers' tongue, but could this account for a complete
change of language form and yet leave such clear-cut physical characteristics
between the two groups ?
The Nyoro insist that they entered the country from the north-east rather
than the west, and certainly the present dynasty has strong connections with
the Acholi and Lango. But Crazzolara(2), suggests from linguistic and legendary
evidence that the Bachwezi, those mysterious beings a former dynasty of
kings who appeared, ruled, and disappeared again, no one knows where,
were also a Nilotic strain from the north-east.
Crabtree(3) suggested some twenty years ago that the Bahima were not
a Galla people at all but were related to the Fula of West Africa, a pastoral
people, invaders and conquerors, who likewise founded royal dynasties while
their poorer tribesmen tended the cattle of the negroid peoples. It is
interesting to note that Lord Lugard also leaned towards this theory.
According to Crabtree, the Bahima came south after a long sojourn in the
Zande country north-west of the West Nile district of Uganda. This theory
he based on the absence of a Hamitic language and on certain similarities
between the Zande and Ganda languages.
It is interesting to note at the same time Seligman's theory(4) of an
eastward migration of people from this same Zande area, which met and
intermarried with the Nilotic and half-Hamitic peoples in the extreme north of
Uganda, thus profoundly changing the physical characteristics and the culture
of the Bari speaking people (together with the Madi, Acholi and Lango) from
those of the Shilluk with whom they originally must have had far more
I do not feel competent to pass judgment on these various theories, all
I wish to do is to point out that the problem is still unsettled and that several
theories indicate more connection between our western Uganda peoples and
those living north and west of the Nile than is sometimes suspected.
I believe that eventually the material cultures may have as valuable a
contribution to make to the solution of such problems as may language or
social custom. The craftsman is one of the most conservative of peoples with
the result that technical methods of construction, as well as definite types of
objects, persist in a culture despite much wandering throughout the centuries.
Material evidence should thus be able to show the common origin of people now
(') Entre le Victoria, I'Albert et I'Edouard.
(') The Lwoo People. Uganda Journal, Vol. 5.
(') The Origin of the Bahima. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 53.
(4) Some Little Known Tribes of the Southern Sudan. Journal of the Royal Anthro-
pological Institute, Vol. 55,
The Uganda Journal
widely separated. Man will also tend to adopt objects from the material
culture of people with whom he comes in contact long before he adopts their
language or social custom. An interesting example of this can be seen in
the Chopi, a Nilotic people who have crossed the Nile and settled in the Buruli
district of Bunyoro. Here, to a large extent, the tools, domestic utensils and
other objects used are Nyoro, that is to say Bantu types, but they are called by
Nilotic names with no careful discrimination or choice of the nearest equivalent
terms. Thus any kind of Bantu knife will be called by any Nilotic word for
knife, regardless of the fact that there are several types of knives which are
always distinguished from each other, to the endless confusion of the student.
As our first example of a clue to tribal history let us consider something
which is not material culture but rather a person or an idea the Fool or
Jester at the Royal Court. We are all familiar with the Court Jester in
medieval England with his cap and bells, his bladder on a stick, and his license
to act in a way which would not be considered seemly for the ordinary mortal.
Attached to the Court of the Omukama of Bunyoro we find the Court
Jester. At all such traditional ceremonies as the lengthy Mpango (accession
anniversary) celebrations, and the short ceremonies which take place daily
in the early morning, his part is to play the fool. He postures and acts,
raises a laugh by his remarks and stories, and seems to be free to interrupt
with a witticism at any point in the proceedings. He carries, slung from his
left wrist, three flutes (ensegu) which give him his name "the man of the flutes"
(omusegu): these flutes are made of a cow's larynx stretched over a framework
of wood. On his right hand he wears a puppet of the skin of some small
animal, akasoro kabasegu, with a false forelock and mane of hair, strings of
beads round the neck, and red beans for eyes (Plate I). It is this puppet
which is supposed to speak when he speaks, and with which he raises the mirth
of the crowd.
I have met with one jester only at the Bunyoro court but there are
suggestions of mpre, or at any rate of more flute players: in other tribes there
are usually a number of these men. Roscoe(1), writing on the Banyoro,
mentions a royal band of flutes under the leadership of the Omusegu consisting
of about twenty players who served in relays. They were serfs but possessed
estates in the country: when they received gifts from the King they kissed
his feet, not his hands as was the usual custom.
Roscoe tells of a legend amongst the Banyoro which accounts for the
privileged position of the Omusegu. The Omukama Chwa of the present
dynasty, the fourteenth king before the present Omukama, was lost on an
expedition into Ankole. Apparently he had no child so his sister reigned in
his stead. Later, a wife of Chwa's called Arapenyi turned up with a child
who was unmistakably Chwa's son. The ruling queen, fearing that her power
would come to an end, sent for the little prince, plotting secretly to kill him.
But Omusegu the flute player heard of this and warned the friends of the
prince, and the child was told that if during his interview with the queen
he heard the sound of a pipe he was to flee. The day came, and the queen,
outwardly friendly, gave the sign for the prince to be speared, but Omusegu
sounded his pipe and the child escaped. When the young prince became
king he immediately rewarded Omusegu by adopting him into his own clan,
(1) The Bakitara or Banyoro.
, "'"" "" 1.
,- W.. -0 4
Plate I.-The Court Jester's Puppet-Bunyoro.
Clues to African Tribal History
Ababito, decreeing that he and his sons for ever would be the royal flute
players and have access to the king at any time.
The terms of familiarity of the Omusegu with the Omukama are thus
satisfactorily accounted for in legend.
Not long ago I received permission from the Omugabe of Ankole to visit
the Royal Drums. During my visit I noted an old skin bag poked away in
the background and asked one of the old men in charge what it might be.
It was hauled out the jester's puppet again, mane, beads, eyes and all,
identical with the specimen already obtained from the Omukama of Bunyoro.
Fishing inside, the old man brought out the three flutes, but there seemed
to be no sign of a jester, no one knew of his existence, the skin was merely
a bag (omutemere) used to hold the old flutes which were somehow connected
with the drums, no one knew why or how. Just as I was about to give up
my questioning, an even older man, who had previously taken no notice of
me, joined in. He knew all about the flutes and the old bag, there had been
many of them once, and when the royal drums had been moved from place
to place men of the Abasingo clan had danced in front blowing the flutes,
yes, and they had carried the skins on their hands, but the drums had not
been moved for many years now and few men were left who could remember
anything about what happened in those days.
The following extracts are taken from a monograph on the Ziba written
by Hermann Rehse in 1910(1):-
"A court fool with an exceptional gift for the comic gets his effects
by telling humorous things with a solemn countenance . He has
various stock-in-trades . The first a small horn consisting of two
slightly hollowed pieces of wood laid against each other, with this he wakes
the king in the morning. The instrument looks simple but is difficult
to play; the fool puts it in a vertical position against his lower lip and
blows lightly over the opening. The instrument is held in the right hand
in a 'foolish' posture. The court fool has no prescribed costume but is
recognized by a number of comic ornaments, one carried in his hair a carved
wooden snake with red painted eyes. Another day he appeared with a black
wooden mask with a cleverly carved 'European-like' nose, openings for the
eyes and a mouth full of human teeth. The mask had a long beard made
of a cow's tail and was decorated with white lines on the nose and cheeks."
The only other references I have found to a court jester in East Central
Africa are in Schweinfurth and Czekanowski. Schweinfurth(2), when describing
his visit to the Court of the Nyam-Nyam or Zande in 1868, says:-
"Next appeared a number of professional singers and jesters, amongst
them a little plump fellow, who acted the part of a pantomime clown,
and jumped about and turned somersaults . He was covered from
head to foot with bushy tufts and pigtails . .his jokes and pranks
seemed never ending and he was permitted to take liberties with everyone
including the king (Munza) himself."
The pantomime clown here might have no connection with our court
jester, and certainly there is no mention of flute, puppet or mask, but
Czekanowski(3) speaking of the Mabudu just south of part of the Zande country
(1) Kiziba Land und Leute.
(*) The Heart of Africa.
(") Wiesenschafliche Ergebnisse der Deutcshen Zentral-Africa Expedition 1907-1908.
58 The Uganda Journal
says: "The court fool with a small ivory horn is included in the orchestra".
This flute or horn would certainly seem to be a very constant part of his
equipment further south where, for example, Tusi kings keep bands of the
Twa pigmies who entertain them by dancing, music, impersonations and other
jests. Seligman(1) quotes a passage relating to the ruling Pharaoh sending
south for "a dancing dwarf from the land of spirits" to entertain his
court in the third millennium B.C.
Now let us turn to another type of clue to tribal history objects which
have a widespread distribution and are consistent in shape throughout a large
area. Wooden objects are perhaps the most noticeable, and certain series
of stools and wooden food bowls will illustrate this point.
There seem to me to be two main types of large stool found in Uganda the
stool with a base, and the stool without a base (I am, of course, omitting
the many varieties of small head-rest stools found in the north, and several
others whose distribution is small and local). The first type the stool with
a base can be subdivided into the cotton-reel type, and the type where the
central pillar is divided into legs. I think that the legged type is a development
from the cotton-reel type, and that the two may safely be regarded as forming
one large division.
The distribution of the two main types is interesting. The stool with
a solid base (Figure 1 and Figure 2) is found all down western Uganda among
the Kakwa, Kuku, Acholi, Lango, Madi, Lugbara, Alur, Nyoro, Ganda, Toro,
Konjo, Hima and Kiga, and among the Tusi and Hutu in Ruanda. The legged
type (Figure 3) is found all down the eastern side of the Protectorate, among
the Lango, Soga, Gishu, Gwere, Samia, Teso, Karamoja, and the rest.
The two types overlap in the centre amongst the Nyoro and the Ganda,
but I think the first is the older inhabitant. It is certainly the commoner
in Bunyoro, and the stool which can still be seen in Kabarega's tomb is of the
legs-with-base type. As for the Baganda, it would seem that the stool is a
recent innovation except for the Kabaka himself and the temples of the Lubale
(spirits). Speke says that when he visited Mutesa he was requested to sit
on a heap of grass because no one but the Kabaka himself could be seated
upon anything raised above the ground. The stool from Kibuka's temple,
now in the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Cambridge, is similar
in shape to that in Kabarega's tomb.
Where we find the cotton-reel or legs-with-base type of stool we find a
similar food vessel consisting of a bowl supported by legs from a solid base,
widely known in western Uganda as ihungu (Figure 5). I have not yet collected
many specimens but there would seem to be as many variations within the
type as there are among the stools. One rather specialized group stands
out the Nyoro vessel (Figure 6) with its well-defined shape, colour and mode of
decoration. It varies from the sixteen-legged bowl of the Omukama himself
and the nine-legged bowl (nine is the magical number of the Banyoro) and
the bowl with varying numbers of legs, used by the chiefs, to the pedestalled
type used by the ordinary peasant. It is found in use among the Nilotic
neighbours of the Banyoro, the Alur, Lango and Acholi; and more interesting
still it is found as part of the regalia of chiefs who at some time owed allegiance
to the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara the vessel being presented to the chief
(1) Races of Africa.
Clues to African Tribal History 59
Figure 1.-Cotton reel stool.
Figure 2.-Legged stool with base.
Figure 3.-Legged stool. Figure 4.-Stool of split palm.
Figure 6.-Nyoro food bowl.
Figure 5.-Ihunga bowl.
60 The Uganda Journal
Figure 7.-Milkpot with
spike at base.
Figure 8.-Hima milkpot.
Figure 9.-Hoe with
Figure 10.-Hoe with
tang lashed to handle.
Figure 11.-Hoe with
tang through bulge.
Figure 12.-Arrow with feathering.
Clues to African Tribal History 61
by the Omukama himself. Lukyn Williams(1) has reported that one of
these vessels forms part of the regalia of the Abakama of Koki, in Buganda,
and I recently received a photograph of the Rwot of Attiak's regalia (Acholi)
in which is an eight-or-nine-legged bowl presented to a previous Rwot by
Two other types of wooden vessel would seem to be particularly distinctive.
One is the vessel with a spike at the base (Figure 7); this is usually a chief's
drinking vessel for milk, but is also found as a grease pot and a milking pail.
It is noticeable because it would seem to be an awkward type of vessel which
when not in use must either be stood in a pot-stand or hung by a string or net.
I have only succeeded in finding one so far in Uganda the ekisahi from Bunyoro
- but in 1899 Kollmann(2) recorded specimens from Kiziba, Ukerewe and
Ussinja and I recently obtained a milking pail of this type from the Teriki,
a Bantu Kavirondo people in western Kenya. It has also been reported from
the Dama, a Nilotic people in south-east Uganda near the Teriki.
A type of wooden vessel which is well-known in Uganda is the Hima
milk vessel or kyanzi (Figure 8). This has a large bowl-shaped base narrowing
like an inverted pyramid to a long neck and narrow mouth: around the base
of the neck a groove is always carved. Wooden milkpots are widely used
to the west and south-west of Lake Victoria; they may be cylindrical, be shaped
like English medicine or milk bottles, or be variations of the Hima type the
groove is almost always constant. In one case (among the Tusi) the groove
is replaced by a projecting rim.
The original function of the groove is unknown. The Bahima call it omubabo
and say it is a measuring mark, and that when a cow gives milk to a level above
the groove it is a good milker. That, I think, is only a rationalization because
even amongst the Bahima themselves the size of the kyanzi varies, especially
small ones being made for the childern, and all are grooved. These grooved
milkpots are found amongst the Nyoro, Hima, Kiga, Hutu, Tusi, Ziba, Sinja
When probing tribal history, the technique used by the craftsmen should
prove just as instructive as the shape of the object which he makes, e.g., the
size of a bow may alter during the migrations of a tribe from forest land (where
a small bow is most handy) to open grass land (where a larger bow capable
of increasing the range of flight of the arrows is desirable). The available
materials will also alter, but the traditional methods of construction will
often remain constant, and this must have happened with many artifacts.
The distribution of technical methods is most interesting. Take, for
example, the most common agricultural tool of all, the hoe, and consider the
shape of the blade and the method of attaching the head to the handle. Three
methods are found; in the first (Figure 11), the tang of the blade is driven
through the bulging head of the wooden handle; in the second (Figure 10),
the tang is attached to the short arm of an angled handle; and, in the third
(Figure 9), the blade has a socket in place of a tang and this is fitted to the
end of the handle.
The first type tang through bulge is found amongst the western Acholi,
all the West Nile tribes (the Kakwa, Kuku, Lugbara and Madi), the Konjo,
(1) The Coronation of the Abakama of Koki. Uganda Journal, Vol. 4.
(2) The Victoria Nyanza.
62 The Uganda Journal
and the agricultural tribes of western Uganda (the Iru, Hutu, and Kiga). Tang
lashed to handle is found amongst the central tribes and amongst those of
eastern Uganda (Nyoro, Ganda, Lango, Teso, Gishu, Soga and other neigh-
bouring tribes). The socketed head is found only amongst the Acholi, Madi
and tribes further north such as the Bari and Latuka. Incidentally, the
Acholi are the only tribe I have yet found having a socketed axe head.
You will note that the first group links up West Nile with Kigezi. A
further similarity is found in the cross section of the blade which is an ogee
curve: other tribes have a blade which is either flat in cross section or has a
Choosing at random from the more spectacular examples of technical
construction, we have an arrow with a method of feathering which is of great
interest (Figure 12). The feathers, about a dozen in number, are split and
trimmed and are laid along the shaft with the ends projecting beyond the
neck. They are then secured, after which they are bent down through an
angle of 1800 and secured again by the other end to the shaft. Now it would
seem that this method of construction is so distinctive that its distribution
should indicate definite contact and not mere spontaneous invention. The
only specimen we have in the Uganda Museum collection is of uncertain origin:
Captain Pitman took it from some Acholi or Madi poachers a number of years
ago. Although the blade is Nilotic the length of the shaft suggests a Hamitic
origin. The only report I have been able to find on this type of feathering is
one by Leakey who records it from Tanganyika. A very painstaking fieldworker
recently took the arrow all though Acholi, Madi, Kuku and Lugbara without
response from even the oldest inhabitants. The Batwa of the Central Lakes
feather arrows in a similar way but they do not split the feathers.
Another interesting example of technical construction is a stool (Fig.l, D),
which gives us a widespread west-to-east culture contact. This stool is a
foreigner to Uganda. Its construction is unique in that it is made from many
pieces of split palm instead of being carved from a solid log. It is extremely
common in Bunyoro, and is also found in Madi, Alur, Lugbara and Kakwa.
I believe that it occurs also over the border in the Sudan (it may connect with
the divans of early Egypt) and there is conclusive evidence of its presence in
the Central Congo. Schweinfurth(1) and Czekanowski(2) both give drawings
of stools identical in construction the first from the Bambutoo and the
second from the Mangbetu. It is also recorded from the Azande.
When work has been done on the fragments of pottery to be found in the
Biggo bya Mugenyi, near Masaka, and more has been discovered about the
builders of those curious earthworks, we may be able to throw some light
on these early migrations. In connection with this we may mention a clay
cylinder(3) found recently at Ntusi which is of a type of work unknown today
in Uganda. It is decorated with a number of modelled knobs or incrustations
such as can also be found on the pottery of the Mangbetu, near neighbours
of the Zande in the Congo.
There are other similar examples of clues to past history which we have no
space to consider here, including tools, technical processes in iron work and
basketry, musical instruments, tunes, patterns; all these would seem to me
(1) The Heart of Africa.
(2) Wis3enschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Zentral-Africa Expedition 1907-1908.
(3) See The Roette Cylinder from Ntusi on p. 151 of this number.
Clues to African Tribal History
to show evidence for culture contact between tribes to the north-west of Uganda,
the West Nile tribes, the Acholi and Lango, and the Bantu-Hamites of south-
Just how does this suggestion support existing hypotheses? The usual
theory that the Hamites came from the north-east before the arrival there
of the Nilotics makes contact between the two difficult to credit unless we
postulate a common origin further north. On the other hand a slow safari
southwards of either Galla or Fula peoples, lingering long enough north-west
of Uganda to forget their original language and to adopt new artifacts, as
suggested by Crabtree, taken together with Seligman's hypothesis that the
Zande group spread out and intermingled with the West Nile, Acholi and
Lango peoples would fit in well if the dates of the various migrations should
bear it out, especially as more connecting links in material cultures between
the two groups seem to be found west of Lake Albert than in the direct route
through Toro and Bunyoro.
Little work has so far been done on these problems and a wide and
interesting field for research has yet to be explored. It is hoped that the
Museum, together with the African Studies Department of Makerere College,
when that comes into being, will be able to make a useful contribution to our
knowledge of the subject and that African students will themselves take a
large share in such research.
64 The Uganda Journal
MYTH, LEGEND AND LORE IN UGANDA
By F. LUKYN WLLIAMS
One of the objects of the Uganda Society is to discover and place on
record facts and information about this country and its peoples which might
otherwise in the course of time be lost. The examination of the cultures,
customs and folklore of the people of Africa is intensely interesting in itself,
but I think there is one aspect of this research which is not always appreciated.
The old idea that everything in primitive Africa is bad and should be
rooted out and replaced is giving way to a sympathetic study and consideration
of the African viewpoint. We should no longer point to Europe as being
superior in morals, ethics and general outlook on life. Ifwe do are we not judging
the African by our own standards, and have we tried to understand the African
outlook? Are we not justifying the constant slur hurled at us : "The white
man does not understand"? We from the west come to Africa so completely
imbued with habits, both of action and of thought, that it is often difficult
to conceive of the possibility of other habits and thought.
It is up to the Uganda Society to remedy this lack of knowledge and
attempt to learn some of the traditions and customs, stresses and strains of
African society. We should remember that the history of the world is full
of instances of two cultures impinging on one another with the consequent
borrowing of customs, thought and ways of life. The good is taken, the
bad left. We cannot hope to fuse what is best in African culture with what
is best in European unless we know what each contains. This applies equally
to Africans and non-Africans alike.
In their eagerness to absorb the education of the west, most Africans
do not realise that five thousand years ago in Britain communal life was lived
much as it is in Africa to-day. It has taken centuries of blood and sweat to
build our civilisation which the African hopes to absorb in as many years
or months. He tends to ignore the history and lore of his own country.
I remember once asking an intelligent Munyankole the local names of
the months of the year. He replied "I don't know; I have never learnt
them. I went to school when I was young and we always learn the English
names." What a confession!
It always rather worries me when I hear an African say: "We cannot do so
and so, because it is bad; it savours of the past; we are Christians now and
must cut away from these old customs". He little realises how many Christian
doctrines and ideas were evolved from old pagan customs and were reclothed.
There are in these days, I am glad to say, an increasing number of
educated Africans who are coming to realise that their countries are rich in
historical legends, many of which have a distinct bearing on their present
customs and outlook on life. Nevertheless it is remarkable how little the
average African knows about his own country; he is very parochial in his
outlook and can tell you nothing outside his village and surroundings, unless
it concerns his clan. Children no longer sit round the fire at night while the
old people pass on by word of mouth the history and legends of the tribe. The
young people go to school and are not interested in the lore of their fathers;
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda 65
and yet it is from these tales passed on through generations in this way
that we can learn a vast amount of history and tribal lore. Especially is this
the case if we are able to compare them with like stories from other parts of
Africa or further afield.
Myth, legend and lore a vast subject, and one which takes in social
customs, so I can only just touch the fringe of the subject, give a few examples
and possibly indicate lines of research.
A myth has been defined as "a story told to account for something",
a legend as "a story told as true, but consisting either of fact or fiction or
both indifferently"; lore, "a body of traditional facts or beliefs relating to
But I don't think we need to trouble, ourselves unduly about such
definitions for the purpose of this paper, which is to give examples of what
we have in our midst, and in any case we use the words myth and legend
rather freely in normal speech as meaning what is not really true and cannot
be believed. When we come to animal stories we shall see that they often,
though not always, are in the category of fairy tales.
Let us touch first of all on the stories told to account for something.
In all countries we find physical features which have some story attached
to them, usually passed down from primitive times. The age of superstition
is by no means over, even to-day in Europe, and many tales are still told
about physical features. The details are often not so vivid as they are about
features in Africa that is because Africa is at present more primitive.
There are many such interesting features within reach of Kampala which
bear examining. The tale attached is usually illuminating and often has
a direct bearing on the history of the country.
I don't know whether any of you have visited Tanda, quite near Mityana.
It is worth a visit. The hill is riddled with holes, shafts which go into the
ground to varying depths some twenty feet, some over two hundred feet.
There are over two hundred of these holes hidden in the grass. If you go,
don't go without a guide and don't take a dog off a lead. I have not heard of
any good archeological or geological explanation of these holes. They certainly
look man-made, especially those three or four in a row a few yards apart cut
into the ironstone rock. Is it possible that these are relics of the early
searchers for gold or other metal? -Whatever their age or their cause we
have, based on these holes, a myth told by the Baganda to account for the
coming of death in the world If you have read the legend in the Engero
za Baganda, of which there is an English version in Roscoe and another in
Baskerville, you will remember that when Walumbe Death escaped from
Gulu God or Sky to earth, his brother Kaikuzi chased him, but he went
to ground, and whenever Kaikuzi dug for him he popped up somewhere else.
The holes which were dug and the holes made when he popped up are said
to be these holes at Tanda.
The interesting thing about this story of how death came into the world
is that almost universally among the Bantu races in all parts of Africa death
is represented as being brought into the world by the chameleon. There are
varieties of the tale, but the main feature is that owing to the chameleon's
slowness death arrived to stay. Why this variety among the Baganda?
Miss Alice Werner, who has made a study of these things, thinks that the
tale was introduced by one of the Hamitic races, which entered from the north
The Uganda Journal
or west. Again why ? The Bahima certainly know of no such tale, neither
do the Batutsi. Personally I think there is no doubt that we have here one
of these aetiological myths, i.e., a tale which explains the existence of a physical
object. There is no reason why we should not think that people of one of
the invasions were instrumental in evolving the tale to account for the holes.
The chameleon tale is not unknown in Buganda. Have you ever noticed that
no African likes a chameleon and will not touch one ?
Nearer still than Tanda, in Kyadondo, there is a tall rock called Kungu,
which belongs to the Empewo (Oribi) clan of the Baganda. In Vol. 7
of the Uganda Journal Bere gives a description of a climb up this rock, and
he gives a little of its history. The story is that this rock at one time moved
from the Sabagabo of Kyagwe with one group of the Empewo clan. After
stopping one night at Kira it moved to Buyozi hill, en route to Bulemezi,
where it stayed for two nights, but finding it was too tired to move again
it had to remain. Hence the saying now used: "Nasulayo biri Kungu ze
yasula e Buyozi" "I will sleep there two days as Kungu slept at Buyozi". It
is not long ago since a dispute as to the headship of the Empewo clan was
decided by the Kabaka, I am informed, entirely on the legend of this rock.
It is interesting to visit this rock. Smaller rocks'all around it have names
also. Three stones lying together with another on top are said to be Kungu's
cooking pot on the firestones (amasiga). Others represent his wife, kitchen
and table, and his large shield. The surroui ding rocks are princes all known
by name while the son, Makai, is nearby, I never ascertained whether
the proverb : "Ozade ebitukula makai byazala ku nsiko" "You have begotten
white things as Makayi begat in the bush" has a definite connection with this
stone or not.
At the foot of the rock is a small forest and a spring. A very large
python is said to live in the forest. All quite in accordance with the usual
objects pertaining to a sacred place. I did not see the python, but I noticed
that my guide was reluctant to proceed by the quickest route through the
For my next aetiological myth I would take you to Ankole. In the
north-east corer, not a great distance from the Masaka border is a group
of rocks called "Mabare", which of course means "rocks" in Lunyankole
and Lunyoro. They resemble the heads of a man and a woman. The man
has his tuft of hair (nsunzhu) on top, such as all Bahima wear, while the
woman's head has its usual head covering. I must say the resemblance is
unmistakable. The stones nearby resemble milkpots. The story goes that
Mugasha, one of the Bachwezi, was washing one day when a man and his
wife came along and saw him. He thereupon became so angry that he
turned them and their milkpots to stone.
The leading Bachwezi are looked on nowadays as sacred beings by the
Bahima in so far as their spirits are worshipped with special ceremonies and
dances. Mugasha was one of the most popular and is looked on as a benefactor
of mankind. He was gigantic of stature and the builder of hills and rocks,
wells and lakes. So this turning of the man and his wife into stone is quite
in keeping with his character. He was a great rain maker, and could shake
the heavens. When the Bachwezi left he is said by the Bahima to have gone
to the Sesse Islands. We can therefore identify him with Mukasa, the
Baganda lake God.
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda 67
Whilst in this area I would like to refer to a rock called "Lya Mugenyi".
It is in the Bwera area, in Masaka District, not a great distance from Mabare
rocks. It is fairly well established that the Bachwezi ruled the country west
of the lakes from Bwera. Mugenyi was another of the Bachwezi. He has
the reputation of being a great lover of cattle and a digger of salt wells. Cattle
are reputed never to have died while he was alive. This rock, "Lya Mugenyi",
is remarkable for three deep holes it has, which always contain water. When
I was last there one hole had twelve feet of water, one fifteen and one four.
They have never been known to dry up. Mugenyi watered his cattle here,
hence the name "Lya Mugenyi". I think we are passing from myth to real
history now. Of course the usual myths and legends are attached to this
water hole, e.g., none'except cattle must drink from the top hole or the cattle
will die. If any one draws water from this rock with any metal receptacle
the water will dry up. One is reminded of the refusal of Bahima to milk
into anything other than their wooden milkpots for fear the milk will dry up
in the cow.
The whole neighbourhood will repay considerable study. Only fifteen
miles away are the ancient fortifications or is it a glorified kraal ? of Biggo.
Don't forget it is called Biggo bya Mugenyi the strangers' forts. While
not far away, Wamara, the Muchwezi who is always considered by the Bahima
to have been the head of the race, took up his abode on a hill at the foot of
which is a series of built-up pools called Bwogero, at which he watered
his cattle. They overflow into one another, and are similar to the more well-
known Bwogero, but called irrigation works, at Ntusi, also in that region.
In my opinion no theory as to the origin of Biggo can be satisfactory
without taking into account the other relics hitherto hardly known and
seldom visited in that area. It is in Bwera, I think, that we shall find any
tradition which may be extant about Biggo.
In Butambala there is a large rock called Nyakyegywe, belonging to
the leopard (Ngo) clan. Nyakyegywe was the daughter of Kintu who, so
the story goes, grieved so much at his death that she was turned into a rock.
Much moisture exudes from the rock at times and causes green trails on its
face, which are said to be Nyakyegywe weeping again an aetiological myth.
This weeping is said to take place at the death of each Kabaka. I have not
visited the place since the death of the late Kabaka and have not enquired if
the rock behaved as required on that occasion. There is also here the kitchen
chimney, the cooking stones and a rock called Nabuto, her daughter. Under
a slab nearby a leopard used to live and have its young. A leopard is still
seen about from time to time. It was at this rock in a hole at the top, contain-
ing water, that every newborn child of the Leopard clan used to be brought
to be bathed and to receive a clan name. With the advent of Christianity
this custom died out.
There is an outcrop of rock at Buwanda, in Mawokota, which belongs to
the Ngabi clan. On this rock is an indentation resembling a large foot, which
is said to be that of Kimera, who was of the Ngabi clan. Two holes nearby
are said to have been made by his wife when she knelt to give him his food.
At Walugali, in Sabagabo of Singo, is another rock named after a man
of that name, who lived in the time of Kimera and fought him. Repre-
sentations of dog's and man's feet can be seen in the surface of the rock today,
which are said to be those of himself and his dog.
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So much for rocks; one might go on -
We find the explanatory myth attached to lakes and rivers, such as
Lake Wamara being formed from the water-bag belonging to Wamara,
whom we have already mentioned; or the Sezibwa river in Kyagwe, which,
it is related, had its origin by a woman of the Kibe clan giving birth to it
instead of the expected child. Up till six years ago, and I have no doubt
also today, every Muganda, when passing the source, threw a handful of
grass or a stone.
Trees or groves are often of interest in this part of the world. You
may find a legend attached to them or you may find they are burial grounds
of ancestors and chiefs.- In either case they are probably considered sacred
and are connected with the worship of spirits. We often find snakes associated
with these groves. There is nearly always reported to be one or more living
The study of snake worship throughout the world is an interesting
subject about which I know little. But often the snake is thought to be
the embodiment of the spirit of the departed. You will remember that in
the Biblical tale it is the serpent that is associated with death in the world.
I often wonder whether some of the groves I have visited are said to be
sacred because snakes are there or whether the snakes are said to be there
because they are sacred.
There are many such groves in Ankole. No one is allowed to kill the
snakes in them. If a man was going to visit a friend and met a snake on
the way he would turn back. It would be a bad omen, because the snake
would be thought to be going to those who had just died.
In the case of the Bagabe of Ankole, they were all buried for many
generations in a sacred forest of Isanzhe in the south-east (that is, all except the
last one, Ntare). The spirit was then said to have turned into a lion, but
that's a long story and we won't go into it here. You can read about it in
part, and not very accurately, in Roscoe's book on the Banyankole. The
spirits of the mothers and wives of the Bagabe who were buried in a neigh-
bouring forest all turned into snakes.
Snake worship is often connected with springs. I have referred to the
spring at Kungu rock. There are many water-holes in Ankole which are
said to have a cobra living near. At the bottom of Kangenyi hill in Shema
a large c9bra lived for a long time. Mbaguta, the grand old man of Ankole,
who was its chief minister for nearly forty years, used to assure me that the
cobra followed his father from Mpororo when he came to Ankole. It fed off
beer, white cows and white sheep. When it died its offspring took its place,
but when Christianity came it was neglected and died from lack of food.
We so often take it for granted that everything pagan is wrong that
we do not stop to consider what the African really did belive. How far
did he really worship spirits ? Was he really doing so in order to propitiate
them to help him. Did he belive in a supreme being, an after life, a heaven
in the sky? And so on. It is only when we know this that we can build
on his ideas today. The subject is too large to go into now, but we can learn
a bit here and there from his folk tales. We can only generalise when we
know the customs and thoughts of many tribes. Many books are available
to us written by thosewho have studied the subject and have compared the
beliefs of many races. I collected a few folk tales in Ankole which I do
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda 69
not think are generally known. Many of them are what I like to.term "Why" ?
stories. The story explains certain facts or customs. They are often told
for the benefit of children. Among these tales, we have distorted accounts
of historical events, tales with a moral, tales to bewhile the leisure.hours,
tales accounting for the creation. A good story teller is much in demand,
and even though the hearers know the tale they will sit for hours and listen to
one who can act the part, by gesture or voice, better than his fellows.
Tales about animals are always popular. Primitive peoples who live
near to nature constantly observe the habits of beasts and birds, and may
wonder why some differ in their ways from others. If an African is asked
the reason for these differences it is seldom that some good explanation is
not forthcoming These are what I term "Why"? stories. The child of
nature is apt to look on living things as being able to think and speak. I
was assured in Ankole that animals speak a language which they understand
among themselves, and at one time men could understand it. This power
in man has now been lost except in the case of a very few. I will refer to this
again when discussing were-leopards.
We are all familiar with Aesop's Fables. There is no doubt that his tales
originated in Africa and many of them remind us of tales we can hear today.
Aesop was Aethiops or the Aethiopian. In the days of our youth we also
heard the tales of Uncle Remus, told by the negro slave in America. They
are only the Americanised versions of the African folk tales. Instead of
Brer Rabbit being the cunning and intelligent one, we have the hare, or in
some tribes the tortoise, while in West Africa it is the spider. The lion and
the elephant are usually portrayed as stupid and brutal.
The first tale I should like to recount is entitled "Why there are so many
cattle in Ankole". This also is a story told to children to teach them not
to hurt animals or insects. All these tales are long drawn out, but I will be
as brief as possible.
There once was a great hunter, who one day found an ant-eater in one
of his traps. The ant-eater said "Please let me out and one day I will help
you". So he let it out and made blood-brotherhood with it. Another day
he caught a spider and the same thing happened. At different times he caught
a fly, a tick bird, a rain bird, a white ant and a cobra. With allofwhich he made
blood-brotherhood. One night, when he was asleep, the men from the sky came
and stole the hunter's wife and his one cow and took them back to the sky.
He enquired of his neighbours and no one knew where they had gone. Then
the rain bird spoke, saying he was awake on the night and had seen the people
from the sky come and steal his wife and cow and take them back with them.
He thanked the rain bird for his information and while wondering howheshould
recover them his blood-brother, the spider, said he would help him by weaving
a web so strong that he would be able to climb to the sky. "But how shall
I get into the sky-land"? he asked. "People say the sky is a hard barrier
which cannot be pierced". The spider suggested the ant-eater would help.
The ant-eater said he would dig a hole through which the man could crawl into
the sky-land. So the spider wove his web and the ant-eater made his hole
and the man went into the sky-land where there were very, very many cattle
and very, very many people. The people were astonished to see him and
asked how he came. So he told them: he also told them he had come to
fetch his wife and cow which had been stolen. They then brought quantities
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of food for him and told him he could have them if he ate all the food before
morning. They knew this was impossible, nevertheless he ate what he could,
and when he began to despair because of the quantity left, the white ant
appeared who asked what was the trouble. The white ant promised him
help, whereupon hosts of white ants appeared and consumed all the food.
The sky men were puzzled in the morning to see all the food consumed. So
they said he could have his wife and cow if he would split a large rock and
light a fire with it. He went to the rock and sat down to ponder. Then
Lightning came to him and said "I am a friend of yours. Many times have
I been in your traps and you have not harmed me. I will split the rock for
you". So Lightning split the rock by flashing across it. He then gave the
man a feather from his wing, telling him that he could ignite the rock with
the feather when he had placed the pieces in the fireplace. The man then
looked about for some withies to make a rope to tie the pieces together so
that he could carry them. While doing so his blood-brother, the cobra, came
along and offered himself as a rope. So the cobra was tied round the pieces
of rock and they were carried to the sky men where the hunter set light to
them with the feather. Again the sky men marvelled, and theytoldhimhe could
have his wife and cow if he could find them. They brought crowds and crowds of
women in front of him where they sat down in groups. They were all veiled,
as is the custom of Bahima women in the presence of men. So he could not
distinguish them. The fly then said "I am always with your wife in the
house and I know her. The woman whose face I settle on is she". The
fly buzzed off and settled on the face of his wife. When they brought many
herds of cattle in front of him the tick bird whispered "I know your cow. I
always sit on her back. I will go and settle on her now". This it did and
he quickly pointed out his cow. The sky men were so pleased at the hunter's
wisdom that they presented him with vast herds and sent him back from the
sky-land by the easy way only known to them.
This tale is very interesting in many ways. First of all it presupposes
a- time when Ankole had few cattle in it, as was the case before the arrival
of the Hamitic invaders, be they Galla, Bachwezi or what we now call Bahima.
The original inhabitants of Ankole and the lacustrine areas were of course
Bantu, but the invaders were not. Nevertheless the Bahima and Batutsi
further south have not only taken over the language, but many of the customs
of the conquered, and most of the tales told in Ankole are Bantu in origin.
In this case the tale reminds us very much of Kintu making his three tests
The belief in heaven-folk is very common throughout Africa, though
of course all tribes do not have this belief. The Lango and Teso believe that
the heaven-folk have tails.
There are all sorts of stories dispersed throughout Africa of how the
ascent into heaven can be made. There is nearly always a secret way for
the heaven-folk to use, but men of the earth have to find some other way.
Sometimes it is done by a tree growing, rather like'Jack and the Beanstalk,
sometimes a man sits on a magic stool, sometimes a spider obligingly spins
a thread as in this story.
The arc of the sky was always considered by the ancients to be solid.
The ant-eater (aardvark) is a very common animal in Ankole. Its skin is
used for shoes for the Mugabe and cannot be worn by anyone eles.
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda 71
The reference to Lightning needs a little explanation Lightning in
Ankole is considered to be of two kinds-one is bird lightning and one hammer
lightening. If trees or building are struck or a hole in the ground is made
and there is a loud clap of thunder, it is the Hammer. Other lightning which
strikes is considered to be a large bird about the size of a sheep, with wings
about fifty feet long. The fire of the lightning comes from under the wings
when they are raised. Now this is all quite is accordance with ideas common
throughout the Bantu world. I have never met anyone who claims to have
seen the bird, though such claimants in Africa are common.
One word more on this tale. Though the tale is told by Bahima, there
is one touch which is very non-Bahima. Every Mahima cattle-keeper would
know his cow by sight and name. He would call the cow and it would come
and he would not have to have it picked out by thetick bird. This alone seems
to show the Bantu origin of the tale. The woman not being recognized is
quite understandable. The Bahima women cover their heads so that only
the eyes can be seen by the stranger.
Many of the "Why" ? stories are to do with animals. One of these of
which I am very fond and which I expect is new to you is entitled "Why the
dog stays with man".
Three types of dog dropped from the sky, the jackal who has always
wandered about by himself, the wild dog who prefers to hunt in packs and
the common dog. Before this there was no type of dog on earth.
The first thing the dog met was a topi. "Good morning", said the dog.
"Good morning, who are you"? said the topi. "I am a dog", answered he.
"I have just come from heaven and have nowhere to go, so may I stay with
you"? He noticed that the topi kept on looking round in an apprehensive
manner while he was talking. "There is a very dangerous creature in this
country", said the topi, "called man. He is small and short, has only two
legs, but has long arms and is strong. He would certainly kill us if you
stayed with me, so I am afraid you cannot stop".
The dog passed on until he saw an elephant plucking leaves from a tree and
eating them. They greeted each other in the same way and the dog asked to
stay. While the elephant was listening to him he raised his trunk and waved it
backwards and forwards as if scenting something He then replied "There is
a very curious creature in this country called man. He is very small and only
stands on two legs, but is very dangerous and cunning, and can hunt and kill
anything. He would be certain to kill us both, so I am afraid you cannot stay".
The dog moved on and came across a lion. The dog introduced himself
as before, and the lion answered "Certainly you can stay if you want to".
So the dog accompanied the lion wherever he went. One day, as the dog
was going along the path in front of the lion he hid in the grass and as the
lion passed he made a sudden "wuff"! The lion started in fright. "What's
the matter" ? asked the dog. "I thought it was that terrible man who attacks
everybody" replied the lion. The dog bared his teeth and laughed, thinking
to himself "I must go and see this wonderful creature that everyone is talking
about". So the dog said goodbye to his friend and roamed towards the huts
of man, and then attached himself to one of them.
One day as he was walking behind this man along a narrow path he gave
another "wuff" to startle the man. The man, however, turned round quickly
and hit him with his stick, "Don't do that" said the dog. "Now I know that
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you are the strongest and bravest of creatures. Whenever I did that before
to other animals they were always afraid. Now I shall stay with you".
Here is another which is a tale told to amuse, but is of more then passing
interest. A Muhima lived on the grassy plains of Ankole, while a Muiru
lived in the hills of Buhwezhu. I won't mention their rather long names. The
Muhima wanted to buy some millet and the Muiru was anxious to have a taste
of meat. (Here we must not enquire too closely. No Muhima wants to eat
millet except in time of famine, and if meat was available, it would not be
famine time to him)- So he tied a bundle of dried cow-dung in grass and
put a piece of dried meat for his own use on the outside. He then set out
for Buhwezhu where millet is grown in plenty. The Muiru in his home in
the hills gathered together a load of millet husks, which he tied up in dried
banana fibre, and putting a little cooked millet for his own use on the outside
he hoisted his load on his head and set off for the Ankole plains. At the top of
Bukira Hill, just before you descend to the plains, both men met each other and
sat down to rest. They greeted each other with "Buhoro! Buhorogye" !-"Peace
- good peace". "Where are you going"? asked the Muhima. "I am going to
Ankole to buy some meat" said the Muiru. "And I am going to Buhwezhu
to buy some millet" said the other. "I've got some meat here in my load".
The Muiru said he had some millet. So they opened their food and ate together
and made friends. When they discovered that each had what the other wanted
they decided to exchange loads to save further journeying. The Muiru took
the cowdung and the Muhima the millet husks. When they got to their
homes they realized that each had tricked the other.
Some little time later the Buhwezhu man went to visit the Ankole man
in his kraal, as they had now become friends, and in return the Muhima gave
him a present of a calf. But he kept it in his kraal until it had in due course
borne six calves. After this the owner wanted to take it with the calves
to Buhwezhu, but the Muhima insisted this was quite impossible as it would
die. So the Muiru went back to Buhwezhu wondering how he should pay him
out for this last bit of shabby dealing. When he had decided he told his
family that he would pretend to be dead and they were to tie him up in bark
cloth and carry him to Ankole and put him on a framework near his friend's
house. This they did. When his friend heard he was dead he was very
sorry, but he thought "What trick is he playing me now"? So he told his
family to tie him up and place him on the framework beside his friend, for
he would die also. Suddenly the Buhwezhu man broke wind loudly whereupon
the. Ankole man exclaimed "Oh! you have been dead two days and yet you
are making noises. A trickster is always found out by a trickster". So they
each realized the other knew, and they called to the people to let them out.
The Ankole man then gave the heifer and the six calves to his friend, who
took them to Buhwezhu.
This tale reminds us of the story of the tricksters of Kibongo told by
Sir Apolo Kagwa in the Engero za Baganda. In that story scraps of bark-
cloth and ants' wings were in the bundles. The tying up a man in a bundle is
similar to another story of Sir Apolo's, "The Stolen Pledge".
The interesting point about this tale is the placing of the dead on a
framework or bed outside the house.- The Bahima, there is little doubt,
used to place their dead outside their houses on frameworks or trees, even
as the Banyaruanda did, and did not bury them.
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda
I know of one other tale which refers to a child being hung up in a basket
in a tree to die this being the most usual place for a dead child.
Sir Harry Johnston, forty years ago, wrote that this was the custom
among the Bahima, but every Muhima today will stoutly deny the statement.
When the custom changed to the burial in the dung-heap in the kraal I do
not know, but possibly when the tribe ceased from its migrations and became
less nomadic. The only recognized survival in recent times is the burial
of the Bagabe who, as I said, were buried in Isanzhi Forest. The burial
consisted of tying up the body in lion skins and leaving it on a framework
bed until disintegration set in.
We have not space here to go into any more of these tales. Every tribe
has them; some are more interesting than others. Some are the same as those
in general circulation throughout Africa, but in a different'garb. As for
instance, the story of the monkey who left his heart in a tree: this story is
now almost world-wide in reputation, but is told in Ankole as the monkey
and the crocodile on the Kagera River. In many Bantu tales cunning is
attributed to the frog. The tale of the race, sometimes attributed to the
elephant and the tortoise, the dog and the tortoise, or the hare and the tortoise,
is given in Ankole as between the frog and the swallow. The race was to the
palace of the Kabaka of Buganda at Mengo. They each said they could get
to Buganda first. The frog told all the other frogs on the route and they were
ready. Everytime the swallow called from above "Are you there"? a frog
below croaked in a deep voice "I am with you". Each place is mentioned in
the race Masaka, Lwera, Mbale. The last frog walked into the Lubiri with
presents for the Kabaka just before the swallow arrived.
Many African tribes have creation myths to account for the beginning of
things. The primitive man does not question much as to how or why the facts
of life came to pass. He is realistic and treats them as facts. His cosmology
varies according to what extent the supreme power, which is behind all
African religion, is thought of as a being. For instance, in Ankole, there is
more than one myth to account for the sun and for the moon. In common
with other races of Africa and the world generally, the Banyankole looked on
the moon as the giver of life and fertility to men, beasts and soil, and various
ceremonial practices took place to ensure the continuance of life on earth.
The creation of men and the presence of Bahima, Bairu and Bagabe in
Ankole today is explained by a nice little tale, told with variations in different
Ruhanga, who is thought of as the creator of all things, after extracting
out of three calabashes Kakama, Kahima and Kairu, the ancestors of the
Bakama or Bagabe, the Bahima and the Bairu, tested their worth by giving
them milkpots full of milk and leaving them for the night at a water-hole
with instructions not to sleep and spill their milk. The upshot was that
Kairu slept and spilt his milk on the ground; Kakama slept and spilt his,
but Kahima gave him half from his own pot. Therefore Kairu was condemned
to get his food from the ground forever. Kakama would be supplied with
food grown by Kairu, as their milk mingled on the ground, and also milk
This may be a tale put out by the Bahima for Bairu consumption.
It certainly does not agree with any ideas they have of their own origin. It
is difficult to make out whether they consider that they came with the Bachwezi
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or are only descended from them. They admit that when they came to the
country a Muiru chief of the name of Butuku ruled in Ruampara and Eastern
Ankole, but he was fought and overcome. We won't discuss the perennial
problem as to the origin of the Bahima. But there is one interesting tradition,
worth mentioning, that Wamara, who is considered in Ankole to be the
Muchwezi from whom the Bagabe descended, came originally from Bunyoro,
moved to the Sudan and crossed the Nile to the West; then, following down the
west side of Lake Albert he entered Ankole through Katwe. When he arrived
he found Bachwezi already there, presumably coming from the north.
Before I close I should like to touch for a few moments on that interesting
subject, the were-wolf, or rather in this part of the world, the were-leopard,
or were-lion, or were-hyena. The question often asked is, can certain people
change themselves into animals or at any rate take on themselves the charac-
teristics of animals ? Do Africans really believe that these people exist ? I
don't think that there is any doubt that it is believed that certain people
have this power. They are nearly always considered malevolent and only
change themselves for the purpose of carrying on their evil deeds. Sometimes,
it is the animal that has the power of taking on the human shape in order
to entice people from their homes and then eat them. There are many folk
tales in Africa which have this theme. But the power of the were-wolf is
usually associated with witchcraft. The power of turning into an animal is
often attributed to a particularly noisome witch or wizard. It is not clear
whether they also assume the shape of these animals after death. The only
information on this subject that I personally have come across is the spirits
of the Bagabe of Ankole turning into lions and of their wives into snakes.
I have not come across any new local folk tale on were-animals. But
Persse tells one from Bugwe, which was published in Vol. 3 of the Uganda
Journal about a were-leopard, who ultimately came to a well deserved end
in a swamp. We hear most interesting facts about West African secret
societies with their leopard-men and their lion-men. I always remember being
told (I fear secondhand, but I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the
author) how a particular missionary in Nigeria was determined to find out
the truth about a hyena which had been behaving mysteriously. So he
followed him one night with his gun, through the village the West African
villages are more compact than ours and when he had followed him round
houses he got him at last to a corner from which he could go no further. The
hyena then stood up as a man and said: "You won't tell anyone, will you"?
My own only experience took place twenty years ago in Gulu. One
night after dark four police askaris with fixed bayonets marched a wretched
old woman to the District Commissioner's house where the District Com-
missioner and I (the only inhabitants of the station in those days) were playing
chess. The askaris were rather excited and accused the woman of having
turned herself into a lion and having eaten a child in a neighboring village.
The woman was certainly peculiar and refused to speak a word. All that
was known was that she came from Madi, whither I had to conduct her the
next day. The nearer she got to her own country the more normal she became,
and I finally handed her over to some chief.
I recently was told of an incident occurring some years ago in the same
part of the world, which has a bearing on our subject, wherein a child was
killed somewhat suspiciously, but the blame was laid at the door of the leopards.
Myth, Legend and Lore in Uganda
In Ankole it is recounted how a man was once seen by a girlactuallyturning
into a lion. Hair began to grow all over his body. She screamed and ran
away. The spell was broken and there was only a man there to laugh it off.
A similar case, but more graphic, occurred in Gomba some dozen years
ago. A Veterinary Scout of repute, with his friend, actually saw an old man
near Madu take his bark cloth off, hang it on a tree and then crouch beside it.
His head then began to take the shape of that of a lion and the hairs of the
mane began to appear. They waited for no more, but turned and ran.
In Mitoma, a northern county of Ankole, there was a group of people
named Mizhwago, because they were said to be able' to turn themselves into
lions and eat people. They no longer exist, but the term of abuse is still
used- "Norya abantu nka muzhwago" ? "Do you eat people like aMuzhwago" ?
or the retort "Do I eat people? Am I a Muzhwago"?
All this must not be confused with the control over animals which un-
doubtedly some people have. There was a man in Ankole, by name Rugoba,
well-known to all, but now dead. He was a great cow-doctor and he had
some mysterious power over lions. He lived out in the bush by himself and
if a kraal was bothered with lion he was called for; and after receiving the
usual payment in cattle for his services the lions certainly did disappear. If
anyone failed to pay, the lions were sent back. His gift has not been passed
on to his son.
A Muhima with similar power named Kazoba used to live till quite
recently in Mubende District. He was always reputed to use hyenas as his
messengers. If a hyena was seen scampering away in daylight a rather
unusual sight it was always said to be hastening to Kazoba. The reputation
for being able to charm animals is nearly always attached to some diviner
A very interesting account was given to me the other day about a lion
which had been infesting villages in Ankole. When a man-eater decides
to break into a hut to seize his prey he usually tears away at any side of the
house and crashes through. This lion was cunning. He used to walk round
the house until he saw the weakest place and then broke in. The Banyankole
at once said that he was really a man who walked round by day and spotted
the weak places and knew where to break in at night. The European who
told me the tale said he suggested gathering the villages together to decide
on some plan of action for rounding up the beast so that he could
shoot it. But the villagers said that was no use and they would never
catch him, as he was a man and would come to their gathering by day and
would know all about their plans.
Among some people in Ankole and western Buganda certain charac-
teristics in features are always associated with the were-lion. If a man has
prominent frontal bones with a receding forehead or very prominent eye-teeth
he is at once looked on with suspicion.
76 The Uganda Journal
AWICH A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE AND A
CHAPTER OF ACHOLI HISTORY
By R. M. BERE
It is strange that in none of the recent summaries of Uganda's history
has Awich's name been mentioned. He is almost the last remaining chief
who himself played any actual or important part in shaping the country's
destiny and I do not think that anyone will question that he is the most
important of the Nilotic connections of the ruling lines of Bunyoro or Buganda.
He was the friend and almost contemporary of Kabarega of Bunyoro; and
from the Eighteen-eighties until recent years he has been the dominant
personality amongst the Acholi. His position amongst them at the beginning
of the century was almost sufficient to establish the figment that he was the
paramount chief; most of the Europeans with whocn he came in contact were
under this impression. In point of fact he misused his power, mistook the
omens and missed his opportunity, so bringing himself to a rather humiliating
Awich succeeded his father, Rwot Ochama, as Rwot of Payera in 1887
being at that time a young man in his twenties. Rwot Ochama's name will
be familiar to all readers of Sir Samuel Baker's Ismailia in which he is described
as "King of the Shuli" and as having "considerable pride in his Babito
ancestry". Awich accompanied his father on one of his visits to Baker in 1872
and is said to be one of the figures in the engraving of this meeting contained
in Baker's book.
Sir Samuel Baker, Emin Pasha and others had always treated Rwot
Ochama with the deference they considered due to an independent chief of
first importance. Moreover, he could always be relied upon to show absolute
loyalty to Government, the exact reverse, in fact, of the attitude taken up
later by Awich, who opposed as a principle all Government's progress. Emin
Pasha met Awich at Goma in 1880 when he was still a very young man and
there is little doubt that Awich was brought up in an atmosphere of co-operation
with the Egyptian Governors. Unfortunately some of the officers were not
as tactful as they might have been. The details are not known but at some
time in the last three years of his life Ochama was evidently deeply insulted
by one of the commanders of Patiko, so much so that his whole attitude was
changed. Awich succeeded at a time when his father was fiercely opposed
to the Egyptians. Later he thought, no doubt, that one Government was
as bad as another and was unable properly to distinguish between the slave-
raiding Egyptians and the incoming British Government.
Ochama found his end in a clan battle between the Payera and their
northern neighbours the Padibe who had succeeded at that time in calling
to their support a considerable body of Nubis, remnants of Emin Pasha's
force. With the help of these Nubis the Padibe routed the Payera and killed
their chief, Rwot Ochama, whose body was never recovered. The Padibe
placed the old Rwot's skull inside the Royal Drum (Bul Ker) of Payera which
they had captured, an act of humiliation hardly yet forgotten. The skull
is said to have remained in this drum until 1923 when, by strange circumstances
Plate II.-Awich in 1944.
[Photo. by Captain Dickson.
Awich A Biographical Note and a Chapter of Acholi History 77
wholly unconnected with war, it again came into the possession of Awich(1).
Its present resting place is unknown.
The next ten years (1888-98) were a bleak period in the history of Acholi.
Momentous events were taking place in other parts of the Protectorate but
the Acholi were left much to their own devices and to the ravages of Emin
Pasha's Sudanese soldiers the remnants of whom were roaming the country
as a band of robbers. Attempts to administer the Acholi from Egypt had been
abandoned with the Mahdist rising. Awich was busy establishing himself as
head of his large and scattered clan, achieving skill with the rainstones or taking
omensfromthe entrails of goats or chickens as circumstances demanded. He led
many successful raids against neighboring clansless numerous than the Payera
and too independent to join forces with them. The object of many of these
raids was the'recapture of the lost drum from the Padibe but, although cattleand
girls in great numbers were secured, the drum remained untaken. The Payera
lands at this time stretched from Kitgum to Pakwach and the Murchison Falls.
In 1898 occurred two events which had much effect on Awich's future
conduct; they were the Nubi mutiny and the flight of Kabarega from Bunyoro.
A number of the Nubis from Buganda sought the protection of Awich and
Kabarega and some even shared Awich's home. In August 1898 both Awich
and Kabarega were at Olokolum in Payera; in November Kabarega, after
paying a visit to the Sudan, migrated to Lango with a number of the Nubis.
Let us pause for a moment, leaving Kabarega to his hiding and Awich
to his raids and rainstones, and consider outside events. Local troubles had
been cleared up and the foundations of a proper administration had been laid
in Uganda. The nations of Europe were still "scrambling for Africa" and
it was hoped to bring into the orbit of British Administration all those countries
lying between the then limits of Uganda and the acknowledged southern
limit of the Egyptian domain, namely, the tenth latitude North. In June
1898 Major Macdonald left Kampala with the twofold objective of securing
this area by treaty and if possible rounding-up the Sudanese mutineers and
Kabarega. He passed through the northern fringe of Acholi, making treaties
with various Acholi chiefs including Chua, Kiteny, and Padibe. Messengers
were sent to Awich but he would not agree to the treaty relationship proposed.
At almost the same time Colonel Martyr was approaching Acholi from the
south, establishing military posts at Fajao, Wadalai, Affuddu and Lamogi.
Nimule was established as a Collectorate by Major Delme-Radcliffe ("Langa-
Langa") (2) in the following year. Awich knew of all these movements but
reckoned that he could hold out against the oncoming tide. Most of the other
Acholi chiefs, meanwhile, had willingly put themselves under Government
protection and were paying regular visits to Nimule.
In November 1899 Awich's brother Lakarakak paid a friendly visit to
Major Delme-Radcliffe and was driven temporarily out of the clan Payera
for his pains. In April 1900 Ogwok of Padibe claimed protection against
Awich by virtue of the 1898 treaty and Langa-Langa made serious efforts
(1) It is said that when Rwot Olia of Attiak married one of Awich's daughters, this
drum was included as part of the dowry. It is not known how Olia came by it but it
seems to have become a very evil omen, for Olia died of his own hand and there was no
offspring of the marriage.
(') Langa-Langa is a term used for a were-lion. Major Delme-Radcliffe used to
cover phenomenal distances by means of night marches; he was therefore credited with
the ability to tqrq himself into a lon and pass through the bush in this f9rm,
The Uganda Journal
to capture him. He was not successful until a year later, when Captain
Harman managed to turn the tables on Awich who whilst protesting peaceful
intentions was actually laying an ambush at Byeyo near Goma hill. Prior
to this, Awich had defended himself with cunning, never risking a serious
fight, and whenever things had become too hot had managed to create a
diversion to distract the Government troops away from the matter in hand.
In this way he raised trouble at Lokung, Farajok, and many other parts of
Acholi in which he had influence, and always succeeded in drawing Langa-
Langa away. Awich had to support him a number of Nubi mutineers as well
as some followers of Kabarega.
On being taken prisoner, Awich was degraded from his chieftainship and
replaced by his brother Lakarakak. His funeral dance was held and he
himself was sent as a prisoner to Nimule. Immediately after the capture of
Awich in 1901, Langa-Langa began his successful Lango expedition during
the course of which the last remnant of the mutineers was dispersed. Kabarega
himself had been captured by Evatt two years earlier(1).
In March 1902 Awich was re-established as Rwot of Payera by Mr. F. A.
Knowles, the Collector of Nimule. Almost every chief of importance attended
the ceremony, the main intention of which was the performance of Gwor
Kome (), necessary owing to his funeral dance having been previously held.
The next record of Awich's activities is surprising. In 1904 we find him
sending messengers to Bunyoro with a request to the C.M.S. to send
Missionaries to Acholi: the request was accepted but Awich did not become a
Christian for forty years. Nevertheless he did not take kindly to Government
progress and remained malcontent to the end of his active career. He was in
fact considered to have been the power behind the Guru Guru (Lamogi) rebellion
of 1912 and was deported to Kampala in that year. The Payera country
was divided between his two eldest sons, Eria Alikair and Yona Odida, and
so ended his turbulent chieftainship.
Awich returned from his exile in 1920 and has caused no more trouble,
living quietly in Kitgum ever since. His short and stocky figure is a familiar
sight and he carries his years well. He is a friendly person, feels no bitterness,
and has, in fact, helped me with the details of this account.
The last time that I saw him, in the middle of 1942, he was very ill and
was not expected to live; but he made good recovery(s). During his illness he
allowed himself to be baptised into the Native Anglican Church, taking
appropriately the patriarchal name of Ibrahim, a move which has given much
pleasure to his almost numberless host of children and grandchildren.
Awich began his career when the administration was at its lowest ebb
and the influence of the uncontrolled Nubis at its height. With his independent
nature, he was well suited to the role he played at d the Nubis found him an
ideal tool. He imitated and befriended his kinsman Kabarega whose influence
was very strong. But he missed his chance, as so many others have done,
and must be counted a failure.
(1) See Oapaz Imperii The Story of Semei Kakunguru, by H. B. Thomas, Uganda
Journal, Vol. 6, p. 131.
(') The ceremony of Gwor Kome was performed to re-establish as a living entity in
the clan any person whose funeral dance had been held and who therefore had been
presumed dead. The essence of the ceremony was that the person had to pass through
the flowing blood of a black goat, representative of death, slaughtered for the purpose.
(3) We regret to say that Awich died in the middle of 1946.
Livingstone and the Baganda 79
LIVINGSTONE AND THE BAGANDA
By GEOFrBEY MASEIELD
Although Livingstone never approached nearer to the present Uganda
Protectorate than the southern borders of Ruanda-Urundi, he met and talked
with a number of Baganda in 1872 and must thus be reckoned as the first
European to have made contact with them after Speke and Grant's expedition
and Baker's advance to Bunyoro. The records left by Livingstone throw an
interesting light on an obscure period of Buganda history which is almost
totally ignored in the standard works of reference and seem to be worth putting
together for Uganda people, who normally regard Livingstone's explorations
as somewhat outside their province.
The references all occur in the two volumes of Livingstone's Last Journal
which were edited by his friend the Rev. Horace Waller and published in 1874.
The dates given as references in succeeding paragraphs refer to the date of entry
in the Journals.
Livingstone at the time he met the Baganda was already familiar with both
Speke's and Baker's work and there is internal evidence that he had books by
both authors with him during this journey. He was, however, distinctly critical
of Speke, as a number of references show (8th February 1867, 25th February
1868, 18th August 1870, 24th May 1872). At Chitapangwa's in 1867 he met a
man named Janj6 who had been with Burton and Speke, and when Stanley
joined Livingstone he of course had with him Speke's old headman, Bombey.
Livingstone was, however, also critical of Bombey's "failings" (13th june
The first reference to Buganda comes on Christmas Day 1868. The
Arabs with whom Livingstone was then travelling west of Lake Tanganyika'
received news, which Livingstone at once states to be erroneous, that a steamer
had been placed on Lake Albert. This news had been conveyed to Ujiji in a
letter from "Abdullah bin Salem, Moslem Missionary at Mtesa's". This must
be one of the earliest, if not the very earliest, reference to any letter from
Buganda reaching the outside world. It also gives us one of the earliest
recorded names of an Arab who resided at the capital.
Later there are other references to Arab trade with Buganda. While at
Tabora on the 13th May 1872 Livingstone wrote: "Ajala's people, sent to
buy ivory in Uganda, were coming back with some ten tusks and were attacked
at Ugalla by robbers, and 9ne free man slain: the rest threw everything down
and fled. They came here with their doleful tale to-day". For ten tusks
the trade was evidently not worth such risks. On the 7th June 1872
Livingstone "heard of Baker going to Unyoro Water, Lake Albert" with
more exactitude this time. This news probably came from Arab sources
through Buganda, but no details are given.
In 1872 Livingstone was delayed for some months at Unyanyembe (Tabora)
while waiting for the reinforcements which Stanley was to send him from the
coast. A caravan of Baganda returning from the coast was held up at the
same place by the Arab "war" with Mirambo, a neighboring chief, which
The Uganda Journal
made the next stages of their route impassable. Livingstone first introduces
the caravan on the 9th April 1872 in these words:-
"About one-hundred-and-fifty Waganga of Mt6za carried a present to
Seyed Burghash, Sultan of Zanzibar, consisting of ivory and a young elephant.
He spent all the ivory in buying return presents of gunpowder, guns, soap,
brandy, gin, etc., and they have stowed it all in this Temb6 (Arab house).
This morning they have taken everything out to see if anything is spoilt.
They have hundreds of packages.
One of the Baganda told me yesterday that the name of the Deity is
Dubal6 in his tongue."
This brings us at once up against Livingstone's inaccurate transliteration
of the Luganda names and words which he heard. No linguistic significance
attaches to the forms which he uses, for he is often inconsistent with himself;
the Baganda figure as "Baganga" "Baganda" "Waganga" "Waganda"; Mutesa
as "Mt6sa" and "Mt6za"; the name Mukasa as "Mokassa" and "Kassa".
Livingstone was a capable linguist, and in exoneration of this slipshod method
it can only be said that he was at the time a very tired sick man and that these
journal entries were only daily jottings which were certainly never intended
for publication without revision.
This caravan was not the only one which Mutesa sent out at this period,
for on the 16th June another embassy arrived on its way to Zanzibar "A
few people came also from Buganda, bringing four tusks and an invitation to
Seyed Burghash to send for two housefuls of ivory which Mt6za has collected".
On the 1st August "a large party of Baganda have come to see what is stopping
the way to Mtesa, about ten headmen and their followers; but they were told
by an Arab in Usui that the war with Mirambo was over. About seventy
of them came on here to-morrow, only to be dispatched back to fetch all the
Baganda in Usui, to aid in fighting Mirambo". On the 5th August these
latter seem to have arrived: "More Baganda have come to Kwihara, and will
be used for the Mirambo war".
With all this coming and going, one is tempted to wonder whether there
were still more caravans of which no record has been preserved by any casual
meeting with a European. What an enormous gain in worldly wisdom and
sophistication it must have meant to Buganda that at least one-hundred-and-
fifty Baganda had seen all the wonders of the coast! What a start it must
have given them over their sister kingdoms, Bunyoro and the rest! To what
extent may it have paved the way for the desire for education which was
manifested so soon after the first missionaries arrived in the country in 1877 ?
These are all pertinent considerations yet this aspect of Buganda history is
neglected by the ordinary books on the subject.
How enterprising also was the action of an African sovereign in organising
these expeditions, and how unusual in those times the persistence of a purely
native caravan without Arab organisation in surmounting all difficulties and
reaching the coast. Reading between the lines, I think Livingstone was
astonished at the efficiency of these African caravan leaders who opened all
the packages to see that they were still intact. In the list of trade goods
thought suitable by the Sultan, the conjunction of guns and soap is pleasing -
it seems to show that the Baganda had already high standards of cleanliness,
for soap was not a usual article of trade in the regions through which
Livingstone had passed.
Livingtone and the Baganda 81
But to return to the fortunes of the main caravan. This seems originally
to have consisted of more than one-hundred-and-fifty men, for at an earlier
date (28th January 1871) Livingstone when at Manyuema heard news from
a passing caravan that "the Watuta came stealing Banyamwezi cattle, and
Mt6za's men went out to them, and twenty-two were killed, but the Lewale's
people did nothing". From this obscure passage it is not quite clear whether
the twenty-two killed were Baganda or Watuta, but probably the former,
and the incident appears to have taken place at Tabora, so that the Baganda
concerned were probably members of the same caravan on its way down to
the coast, which Livingstone met later on its homeward way. At the same
time and from the same source he heard that "Egyptian Turks came up and
attacked Mt6za, but lost many people, and fled. The report of a Moslem
Mission to his country was a falsehood, though the details given were
While in contact with the Baganda, Livingstone made notes on their
physical characteristics with his usual painstaking detail. "The Batusi ...
are very polite in address. The women have small, compact, well-shaped
heads and pretty faces ... The Baganda are slaves in comparison; black,
with a tinge of copper-colour sometimes; bridgeless noses, large nostrils and
lips, but well-made limbs and feet" (21st March 1872). If this seems an
unflattering description to the Baganda, let them remember that few races
could expect a glowing description of their physique in immediate comparison
with the Batusi! On the 1st August 1872 when the Baganda reinforcements
arrived he notes: "These arrivals are a poor, slave-looking people, clad in
bark-cloth, 'Mbuzu', and having shields with a, boss in the centre, round,
and about the size of the ancient Highlanders' targe, but made of reeds. The
Baganda already here said that most of the newcomers were slaves, and would
be sold for cloths".
On the 12th May Livingstone gives the name of the "headman" of the
Baganda as "Singeri". With this name as a clue, I asked Mr. Ham Mukasa,
the living repository of so much Buganda history and tradition, whether any
recollection remained in Buganda of this man or of the expedition he
commanded. I am much indebted to Mr. Ham Mukasa for the following
information. The correct name of the caravan leader was Sengiri Omutebi,
he was the chief of an area in Busiro near Buwaya, and was chosen by the
Katikiro for this journey to Zanzibar because of his good knowledge of Swafili.
Mr. Ham Mukasa says that he heard a good deal of this caravan in his youth
because his father (who was in charge of the Bahima serving the Kabaka)
collected the milk which was required for feeding the young elephant, which
was done for a period of two years or more. Also, a brother of his father
actually went on the expedition, and often spoke of it on his return, mentioning
some fighting which they had with the Banyamwezi before reaching Tabora.
Some of the returned members of the expedition also mentioned meeting
Livingstone at Tabora. According to what Mr. Ham Mukasa remembers
having heard, the presents from Mutesa to the Sultan included, besides the
elephant, leopard and duiker skins and bracelets of metal and ivory; while
the Sultan's return presents included cloth and plates, cups, knives for cutting
meat, soldiers' bugles and drums, and red caps.
On the 1st May Livingstone bought four cows and calves from the
Baganda to provide himself and his party with milk. It is pleasant to record
82 The Uganda Journal
that in this early commercial transaction between Baganda and Briton, neither
side indulged in sharp practice, for "the Baganda were well pleased with the
prices given, and so am I". The headman from whom he bought the cattle,
perhaps the same Singeri, was a Moslem convert. "He has been taught by
the Arabs, and is the first proselyte they have gained".
On the 12th May there were still greater civilities. Singer offered
Livingstone a cow and a calf as a gift, but the latter declined on the grounds
that the gift was too great a one as between strangers. Singeri again pressed
it, and was again refused. These courtesies must be understood against the
background of the time and place to be appreciated. Both amongst the slave-
traders and the tribes through whom they passed every man was out to rob
his neighbour, and treachery and bad faith were the rule; this incident between
Livingstone and the Baganda stands out to the credit of both in a long record
of petty cheating.
On the 19th June "an influential Muganda" died of dysentery in spite
of every medicine the Doctor could give him. Another was blind from
Livingstone records some interesting discussions with the Baganda which
reveal their own opinion of Mutesa's cruelties and their conceptions of moral
law. On the 9th July he told Singeri "that all the Arabs confirmed Mtesa's
cruelties, and that his people were more to blame than he: it was guilt before
God. In this he agreed fully, but said what Arab was killed"? meaning, if
they did not suffer how can they complain? On the 21st July "some foolish
speculations in morals resemble the idea of a Muganda, who said last night,
that if Mtesa didn't kill people now and then, his subjects would suppose that
he was dead"!
These Baganda were not backward in boasting about their country.
"Extolling the size of Mtesa's country, they say it would take a year to go
across it. When I joked them about it, they explained that a year meant five
months, three of rain, two of dry, then rain again" (1st August). Speke, in
his "Journal", comments on tie same conception of the year in Buganda.
All this intercourse turned Livingstone's thoughts to the prospects of a
mission to "Bouganda, with its teeming population, rain, and friendly chief,
who could easily be swayed by an energetic, prudent missionary" (28th May
On the 17th July the Baganda thought they would at last be able to get
away. The Liwali wanted to pack them off in a hurry, and Livingstone
thought "this haste (though war is not ended) is probably because Lewal6 has
heard of a missionary through me". This obscure reference may be compared
with an earlier conversation (9th July) in which Livingstone "spoke to Singeri
about the missionary reported to be coming: he seems to like the idea of being
taught and opening up the country by way of the Nile". We can only surmise
that he had heard some report through Arab sources which was as inaccurate
as some of the ones noted above.
After a further week or so of delays and exasperation, theBagandaactually
got off, but their troubles were not ended, for on the 27th July we read "a party
of native traders who went with the Baganda were attacked by Mirambo's
people, and driven back with the loss of all their goods and one killed".
Previous references have already shown the Baganda as being stouter-hearted
fighters than most of the. other people of that region, and we may suppose
Livingtone and the Baganda 83
that they got through either by putting on so bold a face that they were not
attacked, or by fighting and emerging victorious.
A last link, however, remained with one of these caravans of Baganda.
Between a Mugands lad named Mukasa and Livingstone a genuine affection
seems to have sprung up, and Mukasa apparently ran away from his companions
and joined Livingstone on his westward march from Tabora which began
on the 25th August. He is first referred to on the 31st August 1872: "The
Baganda boy Kassa was followed to Gunda, and I delivered him this country-
men. He escaped from Mayole village this morning, and came at 3 p.m.,
his clothes in rags by running through the forest eleven hours, say twenty-
two miles, and is determined not to leave us".
He is referred to again on the 21st October, Livingstone's last reference
to the Baganda and the most typical of the man. "Mokassa, a Moganda boy,
has a swelling of the ankle, which prevents his walking. We went one hour
to find wood to make a litter for him". How incredible it must have seemed
to Mukasa and to all the other members of the safari, aloyg those blood-
stained slave-routes where pity was unknown, that the great explorer whose
every delay was already bringing him nearer to his eventual death through
weakness, should deviate from his line of march merely to make a litter for a
sick follower. Perhaps we owe more than we know to the quality of these
early contacts of Europeans with the Baganda.
The Uganda Journal
By R. M. BEE and P. H. HICKS
Note by the Authors.-This paper consists of four sections, a brief
bibliography, and a map. The first two sections contain general information
regarding Ruwenzori, collected from various scattered sources as well as our
own experience, much of it probably here brought together for the first time.
The two later sections are accounts of different aspects of the expedition
which, with Dr. R. G. Ladkin, we made together in May and June 1945.
We have been rather reluctant to include a bibliography at all, because,
with no reference library at our disposal and, for all practical purposes, only
our own bookshelves and memories to fall back on, we realise it must be
very incomplete. However, as a record of climbing attempts, it may be of
some value. It is probably unnecessary for us to say that the map is not
the result of the survey work described in the fourth section of this paper,
but a sketch compiled by one of us from existing maps, to give a picture of
the main features of the range and our own route upon it.
I. THE MOUNTAIN
By R. M. BERE
Though not the highest mountain on the continent, the Ruwenzori range
is certainly the largest and most important group of snow mountains in Africa.
Kilimanjaro (19,580 ft.) and Kenya (17,140 ft.) are higher, but are single
volcanic peaks. Ruwenzori, whose highest point is the Margherita peak of
Mt. Stanley (16,794 ft.), is a massif composed of six separated mountains
all of which carry permanent snow and glaciers. The general axis of the range
is North-South and the snow peaks, divided by lower snow-free passes, lie
roughly along this axis in the middle of the range. Unlike all the other great
mountains of central Africa, Ruwenzori is not of volcanic origin but is the
result of an upthrust associated with the formation of the western rift valley,
in which it stands. There are, as has been said, six separate glaciated groups.
The glaciers are of the so-called equatorial type, that is, they are more truly
ice-caps than ice-rivers; movement is very slight, as is shown by the unusual
clearness of the streams (which lack altogether the turbidity of alpine glacier
water) and the absence of large moraines. In earlier times there was very
extensive glaciation on Ruwenzori, reaching thousands of feet lower than at
present, and many of the valleys are characteristically shaped by ice erosion.
The existing glaciers are in rapid retreat, showing an almost annual diminution
in extent, a phenomenon shared not only with Kilimanjaro but also Kenya,
both of which are, perhaps, even more seriously affected by the drought cycle
than is Ruwenzori.
Ruwenzori has been described by Dr. Humphreys, one of its explorers,
as an elliptical peneplain, with deep valleys, separated by sharp intervening
ridges, radiating outwards from the high peaks of the central region. The
valleys tend to be divided into a series of terraces; blockages, above transverse
ridges of hard rock, creating lakes which are one of the features of the
mountain. Many of the original lakes have silted up in the course of time
Plate III.-Mount Stanley from Lake Bujuku.
[Photo. by A. J. Haddow.
to form the marshes and bogs of the upper levels, which are maintained as
such by the perpetual moistness of the air. It is rare for a day to pass without
rain or the all-enveloping mist laying a blanket of moisture over the peaks.
These mists, although they do not add to the comfort of travel or the ease
of making observations, are one of the chief beauties of Ruwenzori. The
peaks and glaciers, sometimes lit by clear sunlight above the clouds, are wont
to appear with delightful suddenness, to disappear so quickly that one
wonders if one has not been mistaken in what one saw. The colours,
particularly of the marshes, are quite exquisite in these moments of sunshine.
One of the most lovely things about this remarkable mountain is its
vegetation. In few places does cultivation, hewn from the forest which
surrounds the base of the mountain, extend above 7,000 ft., and in most
parts not so high. As one ascends the valleys, one passes from true forest
to the bamboo zone and thence to heather forest. Here, at about 10,000 ft.,
the humid climate causes extreme development of mosses and lichens which
cover not only the ground but also the trunks of the living and fallen trees
in a fantastic manner. At this altitude, mingled with the tree heaths and
bamboos, are brambles, orchids and ferns, in a tangle almost completely
Above this level, marshy ground predominates to such an extent that
the mountain may be compared to a gigantic sponge, from which the peaks
alone stand out as solid ground.
Between 11,000Jt. and 12,000 ft. most of the common herbaceous plants
disappear, leaving tree heaths, giant lobelias and senecios, with the ubiquitous
moss and lichen. Higher still, the tree heathers cease and the only tall-
growing plants remaining are the lobelias and senecios. Reeds grow in the
tussocky marshes and belichrysums (shrubby bushes with everlasting flowers)
are abundant. At their optimum altitude these shrubs form thickets of great
density, practically impossible to penetrate. Isolated specimens are found
almost as high as the glaciers. The rocks are covered with a loosely-adhering
carpet of moss, most treacherous to move on.
Above about 10,000 ft. there is little sign of animal life except hyrax,
small rodents and an occasional leopard. Birds are not numerous although
many of the lakes carry a few pairs of duck. Small sunbirds enjoy feeding
on the flowers of the lobelias.
The man of Ruwenzori is the Mukonjo, amongst the least developed of
Bantu tribes with, as his language, one of the earliest and most archaic forms
of Bantu speech remaining. These Bakonjo are attractive, hard-working
and simple people of a friendly and cheerful disposition and are good natural
mountaineers and load-carriers. Some of them have the makings of excellent
climbers and their work as porters on the mountain is superb. Expeditions
are dependent on them and they rarely fail.
II. THE HISTORY OF ITS EXPLORATION
By R. M. BERBE
It is now a matter of general acceptance that Ptolemy (c.A.D. 150), when
writing of the Mountains of the Moon, the almost legendary source of the
Nile, was referring to the Ruwenzori massif. This question of ancient history
is examined with great erudition in Filippo de Filippi's Ruwenzori. The Duke
The Uganda Journal
of the Abruzzi holds that Aristotle's reference (350 B.c.) to the "Silver Mountain"
is the earliest known mention of Ruwenzori, although Herodotus, a hundred
years earlier, speaks of the Nile as rising from a spring, fed by the waters
of a bottomless lake, between two sharp-pointed peaks, Crophi and Mophi.
Dr. Humphreys picturesquely associates these sharp-pointed peaks with
Mts. Emin and Gessi, and so makes the lake between them the Abysmal
Lake and the source of the Ruamuli, the Fountain of the Nile of the Ancients.
But ancient history is not our present concern, although, perhaps, we should
mention that Speke when he discovered the Birunga, or Mfumbiro, volcanoes
in 1861, at that time associated them with Ptolemy's Moon Mountains.
Sir Henry Stanley was the first to proclaim to the world the existence of
Ruwenzori as a snow mountain. In his book In Darkest Africa he claims to
have made the discovery himself but in actual fact both Surgeon Parke and
Mountenoy-Jephson, members of his expedition, had seen the snows a month
before him on'20th April 1888(1). A third member of his expedition, Lieut.
Stairs, ascended the mountain to a height of over 10,000 ft. in the following
In 1876, a dozen years before the snows were first seen, Stanley had
looked across at Ruwenzori from the escarpment above Lake George but, like
Gessi in the same year, and Sir Samuel Baker, twelve years earlier still, had
failed to appreciate the importance of the great natural feature that he had
observed('). It was in 1864 that Baker saw, to the south of Lake Albert, the
huge mountain mass to which he gave the name "The Blue Mountains".
This was the first time that Ruwenzori was seen by a European.
It is to Stanley that we owe the name Ruwenzori, one of the many names
that he thought he was being given for the mountain. Actually the word
means "the place from where the rain comes", being derived from the Nyoro
prefix Ru- (proper to ranges of mountains, rivers, or, indeed, anything long) and
enjura or enzhura (meaning "rain"). The word was transcribed by Stanley as
Runzori; hence Ruwenzori. Today it appears practically impossible to trace
any native name either for the massif itself or for the individual peaks,
although Mr. R. W. Maling, an old resident of Toro, tells me that he has heard
the name Kabangara(8), which he thinks may be associated with Kabarega.
So far as I have been able to ascertain the Bakonjo have names for the rivers
only, not for the peaks, so that this doubt and confusion is perhaps not
In the summer of 1891Emin Pasha's companion Dr. F. Stuhlmann climbed
up the Butagu valley to a height of 13,326 ft. and gained the first near view
of the snow. He was followed in 1894-95 by G. F. Scott Elliott, the naturalist,
who made a series of expeditions, primarily of botanical importance. Then
came C. S. Moore's journey up the Mobuku in 1900 proving the presence of
glaciers. After Moore came Sir Harry Johnston, who reached the Mobuku
glacier at 14,828 ft., and several other minor expeditions. Of these, that of
(1) Bee Parke's Experiences in Equatorial Africa; also Ruwenzori and Elgon footnotes,
Uganda Journal, Vol. 2, page 249.
(') See Stanley's Through the Dark Continent; also Early Explorers in Ankole, Uganda
Journal, Vol. 2, page 196.
(3) c.f. Gambaragara, the name used by the people of Western Ankole to denote Toro
and the land in the neighbourhood of Ruwenzori see Early Eaplorers in Ankole.
a AaW-:--J e
Plate I V.-The North Face of Mount Baker.
[Photo. by A. J. Haddow.
the Rev. A. B. and Mrs. Fisher in 1903 deserves to be recorded as, perhaps,
the first purely holiday climb.
November 1905 saw the first serious mountaineering attempt, for it
brought Douglas Freshfield and A. L. Mumm, subsequently President and
Vice-President respectively of the Alpine Club, with the Zermatt guide
Inderbinnen, to Ruwenzori. Their expedition was without important result,
bad weather prohibiting high climbing. At the beginning of the following
year a British Museum expedition spent several weeks based on Mihunga
and the Mobuku valley, two of its members, A. F. R. Wollaston and H. B.
Woosnam, ascending one of the peaks of Mt. Baker. A few weeks earlier,
Grauer, with the missionaries Maddox and Tegart, had also climbed one of
the lower points on the summit ridge of Baker. This brief summary brings us
to the Duke of the Abruzzi's expedition, to which in a few lines it is impossible
to do anything like justice. The Duke himself was a mountaineer and explorer
of the highest calibre and he was accompanied by a strong team including
the Alpine guides, Joseph Petigax, C6sar Oilier and Joseph Brocherel, who
in 1899 had climbed Mt. Kenya with Sir Halford Mackinder. Vittorio Sella,
perhaps the most accomplished of all mountain photographers, and the
scientists Roccati and Cagni, the latter primarily responsible for the admirable
survey work, were also members of the expedition. The twin peaks of
Mt. Stanley, Alexandra akd Margherita (16,749 ft. and 16,794 ft. respectively)
were climbed, for the first time on 18th June 1906 and, before the expedition
ended, the highest points of Speke (16,080 ft.), Baker (15,988 ft.), Emin
(15,754 ft.) and Gessi (15,647 ft.) had all been reached. Amongst the many
lesser points climbed were two minor summits on Luigi di Savoia. The
scientific results of this expedition, to which we owe the names of the main
peaks, were impressive and an excellent topographical survey of the range,
particularly as regards the area of the glaciers, was made. The main problems
were all solved and Ruwenzori had earned its permanent place on the map
Nothing further of importance took place until 1926 when Dr. Noel
Humphreys first visited Ruwenzori and, in the course of two expeditions,
made the second ascent of the twin peaks of Mt. Stanley, and of Mts. Speke
and Baker. One of Dr. Humphrey's companions of these climbs was the late
R. T. Wickham, a member of our Society. Dr. Humphreys and his various
companions can be said, in fact, to be entirely responsible for what may be
described as the second exploratory period. His 1926 expeditions were
essentially climbing expeditions: these were followed in 1931 and 1932 by
a remarkable series of five distinct explorations, as well as by reconnaissance
flights over the mountain. Dr. Humphreys is a person of quite unusual talents,
by profession a Doctor of Medicine, but also a surveyor and air photographer,
as well as a botanist of parts. He accompanied the 1936 Everest expedition
as its principal medical officer. His work on Ruwenzori was so important and
so varied that it is almost impossiblqjto summarise. Basing his survey on the
Duke of the Abruzzi's map he added greatly to the knowledge of the range.
During the course of his later expeditions he climbed the Weismann peak
(15,163 ft.), the highest point of Mt. Luigi di Savoia; made the second
ascents of Emin and Gessi, and several crossings of the main range;
discovered the beautiful series of lakes in the upper Nyamagasani valley;
traced the Lamia from its source to its meeting with the Semliki; and
88 The Uganda Journal
pioneered two different routes to the snows. All this in addition to his earlier
mountaineering work, valuable botanical collecting and superb photography,
both from the air and the ground. Too little about his work has been
No one else's contribution to our knowledge of the mountain is comparable
in importance to that of the Duke of the Abruzzi and Dr. Humphreys.
The western approach to Ruwenzori was used by the large Belgian
expedition of 1932 led by Count Xavier de Grunne, with the guide Joseph
Georges. The principal mountaineering results were two new routes up
Mt. Stanley from the west. The authorities of the Pare National Albert have
subsequently developed this approach and built huts for the convenience of
climbers and tourists. Three other expeditions deserve mention in a historical
survey of Ruwenzori. The first was that of two of the best of present-day
British mountaineers, E. E. Shipton and H. W: Tilman. In February 1932
they made the third ascents of both Margherita and Speke, also climbing
Baker by the superb cliffs of its northern face which descend directly to Bujuku.
This route, which has not yet been repeated, involved rock climbing of a high
standard under difficult conditions. The British Museum expedition of 1935 was
primarily a collecting expedition; from the mountaineering point of view
nothing of any importance was achieved save an ascent of the Weismann
peak of Mt. Luigi di Savoia. This expedition, however, pioneered a new
approach to the snow, by way of the lovely Nyamagasani valley, and an
account of this was published in Patrick Synge's Mountains of the Moon.
In 1943 three Polish climbers found themselves in Uganda working on the
establishment of the Refugee Camps, and early in June in that year they
managed a hurried visit to the mountain. They made the first difficult ice
climb on Ruwenzori, ascending Alexandra directly from Bujuku, through
the ice-fall and seracs of the formidable east glacier of Stanley. The leader
was J. Golcz, a well-known member of the "Groupe De Haute Montagne" of
the French Alpine Club.
The Portal peaks are, perhaps, the most prominent feature of the
mountain seen from Toro. Until 1942 none of these interesting peaks had
been climbed, although Dr. Humphreys had passed along the west of the
range when tracing the Lamia from its source in 1932. Three separate
expeditions have since visited them and the three principal summits have
now been reached (southern or Rutara by R. M. Bere and R. N. Posnett,
October 1942; central by A. J. Haddow, J. R. C. Spicer and J. C. Bugher,
January 1945 ; northern or Kihuma by R. G. Ladkin and R. M. Bere, June
1945). Some mapping of these peaks has been done by P. H. Hicks and
Haddow, but much work remains, including the fascinating possibility of a
long traverse of the whole group.
And so the Silver Mountain of Aristotle, the Fons Nilus of the ancient
world, has lost its mystery. First seen by the early explorers of central
Africa; approached but not mastered by Stuhlmann, Moore and Johnston;
explored and climbed by Abruzzi, Humphreys, Shipton, Golcz and others;
the mountain now lies open to all. Any who may wish to recapture something
of the early days of the Alps, and experience in addition the unique
fascination of the legendary Mountains of the Moon, may be assured that
they will not be disappointed by the peaks, valleys, passes and glaciers of
this glorious range,
Plate V.-Lake Bujuku.
[Photo. by R. M. Bere.
III. AN ASCENT OF MARGHERITA
By R. M. BERE
On the 25th May 1945 three members of this Society, P. H. Hicks,
R. G. Ladkin and the writer, left the Gombolola rest camp at Bugoye to
ascend the mountain and do some climbing and surveying. Spending two
nights only on the way, at Mihunga (7,000 ft.) and Kyanasabo (9,500 ft.), we
reached Bigo, where we established a base with sufficient food for ourselves
and our porters for a stay of three weeks. Of the twenty-six men we had
used so far, we were able to pay off sixteen, keeping a headman and eight
porters, and a man to make himself useful about our camp. The last day's
walk, at about 10,500 ft., had been particularly beautiful, much of it alongside
the gently-flowing Bujuku through open marsh studded with lobelias and
The following day we took up to Bujuku our two light tents and food
for a week, establishing ourselves in the Cooking-pot rock shelter. That same
evening we walked up to the Stuhlmann Pass (13,757 ft.). We spent the
following four days in an unsuccessful attempt on the unclimbed North-
East ridge of Margherita, from a high bivouac near the east glacier of Stanley,
with one highly successful day on Speke, during which we had perfect
weather and climbed the Vittorio Emanuele peak by way of the Speke
glacier. The interest here was principally in its novelty, for the route had
never been used before, and in the sheer pleasure of a day of clear bright
sunshine on a large snow-field. On the fifth day we took a light camp to above
the Scott Elliott pass, which separates Mts. Stanley and Baker, and tried
to make ourselves reasonably comfortable on a rock ridge, more or less level
with the lowest point of the Elena glacier. The next day was a poor one,
never properly clear, with thick fog descending early. We failed to find the
correct way to the Stanley plateau and spent some hours struggling with
a confused system of glacier and rock ridges, ultimately admitting defeat
when we found ourselves on a steep slope of treacherous snow, seemingly
ready to avalanche, in the middle of a system of snow-covered crevasses.
Visibility was so limited that we could hardly see each other, let alone the
direction of the crevasses. That evening there was a very heavy snow storm,
so that cooking a hot meal was out of the question. We had a most unpleasant
night and the decision to descend below the snow level was not a difficult
one to make, the porters coming half-way up from Bujuku to help us bring
down the loads. We stayed away from Stanley for five days, in the interval
visiting the east Bukurungu lake and the Portal range, where we made the
first ascent of Kihuma, its highest peak. We returned to our ridge.camp for
a final attempt on Margherita on 9th June.
The evening was fine and we busied ourselves with preparations for the
morrow, as we intended zero hour to be as soon as possible after 2 a.m.,
a cold uncomfortable hour at this altitude and one which does not make for
quick dressing. Even if this operation involves no more than putting on
half-frozen boots, it is by no means an easy one when three people are sharing
a tent only six feet square. However, we were on the move just before
3.45 a.m. on 10th June and, aided by the faint glimmer of a candle lantern,
reached the edge of the glacier an hour later,'roping up at once before taking
to the ice, After one hundred feet or so of bare ice, glass-hard at this early
90 The Uganda Journal
hour, the slope eased off and we walked across almost level glacier towards
the cliffs of Elena and Savoia. Bearing right as soon as it became possible
to do so, we trudged up the easy snow slope of the upper Elena glacier until
we found ourselves on the almost level plain of the Stanley plateau. In the
grey light of dawn we suddenly saw the twin peaks of Alexandra and
Margherita ahead and absolutely clear; this was the unforgettable moment,
the supreme thrill above all others, of the whole expedition. As we hurried
across the plateau to get a near view of Margherita we watched with anxiety
the great banks of cumulus cloud already filling the Bujuku valley below us
on our right. At the base of Alexandra we halted for breakfast and a rest
in a position from which we had a good opportunity of studying our peak,
which we realized was not going to be simple but a complicated system of
crevasse and cornice. The time was 7.15 a.m. We rested for nearly an hour,
eating little but melting snow for a hot drink, and studying the face ahead.
It was during this halt that clouds first enveloped us, although only
intermittently, and the thick blanket of fog did not come down for another
After our rest we dropped down about two hundred feet to the bottom
of the ice gully which descends from the saddle between the twin peaks,
crossed this, and started at once up Margherita. We had intended to strike
the east ridge at its lowest point, where there was practically no cornice, and
had expected to do this without difficulty. In this we were disappointed
for we were soon brought to a stop by a considerable bergschrund (main
crevasse), which stretched right across the face. A way over this was found
in a wide trough, some way to the left of the best line, where a convenient
and stable snow bridge provided the key. Once through this crevasse system
we made a direct line to'the east ridge, which was reached without difficulty
at a place from which we could not, by reason of a steep cliff, descend to the
point of original intention and where, unfortunately, the cornice guarding
the ridge was hardly practicable. It was decided, therefore, to traverse across
the face in the direction of the summit in the hope that a break in the cornice
would ultimately present itself. This we did for some little distance, the angle
of the snow, which luckily was in good condition, steepening considerably
as we moved westwards. An opportunity soon occurred of once again
approaching and attempting to get on to the ridge and Hicks led us directly
upwards for two or three hundred feet over snow at a very high angle. Once
again we found ourselves below the cornice, still a considerable obstacle,
and I came up to anchor Hicks whilst he hacked away the icicles and cut
through the overhanging lip of ice preparatory to getting up. This was done
without the proffered help of a shoulder but the place was certainly not easy
and it was a delicate problem coming up and over the fragile edge.
We were now on a wide ridge with snow at an easy angle and we walked
without difficulty towards the top. We were just congratulating ourselves
that all was plain sailing, when at the last moment a final obstacle presented
itself. The ridge was blocked by an enormous cornice, which was in reality
the beginning of the summit itself, and up which there was no question of
direct approach. However, an easy-looking snow slope presented itself
conveniently on the right, leading to a rock-and-snow rib which would take us
round behind the cornice. But this snow slope was far from being the simple
innocent thing that it looked at first sight and had to be taken with the
IV;- .f j -a i
1r ^ ,
Plate VI.-Ridge Camp on Mount Stanley.
[Photo. by R. M. Bere.
greatest caution, wet wind-blown snow overlying ice to which it was but
lightly adhering, a perfect avalanche trap for the unwary. A great slab did,
in fact, come away at our feet and along the line ahead, but luckily we were
well secured and belayed to ice axes firmly placed. Nevertheless, this was
an unpleasant place, made more so by the menace of a most unstable cornice,
below which we had to cut our steps towards the rock rib. Watching the
avalanche peel off and listening as the falling snow rumbled down part of
the three thousand feet of steep mountainside which separated us from the
Stuhlmann pass below, we had good cause for sober reflection. However,
the place was passed without mishap and we were able to scramble easily
up the rib to the top.
The blanket of fog mentioned previously was now all around us and
everywhere the ice was melting and unstable, giving no cause for a long wait
and much reason for starting the descent as soon as possible. This was
uneventful but for the whole time there was absolutely no visibility. We
were fortunate in having our own upward tracks to follow across the plateau
but were able to appreciate the difficulties which for days had prevented
Humphreys and Shipton, each in his turn, from even finding the twin peaks.
We reached our camp, locating with much difficulty the single small tent, at
about 4 p.m., with no cause for regret but much hunger and thirst to satisfy.
By P. H. HICKS
The idea of using scientific observation as a cloak for the pleasure of
climbing mountains was originated a very long time ago and by quite
distinguished personages. I had no hesitation therefore in treading in these
distinguished footsteps, and made plans some years ago to visit Ruwenzori
and, while endeavouring to pluck a scanty veil from her geographical modesty,
to take no small interest in reaching the tops of the peaks with or without
scientific observation. Observation requires instruments, and accuracy of
observation increases in about the same ratio as the weight of instruments
carried. It is, therefore, of some importance how to fit one's plans for mapping
into the climbing schemes of a whole party.
It was some years before circumstances, carefully guided towards this
objective, put me in a position to be able to consider seriously the possibility
of carrying out my plans. Mutual interests, however, soon bring individuals
together, but, after we had reached the stage of arranging a climbing party,
the mapping sideline had to be introduced very carefully. In calculating
the number of loads required to feed a party it is very soon obvious that,
beyond a certain minimum, the number of porters taken has no connection
whatsoever with the length of stay which the expedition can enjoy away
from sources of food. Everything resolves to the simple equation, one human
body equals two pounds of food carried per day. Anything else barring
essential warm clothing is an extravagance. It requires no little determination
in face of this cold mathematical fact to propose the luxury of a load or two
of instruments which are a dead loss both as regards stomach and warmth.
This preamble will have indicated fairly clearly the first difficulty in
attempting to carry out survey work on a climbing trip. The next stage is
the selecting, and obtaining (in war time), of a suitable range of instruments.
The Uganda Journal
This requires several months of scrounging through departments of
Government, Army and Air Force, and in spite of a great deal of sympathy
(which was more than one could expect at such a time) at the end I managed
to achieve only the bare minimum of requirements, and had to dispense with
other useful but unobtainable instruments.
Ruwenzori, at this time, was to me simply an exciting but relatively
unknown sum of various factors gleaned from the sparse bibliography on
the subject. Filippi's Ruwenzori was, however, a source of vast importance,
being the only account containing details of the survey work carried out.
The scope of our trip obviously did not allow the use of a-theodolite or any
heavy instruments, and I therefore fell back on the following selection :-
One 4-inch dial prismatic compass on a stand.
One Negretti & Zambra hand prismatic compass.
Two Paulin Precise aneroid barometers.
One Wheeler altimeter.
One Kipp & Zonen barometer.
One plane table, stand and alidade.
One hand Abney level.
One whirling psychrometer.
One 100-ft. steeltape.
Two of these instruments proved inaccurate and enjoyed the luxury
of being carried up the mountains and back again without working. This is
an unavoidable result of the great scarcity of good instruments obtainable
at present. A third instrument, the plane table, was especially designed and
made for lightness (seeing that I should have to carry it), and was such that
when mounted it necessitated a kneeling position for the observer while
plotting. Although this sounds uncomfortable, in practice it worked quite
well, and during trials in Kampala, I included, with masterly forethought,
a piece of canvas two feet square for the observer's knees when on Ruwenzori
soil. While trying out the table it was also found best to sit behind it when
using the alidade, so the piece of canvas was an essential both for comfort
on wet ground and for the shreds of dignity. The other instruments require
no special comment. The total weight including map cases and drawing
materials was less than one porter's load.
With the valuable help of the Meteorological Officer in Kampala, the
aneroids were checked against the standard barometer, and by the kindness
of the Physics Tutor at Makerere College the hypsometer error at that
altitude was determined. When the prismatic compasses and Abney level
had been tested for error, everything possible had been done to ensure
accuracy. The objects of the survey can now be outlined. They were:-
(a) To learn the practical difficulties of the terrain, on which to base
(b) To establish, if possible, good altitude determinations at various
(c) To carry out as much mapping in the area of the Portal peaks
as weather and time would allow.
The routine work was established from the start. Checks were again
made against the Fort Portal Meteorological Office barometer, and at Bugoye
a series of altitude readings was made to establish a base for comparison of
altitudes near the mountains. Temperature and humidity were recorded
simultaneously with each barometric observation. The four aneroids
promised to form a good battery, decreasing the chances of individual
instrumental error. The hypsometer was solemnly boiled, and from the start
provided the observer with a very high reputation among the Bakonjo. The
readings obtained by this instrument were used for little more than a rough
check on the results obtained by the aneroids. It did, however, provide
a great deal of amusement in the party and was very shortly christened by
an opprobrious name which finally became an affectionate term embracing
all the processes of observation.
From Bugoye onwards, a compass traverse was made to Mihunga camp
and as far as it was possible to observe in the forest beyond Mihunga. This
traverse was not wholly necessary, but was done to allow the observer to
check secretly the limits of accuracy of his own work. With some satisfaction
I may say now that the results were encouraging. Another use of the traverse
was to provide stations from which long-range observations were made to the
Portal peaks. Unfortunately, by the nature of the approach up the Mobuku
valley, all these observations formed very acute angles, and were therefore
only of practical use in providing fixed lines in one direction for the peak
positions. At each camp, evening and morning observations for altitude
were made by a number of readings, and Bigo was finally chosen for a long
series of readings to establish a good base level near the Portals. The Bigo
readings were referred to Bugoye, and it is hoped that some confidence can
be placed on the final altitude adopted. As Bigo camp is a convenient base
for the Bujuku, Mijusi and Bukurungu valleys, the accuracy of the level of
this camp may be of some importance for future detailed work. The diurnal
variation of barometric pressure for Uganda has now been obtained over
a number of years, and it was therefore possible to obtain a much better
approximation to correct altitudes from barometric readings than has,
perhaps, been hitherto possible.
The course of the survey now deflected somewhat from its objective
when the party proceeded to Bujuku lake and established a food dump at
Cooking-pot camp. The North-East ridge of Margherita proved to be up to
expectation and, having sent us back defeated but safe to the valley, the
Margherita ice-fall co-operated and flung quantities of blocks, ranging from
cottage-size to pebbles, over our line of route, strewing the surroundings of
our bivouac (which was prudently under the shelter of a rock outcrop) with
a comprehensive litter of ice in all its forms. We climbed Speke, and then,
the bug having bitten us thoroughly, made another attempt on Margherita
from the Elena glacier camp. Forced back in bad order by thick fog, and
deluged with a snowstorm and electrical effects, a simultaneous urge
overtook the whole party to follow the call of science once more. As this
involved a retirement to the food-bags and delicacies at Bigo, it was not
many hours before this call had been followed.
The next few days were spent above the east Bukurungu lake. Of all
places in Ruwenzori this valley must be one of the wettest. The humidity
was 100% almost throughout our stay. It was possible at nearly any spot
94 The Uganda Journal
on the ground to plunge a tent-pole to the tip in the semi-liquid soil, and
for the first time we discovered the phenomenon of vertical bog, which
Ruwenzori alone in my experience possesses. It was here that a base-line
some six hundred feet long was measured by steel tape on a cold, misty and
drizzly morning near the shores of the lake. The base-line was extended to
two small hills by triangulation, and from these points observations were
made. This simple statement recalls to me the plans made before leaving
Kampala. The detailed plane table work; the many, many intersections
that were to be made; the closed traverse round the Portal peaks which was
to produce an interesting and accurate map; all these thoughts recurred
vividly while standing soaked to the skin in a foot of icy slush staring dimly
at a dense blanket of fog which cut visibility to ten yards. Not only standing
and staring, but doing so for three, four or even five hours waiting for the
momentary break during which observations must be snapped immediately.
The first station on the extended base-line provided the biggest hoax
of all that Ruwenzori had by now produced fairly frequently. I tramped
to the point and took out the plane table under the shelter of an umbrella.
This umbrella is not included in my list of instruments given above, and the
omission is a serious one. This valuable and versatile instrument should by
its very importance have headed the list. Without it, observations could
only be made with rain running down the ridge of one's nose on to the dial
of the instrument, and exploring, from the back, one's exposed neck. Under
these conditions the recording of accurate data becomes extremely doubtful,
not to mention unpleasant. The ground at this station, as for many acres
around it, quaked as I unpacked the plane table. Setting up the short legs
I found that very little pressure on the stand drove it into the ground as far
as the table would allow. To counteract this I set about making a raft of logs
of giant groundsel, built in layers up to two feet above the ground. This too
proved impossibly shaky, so that finally all observations were read by compass
and plotted directly on the board. By repeated observations and inter-
sections from several stations, the accuracy of plotting could be kept within
reasonable limits. In the triangulation frame it was possible to check angles,
and it was found that the error of observation was not high.
While these problems were presenting themselves at the first station,
the rest of the party proceeded to, an outlying spur to establish a smoke fire
for another station. In this manner, the skeleton framework of the base
triangulation was only completed on the second day, between breaks in the
dense fog, and only then was it feasible to start mapping the main peaks of
the Portals. In the time left it was only possible to do this from the west,
and the same damp procedure as outlined above was repeated at each station.
Whenever a break in the fog coincided with our arrival in camp, the camp
position was fixed relatively to the main peaks of Ruwenzori. Eventually
time was cut short by the necessity of making the final attempt on Margherita,
and on my way to Bigo I made a last stand on one of the hills outlying the
Portals and recorded another series of observations, and the survey work
was closed apart from barometric readings for altitude.
At the time of writing, the rather meagre results of this small mapping
survey have not yet been completely worked out, but the small amount that
has been done in the time available has shown clearly what a great deal of
interesting detail work must be carried out to fill in the topography of the
Ruwenzori map. While the main features of Ruwenzori are relatively
correct, the accuracy of the topography is by no means so, and there are
several outstanding discrepancies to be corrected. With all the obstacles
that time and bad weather can place before any party entering the range,
topographical corrections should provide work and amusement for many
The first objective of this survey was successful, and the lesson was
learned that a full technique of adjustment to the sombre weather, the
saturated landscape, and the dense water-logged vegetation must be used
by the mapper of Ruwenzori. This, of course, is one of the weapons of its
inaccessibility, and it is this very inaccessibility which is one of its chief
The following list of books and articles relating to Ruwenzori does not
include the works of the early explorers, or scientific treatises on the mountain.
It aims only at giving a reasonably full list of references to mountaineering
expeditions to Ruwenzori and their results.
Books relating to Ruwenzori only:-
Ruwenzori: Filippo de Filippi-Abruzzi expedition of 1906.
Mountains of the Moon: Patrick Synge-British Museum expedition
Le Ruwenzori: Xavier de Grunne-Belgian expedition of 1932.
Books with Important References to the Mountain :-
The Uganda Protectorate: H. H. Johnston-Johnston's expedition of 1900.
From Ruwenzori to the Congo: A. F. R. Wollaston-British Museum
expedition of 1905.
Snow on the Equator : H. W. Tilman-climbs with Shipton in 1932.
Upon that Mountain: E. E. Shipton-climbs with Tilman in 1932.
Focus on Africa: Richard Upjohn Light-flights over the mountain in
Journals with Important References :-
Geographical Journal Vol. 29, 1907-Abruzzi expedition of 1906.
Vol. 69, 1927-Humphreys' 1926 expedition.
Vol. 76, 1930-Massee expedition of 1930. Colour
photography (Carveth Wells).
Vol. 82, 1933-Humphreys' 1932 flights and explor-
Alpine Journal Vol. 23-Freshfield and Mumm 1905 (Freshfield); Abruzzi
Vol'24-Note by Freshfield.
Vol. 37-H. B. Thomas' visit to the glaciers (H. B.
S Vol. 39-Humphreys 1926 (Humphreys).
Vol. 44-Shipton and Tilman 1932 (Shipton).
S Vol. 45-Belgian expedition 1932 (De Grunne).
Vol. 53-R. A. Hodgkin 1941 (Hodgkin).
S Vol. 54-Note on South Portal (Bere). Polish ascent
96 The Uganda Journal
Journals with Important References-continued:-
Climber8 Club Journal 1944-South Portal 1942 (Bere).
Bulletin du Club Alpin Belge Oct.-Dec. 1932-Belgian expedition 1932
Geographical Magazine Oct. 1943-R. A. Hodgkin 1942 (Hodgkin).
(1) With the exception of Humphreys' paper in Geog. Journ. Vol. 82,
and the two books by De Filippi and De Grunne, the most
important accounts are those in the Alpine Journals.
(2) Alpine Journal Vol. 55 will probably contain an article on the
expedition described in the present paper.
In December 1945 Hicks was again on Ruwenzori, this time with R. N.
Posnett and C. P. S. Allen. During the course of a hurried visit the party
climbed Mt. Gessi, making, incidentally, the third ascent of Iolanda and the
second ascent of the Bottego peak. The primary objective of the climb was
to reach a fixed point from which bearings could be taken on the Portal peaks
to check and complete the work described in the fourth section of this article.
The party was lucky enough to be on the top of Gessi in bright, clear sunshine,
so that Hicks was able to take all the bearings required, thus fixing the position
of the main Portal peaks and completing a map of some fifty square miles of
virtually unmapped ground. The results reveal considerable error in the
position of the Portal peaks on existing maps (the data on which are derived
from the Duke of'the Abruzzi's work of 1906) and show that they are slightly
higher than had previously been thought. The heights now given are:
Kihuma or North Portal, 14,640 ft.; Central Portal, 14,420 ft.; Rutara or
South Portal, 14,200 ft.
Plate VII.-High Ridge of Mount Speke: with Emin in the Background.
rPhntn hu A- L Haddow-
By G. H. E. HOPKrNS
Lice have been known since time immemorial, particularly as parasites
of man. They are mentioned in the Bible as one of the plagues of Egypt
(as they still are today) and there is no doubt that they have been attached
to man since man himself has existed. Even the fact that other animals
possessed lice was known to Aristotle, who lived in the fourth century B.C.
But the subject was regarded until comparatively recent times as rather
a disgusting one, unworthy the attention of a scientist, so that for many
centuries writers confined themselves to repeating fables and fantasies about
lice instead of finding out the facts. Some of these fables, derived from
Aristotle, held sway for more than two thousand years, among them being
his statement that lice were reproduced by spontaneous generation from
pustules in the flesh; they laid eggs but these eggs did not hatch. This story
was contradicted, by an Italian physician named Redi, in a book published
in 1668, yet it held the field so tenaciously that as late as 1838 an entomological
book admitted the possibility that lice might arise from spontaneous
generation in certain conditions.
The medieval churchmen (and some a good deal nearer to our own times)
found the existence of lice-rather a difficulty, though they managed to extract
some good sound morals from the fact. A nineteenth century English
clergyman found it incredible that "man in his pristine state of glory, and
beauty, and dignity, could be the receptacle and prey of these unclean and
disgusting creatures", so he put forward a theory which postponed the
creation of lice until after the fall of Adam. The Church seems to have
regarded the mythical fate of being devoured by lice as a death so awful that
it must be reserved for the worst of criminals, so we find stories crediting
with this fate prominent heathens, persecutors of the Church, corrupt bishops,
heretics and those who did not believe in miracles. This was, perhaps, a little
inconsistent with the belief, also held for many centuries, that an extreme
state of filth, often exemplified by lousiness, was a sign of holiness, but the
ultra-religious of all ages and creeds have never been remarkable for
consistency. Aristotle's statement that the ass (alone among mammals) had
no lice also had to be accounted for, and a really pleasing explanation
was found: it was a reward for the part played by the ass in Christ's triumphant
entry into Jerusalem. One rather wonders what would have happened to
the man of mediaeval times who was bold enough to examine an ass and see
for himself that it does have lice, but no doubt anyone enterprising enough
to do this would also have been sensible enough to keep his findings to
himself, and (if he did not) why should we worry about the fate of anyone
so foolhardy and swollen with pride as to deny the statements of Aristotle ?
Other beliefs about lice were that they were created by God to punish man
for arrogance and that their bites were the work of the devil the latter
a belief for which one can still feel a certain amount of sympathy. It is,
perhaps, necessary to add that the reason why so many of these fables
originated with churchmen or have a religious flavour is that in medieval
times all education was concentrated in the hands of the Church; there is
The Uganda Journal
little doubt that equally ridiculous stories would have been invented by
educated laymen had such existed at a time before it was accepted that the
best way to find out the facts is to test them for oneself instead of regarding
the statements of ancient authors like Aristotle as being incontrovertible.
Redi's book, published in 1668, marks the beginning of the end of the
period of fables about lice, and the start of real knowledge. He must have
been a remarkable man, for he not only made the observations which enabled
him to state that lice, like all other insects, are hatched from eggs, but
established the fact that most mammals and birds have lice peculiar to
themselves, and gave us a number of drawings of these insects, many of which
are quite easily recognisable. After him, however, the disgust with which the
subject was regarded again hampered progress, and it was not until one
hundred and fifty years later that there was any real advance in our
knowledge, and not until 1842 that the first monograph on lice was published
by Denny, an English clergyman. Even Denny thought it necessary to find
religious reasons for the study of such a disgusting group of insects. This
unreasonable attitude persists even today to some extent, and I doubt if there
are in the world more than a score or so of serious students of the lice,
excluding those who are solely concerned with the handful of species which
infest man and his domestic animals. But to the true entomologist no
insect is unworthy of study, and to those who love them the lice reveal
themselves as among the most interesting of this intensely interesting class of
We have followed lice through fable and fantasy to the beginning of
the realm of fact, so now let us see what they are and what they do. The first
essential is to rid ourselves of the idea that the lice which infest man are the
only ones of any interest or importance. There are two or three thousand
known species of chewing lice and two or three hundred known sucking lice,
and these must be only a small fraction of the species which exist. To take
an example, the chewing lice of African antelopes and carnivora are among
the best known of" all groups of lice, yet we only know the lice of about fifty
of the one hundred and forty or so African species of these groups of mammals.
It is in a neglected group like this that one has the best opportunities of
adding significantly to the sum of scientific knowledge.
The insects are divided into two main groups, a more primitive group
(of which cockroaches, bugs and termites are familiar examples) in which
the young resemble the adults in most respects and feed on the same sort
of food, and a more specialized group (exemplified by butterflies, bees and
flies) in which the young stages are caterpillars or grubs, quite unlike their
parents and often feeding on totally different food so that a resting-stage
or pupa has to find a place in the life history to allow of the great
change-over from one type of food to the other. The lice belong to the more
primitive of these two divisions, their young stages living exactly the same
sort of life as the adults except that they do not indulge in the pleasures of
sex. All lice are wingless, but their winglessness is certainly secondary because
they are descended from the same stock as the Psocoptera or book-lice (which,
in spite of their English name, are not lice), many of which possess wings.
The true lice are divided into two main sections, the Mallophaga (or chewing
lice) and the Anoplura (or sucking lice), of which the MaUophaga are the
The biology of both these groups is similar up to a point: all lice are
parasitic on mammals or birds, the female lays a large number of eggs which
are glued to the feathers or hair of the host, the life of the insect is rather
short (about six weeks), and they never willingly leave the body of the host.
But the food is very different in the two main groups the Mallophaga or
chewing lice feed (with a few exceptions) on the hair or feathers of their host
while the Anoplura or sucking lice feed exclusively on blood. Some of the
exceptions are of considerable interest one group of Mallophaga lives
exclusively inside the pouch of pelicans and related birds, where it presumably
must feed on blood or mucus, while some other species bite a hole in the base
of a quill-feather and live inside, feeding on the "pith" of the feather. Sexual
reproduction is the almost invariable rule in the lice, but it has recently been
definitely proved that parthenogenesis (or virgin birth) is normal in at least
one species of chewing louse.
The way in which the parasitic habit of lice originated is easy to imagine.
The Psocoptera or book-lice feed on dead animal or vegetable matter such as
bark, dead leaves, books (which are, after all, only dead leaves), hair
or feathers; some species are very common on hides and skins, and the step
from eating the hair or feathers of a dead animal to eating the hair or feathers
of a living host is a very small one. Some ancestral book-louse happened to
find itself eating the hair or feathers of a living animal instead of a dead one;
deciding (metaphorically speaking) that it was on to a good thing and that
there was really no need to leave such a rich source of food and warmth and
go out into a cold hard world to forage for itself, it laid its eggs on the hair
or feathers of its host and became the ancestor of the Mallophaga. Not long
afterwards by geological standards (perhaps ten or twenty million years)
some enterprising chewing louse whose host had been in a fight started to
lick up the blood and found it good; the taste for blood persisted in its
descendants, their mouth-parts began to lengthen and became more delicate -
less and less useful for chewing feathers or hair, and more and more suitable
for piercing skin and sucking blood and that was the origin of the sucking
Lice may occur in enormous numbers on an individual host. There is
a record of over ten thousand of them being found on a single shirt, and it
is recorded of Thomas A Beckett that he was so lousy that after his murder
his hair-cloth garment "boiled over with them like water in a simmering
cauldron" and the onlookers "burst into alternate fits of weeping and
laughter, between the sorrow of having lost such a head and the joy of having
found such a saint". Lousiness is (I think) no longer regarded as a sign of
holiness, but old ideas die hard not very many years ago a recent immigrant
from Europe, knocked senseless in an accident in the streets of New York,
taken to hospital and there deprived of his lice before being admitted, later
tried to sue the hospital authorities for having destroyed his luck.
The chewing lice normally do little harm to their hosts unless they are
present in great numbers, but if this is the case they may cause great irritation
by their wanderings about the host's body and may cause serious loss of
condition, or even death, among poultry or other domestic stock. Any insect
which feeds on blood is liable to carry disease, and the Anoplura or sucking
lice are deservedly famous in this connection. Leaving aside the diseases
they convey to mammals other than man, they carry to man the organisms
100 The Uganda Journal
of a number of diseases of which typhus is by far the most dreaded, and
rightly so, for it is one of the worst scourges with which mankind has ever
Typhus (and therefore the louse which carries it) has many times
affected the course of history, for war, pestilence and famine have been grim
associates since written history begins, and "pestilence" (in fairly modern
times at least) has commonly had typhus as its most important component.
In the earlier records of written history the evidence against the louse is not
clear ; such world-shaking events as the collapse of Rome, with the consequent
centuries of anarchy and the eclipse of learning in Europe, were brought
about largely by epidemic diseases, but there is no proof that typhus was
among these plagues. The first definite severe outbreak of typhus in Europe
was in 1489 (though the disease was probably present much earlier), but
from then until the present day typhus has claimed far more victims in
Europe than its friendly rival, the sword, and on more than one occasion
typhus has.snatched the victory from both rival armies. In 1556 a campaign
of Maximilian II against the Turks stopped short when his army was dispersed
by typhus, and during the thirty years' war in Germany the armies of
Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein, about to engage in battle for Nuremberg,
were both attacked by typhus and were routed by the disease, leaving behind
them eighteen- thousand of their comrades, slain by the bite of the louse.
One of the most striking cases of a victory won mainly by the louse and
typhus is the defeat of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, which was
frustrated far more by the ravages of typhus, aided by dysentery, than by
the efforts of the Russians, who fought no really decisive battle but retreated
and left the issue largely to the louse and the fly. These allies served the
Russians well typhus began to appear at the time that Napoleon's armies
crossed the Niemen, at the very outset of the campaign, and by the time
of the retreat from Moscow not more than eighty thousand men (out of
nearly half-a-million who had crossed the river) remained fit for duty.
Then the climate stepped in, effectively seconded by typhus and the Cossacks,
and of Napoleon's mighty armies only a miserable remnant, practically every
man of which was typhus-stricken, escaped alive out of Russia. In recent
history, too, the louse has played no small part: during the Kaiser's war
(1914-18) typhus slew one hundred and fifty thousand in less than six months
in Serbia, and during the years 1917 to 1923 it is estimated that, in European
Russia alone, typhus claimed thirty million victims, of whom three million
died. It is too early yet to assess the part played by the louse in Hitler's war,
but we know already that typhus slew huge numbers of people in Poland
and other parts of eastern Europe. Historians usually lay little stress on this
side of war; they tell us that General This by his skilful strategy defeated
General That, but they do not tell us that the real victor was General Louse;
will they fail to record the fact that the victory of the democracies in the
war just ended was won very largely (and against the Japanese over-
whelmingly) because of the efficiency of our sanitarians, chemists and
entomologists ?, Fortunately we can end this section on a cheerful note,
for it seems likely that man is now about to achieve final victory in his war
against the louse and typhus. A most powerful new weapon (D.D.T.) has
been put into our hands, and I believe that the day of the louse as a dangerous
enemy of mankind is almost done.
Let us, however, do justice to our enemy, for even the louse of man is
not without its uses. In medieval England, and in some other countries even
today, lice were eaten as medicine, particularly against jaundice, and the
louse deserves to be the patron saint of wig-makers, because the custom
(almost universal among the ruling classes of western Europe in quite recent
times) of shaving the head and wearing a wig was almost entirely a means
of defence against lice. Another use for lice was discovered by the inhabitants
of a certain Swedish town who, in medieval times, used to elect their Mayor
by seating the candidates around a table with their beards resting on its
surface, placing a louse in the middle of the table, and declaring elected the
candidate in whose beard the louse took refuge. Yet another unusual use
for lice is recorded by a traveller in northern Siberia who, on enquiring why
young women came into his dwelling and threw lice at him, was told that
this was the customary method of making a declaration of love. It seems
a pity that picturesque old customs like these should be allowed to fall into
But a natural interest in the louse of man has rather led us away from
our subject, which is lice in general, so let us consider next the enemies of
lice. These enemies are rather few. Ants are known to destroy them and
the habit of certain birds, which sit with outstretched wings on ant-hills or
pick up ants with their beaks and place them among their feathers, is believed
by some writers to be an attempt on the part of the birds to use the ants to
destroy the lice; man has certainly employed this method, for in more than
one campaign soldiers have spread their shirts out on ant-hills to give the
ants a chance to destroy their louse population. Tick-eating birds, such as
the ox-pecker, also destroy a certain number of lice. Parasites of lice include
a few fungi and the organisms of louse-borne diseases; the latter are of great
importance because typhus (for instance) is even more fatal to the louse
than to man. But there is little question that the worst enemy of a louse
is its host. Birds take dust-baths largely to rid themselves of lice, and
mammals probably rub themselves against trees, take mud baths, or scratch
themselves, partly for the same purpose. Man, of course, has devised scores
of means of getting rid of his irritating lodgers, from picking them off and
cracking them between his teeth to the use of D.D.T., but the only one
I propose to mention is used by the peasants of Ruthenia, who put their
lousy garments on a horse : the lice are attracted on to the horse by warmth,
but are unable to survive on a host so distantly related to their normal source
One of the peculiar points about lice is the degree to which they are
specific, that is to say, the way in which each species of louse (in the vast
majority of cases) is found on one species of host (sometimes on several very
closely related hosts) and not on any others. This narrowness of choice of
host is extremely marked: I have collected chewing lice from twenty species
of East African antelopes, and in only one case that of the closely related
bush-buck and sitatunga have I found the same chewing louse on two
different species of antelopes. The same principle applies to the sucking lice
of mammals and also to the lice of birds, to the extent that one can quite
frequently identify a host from its parasites, without ever having seen the
host itself. On one occasion I startled a correspondent in the Congo, who
had sent me some lice from a "cochon" by telling him that the pig in.question
102 The Uganda Journal
was neither a bush-pig nor a wart-hog, but a domestic pig, and on another
occasion I was able to tell another correspondent "On the day you shot the
wood sandpiper you also shot a painted snipe and took them home in the
same bag" (the reason being, of course, that I had found in the batch of lice
from the sandpiper a small number of painted snipe parasites). On both
occasions the correctness of my attempts to emulate Sherlock Holmes or
Dr. Thorndyke was confirmed by my correspondents.
This close specialization for life on a single host is the most interesting
point in the biology of lice, and is in marked contrast with what one finds
in other groups of parasites, such as fleas or ticks, in which it is normal for
the same species of parasite to infest a wide variety of hosts. Such speciali-
zation has considerable advantages for a parasite, and it is of interest to
consider why the lice have been able to adopt it, while the fleas and ticks
mostly have not. The reason is the difference in habits as regards egg-
laying : lice lay comparatively few eggs and glue them to the feathers or hairs
of their hosts (which they never willingly leave) so that the young louse has
access to food and suitable conditions of life from the moment it hatches
from the egg, whereas ticks and fleas drop their very numerous eggs on the
ground and the newly-hatched young has to find a host for itself if its choice
of host were very restricted it would hardly ever be able to find one. Because
lice never willingly leave their host, and are absolutely dependent on it for
food and shelter, the death of the host normally means the death of its entire
louse-population; if lice were not confined to a single host it is possible that
an occasional individual might manage to transfer from a dead host to
a living host of another species, but the extra chance of survival thus gained
would be so remote that it would be of no importance to the louse-species.
Since lice spend all their life on the body of the host, how do they get
transferred from one host to another ? The best opportunities are during
mating or when the female host is caring for her young, and in these the lice
merely transfer from one individual to another of the same species. There are
other methods of transfer, of which the most interesting is that lice on a dead
host may clutch on to other insects, such as parasitic flies, using these other
insects like a lifeboat on which to leave the sinking ship. If such lice should
be carried to a host of a different species their survival is normally very short,
for the blood, hair or feathers of a strange host are generally unsuitable for
them and will poison them within a very short time. As Zinsser puts it in
his book Rats, Lice and History, a louse that has fed on a strange host "suffers
from a probably painful and fatal indigestion". There are a few instances
in which lice have succeeded in establishing themselves on a strange host,
but such cases are exceedingly rare; I shall return to these exceptions a little
I have mentioned that a given species of louse normally occurs only on
one species of mammal or bird, sometimes on several closely related species.
But we can carry this further, for if we examine the lice of a number of groups
of birds (for instance) we find that the more closely related the birds are,
the more closely related are their lice, and that geography has little or no
influence in the matter. If one is given a collection of bird-lice with no
information as to where and on what hosts they were collected, it is quite
an easy matter to tell in the majority of cases from what kind of birds they
came, but it is impossible to say from what part of the world they came
unless by considering the distribution of the particular group of birds. As an
example, on one leave I spent a few days in collecting lice from birds in the
Orkney Isles, and on my return to Uganda I compared them with lice I had
collected here. I found that the lice off cormorants in the Orkneys were
precisely the same as those from the East African form of the same species,
while they were totally different from those found on other sea-birds shot
in the Orkneys, some of which may well have shared the same ledge of cliff
with the cormorants. Furthermore, if we again take our cormorant as an
example, we find that his lice are very like those of the shag (belonging to the
same genus as the cormorant), rather less like those of pelicans, snake-birds
or gannets (all belonging to the same order of birds) and with only a remote
resemblance to those found on other orders of birds. The reason for this is
that lice have lived on birds for enormously long periods of time and have
been passed on almost invariably from one individual to another of the same
bird-species. During all this time they have been subject to evolution, but
the conditions surrounding them have been so uniform compared with those
to which their hosts have been subjected (the temperature, feather-
composition, etc., of one species of bird being very like the same conditions
in another species) that the evolution of the lice has lagged behind that of
their hosts, so that while the birds have altered very greatly the lice have
changed comparatively little. Quite similar facts are found in the case of
mammals and their lice: the best-known of the sucking lice of man is very
closely related to the louse of the chimpanzee, less closely (but very obviously)
related to the lice of Old World monkeys, and far more distantly related to
the lice found on other groups of mammals. The exceptions to this general
rule are so rare that I myself have only met with one instance, this being
that precisely the same chewing louse occurs naturally on the white-tailed
mongoose and on its rather distant relative the civet. Another well-known
instance is of much greater interest, it is the fact that a number of species
of South American spider-monkeys are infested with lice that are no more
than quite slight modifications of the Pediculus found on man, many of the
species of spider-monkey having each its own slightly different form. This
is so unexpected (for the spider-monkeys are only very distantly related to
man) that it is worth examining how it probably came-about. The most
essential point is that analysis has shown that the blood of spider-monkeys
is far more similar to that of man than the degree of relationship would lead
one to expect, for it is this perhaps accidental resemblance in the composition
of the blood that has made it possible for transfer from one host to the other
to take place. The actual transfer was not very difficult: long before
Europeans reached South America the Indians used to keep spider-monkeys
as pets (as they still do) and the lice could easily pass from man to monkey.
No doubt from time to time a captive spider-monkey escaped, rejoined his
wild brethren, and passed on to them the undesired gift which man had
bestowed on him. Not all the escaped captives would be of the same species
and each would rejoin his own kind, so I suggest that the differences between"
the lice of different species of spider-monkeys are indications of the length
of time that has elapsed since an escaped captive of each species succeeded
in infesting his wild relatives.
The fact that there are so few exceptions to the general rule that related
lice are found on related hosts is very surprising, for opportunities for transfer
The Uganda Journal
of lice between species of different groups are not lacking, but I have never
found on a carnivorous mammal any lice derived from its prey, and have only
once found a hawk with lice from a bird which it had eaten. The case of the
European cuckoo is even more surprising, for one would expect to find young
cuckoos infested with lice from the birds in whose nest they were brought
up, but actually young cuckoos go on migration without any lice and are
found to be infested with characteristic cuckoo-lice when they return as adults
in the spring.
The clear implication from the facts I have just mentioned is startling
to anybody who has not specialized on the lice, but it is accepted by all those
who have gone at all deeply into the .subject. If related birds are always
found (leaving out the excessively rare exceptions) to have related lice, and
the degree of relationship between the lice varies with the relationship
between their hosts (as is the case), then relationship between the lice of two
birds is evidence of relationship between the birds themselves, and we can
use the lice to judge the affinities of a bird which has become so specialized
that the ornithologists cannot decide to what group it belongs. Let us take
an actual example: the bird books are not in agreement as to the position
of the flamingos, some books putting them among the storks, while others
place them near the ducks and geese. The flamingos are infested with four
different kinds of lice, all of them closely related to the kinds found on ducks
and geese, and none of them showing any very near relationship to the kinds
found on storks. Now if we remember that there are those rare instances
in which a louse has established itself on an abnormal host we might regard
one correspondence between the lice of flamingos and those of ducks and
geese as accidental and due to the use of that "fly-lifeboat" which I have
mentioned, but with two correspondences the odds against such a possibility
begin to mount up and with three or four correspondences the odds against it
become so astronomical that I regard the four louse-correspondences in this.
case as completely conclusive evidence that the flamingos are modified ducks
There is one other direction in which we can use the evidence of lice to
make deductions which I, at least, find of absorbing interest. Lice have never
been found as fossils, so it is impossible to get direct evidence of the antiquity
of the group, as we can do in the case of many other groups of insects. But
we know from the evidence of fossils a good deal about the approximate dates
at which the various groups of mammals first appeared, and we have a certain
amount of similar evidence with regard to the birds. From this, combined
with the present distribution of lice on the various groups of hosts, we can
deduce the approximate geological period during which a particular group
of lice must have started to infest a particular group of hosts. A few examples
will, I am sure, make this point a great deal clearer. The fact that, as I have
already mentioned, man and the chimpanzee are infested with different species
of the same genus of sucking lice (Pediculus) means that the common ancestor
from whom both man and the chimpanzee are descended was also infested
with lice which belonged to this genus; but man diverged from the stock
of the great apes in the early Miocene period (about thirty million years ago),
so the genus Pediculus must have been in existence during that period.
Taking the same example a step further, the sucking lice of Old World
monkeys are very similar to the genus Pediulus, though sufficiently different
to be placed in a different genus; this means that lice belonging to the group
of genera to which Pediculus and the lice of Old World monkeys both belong
must have infested the common stock from which apes and monkeys- are
both descended before apes and monkeys diverged, and that takes us back
to the Eocene period (about fifty million years ago). I could multiply
instances indefinitely, but two more will be sufficient. It has been asserted
that the occurrence of sucking lice on dogs must represent a geologically
quite recent acquisition from some hoofed animal, because dogs were the
only members of the land-carnivora on which sucking lice were known to
occur. Later discoveries made this suggestion much less plausible, because
similar lice were found to occur on other members of the family to which
the dog belongs. Finally my examination of the lice of seals showed that they
are fairly close to the lice of the dog-family and must be considered to have
descended from the same stock. Now the seals were once land-carnivora
but took to the sea (probably in the Eocene period) since when they have
not had opportunities of acquiring lice from other mammals. They must
therefore, have had sucking lice since before they took to the sea, and at
a time when their ancestors were closely related to the ancestors of the land-
carnivora, which makes it extremely probable that the land-carnivora also
had sucking lice at that time but that they have died out on all the members
of the order except the family that includes the dogs. The last example will
not detain us long and I include it because it is the clearest example of the
survival of a single species of louse over a huge period of time. The elephants
are infested with a very strange member of the chewing lice which is peculiar
to themselves, and the species found on the Indian and African elephants
is precisely the same. The two kinds of elephants diverged before the
Pleistocene period, so this piece of evidence makes it nearly certain that one
species of louse has persisted unaltered for about a million years.
From this sort of evidence I have tried to deduce the age of the different
groups of lice, and I am much strengthened in my belief in the reliability
of the method by finding that my results are entirely consistent, that is to
say, that the dates I have deduced for the appearance of the more specialized
groups are (as they should be) later than the dates for the more primitive
groups. I believe that lice first began to live on the bodies of vertebrate
animals (mammals and birds or their ancestors) almost certainly as early
as the Jurassic period, when the higher mammals did not yet exist and when
birds still had teeth, and perhaps even in the late Triassic period, when they
may have parasitized either the very earliest mammals and birds or the still
more than half-reptilian ancestors of these two groups. This took place
roughly one hundred or one hundred and fifty million years ago.
In conclusion, I hope I have shown you that lice (however disgusting
they may be when they force themselves on our attention in too intimate
and personal a manner) are of absorbing interest, that their influence on our
own species has been of no small importance, that they are capable (rightly
interpreted) of giving us interesting and important facts about the early
history of their hosts, and that their descent is so ancient that (even for this
alone) they would be entitled to our respect.
106 The Uganda Journal
INTER-TRIBAL HISTORY THROUGH TRIBAL
By Miss M. E. HEAD, B.A., F.R.G.S.
I want to start by acknowledging to the Society that a good deal of the
material which I have included in this paper has been taken from the Uganda
I would also like to make it clear that I have nothing very new to put
before you; but rather that I have tried to fit together all the material that I
have come across into one continuous story relating the more important
incidents that emerge from the stories of the various tribes in this Protectorate.
There are many gaps, for I have probably not come across all the available
material, and much still awaits recording. I also want to make some
suggestions as to interpretation, but again they are only suggestions and will
probably have to be revised in the light of further evidence.
First, a word or two about the use of these tribal stories, which have
been handed down by word of mouth, before we Europeans came and taught
people to trust in writing rather than their memories. It is agreed, I think,
that under the old conditions, stories were passed on from generation to
generation with great accuracy. But there are definite tendencies in them
which we must reckon with. First each tribe tends to minimise their defeats,
and to magnify their successes, whichis only human nature where it is untrained
in a scientific attitude to facts. Then, if there is a change of dynasty or
a new ruler, we usually find some story to relate the new-comer to the former
royal house, to ensure his acceptance by the common people. Where we
find one story, substantially the same but related by two different tribes,
I think we may take it there is a good deal of truth in it.
In this paper I do not propose to deal with the very dim and distant
past, the Kintu epoch or coming of the clans, interesting as these subjects
are: nor am I going to touch on the Hima problem. But I want to take the
old kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara as our starting point, because it seems to have
been the dominant power in this part of Africa in what we may call "middle-
Tradition says that there have been three dynasties of Abakama in
Bunyoro-Kitara the Abatembuzi, the Abachwezi and the Ababito. The
Abatembuzi are mostly mere names that have come down from the remote
past. Then come those mysterious people, the Abachwezi. Although the
Banyoro tell a tale of the king's daughter and his gate-keeper to relate Ndahura
to the past, I think most people agree that the Abachwezi were invaders who
came from the north. They are usually pictured as a small tribe, but possessed
of great strength, fair skinned, and cattle-keepers. Again I do not want in
this paper to enter into the difficult question of their origin, except to show
later who I think they were not. It seems evident that they built up a great
kingdom in this lacustrine area; though it was probably more akin to a
mediaeval kingdom than to our modern idea of government. The story
goes that Ndahura went away south to extend his kingdom and never came
back, So MuliAdwa, who was looking after things in his absence, was
Inter-Tribal History through Tribal Stories
replaced by Wamala. After he had been reigning for some time trouble
began to brew. Different accounts give a different order of events, but
these seem to have been his worries. His cattle were getting diseased, his
servants not too obedient and his wives restless. Then there is the great
story of the soothsayers. They were certainly strangers, who had come
from over the Nile, and they were called in to help the king in his difficulties.
When they killed the sacrificial cow the organs usually residing in the stomach
were found in the head. This was interpreted to mean that the Abachwezi
would shortly be going on a long journey, carrying their things on their heads.
Wamala seems to have called a grand council of the Abachwezi to discuss what
to do, and they voted for going away south after Ndahura which they did.
On the face of it, this hardly offers an adequate explanation for so momentous
a decision, or such precipitate action. Who, then, were these soothsayers
and what were they up to ? May they not represent an advanced guard, sent
with softening-up tactics, to prepare the way before a new invasion ? Certainly
the third dynasty, of the Ababito, dates from this time. There are the
usual tales, which we have come to expect, relating Isingoma to the departing
Abachwezi. But does this represent the truth, or even an element of it, is it
a rationalization ? To answer this question, we must first take a look elsewhere.
The north-western part of this Protectorate is occupied by Nilotes, many
of them belonging to the Lwoo group of Gang speaking peoples. On the accom-
panying map (Figure 13, p. 109) I have summarised the main points of the story
of their trek as given by Father Crazzolara in his paper in Vol. 5%of the Uganda
Journal. During the course of their long journey there were sundry quarrels,
resulting in groups leaving the main body and founding smaller related tribes.
One such quarrel occurred when they had reached the vicinity of Pakwach
and the offended party went off in a rage with his followers, crossed the Nile
and went on to the highlands, where his descendants are now to be found in
the Aluur. The main body went on, so they say, into Bunyoro and conquered
the country. After a bit they realized that if they remained there as the
rulers, they would get absorbed into the Banyoro; and the object of their
long trek had been to find a new country of their own. So the main body
-of the Lwoo moved on leaving just a ruling clan. Tradition says that a few
went south are there now any traces of them in Tanganyika? But most
of them went back over the Nile into the country now occupied by the Lango
and Acholi. Further migrations later resulted in the founding of the Jo
Padola and Jo Lwoo or Kavirondo tribes, the latter now being the largest
tribe in the Lwoo group. If this story of the invasion of Bunyoro is historic,
how is it remembered by the Banyoro ? I would suggest that it is remembered
in the flight of the Abachwezi and the coming in of Isingoma and the new
dynasty of the Ababito. Crazzolara argues that the Abachwezi represent this
invasion, but it seems to me that even his arguments fit much better in the
Ababito theory. For all the stories give Isingoma a Lango or Lwoo mother,
and his very name Rukidi would seem to indicate that he came from Bukedi,
i.e., the land of nakedness, so of the Nilotes. He seems to have come
on a journey to get to the kingdom, and to have come with his royal regalia,
which is still used though two of Wamala's wives were left to teach him
the ceremonies. Sir Harry Johnston's version of the story even suggests
that the soothsayers were his friends and sent to him when the coast was
clear. Crazzolara also argues that "Bito" is a typical Lwoo word, and
108 The Uganda Journal
that the names of the Abakama are common Acholi names only slightly
disguised, e.g., Winyi for Owiny, Olimi for Oluum. Further linguistic
evidence might be found in the royal language still used of the Abakama
of Bunyoro and Toro. The Acholi and Aluur reckon that the rulers of
Bunyoro and Buganda are of Lwoo origin, some even saying that Isingoma
was the first of the line of the Rwots of Payera ; and a number of their chiefs
say that their insignia of office were given them by a Mukama. Added to
this, there are still the Chope in north Bunyoro, a people of Lwoo origin.
And finally in all the long history of wars waged by the Banyoro, few if any
of them seem to have been against their northern Lwoo neighbours. While
these arguments are by no means conclusive, they do give some support to
the theory; but the subject awaits a much more detailed investigation.
But whatever his antecedents, Isingoma was evidently a great ruler and
ruled over a wide area. "K.W." in her paper in Vol. 3 of the Uganda Journal
claims that "he ruled from Kavirondo on the east; and on the north, from
the borders of Abyssinia, to the middle of the land now called the Congo on
the west; and on the south to Lake Tanganyika". While this seems a little
exaggerated (Figure 14, p. 110) shows the distribution of the chieftainships that he
is reputed to have given to his followers, and they certainly cover a considerable
area, and give some idea of the extent of his overlordship. Some of the names
of those to whom he gave chieftainships are interesting, notably his twin
brother Kimera to whom he gave Buganda. The Baganda agree that Kimera
did come from Bunyoro, and several of the clans say that they came with
him. But they have an explanatory story of a Muganda prince -who fled to
Bunyoro. The tradition of their being twins seems, however, to have lasted,
as we shall see. Ankole was given to Ruhinda, where he is remembered as
the Omugabe who came after the Abachwezi, though the Abanyankole say
he was their chief gate-keeper. Busoga was given to a man named Nyaika,
which is apparently still a common name in the ruling clan of the saza round
Kaliro. Others of the names, I am sure, would repay linguistic investigation.
From this time on, we have a fairly complete, if at times sketchy, account
of the rulers in Bunyoro and Buganda: and the main features fit in together,
showing the decline of Bunyoro-Kitara and the growth of Buganda. Certain
incidents are also corroborated in Ankole; and I am convinced that, if we
can get thq traditions of all the tribes in the lacustrine area before they vanish
and are forgotten, we shall be able to fit them together into one whole.
The Abakama who followed Isingoma were strong men, and some
undertook long journeys round their domains. Winyi I went southwards
as far as Ruanda, and returned via Busongora and the western side of Lake
Albert. During his reign relations were at first friendly with Bugahda, but
then Kabaka Kaima raided into rich Buddu, the chief of Buddu appealed
to his overlord for help, which was promptly sent him, and in the ensuing
battle Kaima was fatally wounded. The Baganda went on raiding into
Bunyoro domains to avenge his death, until Olimi had no more patience
with them, and sent a big expedition. Although Kabaka Nakibinge had
the help of Kibuka who is supposed to have fought from the clouds he
was defeated because a Munyoro woman revealed his secret, and both he
and Kibuka were killed. It was a disastrous defeat, and shows that the
Banyoro were still far the stronger. The story goes that Olimi wanted to
annex the kingdom outright, but his advisers warned him off saying that it
Inter-Tribal History through Tribal Stories
Figure 13.-Wanderings of the Lwoo.
Inter-Tribal History through Tribal Stories
would not be right as their ancestors had been twins. So he put his nominee
Mulondo on the throne. Later Olimi took a long journey eastwards, settling
the Basoga, then fighting with the Kavirondo and the Nandi, coming home
via Usukuma, Karagwe and Kiziba; that is, he is supposed to have gone
right round the lake some picturesque exaggeration, perhaps, but showing
his power. On his return he stopped for a while in Ankole, but was so
frightened by what must have been an eclipse, that he went home. There
is a similar story of an offended witch-doctor who brought on an eclipse in
the reign of Kabaka Juko. But unfortunately, they are not contemporaries,
so we do not know to which of them belongs the date 1680 which Thomas
gives from astronomic evidence. Perhaps the astronomers might kindly be
able to provide us with a second date.
Then we come to Winyi II, who was said to be most despotic and wan-
tonly cruel, and consequently unpopular with his subjects. The Basekabaka
of the time took advantage of this; as when Katerega went on a peaceful
journey south-westwards from his kingdom. The people whom he met liked
him, so the districts of Butambala, Gomba and Singo (as far as Mityana),
turned over to him and left their allegiance to Bunyoro, and that without
any fighting; which is the first indication of a decline in the power of Bunyoro.
Next came a period when the Abakama were more concerned with Ankole,
and the Baganda were quietly developing on their own. There was a great
cattle plague in the time of Omukama Chwa I, so he made war on Ankole to
retrieve his losses. He thoroughly defeated the Banyankole, and captured
their royal drum. He liked their country so much that when he had driven
Omugabe Ntale away, he built his residence in the Mbarara area. From there
he went on and made war on the Banyaruanda, and being successful, he pushed
on to the lands beyond Lake Kivu. Unfortunately he was killed there, and
the leaderless army had quite a job to get back again without any fighting
among the princes on the way. The secret had got out by the time they got
back to Ankole, and the Banyankole fought and defeated them, and drove
them back to their own country. Meanwhile Princess Masamba had been left
in charge in Bunyoro, and she and her husband were enjoying their position,
and were taking to themselves the full powers of kingship, and wantonly
killing people so they were getting unpopular. It was then remembered
that a son of Chwa's had remained behind in Ankole, so he was sent for
secretly. The princess got to know of this, and she made her plans, but her
plans leaked out and counterplans were made. A meeting was staged, with
pre-arranged signs on both sides, but the flutists got in first and the bad
princess was killed and the young prince came to the throne. It is interesting
to find a story so reminiscent of Athaliah in the Old Testament. Later Olimi
III Isansa made war in the same direction, defeating the Banyankole and
going on towards Ruanda. His advisers would not allow him to go far against
Ruanda, because they said his ancestor was killed there; however his son
preceded him and was captured by the Banyaruanda. When Duhaga I
succeeded Olimi, he remembered his brother in captivity in Ruanda, and set
out to free him. But he had first to fight his way through Ankole, which
involved a big campaign. There is some uncertainty as to whether the
capture of the royal drum Bagendanwa should be placed in this war or Chwa I's.
There was evidently -a lot of fighting in the south, before he returned home.
Then his people, weary of fighting, made him hoist the white flag of peace.
The Uganda Journal
Meanwhile, the Baganda had been quietly expanding; they were unable
to go westwards because of the power of the Banyoro, so they went north
and east. Kabaka Mawanda penetrated into Bulemezi and Kyabagu,
conquered most of Busoga, and from his time the Basoga are reputed to have
given tribute to the Basekabaka. In Junju's reign contemporary of
Duhaga I a significant episode occurred. The chief of Koki made a successful
raid against the Baganda, and in his enthusiasm collected a bundle of captured
spears and sent them to his overlord, Duhaga, who took this as an insult and a
sign of rebellion, and prepared a punitive expedition. At about the same time,
the chief of Buddu rebelled. When the chief of Koki heard of the approaching
army, he appealed to Kabaka Junju for help. There was a terrific battle
in Singo between the Banyoro on one side and the Baganda, the Bakoki and
the Banyabuddu on the other, and the latter routed the Banyoro, killing
Duhaga. As a result of this war Buddu and Koki came into Buganda. It
is also significant as the first serious loss to Bunyoro.
In the time of Omukama Kyebambe III, Bunyoro sustained further
losses. For he sent his son Kaboyo to collect the taxes in Toro and Busongora.
Kaboyo liked these territories very much, and the people there liked him.
So when he had delivered his report to his father, he returned to Toro and
rebelled. Though Kyebambe made several attempts, he was not able to
subdue him; and since that time Toro has been a separate kingdom. During
his reign Prince Kakunguru fled from Buganda and asked the Omukama to
lend him an army to go and fight with his father Semakokiro. Kyebambe
agreed, but he was unsuccessful. Later when his brother Kamanya came to
the throne in Buganda, he again asked for an army, but this time with
disastrous results, for the Baganda obtained a decisive victory, and as a
consequence annexed Buwekula. These incidents show the declining power
of the Banyoro and that the Baganda were getting the stronger.
There was a lot of fighting in Suna's time, but the last big gain for the
Baganda came in Mutesa's time. For the Baganda helped the British force
under Colonel Colville in the punitive expedition against Kabarega in 1894.
Owing to their superiority in guns, they thoroughly defeated the Banyoro.
As a reward for their help in the campaign, the Baganda were given the sazas
of Bugangazi, Buyaga, Buruli and Bugerere and their boundary was pushed
right to the Kafu river where it is today.
So much for the story of the growth of Buganda and the decline of
Bunyoro-Kitara, but of the causes that lie behind it we still know very little.
Inheritance wars between rival princes for the throne of Bunyoro-Kitara
seem to have increased as time went on, and must have wasted the strength
of the tribe. They do not seem to have occurred to anything like the same
extent in Buganda; but rather, the Basekabaka were often strong rulers
who built up a good system of government which they effectively controlled,
and organized comprehensive military training while keeping control of the
army. When the Arab traders began to appear, the Baganda had the definite
advantage of being nearer to their trade route, and so were able to buy up
their guns as they brought them in.
But all these matters need to be investigated in far more detail, before
we can give anything like an accurate or comprehensive picture. Also, the
evidence obtained from these tribal stories will have to be correlated with
linguistic evidence and relationships shown in material culture, before any'
pure reconstruction of the past can be made,
By T. R. F. Cox
Lango, unlike the Bantu languages, is not rich in proverbs, possibly
because it has very few abstract nouns and it is very difficult to express an
abstract idea. I suggest this because the only other non-Bantu language
with which I am acquainted, Lugbara, appears to be completely devoid of
proverbs, but I hesitate to put it forward as more than a suggestion lest some
student of the Teso or Karamoja languages contradict me with a lengthy list.
I have no doubt that the number of proverbs used by the Lango will
gradually increase, but few of them will be Lango proverbs. Many of those
I collected I had to discard later as not being genuine Lango. Some were
quickly rejected such as Atedo mapol balo pig ringo "Many cooks spoil the
soup" or Ka alica mom i ot oyo omyelo "If the cat is not in the house the rats
dance", but others were not so obvious. For example, Ayom mom ngolo kop
i wi bunga sounded all right but eventually turned out to be the Luganda
Enkima tesala gwa kibira.
The main difficulty in making this collection has been the translation
of them into English. If some of the more expressive ones were given in
English this article might well be placed on the Index Expurgatorius, and as
I do not remember enough Latin to render them in a form intelligible only
to the earnest student, as Driberg did in his translation of Ngal ongoto ngeya
kun anino as Me dormitantem pedicavit aliquis, I have had to omit them or
give them without a translation.
Others mean nothing in the mere translation, and have to be explained
at length. Yom cwiny oneko Atile "Joy killed Atile" means as much to us
without the story as "Sour grapes" would to a Lango if translated Ocuga
awac and left at that.
Again, some which are easily translated turnout to have a meaning entirely
different from the obvious one. A few years ago I had to write an essay as part
of a language examination and for this purpose I learnt half a dozen Lango
proverbs. I duly worked in one very neatly but I afterwards found out that
it did not mean what I thought it did and it did not make sense in its context.
However, as the examiners were not aware of this no harm was done.
Lango has many similes, most of them good ones, and it is not always
easy to draw the dividing line between a proverb and a simile. Originally
I included a large number of them but with a view to writing an article on
similes sometime I have now omitted them. I have not included any Acholi
proverbs as I know that another person has a bigger collection of them than
I have which, I believe, she intends to publish.
It is not easy to write an introduction to this list because Mr. Nason
(Uganda Journal Vol. III No. 4) and Miss Davis (Vol. VIII No. 3) have said
practically all that there is to say, so here are the proverbs, set down, I am afraid,
somewhat at random.
Adwong mom loko lau ngeye nono.
"The elder does not turn the skin apron behind him without reason," Lau,
the goatskin apron, is turned round and put over the buttocks to make it
easier to run, e.g., in hunting. Follow the advice of your elders,
The Uganda Journal
Agak inget yo mom weko.
"The person who strays off the path does not stop doing so." Bad habits
are not easily broken.
Adwar neno opoko pi ki wange.
"The hunter looks at the water vessel with his own eyes." Being thirsty
he does not believe that there is no water in it until he sees for himself.
Seeing is believing.
Acan kwo i lwete.
"The poor man lives on his finger nails." He must work for his living.
Pe inyer acan akwo.
"Do not laugh at the poor man while he is still alive",
Pur kweri alok.
"The hoe handle changes." You may be wealthy today and tomorrow
lose all your possessions while the poor man may have become wealthy.
Acut ca woto poto ca.
"That vulture is going to the field over there." Used when people are
cultivating to a man who keeps on standing up straight and resting. He
is accused of watching birds.
Acwilic koko ogili.
'Acwilic' is the cry of the ogili." The ogili is a bird which cries out only
occasionally and when on the wing. Used when something is said once
only and not repeated.
Adide adide tuco min bul.
"Persistence breaks the big drum." Used in a bad sense only.
Adwar lyec lyec oneke.
"The elephant hunter is killed by an elephant." Tit for tat.
Ageli i lak lyec ce.
"You will be paid with an elephant tusk." Used sarcastically to someone
who asks a reward for a trifling service.
Agoro mom camo dokoro kulu.
"Termites do not eat on the other side of the river",
Twon gweno mom kok loka okene.
"The cock does not crow on the other side of the stream." Every cock
crows on his own dunghill.
Agulu pi to i dogola.
"The water pot is broken at the doorway." There's many a slip.
Agwata atek mac opuko.
"The strong calabash is pierced by fire." You may be strong but you will
meet some one stronger.
Akado mom cayi ce ?
"Does not even the akado (a small bird) despise you ?" Used to some one
who does a mean action.
Alunya loyo akwonga.
"What comes second is stronger than what comes first." He who laughs
last, or, possibly, second thoughts are best.
Amor to i lak apoli.
"The duiker dies in the waterbuck's teeth." A waterbuck eats a man's
crops. He lies in wait and kills a duiker, the next animal to come along.
Used of a scape-goat.
Wek geyo nyuka i doga.
"Do not plaster gruel on my face" so that I may appear to be the one who
has eaten it. Do not pass the blame on to me.
Apac tong gweno ngeyo pene.
"The maker of the egg knows where its navel lies." You may not under-
stand what a person is doing but he does.
Apada teri kanabor.
"The sole of the foot takes you a long way."
Apoti cun kic.
Apoti omiyo pipino ocweyo pedo mere bongo mo.
"Imitation makes the hornet build his honeycomb without honey."
Apoti omiyo agwegwe oturo ibe.
"Imitation makes the lizard break off his tail."
Arac oneko Egwange.
"Arac killed Egwange." Arac was a small man and Egwange a big chief.
David and Goliath.
Dek atidi tyeko kwon adwong.
"A little relish is sufficient for a lot of porridge."
Otigo anok tyeko kwon.
"A little otigo (a kind of wild sesame) finishes the porridge."
Kur ibwon otigo.
"Do not underrate the otigo."
The last four indicate that there are good goods in small parcels but against
them we find :
Dyel mom rom kede dyang.
"A goat is not equal to a cow",
Gwok mom mako lyec.
"A dog does not catch an elephant",
It mom kato wic.
"The ear is not bigger than the head",
Leb mom kato wic.
"The tongue is not bigger than the head."
Engato ma kok mom mako lee.
"The lion which roars catches no game."
The Uganda Journal
Arum buto kec i kom bonyo.
"The hornbill sleeps hungry amongst the locusts." Of a lost opportunity.
Atek wic camo gina wange oneno.
"The stubborn person eats what his eyes see",
Atek wic camo wi ogwang.
"The stubborn person eats the head of a wild cat."
Atet ber ged inget yo.
"The blacksmith should build beside the road." It pays to advertise.
Atet'mako tong arac.
"The blacksmith takes a bad spear." The cobbler's children are ill shod.
Atet arac yeto nyonyo.
"The bad blacksmith abuses the iron", just as the bad workman blames
Nyonyo arac nen ki tet.
"Bad iron is seen in the forging." The proof of the pudding.
Atic wange col.
"The workman has a fierce look."
Atin dyel matimere atata turo tyene i dero.
"The young goat which is restless breaks its leg on the granary."
Ngit inyono otac.
"Some day you will tread on an otac (a foot trap for game, made of
thorns)" used, like the previous proverb, to a fidgety or inquisitive person.
Awac kom ocamo owara kic.
"The lazy person eats the wax of the honeycomb",
Or bwong dyel.
"Service is a young she-goat", which may well be the reward for good work,
Odyek camo ki teko mere.
"The hyaena eats with his strength." If you want something you must
work for it.
Poto mom opuro ape bboto.
"The garden is not cultivated without the ground being broken up."
No results are obtained without hard work.
Aweno mom ilaro i won tol.
"You do not dispute the guinea fowl with the owner of the snare."
Aweno mom weko wiye.
"The guinea fowl does not leave, i.e., change, his head." Like father like
Ipito aweno ipito gweno.
"If you rear guinea fowls rear hens too", because the guinea fowl may fly
off. Don't put all your eggs in one basket,
Lango Proverbs 117
Ayom nyero nguny awotere.
"The monkey laughs at his friend's behind." The full proverb is
Ayom nyero awotere ni ngunye rac akun mere dang cal amano.
"The monkey laughs at his friend because his behind is ugly whereas his
own is just the same." Oh wad some power the giftie gie us !
Cam i ot awoti mom icero iye welo meri.
"Do not ask your guest to food in your friend's house." He may not be
welcome, and in any case when you get there your friend may be away
or he may have finished the food. A variation is
Kongo i ot omini pe ingolo iye weloni.
"Do not ask your guest to the beer in your brother's house."
Kado akwaa mom tedo welo.
"Borrowed salt does not cook for a guest." By the time you have borrowed
it he may have got tired of waiting and gone away. The import of these
three proverbs is that you should not be dependent on others.
Cengoro ilyelo wi ober.
"Some day you will shave a mosquito's head." You will try to do some-
Cingi mom pedo ngunyi.
Dako nywal ki nyeke.
"A woman gives birth with the assistance of one of her husband's other
wives." Said to some one who gives you valuable assistance.
Gin alyet kwe oko.
"Hot things become cool."
Gin anyen pire mit.
"A new thing is sweet."
Gin ari doko gweng.
"What delays becomes stone", or (fossilized),
Kong ikur miyo icobo yibe.
'Wait a bit' makes you spear the tail."
On the other hand
Piny acol omiya abuto angwalo.
"Darkness caused me to sleep with a cripple." Look before you leap,
Tek neko omini mom tek culo cut.
"The moment when your brother is killed is not the moment for revenge."
Gin muloyo le kweri mom tongo.
"What defeats the axe the hoe does not cut."
Owok bino kana obole iye kwon.
"The dog comes where the food is thrown." Cupboard love.
Oweno mom beko ducu.
"All the chickens do not hatch out,"
The Uganda Journal
Gwok ilwor aura.
"Do not be afraid of steam."
Ibolo opuk i pi.
"You throw a tortoise into the water." To do something to no effect.
A tortoise can swim.
Gwok loyi i yibe.
"The dog is better than you with his tail." Said to an ungrateful person.
The dog shows gratitude by wagging his tail.
Gwok mom lelo kede cak iyi awotere.
"The dog does not rejoice with the milk in his friend's stomach." He does
not want to play while he is still hungry.
Ngatoro mom mito ni dyang awotere nywal roya.
"A man does not want his friend's cow to produce a heifer calf."
Romo mom koko atin dyel.
"The sheep does not lament for the goat's child."
Oweno Akur dang ol loyi.
"Some day you will want an Akur" (a short legged type of fowl used in
Tobi loyo Aker.
"The Chief cannot get yeast." Even a Chief may find himself without
yeast to make beer.
Man ayita ol loyi.
"Some day you will want a ground squirrel's testicles", i.e., something
This and the previous two proverbs are used to a wealthy person who is
unwilling to give something away.
"You have roasted veins for me", i.e., given me a bad meal. You have
Icamo ngwen ma ikwiya lebe.
"You eat termites knowing nothing about their tongues." You do not
know what you are talking about. A person eating termites does not know
if they have tongues or not.
Igeno bwoo ngor.
"You trust in the froth of the beans." Shadow for substance.
"You are filled with broth." You have not had full value.
Iketo tako kwon akun mom ru ineno moko kwon.
"You make the bread pan before you see the flour",
Ikwo abeno ka utin pud tye i ic.
"You sew the skin for carrying the baby before the child is born." Don't
count your chickens before they are hatched,
Lango Proverbs 119
Iluto twol i opoko.
"You put a snake in the drinking vessel." Of a treacherous act.
Imako mani opong cingi.
"You grasp your testicles and they fill your hand." You think you are
a big fellow.
Inwongo cengoro i laro.
"Some day you will find it in the bush", i.e., you will meet with a wild
animal. A warning to a bully.
Inyono cun Obot.
"You tread on Obot's penis." Said to somebody trying to start trouble.
There was a beer party at Adekokwok near Lira some years ago. One man
leaving the circle where they were all squatting did this to Obot. In the
ensuing fight a number of persons were killed. Another proverb with the
same meaning is
lyengo okok adongo.
"You are looking for big soldier termites."
"You rear the one who will kill you." Of ingratitude.
Iruko war ma dong okuti ocobi woko.
"You put on a sandal after the thorn has pierced you." You lock the stable
door after the horse is stolen.
Kwot acol teri i kwot atar.
"A black (old) shield leads you to a white (new) shield." For example,
if you inherit as a wife an old woman you will have no difficulty in getting
a young wife because the old one will do all the work.
Mom icobo wangi keni.
"Do not pierce your own eyes." Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
Iwor acel mom kwoko dek.
"One night does not make the relish go bad."
Lum ot acel mom cwero ot.
"One blade of thatch does not make the house leak",
Ogwalogwal acel balo wang pi.
"One frog spoils the well."
Ka idak mom iputo te okono.
"If you move do not pull up the gourd plant", because you may come back
or it may help somebody else. Do not despise the place you come from.
Ka Iwok mom ka two.
"The place for washing is not the place for drying." Do not delay.
Kot mom owe piny acel.
"The rain does not fall in one place only." There are as good fish in the sea.
Kot obino ayom deye.
"The rain comes and the monkey hangs himself", because he has no house.
A warning against improvidence.
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Lak atar tar nono.
"The white tooth is merely white."
Atar lak nyer gire.
"The man with white teeth laughs", to show them off.
Lak lyec mom loyo wonere.
"The elephant's tusk is not too heavy for the owner."
Lut i kanabor mom neko twol.
"The stick which is far away does not kill the snake." A bird in the hand
is worth two in the bush.
Mac nywalo buru.
"A fire gives birth to ashes." Used of an ineffective person.
"He sleeps with ashes." Used of a poor man.
Obwol ka otu mom dok dok piny.
"When a mushroom springs up it does not go back into the earth",
Yat ka ogom con mom dok twenyere.
"The tree which has become crooked cannot be straightened out." What's
done can't be undone.
Okupa oleyo nge gweno.
"The termite escapes behind the chicken's back." Something happens
while you are away.
Olam mamit mom cek iryo i oro acel.
"The sweet fig does not ripen twice in one year."
Otedo omedo kede mane.
"The cook adds in his testicles to the food." Used of some one making
an all out effort to no avail. A chief used this proverb to me referring to
the German effort in Russia.
Ot mom cung bongo pagi mere.
"A house does not stand without its centre pole."
Lwak oyo mapol mom golo ot.
"A large number of rats does not scoop out a house." Too many cooks.
"It is still icana (the start of an ant-hill)." Also Pwod tongo "It is
still soft (of unbaked pots)." Used of something under construction or
of an unfulfilled promise.
Ngok ame ingoko mom idwoko iyii.
"Do not take back into yourself your own vomit." Make up your mind
and stick to it.
Ngor nyak bang awok.
"Beans bear fruit for the toothless man." Used of a person getting some-
thing of no use to him.
Nyako mom teri koko maroni.
"A girl does not take you to cry for your mother-in-law."