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The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 15, No. I MARCH 1951
Sir John Kirk and Mutesa SIR JoHN MLNER GRAY 1
Ringed Birds recovered in Uganda W. J. EGGELING 17
Research and Reminiscences: Uganda 1908-1910
COLONEL H. R. BATEMAN 26
Distribution of the Sickle-cell Trait in Uganda, and its Ethnological
Significance DRS. H. LEHMANN AND A. B. RAPER 41
Blood Grouping and the Tribal Historian A. C. A. WRIGHT 44
Some Factors in the British Occupation of East Africa, 1884-1894
ROLAND OLIVER 49
Lango Marriage Y. K. OELLO 65
Ruwenzori: Routes on Mount Stanley -R. M. BaRE 74
The Termite and its Uses for Food H. A. OSMASTON 80
The Baganda Martyrs, 1885-1887 H. B. THOMAS 84
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoja-VI J. M. WATSON 92
The Birds of Bwamba : Some Additions J. G. WILLIAMS 107
The Name' Lango' as a Title for the Nilo-hamites P. H. GULLIVER 111
High Altitude Leopards CAPTAIN C. R. S. PrIMAN 114
The Year of the Three Kings 116
Maize Names 116
The Rocks of Kakumiro 118
Saben's Commercial Directory and Handbook of Uganda, 1950-51 120
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
Price Shs. 10 (10s.)
OFFICERS FOR 1951
His Excellency Sir John Hathorn Hall, o.C.M.O., D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C.
Dr. A. W. Williams
Dr. J. B. Hutchinson, C.M.o.
The Piesident Mr. B. Nsimbi
The Vice-President Mr. D. K. Marphatia
The Hon. Secretary Mr. L. P. SaJdanha
The Hon. Treasurer Mr. G. B. Cartland
The Hon. Librarian Mr. R. K. Kerkham
The Hon. Editor Mr. A. G. Macpherson
Professor L. C. Beadle Dr. Audrey I. Richards
Mr. B. M. Mulyanti Dr. G. W. A. Dick
Hon. Secretary: Mr. R. G. Sangster
-Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. A. Willcock
Hon. Librarian: Mrs. B. Saben, M.B.E.
Hon. Editor: Mr. A. C. A. Wright
Hon. Auditor: Mr. J. L. Bray
Corresponding Secretary at Jinja: Mr. T. R. F. Cox
Corresponding Secretary at Entebbe: Mr. E. S. Haydon
Corresponding Secretary at Mbale: Mr. J. C. Dakin
H.H. Edward Mutesa U, Kabaka Sir Mark Wilson
of Buganda Mr. Norman Godinho, M.B.E.
R. A. Tito Winyi II, c.B.E. Mr. E. B. Haddon
Sir E. F. Twining, K.C.M.O., M.B.E. Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.
Sir John Milner Gray Dr. A. W. Williams
Sir A. R. Cook, c.Go., o.a.E.
Mr. E. J. Wayland, c.B.E.
Dr. H. H. Hunter, C.B.E., LL.D.
Mr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G.
Sir H. R. Hone,
LB.E., M.C., K.C.
Mr. J. Sykes, o.B.E.
Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman,
C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, M.B.E.
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, O.B.E.
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, O.B.E.
Mrs. K. M. Trowel], M.B.E.
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Dr. G. ap Griffith
Rev. Fr. F. B. Gaffney, w.p.
The Hon. Editor Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, c.B.., D.s.o., M.c. Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.
Mrs. A. Wilicock
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
A. C. A. WRIGHT, Hon. Editor
CAPTAIN C. R. S. PITMAN, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.
R. A. SNOXALL
(assisted in England by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY HEADLEY BROTHERS LTD
109 KINGSWAY LONDON WC2 AND ASHFORD KENT
Sir John Kirk and Mutesa SR JOHN MILNER GRAY
Ringed Birds recovered in Uganda W. J. EGGELINO
Research and Reminiscences: Uganda 1908-1910
COLONEL H. R. BATEMAN
Distribution of the Sickle-cell Trait in Uganda, and its Ethnological
Significance DRS. H. LEHMANN AND A. B. RAPER
Blood Grouping and the Tribal Historian A. C. A. WRIGHT
Some Factors in the British Occupation of East Africa, 1884-1894
Lango Marriage Y. K. OKELLO
Ruwenzori: Routes on Mount Stanley R. M. BERE
The Termite and its Uses for Food H. A. OSMASTON
The Baganda Martyrs, 1885-1887 H. B. THOMAS
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoja-VI J. M. WATSON
The Birds of Bwamba: Some Additions J. G. WILLIAMS
The Name' Lango' as a Title for the Nilo-hamites P. H. GULLIVER
High Altitude Leopards CAPTAIN C. R. S. PrrMAN
The Year of the Three Kings
Maize Names -
The Rocks of Kakumiro -
Saben's Commercial Directory and Handbook of Uganda, 1950-51
It would be greatly appreciated if lovers of Nature-or of
books-would check whether the following volume has by chance
found a place on their shelves: Volume IV of the Journal of the
East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society. The book is
bound in stiff red covers and disappeared in 1948 or 1949. The
volume might be returned by the finder to either the Game
Warden's Office at Entebbe, or the Uganda Museum,
P.O. Box 365, Kampala.
K. P. WACHISMANN,
Curator Uganda Museum.
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA
By SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY
IN January 1866 John Kirk was appointed acting Surgeon to the British
Agency and Consulate at Zanzibar. Born in 1832 at the manse at Barry,
near Arbroath in Scotland, he had qualified as a doctor at Edinburgh University
and had served on the civil medical staff in the Dardanelles throughout the
Crimean War. In 1858 he was appointed physician and naturalist in David
Livingstone's second expedition to central Africa. It was largely on Living-
stone's recommendation that he obtained his subsequent appointment at
Zanzibar. It was originally only a temporary appointment, but Kirk did not
sever his connection with Zanzibar until 1887, when he retired with the rank of
Only three months before Kirk's appointment Samuel Baker and his
heroic wife reached England after the perilous journey which had led to their
discovery of Lake Albert. Speke had published his Journal of the Discovery
of the Source of the Nile in 1863, just three years after the last volume of the
eighth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica saw the light of day. None of
the twenty-one volumes of that Encyclopaedia made any mention of Uganda.
Apart from Speke's writings and Grant's Walk across Africa (1864), there was
no printed information available regarding the country to the north of Lake
There were, however, opportunities in the town of Zanzibar of picking up
information about Mutesa of Buganda and the people over whom he ruled.
The first Arab caravan to reach Buganda is said to have arrived there in 1844
during the reign of Suna, Mutesa's father (13).
Though for a quarter of a century or more after that date caravans were
relatively few, both Suna and Mutesa after him obtained a reputation for
giving every encouragement and assistance to traders. Returning caravans
brought back large quantities of ivory. When these and other commodities
reached Zanzibar, the caravan leaders spread glowing accounts of the profits
to be derived from trading ventures to Buganda.
In 1869 Seyyid Majid bin Said, Sultan of Zanzibar, decided to send his own
special caravan to Buganda (16). According to David Livingstone, amongst
other presents Seyyid Majid sent eight buffaloes to Mutesa (40). This may
seem at first sight rather like sending coals to Newcastle, but the animals were
in all probability domesticated buffaloes which had been trained as transport
animals and which came from India. History is silent as to whether any
buffaloes ever reached Buganda at this date. Very probably they met with the
same fate as certain other buffaloes, which were intended for Livingstone's own
use and which died on their way to Ujiji (40). Whatever the fate of the
animals, Mutesa was so pleased with the presents which he actually received
that he organized and despatched a special caravan to Zanzibar (16).
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
This caravan is said to have set forth with one hundred and fifty tusks (27).
We know for a fact that "upwards of fifty-five elephants' tusks" actually
reached Zanzibar (16). The party, which was placed in charge of a chief
named Sengiri Mutebi, also took with it a baby elephant which, mirabile dictu,
reached Zanzibar safe and sound (40). The caravan reached Tabora about
the end of 1870. The famous Tippu Tib was there at the time and he tells
us that the Baganda were called on to assist the Arabs of Tabora in repelling
an invasion of Angoni, who had arrived within a very short distance of that
place. A mixed force of Arabs, Waswahili and Baganda went out to give
battle to the Angoni at a place called Njombo, about three hours distant from
Tabora (3). The result of the battle was disastrous. According to informa-
tion which reached David Livingstone shortly afterwards, twenty-two of the
Baganda were left dead on the field (40); according to Tippu Tib, their losses
came to "more than one hundred" (3).
The Angoni had only been out to raid cattle and they retreated before
their opponents could be reinforced (3). The Baganda were therefore able to
continue their journey with their depleted numbers down to the coast. In a
letter to the Royal Geographical Society of 13th October 1871, Kirk gave some
account of this caravan after its arrival in Zanzibar. He reported that the
members of the party had only a very limited knowledge of Kiswahili and
there is no very competent interpreter here ". Consequently, it had not been
easy to obtain much information about their country. They did, however,
"speak of traders from Egypt having come by the Nile and quartered them-
selves close to the town of Mutesa. In fact, Uganda is now reached by traders
from both North and South; and the Zanzibar caravans which have lately
visited the Victoria Nyanza by way of the Masai and Jagga country have there
met with people of Uganda on the eastern side of that lake (16).
Kirk also heard that "the Chief of Uganda desires to keep up the trade-
route to Zanzibar, but he demands very considerable returns for what he has
sent down" (16).
"Upwards of fifty-five elephants' tusks" were handed over to Seyyid
Barghash bin Said, who had in 1870 succeeded his brother Seyyid Majid as
Sultan of Zanzibar. The baby elephant was also presented to him, but Seyyid
Barghash decided that the proper person to look after it was a Hindu, named
Lakmidass, who was the farmer of the Zanzibar customs. Lakmidass in his
turn decided that the upkeep and feeding of young elephants formed no part
of the duties of a customs official. So he in his turn passed the baby elephant
on to Kirk (8). The animal remained for some eighteen months in Kirk's
charge, during which period, according to Lugard, it spent its time "helping
himself to sweetmeats from the shops, and otherwise making himself obnoxious
in a most civilized way". At the end of eighteen months Kirk had the
elephant shipped to Bombay, consigned to the Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse.
But the Governor did not keep him long, passing him on to Sir Salar Jung,
Prime Minister of Hyderabad (23).
Apparently Sengiri Mutebi and his companions made no long stay in
Zanzibar. According to Livingstone, Seyyid Barghash sent them home with
presents for Mutesa which included gunpowder, guns, soap, brandy and gin (40).
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 3
They appear to have arrived back at Tabora some time before 18th February
1872, the day on which Livingstone and Stanley arrived there from Ujiji. On
12th March the porters of the Baganda gave a farewell dance in honour of
Stanley, who set out two days later on his return journey to the coast. The
refrain of the song, which accompanied the dancing, was that Bwana Sengiri "
had kept the porters away from their homes on short commons for a very
long time (32). As Livingstone's Last Journals show, they were delayed at
Tabora for some six months after Stanley's departure. In August 1872 the
caravan started on its journey to Buganda (40), but on the way they were
waylaid by the Wanyamwezi and their leader, Sengiri Mutebi, was killed (33).
Kirk's letter to the Royal Geographical Society gave two interesting pieces
of information. Traders from Egypt had come by the Nile and quartered
themselves close to Mutesa's capital, but Mutesa was anxious to keep up the
trade route to Zanzibar. From what he had heard of the conduct of Egyptian
traders and officials in the countries lying to the immediate north of Buganda,
he had conceived a very real dread of his country coming in the slightest degree
under the influence of the Egyptian Government and, as a counterpoise to
Egyptian aggression, he was anxious to do his utmost to promote trade between
his own country and the east coast of Africa.
Proof of this was very soon forthcoming in the sequel to the visit of the
Egyptian traders to Buganda. When Baker reached Fatiko in March 1872, he
heard that the Egyptian traders had been treated like dogs by the great Mutesa,
and they had slunk back abashed, and were only too glad to be allowed to
depart. They declared the country was too strong for them and would not
suit their business" (2).
Mutesa had in fact reasonable grounds for his fears of Egypt. In 1869
Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, had appointed Sir Samuel Baker as Governor
of the southern Sudan with instructions to extend the Egyptian frontier south-
wards and to suppress the slave-trade. Baker's firman specifically instructed
him "to subdue to our authority the countries situated to the south of Gondo-
koro" (2). In pursuance of those instructions he annexed Bunyoro to Egypt
in 1872. This led to friction with Kabarega, the ruler of that country, and
finally to actual fighting and a hurried retreat by Baker back across the Nile.
The suppression of the slave-trade proved a superhuman task. No reliance
could be placed in Egyptian officials who were hand-in-glove with the slave-
traders. Baker eventually resigned in despair in 1873 (37).
He was succeeded by Colonel Charles Gordon, who had recently made a
name for himself as "Chinese Gordon ", the leader of the "ever-victorious
army" which had saved the Manchu Empire from disruption. Soon after his
arrival at his seat of government in Gondokoro Gordon despatched his staff
officer, an American named Charles Chailld Long, to visit Mutesa. On his
return from that visit Long wrote a letter from Gondokoro on 20th October
1874 to The Geographical Society of London ". That letter was subsequently
published in the Proceedings of the Society. One passage in it caused consider-
able worry to Kirk. In that passage Long claimed that he "had closed the
road to Zanzibar, and had received assurances from Mutesa that all ivory
should pay to Gondokoro (22). It may possibly be doubted whether Mutesa
4 UGANDA JOURNAL
ever gave any such an assurance. If he did, it was certainly never carried out.
Nevertheless it was very clear from Long's statement that Egypt was out to
capture and to retain as a monopoly a trade which hitherto had been entirely
in the hands of the Zanzibar traders. Kirk had very much at heart the interests
of the country to which he was accredited. Long's diplomacy might not be
successful, but the Khedive might take other and more drastic measures to
secure the monopoly which he was seeking. Baker had annexed Kabarega's
country on behalf of the Khedive. What might be the possible fate of Mutesa's
No person ever had a greater detestation of slavery and the slave-trade
than Charles Gordon. But, like Baker, he soon began to doubt whether any-
thing could be achieved with the unsatisfactory subordinate Egyptian staff
which was at his disposal. He was also worried owing to the inefficient and
unsatisfactory lines of communication existing between himself in the heart
of Africa and Cairo. He felt that little could be achieved in the countries
round the central lakes if he had to depend upon transport from Khartoum
by way of the Nile. Accordingly he proposed to Ismail Pasha that an attempt
should be made to open up communications between Lake Victoria and the
east coast somewhere in the region of Mombasa (37). Ismail warmed to the
idea. As he later told Colonel (afterwards Sir) Edward Stanton, British Consul-
General in Egypt, the suppression of the slave-trade in the Equatorial District
has caused a serious diminution of the revenues of the Soudan and unless there
was a prospect of opening these districts to commerce, he should be obliged to
tell Colonel Gordon to withdraw from the Lakes, and consolidate his position
farther north" (34). Gordon had appreciated the fact that the Sultan of
Zanzibar claimed part of the east coast of Africa as forming part of his
dominions. He had therefore urged Ismail Pasha to ask the Sultan of Zanzibar,
who was passing through Egypt on a visit to Europe, what he considered to be
his frontier (12).
Ismail put the question to Seyyid Barghash during a visit of the latter to
Cairo. As he afterwards told his senior naval officer, McKillop Pasha, "the
Sultan notified me of his claims to all the coast as far as Cape Hafoun. I did
not wish at that time to dispute his claim, as he was my guest and silence was
imposed upon me by the elementary laws and customs of hospitality." But
though he observed this discreet silence, the Khedive was determined "to
prevent future difficulties and to stop an act of usurpation on his part" (15).
Accordingly an Egyptian fleet, with a number of soldiers under Chailld Long,
was sent under McKillop's command to Kismayu with instructions to open up
a route thence to the Equatorial Provinces (6).
Some three months before this expedition Gordon had written to Richard
Burton in regard to the project. In that letter he told Burton that you must
know that nothing could delight the Zanzibar Consul better than to have the
thwarting of such a scheme ", and rather unpleasantly attributed the motive of
self-interest to the Consul in question (4). That Consul was John Kirk. In
the course of his nine years of Consular service he had become the trusted
adviser of Seyyid Barghash, who protested against the unwarrantable invasion
of his dominions and requested Kirk to forward his protest to the British
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA
Government. As in duty bound, Kirk did so and at the same time supported
it as strongly as possible. Pressure upon Ismail through the British Foreign
Office had its effect and after riding at anchor for three months off Kismayu,
the Egyptian fleet re-embarked the troops and returned to Egypt in January
1876 without having accomplished anything (6).
But Ismail did not intend to abandon his claims without a final struggle.
He urged that his claim to a port on the east coast should be reconsidered and
that, if he was not to be allowed to acquire such a port by force of arms, at
least he might be given one on payment of compensation to the Sultan of
Zanzibar. It was "in deference to the wishes of England" that the Khedive
had tried to open equatorial Africa and to suppress the slave-trade. All this
had cost him large sums of money and he was entitled to recoup himself by
obtaining some outlet for legitimate Egyptian commerce. If he was not
allowed to do this, the outposts in the Lake Regions would have to be with-
drawn for economy's sake and, though the Khedive did not say so in so many
words, this necessarily implied the abandonment of those regions to the slave-
trade (34). This statement of the Egyptian case was passed on by Lord Derby
to Kirk at Zanzibar with a request for his views. Those views were clear
The whole proposition is obviously based on the assumption that the Nile
Lakes and the adjacent regions, explored and hitherto made known by English-
men alone, where Zanzibar traders have been for years back, but where the
Turkish flag is unknown, are Egyptian by rights; and being called on by your
Lordship to express my opinion on the matter I beg to record my strong
conviction, while none of the advantages held forth by His Highness (sc. the
Khedive) are likely to come from his being permitted to occupy a part of
Equatorial Africa; on the contrary the whole scheme is injurious to our
commercial and political influence and our policy for the suppression of the
slave-trade, and that in its present state it ought not to receive encouragement
As regards the possibility of such a station being obtained without viola-
tion of the rights of the Sultan of Zanzibar, this could only be done by getting
his consent, which I fear would be by no means easy, after the conduct of
McKillop Pasha and the behaviour of the Khedive himself. .
How far the bald assertion regarding the effectual suppression of the
Slave Trade put forward in Nubar Pasha's (sc. the Khedive's Chief Minister)
note has any foundation Your Lordship is best able to judge of this. How-
ever, I am certain that the experience of the recent expedition so far from
giving any encouragement to the idea that British interests or Slave Trade
suppression could be benefited by the change of rule and a transfer of the
trade of the Lake Regions of the interior from Zanzibar to Egyptian hands
shows the reverse would be the case. .
That it is a monopoly of trade of the Lake Regions to the exclusion of
others that the Khedive aims at is sufficiently evident from the private arrange-
ment Colonel Gordon's officer attempted to make with Mutesa, the independent
ruler of the North of the Victoria Lake, which was to prohibit all commerce
with the people of Zanzibar, who up to that time had gone there since the
days of his father Suna, King of Uganda (17).
6 UGANDA JOURNAL
Kirk's views prevailed. No answer was sent to the Khedive's demand for
a port in the recognized sphere of influence of the Sultan of Zanzibar and he
was eventually given to understand that his own authority would not be recog-
nized to the south of Ras Hafun (16). Though Mutesa would appear at this
time to have been entirely ignorant of the fact, this Egyptian attempt to acquire
Buganda by way of the east coast had been checked and Kirk had been-respon-
sible for the thwarting of such a scheme ".
Ismail's threat to withdraw altogether from the Lake Regions if his
claims were not satisfied never materialized. On the contrary, Colonel Stanton
was informed on 4th May 1876 by Cherif Pasha that "there has been accom-
plished the annexation to Egypt of all the territories round the Great Lakes
Victoria and Albert" (4), thus apparently fulfilling the plan of campaign which
Gordon himself had announced to Sir Henry Rawlinson, President of the Royal
Geographical Society, in a letter of 22nd August 1875. In this letter Gordon
announced that he proposed to "continue his march up the Nile (Speke's
Somerset River) to Foweira and Rionga, above the Karuma Falls, which posts
he would strengthen for defensive purposes, using them as a base for further
operations against Kabarega at M'rooli, and ultimately, if necessary, against
Mutesa of Uganda (11).
That self same letter, however, announced one other event which was to
influence profoundly the history of Uganda. On 21st September 1874, H. M.
Stanley arrived at Zanzibar. From Zanzibar he crossed over to the mainland.
Kirk was on leave in Europe at the time. Stanley was known to be contem-
plating an expedition into the interior, but a great deal of mystery surrounded
his plans. Apparently the American Consul was made the sole repository of
the secret and this officer had instructions not to give any information whatever
regarding Stanley's movements until after the departure of the mails which
carried Stanley's letters to Europe (10). In course of time, however, informa-
tion did leak out and Gordon's letter to Sir Henry Rawlinson made known the
fact that one of Gordon's officers, Ernest Linant de Bellefonds, had met Stanley
at Mutesa's court in April 1875 (11). When Linant eventually returned to
Gordon at Muggi on the banks of the Victoria Nile, he carried Stanley's mail
with him. Gordon forwarded that mail to England. On 15th November 1875
one of Stanley's letters was published in the Daily Telegraph. It was dated
the previous 14th April and contained Stanley's well-known appeal to the
Christian spirit of England to send missionaries to Mutesa. An immediate and
enthusiastic response led the Church Missionary Society to organize a special
Meanwhile, out in the southern Sudan, after two and a half years of toil
and worry, Gordon prepared to return to England, vowing that he would sever
his connection with the Egyptian Government once and for all. He actually
tendered his resignation as he passed through Cairo, but more or less withdrew
it almost immediately after he had tendered it. Writing to Burton in December
1876, on board the steamer which was carrying him to England, he said:
Personally, the whole of the future exploration, or rather opening, of the
Victoria Lake to Egypt, has not a promising future for me, and I do not like
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 7
the idea of returning. I have been humbugged into saying I would do so, and
I suppose I must keep my word (41).
The actual fact was that Gordon, a man who cared little for the opinion
of others, had, in Lord Morley's words, "seized the imagination of England,
and seized it at its highest plane" (24). Ismail Pasha was well aware of this
and astute enough to know that, if only he could retain Gordon's services,
English public opinion might be lulled into overlooking much else connected
with Egyptian policy in the Lake Regions which could hardly bear close
On 27th December 1876 Mr. (afterwards Lord) Vivian, the British Agent
at Cairo, informed Lord Derby that:
I have spoken to the Khedive strongly about the Slave Trade, with the
Equator Provinces, and from the Egyptian ports in the Red Sea.
I repeated to him all that Colonel Gordon told me of slave trading and
slave bartering practices in the Soudan, saying that I placed implicit faith in
Colonel Gordon's statements, the more so that he had been loyally reluctant,
as Viceroy's officer, to say anything to injure His Highness. I acquitted
His Highness of a direct knowledge of these acts. I urged him to take
steps to put an end to a state of things which, when it became known, would
certainly alienate all sympathy with the extension of his jurisdiction in Central
His Highness did not attempt to deny these statements. Indeed he
admitted that he had heard them with regret from Colonel Gordon, and
believed them. His only excuse was that he had been deceived in the character
of the man whom he had specially selected as Governor of the Soudan Provinces
on account of his European education and sympathies; but he hoped that
Colonel Gordon would not abandon the important command that he held, for
he should find it difficult, if not impossible, to find an officer to fill his place,
and he was ready, if he returned, to give him such extended powers as he might
require to make his authority paramount (38).
A message was sent to Gordon in England asking him to return to Egypt
and interview the Khedive. The result of the meeting between the two was
almost a foregone conclusion. On 18th February 1877 Mr. Vivian reported
to Lord Derby that Gordon had been appointed Governor-General of both the
Sudan and Equatorial Provinces with almost unlimited powers. On the same
day on which that letter was sent, Gordon left Cairo to take up his new post (38).
In reporting the appointment, Mr. Vivian said: It is unnecessary for me
to dwell upon the strong evidence of sincerity and good faith which the Khedive
has given in entrusting so great and important a command, with all independent
authority, to Colonel Gordon" (38). But the news of the appointment met
with a more mixed reception in England. On 30th January 1877, for instance,
Speke's former companion, Grant, had written to The Times, saying that the
chief object of Gordon's re-engagement was "the annexation of the Victoria
Nyanza. All who know Colonel Gordon must feel the highest confidence in
his administrative power, but what will become of the country as soon as he
leaves it ?" On 27th February a meeting was held at 1 Stratton Street,
8 UGANDA JOURNAL
Piccadilly, the famous home of Angela, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who through-
out her long life was actively interested in all schemes which were intended to
improve the condition of the native races of Africa. The meeting was attended
by (amongst others) the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Tait), Sir Thomas Fowell
Buxton (grandson of the abolitionist), Joseph Pease (Quaker banker and philan-
thropist), and the Bishop of Edinburgh. At that meeting it was resolved to
prepare and submit a memorial to the British Government with regard to the
scheme of annexation attributed to the Khedive" (14).
That memorial was drawn in the name of the Church Missionary Society.
In it the Society recalled "the efforts made by Mutesa, King of Uganda, at
Sir Samuel Baker's request, to communicate with and relieve Dr. Livingstone"
as well as the hospitality and protection which he had accorded to all European
travellers and "his cordial desire to enter into friendly relations with this
country ". All these things entitled Mutesa to the sympathy and interest of
the English people; and your Memorialists are glad to believe there does
exist a very widespread interest in this country in the prosperity and welfare.
of the Kingdoms of Uganda and Karagwe". The Memorial further invited
Lord Derby's attention to the fact that the Society had recently equipped and
sent out a special mission to Mutesa. It then proceeded to say:
It is therefore with much apprehension that your Memorialists have
watched the progress of the operations of the Khedive of Egypt towards the
Northern shores of Victoria Nyanza.
Your Memorialists have now reason to believe that the Khedive of
Egypt is not content with the position he holds, but is desirous of extending
his dominions and the monopoly of trade so as to include therein the whole of
the Victoria Nyanza in addition to the Albert Lake already annexed, in which
case that Lake would also become Egyptian waters, to the probable exclusion
of all other nations from its Trade.
The annexation of Victoria Nyanza by Egypt would, as your Memorialists.
are informed, to a certainty necessitate hostile measures against King Mutesa,
who is opposed to the further passage south of the Egyptian forces. Such
hostilities would not only be fatal to all effort to civilize and improve these
regions, they would, as your Memorialists believe, lead to the ruin of King
Mutesa and his dominions, and would in all probability be detrimental to the
best interests of Egypt.
In view of these considerations your Memorialists feel that King
Mutesa is entitled to an assurance from Egypt that the independence of his
kingdom and sovereignty will be respected, and the neutrality of, and free
trade on, Lake Victoria be secured.
Your Memorialists would therefore ask that Her Majesty's Government
would use its kind influence in representing the views set forth in this Memorial
to His Highness the Khedive of Egypt (5).
Almost simultaneously a joint memorial was presented by the British and
Foreign Anti-Slavery and the Aborigines' Protection Societies. It covered to
a very large extent much the same ground as did that of the Church Missionary
Society, though it was possibly a little more outspoken. It had little faith in
Egyptian professions of a desire to stamp out the slave-trade.
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 9
While Colonel Gordon's character is a pledge of his personal hostility to
the Traffic, we think it would be a grave mistake to suppose that the removal
of the scourge is likely to be secured by the extension of the authority of a
purely slave-holding government like that of Egypt into the countries now
threatened with invasion. With the light of painful experience to guide
us, we think it is only too probable that, whatever Colonel Gordon's own
wishes may be, a policy of annexation will ultimately have the effect of
increasing the area over which both slavery and the Slave Trade will become
firmly established (1).
Copies of these two memorials were sent to Mr. Vivian at Cairo with a
request that he should take such steps as to you may seem best" to ascertain
" whether there is any foundation for the rumours that the Khedive contemplates
the acquisition of the territories in question" (7). Vivian in reply reported
the substance of a conversation which he had had with Gordon before the
latter's departure from Cairo on 18th February 1877.
Colonel Gordon foresaw the probability of the Uganda Mission asking
the Foreign Office to secure the neutrality of the Victoria Lake and the indepen-
dence of Mutesa; he did not think Egypt would object, as a concession, to
admit these two points, but he thought the answer of Egypt to any such
representation might fairly be, "Will Her Majesty's Government undertake
that Mutesa will act as a friendly ruler should, and cease to give aid to
Kabarega against Egypt, and deal fairly as to the surrender of deserters ? "
He doubted if Egypt, after all her sacrifices and the expenses she had
incurred in Central Africa, could stop short of Victoria Lake, and his instruc-
tions were to push on there, and place a steamer on the lake as soon as possible;
but he thought that when Egypt had done this, she might declare the neutrality
of the lake, more especially as she would never hope to attract the trade of that
district to the Nile, as it must inevitably follow the natural channel leading to
the east coast.
... To sum up: Colonel Gordon's opinions were that Egypt must advance
to Lake Victoria Nyanza, but that she ought then to declare its neutrality, and
that she should recognize Mutesa's independence on equitable conditions.
Colonel Gordon's views will certainly powerfully influence, if not entirely
guide, the Egyptian Government; and from conversation that I have had with
Cherif Pasha I gather that the Khedive entirely endorses these views (38).
From the point of view of Mutesa and his well-wishers this information
was not very reassuring. Egypt must advance to the Victoria Lake and put
steamers on it. When this was done, perhaps Ismail Pasha might be disposed
to stay his hand. Promises of this nature had often been made by others before
Ismail's day and painful experience had shown what little value could be
attached to them. They had not even got the face value of a mere scrap of
paper ". But, fortunately for himself and his people, Mutesa was not depen-
dent upon the goodwill of the Khedive for his future destiny. On 6th April 1877
Kirk wrote from Zanzibar to report to Lord Derby "that messengers bearing
an Arabic letter have arrived from King Mutesa, asking the assistance of Sayd
Burghash in arms and ammunition to enable him to resist the advance of the
Egyptians, who he has reason to fear meditate the annexation of his country
and the subjection of himself as a vassal to the Khedive of Egypt" (17).
10 UGANDA JOURNAL
Acting on Kirk's advice, Seyyid Barghash decided not to interfere but,
bearing in mind McKillop Pasha's recent expedition to Kismayu, he, like Kirk,
could not but feel uneasy. In actual fact Mutesa's letter to the Sultan of
Zanzibar would appear to have been an unconscionable long time on its way.
By the time it reached its destination, the threat of aggression which had
prompted the writing of the letter had been passed and over for many months.
What had actually happened was that early in 1876, during his first tour of
duty in the Egyptian service, Gordon had sent an Egyptian officer, Nuer Aga,
with some troops to obtain Mutesa's permission to erect a post in his dominions
in the district of Bulondoganyi, close to the banks of the Nile. Nuer Aga had,
however, been persuaded by Mutesa to bring his men to Mutesa's capital at
Rubaga. On their arrival Mutesa had further persuaded the Egyptian officer
to dismiss his Acholi porters, thus rendering himself and his men completely
immobile. Thereafter the Egyptian troops had remained for four months
virtually the prisoners of Mutesa, who kept them on very short commons.
Eventually, in August 1876, on receipt of a message from Gordon, Mutesa had
allowed the Egyptians to leave the country (37).
Kirk was to hear something more of this incident. As already mentioned,
in response to Stanley's appeal in the Daily Telegraph, the Church Missionary
Society had sent a party of missionaries to Buganda. Their leader was a
retired naval officer named George Shergold Smith. The advance party reached
Rubaga on 30th June 1877, where they were well received by Mutesa (37).
Shergold Smith wrote to Kirk and gave him news of his arrival. It was
then for the first time that Kirk heard of the Egyptian advance to Rubaga.
Writing to Lord Derby on 28th November 1877, the day on which Shergold
Smith's letter reached Zanzibar, Kirk said:
The last tidings of Colonel Gordon received by Lieutenant Smith was
through a letter of his to King Mutesa, dated August 1876, telling him he
intended withdrawing the Egyptian troops from Uganda, and advising him
in the meantime not to molest them ....
Lieutenant Smith mentions a circumstance that may, however, in the absence
of Colonel Gordon, lead to a misunderstanding between the Egyptian forces
and King Mutesa. It appears that the King hoisted a flag, emblematic, as he
says, of his having embraced Christianity as opposed to Mahommedanism,
which at one time he professed; this flag had given great offence to the
Egyptians, both as a Christian sign and indicating his independence and the
King had accordingly been ordered by the Egyptians to haul it down, which
he refused to do (17).
On receipt of Kirk's letter the Foreign Office immediately sent a copy to
Vivian at Cairo with instructions to communicate the contents to Gordon and
to express to the Egyptian Government" the hope of Her Majesty's Government
that no hostile proceedings will be taken against King Mutesa on account of
his religious opinions (28).
In his letter to Kirk, Shergold Smith had reported that after a month's stay
at Rubaga he had returned to the south of the lake, where he is busily engaged
completing the fittings of a dhow purchased from Songoro, a Zanzibar trader
settled at the lake ". On 14th October 1877 he wrote another letter from Kageyi
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 11
to Kirk and handed it to a party of Baganda, whom Mutesa was sending to
Zanzibar to obtain certain articles which he required. With regard to its
contents Kirk says: With reference to the spread of Mahommedan influences
in Central Africa, and the relation of King Mutesa of Uganda to the Egyptian
forces of the Khedive under Colonel Gordon, Lieutenant Smith writes: 'If
you would exercise your influence to prevent the annexation of Mutesa's
dominions to Egypt, I shall be much obliged.' I see by a letter from Colonel
Gordon he speaks of this as already completed, saying, 'Mutesa has annexed
himself.' Though it is not the case yet, it shows which way the wind blows.
I can conceive no greater bar to Christianity and civilization than the inroad of
Mahommedan ideas" (30).
After writing this letter Shergold Smith went to the island of Ukerewe on
Lake Victoria. There, on 13th December 1877, he and his companion, O'Neill,
were killed in a fracas with the local inhabitants. In the meantime his letter to
Kirk was being conveyed to the coast by the Baganda. It was duly delivered
to Kirk in the early days of January 1878, and its contents were at once com-
municated to Lord Derby (17), who promptly caused a copy to be sent to the
British Agent and Consul-General in Egypt with a request that he should
institute inquiries as to what were the intentions of the Egyptian Government.
It was difficult to get in touch with Gordon, but on 26th April 1878 Kirk was
informed that Her Majesty's Agent and Consul-General at Alexandria reports
that, as far as he can ascertain, Colonel Gordon has no intention to interfere,
on the part of the Egyptian Government, with King Mutesa, with whom
Colonel Gordon desires to be on good terms so long as he does not molest the
Such qualified information did not give Kirk and those who, like him, were
interesting themselves in the preservation of Mutesa's independence, the comfort
for which they were seeking. At the end of April 1879, a letter written in
French was left with the porter at the palace of the Sultan of Zanzibar by some
person unknown (18). The writer was Emin Effendi, who informed the Sultan
that he had been sent for the second time by Gordon Pasha "to complete the
investigations of Stanley, the celebrated explorer", by proceeding through
Buganda to Karagwe, but Mutesa had refused to allow him to pass. The letter
bore no date. Kirk reached the conclusion that it had been written in Uganda
very lately" and expressed the opinion to the new Foreign Secretary, Lord
Salisbury, that one incident such as this may probably lead to a further move-
ment south on the part of the Egyptians" (18). In actual fact, the letter was
over twelve months old. Emin had left Rubaga to return to Lado on 22nd
March 1878. As he later informed Dr. Petermann, he had been forced to turn
back because of Mutesa's insuperable mistrust of Egypt and everything which
comes from there" (35).
On 13th June 1879, barely six weeks after Emin's letter had been surrepti-
tiously delivered at the Sultan's palace, Mr. Vivian wrote from Cairo to inform
Lord Salisbury that "Cherif Pasha has assured me that the Egyptian Govern-
ment have no intention whatever of making further annexations in Central Africa
nor of encroaching upon King Mutesa's territories ". This information was
passed on to Kirk (39). Cherif Pasha's assurance proved true. At the end of
12 UGANDA JOURNAL
1878 Gordon had resolved to abandon all projects for pushing on to Lake
Victoria. On 1st September he informed Sir Samuel Baker that I have given
up all idea of going to, or putting steamers on, Lake Victoria". On 29th
October he told Baker that "I mean to evacuate Unyoro except Fatiko, and
keep only Lake Albert ". Eight days later he told the same correspondent that
he intended to abandon his stations at Mruli, Foweira, and Masindi because
"they are not worth keeping" (25). This evacuation was not actually com-
pleted until the end of 1879. With it all threats from Egypt to Mutesa's
independence came to an end. A number of people had been instrumental in
bringing this state of affairs about. One of them was Colonel Grant, who,
both in the press and at meetings of the Royal Geographical Society, had
constituted himself the watchdog of the country in which he had once sojourned
with Speke. The Church Missionary, Anti-Slavery, and Aborigines' Protection
Societies also played an important part in rousing English public opinion and
in inducing the British Foreign Office to intervene. But credit must also go to
the men on the spot. Shergold Smith's letters to Kirk had undoubtedly gone a
long way towards influencing the Foreign Office's decision and the "Zanzibar
Consul" had once again played his part in the thwarting of such a scheme ".
The Rev. C. T. Wilson, who had accompanied Shergold Smith to Buganda
and had remained there after his departure, had fully appreciated Mutesa's dread
of Egypt and had made known to him the fact that people in England were
trying to save his country from annexation. He had read to Mutesa the Church
Missionary Society's memorial to the British Government and Mutesa had
expressed his appreciation of their intervention on his behalf (42). Wilson had
also acquainted him with the fact that the Consul at Zanzibar could greatly assist
in promoting the friendship of the British Government. Consequently, although
the two were never destined to meet, Mutesa acquired a very high regard for
Kirk and used to correspond with him. A letter from Wilson, dated 17th May
1879, informed Kirk that "King Mutesa expressed a strong desire to assist in
facilitating direct communication with Zanzibar, and keeping friendly relations
with the British Agency" (43).
In August 1878, Kirk received, through the medium of a messenger of a
European firm trading in Zanzibar, friendly messages from Mutesa inform-
ing him that he had received the letters of introduction which had been furnished
to the English missionaries (18). He also asked Kirk to send him an Englishman
to carry on trade with him direct. As a government servant, Kirk was of
course unable to do this, but he made Mutesa's wish known to "Mr. Smith, a
British subject here", and asked him to explain in his letter all that was
necessary to enable Mutesa to trade with the coast (19). The" Mr. Smith" just
mentioned was Archibald Smith, "the agent of the English missionaries who
came to you from Zanzibar ". One year previously he had gone into partner-
ship with a Mr. E. N. MacKenzie and a Mr. Archibald Brown, trading under
the name and style of Smith Mackenzie & Company, which firm had already
done business with Mutesa, having sold him a double-barrelled gun for one
hundred and sixty-five dollars in 1877 (31).
In replying to Mutesa's messages, Kirk wrote:
Your Highness will be pleased to know that it is the wish of His Highness
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 13
the Sultan of Zanzibar to open up roads from this coast to your country and
to increase the friendly relations that now exist between the two Kingdoms.
For this purpose I have written to Mirambo (sc. the paramount chief of
Unyanyembe) in order that he may assist in making the route safe and easy to
traders travelling with goods. I have only to assure Your Highness that
I shall always be glad to protect from injury your people who come to
On 15th October 1879 Kirk informed Lord Salisbury that "I have now
received a special deputation of twenty natives of Uganda, sent by their King to
visit Zanzibar, and to convey his thanks for advice and intervention in keeping
open the road to his dominions ". The messengers brought with them "a
specimen of the wild coffee of the country, a sample of which had been forwarded
to Kew. It is said to be of excellent quality, resembling the best Mocha."
They also brought a piece of ivory as a present from Mutesa to Kirk. This
Kirk sold and spent the proceeds on behalf of the Baganda messengers and in
sending them back to their country (18).
On 6th March 1880 Kirk informed Lord Salisbury that the headmen of
the party had returned to the coast and reported that a fire had occurred in
their camp on their return journey to Buganda, that all the goods given to them
to procure food on their way had been destroyed, together with the letters and
several of the presents intended for Mutesa (18). In a letter of 28th February
to Mutesa, Kirk explained that he had had copies of the lost letters prepared
and that you will receive a rifle and a pistol that were saved from the fire. I
have also had one of your guns repaired that had become very much damaged
by the fire. It was very much injured and I have given your messengers food
for the way (19).
It was such acts as these which told with Mutesa. As was explained to
Kirk by Charles Pearson of the Church Missionary Society, the Zanzibar Arabs
at Mutesa's court had made a dead set against Kirk because of his attitude
towards the slave-trade. Writing from Rubaga on 21st January 1881, to Kirk,
Pearson said that three Arabs whom he named were "the only ones I have
heard not traducing you and the British Government to Mutesa. Several
times of late I have had to stand up in Court in your favour, when these rascally
Arabs charged you with stealing ivory and other accusations" (29). But,
thanks to Pearson's advocacy and thanks also, one would fain believe, to
Mutesa's own innate commonsense, despite all false reports spread by malevolent
persons in close touch with Mutesa, on the whole Kirk's reputation at Rubaga
more or less consistently remained high.
Mutesa's last letter to Kirk was written on 19th May 1882. It reached
Kirk in the following September. Kirk sent the letter in its original Arabic
to Speke's former travelling companion, Colonel James Augustus Grant, who, in
his turn, sent it to Charles Rieu, Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts at the British
Museum. Rieu reported that Mutesa's seal was affixed to the document. It
was crudely cut, but appeared to contain the words Sultan of Wuganda ". The
date, 12.8 ", also appeared in the document together with a third figure, which
was illegible. The following is Rieu's translation of the letter:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
14 UGANDA JOURNAL
To His Excellency the most noble, respected, honoured and illustrious
friend, dearest to us, Kirkir, the English Consul, may God the Most High keep
him in safety.
Peace on you, and God's Mercy, and His Favours, and the purest and
noblest of His Blessings.
These lines are sent to you from the port of Africa to the port of Zanzibar.
News from this place is good and the agitations are at rest. There is no more
intelligence that we may convey to you but (our wishes) for your welfare, the
rejoicing of your heart and the lasting of your life. Further, we inform your
noble person that the Pen of the Divine Decrees has passed upon us. Our
mother Al Namsuri has departed from us. We said as the patient say: We are
of God, and to God we return. This is the way of the world and the path to
the next. We liked to let you know so that Your Excellency may be informed.
Our request to you is that you may not deprive your friend of information
touching your noble state, and also of any wish of which you may gave a hint.
Convey our greetings to all persons present in your noble place, and salaam.
Dated the first day of Rajab 1299 (19th May 1882).
Written by his order by Masood Resalmin bin Sueilim with his own
The Namasole (Queen Mother), Muganzirwaza, had died on 27th March
1882. As this letter shows, her death had affected Mutesa very much. Though
he had never met Kirk, he somehow felt that he had in him a friend who could
sympathize with him in his loss. Mutesa himself, whose health had been
gradually failing for several years, died on 10th October 1884.
Sir John Kirk-he had been knighted in 1881-left Zanzibar in July 1886
and retired from the Consular Service in the following year. For three years
or more he had been fighting to try to preserve the Sultan of Zanzibar's main-
land dominions from annexation by Germany. It had been for the most part
a losing battle. In the circumstances he was not sorry to go. But throughout
the rest of his long life-and he lived to his ninetieth year-he maintained the
closest possible interest in East Africa and its peoples. In 1889 and 1890 he
was British Plenipotentiary at the International Conference on the African Slave
Trade held at Brussels. A year before he had become a director of the Imperial
British East Africa Company and assisted in the management of its affairs
throughout the critical period of Lugard's administration of Uganda. He was
also Vice-Chairman of the Uganda Railway Committee which supervised the
building of the line from Mombasa to Kisumu. He died on 15th January 1922.
As Sir Reginald Coupland writes:
He was a copious letter-writter, and there were few among the rising
generation of African administrators who were not among his correspondents.
Some of them became his personal friends, sharing his African thoughts and
hopes, and to one of them in particular he may be said to have handed on his
work. I had for him ", writes Lord Lugard, a deep affection which I know
was reciprocated. He was to me the ideal of a wise and sympathetic
administrator on whom I endeavoured to model my own actions and to whose
inexhaustible fund of knowledge I constantly appealed (6).
Kirk's successful intervention to prevent Mutesa and his people from
becoming the victims of Ismail Pasha's plans of annexation was but one of very
SIR JOHN KIRK AND MUTESA 15
many matters, which at that time occupied the attention of a very busy Consul
at Zanzibar, but it is none the less a matter which should not be forgotten in
Buganda. The history of Egypt and the Sudan in the years which immediately
followed shows how great were the dangers from which, thanks to that inter-
vention, the people of Buganda escaped.
J.R.A.S. = Journal of the Royal African Society.
P.R.G.S. = Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society.
U.J. = Uganda Journal.
Z.A. = Zanzibar Archives.
(1) Anti-Slavery Society, British & Foreign. Joint Memorial with Aborigines'
Protection Society to Earl of Derby, March 1877. (Z.A.)
(2) Baker, Sir Samuel. Ismailia (1874), pp. 4, 264.
(3) Brode, H. Tippoo Tib (1907), pp. 56, 57.
(4) Cherif Pasha. Letter to Colonel Stanton, May 1876. (Z.A.)
(5) Church Missionary Society. Memorial to Earl of Derby, March 1877. (Z.A.)
(6) Coupland, Sir Reginald. The Exploitation of East Africa, 1856-1890 (1939),
pp. 271, 299, 486.
(7) Derby, Earl of. Letter to H. C. Vivian, March 29, 1877.- (Z.A.)
(8) Elton, J. F. Travels and Researches among the Lakes and Mountains of
Eastern and Central Africa (1879), pp. 52, 53.
(9) Emin Effendi. Letter to Seyyid Barghash, 1878. (Z.A.)
SLetter to Dr. Petermann (cf. Stuhlmann post).
(10) Euan-Smith, C. B. Letter to Earl of Derby, August 22, 1875. (Z.A.)
(11) Gordon, Colonel C. G. Letter to Sir Henry Rawlinson, August 22, 1875.
(P.R.G.S. (1876), p. 53.)
(12) Letter to Earl of Derby, March 20, 1876. (Z.A.)
SLetters to R. F. Burton (cf. Wilkins post).
(13) Gray, J. M. 'Ahmed bin Ibrahim, The First Arab to reach Buganda.' (U.J.,
Vol. 11 (1947), p. 82.)
(14) Hutchinson, Edward (Lay Secretary, C.M.S.). Letter to Earl of Derby,
March 13, 1877. (Z.A.)
(15) Ismail Pasha. Letter to McKillop Pasha, September 17, 1875. (J.R.A.S.
(1935), p. 271.)
(16) Kirk, Sir John. Letter to Royal Geographical Society, October 13, 1871.
(P.R.G.S. (1871-2), p. 186.)
(17) -. Letters to Earl Derby, March 6, 1876, April 6 and November 28, 1877,
January 7, 1878. (Z.A.)
(18) Letters to Marquis of Salisbury, May 17, 1878, May 1, August 17 and
October 15, 1879, February 28, 1880. (Z.A.)
(19) Letters to Mutesa, September 2, 1878, and February 28, 1880. (Z.A.)
(20) -. Letter to Earl Granville, September 22, 1883. (Z.A.)
(21) Lister, J. V. Letter to Kirk, April 26, 1878. (Z.A.)
(22) Long, C. Chailld. Letter to Royal Geographical Society,October 20, 1874.
(P.R.G.S. (1875), p. 108.)
(23) Lugard, Lord. The Rise of Our East African Empire (1893), I, pp, 496, 497.
(24) Morley, Lord. Life of Gladstone (1903), III, p. 151.
(25) Murray, T. Douglas, and A. Silva White. Sir Samuel Baker-A Memoir
(1895), pp. 243, 253, 254.
16 UGANDA JOURNAL
(26) Mutesa. Letter to Kirk, May 19, 1882. P.R.G.S.(N.S.), VI (1884), p. 89.)
(27) Nakiranyi, Abeli, and Kazimiri Lwanga. 'Kabulireyo Sengiri Mpwanyi.'
(Munno (1915), pp. 115-119.)
(28) Paunceforte, Sir Julian. Letter to H. C. Vivian, January 16, 1878. (Z.A.)
(29) Pearson, C. W. Letter to Kirk, January 21, 1881. (Z.A.)
(30) Smith, Lieut. George Shergold. Letter to Kirk, October 14, 1877. (Z.A.)
(31) Smith, Mackenzie and Company Ltd., The History of (1938), pp. 10, 11, 17.
(32) Stanley, Sir H. M. How I found Livingstone (1873), pp. 620-622.
(33) Through the Dark Continent (1878), 1, p. 396.
(34) Stanton, Colonel E. A. Letters to Earl of Derby, January 9 and June 22, 1876.
(35) Stuhlmann, Dr. Franz. Die Tag-biicher von Emin Pascha (1916-19), I, pp.
473, 502, I, pp. 48, 70.
(36) Thomas, H. B. 'Ernest Linant de Bellefonds and Stanley's Letter to the Daily
Telegraph.' (U.J., Vol. 2 (1934-5), p. 7.)
(37) Thomas, H. B., and Robert Scott. Uganda (1935), pp. 12-18.
(38) Vivian, H. C. Letters to Earl of Derby, December 27, 1876, February 18 and
April 1877. (Z.A.)
(39) Letter to Marquis of Salisbury, June 13, 1879. (Z.A.)
(40) Waller, Rev. Horace. The Last Journals of David Livingstone (1880), 1,
p. 273, II, pp. 7, 96, 176, 181, 186, 188, 199, 202, 222, 226, 232.
(41) Wilkins, W. H. The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton (1897), pp, 649, 652, 653.
(42) Wilson, Rev. C. T. Account of recent events on Victoria Nyanza as reported
by. (P.R.G.S.(N.S.), 1 (1879), p. 136.)
(43) Letter to Kirk, May 17, 1879. (Z.A.)
Photo by W. J. Eggeling
White Stork (Ciconia c. ciconia) caught in Toro in January 1935. The
bird had fallen from a tree as a result of a surfeit of locusts.
[face p. 17
RINGED BIRDS RECOVERED IN UGANDA
By W. J. EGGELING
T HREE records of White Storks ringed in Europe and recovered in Uganda
were reported in Vols. 1 (1934) and 3 (1935-36) of the Uganda Journal by
the Game Warden, Captain C. R. S. Pitman: other marked birds have been
found in Uganda every year since, except 1944. With Captain Pitman's per-
mission, I summarize here all known recoveries up to 31st October 1950. The
list incorporates not only records from the Annual Reports of the Game
Department for the years 1935-49 (the first of which includes the early recoveries
reported in the Journal), but also a number of so far unpublished recoveries.
In some cases it has been possible to amplify and correct the information con-
tained in the Game Department's Reports, especially in regard to latitude and
longitude and place of ringing. If any reader knows of any recoveries not
included in the list, I should like to be informed.
Of the 120 birds ringed abroad and recovered in Uganda at least 109 have
been White Storks (Ciconia c. ciconia). The remaining 11 birds comprise
3 Scandinavian Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus f. fuscus), 3 European
Swallows (Hirundo r. rustica), 1 Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), 2 Black Kites
(Milvus m. migrans), 1 Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and 1 bird (prob-
ably another White Stork) concerning which there is some doubt.' So far as
is known, all these birds were ringed as nestlings or juveniles on the continent
of Europe, in western Russia and in North Africa; certainly none of them
was ringed in Britain. In a number of instances the date and place of ringing
has not yet been ascertained. Whether this information ever will be obtained
is, in the majority of cases, problematical. Much of the missing data relates
to birds ringed by or on behalf of the former bird observatories on the island
of Heligoland and at Rossitten (East Prussia), so many of whose records were
lost during the war.
(1) WHITE STORK
The White Stork is a common breeding species in continental Europe
(excluding Belgium, Italy and the greater part of France), western Asia and
north-west Africa. In the northern winter the majority of the birds migrate
south to Africa, penetrating as far as the Union (where there is only one
recorded instance of a pair remaining to nest), although some move south-east
to India. The Storks arrive in East Africa from the north about October, the
main return movement taking place in February-April. The birds travel
as a rule in large flocks, but small parties and single birds are not infrequent.
It is apparent from the list of recoveries that the part of Uganda which lies
between longitude 32* E. and longitude 34* 30' E. is the main migration route
I Ring A.463 (Sofia) was recovered from a reputed White Stork captured at Dodos,
Wera, Teso (Lat. 1" 51' N., Long. 330 45' E.) on 15th November 1940, although this ring
series was supposed to have been reserved for birds of prey. No details of the original
ringing are available, this information having been destroyed in the bombardment of Sofia
in March 1944. I have omitted this number from the detailed list of recoveries.
18 UGANDA JOURNAL
of the White Stork through the Protectorate. Of the 109 recoveries so far
reported, only seventeen are from outside this belt, and thirteen of these
(10 Ankole, 1 Kigezi, 1 Toro, 1 Masaka) relate to the period December 1940-
August 1941. Ten of the thirteen refer to the period December 1940-March
Locusts are a favourite food of the White Stork and it is probable that
most of the adult ringed Storks recovered outside the normal migration route
had followed swarms of these insects. Immature birds, which have a greater
tendency to wander than adults, follow them too; an example is the Ankole
recovery of 1934, in which year it is recorded (Uganda Journal, Vol. 1, p. 154)
that on account of severe locust infestation in south-west Uganda tens of
thousands of White Storks on northern passage tarried in the Protectorate
much later than usual. A similar state of affairs may account for the thirteen
abnormal recoveries reported in 1940-41: during this period there were no
locust swarms in Uganda after February 1941, except for a brief northwards
incursion into Kigezi-Ankole in August-October. Swarms were present in
south-west Toro and Ankole in October-December 1940, eggs were laid, and
hoppers appeared. By February 1941, swarming had ceased and was succeeded
by a rapid fall in locust numbers. In addition to offensive measures under-
taken by the human inhabitants, natural controlling factors in the form of
extremely dry conditions and flocks of birds, including Storks and Wattled
Starlings (Creatophora carunculata) made important contributions to the
decline. The general locust picture for 1940-41 was a shrinking of the area
infested with locusts from practically the whole of Uganda to the south-west
corner only. Bird activity would no doubt follow the receding swarms and
the immature ringed White Storks recovered in Ankole in August 1941 may
well have been following northwards the locusts which reached Kigezi-Ankole
Some interesting figures of the numbers of locusts eaten by White Storks
are given in Dr. A. W. Williams' paper 'Storks' in the Uganda Journal, Vol. 2
(1934-35), p. 76. Four White Storks whose stomachs and crops were examined
contained 210, 315, 276 and 250 almost mature locust hoppers respectively-
an average of 263 a bird. As the process of digestion appears to be rapid,
these figures probably represent less than the actual number consumed in a day.
In all ninety cases in which both the year of ringing and the year of
recovery in Uganda of marked White Storks are known, the birds were ringed
as nestlings. In thirty-nine instances (43 per cent. of the total) the birds were
recovered when less than 1 year old; in twenty-one instances (23 per cent) they
were between 1 and 2 years old; in fourteen instances (16 per cent), between
2 and 3 years old; and in six instances (7 per cent), between 3 and 4 years old.
The remaining 11 per cent of cases involve ten birds: two of these were between
4 and 5 years old, three were between 5 and 6 years, two were 7 years old,
one was 8 years old, and two were 91 years old, when found. These last are
the oldest Storks yet recovered in Uganda, though ringed birds 18 years old
(one instance) and 16 years old (two instances) have been recorded elsewhere.
In captivity, an age of 24 years has been attained.
Ringing has revealed very clearly an interesting fact about the migration
RINGED BIRDS RECOVERED IN UGANDA 19
of Storks between their breeding and wintering quarters, namely that the birds
have a marked aversion to crossing large expanses of water and do not take
the direct route to Africa across the Mediterranean Sea. Instead they skirt it,
the majority from eastern Europe moving along a narrow well-defined track
which passes first through Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria
to Turkey, and thence south and south-west through Syria and Palestine to the
Nile. In addition to this main eastern route there is a second route used by
birds from western Europe: this passes through southern France and Spain to
the Straits of Gibraltar and Morocco. The direction in which these birds move
next, and where they winter, is still unknown; possibly, as is the case with
birds born in north-west Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), they migrate
south-east directly over the Sahara to link up with the eastern migration route
somewhere in the vicinity of Darfur.
The southwards migration from the continent is often rapid: one bird,
marked at Hanover, Germany, in July 1936, was recovered at Lokung in east
Acholi in November, only 122 days after it was ringed in the nest. This, the
fastest time recorded to Uganda to date, cannot compare with two German
birds ringed in June-July and recovered in Transvaal and the Cape Province
respectively in September of the year of ringing.
March is the peak recovery month in Uganda and is followed by February
and April, recoveries in these three months accounting for 60 per cent of the
total. Wastage in the Stork population is clearly higher during the northward
migration than when the birds are moving south, but just why this should be
the case is not clear. It may be that feeding conditions in the south are not so
favourable as in the birds' summer quarters and that the Storks are not so fit
on their way north as on the way south.
When considering the movements of Storks it must be remembered that
the White Stork does not normally breed till it is 4 or 5 years old. Of the
sixteen ringed White Storks of breeding age found in Uganda, only one has
been recovered in autumn (October). All the others were found in spring,
fourteen between January and March, one in April. Ringing has revealed
that immature birds spend the years before they begin to breed in a variety of
ways. Some remain in the winter quarters of the adult, others wander through
parts of north Africa and Europe, whilst still others (but probably a minority)
return in summer to the neighbourhood of their birth. The north and south
movements of breeding birds can never be completely clear-cut and defined;
they must always be masked to some extent by the wandering movements of
the immature population.
Nobody interested in the White Stork can afford to ignore Fr. Haver-
schmidt's The Life of the White Stork (published by E. J. Brill, Leiden, Holland,
in 1949) which deals with all aspects of its life and includes a fascinating
account of its migrations.
(2) BLACK STORK
The Black Stork, like the White Stork, is normally only a winter visitor
to Uganda. It migrates south to Africa from its nesting grounds in Europe
20 UGANDA JOURNAL
and Asia, penetrating as far as South Africa where, however, it is nowhere
common. A few birds remain to breed in parts of the Union.
The recovery of a ringed Black Stork in Uganda in December 1935 had
especial interest; it was the first time a marked Black Stork had been found in
central Africa. The bird had been ringed in West Prussia as a nestling in June
of the previous year.
(3) SCANDINAVIAN LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
According to Jackson (Birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protec-
torate, 1938), this race of the Lesser Black-backed Gull breeds around the
Baltic and in north Russia. It travels south in winter as far as Sierra Leone
on the west and, via the Mediterranean, Palestine, Egypt, the Sudan and
Uganda, to Kenya and Lakes Tanganyika and Nyasa on the east. It is plentiful
in Uganda on Lake Victoria, and fairly so on Lake Albert; a few can be found
on crater-lakes in Toro. It may be seen in the bay at Entebbe throughout
Two of the three Uganda recoveries were in the year of ringing; the third
bird was found two years after ringing. One of the three was ringed in the
Baltic on 6th July and recovered in east Acholi on 29th September (only
85 days later).
(4) EUROPEAN SWALLOW
The European Swallow breeds in Europe and western Asia, moving to
central Africa and South Africa in great numbers for the southern summer.
An interesting map in The Handbook of British Birds (Witherby, Jourdain,
Ticehurst and Tucker, 1938) shows the positions and dates of recoveries in
Africa of Swallows ringed in Europe. It is stated of the birds recovered in
Africa in the northern winter months that "all those of German origin, save
one, are within 10 degrees of the equator while all those of British origin, save
one, are in the eastern half of South Africa. Most were reported within one
year of ringing but some in subsequent years up to the fifth after ringing." It
appears, therefore, that Swallows from different parts of Europe normally
winter in specific parts of Africa.
(5) BLACK KITE
The Black Kite breeds throughout the greater part of Europe and north
Africa to central Asia. It wanders south to the upper Nile and Kenya, and
occasionally reaches as far as South Africa. The bird is so much like the
common African Kite (Milvus m. parasitus) that it is, no doubt, frequently
overlooked. Jackson (I.c.), from whose account the above is summarized,
states that it does not flap and float round a village like its commoner relative,
but is more patient and given to remaining stationary but ever on the look out ".
The only Uganda recoveries of marked Black Kites are a nestling ringed
in Brandenburg, Germany, on 13th June 1938 (recovered in Budama on 14th
October 1940), and a juvenile ringed in Saxony, Germany, on 24th June 1936
(recovered in Lango at the end of January 1941).
RINGED BIRDS RECOVERED IN UGANDA 21
(6) RED-BACKED SHRIKE
According to Jackson (l.c.), the Red-backed Shrike breeds throughout the
greater part of Europe and western Asia. It winters in Iraq, Arabia and Africa
(from Cameroons and Nubia to the Cape Province, excluding the forest regions),
and is a common transient winter visitor to Uganda, Kenya and Zanzibar.
South-moving birds arrive here in October but the vast majority of them pass
on south of East Africa returning in force in April when most are in full
breeding plumage. The main route southwards is not definitely known, though
the evidence of young birds and adults in worn dress obtained in Uganda in
October and November points to the Nile valley and farther west.
Only one ringed Red-backed Shrike has been found in Uganda-a male in
fine plumage ringed as a nestling at Eisdorf, Osterode, Harz, Germany, on
14th June 1949. It was recovered at Sipi in Mbale District, on the northern
slopes of Mt. Elgon, in the fourth week of March 1950.
COMPLETE LIST OF BIRDS MARKED ABROAD AND RECOVERED IN UGANDA UP TO 31st OCTOBER 1950
(B)=Budapest; (C)=Copenhagen; (H)=Helgoland; (He)=Helsingfors; (K)=Kaunas; (L)=Leiden; (P)=Paris; (Pr)=Praha; (Ri)=Riga; (Ro)=Rossitten;
(S)=Sofia; (St)= Stockholm; (T)=Tarnowica; (Va)=Varsovia; (Vi)=Viborg.
Ring Number Where Ringed Date Ringed Where Recovered Date Recovered
(1) WHITE STORK (Ciconia C. ciconia)
Askov, Vejen, S. Jutland, Denmark
B.42232 ( ,)
Henskischken, Pillkallen, E. Prussia
Kirschlainen, Wartenburg, Allenstein. E. Prussia
G6rki, Siedlice, Lublin, Poland
Schreibersdorf, Neustadt, Upper Silesia, Germany
POrschken, Heiligenbeil, E. Prussia
Tirnkr6ti, Gy6r, W. Hungary
Ploustrup, Ribe, S. Jutland, Denmark
Sonnenberg, Falkenberg, Upper Silesia, Germany
Friedrichswalde, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Wasserlauken, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Sabes, Pyritz, Pomerania, Germany
Grieben, Schonberg, Mecklenburg, Germany
Oster-Ihlienworth, Hadeln, Hanover, Germany
Rossitten, Kurische Nehrung, E. Prussia
Truppen, Neschwitz, Bautzen, Saxony, Germany
Neuendorf, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Sieslack, Petershagen, Preuss-Holland, E. Prussia
Perbanden, Heiligenbeil, E. Prussia
Olszewko, Naklo, Wyrzysk, Poznan, Poland
Oresh, Svistov on Danube, N. Bulgaria
Posilge, Stuhm, E. Prussia
Arentsee, Altenmoor, Elmshor Schleswig-Holstein,
Alk, Heydekrug, Memel, Lithuania [Germany
Klein-Tippeln, Preuss-Holland, E. Prussia
Broitwarden, Brake, Oldenburg, Germany
Stepangr6d, Sarny, Wolyd, Poland
Komjiti, N.E. Hungary
Lindenhof, Demmin, Pomerania, Germany
Klein-Kainowe, Trebnitz, Lower Silesia, Germany
Klenau, Braunsberg, E Prussia
Postnicken, Kurische Haff, E. Prussia
Niekirk, Groningen, Holland
Selbitz, Wittenberg, Saxony, Germany
Galanken, Insterburg, E. Prussia
* This bird carried two rings, which were sent to the office of the Field newspaper, where they were apparently mislaid. Unfortunately, no note of the numbers was kept.
Kasaka, Mbarara, Ankole. (Lat. 00 37' S., long. 300 25' E.)
Kilai, Bugishu. (Lat. 0' 54' N., long. 34' 21' E.)
Ogur, Lango. (Lat. 2* 25' N., long. 32' 55' E.)
Pader Gem, E. Acholi. (Lat. 2" 48' N., long. 33" 3' E.)
Gweri, Teso. (Lat. 1* 39' N., long. 33 45' E.)
Bubilabi, Bugishu. (Lat. 1 3' N., long. 34* 15' E.)
Tororo, Budama. (Lat. 0 41' N., long. 34 11' E.)
Achwa, Amuria, Teso. (Lat. 2' 3' N., long. 330 48' E.)
Bugerere, Mengo, Buganda. (Lat. 0 45' N., long. 32* 54' E.)
Peipei, Budama. (Lat. 0 44' N., long. 34 11' E.)
Muyembe, Bugishu. (Lat. 1* 20' N., long. 34' 17' E.)
Nagongera, Budama. (Lat. 0 45' N., long. 34 E.)
Kalere, Atuboi, Teso. (Lat. 1" 55' N., long. 33" 18' E.)
Madi Opei, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 30' N., long. 33' E.)
Budama. (Lat. 0* 45' N., long. 340 E.)
Lokung, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3' 30' N., long. 32' 40' E.)
Olwer, Alero, W. Acholi. (Lat. 2* 54' N., long. 32 6' E.)
Agweng, Otukei, Labwor, Karamoja. (Lat. 2 31' N.,
long. 33' 36' E.)
Atuboi, Teso (Lat. 1' 55' N., long. 33 18' E.)
Abako, Lango. (Lat. 2 10' N., long. 33* 12' E.)
Orumo, Moroto, Lango. (Lat. 2' 14' N., long. 33' 21' E.)
Omoro, Moroto, Lango. (Lat. 2 24' N., long. 33 18' E.)
Ogur, Lango. (Lat. 2" 24' N., long. 32 55' E.)
Ogur, Lango. (Lat. 2 24' N., long. 32* 55' E.)
Butiru, Bugishu. (Lat. 0* 50' N., long. 34' 19' E.)
Kigulu, Busoga. (Lat. 0* 54' N., long. 330 30' E.)
Palabek, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 27' N., long. 32 34' E.)
Inomo, Lango. (Lat. 20 6' N., long. 32' 40' E.)
Apala, Lango. (Lat. 2 23' N., long. 33* 3' E.)
Ogur, Lango. (Lat. 2 25' N., long. 32* 55' E.)
Karamoja. (Lat. 3' N., long. 34* E.)
Patonga, E. Acholi. (Lat. 2 48' N., long. 33* 18' E.)
Muyembe, Bugishu. (Lat. 1 20' N., long. 34 17' E.)
Butiru Bugishu (Lat. 0 50' N., long. 34 19' E.)
Nyero, Kumi, Teso. (Lat. 1 28' N., long. 33 52' E.)
Padibe, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 30' N., long. 32' 49' E.)
Mukongoro, Kumi, Teso. (Lat. 1 21' N., long. 33" 51' E.)
Kanyum, Kumi, Teso. (Lat. 1 23' N., long. 33* 54' E.)
End Apl. 1935
End Sep. 1935
Early Jan. 1936
End Mar. 1936
End May 1936
Early Jan. 1937
Early Mar. 1937
Early Mar. 1937
Early Mar. 1937
Early Mar. 1937
Ring Number Where Ringed Date Ringed Where Recovered Date Recovered
Randucken, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Obelyt6, Miroslavas, Alytus, Lithuania
Roskow, West-Havelland, Brandenburg, Germany
Bremen on Weser, Germany
Wronowy, Mogilno, Poznan, Poland
Georgental, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Tuszewo, Lubawa, Pomorze, Poland
Bergenhusen, Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Buchendorf, Ratibor, Upper Silesia, Germany
Majdany, Pulawy, Lublin, Poland
Bergenhusen, Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Kleinkreuzhausen, Angerapp, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Wehrdex, Elsfleth, Oldenburg, Germany
*Cottbus, Brandenburg, Germany
Susk Nowy, Poland
Darkehmen, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Kellinghusen, Steinburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Samland, E. Prussia
Hoyer, Slesvig, S. Jutland, Denmark
*Upper Silesia, Germany
Svilengrad, S. Bulgaria
Holzhausen, Osterburg, Magdeburg on Elbe, Germany
Sister Svenstrup, Zealand, Denmark
Dragomirowo, Swischtov on Donau, N. Bulgaria
*Ortelsburg, E. Prussia
Huta Stepangr6dek, Poland
End May 1938
* Place or date of ringing not known with absolute certainty but probably as shown.
t Details of place and date of ringing lost through enemy action during the war.
: Information lacking; no contacts established with Riga since the war.
Umia Pachua, East Acholi. (Lat. 3 12' N., long. 33 26' E)
Luzinga, Busoga. (Lat. 0* 42' N., long. 33 13' E.)
Lubaya, Kashari, Ankole. (Lat. 0 29' S., long. 30 42' E.)
Nakasenyi, Kyagwe, Buganda. (Lat. 0' 25' N., long.
33' 7' E.)
Samia-Bugwe, Budama. (Lat. 0* 24' N., long. 34* E.)
Samia-Bugwe, Budama. (Lat. 0' 24' N., long. 34' E.)
Koro, W. Acholi. (Lat. 2 42' N., long. 320 19' E.)
Ofude, W. Nile. (Lat. 3 15' N., long. 30' 59' E.)
Awelo, Kyoga, Lango. (Lat. 1 43' N., long. 32" 46' E.)
Mucwini, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 26' N., long. 33 2' E.)
Patiko, W. Acholi. (Lat. 3' 2' N., long. 32 19' E.)
Singo, Mengo, Buganda. (Lat. 0 40' N., long. 320 10' E.)
Samia-Bugwe, Budama. (Lat. 0 24' N., long. 32' E.)
Mucwini, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 30' N., long. 33 4' E.)
Chiawante, Kwania, Lango. (Lat. 1 49' N., long. 32 41' E.)
Apach, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 1 59' N., long. 32" 32' E.)
Minakulu, Oyam, Lango. (Lat. 2' 29' N., long. 32 21' E.)
Palabek, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3 27' N., long. 32* 34' E.)
Minakulu, Oyam, Lango. (Lat. 2* 29' N., long. 32 21' E.)
Apach, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 1 59' N., long. 32' 32' E.)
Chegere, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 20 5' N., long. 32' 31' E.)
Chegere, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 2 5' N., long. 32' 31' E.)
Chegere, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 2 5' N., long. 32* 31' E.)
Chegere, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 2 5' N., long. 32 31' E.)
Alito, Eruti, Lango. (Lat. 2' 25' N., long. 32* 48' E.)
Kitgum, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3* 18' N., long. 32* 53' E.)
Lira Palwo, E. Acholi. (Lat. 2" 47' N., long. 33 9' E.)
Kitgum Matidi, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3" 18' N., long. 33 3' E.)
Bwobo, W. Acholi. (Lat. 2 41' N., long. 32* E.)
Mucwini, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3" 26' N., long. 33' 3' E.)
Kuju, Teso. (Lat. 2' 3' N., long. 33' 39' E.)
Obalanga, Amuria, Teso. (Lat. 2" 9' N., long. 33* 35' E.)
Adwari, Moroto, Lango. (Lat. 2" 26' N., long. 33" 10' E.)
Pader Gem, E. Acholi. (Lat. 2 48' N., long. 33 3' E.)
Omoro, Moroto, Lango. (Lat. 2 24' N., long. 33' 18' E.)
Aloi, Lango. (Lat. 2* 16' N., long. 33* 9' E.)
Amugo, Moroto, Lango. (Lat. 2 7' N., long. 33" 19' E.)
Early Feb. 1938
Early Mar. 1938
Early Mar. 1938
Early Apl. 1938
End Dec. 1939
Early Mar. 1940
Early Mar. 1940
Early Mar. 1940
Early Mar. 1940
Early Mar. 1940
Early Mar. 1940
Early Apl. 1940
End Oct. 1940
End Nov. 1940
Ring Number Where Ringed Date Ringed Where Recovered Date Recovered
Bresovo, Plovdiv, S. Bulgaria
Neunassau, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Brieg, Breslau, Lower Silesia, Germany
Kjolsen, Viborg, N. Jutland, Denmark
Birkenhorst, Insterburg, E. Prussia
Johnstrup, Zealand, Denmark
Ostimen, Gumbinnen, E. Prussia
Trebnitz, Lower Silesia, Germany
Svilengrad, S. Bulgaria
Bordy, Bon, Arreridy, Constantine, Algeria
*Stolp, Pomerania, Germany
bebno, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Salzendeich, Elsfleth, Oldenburg. Germany
Bremen on Weser, Germany
insterburg, E. Prussia
irischenmoor, Brake, Oldenburg, Germany
Lubny, Ukraine, U.S.S.R.
*Spanggaarde, Viborg, N. Jutland, Denmark
Neupassau, Gumbinnen, E. Prussia
Arsten, Bremen on Weser, Germany
Bergenhusen, Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Niensby-Gaard (between Brorup and Hoisted),
S. Jutland, Denmark
* Place or date of ringing not known with absolute certainty but probably as shown.
t Details of place and date of ringing lost through enemy action during the war.
1 Information lacking; no contacts established with Kaunas or Tarnowica (Poland) since the war,
Adekekwok, Erute, Lango. (Lat. 2 15' N., long. 32 54' E.)
Ngai, Oyam, Lango. (Lat. 2" 30' N., long. 32* 30' E.)
Rubanga, Kazara, Ankole. (Lat. 1 2' S., long. 30* 12' E.)
Adachal, Usuku, Oeso. (Lat. 2 5' N., long. 34 5' E.)
Kiruhura, Nyabushozi, Ankole. (Lat. 0 12' S., long.
30' 51' E.)
Mutozho, Kazara, Ankole. (Lat. 1 2' S., long. 30* 12' E.)
Palango, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 1 54' N., long. 320 20' E.)
Makererwe, Mawogola, Masaka. (Lat. 0, long. 31* 31' E.)
Agwata, Lango. (Lat. 1 59' N., long. 33* E.)
Kabindi, Nyarusiza, Kigezi. (Lat. 1' 18' S., long. 29 41' E.)
Rubona, Kitega, Toro. (Lat. 0" 4' N., long. 30' 54' E.)
Kabira, Buruli, Mengo. (Lat. 1 15' N., long. 32" 30' E.)
Luhalo, Kashari, Ankole. (Lat. 0 36' S., long. 300 36' E.)
Bihanga, Mitoma, Ankole. (Lat. 0' 3' S., long. 30* 34' E.)
Ntungamo, Ruampara, Ankole. (Lat. 0' 52' S., long.
30' 16' E.)
Dokolo, Lango. (Lat. 1 55' N., long. 33' 10' E.)
Lubare, Kazara, Ankole. (Lat. I 2' S., long. 30' 12' E.)
Nkokonjeru, Central Bugishu. (Lat. 1 4' N., long.
34' 15' E.)
Labworomor, W. Acholi. (Lat. 3 9' N., long. 32" 21' E.)
Nyaina, Ruampara, Ankole. (Lat. 0 53'S., long. 30 15' E.)
Lubare, Kazara, Ankole. (Lat. 1 2' S., long. 30* 12' E.)
Lubare, Kazara, Ankole. (Lat. 1I 2' S., long. 30 12' E.)
Bumbo, S. Bugishu. (Lat. 1 10' N., long. 34' 24' E.)
Buseta, Bugwere, Mbale. (Lat. 1 5' N., long. 33" 46' E.)
Buhugu, N. Bugishu. (Lat. 1 12' N., long. 340 18' E.)
Iceme, Oyam, Lango. (Lat. 2' 25' N., long. 32' 37' E.)
Aduku, Kwania, Lango. (Lat. 2* 1' N., long. 32" 43' E.)
Ngai, Oyam, Lango. (Lat. 2* 30' N., long. 32 30' E.)
Bunanimi, Busoba, Mbale. (Lat. 0 55' N., long. 34' 9' E.)
Kyadondo, Mengo. (Lat. 0 28' N., long. 32' 30' E.)
Nyendo, Nyabushozi, Ankole. (Lat. 0 15' S., long.
30' 45' E.)
Amuria, Teso. (Lat. 2* 10' N., long. 33 35' E.)
Paimol, E. Acholi. (Lat 3' 6' N., long. 33 27' E.)
Adropi, E. Madi. (Lat. 3 24' N., long. 31 49' E.)
End Nov. 1940
End Nov. 1940
End Dec. 1940
End Jan. 1941
Early Mar. 1941
Early Mar. 1941
Early Mar. 1941
Early Mar. 1941
Early Jun. 1941
End Apl. 1943
End Apl. 1946
Ring Number Where Ringed Date Ringed Where Recovered Date Recovered
(2) BLACK STORK (CIconla nigra)
RINGED AS NESTLING
1 B.51673 (Ro) Frsterei Sandkrug, P. Freudenfier, Krone, W. Prussia 4.6.34 Pader Gem, E. Acholi. (Lat. 2' 48' N., long. 33* 3' E.) 28.12.35
(3) SCANDINAVIAN LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larusf. fuscus)
RINGED AS YOUNG
I H.5317(He) Tvarminne (on north shore of Gulf of Finland). 30.6.35 Gwere (near Nimule), E. Madi. (Lat. 3" 31' N., long. Mid-Nov. 1935
Finland 31' 56' E.)
2 460835 (C) Grasholmen,* Christianso, Denmark 6.7.47 Kalabongo, Agoro, E. Acholi. (Lat. 3* 50' N., long. 29.9.47
330 1' E.)
3 T.7775 (St) Sotholmen,f Drottningholm, Sweden 8.7.46 Bundibugyo, Bwamba, Toro. (Lat. 0 42' N., long. 30 6' E.) 2.7.48
(4) EUROPEAN SWALLOW (Hirundo r. rustic)
RINGED AS NESTLING
I G.427468 Karklienen, Darkehmen, E. Prussia 22.6.36 Tororo, Budama. (Lat. 0 41' N., long. 34 11' E.) End Oct. 1936
2 G.41574 I Bobi, W. Acholi. (Lat. 2' 35' N., long. 32 20' E.) 1.10.39
3 E.19467 (P) Zehuby, Cislav, Czechoslovakia 20.8.38 Koro, W. Acholi. (Lat. 2* 45' N., long. 32* 20' E.) Early Nov. 1940
(5) BLACK KITE (Milvus m. migrans)
RINGED AS NESTLING
I C.65559(Ro) Neumahl, Kiistrin on Oder, Brandenburg, Germany 13.6.38 Peipei, Kisoko, Budama. (Lat. 0" 44' N., long. 34* 6' E.) 14.10.40
2 311780 (H) Leipzig, Saxony, Germany 24.6.36 Palango, Maruzi, Lango. (Lat. 1 54' N., long. 32* 20' E.) End Jan. 1941
(6) RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanlus collurwo)
RINGED AS NESTLING
1 7144615 (H) Eisdorf, Osterode, Harz, Germany 14.6.49 Sipi, Sebei, Mbale. (Lat. 1 22' N., long. 34* 20' E.) End Mar. 1950
A small island north-east of Bornholm in the Baltic.
t A small island in Lake Malar, 10 km. west of Stockholm.
t Details of place and date of ringing not yet obtained.
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA 1908-1910
By COLONEL H. R. BATEMAN, D.S.O. (late R.A.M.C.)
I have not had access to the Reports of the Royal Society in which the
work of our Sleeping Sickness Commission is detailed, but the scientific facts.
as given in this article are accurate.
The action taken by the Government of the Uganda Protectorate on the
recommendations made by our Commission, as given in this paper, is from
hearsay evidence only but is believed to be correct.
This account of our research work and my reminiscences have been written
from my memory of the work and the events described, fortified by weekly
letters written to my mother at the time, and by three books of photographs,
taken in Uganda and what was then British East Africa, by Colonel (then
Captain) A. E. Hamerton, C.M.G., D.S.O. (late R.A.M.C.).
In writing this article I have tried to follow the example of Sir David Bruce,
F.R.S., by avoiding as far as possible all scientific jargon.
IN 1901 Drs. A. R. and J. H. Cook reported the presence of a disease in
Uganda which was spreading rapidly and causing many deaths.
Between 1901 and 1905 this disease in the Province of Buganda and the
district of Busoga alone had caused the death of 200,000 persons out of an
estimated population of 300,000 living in the affected areas and it had decimated
the island populations of Sese, Buvuma and Kome during these years.
Between 1902 and 1908 successive commissions of the Royal Society had
studied this disease, and it had been investigated independently by Professor
Robert Koch, a most experienced and distinguished worker.
As a result of the work of these investigators it had been established that
the disease was Sleeping Sickness, a disease which had been known as Negro
Lethargy on the West African coast since the early slave days. It had been
proved that this disease was spread by the tsetse fly, Glossina palpalis. Captain
(now Major-General) A. D. Fraser, C.B., D.S.O. (late R.A.M.C.) had shown
that the breeding places of this fly were located on the sandy foreshores of Lake
Victoria and the open waterways of the Victoria and Albert Niles along the
banks of which suitable soil and the shade of low bushes were present. It had
been discovered that this fly did not penetrate inland for more than a short
distance unless, whilst on the feed, it followed buck or other game or cattle
when it might be found temporarily for a mile or so inland.
For these and other reasons Sir Hesketh Bell, the Governor of the Protec-
torate at the time, 1908, on the advice of his medical officers, decided on the
complete evacuation of all those areas in Uganda which were infected by the
tsetse fly, Glossina palpalis. An arbitrary distance of two miles inland from
the waters' edge of the infested lakes and rivers was deemed to be an infected
area. This involved the depopulation of the islands of Sese, Buvuma, Kome
and all other islands in Lake Victoria and also the whole of the two-mile deep
strip of the 1,900 miles of the northern shore of Lake Victoria.
It is a very high tribute to the chiefs and peoples of Uganda and the islands,
and to the Government of Uganda, that this vast movement of people away
H.H. Daudi Chwa, Kabaka of Uganda, 1908
.fae p. 26.
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 27
from their homes, their industries and, indeed, from their traditional ways of
life and commerce was carried out peacefully and loyally. This evacuation
was completed, I believe, early in.1909. It was in December 1908 that we saw
the last of the Kome island people landing at Kibanga Bay some three miles
from our home on Mpumu Hill in the Kyagwe District. It was a small, sad band
of refugees who were met and examined at Kibanga by Captain (now Colonel)
A. G. H. Gray, R.A.M.C., who was Medical Officer in charge of the Sleeping
Sickness Hospital and camp at Kyetume at that time.
To receive these island people it was necessary for the Protectorate Govern-
ment to set up new villages, and new large Sleeping Sickness camps and hospitals
in fly-free areas in which the sick could be segregated and receive proper medical
treatment and be well-fed and housed. All this had been completed before our
arrival in the Protectorate in October 1908.
This state of affairs inflicted a heavy burden on the finances of the young
Protectorate; it deprived it of many valuable lives and a large part of some of
its most productive areas; at the same time it created housing problems and
a demand for additional food and for the establishment of these stricken peoples
in a new mode of life wherein even their food would sometimes differ from that
to which they were accustomed.
The Governor and his officers met these demands with skill and energy
and with a great measure of success.
Meanwhile the Government in England had not been idle; financial help
was provided and the Royal Society was requested to send scientific help to the
hard-pressed medical staff in Uganda.
As a result the Royal Society called on Colonel (later Major-General) Sir
David Bruce, F.R.S., late Royal Army Medical Corps, to form a Commission
which would proceed to Uganda and there study the disease.,
This Commission had for its personnel Sir David Bruce as director, the
late Lady Bruce, R.R.C., as its artist and experienced laboratory assistant,
Captain (now Colonel) A. E. Hamerton, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.A.M.C., and Captain
(now Colonel) H. R. Bateman, D.S.O., R.A.M.C., as laboratory assistants and
field workers, Staff Sergeant A. Gibbons, R.A.M.C., laboratory assistant with
care of laboratory animals and Sergeant W. Wilson, R.A.M.C., clerk. Later,
Captain (later Colonel) F. R. Mackie, C.I.E., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.P., late I.M.S.,
joined the Commission on behalf of the Government of India.
There were Indian troops and a considerable number of Indian traders in
Uganda and what was then British East Africa, and the Government of India
was anxious to know whether Sleeping Sickness could be carried to India by
infected Indians and by them spread throughout India as it was doing in Africa.
On 6th December 1909, Sir David and Lady Bruce and Sergeants Gibbon
and Wilson left Mpumu for England. Mackie had left us earlier in September
1909, so that from December 1909 to September 1910, when our work terminated,
Hamerton and I were left to carry on.
Perhaps a word about our Chief and Lady Bruce will be of interest.
Sir David was a tall, dark, determined-looking Scotsman with all the
persistence and tenacity of his race and a fiery temper which provoked outbursts
that made enemies for him and which tended to interfere with his own interests.
28 UGANDA JOURNAL
He used to say that it was one such outburst at a meeting of the Royal Society
which lost him any chance of the Presidency of that august body and, recalling
the incident, he would roar with laughter at himself and his behaviour on that
occasion. He had a sense of humour. He was a lucid lecturer who gave his
facts in simple language in which no word of technical jargon was ever allowed.
But perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to devise new experiments and
unerringly to put his finger on a weakness in the experiments of others. He
refused to accept failure. It is no good telling me that no one has yet succeeded
in doing this, or in establishing that fact," he would say, What the devil are we
here for if not to succeed where others have failed ? Yes, a difficult man to
work for or with, but an inspiring one-or so I found him.
Lady Bruce was an ideal partner for him. Quiet, equable and extremely
efficient at her work both in the laboratory and in her home, and with all his
ambition and love for their work. They always worked together and she had
all his dogged persistence and contempt for failure. She also was blessed with
a sense of humour and knew very well how to manage 'her man' as she called
him. In the laboratory she was our daily companion, a tireless worker and our
good friend. Her death was characteristic of her; she died suddenly some
twelve hours before him, after nursing him for many weeks during his last and
most painful illness, without ever a word of complaint about her own fast
Our Commission arrived at Mombasa on 14th October 1908, after an
uneventful voyage on the Deutsche Ost Afrika liner Admiral. We docked at
the port of Kilindini, our personal baggage and ourselves being pushed by native
'boys' along miniature trolley lines to the Hotel Cecil in Mombasa, the
proprietors of which were then M. MacJohn and Company. On 16th October
we entrained with all our laboratory equipment and personal baggage and
.started our journey to Uganda by the Uganda Railway, a very young unmetalled
track at that time ; as a result, a heavy coating of red dust covered us and our
belongings during our first night on board the train when we ran through a
hot dusty red-earthed plain, after which the green of Athi Plains covered with
.game-hartebeest, giraffe, gnu, zebra and gazelle of several species-in the cool
sunlit morning was a beautiful sight, and so to Nairobi, then a small township
with but few bungalows and a number of thatched and tin-roofed buildings.
We were told that a native servant had been killed by a lion in one of the streets
of the town in the night only a few hours before our arrival.
Kisumu was the terminus of the line, the train running on to the low wooden
quay at Port Florence where we found the S.S. Clement Hill awaiting us.
Market day was in full swing at Kisumu, the principal articles for sale being
.grain (millet), metal hoe-heads used by the Kavirondo in the millet fields, brass
wire for the Masai women's armlets and leg adornments, small conical woven
grass baskets for quails, poultry and eggs. It was a cheerful busy scene, the
market place being full of the local nude Kavirondo tribe with some Masai.
The S.S. Clement Hill was a single-funnelled very comfortable ship, its
upper deck shaded by canvas awnings. Its officers were competent and
courteous and its accommodation, food and service were excellent. I gathered
that the only real worry for its naval staff was the rickety wooden pier at
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 29
Entebbe which made coming alongside in a stiff wind a nightmare for the
navigator in charge. The pier, however, did survive the two years I was to
spend in Uganda. The run from Mombasa to Port Florence (Kisumu) took
some forty hours and that from Port Florence to Entebbe some twenty-three to
twenty-four hours, for the ship lay up at night, there being no lighthouses on
On the pier to meet us at Entebbe were the Chief Secretary, the Principal
Medical Officer, Dr. Hodges, and a number of other officials of the Uganda
Protectorate, including the Veterinary Officer. We were at once informed of
the occurrence of a disease in the Masaka and Mbarara (Ankole) Districts which
was causing widespread ill-health and some deaths. It was not known what
the disease was, but it was not Sleeping Sickness. Could the Commission
investigate and if possible discover the cause and suggest remedies or, better, a
cure ? Then the Veterinary Officer told us that Government cattle and those of
local contractors were dying fast of some unknown disease and that out of a
total of some 200 oxen purchased three months before at a cost of Rs. 60 per
animal, only some 20 diseased and dying oxen remained. Could we investigate
and suggest methods of prevention or cure ? Also there was a disease rampant
amongst the calves of the Kabaka and other herds in the Protectorate. It was
very fatal. Could we help ?
Obviously our hands were going to be full; we had only been given six
months to carry out our Sleeping Sickness investigations in the country and
this included the time necessary to set up our laboratory in Uganda and to
bring up stores and equipment. Later our time was to be extended but this
we did not then know.
Those who have undertaken any scientific research work know how diffi-
cult it is to concentrate on the relevant point or points under investigation and
how very tempting are the interesting and exciting vistas glimpsed down side-
tracks from the broad highway of one's task. And here, within an hour of our
landing, were three most interesting side-tracks each of which obviously required
investigation which, if successful, would benefit' the Uganda people and its
cattle. Sir David said he would try and find time to study these problems
though they were outside the scope of the Commission's work.
We noticed that all the low bush had been removed from the lake's fore-
shores for a distance of several hundred yards on either side of the pier at
Entebbe and this area was planted with citronella grass. Low bush is essential
for the breeding of Glossina palpalis on the foreshores of the lake, and the
citronella grass prevented its regrowth, and so the fly was absent from this
area. Entebbe in 1908 was a small beautiful township on a gentle slope
leading down to the lake. It had only one brick-built house, that of the
Governor. The houses of the other officials were mud-walled, thatched
bungalows with wide verandas, and there was a native bazaar and a number of
corrugated-iron-roofed buildings and stores. I do not remember how many
Europeans then lived there, my recollection is that they were few, perhaps some
thirty to fifty in number if non-official residents were included. We saw no white
children. There was a small but cheery little club. The Botanical Gardens
were beautifully situated and though as yet in their early days they had proved
30 UGANDA JOURNAL
of value as well as of interest. In the native bazaar there was the usual collec-
tion of thatched native huts and these were frequently burnt down after being
struck by lightning during the seasonal storms.
On the morning of 18th October we piled ourselves and our baggage into
the one (and only) motor vehicle in the Protectorate.' It had a wagonnette
body with a canvas awning supported by a wooden framework to protect the
passengers and baggage from sun or rain. Its seats were parallel benches across
the width of the body and it could-I think-carry some four to six passengers,
with a limited amount of baggage, in addition to the driver and his mate. Along
the entire length of either side of its body was fastened a polished board on
which in bold lettering were the words GOVERNMENT OF UGANDA. It
carried a circular galvanized iron water-tank in the forward part of its interior
behind the driver's seat which must have held twenty-five gallons. From my
photograph (Fig. 4) it appears to have had a Ford engine and chassis of the
period, and an old-fashioned horn with a tube and rubber bulb. It was the
pride of the town, and its departure was the occasion for a gathering of boys
and natives from the bazaar who shouted farewell greetings. Our destination
was the isolated but beautifully situated Mpumu, a flat-topped ironstone hill
in Kyagwe County, some three or four miles from Kibanga Bay, the nearest
lake port to our future home and our laboratories which were built on the top
of the 500-foot hill. Our motor could only manage the first stage of this
journey, the run from Entebbe to Kampala.
Kampala in 1908 was divided into two parts, each on its own hilltop. Of
these Mengo, the native capital, was the more beautiful with its King's Lake,
and on the adjoining Namirembe Hill, the very picturesque St. Paul's Cathedral,
and the hospital which had been conceived and built by the two doctors, A. R.
and J. H. Cook, and in which they were doing such magnificent work for the
sick from all parts of the Protectorate. So well known and appreciated was
their work that the native word for a doctor at that time was 'Cookie'! My
recollection of the old cathedral is of a long low brick-building with a thatched
roof. Its interior was beautifully 'panelled' with reeds which gave a soft
golden glow to the interior. It was totally destroyed by fire in September 1910.
On the second hilltop resided the few British officials and their families
in scattered bungalows, the Uganda Company's store, a small hotel (rather
primitive) for whites, and at the foot of this hill the usual native bazaar.
We were fortunate in November 1908 to meet at an official function in
Kampala, the Kabaka of Buganda, Daudi Chwa, the Mugabe of Ankole, the
then Sekibobo of Kyagwe, Ham Mukasa, a travelled and cultured man with
a charming personality with whom we had some interesting talks later, and a
number of other African chiefs of the Protectorate. There were present Sir
Hesketh Bell and his staff, and a number of British officials, civil and military.
I cannot remember the occasion,2 but I fancy from my photograph (Fig. 5) that
His Excellency was presenting medals to some of the chiefs. The Kabaka
SThe Governor also had recently acquired a 16 h.p. Albion motor-car: see Uganda
Journal, Vol. 4 (1936-7), p. 154, and Vol. 13 (1949), pp. 93-4.--[ED.]
2 The occasion was the opening, on 9th November, of the Agricultural and Industrial
Exhibition on the sixty-seventh birthday of King Edward VII: see Uganda Journal,
Vol. 13 (1949), p. 217.--[ED.]
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 31
Daudi Chwa was only a boy but bore himself with dignity. My photo shows
him sitting between Sir Hesketh Bell, on his left, and the tall powerful Mugabe
of Ankole on his right. Beyond the Mugabe of Ankole, dressed in white with
a large white hat, sits Mrs. Boyle, wife of Mr. (later Sir) Alexander Boyle.
We stayed for a day or two at Kampala with Dr. C. J. Baker who was the
Medical Officer of Kampala and one of the senior of the Medical staff of the
Protectorate. Dr. Baker had done valuable work on Sleeping Sickness.
The remainder of our journey to Mpumu, some twenty-seven miles, was
over an even more lovely road than that between Entebbe and Kampala. It
was unsuitable for the motor-car so we took rickshaws; on it there were some
shallow fords over and around which fluttered clouds of beautiful butterflies,
among which in the appropriate seasons we were able to distinguish the red and
black (wet season) and black and blue (dry season) markings of Precis octavia,
and the common Papilio dardanus in which the female, like the ladies at Ascot,
is bedecked in so many and such lovely variations of colour.
We broke our journey by a visit to Captain (now Colonel) A. C. H. Gray,
R.A.M.C., the medical officer in charge of a large Sleeping Sickness Hospital
at Kyetume, where some four hundred and fifty patients suffering from the
disease were under treatment. This hospital had six large wards, a dispensary,
a roomy store, a big patients' waiting room, two medical officers' bungalows, a
number of smaller buildings and special wards, and a church. All the buildings
were well-built with mud walls and thatch. Later this hospital was taken over
by Dr. van Someren, Gray returning to England.
On arrival at Mpumu we found our camp in process of being built; the
two large wooden and corrugated-roofed houses which were to serve as Sir
David and Lady Bruce's home and our Laboratory were completed. The
thatched and mud-walled bungalows, one for Hamerton and myself and one
for Gibbons and Wilson, were not yet completed, nor were the cookhouses
and servants quarters. The work was in charge of a young, cheerful, energetic
and efficient Assistant District Commissioner, E. B. Haddon, who, although he
must have been only an amateur house-builder, never allowed any problem to
dismay or defeat him. Water-supply on our ironstone hilltop was an obvious
problem; when asked to make a water tank to receive rain water from the
corrugated-iron roof of the Bruce's house, Haddon cheerfully proceeded to drill
and blast a hole in the ironstone for the purpose and it was one of our early
joys to hear the loud explosions and see large lumps of ironstone flying up into
the air and sometimes on to the Bruce's roof whilst Haddon and his native
assistants fled over the brow of the hill for safety.
He introduced us to the local native chiefs and the local native sportsmen,
and saw that we got the goats we wanted for meat-cattle were only very rarely
slaughtered near us. He shared our mess and his unfailing good humour and
local knowledge were a great asset. If he should ever read this I should like
once more to say to him, "Thank you for all you did for us." I might add
here that his houses and his water tank stood up to the fierce Kyagwe storms
during our time on the hill and I believe for a number of years after.
We were the only occupiers of our hill-top, but around the foot of the hill
32 UGANDA JOURNAL
there were several small villages. The principal chief of the area was Eria Nan-
fumbambi, other chiefs were Danieri and Ibrahim; the latter sold us our goats
for meat at Rs. 5 each. They were poor goats. An amusing incident occurred
once with these sales. Some months after our arrival I was told that Ibrahim
was refusing to sell us any more goats. I went down to his village to ask him
why. He just said, "Bwana, I don't want to sell any more of my goats." I
told him he was the only source of our meat supply, but he repeated he did not
want to sell any more of his goats. He did, however, look embarrassed and
finally when hard pressed he said, Bwana, what is the good of selling you my
goats, my wife she takes the money to buy herself a new Americani cloth every
time I get 5 rupees from you and she always wants more and more." The battle
was won. Alas for Ibrahim. I asked his wife to dress up in all her Americanis,
told her how smart she looked and said how sad it was she would get no more
to wear to church on Sundays because her husband had refused to sell me any
goats. I got a goat that evening and never had any further difficulty. Ibrahim
remained our good and helpful friend.
A green sea of elephant-grass surrounded our chocolate-coloured ironstone
hilltop. It stretched away to the south to a fringe of tropical forest bordering
Lake Victoria, and over this fringe the lake itself lay in all its ever-changing
beauty. Here and there were clearings for the banana shambas of the neigh-
bouring villages. These were small in size, perhaps some twenty to fifty huts
in all. The tall Muvule tree and the Muwafu or Incense tree were the most
prominent, and for flowering trees there were the 'Flame' or Tulip tree with
its large orange-scarlet flowers; the beautiful Kirikiti with its vivid scarlet
velvet blossoms; the Lusambya with masses of bell-shaped yellow blossoms,
and, in the shallow waters of the lake foreshores, the universal Ambatch tree,
its orange-yellow flowers lighting up its grey pithy wood which we were told
the Kavirondo make into fishing rafts.
The hilltop itself was almost treeless, lightning had destroyed all but two or
three stricken stumps. It was covered with short grass and boulders and
appeared to be the home of a host of beautifully marked but deadly vipers, one
of which was the Gaboon Puff Adder. Mackie collected these vipers and sent
their venom to the Parell Laboratory in Bombay.
In this elephant-grass and banana shamba country which lay at our feet,
there were hilly areas with short grass in which we found various species of
francolin and an occasional bustard. In the village clearings or their vicinity
there were often small flocks of guineafowl, and doves and green pigeons, all
welcome additions to our goat diet of which we were soon heartily sick. In
the forested areas fringing the lake shore the commoner birds were the African
Grey Parrots with their scarlet tails, the Greater and Lesser Hornbills, the
brilliantly coloured bee-eaters and shrikes and the black and yellow weaver
birds whose nests adorned the lake-side wild date palms, Lukindu. The
Turacos (Plantain-eaters) were of three varieties, the brilliant violet-bodied and
scarlet-winged, the blue and green, and the drab grey.
There were many tiny vividly-coloured sun birds, two varieties of fly
catchers (the Blue Fantail and the Paradise) and red-headed and green lovebirds.
Soaring over our hill and stealing our chickens was a fine red-legged
S.S. Clement Hill alongside quay at Port Florence. Kisumu, 1908
The Government of Uganda's Motor Transport, Entebbe, 1908.
Sface p. 32.
An official function. Mengo, 1908.
Assistant District Commissioner E. B. Haddon (1908), with Kyagwe leopard hunters.
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 33
stumpy-tailed Bateleur Eagle who was finally temporarily stunned by a pellet
and finished his days in the Zoo in Regent's Park; and over our hilltop shallow
pond English and Red-throated South African Swallows dipped and drank.
On the lake itself in the vicinity of Kibanga Bay, we found, amongst other
birds, the Crested Crane, the Pigmy Goose (rare), the Egyptian and Spur-winged
Geese, the raucous-voiced Fish Eagle, the dapper little Jacana or Lily Trotter
which steps so daintily on the broad leaves of the pink, yellow and white water-
lilies which often bordered the beautiful apple-green papyrus along the banks,
several colonies of egrets nesting in the ambatch trees, and a few Greater Egret
(rare) and Hadadah Ibis. Also, of course, along the banks (cleaning the teeth
of the numerous crocodiles) were the paddy birds in numbers. On the sunny
sand-banks, where the crocodiles laid their numerous eggs, we occasionally saw
that agile thief the Monitor, robbing the eggs; and paddling quietly home in
the evenings we often saw the lake-otters in numbers and schools of hippo. I
may say here that Hamerton, besides being an authority on African birds was,
in those days, a first-class shot of the King George V and Viscount Grey order.
In the two years we were together in Uganda it is literally true to say I only saw
him miss two shots and these were with his 28-bore collector's gun. A very
useful member of our mess and a delightful companion with his expert know-
ledge of birds.
By December 1908 the work of the Commission was in full swing at
Mpumu. The questions we had to try and answer may be put as follows:
QUESTION 1 (by the Colonial Office and the Government of the Uganda
Protectorate): We have evacuated vast fertile areas of the Protectorate or are
in process of doing so to protect the people in these areas from the fatal disease
Sleeping Sickness; when will it be safe to repopulate these areas, and when can
we close down our Sleeping Sickness hospitals and camps ? "
QUESTION 2 (by the Uganda Government): "There is a high mortality
amongst the transport cattle of the Government and also amongst those of our
contractors and others; what is the cause of this disease and what can be done
to prevent it ? "
QUESTION 3 (by the Uganda Government): "There is also a very high
mortality amongst the calves in the Protectorate; what is the cause of this and
can any steps be taken to prevent it ? "
QUESTION 4 (by the Uganda Government): "There is widespread disease
of an unknown type affecting men, women and children in the Ankole District;
it is causing prolonged, painful and severe illness and a certain number of
deaths; what is the cause ? Can you suggest a remedy or, better still, can
you tell us how to prevent it ? "
QUESTION 5: This, with questions 6 and 7, we asked ourselves. It had
been stated that there was no life-cycle of the Trypanosoma gambiense in the
tsetse-fly, Glossina palpalis. We found it very difficult to believe this and so
set ourselves the task of discovering whether there was such a cycle and if so
what happens to the trypanosome T. gambiense when it was taken up by the
G. palpalis in the blood of an infected person.
QUESTION 6: If there is such a cycle, is there hereditary infection of the
pupa or the young of the infected G. palpalis ?
34 UGANDA JOURNAL
QUESTION 7: Is man the only carrier of the T. gambiense as had always
been stated prior to our arrival ? Another point which the Commission found
it hard to believe. .
Lastly, QUESTION 8: The Government of India asked us if it was possible
for Sleeping Sickness to spread in India by means of the large number of Indians
who yearly return to India from Uganda.
You may think that questions 2 and 3 were unusual ones to put to doctors.
Perhaps: but the answers to them were of great importance to the Protectorate
as, at that time, cattle were indispensable as transport animals and as such freed
human labour from the roads for agriculture and industry and for public works.
In the years 1908, 1909 and 1910 large numbers of oxen were being used
on Government public works, for private transport and for Government and
private agriculture. A transport-ox cost 60 rupees and, we were told, no con-
tractor would undertake any Government contract involving the use of oxen in
a tsetse-fly area unless or until his estimate allowed for the loss of all his oxen
within three months of the commencement of their use on the work.
I will answer these eight questions in the order in which they were solved,
or not solved, and will try and show very briefly how we worked out the answers.
First, then, questions 2 and 3. An examination of the blood of the sick
oxen coming from Entebbe, and (later) of the blood of sick oxen on the Uganda
Company's farm at Namukekera revealed at once that they were suffering from
a variety of trypanosome diseases of their own caused by a variety of trypano-
somes (T. pecorum, T. nanum, etc.). The next step was to make a careful study
of the biting flies which infested the areas in which the sick oxen were or had
recently been travelling, working or residing. These areas, at that time, were
along the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe, along the banks of the Nile at
and below the Ripon Falls at Jinja, and at the Uganda Company's farm at
Namukekera, where young Lea Wilson was then Assistant Manager. We found
that the tsetse-fly, Glossina palpalis, was present in the cattle kraals near
Entebbe, and that the cattle at Namukekera had recently passed through the
tsetse-fly areas before arriving at the farm. There were, of course, other biting
flies also present in both areas such as Tabanidae, Haematopota, Simulidae.
We first studied the tsetse-fly, G. palpalis. We found that this fly would
not bite on cold or wet days, or on days with a high wind and that it did not
bite after dusk or before dawn. We also found that whilst oxen, as a rule,
become immune to the trypanosomes of their own district, they are readily
infected by the tsetse-flies with the trypanosomes of any other district. To
these they are not immune and they frequently die of these infections.
We were unable to prove that any biting fly other than the tsetse-fly (in
these areas, G. palpalis) could convey any trypanosome disease either from
animal to animal, or from man to man, or from man to animal. We were thus
forced to the conclusion that the tsetse Glossina palpalis was the infecting agent
in the case of these transport oxen.
We advised, therefore, that all cattle kraals be moved at least two miles
inland from the shores of Lake Victoria and the Nile; that when oxen had to
be used in the vicinity of these tsetse-fly infested shores (as at Jinja) all under-
growth must first be cleared and kept cleared during the time the work was in
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 35
progress, this for the sake of the health of the natives as well as for that of the
cattle; and lastly, that when oxen were being brought out of their own district
into new country they should pass through fly-infested areas at night time only,
or on cold, wet and windy days.
The Government of Uganda accepted these recommendations, the precau-
tions were carried out at once, and, we were told later, that it was estimated
that many thousands of head of cattle were saved in the years 1909-10.
Further, the cost of work on Government contracts where transport cattle were
used fell considerably, for, by reason of the oxen remaining healthy, work was
speeded up, and a contractor no longer had to allow for the death of all his
oxen every three months.
There is no reason why this satisfactory state of affairs should not remain
good for all time in those areas where G. palpalis is the causative agent of
cattle trypanosome diseases.
The cause of and the type of disease from which the calves of the Protec-
torate were suffering were unknown. We were able to prove that the disease
was caused by the bite of infected cattle ticks which infected the blood of the
calf, the red blood cells being attacked by a parasite called the Piroplasma
bigeminum, in much the same manner as the malarial parasite attacks the red
blood cells of man in malaria after the bite of a mosquito infected by the
malarial parasite. We proved that this was in fact the same disease as that
known in south-east Africa as 'East Coast Fever'. We were able to show
that with early and careful nursing and feeding the chances of a calfs recovery
from this deadly disease were very much improved. When this early and
careful treatment was carried out the mortality was low, but alas, the native
owner of that time, at any rate, was not always inclined to bother very much
about a sick animal or he was too poor to take the necessary measures. We
sent infected ticks from Uganda to the Transvaal where our findings were
The next answer we got was to question 4. We asked the Government
to send us two patients from Masaka or Mbarara who were suffering from the
disease but fit to travel. In due course, after what must have been a trying
journey, two elderly persons, a man and his wife, arrived at Mpumu. They
were very frightened, poor things.
We found very soon that their symptoms resembled those of Mediterranean
or Malta Fever, and further bacteriological examination proved this to be
correct. As this disease is spread by infected goats' milk from goats suffering
from Malta Fever, we recommended that the goats in Ankole Province where
this disease was occurring should be destroyed; that probably the best way
to do this efficiently was to offer goat owners one cow or ox for so many goats
-I think it was ten or fifteen goats-and that all further importation of goats
into these areas should be prohibited. I believe the offer was attractive enough
for every goat in the area, and I suspect for miles around, to be brought in for
As the infected goats were the source of the disease (they had originally
come up the Nile via Gondokoro from the Mediterranean), their slaughter was
the end of the disease in the infected areas-or rather of fresh cases and further
36 UGANDA JOURNAL
spread. I understand that it was the Kabaka of Buganda who very generously
made a free gift of the oxen for this exchange to the people of Ankole.
I might add that the two elderly people, with proper nursing, feeding,
housing and treatment, recovered completely and were reluctant to leave Mpumu
when the time came for them to return to their home.
Questions 5 and 6 were the next problems we were able to solve. To
prove that there was no hereditary infection of the pupae or young of an
infected fly, Hamerton and I fed large numbers of our laboratory-bred
G. palpalis on ourselves and on other susceptible animals. The pupae of these
laboratory-bred flies had been dropped by G. palpalis which had been fed on
the blood of Sleeping Sickness patients, and by G. palpalis caught on the shores
of Lake Victoria.
The results of numerous experiments over a long period were all negative.
We concluded, therefore, that there was no hereditary infection of the pupae or
young of G. palpalis infected with T. gambiense.
It has since been proved by many independent observers that this answer
is true for all varieties of trypanosome infections in all varieties of tsetse-flies
(Glossinae). It is common knowledge that the malarial parasite passes through
a series of changes, a 'cycle', in the mosquito when the latter takes the parasite
up in the blood of an infected man; does a somewhat similar cycle take place
in the Glossina palpalis when the parasite T. gambiense is taken up by this
tsetse-fly in the blood of an infected man ?
Up to the time of our arrival in Uganda the existence of such a cycle was
denied, and yet it seemed incredible to some of us that this could be true. It
was not true; and we proved this by feeding our laboratory-bred G. palpalis
on Sleeping Sickness patients so that we could be sure that our flies if they
became infected by trypanosomes must be infected by the T. gambiense for
man does not harbour any other form of trypanosome in his blood, and there
is no hereditary trypanosome infection of the tsetse-fly Glossina palpalis.
Having fed our flies we then examined them day by day. From the 5th
or 6th day after their infected feed on the Sleeping Sickness patient we found
no recognizable trace of the trypanosome T. gambiense in the fly and this
remained so until between the 28th and 32nd day after the infected feed. In
our first successful experiment we found that quite suddenly on the 28th day
the salivary glands and the proboscis of the tsetse were swarming with trypano-
some-like parasites, and that from this 28th day onwards till the end of its life
one bite of one such infected fly was sufficient to infect man or any other
susceptible animal with true Sleeping Sickness; and even in captivity the
G. palpalis, which feeds at least once daily when possible, can live for a year
Sometimes it was on the 29th, 30th, 31st or 32nd day after the infected feed
when this phenomenon occurred in the fly. Dr. Kleine, in what was then
German East Africa, working with Glossina morsitans and Trypanosoma Brucei,
proved that a similar life-cycle of the T. Brucei developed in the G. morstans.
His work was quite independent of ours and was contemporary.
And so to question 7: "Is man the only carrier of Trypanosoma gam-
biense ?" If so, said the Uganda Government, now that we have removed
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 37
man out of the Glossina palpalis infested areas of Lake Victoria and its islands,
we.ought soon to be able to repopulate these islands and areas. Alas, the
answer was, "No." We proved that man was not the only animal which can
act as a carrier of Trypanosoma gambiense. We had already found out, as I
have said, that oxen were susceptible to a variety of trypanosome infections.
As this was so we asked ourselves why they and other horned animals of the
lake and river banks should not be susceptible to T. gambiense also. Water-
buck, bushbuck, reedbuck, Speke's tragelaphus, oribi, buffalo, all frequented
the deserted lake shores. We found that all these were readily susceptible to
T. gambiense infection. Thus all were potential carriers of the trypanosome
and so could infect the lake and river shore tsetse-flies who, in their turn, could
Why had not this been discovered before ? We found that when a buck
is bitten by a T. gambiense infected Glossina palpalis, within a short time (I
forget the average time but think within a fortnight) its coat begins to 'stare',
it gets a rise of temperature of 1 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit, it lies about and is
off its food for 2 to 4 days or so, and during this short period of malaise its blood
swarms with T. gambiense. After about the 4th to 5th day the buck appears
to recover completely, it is lively, its appetite returns, its coat is normal and as
time goes on it becomes extremely difficult and later still impossible to find
(microscopically) any trypanosomes in its blood. But, and here is the serious
aspect of this story, in spite of the fact that one can find no trypanosomes in its
blood, in spite of the buck's apparent excellent health, nevertheless such an
infected buck is capable of infecting with T. gambiense a proportion of all those
tsetse-flies which may feed on it. The number of flies so infected is, of course,
highest in the first four days when the buck's blood contains numerous parasites
and then gets less and less as time goes on and-presumably-the parasites get
fewer and fewer in its blood. But in our experiments our infected buck,
although looking and obviously feeling in perfect health, were still infecting
with T. gambiense some 2-3 per cent of the flies fed on them for some eighteen
months until we had to leave the country.
This answer was disturbing, for if buck and other horned animals could
be infected with the Sleeping Sickness parasite, T. gambiense, and if these buck
swarmed on the shores of Lake Victoria and on the banks of parts of the Nile,
when would it ever be possible to say it was safe to send back the population
to their old homes on the islands and lake shores ? And what of the elaborate
steps which were then being taken in many parts of central Africa to stop the
movements of people from Sleeping Sickness areas into non-infected areas ?
Observation of the movements of the buck (and monkeys) on the lake shores
showed that these animals very clearly appreciated the danger to their health
of the tsetse, Glossina palpalis. When watering the buck always came down
to the lake shores at spots where there was a complete absence of low bush and
vegetation for a space of several hundred yards and they always watered in the
centre of this area, an area which was free from this tsetse-fly, and their approach
to these open areas was always over open vegetation-free country. Alternatively
they watered at night when no fly bit.
The monkey was not so cautious in his approach, but he was incredibly
:38 UGANDA JOURNAL
-quick and deadly at catching and killing at once any attacking fly. We never
found on the lake shore or its vicinity any monkey suffering from or dead of
Sleeping Sickness during our two years at Mpumu. This, of course, is not to
:say that monkeys on the lake shore were never infected and died.
And so back to question 1: When will it be safe to repopulate the shores
of Lake Victoria and its islands ? The answer we had to give here was, We
-do not know." There is no doubt at all that the removal of the peoples out of
the fly-infested Sleeping Sickness areas had considerably reduced the number
-of G. palpalis which were infected with the Sleeping Sickness parasite, and it
was possible that, in spite of the buck as potential carriers, the infection of these
flies would tend to die out slowly as time went on if man was kept out of these
areas, but how long this would take we could not tell. We did have positive
,evidence that the Glossina palpalis on the foreshores of the area round Kibanga
Bay and on the island of Damba were still infected on our departure from
Uganda in September 1910, some sixteen months after depopulation was com-
plete, but then our canoe men, our 'boys' and ourselves had frequented these
-areas throughout these sixteen months, though fortunately none of us contracted
At present, I understand, the natives are allowed to return and reclaim
their abandoned and fly-infested shambas on the lake shores and on the islands
only if they are in sufficient numbers to be able to clear and keep clear all low
bush of those areas they wish to reclaim, and the maintenance of this clearing
must be kept under strict supervision, and be of a sufficient area around the
Reclaimed land. I hear this policy had met with success between the years
1920-35 and, no doubt, it has continued to do so.
And, lastly, the answer to question 8 was, "No"; it is not possible for
Indians returning from Uganda to India to spread the disease Sleeping Sickness
in India not even if a few such Indians were infected with the disease. There
are no Glossinae in India, and so it is just as impossible to spread the disease
in India as it would be to spread malaria in a mosquito-free country. We had
to leave Mpumu and return to England leaving a number of most interesting
investigations unfinished, amongst which were the part taken by other biting
flies in Kyagwe in the conveyance of disease, notably by the Tabanidae of which
there were a number of varieties; and full details of the cycle of T. gambiense
in Glossina palpalis-in other words, what happened to this trypanosome
between the 5th and 6th day after its ingestion by the fly and its reappearance
in a modified form in the salivary glands and the proboscis between the 28th
and 32nd days ? What seemed to us another urgent problem was a study of
the biting flies of Kyagwe and Uganda generally. We had time to touch only
on the fringe of this great subject.
Here I might say that our Commission would have benefited considerably
by the addition of an entomologist. We were, however, greatly helped in this
branch of our work by the kindness of the Chief of the Entomological Depart-
ment of the South Kensington Museum who was always ready to give us the
benefit of his expert knowledge of African biting flies.
In his introduction to his book, English Social History, Professor G. M.
Trevelyan, O.M., says: "Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the life-blood of
RESEARCH AND REMINISCENCES: UGANDA, 1908-1910 39
real civilization. Social history provides one of its best forms" and also:
Truth is the criterion of historical study; but its impelling motive is poetic.
Its poetry consists in its being true." This leads me to think that a few personal
impressions of the mode of life and of the characteristics of the Baganda amongst
whom we lived for two years may be of interest. But a word of warning. We
were very closely tied to our hilltop and its immediate vicinity and whilst this
brought us into more intimate contact with our neighbours, our observations
were necessarily very restricted. Such as they are they were observed in a
friendly and disinterested spirit and set down truthfully.
The Baganda of the Kyagwe Province in 1908-10 were very good parents
with a great love of their children. The family was the unit around which
their hopes and their lives revolved. They were a simple happy agricultural
people who, I was told, had no word for 'poor' or 'poverty' in their language.
Whether this was true or not, I do not know, but when talking to two local
chiefs on this subject I found they were quite unable to understand how anyone
could want for sufficient food and clothing and housing and land to maintain
himself and his family.
The local chiefs had a real sense of justice and appeared to dispense it
impartially and to the satisfaction of their people. 'Fibs' and minor thefts
were too common where the white man's goods were concerned, but, the great
sin was to be found out by the white man. That was the final ignominy.
They never forgot or forgave what they believed to be a lie by a white man, so
that one had to be extremely careful of all statements, however trivial, which
one made to them.
They hated ridicule, but so do all races. Courage. I always have found
this difficult to assess. They feared the unknown, and, in our time, many
appeared to be still ripe for the witch doctor. On the one hand they were
courageous to a foolhardy degree when on one of their highly dangerous leopard
hunts; on the other they were absurdly frightened of the relatively harmless hippo
when out on the lake in canoes. This was possibly because most of our canoe
men could not swim-an incredible fact in an island and lakeshore people, and
one which once nearly led to disaster. Another even more astonishing fact
was that neither the Baganda nor, as far as I know, any other African race in
the Protectorate up to 1910, had tamed any of the local birds or animals which
abounded, not even the guineafowl which fed so frequently in their shambas!
Wild life appeared to be considered from the food point of view only. Some-
thing to kill and to eat. I believe this to be true of all central African tribes,
and in marked contrast to the natives of India who have tamed many birds
and almost all the animals of their country-even the cheetah!
This appears to indicate a profound lack of imagination. Sir Harry
Johnston, in his beautiful book The Uganda Protectorate, states that the native
of Uganda has no interest in the stars ", but I well remember that the Sekibobo
Ham Mukasa, in one of his conversations with us, spoke of Halley's Comet
which he said was a portent of evil to the Royal House of Uganda.
Our Baganda neighbours were most friendly and hospitable to us and went
out of their way to help us in any way they could. They could not understand
why we should have bothered to come all the way from a foreign and far away
40 UGANDA JOURNAL
land to 'catch flies'. In fact, they thought we were very queer, but they had
a great sense of humour and loved a joke, even one against themselves, and I
can still hear their heartening cheery laughter. They were naturally polite in
their greetings as well as in their behaviour.
As to their way of life; our neighbours lived in a plantain-eating country
and were essentially peasants whose unit was the family and whose interests.
were intimately bound up with the soil. Each household had sufficient land
to keep it in food, tobacco and bark-cloth clothing, and every adult in the
household took an active part in the production of food. Such education as.
existed was obtained, by the minority I think, from the schools of the mission-
aries who were doing fine work in our neighbourhood. Money was not paid
for school fees but labour was given freely. I believe the old Namirembe
Cathedral of 1908 was built by African labour given freely and willingly.
Indeed, within reach of his home the African only required money to pay
taxes, to buy such necessary tools and garden implements as could not be made
in the home, and for those gaily-printed cottons, 'Americanis', which every
self-respecting woman wore on market days, holidays and to church on Sundays.
We were fortunate in November and December 1908 to be present on
several occasions at the weekly market-day at Kibanga Bay. This took place
every Wednesday, and the opening of the market was proceeded by an open-air
service, conducted by a lay preacher. Canoe men, with their canoes laden
with earthenware pots, coming from Buvuma traded these for bark-cloth,
bananas, banana-flour and such like products of the Kyagwe mainland Baganda.
These Bavuma islanders were magnificent in their physique; they were, alas!
the few survivors of a numerous island population. Indeed, because of
Sleeping Sickness this Kibanga market was a shadow of its former self, and was
finally closed down early in 1909. The closure of this market was a very
serious financial and social loss to our Kyagwe neighbours.
The Baganda of Kyagwe were mainly Christians but polygamy persisted,
and evidently continued to do so up to 1931, when the Census shows that some
25 per cent of the married women were members of polygamous households.
In a family it was the husband who built and kept in repair the family huts.
He took care of any animals (goats, cattle). He broke up new ground for an
extension of his shamba. He was the butcher, the tailor and the hunter. On
rare occasions he would undertake porter's work provided the safari did not
take him too far, or keep him away too long, from his home. The wife
looked after her children, and the tilling and sowing of crops and their harvesting
and it was she who did the bargaining at the Kibanga market. She was an
excellent mother and an industrious and cheerful worker.
Though a man would occasionally hire himself as a porter there was no
real wage-earning class and there was a curious lack of individual enterprise,
due possibly to the prodigal abundance of his home's surroundings, and to the
fact that the European and American goods available in Kyagwe either did
not tempt him or were considered far above his purse. I can remember an
occasional local chief buying the most deplorable European coats (never trousers,
thank goodness!), and, very rarely, a bicycle which was of real use to him.
We were sorry indeed to say good-bye to such a friendly and happy people.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE SICKLE-CELL TRAIT IN
UGANDA, AND ITS ETHNOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE'
By DRs. H. LEHMANN AND A. B. RAPER
T has been known since 1910 that the red blood corpuscles of some negroes
assume a peculiar sickle shape when deprived of oxygen. The condition is
hereditary, transmitted on Mendelian lines, and is estimated to affect some
7-5 per cent of North American negroes (1). In the majority of those affected
no disability is present: but a small proportion is alleged to develop a chronic
haemolytic anaemia, and it is this aspect, rather than the inherited abnormality
itself, that has claimed the attention of most medical writers on the subject.
Although our interest was primarily medical, some of our findings appear to
have a bearing on anthropology, and are therefore presented here.
Estimates of the incidence of the sickle-cell trait (' sicklaemia ') have been
made at various places in tropical Africa; but only in Northern Rhodesia have
tribal incidences been recorded (2). In Uganda we were struck by a remarkable
difference in incidence between certain African tribes, and extended our observa-
tions over the whole Protectorate.
Uganda lies at the point of contact of several ethnological groups, in
particular the Hamites, Nilotes and Bantu. Thus widely differing tribes could
be studied within a comparatively small area. Another factor facilitating our
work was the recent discovery of methods which ensure rapid and complete
sickling of all susceptible cells (3).
Nearly 5,000 persons-about 1 in 1,000 of the population of the Protectorate
-have been examined. Both sexes and all ages were included, but will not be
treated separately here. The results are set out in brief in the accompanyingtable;
in each main language-group are shown tribal sub-groups in which the incidence
of sicklaemia does not differ significantly between the various tribes composing
the sub-group. Between any two sub-groups of a given language-group, how-
ever, the differences in incidence are statistically significant. The only exception
is in the case of the Bakenyi tribe, which is shown separately because it is really
a mixture of the original tribe and a variety of Bantu refugees, all living until
recently on papyrus swamps of Lake Kyoga.
In the following discussion we wish to do no more than indicate how our
results bear on physical anthropology. The incidence of sickle-cell trait is
uniformly low in the pastoral, Hamitic-tongued tribes, with the single exception
1 Reprinted from Nature, Vol. 164, p. 494, 17th September 1949, by permission of
the Editor and the authors.
42 UGANDA JOURNAL
Language Number Percentage of
group Tribe examined sicklaemia
Bahima .. .. .. .. 166 2-4
Sebei .. .. .. .. 124 0-8
Hamitic Suk .... .. .. 128 3-9
Karamojong .. .. .. 156 3-2
Teso .. 416 17-8
Lango .. .. .. 278 27
Acholi .. .. .. .. 141 27
Jaluo .. ...... 130 28
Nilotic Lugbara .. .. .. .. 120 21
Kakwa .. .. .. .. 101 25
Alur .. .. ...... 114 25
Jonam .. .... .. 109 26
Madi .. .. .. .. 109 3
Bairu .. .. .. .. 139 2
Banyaruanda (Bahutu) .. .. 496 8
Banyoro .. .. .. .. 91 12
Batoro .. .. .. .. 120 12-5
Baganda .. .. .. 740 19
Bantu Bakonjo .. .. .. .. 102 18
Barundi .. .. .. .. 108 19
Bakenyi .. .. .. .. 88 26
Basoga .. .. .. .. 241 29
Bagishu .. .... 207 30
Baamba .. .. .. .. 140 45
of the Teso. The latter, however, have not the Caucasian features of Hamite
stock; they are a largely agricultural group, settled amid and intermingling
with Nilotes and Bantu. Their possession of the sickle-cell trait in considerable
intensity is an additional physical character distinguishing them from the
Hamitic group with which they have been classed on a linguistic basis.
The Nilotic tribes, according to the Uganda handbook (4) composed of
the Gang, Bari and Madi-Moru speakers, are remarkably homogeneous with
regard to sicklaemia, excepting only the Madi (on the Sudan border). The
Lango, who live between the Acholi and the Teso, appear from our findings to
fall uncompromisingly within the Nilotic group. This is of interest because
the presence of some Teso words in their language has been used as evidence
that they are in reality a branch of the Teso who have adopted an easier Nilotic
Unlike the two previous groups, a wide variation is seen among the Bantu
tribes. The incidence of sicklaemia appears to be inversely proportional to the
contact the various tribes have had with their most recent Hamitic invaders.
I Although the Bahima now speak the Bantu language of their subjects they have-
for obvious reasons-been included in the Hamitic group.
SICKLE-CELL TRAIT IN UGANDA 43;
Thus the trait is least common among the Bairu, who have lived for generations.
as helots to the ruling class of Hamitic conquerors, the Bahima, on the best
pastoral land in Uganda. Next come the Banyaruanda, Banyoro and Batoro,.
whose traditions and customs testify to prolonged contact with the Bahima, and
whose aristocracy possesses Hamitic features. The contact of the Baganda,.
Bakonjo and Barundi with Hamitic peoples in recent times has probably been
less direct and made by way of their neighbours, the Banyoro, Batoro and
The Basoga and Bagishu, two closely related tribes, live remote from the
track of the Hamitic peoples. The South Basoga, to whom the accompanying
table refers, live in the swampy country between Lakes Victoria and Kyoga.
The Bagishu live on the western slopes of Mount Elgon. There is no history
of direct contact with Hamitic tribes, though tradition records hostile relations,
with the Jaluo of the neighboring plains, themselves a tribe of high sickle-cell.
The Baamba are a secluded tribe living west of the Ruwenzori Range.
They are composed of the Babullibulli and Bamwezi, who differ in language:
and in some physical characteristics, but show the some incidence of sicklaemia.
They claim to be autochthonous, and of all the tribes we have investigated these.
pigmoids are furthest removed from the Bahima in physical appearance.
We consider that, so far as Central Africa is concerned, a study of the:
distribution of sicklaemia could usefully contribute to physical anthropology.
(1) Wintrobe, M. M. Clinical Hematology. (London, 1946.)
(2) Beet, E. A. E. Afr. Med. I., Vol. 23, p. 75 (1946); Vol. 24, p. 212 (1947).
(3) Singer, K., and Robin, S. J. Amer. Med. Assoc., Vol. 136, p. 1021 (1948).
(4) Thomas, H. B., and Scott, R. Uganda. (Oxford, 1935.)
(5) Tarantino, A. Uganda Journal, Vol. 10, p. 12 (1946).
BLOOD GROUPING AND THE TRIBAL HISTORIAN
By A. C. A. WRIGHT
(Honorary Editor, The Uganda Journal)
[The attention of readers is especially called to the article by Drs. Lehmann and
Raper on 'The Distribution of the Sickle-cell Trait in Uganda' which is re-printed
from our learned contemporary Nature, in this issue of the Journal. This introduces
a medical flavour hitherto unfamiliar to our pages, but the subject is of particular
relevance in the fields of study cultivated by our Society. In the following notes
it is sought to demarcate some of the problems to whose solution modern techniques
of blood examination may make an unexpectedly valid contribution.]
THOSE unconnected with the medical profession may be unaware that recent
research has developed methods for detecting in human blood a wide
range of factors which, because they are inherited according to well-understood
principles, are a promising addition to the data which the ethnographer may
use in attempting to classify communities. Compared with the older anthropo-
metric methods, the use of blood analysis has the advantage of greatly reducing
the time the field-worker must spend in collecting his data, for the specimen is
quickly collected and may be examined at leisure. Moreover, the result in each
individual case has the precision of a laboratory test. Yet, allowing that
specification by the inherited properties of the blood is more clear-cut than by,
say, the cranial index, it must not be forgotten that when the observer's intention
is to compare two human communities, the comparison will always depend upon
a statistical evaluation of the results. At this stage precision in the original
observations does not necessarily ensure greater validity for the former method.
The two types of test to which we wish to refer are the detection of the
'sickle-cell trait', and the determination of blood groups.
'Sickle cells', that is, red blood corpuscles of a peculiar deformed shape,
occur only in those of negroid ancestry. They are found in from 6 to 9 per cent
of American negroes, but the percentage in most African communities is much
higher. Drs. Lehmann and Raper, in the course of their studies in Uganda,
made the interesting observation that the sickle-cell rate differs very considerably
between different tribes or groups of tribes, and to them we owe the suggestion
that the sickle-cell rate of a community may throw light on its ethnological
affinities. How far this is justified will be discussed below.
With regard to blood groups, the only extensive work in continental Africa
prior to World War I was that of Elsdon Dew.1 He limited himself to a study
of the distribution of the familiar' A B 0' groups, and though his study covered
a vast area of south, central and east Africa, there were certain defects, either
inherent in the method or related to the statistical treatment of the data, that
prevented the drawing of more than very general conclusions about the relation-
ships of the tribes studied. His work, however, did at least outline a desirable
1 Blood Groups in Africa', by R. Elsdon Dew. Publications of the South African
Institute of Medical Research, No. XLIV, 1939.
BLOOD GROUPING AND THE TRIBAL HISTORIAN 45
programme of future study. Since then, the study of blood groups has been
revolutionized by the discovery of many new factors, particularly those included
under the heading of the 'Rhesus factor'. The greater the number of inherited
characteristics whose distribution can be mapped, the greater is the chance of
drawing valid ethnological conclusions from these data. Considerable work
on these lines has been done in the Congo and South Africa, but in Uganda
and East Africa as a whole the work is still in its earliest stages.
To the layman the procedure and technique of the chemical and biological
analysis involved in these tests is irrelevant, but the significance of the findings
is of deep interest. Hitherto students of ethnology and local history have had
to depend for indications of tribal movement and cultural contact (prior to the
arrival of written contemporary records) upon such misty mediums of interpre-
tation as oral tribal tradition, and upon observed similarities or differences in
language, social structure and cultural artifacts. Now it seems that within the
reach of comparatively simple field research there are available two independent
methods of testing communal affinities, either of which by itself would indicate
a high probability (if supported by adequate numbers of samples), but which
taken together would be logically irresistible.
Good public relations are essential to a programme of blood sampling in
rural areas. The rural public of Uganda is naturally suspicious and deeply
superstitious; but, perhaps fortunately for present purposes, one of its
commonest superstitions to-day relates to the benefits conferred by the hypo-
dermic syringe. There is not, therefore, the great barrier of opposition that
might be expected to the taking of blood samples, and in fact Drs. Lehmann
and Raper when touring rural populations in 1949 found few objections raised,
as their path in some districts had been smoothed administratively. In order
to save time they did, however, tend to use artificial aggregations of population,
such as hospital patients, station labour gangs and prison inmates, for the taking
of samples. The next stage, now that tribal percentages in sickle-cell trait
have been shown to differ significantly, is to carry the range of blood comparison
down to the point where the component communities of each tribe are the
subjects of study rather than the tribe itself. It may thus be possible to resolve
a number of apparent inconsistencies in the records obtained to date, and to go
much further towards checking oral traditions as to movement and miscegena-
tion. It is obviously desirable that such a study should be carried out as soon
as possible, before the effects of economic migration blur the whole picture and
before the old men, who still retain oral traditions of the clan genealogies and
of the movements and relationships of the pre-European era, disappear.
Uganda is fortunately placed on a main air route to London and has
adequate internal air transport for present needs. The opportunity is thus
presented for the operation of a comparative research programme on blood
types and groupings, which could make use both of the facilities of the Blood
Group Reference Laboratory in London, as well as of local laboratory
experience. Sickling tests only require a small field apparatus including a
microscope; but accurate blood grouping by modern methods requires all the
facilities of a specially organized laboratory. Both these systems of physio-
logical testing, however, would probably benefit from the services of the social
46 UGANDA JOURNAL
anthropologist in the selection of critical areas for examination, and in the
interpretation of the data collected.
It is fortunate that the East African Social Science Research Institute,
which has now begun to conduct field research in many districts of the
Protectorate may soon be in a position to provide the necessary advice and
interpretation of data. It is to be hoped that the tribal historian, through these
new techniques, may at last acquire some scientific status. For long he has
been the object of attack from the functionalist school of anthropology, on the
grounds that his material lacks historical validity, that it is in fact a projection
into the past of a causal series, psychologically acceptable to the relater, which
may explain and justify a contemporary situation. This criticism, though
indicating a real need for caution in treatment is not felt by all field workers to
invalidate the very large mass of historical material which has been preserved
by oral tradition. The role of the tribal historian in future may thus be
regarded as filling (from the ethnographic point of view) the humble but
necessary function of providing a series of working hypotheses, which may be
supported or eliminated by adequate blood sampling.
It may be appropriate here to include some discussion upon the list of
tribal percentages submitted by Drs. Lehmann and Raper. The highest sickling
rates recorded are those from the Ba-Amba, a semi-pygmoid tribe living to the
north-west of Ruwenzori, whose language affinities Dr. Guthrie of the School
of Oriental and African Studies found to be related to those of tribes living to
the west of Stanleyville. The Ba-Amba traditionally have little relationship
with other tribes in Uganda and, as no work on sickling tests in the Congo had
yet been done to provide grounds for comparison, this remarkable rate
certainly requires confirmation on a large sample. After the Ba-Amba
close together come the Ba-Gishu and Ba-Soga, tribes which hitherto have
always been regarded as unrelated. This may, of course, still be the case and
the resemblance of sickling rate a fortuitous coincidence. Soga history up to
date has always been concerned with the doings of the oligarchy of Baisengobi
(bushbuck) clans, derived from Bu-Nyoro and not with the mass of peasant
clans, about whom little has been published, and whose relationship remains
largely unexplored. It is not particularly surprising that the sickling rate of
the Ba-Kenyi should approximate to that of the Ba-Soga, with whom they
dwell adjacently. Very little work has been done on the antecedents of this
heterogeneous Ba-Kenyi fishing community who live all around and upon the
western waters of Lake Kyoga, and along the Mpologoma swamp. Some of
them certainly claim (like the Ba-Konjo) to be political refugees from Bu-Ganda.
The most homogeneous sickling rates in Uganda are those obtained from
the Nilotic Lwoo speaking tribes. Their general physical affinity with the
Nilo-hamitic group of tribes, called by Tarantino the 'Lango Family', is
obvious on a cursory examination; but at this point a whole series of incon-
sistencies arise which demand explanation. The Iteso belong to this same
Nilo-hamitic language group, of which the Bari and Kakwa are also members.
Why then, it may be asked, do they show a marked difference of sickling rate
from any of the other tribes of the same group, considerably lower than the
Kakwa, much higher than the Karamojong ? Again what is the explanation of
BLOOD GROUPING AND THE TRIBAL HISTORIAN 47
the fact that the Madi of the Sudan border, who readily intermarry with
adjacent Acholi clans, show a very low sickling rate much closer to that of
the Ba-Hima than to that of the Acholi ? This is particularly strange because
a number of the western Acholi clans (Atiak, Pa-Gak, Pa-Bo, and Lamogi),
are by all authorities admitted as being of specifically Madi origin. How
came this marked discrepancy which is now recorded between them and their
Madi brethren ? These are obviously problems calling for further local
research. As regards the sickling difference between the adjacent Lango and
Teso tribes, Tarantino, in an earlier article1 in this Journal, and Crazzolara, in
a recent publication,2 have given grounds for saying that the Lango Omiru
tribe now resident in the Uganda district administered from Lira must be on
grounds of identical clan-names, place-names and social structure, related to
the Nilo-hamitic confederacy of tribes rather than to the Lwoo confederacy, even
though to-day the Lango of Lira are all Lwoo speakers.3 The problem may
be resolved by the hypothesis that the original' Lango' war parties, who over-
ran the present Lango District were of a partly Hamitic type similar to the Jie
or Karamojong of to-day (and as such largely free from sickle-cell trait). The
district at that time was presumably under partial occupation by Lwoo people
(possibly a section of the Lira Palwo, now mostly resident north of the Aswa
river). These Lango war parties presumably killed or enslaved the majority of
Lwoo males but, in due course, themselves underwent the fate of so many
conquering hordes by being absorbed into the community they had conquered.
Farther east the Lwoo resident in the district now administered from Soroti,
finding themselves under Nilo-hamitic pressure from the north-east, were able
to migrate southwards along the eastern shores of the Mpologoma swamp until
they reached the borders of what is now Nyanza Province. Here their superior
physique and fighting capacity enabled them to evict the resident Bantu com-
munities, some of whom were driven east on to Mount Elgon, some west into
Busoga and some south into Kisii. Thus the proportion of Lwoo left in
Soroti District would naturally be much smaller than that left in Lira District,
for those in Lira were faced with the tremendous obstacle of Lake Kyoga, and
the Nile which they could not pass over, since they had little or no familiarity
with the use of canoes. The Lwoo probably owed their defeat by the Lango to
two factors: first, the Lango social organization based on the age-set is far
more suited to the rapid mobilization of fighting parties than the Lwoo social
organization based on the clan; second, the Lango fighting equipment (consist-
ing of the quadrilateral shield, the double-ended throwing spear, the wrist-knife
and finger-knife) makes up a far more formidable armament than the former
Lwoo equipment (which seems to have been limited to sundry clubs, a fairly
small round or oval shield together with a medium heavy spear unsuited for
long-distance projection). It did not take the Acholi section of the Lwoo long
to imitate and adopt the arms of their foes, after which they were able to engage
them on more equal terms.
After the Nilotic and Nilo-hamitic tribes in descending scale of sickling
1 'Notes on the Lango' by A. Tarantino (Uganda Journal, Vol. 13, 1949).
2 The Lwoo by J. P. Crazzolara, F.S.C.J. (Museum Combonianum No. 3, 1950).
3 This problem is further discussed by Mr. P. M. Gulliver in the present Journal.
48 UGANDA JOURNAL
values come those Bantu-speaking tribes such as the Ba-Nyoro, Ba-Toro and
Ba-Ganda, who were believed to have undergone a heavy dilution of population
as a result of Lwoo invasion some 350 years ago. It is interesting to note that
the first two of these tribes, which from their tribal tradition contained a much
higher proportion of Hima residents at the time of the Lwoo invasion than the
Ba-Ganda tribe, show also a distinctly lower rate of sickling than the Ba-Ganda.
The practical identity of the Ba-Ganda and Ba-Konjo sickling figures supports
the Ba-Konjo tradition that they are in fact the descendants of refugees from
Bu-Ganda. The social status of the three Bantu peasant populations recorded
from the west of Lake Victoria, i.e., the Ba-Iru, the Ba-Rundi and Banya-
Ruanda, is practically identical; but if the traditions recorded by Monsignor
Gorju1 and Pbre Pagbs2 are correct, the Hima migration (which must have
crossed the Somerset Nile two or three centuries before the Lwoo migration)
spent far longer in the region of Ankole than in Ruanda, and had an even
slighter effect upon Urundi. This different period of residence with a conse-
quential differing extent of miscegeneration between the Hima pastoral
aristocrats and their agricultural serfs would seem to be reflected in the respective
rates of sickling in the peasant populations, for that of the Ba-Iru of Ankole is
to all intents identical with that of the Ba-Hima, while that of the Ba-Rundi is
identical with the mu6h higher rate of the Ba-Ganda, which latter rate of about
20 per cent may well be an approximate mean figure for unmodified Bantu
In the last group of all, with a very small sickling percentage indeed, come
those communities whose comparatively narrow noses, lighter skin, and wavy
hair, suggest that they have an admixture of Caucasoid blood in their constitu-
tion. It may be noted that within this group are included the Bantu-speaking
Ba-Hima as well as the Nilo-hamitic-speaking-Sebei, Suk and Karamojong.
As matters stand at present, therefore, it looks as though the sickling trait
may provide a convenient test of the degree of negroid admixture present in a
community; but it must be stressed that as yet the limitations of the test for
this purpose are far from being properly understood, and that what is now
required is a programme of rural surveys of fairly static African communities,
so that the genetic implications of the sickle-cell trait can be worked out in
relation to recorded genealogies. Now that Uganda has returned to a peace-
time economy, it might well be possible and useful for district teams, with their
anthropological advisers, to re-examine for progress and change the mutalla
surveys made in each district during the 1930s.3 This would give an opportunity
for the medical authorities to use these small areas (already intensively studied
from an economic and social point of view) for an examination of the blood
content of their inhabitants and thus to make a start towards more comprehen-
1 En Zigzags a travers l'Urundi by Monsignor Gorju. 1920.
2 Une Royaume Hamite au centre de l'Afrique by Pbre Pages. 1933.
3 A report on nineteen surveys done in small agricultural areas in Uganda by J. D.
Tothill. (Government Printer, Entebbe. 1938.)
SOME FACTORS IN THE BRITISH OCCUPATION OF
EAST AFRICA, 1884-18941
By ROLAND OLIVER
HAVING been for some years a student of your Journal, I know well how
high a standard has been set for its historical proceedings by members of
the Society. To mention only one: few people, I imagine, are likely to attain
so profound a knowledge of the early travellers as Sir John Gray, and fewer
still will find in their writings legitimate historical inferences which he has failed
to draw. In particular, I am sure that his assessment of the policy of Kabaka
Mutesa I (published in the first volume of The Uganda Journal) in dealing with
the various extraneous influences which came to work upon hinx, is a master-
piece of sound historical reconstruction, which will be recognized as conclusive
in its broad outlines by all who may in future re-examine the evidence. I must
not stop to pay tribute to the work of Sir Albert Cook, of Mr. H. B. Thomas
and many others, except to say that it makes your invitation to a passing visitor
from England flattering-and also a little alarming.
Perhaps the most useful contribution I can make will be to give the results
of some recent researches, made in London and mainly from Foreign Office
documents preserved in the Public Record Office, about events in Africa,
which had an important bearing on the British decisions to occupy and
administer first Nyasaland, then Uganda and finally Kenya. I cannot attempt
adequately to assess all the factors in those decisions, still less to place them in
their correct proportions; I propose to concentrate upon a few themes which the
recent opening of the public archives to the year 1902 has made it possible to
study from first-hand sources, and to touch in the background to those themes
sufficiently to make them into a connected story.
For my starting point I have taken the date of the sudden and secret
conclusion by the German, Carl Peters, of treaties with various African chiefs
in the interior of what is now Tanganyika Territory, which was quickly followed
by an Imperial Schutzbrief protecting the German East Africa Company. This
event shattered the classic formula of British policy towards East Africa as it
had existed through most of the nineteenth century. On the one hand, this
policy had been inspired by philanthropic motives, and had been designed to
exterminate the African slave-trade by making it impossible for the Arabs to
export slaves by sea from the east African coast. On the other hand, and in
so far as it had been directed towards other European powers and their
ambitions in this part of the world, it had been a policy of dog-in-the-manger.
England was quite happy to keep out of East Africa as long as other European
powers did the same. She had aimed, therefore, at maintaining a diplomatic
paramountcy at the court of Zanzibar, she had encouraged the Sultan of
Zanzibar to make his dominion effective over the whole coastal district of
1 Lecture to the Uganda Society on 12th April 1950.
50 UGANDA JOURNAL
the east African mainland, and she had promoted international agreements
binding the other European powers to respect the integrity of the Sultan's
About the interior of eastern Africa information was scanty. England
naturally hoped that one day it would become a field for British trade: but
that would depend upon the establishment of law and order among the tribes,
and no one was very clear about how that was to be brought about. Sir John
Kirk, the British Consul-General at Zanzibar, had given it more thought than
anyone, and his view by the early '80s was that the Sultan of Zanzibar should
be encouraged to extend his dominion gradually farther and farther inland.
The German irruption, however, put an end to all these schemes; for the
Germans were clever enough to go behind the Sultan's dominions, to Usambara
and Usagara, and to make treaties with chiefs who said they were, and probably
in fact were, independent of the Sultan. Zanzibar, therefore, became by the
German action a broken reed for British diplomacy, and almost certainly, for
the inhabitants of central Africa, that was a good thing. Henceforward,
Britain's interest in what remained of East Africa, if it was to be supported at
all, would have to be supported much more directly than by merely diplomatic
relations. The question of Imperialism in relation to East Africa had been
But though raised, it was very far from having been answered. Germany's
action, one may say, had been prompted mainly by abstract reasoning. Prior
to 1884, Germany's interests in East Africa had been negligible. Three small
Hamburg firms had agencies at Zanzibar, and that was all. There was no
German mission. There were no German subjects living on the mainland.
Germany's colonial movement was the work of a few very able theorists, backed
by the powerful merchants, the Chancellor and the Emperor. True, Bismarck
had to face considerable opposition in the Reichstag after his lightning moves
-but the fact remains that the German Chancellor was strong enough politically
to act first and explain afterwards. Now in nineteenth century England such a
course of action would have been politically quite impracticable. A British
statesman, however reasonably he might be convinced of the arguments for
imperial expansion, however clearly he might see that England's lead in the
industrial field was being overtaken by other countries, that her traditional
markets could not last for ever, that her sources of tropical raw materials might
be blocked by the imperialism of other nations, could not have presented such
arguments to Parliament as the reasons for large expenditure on a new phase of
policy. He would have been laughed out of court by short-sighted Manchester
business men, who were well aware that their manufactures were for the moment
selling like hot cakes in South America and China and many other countries
which did not need expensive British administrations to keep them in order.
The British parliaments of the eighteen-eighties and nineties were parochial,
uninformed and, by modern standards, incredibly parsimonious of the public
money. Events had to be allowed to take their course, until it could be shown
that the country's interests had already become so deeply involved, that it would
very likely be more expensive to turn back than to go on.
Now what were these British interests, and how were they affected by the
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 51
German intrusion ? There were first, in the region of Lake Nyasa, the Univer-
sities Mission to Central Africa, operating with a steamer from its base on the
island of Likoma, the Free Church of Scotland Mission on the western shores
of the lake, also with a steamer, and the Established Church of Scotland Mission
at Blantyre in the Shire Highlands. Also round Lake Nyasa, there was an inter-
esting little commercial concern, the Livingstonia Trading Company, founded
primarily with the intention of supplying the two Scottish Missions which, by
1884, had developed quite a network of trading posts, all the way from Lake
Tanganyika to Blantyre, and was also maintaining a line of communications
on the Lower Shire and Zambezi. At Zomba near Blantyre there also lived
the only British Consul in the interior of eastern Africa. Northwards, around
Lake Tanganyika, in what is now Northern Rhodesia, was the London
Missionary Society, again with a steamer transported overland from Lake
Nyasa by the Livingstonia Company. Finally, in Buganda, there was the
Church Missionary Society, supported by three or four little stations at various
points along the line of the present railway from Dar-es-Salaam to Mwanza.
Both the C.M.S. and the U.M.C.A. were also represented at stations at or near
the coast-Mombasa, Zanzibar, Magila, Masasi; but this sphere of their work
we can ignore, because it was little affected by the events I am about to describe.
One other great institution must be mentioned, which, though not British, was
to play an important part in all the events which followed: I refer, of course,
to the Roman Catholic White Fathers, at that time mainly French or Alsatian,
with two centres of activity, one in Buganda, and one round Lake Tanganyika,
with a single supporting station at Kipalapala near Tabora.
One of the most amazing things about these early missionaries and traders
had been the way in which they had continued to live in peace, not only with
the Africans they had come to teach and trade with, but with the Arabs whose
whole business in central Africa they had come to undermine. I calculate that
by 1884 upwards of 300 Europeans were living or had recently been living on
the east African mainland, scattered about in little isolated groups, hundreds of
miles from armed assistance-and yet only five of them had met with a violent
death. Not one of these deaths had been due to the Arabs. You may scan
their letters home during the years before 1884 without finding a single request
for protection or a hint of imperialist views. And yet, in four short years
between 1884 and 1888, these same missionaries and traders became the most
steadfast and outspoken advocates of the European occupation of central
Africa, whose words, since they were the only people on the spot, carried great
weight with the official world, and whose supporters at home, numbering tens
and hundreds of thousands, many of them influential men, organized, as we
shall see, at strategic moments, considerable agitations in the imperialist cause.
How this drastic change came about is a complex and interesting story;
and, if you will allow me, I will go into it in some detail, as it will enable us to
see some familiar events, especially in Buganda history, in a rather new light.
Long before the period about which we are speaking, the influence of Arab
traders from Zanzibar and Kilwa had penetrated either directly or indirectly
into almost every corner of east and central Africa. This influence was exer-
cised in a variety of ways. Along the main caravan routes from Lake Nyasa
52 UGANDA JOURNAL
to Kilwa and from Lake Tanganyika to Bagamoyo there operated what one
might call the wholesale merchants, with their settlements, such as at Tabora
and Ujiji, where caravans could be supplied, where goods could be stored, and
where armed retainers could be based to protect the caravans from depredations
as they travelled. Then, at the headquarters of the native rulers, there were
the smaller fry, the retail merchants, the funds and even the teachers of religion.
There was never any attempt at imperialism, never any attempt to assume the
reins of government.
For the more enterprising and powerful of the African rulers, such as
Mutesa I of Buganda, Rumanika of Karagwe, Mirambo of Unyamwezi or
Kwawa of Uhehe, relations with the Arabs were ideal. They attacked their
neighbours, increased their dominions, handed over their prisoners of war to
the Arabs, and received in exchange the cloth with which to pay their armies
and to increase their own prestige among their subjects. As time went on,
during the late 'sixties and early 'seventies, the guns imported into East Africa
became more numerous and more effective, and the Arabs started to employ
more direct methods. In the forest regions of the Upper Congo, armed bands
of Manyema slaves, officered by Arabs and Swahilis, raided the villages for
slaves and even more often held the women and children as hostages to be
exchanged for ivory. This last process was, as Stanley came to discover, a bad
and bloody business; but though whole regions were devastated, there was
still no attempt to stay and govern.
Naturally, both the missions and the Livingstonia Company, when they
entered the interior in the late 'seventies, were in deadly opposition to the slave-
trade. But as they never penetrated to the west of Lake Tanganyika, they saw
it only in its commercial form. They thought it could be countered by peaceful
means, by Christian teaching and by substituting a legitimate trade for the
illegitimate. The Livingstonia Company had as one of its main objectives, to
buy ivory in the interior, to bring it to the coast and to sell it at a price which
would undercut the Arabs using slave porters. And in the first eight years
of its existence it had been remarkably successful in driving the Arabs from the
Nyasa region by this means.
Between 1884 and 1888, however, the policy of the Arabs changed abruptly
all over central Africa. What were the connecting threads in this movement,
and in particular, what part in it was played by Sultan Barghash bin Said at
Zanzibar, will probably never exactly be known. The fact that the same thing
happened in so many different places, must, I think, be taken as proof of central
planning, and since there was no direct communication between, say, the Arabs
of Nyasa and those of Tanganyika, the planning must have taken place at the
coast. Though there are hints that some elements in the movement go back
before the German occupation, it was undoubtedly that occupation which
provided its chief stimulus and defined the whole of its later course. The thing
which is absolutely certain about it, and which was remarked upon by all
European observers, though they might still call it by the name of the slave-
trade, was that the Arabs were now aiming at political power, and that they
were seeking to drive out the European. It was a policy of violence which, for
the sake of Africans, as much as of Europeans, had to be met with violence.
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 53
Let us run over the well-known events which happened in Buganda in these
four years, looking at them in this light. Here the transition was accentuated
by the death of Kabaka Mutesa in October 1884, and the succession of Mwanga.
During the first two years of his reign the Arabs contented themselves with
intrigue. They plied him with alarmist accounts of Joseph Thomson's travels to,
Kavirondo; and early in the following year, there arrived as if to confirm them,
the news of the German treaty-making behind the coast belt. Immediately,
Mwanga sought to restrain his people's intercourse with the missionaries and in
January 1885 three young followers of the C.M.S. mission paid for their associa-
tion with their lives. In September of that year a fresh band of Arabs arrived
with the news of German annexations in Usambara; and less than a month
later Bishop Hannington was murdered in Busoga by Mwanga's command.
The missionaries at Mwanga's capital stayed on at the peril of their lives.
Further clashes occurred between the Kabaka and his Christian subjects, both
Catholic and Protestant; and a prominent Catholic chief was put to death in
November 1885 for reproaching him with the murder of Hannington. In May
1886 Mwanga summoned all his pages and demanded to know which of them
were 'readers': more than thirty stepped forward and a number died for their
faith in circumstances of horrible cruelty. But the Christian martyrdoms, if
they were its most splendid incident, were only the preliminaries in the Arab
campaign to gain power over the whole of Buganda.
After the persecution Mackay, the C.M.S. missionary, addressed his first
appeal for help to the Consul-General at Zanzibar. Consul Holmwood replied
with a strong letter to Kabaka Mwanga, which he entrusted to an Arab trader
with Buganda named Suleiman bin Zeheir, who was recommended by the Sultan
of Zanzibar as a personal friend who could be thoroughly relied upon.1
Suleiman arrived in Buganda in April 1887 and translated Holmwood's letter
as reading "Drive out the missionaries ."2 For the moment, however,
Mwanga was undetermined. The Christians had grown to considerable
strength as a result of the persecutions, and the Kabaka wavered helplessly
between the religious parties, trying to incite Catholics against Protestants and
Muhammadans against both. Finally, in September 1888, he planned to lead
a pagan revival and to exterminate all foreigners, together with their leading
Baganda supporters, by enticing them all to a naval review on a small island
in Lake Victoria and leaving them to starve. This naive plot was discovered
and the three monotheistic parties temporarily united to seize power. Mwanga
was deposed in favour of a younger brother Kiwewa and the offices of state
were shared between the victors. The entente, however, lasted less than a
month, before the Arabs effected a new coup d'dtat at the expense of their
sometime allies. Persuading Kiwewa that the Christians intended to depose
him, they secretly filled the royal enclosure with their armed slaves, fired upon
the unarmed Christian chiefs and drove them from the capital. The European
missionaries were arrested, their stations plundered by the slaves of the Arabs,.
I Holmwood to Iddesleigh. 27 ix. 86. F.O. 84. 1775.
2 Mackay to Holmwood from Buganda. 19 iv. 87. Enclosed in Macdonald (Major,
later Sir, Claude, then Acting Consul-General at Zanzibar) to Salisbury. 25 x. 87.
F.O. 84. 1854.
54 UGANDA JOURNAL
and their lives were for some days in danger, before they were allowed to make
their escape by boat to the southern end of the lake. Kiwewa was replaced by
Kalema, who was circumcised by the Arabs. They styled him the "little
Seyyid and themselves the guardians of the Kabaka ", the former custom of
all sitting in court being changed to standing, which, said Mackay, they say is
the custom at Zanzibar. Throughout the events of 1887-8, the ringleader and
acknowledged chief of the Arabs in Buganda was, according to Mackay, none
other than Suleiman bin Zeheir, the trusted friend of Sultan Barghash, who
had been the bearer of Consul Holmwood's letter to Mwanga, and who claimed
to be the Sultan's accredited agent. Nor did his hostility end with the expulsion
of the Europeans from Buganda.
"Since coming to Magu," wrote Mackay, "Suleiman schemed to get us
turned out of Usambiro. He and Said bin Sef have sent a message to Kwoma,
the overlord of Buzinja, telling him that since he is tributary to Buganda, .
and that country now belongs to them ... he must drive the English out of
this place and the French out of western Busambiro. Kwoma, however,
refused. Accordingly, Suleiman bin Zeheir and Said bin Sef have together
written to the king of Buganda begging an army and a fleet of canoes from him
to expel all Europeans from the whole shores of the Nyanza."'
There is no need to go into the same detail regarding developments in the
region of Lake Tanganyika: suffice to say that the letters of the L.M.S. mission-
aries to the Consul at Zanzibar and to their Society show that the situation
there was very similar. In 1884 Tippu Tib, the greatest of all the slaving
merchants, hinted to Edward Hore, one of the L.M.S. missionaries, that he had
a new plan "for putting things right" round the lake. Hore reported the
interview in cryptic fashion, but added: "If I could think that there were any
extensive demand for slaves at Zanzibar or beyond, I should say look out for
an energetic attempt at a revival of the slave-trade or else a large extension of
the Sultan's influence and dominion in the interior."2 A year later, another
missionary, D. P. Jones, was more definite: The Arabs ", he said, have been
commissioned by the Sultan of Zanzibar to take possession of all the countries
round the lake."3 In general the missionaries found it difficult to see what was
afoot behind the acts of violence which this policy entailed, and which they
classified from long habit as' slave-raiding'. But we do hear of one Kabunda,
an Arab subordinate of Tippu Tib, describing himself significantly as 'Sultan'
of Ulungu and imposing his authority over the whole region to the south of
the Lake.4 As in Uganda, the movement, as it developed, grew hostile to the
Europeans. During 1887-8 all the stations of the White Fathers round Lake
Tanganyika were attacked, and several had to be evacuated. For more than a
year both the missions in the area were completely cut off from communication
with the outside world.
South of Ulungu, on Lake Nyasa, and the plateau separating it from Lake
Tanganyika, the key-points were held by a different set of Arabs, who used
1 Mackay to Euan-Smith. 19 iii. 87. From Usambiro, enclosed in Euan-Smith to
Salisbury from Aden. 26 xi. 89. F.O. 84. 1981.
2 E. C. Hore to London Missionary Society. 23 iv. 84.
3 D. P. Jones to London Missionary Society. 21 xii. 84.
4 A. J. Swann to London Missionary Society. 1 i. 85.
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 55
originally to buy their slaves from the Angoni and Magwangwara chieftains.
Their collecting centres had been at Mponda's, where the Shire flows out of
Lake Nyasa, and at Kota Kota's, where the Swahili Jumbe operated a ferry
.across the middle of the lake to Makanjira's on the eastern shore. From there
the slaves had been marched by a north-easterly route to Lindi and Kilwa.
With the arrival in the middle 'seventies of the Scottish missions and the
Livingstonia Company, these Arabs had shifted their hunting-grounds farther
to the west, to the area between Lakes Mweru and Bangweolo, and had started
to use a more northerly line of communication with the coast, passing over
the Nyasa-Tanganyika plateau. The pioneer of this route was a Swahili
In this region, too, the German occupation of the coast had the same
repercussions. Mlozi started to aim at territorial sovereignty, terrorizing the
Nkonde-Nyakusa tribe and proclaiming himself their 'Sultan '.1 In 1886 he
established a fortified post astride the Livingstonia Company's route to Lake
Tanganyika; and in 1887 came the news that he had made an alliance with the
powerful Angoni tribe to sweep all the Europeans from the western shores of
Lake Nyasa. At the end of the same year he attacked the Company's trading-
post at Karonga's and forced its agent to withdraw. There was an immediate
reaction by the Arabs' Yao allies on the eastern side of the lake. When W. P.
Johnson of the U.M.C.A. and Buchanan, the Acting Consul, landed at
Makanjira's on a friendly visit in February 1888, they were arrested, stripped
naked and held to ransom.
"Whoever and wherever the authors of these movements may be," wrote
Consul H. E. O'Neill of Mozambique, "it is at Zanzibar that their chief actors
reside; thence the sinews of war have been furnished; and only at that place,
therefore, can the evil be really nipped. At whose instigation, and with what
objects, have the swarms of Arabs that have passed into central Africa during
the last three years left that place ? "2
I must not stop to examine the consequences of this Arab war in Nyasa-
land: how the little Livingstonia Company, with the aid only of private
subscriptions from England, in two years fought the Arabs to a standstill; how
the Portuguese from Mozambique judged the moment ripe to extend their rule
over the Shire Highlands; and how the British Government, with the financial
backing not of Parliament but of Cecil Rhodes, was at long last moved to action.
I must return, instead, to Uganda, bearing in mind, however, that the Arab
factor there, as in Nyasaland, was only a part of a very much wider movement,
which threatened to dominate the whole of central Africa, and which might
at any moment join forces with the movement of the Mahdi in the Sudan.
European statesmen were possibly guilty of a technical misnomer when they
persisted in referring to this movement as 'the slave-trade'--but if we are to
discard this, we must accept Mackay's far more forthright assessment of affairs
as they stood in 1888: "These events render the question now paramount: is
Arab or European influence henceforth to prevail in Central Africa ? "3
1 There is a good account of Mlozi's career in H. H. Johnston to Salisbury. 17 iii. 90.
F.O. 84. 2051.
2 O'Neill to Salisbury. 3 ii. 88. F.O. 84. 1901.
3 Church Missionary Intelligencer, April 1889, p. 244.
56 UGANDA JOURNAL
This was the situation at the time when the British Government in 1888.
granted a charter to the Imperial British East Africa Company. The British
and German Governments had already, in 1886, agreed upon a boundary
between their respective spheres of influence, running from the Indian Ocean
to the eastern shore of Lake Victoria; and this determined the southern
boundary of the area within which the Company might work. West of Kavir-
ondo no boundary was for the moment agreed. It is important to remember
that no one knew exactly what an Imperial Charter implied. Primarily its
object was to empower British subjects to raise taxes, impose customs dues,
administer justice, make treaties, and generally assume the powers of govern-
ment within a specified area without rendering themselves liable, as individuals,
to prosecution in British courts for arbitrary acts which only governments may
perform. It was for the Company alone to make those powers effective and,
according to most views, the British Government was under no legal obligation
to help it if it went bankrupt, or to assume responsibility for its actions, though
it could of course at any time revoke the powers granted. It is important to.
remember, especially in judging the conduct of individuals, what a pitiful little
concern the Company was. To administer the whole of what we now call
Kenya and Uganda it had an ultimate paid-up capital of less than 450,000.
For current income it had a part of the custom dues paid at the East Coast ports
and whatever sums its officials could make by elephant-hunting and ivory-
trading. Had it attempted to tax the populations its entire personnel would
have been immediately murdered. It put up quite a good showing at the coast,
where the field manager, Mr. G. S. Mackenzie, lived in some style, and showed
great tact in dealing with the local Arab population. But when Sir Gerald
Portal passed up through what is now Kenya in 1893, he reported that behind
the maps and prospectuses published in London there is not a single shadow
of an attempt at administration or improvement of the country or protection of
natives anywhere. The so-called station at Tsavo is a miserable little
stockade in charge of a Goanese half-breed boy. The Nzoi station is a
thatched hut ten feet long inhabited by a decrepit ex-porter on a salary of
fifteen rupees a month. ... At Machako's there is one European who tries to
trade a little, but carefully refrains from exercising any jurisdiction over the
natives. At Kikuyu the European in charge does not dare venture two
hundred yards from his stockade without an armed escort. .". All this
was the result not of roguery, but of poverty. Nothing is more certain than
that the Directors of the Company were serving the call of patriotism in defiance
of their own economic interests. It may be true, as they claimed, that had they
refused to do so, no other national agency would have come forward, and that
Kenya and Uganda would have been lost, immediately to the Arabs, and
ultimately perhaps to Germany. But it is indisputable that in attempting to
administer so vast an area with inadequate financial resources and, therefore,
with too few men and too small an armed force, the Company drove the most
honourable of its agents, first Jackson, and then Lugard, into desperate and
sometimes questionable courses.
I Portal to Rodd, from Nzoi. 22 i. 93. F.O. 2. 60.
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 57
With this background: of the Company, of the Arab situation, of the revolu-
tion in Buganda, of the presence of European missionaries, we are at last in a
position to examine the so-called religious wars in Buganda, upon which the
decision of the British Government to occupy East Africa so largely turned. In
what follows I have used, not only the books and papers put out by the missions
and the Company, which are not always very impartial, but also the, in most
respects, excellent report and evidence of Captain J. R. L. Macdonald, the
.official investigator of the events. This report was never published, because it
was couched in a spirit of fierce personal criticism of Lugard, which was not in
the least justified; but it has recently become available to all in its manuscript
form at the Public Record Office in London.'
Naturally, in Buganda, the opposition to the Arab coup d'dtat found its
leaders in the two Christian groups which had become the chief objects of
persecution under the Arab regime. Primarily these opposition groups were
African political parties, and it is extremely confusing that they have to be
called by religious denominational names. For instance, the centre of the
so-called Catholic party was none other than the exiled Kabaka Mwanga, the
author of the Christian persecutions, who, in December 1888, turned up at
the White Fathers mission at Kamoga in Usambiro, and made it the rally-
point for political refugees from Buganda, only some of whom were of the
Catholic, or indeed of any Christian persuasion. The same is probably true
of the so-called Protestant group, which had its rallying-point on the confines of
Ankole. As time went on the denominational difference was to harden; but
we must never forget, either now or later, that both the Christian parties repre-
sented primarily the resistance of the Baganda to the Arabs.
In May 1889, some nine months after the Arab coup, the Catholic, that is
to say the Busambiro, party attempted to restore Kabaka Mwanga, landing in
Buddu, and collecting supporters as they marched towards the capital. They
were driven off the mainland by the forces of Kalema, 'the little Seyyid', which
had been armed by the Arabs with breech-loading rifles, but Mwanga succeeded
in establishing himself in the Sese Islands, and from there appealed to the
missionaries of both denominations to join him. In June, at the suggestion of
Stokes, the European trader who had aided his return, Mwanga addressed an
appeal for help to the leader of the Imperial British East Africa Company's
caravan which was thought to be approaching Kavirondo. The leader was
Mr. F. J. Jackson. Meanwhile, the Protestant party, that is to say the Baganda
who had taken refuge in Ankole, attacked the Arabs from the south-west, and,
with the aid of the Catholics from the islands, retook the capital. Mwanga
returned in triumph, with Apolo Kagwa as Katikiro, and the two groups divided
the offices of state between them. But Kalema and the Arab party were not
by any means defeated. Withdrawing to the north-west, they entered into
alliance with the Mukama Kabarega of Bunyoro, and in November they were
able to return and drive the Christians back to the islands. A day or so before
their flight from Mengo there arrived from Jackson a reply to the appeal sent
in June which he had only received on his arrival at Mumia's on 7th November.
Together with Mwanga's letter, long out of date, Jackson had received news of
I In F.O. 2. 60.
58 UGANDA JOURNAL
the better turn taken by events in October, and as he had explicit orders not to,
go to Uganda-for the Company with its limited resources had no wish to be
entangled in unprofitable adventures-he asked for confirmation of the need
for help. He also made it clear that he would require, in exchange for his help,
not only material compensation which Mwanga had already offered in his
appeal of June, but also a treaty. Mwanga's first reply, despatched on 25th
November, was evasive on the question of the treaty, and Jackson accordingly
decided to pursue the Company's interests by setting out upon a three-months'
expedition towards Mount Elgon in search of ivory. Before he left, however,
he sent Mwanga a flag, acceptance of which would on the one hand oblige the
Company to assist him and on the other hand oblige him to enter into a treaty
with the Company. Meanwhile, Mwanga back on the islands was hard-pressed
and, on the advice of the Catholic missionaries as well as the Anglicans, addressed
a further appeal to Jackson on 1st December accepting his terms without reserva-
tions. This letter did not reach Jackson until he returned to Mumia's in the-
The Christian legitimist cause, however, once more rallied without help
from the outside. A naval victory over the Arabs had brought to Mwanga, by
way of ransom, a large store of arms and ammunition. His scattered forces
were re-organized. A solemn alliance was drawn up between the Catholic
group and the Protestant group, and early in February 1890 the Arab-Moslem
forces were decisively routed at Bulwanyi. Kalema and the remnants of his
army fled to Bunyoro; Mwanga once more entered his capital.
A fortnight after the Christian victory there occurred the event which did
so much to widen the rift between the Catholic and the Protestant parties. It
will be remembered that England and Germany had not yet agreed on a boundary
between their spheres of influence to the west of Lake Victoria. On the 4th of
February Carl Peters marched into Jackson's base camp at Mumia's and read
Jackson's correspondence, including Mwanga's letter of 1st December. On
24th February he was in Mengo offering a treaty with the German Company
which in the circumstances had much to recommend it. The Arab party,
though temporarily beaten back to Bunyoro, was still dangerous. No help had
materialized from Jackson; and the French missionaries regarded Mwanga,
on that account, as absolved from his acceptance of the British Company's
protection. Acting on their advice, therefore, the Kabaka and the Catholic
chiefs signed the treaty immediately: the Protestant chiefs only with the greatest
reluctance, and after some days of loudly expressed indignation. Peters,
apprised of the approach of the British Company's force, suddenly withdrew
to the south of the lake, to be replaced in April by an extremely angry Mr.
Jackson, armed with 180 Snider rifles and proposing a treaty which even the
Anglican missionaries agreed to be onerous. Backed by Father Lourdel,
Mwanga refused to accept the proffered conditions; whereupon Jackson
returned to the coast to consult his superiors, leaving his lieutenant, Gedge,
and as many soldiers as he could spare.
All these treaty-making incursions were in the event invalidated by the
Anglo-German agreement signed on 1st July 1890, which settled the first parallel
of south latitude as the boundary between British and German spheres of
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 59
influence across Lake Victoria and to the west of it. For the relations of the
Catholic and Protestant parties one with another, however, they were all-
important. So also was the curious system of dividing the chieftainships
adopted by the two parties, shortly before the Christian victory, which provided
not only that all the offices of equal rank should be equally divided, but also
that alternate ranks in one vertical section of the hierarchy should be held by
members of opposite parties. Thus a Catholic Saza chief had to have a
Protestant Mumyuka, a Catholic Sabadu, and so on. If, therefore, a chief of
any class changed his religious allegiance he had to vacate his political office,
and also, of course, his official lands. It was a system which was well calculated
to give rise to disputes.
The situation was already becoming tense by December 1890 when Lugard
arrived to replace Jackson as the accredited representative of the Company.
Bishop Tucker, who arrived a fortnight later, while rejoicing at the size of his
Christmas congregation, was horrified to see that the Christians carried their
rifles even to church. Now Lugard had instructions to maintain order while
showing the strictest impartiality between the religious factions; and to do this
he had an effective force of about one hundred men, whereas each of the
so-called religious factions were capable of putting about two thousand five
hundred armed men into the field at any moment. On the merest reflection
it will be seen that, if faced with civil strife, he would have only two possible
courses of action: either to evacuate Buganda, or to support one party against
the other. On his arrival the full dangers of the situation were not quite
apparent, since the Arab party was once again threatening in the west, and he
was able to rally both the Christian armies to drive them out. But having
thus dissolved the last link binding the Catholics and Protestants, Lugard left
Captain W. H. Williams, his only English subordinate, with a mere token force
at Kampala Fort, and himself departed to make treaties in Ankole and Toro
and to bring Emin Pasha's abandoned Sudanese troops from the confines of
Lake Albert into four forts around the borders of Bunyoro.
During the year which followed the situation in Buganda got steadily
worse. The Catholics, perhaps because they had the countenance of the Kabaka,
were in the religious ascendancy, and therefore resented increasingly the eviction
of converts from their official lands. The Protestants, as they became weaker,
insisted the more fiercely on the eviction laws. In the even weaker circum-
stances of the Company, the policy of Williams at the Fort could only be to
favour the most equal balance of power between the two parties, and therefore
to support the eviction laws. This was bound to create among Catholics the
belief that the Company favoured the Protestants, a belief, said Macdonald,
which the Protestants seem to have fostered by every means in their power.
Lugard returned to Kampala in December 1891, and found there a letter
from the Directors ordering him to evacuate Uganda immediately, as the
Company was all but bankrupt, and the Government had failed to pass a dis-
guised subsidy for it in the Parliamentary Session 1890-1. The story of how
English supporters of the C.M.S. helped Sir William Mackinnon to raise 40,000
to enable the Company to remain in Uganda for a further year, and of how the
order countermanding evacuation reached Lugard a week after he had decided
.60 UGANDA JOURNAL
to ignore the first, is too well known to need re-telling. Less well known is
the fact that in the events which followed, Lugard acted under the impression
(later proved quite unfounded) that the White Fathers had heard of the
*Company's decision to evacuate Uganda, and that they were using this know-
ledge to undermine the position of the Fort. Macdonald's report, I think,
makes it clear that it was Lugard, acting on this false assumption, who decided
to force the issue, which led to the battle of Mengo.
In the third week of January 1892 a Catholic shot a Protestant in circum-
stances which in Buganda law indisputably constituted self-defence. The
Kabaka tried and acquitted the offender, explaining his reasons to Lugard's
.Somali interpreter who was present. Lugard ordered that the acquitted man
should be handed over to him, as the Catholics understood, for execution.
Mwanga refused, whereupon Lugard, noting in his diary that the French Fathers
had been telling their adherents that we were only a trading Company ", drew
the conclusion that the Catholics intended to fight. Instead, however, of
making the issue a clear matter of political authority between the Company and
the Kabaka by issuing an ultimatum and then calling upon the loyal Baganda
to deal with any rebels, Lugard secretly armed the leaders of the Protestant
party with three hundred muzzle-loaders and a hundred and fifty Snider rifles,
and waited for events to develop. The whole capital was in a state of excite-
ment, and it is not clear which side fired the first shot, but the result, whether or
not it was intended, was that, on 24th January, the Catholic force attacked the
Protestant headquarters at Namirembe and not the Company's fort on Kampala
hill. Lugard did not take part in the battle at all, until the Protestant com-
mander adroitly placed his forces on the opposite side of Kampala fort to the
Catholics. Upon these, as they streamed up the hill, Lugard directed a wither-
ing fire with his only Maxim gun, and speedily put them to flight.
The battle over, Lugard did nothing to follow up the victory. He allowed
the Catholic Baganda to escape with the Kabaka to the island of Bulingugwe
and, sending for the French missionaries, he offered to reinstate both the Kabaka
and the Catholic chiefs if they would recognize the supremacy of the Company.
The White Fathers, however, had lost all trust both in Lugard's good faith and
in his ability to impose these terms on his victorious Protestant allies, and on
the last point events were to prove them right. Lugard showed a curious blind-
ness to the fact that it was the Protestant Baganda and not the Company's troops
which had won the battle of Mengo, and that he was hardly, therefore, in a
position to offer liberal terms to the Catholics without their consent. Still, even
from the Catholic point of view, there was nothing to be gained from prolonging
the war, and Bishop Hirth should have known better than to lend his sanction
to it by escaping with Mwanga to Buddu, when he had been permitted to rejoin
his flock, on his own admission, to persuade the Kabaka to return to the capital.'
1 G. Leblond, in Le Pere Auguste Achte, Paris, 1904, quotes a letter from Mgr Hirth
dated 10th February 1892: "Le 26 janvier, on nous permit de quitter le fort, pour aller
presser le roi de revenir. Mais il ne pouvait songer a rentrer A Mengo, ot il elt 6t6
1'esclave des protestants. Pour les catholiques, ii n'y avait plus qu'a choisir entire
1'apostasie, la mort ou l'exil. Tous ensemble nous primes lentement le chemin de la
Kagu6ra. Nous allons nous cr6er de ce c6td une nouvelle patrie.. Le Bouddou va
devenir province catholique."
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 61
This act turned what had hitherto been mainly a conflict between the political
parties at Mengo into a general civil war throughout the country. There were
mass migrations of Catholics into Buddu and of Protestants out of Buddu,
accompanied by much violence and the taking of prisoners by both sides.
However, within three weeks, two of the White Fathers, though not Bishop
Hirth, were negotiating reasonably with Lugard on behalf of the Catholic
belligerents, and within a month the Kabaka Mwanga had returned to Mengo.
At the end of March a treaty was signed by all parties recognizing the political
supremacy of the Company, and providing for the registration of all fire-arms,
and which though assigning only Buddu out of all Buganda to Catholic chiefs,
promised a final revision of the question of land and offices in two years' time.
Meanwhile, Bishop Hirth had written home in terms which aroused the
imagination of Europe, and did much to hasten the declaration of a Protectorate
by the British Government. On 25th May 1892 the French Ambassador in
London, M. Waddington, called on Lord Salisbury, demanded an inquiry into
the maltreatment of French subjects by the officers of the I.B.E.A. Company,
and presented a list of material losses suffered by the mission, including one
cathedral, sixty chapels, twelve schools, and 50,000 Catholics said to have been
sold into slavery by the Protestants.
Now up to this point, the political prospects of the British Government
being able to take any action about Uganda had been very gloomy. Lord
Salisbury's Conservative government was in its last year of office. Two months
earlier, in March, it had passed a vote of 20,000 to assist the Company to make
a railway survey from Mombasa to Lake Victoria; but in the debate the Liberal
leaders, Gladstone, Bryce and Harcourt, had all strongly dissociated themselves
from any imperial extension in East Africa, while Mr. Labouchere, the Radical
editor of Truth, had uttered the first of many lurid denunciations of spending
money and building railways in order to prevent missionaries from cutting each
other's throats. With an election in prospect, therefore, the Conservatives could
do no more; and the chances were that if the Liberals were returned they would
do even less.
The French Ambassador's demands, however, raised the whole question of
the responsibility of Government for the acts of Chartered Companies. Lord
Salisbury, having telegraphed to Zanzibar for an independent inquiry to be
made, resigned. A Liberal Government was returned in July, and Lord
Rosebery, at the Foreign Office, was left not only to the repeated importunities
of the French Ambassador, but also to the contemplation of the infinitely more
serious results which would certainly follow when the Company retreated from
Uganda in December. The Catholic party would attack the Protestants, who
would say, quite truthfully, that their position had been compromised by the
Company. The Arabs and the Banyoro would attack the Baganda, and all the
European missionaries would probably be murdered. The disorders would
spread to the German and Belgian spheres. Beside this the murder of Gordon
at Khartoum, which had been sufficient to unseat a former Liberal Government,
would pale into insignificance.
In September the Government conceded the first step by undertaking to
pay the Company's expenses in Uganda for an additional three months from
62 UGANDA JOURNAL
January to March 1893 in order to give Macdonald time to complete his
If there were any consequences of inaction which the Liberal leaders had
failed to see for themselves from the vantage-point of their ministerial positions,
the long series of deputations and memoranda and letters to the press to which
they were subjected in the course of the autumn, must have brought them all
to mind. The C.M.S. led off with a deputation in September, "on the grave
wrong which was about to be done to the people of Uganda", which was
followed by a flow of memorials and resolutions from the other Missionary
Societies, from Diocesan Conferences, Ruridecanal Conferences, Young Men's
Christian Associations and the like. The Anti-Slavery Society followed with
a deputation in October. The same month Lugard returned to England, plied
the press with closely reasoned letters and, by addressing meetings in industrial
towns, promoted a steady stream of memorials from Chambers of Commerce
on the potentialities of Uganda as a market for British manufactures. The
Times was in the forefront of the campaign, and published letters not only from
Lugard, but from Stanley and Jephson, his companion on the Emin Relief
Expedition, on the probable consequences of "a cowardly and disgraceful
scuttle ". In speeches up and down the country Conservative politicians, taunted
by wavering Liberals with the quiet acceptance at the end of their term of office
of the Company's notice of withdrawal, made public denials that they had
ever intended to allow such a withdrawal to take place.
The Cabinet's decision was taken in November, when Sir Gerald Portal
was despatched to Uganda ostensibly to report on the best means of dealing
with the country; but armed, as it later transpired, with full powers to establish
a provisional regime. But the small pressure groups which had been operating
so actively during the autumn were by no means representative of parliamentary
opinion, and it is significant that it was not until seventeen months after Portal's
instructions were issued, that the Liberal Government ventured publicly to
ratify the provisional Protectorate, which he had been authorized to set up. In
presenting the financial account on 1st June 1894, the new Foreign Secretary,
Sir Edward Grey, still disclaimed any definite views with regard to either a
forward or backward policy in Africa. The Government's action, he said, had
been determined by circumstances which had occurred before they came to
office. It was true that Chambers of Commerce had been very constant in
pressing the Government to retain Uganda. The missionaries, too, had put a
case which was not one to be answered by generalizations. But Sir Edward
Grey's principal justification of the Government's action was a negative one
and a magnificent illustration of the way in which public opinion enters into the
calculations of statesmen. If we had abandoned Uganda, we should have had
month by month the news of most sinister consequences, reaching this country.
The Government would have been assailed on all sides as being responsible."
Surning to the Radical members, Grey told them that if they wished for bold and
far-reaching measures at home, they could not have got them passed or even
proposed by a Government which had taken such a limited, narrow and
ungenerous view as to have knowingly abandoned Uganda to revenge, disaster
and ruin". Sir Charles Dilke, for the Radicals, fired a parting shot at the
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF EAST AFRICA, 1884-1894 63
missionaries by reminding members representing the C.M.S., who were about
to support the vote, that they would now be pagans if St. Augustine had landed
in Kent with Maxim guns. But the shot fell wide. Sir Gerald Portal, in his
final statement, had confirmed every warning which Mackay and his colleagues
had uttered five years before.
"Everything, I fear, seems to point to a desperate and perhaps long-
continued struggle in the centre of Africa between the advances of European
civilization from the coasts on the east and west, and the old class of Arab
traders In determining both the nature and the result of this contest,
the position of the Christian country of Uganda is of vital importance. Even
now it is known that frequent communications pass from the Arabs of Tangan-
yika and Tabora to the fanatical Mohammedans at Wadelai and along the
White Nile, as well as to the nearest and most dangerous neighbour of Uganda,
Kaba-Rega, King of Unyoro. So long as Uganda is under European super-
vision there is little or no danger of these probable disturbances spreading
from south to north, but I fear that the withdrawal of the present control, and
the consequent loss of prestige would shake the position of Europeans
throughout East and Central Africa, and would react seriously on the colonies
of Germany, Italy, and the Congo State. Any one of these countries, and
more especially the first-named, would be fully justified, in their own self-
defence, in insisting that on our withdrawal, our place should at once be taken
by some other European power."'
During the Debate on the Uganda vote, Sir Edward Grey laconically
announced that a sub-commissioner would be appointed under the Consul-
General at Zanzibar, whose duty it would be "to establish such friendly relations
as shall make it possible for British capital and enterprise to enter the
country between Lake Victoria and the coast". It is curious to reflect that
the territory now known as Kenya was for some years to figure in the minds of
British statesmen only as the site of a railway, the Uganda Railway. Yet such
was the case. To complete the transaction it was only necessary to find the
money with which to buy out the Company's interest.
If my previous assessment of the evidence connecting Sultan Barghash with
the organization of the Arab bid for domination in central Africa is correct, it
was perhaps a just retribution that the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign
Office now remembered a sum of 200,000 deposited with the British Treasury
with which the German Government had bought out the claims of Barghash
upon those parts of the east African mainland which lay within their sphere of
interest. In 1895, the new Sultan of Zanzibar, Seyyid Hamed, aptly describing
himself as "only a little bird in the hands of an eagle ", agreed to invest this
sum at an interest of 3 per cent in redeeming for his masters the concession
which had been granted by his uncle Barghash to the Company.
Simultaneously the I.B.E.A. Company, which had spent 538,000 in its
attempt to administer East Africa, agreed to accept 250,000 in compensation
for its assets and for the repeal of its charter. On 13th June 1895, Parliament
voted the balance of 50,000, thus completing the whole take-over from the
Company at a cost to the British tax-payer, including the expenses of the Portal
mission and of Colonel Colvile's administration, of something over 220,000.
I Portal to Rosebery. 1 xi. 93. F.O. 2. 60.
64 UGANDA JOURNAL
Glancing back for a moment over this turgid stream of events, we see the
arrival of the Germans on the coast stimulating the Arabs to attempt a violent
domination of the interior. We see European missionaries and traders coming
to a new conviction that the political occupation of Africa by Europe is a better
alternative than its subjection to freebooters from Zanzibar. We see an
indigenous uprising by Baganda Christians against Arab usurpation, which,
needing help, is yet divided in its counsels as to whom it should turn to. We see
the clumsy intervention of a British Company, armed with powers of govern-
ment, but without the resources to exercise them effectively. We see the
Company bankrupted, and a British Liberal Cabinet, not remotely concerned
at the Company's losses, but very fearful of the consequences of the Company's
withdrawal, agreeing to occupy Kenya and Uganda, always providing that it
does not cost too much money.
Perhaps the thing which most startles our twentieth century minds is that
a Government should have conferred such wide powers upon a Company which
was certainly intended to make profits, even if it did not in fact succeed in doing
so. If so, we should remember that in the England of this period, private enter-
prise in all its forms was supreme; and that if the occupation of East Africa
was promoted to some extent by a private trading company, it was promoted
also by equally private philanthropic organizations which had the welfare of
the African population more intimately at heart than any other invading interest.
By YUBU K. OKELLO
A LANGO may not marry within his own clan, nor his mother's clan, nor
his father's mother's clan, nor his mother's mother's clan. This custom
excludes the possibility of a marriage between near relations. Marriage with
a person of another tribe is rare, but is not discouraged.
Polygamy is still common, in spite of Christianity. Formerly it was the
custom that a man did not take a second wife until he was about 25 years old,
but this custom is no longer observed, and many young men who can afford to
do so now marry more than one wife. It is also not uncommon to find a man
with a wife younger than his own daughter.
It is usual for a man to choose a wife younger than himself, and of his own
religious denomination. Marriages between Catholics and Protestants some-
times occur, but it is very rare for a Christian to marry a Moslem. Educated
girls prefer to marry men of good education and social standing. A boy is
considered old enough to marry at 18, and a girl soon after reaching the age
Church marriage, when it takes place at all, normally follows the marriage
by native custom, and sometimes not for several years. It is regarded as supple-
mentary to the ordinary Lango marriage. Many people consider that church
marriage, since it does not permit of easy divorce, gives encouragement to the
wife to neglect her duties. Men employed by missions, of course, are married
in church, usually as soon as the marriage payment is completed.
COURTSHIP AND PRELIMINARIES
In general, parents do not arrange marriages for their children, but only
come to know of an intended marriage after agreement has been reached
between the two lovers.
Courting is never done in public, but is carried on at secret meetings
between the boy and girl. When the girl proves hard to persuade, the boy may
employ any of his relatives, of either sex, to plead his case for him. If she is
too shy to give a direct answer, a go-between or' messenger' (usually a girl) may
also be employed. A man who is known to be an experienced and eloquent
wooer may sometimes be employed by his more diffident friend to court a girl
on his behalf, and hand her over when she is won, but this method is not without
its dangers. Literate people often prefer to carry on their courtship by means
Girls can also be won (so it is said) by a method known as 'seduction by
medicine' (yamo kede yat), which is believed to be the surest means of over-
coming stubborn and tough-hearted girls. A medicine commonly used is made
from the feathers and certain other parts of the long-tailed red-beaked male finch
(ojwiny). Another is made from a red-flowered parasitic plant of cassava
66 UGANDA JOURNAL
and mango trees. These substances are chosen because of the attraction which
that particular bird seems to have for the female of its species, and because
girls are fond of cassava and mangoes.
The substance chosen is first ground to a powder. In olden days this
powder was usually injected into the man's body, and had its effect on a woman
when he touched her. Nowadays it is usually mixed with grease and smeared
on the man's hands, or perhaps the girl may be persuaded to smear it on herself.
The medicine is so powerful that the possessor must be very careful in handling
it; and women should avoid contact with what appear to be pots of perfume
found in the houses of unmarried boys. If the possessor of this medicine applies
it first to a married woman, either intentionally or accidentally, it is said that
in future it will be effective only with married women; but if first applied to an
unmarried girl, it will retain its effectiveness to all women alike. By the use of
a'seducing medicine', it is possible for even an aged man to marry a young girl.
Another medicine sometimes given by one man to another whom he wishes
to injure is made from a weed called abokawang (' eye-reddener '), the effect of
which is to induce a lust for married women.
When a boy has succeeded in winning a girl's love, he asks her to give
him some token, such as a handkerchief, a bangle or a necklace. In return, he
gives her a present of a similar kind. He should not offer her money, nor should
she ask for it; for it is said that a girl who asks for money is a prostitute.
Formerly it was the custom for a girl to tell her lover what present she wanted by
means of a song, such as the following (heard by the writer at Awelo about 1930):
Ngat amito yamo
Ewot epeny omin
Ka omin okwero
Ewot epeny apap
Ka apap okwero
Ewot epeny aya
Ka aya okwero
Ewot etem nera
Ka nera oye
Ewot ewil apogo
Apogo me Aduku
Apogo me Lira
Ekel eket i cinga
Enwongo yamo opore
Ka ewila apogo.
Whoever loves me
Let him ask my brother
If brother refuses
Go and ask father
If father refuses
Go and ask mother
If mother refuses
Go and try uncle
If uncle consents
Go and buy a bangle
Bangles of Aduku
Break very easily
A bangle from Lira
Bring and put on my hand
He'll win my love
If he buys me a bangle.
Having formed a definite attachment, the boy ought to avoid seeing his
fiancee's mother; but this avoidance is not always strictly observed until the
actual marriage preliminaries have begun.
Meetings between the lovers must be kept secret, especially from the girl's
male relations. They usually take place after dark. The boy employs an
agent in the girl's village, to transmit messages, and perhaps to provide lodging
for the boy if his own home is too far away. Probably this same friend, or his
LANGO MARRIAGE 67
father or brother if he himself is too young, will later become the bridegroom's
chief agent during the marriage proceedings. He would be the chief witness in
the event of subsequent divorce and withdrawal of the marriage goods. During
the engagement period, the agent warns the boy of any dangers which may
threaten him, such as plans by the girl's relatives to trap him into payment of
compensation for illegitimate intercourse (luk).
In Kyoga, Dokolo and some other parts in the south of Lango, until recent
years, a conviction for luk was only possible if the lovers were caught together
after dark, and in a house other than that in which the girl, together with other
unmarried girls, would ordinarily sleep. If the girl's family, therefore, wanted
to trap her lover, they would set a man to watch the girl's sleeping house. When
this watcher saw them leave together for another house, he would quickly
summon his confederates, and they would go after them with sticks and a halter,
as though they were going to tie a bull for slaughtering. If they succeeded in
surprising the guilty pair, they would tie them both round their waists with the
same rope, and lead them before the village chief, to be charged; after which
they would be untied, and the boy allowed to go home. Next morning the
accusers would go and state their case to the boy's father or guardian, who might
either pay the compensation (8 goats, or a cow and 2 goats or Shs. 40) there and
then, or else decide to have the case heard before the clan assembly.
In these days, in all parts of the district, a conviction for luk is possible
irrespective of the time and place at which the arrest was made.
A sleep-inducing medicine, prepared from a creeper called anunu, may be
used against a girl's father to prevent him from watching for her lover at night.
The medicine is supposed to be effective if dropped outside the father's house.
It can also be used to send dogs to sleep.
In addition, a boy will also take note of certain signs to indicate whether
the time is safe or unsafe for a visit. For instance, a boy regards it as a favour-
able omen if the first person he meets on setting out is a woman, but may turn
back if he meets a man first. An encounter with a wild beast or reptile is
usually regarded as unpropitious. A hyena or an owl is a very bad omen
indeed, and to meet either of these is a warning not to marry, as it is thought
to show that either the husband or wife would die shortly after marriage. If a
boy sees a tortoise when going to or returning from his fiance, that indicates
that he will soon make her pregnant. If pregnancy results, the case is naturally
more serious than when the lovers are merely caught together. When the girl
becomes aware of her condition, she reports it first to her lover, and later to her
mother, through her younger sister or a girl friend. The mother reports it to
the girl's father and brother, who bring the matter before the village assembly,
where the girl is asked to name the boy responsible. The case is tried by the
boy's clan assembly. On conviction, compensation of Shs. 60 is payable. If
the girl dies in childbirth, a further compensation of 6 cows (blood money) must
be paid. If the father of the child does not marry the girl within one year after
the birth, he has no claim on the child, which then belongs to its maternal uncle,
and he has to pay a nurturing fee (1 cow, or the equivalent in money).
The practice of abortion is common among unmarried girls. Native
medicines made from herbs are commonly employed for this purpose.
68 UGANDA JOURNAL
Before marriage negotiations are started, the boy's family make inquiries
to find out whether the girl is of good character, and to make sure that neither
she nor any of her family are 'sorcerers'. Similar inquiries are made by the
girl's family, in particular to make sure that the boy's mother is not too fierce
with her daughters-in-law (a frequent cause of divorces).
After informing his parents of his wish to marry, and when their investiga-
tions have been made, the boy chooses a day (preferably a Sunday) and asks
some of his brothers and friends to go with him and offer the awibye, or first
marriage payment. Formerly this was a goat, but later a cash payment of
Shs. 4 was substituted, and in these days the amount of the awibye is often
considerably more-sometimes as much as Shs. 50. The bride-to-be and the
marriage agent have been informed in advance, and the latter arranges a separate
place for the suitor, who must not go as far as his prospective mother-in-law's
house; but if the awibye is to be handed over at the bride's brother's house he
may attend. On arrival, the leader of the marrying party takes the money to
the bride. It must be in coins, not notes, in order that it may be heard jingling
when the bride either refuses or accepts it, and also in order that her mother may
be able to count it. On receiving the coins, the bride, according to custom,
throws them down as though in refusal of the suit. They are offered to her
again, and she again throws them down. When this has been repeated at least
three times she accepts them and takes them to her mother, who also accepts
after a similar show of reluctance, and finally the girl hands them over to her
father or brother. They ask her what the money is for, and then to name her
suitor, as if they had previously known nothing of the matter.
If the girl does not accept the suitor, who may have made the proposal
through his parents to her parents, the awibye is not immediately returned, but
is left with the marriage agent for a time, in the hope that she may finally be
persuaded. If the awibye is accepted, another day is fixed for the tekika, which
is when the amount of marriage goods is decided upon.
In former days the awibye goat was brought and tethered near the bride's
mother's house. The agent would then point it out to the bride and her
mother. If the bride went and released it, she had accepted the awibye.
The awibye belongs to the bride, and she uses it to provide herself with
clothes. It is not returnable, and does not form part of the marriage goods.
The acceptance of awibye marks the end of courtship. From then on
the suitor has no fear of his fiancee's kinsmen, and she may visit him openly.
The tekika payment, which used to be a goat and later Shs. 10, was formerly
a pacificatory present to the girl's mother and not a part of the marriage goods.
Nowadays it may be any amount of money which the suitor can afford in order
to impress his future parents-in-law, and it is reckoned as part of the marriage
goods; the mother's present is taken from these goods, and is returnable in the
event of divorce.
At this second visit, the suitor's emissaries, headed perhaps by his father,
bring the tekika, and the bride's father invites his relations to come and assist
in deciding on the amount of the marriage goods. On this occasion no women
are present. The bride is summoned to give her final decision about the
LANGO MARRIAGE 69
marriage, and then she is sent away. An appointed spokesman of the bride's
people (not necessarily her father) asks the leader of the bridegroom's party to
hand over the tekika, without which the bride's mother 'does not understand
the marriage'. He then orders the invited relatives to propose the amount of
the marriage goods, reserving his own decision until all the rest have spoken.
The tekika party sit and listen in silence while this is going on. Each speaker
puts forward his own list of goods, consisting of money, cattle, goats, spears and
many other things. The list finally decided upon is written down by the
marriage agent. Some money which has been brought as an instalment of the
marriage payment is then handed over, and by this the marriage contract is
definitely confirmed. It is usual to provide food and drink for the visitors,
after which they depart. The bridegroom's father arranges to call again on
another day and bring a further instalment of money with him. The cash part
of the payment is the first to be completed. The last part to be handed over is
the cattle. A day is appointed for the marriage cattle to be inspected. This is
a most important occasion, and there is liable to be trouble if the father omits
to invite any of the bride's relatives who ought to have been invited. All the
neighbours, whether clan members or not, throng in for the eating, drinking and
excitement. Beer is brewed in considerable quantity, from five to fifty pots
according to the number of guests expected. It is the duty of relatives in the
neighbourhood to contribute beer to the feast. A large grass shed is erected
for the visitors, and beer is served there on their arrival. They drink it hastily,
through their own drinking-tubes which they have brought with them. The
women visitors are then left behind in the village, while the men are led to the
cattle kraal or pasturage. When they reach the cattle, a fat bull is selected for
slaughtering, and taken back to the village, where it is at once killed. An
appointed member of the boy's people goes among the cattle, pointing out those
selected for handing over. The visitors do their best to underrate the cattle
shown to them, expressing indignation and saying that the animals are sickly
and "do not feel their eyes ". Probably they then point out the ones they
would choose themselves, only to be told that those do not belong to the bride-
groom's family. All this leads to quarrelling and sometimes fighting, and if it
becomes serious it may even cause the cancellation of the marriage. Usually,
however, agreement is ultimately reached, and the whole party return to the
The bull chosen for slaughtering is skinned by the bridegroom's people,
watched by one of the visitors appointed for this purpose. The skinning is done
with great care, so as not to damage the hide, which later will become the
bride's mother's mat. The watcher sees that none of the men engaged in the
skinning succumbs to the temptation to cut off a chunk of fat and eat it, which
would be regarded as highly improper. A leg is given to the bridegroom's
mother and she cooks it for the party.
In these days the bride's people may demand a lorry to transport them to
and from the bridegroom's place for this occasion. The cost of this is not a
part of the marriage payment, though it is reclaimable on divorce.
Often the whole night is spent in drinking. The visitors carry home with
70 UGANDA JOURNAL
them all the remaining meat except the head and the tripe, which are left for
the bridegroom's mother.
The cattle selected for the marriage payment remains with the bridegroom's
father until arrangement can be made to transport them (kolo dok nyom). This
occasion is just as important as the 'inspection'. After it, the bride is per-
mitted to join her husband.
For the occasion of kolo dok nyom the bride's mother brews beer and a
bull is slaughtered. All the meat left over from the feast remains with the
The bull killed by the bridegroom's people is not part of the marriage
goods, but may be claimed on divorce if the bride's people failed to kill one
when the cattle were delivered. The cost of beer, in any case, is not usually
regarded as repayable.
When payment is completed, the husband and wife, with the husband's
village chief and the marriage agent, go to the Jago's Lukiko, when the details
of the marriage goods are recorded. The amount written down does not exceed
that legally permitted, even though the village chief and the marriage agent
may be well aware that more has in fact been paid.
THE BRIDE'S PROBATION PERIOD
The bride chooses about four girls from her village to accompany her to her
husband's home. She has bought herself new clothes with the awibye. They
carry firewood with them, bundled as neatly as possible. They give no prior
notification of their arrival and set out in the afternoon or evening, in order to
reach the husband's village after dark, in order to avoid the embarrassment of
being seen arriving. When they draw near to the village they sit down to rest
or wait for the proper time, and each puts on her best clothes which she has been
carrying on the top of her load.
Finally they arrive, set down their loads outside the mother-in-law's house
and call to the occupants. The mother-in-law (or 'grandmother' as she is
called in Lango) bestirs herself to provide food for them.
By dawn next day the bride is already out preparing water for baths for
the family. The grandmother gives her food, which she cooks, with the help
of her bridesmaids, using their own firewood. They take pains to cook the
food as well as possible, and are very careful in handling the vessels. They
are left all alone to do this work, but the grandmother or her daughter remains
near to provide them with anything they may need. When the food is ready,
the grandmother calls her husband and her son, and perhaps some other men,
to eat. The women eat separately, but the bride and her party do not join them,
out of respect for the grandmother. Whatever the food tastes like, comment
is always complimentary.
The bridesmaids stay for three days or more, and the husband is expected
to give them some present when they leave.
Before the bride goes to her new home, her mother gives her instructions
about how to behave when she gets there.
A newly-married wife must not eat meat, butter, simsim or groundnuts,
nor drink milk. In addition, there are the food taboos peculiar to her husband's
LANGO MARRIAGE 71
clan, which are explained to her by her mother-in-law. (The eating of chickens
and eggs is forbidden to all Lango women.)
She now has some three months of very hard domestic work ahead of her.
She is expected to sweep out the houses, fetch water and firewood, harvest
crops and prepare food. Sometimes her husband's younger brothers, for a
joke, upset the water-pots she has just filled, or find some other way to tease her
and add to her trials.
If she has the misfortune to break one of her mother-in-law's pots she will
feel very much ashamed, and may run off to her own home and get another
pot from there to replace the broken one. This replacement, however, should
not be accepted by the mother-in-law, who should affect to make light of the
During the wife's probation period, every male member of the family
expects to be provided by her with warm water for bathing, though such a
luxury is probably unknown to most of them at other times.
The new wife tries to be as industrious as possible and to break the records
of all who have preceded her. Her mother-in-law sometimes deliberately makes
difficulties for her, to test her character; and the other women often do the
same, through jealousy.
A wife is expected to become pregnant within a year of marriage, and if
she does not an inquiry is made to ascertain the reason.
She stays in her mother-in-law's house for about three harvests, learning
family customs and clan observances, and then moves to a house of her own;
but she continues to lend a hand to her mother-in-law as long as she lives with
her husband, if the distance permits it.
During the probation period she may feel homesick and is allowed to visit
her parents about every three months. She tells them how she has been treated
by her husband and mother-in-law and shows off her new clothes. Her parents
make much of her (especially if her conduct has been creditable to the family)
and provide her with the fatty foods which she has been forced to go without.
When she returns to her husband she takes gifts of food (unless she has married
into a clan which does not allow the eating of a mother-in-law's food) and she
may perhaps take with her a younger brother or sister to stay for a while. This
companion will expect to receive a gift of clothes from the husband at the end
of the visit.
When the probation period is over, the wife becomes mistress of her
husband's house and may act as the mother-in-law of any co-wife married
subsequently with a bride-price produced by her and her husband; but she is
not so much revered as the real mother-in-law.
CUSTOMARY AVOIDANCES BETWEEN RELATIONS-IN-LAW
A man reveres his mother-in-law from the time when he starts courting her
daughter and they must not see each other, except once, formally, after the
conclusion of the marriage, in order to recognize each other for future
avoidance. The same duty of avoidance is imposed, with varying degrees of
strictness, on the man's brothers; except that when an elder brother becomes
' marriage master' (that is, provides marriage goods) he is permitted to see the
72 UGANDA JOURNAL
mother-in-law, although he may not eat with her nor share the same drinking-
tube. A husband must regard all his mother-in-law's belongings as sacred.
He must not even touch an article of clothing belonging to her, if her daughter
borrows one. If a woman wishes to talk to her son-in-law, there must be an
opaque partition between them.
Some clans do not avoid mother-in-law's food, but a chicken received
from a mother-in-law or father-in-law is avoided universally. A man may
converse with his father-in-law and eat and drink with him; but he must not
sit on his chair nor shake him by the hand; he must not share the same dish of
food or drinking-tube. They should not sleep in each other's house.
If a man meets his mother-in-law deliberately, it is believed that any
children her daughter bears him will die or become seriously ill. When a
mother wishes to visit her married daughter, she must send word beforehand
to make sure that the husband will be out of the way. There is a story of a
certain mother-in-law who went to visit her daughter without giving such
warning, and on arrival found the husband shaving her daughter's head. On
catching sight of her he fled precipitately, still grasping the knife in his hand,
and plunged into some thick grass where he stumbled, fell on the knife and
A man does not utter the name of his mother-in-law, nor say anything bad
against her, even if there is a quarrel between them. This loyalty is observed
for ever, even after divorce.
Brothers-in-law should not bathe together nor see each other naked, and
they should avoid making love to the same girl.
A man regards his wife's sister's husband as a cousin, and they may meet
Unless there has been a church marriage in addition to the native marriage,
divorce is easy. It may be obtained after any period and at the instigation of
either partner. Before it is granted, the matter is investigated by the parents
on both sides.
The following are some common grounds for divorce:
Husband or wife is a sorcerer (ajok).
Husband is guilty of cruelty or meanness.
Husband is unable to support his wife financially.
Husband is impotent.
Wife is unfaithful.
Wife's housekeeping is unsatisfactory.
Wife is unsociable and inhospitable.
Barrenness in a wife does not usually lead to divorce, but the husband will
probably take an additional wife.
After a divorce, the two families remain friendly, unless the divorce has
been caused by a conflict between the parents; and they continue to regard one
another as relations-in-law. A divorced woman is often referred to as "So-
and-so's former wife ", even if she has afterwards married someone else.
LANGO MARRIAGE 73
When divorce is agreed upon, the husband or his representative approaches
the wife's father or brother for recovery of the marriage payment. If there is a
dispute about the amount, or a delay in paying, the case can be taken to the
Native Court, which will enforce payment of the legal amount, as recorded in
the marriage settlement. There are, however, usually other secret payments,
not legally recorded, and the Native Court cannot order them to be repaid.
The complainant can, however, take his case before the defendant's Clan
Assembly, which is likely to order payment in full.
The death of a wife within one year of marriage, or before she has borne
her husband a child, necessitates refund of the marriage payment, with some
cattle withheld as blood payment.
In former days, a delay in returning marriage cattle often resulted in war.
There was also a practice known as mayo cip (depriving a woman of her apron)
by which a divorced woman's apron was withheld by her husband until his
cattle had been returned in full. It was believed that this withholding of the
apron would cause the woman to become barren, or to have difficulty in bearing
MARRIAGE PAYMENT ABUSES AT THE PRESENT TIME
In recent times various attempts have been made by the Local Government
to fix a legal maximum for marriage payment; but these attempts at control have
not been successful. Some years ago the District Council decided on the following
standard payment: 5 head of cattle, 6 goats, 6 spear-heads, 6 hoes and Shs. 30;
or a cash payment of Shs. 260. At the time when this rule was introduced the
average payment was about Shs. 200, but since then the actual price paid has
risen very greatly, and it is now often as much as Shs. 1,000 or more. Marriage
has come to be regarded as a business, whereby fathers can make a handsome
profit out of their daughters.
The amount by which the actual payment exceeds the legal maximum is
a 'secret payment', and in consequence its recovery on divorce is apt to cause
difficulty and may result in enmity between the families.
For illegitimate intercourse with an unmarried girl, Shs. 60 compensation
is payable to her father. Some unscrupulous fathers also try to make a business
of this, by deliberately setting a trap for the girl's suitor. Sometimes it even
happens that a man seeking to marry a girl is first made to make a luk payment
on the grounds that he has 'spoiled her head' or that he has supplanted other
young men who wanted to marry her.
If a girl becomes pregnant while the marriage arrangements are proceeding,
the man may be compelled to make a luk payment in addition to the marriage
RUWENZORI: ROUTES ON MOUNT STANLEY'
By R. M. BERE
MOUNT STANLEY is the highest of the six mountains on Ruwenzori
which carry glaciers: it is situated in the centre of the range at the head
of the Bujuku Valley and is itself composed of six distinct peaks, namely,
Margherita (16.794 ft.), the highest point in the range, Alexandra (16,749 ft.).
Albert (16,735 ft.), Savoia (16,421 ft.), Elena (16,385 ft.) and Moebius (16,159 ft.).
The base for all the climbs described is the Lake Bujuku hut (13,000ft.), above
which a bivouac is necessary at either Ridge Camp (14,858 ft.) or Polish Lakes
Camp (ca. 14,300 ft.), approximately three hours' walk from the hut. It is the
intention ultimately to establish permanent shelter in the shape of a bivouac fixt
at Ridge Camp. The Lake Bujuku hut can be reached in three normal stages
from roadhead at Bugoye, approximately 45 miles from Fort Portal. At present
there is one intermediate hut at Nyamleju (10,680 ft.), five hours' walk below
Lake Bujuku, and it is hoped that the chain of huts will be completed during
1950-51 by one additional hut between Bugoye and Nyamleju at a position not
yet decided upon. In addition, work is in progress on the road above Bugoye,
which is being extended for some five miles up the relatively level valley.
The various routes are marked on the accompanying sketch map, and
indicated by letters corresponding to the text. Tracks are also shown as
crossing the Stuhlmann Pass (13,757 ft.) between Mounts Stanley and Speke,
approximately one hour from the hut, and the Scott Elliot Pass (14,262 ft.)
between Mounts Stanley and Baker, two hours. These paths are known to
the porters, but are somewhat difficult to find owing to the thick groundsel
forests through which they pass. The Scott Elliot Pass, where the scenery is
particularly fine, provides a route to the southern peaks and to the upper
Mobuku River by way of the Kitandara Lakes at the head of the Butagu Valley,
leading to the Belgian Congo, and the Freshfield Pass (Hamugoma) (14,403 ft.);
this, however, is beyond the scope of these notes.
A. NORMAL ROUTE UP MARGHERITA
(1) To Ridge Camp: The track crosses the swamp above Lake Bujuku,
then follows the way to the Scott Elliot Pass, branching off from this near the
upper level of vegetation. This camp can also be reached from the Pass itself
by going straight up the ridge.
(2) To Stanley Plateau, by either
(a) scramble straight up rock-ridge to its end, cross over a short knife-
edge of hard ice, up easy rocks straight ahead, followed by a short
steep snow-slope. After crossing the knife-edge it is important to
avoid following easy ground to the right; or
(b) traverse across shelving rocks to Elena Glacier, work up the glacier,
which is very slightly crevassed, keeping to its far side near the
rocks of Elena and Savoia, then easily up on to the plateau.
1 Reprinted, by permission of the Editor, from the Bulletin of Mountain Club of
Kenya, April 1950.
RUWENZORI: ROUTES ON MOUNT STANLEY 75
(3) Walk across Stanley Plateau to the foot of the Alexandra rock ridge.
The Stanley Plateau is a wide, almost level snow-field, practically uncrevassed
except on its eastern rim, which should be avoided.
(4) Descend steep snow on ice into the gulley dividing the peaks of Alex-
andra and Margherita, and cross over on to the lower slopes of the final peak.
(5) From this point to the summit circumstances vary greatly according
to seasons. The object is to reach the main ridge of Margherita, and, if
crevasses, which are very numerous, allow, the ridge should be taken at as low
a point as possible, where the cornice is likely to be small. Once on the ridge,
proceed directly towards the summit, if necessary moving across on to the
northern slopes. The actual summit is always guarded by formidable cornices,
which can usually be turned either to the right or left, but have been taken direct.
It is difficult to give an accurate assessment of the difficulties likely to be
met on this section (800 ft.) of the climb as conditions are very variable, and no
two parties have been able to follow identical routes.
B. NORMAL ROUTE UP ALEXANDRA
As in A to end of Stage (3). Then straight up snow and ice ridge to top
of Alexandra. Some step cutting and cornices may be encountered, but diffi-
culties are considerably less than on Margherita. The actual summit is rock.
C. FROM ALEXANDRA TO MARGHERITA
This was the route taken on the first ascent in 1906 by the Duke of the
Abruzzi. There was more snow on Ruwenzori then than now, and the present
practicability of this route is doubtful. Very steep ice was encountered on the
face of Margherita, the summit of which was reached directly from the saddle
between the peaks.
D. UNCOMPLETED ROUTE ON S.E. RIDGE OF MARGHERITA
This route has not yet been worked out, but if it can be and is found to be
safe, it will provide an almost direct route from Bujuku to the summit.
(1) To Polish Lakes Camp: Cross the swamp above Lake Bujuku, then
straight ahead to base of lower cliffs; turn right up obvious line of weakness
until the ridge is reached, follow a stony gulley and bear left below the
Margherita Glacier to a site under the lee of overhanging rock.
(2) Cut steps on to the Margherita Glacier and cross as quickly as possible
towards the main ridge. Unless this is done there is clearly considerable danger
from ice blocks falling off the wall of seracs which threatens this glacier from
above. Move up to base of prominent subsidiary ridge, to the east of which is
an obvious hanging glacier.
(3) Climb subsidiary ridge to point of junction with main ridge (D), highest
point so far reached. At the first attempt a difficult step on the ridge prevented
further progress, but it should be possible to turn this to the north. Alterna-
tively, an improved line on the subsidiary ridge may be found somewhat higher.
The objective should then be to follow this ridge until the last part of the normal
route is reached (A (5)).
76 UGANDA JOURNAL
E. EAST STANLEY GLACIER (POLISH ROUTE)
(1) To Polish Lakes Camp as in D.
(2) Cut steps on to East Stanley Glacier and follow this glacier direct to
northern end of Stanley Plateau. The glacier is steep and heavily crevassed,
and in places the danger from falling seracs may be considerable. This difficult
route has only been followed once, by a Polish party led by J. de Golcz in 1943.
(3) From Plateau follow either B to summit of Alexandra or A to
F. ELENA AND SAVOIA
Follow A (1) and (2) to Stanley Plateau.
(3) To base of ice gulley on east face of Elena, and climb this gulley,
taking to rocks on the left where difficulties become excessive, until summit
ridge is reached. Turn south over easy rocks on west side of ridge to summit
(4) Keep to crest of ridge until main indentation between Elena and
Savoia is reached, then taking to snow slope on west side of ridge until rock
and snow ridge leads directly to summit of Savoia.
(5) Continue northward from summit until it is possible to descend into a
wide gulley which leads on to the Elena Glacier.
This peak can be ascended without difficulty from the Plateau.
This peak is usually climbed from the Belgian side but can be reached
without great difficulty from the summit of Margherita by way of the ridge
connecting the two peaks.
ROUTES FROM THE BELGIAN CONGO SIDE OF MOUNT STANLEY
Details of these are not known to the writer and are not shown on the plan.
Albert has been climbed by the north-west ridge and thence the summit of
Margherita, which has also been reached by the glacier route on this side. A
route has been made up the Alexandra Glacier to the Stanley Plateau, and at
least one good route has been found up Elena and Savoia from the Belgian
FIRST ASCENTS: NEW ROUTES, ETC.
1st Ascent 18/6/06 Duke of the Abruzzi.
(From the col between the twin peaks.)
RUWENZORI: ROUTES ON MOUNT STANLEY
19/7/26 G. N. Humphreys.
E. H. Armitage.
R. T. Wickham.
(From Stanley Plateau, by the east ridge.)
21/1/32 E. E. Shipton.
H. W. Tilman.
4th Ascent 13/7/32 X. de Grunne.
W. J. G. van der Meersch.
H. de Schryver.
(From the west, by Alexandra Glacier, the first
ascent from the Belgian Congo.)
The following additional ascents of Margherita from the east, i.e., the Uganda
side, are known to have been made; it is possible that there may have been
one or two other unrecorded climbs; on each occasion Humphreys' route
has been used:
June 1941. R. A. Hodgkin and Lewis Brown.
June 1945. P. H. Hicks, R. G. Ladkin and R. M. Bere.
January 1950. A. M. Greenwood and R. Menzies.
1st Ascent 18/6/06 Duke of the Abruzzi.
(From Stanley Plateau by the east ridge.)
The second, and several subsequent ascents were made by other members of
the same expedition, and the original party climbed Alexandra for a second
time, on the day of the first ascent, from the col between Margherita and
Alexandra: this route was repeated on 19/7/26 by the same party that
made the second ascent of Margherita.
New route 12/6/43 J. Golcz.
(Direct from Bujuku by the east glacier.)
ALBERT (north-west shoulder of Margherita)
1st Ascent 28/7/32 X. de Grunne.
J. de Vallee-Poussin.
(By the north-west ridge, from the Belgian
Duke of the Abruzzi.
north-east couloir, from the Stanley
78 UGANDA JOURNAL
2nd Ascent 1/8/32 H. de Schryver.
W. J. Ganshof.
(By the east wall.)
1st Ascent 20/6/06 Duke of the Abruzzi.
1st Ascent 25/6/06 Vittorio Sella.
(From Stanley Plateau by the east ridge.)
RUWENZORI: ROUTES ON MOUNT STANLEY
GuLACrs 4Is SEAS.
OTEoS 8.A- A..
Cco. ~baT NSrv
THE TERMITE AND ITS USES FOR FOOD
By H. A. OSMASTON
I WAS out with a gun one evening near Namwendwa in Bulamogi county of
Busoga, when I heard not far off a curious drumming as of a giant wood-
pecker. The drumming was low, rhythmical and all-pervading, but hard to
locate as it seemed to be coming out of the ground. I traced it at last to a
small clump of bushes growing on a mound. Here I found a man squatting
between two silent boys and drumming on a billet of wood half buried in the
ground, which seemed to have been swept clear in a circle in front of him.
Over this clear space there sprawled some vague serpentine shapes in crudely
modelled clay each with what seemed to be a snake's head at its end raised
above a small votive vessel. In the dusk the scene was eerie and I was frankly
mystified. I was at first uncertain of the wisdom of intruding upon what seemed
to be a shrine of snake-worshippers; but, as the drummer took no notice of my
arrival but continued his rhythm, I stood still and watched closely.
Then I saw that what I had taken for the lips of a snake's head was really
a twist of banana leaf, and that from it surged an endless stream of winged
termites, which fell into a funnel below made of another bit of slippery green
leaf leading into a vessel.
I saw this performance again one afternoon about a month later in the same
neighbourhood. The top of a termite mound had been cleared, and a system
of damp clay pipes prepared, each of which led up from the exit holes in a gradual
slope and then arched over at the end to drop the termites into the containers
provided. I did not arrive early enough on either occasion to learn whether the
pipes were prepared before the drumming started or vice versa. The 'drum'
was a horizontal piece of wood about 20 inches long and 4 inches in diameter
and the' drumsticks' were ordinary pieces of dry wood about 12 inches long and
1 inches in diameter. In the second case there were two men drumming, each
on separate pieces of wood. On both occasions their efforts were entirely
successful and by the time I left they had collected about a gallon pot full of
these termites from all the small vessels used.
My curiosity was aroused by this plentiful supply of fresh food and I asked
how they prepared them for eating. I was somewhat shaken when the drummer
grinned, plunged his hand into the pot and thrust a squirming mass of termites
into his mouth. However, I was reassured when they told me that these termites
could equally well be cooked, so I bought ten cents worth and when I rejoined
my companion (who was then even more of a greenhorn than myself), he also
was curious and asked the same question. Not wishing to lose an opportunity
to stress my wide African experience, I put a bold face on it and pushed a
handful into my mouth. To my surprise I found them excellent, with a delicate
flavour somewhere between fried whitebait and hazelnuts. But to catch this
flavour it is no good nibbling at a single insect, a fair mouthful must be chewed.
Since then I have never looked back and regard them as one of Uganda's cheapest
rnotn oy n. A. usmaston
Termite mound: ready for catch of winged termites.
rno1o oy H. A. usmaston
Termite mound: the clay nozzles.
44 T rx.ir~
Photo by H. A. Osmaston
Bird-catcher's hide on Luwalambogo (Segeru) Hill, Busoga.
[face p. 8o.
THE TERMITE AND ITS USES FOR FOOD 81
luxuries. I have also tried them boiled and fried; but these methods seemed
to kill the initial delicate flavour and I think it is true to say that most African
habitues of the termite prefer them raw. In many Bantu-speaking parts of
the country boiled and dried termites are on sale in the markets at some seasons
of the year, but this method of preparation in my opinion makes them rather
dull and tasteless, though I have no doubt they still provide a valuable protein
element in the diet.
It would be interesting to learn the general diffusion of the different termite-
catching methods. Drumming seems to be a fairly general means of encourag-
ing the swarming, which (for biological reasons that I do not understand) is
usually timed to synchronize with the end of a heavy shower. The usual method
is, of course, the building of a dome-shaped framework of sticks or elephant
grass, over which banana leaves or a blanket are spread. Only one exit is left
and this is arranged so that the termites fall into a vessel or pit. If it is after dark
the business is even easier, for a light is then placed on the far side of the pit
opposite the exit hole, which thus lures the termites in a steady stream to their
doom. Both of these methods are widespread in Buganda and Bunyoro.
My dog used to be fond of eating flighting termites; but their more
conspicuous predators are naturally birds, especially swallows, martins and
bee-eaters, though I have even seen a small hawk and a kite taking their share.
This fondness of the birds for termites has, in some parts, been put to an
ingenious if cruel method of bird catching. I was walking one day on Luwala-
mbogo Hill' in Bugweri County of Busoga when I noticed some temporary grass
huts and asked what they were for. I was told that they were' hides' used for
catching the swallows and martins, which frequent this rocky hill in some
numbers. After my return to camp I called on the man to whom these huts
belonged and he explained to me the method of bird-catching which he used.
First of all it is necessary to prepare the bait by getting a good catch of termites.
Then he places them in a large pot with a narrow neck and stands this on the
ground nearby his hide. In the jar is a stick about five feet long up which the
termites crawl, and from which they take flight in a steady stream that rapidly
attracts flocks of swallows or martins, who catch them in mid-air, or sometimes
even as they stand poised for flight on the end of the stick. Close by, however,
are some similar sticks stuck upright in the ground, with termites impaled on
their pointed upper ends; a little tuft of dried grass stems on either side of the
point serves to support a fine thread noose and to direct the swooping bird
through it. I was told that in this way over a hundred birds might be caught
in an evening; their wings would be broken, and they would be taken to market
in a basket or pot.
In view of the fact that termites form such an important part of African
diet, it is probable that there is a good deal of folk-lore connected with them.
I was told that in Bulemezi it is the custom to give a dish of termites to a member
of the family who returns home after a long absence; but that in the dry season
when the termites are dormant, it may need prolonged drumming to obtain a dish.
As regards eating other types of termite than the flying swarm, I have seen
the fierce 'soldier' termites on sale for food in a market near Pakwach but I
1 Marked on the map Segeru but local opinion seems to support Luwalambogo '.
82 UGANDA JOURNAL
have never tried eating these myself, and for reasons that will be obvious to
anyone who has seen them slicing through grass or paper with their jaws, I do
not think they are a very popular dish. Most Nilotics I have meet seem to
enjoy eating the live queens, which are rather repulsive in appearance, being
soft, white, sausage-shaped and about 3 inches long; but presumably they slip
down quite easily particularly if you are accustomed to swallow your food in
large gobbets at a time. Unfortunately, as a result of wartime austerity, I had
no early practice in oyster- or clam-eating, and so have not yet been able to
follow their example. I have, however, tried the less epicurean methods of
frying the queens; but I was not much impressed, as I found them uninteresting
in flavour though the consistency resembled a sweetbread or soft herring-roe.
I certainly should not regard them as an adequate reward for the labour of
digging them out.
It will thus be seen that the termite is capable of providing several delicacies
for the African table. To complete my list I should add that I have heard
that the coral-like fungus 'gardens' (which occur in the matrix of the nest and
are said to provide an occasional bonne bouche to enliven the termites' rather
dull diet of wood), are also sometimes eaten by the Acholi, who, with the other
Nilotic peoples, seem to make a much wider use of the fruits of the countryside
than most of their Bantu neighbours. I have never seen a fungus garden which
looked other than very dry and unappetizing, but I am told that at certain times
of year, particularly the dry season, they produce new and tender growth.
I feel that this aspect of the humble termite has been for too long ignored,
and I foresee the day in the development of Uganda when the establishment and
care of vast termitaria may be an important commitment of some government
department, though which is not clear-perhaps the Veterinary Department-
as being 'domestic stock' or alternatively the Agricultural Department as
coming under the entomological section. They would be fed on the Forest
Department's fuel plantations (no doubt by then rendered superfluous by hydro-
electric power), and their produce, after raising local standards of nutrition
to a level far above the Medical Department's hopes, will be exported to the
four corners of the world under the slogan Try TUTMACS1 Tinned Termites ".
Many readers will doubtless admire Mr. Osmaston's hardihood as a' gustator';
but even if they cannot vie with him in the feat of swallowing termite queens, the
points he has raised regarding the types of edible termite and the methods of their
capture and preparation are of interest and some social and dietetic importance.
The 'pipe' method of capture as described here has also been witnessed in several
parts of Kumi and Ngora Counties of Teso District, while small hungry children in
the same area have been seen fishing' into holes of the termite mounds with grass
stalks so as to irritate the soldier termites, which, having fastened their jaws to the
stalks, may then be withdrawn and chewed up by the 'fishermen'. Again, in
Teso, it has on more than one occasion been recorded that pregnant women will eat
some of the wood 'corals' and earth walls of the inner termite nest. Whether this
fashion derives from sympathetic magic (the idea being to give themselves the
fertility of the termite queen), or whether it is merely a search for certain essential
1 'The Uganda Termite Marketing Corporation'.
THE TERMITE AND ITS USES FOR FOOD 83
mineral salts which are found to be lacking in the diet has never been proved. It
is hoped that it may be possible in due course to make a small map of the areas
where specific methods are used. As regards the drumming, there is no doubt that
this is usually started before the clay pipes are fashioned and that its imitation of
rainfall is often further enhanced by pouring water down the holes in the termite
mound. As Mr. Victor Harris has already shown (Uganda Journal, Vol. 12, 1948),
there is a very wide range of termites; but, so far as is known, no classification of
the various edible types, with their language equivalents, has yet been made. A
considerable vocabulary describing the different termite types is certainly to be
found in most of the languages of Uganda, and I have no doubt a considerable
number of proverbs. The Acholi women of Patiko used to say, "Ngwen ma tye
cwa ocwe otum" (literally "the termites under the tamarind are all finished up ")
and then roar with laughter if someone missed something by being late; but this
may not be a general joke.
Mr. Osmaston's final remarks about the future of termitaria are phrased as a
jest; but at a time when it is seriously being considered how to provide the over-
populated Carribean islands with a balanced diet by providing them with protein
substitutes derived from yeasts and moulds feeding on cellulose, there is no reason
to regard the capacity of the termite to turn cellulose into protein as entirely absurd.
A. C. A. WRIGHT Hon. Editor.
THE BAGANDA MARTYRS, 1885-1887
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE PROTESTANT VICTIMS
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
HE persecutions suffered by African Christians in Buganda in the early
years of Mwanga's reign fell indifferently upon the adherents of both the
Protestant and Roman Catholic missions.
But since the only Europeans resident in Buganda during these years
1884-88 were the English and French missionaries, virtually the only first-hand
accounts of events come from mission sources-the Church Missionary Society
or the White Fathers. Inevitably each mission tended to concern itself with
the vicissitudes of its own affairs and of its own followers. Thus the history of
this period has a dichotomous aspect, and an adequate general report upon the
persecutions has been lacking. A notable contribution to bridging this gap
has been made in a recent book, Black Martyrs, by J. P. Thoonen (Sbeed &
Ward, London, 1941). Appearing as it did at a critical moment of the war, it
did not at the time receive the attention it deserves.
Father Thoonen, of the St. Joseph's Society of Mill Hill, has for the first
time adequately collated the several Roman Catholic and Protestant accounts,
and, although he is primarily concerned with those who have been recognized
as martyrs by his Church, he has furnished an authoritative account, at once
scholarly and vivid, of the whole period of persecution, and he throws light upon
the case of the Protestant martyrs. This is an admirable work, free from the
acrimony which marred so much of the mission literature of sixty years ago, and
it should take a permanent place among the important books on Uganda.
The White Fathers always fostered the hope that those members of their
young flock who had refused to deny their faith even unto death might be
formally recognized as martyrs: and as early as November 1887 a tribunal for
the preparatory informative process began to collect evidence from eye-witnesses,
and to record details of the lives of the martyrs. The enquiry was pursued with
devoted zeal. At length, in 1912, the necessary apostolic process was set in
motion: the consummation came on 6th June 1920 when the solemn feast of the
beatification of twenty-two Baganda martyrs took place in the Vatican basilica
in the presence of Pope Benedict XV.
The Roman Catholic documentation is thus remarkably full, though some
of it, being among the archives of the Sacred Congregations of Rites and of
Propaganda at Rome, is not readily accessible. Father Thoonen has examined
all such unpublished records as well as the whole range of Roman Catholic and
Protestant publications. His book makes readily available a definitive and
exhaustive account of the Roman Catholic martyrs, so that, regarding them,
anything but a brief summary is here superfluous. Suffice to say that their
proto-martyr, Joseph Mukasa Balikudembe, was killed on 15th November 1885
as a result of Mwanga's ill-temper following Joseph's remonstrances regarding
THE BAGANDA MARTYRS, 1885-1887 85
the murder of Bishop Hannington. The great persecution broke out towards
the end of May 1886. On various days between 25th and 31st May six fell
victims around the Kibuga and one, Noe Mawaggali, at Mityana: while in one
holocaust at Namugongo on 3rd June, among some thirty-two persons who
perished were thirteen named Roman Catholics.1 A final isolated case, seem-
ingly, a result of Mwanga's calculated spite, occurred on 27th January 1887,
when Jean-Marie (Jamari) Muzeyi was done to death in the Nakivubo Swamp,
where the 'Martyr's Tree' is still pointed out close to the southern boundary
of the Baganda War Memorial Recreation Ground.
The Protestants have never written authoritatively regarding their martyrs.
At this distance of time it would hardly be possible to obtain such detailed
information as has been recorded regarding the Roman Catholic victims, but it
seems well worth while to get the known facts into order, a task which is much
facilitated by Father Thoonen's studies.
The absence of explicit Protestant record has led to confusion and obscurity.
Two recent instances of error creeping in may be cited.
In Namirembe Cathedral is.a bronze tablet bearing the inscription:
TO THE HONOURED MEMORY
OF THE MARTYRS WHO LAID
DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR THE
SAKE OF CHRIST UGANDA 1885
ERIYA MBWA (OMUSAMULA)
"THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE"
THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY THE
DIOCESE OF UGANDA ON THE
OCCASION OF ITS JUBILEE
S30rH JUNE 1927
1 It is convenient to include Charles Lwanga among these thirteen, though he was,
in fact, taken apart and burned separately nearby on the morning of the same day
(Thoonen, p. 241).
86 UGANDA JOURNAL
These names are not assembled in chronological order of death: only three
of them (Ma'ko Kakumba, Nuwa Serwanga and Yusufu Lugalama) were killed
in 1885, the remainder must have perished in the persecutions of the following
year: while the authenticity of certain of the last four 'unbaptized' victims is
open to question. Moreover, the list is probably incomplete.
Thomas and Scott in Uganda (1935) have also fallen into error, as is
courteously pointed out by Father Thoonen. They state (at p. 20) that three
lads from among Mackay's personal following were burnt to death in January
1885. This is correct apart from the fact that it would be more accurate to
refer to them as "followers of the Protestant mission" since one of them,
Lugalama, was definitely the personal servant of the Rev. R. P. Ashe.
But, misreading a remark in a letter from Alexander Mackay, dated 26th
June 1886,1 they write ibidd., pp. 20-1), "In the first days of June, 1886, some
thirty-two native Protestants were burned to death and thirteen Roman Catholics
suffered martyrdom in a similar holocaust at Namugongo ".
In fact only probably twelve recognized Protestants were done to death in
the persecutions of May/June 1886: and there was only one holocaust, that at
Namugongo, on (probably) 3rd June 1886,2 in which thirteen Roman Catholics
(if we include Charles Lwanga) and perhaps nine Protestants perished. There
were almost certainly other victims on this occasion who were not recognized as
Christian readers by the missionaries. Their names are unrecorded.
The only deliberately compiled list of Protestant martyrs,' A Brief Notice
of some of those who have been killed in Buganda for the testimony of Jesus'
by the Rev. R. P. Ashe, was made before the end of June 1886,3 and there is no
evidence that a further effort was ever made to verify the circumstances of the
deaths of the Protestant victims. A great opportunity was lost by the Rev.
E. C. Gordon whose 'Some recollections of the Uganda martyrs' is printed
in C.M.I., July 1893, pp. 510-12: for this is little more than a further tribute
1 Printed in Church Missionary Intelligencer, December 1886, p. 885: "It is now a
full month since the bloody persecution of Native Christians began. .. About a dozen
were butchered at once many were speared or otherwise killed in the endeavour to
capture them in various parts of the country ; while thirty-two were burnt alive in one
huge pyre, after having been kept prisoners over a week." An editorial note in C.M.I.,
February 1887, p. 114, referring to the recent return to England of the Rev. R. P. Ashe,
states, Mr. Ashe's accounts show that we had under-estimated the number of Christians
in Uganda and the number massacred. ... Of the lads burnt to death at the capital,
the majority were Romanists. Mr. Ashe thinks that some 200 persons who were more
or less adherents of one or other of the Missions were put to death altogether, and a large
number of these were attached to the C.M.S. Mission; but of the baptized Christians of
the C.M.S. only twelve are certainly known to be dead." It will be noted that this last
number differs from that of the Namirembe tablet, but that the aggregate of twelve
Protestant victims during the 1886 persecutions corresponds with the conclusions reached
in the present article.
2 Ashe (CM.I., December 1886, p. 883) adopts 5th June 1886 as the date of the
Namugongo tragedy but adds, "We are not quite certain of the exact date we
were kept many days in suspense, and when the terrible tale was confirmed, we could not
be sure of the day." Mackay's MS. Journal (see note p. 90, post) records, under
5th June 1886, "We hear that yesterday 32 were slowly burned to death." It seems
safer to accept Father Thoonen's date, 3rd June, which has been determined by a careful
study of the evidence.
3 Printed in C.M.I., December 1886, pp. 883-5.
THE BAGANDA MARTYRS, 1885-1887 87
to the devotion and fortitude of three of the best-known victims, Roberto
Munyagabyanjo, Nuwa Walukaga and Fredi Kidza.
As his principal vernacular authority, Thoonen made use of Sir Apolo
Kagwa's Basekabaka (Kings) which was first published in Uganda in 1901.'
Closely allied to (and roughly contemporaneous with) Basekabaka is an account
contained in an article 'How Religion came to Uganda' by 'Apolo Katikiro
and the Reverend Henry Wright Duta, translated by C. W. Hattersley' which
appeared in the C.MJS. local mission paper Uganda Notes during 1902-03,
and is reprinted in Uganda Journal, Vol. 11 (1947), pp. 110-17. This lists and
differentiates nine Protestant and nineteen Roman Catholic martyrs of the 1886
persecutions, and adds some details, particularly of Mwanga's treatment of
But another source of information which has been overlooked is Kagwa's
hitherto almost unobtainable Ebika (Clans) which was first published in Uganda
in 1908; and examination shows that Ebika has a clearly more carefully com-
piled and informed list of martyrs. Indeed, it provides quite the best available
standard by which to compare other lists, and it adds certain circumstantial
details. Basekabaka gives a string of names in no obvious order. Ebika
distinguishes Protestants from Roman Catholics: and it is remarkable that as
regards the latter the Ebika list tallies exactly (though with many variations of
spelling) with the accepted list of Roman Catholic martyrs.
Since elimination is one of the few means now available of establishing
the names of Protestant victims, it will be helpful to set out the Roman Catholic
roll in chronological order of date of death as given by Thoonen together with
both the Basekabaka and Ebika lists.
Date of death Basekabaka Eblka Thoonen
15th Nov. 1885 Balikudembe Yozefu Mukasa (Baliku- Joseph Mukasa
Omusalosalo dembe Omusalosalo) Balikuddembe
25th May 1886 Sebugwawo Dioniziyo (Basemukula) Denis Sebuggwawo
26th May 1886 Ngondwe Ponsiyano Ng'ondwa Pontian Ngondwe
S. A. Kaguwo Omugowa Andereya Kagwa Andrew Kaggwa
Bazekuketa Atanasiyo Bazekuketa Athanasius
27th May 1886 Gonza Gonzaga Gonza Gonzaga Gonza
30th May 1886 Matyasi Kalemba Matiya Mulumba Matthias Kalemba
31st May 1886 Mawagali Nowe Mawagali Noe Mawaggali
3rd June 1886 Lwanga Lugaju Karoli Lwanga Charles Lwanga
Luka Banabakintu Luka Banabakintu Luke Banabakintu
S Buza Yakobo Buza James Buzabaliawo
Serunkuma Buruno Serunkuma Bruno Serunkuma
I Thoonen used the edition published in London in 1912.
2 To anticipate: the nine Protestant names in Uganda Notes do not include
Musabatosi of the Basekabaka list, but do include Sabagabo we Kitegombwa whom I
have, on a review of the evidence, omitted from my considered list of Protestant martyrs.
The nineteen Roman Catholic names commence with "(1) Lwanga Gonza" which is
probably a confusion of two separate victims, Charles Lwanga and Gonzaga Gonza.
"(15) Kibuka of Uganda Notes is missing from Basekabaka but appears in Ebika.
"(18) Sebugwawo" is accorded the additional name of "Semukutu ". There are no
other significant differences between this and the Basekabaka list.
pate of death Basekabaka
3rd June 1886 Ludigo
,, ,, ,,
,, ,, ,,
,, ,, ,,
,, ,, ,,
,, ,, ,,
,, ,, ,,
27th Jan. 1887
It will be noted that Basekabaka omits only Ambrose Kibuka (Jamari
Muzeyi's death was an isolated incident which took place long after the general
massacre of May-June 1886). Ebika has a redundant Kalemba, doubtless a
duplication for Matthias Kalemba the Mulumba.
There remains a residuum of what are clearly Protestant names. For
the most part these are satisfactorily authenticated by a comparison of the
Basekabaka and Ebika lists with Ashe's list in Church Missionary Intelligencer
already cited and the Namirembe tablet. Certainly qualifying for inclusion are:
Maliko Kakumba Joseph Nakumba
Yusufu Lugalama Joseph Lugalama
Musa Mukasa Mukasa = Musa
Mbwa Omusamula Embwa=Musamula
Alubato Munyaga' Munyaga Roberto
Nuwa Walukaga Malukaga [sic]=Nua
Aligizanda Kadoko Kadoko Alexandro
Fuledi Wigirimu Kidza Musali
Kiza Fredi Wigram
A second residual of names which are vouched for either by Ashe's list or
by Kagwa may be added to the Protestant roll:
Nakabandwa= Dan Dani Nakabanda
Mukasa Lwakisiga Mukasa lwa Kisiga Mukasa
To the above should certainly be added a name which is not only recorded
in both of Kagwa's lists but is mentioned as a Protestant victim at Namugongo
in evidence collected by the White Fathers for the apostolic process. He is:
1 Ashe says of him that he was a follower of Chief Engobya: not much known of
him" and that, contradicting the Namirembe tablet, he had been baptized (C.M.I.,
December 1886, p. 884). He is clearly to be distinguished from one of Ashe's boys
" Lwanga= Mako aged eleven ". Ashe records that on 27th May "the poor children
were in terror of their lives. Lwanga, a little Muganda, we sent home to his father
and mother" ibidd, pp. 880-1).
THE BAGANDA MARTYRS, 1885-1887 89
Of him Thoonen (p. 199) says that he was one of the group of servants of
the outer courts of the royal enclosure.
One may further hazard acceptance of the equation:
Bawkabaka Ebia Ashe Nnairembe
Basekabaka Eblka Ashe Namnrembe
Muwaga Muwanga Njigija --
Sabagabo Sabagabo we -
The inclusion of the first two of these names in both of Kagwa's lists is
reasonable evidence that persons of these names were involved in the persecu-
tions, if anywhere probably at Namugongo. Attention may, however, be
directed to a certain Matia Gayiya. Ashe (Two Kings of Uganda, p. 218) says,
" This boy was the son of chief Mugula, and himself held the office of Sabagabo
in the Kitongole of the 'bagalagala' or pages"; and a letter from Ashe,
written in the last week of May 1886 (printed in C.M.I., December 1886, p. 879),
shows that as one of the head-pages he was constantly referred to as Sabagabo,
but that though shamefully treated by one of Mwanga's Moslem favourites, he
was not killed.' It is quite possible that this incident led Kagwa to assume
that he was a victim: and accordingly I am inclined to omit this name from
the list, while including that of Muwanga Njigija (Nijiri in Uganda Notes,
Still to be accounted for on the Namirembe tablet is the name of Kiwanuka.
There seems no evidence for his inclusion in a Protestant list, and I venture to
suggest that he is none other than the Blessed Achilles Kiwanuka. He was not
among the more prominent of the White Fathers' pupils and it may well be
that his name was recalled by some old person from whom information was
sought when, in 1927, the Namirembe tablet was being planned, without realiz-
ing that he was a Roman Catholic neophyte and not a Protestant reader.
Some notes upon the Protestant martyrs with a view to determining the
dates of their death may be added.
On 29th January 1885 Mackay obtained Mwanga's grudging permission to
cross to the south of Lake Victoria, At 10 a.m. next day he set off from the
mission house at Natete for the landing on the lake shore2 at which the mission
boat Eleanor was kept. With him were Ashe who was to sail only as far as
Entebbe, five personal followers and the boat crew of hired Coast men. The
five followers were Sambo, Mackay's personal servant who, with eight Coast
men, were to go with Mackay to the south of the lake: Lugalama, Ashe's
favourite boy: and Kakumba who had attached himself to the mission (" Two
native lads carried Ashe's bedding, both baptized lads, and strange to say, both
bearing the name Yusuf (Joseph3)"): with Balibanange and Butukula (" little
1 See also Thoonen, p. 170, where he is referred to as Matthias Gayiga ; and Ashe,
Chronicles of Uganda, p. 80.
2 Mackay refers to this as Port Mutungo. It would be in the bay between Kazi and
3 C.M.I., October 1885, p. 715. Nevertheless Kakumba was ultimately accorded the
Christian name of Maliko or Ma'ko.