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Index to Volume 15 (1951)
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The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 15, No. 2
Acholi History, 1860-1901-1 - S JOHN MILNER GRAY
The Banakalanga of Kyagwe DRS. A. B. RAPER AND R. G. LADKIN
The Ghost of Leven House, Nlombasa (with a Note on Leven House)
Sm FREDERICK J. JACKSON
Some Notes on West Nile Hills and History R. N. PosNEnT
The Glaciers of Ruwenzori I. R. MENZIES
The First Finding of a Live Pigmy Crocodile in Uganda
E. A. TEMPLE PERKINS
The Alur Legend of Sir Samuel Baker and the Mukama Kabarega
The Tradition of the Coming of the Abalisa Clan to Buhwezu, Ankole
P. K. KIv-AN uM u
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoia-VII J. M. WATSON
Clover in Kampala -
Jacob Wainwright in Uganda
East African Institute of Social Research -
A. N. PRETrICE
H. B. THOMAs
Right Hand-Left Hand -
Maize Names -
Sir Albert R. Cook -
The Story of the Uganda Agreement (by J. V. Wild) Sm J. GRAY
Obwomezi bw'Omukama Duhaga II (by Princess Lucy Olive Katyanku
and Semu Bulera) S J. M. GRAY
Game Animals of Eastern Africa (by C. A. W. Guggisberg)
J. M. WATSON
East African Background (by G. W. B. Huntingford and C. R. V. Bell)
A. C. A. WRIGHT
Shot-gun and Sunlight (by B. G. Lynn-Allen) CAPT. C. R. S. PITMAN
Index to Volume 15 of The Uganda Journal -
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
Price Shs. 10 (10s.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
OFFICERS FOR 1951
His Excellency Sir John Hathorn Hall, G.C.M.G., D.S.O., O..E., iMC.
Dr. A. W. Williams
Dr. J. B. Hutchinson, .M.o.
The President Mr. B. Nsimbi
The Vice-President Mr. D. K. Marphatia
The Hon. Secretary Mr. L. P. Saldanha
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 1. Richards
Mr. B. M. Mulyanti
Hon. Secretary: Mr. R. G. Sangster
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. M. M. Wallis
Hon. Librarian: Mrs. B. Saben, nB.n.
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. P. A. Whiteley
H.H. Edward Mutesa II, Kabaka Sir Mark Wilson
of Buganda Mr. Norman Godinho, M..E.
R. A. Tito Winyi IU, c.B.E. Mr. E. B. Haddon
Sir E. F. Twining, LC.M.G., M.B.E. Mr. H. B. Thomas, o..E.
Sir John Milner Gray Dr. A. W. Williams
Sir A. R. Cook, c.Mo., o.B.E.
Mr. E. J. Wayland, C.B.E.
Dr. H. H. Hunter, C..E., LL.D.
Mr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G.
Sir H. R. Hone,
K.B.E., M.C., LKC.
Mr. J. Sykes, o.B.E.
Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman,
C.B.E., D.S.O., MC.
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, M.a.E.
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, O.B.E.
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, .B.E.
Mrs. K. M. Trowel, .aB.E.
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Dr. G. ap Grifith
Rev. Fr. F. B. Gaffney, w.F.
The Hon. Editor Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, c.B.E., D.S.O., M.. Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.aE.
Dr. Audrey 1. Richards
Mrs. M. M. Wallis.
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.
DR. AUDREY I. RICHARDS
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 ASHPORD KENT
Acholi History, 1860-1901-1 SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY
The Banakalanga of Kyagwe DRS. A. B. RAPER AND R. G. LADKIN
The Ghost of Leven House, Mombasa (with a Note on Leven House)
SIR FREDERICK J. JACKSON
Some Notes on West Nile Hills and History R. N. POSNETT
The Glaciers of Ruwenzori I. R. MENZIES
The First Finding of a Live Pigmy Crocodile in Uganda
E. A. TEMPLE PERKINS
The Alur Legend of Sir Samuel Baker and the Mukama Kabarega
The Tradition of the Coming of the Abalisa Clan to Buhwezu, Ankole
P. K. KANYAMUNYU
The Wild Mammals of Teso and Karamoja-VII J. M. WATSON
Clover in Kampala A. N. PRENTICE
Jacob Wainwright in Uganda H. B. THOMAS
East African Institute of Social Research -
Right Hand-Left Hand -
Maize Names -
Sir Albert R. Cook
The Story of the Uganda Agreement (by J. V. Wild) SIR J. M. GRAY
Obwomezi bw'Omukama Duhaga II (by Princess Lucy Olive Katyanku
and Semu Bulera) SIR J. M. GRAY
Game Animals of Eastern Africa (by C. A. W. Guggisberg)
J. M. WATSON
East African Background (by G. W. B. Huntingford and C. R. V. Bell)
A. C. A. WRIGHT
Shot-gun and Sunlight (by B. G. Lynn-Allen) CAPT. C. R. S. PITMAN
Index to Volume 15 of The Uganda Journal
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901-I
By SIR JOHN MILNER GRAY
THE Acholi are part of the Nilotic group of Lwo-speaking tribes, who some
three centuries or more ago moved south from the Bahr-el-Ghazal region
of the Sudan. Clan traditions go to show that there was more than one such
migration and that different clans arrived in what is now the Acholi country at
different times. It would appear that the present Acholi clans of Payera, Patiko,
Paicho and Koich were amongst the earliest clans to arrive and that they came
by way of the banks of the Nile. A little later there appears to have been an
independent migration or series of migrations farther to the east. Prominent
amongst these later immigrants were the ancestors of the Padibe clan (1).
One at least of these early waves of immigrants made but a short stay in the
Acholi country and soon after arrival crossed the Victoria Nile and entered
what is now Bunyoro. After a time pressure from Bantu tribes appears to
have been too strong for them and they retreated back across the Nile into the
Acholi country. All these clans call themselves Jo Pa-Lwo, which name Emin
Pasha converted into' Shefalu '. These clans are at the present time distributed
somewhat widely over the Acholi country but, as might be expected, a large
number of them settled on the north bank of the Victoria Nile between Lakes
Kyoga and Albert, where they acquired from their Bantu neighbours the
appellation of Chopi. From the time of the accession of Kamurasi, who
became Mukama of Bunyoro in about 1851 (2), until the final overthrow of
his son Kabarega close on half a century later, these riparian Jo Pa-Lwo were
in the habit of supporting by force of arms a number of claimants to the throne
of Bunyoro, which acts led from time to time to retaliatory raids by the Banyoro.
Here, however, I do not propose to give any account of this rather 'kite and
crow' warfare, which more properly belongs to the history of Bunyoro.
In addition to the Acholi other Nilotic tribes occupy parts of the territory
which is now comprised in the modern Acholi District. The strongest numeric-
ally and the most important of these are the Madi, whom Westermann classifies
as belonging to the high Nilotic group. At the present time the Madi occupy
a large belt of territory on both sides of the Nile between Dufile and Wadelai.
Unfortunately very little has as yet appeared in print in regard to these very
interesting people, but J. P. Birch, who has obtained considerable information
as to the traditions of a number of Madi sub-tribes, has reached the conclusion
that "the Madi occupied their present areas by an easterly or south-easterly
movement, possibly being checked by a westward thrust of the Acholi" (3).
Another smaller group of non-Acholi people are the Alur, members of
which tribe were settled in the latter half of the nineteenth century on the east
bank of the Nile at Wadelai and in the immediate vicinity of that place. At
the present time the major portion of this tribe lives on the west bank of the
Nile. They would appear never to have had anything more than a very pre-
carious foothold on the east bank of the river. According to certain of their
122 UGANDA JOURNAL
traditions they appear to have entered the Acholi country by way of the Nile
from the north and to have crossed the river under pressure from the Acholi in
the region of Wadelai. Thereafter the main body settled on the west bank of
the Nile, leaving only small pockets of resistance at Wadelai, Pakwach and a
few other places on the east bank (4). Their own legends point to the fact that
in the region of Pakwach the Alur were compelled at an early date to submit to
the overlordship of Acholi chiefs. On the other hand, tradition also goes to
show that chiefs from Bunyoro exercised overlordship in the regions of Wadelai
at a very early date (5).
The Lango District lies to the east of the modern Acholi District. At the
present time the Tochi River, which flows into the Nile more or less opposite
to the former government station at Foweira, has been constituted the boundary
between the Lango and the south-western section of the Acholi District, but, as
Delm6-Radcliffe's map (published in the Geographical Journal for February
1903) shows, at the beginning of this century the Ayegu River, which flows into
the Nile about fifteen miles to the west of Foweira, was regarded as being the
intertribal boundary, though there were some Lango living even farther to the
west. The Lango, whom the Acholi call Omiru, must, however, be distinguished
from the people called by the Acholi the Lango-Dyang, who live in the north-
east portion of the present Acholi District and appear to have affinities with the
Madi or Bari.
The various traditional versions of the histories of the foregoing tribes and
of the clans and sub-tribes within those tribes are often extremely difficult to
reconcile the one with the other. For present purposes it is enough to say that
intertribal warfare and clan feuds loom very largely in those traditions.
There are numerous traditions of Lango incursions into the Acholi country.
Baker met a party of Lango hunters well inside that territory on his march from
Patiko (Fatiko) to Bunyoro in March 1872. One tradition tells of a raiding party
which earlier in last century got as far as Patiko itself. Madi as well as Acholi
traditions tell of raids by the Acholi into Madi territory. One obtains the
impression that these incursions were for the most part' hit, grab and run' raids,
but it would appear that sometimes, after having suffered from a more or less
continuous succession of such raids, the members of the raided tribe would
abandon part of their territory, thus leaving it to be occupied by the raiders (6).
Acholi traditions also tell us that there was a certain amount of fighting
between clans and that sometimes two or more clans would combine to attack
another clan. As often as not this fighting began owing to the murder of a
member of one clan by a member of another clan or else owing to some other
wrongful act done to the person or property of a member of a clan. Some-
times these feuds lasted for many years. As will be seen, one such feud between
the clans of Payera and Padibe lasted for more than fifteen years. But no useful
purpose would be served by going into any detail in regard to them, as they did
little to make or shape the history of the tribe as a whole. In the words of
R. M. Bere, the historian of the Acholi, until the tribe began to have contacts
with the outside world, "the history of the Acholi is the story of the clans.
Each was, and to some extent still is, a separate political unity, with its own
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 123
External contacts were first made about the middle of the nineteenth
century as the result of the grandiose schemes of Muhammad Ali, Pasha of
Egypt, for the conquest of the Sudan. In 1841 an Egyptian expedition reached
the latitude of Gondokoro and brought thence stories of the fabulous quantities
of ivory which were said to be obtainable in the countries to the south of Gondo-
koro. Until Muhammad Ali's death in 1849 the Egyptian Government retained
for itself the monopoly of the trade in those regions. Thereafter the trade was
thrown open and a number of trading posts were established on or near the
banks of the upper Nile. These were manned by adventurers who soon found
that there was an even more profitable trade than elephant hunting, namely,
slave raiding. But it is right to say that some of those who at this period probed
the regions of the upper Nile were neither slave-traders nor elephant hunters.
Austrian missionaries made their way up to Gondokoro and genuine pioneers of
exploration set out upon the quest to discover the sources of the Nile.
In 1860 an Italian, named Giovanni Miani, set out on a journey of explora-
tion from Gondokoro. On 26th March 1860 he reached a place, which he called
Galuffi, on the north bank of the Unyama River, which flows into the Nile a few
miles above the rapids below Dufile. As he tells us, the lack of supplies, the
vicissitudes of travel and disease brought on by privation hindered us: the
season advanced and the equinoctial rains dragged from my grasp the discovery
which was so near at hand .... At Galuffi I cut my name on the trunk of a large
tamarind tree, in the shade of which the old men, whom I called together, told
me that the sources of the Nile were beyond Patico (8).
Speke saw this tree on 15th January 1863, when the letters "M I" were
still visible on its bark. He gives the latitude of the tree as 3* 34' 33" north
and calls the place Apuddo, which must have been very near to the station of
that name established by the Uganda Administration some forty years later.
Speke was told that Miani turned back because he was alarmed at the accounts
given of the countries to the southward, and he did not like the prospect of
having to remain a whole rainy season with Mahamed at Faloro (9).
This passage from Speke's Journal suggests that even before Miani set out
from Gondokoro, a trading post had already been established in the Acholi
country to the south of Galuffi. Confirmation of this would appear to be
forthcoming from Miani himself, who on the strength of information given to
him by the elders at Galuffi, placed a "Ghebel Palaro" on the map which he
annexed to his account of his expedition. On the other hand, an observation
by Grant suggests that the Faloro (Paloro) station was not established until some
months after Miani's return from Galuffi (10). As Speke and Grant tells us,
this trading post belonged to a Maltese, Andrea de Bono, whose nephew
Amabile visited the post some eight months before Speke and Grant arrived
there. Mrs. Petherick, who was the wife of the British Consul at Khartoum,
records on 12th May 1862 that she and her husband met de Bono some little
distance downstream from Gondokoro. The Pethericks were told that Amabile
was but six days from Gondokoro, where Amabile had been a week, and had
left his station at Faloro ten days previously. He was accompanied by an
escort of one hundred and fifty men, and notwithstanding this force he had
frequent affrays with the natives, who obstinately contested every day's march.
124 UGANDA JOURNAL
He said he had penetrated the hilly districts some three or four days southwards
from his station (11).
On 3rd December 1862 Speke and Grant reached Faloro on their way
from Bunyoro to Gondokoro. They discovered that the post was being run
upon strictly military lines and that ivory was not the only commodity in which
the traders dealt. Grant had this to say of the trading post: "The people of
Madi, to whom the village of Faloro belongs, did not seem happy under the yoke
of the Turks . they are during the day oppressed by their masters, and
compelled by the lash to labour. Instances of this were constantly seen: a
Toorkee thought nothing of giving a woman a cut with his cane if she stood the
least in his way; and to escape such cruelty, we saw the people removing the
materiel of villages for a new erection on a spot more distant from the Toorkee
Speke's Journal contains a number of references to the barbarity of these
'Turks'. One such passage may suffice. He tells us that on Christmas Day,
1862, I heard from Mahamed's head wife that the Turks had plundered and
burnt down three villages, and in all probability they would return shortly laden
with ivory. This was a true anticipation; for, on the 31st, Mahamed came in
with his triumphant army laden with ivory, and driving in five slave-girls and
thirty head of cattle (13).
Speke and Grant met Samuel Baker and his wife at Gondokoro and gave
them reports of the existence of a great lake to the west of the kingdom of
Bunyoro. Thereupon the Bakers set out to the south with a party of Khartoum
ivory traders. Proceeding through the Acholi country, they crossed the Nile
into Bunyoro. After almost interminable delays and great hardships, they
reached the shores of Lake Albert. The Bakers then made a perilous voyage
during a storm on the lake and eventually returned to Gondokoro more or less
by the same route as that in which they had set out.
Samuel Baker fully confirmed what Speke and Grant had already said in
regard to the slave-trade. On 13th January 1864 he and his wife reached Shooa
(Chua). Here Baker discovered that: The whole of the Shooa country was
assumed to belong to Mahommed Wat-el-Mek, the vakeel of Debono, and we
passed the ashes of several villages that had been burnt and plundered by these
people between Farajoke and this point; the entire country had been laid waste.
There was no great chief at Shooa; each village had its separate headman;
formerly the population had occupied the lower ground, but since the Turks had
been established at Faloro and had plundered the neighboring tribes, the natives
had forsaken their villages and had located themselves among the mountains
for security" (14).
On another page of The Albert N'yanza Baker tells us that "the people
of Lira (15) were fighting with their friends the Langgos-those of Shooa with
the natives of Fatiko ; nor were there two neighboring tribes that were at peace.
It was natural that such unprincipled parties as the Khartoum traders should
turn this general discord to their own advantage; thus within the ten months
that we had been absent from Shooa a great change had taken place in the
neighbourhood. The rival parties of Koorshid and Debono, under their respec-
tive leaders, Ibrahim and Mahommed Wat-el-Mek, had league themselves with
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 125
the contending tribes, and the utter ruin of the country was the consequence.
For many miles' circuit from Shooa, the blackened ruins of villages and deserted
fields bore witness to the devastation committed; cattle that were formerly in
thousands, had been driven off, and the beautiful district that had once been
most fertile was reduced to a wilderness (16).
Finally, on a later page, Baker gave this account of one act of the basest
treachery on the part of Wat-el-Mek towards his native allies: "Owine and
many of his people with their families quitted the country, and forming an
alliance with Mahommed Wat-el-Mek, they settled in the neighbourhood of his
camp at Faloro, and built a village. For some time they were on the best of
terms, but some cattle of the Turks being missed, suspicion fell upon the new
settlers. The men of Mahommed's party desired that they might be expelled,
and Mahommed, in a fit of drunken fury, at once ordered them to be massacred.
His men, eager for murder and plunder, immediately started upon their bloody
errand, and surrounding the unsuspecting colony, they fired the huts and killed
every man, including the chief Owine; capturing the women and children as
In course of time the writings of Speke, Grant, Baker and the Pethericks
made European public opinion realize the dimensions of the slave-trade and
the appalling methods employed by the traders. Partly in order to propitiate
that opinion and partly with a desire to embark upon a venture which was likely
to lead to the aggrandizement of his country, Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt,
resolved to take measures for the permanent occupation by Egypt of the Equa-
torial regions of the upper Nile, putting forward the suppression of the slave-
trade as one of the principal reasons for such a step.
Sir Samuel Baker (as he had become in 1866) was appointed to command
the expedition. On 26th May 1871, at Gondokoro, he proclaimed the annexa-
tion to Egypt of the regions to the south of that place. In March 1872, he
reached Patiko where he found a large body of armed ivory and slave traders.
He left a small garrison under the command of an Egyptian officer at Patiko
and continued his way south into Bunyoro. At Masindi he met Kabarega, who
had recently succeeded his father Kamurasi as Mukama of Bunyoro. On 14th
May 1872, in pursuance of the instructions contained in the Khedive's firman,
Baker proclaimed the annexation of Bunyoro to Egypt. Friction soon followed.
On 8th June the Banyoro attacked Baker's camp, but were repulsed. Baker
then set fire to the town of Masindi, and thereafter, having also set fire to his
own stores, he retreated to the Nile, where in the preceding April he had estab-
lished a military post at Foweira. He left a garrison at this last-mentioned place
and made his way back to Patiko, where he arrived on 1st August 1872. He
found that the garrison, which he had left behind, had proved incapable of coping
with the Khartoum slave-traders, who proceeded to fire on Baker's troops.
Baker thereupon attacked the traders' camp, carried it at the point of the bayonet
and set it on fire (18).
The Bakers remained seven months at Patiko, building a fort there and
entering into friendly relations with the neighboring chiefs. Amongst these
chiefs was Omo Oya, who was known to the slave-traders and the Bakers as
Wat-el-Ajoos, the son of the old man ", that is to say, the son of Gikwiakara,
126 UGANDA JOURNAL
who had been Rwot of Patiko at the time of the Bakers' previous visit in
1864 (19). Another chief was Ochama, Rwot of Payera, whose sphere of
influence was undoubtedly considerable and who informed Baker that he had
determined to offer his allegiance, and he and all the adjacent countries would
serve the government faithfully in return for justice and protection" (20).
Gimoro, the chief of a neighboring village, was to be Sir Samuel Baker's
companion on more than one hunting expedition. So also was the man, whom
Baker called "Shooli ", but whose real name was Obwona Awach and who
was at this date the Rwot of Patiko's interpreter (21).
Sir Samuel Baker's term of office expired on 1st April 1873, and he left
Patiko on 20th March of that year. He had established military posts at Patiko,
Pabo and Foweira. He justly claimed that in the region of Patiko he had
restored peace and prosperity, but despite his efforts, after-events showed that
the slave-trade was very far from having been eradicated. In fact, Baker
unwittingly introduced two measures which tended greatly to encourage the
trade's continuance, though in fairness to him it must be added that-it was the
exigencies of the moment which induced him to adopt these particular measures.
In the first place, as he was not furnished with sufficient regular troops for the
policing of the vast territories which he had to administer, he decided to act on
the principle of making the poacher turn gamekeeper and for that purpose
enlisted as irregular soldiers a number of the employees of the Khartoum slave
traders. Amongst other individuals so engaged was Mahommed Wat-el-Mek,
some of whose misdeeds have already been recorded on a previous page. As
later pages will show, in his, as in many other cases, the cloak of government
office was far from being an outward and visible sign of a return to inward and
spiritual grace. Baker also tells us that he found it necessary to establish a corn-
tax for the support of the troops. Each house was taxed to pay a small basket
of corn every full moon. All old and infirm people and also strangers were
exempted from taxation. The headman of each village was responsible for the
tax, and he delivered a bundle of small pieces of reed, the size of drawing pencils,
which represented the number of houses belonging to able-bodied men (22).
Though Baker tells us that in his time this tax was readily and cheerfully
paid by the people living near Patiko, its popularity, as was only to be expected,
did not endure for long. After Baker's departure it began to be paid less readily
and less cheerfully and this unpunctuality afforded the Egyptian garrisons the
excuse for levying contributions by means of raids upon the countryside.
In justice to Baker it should be mentioned that his final instructions on
leaving for Gondokoro were that each company of troops is to cultivate corn
and vegetables at the close of the rains" so as to reduce the demands of the
garrisons upon the local inhabitants, but it seems clear that this order was
honoured far more in the breach than in the observance. The members of the
garrisons-both regulars and irregulars-regarded the local inhabitants as
Gibeonites whom an all-wise Providence had appointed to be hewers of wood
and drawers of water and thus to relieve soldiers of all kinds of drudgery.
Consequently the corn-tax and the abuses attendant upon its collection not only
continued, but tended to increase as the years went by.
Against these and other mistakes must, however, be set Sir Samuel Baker's
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 127
greatest and most lasting achievement. This was a moral one and is best
summed up in Sir Harry Johnston's words: "A good many of his efforts for
the welfare of the country were thwarted by the Egyptian Governor-General at
Khartoum, and after his departure, in 1873, some of his worst enemies amongst
the slave-traders were reinstated. This much must, however, always be recorded
to the credit of Sir Samuel Baker's work in the Upper Nile: he inspired universal
respect among the fair-dealing natives; ... throughout these regions the natives
can remember but one great and good administrator before the present regime,
and that is Sir Samuel Baker; .. 'Baker Basha' is, in the remembrance of
the old people, the one heroic white man they have known: terrible in battle,
scrupulously just, at all times kind and jovial in demeanour amongst friends;
a born ruler over a savage people" (23).
When Baker left the Sudan, he still professed to be optimistic about the
future and full of confidence that Ismail Pasha would do all that lay in his power
to suppress the slave-trade. But reading between the lines of Ismailia one
gathers that he had a feeling of frustration. In an Appendix at the end of the
book Baker wrote: "I am convinced that the Khedive is sincere at heart in
wishing to suppress the slave-trade, but he requires unusual moral courage to
enter the lists single-handed against Egyptian public opinion." In other
words, Baker knew only too well that he himself had been called upon to
perform the well-nigh impossible task of cleaning out an Augean stable. More
than once the Egyptian troops showed themselves to be utterly unreliable.
Egyptian officials almost to a man were working hand in glove with the slave-
traders. Sir Samuel Baker, therefore, felt that he had had enough and Ismail
Pasha was left to find somebody else to complete the task.
The Khedive decided that he would carry on and find the best man avail-
able to fill Baker's post. His choice fell upon Colonel Charles George Gordon,
who a few years before, as 'Chinese Gordon' of the 'Ever Victorious Army',
had succeeded in achieving the apparently impossible by rescuing the Manchu
Empire from disruption. Gordon was Governor of the Equatorial Province
from 1874 to 1876 and Governor-General of the entire Sudan from 1877 to
1879. His personal contact with the regions of the upper Nile ended when he
returned to England in 1876.
Very soon after his arrival in Egypt Gordon told his sister that "I think I
can see the true motive now of the expedition, and believe it to be a sham, to
catch the attention of the English people, as Baker said; I think the Khedive
is quite innocent (or nearly so) of it, but Nubar is the chief man (24). But it
was characteristic of Gordon that, having put his hand to the plough, he refused
to turn back. He endeavoured loyally to carry out Ismail Pasha's instructions.
He began by trying to set matters to rights in the northern sections of his
province. After that he turned his attention to the countries lying between
Gondokoro and the Equator. Baker had left Gondokoro on 25th May 1873.
Gordon did not arrive there until'16th April in the following year. During the
interregnum the greatest laxity had prevailed and many of Baker's standing
orders had been completely disregarded. Above all, the slave-trade had
obtained a fresh lease of life. This was Gordon's first impression of the southern
section of his province: The only possessions Egypt has in my provinces are
128 UGANDA JOURNAL
two forts, one at Gondokoro, and the other at Fatiko. There are 300 men in
one, and 200 in the other. As for paying taxes or any government existing out-
side the forts, it is all nonsense. You cannot go out in safety half a mile-all
because they have been fighting the poor natives and taking their cattle. I
apprehend not the least difficulty in the work; the greatest will be to gain the
people's confidence again. They have been hardly treated (25).
Almost from the day that he first arrived in the Sudan Gordon had made
up his mind that the only way of suppressing the slave-trade was by attacking
that trade at its source of supply. With that object he decided to extend the
Khedive's authority to the shores of Lake Albert and Lake Victoria and to
improve communications by establishing steamer services on both lakes. As a
stepping-stone on the route to Lake Victoria he established a military post near
the junction of the Nile and Kafu at Mruli, but for reasons which need not be
discussed he was unable to proceed with the establishment of any stations to
the south of Mruli. With a certain amount of reluctance Gordon also felt
constrained to establish as a curb upon Kabarega a bridgehead across the Nile
in northern Bunyoro. This bridgehead was roughly triangular in shape with its
base on the banks of the Nile between Magungo and Foweira and its apex at
Londu about four miles south-west of the modern Masindi. Gordon failed to
accomplish his plan of launching a steamer on Lake Victoria but, very largely
as the result of six weeks' strenuous supervision on his part, by the end of 1876
he had succeeded in getting sections of a 38-ton steamer and of two whaleboats
up from Gondokoro overland past the rapids to Dufile, where the sections were
re-assembled. In 1878 another steamer of 108 tons was, on his instructions,
transported to Dufile. The two steamers were named Khedive and Nyanza
and were to prove exceedingly useful in helping to maintain communications in
the Equatorial Province until the final evacuation by the Egyptian Government
eleven years later (26).
Though communication between Dufile, Lake Albert, Magungu and the
Bunyoro bridgehead could thus be maintained more or less efficiently by water,
communication between Dufile and the posts at Foweira and Mruli had to be
by the slow and none too satisfactory means of head porterage overland through
the Acholi country. Gordon himself only once used this overland route,
namely, in July and August 1876, when he proceeded via Patiko to Mruli. For
him, as for other Europeans in the Egyptian service, the Acholi country was
no more than a corridor leading from Gondokoro to Bunyoro and Buganda.
In order, however, to keep his line of communication open, military posts had
to be maintained at Patiko and elsewhere on or near the through route. Read-
ing the accounts given by European visitors to the country, one gathers that
effective Egyptian administration was limited to these military posts and their
immediate vicinity. When travelling between two such posts, it was always
advisable to have a large armed escort.
In furtherance of his plan to open up steamer communication with Lake
Albert, Gordon sent Lieutenant W. H. Chippindall, R.E., overland from Dufile
to explore the Nile up to the place where it debouched from that lake. Chippin-
dall set out on 26th February 1875; after three hours' march he reached
'Gaifi', which must be the same place named as Miani's Galuffi, "or, as the
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 129
natives call it, Fagrinia ". A little to the north-east of this place was an old
slave and ivory-trading post, which was "now transformed into a government
station with a garrison of a corporal and ten men ". Two more days' marching
brought the party to De Bono's old trading post at Faloro. Thence by' Obufie'
they came on 4th March to 'Fashora', otherwise Pasora, situated about three
miles to the south of the place which was to acquire the name of Wadelai. There
Chippindall met the chief of the Koshi (Wadlay) ". As there was an outbreak
of smallpox at Pasora and as he learnt from Wadelai, that there were no rapids
between Pasora and Lake Albert, Chippindall decided to turn back (27).
Gordon himself reached the fringe of the modern Acholi District in October
1875, when he was busily engaged in trying to get the Khedive towed from
Gondokoro through the rapids up to Dufile, only to find that the task was
impossible and that he would have to dismantle the vessel and have it carried
overland in sections. He reached Dufile on 9th October and stayed there for
eighteen days. He then moved to 'Fashelie' (? Parachele) about nine miles to
the east of Duffle. He decided to make this place his headquarters for the
purpose of supervising the overland transport of goods and materials to some
suitable point on the Nile above the rapids. On assuming office one of his
very earliest reforms had been to send all the ex-ivory traders back to Khartoum,
but on arrival at Fashelie he was disgusted to find ten of these gentry with a
small band of their own followers ", who had eluded his vigilance and "were
levying taxes with no laws" (28). Needless to say, these folk very soon got
their marching orders. But his own soldiers were very little better.
Whilst still at Fashelie, he wrote on 31st October to his sister, saying:
"The soldiers will pillage en route. The natives collect and then run away,
enticing the soldiers to follow them into ambushes. One has been killed. It
is no use telling these dolts that the natives' object is to entice them to separate.
How cordially glad I shall be when the whole relations between us cease! I
cannot help it, but I have taken such a dislike to these blacks that I cannot bear
their sight. I do not mean the natives, but these soldiers. They are nothing
but a set of pillagers, and are about as likely to civilize these parts as they are
to civilize the moon. Though it tells against me in my operations, I am glad
in my heart that they are afraid of the natives. It will be long before they get
the whip hand of them" (29).
"God permits me", he wrote the next day, "to open the road to the
interior, but, humanly speaking, I see nothing to encourage the hope that this
occupation of these lands will be of any advantage towards civilizing them (30).
On 13th November Gordon returned to Dufile and proceeded thence down
the Nile to deal with certain other matters which called for his immediate atten-
tion. At the end of 1875 he was able to make his way back to Fashelie-and
thence to Patiko, where he arrived on 3rd January 1876. Thence he proceeded
by way of Foweira to Mruli, which latter place he occupied on 22nd January.
Six days later he started on his return journey by way of Patiko to Dufile, where
he arrived seven and half days later. Once again affairs in other parts of his
provinces forced him to return downstream. He was a sick and overworked
man at this date. It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that the wearisome
marches under the tropical sun led him to form an unfavourable opinion of
130 UGANDA JOURNAL
the Acholi country and people. "This", he told his sister, "is a thorny,
unpromising country, with its mosquitoes, and grasses, and jungles, and its
people. They will never change their habits: no mortal will ever civilize these
In other letters to his sister, Gordon constantly referred to the fact that the
Egyptian officials were working hand in glove with the slave-traders and were
ever ready to connive at the traffic, if he himself was not constantly watching
them. But this was not the sum total of their iniquity. Early in 1875 there
had come to his notice an atrocity which had been committed by the Mudir of
Patiko. This individual was Andrea de Bono's former agent, Mahommed
Wat-el-Mek, who had been taken on as a government 'official by Baker.
Chaill6 Long had met him at Patiko in 1874 and had reached the conclusion
that, provided he had no particular incentive to do evil, "Wat-el-Mek was
possibly a very good fellow ", but his husky voice and his bloodshot eyes went
to show that he was a somewhat lax adherent of Islam (32).
It was some eight dt nine months later that Gordon learnt that "Wat-el-
Mek had some difficulty in getting porters from a sheikh to carry some ivory.
He was drunk, and at once ordered the man to be hanged, which he was ...
One of my Mudirs of another place was present, and he never wrote a word
about it to me; so he also is in hot water. These fellows are guilty of any
At the end of 1876 Gordon returned to England with the sad conviction
that no good could be done in those parts and that it would have been better
had no expedition ever been sent" (34). Though shortly afterwards he was,
to use his own expression humbuggedd" (35) into returning as Governor-
General of the entire Sudan with extensive viceregal powers, he never again
visited in person the regions of the upper Nile. As he had never made any long
stay at any place in the Acholi country, it is not surprising to learn that after his
departure his name was remembered by but few. On one of his visits to Patiko
he met Baker's former hunting companion,' Gimoro', and made him a present
of an Austrian bent wood chair, which descended to the donee's son as a much-
treasured heirloom (36). The rest of those, who recalled his name in after
years, were for the most part dwellers upon the banks of the Nile, who doubtless
remembered seeing his restless energy when he was trying to get the Khedive
and other craft past the rapids up to Dufile. His greatest achievement was, in
fact, the opening of Lake Albert to steamship navigation despite many formid-
able obstacles and it was not his fault that his work came to nothing a few years
later. Much of his other constructive work was likewise undone within a very
few years after his departure, because the machinery for government was placed
in charge of less competent persons than himself. It may well be true that,
as Sir Harry Johnston tells us, Gordon Basha" was but a name and in after
years represented but little to the minds of the Nilotic peoples amongst whom
he had once laboured, but the fact that his name was remembered at all is at
least some evidence that he was regarded by them as being an outstanding
When Gordon left for England at the end of 1876, he handed over the
charge of the Equatorial provinces to Colonel H. C. Prout, an American officer
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 131
in the service of the Khedive. Prout in his turn was succeeded in June 1877
by another American officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander McComb Mason,
who soon after assuming office circumnavigated Lake Albert in the Nyanza,
discovering and making his way for a short distance up the Semliki. He also
recorded that to the southward and at the foot of the lake between two ranges
was a large isolated mountain ", which must assuredly have been Ruwenzori.
As die explained at a later date, Mason had for the moment to give up further
exploration of the Semliki, "hoping to come back and have a better look at
it with further and better means at my disposal. Fate willed it otherwise, for
at the end of August I was back at Khartoum en route for the Abyssinian
Gordon promoted Ibrahim Fauzi, Mudir of Bor, to fill Mason's post, but
this accelerated promotion proved disastrous. Within a very few months grave
charges were being brought against the new Governor, ending in his dismissal
and return in disgrace to Cairo. Then, in July 1878, as Junker tells us, some
one else had now to be found to fill the post of Chief Mudir of the Equatorial
Provinces. . On Gordon's asking me to suggest some one, I proposed
Dr. Emin Effendi. Gordon.certainly raised objection, but in the end agreed
with me" (38).
Emin had visited the Acholi country before his appointment to the supreme
control of the Equatorial Provinces. His first visit was in 1876, when he pro-
ceeded by way of Dufile and Patiko to Mruli and thence to Buganda, where he
was called upon to exercise considerable tact in the delicate task of extricating
certain Egyptian troops whom Mutesa was keeping virtually as prisoners at
Rubaga. Very shortly after his promotion Emin made a rapid tour of the
Acholi country, where he got into touch with a number of Acholi chiefs, includ-
ing Baker's former friends 'Shua' (alias Obwono Awach), 'Gimoro' and
Ochama. On arrival at Patiko he heard a story regarding this last-named,
which showed only too clearly that constant tours of inspection by governors
were badly needed. An entry in Emin's diary for 2nd-3rd January 1879 best
tells the story which he heard.
"In Baker's time the Shuli chief Rotschamma (Baker's Rot Jarma) came
to him and it was mainly thanks to his influence that the Shuli had such friendly
relations with the Government. Nevertheless, Taib Bey, the commander at
Fatiko, thought fit on account of some small difference to give him a terrible
beating and to put him in chains. After that Rotschamma avoided our station
and was never seen in the presence of a governor. To our very great surprise
to-day there came a request to visit him. He had come to a place within two
hours from the zeriba (station), but would not come here, because once his blood
had flown here. He had grown old, but is still head chief. I promised to visit
him in the early morning (39).
Emin accordingly visited him the following day and did his best to make
amends for the past. Ochama was ready to be friendly to Emin personally, but
the wounds wherewith the old chief had been afflicted had been inflicted in the
house of those whom he had believed to be his friends and the scars thereof
could never heal. He met Emin again a year later, but this meeting does not
appear to have been as successful as the previous one. Ochama never again
132 UGANDA JOURNAL
had any direct dealings with the Egyptian commanders at Fatiko and in the end
became a leader of rebellion.
Perhaps if Emin had been able to move around his province more fre-
quently, some of the wrongs done by his subordinates could have been remedied.
But soon after his promotion he received orders from Gordon which for a
long time strictly limited his movements. Writing to Colonel Mason on 16th
September 1879, Emin said: When Gordon nominated me here, I wrote him
a letter which was hardly ceremonious, and by reason thereof such differences
arose between us that he forbad me to go beyond Dufile "(40).
Gordon lifted the ban on Emin's movements in September 1879, but the
removal was followed almost immediately by an order to abandon all military
posts to the south of Dufile. Emin protested and was thereupon informed that
he must hand over his provinces to Romolo Gessi and proceed to Suakin.
Gordon's orders were, however, countermanded after his resignation at the end
of 1879 and Emin was eventually able to re-establish certain of the posts, but
not that at Mruli nor those in the Bunyoro bridgehead (41).
By 1881 Emin had organized his provinces into ten Idara (districts). The
most southerly of these were Dufile, Foweira and Fadibek (Padibe).
The headquarters of the first of these three Idara were close to the northern
boundary of the district at Dufile. The station itself was on the west bank
of the river, and was the headquarters of the equatorial marine. Felkin, who
arrived there in December 1878, gives the following description of the place:
"The streets are wide and clean, and the huts are nicely made of grass, while
the Government Houses, which are very roomy, are built of sun-dried brick.
There are large magazines made of burnt brick, and a well-ordered boat
building yard is a prominent feature of the place. The whole is surrounded
by an excellently constructed wood stockade, and is defended by three field-
guns. The officials have good gardens, well stocked with the usual Arab
vegetables; and on the east side of the river are large tracts of country over-
spread with dhurra, which is cultivated to a large extent" (42).
There was a fuel station about fifty miles upstream from Dufile at Bora,
which was protected by a small military post on the east bank. Continuing
another thirty miles upstream one arrived at Wadelai, where with the consent of
the chief Emin began to erect a fort on the west bank in the last few days
of 1879 (43).
The Idara of Dufile embraced a large portion of what is now the West Nile
District as well as territory on the east bank of the river. The river Aswa
formed the eastern boundary, separating this Idara from that of Fadibek. To
the south of the Idara of Dufile was that of Foweira. In addition to the military
posts on the banks of the Nile, there were sub-stations at Fabbo (Pabo) and
Fatiko (Patiko), both of which had, as already mentioned, been originally estab-
lished by Baker (44).
The Idara of Foweira consisted of a narrow belt of territory about twenty
miles wide on the north bank of the Victoria Nile. Its southern limits extended
westwards from Foweira to the entry of the Nile into Lake Albert. It also
included a narrow belt of territory on the western shore of Lake Albert extending
to within a few miles of Kavalli's. Foweira was the district headquarters. The
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 133
station, which had first been established by Baker, was on the south bank of the
Victoria Nile. It was temporarily abandoned at the time of the evacuation of
the Bunyoro bridgehead in 1879, but was re-occupied by Emin in the following
year so as to lend support to Ruyonga, one of the Babito of Bunyoro, who ever
since the days of Kamurasi had been trying with little success to get himself
installed as Mukama of Bunyoro (45). A few miles farther to the west another
military post was established on the south bank of the Nile at Foda to lend
similar support to the Jo Pa-Lwo chief, Mpina, who asserted that a large part
of northern Bunyoro belonged to him and not to Kabarega (46). Except for
these two posts the Egyptian Government tacitly relinquished all claim to
sovereignty in Bunyoro at the time of the evacuation of their bridgehead in 1879.
The Idara of Fadibek (Padibe) lay to the east of the River Aswa, which
was its only properly defined boundary. It was bounded on the north by the
Idara of Latuka, but its eastern and southern boundaries were extremely vague.
Gordon had established a small station at Padibe itself, but this had been
abandoned in the general evacuation of 1879. In the following year, however,
Emin restored the post and also set up sub-stations at Agoro, Pajule and
Patanga (47). Additional sub-stations were also set up in the following year
at Patabek, Parajok and Lira (48).
Emin gives us the following information regarding district headquarters:
"The Government formerly possessed here a flourishing, well situated and
healthy station (Fadibek is more than 3,000 feet high), but when Gordon Pasha,
from motives of economy, gave orders for the evacuation of all the southern
stations, this also had to be abandoned, although its revenue in ivory far
surpassed the yearly expenses. Since that time, the chief Aguok repeatedly
requested that a station occupied by regular soldiers might be erected near him,
and had brought ivory to Fatiko as a present. His wishes were readily complied
with, for the new Governor-General has no objection to the erection of stations,
provided they cover their expenses, and this new station is prospering very well,
on account of the active assistance of the negroes, and promises to become one
of the finest in the province" (49).
Vita Hassan described Ogwok as "indisputably the most civilized black
man in the whole of Central Africa. Not only his polite and almost educated
manners, but also his clean and, funnily enough, European clothing make him
different from all the other negro chiefs" (50). If native tradition can be
believed, he had already at this date been some twenty years a chief (51) and he
was destined for some thirty-five years more to figure prominently in Acholi
history. Farther to the south and a short distance to the east of the Aswa lay
the village of Payera, the residence of Baker's old acquaintance Ochama, but
no attempt was made by Emin to establish a sub-station there. Though Emin
thought him "an elderly, attractive and pleasant person ", he found that old
age had made him garrulous and that "he has absolutely no power over his
people" (52). For these reasons and also because of Ochama's well-founded
mistrust of all Egyptian officers, it was deemed inadvisable to attempt to
establish a station at Payera. Doubtless the course taken was the best in the
circumstances, but its immediate result would appear to have been further
to estrange Ochama. When Padibe was made the district headquarters, it was
134 UGANDA JOURNAL
more or less indicated to the local inhabitants that Ogwok, and not Ochama,
was regarded as being the paramount chief of the Acholi. As already men-
tioned, the Padibe and the Payera Acholi belonged to two different waves of
invaders. Even to this day there are a number of differences in the dialects of
the two groups (53), and their rivalries appear to have been of very long
standing. Consequently, when Ogwok threw in his lot with the Egyptian
Government, it was almost inevitable that Ochama should be found in the
opposite camp. This was soon to have an important effect on the history of
the Acholi country.
The three districts were, in 1881, garrisoned by about five hundred soldiers,
of whom about half were regular and the rest irregular troops. These and the
host of civilian members of the Egyptian administration required pay and rations.
As little or no money and nothing whatever in the shape of food supplies could
be obtained from outside the Province, these things had to be obtained locally,
and the only means of obtaining them locally was by levying contributions on
the inhabitants. Thus, the Idara of Dufile was placed under a contribution of
150 kantars of ivory, that of Foweira of 20 kantars and that of Fadibek of
50 kantars (54). As already mentioned, Baker had solved the rationing prob-
lem by introducing a grain-tax. Baker had instituted a fixed tariff, but in
after years the incidence of the tax was altered and other things, such as
vegetables, honey, oil and tobacco were demanded in addition to grain. In
addition the quotas became variable more or less at the whim of the local
Egyptian commander. Thus, in January 1879, Emin learnt from the people of
Payera that they were being made to supply a full basket of corn instead of the
half basket imposed by Baker. He at once put matters to rights by reducing
the contribution to the old measure and bidding the station chief of Fatiko to
be on good terms with the people ", but one is tempted to wonder what happened
as soon as Emin had moved on to another place (55). When deliveries fell
short of quotas, Egyptian commanders encouraged their men to take the law
into their own hands and to requisition the much-needed supplies by force.
Naturally, this practice led to widespread abuses. The requisitioning expedi-
tions were nothing better than freebooting forays, in the course whereof human
beings and other things besides food supplies were carried off and whole
villages set on fire.
This collecting of the grain tax ", wrote Mounteney-Jephson, had always
been the signal for wholesale robbery of the natives by Emin's people. . .
This method of collecting the grain tax had always been, even in Gordon's time,
almost, an atrocious system. For, however stringent the Governor's orders
were against the soldiers looting from the natives, with these semi-barbaric
soldiers it was perfectly impossible to prevent it" (56).
On 15th February 1885, Wilhelm Junker sent the following information to
Emin with respect to a raid by the garrison of Wadelai, which he evidently
regarded as a matter of course: "As you will know, there is a small raid on
hand for the necessary collection of cattle. Most of the soldiers are occupied
with it. But Hauwasch Effendi wants to give me an escort of ten soldiers. It
is not advisable to take these men away from the zeriba before the return of the
people from the raid and therefore I wait for these people (57).
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 135
Nobody was more aware of these outrages than Emin himself. In 1886,
when visiting a friendly chief on the western shores of Lake Albert, he felt
constrained to write in his diary that the 'Turk' with his civilization has not
yet come here and that is the bitter judgment I must pass on our people (58).
The venality and the extortions perpetrated by the vast majority of the
Egyptian officials inspired the sufferers not only with a loathing, but also with
a profound contempt for the administration which allowed such things to be.
It was these feelings which, together with religious fanaticism, led to the rapid
and surprising success of the Dongolawi carpenter, Muhammad Achmed, who
called himself the Mahdi and raised the standard of revolt in the eastern Sudan
in 1881. River communication between Emin's headquarters and Khartoum
came to an end in April 1883. For three years after that Emin was completely
cut off from communication with the outside world. During that period the
Mahdi went from strength to strength and on 26th January 1885 Khartoum fell
into his hands. From time to time reports of Mahdist activities filtered through
to Lado and Emin began to realize that he was likely at almost any moment to
be attacked from the north. He was placed in a most difficult position. Many
of his troops and civilian staff were not only unreliable, but even actively dis-
loyal. Some of the soldiers went over to the Mahdi. Others preferred flight
to resistance to the Mahdi's fanatical troops. Emin therefore found himself
compelled to withdraw step by step from his military posts in the north in an
endeavour to consolidate his position in the south. He also found himself
compelled to call in a number of outlying garrisons so as to strengthen the
strategic points which he held on the banks of the Nile. In July 1885 he
decided to establish his headquarters at Wadelai.
In the Acholi country the reports of the Mahdist successes and the trans-
parent weakness of Emin's position served to increase his difficulties. On 13th
April 1885 Emin received a letter from Dufile, which not only informed him
that some forty huts on that station had been destroyed by fire, but also that
"Chief Rotschama, after his people had killed a dragoman from Fatiko, had
asked Kabarega for men so as to attack the station at Fatiko. Also in Dufile
a good deal of unrest has been excited by fanatical writers (59). The report
of Ochama's pourparlers may not have been true, but the murder of the
dragoman was significant. On 7th March in the following year another report
from Dufile informed Emin that "the Major there has been to Fatiko, where
there has been something of a war with the negroes, but this has eventually come
to an end" (60). But, as later entries in Emin's diary show, it was only an
12th August 1886. To-day news came that, when the soldiers came for
their corn, the Shuli on the east bank completely abandoned their villages and
have hidden their corn, and so in this year there will be no delivery at all and
we will be inflicted with hunger. The reason for this is that the Shuli, who
have fled from Fatiko and settled here, have raised a revolt throughout the
whole land and that Chief Wadelay's brother, Gimoro, who has settled on an
island, has incited the people to disobedience. These events present so much
difficulty for our future here that it is necessary to bring the people to reason
by force. They cannot complain here of bad treatment. They have never been
136 UGANDA JOURNAL
taken for service as porters. The women and children have never been carried
off. And yet they carry off their corn to the island so as not to pay the tax.
Above all, it is fitting to note that, though this station has been established since
1880, one has not been in a position to bring the surrounding tribes into a state
of subordination. Even now enemy country begins two hours north of Wadelay,
and to the west about two days' march, whilst to the south the prospect is a
little better, although recently Gimoro's people killed two local negroes as they
were going to the south (61).
6th January 1887. It appears that matters will be serious with the Shuli.
To-day at 4 o-clock in the afternoon the chief of the station came with Amara,
the local Wanyoro chief, and stated that a man of Amara's (he was here witn
them) had just come from Mahatta-et-Tor (62) to warn us. A great many Shuli
have collected there-and even a number of people of the Chief Rotschamma
on the far side of Fatiko have assembled-with orders To combine with the
local Shuli at the time of the corn harvest and especially to make a prisoner of
the officer, Kodi Aga, and bring him to Rotschamma. The Shuli are only
waiting for the soldiers to advance so as to attack them in the long grass (63).
"7th January. . The Shuli are assembled at Fatiri (64), about three
hours from here on the east bank of the river."
On 9th January in the evening there came a report from Kodi Aga. On
the night of 7th-8th January the soldiers marched and early in the morning at
5 o'clock reached the village where the Shuli were assembled and immediately
launched an attack. The Shuli at once fired on the soldiers, but soon set fire
to their village with everything inside it and made off into the high grass in
the bush. They were followed by the soldiers throughout the day, but they
never made a stand, and set fire to their huts and corn, etc. On 9th January,
at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the soldiers returned to their original headquarters.
They are now employed in sending in the corn that has been collected there.
The report is naturally hardly satisfactory. It was necessary to pursue the
party thoroughly and to destroy their strongholds in Uliggi" (65).
11th January. The Shuli have all withdrawn to Fadiri and Ukobi and
have declared that they will pay no further taxes to the Government. At the
same time I hear that old Rotschamma, the instigator of all this unrest, has been
killed in an attack by the people of Fatiko (66).
The foregoing is, of course, the story as narrated by divers persons to Emin.
We have also an Acholi version of the incident. This has been recorded by the
late Mr. Reuben S. Anywar and I venture to give it in his words: "It came
about, however, that a feud arose between the Labongo people and the Paira
on account of a certain Labongo woman named Adwe who had been seized by
the Paira, and the Labongo as a result sent spears and Madi hoes to Rwot Ogwok
of Padibe soliciting his help against Rwotcamo. In those days Ogwok was the
friend of the Nubis who lived with him at Padibe, and the Labongo hoped that
Ogwok would send the Nubis to kill Rwotcamo. Ogwok duly approached the
Nubis with this suggestion, and the Nubis, agreeing set out via Pajule. Ogwok,
seeing this and realizing the danger to Rwotcamo, for he knew the reputation
of the Nubis, sent a messenger to warn Rwotcamo, for he was fond of his
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 137
"Rwotcamo at the time was on the way back from the ancestral shrine at
Pawatomeru, and the Nubis came upon Rwotcamo and his attendants on the
road. Seeing the Nubis, the attendants ran away and left their chief to face
the Nubis alone. The Nubis seized Rwotcamo, killed him and cut off his
It does not appear difficult to piece these two accounts together. The
Labongo had an old score to pay off against the Payera. They invoked Ogwok's
aid because they wanted to procure through him the assistance of the garrison
at Padibe. That garrison was not likely to respond to an appeal to take part
in a purely tribal vendetta, but a specious story of organized rebellion against
the Egyptian Government would afford the soldiers an excellent pretext to take
up arms. Ochama's notorious unfriendliness to the Egyptian Government
would lend colour to a story of rebellion, and almost inevitably lead to a
punitive expedition. So the Labongo had their revenge and Ochama was made
to pay the penalty.
An entry which Emin made in his diary during the week 7th-13th February
1887, shows that Rwot Ochama was not the only person to suffer in this vendetta.
It translates as follows: According to news from native sources the soldiers at
Fatiko have attacked three Shuli villages, destroyed them, and unfortunately,
as would appear, inflicted quite unnecessary cruelty. Regarding this further
news is awaited. Then people wonder because the Shuli leave the land and
throw themselves into Kabarega's arms. When I came here eleven years ago,
Shuli land was well populated, rich in corn, honey, etc., and its inhabitants
friendly and peaceful. Every head of a station has indulged in plunder, all my
exhortations have been disregarded. I have no European officials and slowly
things have come to the present state of affairs (68).
If it was intended that this species of schrecklichkeit should act as a suitable
deterrent, after-events showed the perpetrators that they were mistaken. As
Emin recorded in his diary on 26th February 1887, "at noon the steamer
Khedive came from Dufile with, as nearly always, bad news. At Fadibek one
officer with twelve privates and several Danagla have been killed. At Fatiko,
under the officer there, a number of desertions have occurred and Suleiman has
received a gunshot wound from an under officer Nessim (69).
Shortly afterwards there appears to have been a lull in active hostilities on
the part of the Acholi. It would appear to have been due to one of those
volte face in tribal vendetta, which are not always easy to understand or to
explain. Reuben Anywar tells us that, "when the Labongo heard of Rwot-
camo's death, they again asked the Paira to join them against Ogwok, the Rwot
of Padibe ". But this double dealing met with the ill success that it deserved.
"The upshot was that the Padibe, with the Nubis to help them, fell on the
Paira and Labongo, and slaughtered them in great numbers (70).
Even this second defeat did not deter the Payera. They got into touch with
Kabarega of Bunyoro and assisted him in an attack on Kachope Kamurasi, the
son and successor of the Jo Pa-Lwo chief, Mpina. But once again disaster over-
took them. On 30th April 1887, Emin learnt that combined forces had been
dispersed and Ochama's brother had been killed (71).
Nevertheless these attacks by the Payera and others upon chiefs, who were
138 UGANDA JOURNAL
friendly to the Egyptian Government, began to tell in the long run. Emin's
other commitments prevented him from giving these chiefs the support and
protection to which they were entitled, with the result that some had to abandon
their territories and others had to agree with their adversaries quickly. Thus,
on 6th April 1887, Emin recorded in his diary that: Kodi Aga informed me
that one of the chiefs, who have drifted from Fatiko, Schambe, or, as the
soldiers call him, Schambel, with bag and baggage, that is, wives, children,
people, etc., has come to one of the Alur chiefs on the east bank of the river
and wishes to obtain permission to attend upon the station chief (72).
It must also have been about this time that Emin's troops met with disaster
on the slopes of the Guruguru Mountains, whither they had gone on a punitive
expedition against some recalcitrant Madi, who had migrated from the east bank
of the Nile opposite to Dufile because of the oppressive conduct of the garrison
in that place. Aided by the inaccessibility of the mountains, the cover of the
rocks, caves and long grass, and, according to their opponents, the exceedingly
bad marksmanship of the Sudanese, who are said to have exhausted their
ammunition by constantly firing in the air, the Madi inflicted a most decisive
defeat upon the Government troops. They afterwards claimed to have killed
two hundred of the Sudanese as well as eight hundred women and boys, who
had accompanied the Sudanese. There is very little doubt that these figures
have been greatly exaggerated, but there can equally be no doubt that, whatever
the Sudanese losses may have been, Emin could ill afford them at this date and
that the disaster did serious damage to the already waning prestige of the
In the meantime, Emin's precarious position had attracted the attention of
the European public and in 1887 an expedition under the command of H. M.
Stanley was sent for his relief by way of the River Congo. Led by Stanley in
person, the advance guard of the expedition got into touch with Emin at the
southern end of Lake Albert in April 1888. Stanley handed to Emin letters
from the Egyptian Government in Cairo, which informed him that, if he and
his people wished to remain in the Equatorial Province, the Government would
disclaim all further responsibility for their safety and welfare and that, if he so
desired, he could avail himself of the escort offered by Stanley and proceed with
it to Zanzibar. After a few days, Stanley returned westwards to fetch his main
party. He left behind with Emin one of his officers, Mounteney-Jephson, with
instructions to tour the province and explain the nature of the offer to the troops
and to arrange for the concentration at a suitable rendezvous of those who decided
to accept it. The offer met with a distinctly mixed reception. Many of the
troops had been born and bred in the southern Sudan and for them Stanley's
proposal had not the slightest attraction. The report was spread that the people
of the province were going to be left in the lurch and a number of the malcontents
mutinied in August 1888. At the instigation of one of their officers, Fadl-el-
Mula Bey, Emin and Jephson were detained and kept virtually as prisoners at
Dufile until the following November. In that month the capture of Rejaf by
the Mahdists caused a panic and the two were released. When Stanley again
reached the shores of Lake Albert in January 1889, he found that no prepara-
tions had been made to evacuate the garrison. He therefore delivered an
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 139
ultimatum announcing that he would depart on 10th April and would provide
an escort only for such persons as were then ready and willing to accompany
him. With extreme reluctance, Emin accepted this offer and on the appointed
day set out with Stanley for the East Coast accompanied by about six hundred
other persons who had elected to return to Egypt.
Even before he finally decided to leave the province, force of circumstances
had compelled Emin to withdraw all outlying garrisons from the interior of the
Acholi country. Reuben Anywar, whose information came from Acholi elders,
tells us that:
"The Nubis at Patiko and Pabo gradually got into difficulties. Their
clothes were all worn out and they had to sew and wear the skins of game.
Their bullets, too, were finished and they used blue beads packed in gunpowder
as a makeshift. The Acholi had grown tired of supplying them with food
daily for so many years, with the result that the Nubis started seizing it, burning
villages and killing the inhabitants in the process.
"Such behaviour naturally roused the country against them, and in 1888
Awich's people gathered together and fought the Nubis in the valley of the
Akworo near Oceco fort by the hill called Ajulu. Many of the Nubis were killed
in this encounter, and they lost all their guns and women; the survivors escaped
to Pabo. When the remnants reached Pabo they heard all about the Dumugila
(Donagla or Mahdists), which frightened them still more, and they made tracks
for Odupele (Dufile) as quickly as possible to join their companions (73).
The troops, to whom Reuben Anywar refers, were evidently the Patiko
garrison. Their troubles were by no means ended when they reached Pabo.
In November 1888, Selim Bey, who was in command at Dufile, was threatened
with an attack by the Mahdist forces. He at once summoned the Pabo garrison
to his assistance. Pabo was accordingly evacuated and the Acholi once again
fell upon the retreating column, inflicting a number of casualties and carrying
off a large number of women, cattle and goats.
On 27th November a small body of Mahdist troops managed to make their
way into Dufile and even to attack the Khedive and Nyanza, which happened
to be there at the time engaged in transporting refugees to the east bank of the
river. But the Mahdists were eventually driven out by the garrison. Very
fortunately, they did no material damage to the steamers, which were there-
after continuously employed in ferrying people from Dufile across the Nile to
the east bank so that they could make their way overland to Wadelai. On their
way south these refugees were constantly harried by the Acholi, who cut off large
numbers of stragglers (74).
Dufile was completely evacuated by 5th January 1889. After setting fire
to the place, Selim Bey himself then crossed to the east bank of the river with
the rear guard. On his way to Wadelai he burnt a number of villages and
carried off a number of cattle and goats in retaliation for the attacks which the
Acholi had made upon the refugees. At the same time Fadl-el-Mula, the ring-
leader of the recent mutiny, led another party towards Pabo in order to punish
the local inhabitants for their attack upon the column which had recently
evacuated that place (75).
After Emin's departure from the Province, the troops which remained
140 UGANDA JOURNAL
behind, divided into two parties, one acknowledging Selim Bey as commander
and the other acknowledging Fadl-el-Mula. Selim had been entrusted by Emin
and Stanley with the task of bringing down the refugees to the southern end of
Lake Albert to join Stanley's relief column, but it was a task which it was
quite impossible to perform within the time limit fixed by Stanley. Eventually
he managed to collect about 600 soldiers and some 6,000 civilians and march
them, under the greatest difficulties, from Wadelai along the western shore of
Lake Albert to Kavalli's at the southern end of that lake. The local inhabitants
planted spikes tipped with poison on the paths and constantly attacked them
with poisoned arrows. Many of the refugees fell by the way before they reached
their journey's end. Two years later Captain (afterwards Lord) Lugard found
the remnant at Kavalli's.
They had ", wrote Lugard," brought cotton-seeds with them, and gathered
and planted the produce of their fields, and in their own rough looms had woven
the cloth, from which were made the coats and trousers which they wore. A
coinage yet circulated among them, and the Egyptian clerks still wrote the official
despatches sent by Selim to his out-stations and subordinate officers. In short,
among all the outward savagery of soldiers dressed in hides, of naked women,
and grass huts, there was a noticeable-almost pathetic-attempt to maintain
the status they claimed as soldiers of a civilized government" (76).
Eventually Selim agreed with Lugard to take service tinder the Imperial
British East Africa Company and he and his followers moved into Toro to
construct and garrison forts there. A portion of the Sudanese (including Selim
Bey himself) eventually accompanied Lugard back to Buganda.
(To be continued)
(1) It will be seen that for the early history of the Acholi I am very largely indebted
to R. M. Bere's 'Outline of Acholi History', U.J. 11 (1947), p. 1. I
must also express my acknowledgments to Father Crazzolara's Study
of the Acooli Language and his 'Lwoo People', and to Father
Pellegrini's Acoli Macon.
(2) "K.W.": 'The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara', U.J. 5 (1937-8), p. 63, says that
Mutesa, who is known to have succeeded his father in 1856, became
Kabaka of Buganda when Kamurasi had reigned for five years.
(3) Birch, J. P.: 'Migration Movements of the Madi', U.J. 6 (1938-9), pp. 119-23.
Stigand, C. H.: Equatoria, pp. 92-193.
(4) Delmd-Radcliffe's map (printed in the Geographical Journal for February 1903)
places 'Fokwatch' on the east bank of the river. A map in Baker's
Ismailia shows a district of' Foquatch' on the east bank just near the
exit of the Nile from Lake Albert.
(5) Lowth, N. L. C.: 'Entry of the Alur into the West Nile', U.J. 2 (1934-5), p. 245.
Stigand, C. H.: Equatoria, pp. 104-116. A colony of Banyoro settled
at Wadelai after the evacuation of Magungo by the Egyptian troops
in 1879. Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin Pascha, ii.,
(6) Baker: Ismaila, p. 282 (where the Lango are called Umiro "). Tarantino:
'Lango Wars', U.J. 12 (1948), p. 230-4.
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 141
(7) Bere: 'Outline History of Acholi', U.J. 11 (1947), p. 3.
(8) Thomas, H. B.: 'Giovanni Miani and the White Nile', U.J. 6 (1938-9), p. 191.
(9) Speke: Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, pp. 592,622.
(10) Grant: A Walk across Africa, p. 336, where Grant, who was at Faloro in
December 1862, tells us that members of this outpost had "been at
Faloro for three successive seasons of nine months each ", sc. from
about September 1860.
(11) Petherick: Travels in Central Africa, ii., p. 111.
(12) Grant: A Walk across Africa, pp. 334-5.
(13) Speke: Journal, p. 588.
(14) Baker: The Albert N'yanza, pp. 261-2.
(15) sc. the area now comprising the Lira County of the Acholi District and having
Lira Palwo for its county headquarters: to be distinguished from the
place of the same name which is the present administrative head-
quarters of the Lango District.
(16) Baker: The Albert N'yanza, p. 413.
(17) Ibid., pp. 418, 419.
(18) Baker: Ismailia, passim.
(19) Bere: 'Outline', p. 6. Crazzolara: 'Lwoo People', U.J. 5 (1937-8), p. 19.
(20) Baker: Ismailia, p. 278.
(21) Crazzolara: Study of the Acooli Language, p. vii.
(22) Baker: Ismailia, p. 418. In Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan, i., p. 304,
Felkin tells us that, shortly after sailing from Dufile on 21st December
1878, for Magungo, "We came to 'Arbatascha' (Fourteen), a curious
rock, crowned by a pretty village, which derives its name from the fact
that here fourteen chiefs pay into the Egyptian Government their tax
(23) Nile Quest, pp. 190-1. Sir Harry Johnston wrote those words in 1903.
(24) Birkbeck Hill: Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, p. 1. Nubar Pasha was
Ismail's chief adviser.
(25) Birkbeck Hill: op. cit., p. 15.
(26) For the history of the steamers Khedive and Nyanza see Appendix C to the
concluding part of this article.
(27) Chippindall: 'Journey between the cataracts of the Upper Nile and Lake
Albert', Proc. R. Geog. Soc., 1875-6, pp. 67-9. Stigand: Equatoria,
pp. 107, 109-10.
(28) Birkbeck Hill: op. cit., pp. 144-5.
(29) -: op. cit., pp. 139-40.
(30) -: op. cit., p. 140.
(31) -: op. cit., p. 154.
(32) Chailld Long: Central Africa, pp. 68-9.
(33) Birkbeck Hill: op. cit., p. 67.
(34) : op. cit., p. xlii.
(35) Wilkins: Romance of Isabel Lady Burton, p. 652 (quoting letter of Gordon
to Sir Richard Burton, 17th December 1876).
(36) Delmd-Radcliffe: 'Surveys and Studies in Uganda', Geog. Journal, November
1905, p. 482.
(37) Mason: 'Report of Reconnaissance of Lake Albert', Proc. R. Geog. Soc.,
1877-8, pp. 225-9; Letter to R.G.S. dated Cairo, 7th December 1890,
Proc. R. Geog. Soc., 1891, pp. 40-1.
(38) Junker: Travels in Africa, 1875-1878, p. 513.
142 UGANDA JOURNAL
(39) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin Pascha, ii., p. 33.
(40) Ibid., ii., p. 54.
(41) Vita Hassan: Die Wahrheit ilber Emin.Pascha, i., p. 42.
(42) Wilson and Felkin: Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan, i., p. 303.
(43) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, ii., p. 64.
(44) Vita Hassan: op. cit., i., pp. 50-3.
(45) : op. cit., i., pp. 53-4. As to Ruyonga cf. "K.W." op. cit., p. 62;
Baker: Ismailia, passim. Ruyonga died in 1882 (Stuhlmann: Die
Tagebiicher, ii., p. 353). In 1880 Emin refers to the station at Foweira
as being "in process of renovation" after its abandonment in the
previous year (Emin Pasha in Central Africa, pp. 280-1).
(46)--: op. cit., i., p. 53. As to Mpina cf. Birkbeck Hill, op. cit. p. xlii. and
Driberg, The Lango, pp. 32, 33. Mpina died in February 1887
(Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., pp. 315-6).
(47) : op. cit., i., pp. 54-7. Emin Pasha in Central Africa, p. 259.
(48) Emin Pasha in Central Africa, p. 296. Lira must be either Lira Amiel or
Lira Palwo in the Lira County of the Acholi District. It is not the
place of that name, which is now the headquarters of the Lango
(49) Ibid., p. 269.
(50) Vita Hassan: op. cit., i., p. 54.
(51) Pellegrini: op. cit., p. 519.
(52) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, ii., p. 130.
(53) Crazzolara: Acooli Language, p. ix.
(54) Vita Hassan: op. cit., pp. 74-8. An Egyptian kantar was equivalent to about
98 English pounds avoirdupois.
(55) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, ii., pp. 33-4.
(56) Mounteney-Jephson: Emin Pasha-The Rebellion at the Equator, pp. 381-2.
(57) Stuhhnann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., p. 74.
(58) -: ibid., iii., p. 183.
(59) -: ibid., iii., p. 76.
(60) --: ibid., iii., p. 174.
(61) -- : ibid., iii., p. 247.
(62) Probably Junker's Hat et-tor, which was on the east bank of the Nile to the
south of Wadelai (cf. Junker: Travels, 1882-1886, p. 459).
(63) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., p. 302.
(64) Probably Patira on the east bank of the Nile about 22 miles south of Wadelai.
(65) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., p. 302.
(66) : op. cit., iii., p. 303.
(67) Anywar, R. S.: 'Life of Rwot Iburaim Awich', U.J. 12 (1948), pp. 72-3.
cf. also Pellegrini: op. cit., pp. 107-10. On 16th February 1887,
Emin was informed that, at the time when Suleiman Aga attacked
Ruotschamma, Kabarega's people were there exchanging ivory for
ammunition, powder and percussion caps" (Stuhlmann: Die
Tagebiicher, iii., p. 316), but the information may not have been
(68) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., p. 315.
(69) -: ibid., iii., p. 316.
ACHOLI HISTORY, 1860-1901 143
(70) Anywar: op. cit., pp. 73, 74.
(71) Stuhlmann: Die Tagebiicher, iii., p. 343.
(72) -: ibid., iii., p. 333.
(73) Anywar: op. cit., p. 75.
(74) Mounteney-Jephson: op. cit., pp. 332-56.
(75) -: op. cit., p. 364.
(76) Lugard: Rise of our East African Empire, ii., p. 218.
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE'
By A. B. RAPER AND R. G. LADKIN
(Uganda Medical Service)
THIS paper deals with a form of dwarfism found in and around the Mabira
Forest in the Kyagwe County of Buganda. Hitherto it has been supposed
that the people we shall describe were of pygmy stock, but they have never before
been medically examined, or indeed very often seen by careful observers. The
local people, however, are well acquainted with their presence, and the Luganda
word Banakalanga (plural) is used to describe them. It will be convenient to
use this word in referring to them, the stem nakalanga being used for the singular,
Our interest in the Banakalanga arose in two ways. To one of us (R.G.L.),
responsible for the health of the District that includes their home, lack of real
knowledge of these people had been for some years a challenge. The decision
to visit them was taken when the other author, in the course of a study of the
tribal incidence of sicklaemia in Uganda (Lehmann and Raper, 1949), imagined
that information about sicklaemia in a primitive people might be obtained in
the Mabira Forest. In the event, no such information was obtained, but many
interesting facts came to light in our field work and in the subsequent clinical
studies. These are to be described in the present paper, concluding with the
view that the Banakalanga are not pygmies, but sufferers from a form of
cachectic infantilism. The connection between this form of infantilism and
other diseases prevalent in the area will be discussed.
PART I. ECOLOGY
PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF KYAGWE AND ITS DWARFS
The earliest reference to dwarfs or pygmies in Kyagwe appears to be in
Sir Harry Johnston's The Uganda Protectorate (1902), where, speaking of
"Dwarf Negro races possibly allied to the Congo Pygmies" (Vol. II, p. 525),
the author says, ". . the Dwarf type also makes its appearance here and
there in the eastern part of the Kingdom of Uganda (in the forests of Kiagwe)
S. ." and his ethnological map (Vol. II, p. 486) shows the northern part of
Kyagwe coloured to represent the presence of' Pygmy negroes'.
No scientific study of the Kyagwe pygmies' appears to have followed this
pronouncement. European planters and administrative officers lived and
travelled in the area, which became the centre of rubber and coffee plantations
during the early agricultural expansion in Uganda; they heard the stories of
1 Reprinted, with abbreviations, from 'Endemic Dwarfism in Uganda', East African
Medical Journal, September 1950, by permission of the Editor.
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 145
the Banakalanga, and accepted either Johnston's pygmy hypothesis or the more
picturesque legends of the Baganda.
The subject was next referred to by Pitman (1934). Briefly, he extended
the pygmy theory by adding to it the supposition that in the remote past there
had been a wide belt of rain-forest across equatorial Africa, and implying that
pygmies had been co-terminous with this forest. Deforestation had accom-
panied the spread of the Bantu peoples, so that pygmies were left stranded in
forest islands; he assumed that the Mabira Forest with its Banakalanga had
been one of these islands. This unsubstantiated view was modified by adminis-
trative officers who toured the area in the late 1930s, when opinions were
expressed that some factor in the forest environment might be responsible for
stunted growth. Yet this interesting group of people still escaped scientific
study, and Thomas and Scott (1935) could write: There is, however, a circum-
stantial tradition among the Baganda of a pygmy tribe called the Banakalanga
inhabiting the Mabira Forest in Kyagwe. It has been satisfactorily established
that the tribe does not now exist, but a man of poor physical development is
known in this area as Nakalanga' and whole families of dwarfish stature have
We have questioned many Baganda on this subject, and found no evidence
that they have ever known or talked of a pygmy tribe in Kyagwe. One of us
(R.G.L.) spent some days talking to old inhabitants of the area, and elicited the
nakalanga legend, a brief acquaintance with which is sufficient to discredit the
stories of whole families of pygmies suggested by Pitman and Thomas and Scott.
The legend relates that a god 'Nakalanga' lives in the forest. He is a
stream god, and plays a miserable prank on certain families by taking the
strength out of one of their children-the fourth child, according to one version.
Sacrifices were made to the god to prevent such attacks on the children, and the
main place of sacrifice is still pointed out, where, until a few years ago, there
was a group of huts especially for the use of the devotees. Little more than a
decade ago there were priests of the god, whose cult centred around three of the
main sources of the Mabugwe river. This river is still nicknamed' Nakalanga'
and was probably the god's chief residence. There is nothing to suggest a
distinct tribe in the legend, but much to suggest sickness in the affected members
of a family. The Nakalanga legend is undoubtedly authentic, and older than
any other source of information; it speaks eloquently against an ethnological
origin for the dwarfs and strongly in favour of a pathological one. The legend
is also important because knowledge of it is limited to the area in which Banaka-
langa at present occur; it is restricted to the forest area shown in the map
(Text-Fig. 1), and is centred on the Mabugwe river. If Banakalanga had ever
occurred outside this area, such a limited distribution of the legend would not
have resulted. Finally, it is evident that acquaintance with a distinct and
striking affection has existed for many generations.
The etymology of the word nakalanga is interesting. The root verb
okulanga is now rarely used in its original sense to grow thin', but is still used
in the sense 'to twist a rope' and its derivative langalanga is applied to a tall
thin man. The emphasis is on thinness rather than on shortness, a distinction
we shall show to be clinically correct for the Banakalanga. Le Veux (1917)
146 UGANDA JOURNAL
gives the meaning of nakalanga as "Pygmde macroc6phale des forts du
Kyaggwe ", and although pygmies of course are not macrocephalic, Le Veux
was correctly informed to the extent that the Banakalanga have large heads by
comparison with their bodies.
THE FOREST AREA OF KYAGWE
The position of Kyagwe County in relation to well-known geographical
features in Uganda is shown in the map (Text-Fig. 1), and further details are
given of the area in which Banakalanga have been found.
Sketch-map of Kyagwe and the Mabira Forest.
Dense rain-forest covers most of the north-eastern part pf Kyagwe, but it
is very likely that the area shown as forest on the map contained many villages
at the end of the last century. During the troubled times of 1880-90, forest
regions were favourite hiding-places for defeated religious or political factions,
whose members lived by marauding amongst the forest villages. Consequently
the isolated villages became unfavourable residences, and an emigration started,
which was accelerated from 1905 onwards by the desire to plant cotton as a cash
crop, for cotton does not grow well in the damp forest clearings. There is
considerable evidence from old maps, the stories of old residents, and observa-
tions made in the forest, that for fifty to seventy years depopulation of the forest
has occurred, and that re-afforestation has proceeded very rapidly. The Mabira
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 147
is a young forest, it is not botanically related to the larger rain-forests, and there
is no support for Pitman's theory of its origin.
Concurrently with this movement of population out of the forest, there has
been a considerable movement of non-Baganda into south-east Kyagwe as a
whole, and of Baganda out of this region. To-day nearly 50 per cent of the
inhabitants are not Baganda; sizeable Samia, Bagishu, Badama, Kavirondo
and Lango communities are to be found.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF BANAKALANGA
A complete census of the Banakalanga has not been attempted, but there
is little doubt that parallel with the decrease in contact between man and forest,
the number of Banakalanga has decreased from some thousands in 1900 to an
estimated hundred or so in 1949. Preliminary observations suggest that they
are chiefly to be found in a band several miles wide all round the present
boundaries of the forest. This band is interrupted in the south and east by
sugar and coffee estates, and little is known of the incidence of the condition in
the north-west, while the eastern border of the forest is formed by the River Nile.
It will be readily appreciated that within this band there are many detached
islands of forest, and many places where inlets of cultivation are almost sur-
rounded by forest. It is in such places that the Banakalanga are chiefly to be
found, and here they are found indiscriminately amongst the children of any
parents, whether indigenous or immigrant, provided that the children them-
selves have lived near the forest from an early age.
The restricted geographical distribution of the Banakalanga is clearly of
great aetiological importance. The most obvious fact is the existence of the
forest; less obvious but possibly equally important is the presence of true
running streams. Running streams are unusual in Uganda as a whole, but the
whole forest area of the Mabira has many streams and rivers, which in most
cases breed Simuliids in large numbers (Gibbins and Loewenthal, 1933). The
mythical association of streams with the Nakalanga disease springs to mind.
PART II. THE NAKALANGA DISEASE
A NATIVE DESCRIPTION OF THE BANAKALANGA
We are taking the unusual course of presenting a native description of a
disease for several reasons. Firstly, because the accounts we received on
questioning intelligent Africans were remarkably consistent, indicating that the
condition they described was one well known to them, with constant and easily
recognizable features. The very existence of a Luganda word for it points to
the same conclusion, for before the advent of European medicine only a few
striking syndromes were named specifically-for example, smallpox (kawali),
plague (kaumpuli), the common cold (senyiga), and chickenpox (namusuna).
Secondly, we found our own observations agreed so closely with everything of
a factual nature we had been told, that we concluded that the native account
was a trustworthy record of accurate observations. Finally, the account con-
tains a suggestion of the aetiology which the reliability of the rest of the
description compels us to consider carefully.
The following description was compiled from the statements of many
148 UGANDA JOURNAL
informants, one of them an Assistant Medical Officer who was born in Kyagwe.
All recognized that the members of some families might be naturally smaller
than other people, that small stature alone does not constitute an abnormality,
and that such people, if normally developed and healthy, are not to be confused
with the Banakalanga.
Banakalanga, they say, are only to be found in the immediate vicinity of
the forests of Kyagwe, or in similar country across the Nile in Busoga. Here
they are quite common, and may be found amongst any of the tribes now living
in the area. Long residence in this particular tract of country is the one deter-
mining factor, and it is thought that the only course to adopt with a child
beginning to show signs of the condition is to remove him from the area.
Banakalanga appear quite sporadically; rich or poor may be equally affected,
and even healthy, educated and relatively affluent parents feel no certainty that
one of their children may not be affected. There is no special sex or family
incidence, and one or more cases may appear amongst other healthy children in
the same family. There is no question of heredity, for Banakalanga simply do
not reproduce. The suggestion that diet may play a part is universally rejected,
for our informants believe their country to be unusually fertile (as indeed it is),
and point to the other healthy brothers and sisters of the sufferers.
A child first shows signs that it will become a Nakalanga during its second
or third year of life. It was born apparently healthy, and no event during the
pregnancy of the mother had any connection with the subsequent appearance of
the condition. At about the time of weaning normal infantile activity is noticed
to be reduced, and the acquirements of walking, talking and self-feeding are
delayed. The onset, however, may be delayed to the fourth or fifth year. The
child becomes gradually weak and thin; it does not play normally, but sits
listlessly, preferably in the sun. It frequently cries for food, but on receiving it
the child merely toys with it, and makes little attempt to eat. Constipation,
with hard stools, is the rule. From the age of five or six a Nakalanga child is
readily recognizable. He is distinctly undersized, appearing several years
younger than his stated age. The limbs are excessively slender, though not
disproportionate in length. The expression is docile and apathetic. Inability
to hold up the head is taken as a sign of a severe affection; one informant
described how certain cases would let the head fall forwards while eating, and
be quite incapable of raising it again, until a friend raised it manually for the
A Nakalanga is recognized as being abnormally weak, and unfit for any of
the common household tasks, even those of childhood. A youth is quite unfit
to undertake the duties of married life, and never marries; nor does anyone
seek a nakalanga girl as a wife. Whether normal sexual impulses are present
our informants did not know. But a Nakal- iga is not thought of as 'diseased',
nor is he subject in any special degree to other diseases. He may reach an
advanced age, but usually shows some deformity of the spine in later life. He
is regarded as an inoffensive member of a household, giving no trouble, and as
a child he keeps remarkably clean. Measured against the standards appropriate
to his surroundings the intellect of the Nakalanga is not considered to be
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 149
Regarding the cause of the condition, none of our informants had the
slightest doubt. The primitive myth is no longer invoked, and to-day it is the
firm opinion of the people that the condition is caused by the bite of the mbwa
fly (i.e., a simuliid). The fact that healthy children near the forest have also
been constantly bitten presents itself as a dilemma to some of the more critical,
but does not in any way shake their belief.
Several days were spent in the villages on the southern fringe of the Mabira
Forest, to which, by arrangement with the local chiefs, some of the Banakalanga
of the district had been brought. A brief examination was sufficient to show
that most of these people could be classified at once as cases of infantilism, but
in addition to some two dozen cases of the fully developed syndrome, we were
presented with several children and adults whose small size, retarded develop-
ment and bodily feebleness were apparent to those who knew them well, but
whom we felt bound to exclude from our consideration as not being sufficiently
characteristic. There seems little doubt, however, that minor forms of the
condition are quite common in the district. The clinical description that follows
is drawn from observation in the field of undoubted cases, and from the further
examination of seven of these who were brought to hospital. Our subjects
came from places marked on the map-Nagoje, Najembe, Kinoni, Butavuja
and Buundo. Places from which we have received reliable reports of Banaka-
langa, but not visited personally, are also shown. Not all the families were
indigenous; many affected children had parents who had come to Kyagwe
from Ruanda, Kenya and other parts of Uganda. Brief personal details of the
seven cases investigated in hospital follow, and six of these patients are shown,
amongst others, in Fig. 1.
Case 1. Nyacwo, female, age six. The parents had syphilis many years ago.
This is the fourth child; the first died, and there are four other children
alive and well.
Case 2. Baliamu, female, age ten. The second child of Baganda parents. Three
siblings alive and well. Her younger brother, age seven, is several inches
taller than the patient.
Case 3. Nyabonya, female, age thirteen. Parents healthy, Baganda. Two brothers
Case 4. Boyi, male, age eighteen. Parents came from Ruanda before he was born.
Case 5. Walusimbi, male, age six and threequarters. The second child of strong
healthy Baganda parents. Two sibs normal.
Case 6. Badiru, male, age thirteen. The fourth child of Basoga parents. One
sister died, five other sibs normal.
Case 7. Sajja, male, age eighteen. Parents Baganda. The youngest of a family
of six; other sibs alive. The maternal uncle of Case 3.
150 UGANDA JOURNAL
The youngest cases seen were aged about six years, but the accounts of
parents indicate that it is usually between the ages of two and four that retarded
development is first noticed. The affection appears to be at its most severe
between the ages of eight and fifteen, when the child is very evidently small for
his age, with general wasting and excessively slender limbs; the cranium,
though actually below normal size, appears disproportionately large (Fig. 2).
If stated ages are to be trusted, puberty is delayed, but after puberty there is a
gradual improvement, so that young adults, though small and slight, show none
of the more severe signs (Fig. 3). But muscular development and power remain
poor, and in later life a hunchback is prone to develop (Fig. 4). It appears
that the onset may sometimes be delayed until after puberty, as in the follow-
Female, age about eighteen. Five siblings unaffected. Puberty occurred
at thirteen to fourteen years, after which she had normal sexual desire, and
intercourse with several men. Recently menstruation has ceased, appetite has
diminished, she has become weak, and feels the cold. She is thin, with wasted
breasts, and has no sexual desire.
A Nakalanga child is usually to be seen sitting on the ground in a drooping,
dejected attitude. Spontaneous movements are few, and all movements are
slow and listless. Lip movements and swallowing are infrequent, and observant
movements of the head and eyes are reduced to a minimum. There is severe
muscular wasting and lack of tone, affecting all groups of muscles. Thus in the
standing position the knees may be hyper-extended (Fig. 5), or a child picked
up by the arms may drop through its own shoulders ". Muscular wasting is
particularly evident in the gluteal and pectoral groups (Fig. 6) and in the
masticatory muscles, giving a narrow appearance to the lower part of the face
(Fig. 3). The most severely affected children have difficulty in standing without
support, and can only gain the sitting or standing position by rolling and
The slenderness of the limbs is greater than can be accounted for by wasting
of the soft tissues alone; the bones themselves are slender, but show no
deformities, and the extremities are beautifully formed. There is a slight
increase in the length of the limbs in proportion to the trunk, but this disappears
after puberty, and normal proportions are seen in adults.
The cranium is of normal shape. The mandible is small, being both short
and sharply pointed. Nevertheless, the lower part of the face appears in profile
protuberant; this is due partly to the large flabby lips, and partly to the dis-
position of the teeth, which project forward remarkably (Fig. 7). The teeth
themselves are of normal size, appearing unduly large for the small mouth.
Masses of tartar are common, perhaps because of reduced masticatory action.
The tongue shows no special changes, and no abnormal pigmentation is to be
seen in the mouth.
The skin colour is normal, the hair is black and in most cases crisply curled,
though in some subjects it is of softer texture. Some degree of roughening and
inelasticity of the skin is present in nearly every case, but the changes are not
those commonly associated with malnutrition-rather they are characteristic
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 151
of onchocerciasis, and in every case investigated one or more onchocerca nodules
could be felt, usually around the hips.
The external genitalia are small, though up to the age of puberty in propor-
tion to bodily size. After puberty in some youths they remain small, but in
others they eventually reach adult size (Fig. 8). The testes are descended, but
smalland soft. The voice never attains full adult resonance, and speech is soft
and listless. In women the development of the breast is retarded. In both
sexes the pubic and axillary hair is absent until well after the age of puberty, and
is scanty in most of the adult cases. In assessing the mental state, some allow-
ance has to be made for the slowness imposed by the physical condition. There
is certainly no severe impairment of mental powers, but the outlook is usually
that of a child several years younger, and is especially marked by gentleness,
docility, and an absence of emotional display.
A notable feature is the day-to-day variation in well-being. For a day or
twq the child will be listless and complain feebly of vague pains, the next day
he will have recovered spontaneously, only to relapse some days later. The
appetite is poor; there is no distaste for food, but rather a lack of interest in
eating. The only food thatarouses interest is sugar, for which a Nakalanga
child asks repeatedly, but having received some, he may keep it for hours or
even days before eating it.
PART III. INVESTIGATIONS
It was necessary first to determine with some accuracy the real ages of the
seven cases investigated. Collateral evidence obtained by visiting the patient's
family confirmed that the stated ages of all but Cases I and 4 were correct, and
the state of the children's teeth agreed with the estimates. In Case 1 the state
of the teeth agreed with the stated age. There was doubt only in Case 4, but
by recalling public events his father was able to assert that the boy could not be
less than eighteen years old.
Having determined approximate ages, one could assess the degree of under-
development. Bodily measurements reveal a striking difference from European
standards. A truer comparison would be with apparently healthy children
from the same locality, and accordingly fifty-three normal schoolchildren in
the same area were weighed and measured. The values are shown in the spot-
diagram (Text-Fig. 2) together with those of the seven Banakalanga. The
affected children are much more deficient in weight than in height.
It is unnecessary to detail all the investigations carried out. They showed,
however, that there was nothing unusual amongst these children in the incidence
of sickle-cell disease, yaws, venereal disease, or parasites, except that they were
all infected with Onchocerca volvulus. X-ray photographs of the whole
skeleton of each child showed that the bones were slender and somewhat retarded
in development. No defect was found in the pituitary region of the skull, but
the marked forward projection of the teeth was again noted. It is of interest
152 UGANDA JOURNAL
A." 03 HEIGHTS 04
6. ,- *T
6 7 Y 'a is 6 1
5" /. ..-'"; ."" ,.'*' 0, HEIGHTSU
AGE In YEARS
Normal M les ...... d rSlm e ......
Heights and weights of fifty-three normal children and of seven Banakalanga.
here to remark that of the eleven pigmy skulls (some contributed by Sir Harry
Johnston) examined by Howe (1906), only one showed even a minor degree of
this disposition of the teeth.
Only one case showed obvious signs of malnutrition, and there were no
indications that the absorption of food was defective. There was, however,
marked loss of appetite, and on a very generous diet, which they needed
persuasion to eat, two children lost weight and one remained stationary over
fifty days; three others gained weight, but much more slowly than controls.
Because the clinical findings suggested infantilism, tests were conducted to
determine the degree of efficiency of certain of the ductless glands. These
revealed (in all but one child) a defect in the activity of the anterior pituitary
gland, and in the two most severely affected there was also evidence of reduced
activity of the cortical part of the adrenal gland. From all these findings we
may conclude that the main disturbance lies in defective anterior pituitary
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 153
PART IV. DISCUSSION
The syndrome we have described can be recognized as a chronic disease
affecting children during their growth period, and causing a retardation of bodily
and sexual growth, emaciation, and some retardation of mental development.
We have no evidence that an anatomical lesion of any of the ductless glands is
involved, and must at present conclude that the anterior pituitary failure is
caused by some extrinsic factor. The cases may, therefore, be described as
showing cachectic infantilism.
This clinical conclusion, together with what has been said of their diverse
tribal origins and their essential infertility, disposes finally of the supposition
that the Banakalanga are a race of primitive pigmoid forest dwellers. Pygmies
may possibly have existed in Kyagwe in the remote past, but since it is to these
morbidly affected dwarfs that even the oldest inhabitants refer when they speak
of the Banakalanga, it is unlikely that Sir Harry Johnston's informants were
speaking of true pygmies; nor does Johnston record having seen one of the
Kyagwe 'pygmies' himself, in spite of his interest in such races. We would
suggest as a possibility that one interpretation of the statements quoted above
from Thomas and Scott is correct, namely that the vernacular word now used
to describe a pathological condition has been borrowed from the name of a
dwarf people whose existence is dimly recalled from the remote past, much as
we more consciously employ the medical term 'Mongol'.'
But if the ethnological problem of the Banakalanga proves to be no more
than a case of mistaken identity, an equally fascinating medical problem is
raised by our conclusions. What is the aetiology of the Nakalanga disease ?
Considered as cachectic infantilism, it possesses two most unusual features. It
is apparently confined to a small geographical area, and within this area its
incidence, though heavy, is strikingly sporadic, even within small family and
social groups. These facts alone suggest that it must differ aetiologically from
cachectic infantilism in other parts of the world, and this is supported by our
inability to find any of the commoner causes of infantilism in Europe amongst
these Kyagwe children, for we consider our ecological, clinical and laboratory
findings exclude chronic abdominal tuberculosis, renal rickets, steatorrhoea,
congenital syphilis, blood dycrasias and chronic intestinal diseases.
It is not difficult to name half a dozen disorders widely prevalent in Kyagwe,
each of which might produce infantilism, and each of which would commend
itself to the enthusiast for that particular subject; but on critical examination
each will appear insufficient to explain all the facts. It is necessary to consider
in detail certain local factors of possible significance.
Infantilism has been described before in tropical and subtropical countries,
and has usually been ascribed to malaria. It is remarkable that cases of malarial
I Since this was written, Mr. Hamu Mukasa, who was Saza Chief of Kyagwe at the
beginning of the century, has stated that in his opinion a race of true dwarfs lived in
Kyagwe long ago, but had died out long before Europeans came to Uganda. These
pygmies were called Banakalanga; they were healthy, fertile, and active hunters, and
quite different from the people known by the same name to-day.
154 UGANDA JOURNAL
infantilism do not appear in the English literature, being mostly recorded by
French and Italian authors; and that no cases have been reported in Africa
south of the Sahara. This may be related to the superior debilitating power of
benign tertian malaria, but a review of the literature leaves little doubt that the
difference is due to a predilection for this diagnosis amongst French authors,
not shared by the British and American. Nevertheless, some of the records are
very similar to our own, except that they do not describe the same geographical
concentration. The best account is by de Brun (1910) from Beirut, who
collected thirty cases in two years and, some fifteen years later, had no difficulty
in finding ten more. They were all subject to past or present malaria, which
de Brun considered capable of damaging the pituitary and thyroid glands. He
noted the extreme prostration and weakness of certain subjects, dark skin
colour, low blood pressure, and thought the adrenals might share in the malarial
damage. For the rest his clinical description might in every detail be applied
to our cases. It is a fact that the incidence of malaria near Beirut is now
considerably less than it was in 1910, and that infantilism is no longer endemic
there (Conan, 1950). But neither from de Brun's paper nor from this circum-
stance can any direct connection be traced between the infantilism and malaria,
for many other changes have doubtless occurred in this part of Lebanon
It is, of course, more than likely that every Nakalanga child has suffered
from malaria, but to invoke malaria as a cause of infantilism in this tiny area of
a malarious continent would be contrary to all clinical experience in tropical
Africa, especially that relating to the ready development of tolerance and
immunity to subtertian and quartan malaria by children in a hyperendemic area.
Severe hookworm infestation is well established as a cause of delayed
development (Lane, 1932). Most of these Kyagwe children harboured hook-
worms, though we did not estimate the severity of their parasite load. How-
ever, two showed no eggs in several direct examinations of the stools, and we
know that very heavy loads are carried, elsewhere, without causing infantilism.
It would be necessary to show that other circumstances (such as the diet) were
grossly abnormal before hookworm disease could be considered even as a
CHRONIC DISEASES OF THE LIVER AND PANCREAS
Liver fibrosis, mostly of nutritional origin, is known to be extremely
common in Central Africa, and might well be suspected as a factor in the
present cases. Davies (1949) has collected evidence indicating that many
Africans show evidence of excess of female sex hormones, and has related this
to a failure of the fibrotic liver to metabolize these hormones. But infantilism
is only caused by liver disease of such severity that serious disturbances of
metabolism are produced. Thus, it is a matter of clinical experience that the
evolution of infantilism due to liver disease lags behind the appearance of
clinical signs of the primary disorder, and that the disability is usually pro-
gressive. The Banakalanga do not show this pattern of development, nor do
A group of Banakalanga. From left to right: Case 1 (F., 6 years, 3 ft. 6' in.);
Case 2 (F., 10 years, 3 ft. 71 in.); Case 3 (F., 13 years, 4 ft. 1 in.); Case 5 (M.,
61 years, 3 ft. 2 in.); Case 7 (M., 18 years, 5 ft. 11 in.); Yowana (M., 30 years,
4 ft. 8 in.); Case 4 (M., 18 years, 4 ft. 1 in.); and another.
Case 5 (age 63). Note the apparent
macrocephaly, and flattened buttocks.
Mild affection of a young adult, age 23
(left). Note the slender limbs, pointed
jaw, and asthenic habitus. Control
(right) is a man of the same age and
[face p. 154
Late result of Nakalanga affection.
Woman aged 30-40 years, height
4 ft. 21 in., weight 49 lb. Unmarried,
no children. Note prognathism, kypho-
scoliosis, and small breasts.
Case 3 (age 13). A severely affected
girl, showing all the characteristic signs,
especially the facial profile, wasting of
shoulder and pelvic girdle muscles, and
hyper-extended knee. An onchocerca
nodule is visible in the right flank.
Youth, aged 14. Height 4 ft. 6- in.,
weight 492 lb. Shows slender limbs,
flat buttocks, and hyper-extended knees.
Case 1 (age 6). The lower incisors,
pointing directly forwards, expose their
lingual surfaces when the mouth is
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 155
they show any clinical signs of gross disturbances in the liver or pancreas. It
would be rash to claim that in their cases these organs were normal, but any
changes present cannot be more severe than in surrounding children of normal
stature, and we cannot accept affections of either organ as contributing to their
Kyagwe is not a district in which malnutrition, as usually recognized, is
apparent on inspecting a group of children. No nutritional survey has been
carried out, but from our observations on the local husbandry we should expect
the nutritional standard to be higher than in many other parts of Buganda. It
is to be noticed that the symptoms and the march of events in the Nakalanga
disease differ considerably from those in malignant malnutrition (Trowell, 1949),
so that the two form easily separable syndromes. In general, to contend that
malnutrition in the wide sense plays any important part in our cases is, as in
the case of malaria and hookworm disease, to prove too much, for it would
follow that the Nakalanga disease should be encountered almost everywhere in
But dietary factors, in the sense of absence or excess of some mineral or
rare element, are suggested by the analogy of endemic cretinism or, more
remotely, by that of cobalt deficiency in sheep. For such a hypothesis we have
neither supporting nor contradictory evidence to offer, except to remark that
there are no apparent peculiarities in the soil or vegetation of the area, and
domestic animals are not affected. This matter, however, might repay investi-
gation, even to the extent of determining whether any significant radio-activity
Reference has already been made to the prevalence of onchocerciasis in
the area, and to the local belief that it is the bite of the mbwa fly that brings the
disease. This question merits careful consideration. It may first be recalled
that amongst the few Banakalanga we investigated, all were found (by skin
snip) to be infected with 0. volvulus, and all had onchocerca nodules. This
in itself means little, for though we do not know the exact frequency of
onchocerciasis in Kyagwe, our experience suggests that it is very high. For
comparison with the patients, we examined fifty-three normal children (ages
six to eighteen) in this region, and found no nodules in those under twelve years
of age, though five out of twenty-six children aged twelve to eighteen showed
nodules. As all the Banakalanga, even those under twelve, showed nodules, it
appears that they were more early or more heavily parasitized than their fellows.
And it is unlikely that their greater infestation was caused by the apathy imposed
by the disease, for the fly in Kyagwe is not to be avoided by the most vigilant.
The foregoing figures do not merit any definite conclusion. A more con-
vincing case would be made out if it could be shown that infantilism had been
found elsewhere in the world where onchocerciasis is no less intense than in
Kyagwe. But no reference to it is to be found in the descriptions from Central
156 UGANDA JOURNAL
America or other parts of Africa. Its presence, of course, may not have been
noticed, or its connection with onchocerciasis not appreciated; and it is already
known that certain aspects of onchocerciasis (blindness and the location of
nodules) are very variable in their incidence in different places. An observation
by Mr. G. R. Barnley is of interest in this connection. During a Simulium
survey with Dr. de Meillon, Barnley (1948) encountered S. damnosum at Bugoye
in western Uganda, and noticed that the children there were small, emaciated,
with disproportionately large heads and underdeveloped limb muscles. It can
be concluded that closer medical observation in such areas might be rewarded.
But even if one postulates onchocerciasis as the cause of this condition, its
mode of action is difficult to imagine. The larvae of 0. volvulus have been
found in the optic nerve and cerebrospinal fluid (Strong, et al., 1934), but nothing
has been reported of their ill-effects or even presence in the pituitary or hypo-
thalamus. Adult filariae (unspecified) were found by Peruzzi (1927) to occur
not uncommonly at the base of the brain in Cercopithecus monkeys in Uganda.
These monkeys had been infected experimentally with trypanosomes, but showed
no symptoms of their filarial infection. No autopsy has yet been performed on
a Nakalanga subject, and until the anatomical distribution of filarial adults
and larvae is known in them, the question of pathogenicity must remain an open
one. The fact that two out of seven of our cases showed epilepsy might point
to an intracranial lesion, though none was discovered. Epilepsy was indeed
ascribed to onchocerciasis in Mexico, but Vargas (1945) concluded that the
association was a chance one. It may be added that T. solium is absent from
this part of Uganda, as far as we know. Whether the bite of Simulium, apart
from its effect as a vehicle for parasites, has any remote action on the ductless
glands, is a matter for speculation only.
Having established the fact that in a small area of Kyagwe there is a
remarkably high incidence of infantile dwarfism that cannot be ascribed to
heredity, we have reviewed other possible causes without finding any that
will satisfactorily explain the observed facts. Although it is clear that the
Banakalanga are confined to a region distinguished by a high prevalence of
onchocerciasis, we have no positive evidence to incriminate either the parasite
or the vector fly, however tempting the association may seem. One recalls that
other examples of infantilism in the tropics appear to have some dominant
association, whether it be with malaria, ankylostomiasis, or splenomegaly, that
nevertheless does not carry complete conviction as the cause, and this engenders
caution in considering the problem of aetiology. It appears to us significant
that infantilism in tropical countries is not very common, and that when it does
occur it tends to appear in small foci. Therefore, when malnutrition or some
form of parasitism is invoked to explain it, one is entitled to inquire why the
infantilism is so much more restricted in its distribution than the suggested cause.
It is possible that it only appears when a summation of predisposing factors
occurs, but we have found no evidence for this in the present instance. At the
THE BANAKALANGA OF KYAGWE 157
moment, therefore, we favour the view that the Nakalanga disease forms part
of a wider problem, one to which the true line of approach has not yet been
1. The dwarfed people of Kyagwe, known locally as Banakalanga, are
not of pygmy stock, but are sufferers from cachectic infantilism.
2. Field investigations show that these people occur on the fringe of the
Mabira Forest, that residence in this area from birth is necessary for the develop-
ment of the condition, and that children of indigenous or immigrant parents may
3. Clinico-pathological investigation of seven Banakalanga confirms that
their infantilism is associated with defects in pituitary and adrenal function.
4. The Banakalanga are distinguished by an unusually heavy infestation
of Onchocerca volvulus, but neither this nor other chronic diseases prevalent in
the area satisfactorily explains their morbid state, for which we use the uncontro-
versial term 'nakalanga disease'.
We wish to record our thanks to Dr. P. W. Hutton for criticism and help
during the investigation ; to Dr. A. W. Williams for granting facilities in Mulago
Hospital; to Dr. E. R. Cullinan and Dr. A. M. Robertson for advice and the
performance of ketosteroid estimations; to Mr. A. C. Ward, of the Public
Relations and Social Welfare Department, for his skilled aid in photography;
to Gombolola Chiefs in Kyagwe for their ready co-operation; and to the
Director of Medical Services, Uganda, for permission to publish the original
article and this revision.
Barnley, G. R. (1948): personal communication.
de Brun, H. (1910): Rev. de Med., 30, p. 802.
Conan, N. J. (1950): personal communication.
Davies, J. N. P. (1949): Brit. Med. J., ii., p. 676.
Gibbins, E. G., and Loewenthal, L. J. A. (1933): Ann. Trop. Med. and Parasit., 27,
p. 489; see also U.J. 2 (1934-5), p. 272.
Howe, A. F. A. (1906): Tr. Odont. Soc. Gt. Brit. (New Series), 38, p. 95.
Johnston, Sir H: The Uganda Protectorate, London, 1902.
Lane, C.: Hookworm Infection, Oxford, 1932.
Lehmann, H., and Raper, A. B. (1949): Nature, 164, p. 494; reprinted U.J. 15
(1951), p. 41.
Peruzzi, M. (1928): League of Nations Health Org., Final Report on Trypano-
somiasis, (CH.629), Geneva.
158 UGANDA JOURNAL
Pitman, C. R. S. (1934): UJ. 1, p. 7.
Strong, R. P., Sanground, J. H., Bequaert, J. C., and Ochoa, M. M.: Onchocerciasis,
Thomas, H. B., and Scott, R.: Uganda, London, 1935.
Trowell, H. C. (1949): T.R.S.T.M.H., 42, p. 417.
Vargas, L. (1945): Gac. Med. de Mexico, 75, p. 236.
le Veux, H.: Vocabulaire Luganda-Frangais, Alger, 1917.
Yowana, age 30 (see Fig. 1). Control is a small
Muganda. Note the slight build, narrow jaw
and, in this case, normal sexual development.
[ace p. 15&
AS MR. PRICE FOUND IT.
AS MR. PRICE LEFT IT.
The Old Mission House at Mombasa in 1875.
(Reproduced from The Church Missionary Gleaner, April 1878.)
THE GHOST OF LEVEN HOUSE, MOMBASA1
By SIR FREDERICK J. JACKSON, K.C.M.G., C.B.
(WITH A NOTE ON LEVEN HOUSE)
L EVEN HOUSE, where Gedge and I stayed towards the end of 1888, before
we set off on the journey which ultimately took us to Uganda, stood in a
small walled-in compound on the edge of the low cliff a few hundred yards
north of the Customs House, and immediately above a shallow arched vault
containing a well; both of the latter were hewn out of the solid coral. This
vault, later boarded in and used as a store, is all that remains of close connection
with Mombasa's haunted house.
The house itself was a small one of two stories with a broad veranda the
whole length of the front of the upper storey, which alone was used as residential
The ghost was a Swahili woman, who, tradition alleged, was murdered by
her paramour, a Goanese cook, and then thrown down the well. It was a real
ghost, and was seen one moonlight night most distinctly and vividly by Gedge
About a fortnight before the time of which I write there had been a serious
riot in the town, due to the presence of a large number of Zanzibari porters,
who were being assembled for our and other of 'the Chartered Company's
upcountry caravans. Between the Zanzibaris and the riff-raff of Mombasa
there had always been a good deal of friction, and this feeling of ill-will was
undoubtedly fostered by certain of the upper class Arabs and Swahilis of the
town. Even though the Zanzibaris had been removed into camp on the main-
land before our arrival, feeling in the town still ran so high that we were advised
to sleep in the same room and to have fire-arms handy; and at the suggestion
of the captain of H.M. Survey Ship Stork, then anchored in the harbour, signals
by lamp were arranged for in the event of assistance being needed.2
A night or two later, while sitting reading after dinner, our boys having
retired for the night, we both very distinctly heard, close to us, a curious
shuffling as of bare feet on the Chinese matting which covered the floor: both
of us looked up, expecting to see a boy, but there was no sign of anyone. A
little later the same shuffling was heard, and this time was remarked on. Two
nights later we had been in bed some little time, we had only ceased talking for
a few minutes and were both still wide awake, when a woman, fully dressed in
native fashion and with a shawl over her head, entered by the door facing
Gedge and to my left, sauntered past and between us, and then vanished into
1 From the late Sir Frederick Jackson's papers: kindly put at our disposal by Lady
2 Admiralty Chart No. 666 'Port Mombasa with Ports Kilindini, Reitz, and Tudor,
surveyed by Commander T. F. Pullen, R.N., of H.M.S. Stork, 1888' is still, with amend-
ments, in current use. Leven House is shown and named thereon.-[EDIToR.]
160 UGANDA JOURNAL
The apparition was most vivid as all the windows were wide open, and
almost before I realized what it was, Gedge, who had also seen it, sat up and
shouted, What are you doing here ? and in a second or two, thinking it was
a thief, we were out of bed, only to find the inner door closed, and the outer
one, which opened into the passage, locked and with the key inside!
On our recounting the story next morning we heard for the first time the
legend of Mombasa's haunted house.
Our experience, however, was not nearly so dramatic as that which, a little
later, befell a man whom I well remember on account of his truly enormous
feet but whose name I have forgotten. In addition to those remarkable feet,
he possessed a very fine bull-terrier. This dog always slept in his master's
room until one night it growled and whined so repeatedly that in desperation
its master got out of bed and shut it up in the empty bath-room. Even here
the alternate growling and whining continued for some time, but finally ceased.
In the morning there was no response to a call; the door was opened, the
master entered and there, in the dim light, saw to his distress the dog crouching
in a corner with its hindquarters pressed close into the angle of the walls, its
head resting between its outstretched paws and facing the door--stiff, cold
A NOTE ON EVEN HOUSE
If ghosts there be, Leven House had outstanding attractions, by both its
history and its construction, to their attentions.
During the Portuguese occupation Mombasa is said to have contained
twenty churches. It is on record that, in 1606, a Franciscan friar, Gaspar de
S. Bernardino, lodged for some days in an Augustinian convent, which he
describes as being on the shore of the harbour and containing a well which was
full at low tide. It was perhaps about the end of the eighteenth century that
within this site was erected an Arab house, the property of the Mazrui chiefs
The circumstances of the short-lived British occupation of Mombasa
following the visit from 7th to 13th February 1824 of Captain W. F. W. Owen,
R.N., in H.M.S. Leven are reasonably well known. It is presumably from this,
Owen's flag-ship, that at some quite late date Leven House acquired its name.
Owen left Lieutenant J. J. Reitz in charge with Midshipman George Phillips,
a corporal of marines and three seamen. Reitz. returning from a journey of
exploration to the Pangani River, died within sight of Mombasa on 29th May,
and the command devolved upon Phillips, until he was relieved by Lieutenant
J. B. Emery who disembarked from H.M.S. Espiegle on 28th August 1824.
Sir John Gray has located Emery's diary among Admiralty papers in the
Public Record Office.' In it Emery records that on landing he proceeded to
"the house of Lieutenant Reitz deceased in the possession of Mr. Phillips ",
and that on 31st August' Prince' Mbaruk offered him a house in the town which
he inspected next day. It has seven rooms and is situated near the water at
the upper end of the town not far from the Customs House, with rather a partial
I J. M. Gray, 'A Precursor of Krapf and Rebmann', U.J. 1 (1934-5), p. 71.
THE GHOST OF LEVEN HOUSE, MOMBASA 161
view of the sea, but a commanding view of the harbour. The rooms were not
quite furnished, but will be in a few days I expect." This, and not Reitz's
house, would be Leven House.
On 8th September Emery notes that We went to see the new house which
is not quite finished." It may be assumed that the house had been undergoing
renovation and that Emery moved in a few days later. Here died two members
of the 'Mombasa Establishment', Corporal James Smith, Royal Marines, on
23rd September 1824 and Midshipman Phillips on 8th March 1825. These
two, with Reitz and a seaman named Green (who had died before Emery's
arrival) were all buried in the old Portuguese cathedral" or Igereze ya Ngombe
(i.e., 'bullock church'). The area is now built over at the northern end of
On 3rd July 1825 Emery records, "I commenced making a landing place
abreast of the house by cutting through the rock . the Customs steps have
been falling down for the last two months and I cannot get them repaired
without I do it myself at the expense of the establishment." The Royal
Geographical Society possesses a number of letters from Emery to the otiose
geographer W. D. Cooley regarding his stay in Mombasa which give further
details of this work. Writing on 22nd February 1834 Emery says: Wishing
to give the negroes whom I had rescued from slave-vessels a practical knowledge
of free industry I employed them under two Sohili masons in improving the
port and paid them every Saturday night for their labour. My first undertaking
was to cut a landing place through the rock abreast of my house. Owing to the
height of the cliff I was obliged to make three angles, the first line led by a
flight of ten steps to a square landing, the second by twenty steps to another
square landing, the third by six steps down to a stone wharf from which I ran
out a jetty .. On the wharf I made a lateral excavation of 24 feet into the
solid rock and at the far end sank a well. Here fresh water was found which
surprised the natives very much, as the top of the well was only 2 feet above
high-water mark. The depth of the well was 8 feet." This is likely to be the
well referred to by Sir Frederick Jackson, though Joseph Thomson in 1883
(see page 163 post) speaks of an old Portuguese well with an inscription ".
The British occupation ended on 30th July 1826 (date given in Emery's
correspondence) with the departure from Mombasa of H.M.S. Helicon with the
entire garrison comprising Emery, one sergeant and one private of Marines,
and four seamen.
Sultan Seyyid Said of Zanzibar doubtless appropriated the house when,
with the capture of Mombasa in 1837, he broke the power of Mazrui. In
May 1844 the Church Missionary Society pioneer Dr. Ludwig Krapf with his
wife settled in Mombasa. Seyyid Said made him a free grant of the house: and
here it would seem Mrs. Krapf died on 13th July 1844. In October 1845 Krapf
records (Travels, Researches and Missionary Labours, p. 152), I had a violent
attack of fever brought on by exposure to the sun while I was engaged on the
flat roof of my house at Mombasa in superintending the construction of a room
destined for my colleague Rebmann."
But Krapf and Rebmann, whose mission was rather to the primitive main-
land tribes than to the fanatical Moslem population of Mombasa Island,
162 UGANDA JOURNAL
determined to leave the congested town, and in August 1846 removed to Rabai
which (also known as Kisuludini) became the centre of their work. Thereafter
the' Old Mission House' at Mombasa was probably seldom in regular occupa-
tion though Rebmann is said to have spent a few months there each year.
The French naval commander Guillain spent some time in Mombasa in
May 1848. He makes no mention of the mission house: but one of his officers
visited Krapf at Rabai (Rebmann was then absent in Chagga to obtain his first
view of Kilimanjaro on 11th May). Guillain saw the remains of the Portuguese
convent and a masonry fontaine (? well) of European construction within the
precincts. He notes that the old town of Mombasa was known as Gavana.
Burton and Speke came to Mombasa in January 1857 to consult Rebmann
at Rabai before setting out on the journey which led to their discovery of Lake
Tanganyika, and they occupied the house. Burton says (Zanzibar, H, p. 38):
"We ascended the cliff by a flight of steps in a dark dwarf tunnel" (this is
clearly the work executed by Emery in 1825). "The tunnel opens onto the
mission house, a double-storied box of coarse masonry: the ground floor belongs
to Seyyid Said." Speke (What led to the discovery of the source of the Nile,
p. 165) remarks that the dwelling was appointed for their use by Laxmidas
Thakurdas the Banyan Collector of Customs and agent of the farmer of the
Sultan's customs at Zanzibar. The inference is that there was some upder-
standing between the Sultan and the Mission, of which Rebmann was now the
sole representative, regarding the joint use of the premises, the upper floor being
retained as a rest-house for use when Rebmann visited the port. Jackson
remarks that in his day only the upper storey was used as a residence.
During the succeeding years the C.M.S. work in East Africa was well
nigh extinguished save for the faithful witness of the ageing Rebmann, whom
Sir Bartle Frere found alone and all but blind at Rabai in 1873, having never
returned to Europe. Efforts had from time to time been made to reinforce
Rebmann but the only one to remain for any period was the Rev. T. H. Sparshott
who first arrived in 1867. New life was injected into the' Mombasa Mission'
with the arrival of the Rev. W. Salter Price at the end of 1874. He found
Sparshott engaged, rather ineffectively, in efforts to repair the mission house.
Price's comments on the premises and their surroundings (" by native piggeries ")
are far from complimentary. "Alighting from the boat we clambered over a
few large boulders and, having picked our way over what appeared to be a
village dung-heap, we found ourselves at the bottom of a long flight of steps,
some of them worn away ... we groped our way safely to the top, i.e., of the
steps, not of the house, for we had still to encounter another perilous ascent by
a wooden ladder of the rudest and flimsiest construction. At length, all diffi-
culties surmounted, we found ourselves in the mission house" (Journal, 15th
November 1874; Church Missionary Intelligencer, May 1875, p. 146). This
once more indicates that it was the upper storey which was used as a dwelling.
Price repaired the house and lived there for a short time: but he quickly
negotiated the purchase of a property at Kisauni on the mainland opposite,
where he established the settlement for freed slaves which he named 'Frere
Town'. This became the headquarters of the Mission and the Mombasa house
was thereafter only occasionally occupied. In The Church Missionary Gleaner
THE GHOST OF LEVEN HOUSE, MOMBASA 163
for April 1878 are two illustrations of the house before and after Price's improve-
ments, with some account of its history.
The explorer Joseph Thomson (Through Masai Land, p. 41) came to
Mombasa in February 1883 to acquire information regarding the routes through
Masai Land before planning his journey upcountry, and he makes an interesting
reference to the house. As Mr. H. W. Lane, the Lay Superintendent at Frere
Town, was unable to accommodate him owing to a recent addition to his family,
Thomson accepted an invitation to "proceed back to the town under the care
of the Rev. W. E. Taylor, who in characteristic fashion performed the varied
duties of doctor and school superintendent. For convenience in acquiring the
Swahili and Arab languages he has cut himself adrift from the settlement and
lives separately in the town where he has nightly levees with the Arabs and
Wa-Swahili and has deservedly become popular. His house is interesting in
many respects. At the landing place there is an old Portuguese well with an
inscription. Beside it a door leads to a staircase arched over to form a sort of
tunnel. This was built in the days of the brief British occupation of the town.
It was then occupied by Dr. Krapf ... and up to the time of which I write
remained in the hands of the missionaries." And when, in September 1883,
Bishop Royston of Mauritius spent a few days at Mombasa, Mr. Taylor was still
in residence at the mission-house in the town (C.M.I., January 1884, p. 25).
In 1884 the house was lent to Captain C. E. Gissing, R.N., who had been
appointed the first British Vice-Consul at Mombasa. Probably some question
as to the C.M.S. title to the property then arose for, on 6th October 1884, a
document was registered (and is still on record) in the Zanzibar Consular
"It is this day agreed by Salim bin -Hamis El-Mazruai on behalf of
himself his heirs and successors and Sir John Kirk, K.C.M.G. acting for
the Church Mission Society and authorized to act on their behalf that in
consideration of the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) to be paid by
the Society Salim shall on his part relinquish all and every claim and right
that he has or might have in the house in Mombasa now occupied by Her
Majesty's Vice-Consul and secures to the Church Mission Society undis-
puted possession thereof. Agreed upon and signed this day the seventeenth
of August 1884 at Takaungu.
Witness, John Kirk."
This Salim was the recognized head of the junior branch of the Mazrui
family and was Liwali of Takaungu from 1876 until his death in 1895'. Disputes
regarding his successor were at the root of the Mazrui Rebellion in 1895. It
is of interest that a Mazrui head and not the Sultan of Zanzibar was the purported
vendor. Apparently the Mazrui, despite their defeat in 1837, had reasserted
their ownership of lands in Mombasa.
The Rev. W. Salter Price (My Third Campaign in East Africa, pp. 100-1)
notes that while he was in Zanzibar in July 1888 he negotiated the transfer of
a number of Mombasa and Frere Town properties from the C.M.S. to its Trust
Association. This conveyance, dated 17th July 1888, is still recorded in the
Zanzibar Registry, and item 22 is in respect of Mombasa Mission House with
compound purchased from Salim bin Hamis El Mazruai ".
164 UGANDA JOURNAL
Gissing's occupancy cannot have continued for long, for in his journal
for 3rd December 1886 (C.M.I., March 1887, p. 178) Bishop Parker notes that
"we wandered over Dr. Krapf's empty house ". From October 1887 to May
1888 Dr. Ardagh of the C.M.S. did medical work from the house among the
townspeople of Mombasa: but C.M.S. Annual Report for 1889 (p. 39) records
that since May 1888 the house had not been occupied by a missionary and that
a portion of the house had been let to the Imperial British East Africa Company.
The Rev. W. S. Price (op. cit.) notes on 5th October 1888 that he informed
Mr. G. S. Mackenzie, the Company's newly-arrived Administrator, that the
house was at his service until he could make better arrangements, and on 11th
October Price removed the Mission furniture to Frere Town. Jackson and
Gedge must have occupied the house only a few weeks later.
Thus commenced the Company's few years' tenure of the house. In 1891,
the C.M.S., being persuaded of its unsuitableness as a mission residence, agreed
to sell to the Company ; and when, in 1895, the Company expired, it passed into
the hands of the Government. Before that date the Company had ceased to
make use of it-its situation in the congested native town can hardly have been
attractive. In 1894 the Rev. W. E. Taylor mentions "the amalgamation of the
Hindi and Swahili boys' schools into one, which has been transferred to the old
mission house (Leven House or' Nyumba ya Pavani') under the management of
Miss Bazett. The acting Administrator (i.e., Mr. J. R. W. Pigott) was in a
position to lend us the house without cost to ourselves until it shall be wanted
by the Company" (C.M.I., April 1895, p. 275). Pavani is doubtless the name
Gavana recorded by Guillain in 1848.
The house, picturesquely draped in bougainvillea, was now in a very
dilapidated condition and, on 21st September 1895, Sir Arthur Hardinge, then
Consul-General at Zanzibar, suggested to the Foreign Office that it might be
sold to the C.M.S. as an episcopal residence for Bishop Tucker who was anxious
to have a house in Mombasa itself. This transaction did not mature and
early in the present century what remained of Leven House was demolished.
Little of the original construction exists to-day. The site has been absorbed
into the Customs establishment. The steps remain, and in a godown which
now encroaches on the still visible foundations of the old house, the Customs
Department receives the Arab dhow-masters with their imports of carpets and
other trade goods.
[The preparation of this note owes much to the ready assistance of the
Provincial Commissioner, Coast Province, Mombasa, and of Sir John Gray.
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY
By R. N. POSNETT
T HE great Nile travellers, Speke and Baker, spared little time or thought
for the country to the west of the Albert Nile-the southern part of an area
known while under Belgian rule as the Lado Enclave, and now the West Nile
District of Uganda. It was the last part of Uganda's present territory to be
incorporated in the Protectorate.
The first European to visit the area seems to have been the Italian, Miani,
who reached the neighbourhood of Dufile in March 1860. For the next thirty
years the area was regarded as part of Egypt's Equatorial Province, and it came
under a desultory Egyptian influence, which too often consisted of slave and
cattle raiding. At the end of 1877 the German traveller, Junker, coming from
the north-west, got to within twenty miles of the site of the present Arua Station
and took the opportunity of naming some of the hills.
Later came the Mahdist rising in the Sudan, and another amazing German
character, Emin Pasha, appears. Primarily a doctor and a scientist he became
Governor of Equatoria, and in face of the Mahdist pressure was driven south-
wards to Dufile and then to Wadelai where he held out until relieved by Stanley
in 1889. The Mahdist dervishes never reached the present West Nile area, and
after Emin's departure with Stanley, all manifestations of administration ceased.
In 1894 the district was leased to Leopold, King of the Belgians, for his lifetime.
Following his death in 1909 it reverted to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, on whose
behalf, in 1910, C. H. Stigand took over the administration. Finally an exchange
was made whereby, in 1914, the West Nile was joined to Uganda, while the
Nimule and Gondokoro Districts passed to the Sudan.
The West Nile is still little known to the public except as the last habitat
of the white rhinoceros. It is a broken terrain, sweeping up from the Nile at
2,000 ft. to the continental watershed at 4,000 to 6,000 ft. in a matter of 40 miles
as the crow flies. The hills and ridges are divided by deep valleys which con-
tain, in season, fast-flowing rivers. Many travellers who venture through by
car get only distant glimpses of its hills. To appreciate them one must get off
the road and walk.
Beginning at the northern end of the District the first to claim attention are
the two 'Monarchs of Madi', Abutse (a-boo-tschay) and Otse' (Oh-tschay).
(My phonetics are likely to be frowned on by Madi scholars.) These two peaks
are part of a massif which seems to be called Nyeri. The first explorers approach-
ing from the north, were all struck by this great barrier, which is very impressive
from that side, and particularly to travellers who have crossed the barren Sudan.
Sir Samuel Baker (Ismailia, II, pp. 73-4) mentions 'Mount Neri' hemming in
the Nile to the south-west, and says that the Arabs called it Jebel Kuku. This
name obviously comes from the Kuku tribe, a branch of the Bari-Kakwa group
I This name appears on Uganda maps as Otze, Otzi or Lotzi.
166 UGANDA JOURNAL
which lives around the northern slopes of the range. The main massif runs in
a north-west and south-east direction, and Abutse rises clear in the middle of
the range. Otse, on the other hand, is the southern bastion. I do not think
Baker cared to distinguish, let alone to climb, the individual peaks. His refer-
ence to Jebel Kuku suggests Abutse which is nearer the Kuku country. But,
on the other hand, the picture he had made (op. cit., II, facing p. 74) clearly
depicts Otse as seen from Nimule. Later, in 1877, came Emin Pasha. He
refers both to Jebel Kuku and also to Jebel Meto.1 An annotator, E. G.
Ravenstein, has suggested that Jebel Meto is Jebel Otze. (Jebel, of course, is
the Arabic for mountain.) It is true that the Metu clan live on the northern
plateau of Otse. But from any viewpoint it is difficult to appreciate that the
range contains so many hills and valleys, and I doubt if Emin's references were,
in fact, intended to convey anything more than a name for the whole massif.
He apparently did not climb it himself, and there is nothing to suggest that he
considered names for the different peaks even if he appreciated their existence.
Elsewhere he refers to the 'Kuku Mountains ', and the Kuku Mountain Mass'.
There is another reason for doubting the validity of Ravenstein's suggestion.
Emin, approaching from the north, describes Jebel Meto as bounding the river
valley "to the south ". Now this range of mountains fills the V formed by
the Nile, with apex at Nimule. The river flows eastwards to Nimule with Otse
on its north. It then turns abruptly and flows north-west with Abutse and
subsidiary ranges on its south-west. To Emin in the north Abutse would stand
out as the highest point and Otse would be invisible at first, being the southern
buttress of the range. Emin may have been deceived as to the geography of
the mountains. But the Jebel Meto which he saw from the north cannot have
been Otse. Stigand (Equatoria: The Lado Enclave, p. 65) refers to the main
range as 'Nyiri', and in describing the highest peak which he also calls Nyiri,
he gives an accurate portrait of Abutse. Otse, on the other hand, is mentioned
as a separate mountain, spelled Wachai. This analysis is clearly the best.
Nyeri must be accepted as the name of the main range with Abutse its highest
point. Otse is the other outstanding peak, set slightly apart and to the south
of the Nyeri massif proper.
Abutse is an inaccessible wedge-shaped mountain standing high above the
Nile rapids its summit reaching an altitude of about 5,200 ft. A glimpse of its
fine peak can be obtained from the Gulu road in East Madi; but from there it
is dwarfed by Otse. The best approach to Abutse is from Metu Camp, six
miles by road from Moyo, the headquarters of Madi District. From Metu the
climber sets off with tent and safari on head-loads. The track at first winds up
over the ridge to the north-east of the camp and after an hour the secluded
plateau of Aya with settlements of Madi is reached. From here can be seen a
high wall to the east; that is Abutse. In shape it is like the Weisshorn or
Mount Everest in miniature, and from this viewpoint, it produces an impression
of blue distance and hauteur. The way leads on through fields of simsim or
cotton, over a small river, gradually leaving cultivation behind and reaching a
deserted country of rocky hills, and finally dropping down to cross a brook and
1 Letter to Dr. Petermann dated Dufile, 16th July, 1877, in Emin Pasha in Central
Africa, pp. 8-9.
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY 167
to reach the little paradise of Leya. This is nothing more than a grassy clearing,
surrounded by bush-covered hills and big trees beside the river bed. There are
always elephant and wild pig about, not to mention the insufferable monkeys,
but, best of all, hidden from casual gaze, is a natural bathing pool about 40 ft.
across and nearly man-deep, into which splashes a little waterfall and out of
which flows the brook already crossed. This provides a most beautiful swim-
ming bath and is an added inducement to camp at Leya after the three or four
hours' walk from Metu. The next morning the climb leads over the rocky
slopes, and up steep gulleys where spring water tumbles until a stony scree is
reached. From here it is a scramble up to the ridge where one is met by a
gusty wind, a near vertical drop on the other side, and a delicious prospect of
the Nile flowing from its junction with the Unyama at Nimule down over the
Fola rapids, through the Bahr el Jebel to the Sudan. Another climb along the
ridge leads quickly to the summit cairn on which you can sit and throw pebbles
down towards the Nile, and where, scratched on stone, can be seen the initials
of the very few previous climbers. The view to the north and east is magnifi-
cent. In the distance rises the twin mountain near Torit, looking like Cologne
Cathedral. Close below is the unusual double ridge of Ilengwa with a hidden
green vale between, to which few humans can have penetrated.
Ilengwa deserves a word to itself. It is a long ridge which rises some
1,200 ft. from the Nile flats and runs north-west parallel to the river, maintaining
an almost uniform height for two miles until it reaches the foothills of Abutse
and the Nyeri range proper. From below and around it appears to be a single
ridge, high, long and straight. The grass looks smooth, and even short, tempt-
ing one to try and walk the length of it. But it is delusive. Between its double
ridge is this hidden valley which can only be seen from the upper slopes of
Abutse or Ilengwa. It is a range, moreover, which has indirectly caused many
Administrative Officers to tear their hair in efforts to interpret the legal definition
of the Sudan boundary after the inevitable frontier fracas. ". . thence following
the foot of the range to a point. . ." How nice and straight it looks on a map!
Several miles to the south-east of Abutse, out of the same massif, rises the
proud head of Otse. To the eye the two appear to be identical in height, but
F. H. Rogers, of the Uganda Administration, is said to have found that Otse is
60 ft. lower than Abutse. Nevertheless, it is Otse which is the West Nile's most
famous landmark with its sphinx-like head falling away in two enormous and
precipitous steps to the Nile, 3,000 ft. below. From far away on the road, from
Gulu, from the District Commissioner's veranda at Arua, even from Erusi
Camp away to the south, given clear weather, there Mount Otse stands, lowering
over Laropi. When the British Overseas Airways flying-boats used to alight
to refuel at Laropi, one could watch them from the top of Otse, mere flies
buzzing slowly off the water and passing by northbound far below.
To Laropi, Otse presents its great south and south-western face, which
has never been climbed, but pangas to hack through the heavy vegetation which
seems to cover the precipices would be more necessary than pitons. Behind
this great buttress is a high plateau sloping gradually down towards the north
and eventually reaching Aya. To climb Otse by the simplest route it is best to
leave the road two miles east of Metu, and follow the track up into the hills.
168 UGANDA JOURNAL
The first ridge takes longer to reach than might be expected. Once over it the
climber is on the plateau amidst houses and shambas; then climbing eastwards
slowly past these, he finds that the plateau, contained as it is by ridges on both
sides, gradually takes on a concave shape. The plateau narrows, the slope
stiffens and at last the final pyramid is attained. A clamber of 200 ft. through
rocks and boulders, opens out suddenly upon the summit. During the whole
of this ascent there has been nothing of a view but the prospect from the summit
is an ample reward; it is one of the most remarkable mountain views I know.
Below lies the placid Albert Nile meandering almost due east past Laropi.
The white line of the road can be seen threading down from Moyo, and again
beyond the river running straight for Gulu. A dot is the ferry apparently
immobile in midstream. All the hills of central Acholi and of West Nile
appear as insignificant lumps and bumps, but the Imatong Mountains are a
wall in the north-east. The cairn on Otse, with an altitude of 5,135 ft. above
sea level, shows signs of numerous ascents as well as some elaborate carving
by the Air Survey Company's surveyors. Two or three hours is ample for the
climb and half that time for the return to the road.
On leaving Moyo the Arua road soon crosses a small humpy ridge. From
here in clear weather away to the west can be seen two hills lifting themselves
from the plains of Aringa. The nearest one is the rounded Midigo. Farther
west is the more peaky Kei. Midigo has the smooth convex surface of rock
typical of so many West Nile hills apparently due to exfoliation of the gneiss.
They are not volcanic, as their shape might suggest, but are known to geologists
as inselbergs. An old track crosses the river Koich and leads to the foot of
Midigo; it leaves the main road at about Mile 38 from Moyo, and four miles
east of Yumbe and terminates at the old Midigo Rest Camp. From here there
are many routes up the hill, but the most entertaining is to turn southwards along
the base of the cliffs until one comes opposite a large cleft in the rock face, the
shape of an inverted V. Climbing it in rubber soles to near the top of the V
one can leave it by a left-hand traverse which leads onto the smooth slabs of
the west face. These are neither so smooth nor so steep as they appear and
no climbing wizardry is required to surmount them. The slope decreases
rapidly and the smooth lid of Midigo is reached surprisingly quickly. From
here there is a view down onto little flattened villages which give an appearance
of cleanliness and order, an appearance which is belied by a closer inspection
on the return journey.
Kei would be an undistinguished hill but for its commanding position in the
north-west corner of the district. The summit commands a long view of all the
astonishing shapes and colours of the Sudan hills of the Yei River District.
Weird sculptured cones and cubes they seem, of red and grey and black, with
Maya the nearest and severest of them. Kei Hill is most easily reached from
Origeni Camp. If the River Koich is in flood it may be necessary to swim,
and four miles to the north of it is Origeni. Threading a way through several
miles of long grass, clambering up over hidden rocks and boulders, at length,
in chastened mood, one reaches the top, which is also covered in long grass.
But the delights of the view are soon forgotten in the horror of descending over
the ever-invisible boulders. Kei should be climbed after the grass is burned.
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY 169
Between and to the north of Kei and Midigo, lies the elephant and buffalo
country which stretches up to the River Kaia-the Sudan border-an unin-
habited area. On the plains to the south of these hills live the Kuluba people
of Aringa, mostly professing Muhammadans. It has been suggested that Islam
is a religion of the plains, being a religion of rapid movement and war. After
sweeping across North Africa and Spain, Islam was halted at the Pyrenees.
Again the dervishes were halted at the north of Uganda. In contrast perhaps,
Buddhism, the religion of contemplation and sanctuary, thrives in the moun-
tains: while Christianity by proselytizing, and Judaism by migration, spread to
all corners of the earth.
South of Aringa are people whom the Kuluba call Ulidri or Madi, but who
are known in the West Nile District as the middle Lugbara. They live around
two big mountains-Liru and Wati. To the north and west Liru is surrounded
by foothills where the southernmost clans of the Kakwa live. The south and
east are inhabited by Lugbara, who used to suffer from periodic raids by the
Kakwa from around the mountain. Stigand reports that the eastern slopes
of Liru were deserted in 1908 and again in 1911 (op. cit., p. 84). But
that bogey is long since laid (op. cit., p. 80) and the Lugbara are back :
and are even emigrating to live among the less-crowded Kakwa, so that
one now finds many Lugbara on the north and west of Liru. But anyone
coming from Tara in the south will find difficulty in getting the Lugbara
guides to take him to the foot of the big south and east face, where the
smooth slabs rise steeply for 600 ft. So far as I know, these slabs have never
been climbed. The only attempt in which I was involved ended with myself
50 ft. lower down than I had been three seconds before and nicely skinned. My
partner, who had accompanied my progress on the slabs with sceptic comment,
proceeded to climb at high speed up a gulley which is full of trees, while I
retired to Aupe Camp to bind up my wounds. But others have suffered a
similar fate. Lieut.-Commander O. R. Sitwell, R.N., when District Com-
missioner, West Nile, led a party up Liru and, during the ascent both the Wakil
and the Head Interpreter had unpleasant falls which cured them for life of any
desire to climb-a desire which had perhaps merely been simulated in order to
humour Sitwell whose nickname among the Lugbara was Dirili-- the Hornet',
I had already climbed Liru twice before by less precarious routes. It
consists of two large mounds of rock, each with a flat top a quarter of an acre
in extent. These are divided from each other by a sharp cleft 50 ft. deep. The
highest point is on the eastern mound, which is covered with debris as of an
early civilization-or perhaps just Sitwell's survey post and cairn in disrepair
The smooth rock of the summit is quite free of vegetation. The easiest route
is up the eastern side of the mountain, keeping well to the right of the main
slabs which leads to a saddle between Liru and a subsidiary hump to the north.
By turning south up harmlessly exposed slabs of a very moderate slope-smooth
enough, however, to require rubber soles, or, if none, stockinged feet-one will
quickly reach the top. The route from the west has little to commend it, as it
involves climbing the secondary summit and then crossing the cleft to the top.
The view from Liru scans a wide area of the West Nile plateau, but its main
attraction is the almost vertical aspect which it gives of several nearby villages.
170 UGANDA JOURNAL
Wati is a slightly higher mountain than Liru, being about 5,300 ft. high, with
a complicated system of gulleys and faces, ridges and saddles. It has a distinc-
tive profile with a long ridge ascending from a subsidiary point to the summit.
It is nine miles due south of Liru and is an outstanding landmark from Arua,
although rising from a lower plain and sixteen miles away as the crow flies. It
is the home of innumerable spirits and the site of many Lugbara legends. It
was on Wati that Dribidu, the father of the Ayivu or southern Lugbara, made
his first settlement, after crossing the Nile. Dribidu, from whose loins are said
to have sprung Vurra, Ayivu and Terego, was the man who earned the terrible
name of Banya-' the Cannibal'. It is said that one day a hawk passing his
home dropped a heart which Dribidu picked up, cooked and ate. Finding it
delicious he killed many different animals, eating their hearts in an attempt to
discover which it was that tasted so sweet. But he could never recapture the
same savour. One day when he was old, his adult sons and daughters went off
to work in the fields leaving their many infant children to the care of their
grandfather. So soon as they had gone Dribidu killed one of the children, took
out its heart and ate it. At last he had discovered the origin of that sweet
taste. He buried the body of the child underneath the house. When his sons
and daughters came back they were horrified to find about ten of their children
missing. They unearthed the dreadful secret and Dribidu Banya, the Cannibal,
was driven out into the bush.
There are innumerable routes up Wati. It can be approached from the
south by crossing the River Anau at Terego; another route leads from Wadra
on the Ivu-Omugo road. The ascent reveals many hidden valleys and villages
high on the mountain, between forbidding smooth rock-faces which jut out
like gables. Approaching the final pyramid, it is possible either to traverse to
the eastward and join the summit ridge near its lower end, or, what is more
exciting, to go straight for the top. The climb up the north side of the mountain
leads to a nice scramble up the last few feet, ending with a little chimney out of
which one lifts one's head to survey the top. Here there are distant views to
Otse in the north-east, Erusi and Luku away to the south, Arua clearly visible,
Terego and the Anau nearby, while the Ivu Camp is at one's feet to the west.
A little farther off are the Maracha dukas and the new Ivu buildings, while more
to the south the Maracha County Headquarters stand out red and white.
The old Ivu Camp was sited on the original Belgian station known as
'Mount Wati'. This was the headquarters of the Belgian administration of
the District during their occupation. The foundations of their old buildings can
still be seen. As in many parts of the West Nile, local legends tell with glee
of the discomfiture of the 'Birigi'. One such tale is of a recalcitrant Lugbara
clan who installed themselves in the caves and clefts of Mount Liru to defy the
Belgians rather than submit to their orders. The Belgians sent an expedition
after them. The Lugbara hid, silently watching until the Belgians had climbed
to an exposed place on the mountain below them. Thereupon, in the expressive
phrase of the teller, Lugbara natoka kali sana-Birigi nakufa mingi!"
Liru and Wati were first visited by a European in 1877 when Dr. Wilhelm
Junker accompanied a so-called punitive expedition under Ahmed Atrush
representing the Egyptian Government. Starting from Makaraka somewhere
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY 171
north of the Yei of present-day Equatoria, they pushed slowly south through
the Kakwa and Kalika tribes. They appear to have crossed the upper reaches
of the Kaia river and soon after that Junker notes (Travels in Africa, I., p. 455):
"The view to the east is bounded by two high conical mountains: Kod6fe
and Kinuafo. The little brooks run mostly to the east and north-east." He
was thus east of the watershed, though the names which he mentions mean
nothing to us. This first view seems to have been on about the 1st December
1877. A fortnight later the expedition, having made a slow westerly circuit
raiding cattle, food and slaves, reached its farthest south.
Junker (I, p. 466) records: From the most southerly point of this expedi-
tion, ... I saw from several places in our camp a mountain range rising up
in the far south in which probably the sources of the Kibbi-Kebali-Welle are to
be found. It may have been twenty to twenty-five miles distant. Through the
telescope I could perceive trees growing on some of the heights. These moun-
tains are rounded in form, but beyond them I discerned still more distant
"In Lubari (Lugbara) land I came nearer to the mountains to the east
already seen and measured. Here they no longer looked like isolated crests,
but a continuous mountain range. In some directions I noticed chains of
mountains lying one behind the other. The three highest peaks I named Jebel
Gessi, Jebel Gordon and Jebel Baker. The most distinct was Jebel Gordon;
the ground gradually ascends to the lower hills before it. Other ranges lie to
the south of the two highest peaks of Jebel Gordon, beyond which is the group
Jebel Baker. To the north of Jebel Gordon, the Jebel Gessi, a high conical
rock on the mountain ridge, can be easily recognized."
This heartbreakingly inadequate detail and loose description is all the
great scientist can provide for us to work on; although it is clear that he must,
in fact, have made observations whose results were no doubt lost in the Mahdist
rising, together with his collections.
The commonly accepted interpretation of Junker's nomenclature is that
Liru is Jebel Gessi, and Wati his Jebel Gordon. True, Wati has not two peaks,
and Liru's flat top is hardly conical; but to a distant observer, who may have
written from memory, the description is not impossible. This was accepted by
Stigand (op. cit., p. 85) and I can think of no other pair of mountains to fit the
picture Junker draws. Jebel Baker is not so easy to find. Luku is the biggest
mountain to the south of Wati but, rising from the plains, it is not in fact so
high as humps on the highland watershed such as Logiri, which could hardly
be termed mountains. If Junker was observing from somewhere along the
watershed west of Wati, near Olovu, he would have seen Luku only as a hump
rising a little above the south-eastern end of the Arua plateau, and would have
no reason to suspect its hidden magnitude. Bondo and Laura would appear
almost equally credible. However, since he uses the term "the group Jebel
Baker" we may comfortably assign to this 'group' all the hills between Luku
and Bondo. Stigand always referred to Luku as Jebel Baker. As regards the
"mountain range rising up in the far south" one surmises that he referred to
the hills between Zeo and Erusi, with Akara and Au in the Belgian Congo
as the still more distant mountain peaks which the telescope revealed.
172 UGANDA JOURNAL
The river steamer Lugard is scheduled to leave Rhino Camp at about ten
o'clock each Sunday morning bound for Pakwach, and reaches the wide expanse
of sudd near Pawaa some three hours later. From this point Luku stands out
unmistakably as the nearest and only appreciable mountain within easy view to
the west. It is a big asymmetrical cone which rises from the bushy plains
between Ajia and Odraka to divide the Lugbara from the Madi. From Arua,
fifteen miles to the north-west, the top of Luku is seen as an undistinguished-
looking hump lifting itself above the horizon rather to the east of the Bondo
group. Fourteen miles down the Pakwach road from Arua, Luku appears at
closer quarters to the left. Leaving the road at Arivu Camp, an hour and a
hall's walk leads to Ajia. From there the path that leads down to Madi and
the Nile may be followed. After a while it crosses the Alla river, and soon
arrives at the foot of the mountain. The ascent is perfectly straightforward
plodding up a uniform slope with a fairly even surface beneath the grass. Noisy
monkeys are in evidence, but it is unlikely that any of the wild dogs or lion
which live on Luku and its foothills will be seen. New-born cubs of both
these animals have been had from here in recent years.
J. H. Driberg and Sitwell were said to be the only Europeans who had
climbed Luku when I first became interested in the project. Terrible and no
doubt fabulous stories were told of other great West Nile walkers who had
attempted the mountain from this side and that, but who had been turned back
by thirst, hunger or unclimbable rock faces. I was told that apart from the
precipices which were not apparent from a distant view, the mountain was, in
fact, twice as big as it looked and that if I left Arivu at dawn I could not hope
to reach the summit and get back before nightfall. As for the idea of holding
a Diwan at Ajia after the attempt, it was ridiculous. Nevertheless, I left Arivu
on a bicycle after sunrise, and was back in Diwan at Ajia soon after 11 a.m.
When I and my two attendants announced that we had already climbed Luku
and returned, we were greeted with politely derisive laughter. Luckily for my
good name, a certain Sleeping Sickness Inspector who had intended to accom-
pany the party but had somehow missed the way, crawled rather wearily into the
Diwan an hour later, and announced that he had just been to the summit of Luku
to look for us and had seen footmarks there!
But there is little reward in the view from the top. It is covered with bush
forest through which it is impossible to see distinctly, particularly since it was
dry smoky weather. The cairn at the top is on a long rounded ridge which falls
gradually away into the even slope of the mountain. Only to the south is there
a line of rugged foothills rising from some distance away to buttress Luku from
that side. It is on these foothills where bamboo is to be found. I saw none on
the mountain itself.
The name Luku was used for a time as that of an Administrative County.
When Stigand (op. cit., p. 103) visited the area in 1910 he found a number of
petty chiefs ruling small settlements of Madi to the south and east of Luku.
This, in fact, may have been due to the death of Lei who appears to have
previously had paramountcy over all the Madi-Ayiru. His young son Ajai
had not yet made himself felt. However, when A. E. Weatherhead arrived four
years later to open the district for Uganda, he found in Ajai a redoubtable young
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY 173
war-lord who already swayed most of these Madi. The stories of Jerekedi
(Weatherhead) and Ajai are now legendary, and it is difficult to know whether
Ajai really missed Weatherhead by a hairsbreadth with an arrow shot from an
ambush; and whether he really burnt down Weatherhead's camp one day while
Weatherhead was out looking for him. A Munyoro Agent, Rehan, was soon
appointed to govern a county which was called Luku, and so soon as Ajai was
finally tamed, he was put in the charge of Rehan to learn his future job. It is
not difficult to believe that these two failed to co-operate, or that it was Rehan
who had to go, leaving Ajai, the hereditary Opi, undisputed claimant to the post
of County Chief. The name of the area was changed to Madi and Ajai was
duly appointed Sultan, a post which he held until his retirement in 1950.
Ten miles to the south-west of Luku is the vale of Bondo. I do not know
how it came by this name, but it bears a passing resemblance to the Val Bondo
in eastern Switzerland. It is enclosed by three mountains, Laura (rhymes with
devourer), Bondo and Eyii. Laura is an interesting climb either from Bondo
or Uleppi, and is capped by a tremendous boulder which gives a characteristic
knob to its skyline recognizable from afar. A tree growing conveniently near
enables one to climb in its branches the fifteen feet to the top of the boulder.
From this perch there is a delightful view of Bondo valley, the Atiak escarpment,
and Madi plains, Luku, and away to the north through field glasses Arua's
' pimple'. Bondo hill is to the west of Bondo Camp, and in shape rather like a
Landseer lion. Apparently just the same height as Laura (about 4,600 ft.) its
back stretches westwards toward Logiri, joining the general level of the highland
plateau, so that from that side it is an easy walk. Eyii, the third of Bondo's
mountains, is a fine steep-sided, round-headed peak, standing to the south of
Bondo Camp. An hour's walk is followed by an easy 1,000 ft. ascent if the
ridge is gained early on by an obvious path and then followed to the summit.
It is from the south that this mountain is best viewed. Ofaka Camp has Eyii
in the centre background, and it stands out well from a point near Atiak over-
looking the escarpment and plains. Eyii is pronounced Iyii in Ofaka. It is
inhabited only by leopards, except for one village on its northern shoulder.
Taking the highland road from Arua one comes at Mile 21 to a hill on the
Nile-Congo watershed, which is Logiri. Its only claim to inclusion here is its
altitude of 6,000 ft., which is attained mainly by reason of the rising highland
country on all sides. Half of the hill is on the Congo side of the border which
runs over the top.
Looking south from Logiri, some twenty miles away, stands out the big
dome of Zeo. This also is on the watershed and the border. To reach it, drive
to Lendu and then walk northwards to the Belgian Customs Post of Zeo. There
you may meet Jean Baptiste, the Customs Officer, and his wife, both of them
Bungu from near Leopoldville, playing West Coast songs to themselves on a tiny
gramophone to while away the tedium of existence on this cold upland steppe
3,000 miles from home. They have little business at this Customs Post. The
'barrier' stands forlornly in the middle of a grass field to which no road
approaches. Immigrants from the Congo politely avoid passing within sight of
the post to prevent loss of face on either side. Hence it is a lonely place.
South of the post, the ground rises and one is soon plodding up the broad
174 UGANDA JOURNAL
back of Zeo. On the summit, as one scans the wide savannah on every side,
it is easy to provoke heated argument between one's Lendu and Alur com-
panions by questions such as, What is the real name of this hill ? and Who
does this area belong to ? It is thought that the Lendu originally occupied
most of the southern part of West Nile, until driven west and south by the Alur
and the Madi. And Manga, the chief of the remaining Lendu on the Uganda
side of the border, sits and broods like an old Inca king over an empire long
Zeo mountain stands a little more than 6,000 ft. above the sea, and forms
part of what visiting novelists term the backbone of Africa-meaning the con-
tinental divide, the Nile-Congo watershed. The summit lies on the international
border which here follows the watershed, and from it there is a view far into the
Congo where the forests of the river valleys contrast with the almost bare West
Nile highlands. Descending to the north-west one will eventually, if one's
guides vouchsafe it, come upon a little spring in the mountain side. This spring
is forbidden to man-for it is taboo. Dogs can drink from it with impunity,
but any man who does so will die. It is told how a certain Belgian broke the
taboo and drank from the spring. Soon after returning to camp he fell ill, and
the next day he died. We decided to go thirsty. Zeo mountain is credited with
the usdal occult beliefs in the powers attaching to high places. If it were in
another land it would be called Nkokonjeru, but now that wars and hunts are
becoming rarities in Zeo, the summit of Zeo mountain rarely witnesses the
regular sacrificial rites as of old. The face of this mountain will be entirely
changed when, in a few years' time, the Uganda side of it is covered with a
plantation of cypress trees.
To the east of Zeo lie the rounded grassy hills of the Alur highlands. Ose,
Ajeri and Nyapea are all easy to walk up. While mentioning Nyapea, let me
endeavour to exterminate once and for all the suggestion that its name has any
connection with that of Nyipir, the famous founder of the ruling dynasty of the
Alur. This is a misapprehension which I understand is not uncommon east of
the Nile among those who are not familiar with the Alur tongue. The pronun-
ciation and the etymology are, in fact, quite distinct. For those unfamiliar with
the Alur version of the legend, Nyipir, Nyabongo and Tiful were three of the
great sons of Opodo who set out from Lango' to extend the royal domains of
their father. They moved westwards and crossed the Nile together, finally
reaching Nebbi hill. There Nyipir and Nyabongo quarrelled. Nyabongo
turned back, re-crossed the Nile and went south to found the great line of the
Bakama of Bunyoro. Nyipir and Tiful moved up the escarpment where Nyipir
established the paramountcy, over the whole Alur tribe, of himself and his clan
-Atiak. Tiful went farther west beyond the Alur frontiers and he in turn
founded the dynasty of the Okebo princes. When Nyabongo re-crossed the
Nile to leave Nyipir, an axe was thrown into the Nile at Pakwach as a symbol of
the final cleavage between the two brothers and of the division of their realms
by the Albert Nile. There are innumerable different versions of this story;' and
I have no doubt that in Bunyoro and in Payera, the tale takes on very different
1 cp. Lowth, U.J. 2 (1934-5), p. 245; Crazzolara, U.J. 5 (1937-8), p. 10; Bere,
U.. 11 (1947), p. 1.
SOME NOTES ON WEST NILE HILLS AND HISTORY 175
hues. Suffice it to say here that the present Rwots of the Alur, as well in the
Congo as in Uganda, are descended in direct line from Nyipir over some eleven
There is ample scope among the Alur for those who wish to speculate on
the origin of tribes. If the Lango are a Hamitic people who have changed
their language, are the Alur a Madi people who have done the same ? There
are indications that many of those now calling themselves Alur were originally
Madi-Lugbara who came under the influence, conquest, or enslavement of the
Lwo people who had crossed the river from the east. The chieftains, descendants
of the Nyipir who came' from Lango', are of course almost certainly of Hamitic
West of Payida Camp the mountain Agu springs up so impressively to its
5,600 ft. that the high, flat-looking table land farther south usually goes unnoticed.
Yet on this plateau is the highest point in the West Nile District-the mountain
known as Achu. It is most easily reached by taking a bicycle from Payida and
pedalling along a watershed around the north and west of Agu. Then, turning
south over lovely moorland and climbing gradually, one has the while perfect
views of the great cone of Akara in the Belgian Congo with its tiny skull-cap of
trees. Eventually discarding one's bicycle after covering some seven miles
from Payida, one begins the final plod, up through shambas of beans and
potatoes till one reaches an undistinguished-looking flat with one or two trees
and more shambas. As there is no higher place to go to, it may be assumed
that this is the summit of Achu and at an altitude of 6,350 ft. The Belgian
Congo border runs over the top. The view from here is exciting. Close in
the south-west Akara and Ota tower to nearly 7,000 ft. A little farther off is
the great mass of Au at 7,255 ft. More and higher hills are in the south. Sir
Samuel Baker (The Albert N'yanza, II, p. 89) was not exaggerating unduly
when, on discovering Lake Albert in 1864, he saw that on the west, at fifty or
sixty miles' distance, blue mountains rose from the bosom of the lake to a height
of about 7,000 ft. above its level ". The lake itself lies at about 2,000 ft. above
From Achu the houses of Mahagi town are clearly visible though not the
rose bushes and peach trees. Turning to the east, Omvuku with its two clumps
of trees on the top is unmistakable and finally Payida Camp, which one left
two hours before, is snuggling under the shadow of Mount Agu, which from
here one can look scornfully down on, and dismiss as not worth climbing. Here
one is standing on what may well be called' the roof' of the District.
The circuit can be ended by taking the road to Erusi, a mountain block
which rises from the Parombo plains in a massive escarpment of over 2,000 ft.,
and which on the west is separated from the Payida highlands by the great gorge
of the Achwera. The massif's highest point is Erusi peak where stands an
enormous cairn with an elevation of 5,300 ft. from which one looks directly down
to the plains of Parombo and Ngal. Some two miles to the westwards stands
Omvuku summit which is nearly as high as Erusi and commands the western
approaches to this wild country. Omvuku is capped by two clumps of huge
trees which make it the most easily recognized landmark of this group. It can
be seen clearly from Arua and from Wati, as well as from Otse far to the north-
176 UGANDA JOURNAL
east. Just across the Achwera river which runs past the foot of Omvuku the
rock Aminzi sticks up its sharp point to 5,035 ft. This is an oddly-shaped
mountain which, when seen from Nebbi in the north, reminds one of the Moulin
Rouge. It has some interesting but simple rock routes by which it can be
climbed, and its summit provides a fine view down the Achwera valley. Here
again the Belgian Congo frontier runs over the top.
Omvuku is now crossed by the road, and the new rest camp and Wakil's
headquarters stand on its northern shoulder. The summit itself is holy ground
for each of the two clumps of trees is the grave of a prince. The northern one,
which crowns the true summit, is the grave of Cymvor and the southern, that of
Tombo. Both these were chiefs of the Achier branch of the Alur, and are the
ancestors of Jaluseni Olyel, the present Wakil of Erusi. From the western and
southern edges of these trees there is a sharp descent to the deep valley of the
Achwera. Although one is here looking down on Aminzi, its tremendous cliffs
falling from its summit to the river itself are impressive to a degree. In the
understatement of a certain Swiss mountaineer "c'est assez s6rieux ". From
the new rest camp there is a real view. Nebbi cotton store sparkles in the
sun; Eyii, Laura and Luku bound the Madi plains; on a clear day Arua's
' pimple' and Wati can be seen; and, in particularly favourable conditions, a
faint leonine silhouette stands up in the far north-east-Otse.
So finally completing our tour of the West Nile hills to the southern outpost
-Erusi mountain. It was Weatherhead who, possibly in order to put an end
to the internecine clan squabbles for paramountcy, took the name of this peak
and gave it to the whole area. This step has occasionally caused Omvuku to be
confused with Erusi, but its administrative benefits were probably considerable.
Keresi, a minor ridge, well to the south, is also apt to be confused with Erusi by
map-gazers, though not by visitors to the scene. Erusi is a fine symmetrical
ridge which dominates that area and which is not only a view point, but a
landmark. From Otse, from Guru Guru, from the Murchison Falls, from
Bugungu and Butiaba, and from all the hills around Rethi and Mahagi in the
Congo, Erusi is at once recognized. The most surprising sight of it, however,
was a glimpse of its summit which I caught one fine morning from the top of
Mugalama hill in Buyaga County, Buganda. The view from Erusi is correspond-
ingly magnificent. Half Lake Albert glitters in the sun and, on a Sunday, one
may catch sight of the big column of smoke which curls from the funnel of the
S.S. Robert Coryndon. Smoke also rolls from fires in Bugungu, and silver
flashes from the Victoria Nile just below the Murchison Falls. The great bulks
of Au and Akara complete the cirque which bounds the scene to the south and
west. It has even been said that Ruwenzori should be visible from Erusi.1
I venture to disagree. There are a number of solid mountains in between,
principally Kasengo, a huge ridge rising from the lake to a great height and
capped by a tree plantation wherein lie a station and hospital of the Africa
1 Dr. W. J. Eggeling, U.J. 10 (1946), p. 167.
THE GLACIERS OF RUWENZORI
By I. R. MENZIES, D.S.C.
A RECENT number of the Journal of Glaciology' contains an article by
Lieutenant-Commander Spink entitled 'The Equatorial Glaciers of East
Africa'. As he had not had the opportunity of visiting the Ruwenzori group
I have submitted a paper to the same Journal upon my own observations in
that area during December 1949,2 when a party composed of Messrs. Green-
wood, Bennell and Barty, my wife and myself, walked up the Bujuku Valley
and climbed Mount Speke. We then moved on towards Mount Stanley and
twice crossed the Plateau ; on the second occasion Mr. Greenwood and I climbed
We then returned to our starting point by the Scott Elliot and Freshfield
passes. Whilst so short a journey cannot reveal a great deal, I was struck by
some remarkable differences between these glaciers and those of other glacial
areas in the Arctic and the Alps which I had previously visited.
To describe such differences entails an explanation of certain ice features
and their causes, and it is my hope that the notes and diagrams which follow
may stimulate an interest in the subject of glaciology, some knowledge of which
is vital to safe climbing on snow and ice.
Ice is formed by the contraction and consolidation of newly fallen snow.
This process has been called 'compaction' and may be brought about by a
variety of processes happening consecutively or concurrently. The essential
factors are change of air temperature, mass of snow and wind. These factors
cause changes in the ice by freezing and thawing, or by slipping and thrusting
together with local increases in pressure. In a microscopic field vapour pressure
between the individual star-like crystals of the snow causes the large crystals to
grow at the expense of the smaller, until the final homogeneous' ice' is produced.
Crystals may grow to the size of melons under polar conditions and ice may
have many consistencies, varying from brittle to semi-viscous. The quality of
the ice has a direct bearing on its function as an erosional tool and there may be
a 'give and take' between the effect of the weather on the ice conditions, and
the ice conditions upon the weather itself. All these matters and many others
form the subject matter of the study of glaciology and none has yet been closely
observed under equatorial conditions. A remarkable opportunity for a unique
study is therefore open to the East African mountaineer.
The usual glacier sequence commences with the 'Accumulation Area'
high up the mountain where fresh snow falls. Then follows the 'Firnification
Area'. This is where the snow reaches the half-way stage to ice. 'Firnifica-
tion' is not merely a surface phenomenon for it takes place both vertically as
well as horizontally. Diagram I will assist to show the whole process.
1 Journal of Glaciology, Vol. I, No. 5 (1945), pp. 277-81.
2 Ibid., 'Some Observations on the Glaciology of the Ruwenzori Range', Vol. I.
No. 9 (1951), pp. 511-13.
178 UGANDA JOURNAL
Glaciers move not only back and forth over the ground but through them-
selves, as does any other viscous material such as treacle; and where it cannot
follow the curve of the rock-bed owing to its steep contour, cracks are formed
named' crevasses '. It is this ice movement which grinds the rock, thus forming
UPPER Lin lT OP 10OW -..-...-.. UPIEF LiUMT OF ICE
-______- UPPERL rT OFFIRN Z //// IASE ROCK
Diagram I. Glacier Sequence.
the well-known rugged features of a mountain landscape. Consequent upon
this movement are such phenomena as 'moraines'. These are piles of rock
debris derived from the grinding action of the ice. An obvious place for
deposit of this debris is the lower end of the glacier usually called the snout'.
Around, over or through this casual dump of broken rocks flows the melted
water of the glacier ice as a mountain torrent. Such streams, in the upper
sections of their course, have usually a milky colour because of the fine dust
composed of ground-up rock which they carry with them.
Other well-known glacier features are worth mentioning. Most of these
are more easily explained diagramatically. It should be added, however, that
there is considerable discussion as to the cause of many of these phenomena.
It is enough to say that Nature has many tools, and while achieving similar
designs in different places, does not always employ the same means.
When a crevasse has been formed it is common for rocks to fall into it.
Ice moves somewhat like treacle, the surface faster than the depths-therefore,
STAGE A STAGE B STAGE C
VERTICAL POSITION INCLINED POSITION HORIZONTAL POSITION
ROCK NOW ENCLOSED
NICE ASA BAND
1C F ICE
DIRET-ION OF CTOIOR OEC O
MOVEMENT MOVEMENT MOVEENT
Diagram II. Formation of Surface Moraine.
in time, the vertical shape of the rock filling is changed into a horizontal one,
as is illustrated in Diagram II.
In this way rock debris at one time held in a vertical crevasse may eventually
be moving horizontally through the ice mass. Finally, the ice above it may
SKETCH MAP OF THE CENTRAL PART OF THE RANGE
INTERNATIONAL 9OUHDARY.. +++ ++
Rt/SONI REST HOUSE SITE .. ..... l I
NYlNAB/rABA HUT -.- ----.---. 2
NYAMLE'/U HUT --- -- --.. 03
LAKE BLWJUU HUrT ..---- .- 4
STUHLMANN PASS -- - - --- 5
FRESHF/El.D PASS .- - - ---- 6
KABWAMBA .. ---. ..--- -----7
SCOTT ELLIOT PASS ... -- - - -
RIDGE CAMP BIVOUAC S/TE - - 9
CONTOURS- --------- --- -
SSCALE OF MILES
i I G 2 3 5
Photo by 1. R. Menzies FIG. 13
Snout of the Speke Glacier above Cooking-pot
Camp, January 1950.
.: j'' -.
Photo by A. Greenwood
Alexandra Peak (16.749 ft.) and Margherita Peak (16,794 ft.) from the Stanley Plateau.
New Year's Day 1950.
THE GLACIERS OF RUWENZORI 179
melt away and the rock is once more exposed on the ice surface, possibly many
miles from the rock wall off which it fell and possibly miles from any other rock.
I have come across such a rock deposit far up on a bare Icelandic ice-cap and
there is nothing more disconcerting to navigation than to encounter such a
barrier in the middle of a vast field of ice.
Diagram III. Ice Pedestal.
Isolated rocks may bring about two more distinct phenomena. If the rock
is small, it will be warmed by the sun and enough heat will thereby be conducted
to its under side to bore a hole into the ice. This hole will, in due course,
become a 'pot or swallow hole', allowing the drainage of the melted water
which is streaming over the surface of the ice. In due course the hole may
become so enlarged as to form a deep well into which the water pours to escape
subterraneously and mysteriously.
On the other hand, if the rock is large, its surface may absorb the heat of
the sun's rays and, due to the non-conductivity of the rock substance, the surface
heat will not be allowed to pass downwards under the rock. Thus the surround-
ing ice will be eroded more quickly than that immediately beneath the rock,
The eventual effect will be to leave the rock perched in a peculiar way on a
pillar of ice (Diagram III).
Another phenomenon is the 'dirt cone'. In this case a patch of small
debris protects the surface, a roughly circular pillar begins to form and then
the smaller material slips over the cap of the pedestal and finally forms a.
protective coat over a cone of ice (Diagram IV).
These examples will suffice to show the variety of objects which may go to,
make up a glacial landscape and whose character may help towards an under-
standing of the physical state of any glacier.
-SMALL ROCK RUBBLE'
Diagram IV. Dirt Cone.
The extraordinary thing about the Ruwenzori glaciers is that almost none
of these phenomena is present.
The torrents which we crossed during the ascent were often muddy but they
were not of that milky consistency which is usually seen in glaciated areas.
Hence it is apparent that the glaciers are no longer grinding away their rock-beds.
180 UGANDA JOURNAL
This point is made because it suggests that the snowfall on the mountains has
greatly decreased, with the result that little new ice is forming and that the ice
which now underlies the surface' firn' remains from a colder and wetter climatic
period. The ice shrinkage may be seen by comparing the Duke of the Abruzzi's
photographs taken in 1906 with any recent prints. It is of interest, though,
that photographs taken during the past few years show almost no change.
We examined two glacier tongues. The first the Speke Glacier which
terminates at 14,000 ft., and the second the Elena Glacier which descends to
14,800 ft. Old moraines are clearly to be seen 500 ft. and more lower down
and these must represent recent resting places. No new terminal moraines
are being formed, further proof of the lack of movement in the ice. Immediately
below the tongue the rock has been left smooth, bare and free from vegetation.
Had the retreat been slow, vegetation would have sprung up by now.
On climbing under the Speke Glacier and examining its sides it became
clear that little rock and almost no ground-up rock was being transported. The
actual crystals which form the ice were never more than 3 cm. long, which is
nothing compared with their polar counterparts.
ALPINE CORNICE RUWENZORI CORNICE
Most surprising of all was the dearth of glacial phenomena on the ice.
There were no dirt cones, no ice pedestals and no swallow holes and almost
none of the usual features of the ice landscape. Large areas of the tongues were
devoid of firn and displayed the underlying dirty ice. This dirt was probably
the ash of the countless bush-fires in the valleys. The rdrity of crevasses as
compared with Icelandic ice-tongues was striking, though there are about as
many as are found in the Alps on similar gradients. With the help of Messrs.
Mather and Dubois of the Uganda Geological Survey, the Speke Glacier tongue
was accurately surveyed so that precise calculations might be made of any future
changes in its appearance. The end of the Elena Glacier tongue was also fixed
by stone cairns.
Even the summits themselves were a surprise. In the Alps wind-eddies
over ridges cause snow accumulations named 'cornices', whose growth is
governed by the direction of the more common winds. The Ruwenzori cornices
are quite different and suggest that the winds are rarely as strong as in the Alps
and less constant in their direction, and that they must have less snow to work
upon. Diagram V gives an idea of the two types.
In this connection it may be added that the lowest temperature which we
recorded at 15,000 ft. in three nights was 28 degrees Fahrenheit and there was
THE GLACIERS OF RUWENZORI 181
a remarkable absence of strong winds at all times. Of course, deductions can-
not be made on such scanty evidence as the temperature on three nights; but
such evidence is supported by the glaciological observations which suggest that
conditions are less wild above the Ruwenzori snow-line than in other latitudes.
To summarize, it is likely that three important conditions for glacier forma-
tion may now be lacking on Ruwenzori:
(a) a marked change of ground temperature between day and night;
(b) strong wind;
(c) plentiful snow-fall.
The problem is absorbing and should be studied at greater length, and on
other East African glaciers as well as on Ruwenzori. The comments of moun-
taineers who climb in the area should be collated and related to conditions noted
elsewhere, and in this way work of great value could be performed by a party
camping on the Stanley Plateau.
Glaciology has a bearing not only on meteorology and other sciences but
it also has practical value in the realms of avalanche control in mountainous
areas, on high flying, arctic warfare, the welfare of persons in the far north and
on the safety of climbers and ski-runners throughout the world.
THE FIRST FINDING OF A LIVE PIGMY CROCODILE
By E. A. TEMPLE PERKINS
THE waters of the western rift of central Africa, between Lake Albert in the
north and Tanganyika in the south, have always been considered free from
crocodiles, at all events since prehistoric times. Lake Albert, which is 2,000 ft.
above sea level, is teeming with crocodiles; Lakes Edward and George, on the
Equator, 3,000 ft. above sea level, have none. The two latter are connected by
the natural channel known as the Kazinga, which is 23 miles long and between
a quarter and a third of a mile in width. Lake Edward flows into Lake Albert
by way of the Semliki river to the west of the Ruwenzori range; and those
unfamiliar with this waterway might well wonder why crocodiles have never
made their way from Albert to Edward. A careful study of a large-scale map
will also reveal another possibility to the east of Ruwenzori. The sources of
the small Wasa river, which flows to Lake Albert, and of the Mpanga river, which
flows to Lake George, are only about half a mile apart, a distance of no conse-
quence to a crocodile if it wished to traverse it on foot. The deterrent in this
instance, I think, is the colder temperature of the water in the upper reaches
of these rivers, which are at a height of 5,000 ft., as compared with Lake Albert's
2,000 ft. The same consideration applies to the Semliki river-but that is not all.
During its fall of 1,000 ft. to Lake Albert, the Semliki goes over a succession
of falls and at one stretch of its 100 miles' course, rushes through a deep gorge
for several miles. This would mean a long detour through dense forest for any
venturesome crocodiles that had the inclination to sample the bountiful fish
supply of Lakes Edward and George. However, if they were only aware of
the paradise that awaits them there I feel sure that none of these obstacles would
prevent their reaching the upper end of the valley. Lake George, with some
poetic licence, might be described as' almost solid with fish'.
The leader of the Cambridge Scientific Expedition to the East African
Lakes of 1931 recorded the following interesting statement concerning the
absence of crocodiles in Lakes Edward and George:
"A subject often discussed and concerning which there was considerable
correspondence in The Times last year is the absence of crocodiles from Lakes
Edward and George. Generally speaking, two views have been held concerning
this absence: one suggests that there is some physical or chemical factor in these
lakes which forbids the existence of crocodiles. Temperature of the water or toxic
substances in solution have been suggested by various contributors to the argument.
The water temperature at 79 degrees Farenheit is by no means too cold or too warm,
for crocodiles abound in the cooler waters of Lake Victoria at 75 degrees and in the
much colder waters of rivers such as the Nzoia and Swam, whereas they thrive also
at a much higher temperature, for example in Lake Rudolf at 85 degrees. Similarly,
FIRST FINDING OF LIVE PIGMY CROCODILE IN UGANDA 183
Beadle has shown that there is no chemical in the water which could prevent
crocodilian life. The water is alkaline but here again it falls midway between the
comparatively fresh Lake Victoria and the very alkaline Lake Rudolf. It has been
suggested that there is a very high proportion of sulphuretted hydrogen in the water,
but we have been unable to detect more than a normal quantity except close to the
mouth of the Ishasha River. This river, which forms the Uganda-Congo boundary
to the east of the lake has a considerable quantity in solution probably associated
with volcanic activity which has recently been reported from the middle of a swamp
near the mouth of the river. To put it briefly, Lake Edward seems to be an ideal
home for crocodiles; the water is suitable, there are plenty of quiet beaches and
swamps and an abundance of fish and other food.
The other view is that crocodiles were distributed throughout the waters of
East Africa before Lake Edward came into existence and since then they have been
unable or have not had the initiative to pass up the River Semliki into the lake.
In point of fact, we have now found that crocodiles existed previously in the
Lake Edward basin and have since died out. This discovery is due to Fuchs who,
in collecting fossils from bone beds of Kaiso age near the lake, has unearthed a
number of undoubted crocodile teeth and scales. What then can have caused their
The most reasonable way to account for this extermination is to suppose that
the lake dried up completely, and there is ample evidence from elsewhere in East
Africa and from bone beds themselves of widespread desiccation in between the two
great pluvial periods.
We are left with the question: Why has the lake not become repeopled with
crocodiles and fish from Lake Albert ?
The answer must be that the Semliki Falls have prevented the upward migration.
While Mrs. Worthington and I were occupied with a boat trip round and across the
lake, Beadle and Fuchs made a safari into the Congo to the Semliki with this
question in view. Apart from actual waterfalls, the river rushes through a deep
gorge for several miles. It seems that this is itself sufficient to prevent the upward
movement of fish and involves a detour of several miles through dense forest for the
crocodiles. We conclude that no crocodile has yet been sufficiently enterprising to
explore this way and hope that none will realize its possibilities, for we might foresee
in the dim future the British starting a pleasure resort with lido beaches on the
shores of Lake Edward as the Belgians are now doing on the Lake Kivu in the
Pare National Albert."
Some fifteen years after the publication of these remarks, I happened to be
staying in the same area when news was brought in of an unfortunate accident,
in which the manager of a prospecting camp had been killed by an elephant.
The young man was an employee of the New Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd.,
which was then prospecting in the bed of the Hoindagi river south of Lake
George. On the return of the relief party I heard news that porters had found
a strange animal about six feet long in an abandoned prospecting pit about
seven miles up the Hoindagi river from Lake George. It was described as being
like a crocodile; but the idea was scouted as the very possibility of a crocodile
in this area was denied. I was of the same opinion and was prepared to offer a
considerable wager that the animal found was an outsize monitor lizard. How-
ever, the evidence of something unusual was sufficiently strong to make it worth
investigating, and next morning (28th September 1947) we started off.
After an hour's march from the road we found the prospecting line in the
184 UGANDA JOURNAL
upper reaches of the Hoindagi river where it flows through a mass of tall palms
and other vegetation in the heart of the forested valley. Except for one or two
open pits one would never have guessed that fairly recently there had been a wide
cut through the tangle, for the regeneration of the forest had been extraordinarily
rapid. On our way we proceeded laboriously through the thickest under-
growth; sometimes composed of long reeds intertwined with creepers and
shrubs, sometimes of fairly straight timbers interspersed with young palms with
spiked fronds, which tore one's clothes to ribbons. The first pit I looked down,
as it happened, had a partly decomposed animal body in it which was anything
but a reptile-it was a ratel or honey badger, black all over with a blunt head
not unlike a miniature panda's. The porters waved me on, "That's not the
pit, there's much farther to go." I was hot and tired but I accepted their state-
ment without comment, and passed on through the dim forest until we reached
the place indicated. In spite of the exhaustion from the long tramp I was still
quite excited, wondering what the animal would prove to be. In a few minutes
I knew the answer. The pit was only fifty feet from the river, which we could
hear flowing swiftly through the forest of palms slightly below our level. The
earth was piled up round the pit and as I stepped on to a mound and peered
down the ten feet to the dry gravel bottom, I was amazed to see there the unmis-
takable shape of a crocodile. It was, I judged, about seven feet long and was
apparently dead. Nobody knew, of course, how long it had been since the
unfortunate reptile, when wandering close to the river, had mistaken the pit for
the river bank and dropped, not into cold water but into a ten-foot pit with a
dry gravel bottom. The pit had been abandoned for several months. It was
indeed a strange coincidence, I reflected, that I should be one of the first to set
eyes on this rare creature, for not long ago I had spent some time clearing of
crocodiles a lake which was always thought to be crocodile-free ; and I had
been the first person in Uganda to procure a specimen of the small riverine
crocodile, which occurs in our north-eastern territory, for despatch to the British
Museum in 1930-and now this!
The first procedure called for was to ascertain whether the animal was alive
or dead. I got the boys to bring along the dead badger and after the unpleasant
operation of cutting it open, I lowered some of its interior to the jaws of the
immobile crocodile. There was no response whatever. I then decided that it
must be dead and set about bringing it to the surface for skinning and despatch
to headquarters. After some manipulation of ropes we at last got a noose round
its neck and one foreleg, and I started to haul the brute out of the pit. There
was no doubt about it then. The poor brute was very much alive. The next
step was to get it out of the dry pit into one with water in it-but it looked like
being a tricky undertaking, for it was unthinkable that we should lose this rarest
of zoological specimens. After much effort we succeeded in trussing the animal
to a long pole without, I think, causing it any pain, and in this way it was safely
conveyed from its primeval forest abode to a pit near the camp, some three miles
down the river. The new pit was not as roomy as I should have wished, but it
had about three feet of seepage water in it, which could be kept fresh by periodical
baling. That evening as my host and I talked the matter over, I marvelled more
I See 'The Crocodiles of Nabugabo', U.J. 11 (1947), p. 69,
Pigmy crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis, found near Hoindagi River, Uganda,
[face p. 184.
FIRST FINDING OF LIVE PIGMY CROCODILE IN UGANDA 185
than ever at this sensational discovery. I sent off the following telegram to the
Game Warden, Entebbe:
"Have got live crocodile in prospector's pit five miles south of Lake
George. Six feet long. Aged appearance. Peculiar short broad head.
Bluegrey back tail legs and belly."
The following day while the pit was being baled out, the crocodile got angry and
attacked the petrol tin. In spite of what I thought were badly worn teeth he was
able to inflict serious damage to the tin which had to be' written off', being no
further use as a baler. Two officers of the Game Department-fish experts who
happened to work in this area-came to examine the creature and some photo-
graphs were taken, but, unfortunately, not good.
Two days later I received a telegram from the Game Warden as follows:
1" Description crocodile suggests Congo small riverine species Osteo-
laemus tetraspis. Maximum size six feet stop not repeat not lacustrine stop
usually occurs singly extremely timid frequents shallow swampy rivers
dark colour short broad head feeds mainly on fish and crabs. If possible
keep alive but if dies would like skull skeleton and skin preserved with salt."
A fortnight later the crocodile seemed less animated than usual and I wondered
whether it was being overfed. We had been giving it the limbs of fowls and
occasional scraps of meat and fish in addition to the many suicidal frogs and
toads which jumped into its pit at night. My anxiety as to the reason for its
sluggishness was put at rest when I received a letter from the Game Warden
containing the following note:
"For many years a six-foot Crocodilus niloticus was kept in a small
concrete-lined pond at the Veterinary Laboratory at Old Entebbe. It used
to consume one ngege (fish) per week and no more."
Unfortunately, that is the end of the story ; for an application was made to
the Game Department to take over the care of this unique specimen for exhibi-
tion to the public either locally in Uganda or for despatch elsewhere. It was
understood that arrangements were actually in hand to this purpose, or I should
have taken charge of it myself. However, it turned out that this had not been
found possible to organize. The mining camp was closed in October 1948 and
the pigmy crocodile was never seen again. It is to be hoped that one day
another specimen will be obtained.
In spite of my repeated requests to the local representative of the Game
Department, the crocodile was never transported to a more accessible locality
for exhibition to the public. I was keen to have a suitable enclosure made for
it in the cool Mpanga river at Fort Portal, which I think would have been of
approximately the right temperature, and where it would have been a most
interesting exhibit to tourists and others.
The mine camp was closed in October 1948, and I was given many assur-
ances that men had been left in the abandoned camp to look after the crocodile;
1 I am not clear why Capt. Pitman refers to it as a Congo species, it is surely better
known as a West Coast species-which, it is now known, extends as far east as Uganda.
186 UGANDA JOURNAL
I was even assured that a crate had been made for its conveyance; and I was
under the impression later that the reptile had been moved to Entebbe.
To my great regret, however, I discovered eventually that the crocodile had
been neglected and apparently lost. I hope some day to have the good fortune
to procure another. Meanwhile, the photograph and this note will serve as a
record of the first capture of Osteolaemus tetraspis in Uganda. The photograph
was taken by a member of the Game Department. The West Coast species is
illustrated in Sir Harry Johnston's Liberia, Vol. II, p. 819.
THE ALUR LEGEND OF SIR SAMUEL BAKER AND
THE MUKAMA KABAREGA
By AIDAN SOUTHALL
THE Alur' have a great admiration for the Mukama Kabarega of Bunyoro
(called by them Kamalega) as the greatest chief known in their world before
it was taken over by Europeans, and the only chief who dared to resist the
Europeans. Alur chiefs, though themselves independent of Bunyoro, regard
Kabarega as a sort of elder brother ; for they are quite clear about the tradition
according to which Alur chiefs and Bunyoro kings are all alike descended from
that group of brothers about whom is told the famous story of the elephant, the
spear and the beads, the axe and the crossing of the Nile (R. M. Bere,' An Outline
of Acholi History', U.J. 11 (1947), p. 1).
The Alur regard themselves as by destiny a ruling caste, and in this light
there is nothing unlikely in their claim that Alurwanderers sometimes crossed
to Bunyoro and were given commands as sub-chiefs by Kabarega. This is inter-
esting as evidence that in Bunyoro, as in Buganda, there were 'bureaucratic'
chiefs appointed directly by the king without any hereditary title, as well as the
hereditary chiefs who were in various ways federated into the Bunyoro-Kitara
system. I was told the following legend by a very old Alur chief who heard it
from one of these Alur adventurers who had been a sub-chief of Kabarega. My
informant's village, in which I was camping during the autumn of 1950, is of
the most spectacular, perched on a precipitous ridge overlooking the whole
expanse of Lake Albert 3,000 ft. below. To the north-east one looks down on
the swampy network of the Pearson Channel of the Victoria Nile leading up to
the Murchison Falls, farther east are the Palwo hills of Rabongo and Igisi, full
of history to the Alur, to the west are Mount Ju and Mount Aburo with the other
high peaks of the Albert escarpment, while on very clear days .there is a view
right down the length of Lake Albert and beyond, a hundred and fifty miles, to
the glaciers of Ruwenzori shining in the early morning sun.
"The Europeans came first to Buganda and were given a good welcome
there. Then one man came with his wife to Kabarega in Bunyoro. This
European's name was Mulenju,2 and his wife was called Nyadwi ('Moon's
Daughter '). Mulenju gave a present to Kabarega of two hoe blades ; but they
1 The Alur belong to the Lwo group of the Acholi, Palwo, Padhola, Kenya Lwo, etc.,.
and inhabit the shores of the Albert Nile and the western shore of Lake Albert from
1 55' N. to 2 45' N. and extending from thirty to forty miles inland to the west.
2 There is no reference in either of Sir Samuel Baker's books dealing with his travels
in what is now the Uganda Protectorate to this nickname 'Mulenju', nor, does it seem to
be known in the Acholi country, where he is still referred to as 'Baca'. The evidence
goes to suggest that the name Mulenju' was started by Alur resident in Bunyoro at the
time of Baker's visit there. The significance of the name would appear to be that Baker
appeared suddenly among them as a wonder-worker. 'Mulenju' is actually the name of
one of the manifestations of the supernatural (lok) which fell among the Alur, throwing
people into trances, and which they say came from Bunyoro. Other Joks which the Alur
also say came among them from Bunyoro in comparatively recent times, possessing people,
are 'Rubanga', 'Udude', 'Orogo', 'Ukwing', and many more. 'Nyadwi' is the Alur
form of the well-known nickname 'Nyadwe' given by the Acholi to Lady Baker.
188 UGANDA JOURNAL
were all joined together so that Kabarega was puzzled how he could haft them.
He consulted his counsellors and diviners, and they said that Mulenju was
seeking a quarrel with him, and they told him the way to haft the hoes. Then
Kabarega gave Mulenju beads to thread which had no holes in. Mulenju
returned these beads threaded and gave Kabarega some of his own, also without
holes. Kabarega wondered how he could succeed with these and took them to
his spirit possessor (min jok), and was told to take thread for threading them and
he would find himself able to make the holes for it. He then took two spear-
heads and joined them together and gave them to Mulenju with hafts and asked
him to haft them, all on his spirit possessor's instructions. Mulenju failed in
this test and returned the spears to Kabarega, and the Europeans said that
Kabarega was seeking a quarrel with them. So Mulenju put one pot of beer
only, and called all the sub-chiefs of Kabarega one after another to come and
drink. They came and on seeing only one pot felt insulted at the provision of
so little ; but then they drank and drank and drank and the pot would not empty.
They went on and on drinking in vain, they could not empty the pot, and they
had to go away feeling that Mulenju had made fools of them. Then Kabarega
said' This man is trying to get the better of me in my own home. Well, I shall
not let him be, I shall make trouble with him!' And his people said they would
burn up Mulenju's house and drive him out. So they set fire to Mulenju's camp
and burnt it to the ground.
"Mulenju and his people escaped; but they soon came back again with
friendly words. Kabarega said that if they were going to behave well in a
friendly way like that then there should be no quarrel between them. So
Mulenju came back and built his camp again with Kabarega. And Kabarega
arranged for his men to transport all Mulenju's baggage back again. This time
Mulenju came back with baggage consisting of very long boxes, and all these
were unsuspectingly carried into his house by Kabarega's men. Then gradually
as time went on they noticed that, instead of Mulenju being the only European,
there were two Europeans, then four, and then six, and the numbers of Europeans
kept on mysteriously increasing ; for the porters had unwittingly carried them
into the camp all in the long boxes! So the Europeans became very many in
Mulenju's house, and Kabarega said, 'These people are going to multiply
here!' and decided that they must be driven out. So he and Mulenju began to
quarrel once again and Mulenju and his people were driven out."
"Twice more Mulenju returned, made peace with Kabarega and built
many huts for himself and his entourage at Kabarega's capital; and twice more
strife arose between them and they fought and Mulenju was driven out. But
then eventually Mulenju came back and beat Kabarega and captured his capital.
Then Kabarega began to call in all his guns and soldiers from all his vassals
throughout Bunyoro, and from the Madi and the Okebo and from all the people
right down towards Irumu. So they fought and fought, and Kabarega's people
were killed, and Mulenju's people were also killed, and yet more and more
people passed over the dead bodies of their companions to go on fighting, till
the blood flowed like the Kakoyi River.'
I Kakoyi is the great river of my informant's territory, draining a section of the well-
watered highlands of the Albert escarpment and flowing into Lake Albert at Ndaro.
AN ALUR LEGEND OF SIR SAMUEL BAKER 189
"They fought for perhaps five years, and Kabarega began to be worsted,
they began to swallow his kingdom. He would beat them and kill the Europeans
but more and more would come, he fought with them in vain. The highland
Alur did not help him, for they did not want to go over there and die. Only
those Alur who had gone to be sub-chiefs of Kabarega fought for him. But on
this (the west) side of the lake they heard the guns firing across there. Kabarega
took refuge in the grass, he went into the forest; but they took pangas and made
ways everywhere through the grass and the forest, they drove him out of hiding.
So they conquered him and captured him, and they cut off one of his hands ; for
he had shot very many of them, so they said, 'Let us cut off one of his hands.'
Then Kabarega said, 'Well they have beaten me, it is no matter!' So that was
the end of the strife. They harassed him and left him, and they took his country.
so he remained, and then he died. They made his grave with bricks and cement,
and they put his effigy there for people to go and see his likeness as if he was
still alive. They continued to guard his tomb until now with soldiers mounting
guard in turn."
The spirits (Jok) of Kabarega's country collected all the diseases, diseases
of the blood, chicken-pox, small-pox, heart disease, the disease of the blood
which attacks the stomach, and many other diseases. Kabarega's people built
shrines for all these in the grass, and people were put in charge of them as their
priests. When they wanted something for the spirits they went to Kabarega and
he gave them some people to sacrifice, he gave them people with umbilical hernia,
such people were collected and brought there.'
Those people were brought to those who looked after the diseases there
(i.e., the spirit shrines), so that they could eat them. It is some Rubanga which
called for people (to sacrifice). It is their Jok over there (Bunyoro) which has
multiplied the diseases in people's bodies. Jok Udude and Jok Kitule called
for human sacrifice in this way. If they did not sacrifice, there would quickly
be a great epidemic. Jok Rubanga also breaks people at the waist, so that they
can only crawl. Udude is the wife of Rubanga. Long ago they were not in
our country. When the Europeans killed Kabarega and broke up all the shrines
of Rubanga it began to walk everywhere, it crossed the water and caught people,
and the diviners found that it was Rubanga. Some of the people of Magungu
have a medicine for exorcising it. When the Jok shrines of the disease were
left with none to guard them and to interpret their wishes, they could not get
sheep and cattle and people to eat as they had when Kabarega was there, so
the spirits of disease said, 'Let us go over there and eat people.' "2
1 This use of people with umbilical hernia for sacrifice is at any rate common to the
Jonam of the Albert Nile and of the Lake Albert shore, as well as to Bunyoro if this
evidence is correct, but not to the highland Alur. Compare the recent case in which the
chief of Jonam County was found guilty of sacrificing a child with an umbilical hernia
(Uganda Herald, 16th January 1951). This chief was acquitted on appeal to the Court of
Appeal of Eastern Africa (Uganda Herald, April 1951).
2 This is too complex a subject to treat in detail here, but the quotation above gives
one interpretation of the universally attested fact that the phenomena of spirit possession
and the illnesses associated with it have been on the increase in the Alur country during
the last one or two generations. This would appear to be due to an increase of unresolved
anxiety in the individual caused by the tensions of life in tribal societies which are being
broken up or radically changed by external forces. The Alur do not claim that Jok is a
190 UGANDA JOURNAL
The above legend shows some of the characteristics to be expected in the
recollected traditions of pre-literate peoples: the telescoping of the time sequence,
the crystallization of the activities of many individuals into one well-remembered
personality, a fair degree of accuracy in the recollection of the sequence of events
and of their general significance coupled with the transformation of the detailed
content of events into indigenous idiom and behaviour.
The events referred to in the narrative evidently extend from Baker's visit
to Kabarega in 1872 up to the latter's capture in 1899. Whether the people are
generally aware that Kabarega lived so long in captivity and only died in 1923
I do not know, nor what foundation there is in fact for the details given about
Kabarega's tomb. Those who read Baker's account of his dealings with
Kabarega in his book Ismailia will, I think, feel that the Alur narrative, with its
picturesquely symbolic detail, captures the spirit of the ding-dong battle of wits
between Baker and Kabarega extremely well.
The Alur theory of the release of the spirits at Kabarega's defeat or death
is of considerable ethnographic importance. It is here that the connection
emerges between the Bantu pantheistic system in which many deities have
localized temples and worship, and the Nilotic Lwo religious system in which,
though they tend to subsume all spiritual phenomena under the unitary concept
of Jok, they arrive at the same actual situation as the Bantu, with localized
shrines and worship linked to the various local manifestations of Jok. The
element of human sacrifice belongs essentially to Bantu not Lwo culture, though
from Bunyoro it attained an uncertain hold upon the fringe of the Alur country.
In Alur idiom it is said that some of the Joks along the Lake Albert shore
demanded human sacrifice but were refused it by the Alur chiefs concerned (it
is probable that they did in fact succeed in getting it on rare occasions, though
the custom certainly never penetrated to the Alur highlands). Similarly, while
the chiefs of the Lacustrine Bantu commonly practised mutilation as a form of
punishment, the Alur chiefs did not. It would be of great interest to know what
degree of congruence there is between the spirit possession phenomena of the
Lwo peoples in association with Jok, and the similar phenomena formerly
associated with the pantheistic deities of the Lacustrine Bantu and now more or
less driven underground.
EDITORIAL NOTE. This story, collected by Mr. Southall in the West Nile
District, apart from its intrinsic interest as a local saga, should be of indirect
value to historical students who are engaged in assessing the value of oral
records. We have the text of Sir Samuel Baker's detailed account written up
from his diaries. We can compare it with the folk legend which has developed
in about a century as to the same events, starting, doubtless, from the accounts
of eye-witnesses. It is in view of such material as this that the historicity of such
events as the migration of the Bachwezi and the organization of the early
kingdom of Kitara must be judged.
new phenomenon; but that in pre-European times Jok did not possess people in the
present unregulated and unpredictable semi-shamanistic manner, but instead received
regular worship and offerings at specific shrines, the care of which was undertaken by the
political and kinship authorities.
THE TRADITION OF THE COMING OF THE ABALISA
CLAN TO BUHWEZU, ANKOLE1
By PEREZI K. KANYAMUNYU
T HERE once lived at Kyabukuju in Mpororo (now Kazara County of Ankole
District) three brothers of the Abalisa clan named Kataizi, Rugo and
Kinyonyi, with their sister Iremera.
One evening they saw a strange portent, an eagle flashing fire like lightning
landed on the roof of their hut, and perched there all night. At dawn it flew off
and disappeared. The brothers were astonished and fearful and went to consult
the augurs (Bararira).
The augur they consulted reassured them that the portent was good and
gave great hopes of future success. What you must do," he said, is to watch
the eagle carefully, and follow it next time when it leaves your roof, for it
certainly will return to roost there. The eagle will lead you to a prosperous
land over which you and your posterity will rule. But carry with you much food
for the journey will be long." The augur then went off, leaving the brothers to
speculate about their future.
They decided to follow the augur's advice and so they slaughtered their
twenty head of cattle and converted them into dried meat for the journey. Mean-
while, they kept a careful watch over the eagle which in due course built a nest
on the house, laid some eggs and hatched out its young. One day after these
were fledged, the eagle collected its young and started to fly northwards. The
brothers collected their provisions and followed with their sister. The eagle did
not fly fast, for it was accompanied by its young, and each night it rested in the
branches of a tree beneath which the brothers slept. Each day the eagle flew
on, and the brothers trudged after it until they reached Kagorogoro in Buhwezu.
Here the eldest brother Kataizi said he was too tired to go farther and that he
would stay there and cultivate the land. His descendants, the Abataizi, are
still to be found in that part today and their totem is identical with that of
The eagle flew on, and the two remaining brothers, Rugo, Kinyonyi and
their sister Iremera patiently followed. They eventually reached the capital of
Kitara where at that time the Muchwezi King Ndahura was ruling. As soon
as they reached there, the bird flew off and they did not see it again. They made
their obeisance to King Ndahura and told him their story. He gave them a
hundred cattle for their subsistence and told them to remain near his court.
The reason for his generous conduct towards them was that the King had seen
and fallen in love with the beauty of the girl Iremera, who had appeared at the
court with her two brothers. Shortly afterwards he proposed to the brothers
1 This family tradition of a clan of undeniable Hima stock is particularly interesting
since it provides clear evidence of a point not always appreciated by students, i.e., that
there were families of Hima stock already in the Western Province before the arrival of
the particularly famous community known as the 'Abachwezi' to whom the King here
referred to (Ndahura) certainly belonged.-[EDITOR.]
192 UGANDA JOURNAL
that the girl should marry him and as bride-price he offered another hundred
head of cattle. The brothers gladly accepted and also themselves took service
with the King, whose trusted servants they became. Eventually Ndahura seni
Kinyonyi to rule Buhwezu and provided him with a drum (still preserved) called
Mashaija and about the same time Rugo was sent to rule Bugimba with his
drum of authority called Bitunda. The brothers were not sent off alone but with
slaves and soldiers to help them. When Kinyonyi reached Buhwezu he found
a rebellious chief named Muramira in,control, whom he fought and defeated.
When Kinyonyi died, he left his son Kabundami I Rwahankando to succeed
him. Kabundami I lived to be a very old man indeed. He was succeeded by
his son Mugyimba I, who was followed in natural succession by Kashoma I
Gatukwire, by Kabundami II Kyangabufunda, by Karamegyi Rusharabaga, by
Kashoma, by Ndagara and by Daudi Ndibarema (the ex-Kangawo of Ankole
still living in Buhwezu).
Buhwezu became independent of the Kingdom of Kitara after the succession
of the Babito family to the throne of Kitara as the result of the heroic campaigns
of Muguta the son of Kabundami II. The independence of Buhwezu as a state
lasted until Ndagara was killed by Europeans in 1901. He was succeeded by
his son Daudi Ndibarema, one of the signatories of the Ankole Agreement.
Thus, under British pressure, Buhwezu became a county of the District of
Ankole, and its hereditary ruler took the Luganda County title of 'Kangawo'.
When Daudi Ndibarema retired from office in 1940 to his home in Kasharara
Buhwezu, he nominated his sister's son, the writer of this article, to succeed him,
although by clan descent he was not a Mulisa. The reason for this nomination
was that Ndibarema's own son (Ndibarema II) was indisposed and incapable of
carrying out official duties.
[face p. 193
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA-VII
By J. M. WATSON
Family: LORISIDAE. Galagos.
GALAGO SENEGALENSIS BRACCATUS Elliot. Bush Baby, Galago.
Teso: Idekelwa, idekelwan. Karamojong: Adokole, ngadokolei.
TAXONOMY: The Bush Baby of Teso has been determined by the Coryndon
Museum as referable to the race braccatus. The Bush Baby of Karamoja is
very similar and I imagine that it belongs to this race also. Allen gives its
range as: Uplands of Kenya and Tanganyika, west to the great Rift Valley,
south to Pangani River. Actually, it extends very much farther west than this,
well into eastern Uganda.
DISTRIBUTION: Abundant in both Teso and Karamoja but in restricted
DESCRIPTION: The Bush Baby measures: head and body, about 7 in.;
tail, 10 in. It is a pretty little creature with a rather fox-like face, large mem-
branous ears which can be folded back against the head, prominent eyes and a
long bushy tail. The hind limbs are noticeably longer than the fore. The soft
woolly fur of the slender body is ashy grey with a suffusion of buff on the upper
and outer sides of the arms. The under parts are paler, and the tail is uniform
grey. The fingers and toes are long and delicate and (with the exception of the
second toe, which carries a claw) are provided with nails like those on human
BIOLOGY: The Bush Baby is almost entirely nocturnal although Pitman
has a record of a family which lived in a hole about forty feet above ground in
a large Podocarpus tree and which came out regularly twenty minutes before
sunset. When sitting in a low tree near the roadside, its eyes are sometimes
caught in the beam of headlights, glowing conspicuously. During the day it
hides in dense foliage, in holes in trees and sometimes in log beehives. In the
daytime it is sluggish, sitting with its tail folded across its body and round its
neck, but at night it becomes extremely active and is capable of leaps out of all
proportion to its size. Pitman has seen one leap 10 ft. from one branch to
another in an obliquely upwards direction, and has measured other leaps of
20 ft. I have once or twice released a Bush Baby some fifty yards from the
nearest tree. Without a moment's pause, it leapt into the air and, in a succession
of enormous yet effortless bounds, made for the tree, its mode of progression
suggesting a gigantic mammalian grasshopper. The Bush Baby is essentially
aboreal, using its hands like a monkey when leaping from branch to branch,
but it will occasionally descend to the ground.
Although somewhat local, the Bush Baby is plentiful where conditions are
194 UGANDA JOURNAL
favourable. It does not associate in troops and four which I met together were
probably a family party. Its diet is varied: fruits, acacia gum, insects, small
reptiles, small birds and their eggs. It is also very partial to alcohol, and a
friend has told me of a tame Bush Baby which freely drank from unwatched
beer mugs until it was hardly able to stagger back to its home among the rafters.
Its normal cry is a prolonged harsh croak but (according to Shortridge) it
is also capable of a querulous twittering and a more subdued chattering ".
The young are born in hollows in trees, where nurseries lined with leaves
are prepared. They are carried clinging to the under side of the mother until
about half grown. Twins are not uncommon.
MISCELLANEOUS: The Bush Baby is said to make an attractive and easily
tamed pet. It is, however, liable to bite when annoyed, and its teeth are
I am told that at one time the Bush Baby was regularly hunted for food by
Family: CERCOPITHECIDAE. Mangabeys, Baboons, Guenons.
CERCOPITHECUS AETHIOPS ARENARIUS (Heller). Vervet Monkey.
Teso: Edokolet, idokolen. Karamojong: Ekadokot, ngikadokoi.
TAXONOMY: The Vervet Monkey of Karamoja belongs to the race arenarius,
which was first collected in Kenya at the Merille waterholes on the Marsabit
road. It is much paler than centralis, the form found throughout western
Uganda. I have not examined enough skins from Teso to be able to say with
any certainty to which race the Vervet of that District belongs. I suspect it to
DISTRIBUTION: Widespread and common in both Teso and Karamoja in
DESCRIPTION: Members of the genus Cercopithecus are characterized by a
roundish head, slender but muscular body, narrow loins, long hind limbs and
long tail. The nose is not prominent, the nostrils are close together, a beard is
very often present and side-whiskers are well-developed.
The ubiquitous Vervet Monkey, with its black nose and cheeks, white
frontal band and side-whiskers, yellowish grey body and long tail, is a familiar
beast of the countryside. Measurements: head and body, about 22 in.; tail,
27 in. The female is slightly smaller than the male, which may weigh up to
10 lb. The fur of the upper parts is greyish with a wash of yellow; the under
parts are yellowish white. The tail is grey; the fingers and toes are black;
the scrotum is conspicuously blue.
BIOLOGY: The Vervet is abundant in the more well-wooded parts of Teso
but in Karamoja it is confined almost entirely to the larger riverain forests.
During dry weather it is found only where a permanent water supply is avail-
able for it is a frequent drinker (and, somewhat surprisingly, a good swimmer).
The Vervet draws attention to its presence by its croaking cry and staccato bark
(Annual Report, Uganda Game Department, 1928) which enables the restless
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 195
and continually moving members of a troop (possibly a dozen individuals) to
keep in touch with one another. It has, in addition, many other sounds by
which it expresses such mental states as alarm, excitement, rage, pain and
melancholy. Its diet is extremely varied, including roots, fruits, grain (it can
cause great damage in a maize field), young birds, eggs, small reptiles and insects.
I have watched it greedily devouring flying termites. In captivity juveniles will
eat apples, bread and milk, etc., and even peppermints. Young Cercopithecine
monkeys cling, until they are able to fend for themselves, to the fur of the under
parts of their mother and entwine their tails with hers. I have frequently watched
the female Vervet carrying her young one thus. She does not seem to be greatly
inconvenienced by her burden, although she is more deliberate in her movements
than usual. Twins are born occasionally but one young is normal. Sometimes
the female will adopt another child. On one occasion a young Vervet in a
Zoological Garden was observed sucking both its mother's teats at once.
According to Sclater (1910), the gestation period is about 210 days.
MISCELLANEOUS: A young Vervet Monkey makes an interesting and attrac-
tive pet, albeit mischievous and not always clean. As it grows older it is liable
to become malicious, savage and untrustworthy. A specimen in the Giza Zoo
lived for twenty-four years.
The Vervet is mentioned in several Teso nursery rhymes, of which the
following is an example:
"Edokolet! Eee. Nyobo isubi jo kanen? Eee.
Awoi akakopit, akopit kikakoku,
Atwanikin moru ngol, moru kalapat;
Ebalasi ikuru kere, kere bo ito kere."
(Monkey! What are you doing ?
I am spinning my rope, the rope for my child,
He is dead on that rock, on that flat rock,
So the insects say.)
The 'rope' is the hammock in which a mother carries her infant on her
CERCOPITHECUS NEGLECTUS Schlegel. Brazza Monkey, Golden-browed
DISTRIBUTION: Probably confined in Karamoja to Mt. Kadam, where it is
well known to natives living in the vicinity of the mountain. It may possibly
occur on Mt. Napak but I have no reliable evidence that its does.
DESCRIPTION: I have obtained only one specimen of this handsome monkey
-a skin in very poor condition which was being used to cover a bicycle saddle.
Measurements: head and body, about 20 in.; tail, 22 in. The general colour
of the upper parts is slaty grey, the individual hairs being pale grey at the base
and black for the rest of their length except for about three rings of pale creamy
yellow. The under parts are blackish grey with a slight buff wash. The fore
limbs and the lower portion of the hind limbs are black. The area around the
196 UGANDA JOURNAL
mouth, and the beard and the throat, are white. The broad golden-red frontal
band above the eyes is a very characteristic feature. There is a white diagonal
band on the haunches, and the anterior aspect of the thighs is white also.
Another marked feature is the rather thick black tail, contrasting sharply with
the blue-grey of the back.
BIOLOGY: The Brazza Monkey is an inhabitant of dense forest of the type
found on Mt. Kadam but although I have spent many days on that mountain I
have only once seen a troop. It is certainly not so common there as the colobus
monkey. I have no note of its call.
TAXONOMY: This record rests on the dried skin of a monkey stated to have
been killed in the forest around the springs at Namalu at the west foot of Mt.
Kadam. According to the British Museum authorities the specimen does not
agree with any of the groups of Cercopithecus recorded from East Africa. I
have tried without success to obtain further specimens.
DESCRIPTION: The skin, probably that of a juvenile male, is in a very
dilapidated condition. Approximate measurements: head and body, 16 in.;
tail, 20 in. The upper parts are dark grey-blue speckled with buff. The pelage
is long and thick, the individual hairs being white at the base and dark grey for
the rest of their length except for some pale buff rings. The facial region has a
chestnut wash, and there is what appears to be a reddish frontal band above the
eyes. The tail is greyish brown (almost black at the tip) but has a very definite
chestnut tinge throughout. This coloration is very noticeable also on the
pygal region. The flanks and under side are paler than the back.
ERYTHROCEBUS PATAS PYRRHONOTUS (Hemprich & Ehrenberg). Patas
Monkey, Red Hussar Monkey, Ground Monkey.
Teso: Elwala, ilwalai. Engabwor, ingabworo. Karamojong: Elwala,
DISTRIBUTION: The Patas or Hussar Monkey is widespread in both Teso
DESCRIPTION: The name Hussar Monkey derives from the handsome foxy
red upper parts contrasting with the white or greyish white under parts. A full-
grown male is an exceptionally fine animal; it may weigh up to 60 lb. and is
very much larger than the female. Measurements: head and body, about
24 in.; tail, about the same. There is great variation in size. The top of the
head and the entire back are rich foxy red; the area around the eyes and cheeks
is dark brown; the eyebrows are blackish. The lower portion of the face, the
side-whiskers, the under parts, the lower limbs and the stern are usually white
or greyish white. The tail is pale sandy red above and whitish below; it is
generally darker at the tip.
The young are almost entirely red. With advancing years they develop
the white under parts, the intensity of the whiteness increasing as the animal
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 197
BIOLOGY: The Patas Monkey is the long-linmbed red monkey frequently
seen bouncing across the road in small troops. I have heard it referred to as a
red colobus but this is entirely incorrect; the true red colobus (Colobus badius
tephrosceles Elliot) is found in Uganda only in the western rain-forests. The
Patas Monkey is an inhabitant of grassy woodlands and acacia scrub, and I
have encountered it many miles from water. From this, I conclude that it is
capable of existing in semi-arid conditions. It is completely at home on the
ground, moving about in small parties frequently with a large male apparently
in charge. When alarmed it will sometimes scramble up small trees to obtain
a better view but on the whole prefers to rely on its speed, which is not incon-
siderable, to escape from danger. Its food consists of roots, fruits and insects,
and it can be extremely destructive to crops. Young birds and eggs are probably
eaten too. I have never heard this monkey make any kind of call.
MISCELLANEOUS: According to Percival, young Patas Monkeys-are easy
to catch and make agreeable pets. "If pursued, they take to the thorn trees,
and when driven from one seek refuge in another; after repeating the proceeding
two or three times they seem to give up thought of escape as hopeless. This
habit of the young is interesting-; it suggests that at some remote epoch the
species was as arboreal as other monkeys." The same writer remarks that the
Patas Monkey has the trait of yawning when bored.
I am told that in past time the Teso considered the flesh of the Patas to be,
good for lepers but that other people, except the very old, would not eat it.
PAPIO DOGUERA (Pucheran) subsp. Baboon.
Teso: Echom. Ichomion. Karamojong: Echom, nyichomion.
TAXONOMY: The race tessellatus is found in western Uganda and the
eastern Belgian Congo. The race furax occurs in western Kenya from the
Northern Guaso Nyiro to Lake Naivasha. It is as yet uncertain to which of
these two races the Baboon of Teso and Karamoja belongs.
DISTRIBUTION: Very abundant in Teso and Karamoja in suitable localities.
DESCRIPTION: The Baboon may be recognized at once by its large dog-like
face with eyes directed downwards along the muzzle, its massive body, its limbs
of nearly equal length and its relatively short tail. There is great size variation
between individuals. The head and body measure between 30 in. and 40 in. in
length ; the tail is about 20 in. long. I have no details of weight but Shortridge
gives 90 lb. as the weight of a particularly large male South African baboon
(Papio comatus). The long coarse fur is olive brown.
BIOLOGY: Baboons are usually found in troops of twenty to fifty of all ages
and sizes, generally on, or in the neighbourhood of, rocky hillocks or cliff faces.
The group of rocks at Abela is one of their many haunts in Teso, and in Kara-
moja there is a colony among the cliffs behind Moroto station. Baboons require
a daily drink and are therefore never found very far from water, although they
are prepared to trek a mile or two to quench their thirst.
The usual call is a loud bark, not so clearly defined as that of the bush buck,
but not dissimilar. It tends to be split into two notes, 'wa-ha', and is usually
198 UGANDA JOURNAL
uttered as an alarm signal. The approach of a human being to the stronghold
of a troop of Baboons is announced by the bark of a sentinel; the cry is taken up
by one animal after another until every member of the band is aware that some-
thing unusual is happening. Sometimes the barking chorus opens in the middle
of the night, possibly on the approach of a leopard.
An extremely entertaining half-hour can be spent watching a troop of
Baboons at home. The old males demonstrate clearly a marked dislike for
juveniles and seldom suffer them to approach without punishing them for their
audacity. The cries and squeals of young Baboons which have been bitten for
offending their elders are constantly to be heard, and the young Baboons are
incessantly squabbling and fighting among themselves.
The female Baboon, unlike the male, shows great tenderness towards her
offspring. When it is very young she carries it about beneath her as does the
Vervet monkey, but as soon as it is able to move freely by itself it will mount on
her back like a jockey (adopting the forward seat) and thus ride away from any
sudden danger which may arise. Two young Baboons have been seen riding
on one female, which suggests the possibility of twins although one young is
normal. The gestation period is 6--7 months, and the young suckles for about
6 months. There does not seem to be any special breeding season as young
Baboons can be seen throughout the year.
The Baboon roosts at night huddled up on a low branch, on a ledge on a
cliff, or beneath some overhanging rock. It is said to be a good swimmer.
When sitting it adopts a particularly human attitude with its elbows resting on
The Baboon has a very varied diet. It is undoubtedly fond of grubs and
other insects, and can often be seen turning over stones and rocks in search of
them; even scorpions are not refused. The Karamojong accuse it of killing
sheep, whilst in South Africa it is said to attack lambs, tearing open the stomachs
to drink the milk which they contain and leaving the rest of the corpse untouched.
It is known to eat young birds, rats, eggs, reptiles, fruits (including figs), roots,
grass seeds, maize cobs and other crops. It can do vast damage in a maize
field by pulling up and eating the newly-sprouted grain, even despite the presence
of traps and guards. It usually forages by day but there are records of troops
feeding by night.
The adult male Baboon is courageous, savage and aggressive, and can deal
with a large dog when once it has obtained a hold. "This grip secured, he
throws the dog, buries his teeth in his body, then brings all four feet to bear, and
thrusts his victim from him in such wise that he brings away the mouthful of
flesh" (Percival, 1928). According to the Karamojong, a troop of Baboons is
a match for a leopard although this animal is the chief enemy of the individual
Baboon. An indiscriminate slaughter of leopards invariably results in an
increase in the Baboon population with an accompanying increase in crop
destruction. According to one of my African informants, when a leopard is
killed by a troop its body is carefully buried and left interred until fully infested
with grubs and maggots. When this stage is reached the carcase is exhumed
and the grubs and maggots greedily devoured by the Baboons. One Baboon
is said to be selected as guardian of the corpse, his duty being to examine it
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 199
periodically and announce to the troop when it is ready for exhumation. Human
beings are occasionally attacked and there is a Uganda record of a troop of
Baboons which caused a reign of terror in a village, killing two women, tearing
and mutilating their bodies, and biting several children. The solitary savage
male, living by itself, is now and then encountered although I personally have
only met the animal in troops. K. de Beaton, in his notes on wild life in the
Nairobi National Park, mentions the existence of male Baboons with three-inch
canines protruding downwards well below the lower jaw. Whether the Baboon
will deliberately throw stones at its enemies I do not know, but Percival records
an instance in which a captive female Baboon pelted, not only with a stone but
with a plate also, some boys who were teasing her.
MISCELLANEOUS: Like other monkeys the Baboon makes an interesting and
affectionate pet when young but as it grows older it becomes vicious and untrust-
worthy and disgusting in its habits.
The skin of the Baboon is greatly prized by Karamojong elders who wear
it in the form of a short cape on the back.
Family: COLOBIDAE. Leaf-eating Monkeys.
COLOBUS POLYKOMOS MATSCHIEI Neumann. Black and White Colobus.
Teso: Etepes, itepesio; Egee, igeen. Karamojong: Echuma, ngichumai.
DISTRIBUTION: Within our area the Colobus is confined, so far as I know,
to Mt. Kadam in southern Karamoja. I have never seen it on Mt. Napak,
although it might be expected there, nor have I heard of anyone who has. A
usually reliable informant tells me that it was once common in heavily wooded
areas around Serere in Teso.
DESCRIPTION: The Colobus is easily recognized by its black and white
colouring. The head and body measure about 30 in. in length; the tail is
slightly longer. The animal is black throughout except for the frontal band
above the eyes,,the throat, the side-whiskers, the beard, the mantle and the bushy
tip of the tail, all of which are white. The mantle consists of two broad bands
of very long white hair extending down each side from the neighbourhood of
the shoulders to the lower back and rump, where they join. Very young Colobus
Monkeys are almost pure white ; the black coloration is developed as they grow.
Mention must be made of one peculiarity of this Monkey. The thumb,
which is almost completely absent, lacks a nail; it is relatively larger in the
young than in the adult.
BIOLOGY: The Colobus is at home in the thick, shady forests of Kadam;
hence Dr. Eggeling, when on a visit to that mountain, was surprised to find one
actually sitting on the stone cairn marking the highest point of the completely
open summit at 10,050 ft. Other than admiring the magnificent view,-I cannot
think what it was doing there! It is very common on the lower slopes, especially
in the forest surrounding the Namalu springs. The Colobus moves in small
parties of a dozen or so, leaping with remarkable agility from branch to branch
with arched tail. At times it will drop, with outstretched arms and legs, from
one high branch to another some 30 or 40 ft. below it. Hopkins records having
200 UGANDA JOURNAL
found at the foot of a tree in Ankole a dead Colobus with a broken neck, still
grasping a twig in one hand. This suggests that it must occasionally miss its
mark with fatal consequences. The Colobus will occasionally descend to earth:
Roosevelt records a troop in a grove of acacias which, on his approach, instantly
dropped to the ground and made off. A party of four on a road in western
Ankole was eating salty earth; all four were particularly bold and unwilling to
move away, returning to the lick as soon as the observer had passed. The chief
food of the Colobus is leaves and young shoots, which are stored in its peculiar
sacculated stomach and digested at leisure, rather after the manner of a ruminant.
In captivity the Colobus will eat vegetables of all kinds, showing a particular
fondness for lettuce; it also eats eggs of small birds. People living at the foot
of Mt. Kadam tell me that the Colobus never enters their sorghum or maize fields.
The call of the Colobus is quite unmistakable, although difficult to describe.
It suggests a combination of a hoarse throaty roll and a frog's croak. I have
heard it most frequently in the early morning just before sunrise. First one
monkey starts and then others join in, till the croaking roll is continuous for an
MISCELLANEOUS: The handsome skin of the Colobus is greatly prized by
the people of Acholiland who adorn themselves with it at dances and on similar
If the Acholi song, Awili, Awili, Awili, nyani ber bala dolo" (" The girl
Awili is as beautiful as a colobus "), is any guide, then to liken one's girl friend
to a Colobus is to pay her the highest compliment.
1939 Allen, G. M. 'A Check List of African Mammals.' Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool.
1917 Allen, J. A., Lang, H., and Chapin, J. P. 'The American Museum Congo
Expedition Collection of Bats.' Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist.
1947 Beaton, K. de P. A Warden's Diary.
1923 Bell, W. D. M. The Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter.
1933 Blunt, D. E. Elephant.
1911 Bonhote, J. L. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond.
1931 Brocklehurst, H. C. Game Animals of the Sudan.
1920 Carpenter, G. D. H. A Naturalist on Lake Victoria.
1921 Chapman, A. Savage Sudan.
1914 Dollman, G. 'Notes on a Collection of East African Mammals presented
to the British Museum by Mr. G. P. Cosens.' Proc. Zool. Soc.
1910 Drake-Brockman, R. E. The Mammals of Somaliland.
1875 Drummond, W. H. The Large Game and Natural History of South and
South East Africa.
1934 Duke, H.L. 'An Interesting Hybrid.' U.J., Vol. 2.
1940 Ellerman, J. R. The Families and Genera of Living Rodents.
1919 FitzSimons, F. W. The Natural History of South Africa.
1929 Graham, M. The Victoria Nyanza and its Fisheries.
1920 Haagar, A. K. South African Mammals.
1912 Hamilton, J. Stevenson. Animal Life in Africa.
THE WILD MAMMALS OF TESO AND KARAMOJA 201
1947 Hayley, T. T. S. The Anatomy of Lango Religions and Beliefs.
1931 Hinton, M. A. C. 'Biological Principals in the Control of Destructive
Animals.' Proc. Linn. Soc.
1918 Hollister, N. 'East African Mammals in the United States Museum.'
Smiths. Inst. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull.
-- Hopkins, G. H. E. The Known Wild Rodents in Uganda (in typescript):
also very many other valuable notes and records.
1899 Jackson, F. J. (In) The Great and Small Game of Africa (edited by
1927 Jennison, G. Table of Gestation Periods and Number of Young.
1902 Johnston, H. H. The Uganda Protectorate.
1912 Kitching, A. L. On the Backwaters of the Nile.
1929 Kittenberger, Kalman. Big Game Hunting and Collecting in East Africa,
1917 Lang, H., and Chapin, J. P. 'Field Notes on African Chiroptera.' Bull. Am.
Mus. Nat. Hist.
1910 Loring, J. A. (In) African Game Trails (by T. Roosevelt).
1920 Loveridge, A. 'Notes on East African Mammals.' Journ. East Afri. Nat.
1926 Lydekker, R. The Game Animals of Africa.
1929 Lyell, D. The Hunting and Spoor of Central African Game.
1931 Maberly, C. T. Astley. (In) The Field, 21st November.
1949 MacInnes, D. G. 'A Guide to the Animals of the Nairobi National Park.'
Suppl. to Bull. East Afr. Nat. Hist. Soc.
1939 Mathews, L. H. 'The Bionomics of the Spotted Hyaena.' Proc. Zool. Soc.
1939 'The Subspecies and Variation of the Spotted Hyaena.' Proc.
1938 Melland, F. H. Elephants in Africa.
1948 Nightingale, E. H. 'Elephants do lie down.' The Field, 6th March.
1946 Patrizi, S. 'Stomach Contents of Female Ant-Eater.' Journ. East Afr.
Nat. Hist. Soc.
1899 Pennice, G. W. (In) The Great and Small Game of Africa (edited by
1924 Percival, A. Blayney. A Game Ranger's Notebook.
1928 A Game Ranger on Safari.
1934 Pitman, C. R. S. Report on the Faunal Survey of Northern Rhodesia.
1942 A Game Warden takes Stock.
-- Annual Reports of the Game Department, Uganda.
1916 Pocock, R. L. 'On some Cranial and External Characteristics of the Hunting
Leopard.' Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist.
1904 Powell-Cotton, P. H. G. In Unknown Africa.
1910 Roosevelt, T. African Game Trails.
1915 and Heller, E. Life-histories of African Game Animals.
1907 Schillings, C. G. In Wildest Africa.
1908 Selous, F. C. African Nature Notes.
1934 Shortridge, G. C. The Mammals of South-West Africa.
-- Steinhardt, H. D. Translated Field Notes (of Zukowsky, 1924), quoted by
1913 Stigand, C. H. Hunting the Elephant in Africa.
1917 Thomas, 0. (In) Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist.
- Treatt, C. Court. Out of the Beaten Track (undated).
202 UGANDA JOURNAL
1935 Ward, Rowland. Records of Big Game (edited by G. Dollman and J. B.
Burlace), 10th edition.
- Wilhelm, J. H. Translated Field Notes (of Zukowsky, 1924), quoted by
1924 Zukowsky, L. 'Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Saugethiere Deutsch-Sudwest-
afrikas unter besonderer BUriicksichtigung des Brobwildes.' Archiv. fiir
Naturgeschichte (quoted by Shortridge).
(To be concluded with Addenda and Corrigenda)
CLOVER IN KAMPALA
By A. N. PRENTICE
THE wild white clover of England is the last plant one expects to find estab-
lished in Kampala, but in fact this clover has maintained itself, possibly for
half a century, on the grassed parade ground near the old fort. A. S. Thomas
(East African Agricultural Journal, 1940, VI, p. 80) mentions its occurrence
there, but states that when and how the clover was introduced is not known ".
However, I have heard him speculate on the possibility that the original seed was
brought in with the fodder for the officers' horses at the fort when the site was
first occupied in the 1890s. Be that as it may-and it should not be forgotten
that missionaries can introduce more than Christianity into a new field-the
clover is certainly there.
Thomas showed me the clover on the spot about 1946, in a season when it
was apparently scarce. In 1950 it was growing freely and was the dominant
vegetation on several large patches. The Town Council kindly gave me per-
mission to transfer a few plants to the Cotton Research Station at Namulonge,
where the clover is promising to thrive as well as it does at the fort, in association
with short grasses. That is probably the secret to its survival; it has never had
to compete for light and moisture with the tall grasses such as Elephant Grass,
which would quickly shade it out, but has found an ecological niche for itself in
the specialized conditions of the parade-ground. Its natural habitat in England
is the turf of the chalk downs. It produces flower-heads here, so that it cannot
be sensitive to length-of-day, but whether the seed is viable I could not say.
Wild-white clover is normally perennial, and could in theory perpetuate itself
vegetatively if need be. The plants at the fort show the nitrogen-rich nodules
on the roots characteristic of most members of the family Leguminosae.
Wild-white', as this insignificant-looking plant is termed by the farmer,
has been of inestimable value to British farming since the turn of the century.
Its African equivalent-in the sense of a plant able to do the same job of soil-
enrichment and soil-holding in the Tropical African environment-would allow
the proverbial two blades of grass to grow where one grew before, but a really
satisfactory pasture legume for the tropics has still to be found, and may alas be
unattainable. The wild-white clover at the Fort is a botanical curiosity, and
has little or no chance of finding any agricultural application in Buganda.
There are several patches of the clover, easily found with a little trouble,
to the south side of the memorial. The plant is inconspicuous, growing as it
does flat against the ground and often intermingled with the grass with which
it forms a close turf, but as its botanical title Trifolium repens indicates it spreads
by runners rooting at the nodes, and the combination of this habit with the
typical clover leaf-the girl-guide badge-makes its identification easy for the
204 UGANDA JOURNAL
In view of the historical interest of the point raised by Mr. Prentice, his
note was referred to Mr. Michael Moses, M.B.E., one of Kampala's oldest
residents. He replied as follows:
The Hon. Editor, The Uganda Journal.
I can add the following information as to the keeping of horses at the Old
Fort, Kampala. When I was stationed at Kampala for short periods in 1896
and 1897 I remember that there was a stable, either inside the Fort or just outside
it, where there was a horse belonging to Sir Ernest Berkeley, the Commissioner
Mr. George Wilson, the then Chief Civil Officer in Buganda, also kept a
horse there, and there may have been one or two others belonging to Captain
Sitwell and other officers, which I heard about at that period, though I do not
remember seeing them. These horses did not do well and soon died.
There were never any mounted troops in Uganda. It is possible that the
clover to which Mr. Prentice refers was imported in fodder brought out for some
of these privately-owned horses.
1st May 1951.
JACOB WAINWRIGHT IN UGANDA
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
THE part played by Jacob Wainwright, Dr. Livingstone's literate African
retainer, in the events which followed his master's death are well known.
He was one of the faithfulss' who accompanied Livingstone's remains to the
Coast, and he was the only one of them who was present at the grave-side in
Jacob lacked the solid qualities of Susi and Chuma, and it has been usual
to ring down the curtain on his career (as in 'The Death of Dr. Livingstone:
Carus Farrar's Narrative', U.J. 14 (1950), p. 127) with Joseph Thomson's report
from Zanzibar (in 1879-80): Jacob Wainwright we found to have fallen con-
siderably. When I last heard of him he was acting as door-porter to one of
the Zanzibar traders."
It seems, however, that in 1880-81 Jacob made the journey to Uganda.
The Rev. Philip O'Flaherty, having been accepted for service with the C.M.S.
in Uganda, undertook to escort Mutesa's envoys on their return to Africa. They
left London on 22nd June 1880, reaching Zanzibar about a month later: and
here O'Flaherty must have recruited Jacob.
The caravan, O'Flaherty, Stokes and the three Baganda with, it would
seem, Jacob left Saadani on the mainland on 9th August 1880 and after many
delays reached Rubaga on: 18th March 1881.
The Church Missionary Intelligencer for February 1882 (p. 95) prints
letters from O'Flaherty who says (24th April 1881): "A big chief with his
retinue of followers was here to-day. He is a great lubari man. I spoke to
him through Jacob Wainwright"; and (27th May 1881): Jacob Wainwright,
who is a great comfort to me, and who goes with me to the palace as my
Kiswahili interpreter, teaches a class in my house."
There are further references among the records of the Church Missionary
Society. Writing from "Rubaga" on 23rd June 1881 O'Flaherty remarks:
" J.W. is my schoolmaster, interpreter, personal servant and friend. Thanks be
to God who has enabled me to save this young man from the evil surroundings
of Zanzibar into which unsympathizing masters and missionaries had thrown
But Jacob'chose another road. On 25th December 1881 O'Flaherty writes:
"Jacob Wainwright of Livingstone fame lately my schoolmaster and personal
attendant now occupies Mufta's place. He was bribed to leave me I learn now
by the Arabs. Let us hope this salt may not lose its savour."
Mufta is, of course, Dallington Scopion, the Universities' Mission lad from
Zanzibar, whom Stanley had left with Mutesa in 1875. He had made himself
useful to Mutesa as scribe and English-Swahili interpreter-letters written by
him in English on behalf of Mutesa came as a surprise to Gordon Pasha' and
Shergold Smith-and he had recently been given a Kitongoleship by Mutesa as
"Mutezi in Kago's territory ". Mackay was unhappy about Mufta's future.
"I have spoken with him earnestly, and sometimes even scolded him for his
godless life, after all the teaching he got at the Mission in Zanzibar. May the
Good Shepherd bring back this stray sheep" (Mackay's diary, 23rd October
1881 in C.M.I., August 1882, p. 489).
We do not know the end of Jacob. Is it possible that he, too, attained a
chieftainship in Buganda ? Perhaps someone among our Baganda readers can
EAST AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
THE first conference of fellows and associates of the East African Institute
of Social Research took place at Makerere College, Kampala, the head-
quarters of the Institute, from 17th-23rd December 1950. The conference was
attended by the following:
Mr. Lloyd Fallers (Busoga); Mrs. Chave Fallers; Dr. Jeanne Fisher
(Kikuyu); Mr. Philip Gulliver (Turkana and Karamoja); Mrs. Gulliver;
Professor E. Hoyt (Fulbright Fellowship); Dr. Jacques Maquet (I.R.S.A.C.-
Banyaruanda); Mr. John Middleton (Lugbara); Mr. E. M. K. Mulira (Research
Officer in Linguistics, E.A.I.S.R.); Mr. Philip Powesland (Lecturer in Econo-
mics, Makerere College); Mr. Cyril Sofer and Mrs. Rhona Sofer (Jinja Survey);
Mr. Aidan Southall (Alur); Mr. Brian Taylor (Butoro); Mr. J. W. Tyler
(Zinza); Mr. Edward Winter and Mrs. Winter (Bwamba-Konjo); Mr. Wilfred
Whiteley (Government Anthropologist, Tanganyika-Makua); together with
I There is a specimen of Dallington's handwriting in Mutesa's letter to Gordon
reproduced at U.J., Vol. 5 (1937-8), p. 68. A correspondent at U.J., Vol. 3 (1940-1),
p. 38, enquires as to the provenance of this letter. The original was clearly among
Gordon's papers, for it appears in facsimile in Birkbeck Hill's Gordon in Central Africa,
the first edition of which was published in 1881. "My second letter" from Mutesa to
Shergold Smith is illustrated in Church Missionary Gleaner, March 1878, p. 30.
206 UGANDA JOURNAL
the Director. Dr. Audrey Richards (Buganda); the Secretary (Miss J. M. Fortt);
Dr. A. N. Tucker; and Mrs. E. M. Chilver (Secretary of the Colonial Social
Science Research Council).
Papers were read on' Field methods and field situations' in which individual
field-workers described briefly the characteristics of their areas, the object of
their research and the methods thec. felt to be appropriate for such a study.
Professor Hoyt and Mr. Philip Powesland contributed papers from an economic
point of view. A preliminary discuss .n followed on a scheme for the compara-
tive study of African political systems in present-day East Africa.
It is proposed to hold such conferences twice yearly.
J. M. FORTT, Secretary.
13th February 1951.