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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Table of Contents
The diaries of Emin Pasha - Extracts I
The Turkana Patrol, 1918
The social significance of Lugbara personal names
Church missionary society boats in East Africa
Uganda's legislative council between the wars
The sieges of Bukumi, Mubende Distract, in 1898
Female circumcision among the Sebei
Notes on the Ruwenzori glaciers
Notes on contributors
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
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THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
DR. H. F. MORRIS
A. H. RUSSELL, M.B.E., D.S.C.
(assisted in England by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY HEADLEY BROTHERS LTD
109 KINGSWAY LONDON WC2 AND ASHFORD KENT
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-ExTRACTS I SIR JOHN GRAY 1
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 R. O. COLLINS 16
THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA PERSONAL NAMES
JOHN MIDDLETON 34
CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY BOATS IN EAST AFRICA H. B. THOMAS 43
UGANDA'S LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE tARS T. W. GEE 54
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI, MUBENDE DISTRICT, IN 98 SIR JOHN GRAY 65
BANTU GENESIS M. POSNANSKY 86
FEMALE CIRCUMCISION AMONG THE SEBEI J. P. BARBER 94
NOTES ON THE RUWENZORI GLACIERS H. A. OSMASTON 99
Rock Paintings on Lolui Island, Lake Victoria M. POSNANSKY 105
Ishekindi will give birth to Ishekindi. An Ankole Folk-tale
M. J. WRIGHT 112
ABO Phenotype Distribution in Tororo Secondary Schools
W. GLEESON 114
The Kibuga of Buganda SIR JOHN GRAY and A. FRENCH 116
Bunyoro-An African Kingdom (by John Beattie) SARAH NTIRO 118
The Asians of East Africa (by L. W. Hollingsworth) H. B. THOMAS 119
Imperial British East Africa Company (by E. R. Vere-Hodge)
H. B. THOMAS 120
African Design (by Margaret Trowell) JoAN GREHAN 121
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS -
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS I
Edited by SIR JOHN GRAY
[These extracts from Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin Pascha, edited
Dr. Franz Stuhlmann, vols. i, ii, iii, iv and vi, (Braunschweig:
Westermann, 1916-27), have been translated and provided with
introductory notes and comments by Sir John Gray. They are
planned to appear in The Uganda Journal as a series covering
Emin's first visit to Buganda in 1876, his visit to Bunyoro in 1877
and his second visit to Buganda in the same year, followed by such
portions of his later diaries as are relevant to Emin's contacts with
the Uganda region during the years spent as Governor of Equatoria
until his withdrawal in 1889.-EDS.]
I. EMIN'S VISIT TO BUGANDA IN 1876
EMIN PASHA'S original name was Eduard Carl Oscar Theodor Schnitzer.
After qualifying in Germany as a physician, he took service under the
Ottoman Government and adopted Turkish dress and the name of Mehemet
Emin. Later he migrated to Egypt and eventually made his way to Khartoum,
where he set up in private practice. In 1876 he accepted the post of chief
medical officer of the Province of Equatoria. The Governor of the Province at
that date was Colonel Charles Gordon, who had instructions from the Khedive
to extend Egyptian influence as far as the Central African Lakes. His plans
for carrying out the Khedive's wishes are to be found in his correspondence
with Colonel (afterwards General Sir) Edward Stanton, British Agent and
Consul-General in Cairo, which has been printed in Sudan Notes and
In a letter to Stanton, which was written at Magungo on the banks of the
Victoria Nile, on 28 July 1876, Gordon says-
"I hope to go to Mruli (at the junction of the Kafu River with the Victoria
Nile) and Cossitza (sc. Ripon Falls) and then back again to this place, my
object being to map the whole of the Nile and hoist the Egyptian flag on Vic-
toria Nyanza. I calculate (all going well) to finish this and to be back here
about 10 September. Then I have done with explorations for a long time."
Before Gordon despatched this letter, a post came in from Mruli with cer-
tain information which Gordon inserted in the letter.
"I want you to understand what I write well, in order to explain it to His
Highness (the Khedive). When I left Mruli in January, I gave one hundred
and twenty men to my officer, Nur Aga, with orders to go and establish a post
at Bulondoganyi, where the Nile ceases to be navigable, and then to place a
post at Cossitza (Ripon Falls). I told him first to go to Mutesa and then to
Bulondoganyi. It appears that, though he had reported to me that he had
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
formed a post at Bulondoganyi, he had not done so, but that Mutesa had
begged him to make his stockade at his (Mutesa's) capital, and he has done so.
My object in choosing Bulondoganyi and Cossitza for stations was to avoid
interference with Mutesa. However, as he has of his own accord chosen to ask
for a station to be there, I shall let it stay and now have one hundred and sixty
men there. I shall put twenty or thirty men at Bulondoganyi and the same
number at Cossitza. You see that, by having my garrison at Mutesa's capital,
I shall certainly secure the ivory trade and that I can make him prisoner, if
troublesome, and that he, Mutesa, has voluntarily given up his independence:
so far it is very well for the Egyptian Government. It is Mutesa's own fault
entirely ... What an affair this business of Mutesa's is and quite unsought for
by me. I did everything I could not to meddle with him. It is done now and
there is no hope for it, for we could never retire. Fortunately I have one hund-
red and sixty men there, all old soldiers and armed with breech loaders. What
will missionary Captain Smith say when he arrives?"'
On 13 August 1876, Gordon found it necessary to write to Stanton in a very
different vein. The letter reads-
"Read this and kindly forward. This a nice mess we are in, but I do not
apprehend we shall have any trouble in getting the men out of Rubaga. Do not
say much about this, for it will only be a scandal. If you can see your way to
get His Highness to send me up a man, whom I can coach up a bit and then get
away, I shall be very glad ... I have now the Nile from Lado to Mruli, and
hope to get up to Bulondoganyi, but I fear I cannot get it up to Ripon Falls ...
I shall (D.V.) go to Rubaga and have written to Mutesa two letters, one as
Governor, telling him I know his preparations for war, and warning him of his
certain ruin. The other I wrote was a friendly one advising him."
The contents of the enclosure, which Gordon requested Stanton to pass on,
can be ascertained from a letter which Gordon wrote to his sister on the same
"When I got here, I meet A. (sc. Nur Aga) and hear that when he got to
Mutesa, he (A) sent off his porters, as Mutesa said he would give him porters.
Well, day after day Mutesa kept making excuses, till A, driven to desperation,
agreed to keep the troops at Rubaga. He makes a stockade, and the soldiers
are virtually prisoners there, for they cannot get away. In fact we are in the
same state as Baker was at Masindi. Mutesa is buying from Zanzibar powder
in quantities, and is evidently meditating something. So now I am going down
(D.V.) to get my men out of the mess, and to withdraw them, and to follow my
original intention by putting them at Nyamyonjo There we must wait
events .. Mutesa has with him an Arab of Zanzibar, who writes English and
was brought up by the mission there. He writes to me in Mutesa's name-a
jumble of bits of prayers, etc., and keeps repeating he is the King of Uganda,
etc., and the greatest king in Africa. Mutesa has annexed my soldiers; he has
not been annexed himself."2
On 18 August Gordon again wrote to his sister informing her that for
various reasons set out in the letter he had decided not to go to Rubaga.
Though he does not mention the fact in this letter, he had already deputed
Emin to proceed on a visit to Mutesa in order to establish friendly relations
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 3
between him and the Egyptian government. Emin had arrived there on 27 July
to find that Nur Aga had departed in search of Gordon, having left his troops
behind in a very precarious situation. It was left to Emin to take what
measures he could to extricate the troops from their perilous position. This, as
the diary shows, he succeeded in doing.
As Gordon's letters to his sister and certain entries in Emin's diary show,
Gordon and Emin did not always get on very well together. The latter, who
was short-sighted and wore a beard, was the most unmilitary of men. More-
over, Gordon with his strong Christian principles had a profound contempt for
a European, who had become a convert to Islam. After Emin arrived at Mruli
with the evacuated Egyptian troops intact Gordon appears to have shown him-
self not ungrateful to the bespectacled Emin for having rescued the soldiers
without a casualty, but some of his slighting references to Emin in his later
letters to his sister were petty and unworthy of him. It is true that Emin was a
somewhat undisciplined civil servant, but the fact that after his return from his
first visit to Buganda Gordon employed him more than once on missions of
some delicacy to several African chiefs and potentates show that Gordon did
realize that he had in Emin an administrative officer of considerable tact and
It should be mentioned that many of the daily entries in Emin's diaries are
very lengthy indeed. They include descriptions of scenery, flora and fauna as
well as copious notes on anthropological, geographical and other scientific
matters. Many of these entries have been considerably condensed. Much of
what has been omitted is undoubtedly of great interest and scientific value,
but it will be seen that the extracts here given are such entries as deal with
Emin's personal experiences and with matters of historical interest which from
time to time came to his notice.
In cases in which it is possible to identify a personal or place name with
some well-known person or place, I have altered Emin's spelling so as to con-
form to modern orthography. Thus, 'Kabrega' becomes 'Kabarega', 'Mtesa'
becomes 'Mutesa', 'Uganda' becomes 'Buganda', and 'Shuli' becomes 'Acholi'.
Where the identification of a proper name remains doubtful, I have left
Emin's spelling as it is.
Where a long entry in the diary has been summarized, I have inserted the
summary between brackets.
A few biographical and explanatory notes have been added, but one of my
chief objects has been not to burden the text with too much of such detail.
Extracts from Emin's Diaries
May 7, 1876. (Emin reached Lado and proceeded southwards. On 12 May at
Kiri he found Gordon, with whom was Gessi recently arrived from Lake Albert.
Emin returned at once to Lado, perhaps to prepare for the journey to Buganda.)
June 3. (Emin left Lado, whither Gordon had returned about a week before.)
June 14. (Reached Dufile. Description of station.)
June 16. (Crossed over to right bank of Nile opposite to Dufile and reached Djeifi
(? Jaifi of Speke's Journal), where inhabitants belonged to Madi tribe.)
June 17. (To Khor Ajuli, Gebel Abu Salah and Khor Unyama.)
4 UGANDA JOURNAL
June 18. (To Muhatta Abd-el-Aziz, Gebel Shua, Khor Shua, Khor Pauvel and
June 19. (Friendly reception from the Acholi.)
June 27. (Reached Foweira: crossed Nile on 29th.)
July 5. (Reached Mruli.)
July 6. Yesterday I sent to Mutesa's people who are five hundred strong at an
observation post several hours from here. Today came the answer that without
Mutesa's permission nobody can take me. To this I replied.
July 7. To judge by the manner of their unrestricted comings and goings the
blacks regard this place as being their possession, as Mruli really forms a boundary.
It is most unfortunate that it is situated so near the Chor river, which is surrounded
by masses of reeds, in which millions of baudah (? mosquitoes), dwell, which every
evening made work impossible. All night the river is frequented by crocodiles of
the largest size. Beyond it is a flat treeless plain. Despite the plentiful supply of
durrah (grain) and bananas, which grow in the vicinity, this station is always on the
qui vive. Strong patrols and sentry posts are absolutely necessary here. The Lango
blacks come from the opposite bank in canoes made of tree trunks which have been
hollowed out by means of burning. At the east end of it there is a separate settle-
ment, in which a son of Ruyonga dwells.
July 11. Arrival of Mutesa's people with two soldiers bringing mail from Nur
Aga. He has been three months with Mutesa, having set up his small posts in
Bulondoganyi and Cossitza.3 The soldiers were being badly treated and had nothing
to eat. (Later)-Their chief Matandi by name was told by Mutesa to go to the Pasha
and hand over two letters written in English in a wonderful style full of references
to the Trinity, in which he asks us to allow a clergyman to come from England.
July 15. (Report that Kabarega's people are lying in wait for the Baganda and
July 16. (Murema arrives early; Emin marches from Mruli.)
July 24. In the afternoon a messenger came from Mutesa with two complaints in
writing in bad English against Nur Aga with the request to send him somewhere
else, and then he will grant all other claims.
July 26. Murema, who had stayed at Muwambia came ... Nur Aga will come by
another way with his rear guard of 100 men.
July 27. In bright smiling weather we proceeded, without much hesitation, right
through the banana groves, knowing that our journey must come to an end today.
The road has been formed by burning down all the grass to a width of from six to
nine feet, and is occasionally varied by a block of stone or a white-ant hill as high
as a hut; it is a fairly even, well-trodden track. Thus we descend the steep mountain
side, passing large plots of wild dates and bananas, all of them surrounded with
high reed fences, and finally, descending a steep narrow footpath between tall
reeds, we arrive at a small watercourse, babbling in a clear stream over granite
blocks, the first flowing water we have seen since leaving Fauvera.
Thence we proceed through marsh-land along the dams and log bridges which we
had already described in the distance, then up a rather steep hill and, after a slight
descent, we ascend a still steeper solitary mountain, beyond which, at its foot, is a
wild-date wood-a genuine forest with its undergrowth surrounding a black
swamp crossed by a trestle bridge. Then we again follow the King's highway, pass-
ing between numbers of well-fenced zeribas, and through tall reeds, to an open
space, where I order a halt. All the morning I had seen nothing of Murema, who
was instructed to act as our guide; he had remained behind as usual in order to
drink mrisa (banana beer) at one of the zeribas. After half an hour's halt, when I
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 5
proposed to start again, my guide Kitaka declared that he would go no further, as
he had orders to await Murema here, who, on his arrival, would take the lead.
Objecting to this, I called on the guide to proceed, and, as he declined, I left him
there with the goods and chattels, took the compass in my hand, and marched off
with my six soldiers.
Again taking the Royal highway, we went up hill and down dale, the road widen-
ing and narrowing, through marshes and over hills; then we had to climb three
parts of the way up a very steep mountain to reach the road that leads straight
south to the King's zeriba.
While I was on the march, the whole host of batongole (chiefs) and the porters,
with Murema at their head, came rushing after me, entreating me to halt, but I
simply proceeded on my way. Near the mountain top I found a guard of honour,
men dressed in white, some armed with guns and some with swords, among them
two with black abajas, who brought me the King's greetings and his welcome and
told me they had orders to conduct me to the hut set apart for me. We now
marched on to the strains of martial music. Every moment the crowd of spectators
increased, till at last we crossed the hills. All the soldiers were drawn up in parade.
I made a short speech, thanked them, and proceeded, accompanied by an officer
and ten or fifteen men. The Aga had only left a few days before, and his wakil
(deputy), Mohammed Effendi Ibrahim, had gone to the Arabs to make purchases.
Then we descended into a marshy, low country, mounted another hill, and event-
ually halted in front of a wretched solitary house. We arrived, el hamdu Lilla
(thank God), though first impressions are not very encouraging. My tent was put
up; caller after caller came; but on my asking for water and wood, they replied:
'The King sleeps, we have no orders'. At last, towards four o'clock, after I had
rested a little, Mohammed Effendi Ibrahim came to present himself and place him-
self at my service, and while we were talking, a deputation which had come to see
me on behalf of the King was announced. It was composed of the fourth Vizier of
of the King, and his relative Kyambalango,4 a quiet, well-dressed young fellow, the
first and second secretary of the King, and many attendants. They brought me a
letter written in English, in which the King welcomed me as his 'very dear friend',
and congratulated me on my arrival. They asked what I wished for, and when I
begged for a decent hut, a nice large one was immediately placed at my disposal,
and thither I at once removed. Two young bulls, a goat, a quantity of bananas,
and sugar-cane, were brought to me as presents from the King. I hastened to offer
each of the two leaders of the deputation a new white shirt, with which they were
delighted; the third accepted two boxes of soap; it was then we made the discovery
that my soap had been stolen. The chiefs took their leave highly pleased, promising
to arrange everything and, in the course of the same evening a quantity of wood
(a scarce article in that neighbourhood) and five to six earthen vessels for water
were all sent to me by the King. The evening was lovely, but swarms of gnats do
not add to one's enjoyment on a cool evening.
[Mutesa's letter of welcome has been inserted in the diary. It reads as follows:
"To my Dear Friend!
I thank be to God for bringing you home safely. Therefore I send
Chambalango my chief to see you how do you do and thank be to our
Lord Jesus Christ to be thy shield."]
July 28, Friday. So the first night in Mutesa's country is over. A cool clear
morning was spent in preparations for the audience which I expect today. After
Mohammed Effendi, who proposed I should go uninvited, had received a reply in
the negative, Murema came to receive his present. Though he did not deserve it, I
6 UGANDA JOURNAL
gave him a good white kuftan, which sent him into a mild ecstasy of delight. While
we were still talking, we heard the report of a gun, indicating that the King had left
his harem. Soon after, a soldier dressed in a blue blouse with white shoulder-straps
and blue trousers with broad red stripes, carrying his rifle in a strict military
fashion, came up and told me in good Arabic that the King was awaiting me in the
great hall, and that I was requested to come.
I started under the guidance of Mohammed Effendi accompanied by about
twenty of our soldiers, and was preceded by the cases containing presents, and
followed by a servant carrying my camp stool. Outside my door I again found a
large escort of well-equipped armed men carrying handsome silver-mounted
swords. The escort increased in numbers as we proceeded, and we made our way
over the hills to the residence of the King, which was about twenty-five minutes'
walk distant and lay between large zeribas and banana plantations. On the crest of
a hill we saw some fine palms resembling the yucca, only taller. We came across a
repulsive sight; a human arm recently cut off and a partly decomposed thorax lying
in the road. On the way the same Chief who called yesterday, as also the first Secre-
tary, came up to join the escort. The crowd, mostly consisting of children, all gesti-
culating around us, may have numbered about 1,500. When any one became too
obtrusive or came unnecessarily near, a gentle rap with a stick, or a push with the
butt end of a gun, warned him to keep his distance, and so we got along pretty
well. A little way outside the outer gate of the royal residence stands an unfinished
red-brick building, a mosque began at the command of Mutesa by Abd-el-Aziz
(Linant de Bellefonds, Junior),5 but subsequently abandoned. When we arrived at
the outer gate where the sentries presented arms-this was done at every gate-the
whole crowd went through five or six large courtyards in which the watch-men's
huts stand in rows, past hosts of slaves and household menials, through five or six
high gateways-the gates are made of reeds and have a number of bells attached
to them-until at last we arrived at a closed gate where we had to halt a moment.
The gate was soon thrown open, the assembled crowd remained behind, and I
was conducted by the Chief through a lane formed by about two hundred well-
armed soldiers, the men in white uniform, the officers wearing blue or red, to a
house with a small covered-in vestibule leading to a large chamber. In this room,
near the doorway, Mutesa was reclining in Oriental style on a raised dais, covered
with handsome Persian carpets. He rose as I entered, advanced half-way down the
vestibule to meet me, and shook hands with me. Thereupon he returned to his seat;
I placed my camp stool just in the centre of the vestibule the floor of which was
covered with fine hay and all the high dignitaries ranged themselves on either side,
each sitting on the floor on fine mats.
The King is a man of good presence, youthful appearance, and engaging manner.
He was handsomely dressed in Arab costume, and wore a turban trimmed with
gold braid, one end of which was left hanging. His chiefs are also all fine-looking
men, arrayed in red and white or black and white.
When we were seated, and the troops in the yard had presented arms and
sounded drums several times, I suddenly heard that Murema, who was sitting on
the ground outside, and, as far as I could understand, giving an account of his
journey, was very bitterly complaining about me. This gave rise to some long
discussions and, to put an end to the matter I handed to the First Secretary, who
was sitting close at hand, the letters from His Excellency the Governor, the usual
formalities being complied with, and commenced to explain in Arabic the purpose
of my mission. Needless to say, I spared no compliments, but maintained my
dignity. An intelligent-looking person of very fair complexion, even for an
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 7
Egyptian, who was seated among the dignitaries, and was introduced to me as
Sheikh Ahmed of Zanzibar6, acted as dragoman. Mutesa understands a little
Arabic, but prefers his own language; his superior officials all speak Arabic. My
speech seemed to please the King, for he repeatedly placed his hand on his heart
and on his forehead, and even the absence of some white calico, which was missing
from among the presents, was graciously pardoned. The cases were removed, and
after I had spoken a little longer, I asked to be permitted to retire, as I was fatigued
after my journey, saying that I would at any time willingly comply with the King's
command to present myself again. Next came the leave-taking with the same for-
malities; the Chief and Sheikh Ahmed were permitted to escort me to my dwelling,
and accompanied by soldiers, etc., I returned to my tent, where a good cup of coffee
awaited us. Soon after the chiefs took their leave and I was at last at liberty to write
my notes. This was my first audience with Mutesa.
Soon after, two boys appeared, one of whom, kneeling, offered me two fowls and
some eggs as a present from the King, and the other brought a large gourd filled
with mrisa as a gift from the Vizier; my men are very well pleased with these
offerings. Shortly before four o'clock the King's Secretary came and brought me a
letter in hardly intelligible English, in which the 'Dear Friend' is informed that the
King is a Christian and desired to see his people Christians. A reply being desired,
I simply wrote that I had come, not to discuss religion, but as the bearer of the
presents, and that for the rest I was at the King's disposal, even if my immediate
departure were desired, as I was a Muhammadan. The Secretary asked for and
received a piece of opium, and went away promising to send me some onions from
his garden; they thrive very well here. In consequence of a wish I had previously
expressed for some milk, a sergeant, whom I already knew, appeared with ten
soldiers bringing a potful of sour milk. Sweet milk is only taken here by women
and girls. Smoking is very common. The natives eat half-ripe coffee beans after
being roasted in hot ashes till they are browned.
(Copies of this letter are inserted in duplicate in the pages in Emin's diary setting
out the events of the following day. The documents had been written with a lead
pencil on yellowish pieces of paper. The words appearing in italics are omitted
from one of the two documents. Otherwise they are in ipsissimis verbis.
"My Dear Friend hear what I say I am a Christian and be thou Christian first I
was the Mohammedeens and find it is all lie and now I am away from them I am
among the Christiantys and I had the wite man but I myself arsk the people that
how is among the Christian but I my self am Christian. From Mtesa king of
July 29, Saturday. Shortly before midnight an indescribable tumult arose in
the surrounding zeribas; men came rushing up to me, repeating in accents of terror
the word 'Muzungu' (a white man); amid all this could be heard the shrieks of
women and children. The noise spread from one zeriba to another, ceasing for a
moment, then breaking out again louder than before. It was a regular witches'
sabbath, and was kept up till about 2 a.m. I have not yet discovered the cause of
Early in the morning a man presented himself-as he said, sent by the King to
inquire after my health-a pretext to get a present from me, because he had
brought me the bulls sent by Mutesa. Then, long parleys with my dragoman Kisa,
who demanded meat, although he had had 20 lb. yesterday. It is incredible what
quantities of meat the negroes will devour.
Fleas abound all over Uganda; there are no scorpions; snakes are very rare, and
mostly of a harmless description. There are two varieties of bananas, one small and
8 UGANDA JOURNAL
very sweet and soft, the other, large and long, rather firmer, not so sweet, and in
taste similar to bread. I afterwards found that one of our soldiers had run away
during the night, taking with him his arms and ammunition, and had gone to join
Mutesa not an uncommon occurrence; this accounts for the noise, as it is strictly
forbidden to be out after 5 p.m. and any one found out alone is killed forthwith.
Mohammed Effendi has just come to tell me that he intends to insist on the four
runaway soldiers being given up, and failing this he will apply for leave to depart.
I am determined to support him energetically in this matter. Our soldiers are short
of food and are being enticed by the King's people to desert to them, and, when
they do so, their surrender is refused under all sorts of pretexts. By establishing the
zeriba here and departing suddenly, leaving only a few men, the Aga has acted
12 o'clock, noon. Mohammed Effendi has just returned. The King, with all his
entourage, is rat-hunting in the royal gardens; hence he is invisible. Sheikh Ahmed,
whom Mohammed has seen, explains the King's letter to the effect that he believed
I was a Christian, and meant to pay me a compliment. However, all the Arabs were
ready to leave with me if the King did not explain himself. To-morrow he will
bring me his explanations. He says that news arrived last night from Zanzibar to
the effect that after a revolution the Sultan's (of Zanzibar) troops had gained a
firm footing there, and 'all Christians had been expelled from the country'. Good-
ness knows what really has happened.7
July 30. Sheikh Ahmed is the first Arab to arrive here. He lived to see the birth
of the present Sultan (35 years), who holds him in high respect.
July 31. (Mutesa's army is reckoned at 2,000-3,000 well-armed men.)
The Sultan is a puppet in the hands of his higher chiefs to make of him what
(Several soldiers ill of venereal disease (old infections).)
August 1. At 2 o'clock came a merchant, Mohammed bin Nassib, of Zanzibar,
who talked much of the dangers of his six months' journey and inquired the
relative prices, especially of ivory, at which he could sell his merchandise in
Khartoum or Cairo.
August 2. Mohammed Effendi brought me tomatoes. Although the Sultan has
sworn to the contrary on the Koran to Sheikh Ahmed, namely, that he would pay
attention to their food and deliver up the deserters, his (Mohammed's) soldiers have
been three days without bananas or meat .. .
The people had a terrible fright before the occupation when they heard that the
steamer had come from Dufile to Magungo.
(At an interview) he (Mutesa) asked whether if he sent ivory to Cairo and sold it,
he would be able to buy a steamer or other vessel. I replied in the affirmative. How
he will bring it here, he must learn for himself.
August 3. At four o'clock another unannounced visit of the Vizier Kyambalango
who told me that tinder-boxes and powder were very bad and dear and Abdul Aziz
(Linant) had given him white salt.
August 4. (Interview with Mutesa.) The Sultan was dressed as usual, in
commemoration of Friday a big red and white flag flew in the forecourt. Then I
was asked if I possessed Christian books. I said I did not. The Sultan then said he
possessed some and Abdul Aziz (Linant) had often translated different passages and
taught him to read a little. Would I be willing to translate for him? 'Most willingly'.
Then the talk turned on religious subjects. The Sultan, who does not rightly know
what he wants, was inclined to put his reliance in the Christians and especially the
English because he instinctively felt that his only escape from annexation by Egypt
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 9
lay there. He complained bitterly of our two officers, who, as regards everything he
did, thought he was a Kaffir (infidel) who had submitted to his master and would
not let him fly his flag. Speke and Grant gave him an enormous Union Jack which
our people had taken, because the red diagonals together with the blue diagonal on
their white background made a cross. I must let him know, whether our lords had
been sent to teach religion, or to ask for Bulondoganyi. With reference to this last,
the Sultan explained to me that he was willing to cede to the Pasha or to me Bulon-
doganyi and other posts on the lake, on the condition that neither Mohammed
Effendi or Nur Aga was sent there to take command. He hates these people, who
once demanded bananas from him and he said to them they might come with their
hundred odd slaves and take the fruit, and they had replied that their people
never carried loads, and he must send his own people. He also complained of the
Arabs of Zanzibar, who troubled him with their fanaticism, and he asked me
whether all were not equal before God and if all people were not God's creatures.
I replied to him with the opening words of the Fatiha-El hamd ul-lillah rebb ul
alemin (First sura of Koran) and told him the Prophet had not said rebb ul
muslimin. Thereafter, when he had heard me from the beginning, he thought his
heart was so pleased that he would treat me as a relative (garib and nasib). He
would also write to the Pasha and Effendina to thank them for sending me.
August 6. The slaves of Uganda, who in commerce and sale are valued according
to the beauty of their forms and also according to their intelligence, seek at first by
all possible means to procure their liberty, sometimes by running away. All that
their owners can do is watch them by night or fetter them.
... The big chiefs hold themselves out as being Muhammadans, and also practise
its particular usages-by fasting in Rajab and Shaban, but at the most they know
very little about it. The Sultan is more disposed towards Christianity, because
hitherto all his most sought after visitors have been Christians and have left many
presents with him, whilst the two Egyptian Muhammadans (Nur Aga and
Mohammed Effendi) have done everything possible to disgust him with Islam and
its creed. There are few witchdoctors here and they hardly make enough to eat and
There was brought to me-we were about 25 persons, all of the Sultan's entour-
age-a wooden black-board, on which questions and answers were written in bad
English: For example-"What is the meaning of the word Christmas?"-"Christ-
mas is the day of birth of Jesus Christus"-"What is the meaning of the word
Good Friday?" etc. I was asked to translate these word for word into Arabic,
presumably to see whether I understood English. It would appear I passed my
Sheikh Ahmed, who in Zanzibar had much to do with the 'Dutch' (Hamburg
merchants) and the English as well as being personally known to Hamerton,8
Rigby9 etc. as well as on good terms with all travellers (Burtono1, von der Decken,"
Speke, Stanley), developed a long-winded explanation, but for a Wahabite-this I
learnt today'2-a remarkably tolerant one Then the Sultan's proposal of a
journey to Egypt and England was discussed ...
... I went part of the way with Sheikh Ahmed, who explained to me that Stanley
had received here 1,000 reals-presumably from him-and on 21 Moharram 1293
(16 February 1876) had left here for Tanganyika, to make his way into the interior.
If hostilities prevented him from continuing his journey, he would come back. He
himself, Ahmed, had come here three times during the time of Suna, Mutesa's
father, the first time being in 1270.13 Suna had been most obliging. Ahmed speaks
the language of the Baganda, but he is a bit of a liar, though he is a Wahabite.
10 UGANDA JOURNAL
August 7. Mohammed Effendi sent me a letter of excuse for not seeing me for
four days; he is sick and asks for medicine.
(New caravan arrived from Zanzibar.)
(At this point the following copies of correspondence have been inserted in the
diary. Both letters are set out in German.
"4 August, 1876.
"My dear friend! I want you to tell me the truth as to whether you are one of
the Turks and not a white man I asked the Pasha for. He writes to me that he has
sent you to me and I thought at first you were the white man I wanted. But you
have denied persistently that you are a Christian and I must therefore ask you to
tell the truth as to whether you are a white man and confirm it by oath.
From Mutesa king of Uganda and Dallington Scopion Mouftah."
Emin's reply was as follows:-"You asked His Excellency the Pasha to send a
distinguished white official. His Excellency has sent me, as the letters and presents I
have brought and handed to you prove. If I have failed in my mission, or said or
done anything that displeases you, you need only complain to His Excellency the
Pasha. If you require a Christian official, please write about it and probably one
will be sent.")
August 10. At 10.30 Dallington14 came, accompanied by other people, to explain
what I had long known, namely, that the Sultan wanted neither Arab nor Turks,
but only French or English. I told him to apply to the Consul-General. He also
showed me his letters of discharge, signed by Stanley, and also Stanley's letter to
the Daily Telegraph which I knew of long ago. After a number of useless remarks
and questions (Stanley had left at the end of December to return to Zanzibar) he
asked for paper pen and ink etc.
August 11. At 12.30 Sheikh Ahmed came to correct his information, and stated
that he first came here to Suna in 1260s1 and that Suna and Seyyid Said of Zanzibar
both died in Safar 127316, that Speke's route followed the merchants' route up to
today etc. By the way, he inquired with great cordiality after Haji Abdallah
(Burton), whom he admired very much. He will write to him and I shall procure
the letter (to be sent to Burton).
August 12. (A caravan of about 200 arrived from Zanzibar. In five months
Sheikh Ahmed had collected 1,400 kantars of ivory. The journey from Zanzibar
takes 4-51 months.)
August 13. Today is the big Council of the Sultan, to which the soothsayers,
women, Sheikh Ahmed and three newly arrived Batongole of Kabarega have been
summoned. My belief is that the question to be discussed is that fear of the occupa-
tion of Lake Albert, where the steamer is now working.17
August 14. Sheikh Ahmed, or, as he was called by Burton, Hammed bin Ibrahim
-he met him in Kirira- had nothing new to say.
(At a further interview with Mutesa.) Finally a New Testament (English) was
brought, which Speke had left for the Sultan at his request. The Sultan asked if I
knew this book and I replied that according to Muhammadan teaching the Gospels
were also given by God. He was very pleased and asked me if I would come and
read to him and translate as Abd el-Aziz had done. This often happened at night.
I explained myself to him and said "I will come early in the morning and read to
you". I saw this caused him surprise.
August 16. (On the question of Bulondoganyi.) After a long debate as to the suit-
ability of each way, I received again a promise regarding this locality. As I
explained, I would go there myself until another officer came (for the Sultan does
not want Mohammed Effendi at all and asserted that he had demanded the handing
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 11
over of Stanley and also demanded Bulondoganyi for himself). The conversation
was changed and I was left without a direct answer. Then the gospel came up for
explanation, wherein Dallington once again showed his want of tact. The conversa-
tion lasted up till 7 o'clock at night, when I was finally allowed to depart. The
Sultan and his viziers seemed to attach much to one phrase I had introduced into
the conversation. I had said to him, that if he did not give us Bulondoganyi, we
would clear a way to the lake outside of his country and then the trade and com-
merce with Egypt would be lost by him. This seemed to vex him.
August 19. For some days (six) I have received no news from Mohammed
August 20. (Sick parade of the soldiers reduced from fifteen or sixteen daily to
Yesterday Mohammed Effendi saw the Sultan, who proposed to him to give him
Bulondoganyi and send a vizier with him to that place. Only he must swear on the
Koran, that the Pasha had no evil intentions, and he must leave 15 soldiers here.
This is the position with these people. He told me that I must tell Mohammed
Effendi nothing of what he had said to me and then he, the Sultan, is the first to talk
about it. On Friday Mohammed Effendi and Fakih Ibrahims1 had not come to me
and had celebrated the Friday festival with him and his people but to me he holds
himself out as a Christian.
I was given two letters from the Pasha, one for Dallington, and one for the
Sultan. In these dated at Foweira 12/8, the Pasha writes "Tomorrow I go from
here to Mruli on my business, so that I may come and bring presents." In the letter
to Dallington he promises he will help him to civilize Mutesa; he will be very
surprised if he sees the civilized Dallington.
August 24. Dallington appeared, scratched himself for a little time and then went
away. He must have received a good education from Stanley. According to Idi,
Nur Aga is on the way with 30 men and will arrive here in three days.
August 28. Nur Aga arrived in the meantime and brought me an unpleasant and
impertinent letter from the Pasha. According to it I must go back to Patiko and
Dufile and to Lado to receive instructions for making stations Nur Aga had
orders to take Fakih with him which would certainly be very disagreeable to the
August 29. Nur Aga and Mohammed Effendi appeared with letters in English
from the Pasha, which under a semblance of truth and lies demanded leave for us
August 30. (Emin sent word to Mutesa of his intention to depart with Nur Aga,
as Gordon had ordered him to return.)
August 31. (Emin set out for Mruli.)
September 7, Thursday. We marched through tall grass, over very dry land,
until we reached the Meshra (place of embarkation) at 8.36 a.m.; there we made a
short halt, and started again at 9.28 a.m., arriving at the Mruli Zeriba at 10.21 a.m.
The road is very different from the one over which we passed on our outward
journey. As His Excellency the Pasha was there, I waited on him soon after one
o'clock and received my congd, as another doctor is on his way from Cairo. I soon
retired, had some brandy and tobacco sent me by the Pasha, as also a number of
welcome letters from friends in Khartoum. Even Slatin had written. Towards night
I was again called to the Pasha, who told me he was going to Cairo; Major
Prout was to be his substitute, and he asked me what I proposed to do now. I
told him frankly I did not know yet, and he then proposed that I should now
go to Lado, and said he would speak to Prout. I thereupon withdrew, but was
12 UGANDA JOURNAL
soon sent for again, and chatted with him until after 11 at night, about Marno, etc.
September 8, Friday. Rain during the night; early in the morning twenty-four
patients. I was then called to the Pasha, who told me he had appointed me chief of
all the store depots in the province, so that when Prout arrives he may find the
matter all settled. A long conversation then ensued, and eventually I returned home,
but was again sent for, and asked to publish my adventures and experiences at the
court of Mutesa, in French and German, dated from Mruli. I think of writing to
the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung and the Explorateur.
September 9, Saturday. Last night I was again the guest of the Pasha until after
11 o'clock. We had a long talk over my experiences in Uganda and the improve-
ments to be introduced in our provinces; nor were Marno's and Lucas's experiences
here forgotten. This morning the Pasha left for Nyamyongo, but before starting he
sent for me early and told me to await him here, as he proposed to take me with
him to Masindi and Magungo; he then took leave of me most cordially. He expects
to be eight days on his journey. It will be rather lonely now, though since my
appointment the officials have become very civil.
(On 11 September Gordon set out from Mruli for Nyamyongo, returning to
Mruli on 17 September. Emin did not accompany him. For details of this journey
of Gordon see Birkbeck Hill, Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, pp. 185-91; and
H. B. Thomas, Gordon's Farthest South in Uganda in 1876, U.J. 5 (1937-8), 284-8,
where the slight discrepancy between Emin's and Gordon's dates is referred to.)
September 12. Mutesa's embassy for Cairo arrived led by Yuzbashi Mutandi and
a twelve year old boy as Mulazim.19 Fifteen persons. All very dirty.
September 13. The servants of Ahmed bin Ibrahim came from Uganda with four
loads of goods and some hunters from Karagwe.
September 14. Much noise and much work-the women are to live in their own
part of the zeriba, which it is intended to enlarge, and the soldiers must only visit
their houses once or twice a week. The reason for this is not clear to me. In the
early morning they began transporting the framework of the houses, from which
the thatch had been removed, and which look like large bird cages, so that they
put them on the ground and cover them again. The smaller household effects, a
few burena (? stone pots), calabashes, an ankareb with a soi disant bed and
a marbakka (? stone grinding mill) follow and everything is finished.20
September 17. (Gordon returned to Mruli.)
September 18. He (Gordon) saw the people from Zanzibar and Karagwe today
and bought all their goods, sending rich presents to Ahmed bin Ibrahim and
Rumanyika. Then he received Mutesa's people and gave them a serious homily,
and refused to let them go to Egypt, threatened Mutesa with war and finally gave
September 19. (Emin and Gordon set out for Masindi.)
September 20. (Extract from letter of Gordon to his sister printed in Birkbeck
Hill, Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, p. 192.) an elephant made us halt today.
The men were quite afraid to pass. He stood like a mountain in the path, and had
broken down a thick tree, a foot in diameter. (Subsequent entries are, unless other-
wise stated, from Emin's diary.)
September 21. (Came to an abandoned town of Kabarega's which had been
burnt.) We find ourselves with our small body of troops in hostile country, and may
be attacked at any moment. Wad el Mek, whom we supposed to be with troops in
Masindi, has left us in the lurch.22 At the Pasha's request I will describe my journey
September 22. Arrived at 10.58 a.m. below Sumbije (Usumbi of Baker).
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 13
Kabarega, who dwells about two hours from here, has recently gone to his capital
at Magangesi (Bugangadzi). (False alarm of a hostile attack.)
September 23. (Reached territory of the chief Janjok.)
September 24 ... The guide, one of Ruyonga's people, went off to find the route
and has not returned.23 As a reward for their service on this journey the Pasha
wishes to give the officers half a month's pay and the soldiers a whole month's pay.
September 25. (From letter of Gordon to his sister printed in Birkbeck Hill,
Colonel Gordon in Central Africa p. 194. Marched nine miles-dense jungle-thank
God, unmolested. (D.V.) shall reach the soi disant Masindi tomorrow.)
(Emin's diary continues as follows.)
September 26. (Reached Kirota.)
September 27. (Marched 19 English miles.)
September 28. (Marched 20 English miles.)
September 30. (Reached Magungo.)
October 2. (Nyanza sailed towing another vessel.)
October 3. (Proceeded to Butiaba and Kibiro by the Nyanza.) We met a vessel
manned by a single man, who tried to flee but was quickly captured. After many
assurances that nothing would happen to him, he was brought on board the ship,
which had stopped. He was quite naked and behaved quite ingenuously in the cabin
and showed not the slightest astonishment. He was next given a present and ques-
tioned. Kabarega resides two days from here. From Kibiro there is a well-watered
highway with large herds of cattle to Masindi. The young man explained that the
villagers would willingly supply wood for the steamer, provided they were given
glass beads. He was then taken into the engine room, but expressed no surprise;
only he was frightened by the noise of the steamer's whistle. After he had received a
piece of white calico and a letter and some glass beads for Kabarega, he went in
his canoe quickly to land to tell people the incredible story of the fire-breathing
ship and the two white men. (Returned to Magungo that night.)
October 5. (Left Magungo 8.21 a.m. and reached Sheikh Wadelai 2.22 p.m. where
Murjan Aga disembarked and wood was taken on board. Murjan returned in the
evening with 100 lb. of ivory.)
October 6. (Reached Dufile).
1 Lieutenant George Shergold Smith, R.N., leader of the first C.M.S. missionary party
to reach Buganda did not arrive there until 30 June 1877, ten months after the Egyptian
troops had been withdrawn. On 14 October following he wrote to Dr. John Kirk, British
Consul-General at Zanzibar, saying "If you would exercise your influence to prevent the
annexation of Mutesa's dominions to Egypt, I shall be much obliged". Kirk adds "I see
by a letter from Colonel Gordon he speaks of this as having been already completed,
saying 'Mutesa has annexed himself. Though it is not the case yet, it shows which way
the wind blows" U.J. 15 (1951), 11).
2 Mutesa's secretary was in fact Dallington Muftaa, details of whose career are given
in a subsequent footnote.
3 Cossitza equates with Ripon Falls. The name is a puzzle. It seems to be Gordon's
invention, appearing in Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, pp. 154, 177-8, 441, but its
use soon ceases. It is not a vernacular word (Gordon never reached the Ripon Falls). It
has been suggested that Gordon may have appropriated the name from the lower Danube
regions, where he had served as English Commissioner of the European Commission of the
Danube immediately before coming to the Sudan. There is in fact a village Kozitsa in
Bulgaria south of the Danube, but there is no known reason whatever to associate
4 For the origin of the title Kyambalango see M. B. Nsimbi, Amannya Amaganda
n'ennono Zaago, pp. 88-9. The holder of the post at the time of Emin's visit would appear
to have been Tebukoza of the Lugave clan, a personal favourite of Mutesa, who made
14 UGANDA JOURNAL
him Owesaza (county chief) of Busiro and subsequently promoted him to the post of
Kimbugwe. After Mutesa's death Mwanga made him Owesaza (Pokino) of Buddu. Ashe,
Chronicles of Uganda, pp. 97, 114, tells us that he "could read both the Koran and the New
Testament", but was bitterly opposed to both Islam and Christianity and was one of those
who instigated Mwanga's attempt to massacre Christians and Muslims alike in 1888.
When the plot was detected, both he and Mwanga had to flee and the Pokino's place
was looted. He was not restored to his chieftainship when in the following year the
Christians reinstated Mwanga on the throne.
5 Ernest Linant de Bellefonds met Stanley, when the latter arrived at Mutesa's court in
1875 and undertook to forward to its destination Stanley's letter calling for Christian
missionaries to be sent to Buganda. Details of Linant's journey are to be found in the
Bulletin Trimestriel de la Socidtd Khddiviale de Geographie de Caire Series 1, 1876-77
pp. 1-104. A good summary thereof is to be found in H. B. Thomas, 'Ernest Linant de
Bellefonds and Stanley's letter to the Daily Telegraph' (U.J. 2 (1934-5), 1-13), which
incidentally most clearly and incisively destroys a legend which has sprung up regarding
the fate of Stanley's letter.
6 For an account of Ahmed bin Ibrahim el Ameri see 'Ahmed bin Ibrahim-The first
Arab to reach Buganda' (U.J. 11 (1947), 80-97).
7 The rumour seems to have related to the deposition on 29 May 1876 of Abdul Aziz,
Sultan of Turkey (and not of the ruler of Zanzibar).
8 Atkins Hamerton was British Consul at Zanzibar from 1841 until his death in 1857.
9 Christopher Palmer Rigby (1820-1885) was British Consul at Zanzibar from 1858
10 Burton and Sheikh Ahmed met at Kirira in Unyamwezi on 26 December 1857
(Burton. Lake Regions of Central Africa ii, 392-3).
11 Baron Carl Claus von der Decken made several expeditions from Zanzibar into the
interior of the main continent. After one short expedition from Kilwa in 1860, he had
another to Kilimanjaro in 1861 and a third to the River Tana, Ozi and Tula in 1864. He
was murdered whilst exploring the River Juba in 1865.
12 Sheikh Ahmed was in actual fact a member of the Ibathi sect.
13 As will be seen later (11 August 1876), Sheikh Ahmed corrected this date to A.H.
1260, see note 15 below.
14 Stanley enlisted Dallington for service in his transcontinental expedition in 1874.
He describes him at that date as being "probably only fifteen, with a face strongly pitted
with traces of a violent attack of smallpox, but as bright and intelligent as any boy of his
age, white or black". (Through the Dark Continent i, 76.) He had been rescued from a
slave ship and handed over to the care of the Universities Mission to Central Africa in
Zanzibar, where he had been educated at the boys' school at Kiungani. Before being
engaged by Stanley it was reported that he "had not been a great credit to the Mission".
(Anderson-Morshead. The History of the Universities Mission to Central Africa, p. 112.)
In Through the Dark Continent i, 322, Stanley describes how in September 1875 during a
campaign against the Bavuma he introduced Dallington to Mutesa so that he "could
translate the Bible into Kiswahili for him, and otherwise communicate to him what I
wished to say. Henceforth, during the intervals of leisure that the war gave us, we were to
be seen-the king, court, Dallington and I-engaged in the translation of an abstract of
the Holy Scriptures. There were readers enough of these translations, but Mutesa himself
was an assiduous and earnest student." When Stanley himself set out finally from
Buganda on his journey across Africa, he left Dallington behind to continue the instruc-
tion of Mutesa in the Christian religion. In addition to his duties as a Scripture reader
Dallington became, as Emin's diary shows, Mutesa's scribe and translator of his
correspondence into English. After the arrival of European missionaries, Dallington
failed to give satisfaction to Mackay, who described him as leading a "godless life, after
all the teaching he got at Zanzibar". In 1881 he was given by Mutesa the kitongole
chieftainship of Mutezi under Kago, the county chief of Kyadondo, and withdrew from
the service of the Church Missionary Society. (H. B. Thomas, Jacob Wainwright in
Uganda. U.J. 15 (1951), 205.)
On 23 April 1875, Dallington wrote to Bishop Steere in Zanzibar as follows:
"My dear Bishop, Let thy heart be turned to thy servant, and let me have favour in
thy sight; therefore send me Swahili prayers, and send me one big black Bible. I want
slates, board, chalk, that I may teach the Waganda the way of God. I have been
teach them already, but I want you to send me Litala Suudi, that he may help me in
the work of God. Oh, my Lord pray for me. Oh, ye boys pray for me. And if thou refuse
to send me Litala Suudi send John Swedi. Your honour to the Queen and my honour to
You-J. Scopion, alias Dallington Naftaa-I am translating the Bible to Mtesa, son of
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-I 15
Suna, King of Uganda. I was with Henry Stanley together with Robert Feruzi, but
Robert is gone with Stanley, but I being stop in Uganda translating the Bible."
(Anderson-Morshead, op. cit. p. 112.)
In a letter to Stanley, dated 30 January 1876, Dallington also wrote asking for more
paper to write upon. (Through the Dark Continent i, 448.)
It was only to be expected that the aggressive Christianity of Dallington grated upon
Emin, the recent convert from Christianity to Islam.
15 The year 1260 of the Hejira began on 22 January 1844, and ended on 10 January
16 Seyyid Said bin Sultan of Zanzibar died at sea on 13 October 1856 (corresponding to
12 Safar A.H. 1273).
17 "He (sc. Mutesa) was desperately alarmed at hearing of your poor brother's arrival
at Magungo with the steamer. His faith in either the Mussulman or Christian religion
broke down and he sent for his magicians and had a conference of five hours with them.
However, it was not satisfactory, for he then sent for my officer and protested how he
loved me etc., besetting him with questions about why I came" (Gordon to his sister, 11
September 1876: Birkbeck Hill. Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, p. 186).
18 As the title Fakih denotes, Ibrahim was a teacher of Islam. On 17 May 1874
Gordon informed his sister that "two sheikhs are going to Mutesa to teach him the
Koran", but later on 29 August 1875 he informed her that, in view of Linant de
Bellefonds' account of the wholesale executions which were occurring at Mutesa's court,
"it is as well I did not send the Mussulman priests there, for he might have killed them".
In reporting on 9 September 1876 the return of the Egyptian troops from Buganda to
Mruli, Gordon told her that Mutesa, "in spite of the change of his religion to Christianity,
(he) wanted to keep my Mussulman priest, but I would not allow it". (Birkbeck Hill.
op. cit. pp. 16, 115 and 185.) It would appear that the Fakih arrived at Mutesa's court
together with the troops under Nur Aga's command.
19 Yuzbashi is the rank accorded in the Egyptian army to the commander of one
hundred men, i.e. the equivalent of a captaincy. Mulazim corresponds in rank to a
20 A picture depicting a similar house removal amongst the Madi is to be found on p.
588 of Speke's Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.
21 On 30 August 1876 Gordon informed his sister that "I have proposed to Mutesa a
treaty recognizing the independence of the country of Uganda, and offering to take his
ambassador down to Cairo". On 18 September he informed her that on his return to Mruli
"I found some letters from Mutesa, in answer to mine about the treaty. He, however, says
nothing about that, and his letters, are as usual, mixed up with bits of prayers, and requests
for guns, etc. I have given him a good letter and have (D.V.) done with him". (Birkbeck
Hill op. cit. pp. 183, 192.)
22 Muhammad Wad el Mek had at one time been in the service of Abu Saud, one of
the principal slave traders in Equatoria. In 1872 he had taken service under Baker as the
commander of some irregular troops (Baker. Ismailia, Chapter XXIV). When Chaill6-
Long met him at Patiko in 1874, he recorded that "his face was deeply marked with
smallpox, and the effect of merissa was clearly shown in his husky voice and his blood-
shot eyes". (Central Africa, p. 68.) When Gordon reached Kirota on 26 September, he
"found not a move had been made to come out and meet us. However, after a fearful
row I quieted down, and as mercy had been showed me, I did the same. Poor creatures,
you cannot expect better". (Birkbeck Hill. op. cit. p. 195.)
23 Ruyonga had been an unsuccessful claimant to the throne of Bunyoro at the time of
Kamurasi's accession. (K.W. The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara. U.J. 5 (1937-8), 62.) In 1872,
after his rupture with Kabarega, Baker had proclaimed Ruyonga as ruler of Bunyoro in
Kabarega's place. (Baker. op. cit. p. 405.) Ruyonga died in 1881. He never succeeded in
evicting Kabarega from his kingdom or even in gaining any really permanent foothold at
any place in Bunyoro.
THE TURKANA PATROL, 19181
By R. O. COLLINS
STRETCHING westward from Lake Rudolf to the Karamojong escarpment
lies a plain of low altitude broken only by isolated hills or groups of hills,
which although steep and rugged do not exceed 6,000 ft above sea level. The
plain itself is covered with thick thornbush, but on the hillsides there is excel-
lent grazing. Rainfall is scanty, coming almost entirely in the months of April
and May with only occasional light showers during the succeeding months.
It is then that the rivers run dry, and although water can be found under the
stream beds, one must dig deep to obtain it. In the hills many springs are
found, but the water of some, like Lake Rudolf itself, is brackish and un-
pleasant to the taste. In the dry season the plain becomes a desert, pasturage is
sparse, and the landscape reminds the traveller of the plains of Kordofan west
of Omdurman. The climate is hot, dry, and decidedly unpleasant; and "the
country cannot be said to be one which would repay exploitation".2
This is the land of the Turkana, a nomadic people who graze their herds of
cattle and flocks of goats and sheep on the plains and hillsides in order to
eke out a meagre existence from their hostile environment.3 Today the
Turkana have accepted the peace and order of British Colonial rule; but only
thirty years ago they were still a belligerent and warlike people, and just over
forty years ago their razzias terrified the neighboring tribes in the Anglo-
Egyptian Sudan and British East Africa.They were encouraged in these forays
by Abyssinian and Swahili poachers, who for many years had roamed the
wild country between Lake Rudolf and the Nile poaching elephants and
carrying on an extensive but illicit trade in ivory, guns, ammunition and
slaves. When the Abyssinians did not incite the Turkana to pillage and poach
along the frontier, outlaws from tribes of East Africa and Uganda did. Sup-
plied with quantities of arms and ammunition and even led by these
Abyssinian and East African desperadoes, the Turkana with their natural
courage and dash soon acquired a well-deserved reputation as a fighting race.
Armed with a two-headed stabbing spear, a simis or short sword, a circular
wrist-knife, shield, and curved finger-knives for gouging out an enemy's eyes,
the Turkana would attack with great force, overpowering their opponents by
the sheer momentum of their assault. As early as 1915 many were armed with
Gras rifles purchased from the Abyssinian gun-runners, but largely because of
faulty ammunition their shooting was often ineffective. If attacked or placed
on the defensive, the Turkana would put up a stubborn resistance particularly
when protecting their cattle.
With the gradual extension of effective administration throughout East
Africa and in particular over the neighboring tribes of the Turkana, the
British authorities had the unenviable responsibility of providing protection to
these tribes. Some like the Suk, the Samburu, the Dodoth, and the Karamojong
were administered, more or less, by the governments of East Africa or Uganda
and loyally supported those governments. Others however such as the Toposa,
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 17
the Didinga, and the southern Latuka, who lived near or astride the frontier
between the Sudan and Uganda, were not effectively administered but were
traditionally hostile toward Abyssinian raiders and their Turkana followers.
Nevertheless, hostility for the Turkana, either traditional or newly acquired,
was no substitute for the protection and administration implicit in British rule.
Not only was the prestige of British administration in the Protectorates and
the Sudan at stake among those tribes already under control, but the whole
future relationship between the British authorities and the unadministered
frontier tribes depended upon the ability of the British officials to forestall
Turkana raiders, East African outlaws, and Abyssinian poachers. If allowed
to plunder and pillage unchecked and uncontrolled, the raiders would soon
drive the tribes, particularly in the East Africa Protectorate, back onto the
European settlers who had established their farms in the highlands east of
18 UGANDA JOURNAL
In 1908 the first attempt to pacify the Turkana was undertaken when a
detachment of the King's African Rifles under Captain F. H. Span was
stationed on the River Kerio. From this post numerous patrols were carried
out against the southern Turkana to punish them for raiding Suk villages and
encampments. In one engagement Captain Span and his men surprised a large
Turkana force killing thirty tribesmen and capturing many head of cattle.5
But the Kerio River post was unhealthy and too far from the heart of the
southern Turkana for immediate reprisals against Turkana raiders, so in
September 1910 a new post was established at Ngabotok near the junction of
the Wei Wei and Turkwell rivers. Unfortunately, the patrols from this
advanced station proved no more effective at pacifying the southern Turkana
than before. Even a large punitive expedition, which consisted of 106 rifles
and two machine guns under Captain H. S. Filsall and which marched
through the Loreu hills and the Turkwell river country from December 1912
to March 1913, failed to halt Turkana raiding parties.6
In May 1912 the two governments had decided at a meeting held at
Naivasha that, since the Turkana were more closely akin to the Karamojong
than to the Suk, the task of administration should be left primarily in the
hands of the Uganda Protectorate. But little was immediately done to imple-
ment this decision, and it was not until August 1913 that Captains Brooks and
Leeke made a reconnaissance from Madial to Kelim with the view to estab-
lishing posts for the protection of the Karamojong and the execution of
punitive measures against the Turkana.7 After considerable delay sufficient
forces were at last concentrated in the northern districts of Uganda, and on
2 April 1914 Captain Leeke left his advanced post at Tarash with 200 rifles
and some Dodoth irregulars. Marching north-eastward the government troops
encountered a strong force of Turkana with large numbers of livestock on the
slopes of Mount Pelegech and, after a sharp engagement, routed them with
heavy losses of men and cattle.8 Unfortunately Leeke and his men were unable
to follow up their victory, for his troops were soon recalled in order to rein-
force an expedition sent against the Somalis in Jubaland. Leeke bitterly
protested against his recall, for not only would a precipitous withdrawal
embolden the Turkana but the retirement of the expedition would have an
adverse effect on the tribes friendly to the government in whose eyes British
prestige would be seriously diminished. Such arguments however were of no
avail, and the patrol duly retired to Morongole and Lokuta posts. True to
Leeke's predictions the Turkana immediately recommended their raiding, and
although Captain Lilley and a detachment of the K.A.R. stationed at
Morongole killed 150 Turkana and recaptured much looted cattle in a fierce
running battle near Mount Oropoi, Turkana raids continued with alarming
persistency.9 By the summer of 1914 the situation on the frontier had deteri-
orated so sharply that the East African authorities resolved to send a strong
punitive patrol into the Turkana country at the conclusion of the Jubaland
expedition, and this resolution was sustained in spite of the demand at the
outbreak of the First World War for the use of all available troops against
the German forces in East Africa.
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 19
While this punitive expedition was slowly being assembled in the autumn
of 1914, the Turkana raiders were held in check by the Uganda Police and
forces from the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Units of the 9th Sudanese had tem-
porarily occupied Morongole, Madial, and Kitgum at the outbreak of the war
so that the permanent garrisons of the King's African Rifles at those posts
could be sent against the German force in the south.10 The Sudanese troops
not only patrolled the frontier, but on 10 November 1914 some 73 Sudanese
under Captain Fairbrain, in co-operation with 31 men of the Uganda Police
under Mr. G. Waters, made a night attack against a large party of Turkana
raiders camped on the slopes of Mount Pelegech. Taken completely by
surprise the Turkana offered only token resistance and then fled, leaving
behind 19 dead and many thousands of cattle, sheep, and goats."
By January 1915 the Turkana punitive patrol was at last made ready at
Nairobi. Consisting of 20 British officers and 428 native troops of the K.A.R.
and the Kenya Police Service Battalion, the expedition entrained for Londiani
on 11 January. There the patrol was divided into three columns each of which
marched to separate base camps located at Ngiyan, Marich, and Ngabotok
respectively. By February each column was prepared to move forward into the
Turkana country, and on the 4th of that month the first phase of the patrol
was put in motion. Lasting nearly two months this phase of the operations
embraced the valleys of the Kerio and the Sugota rivers and reached westward
to the Wei Wei and the Turkwell rivers. Sweeping northward the columns
drove the Hellai section of the Turkana and part of the Neseto before them,
inflicting numerous casualties and capturing a large number of livestock. In
spite of such success, however, it became quite clear that the effectiveness of
the striking columns was seriously impeded by the failure of the government
forces to acquire sufficient intelligence about the movements and attitudes of
the Turkana. This failing was a constant source of worry and irritation to the
officers of this and subsequent patrols against the Turkana. The second phase
of the operations lasted only for the first ten days of April 1915 and comprised
the remaining territory between the Kerio and the Turkwell rivers and beyond
up the valley of the Kozibir. Here too the government forces were successful
in routing the Turkana and capturing much stock, but the resistance was de-
cidedly more stubborn, and frequently the Turkana attacked at night in the
hope of recapturing their cattle. The third and final phase of the operations
extended over the vast area between Lake Rudolf on the east and the
Karamojong escarpment on the west and as far north as the Labur mountains.
From 26 April to 18 May two flying columns of the K.A.R. and the Uganda
Police, reinforced by Captain Fairbrain and a company of the 9th Sudanese,
vigorously pursued the fleeing Turkana. Most of the tribesmen sought safety
in the Labur mountains to which Ebe, the powerful and recalcitrant Turkana
leader, had escaped. Certainly, by the end of the patrol, the power of the
Turkana appeared to be completely broken.12
The Turkana had lost over 400 killed, 86 wounded, and 63 captured in
addition to the seizure of nearly 20,000 head of cattle and over 100,000 sheep
and goats. On the other hand the British forces lost only 12 killed, 20
wounded, and 33 dead from disease. Measured by the great numbers of live-
20 UGANDA JOURNAL
stock captured and the apparent acknowledgement of government supremacy
by many of the Turkana tribes, the patrol was ostensibly a success. In fact it
was a total failure. Not only did the punitive expedition fail to forestall future
Turkana raids, but the inability to follow up the patrol with effective adminis-
tration only created the impression among the Turkana that such punitive
patrols were the sole objective of the government and should consequently be
met with counter-raids. Furthermore, many of the most belligerent sections of
the Turkana, who live north of the Labur mountains in Sudan territory, had
not been touched by the patrol. These northern Turkana possessed large
numbers of firearms, while those Turkana tribes in the south, which had been
dealt with most heavily, were primarily spearmen. This quickly led to the
widespread but erroneous belief that the government was reluctant to fight
against riflemen.13 The northern Turkana were, of course, encouraged in this
belief by the numerous Abyssinian poachers and East African outlaws who
had "succeeded in establishing an extraordinary and evil influence over the
Turkana tribes as a whole".14
The Abyssinians had long possessed an unpleasant record of poaching in
the Sudan and East Africa. Operating from Maji, a frontier market town 100
miles north of Lake Rudolf on the Kibish river, the Abyssinians engaged in
elephant hunting, gun-running, slave-trading, and ordinary pillaging as far
west as the Nile, east to Lake Stefanie, and south beyond 4 north latitude.
Many of the more notorious Abyssinian poachers were well known and some
like Ato Apara Dasta, and Locherikus possessed private armies numbering
seventy-five to a hundred rifles.15 In addition, the Abyssinians could count on
the support of their prot6gis, the East African outlaws. Outcasts from some
eight tribes of Uganda and East Africa and including a few Baluchis, these
outlaws had been driven from the Karamojong and Turkwell river country by
the British authorities in 1910 and 1911; and unable to liquidate their
indebtedness to local traders, transferred their base to Maji in Abyssinia and
continued their hunting and raiding expeditions into the Sudan, Uganda, and
East Africa. Numbering between 600 and 1,000 men armed with rifles, these
renegades roamed the countryside in groups of ten to forty rifles frequently
attaching themselves to larger Abyssinian hunting parties when operating in
the neighbourhood of hostile tribes. This co-operation between the Abys-
sinians and these East African outlaws was actually of long standing, dating
back to the turn of the century when a Swahili caravan had been taken by an
Abyssinian poaching party to Maji, and there given a most friendly welcome.
This auspicious beginning was the start of a fraternization in hunting, raiding,
and trading which culminated in the East Africans ostensibly becoming
Abyssinian subjects under the governor of Maji.'6
These Abyssinian and East African desperadoes were, for the most part,
heartily welcomed by the unadministered frontier tribes, for the tribes, such
as the Marille, the Turkana, and the Donyiro as well as the small agricultural
tribes situated near the western shore of Lake Rudolf, the Kanabetel, the
Ngara, and the Nimoretun, were as anxious as the desperadoes to keep the
government out of the frontier territory. On the one hand the tribesmen
resented the interference in their earlier freedom which was implicit in govern-
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 21
ment administration, while on the other the Abyssinians were indignant at the
restrictions to poaching, hunting, and raiding which accompanied the exten-
sion of government control. Furthermore the Abyssinian poachers and raiders
refused to recognize the official boundary between Abyssinia and the Sudan
and East Africa, preferring to claim, on grounds of tradition as well as con-
venience at least the Lomogol and more often the Turkwell river as their
southern boundary.17 Therefore, as the governments of the Sudan, Uganda,
and East Africa gradually extended their administration into the frontier
territory, they met increasingly stubborn resistance. For the past fifteen years
not only the tribes but the Abyssinians and the East African outlaws had been
steadily growing in power and strength as guns and ammunition became more
plentiful. Such strength was best reflected by the growth of Maji which in 1900
was little more than a camp for a limited number of Abyssinian traders but by
1914 had grown into a sprawling town inhabited by traders, poachers, and
desperadoes. Maji was the centre of the ivory and slave trade for the northern
route to Addis Ababa. Here guns and ammunition of all kinds were openly
sold without restriction, and live rounds of ammunition and even empty
cartridges were used as a sort of local currency. But it was not only the
Abyssinians and their proteg6s who increased their power. The frontier tribes
themselves obtained through Abyssinian gun-runners large quantities of arms.
It is doubtful if the tribes possessed many firearms before 1900, but by 1915
it was estimated that the Marille had over 400 Gras rifles, the Donyiro some
800, the Kanabetel 300, the Ngara and the Nimoretun over 1,000 apiece, and
the Turkana tribal sections nearly 2,000.18 In spite of the notorious ineffective-
ness of an untrained tribesman with a rifle these large numbers, combined
with the Abyssinian and East African desperadoes, could provide formidable
opposition to any government punitive expedition. So strong in fact had the
Abyssinians and their tribal allies become that by 1917 they were no longer
content merely to raid the neighboring tribes but, urged on by a German
agent at Maji, also attacked isolated government posts.19
Although the punitive expedition of 1915 had appeared to subdue the
Turkana, the uneasy peace which followed the patrol was short-lived. On 20
February 1917 the Turkana launched a large raid against the Karamojong,
causing 33 casualties and driving off some 8,000 head of cattle. Urged on by
their Abyssinian allies the Turkana carried out other successful raids in
February, March, and April in which the tribes loyal to the government lost
over 15,000 head of cattle. The political effects of these raids were far-
reaching. Not only did the southern Turkana, who were under partial admini-
stration, join their more warlike brethren to the north, but the inability of the
administration to check Turkana raiders spread disaffection among the tribes
hitherto loyal to the government. Taking advantage of the raids which they
themselves had undoutedly inspired large parties of Abyssinian and East
African desperadoes raided and pillaged the Dodoth, the Suk, and the
Karamojong. The Abyssinians were more bold than the Turkana. Encouraged
and stimulated by the activities of the German agent at Maji, they were not
content with simply raiding the tribes but vigorously attacked police posts and
units of the K.A.R. On 26 April 1917 the police camp at Lorogimo on the
22 UGANDA JOURNAL
Kozibir river was assaulted but the attackers were successfully driven off,
abandoning many loads of food and supplies.20
Responding to appeals for reinforcements from the District Commissioner
and the Officer Commanding the K.A.R. in the Turkana country, the authori-
ties in Nairobi sent Captain Rayne and 76 men to Lokiriama to reinforce
Captain Rainsford and his contingent of one company K.A.R. and 90 police.
Moving in fast mobile columns both Rayne and Rainsford harried the bands
of marauders that roamed freely over the Turkana plain, occasionally killing
a few and recapturing looted cattle. On 17 May Rayne, accompanied by only
22 men, intercepted a large party of Abyssinians supported by Turkana war-
riors as they debouched through Nakot pass after raiding the Dodoth in the
high country beyond the Karamojong escarpment. Although greatly out-
numbered, Rayne and his men formed a square on the plain amidst some
clumps of sansevieria plants and awaited the assault of the Abyssinians. With
some 250 rifles and a Maxim Gun the attackers were well-organized into three
companies, every man of which had been trained in the use of his rifle. They
were led into battle by Ato Apara who rode a mule and was accompanied by
an umbrella-bearer and a trumpeter. On the flanks of the Abyssinians were
large bodies of Turkana who, acting as auxiliaries, supported the main assault
by the Abyssinians. The battle raged for nearly four hours as Rayne and his
men fought off one attack after another. By noon however the final charge of
the raiders had failed to penetrate the square and they hastily withdrew,
leaving behind 37 dead. Many others who made good their escape were
wounded including the Abyssinian leader, Ato Apara. Rayne had lost over
half of his men either killed or wounded and had so exhausted his supply of
ammunition that he could not pursue the fleeing marauders. The neighboring
Dodoth, who had been the victims of the raiders, had lost over 60 killed and
many others captured and enslaved.21
The situation on the frontier continued to deteriorate. Most of the raids were
carried out by small groups of Abyssinians and Turkana working separately
or in concert but in November 1917 a large raiding-party, consisting almost
entirely of Abyssinians, attacked the Toposa tribe in the Sudan, killing over
40 tribesmen and driving off some 300 cattle.22 In British East Africa alone
the tribes claimed that over 30,000 head of cattle had been looted, while those
in Uganda lost another 3,000.23 In spite of the best efforts of the British officers
and their inadequate forces in Turkanaland it was apparent that peace and
order would not be restored "until not only have the raiders been stopped but
also the Turkana living north of Labur have been subjected to severe punitive
measures, and until their country is taken under effective administrative
As a first step toward achieving peace and order on the frontier the British
East Africa authorities in Nairobi decided on 17 October 1917 to undertake a
large-scale punitive expedition against the Turkana and their Abyssinian
allies. The general object of the patrol was to prepare the way for the admini-
stration of the Turkana by attaining the following specific objectives:
1 The punishment and disarmament, in respect of fire-arms, of the
Donyiro, Marille, and Turkana tribes, and of any other native tribes
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 23
resident in the military area who have shown hostility to the
2 The expulsion of the Abyssinians from the East Africa and Uganda
Protectorates west of Lake Rudolf.
3 The reduction of the military area to a state suitable for civil
4 The recapture of looted stock.2
As early as September the authorities in Nairobi had intended to send large
reinforcements to Turkanaland, but Captain Rayne quickly pointed out that
such reinforcements were not necessarily the solution. Rayne advised
"that the whole of the trouble the B.E.A. Government wished to deal with
emanated from the Sudan Territory. That the impression that the Turkana tribe
was the only element to be dealt with was an erroneous one. That the situation
to be faced-was a strong combination of all frontier tribes, armed with modern
rifles and solidly backed by Abyssinian officials at Maji. That a force of 300 rifles
[the number of reinforcements Nairobi planned to send to the Turkana country]
was insufficient for the work to be done. That influence should be brought to
bear on the central Abyssinian Government to apply pressure to restrain their
officials in southern Abyssinia, and that the Sudan Government should be asked
to deal with the situation."26
Acting upon this sound advice the East African authorities immediately
approached the Sudan Government seeking its co-operation in a combined
punitive patrol against the Turkana and support for the representations which
the British Legation at Addis Ababa was to make to the Abyssinian govern-
ment. The Sudan authorities readily agreed to assist the Protectorate
governments both in Turkanaland and at Addis Ababa but refused to under-
take the administration of eastern Mongalla Province up to the Abyssinian
and East African frontiers.2 Although administration of this territory was a
fundamental prerequisite to peace and order in the Turkana country, the
policy of the Sudan Government at this time was to advance only gradually
into this unadministered area as the "local situation dictates and resources
permit".28 Unfortunately, in 1917 the dispatch of Sudanese troops to Sinai and
the demands for extra garrisons and administrative personnel in the newly-
conquered province of Darfur had exhausted the reserve of money, troops,
and personnel necessary to undertake the administration of eastern Mongalla.
The best the Sudan could do was to support the punitive patrol against the
Turkana, realizing that it was only a temporary palliative until the proper
administration of Turkanaland could be undertaken.
Consequently, by 21 December 1917 a strong Sudanese force had been
assembled at Ikotos under the command of Major R. F. White, consisting of
1/2 Company of Mounted Infantry under Major A. H. Betterton, the 2nd and
5th Companies of the Equatorial Battalion under Captains Barker and Wolff
respectively, a Detachment of Mongalla Police, and one Maxim Section.
Major Jones-Vaughan was the political officer.29 Unable to march directly
eastward into Turkanaland because of the lack of a suitable track or road over
24 UGANDA JOURNAL
Mount Zulia to the east or across the escarpment directly south of it, the
Sudan forces marched south-eastward to Loyoro in the Uganda Protectorate
where the route over the escarpment and down into the Turkana country
below was well known.30 Although the Sudanese troops had all arrived at
Loyoro by 1 January 1918 many obstacles arose to impede the progress of the
column. An outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis in No. 2 Company necessi-
tated the isolation and restricted use of these troops. When the column later
moved off into the Turkana country this company remained behind to patrol
the lines of communication, their place being filled by No. 6 Company,
Equatorial Battalion, under Captain Yardley. The principal cause of delay at
Loyoro however was the inability of the East African authorities to provide
adequate transport as well as the necessary forward supply depots in
Turkanaland. The weeks of waiting were devoted to patrolling the surround-
ing countryside, harrying Turkana raiding parties who were attacking the
Karamojong, and sending punitive patrols against the Didinga who killed
several military messengers on the Ikotos-Loyoro road.31
It was not until 9 February that sufficient transport facilities were available
to move the Sudanese troops forward to rendezvous with the British East
Africa forces at Murissi situated at the confluence of the Turkwell and Kozibir
rivers. Even then only small parties of troops could move at one time for the
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 25
track across the Muruasikarr mountains was rough and water along the route
scarce. Consequently it was not until 22 February that the last of the Sudanese
forces reached Murissi where the East African contingent under the command
of Major Rayne were waiting. The British East Africa forces consisted of two
companies of the K.A.R., two Maxim Sections, three Lewis Guns, two
mortars, and a Detachment of Uganda Police with a Maxim Gun led by Mr.
C. A. Turpin. Mr. D. R. Crampton was the East African Political Officer.
Major White, upon arriving at Murissi on 12 February, assumed the overall
command of the combined expedition which numbered nearly 600 troops.32
In December 1917 Major Rayne and a company of K.A.R. had conducted
an extended reconnaissance though the Turkana country north to the Lomogol
river where the patrol skirmished with a large force of Abyssinian and
Turkana raiders and recaptured a great number of livestock. Although the
raiders were in too great a strength for Major Rayne to take the offensive, his
patrol retired along the western shore of Lake Rudolf, collecting topograph-
ical and tribal information which was later to prove invaluable.33 With this
information Major Rayne formulated for the combined Turkana Patrol a
general plan of attack which was readily agreed to by Major White. The
patrol was to march to Kabua on the western shore of Lake Rudolf where a
supply depot was being established. From Kabua the government forces were
to march north along the western shore of Lake Rudolf, crossing into Sudan
territory and reaching the Lomogol river. Here the Turkana, undoubtedly
reinforced by Abyssinians, were expected to make a stand in entrenched
positions. Behind this line the bulk of the Turkana cattle, which formed so
important an objective of the whole expedition, were to be found. The role of
the Abyssinians was at best uncertain. Numerous armed bands of them were at
that very time operating in Uganda, East Africa, and the Sudan, but their
support of the Turkana in a pitched battle against government troops could not
As the Turkana Patrol slowly moved from Loyoro to Murissi and on to
Kabua numerous patrols of Equatorial troops and King's African Rifles
scoured the countryside, harrying the Turkana and capturing their cattle.
Many fights and skirmishes with the Turkana ensued usually followed by an
arduous pursuit through the thick scrub and thorn-bush which covers the stony
plains and rocky kopjes or along the dried-up sandy river-bottoms with their
patches of grass interspersed between groves of trees. Between 1 January 1918
and 12 April when the last troops had finally arrived at Kabua the valleys of
the Tarash, the Turkwell, and the Kagwalas rivers were cleared of Turkana,
while other patrols attacked the tribesmen on Mount Zingote and in the
Morongole and Moroto hills. Nearly 200 Turkana were killed in these opera-
tions and over 2,000 cattle and many thousands of sheep and goats were
captured. The losses of the government troops were negligible.34
On 20 April the column at last moved out from Kabua and marched north-
ward along the western shore of Lake Rudolf by easy stages averaging ten
miles a day. The delay at Kabua had been caused by the need to bring up
replacements from East Africa and the Sudan for those troops who were
forced to remain behind. In February, for instance, the 1/6 K.A.R., which was
26 UGANDA JOURNAL
composed of former German askaris captured in East Africa mutinied, and
although the incident was not serious, it was thought best to replace the
unit with the more reliable British-trained troops of the 3/6 K.A.R. Further-
more, No. 2 Company of the Sudan Equatorial Battalion which had been
immobilized at Loyoro by cerebro-spinal meningitis, had to be replaced by
No. 6 Company under Captain Yardley which had to march all the way from
Ikotos to Kabua.35 The combined East African and Sudan striking force which
left Kabua numbered nearly 500 troops. A strong garrison had been left
behind to hold Kabua camp, while K.A.R. patrols systematically scoured the
country between the Karamojong escarpment and Lake Rudolf. Additional
posts of the K.A.R. were also established at Lodwar, Lorogimo, and Kaliow,
and No. 2 Company of the Equatorial Battalion remained at Loyoro to keep
the lines of communication with the Sudan open. Not only were the lines of
communication and supply thus secured but the surrender of the southern
Turkana precluded the possibility of the northern Turkana fleeing south
across the Turkwell river when actually threatened by the punitive expedition.
By 29 April the column had reached the Lomogol river and established a
camp near its mouth. The line of march had been free of Turkana and even
the Lomogol river, where the Turkana were expected to make a stand, was
deserted. Somewhat baffled as to the whereabouts of the Turkana Major White
divided his force into two columns. One, under his personal command and
consisting of the Sudanese troops, the Lewis Gun Section, and the Uganda
Protectorate Police, was to sweep north around the Lorusia mountains and
drive the Turkana southward into the second column under Major Rayne and
the K.A.R. which, in the meantime, were to have established themselves due
west of Lake Rudolf along the Katome river.36
Having left behind a temporary garrison of K.A.R. at the Lomogol River
camp, both the Northern and the Southern columns marched from the camp
on 3 May. The Southern Column under the command of Major Rayne
marched to the Katome River unopposed, but upon reaching it on 6 May a
strong force of Turkana, numbering some fifty rifles and several hundred
spearmen supported by Abyssinians, resisted the advance but were put to
flight after a sharp encounter.37 The Northern Column had a more difficult
assignment. Marching in a north-westerly direction from the Lomogol river to
the Tapeisi hills on the Sudan-Abyssinian border, patrols from the column
roamed the countryside engaging in many skirmishes with small bands of
Turkana. Although many Abyssinians were distinguished among the Tur-
kana, no large groups of either tribesmen or Abyssinians were to be found.
Arriving just south of the Tapeisi hills on 7 May, the Northern Column was
divided into two parties for the drive southward to the Katome river. On the
one hand Captain Yardley and 50 rifles of his 6th Company were to march
south along the western slopes of the Lorusia mountains and clear the valley
between them and the Lakwanamur hills of Turkana. On the other Major
White with the bulk of the troops planned to move in a south-westerly direc-
tion down the plain lying west of the Lakwanamur hills. Major White's patrol
experienced much the same kind of fighting as they had encountered during
the preceding weeks. Small parties of Turkana with their herds were dis-
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 27
covered; a skirmish would then ensue followed by the inevitable pursuit and
the capture of Turkana cattle. Captain Yardley and his men however found
things very different for on approaching the rocky pass between the Lorusia
mountains and Mount Kaitherin, the northern-most peak of the Lakwanamur
hills, the Sudanese troops met some 200 Turkana and Abyssinian riflemen dug
into prepared positions across the pass. Under heavy rifle fire the Equatorial
troops stomed the pass and after several hours of fierce fighting forced the
Turkana to retire. "Had enemy leadership succeeded in establishing a more
obstinate resistance, this position could only have been captured at the cost
of heavy casualties."38
The following morning Major Yardley's men continued their advance
through the pass and into the valley beyond only to come up against a second
line of resistance held by some 600 Turkana, many of whom possessed rifles.
This position, like the first, was admirably suited for defence, and the
character of the resistance indicated able leadership and discipline. All day
the battle raged as the Equatorial troops slowly forced the Turkana into the
hills while both sides kept up an intense and sustained fusillade. By 4 o'clock
in the afternoon the Turkana fire slackened, undoubtedly because of lack of
ammunition, and shortly thereafter the tribesmen took to flight.39 After this
engagement the Equatorial troops marched unimpeded southward down the
valley and joined Major Rayne and his men at the Katome River camp on 12
May. Here they were joined on the 20th by Major White and his men who had
marched around the southern extremity of the Lakwanamur hills and then up
the Katome river. The sweep through the northern Turkana country had
resulted in 146 Turkana and Abyssinians known to have been killed, and in
the capture of 26 prisoners and 3,000 head of cattle.40
Reconnaissance patrols sent out from the Katome River camp soon con-
firmed Captain Yardley's suspicions that the bulk of the Turkana were still
guarding their cattle near the Lorusia mountains and indeed it had been a part
of this tribal concentration which he and his troops had encountered in their
engagements on 8 and 9 May. It was determined therefore to make one final
drive northward to surround the mountains and force the Turkana to submit
Certainly Major Rayne felt that if the operations in the Lorusia were success-
fully carried out the Turkana Patrol would have 'accomplished all that was
On 27 May therefore the Patrol moved out from the camp on the Katome
in three columns. Again Captain Yardley and 64 men of No. 6 Company,
Equatorial Battalion, led the way and, having the greatest distance to cover,
marched well in advance of the main body. At 4.30 in the afternoon Captain
Yardley and his men arrived at Kangala waterhole on the Lumian river only
to learn that a large party of Turkana with sheep and goats had just left the
waterhole and were quickly moving off through a pass about a mile to the
south-east. They were immediately followed by a large body of riflemen who
came out of the trees along the river bank within a hundred yards of the
Equatorials. While Captain Yardley was deploying his men so as to cut off the
retreat of this second party, a third group of riflemen over 100 strong appeared
from the trees to follow the second. Within a few moments Equatorial troops
28 UGANDA JOURNAL
under Mulazim (Lieutenant) 'Abd al-Karim Effendi 'Abd as-Sid had success-
fully cut off the third party and driven it back into the trees along the river
bank. In the meantime those Equatorials detailed to intercept the second party
out-distanced the enemy, blocked the way through the pass, and forced them
back to their original position in the trees along the Lumian river. Here the
Sudanese formed a semi-circular line around the enemy and prepared to
attack. It was clear to Captain Yardley that these were not Turkana tribesmen
opposing him but rather some 300 regular Abyssinian troops trained in the use
of the rifle and greatly outnumbering his own force. Determined to force a
decision before darkness provided the Abyssinians with the respite to regroup
and marshal their superior numbers, he ordered his troops forward to assault
the Abyssinian lines in the fast-closing daylight. The fight which hitherto had
been fierce now became desperate. Unlike the Turkana, the Abyssinians had
entrenched themselves in the soft earth of the river bank and defended their
line "with the utmost doggedness, displaying a perfect contempt for danger
and death".42 In spite of numerous casualties the Equatorials pressed forward
inflicting heavy losses on the Abyssinians, capturing their position, and forcing
them to withdraw into the hills in the gathering darkness. Skirmishing between
the Abyssinians and Sudanese patrols continued throughout the night.43
Captain Yardley, after sending out urgent messages to the other columns
for immediate reinforcements, barricaded himself and his forty remaining
men in a strong zariba to await the anticipated attack of the Abyssinians at
daylight. The Abyssinians themselves were camped only two and a half miles
away where they regrouped and were soon reinforced by the arrival of 120
Abyssinian mounted troops. Shortly after daybreak the Abyssinians advanced
in two columns toward the river bed but instead of attacking the zariba
crossed in front of it and, protected by a rearguard of the mounted troops,
disappeared in the direction of the Abyssinian frontier. The hasty withdrawal
of the Abyssinians, who with their superior numbers could easily have over-
whelmed Captain Yardley and his few Sudanese, was undoubtedly precip-
itated by the fact, as yet unknown to Yardley, that Major Rayne and his
troops were camped only a few miles away. Indeed Rayne had heard the
shots of the skirmishers during the night and, upon receiving Yardley's
appeals for support, rushed to Kangala in the morning only to find the
Abyssinians had fled, leaving behind 33 dead. The Sudanese of No. 6 Com-
pany had lost 8 killed, including 3 officers, and 6 wounded.44
The presence of this strong and official Abyssinian force in Sudan territory
puzzled and disturbed the officers of the Turkana Patrol.45 As early as March
1918 the Abyssinian Government at Addis Ababa had claimed to have sent
instructions to Dasta, the Governor of Maji, not to cross the frontier, but the
seizure of the government at Addis Ababa by the military party in April and
the subsequent actions of Dasta appear to belie this claim.46 Not only had the
military party dismissed the corrupt Council of Ministers, abolished their
offices, and invested supreme power in the hands of the Empress and Regent,
Ras Tafari (with the Minister of War as chief adviser), but the new govern-
ment quickly summoned the officials in the outlying provinces to Addis Ababa
to swear their loyalty to the new regime.47 Dasta, obviously reluctant to make
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 29
what may well have been his last journey to Addis Ababa, ignored the first two
summonses demanding his presence at the capital. Meanwhile rumours had
reached Maji from the south that the Turkana Patrol had raided the tribes
along the Kibish river in Abyssinian territory and was at that very time
marching on Maji. Dasta, in alarm and panic, sounded the call to arms and in
a few days was marching southward with over 800 men all armed with rifles.
Three days south of Maji Dasta was overtaken by a third and imperative order
to return forthwith to Addis Ababa. Upon receiving this summons Dasta was
in a quandary. On the one hand his forces had not encountered the Turkana
Patrol, and the rumours of raiding on the Kibish river had proved false. On the
other however the Abyssinians, at least those in Maji, considered that their
southern boundary lay far beyond the present frontier, and to support this
claim Dasta must push on and drive out the Patrol. In the event Dasta with
some 500 followers returned hastily to Maji and Addis Ababa, while over 300
men under a former Governor of Maji, Masheshe, continued their march
southward into Sudan territory where, on 27 May, they engaged Captain
Yardley's troops at Kangala.48
The battle at Kangala was indeed a disaster for victor and vanquished alike.
The Abyssinians, after their hasty retreat to Maji, quickly fortified the town
and, expecting the Turkana Patrol to arrive at any moment also made prepara-
tions to flee to the north. Even more confused was the British command. The
intervention of the Abyssinians had seriously jeopardized the position of the
Patrol. Not only was further contact with the Abyssinians to be avoided on
grounds of international politics, but fearing their immediate return from
Maji with large reinforcements, Major White dared not send back part of his
force with the captured cattle as he had planned.49 And yet his supplies were
insufficient to maintain the patrol at full strength for many days in the Lorusia
mountains. Consequently, the final sweep to encircle the Turkana in the
mountains was abandoned and the expedition retired to its base camp on the
Unfortunately, not only had the final stages of the Patrol been given up, but
the larger and most important question of the future administration of the
Turkana country remained unresolved. To be sure, the intervention of the
Abyssinians had compromised the work of the Patrol, but the threat of future
Abyssinian aggression into the Sudan and East Africa eliminated all but two
alternatives for the future of Turkanaland. The British authorities could either
establish at the Lomogol River post a garrison strong enough to withstand
possible Abyssinian forays and to administer the Turkana, or must withdraw
completely to a more easily defensible line extending from the Turkwell River
across the plain to the Karamojong escarpment.50 The first alternative was
impossible for the East African authorities could neither spare the additional
troops necessary to garrison Lomogol, nor provide the supply and transport
facilities to maintain so large a force at so isolated a station. Furthermore the
Sudan authorities, concerned about the long, common frontier between
Abyssinia and the Sudan, were loath to precipitate trouble in the Lake Rudolf
area, which a force of East African troops in northern Turkana was almost
bound to do, only to have the repercussions take the form of border incidents
30 UGANDA JOURNAL
and frontier raids further north. At conferences held on 29 May and 1 June
the British officers of the Patrol reluctantly but unanimously agreed that there
was no other recourse but to retire to the Turkwell River line.51
On 5 June the combined forces of the Turkana Patrol, having torn down the
partially completed stockade at Lomogol, marched south toward the Kabua
river and thence on to Lodwar which was reached on 19 June. Here the ex-
pedition broke up, the Sudan forces marching first to Mount Oropoi and then
back to Torit in the Sudan, while the East African troops set about strengthen-
ing the posts of Kaliow, Karget, and Lodwar which were to constitute the
Turkwell River line. The Turkana Patrol was over.
Although the Turkana Patrol of 1918 was ostensibly a success, the lasting
and positive results of this punitive expedition are more difficult to discern.
To be sure British prestige had been restored and the Turkana had been over-
whelmed in every engagement, losing some 350 killed, many others wounded,
and over 3,000 head of cattle captured. But prestige is a fickle quality, and
fallen warriors and lost cattle can be avenged by the traditional means of raids
and razzias. Certainly the intervention of the Abyssinians, although proving
disastrous to their own prestige on the frontier, precluded the successful com-
pletion of the patrol and provided an excuse for future aggression southward
into the Sudan and East Africa. D. R. Crampton, the Political Officer of the
East African contingent, was of the opinion that "had it not been for the inter-
vention of the Abyssinian forces most of the objects of the patrol could have
been carried out satisfactorily".52 Certainly, it was the fear of Abyssinian
retaliation for their defeat at Kangala that prevented the erection of a military
and administrative post on the Lomogol river.
The Abyssinians however cannot be made the sole scapegoats for the ulti-
mate failure of the Turkana Patrol. The fundamental purpose of the expedi-
tion was to punish the Turkana, recapture looted stock, and expel the
Abyssinians as a prelude to "the reduction of the military area to a state,
suitable for civil administration"."3 As long as the authorities in Nairobi,
Kampala, and Khartoum were reluctant to expend the men and money
necessary to maintain a strong force in Turkanaland, the results of the
Turkana Patrol of 1918, like its predecessors, must be regarded as at best
transitory. All of the officers of the Patrol realized that "without keeping a
large garrison near the Abyssinian frontier, the activities of Abyssinian trad-
ing, poaching, and cattle-looting parties cannot be restrained".54 Indeed the
setback which the Abyssinians received at Kangala could be expected to result
in action on their part to restore their prestige among the frontier tribes. Like-
wise the Turkana, having lost large numbers of cattle, would naturally try to
compensate themselves by raids on other cattle-owning tribes. Although the
Turkana Patrol restored British prestige and recaptured much looted stock,
these results were ineffective, for without the military occupation and admini-
stration of Turkanaland, which logically should have followed the punitive
measures, the northern Turkana remained as belligerent and recalcitrant as
before. Subsequent raids and pillaging expeditions by Turkana and Abyssin-
ian raiders only confirmed the fears expressed by the officers of the Patrol, and
indeed law and order, which was not to be established in the Turkana country
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 31
for another decade, never became a reality until a permanent post was set up
at Lokitaung in June 1928 by the Kenya authorities, with Sudanese troops
manning Lolimi and the Uganda forces occupying the posts of Zulia and
1 The Turkana Patrol was called by the East African authorities the Labur Patrol. In
the Sudan however it was always known as the Turkana Patrol or simply Patrol No. 44.
2 "Further Notes on the Turkana Patrol, 30 August, 1918" by Major R. F. White,
Commanding Officer, Turkana Patrol, Sudan Intelligence Report (hereafter abbreviated
as SIR), No. 290, Appendix.
3 In the early days of British East Africa the term Turkana was loosely applied to all
the tribes west of Lake Rudolf who spoke a kindred language such as the Jie, the Kara-
mojong, the Donyiro, the Dodoth, etc. Later, when tribal distinctions became more
clearly known and recognized, the word Turkana was more accurately restricted to the
tribe of that name only. It is in this sense that the name is used in this article.
4 Major H. Rayne, The Ivory Raiders, London, 1923, p. 54. Major Rayne's The Ivory
Raiders and T. R. Cambridge's In the Land of the Turkana, 1921, are delightful books
containing recollections of service in Turkanaland and with the Turkana Patrol. Unfor-
tunately, like most memoirs, they are more concerned with charming stories and vivid
memories of life on the frontier than with the duller but more important task of
divulging factual information.
5 Lieutenant-Colonel H. Moyse-Bartlett, The King's African Rifles, Aldershot, 1956,
6 ibid., p. 210.
7 ibid., pp. 251-2.
8 ibid., p. 254.
9 ibid., p. 255.
10 SIR, No. 245.
11 SIR, No. 246.
12 "Report of the Operations against the Turkana, 1915," by Lt.-Colonel W. F. S.
Edwards, SIR, No. 254, Appendix; Captain Fairbrain, 9th Sudanese, to R. C. R. Owen,
Governor, Mongalla Province, 6 April 1915; and Sir F. Jackson, Governor, Uganda
Protectorate to Sir Reginald Wingate, Governor-General of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan,
28 June 1915, No. 4366, Mongalla, Class 1, Box 2, File 10; and Moyse-Bartlett, p. 439.
13 "Unrest in the Turkana Country," Memorandum by the Intelligence Department
Khartoum, 10 September 1917, SIR, No. 277, Appendix.
14 SIR, No. 227.
15 Ato Apara, which in Turkana means 'swell' or 'dandy', was a minor official of the
Governor of Maji and was in charge of an official Abyssinian frontier post south-east of
Mount Naita. The distinction between his official position and his unofficial action how-
ever was, to say the least, ill-defined if not totally obscure. He had a favourite hunting
camp on the Lomogol river from which he made frequent forays to the south and west
for ivory, slaves, and loot in general. He successfully raided the Dodoth in October 1914
and again in May 1917. It was Apara who led the Abyssinian attack against Captain
Rayne and his men at Nakot pass, and for his failure to overwhelm this force he was
disgraced and exhibited in the stocks upon his return to Maji. His property and loot were
confiscated. He was later released from imprisonment and confined to Maji but through
his assistant resumed his trading activities on the frontier.
Dasta was known in the Turkana country as 'Loyongale' meaning one who 'killed his
first man painted red'. He was arrested at Tshudi-Tshudi by Captain Tanner in 1910
and expelled, along with his men, from the Dodoth and northern Karamojong country.
In March 1917 he raided again into Dodoth territory and in April was seen in the
Karamojong area. It was this same Dasta who obtained a permit from the British
legation in Addis Ababa after his expulsion in 1910 for the purpose of carrying on
legitimate trade in the Uganda Protectorate. This was obviously merely a front for his
numerous illegal activities. He later became Governor of Maji, and they were his troops
who clashed with the Turkana Patrol of 1918.
Locherikus, which means in Turkana 'bow-legged', had frequent skirmishes with the
authorities in East Africa and Uganda, and in January 1916 he attempted to ambush the
medical officer attached to the Uganda Northern Garrison.
32 UGANDA JOURNAL
16 Turkana Intelligence Report, 1 June 1917, Mongalla, 1/2/10; "Note on Events on
the Sudan-Uganda Frontier," Appendix 4, Mongalla, 1/6/43; SIR, No. 277.
17 C. A. Turpin, Uganda Police, to Major R. F. White, 25 September 1918; and Major
H. Jones-Vaughan, Sudan Political Officer, Turkana Patrol, to Owen, 4 June 1918; and
D. R. Crampton, British East Africa Political Officer, Turkana Patrol, to Jones-
Vaughan, 16 June 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
18 The Gras rifle was of French manufacture and the predominant rifle in the
19 Report by Major H. Rayne, No. 112, 2 June 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10; Rayne, Ivory
Raiders, p. 84.
20 "Unrest in the Turkana Country," SIR, No. 277, App.
21 "Unrest in the Turkana Country," SIR, No. 277, App; Moyse-Bartlett, pp. 440-1;
Rayne, The Ivory Raiders, pp. 72-97. The number of Abyssinians present during the
battle vary according to the account from 250 to 400. I have accepted the lowest figure
as the most reliable.
22 SIR, No. 281.
23 Memorandum on Turkana Operations by Major R. F. White, 26 June 1918,
24 "Unrest in the Turkana Country," SIR, No. 277, App.
25 Assistant Commissioner King's African Rifles to Major H. Rayne, 4 December
1917, No. T/31/6, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
26 Report by Major H. Rayne, No. 112, 2 June 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
27 Wingate to Governor, Nairobi, quoted in Wheatley to Private Secretary, Khartoum,
Telegram 056, 8 November 1917, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
29 "Patrol 44 (Turkana Patrol): Narrative of Operations," 6 July 1918 by Major R. F.
White, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
30 Major H. W. Darley had strongly advised against operating from Mount Zulia
against the Turkana because of the difficulty of the terrain. Darley to Owen, 13 August
1917, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
31 "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
32 "Narrative of Operations," and Jones-Vaughan to Owen, 2 May 1918, Mongalla,
1/2/10 and Moyse-Bartlett, p. 442. Major White, being the senior officer (date of
majority: 1 September, 1915), assumed the command of the expedition although Major
Rayne (appointed to the temporary rank of Major on 30 September 1917) of all the
officers possessed the most widespread experience in the Turkana country.
33 Rayne, The Ivory Raiders pp. 86-97; Moyse-Bartlett, p. 442.
34 "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
35 Captain Barker, Commanding Officer, No. 2 Company, Equatorial Battalion to
Captain Yardley, Commanding Officer, No. 6 Company, Equatorial Battalion, 6 March
1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10; Moyse-Bartlett, p. 442.
36 Jones-Vaughan to Owen, 2 May 1918, and "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla,
37 Jones-Vaughan to Owen, 26 May 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10; Rayne, The Ivory
Raiders, pp. 160-173; Moyse-Bartlett, p. 442.
38 White to Owen, 26 May 1918, Jones-Vaughan to Owen, 26 May 1918, "Narrative
of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
39 White to Owen, 25 May 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
40 "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
42 ibid. No. 6 Company, Equatorial Battalion fought this day with the utmost bravery
and determination. They had been recruited exclusively from the Acholi and Latuka
tribes and their action at Kangala attests to the martial qualities of those tribes.
43 White to Owen, 3 June 1918, Jones-Vaughan to Owen, 4 June 1918, Report by
Major H. Rayne, No. 112, 2 June 1918, "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
45 There was a basic disagreement between Captain Yardley and the Sudan Political
Officer, Jones-Vaughan, as to the nature of the Abyssinian force. Yardley interpreted
them as an unofficial party perhaps aided and abetted by minor frontier officials but
without the official sanction of the Abyssinian Governor at Maji. Jones-Vaughan, as well
as both Major White and Major Rayne, held the opposite view, that this was in fact an
official Abyssinian party. Later information was to prove this latter view to be the
46 Wingate to Owen, Tel. 153, 23 March 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
THE TURKANA PATROL, 1918 33
47 SIR, Nos. 285, 286.
48 Turpin to White, 25 September 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
49 "Narrative of Operations," Mongalla, 1/2/10.
50 It was first suggested that a frontier line be formed from Kabua camp to the
escarpment but Major Rayne later decided to establish the line even further south
along the Turkwell River.
51 Report by Jones-Vaughan, 30 May 1918; Comments by Major White on Report by
Jones-Vaughan 31 May 1918; Jones-Vaughan to Owen 4 June 1918; Jones-Vaughan to
Major White 2 June 1918; White to Crampton 3 June 1918; Report by Major Rayne,
No. 112, 2 June 1918; Crampton to Jones-Vaughan 2 and 16 June 1918, Mongalla,
52 Crampton to Jones-Vaughan, 2 June 1918, Mongalla, 1/2/10.
53 Ass. Comm., K.A.R. to Major Rayne, 4 December 1917, No. T/31/6, Mongalla,
54 "Results Achieved by Patrol No. 44," by Major R. F. White, 6 July 1918,
THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA
By JOHN MIDDLETON
ALL personal names among the Lugbara, a Sudanic-speaking people of
West Nile District, have meanings, which can be explained by members
of the bearer's family. During my stay in Lugbara1 I was able to collect a
number of these names, of both men and women, from a single sub-clan in
northern Lugbara. In this paper I attempt to show the social significance of
these names; to do this requires a brief mention of Lugbara social organization
and the ceremony of naming a new-born child.
The basic residential and domestic grouping is a cluster of elementary
families, which I call a family-cluster. These are not large groups, the average
membership being between twenty and thirty people, but the sense of unity of
the members of a single family-cluster is very considerable. Lugbara trace
descent patrilineally and marry virilocally, so that the typical family-cluster
consists of men who are related to one another by common descent through
men only from a single grandfather or great-grandfather, their unmarried
daughters and their wives; in addition there may be a few women of the group
who are widowed and have returned to live at their natal homes, and a few
attached kinsmen, usually children of lineage daughters. The men and
daughters of the cluster belong to a single patrilineal lineage, which provides
the core of the cluster; the lineage has a name by which the family-cluster is
also known. Lineage names are quite distinct from personal names.
The giving of a personal name (ru da=give the name) is the prerogative
of the new-born child's mother. Lugbara say it should be as soon as the
umbilical cord has disappeared from the child's body, but in fact it is given
four days after the birth in the case of a boy, and three in that of a girl.2
Until this time the mother sits on the verandah of her hut or in the shade
of her granary, and does not leave the compound. There she is visited by other
wives of men of the family-cluster and by her sisters, who come from their
husbands' homes elsewhere. The name of the child is discussed by her and the
wives of the family-cluster; the mother of her husband takes an important part
in these discussions, but other women are not concerned. The mother herself
makes the choice and sometimes her mother-in-law may give a second name.
The identity of the women concerned is significant; I shall return to this point
Certain names are given conventionally to children who are twins, to the
child of a woman who had formerly been thought to be barren, and to a child
1 I worked in Lugbara from the end of 1949 until early 1952. I wish to acknowledge
financial assistance from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the Colonial Social
Science Research Council, and, at a later date, from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for
Anthropological Research, New York.
2 Four is the number associated in Lugbara thought with men, and three with women.
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA PERSONAL NAMES 35
who is the first of several children born to the mother to survive for more than
a few hours. These names vary from one part of the country to another. Com-
mon ones are Ejua for a male twin and Ejurua for a female twin; Ondia for a
boy and Ondirua for a girl if the mother was previously thought to be barren;
and 'Bileni (for the grave) for a child who is the first to have survived. But
these names are not obligatory, and the names in nearly every case are chosen
by the mother and her mother-in-law as they think fit. They compose a word
which refers to the relationship between the child's parents, or to their
characteristics, or to those of the child, or to some unusual feature of its birth.
I collected 850 names from this single sub-clan. There is not the space to list
them all, but I give a selection below, which shows the types of names chosen.
Usually, although not always, Lugbara can tell whether a name belongs to a
man or woman, but a large proportion of the names may refer to either.
Ombiga = 'locust collect', because he was born when the mother was out
Drajoa = 'in the death hut', because many other children had died recently
in that family-cluster.
Dramadri = 'for my death', because people had complained that the child's
father had caused other people's death (that is, he was a witch).
Zayoru = 'meat none', plus ru the adjectival ending, because the parents
were too poor to obtain meat.
Eneku = 'you do not see', because the child's parents were too short to be
seen in a crowd.
Kana = 'without', because the bridewealth for the parents' marriage had not
Feku = 'give not', because the mother never gave her husband good or
Ovoa = 'in laziness', because the parents were idle people.
Obia = 'in the beer-pot', because the father was a drunkard.
Aria = 'at the drum', because it was said that the child would beat the drum
soon at its parents' death dances.
Drodroa = 'at the place of leeches', because the father had dreamt that he
would be drowned in a swamp.
Sarua = 'in wandering' because the parents were poor and had to wander
from kinsman to kinsman begging food.
Jurua = 'in the place of non-clansmen', because the child was born away
from its/father's homestead.3
O'dua = 'as an omen', because it was said that the child's birth would lead
to someone's death.
A'uderu = 'chicken finish' plus adjectival ending, because the mother had
recently eaten several of her husband's fowls.
Arijole = 'remainder of blood', because it was said that the mother would
never conceive another child (the child is said to be formed of the mother's
3 A child should be born at its father's homestead. This is so important that Lugbara
women will often return from southern Uganda to West Nile District to bear their
children at their husbands' real homes.
36 UGANDA JOURNAL
E'yoru = 'of words', because the parents had quarrelled with neighbours;
'words' often has the connotation of witchcraft.
Gbokoru = 'of the empty place', because the mother liked to wander in the
bushland (that is, to sleep with men other than her husband).4
Aluma = 'curse', because the father had been cursed.
Kperekpere = 'old sleeping mat', because the mother was so poor that she
had had to give birth to her child on an old mat.
Yuku = 'kite', because the father wandered about the countryside like a
kite or eagle, that is, looking for women.
Luzuyo = 'no telling', because the mother had been visited by her parents,
but no one had told her that they were coming and so she had been absent and
could not welcome them and give them food (a serious breach of kinship
Lema = 'loves me', because the child's father loved his wife.
Agbaku = 'I do not beat', because the father said he had never beaten his
Onyurubia = 'at the throwing of good things' because the parents were so
poor that they ate other people's leavings.
Eriaga = 'caterpillar', because the parents were so poor that they had only
caterpillars to eat.
Inia = 'at night', because the father went to sleep with his wife at night but
refused to help her work during the day.
Lunia = 'at the killing', because the mother had caused another woman's
death, that is, she was a sorceress.
Agali = 'men prevent', because the mother had been married to other men
before her present husband, and they had all been sterile.
Ode = 'many people fall (dead)', because the father was reputed to be a
Alonjeru = 'cattle-stake take away', plus adjectival ending, because the
father had given all his cattle as bridewealth to his father-in-law (that is, the
father had continually grumbled at the greed of his wife's kin).
Talia = 'in a rage', because the mother was always told angrily to work
harder by her husband's kin.
Drateru = 'death wait' plus adjectival ending, because the mother said she
was so unhappy that she would merely wait for death.
Anditi = 'confuse, give birth', because the child was said to have been con-
ceived in adultery.
Ekabio = 'brown hair', because the child had reddish hair when born.
It will be seen that a large proportion of these names are uncomplimentary,
very often to the parents themselves; others are pessimistic, referring to death
and hunger.5 Yet in their everyday behaviour the Lugbara give the impression
of being cheerful, optimistic and friendly people. The phenomenon can be
4 The same name found in another group implied that the woman was poor and had
to wander about looking for roots to eat.
5 I have not tried to select names at random, but have included more of these types
of names than of those which we might consider more normal.
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA PERSONAL NAMES 37
understood only by inquiring what is the significance of these names to the
Of the 850 names, 586 are those of men and 264 of women. They do not
include the names of wives of the men of the particular group, because the
details of names were not always known-many of them had been born miles
away from the place where they had come to live with their husbands at mar-
riage; and since women go to live elsewhere at marriage my informants had
forgotten the names of many of the women who had been born into this sub-
clan. The names may be arranged in accordance with what may be called their
subject-matter, as shown in Table I (page 38). The subject-matters fall into
four main categories:
(i) 'Moral' attributes or behaviour of parents 330 180
(ii) Associated with death 112 32
(iii) 'Non-moral' attributes or behaviour of parents 77 31
(iv) Attributes of the child 67 21
These figures point to certain tendencies which indicate some of the stresses
and tensions inherent in the Lugbara family. I wish now to discuss the propor-
tions of names in particular categories as divided between men and women.
Unfortunately the numbers of names for men and women are not equal:
although the sex ratio at birth is approximately equal, my lists have rather
over twice as many men's names as women's. I have mentioned the reasons for
this disproportion; but some idea of the proper sexual proportions in each
category may be obtained if the numbers of women's names are doubled,
which will bring the totals to more or less equal numbers.
The most numerous are the names in category (i) those associated with
what I call the 'moral' attributes or behaviour of the child's parents. In this
category there are really sub-categories of name, those to do with the relation-
ship between husband and wife and their respective lineages and families on
the one hand, and those to do with the relationship between them and neigh-
bours and more remote kin on the other. The former sub-category contains
names which have an obvious reference to the failings of one or the other of
the parents, but includes others which may not be so obvious at first sight. For
example, a woman is said only to ensorcel or poison co-wives, and the curse
of barrenness can be only by a kinsman; so that names which refer to sorcery
and barrenness fall into the 'family' sub-category. The latter includes the
names associated with the father's reputation as a witch, the parents' quar-
relling with neighbours, and their being the butt of popular ridicule. These
amount to only 36 men's names and 10 women's names. In order to show the
significance of this category of names, I must say something more about the
Lugbara system of marriage and their general social organization into clans
The core of a family-cluster is a patrilineal lineage, usually of three or four
generations in depth. These lineages are grouped into sub-clans and clans. The
lineage is a corporate group, owning its livestock and land jointly; and its
38 UGANDA JOURNAL
women are regarded as being among its most valuable property. By the rule of
exogamy a man cannot marry a woman of his lineage, and so at marriage he
.acquires a wife from another lineage, one that is completely unrelated or at
least only distantly related. The daughters of the lineage likewise marry out
into other lineages, to which their children will belong. Marriage, which is by
the transfer of bridewealth (today livestock, traditionally iron objects), is a
Categories of Names
Category (i). 'Moral' attributes and behaviour of parents. men women
Quarrelling between husband and wife 54 30
General husband-wife relationship 33 18
Father lazy or immoral 39 6
Mother lazy or immoral 37 33
Parents lazy or immoral 31 8
Parents kinless, hungry or poor* 39 27
Father kinless, hungry or poor 9 10
Mother kinless, hungry or poor 5 11
Father reputed to be a witch 2 1
Mother reputed to be a sorceress 2 6
Mother reputed to be an adulteress 6 1
Father a good man 15 2
Mother a good woman 5 7
Parents good people 4 4
Quarrelling with neighbours 27 9
Parents unmarried (without bridewealth) 5 2
Parents the butt of popular ridicule 7 0
Quarrelling with affines 6 3
Mother reputed to be barren* 4 2
'Category (ii). Associated with death.
Previous children died 48 8
Child born to die 25 5
Child born at time of death 10 4
Father soon to die 17 3
Mother soon to die 7 11
Parents soon to die 5 1
Category (iii). 'Non-moral' attributes and behaviour of parents.
Father 21 7
Mother 21 18
Parents 35 6
Category (iv). Attributes of child.
Description of child at birth 46 15
Occasion of birth 15 5
Place of birth 6 1
I have included these as 'moral' attributes because a poor, hungry or kinless person
is thought by Lugbara to be shiftless and at least partially responsible for his position,
and because a barren woman is so because she has been cursed, either for her own
behaviour or for that of her husband.
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA PERSONAL NAMES 39
matter that concerns the whole lineage: its perpetuation depends upon its men
acquiring wives from other lineages. Marriage does therefore not concern only
the bride and bridegroom, nor even their immediate families. The bridewealth
cattle and goats are provided by the lineage, with one or two beasts from the
groom's mother's brother, and are transferred to the bride's lineage (again, her
mother's brother is given a beast). Negotiations for the amount and quality of
the bridewealth cattle are prolonged and tortuous, and take place between the
elders of the two lineages concerned. These old men are by definition unre-
lated, and are expected to call one another 'my friend' (ma agii) and to lavish
food and beer upon one another during their frequent visits to argue about the
bridewealth. But as Lugbara say, "good words hide a hard heart".
After the marriage, when the bride goes to her husband's home, there is
continued antagonism between the two affinally linked lineages. Brothers-in-
law usually regard one another with some suspicion-although I know of
many cases in which they become great friends-and there are various types of
avoidance practised between affines of different generations. The bride is
expected to be shy and ashamed (drinzasi) in the presence of her father-in-law
and mother-in-law; with her brothers-in-law she is in a peculiarly ambivalent
position, since when her husband dies she will be inherited by one of them.
The husband is likewise shy and constrained in the presence of his parents-in-
law. He has taken their daughter who will bear children for him, and Lugbara
are fond of pointing out that "if God had willed it, that wife would have been a
man and then begotten children for us of her natal lineage; but she was born
a woman and so goes elsewhere among our enemies6 to bear children for them.
We just get cattle; and are cattle children?"
There is much visiting between the wife and her own kin at her natal home,
and her own kin are always ready to stand up for her if they think she is being
ill-treated by her husband's kin, and to welcome her back to them if there is
open quarrelling. Her position in her husband's home becomes easier with
time, as she becomes accepted as a good worker and helpful member of the
family. When she bears a child then her status changes considerably: from
being merely a new wife she becomes the mother of a child of the lineage and
so more closely integrated into the family.
A wife is therefore in an ambivalent position in her husband's home. She
becomes both wife and mother of lineage members, but none the less remains
a member of her natal lineage (for example, she stays under the ritual care of
her own lineage ancestors). She is the focus of continual dispute between the
two lineages. Quarrels between them are always liable to break out over the
way in which her husband behaves to her, or over the bridewealth given for
her. And if the lineages quarrel for other reasons the dispute is likely to be
expressed as being over her. Her position as the person who chooses the name
of the child now becomes clearer; and she is assisted by her husband's mother,
who has herself been in a similarly ambiguous position with regard to her
husband when he was born. A child is a close kinsman to both the lineages of
his father and his mother-the tie of mother's brother to sister's son is regarded
6 Most feuding and warfare in the past was between affinally linked lineages, over
runaway wives or non-payment of promised bridewealth.
40 UGANDA JOURNAL
by Lugbara as in many ways as close as that between father and son. The
mother loves and cares for her child who does not belong to her natal lineage,
and whom she may have to leave if she is ill-treated and runs away from her
husband; she is always liable to be accused of sorcery and poisoning if she
quarrels with the other women in her husband's family-cluster (especially with
her own co-wives); she is always likely to be made the object of accusations of
trouble-making. I do not wish to exaggerate the difficulties and uncertainties
of her position, but they are nevertheless there throughout her married life.
Some of the tension in a wife's position is expressed in the names she gives
her children. She chooses the name and her husband cannot change it later.
She is privileged to express some of her antagonism (and that of her own natal
kin, although they are not directly concerned in the naming itself) towards her
husband's lineage in this manner. There are other situations in which she may
do the same, which throw some light on the matter. The most obvious is at
dances, especially certain women's dances called nyambi. The songs sung at
these dances generally consist of allusive remarks about the failings of the
husbands of the women; they are often highly obscene, and men claim not to
understand them and are indeed usually driven away by the women if they
object to them. The men say that their women-folk become quite uncontrol-
lable on these occasions, and add that they are afraid to beat their wives for
these songs lest worse ones be sung later. The names given to children are
rarely obscene; but they certainly tend to reflect the hostility between the
husband and wife, as the figures given in Table I show.
Names which reflect adversely upon the mother are frequent, and are more
usually given to girls than to boys. I was told that these are generally chosen
by the husband's mother, although they need not be. As I have said, the
mother-in-law of the wife has herself been in a similar position to that of the
wife, when she bore the child who is now the wife's husband. Also she sees the
wife as a woman who has married her son and who bears her grandchildren.
There is a strong emotional tie between grandparents and grandchildren,
tempered by the fact that the worst curse that can be made is by a grand-
mother against her own grandson. There is an even stronger tie between the
grandmother and her granddaughter, as the former is largely responsible for
the latter's education and general care. There is often considerable tension
between the mother-in-law and her son's wife, and this is partially expressed
by the naming of the wife's daughters. I was once told that "every time the
grandmother calls her granddaughter to her, then she is reminded of her
son's wife; truly, although she may hide her words, she may hate that woman
in her heart".
It might appear that this account implies that Lugbara are a quarrelsome
people who lose no opportunity of paying off personal scores by naming their
children in these ways. It is not quite so simple as that. I have heard Lugbara
women singing songs as they go down to the streams to draw water in the even-
ing, or go off to look for firewood. These songs often consist of remarks about
their own failings attributed to them by their husbands' kin; by singing them
they, as it were, draw attention to the unkindness and stupidity of these kin,
who may persistently stress her inferiority in their homes by unkind words and
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LUGBARA PERSONAL NAMES 41
strict application of the rules of affinal avoidance. In the same way a woman
who has been accused of adultery will often walk about singing that she is an
adulteress and a whore, and at dances women may sing songs with similar re-
frains. By mocking herself a woman is in fact drawing attention to the weak-
nesses of her husband's kin, to their spitefulness towards her, and also to her
independence and resentment at having to be under their authority. She can
do much the same by giving her children names which reflect adversely upon
A number of names refer to disputes with neighbours. There is here a similar
underlying psychological mechanism as in the choosing of names I have just
discussed. By drawing attention to the fact that neighbours abuse and malign
them, the neighbours are shown to be at fault. There are frequent accusations
made of witchcraft between unrelated neighbours, and there is often consider-
able latent hostility arising from competition for land and other resources, for
land is very short in most of Lugbara. In addition, many neighbours are also
clansmen of the husband, but belong to other family-clusters. By showing them
to be bitter and quarrelsome a wife is at the same time hitting at her husband's
wider clan kin; by, as it were, standing by his side she is able to point out their
treachery in making trouble for him, a kinsman of theirs.
The second category of names includes those associated with death. The
infantile death rate is certainly very high in Lugbara. Official figures are not
available, but I have estimated that at least a quarter of the children born die
in their first year or two. The giving of names associated with death reflects a
pessimism rather than any morbid fear of death, but in addition provides an
assurance and protection against death. Death comes only from God. There
is the feeling that by drawing attention to the number of deaths that have
occurred in a particular family God may be persuaded to spare that family in
future and to turn his attentions to other families.7 By bringing the fear into the
open, it is dissipated or at least lessened. I was once told that it is like telling a
witch that he is one; he then desists and bewitches other people. I do not
wish to exaggerate this sentiment, but this is certainly the underlying motive
for choosing so many names to do with death. It is significant that far more of
these names are of men than of women. This reflects the greater importance
of a boy child than of a girl child in this strongly patrilineal society. Men are
'people of the home' ('ba akua), whereas women are often said to be 'people of
the bush' ('ba asea) only, or even to be 'things' (afa) and not 'people'.
The remaining categories refer to the non-moral attributes and behaviour of
parents and child and lack the content of affinal hostility and uncertainty of
the others. The fact that about a third of the names are in these non-moral.
neutral categories is, of course, important. Spouses and affines do not always
quarrel, people are not always hungry, nor are they always in imminent fear of
the death of their children. I have been concerned to show some of the tensions
within Lugbara family and social life; but these do not weigh oppressively
upon Lugbara all of the time.
7 A custom with analogous motives is that of not shaving the head of a child who is
the first of a series of children not to have died in infancy. Such children are therefore
very noticeable and there are special names and customs used in connection with them.
42 UGANDA JOURNAL
I have tried to give some explanation for the choice of personal names
among the Lugbara. Such an analysis would be very different in the case of
personal names given in other societies in which the structure of the family
and the distribution of tensions within it are different. Accounts of personal
names in Buganda and Bunyoro have already been published in the Uganda
Journal.8 It would be of interest to have accounts from other areas also.
8 M. B. Nsimbi, Baganda traditional personal names, Uganda J. 14 (1950); J. H. M.
Beattie, Nyoro personal names, Uganda J. 21 (1957).
CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY BOATS
IN EAST AFRICA
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
THE annals of the Church Missionary Society in Eastern Equatorial
Africa during the last quarter of the nineteenth century contain a
bewildering succession of names of small craft which gave often vital service
to the pioneering activities of their various missions.'
In 1874 the Society sent the Rev. W. Salter Price to East Africa to
organize a Freed Slave Settlement, and in the following year he founded
Frere Town, near Mombasa. A small steam-launch, the Dove, was presented
for his use. It was shipped on the deck of a Government collier bound for
Zanzibar; but this had to put, storm-damaged, into Rio de Janeiro and did
not proceed to its destination. The Dove was accordingly sold in Rio.
Early in 1876, one of Price's lay assistants, a shipwright, J. G. Pearson,
constructed a sailing boat, the Alice, "with a nice roomy cabin and cushioned
seat". This continued to give useful ferrying service in Mombasa Harbour
for some years. "The large rowing boat, the Alice" was still in use when
Bishop Royston of Mauritius rededicated the Henry Wright in September
1883 (Church Missionary Intelligencer 1884, p. 27). She should be distin-
guished from the collapsible boat Lady Alice in which Stanley circum-
navigated Lake Victoria in 1875 and which was abandoned on the lower
Congo two years later.
In place of the Dove, the Highland Lassie, an 80-ton sailing yacht, was
provided. She had auxiliary steam power, a hollow mast serving as a funnel.
It was arranged that Lieutenant G. Shergold Smith, R.N., who was going out
as leader of the pioneer Victoria Nyanza Mission party should navigate her.
She left Teignmouth on 11 March 1876. At Aden Shergold Smith transferred
to s.s. Cashmere on which were Mackay and O'Neill also bound for Lake
Victoria. On board also, in three sections, was a twin-screw steam-launch,
the Daisy, cedar-built-43 feet long, six feet wide, and four feet deep-by
Messenger of Teddington, where Mackay inspected her under construction.
They arrived at Zanzibar on 29 May 1876.
1 These notes are a provisional contribution towards a comprehensive catalogue of
craft whose names appear in recent East African history, which Mr. A. T. Matson is
compiling and hopes in due course to publish. Amendments or additions will be wel-
comed by Mr. Matson or the writer.
44 UGANDA JOURNAL
The Highland Lassie under her European crew, Captain Canham with
Harry Hartnoll2 as mate, eventually reached Zanzibar on 20 June "in excellent
condition". For some years she acted as C.M.S. despatch boat between
Mombasa and Zanzibar. But she gave increasing trouble-she was under-
powered for monsoon weather. By September 1881 she was reported to be
unseaworthy and was converted into a coal hulk off Frere Town (C.M.S.
Henry Wright, the great Secretary of the C.M.S., was drowned bathing in
Lake Coniston in August 1880. A memorial fund of 5,000 was allocated to
the provision of a new steamer for the East Africa Mission. Fittingly, for he
and his friends had in fact provided funds for the Dove and Highland Lassie,
this was named the Henry Wright. She was engine by John Thompson and
Sons and built by Greens of Blackwall2a where she was launched on 10 March
1883. She had excellent sailing qualities according to Bishop Hannington,
an experienced yachtsman, who made use of her on his arrival as bishop
in January 1885.
Year after year the Henry Wright steamed between Mombasa and Zanzibar,
a good passage taking 18 hours. Towards the end of 1888. during the dis-
turbed months following the establishment of the Chartered Company at
Mombasa and the Arab revolt in the German sphere she was in frequent
demand, though the Navy's offer to charter her was declined.3 But when the
mail steamers began to call regularly at Mombasa she was no longer so indis-
pensible to the Mission, and early in 1890 she was sold to the Chartered
Company. Her original captain, W. Wilson, transferred to the Company's
service and with her took part in the Witu operations of October 1890. But
s.s. Juba and the stern wheeler Kenia soon took her place in the Company's
To return to the craft which was ultimately assigned to Lake Victoria.
When the sections of the Daisy, with her boiler, cases of machinery (one
containing her three-cylinder engine) and tools were unloaded at Zanzibar
in May 1876 much damage and loss were revealed. Mackay at once showed
2 Hartnoll accompanied Mackay up-country with the main body of the Victoria
Nyanza caravan, leaving the Coast on 30 August 1876. It would be convenient to infer
that this was the occasion for James Martin's joining the Highland Lassie, of which he
is later recorded as mate. This would be in line with Joseph Thomson's remark, when
engaging Martin early in 1883, that Martin had been for over six years with C.M.S.
Hartnoll did not return to the Highland Lassie; after a few months at Mpwapwa he was
invalided to England.
2a A model "Building by Messrs. R. and H. Green, Shipbuilders, Blackwall, 1882"
is on exhibition at C.M.S. headquarters in London.
3 On 24 October 1888 she was called on to tow the mail steamer Oriental off the rocks
at Mombasa, "a tough job, but she was got off at last". (C.M.I. 1888, p. 787.)
3a So named after Henry Wright's daughter, Margaret, whose pet-name was 'Daisy'.
Miss M. E. Wright died at Hampstead on 15 January 1961, aged 89. She could recall
that when only five years old Mackay "spoke to us children in the Sunday School the
Sunday before he set sail for Africa".
C.M.S. BOATS IN EAST AFRICA 45
his ingenuity. With the help of the engine-room staff of H.M.S. London a
new main-shaft and stern-tube were made, and the Daisy was quickly afloat
Her first commission was to ascertain whether the rivers Wami or Kingani
offered a water route into the interior, in which case the Daisy was to remain
at the Coast. In mid-June Shergold Smith with Mackay explored the Wami
in her and she nearly came to grief off Saadani. Finding the Wami impractic-
able Mackay with Vice-Consul Holmwood of Zanzibar took the Daisy up
the Kingani from 7 to 24 July, with equally unpromising results. She was
thereupon dismantled and her length reduced by six feet. She was made up
into porters' loads-50 were required-and the long trek towards Lake
Victoria began in August. The vanguard of the Uganda party, C. S. Wilson
and O'Neill, reached Lake Victoria at Kageyi at the end of January 1877.
Shergold Smith arrived on 1 April.
When the sections of the Daisy were surveyed, she was found to be a
wreck while her boilers and much of the machinery4 were months behind on
the road. But they set to work and virtually re-built her as a sailing boat,
and indeed an engine was never installed in her. Six inches more gunwale,
a false keel, and more canvas were added-she now had three masts-while
a further six feet were cut from her middle section. She was re-launched early
Chimosi and O'Neill
But it was realized that the Daisy would never be strong enough to carry
much cargo and Shergold Smith arranged to purchase for 100 a dhow then
under construction on Ukerewe island by the Arab Songoro, whom Stanley
had met at Kageyi in 1875. Smith and C. T. Wilson set off in the Daisy on
25 June 1877 on their first visit to Uganda. She probably flew the red ensign
for this occasion.5 Seeking to land on Ukara island they were attacked by
the islanders; Smith's sound (left) eye was struck by a slinger's stone (his
right eye had been damaged in the Ashanti campaign) and he was so dis-
abled that Wilson had to take the helm. They made landfall at Entebbe on
27 June and reached Rubaga, Mutesa's capital, on the 30th.
Smith was back at Kageyi with the Daisy on 7 August. O'Neill on Ukerewe
island had meanwhile gone ahead with the construction of the dhow and
had also built a dingy, 11 feet by 4, which Smith dubbed the O'Neill. In
October Smith in the Daisy explored Speke Gulf and the Simeyo and
Ruwana rivers. On 19th when some miles up the latter river the Daisy was
4 In addition to the Daisy's machinery "a portable marine engine for the Victoria
Nyanza" was provided, (C.M.I 1876, p. 313). Wilson and Mackay seem to have
transported both sets of machinery to Uganda in the Daisy in November 1878; for
Mackay, writing from 'Chibuga' on 17 November 1878 remarks that "it will expedite
matters to fit up the little Daisy with her old engines and to use the other engine and
boiler to cut wood for house-building". (C.M.I. 1879, pp. 602, 607.)
5 Shergold Smith's diary for 22 October 1877 while exploring Jordan's Nullah records
"I generally fly the red ensign in the Daisy, but this time hoisted a Jack. The people here
know it best, it being the flag O'Neill had flying when I arrived at Kageyi". This was
probably the first appearance of the Union Jack afloat on Lake Victoria. (C.M.I. 1878,
p. 531.) Stanley flew the Stars and Stripes.
46 UGANDA JOURNAL
stove in by a hippopotamus but was saved by her compartments and was
patched up with sheet lead and copper nails. A lively sketch of this incident
by O'Neill which shows the Daisy flying the Union Jack is reproduced in
C.M.I. May 1878 (Fig. 1).
At last the dhow was got into the water on 15 November. She was named
Chimosi, "bad Swahili for The First," (probably the Swahili kimoja) and
also as incorporating the initials of the Society, Ch.M.S. But she was a
clumsy vessel, 30 feet by 11, and reckoned at "381 tons". On 24 November
she dragged her anchor off Kageyi and was driven onto the rocks. She was
found not to be worth reconstruction and was broken up.6 Some three weeks
later (probably 13 December) Shergold Smith and O'Neill who had planned
to return to Uganda in the Daisy were killed in an attack by the inhabitants
The Daisy in charge of Hassani, the expedition's interpreter, took the
news of this disaster to Wilson in Uganda. In her Wilson left Entebbe on
4 January 1878, reaching Kageyi on 12th. He thereupon marched to Tabora
and back to obtain supplies (12 January-15 March). On 22 March Wilson
sailed again in the Daisy, which had now been overhauled, and, making a
very quick passage, reached Entebbe in three days. On 28th she was sent
back to Kageyi for another cargo returning at the end of April with mails.
Wilson was by this time disgusted by the misconduct of his coastmen
employees. He gave them their discharge and sent them back to Kageyi with
the Daisy in May.
Early in June Wilson calculated that a caravan which Mackay was known
to be bringing forward ought soon to arrive at Kageyi. He obtained canoes
from Mutesa, but the journey took two months and he did not reach Kageyi
until 9 August, to find Mackay awaiting him since 13 June. Mackay had
found the Daisy in a deplorable condition, while the loads of machinery,
boiler-plates and tools which had gradually arrived were piled in disorderly
heaps. All this had soon been reorganized; much of the machinery was
successfully assembled, and the Daisy renovated, so that Wilson and Mackay
could set off in her for Uganda on 23 August. Five days later they were
wrecked at Mukongo on the mainland a few miles north of the present
Bukoba. Here they spent two months effecting repairs with astonishing
ingenuity, the whole of the middle section being sacrificed. She emerged
after her third shortening "a well-proportioned boat" 27 feet in length. They
re-embarked on 24 October to reach Entebbe on 1 November 1878.
The end of the Daisy is obscure. She must have remained in Uganda.
The first French Fathers who arrived at Entebbe on 17 February 1879 carried
with them a letter from their leader, Father Livinhac, asking for the use of
the Daisy to bring him and the rest of his party from the south of the Lake
6 There are delightful coloured illustrations of the Daisy and the dhow under con-
struction (Fig. 3) and of the wreck of the latter in a booklet Sketches of African Scenery
by T. O'Neill, published by C.M.S. in 1878.
7 See Gray, Arabs on Lake Victoria. Some Revisions. U.J. 22 (1958), 76-81.
C.M.S. BOATS IN EAST AFRICA 47
(C.M.I. 1879, p. 709). A letter from Father Lourdel dated 11 April 1879 to
his colleagues waiting at Kageyi says that canoes having been obtained from
the King he had planned to come himself "sur la barque a voiles que les
Anglais ont mise gracieusement h notre disposition", but that on reflection
he thought it better to send Brother Amans in his place (Nicq. Vie de Pere
Lourdel, p. 144).
There seems to have been some misunderstanding at this point. For in his
diary (C.M.I. 1879, p. 721) Dr. Felkin, 20-21 April, "heard that the French-
men had gone off with our boat ... It was the Frere that had gone. The king
said he was angry and would send to stop it. We hear it was the king's men
who took it, and threatened to spear our man when he tried to prevent them
taking it". No details seem to be on record of the circumstances of the
Daisy's end. Perhaps some over-zealous 'king's man' told off to commandeer
transport for the Fathers took her away. The White Fathers' journal printed
in A I'assaut des pays negres (1884) p. 269, records that on 31 May 1879
Brother Amans returned to Kageyi with a fleet of canoes and adds "The
Protestants have chosen to be on good terms with us. They have lent Father
Lourdel a large vessel so as to facilitate our crossing. Unfortunately the
vessel being badly steered, has been seriously damaged on the way. Perhaps
it has foundered. It would have been better if Father Lourdel had not
accepted it." C. T. Wilson is more explicit. Before leaving Uganda for the
Nile in June he noted "Jesuits reported arrived at Entebbe [sc. 17 June 1879]
and the boat left a wreck on the coast of Uzongora." (C.M.I. 1879 p. 725.)
Hardly a reference to this happening is made in C.M.S. literature; perhaps
she was no great loss. Mackay had brought the engine to Uganda and in
December 1878 had demonstrated it to Mutesa. Certain it is that for nearly
five years the C.M.S. missionaries relied on the vagaries of canoe transport,
largely a monopoly of the Kabaka. Stokes and Copplestone, leaving the
French Fathers under Livinhac still waiting at Kageyi, crossed the Lake to
Uganda in March 1879. They returned to Kageyi in June together with
Pearson when it is related that "they were about to sail across the Lake in
the Daisy, but that useful little boat was accidentally wrecked". (C.M.I. 1880,
p. 123.) Pearson returned from the south in November 1879. Litchfield with
Mackay went south in April 1880, and Mackay travelling in company with
Pbre Lvesque arrived back in Uganda in December 1880. O'Flaherty with
Stokes and Mutesa's envoys returning from England followed in March 1881.
Stokes returned southwards at once accompanied by Pearson who was
finally leaving Uganda. All these voyages were made in canoes.
Eleanor or Mirembe
The tenuousness of this thread with the outside world was increasingly
apparent. In March 1882 Hannington, the future Bishop, was accepted by
C.M.S. to lead a new party to Uganda by the southern route, and he launched
a public appeal to provided a boat to replace the wrecked Daisy. The new
boat in sections was transported by Hannington's caravan from Saadani; it
reached Msalala some miles short of the Lake in December 1882, and there
48 UGANDA JOURNAL
Sickness and other obstacles held up the construction of the Eleanor,
which was so named after the eldest daughter of the Rev. F. E. Wigram,
Henry Wright's successor as Secretary of the C.M.S., R. P. Ashe, one of
Hannington's party went on in canoes to Uganda in April 1883. This enabled
Mackay to leave in July, when he made the canoe journey which is described
in U.J. 18 (1954), 13-20. At Msalala he found the parts of the new boat
warped and splitting under the sun. He selected a suitable building yard at
Urima further north on Smith Sound and with the help of Charles Wise, a
lay handy-man, he promptly set to work. Mackay was clearly in atrabilious
mood when he described her condition and his difficulties in a letter written
in December to Lt.-Colonel John Robb, I.M.S., Surgeon of the Zanzibar
Consulate (printed in Mackay of Uganda-The Missionary Engineer by
Mary Yule). He relates that she "is a common open boat not unlike a herring
boat cutter-built. I fitted a small poop into her. She is of mahogany planking
with frames and floors (i.e. ribs) of oak. She carries two big sails and two jibs
and is seated for twelve oars. Painted white with braw new sails and a
red cross ensign (of my own make), even you fastidious Anglo-Indians
would not perhaps object to an hour's sail in her." She was launched on
3 December 1883 and was christened in addition the Mirembe (Peace). In her
Mackay sailed for Uganda on the 11th with a full cargo, "about 60 tons in
all," and on 19 December anchored in Murchison Bay, in time to spend
Christmas with O'Flaherty and Ashe at Natete.
Over the next six years the Eleanor gave invaluable service and her story
has almost an epic quality. On a rough count she must have crossed the Lake
at least twenty-five times. For awhile Mackay-as ever indomitable and
undismayed-had no option but to command her himself. By his efforts she
escaped the rocks off Kageyi in one of her early voyages. Mackay was over-
hauling her at the 'port' given him by Mutesa at Busabala8 in October 1884
when news of Mutesa's death reached him. In the following February she
was swamped at her moorings there but was refloated by a remarkable feat
of salvage. On 30 June 1885 for the first time she sailed for Kageyi under her
native crew without Mackay. She seems to have done a quick return journey.
One of the most reliable of her crew was Roberto (Albert) Munyagabyanjo,
one of the Baganda martyrs of June 1886, whose name appears on the
memorial tablet in Namirembe Cathedral (C.M.I. 1886, p. 885).
In October 1885 Stokes "by instructions received from Bishop Hannington
took the Eleanor from Msalala and crossed the Lake diagonally to Sendege
on the eastern side, in order to meet the Bishop and convey him to Uganda,"
(C.M.S. Annual Report, 1886, p. 45). But he could hear nothing of the
Bishop's caravan and returned after two days. These 'instructions' were prob-
ably an intimation of the Bishop's plans sent on by Mackay to Stokes who
would have received them when the Eleanor returned to the south of the Lake
8 This was Stanley's 'Usavara", and is near the present Kazi landing. It was reckoned
to be 12 miles distant from the C.M.S. Station at Natete. Mackay also refers to it as
Port Mutungo (C.M.I. 1885, p. 726). It seems not to have been reoccupied as a port after
the 1888-9 revolution, when Munyonyo came into use.
[Reproduced by courtesy of C.M.S.
The Daisy. "Hippo's charge river Ruwana" (From sketch by T. O'Neill in C.M.I.,
ik &.. t. ,, --r
[Reproduced by courtesy of C.M.S.
The Kulekwa at south end of Lake Victoria, February 1891. (From sketch by Bishop
Tucker in C. M. Gleaner, January 1892.)
. 5.. .
rhimias O NexU ttde- vrah.Alrayt a ;.!.
C.M S. CAMP AKN BUILD INJ YARD, BUKINCO, UKE EhWE.
IReproduced by courtesy of C.M.S.
Dhow Chimosi under construction on Ukerewe Island. (From Sketches of African Scenery by T. O'Neill, published b\
C.M.S. in 1878.)
C.M.S. BOATS IN EAST AFRICA 49
about 12 October.9 Dr. G. A. Fischer, seeking to relieve Dr. Junker, reached
Kageyi on 16 November 1885, and there heard from Stokes of his abortive
search for the Bishop. The Eleanor was about to depart for Uganda carrying
important mails from the Coast and the firm news of Stokes' failure to
contact the Bishop. Heeding Stokes' advice, Fischer decided not to go himself,
but to send two messengers with a letter to Mwanga; they arrived at Mengo
(Mwanga's new capital) on 29 November.
O'Flaherty obtained permission to leave before the end of December; he
probably travelled by the Eleanor, for she was back at Kageyi on 7 January
1886 with such unfavourable reports that Fischer abandoned any thought of
crossing to Uganda and marched up the east side of the Lake hoping in
Kavirondo to hear of Dr. Junker.
At last in May 1886 Dr. Junker, homeward bound after years of detention
in the Sudan, reached Buganda from the north and in July crossed the Lake
in the Eleanor. In her Ashe (August 1886) and Mackay (July 1887) withdrew
in succession from Uganda. She was by this time in poor condition "leaking
terribly", but by constant patching was kept in commission, so that in
October 1888 Cyril Gordon, Walker and the French Fathers, expelled by
Kiwewa's revolution, were able to escape in her, having been almost wrecked
at the start by a charging hippopotamus.
In April 1889, for reasons of policy, Mackay, now at Usambiro at the south
end of the Lake, refused the fugitive Mwanga's request for the use of the boat
in his attempt to reconquer his kingdom. But the Eleanor was in fact no
longer serviceable, and when, in August, Gordon and Walker set off from
Usambiro to join the expedition for the restoration of Mwanga, they crossed
the Lake in canoes. As noted below the Eleanor was broken up before the
end of 1889.
James Hannington I
When Ashe returned to England in January 1887 to press the claims of
the Uganda Mission he stressed the need for a new vessel on the Lake. By
September a substantial special fund had been subscribed, and a new boat
was ordered to "be constructed on Mr. Mackay's plans, for sailing, but if
possible to have an engine put into it which is already in Uganda" (C.M.I.
9 Somewhat of a stigma has fallen upon Stokes for failure to persist in search for the
Bishop. But as pointed out by Sir John Gray (U.J. 13 (1949), 12) the position of the
rendezvous 'Sendege', was at the time quite uncertain.
Sendege as the name of a prominent chief in Kavirondo was perhaps known at the
Coast before Joseph Thomson's journey of 1883-4, though it does not appear on
Stanley's 1875 map. Thomson did not reach the place, but on his map shows it vaguely
some distance south of the Equator. Hannington's first expressed intention was to pro-
ceed to Naivasha and then strike due west "over an unexplored district" (Gray, ibid,
p. 4, and Hannington's letter to C.M.S. of 7 May 1885 in Dawson's Life, p. 327). This
would have brought him to Lake Victoria near the present Shirati. Sendege is so located
on the map in Dawson's Life of Bishop Hannington, and this is doubtless the area to
which Stokes steered. It is quite improbable that Stokes was aiming at the mouth of the
Sio river or indeed any place north of the (then unknown) Kavirondo Gulf. He was
accordingly never other than inaccessibly remote from the route through northern
Kavirondo which Hannington eventually followed. Unfortunately an account by Stokes
of his own proceedings is lacking. Perhaps he gave up his quest about 20 October: at
that date Hannington was already approaching Luba's in Busoga.
50 UGANDA JOURNAL
1887, p. 570). This was the inception of what for some time was referred to
as the James Hannington.
The Arab Rebellion of 1888 doubtless delayed the transport of materials
from the Coast. Meanwhile Mackay at Usambiro was preparing for its con-
struction particularly cutting logs for planking.10 Fortunately all the Mission's
stock of machinery and tools which had been taken to Uganda had been sent
back to the south of the Lake before Mackay left Uganda in July 1887; and
in March 1889 he noted that "most of the loads of tools and boat fittings
[sc. for the James Hannington] have arrived safely [sc. from the Coast].
Some loads are still behind." (C.M.I. 1890, p. 19.)
By the end of 1889 Mackay could report that the three-cylinder steam engine
and two steam feed-pumps are now completely fitted, but the boiler was "a
more serious undertaking". This was probably the boiler belonging to the
Daisy for Mackay notes that its plates had been knocking about for 14 years
-they had in fact been transported to Uganda and back. Their 'best' quality
iron had become brittle. Mackay annealed each section on a tiny portable
forge and himself riveted the fire-box and outer shell (C.M.I. 1890, p. 360,
where Mackay specifically speaks of the James Hannington). This it is which
forms the memorial to Mackay erected at Usambiro in the 1920s by the good
offices of Mr. Zemmer of the Africa Inland Mission which is illustrated in
Tanganyika Notes and Records No. 7, June 1939.
Gabunga or Kulekwa
Mackay's long experience of Africa's frustrations doubtless warned him
that the assembly of the James Hannington might be long delayed, and he
set about providing a temporary boat for communications with Uganda.
This "a transformed canoe", was already taking shape when Stanley and
Emin passed through Usambiro in August 1889. Referred to by Mackay as
the Gabunga, she was about 50 feet long and 7 feet wide, "considerably
longer but somewhat narrower than the Eleanor," whose masts and sails were
to be utilized (C.M.I. 1890, pp. 360, 775: Stanley In Darkest Africa, ii, 392).
But she was still unfinished at Mackay's death on 8 February 1890.
When Walker from Uganda joined Deekes at Usambiro in May 1890 this
"temporary boat" was at last got into the water (C.M.I. 1890, p. 775). In July
she was sent across the Lake with supplies for Gordon, and in August Ernest
Gedge sailed her back to Usambiro. Gedge hoped to be able to return with
her to Uganda. But early in October, Walker, aware of the approach of
Bishop Tucker and his party from the Coast, and realizing that she would
then be impossibly overcrowded, and that, moreover, Mwanga must be
persuaded to provide additional canoes, went ahead in her to Uganda. The
voyage took 21 days (C.M.I. 1891, p. 897). Not till the end of November had
she returned to Usambiro to collect the waiting Bishop and his party. They
embarked-5 Europeans, men, boys and sailors "all squashed like sardines
in a box". Calling at Bukoba, where Emin Pasha received them with much
10 A table now in the vestry of Dodoma Cathedral is said to be made from the timber
prepared by Mackay (T.N. and R. No. 7 (June 1939), p. 47).
C.M.S. BOATS IN EAST AFRICA 51
kindness, they reached Munyonyo on 27 December 1890 (Harford-Battersby,
Pilkington, p. 117).
She was now known as the Kulekwa-the relevance of this name which
seems to be Luganda for 'to be left behind' is not very apparent. In her the
Bishop, after a month in Uganda, returned to the south of the Lake, reaching
Usambiro on 14 February 1891. An article by Sarah G. Stock, 'Afloat on
Lake Victoria', in C. M. Gleaner, 1892, pp. 4-6, deals briefly with the story
of the various C.M.S. craft on the Lake and reproduces a sketch of the
Kulekwa by Bishop Tucker (Fig. 2). But she did not long survive. For when,
in October 1891, Dr. Gaskoin Wright and W. Collins of the C.M.S. crossed to
Uganda they travelled in Stokes' boat" "the C.M.S. boat in which Bishop
Tucker crossed having been wrecked" (C.M.I. 1892, p. 293).
On 5 January 1890, a few weeks before his death, Mackay, writing to
Stanley from Usambiro, had noted that "Stokes' boat is, at the moment, the
only one on the Lake. The Eleanor I have cut up, as being too rotten for
further use, but I hope soon to launch the other boat [sc. Gabunga later
Kulekwa] which may do good service until I get the steam launch [sc. James
Hannington] afloat (Stanley, In Darkest Africa, ii, 391).
But the death of the master ship-builder brought progress to a standstill.
On 11 October 1890 Emin Pasha, writing to the German Imperial Com-
missioner notes that "an English steamer is lying unfinished at Usambiro.
Might we not purchase it?" (Schweitzer, Emin, ii, 107). Over a year later, 19
December 1891, Lugard learnt that she "still hung fire owing probably to
cost of carriage" (Perham and Bull, Lugard's Diaries, ii, 461). She seems
never to have been completed. Perhaps the hull was left to disintegrate and
the machinery-except the Daisy's boiler-removed, for the C.M.S. had
abandoned Usambiro early in 1891 and transferred their station to Nassa.12
James Hannington II
In the midst of the protracted discussion regarding the use of the 'Stanley
11 'Stokes' boat' had its own exciting story. She was a dhow perhaps built at the
Coast. Writing from Usambiro on 17 March 1889 Mackay remarks that "Stokes is at
present at Urima putting together a boat (about the same size as the Eleanor) which he
has brought up country". Mackay had lent his carpenters to help and had lately been
over to inspect the work and direct them in "screwing" the sections together (C.M.I. 1890,
p. 18). She was launched soon after. At the end of April Stokes, having agreed to help
Mwanga to regain his kingdom sailed across the Lake with Mwanga to Buddu. As related
by Sir John Gray, Stokes' boat played an important part in the campaign (U.J. 14(1950),
After the war she continued to cross and recross the Lake on Stokes' trading activities.
In February 1892 putting into the Sese islands on her way to Uganda she encountered
Mwanga, retreating after the Battle of Mengo. Regarding her as an auxiliary of Lugard
and the 'English' party, Mwanga looted the cargo, destroyed some C.M.S. mails and was
about to burn her and kill the crew when the German sergeant Kiihne from Bukoba
intervened. Twelve months later commanded by Captain Eric Smith, she took a sea-
worthy part in the attack on the Bavuma. She was probably still in use to transport to
Uganda the goods purchased from Stokes by Colonel Colvile in 1894. At this time Stokes
was closing down his business interests on Lake Victoria before setting out on the
journey which ended in his death in the Congo in January 1895.
12 The somewhat confusing sequence of C.M.S. stations at the south of the Lake,
Kageyi, Msalala, Usambiro, Nassa, is elucidated by S. Napier Bax, The Early Church
Missionary Society Missions in the Mwanza District (Tanganyika Notes and Records,
No. 7 (June 1939), pp. 39-58).
52 UGANDA JOURNAL
-Record' fund which is referred to below "the C.M.S. Committee, in view
of the need of readier communication on the Lake, have ordered a small steel
boat to be sent out at once, and this we hope, if all goes well, may be in
actual use before Christmas . It costs 200 besides freight" (C.M.I.
1891, p. 541). This boat seems also to have been given the name of James
Hannington; for Ashe on his way south in March 1893 met Hubbard of the
C.M.S. at Bukoba "bringing the new mission boat, the James Hannington, to
Uganda" (Ashe Chronicles, p. 416). She had no engine. Sir Gerald Portal, on
26 March 1893, came upon her at Munyonyo "C.M.S. steel boat, pretty good
-two masts, lug sails, and jib, small cabin for stowage forward and six oars
for calms". Later at Entebbe he "sailed mission boat for two hours in good
breeze but she is very slow, heavy and undersailed" (Portal, Mission to
Uganda, pp. 215, 232).
In October 1893 she was hired for the Uganda Government by Captain
Macdonald, who re-rigged her with the help of James Martin. She had
"proved rather a white elephant to the mission, more especially so after the
native skipper managed to fall overboard and get drowned". Macdonald
notes that "it had been completely fitted, even to possessing a beaker for
fresh water, but it could hardly be persuaded to move at all except in a
regular gale, so small was its sail area ... we converted it into a serviceable
yawl" (Macdonald. Soldiering and Surveying, pp. 302-3).
Little is heard of her thereafter. Perhaps she served the mission on
occasions, for on 1 April 1894 Pilkington writes that "R. H. Leakey came
back yesterday from South of Lake with 120 loads of books (a load is 70 lb.),
i.e. three and a half tons, 80o New Testaments, I only wish it were 8,000"
(Harford-Battersby Pilkington, pp. 231-2). But canoes seem to have been
used exclusively for the active missionary work carried out by Cyril Gordon
and Martin Hall among the Sese islands from 1895 until all collapsed with
the advent of sleeping sickness early in the new century. Year after year from
1896 she was hired by the Government. She is said to have approached Luba's
Fort when occupied by the mutineers in October 1897 and to have been fired
on (Martin Hall. In Full and Glad Surrender, p. 247), and was certainly used
for transport purposes during the Mutiny. Later, in December 1899, she was
employed in Hobley's Uyoma expedition. In 1900 she was manned by a cox
and seven seamen. As late as 1902 she is listed among the craft afloat on
Lake Victoria (Woodward. Precis of Information concerning the Uganda
Protectorate, War Office, p. 97). The Mission's need for a vessel on Lake
Victoria was now passing, for the railway from Mombasa to Kisumu had
come into use, and Nassa, the one outpost of the C.M.S. Uganda Mission at
the south of the Lake was declining in importance. At this point the James
Hannington II passes out of sight, and with her the immediate connexion of
the C.M.S. with 'little ships' on Lake Victoria comes to an end.
Grace or Glowworm
The Rev. Martin J. Hall was a member of the C.M.S. party (the first to
include ladies) which reached Uganda in 1895. Much of his service was among
the Sese islands. In May 1900 he received at Mengo a collapsible Berthon
C.M.S. BOATS IN EAST AFRICA 53
boat, 20 feet long, a present from friends in England. This had been four
years on the way out. He named her Grace but also speaks of her as
Glowworm. In June he sailed her successfully to Nassa. But returning she
capsized in a sudden storm near the Majita Channel on 15 August 1900 and
Hall was drowned.
When Martin Hall left England in 1895 he had, with a young lady of 19
whose name was Grace, an understanding which they hoped would lead on
to marriage during his first furlough. After her the boat was named. This is
not mentioned in his life, In Full and Glad Surrender By his Sister, published
in 1905, probably from consideration for Grace who was about to be married.
Glowworm was the name of a boat which he had sailed in England.
Although not strictly a C.M.S. boat some account of the Ruwenzori will
conveniently close the record. Stanley had been much impressed by Mackay
and his work at Usambiro. In the enthusiasm evoked by his return to
England from the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition early in 1890 he launched
an appeal, later taken up by the Record newspaper, for 5,000 to provide a
mission steamer for Lake Victoria. But the project was insufficiently thought
out, and the C.M.S., warned perhaps by experience of the first James
Hannington, felt that it could not prudently accept the Stanley-Record offer,
which involved the enormous cost of porterage from the Coast to the Lake,
and committed the Society to operating the steamer for other that missionary
purposes. Some years later the fund was handed over to the firm of Boustead,
Ridley and Company to subsidize their placing the steam-launch Ruwenzori
on the Lake, with understandings regarding her use for the Mission's needs.
She reached Entebbe on her first voyage from Mwanza, where she had been
constructed, on Christmas Eve 1896.
Sir Albert Cook gives some account of her doings (U.J. 4 (1936-7), 29;
Uganda Memories, p. 133), and he alone seems to have some kind words for
her-she carried him and the severely wounded F. J. (later Sir Frederick)
Jackson from Luba's to Kampala in November 1897. Otherwise the record
is a chorus of obloquy for her unreliability. Bishop Tucker describes a pas-
sage in her from Munyonyo to Nassa in October 1898. This took 13 days, the
boiler breaking down every few hours. His return by canoe, took only 11
days (Tucker. Eighteen Years, ii, 159). She was wrecked-a total loss-on
Dweru island early in 1900. "A miserable end to a miserable life of a
UGANDA'S LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE
By T. W. GEE
U GANDA is the heir of a tradition that first began when the British
settlers in Virginia were granted a Council in 1606.(1) Throughout the
long period which has since elapsed there has been throughout the Empire a
continuous process of devolution of authority to local legislatures. Uganda
was administered from 1902 to 1920 by her Governors without formally
constituted advisers. In 1920, however, provision was made for the setting
up of Executive and Legislative Councils by Order in Council, and thus began
a process of devolution of legislative and executive power to a locally consti-
tuted legislature, which is the main facet of British colonial policy in ensuring
the progressive evolution of a system of parliamentary democracy within the
territories under her tutelage.
The basis for the constitutional instruments by which the legislature is
established varies according to the manner in which the dependency was
acquired, i.e., whether it is a settled colony, a conquered or ceded colony or
a protected or mandated territory. Uganda, which is a protectorate, is not a
part of the Queen's dominions and is governed by the Foreign Jurisdiction
Act, 1890, and it is this law which empowers the Crown to extend its author-
ity over the people of Uganda. It does this by the issue of instruments in the
form of Orders in Council which are equivalent to action by the Government
of the day, since the Queen acts on the advice of Her Ministers.(2) The Order
in Council is the basic document, and usually is framed in a common form.(3)
It constitutes the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief and provides
for the Government of a territory, lays down boundaries, creates Legislative
and Executive Councils, authorizes the legislature to legislate, constitutes the
courts and reserves certain powers to the Crown. Thus the Order in Council
provides the outline of the constitution; the Royal Instructions fill in the
detail. They lay down the composition and define the powers of Legislative
and Executive Councils and enumerate the classes of bills which the Governor
is bound to reserve for Her Majesty's pleasure. As the Legislative Council
develops these instruments are amended from time to time. An important
change, such as the introduction of elections, will be effected by Order in
Council but the practice is that this will provide that qualification for member-
ship and the nature of the franchise are matters for local legislation, which
can be more easily amended.
Uganda's legislature was born without any great difficulty or fuss. African
interest was at that time concentrated on local administration and the small
European community was slow to ask for any official part in the direction of
the affairs of the Protectorate despite the lively example set by neighbours
1 Adapted from the Uganda Essay Competition, 1958.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE WARS 55
The first suggestion that there should be unofficial intervention in the
enactment of legislation was made as early as 1912 when the Uganda Herald
published a letter from a writer exasperated by what he considered to be a
series of rash, hasty and uncalled-for ordinances, and urging the formation of
a strong political association to keep a careful watch on the Government.(5)
It was not however until after the first World War that any progress was
made in this direction.
The first move came in a letter headed "Taxation and Representation"
addressed by the Uganda Chamber of Commerce to the Chief Secretary on
18 July 1919, asking if there were any proposals to form a Legislative or
Advisory Council in Uganda and indicating that it was the Chamber's general
view that the time had come when the community should have a voice in
the government of the country and more especially as regards revenue and
expenditure. There were at that time no such proposals; the Acting Chief
Secretary thought that the time was not then ripe for the council system to
be introduced. He preferred to continue to consult the public through ad hoc
bodies and to rely on the advance publication of bills for criticism before
enactment of legislation. On the other hand the Chief Justice, Mr. W. (later
Sir William) Morris Carter, thought otherwise. He believed it would be wise
to institute a legislative council before pressure was brought to bear to do
so and to start it on its career in a peaceful atmosphere. His advice was taken
by the Governor, Sir Robert Coryndon, who considered that pressure from
the public would increase, especially under post-war conditions. In the past
it had always been consulted with happy results but he did not believe that
it would remain satisfied with this for very long. Disregarding the smallness
of the non-African population and the disadvantages of the elaboration of the
legislative process, he informed the Chamber that he was prepared to submit
the question to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Uganda Planter's Association raised the same issue some two months
later in a resolution by their Vice-President, Major A. L. Renton, pointing
out the desirability of constituting a Legislative Council forthwith. The
immediate result was the address of a despatch to the Secretary of State on
the Governor's instructions, asking for Executive and Legislative Councils to
be set up. Lord Milner, Secretary of State for the Colonies, on receipt of this
despatch, sent a telegram in which he gave his approval in principle and
proposed discussion when the Governor arrived in the United Kingdom.
Sir Robert Coryndon envisaged a small Executive Council consisting of
the Governor as President, with the Chief Secretary, Treasurer, Attorney
General and Principal Medical Officer(6) as ex officio members; he proposed
to form the Legislative Council by adding to these, the Director of Public
Works, the Land Officer, and the Director of Agriculture and five unofficial,
two representing planting and cotton interests, two representing the Chamber
of Commerce and one Indian. An Order in Council was made on 17 May,
followed by Royal Instructions on 5 June 1920; these reached Uganda on
3 August and enabled both Councils to be set up. An Executive Council of
four ex officio members and the Governor was constituted as envisaged, with-
out unofficial membership. It was decided for the time being, that until
56 UGANDA JOURNAL
Legislative Council gained experience, to confine official membership to those
sitting in Executive Council. In order to preserve the official majority, only
three unofficial were appointed.(7) These instruments, which were not pub-
lished until 1921,(8) set out the formal machinery for the appointment of
members and the functioning of the two Councils, and were very similar to
those made in other British dependencies.
As is the practice, no limit was set on the membership of the Legislative
Council, which could comprise, in addition to the ex officio members, official
and unofficial(9) members appointed in pursuance of Royal Instructions in
each case. To provide for absences an arrangement was included for pro-
visionally appointing persons temporarily to be official(10) or unofficial(ll)
members. These appointments had to be reported immediately and were
subject to disallowance.(12) Provision was made for an extraordinary mem-
ber to be appointed whenever the Governor wished to obtain the advice of
any person within the Protectorate on matters of special importance.(13) The
quorum, including the Governor or member presiding, was three and a
division was taken by a majority of votes, the Governor having both an
original and casting vote. Standing Rules and Orders were framed to ensure
punctuality of attendance, convenient notice of meetings, maintenance of
order and method in the despatch of business and in the conduct of debates,
to secure due deliberation in the passing of ordinances, and to give notice
to private persons of ordinances intended to affect their interests.(14) These
instructions also required that minutes of the proceedings should be kept and
a copy sent to the Secretary of State. They reserved certain bills for the Royal
assent. As the amount of guidance actually provided to run the new Legis-
lature was very little, the approach was at times empirical. For instance on
the 16 August 1920, Sir Robert Coryndon minuted that he thought a total
membership of seven would be sufficient in the first year because business
would be quicker until the work and atmosphere of the Council had been
At the outset the Governor decided that two of the unofficial should
be Europeans, and the third an Indian chosen from three names put forward
by the Indian Association. He decided not to consult the Shia Ismailia Council
(i.e., the Ismaili Khojas or followers of the Aga Khan) but to assume that they
would be included in those put forward by the Indian Association, although
he recognized the jealousy existing between the two bodies. Accordingly on
28 August 1920, the Indian Association was invited to submit the names of
three persons able to understand and speak English well. At the same time
Major A. L. Renton, a planter at Mityana was offered membership.(15) The
Indian Association replied asking for further particulars about the composi-
tion and nature of the representation on the Council. They were told that
the proportion of Indians was not definitely fixed and might vary from time
to time, but that for the time being, one member was considered sufficient
for the Indian community in Uganda. This did not meet with the approval of
the Association which sent a telegram to the Secretary of State in September
1920 in protest. In it they requested "at least, if not more than, equal repre-
sentation with the Europeans", failing which they would decline to submit
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE WARS 57
names. The Governor told the Secretary of State that he was unable to accept
the principle of equality of representation because the number of literate
Indians was small and very few were able to speak or understand English.(16)
They had moreover practically no vested interest or knowledge of the
Northern and Western Provinces. It was therefore decided to carry on without
the Indians for the time being if no names were put forward, rather than to
concede parity between the two races, and the Association was given until
30 September to submit three names. A solution lay in the Governor appoint-
ing an Indian without consultation, and he did in fact consider offering
nomination to Mr. C. J. Amin, their leader, who, five years later, was to
become the first Indian member.
Meanwhile Dr. H. H. Hunter,(17) the senior member of the bar, and Mr.
H. E. Levis, the local manager of the British East Africa Corporation, were
appointed as the two European unofficial, who were selected for their
personal suitability, and not to represent any particular interests, and arrange-
ments were made to hold the first meeting of Legislative Council in Entebbe
on 23 March 1921. This resulted in strong reactions by the Indians. The
Associations in Kampala, Jinja and Mbale and the East African Indian
National Congress in Mombasa sent telegrams to the Secretary of State pro-
testing that the meeting was being held without Indian members and asking
for equal representation. Protest meetings were held, shops were closed and
a strike was observed. The Aga Khan community was reported to have taken
no part in these proceedings although later the Indian Association alleged
that it had.
An interesting note of protest was made at this time in a letter to the
Governor dated 21 March 1921, and signed by the Kabaka Daudi Chwa, his
Katikiro, Apolo Kagwa, and the Mugema 'Tofiro K.' signing for the
Omuwanika. In it they expressed their great anxiety about the extent of the
new Council's power with regard to Buganda, fearing that Buganda interests
would not receive the same consideration as hitherto, as the new Council
would be concerned with the whole Protectorate. An assurance was sought
that the Uganda Agreement, 1900, would not be affected in any way, and that
the interests of natives of the Protectorate would be safeguarded. A suit-
able assurance was sent to the Kabaka to the effect that the establishment of
this Council in Uganda would not in any way prejudice or interfere with the
terms of the Uganda Agreement of 1900.
The Indian Association returned to the attack and on 16 May 1921 sent
a long petition to the Secretary of State, arguing the case for equal represen-
tation with Europeans on the basis of population figures,(18) intelligence,(19)
capital investment in the territory and as citizens of the Empire claiming to
enjoy equal rights.
By this time the Secretary of State for India, who had also been sent pro-
tests by the Associations, had been brought into the dispute. He was con-
cerned that no differentiation between races should be made and explained
that the Government of India had asked that, in the event of the principle
of elective representation being subsequently admitted, there should be a
common electoral roll and a common franchise for all British subjects in
58 UGANDA JOURNAL
Uganda. The concern shown by the India Office was understandable because
any extension of racial feeling in East Africa, already strong in Kenya, was
bound to have repercussions in India where there were sufficient problems of
this nature to be faced. However, no great pressure was brought to bear from
this quarter, and the Secretary of State for the Colonies continued to support
the stand taken by the Governor; protests addressed to the Secretary of State
for India were answered saying that the Indian Community was advised to
co-operate in the Council as then constituted without prejudice to further
consideration of equal representation. It was explained that the position
stemmed from the smaller number of Indians having sufficient educational
qualifications and status and that differentiation had not been adopted as a
principle. This assertion was not accepted and demands were made for a
qualitative franchise to establish the extent of a qualified Indian electorate,
seats to be awarded on the results. Had this principle been conceded no
doubt African participation would have been sought after much sooner; by
then the realization of the full consequences of building a Council representa-
tive of the various interests, both racial and commercial, was becoming clear.
There were for example a number of different Indian Associations, and it
was no longer easy for Government to negotiate with them all; nor could
they all be represented as this would make the Council too large and unwieldy.
The question of segregation which had for some time troubled India and
Kenya, now threatened Uganda, and it was suggested by the Secretary of
State that these difficulties of representation were arising from an unexpected
and uncalled-for extension of the segregation policy to Uganda. This exten-
sion had been announced by the Governor at a public meeting in Kampala
on 9 August 1920, and was published in the local press. The Indian Associa-
tions showed the strongest disapproval and argued for a reconsideration of
this policy and the appointment of a Royal Commission, but the squabble
dragged on ineffectively.
Meanwhile in 1922 the Uganda Planters' Association, which was among
the first to suggest the creation of the Council, forwarded resolutions expres-
sing its disappointment that the producing interests were not represented, and
suggested that the Director of Agriculture be added to the Council. An assur-
ance of sympathetic consideration was given, both on this occasion and in
1925 when the Uganda Cotton Ginners' Association advocated the representa-
tion of the ginning industry.
Shortly after the arrival of Sir William Gowers in 1925, the Directors of
Agriculture and Education were appointed official members of the Council;
then a little later Royal Instructions issued adding them as ex officio members
of both Executive and Legislative Councils. At the same time the 'Principal
Medical Officer' was renamed the 'Director of Medical and Sanitary Services'.
The new Governor then addressed his attention to the Indian problem, which
had become a dormant issue. He recognized that the original concept was an
unofficial side having four members to represent 'interests' and 'race'; as
Indians were participating in all the 'interests' he doubted whether it was
necessary to represent 'race' and proposed, if the Indians raised the subject
again, to point out that the Secretary of State had laid down nothing as to
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE WARS
the racial composition of the Council and that the Governor was free to
nominate the persons he thought best qualified to serve, irrespective of race.
Eventually Indian participation was obtained when the Governor re-opened
discussions in October 1925 with their leader, Mr. C. J. Amin, a barrister-at-
law, not on the basis desired by the latter, but on the assurance that the
acceptance of one seat would not prejudice their claims to increased repre-
sentation in the future. Accordingly, the Central Council of Indian Associa-
tions in Uganda forwarded Mr. Amin's name and on 25 March 1926 the first
Indian was appointed to Legislative Council.
During this period various Europeans had been appointed as temporary
members to fill leave vacancies. These included a banker, several planters,
an insurance manager and the General Manager of the Uganda Company,
which was to prove a ready source of unofficial.
The Indians were quick to follow up their claims for equal representation,
relying on earlier arguments and the warm tribute given in a speech by the
Governor welcoming Mr. Amin to the Council, when rather surprisingly he
referred to him as "a representative of the Indian community". The Secretary
of State replied early in 1927 that unofficial appointments were personal and
not representative of any particular race or specific interest. This was in
accordance with the terms of the 1920 Order in Council, and there the issue
rested in this inconclusive fashion until 1931.
Difficulties arose when Mr. Amin's three-year term of office expired in
1929 and the Central Council asked that on re-appointment he should
definitely be regarded as representative of the Indian community, a condition
unacceptable to the Governor. For some months Mr. Amin refused to accept
nomination on a purely personal basis but later accepted after further con-
sultation with the Central Council. During the interval of the vacancy the
possibility of appointing a third European from the Eastern Province was
entertained with a view to bringing in persons not resident solely in Kampala.
The Joint Select Committee on Closer Union in East Africa (1930-31)
addressed itself to the general problem, and the Chief Secretary, Mr. P. W.
Perryman, gave evidence that in his personal view there should be a second
Indian on Legislative Council; there were, moreover, sufficient Government
anembers on the Council for an increase to be made on the unofficial side.
These arguments did not persuade Sir William Gowers to change his views.
In reply he referred to the report of the Joint Select Committee to support
his argument that unofficial were advisory where the Council had an official
majority, and therefore not representative. If they were, he argued, then it
'would be necessary for the 3 million natives to be better represented,
possibly by bringing the four Provincial Commissioners on to the Council.
Equal representation was again refused.
Although the Joint Parliamentary Committee was primarily concerned with
closer union of the East African territories the fundamental question of the
relationship of the native authorities and the Central Government in Uganda
was raised in connection with the former's opposition to any form of federa-
tion. Mr. S. W. Kulubya giving evidence(20) said that the Baganda did not
want representation on Legislative Council because they had "their own
constitutions" and if they were given one or two representatives, would be out-
voted by the majority and then it would be difficult for Buganda to re-open
matters passed through Legislative Council which they were then able to do
by approaching the Secretary of State. The existing policy, outlined by Mr.
Perryman in his evidence,(21) was to develop the native social and political
institutions on native lines and later, when these were no longer an adequate
outlet for the more intelligent, more capable and more civilized natives, to
give them a share in the Central Government, if they so wished. He con-
sidered that the next step was to set up Provincial Councils and possibly a
Central Native Council for the Protectorate before giving natives the vote
and having them in Legislative Council. He claimed that there were no
demands for any drastic changes in the composition of Legislative Council.
He told the Committee that there was consultation with the Lukiko and
Provincial Commissioners before legislation was enacted. The year pre-
viously the Provincial Commissioner, Buganda, had been brought on to
Executive Council to secure a more complete representation of native interests
and later, in 1934, the Provincial Commissioner, Eastern Province, was made
a member. It was not therefore thought necessary at that time to appoint
these officers to sit on Legislative Council. Mr. Perryman recognized, however,
that if the Indian demand for a common roll was to be granted, then it would
not be possible to exclude natives from Legislative Council,(22) but he was
not in favour of using the proposed Provincial Councils as a means for send-
ing representatives to Legislative Council in the near future.
In this situation where both the Government and the unofficial community
supported the reluctance of natives themselves to participate in Legislative
Council, nothing was done. The policy of developing native institutions was
widely accepted and the opportunity which then presented itself for building
up the authority and prestige of the Central Government was missed. Sir
Donald Cameron(23) envisaged "two entirely separate centres of legislation
in Uganda", a non-native Legislative Council and a Central Native Council,
legislation to be passed by both; this he saw as a device both to keep the
natives out of Legislative Council and to prevent the white vote being
The evidence given on behalf of the Asians indicated that they wanted
equal representation and if possible elective representation on a common roll
with some reservation of seats for minority communities.(24) Their spokes-
man alleged that despite assurances that the existing form of representation
was personal not communal, the appointment of leave reliefs always of the
same race indicated that this was not so. He saw no objection to natives being
permitted to come into Legislative Council provided they came in on a
common roll; if not, then the existing system of nomination was to be pre-
ferred.(25) This view was not shared by the European spokesmen who
opposed elective representation as this would disturb Indian-European
relations which were good and would also raise the question of native
Sir Bernard Bourdillon succeeded Sir William Gowers at the end of 1932,
and the Central Council of Indian Associations very quickly re-opened its
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE WARS 61
case with the new Governor for a second member. This time it was successful
and Mr. S. H. Shah was appointed (although only temporarily) as an unofficial
member on 31 July 1933. The background to this change of policy is of
Sir William Gowers had reserved for the new Governor the question of
re-appointing Mr. Amin for a third term of office. By this time several in-
teresting issues had arisen. The principle of making appointments to represent
all public interests was now accepted. This had been reinforced by the fact
that unofficial, regardless of race, had for the past eleven and a half years
always voted together, except on one occasion when a European member
voted with the Government in favour of the Native Produce Marketing
Ordinance.(28) The storm over this incident gave rise to consideration of yet
another principle: whether unofficial, because of the consultations that took
place over their selection and nomination, were delegates of the bodies con-
sulted or representative of the entire public, free to express their own views.
The Uganda Herald of 16 June 1932, reporting the proceedings of the Eastern
Province Chamber of Commerce, records that the Chamber noted Mr.
Reynolds' action with regret and hoped he would in future put forward the
views of the commercial community whom he represented, and not his own.
This suggestion produced a sharp riposte from Sir William Gowers, who
made it clear that the Chamber's attitude was misconceived. Sir Bernard
Bourdillon also made it clear from the outset that it was he who made the
appointments and in consulting public bodies was only asking for advice,
no more. However, he wished unofficial to be definitely representative of
certain races and interests; he saw the distinction to be as between elected
and nominated members. In fact the elected member, so long as he retains
his seat, is as free as a nominated member to express his views if there is no
power of recall.
The agreement to appoint a second Indian member was given publicity in
a question in the House of Commons on 14 June 1933. The answer made the
point that the Uganda constitution did not provide for representation of
different sections of the community and that it was in the interests of the
Protectorate generally to have the advice of a second Indian member. The
appointment was preceded by an unhappy dispute within the Indian Com-
munity between the supporters of an Eastern Province candidate, Mr. J. C.
Patel, and those from Buganda, particularly Kampala, who favoured Mr.
S. H. Shah. Separate meetings were held to consider likely candidates and
each side sent its own nominee. In view of support for Mr. Shah in other
quarters the Governor selected him for the seat.
Another principle then under consideration was the simple one of whether
third terms were desirable. The view was held that periods of appointment
should be limited to three three-year periods at most, in order to extend
political experience among the non-native population and to avoid the
creation of vested interests. Dr. Hunter was dropped after three terms and
it was eventually decided to drop Mr. Amin after only two, unless it was the
wish of the Central Council of Indian Associations that he should be re-
appointed. As it was not, Mr. C. P. Dalal (who had served as a temporary
62 UGANDA JOURNAL
unofficial member in 1926 and 1930) of Messrs. Narandas Rajaram and Co.,
was put forward in his place, and appointed.
The problem of replacing Dr. Hunter had also to be solved. The Governor
was informed that no formal consultation had taken place previously in
selecting European unofficial and indeed there was only one European
unofficial body, namely, the Uganda Planters' Association. Accordingly the
Governor discussed his successor with Dr. Hunter, but no one was appointed
A new departure came in 1935 when the names put forward by the Central
Council of Indian Associations were referred to the Provincial Commissioners,
Buganda and Eastern Provinces, for their observations. By this time the split
in the Council had been healed, the Governor having made it clear that
representation would be neither geographical nor communal.
With the arrival in Uganda of Sir Philip Mitchell to succeed Sir Bernard
Bourdillon in October 1935, the composition of Legislative Council received
further examination. The new Governor believed it was inconveniently small
and wished to add to it the Director of Public Works (the head of the largest
spending department), the head of the Land and Survey Department, and
the Provincial Commissioners, Buganda and Eastern Provinces (so as to
reinforce the Administration's representation). To the unofficial side he con-
templated the addition of a miner from the Western Province and a lawyer.
He wished to add four in all including possibly one African. The European
unofficial were sounded on this proposal. They both agreed with the need to
expand the size of the Council, in particular because of the need to represent
adequately the unofficial view, especially when one member might be absent.
The need to spread representation among the various interests was advocated;
the point was made that at that time (January 1936) three members had
cotton interests and a fourth was a banker; during the previous month the
unofficial had comprised two doctors, a banker and a cotton man. African
representation was not, however, thought to be timely; one of the unofficial
thought that a European missionary should be called in (on the Kenya
pattern) to care for African interests, and another that an African's presence
"would considerably curb criticism of Government that might otherwise be
put by unofficial members". The possibility of having to include an additional
Indian was recognized, but it was felt that individuals should be chosen for
their personal qualities rather than to represent specific interests, although
this was to be borne in mind. Eventually the Governor's proposals were
dropped and no further action was taken until the end of World War II,
although there were two war-time motions in Legislative Council asking
Government to give early consideration to enlarging unofficial representation
on the Council and also urgent consideration to the appointment of unofficial
to Executive Council.
Thus the foundations were laid in the inter-war years for a series of rapid
and important constitutional changes, including the gradual Africanization
of the Legislative Council, which began as soon as World War II had ended.
It is easy to criticize the failure to introduce African membership at an
earlier stage in the realization now that a legislature representative of all the
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BETWEEN THE WARS 63
different tribes of Uganda would have done much to unify the country at an
important formative stage. On the other hand, there was, before 1939, a sense
of abundant time and little or no indication of the new climate of opinion for
rapid change which was to develop after 1945 into a tide sweeping many
dependent territories towards self-government.
SOURCES AND NOTES
Secretariat Minute Papers, Minutes of Legislative Council, 1921-31, Verbatim
Reports of Legislative Council, 6th-20th Sessions (1925-41) and other sources
referred to in the following notes:
(1) Hailey, Lord, An African Survey, Revised 1956, p. 261.
(2) Ibid. p. 261.
(3) Wight, M. The Development of the Legislative Council, 1606-1945, 1946, 143.
(4) Ingham, K. The Making of Modern Uganda, 1958, 172.
(5) Ibid. 172.
(6) Ibid. 173.
(7) Hancock, W. K., Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, 1942. Vol. i, 218
states that Lord Milner, without consulting the India Office, had taken steps
to apply principles adopted with regard to racial representation in Kenya,
mutatis mutandis, to the Uganda Protectorate.
(8) Uganda Official Gazette of 3/1/21, General Notices Nos. 1 and 2 of 1921.
The delay was necessary because otherwise no fresh legislation could have
been introduced, except by a meeting of Legislative Council, once the
Instruments were published.
(9) Royal Instructions, dated 5/6/20. Clause XV.
(10) Ibid. Clause XVI.
(11) Ibid. Clause XVIII.
(12) Ibid. Clause XIX. This arrangement was essential where persons were proceed-
ing on leave frequently and communications were poor.
(13) Ibid. Clause XX. The General Manager, Kenya and Uganda Railways, was
always appointed in this way for the discussion of the Railway's Annual
(14) Ibid. Clause XXVII.
(15) After a protracted correspondence, Major Renton was obliged to decline this
offer because of his absences for some six months every year in the United
(16) Ingham, op. cit., 175, states that Sir Robert Coryndon tended to confuse the
ability to understand and speak English with literacy.
(17) Dr. Hunter, in a memorandum to the Joint Select Committee on Closer Union
(vol. iii, 30 of the printed Report) claimed that before the inauguration of
Legislative Council, he used to be consulted on proposed legislation and that
the Indians paid him the compliment, when they had no representative on
Legislative Council, that they considered he would look after their interests.
He also said that he represented the Uganda and Eastern Province Chambers
of Commerce on the Council.
(18) Indians 3,518, Europeans 809 (including 484 Government servants), see
East African Year Book, 1919.
(19) They claimed they were shrewd, tactful, clever and could satisfy a fair
64 UGANDA JOURNAL
(20) See the Joint Select Committee Report on Closer Union in East Africa, Report
and Minutes, vol. ii, minutes 5793, 5934-5.
(21) Ibid. Minutes 8934, 9034-5.
(22) Ibid. Minutes 9097, 9246, 9230 and 9234.
(23) Ibid. Minute 8984.
(24) Ibid. Minutes 7579, 7584-6 and 7853-7.
(25) Ibid. Minute 7641.
(26) Ibid. Minute 2973.
(27) Ibid. Minute 3131.
(28) The Hon. F. D. Reynolds on 19/8/32 (see summary of Proceedings of Uganda
Legislative Council, 11th Session).
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI,
MUBENDE DISTRICT, IN 1898
By SIR JOHN GRAY
THROUGH the kindness of the Rev. Father F. B. Gaffney, a former
President of the Uganda Society, and the Rev. Father R. Lefebrve, Vicar
General of the Diocese of Rubaga, I was supplied some years ago with copies
of letters addressed by the late Archbishop Streicher and the late Father
Simon Moullec to Monseigneur Ldon Livinhac, Superior General of the
White Fathers' Mission, regarding two sieges of the Catholic Mission at
Bukumi in Bugangadzi at the time of the Sudanese mutiny in 1898. The
original letters are in French and I am responsible for the English translations
with all their attendant imperfections. Immediately after the second siege
Father Moullec sent an account to Father Roche at Fort Portal. He also wrote
some notes, which are now at the White Fathers' Mission at Rubaga, but I
understand that they are not very legible and so have not been translated.
I have no information as to whether the letter to Father Roche is still extant.
The two letters here translated will speak for themselves, but a few intro-
ductory remarks may not be out of place.
The Mission station at Bukumi was founded in May 1894 by Fathers Achte
and Houssin shortly after Colonel Colvile had announced the annexation of
Bugangadzi and other parts of the kingdom of Bunyoro to Buganda. The
land was given to the Mission by Kikukule, who had been chief of the
district under Kabarega and had been deposed in favour of the Muganda
chief Sepiriya Mutagwanya, then county chief of Buwekula. Kikukule
naturally resented his supersession by a Muganda and when a suitable oppor-
tunity offered, he was ready to renounce his new-found allegiance and
endeavour to regain his own. Achte had no illusions regarding his trust-
worthiness and took what was to prove the wise precaution of constructing
the new station so that it could soon be converted into a place of defence.
In 1896 another station was established to the north-west of Bukumi at
Bujuni in Buyaga by Fathers Toulze and Gacon. It would appear that at the
time of the first siege of Bukumi this station was in charge of an African
catechist. According to a list compiled by the White Fathers in 1900, this site
was "received from Mwanga and Mr. Berkeley (then Acting Commissioner of
Henri Streicher had been consecrated Vicar Apostolic of Nyanza in 1897.
In May of that year he had given timely warning to George Wilson, then
Acting Commissioner, of a projected rising by a certain number of Baganda
chiefs. Wilson was thereby enabled to nip the conspiracy in the bud by
arresting certain of the conspirators, but on 6 July 1897, Kabaka Mwanga
made a hurried flight from his capital. Aware that many of the Catholic
Baganda were still labouring under a sense of grievance, he had hoped to
raise the standard of revolt in Buddu. But only a very few weeks before
66 UGANDA JOURNAL
Bishop Streicher had been visiting that saza. He had realized the existence
of this unrest and had exerted all his influence to warn his flock against the
danger of associating with any such uprising. The result was that only a few
Catholics joined Mwanga, whilst a very large number of them, under the
leadership of Stanislas Mugwanya, assisted Major Ternan in the operations
which led to the defeat of the rebels at Kabuwoko in Buddu on 20 July 1897
and the flight of Mwanga to German territory.
But the danger from this quarter was only temporarily allayed. After the
outbreak of the Sudanese mutiny Mwanga escaped into Ankole from German
East Africa, collected a large force of malcontents and set out to join hands
with the Sudanese mutineers after they had evacuated Luba's fort in Busoga
and begun to make their way towards the north-east. It was at this stage of
events that Bishop Streicher set out from Rubaga to visit Bukumi. He must be
left to give his own account of what followed, but a word or two must be said
about the military situation as it was at the time he started on this journey.
At headquarters it had been quickly realized that all steps possible must
be taken to prevent Mwanga from joining up with the mutineers, but for the
moment the loyal Protectorate forces were numerically hopelessly inadequate
for that purpose. Captain Sitwell at Fort Portal and Captain Kirkpatrick at
Masaka were instructed to rendezvous and to endeavour to prevent the junc-
tion of the two forces. By the time that these instructions reached them it was
too late to head Mwanga's forces off. All that Sitwell and Kirkpatrick could
do was to try to overtake them and to inflict such casualties as would prevent
or deter them from proceeding towards their objective.
On 4 March 1898 the Protectorate forces saw part of the enemy rear-
guard a mile away in the act of crossing the Katonga river. Sitwell opened fire
with a maxim, but was unable to prevent them from crossing, though they
were forced to abandon much of their baggage. Some Baganda sent out as
scouts failed to get in touch with the enemy. All that he could learn was that
Mwanga's forces had crossed the Katonga in three different places and that
he had since divided his forces into two. One party was heading for
Bugangadzi with all the prisoners and booty which they had been able to
secure and the other was endeavouring to join up with the mutineers. Each
party was said to be 400 strong.
Sitwell was in a difficult position. He had to secure Buddu from invasion
and at the same time to keep touch with the hostile forces which had crossed
the Katonga. The information brought by his Baganda scouts was meagre
and conflicting. To have attempted to contact those of the enemy, who had
crossed the Katonga, might have led him off on a wild-goose chase and have
exposed Buddu to the danger of invasion. He therefore halted at Kawanga
and sent a messenger to headquarters at Kampala for further instructions.
On 7 March some Batoro scouts came in with the information that the
enemy were heading for the Bugoma forest in Bunyoro. Sitwell realized that
they would in all probability make for Bukumi en route. He may not at this
time have been aware that the Bishop was at Bukumi, but he did know that
there were other missionaries on the station and he conceived it to be his
duty to give them protection. He accordingly despatched Kitunzi (Sitefano
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 67
Kalibwane), Mukwenda (Paulo Nsubuga) and Kyambalango (Firidina
Mubanga) with some armed Baganda to reinforce Luwekula (Sepiriya
Mutagwanya) at Kaweri with orders to proceed to the defence of Bukumi and
then to return and guard the north bank of the Katonga.
As no instructions had been received from Kampala by 10 March Sitwell
decided to send Kirkpatrick back with his party to defend Buddu and to
proceed himself to Bukumi. He took with him sixty Sudanese belonging to the
garrison at Fort Portal, who remained loyal throughout the rebellion, a
maxim, and two hundred Baganda and Batoro.
The events of the next three days are best given in Sitwell's own words:
Friday llth-... No certain news about Mwanga. Heard from French
Catholic bishop that all round Bukumi was in rebellion. Decided to start
Saturday 12th-Rain all morning. Left camp at 6.45. Marched north with
rests. Crossed Musisi river. Received letter from Bishop begging for help.
Halted 7 to 9 p.m. Went on up to 1 a.m. Heavy rain. Guide lost his way. All
got into 2 huts.
Sunday 13th-Left resting place at 5.30 a.m. Crossed Nkusi river. Reached
Bukumi at 10 a.m. Distance about 45 miles. Ordinary marches Nyarisamba
to Kiwalinga 7 hours, Kiwalinga to Tendara 7- hours, Tendara to Bukumi
51 hours. Everyone very tired. Found Bishop and party. Enemy miles away.
As Bishop Streicher's letter shows, on 11 March a sortie under the leader-
ship of Noli Mujoga had suffered a number of casualties in an ambush, but
the timely arrival of Luwekula with some two hundred men had put the
enemy to flight. After this no further assault was launched against Bukumi.
The enemy contented themselves with attacking and burning Luwekula's
headquarters at Kaweri near Mubende. After Sitwell's arrival they withdrew
On 14 March Sitwell was joined at Bukumi by a column commanded by
Major C. H. U. Price, who thereafter took charge of operations. Price had
arrived from the coast at Kampala with 75 men of the 1st Bombay Infantry.
Two days before his arrival news of the enemies' appearance at Bukumi had
reached George Wilson, who was then Acting Commissioner, and an urgent
message had been sent to Price to hurry. When he wrote to Lord Salisbury on
16 March Wilson had this to say regarding Bishop Streicher's visit to
"I was much concerned to learn that the Head of the Mission had paid an
untimely visit to Bukumi station mentioned above, of which I had not been
aware, although I had found it necessary some time ago on account of
previous unauthorized journeys during disturbed periods to warn the Missions
that, unless I was informed of all intended movements by their members, I
could not undertake to have proper precautions taken for their safety. Fortu-
nately, the station was not actually molested, the enemy having passed north-
wards, but the incident tended to embarrass the military operations at an
Several comments may be made upon Wilson's despatch. In the first place,
the statement that "this station was not actually molested" was, as Bishop
68 UGANDA JOURNAL
Streicher's letter shows, inaccurate. Secondly, conceding that the Bishop ought
to have informed Wilson of his intended journey, the fact remains that the
Bishop must have been well aware that he undertook the journey at his own
risk. Thirdly, it was not true to say that this visit to Bukumi "tended to
embarrass the military operations at an awkward moment". Major Macdonald,
who was in supreme command of the Protectorate forces, had for his main
object at this moment the taking of all necessary measures to prevent
Mwanga's forces from joining up with the mutineers, and Bugangadzi inevi-
tably formed part of the theatre of such operations. Finally, even if Wilson
had been able to dissuade Bishop Streicher from undertaking this journey,
there were at Bukumi, as Wilson must have been well aware, two White
Fathers and a lay brother, who were entitled to the same protection as was
eventually given to the Bishop.
As official correspondence shows, letters were at this date constantly com-
ing into Protectorate headquarters from out-stations informing the Acting
Commissioner that the inhabitants in outlying districts were wavering, not
from motives of disloyalty, but from fear that, if the rebels came their way,
they would get no protection from the Uganda Administration. Most of the
officers in those stations were single-handed and could do little or nothing
to allay those fears by touring their districts. Neither Bishop Streicher nor
any of his clergy deliberately courted danger, but the quiet and unostentatious
way in which they went about the performance of their duties in more than
one unsettled area did much to dispel misgivings and to restore confidence.
To the hard-pressed Uganda Administration their labours were of real value.
Major Price and his contingent spent only two days in Kampala. On
8 March he set out for Bukumi with five European officers, a maxim, 70
men of the Bombay Infantry, 100 Swahili and 200 Baganda guns. As the
crow flies, Bukumi is over 100 miles from Kampala. A number of swamps
had to be crossed before the column could reach its destination. It eventually
took six days to reach Bukumi. By that time the threat to the station had
Dividing his force into three columns, Price began a drive to the north of
Bukumi, but part of Mwanga's forces-and Mwanga himself-managed to
pass round, or in between, those columns and effect a junction with the
fugitive Kabarega and the Sudanese mutineers in Acholiland.
At the conclusion of these operations a military post was established near
Luwekula's headquarters at Kaweri. It was placed under the command of
Captain Fisher, and it was hoped that its garrison would be able to give some
protection to Bukumi in the event of further trouble.
As Simon Moullec's letter to Monseigneur Livinhac shows, such trouble
did occur in the following November, when Bukumi was closely invested by
a rebel force for three days. Official correspondence throws little light on the
events which led up to this recrudescence of trouble. On 14 February 1899,
the Director of Military Intelligence at the War Office informed the Under
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that "it is understood from a private
letter which has just reached England, that the mutineers (strength, about 200
Soudanese and 500 Waganda) were on the 8 November last concentrated at
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 69
Kikakure in the extreme south of Unyoro. Serious difficulties may therefore
arise before this band is finally overthrown." Sitwell's diary shows that on
11 November 1898 a report reached Fort Portal "that the mission station at
Bukumi had been attacked by mutineers and after three days' fighting taken
and burnt". On the following day, however, "Pere Roche came up. Had heard
from Pere Moullec that Bukumi had been attacked on the 5th, 6th and 7th
by 330 mutineers and 600 Waganda, that they were beaten off, and were
dispersed in Luwekula's and Unyoro, that two deserters who came in said
they wanted to make a boma at Kawanga or Kamtumi." On 14 November
Captain J. A. Meldon wrote to Sitwell "saying he had reached Bukumi, that
mutineers 300 strong and about 1,200 Waganda were at Fort Grant, and were
looting all round, that 20 Sudanese and 200 Waganda had gone to Ankole
to find Gabriel (Mwanga's Muganda Mujasi or commander-in-chief)". An
entry in Sitwell's diary of 28 November and a diary enclosed in a despatch
from Colonel Ternan to Lord Lansdowne, dated 27 December 1898, show
that by the end of November a force commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel A. H.
Coles had successfully driven the enemy out of Bugangadzi.
In his Basekabaka, p. 273, Sir Apolo Kagwa informs us that on 12 Novem-
ber he received a letter from Daudi Omutalemwa informing him that "the
Nubis attacked us in the fort at Bukumi and we fought with them on 8
November and we drove them off and they killed three of our people,
Omulongosa, a peasant and a woman and wounded two others. We fought
hard with them until evening and we killed five of them. Inside the fort there
were thirty Baganda soldiers, under the command of Musa Mudduagonda,
and Luwekula Sepiriya and a small number of his guns."
Either Sir Apolo has made a mistake in transcribing the contents of this
letter or else his informant has erred; for the date of the final assault on
Bukumi was 7 November and not 8 November. As may be realized, none of
these contemporaneous records are as full as could be wished. Accordingly
Simon Moullec must be allowed to tell his own story.
Early in 1899 Captain C. A. Sykes of the Uganda Rifles was detailed to
construct a fort at Kaweri near Mubende. On his way he visited the Fathers
at Bukumi. "I stayed there two days and had all my meals with them, and
very much enjoyed their society. They were full of praise for the British
officers, who had saved them and their mission from calamity. They had
erected a rough fortification around their home One of them had served
formerly in the Chasseurs d'Afrique, and, perhaps from him came the bastions
and quaint corners in the fort" (Sykes. Service and Sport on the Tropical Nile).
According to my information Father Moullec was never a chasseur
d'Afrique, as is suggested in Uganda J. 17 (1953), 66. It would appear there-
fore that Brother Dominique, who was at Bukumi during both sieges, is the
person whom Captain Sykes refers to as a former member of that distinguish-
ed corps. Father Van Wees, present at the first siege, had been replaced by
Father Selles before the second siege.
Both our letter-writers lived on into more peaceful times. Father Moullec
died at Rubaga on 2 June 1924 and Archbishop Streicher at Villa Maria on
7 June 1952.
70 UGANDA JOURNAL
LETTER FROM MGR. STREICHER TO MGR. LIVINHAC
from St. Mary of Rubaga at Bukumi (Bunyoro).
... It was on the 13 February 1898 that I set out for Our Lady of Protection.
Twenty Banyoro neophytes, who had come from Bukumi to look for me, carried
the supplies, which were destined for the two stations which I had to visit. Because
of the troubled times, good Stanislas Mugwanya, Katikiro of the Catholics, com-
pelled me to take an escort composed of four stout fellows, who bring the number
of persons in our caravan up to 30.
Between St. Mary of Rubaga and Bukumi the stages are long and difficult. They
are long because one does not pitch one's tent wherever one wishes. The Protestant
province of Singo, which one has to cross in four days from east to west, is like a
desert, not of sand but of brambles. Scattered about are occasional villages, which
are oases. It requires five to seven hours to find a kyalo. And what a kyalo! The
banana plantations are uncultivated and the warm ashes of the houses, which
have been recently burnt, prove that the province has not escaped the revolution,
which has turned Buganda upside down.
I have only seen one of all the previous chiefs whom I found on my way during
my first journey (September 1896). They have joined Mwanga's revolt and been
replaced by others, whom one hopes will be more faithful to the Government of
the Queen. The stages (of the journey) are difficult because after the second camp
there is in many places no foot-track! For the last eight months everything has
come to a standstill in Buganda and not a single mattock has been applied to what
was the public way. In addition, they have been invaded by long grass and bramble
bushes. Every now and then there is a miry swamp to cross, which at times is just a
plain transformed into a quagmire. Three of the most offensive swamps require
more than an hour to cross from one side to the other, for the bottom is covered
with decaying matter of every description. The water and the scum come up to
the breast and the forest of papyrus, through which one has to force a passage,
makes the going slow and difficult.
At the end of each of these journeys the tent is pitched, I change my clothing
which is covered with mire, I recite my breviary and spend the rest of the evening
in consoling and encouraging the catechumens of the district. All the country
through which I pass is handed over to the Protestants, But in many of these places
the Catholic catechumens outnumber them. At the end of a journey of seven days,
in the course of which I baptized eight small children and attended to a number of
sick, I caught sight of Bukumi. One hour before reaching the mission I met dear
Father Van Wees surrounded by a hundred neophytes, most of them timid
Banyoro, who, having never before seen a Bishop, hesitate to approach me and
kept their eyes set on my pectoral cross which glittered in the rays of a burning
sun. Most of the crowd of neophytes and catechumens, led by Father Moullec,
Superior of the Mission, received me at some distance from the station with
demonstrations of noisy joy, the outburst of which, it is true, had something wild
about it, but which, plainly coming from the heart, gives a missionary the assur-
ance that he is truly a pastor and father.
Monseigneur, before putting before your Grandeur the diary of my stay at
Bukumi, I ought to say one word about the political state of the country when I
The two Catholic provinces of Buwekula and Bunyoro, which each of them form
part of the (ecclesiastical) district of Bukumi, had suffered relatively little from the
revolution in Buganda. Only four chiefs of Buwekula had followed Mwanga in his
flight. It is true that the rumour spread that the ex-king would come to Bunyoro to
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 71
effect a joinder of forces with the rebellious Nubians and the Banyoro, who were
subjects of Kabarega. But the rebels had not set foot there. The longing of the
pagan Banyoro to recover their independence had only found expression in some
attempts at a rising and which were at once suppressed by the Baganda who were
numerous and well armed.
After the fight at Lusalira on 12 January Mwanga's supporters were not
pursued and established themselves only a few hours from the scene of their defeat
on the frontier of Usagara (Ankole). A fresh expedition quickly took place, and
our Catholics in Buddu, always on the alert in times of war, took up arms for the
twentieth time, supported by four English officers and one hundred and twenty
In all preceding expeditions, the tactics of the insurgents had invariably been
the same: when our victorious people pursued them across the frontier, they made
a detour by means of forced marches and swooped like vultures on Buddu, which
had been left without any defence, and, when the defenders of order realized this
stratagem and hurried to the help of their province, they found it pillaged by the
rebels, who had already fled with their booty. Thus on three occasions in the space
of eight months Buddu had been pillaged.
It was foreseen that in the new campaign Mwanga's supporters would not aban-
don tactics, which up to then had succeeded so well. It is also easy to foresee that
the impoverished Buddu no longer offered itself as a prey to the pillagers who
would throw themselves on some richer province within their reach.
I was still at St. Mary of Rubaga when the Katikiro Mugwanya informed me of
his fears, which he also communicated to Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner.
The last mentioned apparently shared this fear, for he gave orders to Captain
Sitwell, commanding at Fort Gerry (Toro) to come to Kawanga near the ford
across the Katonga, whence he could protect at one and the same time Buddu,
Singo, Buwekula and Bunyoro, whilst the army in Buddu, pursued Mwanga. When
two days before my departure, Mr. G. Wilson communicated this plan to me, I
heartily approved of it and this plan made me decide to leave for Bukumi. Unfor-
tunately, for reasons of which I know nothing, this wise concentration (of forces)
was abandoned. Captain Sitwell reached Kawanga with sixty Nubians and a maxim
gun and sent word to all the chiefs of Buwekula and Bunyoro, proclaiming every
one who did not reply to the summons as a traitor to the Queen. When he saw all
the chiefs rallied round him, he informed them that, as chiefs of the expedition, he
had decided to take them all to Buddu and thence to Usagara (Ankole). They were
astonished and begged to be allowed to leave behind at least a contingent of troops
which would be sufficient to guard the fort. The Captain did not think he ought to
pay any attention to these observations and they had to resign themselves to
Buwekula and Bunyoro both found themselves deprived of their defenders. The
rebel Banyoro greatly rejoiced. Buwekula was left exposed to the enemy. The
sinister forebodings of our Christians were only too soon realized, as your
Grandeur will realize from reading
THE DIARY OF MY VISIT TO BUKUMI,
which is a diary written up from day to day at the theatre of events.
21st, 22nd, 23rd-I begin the exercises in connection with the retreat preparatory
to confirmation. Baganda and Banyoro are seated side by side, forgetting their
racial enmity, for one and the same baptism has made them all brothers. Nothing
72 UGANDA JOURNAL
could be more edifying than my audience; moreover, I am happy and at ease
amongst these dear neophytes. All my free time is devoted to receiving visits from
these interesting people. I am as much charmed by the simplicity of their manners
as by their generosity. One offers me an egg, another a potato, another some
Nevertheless, the atmosphere of peace which one breathes here is beginning to be
troubled by reports of a rising amongst the Banyoro. At Bwamba a house has been
burnt and two women carried off; at Kiwahuza two men have been killed; one
would like to think these are ordinary acts of personal revenge, for the Banyoro,
who are so mild by nature, are known to be irreconcilable in their hatred; never-
theless ones sees here signs, which are not very reassuring, of the antipathy of the
natives for their new masters.
24th-I received a deputation of forty Banyoro catechumens from Bujuni, all
children or young people from ten to eighteen years of age, meek and mild, and
knowing perfectly the words of the catechism. They have come to ask for the
return of the Missionaries to their country. This is the fruit of four months'
missionary labours in 1896 by Fathers Gagon and Toulze and in the midst of this
interesting people, most mild and ripe for the Faith.
25th-A band of Banyoro sent by Kikukule fell on the village of a Christian,
Joseph Gawedde, whom illness has confined to his bed for the past two months.
Three men killed and eight children stolen. This news has been given to us by
Gawedde himself, who has been brought in a litter to Bukumi. It has caused a
great stir in our station, which up to now has been peaceable.
27th-Confirmation of two hundred neophytes. During the instruction which
precedes the ceremony, a loud voice calls outside; "A letter!, a letter! quick,
quick!" A shudder passes through my audience. Father Moullec goes out quickly
for the news.
Nevertheless the ceremony of confirmation continues to be devoutly conducted.
The letter, which was announced in what appeared to be the way of distress
and moved us for a moment, contains nothing than a general sauve qui peut
which the representative of the chief of Buwekula has written to us. He tells us
"Mwanga has arrived in Bunyoro; part of his army has already crossed the
Katonga and set fire to Kawanga. Every body here is fleeing; yourselves to
Buganda". Flee to Uganda! After our mission in Buddu has been pillaged and
that in Koki destroyed! Abandon also Bukumi! Who will protect the women and
children of our Christians, who have gone to the war? No, we cannot flee. We
have in fact at the house sixty men armed with rifles. This is enough to sustain us
during a siege, whilst we wait for the help for which we are going to ask. So we
will defend ourselves and our Christians.
The Church, which is outside the walled enclosure runs the risk of being burnt
down during the night. My tent is accordingly pitched in the inner courtyard and
the Holy Sacrament is carried there.
Ist-Confirmation of five hundred neophytes. Vast whirlwinds of smoke darken
the horizon to the south and east. These are the villages of Kawanga and Buwekula
which are in flames. Anyone who has a wife, sister or children at Bukumi is
invited to make his way to Buganda. Whilst there is yet time we thus succeed in
disencumbering ourselves of three quarters of the feminine population, who had
come to the Mission to receive confirmation. There only remain with us one
hundred and fifty women and children, who have come to take refuge in our
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 73
enclosure with anything they managed to save, wearing apparel, goats, fowls, etc.
They are spending the night cowering on the verandahs of our houses.
In the evening every one of the able bodied men is posted for the defence.
Father Moullec occupies the west bastion, which protects the Church, Father
Van Wees the east bastion, Brother Dominique the north, and my young men the
south. As for myself I am in general charge. The spearmen (about sixty) are
extended along the walls ready to transfix anybody who tries to surmount them.
The main entrance gate and that leading to the Church are walled up. We only
keep one narrow postern gate leading to the banana plantation. Sentries are
posted on the roads leading to the Mission.
Towards midnight, as nothing has appeared, we stretch ourselves on our mats,
but it is impossible to close the eyes.
2nd- At four o'clock in the morning, there is suddenly a crackling fire which
makes us jump out of our beds. We learn that two individuals were crawling to
within thirty metres of the Church in order to set fire to it, but on the cry of
"Who goes there?" from the sentry, they had taken flight. Being unable to achieve
their purpose these two wretches set fire to the house of one of our catechists.
Every half hour we receive fresh fugitives who are abandoning their villages on
the approach of the enemy bands. The Banyoro themselves have risen in full
force and the revolt is general.
A man of Lwamulungi, an under-chief of the province of Bunyoro, who had
left with so many others along with Captain Sitwell, has arrived, having had his
fingers cut by a spear and his arm pierced by a bullet. Lwamulungi's capital (four
hours from Bukumi) has been burnt by the Banyoro. His wife and two children
have been carried off and enslaved. The infernal band has butchered those who
resisted. The wounded man adds that he has heard the Banyoro swear that within
three days Kikukule will be installed in his former capital, that is to say, in this
Fire is the most redoubtable enemy of our missions, because all the houses
touch each other and are covered with straw, which catches fire from the slightest
spark, The four bastions and several houses outside have been freed from this
dangerous covering. Jars, saucepans, and even steel trunks for carrying our
effects have been filled with water.
At nightfall, Nicolas, caretaker of our Mission at Bujuni, arrived after that
place had been reduced to cinders. Fifty child catachumens have followed him so
as not to fall into the hands of their pagan fellow-countrymen, who would offer
them the alternative of choosing between death and apostasy.
3rd-Bukumi is surrounded by a circle of fire. All the villages are in flames at
each of the four points of the compass. I send forty rifles to the nearest village,
from which our garrison obtains its food. Our brave men came back with two
prisoners, whom they have surprised with torches in their hands. One of them is a
messenger of Kikukule. the instigator of the revolt in Bunyoro. But for my
intervention these wretched incendiaries would have been hacked to pieces. So
exasperated are our Christians! Kyambalango, Catholic chief of Bunyoro, has
been prevented by illness from personally accompanying Captain Sitwell. He
was attacked at his home by a band of Banyoro thirsting for blood. He only
escaped death by making a wonderful sortie. He was compelled to beat a retreat
with a handful of soldiers. Ill though he is, he managed to keep the enemy at a
distance. They harassed him for nine hours and he had three men killed and two
others grievously wounded. The nineteen rifles are a valuable reinforcement to
our small force.
74 UGANDA JOURNAL
Two men have undertaken to take to the capital through the enemy lines a letter
which tells of our critical situation.
4th-At eleven o'clock at night, two rifle shots arouse us with a start. A fresh
attempt to set fire to the Mission has just been averted, thanks to the vigilance of
our sentries. Our people stand to arms till daybreak.
Towards midnight, Cyprien Semagwangu, arrives with seventeen young men
armed with rifles and eighteen women. They have marched for fifty hours without
partaking of any food from Buyaga, Cyprien's country, to Bukumi. Each hill
has been the scene of a fight. All their baggage and twenty women have had to be
abandoned. Worn out with fatigue and hunger, those who have reached here are
almost naked and their feet are bleeding. Cyprien's child, his only son, died during
the night of exhaustion.
5th-The pangs of hunger begin to make themselves felt. Women and children
are weeping. Twenty armed men are therefore sent to look for food.
Three-quarters of an hour's distance from the Mission they run up against a
large band of rebels. Several rifle shots are exchanged and nobody is hit. Our
people, being in too small a number, hurriedly take the road back to the Mission.
Instead of pursuing them, the brigands who are loaded with a rich booty carried
off in Buwekula, continue their journey to the east.
A scout informs us that these are Nubians, that they have two hundred and
fifty rifles, and that they slept the last night at Kijungute (four hours and a half
from Bukumi). I assemble the whole garrison and in a speech which was no longer
than four or five minutes, I charge them to go and surprise the bandits and rescue
the women and children, who have been carried off and reduced to slavery. A
loud cry of enthusiasm drowns my voice, a cry of faith, for this concerns a
Today two children die as the result of hunger. What grief it is for us to have
before us the sight of so much misery, which we are unable to assuage.
7th-At midnight our fighting men set out for Kijungute under the command of
Petero Mukanga, who is an exemplary Christian. "My friends", said he when
placing himself at their head, "you are only sixty and you are marching against
more than three hundred. But have no fear: this is not the first time that Jesus
Christ and Mahomet have come to grips in Uganda. You know that the party
of Jesus Christ has always ended by triumphing; well, today it will be as it was
These words are received with cries of enthusiasm: "It is so It is so! We have
killed the Muslim, we have destroyed him." Then each of them brandished his
rifle or spear, full of impatience to fly to the scene of battle.
Then a roll of the drum calls for silence. "We are going", cried out Petero
again, "but on the march every one must keep the strictest silence. There must
be neither fife, nor drum, nor the slightest sound of a voice. Anybody who offends
will be punished by twenty blows with a rod." "If any one," he added, "has to
warn his neighbour of the presence in the road of an obstruction such as a stone,
a tree trunk, or a hole, he will inform him by means of a sign and striking the
thigh with the hand."
The cock had not crowed when the small force reached Kijungute. As the
Baganda never fight during darkness, our fighting men stopped and slept for a
brief time on a rock near the banks of the Kanangalo. In a short time several of
them will perhaps lie stretched out on the field of battle, bathed in their own
blood. That does not prevent them from snoring just like Turenne.
When day begins to break, Petero rouses his men. "On your knees, my friends,"
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 75
he says, "and let us ask God for help". When he has said this, all of them recite
the morning prayer: After which each one prepares himself as best he can. The
powder and the bullets are put in bamboo cartridges; the caps are placed between
the lips: a band of lubugo (cloth made from the bark of a tree) covered with a
leopard skin which hangs behind and hangs down to the shins.
Thus equipped our warriors cross the River Kanangalo and reach the first
village of Kijungute. Everybody is asleep. If they wanted to surround the houses
and set them on fire, not a man would escape. No, our Christians have not come
to murder; the only people in these houses are poor bakopi (peasants) armed
with spears. This is not an enemy worthy of them. They march therefore on tiptoe
so as not to arouse them and pass on further to look for the chiefs and their
entourage. These are encamped in another village on the bank opposite to the
When our men reach this place, the sun is on the horizon. Already some bakopi
from villages further off are coming to the palisades behind which the rebel
chiefs are in sleeping. Some bring fowls, others lead goats, several have nothing to
offer to Mwanga's partisans except a diet of bananas.
Petero and his men accost them. "Well, my friends, have you brought us
breakfast?"-"Who are you?" ask the bakopi, who are puzzled at seeing sixty
rifles climbing the mountain in close file. "We are Mwanga's men; we have just
arrived to salute the bakulu (chiefs)."
Saying this, Petero launches his men on to the assault of the palisade, which
separates them from the rebels who are still asleep. They were all drunk the
previous night and were sleeping at leisure when a terrible fusillade broke out
round their huts.
Surprised, they seized their rifles, fired a few shots and fled into the banana
plantations. After recovering from their first surprise, they rally and confront
their assailants. They are about three hundred against sixty. Very lively fighting
takes place for some moments. The combatants are so close, the one to the other,
that they pull at each other's clothing. But the Muslims cannot hold out against
the impetuosity of the Christians. They take to their heels and scatter, leaving
eight dead on the field of battle. Of the Christians only four are very slightly
The victors obtain quite considerable booty consisting of goats, mats and
mbugo. But the women, for whose deliverance they have come, have disappeared.
A Munyoro, who has been taken prisoner, informs them that they are in another
village under the guards of a rebel detachment. On hearing this news, Petero,
faithful to my recommendations, gives orders for everything to be abandoned so
as to march to deliver the captives. "We will come at once," reply his men, "but
let us have a little refreshment". They had seen in the huts, which the enemy had
just abandoned, some large saucepans full of victuals. How could they go away
without making a feast?
After this repast had been hurriedly taken, they reunite and combine to make
fresh plans. "We cannot," says Petero, "march openly to the village we are going
to attack. The enemy are too many. Let us go into the long grass. It will make it
more easy to defend ourselves, if we are attacked."
They then took an indirect and misleading route. For if they had been noticed
marching in the direction of the village where the captive women were, they
would have encountered a large detachment of rebels running to help their friends
after they had been beaten that morning. Towards midday Petero reached the
enemy for whom he was looking. During the first exchange of shots, Kiwaya, a
76 UGANDA JOURNAL
rebel chief, was wounded and carried off the field of battle. His people, having lost
their general, took to flight in every direction. Nine Christians are then set free.
Our warriors also took from the enemy one hundred and forty-five bales of mats
and bark cloth and one hundred and twenty-four goats.
Our little army, proud of its two victories, took the road for Bukumi, in the
midst of the bravado of the defeated, who perched on the heights, utter threats
such as this; "Today we have been defeated, but wait till tomorrow morning;
you will have your turn." "Yes, yes," reply our men, "we will wait for you at
Bukumi, whilst we eat your goats, for we have surprised you regaling yourselves
on the cattle of Buwekula".
At two o'clock we have the joy of seeing our warriors make their triumphant
entry into the mission.
8th-Whilst our small force was looking for the raiders whom we have just
mentioned, we are informed of another band an hour from the Mission. Cyprien
Semugwanga, hastened to attack them and tried to rescue some Christians, who
had been made captive and were being dragged behind them.
About three o'clock in the evening an alarming storm has struck the Mission,
and destroyed our Church, which Father Moullec had just left three minutes
before with ten Christians. A crowd of women and children regularly spent the
night there. It would have been natural that, with the rain falling in torrents,
they should take refuge in the only place which offered them a convenient shelter
from the rain and hail. But, as it was, they were sheltering under the narrow
verandah which runs the length of our brick walls.
We have in this seen the effect of the Divine protection and we chanted a Te
Deum in thanksgiving.
Semugwanga comes back at nine o'clock in the evening. He has put the Banyoro
to flight and killed one of their number, but he could not save any of the women.
Not knowing with whom they had to deal, they hid themselves in the long grass.
At night, a fresh storm accompanied by hail and the most violent wind I have
ever seen. I caused twenty little children to be carried into my room. But for this
they would probably have died of cold. As our huts can only shelter half our
refugees, the rest have to pass the night in the open and to endure the full rage
of the tornado.
9th-Baptism of a child, who was born in a pool of water in the middle of the
banana plantations. He died during the day.
10th-Our position is no longer tenable. The Mission has been transformed
into a hospital, a stable, and a barracks and threatens to become a cemetery.
Each day brings us more fugitives. Even the Protestants of Singo, who have been
wounded in a battle against the rebels make for Bukumi to obtain help. We are
about to fall ill from cold and hunger.
We are sending a caravan into Buganda in charge of Semugwanga with thirty
rifles. There remain only the wounded and sick-about one hundred and fifty
Some warriors arrive from Usagara (Ankole). They provide us with a reinforce-
ment. May God be praised! But for them what bitterness it is, what desolation,
what anguish, what tears, when they learn that they have lost everything,
property, wives and parents! We have rarely seen so desolate a scene.
l1th-At eight o'clock in the morning we see a great cloud of smoke rising
into the air to the north of the Mission. About nine o'clock in the morning four
young men of Noli Mujoga came running in in haste. Up to now, they have by
themselves prevented the Banyoro from setting fire to the chief's village, but
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 77
today they have had to flee on the arrival of two large enemy columns, one of
which consists of Muslims and the other of pagan Banyoro.
On receiving this information, Noli sets out with all his men and the other
warriors from the province of Kyambalango. He has hardly left the Mission
domain before he has fallen into an ambush of four hundred Muslims, who are
hidden in the reeds on the side of the road. At the first discharge of guns eight of
our men are killed or grievously wounded. Noli is surrounded on every side
and despite his bravery he is compelled to beat a retreat fighting all the way.
Luwekula pursues the rebels for a little time and then catches sight of a second
enemy column at the foot of a hill comprising about seven hundred Banyoro,
who have taken no part in the fight. Evidently these two columns had come to
attack the Mission. They would have to pass the night in the neighboring
villages and probably would have fallen upon us during morning Mass.
Nobody expected that the Muslims would be so near. Our astonishment has
been great on seeing the wounded men returning so soon after Noli's departure.
Whilst I rendered first aid, Father Moullec hastened to the field of battle and
found two of our Christians who had been stabbed in the breast. He confessed
them and gave them extreme unction.
Another small chief arrives, being carried on his people's backs. His knee has
been shattered. On seeing the Father he stretches out his arms towards him and
calls out "I am Patrice. My blood has been bled in God's cause." A fourth; who
has not been baptized, is carried in in extremis. A bullet has passed through his
stomach. He died two or three hours later, after being fortified with the
Sacrament of Baptism.
(Patrice lived for only fifteen days after being wounded. The others recovered,
thanks to the great care of Father Van Wees.)
12th-What a sad night! All our fighting men, as well as the women and
children who have taken refuge here, have passed it in the open air under a
pitiless rain, which never ceased to fall from ten o'clock in the evening to four
o'clock in the morning.
At first cock crow, the hour at which the Baganda are accustomed to attack,
every body is on tiptoe, each at his battle station, ready to open fire. But our
enemy, disconcerted no doubt by yesterday's sortie, did not attack.
A scout informs us that they are encamped two hours from here and that they
are waiting, for the purpose of attacking us, for the arrival of two columns;
one is led by Kintu and the other by Bisigoro, who are remaining behind and
should soon rejoin the main body, which was seen in the plain yesterday.
13th-One of two columns reported yesterday by our scout as being about
to join the main body of Mwanga's army fell, in the middle of the night, on
Luwekula's capital (seven hours from Bukumi). This chief has been at the Mission
for the last three days. His capital, which was the only point in the province of
Buwekula which up to now had escaped burning, has been pillaged and consigned
to the flames. One of the pillagers, who had formerly been a subordinate officer
of Luwekula, dare to write to his former chief the affectionate letter, of which this
is the translation: "My congratulations to thee, Luwekula. Truly thou art too
lucky. We came to kill thee, and we had so well arranged our attack that, if thou
hadst been at home, neither God nor the devil would have saved thee from death.
But have patience. In a little time we will go up to the fort (sc. the Mission),
where thou hast taken refuge with the white men and there we will kill everyone
In reply, Luwekula went out with two hundred rifles in the direction of his burnt
78 UGANDA JOURNAL
capital in the hope of overtaking the incendiaries and taking from them at least
part of their booty.
The attack on the Mission, which, thanks to God's protection, has been post-
poned from day to day by the rebels, who have been surrounding us for the past
two weeks, now appears to be inevitable. When the danger has then become
imminent, the Guardian Angel of Bukumi brings Captain Sitwell with sixty
Sudanese and a maxim gun.
At one o'clock in the morning a letter, which is signed Macpherson, informs us
of the approach of six English officers and a company of Indian soldiers.
14th-Arrival of the Major Price and five other officers and amongst whom is
an excellent Catholic, Captain Dugmore, a brave old man of sixty, but just as
active as a young man.
At 5 o'clock in the evening seven armed men came just to the foot of Bukumi
hill. On our Christians seeing them, several rifle shots are exchanged and these
scouts from Mwanga's army flee with a clean pair of heels. They have had
enough of it, as they have seen the officers' tents and the Indian camp.
16th-Good Mugwanya arrives with his men. Pleased be God! The Mission of
Notre Dame de la Garde has been saved.
+ HENRI STREICHER.
LETTER FROM FATHER MOULLEC TO
Notre Dame de la Garde, 20 November 1898.
My Lord and Venerable Father,
Your Grandeur has not forgotten the attacks at the hands of the pagan
Baganda, who had revolted against the English Protectorate, which our Mission
had to undergo during the early months of this year.
Numerous bands of rebels who came from Busagara (Ankole) and consisted
principally of Muslims, spread themselves over the whole extent of our district,
delivering over to pillage and flames all the villages of Buwekula and south
When they reached the vicinity of our station, the Muslims joined forces with
the Banyoro, whom Kikukule had stirred up into rebellion, and resolved to
attack our Mission, to set fire to it and to kill us. When the Catholic chiefs who
were assembled at Bukumi, saw the enemy, each of them at the head of his men
advanced bravely against them so as to give battle in open country.
The clash took place 20 minutes from the Mission. The assailants had a
thousand rifles. Our Christians had only three hundred. None the less victory was
never for the moment uncertain. After a terrible fusillade we remained masters
of the field.
Twice before our Christians had beaten the enemy by surprising them.
Accustomed to being victorious, thanks evidently to the protection of Notre
Dame de la Garde, we were bound to continue our exploits.
In fact, during those days, we carried off three successive victories, as glorious
for our Christians as they were difficult.
In the early days of October Father Achte wrote to us from the capital saying
the Nubians, who had been joined by all Mwanga's partisans, had crossed the
Nile and were coming to make war in Uganda.
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 79
Some days after our brother warned us to be on our guard, that the enemy
was making towards Bunyoro and they were quite likely to pay us a visit. A
little later a rumour spread that 15 white officers at the head of 300 Indians and
1,000 Baganda had beaten the enemy near the Kafu and that they were pursuing
them with the sword in hand. In what direction? We do not know.
On the eve of All Saints' Day the chiefs of Kijungute wrote us a letter.
"The rebels," they said, "and all the Nubians have reached Ntuti near Kitumbi.
They are marching on Kijungute." During the night another letter from Camille
Katorogo confirms this news.
Beyond any doubt the enemy is at our gates. From Ntuti to Bukumi is only
two days' march.
What to do? To flee and abandon our Christians and above all our Banyoro
catechumens, who are very numerous, all to the will of our barbarous enemies?
Already in the month of March a pagan chief in Bunyoro had put out a young
catechumen's eyes because he was praying, and many others were despoiled
of their property and beaten with rods for the same reason.
From another point of view, if we take flight, the enemy will find a formidable
position inside our walls and it will require a lot of blood to dislodge them
Everything therefore, both the interests of religion as well as those of the
government which protects us requires us to resist to the death.
Father Selles, Brother Dominique and myself take counsel with each other and
resolve to die rather than to flee.
I communicate our resolution to the Catholic chiefs who are present at
Bukumi. "We agree with you," they reply to us and everyone of them, "flight
before battle is disgraceful to the Baganda. Let somebody bury us all beside you
in the same grave, the grave of the brave, entana ya bazira!"
Once resistance has been resolved upon, I hasten to inform Captain Fisher,
who commands the Fort of Buwekula. He replies in these terms: "Father, when
you see danger approaching write to me at once. Even if it be during the night, I
will hurry to your aid."
You will see therefore, my Lord, that our resolution was not a rash one. On
the one hand, we knew that the army which had come from Buganda was closely
pursuing the enemy; on the other, the Captain of the Fort of Bwekula had
promised us prompt assistance. Could we hesitate?
On 2 November we learnt that the rebels were camped at Kijungute. We at
once instructed Noli Mujoga and Camille Katorogo to keep a watch on all the
roads so as to avoid being surprised.
On the morning of the 3rd a letter from Cyprien Lwekula informs us of the
departure of Captain Fisher for Busagara (Ankole), where sixty Nubians have
rearmed themselves and occupied several forts under the leadership of a single
When setting out the Captain left in Buwekula 40 Baganda soldiers, who were
distributed between three posts; 13 at Kawanga, 7 at Kaweri at Luwekula's, and 20
at Kiruma near Bukumi on the side where the enemy was. He left also 30 cases
of cartridges in charge of his Muganda Effendi, Musa Mudduagonda, a minor
Catholic chief, and the most pleasant man I have met during my eight years
As the Captain had left and the danger had become imminent, we had to
arrange a plan of defences with the Muganda Effendi. There was no time to lose.
On the 4th, at an early hour, Musa reaches Bukumi with his 20 soldiers. "I
80 UGANDA JOURNAL
must defend you to the death," he says, "for two reasons. First of all, because I
am a Catholic and all Catholics ought to die in defence of their priests. Next,
because I am a soldier required by the Protectorate government to give you every
possible assistance." He then asked my advice as to what he should do with the
soldiers, who remained at Kaweri and Kawanga. I observed to him that the fort
at Kaweri had not been completed. He could not possibly leave his soldiers there
any more than his ammunition. If the Nubians could gain possession of the 23
cases of cartridges, what an additional strength it would be for them! "As for
your soldiers who are at Kawanga," I say to him, "you will do well to leave them
there. If the enemy proceeds in that direction, they will assist the chiefs of that
part of the country and their people to flee in good order toward Buddu.
Musa agreed with my advice and quickly sent two soldiers to Kaweri to look
out for their companions and all the ammunition. Whilst our good Effendi is
concentrating his forces at Bukumi, all the Catholic chiefs of Buwekula and some
of those from south Bunyoro also rally with their people at the Mission.
On the 5th, about 9 o'clock in the morning, a letter from Noli Mujoga puts us
on the alert. "The enemy is approaching," he writes to us, "and he is coming in
large numbers." We make all those who have taken refuge with us come inside
the walled enclosure. Noli himself arrives almost at once at the mission with all
his rifles. At the same moment we receive the cases of cartridges and the soldiers
from Kaweri. A quarter of an hour later, they would have arrived during the
fighting at the grave risk of being robbed and killed. Blessed be Providence!
However, the enemy has not yet entered the mission domain. We make use
of the few moments preceding the attack to place in the Church every thing of
value and put the Most Holy Sacrament in its place.
We ought perhaps, according to the judgment of man, to have consumed the
sacred elements. But we remembered the story of the Saints, of Saint Clare
driving back the Saracens by showing them the Holy Eucharist.
Is the Almighty Power to drive back hordes of barbarians less efficacious in
the nineteenth than it was in the thirteenth century? We do not think so and we
place the Holy Tabernacle in front of a little window, which is protected from
bullets but faces the enemy!
Whilst the rebels approach, each of our people hastens to take up his battle
station. As the approaches to the station have no banana plantations and no
depression in the terrain to the north-east, we expect the enemy will attack in
that direction. It is on this side, at some distance from the walled enclosure that
our Church stands, which has been recently built with reeds in the form of a
Cross. We hastily build a breast work with bricks in front of it for the protection
of the Christians guarding it.
Everything is ready. Our brave men, full of trust in God and with perfect
steadiness, await the enemy.
About 10 o'clock we see lines of the enemy climbing the hill which commands
our station on the east and is only 700 or 900 metres distant. Evidently the enemy
wishes to take up his position on this height in the hope of causing a hail of bullets
to rain on the women and children who have taken refuge inside our walled
enclosure. They open fire. One of our better marksmen replies with twenty shots
from a Martini rifle, which show the enemy that they had made a mistake
about the range of our bullets. They hurriedly depart and scatter into the
village in order to set fire to our Christians' huts. Musa's soldiers then climb
onto the roofs. Their bullets compel the enemy to go further off.
For some time, we no longer hear our assailants' fire-not because they are
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 81
beaten and in retreat, but because they are concealed amongst the reeds at the
back of the hill, hoping to draw us into an ambush. They send a detachment to
attack the church and to try to set fire to it. The chiefs think it better not to make
a sortie, as it appears at the very least to be useless, but the young men and
soldiers who listen to nothing but their own orders set forth dancing in front of
A deafening fusillade breaks out at the foot of the hill and continues for more
than 20 minutes. The bullets whistle on every side. The women pray in a loud
voice and utter to Heaven such invocations as the following: "Ayi! Maria! Ayi
Yozefu, Musajja Mukuru, mukwata mundu z'abana.-O Mary! O Joseph! Take
the rifles of our children and direct their aim."
Despite all their bravery our fighting men did not succeed in driving the enemy
back. They fell back on the Mission and continued to fire through the loopholes.
The last of them came back carrying in their arms a minor chief, Elisee
Mulongosa, who had been mortally wounded. The bullet had passed through
his chest. I was immediately informed and hastened to him to administer the last
sacaments. Whilst I was administering extreme unction the wounded man yielded
up his soul to God amidst the tears of his people. Another Christian has been
wounded in front, but the bullet has only grazed him.
During the night, our fighting men do not leave the loopholes. The enemy, who
are encamped close to the Mission behind the mountain, unceasingly send men
on every side of the Church in order to set fire to it. The incendiaries make
their way under the cover of darkness. Fire from the bastions prevents them from
Towards midnight, a well directed bullet hits in the arm the wife of a Nubian,
who was occupied in picking bananas in the middle of the camp. Nothing else
happens which could lead the enemy to move away. Whilst some go off to build
huts on a neighboring hill outside the range of our fire, others return to
Kijungute to inform their friends about their check.
Not being aware of the presence of Captain Fisher's soldiers in our Mission, the
rebels believed that two or three hundred rifles would have sufficed to effect the
assault on a small missionary station, which was still incomplete.
They were deceived. During fighting which lasted not less that nine hours,
they had only succeeded in killing a single man without approaching near our
Nevertheless a check like this did not discourage them. Stirred by the lure of
plunder and by the hope of finding in our station an impregnable position for
themselves, they were anxious to expel us at all costs.
On Sunday, the 6th November, in the morning some soldiers, who had been
sent out as scouts, soon came running back. The enemy is quite close. They are
in a column which is so long that 'one cannot see the end'. Everybody runs to his
post, whilst the war drums resound with a frenzy.
As yesterday, the enemy begins to climb the hill, not upright, but half crawling
and hiding themselves behind clusters of reeds and rocks and stones, which they
hurriedly pile up.
Thence they cause a hail of bullets to rain on the Mission. It is lost labour! The
projectiles lodge in our mud walls or lose themselves in the courtyard without
hitting anybody and only excite laughter and witticism.
Our rifles riply with a no less well sustained fire and force them to abandon
a position which has become untenable.
The rebels then have recourse to different tactics. Whilst the main body of the
82 UGANDA JOURNAL
fighters go and hide themselves in the banana plantations which surround the
Church, a detachment of 200 Nubians go and crouch down in the grass behind the
catechumens' house. Undoubtedly they hoped to entice us out and catch us
between two fires and then try to assault our walls. But we are careful not to
fall into the trap. Each of our men commences rapid fire from his loophole. I
ask myself how can an undisciplined body of men maintain their ground against
such a fusillade.
However, a Nubian, with a burning torch in his hand, daringly braves this hail
of bullets and runs up to the Church to set it on fire. But the fusillade surround-
ing it prevents him from reaching the roof. He tries by violent kicks to pull
down the obstacles. Fortunately he does not succeed and saves himself with a
clean pair of heels.
After this first attempt had proved useless, the attackers cease fire and appear
to be going off. We take advantage of this to make a sortie to cut grass for the
cows and goats, which have eaten nothing for two days.
But several shots fired on the foragers warn us of the presence of the enemy,
who are scattered and hidden in the banana plantations. This makes us decide
to cut down on a large scale the bananas in the neighbourhood. How can we
manage this? Whilst armed with their rifles our soldiers, as on yesterday evening,
attack the rebels, those who have no spears set to on the banana plantations so as
to cut them down. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. When they see our people
coming out, the attackers return to the charge with a new fury. For half an hour
there is terrible fighting amidst the banana plantations. The Baganda chiefs with
all their men attack the front line of the enemy, whilst the Effendi Musa, with
his twenty-three soldiers, assaults them on the flank.
The rebels do not wait for these manoeuvres and under salvoes which riddle
them with bullets they are compelled to withdraw from the banana plantations
and to hide in the long grass.
Our people return with indescribable enthusiasm having lost only one man
mortally wounded and two others slightly wounded. Father Selles hastens to help
the dying man, who had already received holy water from a companion.
The enemy, having been put to flight, takes up a position at a distance but
close to some springs so as to prevent us from drawing water. Fortunately they
do not know all the springs. Our soldiers make their way in file to a spring, which
is not being guarded, with calabashes fastened to their belts. Some of our refugees
follow their example. They came back after firing a rifle in a direction of the
enemy so as to show them that they have not succeeded in preventing us from
At seven o'clock in the evening, believing that they would surprise us, the
rebels made a last effort. Uttering furious cries they all rush towards the Church
and the bastions, which are covered with straw. "Wanga! Wanga!" (for Mwanga,
Mwanga), cry the rebels. "Chwa! Chwa!" (for the king who has been recognized
by the English), is our Christians' reply. Amid all these repeated cries uttered by
thousands of voices our loopholes emit flames which spread alarm, if not death.
What a fusillade! Our ears are troubled by it right up to the morning.
During the night some shots fired from time to time suffice to show to the
enemy that we are on the alert. He only makes an appearance in the morning
and begins, as always, by going and concealing himself on the hill and firing on
the Mission. V
A young Munyoro girl, who went out to look for wood, is hit in the head and
falls down backwards. She is carried into the walled enclosure. I find her in the
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 83
passage and, seeing some signs still of life, administer baptism to her. A fresh
fusillade resounds; it is the last. We see three men rise up on the summit of the
hill and take to flight. Then follows a torrential rain which contributes not a little
to our assailants' departure.
As it beats down, the rain transforms our inner court into a veritable pool of
muddy water in which men and beasts splash about. We have not yet had a single
moment for cleaning up our enclosure, which is exhaling an odour capable of
bringing on the plague!
If the enemy returns and continues the siege, rain, cold, hunger and disease
will powerfully assist him in triumphing over us.
Three letters asking for help have already gone to Rubaga, but we are a long
way off and cannot foretell the moment when we shall be delivered. We at once
pray to Notre Dame de la Garde not to desert us.
When the rain ceases towards three o'clock in the afternoon, we see several
deserters, who are truly walking skeletons, in front of our gate. Amongst them
is Francis Wenkajja, a minor chief of Buwekula, whom the king made a prisoner
at the time of his flight into Bukedi in March.
Francis recounts to us all the miseries which he has had to endure since that
time and assures us that the rebels really wanted to expel us from our Mission,
as well as get possession of the twenty-three cases of cartridges left behind by
Captain Fisher, and then to establish themselves in our fort.
According to Francis the combined rebel forces which assembled before
Bukumi are still imposing despite the defeats inflicted upon them by the Protec-
The army which left Bukedi consisted of 330 Nubians and 600 Baganda or
Banyoro. The other rebels, who were hidden in the forests of Bunyoro, joined
forces with their friends with nearly the same number of rifles.
Near 2,000 rifles against the 270 which we had. The sides were certainly
unevenly matched. Despite all this, we have remained masters of the battle-field.
After having failed against our Mission, the Nubians are said to have taken
the road to Kawanga and Busagara (Ankole) in the hope of rallying those rebels
who were still hiding themselves in that country.
It is now twenty-four days since the encounter between the Indians commanded
by 15 officers and the rebels, and we still have no news of the victorious English
army. Despite the fact that from Bulengesa, where the battle of 27 October took
place, to Kijungute is no more than four days' march.
Fortunately for us, Captain Meldon from Toro, has come to our relief without
having been called. It is Providence who has brought him to us. If he had not
been here, the rebels would have attacked again. Lutaya himself, their chief,
wrote to me on 10 November, three days after his departure from Bukumi.
"If you persist in not abandoning your fort," he told us, "I will renew the siege."
What could we have done then except flee so as to avoid dying of hunger and
The Captain's arrival enabled us to reply to this insolent fellow that we were
not going to flee and we would accord him the same reception as before.
There, my Lord and most Venerable Father, are the tragic events which have
Our station has had to suffer a great deal through this rebel attack. We have
saved the dwelling house of the missionaries and the Church, but our banana
and other plantations no longer exist.
If only we could hope to rejoice in a peace in the near future! But there is
84 UGANDA JOURNAL
nothing which foretells the happy day when the pacification of the country will
be finally completed.
May Your Grandeur vouchsafe to pray for us and tranquillity in our Bunyoro.
Then we shall see again those good days in past months when the Bunyoro came
from every side to the Mission in bands of forty and fifty to hear our teaching
on Sunday and to receive Mary's medal, whose name, as your Grandeur has just
seen, is as terrible as an army drawn up in battle.
Please bless us, my Lord, and accept etc., etc.-
of the White Fathers, Missionary in Bunyoro.
G. Leblond, Le P&re Auguste Achte pp. 220, 324 supplies the dates of the founda-
tion of the Mission stations at Bukumi and Bujuni.
Military operations at the time of the first siege of Bukumi are set out at
length in Africa No. 1 (1899) and Africa No. 4 (1899).
Major Claude Sitwell's Uganda Diary 1895-1899 (now in the Secretariat Library
at Entebbe) supplies some information regarding both sieges.
The information regarding the second siege (other than Simon Moullec's
letter) is very meagre. Sir Apolo Kagwa's Basekabaka be Buganda p. 273 gives
a few details, but the date of the enemies' attack is clearly wrong. The error may
be one of transcription by Sir Apolo or may have emanated from his informant.
Apart from this, the only other printed sources are despatches etc., in Foreign
Office Prints, dated 27 December 1898 (Colonel Ternan to Lord Lansdowne) and
14 February 1899 (War Office to Foreign Office) respectively.
Leblond op. cit. pp. 322-26 gives an account of the first siege of Bukumi, quot-
ing extracts from Mgr. Streicher's letter to Mgr. Livinhac. Otherwise, printed
references to that event are extremely few.
SOME BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Coles, Col. A. H., C.M.G., D.S.O. (1856-1931). 1884-91 attached to Egyptian
Army; 1898 to Uganda; 1900-05 Commanding Uganda Rifles.
Dugmore, Capt. F. S. (1839-98) retired from the Army. In 1894 he came to
East Africa as a member of the Freeland Association, which planned an Utopian
settlement on the Tana river, but quickly collapsed; 1895-7 served in East Africa
in various temporary capacities-Somali raids on the Tana, the Mazrui campaign,
and district work in Ukamba and Masailand; Nov. 1897 volunteered for military
service against the mutineers in Uganda but his health gave way and he ultimately
died in hospital at Mombasa.
A man of great courage but eccentric (he walked about accompanied by a tame
cheetah), he did not fit readily into Government harness. He was the father
of Lieut. (later Capt. D.S.O.) W. F. B. R. Dugmore (1868-1917) who had courage-
ously kept the Sudanese troops at Masindi under control during the critical
months of the Mutiny until relieved in February 1898; and of A. Radclyffe
Dugmore (1870-1955) the artist-naturalist and author of The Wonderland of
Fisher, Capt. H. F. T., later Lieut.-Col. C.B.E., (d. 1956), 1898-1900 served
with Uganda Rifles: later for many years associated with organization of League
of Nations Union.
THE SIEGES OF BUKUMI IN 1898 85
Kirkpatrick, Capt. R. T. (1865-98). 1897-8 to East Africa with Macdonald's
'Jubaland' Expedition; 26 November 1898 killed by natives at Nakwai.
Meldon, Capt. J. A., later Lieut.-Col C.B.E. (1869-1931). 1897-1903 in Uganda
latterly in a civil capacity: 1900 served in South African War.
Macpherson, Dr. J. S., later C.M.G. (1863-1935). 1889-92 medical officer with
I.B.E.A. Company; 1891 with Lugard on march to Lake Albert; 1895-1902
medical officer, Uganda Protectorate; 1897 gallantly attended wounded under fire
at Luba's Fort and himself twice wounded; later principal medical officer, British
Price, Major C. H. U., later Brig.-Gen. C.B., D.S.O. (1862-1942). 1897-99 served
in Uganda for a time commanding troops in Bunyoro. To be distinguished from
his younger brother Lieut. C. U. Price, later Lieut.-Col., Indian Army, C.M.G.
(1868-1956) who also served in Uganda and was in charge of the patrol which
cornered and shot Bilal Effendi in southern Bunyoro on 6 December 1898.
Sitwell, Capt. C. G. H., later Lieut.-Col. D.S.O. (1858-1900). Saw service in
Afghanistan and Egypt; 1895-99 First Class Assistant, a civil appointment, in
Uganda; 1899 South African War; 23 February 1900 killed in action on River
Sykes, Capt. C. A., later Brig-Gen. C.M.G., D.S.O. (1871-1938). 1898-1900
served in Uganda; 1900-02 South African War.
By M. POSNANSKY
THE purpose of this article is to bring together certain aspects of recent
research relevant to our knowledge of the introduction of agriculture and
iron in Africa south of the Sahara.
The significant features of stone age Africa were the small size of the total
population, the general preference of societies for existing by hunting and
food-gathering and for the drier savannah grassland areas, and the existence
from the Capsian, perhaps around 15000-5000 B.c. of a trickle of population
and new ideas from the Horn of Africa. The basic population was probably
Bushmanoid and the languages spoken probably proto-Khoisan.(l) The
movement of Erythiote groups(2) led eventually to the introduction of the zebu
cattle of the Afrikander, cervico-thoracic variety possessed by the present-day
Hottentots.(3) It is also possible that around 1500-1000 B.C. the idea of
using pottery had spread to East Africa. The Elementeitan pottery of Kenya(4)
certainly predates any other in East Africa, whilst the use of stone bowls could
also have been derived from the north-east. A radio-carbon date of around
1000 B.C. has been obtained for the Njoro River cave in Kenya where a non-
Negroid population using pottery akin to Elementeitan and stone bowls was
present (Leakey, 1950). The presence of a true Neolithic or agricultural
economy has sometimes been ascribed to these Stone Bowl users but the
evidence is inconclusive (Posnansky, 1959). The existence of settled fishing
societies along the major rivers can be inferred from the evidence of Ishango
(de Heinzelin, 1957) and Khartoum (Arkell, 1949). Though stone tools do
occasionally occur in the more heavily vegetated areas of Africa their relative
paucity would indicate a sparseness of population compared with that of the
clearer savannah grassland and 'bush' scrublands of Africa. The widespread
nature of various of the Late Stone Age Cultures like the Wilton would sug-
gest the general homogeneity of both population and economy.
The present-day linguistic map shows that the larger part of Africa south
of the Sahara is inhabited by Bantu speakers. Bantu Africa is also relatively
populous, dominantly agricultural, as opposed to pastoral, and iron-using.
The striking fact about the Bantu languages is their fairly close similarity over
a wide area. The conclusion would seem inescapable that here we have a
group of peoples with a common origin and a relatively recent individual
identity. The problem is to know how recent was the expansion and from
what quarter. The most up-to-date authoritative work on the origin of the
Bantu is that of Greenberg (1955) who has indicated the affinities of Bantu
to the West Sudanic languages spoken in West Africa. From a study of
morphemes or nouns in common usage he has shown that out of 50 Bantu
nouns, 43 are found in the semi-Bantu or Benui-Cross languages of the
Cameroons-Nigerian border area which are a sub-group of the West Sudanic
languages. The probability of borrowing by the semi-Bantu speakers is ruled
out by the fact that it is the fundamental words for parts of the body or low
BANTU GENESIS 87
numerals that are common to both semi-Bantu and Bantu proper. Therefore
it is suggested that the expansion of this West Sudanic sub-group led to the
wide and rapid dispersal of the Bantu languages. The similarities between the
present Bantu languages suggested to Greenberg that they are probably not
older than two to three thousand years.
The population expansion thus envisaged must have been resultant upon
the introduction of agriculture. A hunting and food-gathering society can only
support a limited population. An agricultural economy with an assured con-
trol over its food supply would allow a larger population to survive and be
provided for in a much smaller area. Assuming this, we must next consider
88 UGANDA JOURNAL
when and where the staples of African agriculture originated. At present these
staples fall into three main groups, the millet grains-sorghum, eleusine (finger
millet) and pearl or bullrush millet; the crops suited to better-watered areas
like yams and bananas; and the crops that we know on historical grounds
to be recent introductions from the Americas like maize, manioc (cassava) and
sweet potatoes. The first group has been shown to be of African origin
(Murdock, 1959); sorghum and pearl millet having their origin in West Africa
in the Futa Jallon area and eleusine in Ethiopia, whilst the edible bananas
and yams have their origin in south-east Asia. A non-fructiferous banana,
musa ensete, originated in Ethiopia and is still used as a vegetable but did
not provide a staple elsewhere, whilst a native Guinea yam is grown but has
not spread further than a restricted area of West Africa. Vavilov (1950) sug-
gested that the Ethiopian highlands were a general agricultural source area
particularly for the millet grains whilst Sauer (1952) has indicated a source
area on the Guinea Coast for yams and bush pig. It is not difficult to reconcile
these ideas and it is probable that they each provided certain of the staples
for present-day African agriculture, though the archaeological evidence is
overwhelmingly against independent invention in any of these areas.
The earliest attested agricultural revolution took place in western Asia
perhaps somewhere in the Fertile Crescent or possibly in the Iranian foothills
around 7000-8000 B.c. By the fifth millennium B.C. the idea had spread to
Egypt and the northern parts of the Egyptian Sudan. The crops grown were
almost certainly emmer wheat and barley. At Shaheinab (Arkell, 1953) an
early Neolithic is characterized by a pottery ware decorated with a dotted
wavy line motif. The 1957 Ennedi expedition (Arkell, 1959) has shown that
this same pottery is found 750 miles west of the middle Nile. Almost certainly
by the fourth millennium there was regular contact between the middle Nile
and the Lake Chad area of the western Sudan by the Ennedi route.(5)
Murdock has suggested that the origin of the Egyptian Sudan agricultural
revolution was due to the introduction of staples from an upper Niger source
area and he bases this suggestion on the fact that the area is now millet-
growing and the cows of the western Sudan are not milked. He suggests that
the cows were introduced prior to the Beja movement into the Sudan of the
third millennium when milking is certainly known to have been practised. It
would on the evidence available seem more probable that millet-growing is
secondary in the area having been found more suitable ecologically than
wheat or barley whilst the absence of other cultural links from the western
Sudan militates against the idea of agriculture coming from west to east as
compared with the normally accepted view of it spreading from the north-east.
We certainly know that the West African cattle (Epstein, 1957) are of Asian
origin and the contact between the middle Nile and the Chad area, as indi-
cated by the archaeological evidence, would suggest that the idea of agri-
culture spread from that quarter and triggered off a separate agricultural revo-
lution in the upper Niger area, where eventually pearl millet, sorghum, fonio,
sesame, Guinea yams, cotton and rice were grown.
Did this agricultural revolution lead to the Bantu Genesis? Probably not
as it would seem too early, but it certainly did lead to population growth in
BANTU GENESIS 89
the savannah lands of the western Sudan. The area presented no land hunger
and we have to assume that this growth finally filled the western Sudanic
lands, but the barriers of forest to the south and west and desert to the
north were effective in preventing the spread of the crops that were available.
In this period the Neolithic cultures typified by the polished stone and ground
axes described by Jeffreys (Jeffreys, 1957) and the terracottaa cigar' objects
described by Davies(6) flourished.
In time the need for expansion would come and crops and tools necessary
for expansion into the more heavily vegetated country would be required.
These came in the form of bananas and yams and iron tools. Though the
forested areas could have been cleared by burning and ringing of trees and
so was not dependent on iron tools the successive cultivation and clearing of
forest areas and the practice of slash and burn must have been facilitated
by their possession. The areas of densest forest of the Congo basin and the
mangrove swamps of parts of the West African coast would have been totally
unsuitable for effective cultivation. Both edible fruit, bananas and yams, have
their origin in south-east Asia and form part of a complex of cultural intro-
ductions brought into Africa some two thousand years ago. Other introductions
are the xylophone and parallel thirds in singing (Jones, 1959), the zithers, the
sewn boats, outrigger canoes and various fishing methods (Hornell, 1934). The
boats are found along the East African coast and in the form of Sese Island
canoes as far inland as Lake Victoria. Boone (1936) has studied the xylophone
and shown a predominantly forest zone distribution. The methods of tuning
and the scales employed (Jones, 1959) clearly rule out independent invention.
On the island of Madagascar the Malagache language, though not the bulk
of the population, is of Malayo-Polynesian origin. Other introductions
include the names for certain items like gold and possibly decorative motifs
like the guilloche.
Wainwright (1952) and other authorities have suggested that the tradition
that Kintu, the first Kabaka of Buganda,(7) also brought the first bananas
could be relied upon, and have supported their arguments by the fact that
a banana still grows at Kintu's temple at Magonga and by the similarity of
names for the banana throughout Ethiopia. The name, however, is not that
found in Uganda and it is more probable that had the introduction come from
the north-east the name would also have been borrowed. Recent work by
Simmonds (1959) has indicated that in East Africa there are too many
varieties for them to have been brought by the dry Sabaean lane of Burkill
(1953), whilst the East African varieties are similar to those in south-east Asia
and not to those in India.(8) Out of twenty-one different somatic mutants to
be found in East Africa, fifteen are to be found in upland East Africa which
is suggestive of long development in the interior possibly of the order of two
thousand years. This is also borne out by the complex nomenclature and
usage of the banana that has arisen. Differences between the upland East
African bananas and those on the East Coast are ascribed to more recent
replacement of the older varieties by new introductions perhaps dating to the
main phase of Arab Indian Ocean trade after the ninth century A.D. The
banana would seem to have spread from the Mozambique coast via the mouth
90 UGANDA JOURNAL
of the Zambesi and the great lakes to East Africa as similar varieties of
cultivars and names for the cooked food are found all along this route.
Though no similar study has been made of the yam it is not inconsistent to
think of a similar dispersion route.
The banana is a cultigen and must be planted and carried in the form of
suckers and corms. Though these can survive for a short period they are not
the crop of a transitory people. Sauer has pointed out the difference between
planted agriculture and seed agriculture and suggested an earlier origin for
planted agriculture in south-east Asia. Unless climates have significantly
altered or movement was extremely fast and not dependent on successive
transplanting the route via the Great Lakes is the only one consistent with
the facts. One drawback to this route is that we have no evidence of a popula-
tion living along it who could have carried the banana through to upland
East Africa and West Africa. The same drawback is of course present for
any other diffusion line to the West. It can be argued that the fructiferous
banana, had it arrived via the Sabaean Lane and Ethiopia, would have re-
placed musa ensete in the latter area as a staple crop. A further drawback is
the apparent absence of many cultural items from India compared to the
overwhelming number from Indonesia. The only items that have been
ascribed to an Indian origin are the zebu cow of the thoracic variety and
possibly the sickle-cell trait, but the former is certainly too recent an African
immigrant to be a parallel introduction with the banana, whilst the value
of the latter trait has been minimized in recent years (Allison, 1954). A
further factor in favour of the southern entry route is the very early develop-
ment of important Iron Age societies in the Rhodesias which could indicate
a not inconsiderable pre-Iron Age population capable of transmitting the new
ideas. This of course poses additional problems as to who these were. That
they were Bushmanoid hunter-foodgatherers seems highly improbable though
more advanced people like the non-negroid population found at site K2 near
Bambandganalo may provide an explanation within the bounds of feasibility.
The evidence collected by Christie (1957), Ferrand (1919) and other
authorities using Chinese literary evidence has clearly shown that as early as
the period 200 B.C.-A.D. 200 ships from south-east Asia were capable of
distant voyaging and mention is even made of vessels up to 170 feet in length.
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea refers to the existence of a trade on the
East African Coast as early as the first century A.D.
Both bananas and yams are crops ideally suited to the more heavily
vegetated parts of Africa and if they spread by the route indicated by the
present dispersal of the xylophone and other south-east Asian cultural traits
they would have quickly reached the edge of the west Sudanic area perhaps
at a time that land pressure consequent on the West African agricultural
revolution of the third millennium B.c. had begun to be an important factor.
The coincidence of the arrival of suitable crops for expansion into the forest
with the arrival of the knowledge of iron-working acted as the trigger for the
Bantu explosion that was to fill quickly, albeit sparsely, the empty and more
fertile parts of southern Africa.
Iron(9) was not in general use in Egypt until at least the seventh century
BANTU GENESIS 91
B.C. (Forbes, 1950). Its arrival in the Nile Valley led to the rise of the Meroitic
Iron Age culture of the Sudan in the fourth century B.C. By the third century
the knowledge of iron working had reached Nok(10) in northern Nigeria. It
could of course also have reached the western Sudan from North Africa as
iron was certainly in use there as early as the fifth century B.C. and contact
across the Sahara had been established at least as early as the third millennium
(Mauny, 1951). With the use of iron the forest could at last be cleared by
serviceable tools. Expansion took place both to the south(l 1) and to the east.
To the south-east there existed a virtual human vacuum in the Stone Age and
it was here that the expansion was of an explosive nature.
The archaeological record indicates an iron-using culture that is both rela-
tively widespread and early and which could fit this contention of rapid
expansion. This is the culture, or more accurately groups of societies, charac-
terized by the dimple-based pottery wares from the Kavirondo area of Kenya
first described by Leakey (Leakey, M. D., 1948) in 1948. Subsequently similar
wares have been described from Ruanda (Hiernaux, 1960) and Kasai
(Nenquin, 1959) whilst the same pottery has been found in Uganda at
Nsongezi, in Tanganyika (Smolla, 1956) and possibly in the Lower Congo
Valley. The channelled wares of the Rhodesias fall into the same genre. The
ware is characterized primarily by its grooved or channelled decoration, scroll
motifs and certain distinctive bowl-form features. The age is rather more
difficult to determine. Radio-carbon dates for the Rhodesias (Clark, 1959)
suggest first century A.D., though Ruanda evidence suggests the tenth century.
The important archaeological fact, however, is that these wares represent the
first iron-working and iron-using folk in the areas where they are found and
that the ware is widespread and similar. At both Nsongezi in Uganda and in
Ruanda (Hiernaux, 1959) the ware is found immediately above or admixed
with Late Stone Age Wilton industries. None of the sites where these wares
are found indicates large or even very settled societies and they are superseded
by regional pottery variations and by more settled societies. The evidence
would thus support the idea of rapid expansion from a common source
followed by regional separation and development.
Over large parts of the area concerned, the use of the Bantu stem form
-uma for iron (Wainwright, 1954) and the use in smelting of bowl furnaces
and bellows as used in the Sudanic source area suggest a common origin of iron
working. It has been suggested that the use in parts of East Africa and the
discovery on an iron age site in Ruanda of the domed furnace could indicate
that iron working should be considered as being of coastal and Arab origin.
There is, however, insufficient evidence to prove that the domed furnace is
primary, and the weight of the linguistic, archaeological and ethnological
evidence would suggest that the domed furnace, though comparatively wide-
spread, is secondary in Africa.
The use of iron finally led to the growth of iron age agricultural societies.
Where these were in areas where native gold was readily found, such as West
Africa and Southern Rhodesia, important cultural centres like those of Ghana
-Mali and the Zimbabwe developed.
To sum up, it is as well to indicate the gaps in our knowledge that could
92 UGANDA JOURNAL
alter this interpretation. At present we know nothing of the banana varieties
in either Madagascar, which it is here assumed was in direct contact with
Indonesia, nor of West Africa where present-day observations of the agri-
cultural societies would suggest that agriculture based on planted crops is
better and possibly longer established than in East Africa. We can only
assume that the agricultural revolution that allowed the expansion of the
Negroid Western Sudanic groups led in its turn to a more rapid development
once the planted crops had been transmitted to the forest societies to the
south. We have no data on the pre-Arab societies of the East Coast nor of
how and when the Indonesian influences could have been transmitted into the
interior. The archaeological evidence is as yet too isolated to allow more than
mere suggestions of data and origin. It is inconceivable that any traces of the
spread of planted agriculture other than the trace of settled societies will be
found, for the material agricultural equipment concerned with cultivation is
neither distinctive, as in the case of grain, nor imperishable.
(1) The term Khoisan was originated by Schapera (1930) for the click-speaking
peoples of southern Africa. 'Khoi' is the Hottentot name for themselves and 'san'
is their name for the Bushmen.
(2) A term used to connote those people physically akin to the Caucasoid.
Erythiote skeletal remains are known from the Horn of Africa, Kenya, Tanganyika
(3) It is thought that the Hottentot preceded the Bantu in southern Africa and
brought the first domestic mammalia. No date is known though it is probable
that they predate the first millennium B.C.
(4) Elementeitan pottery is found associated with Late Stone Age hunter-food-
gatherers and would certainly seem on present evidence to date from at least the
second millennium B.C. The idea was most probably acquired through contact with
the Horn of Africa where pottery was already in use.
(5) Similar wares to those of Ennedi have been described by Lebeuf (informa-
tion from discussion at IVth Pan-African Pre-history Congress, Leopoldville,
(6) O. Davies, paper given to the IVth Pan-African Prehistory Congress.
(7) It is probable that the Kintu story also embodies myths about the first man
as well as the first Kabaka, Kintu and his wife being given the banana and the
cow to provide the staples of life. The circumstantial evidence of the story would
seem less reliable than that surrounding the Bachwezi legends.
(8) The Indian bananas have as yet received no comparable intensive study.
(9) Various radio-carbon dates have been given for the Iron Age at Nok. The
most recent indicate 400 B.C.-A.D. 200 (Illustrated London News, 3 Sept. 1960).
(10) The evidence from various West African cave sites indicate that in the
forested zone material assignable to the Iron Age is found directly superimposed
on a Wilton Late Stone Age with no sign of a Neolithic. S. V. Pearce (The
appearance of Iron and its use in Protohistoric Africa, an unpublished M.A. thesis
presented to the University of London, 1960).
(11) G. Mortelmans, paper given to the IVth Pan-African Prehistory Congress.
Locality is given as Thysville. Some doubt has been entertained as to whether
this pottery is really dimple-based ware. (Personal communication from J. Nenquin.)