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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Front Matter 1
Front Matter 2
Front Matter 3
Front Matter 4
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Uganda Society
Some Royal Craftsmen of Buganda
The History of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve
Winds and Storms of Lake Victoria
Index to Volume VIII
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
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THE BIRDS OF KENYA COLONY AND THE
By Sir FREDERICK JACKSON, K.C.M.G., C.B.
Completed and Edited by WILLIAM LUTLEY SCATER, M.A.
These three volumes represent the life's study of a great African
Explorer and Administrator, and the "father" of East African natural
history. The late Sir Frederick J. Jackson spent thirty-four years in East
Africa, and during all these years all his spare time was occupied in the
study of the Wild Life of this region, and particularly in the observation of
the habits of the birds.
Volume I. Struthionidae to Psittacidae, pp. 1-544. Illustrated with io plates
in colour and 115 text-figures.
Volume II. Coraciidaee to Sylviidae, pp. 545-1136. Illustrated with 8 plates
in colour and 65 text-figures.
Volume III. Hirundinidae to Emberizidae, pp. 1137-1558. Illustrated with 6
plates in colour, 61 text-figures and i map.
Extra Royal 8v. Pages LXVIII + 1596.
Three volumes. Price 4: Io:- net per set.
Postage: Home i/-, Abroad 5/3.
"...To the ornithologist accustomed mainly to the birds of a temperate
climate the extraordinary number and the beauty of the species of this
region will make a tremendous appeal."
"...The illustrations by two well-known bird artists, Mr. G. E. Lodge
and Mr. Grnnvold, alone are enough to make the book a noteworthy
one." Manchester Guardian.
"...The appearance of the late Sir Frederick Jackson's long awaited
work on the birds of Kenya and Uganda is an important event in the
ornithological history of East Africa."
GURNEY & JACKSON
LONDON: 98 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.
EDINBURGH: TWEEDDALE COURT.
Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours
CIRCULAR BAIL AND
LAKE STEAMER TOURS
Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika
and the Belgian Congo
Occupying from 6 to 38 days
CAN BE ARRANGED AT
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
FULL PARTICULARS ON APPLICATION TO ANY STATION
Messrs. THOSE COOK AND SON LTD., NAIROBI AND MOMBASA
The Brightest Spot
THE ORGAN OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
Some Royal Craftsmen of Buganda ...
The History of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve ...
Winds and Storms of Lake Victoria.
The Making and Maintenance of Golf Greens
CORRESPONDENCE, BOOK REVIEW, ERRATUM.
H. R. HONE, M.C., K.C.
C. W. CHORLEY.
F. R. KENNEDY, O.B.E.
THE UGANDA SOCIETY.
SIR PHILIP MITCHELL, K.C.M.G., M.C.
CAPTAIN C. R. S. PITMAN, D.S.O., M.C.
OWEKITIBWA S. W. KULUBYA, M.B.E.
SIR ALBERT R. COOK, KT., C.M.G.
E. J. WAYLAND, ESQ., C.B.E.
DR. H. H. HUNTER, C.B.E.
H. JOWITT, ESQ.
H. R. HONE, ESQ., M.C., K.C.
JOHN SYKES, ESQ.
N. V. BRASNETT, ESQ.
THE RT. REV. BISHOP E. MICHAUD, M.B.E.
H. B THOMAS, ESQ., O.B.E.
E. F. TWINING, ESQ., M.B.E.
R. A. TITO WINYI II, C.B.E.,
OMUKAMA OF BUNYORO-KITARA.
E. B. HADDON, ESQ.
Miss E. P. CLARK.
NORMAN GODINHO, ESQ., M.B.E.
E. B. HADDON, ESQ.
G. H. E. HOPKINS, ESQ.
OMW. C. M. S. KISOSONKOLE.
OMW. B. K. MULYANTI.
DR. M. M. PATEL.
S. H. H. WRIGHT, ESQ.
A. V. P. ELLIOTT, ESQ.
S. G. MARSH, ESQ.
R. A. SNOXALL, ESQ.
B. SEBLEY, ESQ.
C. R. HALL, ESQ.
The year 1940 has passed and with it what must surely have been the most
critical in even the long annals of the British people. The repercussions of what
has been developing rapidly to the condition of world war have been but slightly
felt here in Uganda, but from those who have returned from the home front and
from the letters which we receive from those at home we can only be thankful
that owing to our supremacy at sea stocks of paper, printer's inks, and the
numerous other essentials of the printing and publishing trades have not become
so scarce as to render the preservation of our local organ of culture, The
Uganda Journal, unduly difficult. It is in such hard times as the present that
such cultural activities as we have the privilege of maintaining through the
medium of our Journal are doubly valuable, for the dire trade of war dislikes
those who participate sparing any of their time for the pursuit of culture which
it is our aim to foster. It is therefore all the more satisfactory to be able to
record that the year just ended saw the continuation of the prosperity of The
Uganda Society and the decision to undertake the publication by the Society of a
second book, under the title of "Uganda Memories" and from the pen of a past
president of The Uganda Society, Sir Albert Cook.
It is also gratifying to be able to record that our membership has. not suffer-
ed as we were rather afraid that it would. Self-complacency has never been one
of our faults we hope, but is it too much to hope that in time of war we might
even increase our membership? This we are convinced is possible, for it has been
proved that those of our members who have been taken by their war duties out
of this country have continued their membership, but there are also many who
have been brought by war duties to Uganda who will, we trust, develop more than
a temporary interest in the country; these should prove valuable members and
we should make every endeavour to get them to join The Uganda Society.
As we have indicated above we are profoundly thankful that it has been
found possible to maintain the standard of our publication although the number
of issues per annum has had to be curtailed, and it is therefore all the more
pleasant to be able to include such a contribution to knowledge and a record of
the ancient arts of the country as that by Mrs. Trowell illustrated, adequately we
hope, by photographs taken of the craftsmen actually engaged in the occupations
described by the writer. As a supplement to the present volume it has been
thought fitting to produce a full index of contributions to date but it has been
considered that the map usually included once per volume might at present well
We have so far not received very many offers of photographs for which we
appealed in our last editorial, to illustrate a book on the mammals of Uganda
which certain of our members are collaborating to write. We feel that useful
photographs must be numerous and would reiterate our appeal.
In spite of duties and pre-occupations caused by the war, the Society has been
fairly active during the last few months.
Lecture meetings were held in November and December. The first of these
was Captain Pitman's Presidential Address, delivered on Nov. 20th. on the subject
of Crocodiles. This was a lecture of great value, based on the President's personal
experience and research into the habits of creatures of which few people possess
any reliable scientific knowledge.
On December 19th Mr. E.B. Haddon, an honorary Vice-President of the So-
ciety, spoke on life in Uganda when he first came to the country, some thirty years
ago. This lecture was of great interest, in view of the changes which have taken
place in recent years, particularly in the improvement of communications and of the
general amenities of life.
On January 9th, Capt. Pitman kindly showed some of his animal films for the
benefit of the many young people in Kampala at this time of year. On this occasion
a collection was taken for the Uganda War Fund.
Three more rooms have been added to the Society's premises in Nakasero Road.
These have been fitted with electric light and will shortly become the offices of the
Society, leaving the large room as a library and committee room.
It is satisfactory to note that there has been no decrease in membership as a
result of the war. A few members have resigned, but have been outnumbered by
new members joining in the last few months. We are very grateful for this continued
support in difficult times.
Members may be interested to know that the Society has been invited by the
Honourable the Resident, Buganda, to nominate a representative to the Kampala
Museum Committee. The Museum is a cultural project in which the Society is
naturally interested. We are glad to know that the authorities propose to develop
it as far as is possible in these times; and we are grateful to the Resident for this
SOME ROYAL CRAFTSMEN OF BUGANDA.
by MARGARET TROWELL.
In the following account of some of the royal craftsmen of Buganda there are
many gaps and, very probably, many inaccuracies. It has been written from notes
taken during the last two years at visits paid to craftsmen in order to watch them
actually at work. In most cases facts have been cross-checked by questioning more
than one group of craftsmen and by comparing their story with accounts given by
Roscoe, Sir Apolo Kagwa and other writers. As a general rule the apparent
accuracy of their statements was surprisingly high, for instance a long list of arti-
facts due from the smiths as a yearly tribute tallied from two separate sources,
while a group of potters in 1938 sang the song quoted by Sir Apolo Kagwa in 1904
as they stamped out their clay.
Nevertheless the craftsmen were in most cases old peasant folk who gave one
the impression of pitching a good yarn, or, on the other hand, of only telling the
English omukyala what it was good for her to know. We must be prepared for a
slight mingling of fancy with fact, this has not made it a less interesting study as
the fancy exists as part of the mental make-up of these humble yet skilled workers.
It may perhaps give us a glimpse of a cross section of African life today to realise
that in and around Kampala with its motor buses and wireless, developing university
and all; there still exists a simple form of organization of the old peasant industries,
where the craftsman, though poor, receives the honour due to him; receives the
same privileges and pays the same dues as his father did before him, and sees no
necessity or enticement to change his ways.
How long can such a primitive organization last in the modem world? On
the face of it, it would seem only a very short time. Most of the highly skilled
craftsmen are old men-the last of their kind. Their tale is always the same, the
young men will not be bothered to learn the crafts for they see no future in them.
In the old days the craftsman had "Kitibwa", prestige, however poor and humble he
might be, any modern office boy with a smattering of booklearning now con-
siders himself to be superior. The economic factor too is one which deserves
further study. The African peasant has not yet learnt to think clearly in terms of
shillings and cents with regard to his indigenous products. The blacksmith com-
mands a higher price than his work warrants in a good many cases because super-
stition still gives it a value beyond the merely utilitarian; on the other hand the
potter, whose work demands more time and skill is under-paid because with his
poor technique he cannot compete with imported enamelware and old petrol tins.
Nevertheless given the right help it is possible that the potter's craft might be
developed into a living rural industry while the blacksmiths may not be capable of
such development owing to greater conservatism and self complaisancy.
There is more historical or legendary material available concerning the origins
of the blacksmith's craft than of any other. This is to be expected, because
everywhere in Africa the smith, his forge and his work seem to hold an especially
important, often almost sacred, position in the eyes of the people. It is still today
one of the largest of the peasant industries in Buganda and in the past must have
ranked as second to none. It is more highly organized than any other craft.
In every other craft the leader of the royal craftsmen and often his second in
command holds a hereditary position and comes from one particular clan although
the workmen under them may be of any clan. But among the smiths many of the
clans seem to have their own closed groups, where all the workmen will be of the
one clan and where only a certain type of work is done. Thus the Nvubu (Hippo-
potamus) clan have always been the makers of the royal shields, and the bracelets,
anklets and other ornaments for the King's wives; while the Ente (cow) clan make
the weapons and agricultural implements needed for the Lubiri. Sir Apolo Kagwa
gives a list of some half dozen clans with their leaders and localities from which
they draw their craftsmen.
There seem to be many legends concerning the first beginnings of ironwork
in the country. Some say that long ago the Kasumba (genet) clan lived in Bun-
yoro and that their founder Luija was an ironworker. Then one of the clan,
Walukaga, came to Buganda to work as smith for Kintu. Kintu grew to be very
fond of him and often worked with him. He and his descendants came to hold
an important position in the court; and at the coronation of a King the Walukaga
would bring a bundle of spears to be handed to the King.
Another legend also gives Bunyoro as the source of ironworking; but in this
tale it is King Kimera of Buganda himself, who after getting into trouble over one
of the wives of King Wunyi of Bunyoro goes into hiding in the hut of a Munyoro
blacksmith. There he learns the craft and brings back to Buganda the first iron
hoes and weapons.
In the reign of Kabaka Nakibinge the blacksmiths became even more re-
nowned for their skill in making weapons. At this time again it is emphasised
that it is the Banyoro and the people of Budu who are the smiths. The Bushbuck
clan were among the first iron workers and they got their ironstone from Koki and
Later King Mawanda employed another Munyoro called Kakonge as his
smith, and settled him near the lake shore in Kyagwe in a district which was rich
Working the Bellows.
Finally King Junju conquered Budu and brought in many experienced smiths
from that district; and it is these men who are said to have brought the working of
copper into Buganda, although a little had been done before their time.
Today very little iron is actually smelted from ironstone, as scrap iron is so
easily come by, but for certain work for the Kabaka iron is still smelted in Koki and
brought in to be worked in the royal smithies near Kampala, so it is of interest to
give an account of the process. The following description is taken from Roscoe
The ironstone (Amatale) has first to be dug and charcoal burnt for the firing.
For this they use Enizanvumu, Nongo (gynometra or Albizzia species) Mita-
mpindi (Albizzia Coriacea), or Misese (acacia) trees.
The smiths then dig a pit about four feet deep and three feet across and in this
papyrus or elephant grass is spread. The earth round the top is moistened, beaten
and stamped down and a ring of clay about a foot thick built on it.
They cut rough bricks from slabs of earth from an ant heap and with these
build up a wall on the clay ring, sloping it gradually inwards until at about four
feet high only a small aperture is left at the top. Three or four holes are left at
the base of the kiln wall and the clay nozzles of the bellows are later inserted in
these. The bellows are of the type described later in the account of the smithy of the
When dusk falls the chief smith lights the fire through one of the blast holes
and men are set to pump the bellows throughout the night.
When the ore has melted the upper part of the kiln is broken down with a
branch of a tree and water and green papyrus thrown in to cool it, when it can
be handled it is taken out and cut up into lumps with a chisel; this pig-iron is
now ready for sale to other smiths or to be sent in for the use of the royal workmen.
As has been stated above several clans have their smiths and smithies each
doing some special type of work for the royal households. Driving out of Kam-
pala on the Entebbe Road one passes the market place of Katwe just outside the
township borders; from a dilapidated oblong mud hut open to the road comes the
clink of hammer on iron, this is the smithy of the Ente or Cow clan, and here
you can watch them making spears, adzes, axes, hoes, large digging spears, knives
for peeling bananas, others for cutting meat, awls, needles and bells of various
kinds, for cattle, hunting dogs and decorating babies' legs "to make them walk."
It is a large and busy smithy with two separate sets of fire and bellows. A
young lad will be working the bellows, pumping the bamboo rods up and down
at an incredible speed with seemingly tireless energy, in fact this working of the
bellows in a smithy seems to be the one job in all Africa where rapid hard work
is expected and given. The bellows, Omuvubo, consist of two clay bowls each
with a long stem looking like enormous shallow pipes set close at a slight angle
to each other. These are covered with a goat skin tied tightly round the neck
of each bowl; up from the centre of the skin above each bowl comes a bamboo
rod and it is these that the boy pumps up and down forcing the air out through
the stem of each bowl in turn. The air is sent into a large clay nozzle, Nkero,
and out into the charcoal fire. A hole in the ground nearby holds water which is
sprinkled with a mop of banana leaves over the fire to damp it down.
The smiths squat on the floor nearby, each with his stone anvil, Oluija. (Luija
is the legendary Banyoro founder of the genet clan which provided Kintu with
the first smith). Each will have a heavy piece of iron like a flattened stick for his
hammer, Enyondo; and a chisel, Ensinyo, held in a cleft stick.
Katongole, the head of the Ente clan is by right of his position the hereditary
chief smith. The original Katongole came from Bunyoro and settled in Budu
where members of the clan have always been known for their work as smiths,
working the iron themselves right up from the ironstone. All the work which is
done for the Kabaka in this smithy is still made from iron smelted in Koki,
although work made for sale is made from scrap iron bought in the towns.
It is probable that until the present generation the Katongole has always been
a working smith; but today he is a clergyman although he worked in his father's
smithy when he was a boy. Now his official duties consist in an occasional visit
of inspection to the smithy and arranging for pig iron to be brought from Koki.
All other business such as receiving orders from the Treasurer of the royal house-
hold, paying tribute into the royal store and so on is carried out by a second man
who takes a courtesy title of Katongole in the smithy.
In all about twenty men of the Cow clan are members of this smithy. They
will be called in by Katongole in rotation to do their three months work a year as
royal smiths of the Kabaka. During this time each man must produce a certain
tribute, this was given to me as 7 spears (Efumu), 20 "digging spears" (Ekifumu), 25
polished knives (Akambe Akagezi), 80 peeling knives (Akambe), 15 adzes (Egya), 7
awls (Olukato), 40 small needles and 30 large needles (Empiso). What work they do
over and above this may be sold for their own profit, although they must buy their
own scrap iron to melt down for their own work. The privileges which they
enjoy are the same as those of other royal craftsmen-free land, no taxation and
no other form of compulsory labour. In the old days the smith, like the potter
could not be killed for human sacrifice; and during the times of such sacrifices it
was customary for him to carry his smith's hammer as a badge of office in order
that no mistake might be made!
Of all the crafts the smith's was the most hedged round with taboos. If
women could not be present at the digging of clay and the firing of pots, they were
kept even more strictly from contaminating the smith or any of his work. While
working he could have no intercourse with his wife, he could not even feed or
talk with other people, his food would be brought to him and left at the smithy
door. Today these customs are not strictly observed and passers-by will stop to
chat at the smithy door, yet one feels the craft still has its pride and dignity of
position which sets it apart from any other. The smith is not pessimistic that his
trade will die out, on the contrary Katongole assured me that even an educated
schoolboy would be glad to become a smith. They do not seek fresh openings
for their skill, on my enquiry as to whether they undertook such jobs as the
repair of bicycles I was told proudly that the royal smiths of the cow clan had
no need of such work and would not touch it, unless of course they were
personally ordered to do so, by the Kabaka. Meanwhile they had all the work
they needed in the making of agricultural implements "for, as every woman
knows a garden would not prosper if cultivated with foreign implements." This
apparently refers only to knives for cultivating, for practically all Baganda that I
have asked use an imported "jembe" rather than the old Buganda hoe (Enkumbi);
while the women use the more primitive wooden digging stick for their sweet
The only grumble on the part of the smith was concerning the price he was
paid for his labour, although as far as I could tell he was considerably better
paid than the potter considering the amount of skill and labour involved. Peeling
knives sell at from 10-50 cents according to size, axes at 1/- or 1/50, sharp knives
for cutting meat at 1/50; small awls for basket making at 2 cents. Sir Apolo Kagwa
also felt that a smith should receive more for his labour, for "to get rich a smith
must work without ceasing all his days." In Sir Apolo's time the price paid was
five cowrie shells for a spear, hoe, axe or large knife; two shells for a small knife
and one for a razor. That was at the smith's door, if he had to deliver the
goods he would expect beer or at least a bunch of bananas. The word Mukemba
is used for the pay of a blacksmith and also for the fee for divination; it does
not seem to be used for payment to a potter or other craftsman.
It is from this attitude towards his mukemba as well as from his whole bear-
ing when discussing his work that one realises that in his own eyes the smith is one
apart from other craftsmen. To us the others may appear to have far more skill,
to be producing work that is far more interesting and valuable; but they are
pessimistic, they feel themselves to be fast going with the coming of modem
civilization; the smith feels he is secure, that for him there can be no such thing
as foreign competition.
DRUMS AND OTHER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
While pots and tools, houses, boats and weapons must always be considered
essential to any way of living, something further is needed to give colour, romance
and beauty to our life. To the Baganda that further richness of life has been
served by musical instruments and especially by the drums.
Every event in life has had its significance marked with its own particular
drum beat-birth, marriage, death, the accession to power or wealth, the return
of the warrior-for each the call of the drum has gone forth, the message has
rung out across the valley. Drums have a magic of their own, a power to fill
the world with a throbbing mystery of sound. When the King walks clad in
barkcloth through his courts proceeded by drums and horns one feels the old
dignity and power of a great native chief. When at night in the flickering light
of torch and fire half-seen figures dance and move to the throb of the drum and
the monotonous chant of harp and pipes, then into the light strides a minstrel to
tell again some tale of warrior's prowes or of past glories of the tribe, one is
caught up by the strange glamour of movement and sound.
So it is that in the past drums were inextricably woven into the lives of the
people. At the Kabaka's court were countless drums and batteries of drums
each served by special chiefs and clans, each sounding on its own proper occasion.
Fresh drums were added to celebrate new reigns or particular events, often in
times of war drums would be lost or captured, sometimes a drum would
fall out of use until its proper purpose was forgotten. When a man was
promoted to a chieftainship he was presented with a drum and drummer by
the Kabaka, they were the insignia of his office and in the local phraseology
he "ate the drum", just as when the Kabaka came to the throne he
"ate Buganda", and on this drum would be beaten his own particular beat.
Nearly every clan seems to have held the honour of providing drummers to care
for some particular drum, and men from each clan would take their turn of
service month by month in the Lubiri. Many are the legends concerning the
origins of these privileges and of the making of the drums long ago. A very full
historical account with photographs of a number of the most important of the
Kabaka's drums was published in the Uganda Journal by the late Mr. A.J.
Lush, to go into further details here would only be to repeat the work which he
has so admirably done, and as our interest is chiefly with the craftsmen them-
selves enough has been said to show the importance of the drums.
The chief drummer of the Kabaka is always a member of the Lugave (manis)
clan and has the hereditary title of Kawula. He is in absolute charge of the
royal drums and drummers, not only is it his business to see that men are sent in
* Vol. III. No. 1.
by the clan chiefs to take their turn at playing their particular drums in the Lubiri,
but through him drums are sent back to the workshop for repair and new drums
The workshop where drums are made and repaired today stands a short way
off the Entebbe Road some two miles out from Kampala. Here all drums will
be brought for re-skinning when their covers wear thin, although the few large
ceremonial drums which are covered with cowrie shells and beadwork must go
elsewhere for repair.
In charge of the workshop is Kasimba of the Mpologoma (lion) clan, who
like Kawula is an old man whose memory stretches back to the golden days
when drums were of real importance in life and to be a royal drummer was a
position of high rank indeed. I was told that Kasimba was the assistant chief
drummer although Lush states that Kimorera of the Butiko (mushroom) clan
holds this position. In the history of the two clans given by Roscoe we find that
the Mpologoma clan had charge of Nalubare the original drum of Majaguzo,
which is the most important battery of royal drums; this Nalubare was presented
to Kintu by the original chief Kasimba, and was afterwards kept in the shrine of
Kintu. On the other hand the Butiko clan claim to have made Kawagulu
(? Kawulugumo, one of the most important drums of Mujaguzo still in existence)
which was made and kept on their land and carried up to the Lubiri each day.
So that both clans have a claim to importance as drummers.
At the workshop some ten or a dozen men are constantly at work making
and repairing drums. Apart from the hereditary Kawula and Kasimba the
workmen are of any clan and hold their position by sheer merit. As royal crafts-
men they are entitled to wear the skin apron and are exempt from any kind of
tax or compulsory labour, and hold free land.
The drums made here are chiefly Ngoma, short stocky drums made of a
hollow block of wood narrowing at the base with cowhide stretched top and
bottom lashed together with thongs, they range in size from little ones under a
foot high used at ceremonies for the birth of twins to huge fellows some five feet
or more in height. They are the drums which beat on ceremonial occasions
and which today call folk to school or church; the tall Engalabi for dance and
song are of a different type.
In front of the open shelter which forms the workshop stand a row of
emilugwa, logs hollowed and shaped ready to be covered with the skins. Cut
from unseasoned wood from trees in the Kabaka's forest land they have been
smeared with cowdung to present-them from splitting and have stood for months
in the shelter to dry out. The best of them are muvule (Chlorophora Excelsa),
the mujaguzo are all made of this. Then comes Mubajangalabi (Ranwolfia
Vomitoria) a really hard wood, and mutuba (the bark cloth trees), while Mulungi,
a soft wood which is quickly destroyed by insects is sometimes used. Kasimba
said that he did not fear to cut any trees to make the royal drums because "the
fear of the Kabaka was greater than the fear of the spirits" but that lesser men
would leave certain trees alone or make sacrifice to propitiate the spirits after
Kasimba and his men first hollowed out the inside of the logs with an
omulimu, a large gauge two or three inches across on a long wooden handle, this
is held perpendicularly, chopping down into the log to remove the core. When
the log was reduced to a shell one of them took an adze, (Egya), with an iron
head and blade fitted on to a handle of bent stick, and sitting on the ground
chopped round the last few inches on the outside of the base to taper it down.
These tools as well as the knife, (akambe), for cutting the hides; and the omuindo,
the large awl used later to make holes for the thonging have been paid into the
royal store as part of the yearly tribute from one of the smithies, and then
drawn out by Kasimba for his men.
The choice of the skins for covering the drums was a matter of more
importance than the choosing of the wood. Roscoe says that in the old days
when one of the more important drums needed re-covering four sets of nine oxen
each were sent from the King's herds. From these one was chosen and when it
was slaughtered its blood was run into the drum to give the King strength. Meat
from this ox was sent back for the King's table, while the rest of the oxen were
killed and distributed among the drummers. When certain drums were re-covered
a man would also be killed and his blood run into the drum. Fetishes, often of
phallic origin, were always put in for this same purpose of bringing the King
health and strength, and even today every good Engoma has its fetish rattling
inside; these are popped in at the last moment by Kasimba himself, who sends
away his men on some errand while he does it, thus preserving an air of mystery
about the proceedings.
Today an ox is always slaughtered specially for its hide, although most of
the old ceremonies are done away with. The fresh skin is dried in the sun for
two days and then buried in the swamp for several days until it is soft and pliable
and afterwards cleaned and scraped.
Inside the shelter a man is preparing the long thongs of twisted cowhide
which will be used later to lash together the skins which cover both ends of the
drum. Sitting on the floor he is cutting spiral-wise into a circular piece of cow-
hide; the free end from the outer edge of the hide is fastened to a post of the
shelter, and he keeps a steady pull on it as he works, stopping now and then to
twist the length of thongs which grows steadily longer as he cuts inwards. When
he has finished the long twisted cord will be hung outside from tree to tree to
dry and then stored until it is needed,
1. Hollowing out the Drum with a large gauge.
2. Shaping the outside of the Drum.
Another man is cutting the covering skins. He cuts a circular piece of hide
considerably larger than the top of the drum and another large star-shaped piece
with four points for the bottom. The skin is still wet from its soaking in the
swamp so that as it dries on the drum it will shrink and become taut.
He roughly fastens the two skins together over the drums then fetches his
awl and a length of twisted thong that he may begin the final lacing. This is
slow work and will take him several days if the drum is a large one. His thong
will run vertically up and down the drum joining the top and bottom skins, fitting
so closely that nothing can be seen of the wooden sides. He makes the holes
for the thong above the first rough lacing and as he works round he cuts away
the superflous skin inch by inch so that the hides are kept tightly stretched the
whole time. When the drum is finished he will leave it for a week and then if
necessary tighten up the thonging; then, if it is to give out one particular note
in a battery of drums he will tune it by driving little wedges of wood under the
A long band of hide is fixed to the drum by which it may be carried or hung
in the drumhouse, and two loops through which to thrust the drumsticks. Today
these are all of wood but in the old days certain of the royal drums were beaten
with human bones from victims slain for the purpose.
From Sir Apolo Kagwa we get a glimpse of what these drums must have
meant in the social life of the Baganda. Various batteries and individual drums
are mentioned by name so that they become almost personalities, they bring
great honour and strength to the Kabaka when they are played, the greater chiefs
too are strengthened by their drums but lesser men cannot attain to them. Then
he gives a list of other musical instruments which are used to bring joy to men's
hearts and glory to those in whose honour they are played and we are reminded
of "the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery and all kinds of music"
mentioned in Daniel.
As well as the Engoma type of drum there is also the Engalabi or dancing
drum. This is a long cylindrical drum some three or four feet high. The head
is larger than the rest and is about eight inches deep. This is covered with the
skin of the enswaswa or water lizard pegged round about an inch below the top.
The whole length of the drum is hollowed out and as it is not covered with skin
or thonging is smoothed and polished on the outside to a much higher degree
than the Omulugwa of the Engoma. The bottom end of the engalabi widens
out again into a flange, and this is left uncovered. These drums used also to be
played by the Baganda to cheer them on the march. Today an instrument which
is more often seen along the roads is the Ndingidi or one stringed fiddle. This is
often very roughly made and is sold for as little as fifty cents.
The chiefs would also have Entala Ntala and Amadinda in their courtyards.
These are a type of dulcimer with strips of wood (twelve for Enanga Nanga and
twenty two for Amadinda according to Kagwa) placed horizontally above the ground
from two side pieces of plantain stem and beaten with a stick. Endere too, flutes,
sometimes twelve, sometimes twenty two of them. They are made of reeds with
four holes for the sound, "and" says Sir Apolo, "when these are played together
with the drums it is beautiful indeed."
The most interesting instrument of all is the Enanga, the bow harp of the
Baganda. Its interest lies in the fact that it is an instrument which is now almost
extinct in Africa. Wachsmann mentions three other areas in Equatorial Africa
where it may still be found, and I have in my possession a bow harp with a bowl
of a different shape from the Sebei, a small tribe on Mount Elgon. Nevertheless
it is an instrument which in antiquity was always associated with court ceremonial
as it is in Buganda today, and from wall-paintings and reliefs we know it to have
existed in ancient Egypt and Asia.
Although it is now rare in Buganda it is still played by court musicians on
ceremonial occasions. Even as long ago as 1904 Sir Apolo Kagw. lamented
that it was being rapidly superseded by the endongo or bowl-lyre from Busoga,
"some see that it is good to play the enanga yet not many delight in it." Roscoe
too says that in 1911 its place had been largely taken by the endongo.
It was played at the Lubiri in the evenings to delight the Kabaka and his
ladies, as an accompaniment to song, some lauding the King's greatness, some
with wording the meaning of which is now completely obscure. The harper was
often a man whose eyes had been put out in order that he might not look upon
the ladies of the court.
It consists of a wooden bowl covered with skin; in this is set the wooden
bow with eight strings stretched from the front of the sounding box to the further
end of the bow, one above the other, these are tuned by little pegs in the bow. The
workmanship of some of the older specimens of the instrument is often very fine.
Today there are few who can play the enanga and few indeed who can make
it; in fact Erisa Bugotanya of Kisima in Kyagwe, the Omudongo or maker of
harps for the Kabaka, claims to be the only good enanga maker left. He says
that his father, the harp-maker of Mutesa never made endongo, for in those days
enanga only would be used in the court.
Erisa Bugotanya is a member of the Mamba (Lung fish) clan which is said
to have come to Buganda from Bumogera on the northern shores of Lake Victoria
in the days of Kintu. With several helpers he makes endongo, not only for the
* Uganda Journal. Vol. VI No, 3,
2- Smoothing off with a spokeshave.
1. Shaping the bowl.
1. Roughly fastening the skins together.
2. The final lacing of the skins.
kabaka's musicians but for sale both to Europeans and Africans, for the endongo
is a popular instrument still in demand at wedding feasts.
Like the enanga the endongo consists of a large wooden sounding-bowl
covered with enswaswa skin, but instead of the one bow to take the strings it has
two straight bars joined by a crosspiece at the top and the strings run parallel to
the face of the bowl up to the cross bar, instead of at right angles to it.
While carving the bowl, which is chopped from a large block of unseasoned
wood from the Omukebu tree (species Alcurites), the carver sits on the ground
clasping the block between his feet which seem to made a most excellent substitute
for a vice. For the outside he uses a small adze, (mbaze), and the inside is
hollowed with another adze, (mbaze mpatiko) having a curved blade like a gauge.
Finally he smoothes it all off with a species of spokeshave.
The covering of the bowl is done on the same principle as the covering of the
engoma drum, except that being a smaller instrument the workmanship is far
more delicate. The covering skin is enswaswa, laced to a small piece of cowhide
under the bottom of the bowl. The two skins are first roughly fixed in position
with plantain fibre, and finally laced with a fine thong of goat skin. This thong-
ing is often arranged in groups of two different colours, making a striped pattern
work around the bowl. By running a band of fibre round the top and working
over it a complicated stitch with the lacing a decorative rib is produced which
gives a finish to the work.
An interesting little tool is used to smooth off the goat skin lacing after it
has been cut and fastened from tree to tree to dry in the sun. It is simply a
little stick about eight inches long with a notch cut the required size, this is rubbed
along the thong to thin it down and remove the hair, but both those used by
Erisa were carved with patterns and were the first tools of the Baganda which I
had seen with any decoration or with any attempt at a good finish.
Three holes are cut in the skin and sewn round with a kind of buttonhole
stitch; two of these are at each side at the top and take the side bars, while the
third is at the centre bottom for the strings. These spread out and are fixed to
fibre rings round the top cross-bar and it is by twisting these rings and so tighten-
ing the strings that the instrument is tuned. The cross-bar is finally decorated
with tufts of goats' hair at each end.
Long long ago in the days of Kintu, the first King of the Baganda and father
of them all, lived the first potter, his name was Sekayala but it pleased Kintu to
call him Sedagala.
This Sedagala became a man of great honour and well known and lived in high
esteem until the days of Kabaka Kamanya. He must have been something of a local
Methuselah for this gives him a lifetime through some thirty reigns from the dim
ages of the beginnings of history until Kamanya ascended about 1710 according
to Sir Apolo Kagwa. The legend of his fame lasts until this day, for in 1939 I watch-
ed a group of old men "Bajona" or Royal Potters of Kabaka Daudi Chwa stamp-
ing out their clay and singing this Song-
"Sedagala abumba, abumba n'entamu ezikala
Sedagala abumba, abumba n'entamu ezikala"
"Sedagala makes his pots and the pots grow dry."
When Kamanya became King he took captive a Munyoro, Kawonawo Banda,
together with some three hundred other men. Kawonawo was a potter, so Kamanya
set him up as "Omujona" (the Royal Potter) giving him his own estate in Nakiga-
lala, a strip of forest land between Budo Hill and the Kampala-Entebbe road.
There has been a community of potters in this district since that day, and it is there
that Josefu Basajasubi, a Munyoro, and a highly skilled craftsman makes his black
We are not told exactly when Sedagala died but on the arrival of the Munyoro,
Kawonawo Banda, his unique position was no more; for until that time, says Sir
Apolo, Sedagala had been the only potter in the country.
Possibly it was because of the rarity of these craftsmen in the early days that
they were held in such high honour, so much so that in the times of human sacrifice
when numbers of people were killed to the glory of the King the lives of the potters
were always spared.
Cooking pots too, had an almost sacred value-were they not as a man's
mother?-"For from the time he leaves his mother's breast a man will eat of food
from a clay pot for the rest of his life." Should a man break a pot intentionally
others will revile him saying "An insolent fellow indeed to do such a thing to the
feeder of the children."*
The Baganda themselves all agree that the Banyoro are better potters than
they are themselves, and a large number of the potters in Buganda are Banyoro, or
their forefathers came from Bunyoro originally. According to their legends most of
the crafts are not of local origin but their first workers came in from surrounding
tribes. It is interesting that this should be so for it bears out the opinion which
can but be formed from a study of their work today. Skilled workers though the
Baganda can be, they show very little creative imagination or adaptability but are
content to follow out old techniques and old forms without any real desire to
put new life into them.
The pottery of Buganda can be divided into two main groups; coarse unglazed
red earthernware and fine black pottery.
Sir Apolo Kagwa "Empisa za Baganda".
The coarse earthernware is made in many parts of the country for suitable
clay can be found in most swampy districts. The best pots of this type are said to
come from Buvuma, one of the larger islands to the North of Lake Victoria.
There are two types of earthernware pot in common use; Ensuwa and Entamu.
Ensuwa are the waterpots. They consist of an almost spherical bowl over a
foot in diameter with a short neck some six inches across with or without a turned-
Entamu or cooking pots are bowls varying from one to three feet in diameter.
A very shallow bowl called Olubumbiro is made, this is really for the potter's
own use as a kind of twin-table on which to build his pots, but is in effect a large
bowl-like plate which could easily be adapted for table use. Other small bowls for
holding sauces and vegetables can sometimes be seen but they are not common.
Entamu and Ensuwa are sold in the markets and at the potter's door. Their
prices vary according to their size, but are usually 75 cents or 1/- shilling.
Near the towns the use of Entamu is giving way to that of aliminium sauce-
pans, for although these may cost four times as much they will last for longer. Some
African women who can afford to buy saucepans, however, still say that food is
better when cooked in Entamu; while the peasants away from the towns would al-
most always use them.
Even in the towns Ensuwa are still more popular for water than the old tins
and kettles which are the modern substitute. The water keeps cooler in them and,
according to most African women, tastes better. It is by no means certain that im-
ported pots and pans will oust the local craft; one interesting comment on modern
conditions was made by an old potter; the head of a large pottery where the enta-
mu for the Kabaka's Lubiri are made. He said that in the old days the potter had to
be content with sales to his immediate neighbours at his door, unless he were pre-
pared to walk many miles to the market, now, with buses and bicycles, the
'middle-man' had made his appearance who would buy a large number of pots at
50 cents each to sell at a profit in the townships.
The fine black pottery is not commonly used by the Bakopi, the peasants;
but can only be found in the households of the. rich. Nowadays it is being made
for sale to Europeans. It is very fine and delicate, and, considering that it is all
coiled pottery, for the wheel is not yet used in the country, its shape is almost per-
fect. Unfortunately it is very porous and brittle owing to bad firing.
There are many more variations of shape than in the common red earthern-
ware. Bowls of various sizes and slightly different shapes are made to hold vege-
tables and sauces; these are Ebibya.
Ensumbi are small waterpots with long narrow necks copied from gourd
Ebyanzi are milkpots of the same shapes as the wooden ones made by the
Roscoe states that in 1911 (Emindi) pipes, were also made in great numbers,
plain ones for general use and highly decorative ones for use in the temples. A num-
ber of these old ornamented pipes can be seen in the Kampala museum, but the
Muganda is not a pipe smoker and not many pipes are made today.
In the collection of the late Sir Frederick Jackson now in the Coryndon Mu-
seum, Nairobi, is a small black beer bowl with three long narrow necks; this shape
seems to have completely died out in this country. It is similar in shape to the far
larger red-earthernware beer pot of the Bagishu with its many mouths into which
the old men stick their individual filter pipes as they sit round at a beer party at
It can safely be stated that during the last thirty years no new shapes or types
of pottery have come into being in this country with the exception of a few freak
copies of European flower vases, candle sticks and ash trays; this in spite of such
a sudden influx of tableware and ornaments from Europe and Japan as can seldom
have happened before in history. The average Muganda potter has as yet realized
no connection between his own work and imported china, and refuses to believe
that it is also made of clay and by similar processes to his own.
If no new types of pottery have been evolved technical methods are also at a
standstill. My own observations tally almost exactly with those of Roscoe and Sir
Apolo Kagwa made twenty to thirty years ago. The only innovation I could find
was the use of a crude sieve made by punching holes in an old petrol tin which
was in use in two different potteries. Amongst the Bajona custom does not change,
taboos may not be so scrupulously observed but they are remembered and recited,
whilst the tribute paid by their fathers is still paid today.
It has been, stated that in Uganda communities of potters are to be found in
certain districts, this must be modified as small individual potteries are to be found
in all parts of the country. Nevertheless where there are good clay deposits a num-
ber of potters will tend to congregate, and as the craft is to a large extent hereditary
sons will set up on their own in the district in which they have grown up. Any
youth may apprentice himself to a potter without payment of any kind, but as a
general rule the craft will run in families.
The richness of the various clay deposits in the country has not yet been fully
realized, there are many beds of clay suitable for fine work, while material for
coarse earthernware can be found in most swampy districts.
The pit from which the clay is dug is called Ekirombe, all my informants
stated that it could not be dug at the time of the new moon; this tallies with Sir
Apolo Kagwa, but Roscoe says that it could only be dug during a period from the
1. Grinding the Ensibo.
2. Rolling the coils.
fourth day of the new moon until full moon, never during a waning moon. Pots
made from clay dug at the wrong season will not dry, nor will pots made from clay
dug when women are present. When the clay has been dug it is carried home and
stored in rough lumps in a large pit, covered with a heap of papyrus or banana
leaves to keep it from drying.
Clay is divided by the local potter into two clasess; Ebumba, any clay which
is sufficiently good for the coarse earthernware, and Ebumba nakasa, a purer finer
clay for the making of black pottery, this was described by one potter as "clay
which women can eat because it has no stones."
Pots cannot ever be made from clay alone, as pure clay would be too close
and stodgy a material to dry and fire evenly. Owing to very insufficient cleaning
native clay is never particularly pure and it is partly due to the uneven additions
of sand, earth, vegetable matter and even small stones all of which fire at very
different temperatures that there is such a high mortality of pots in firing. The
African potter expects to lose 50% of his pots in the fire, an enormous waste of
labour. To make the clay more "open" for firing the potter adds various things
which all go under the term Ensibo. For red earthernware he may use an Ensibo
of ground-up Ebisibosibo (soft sandstone). He may also add Omusenyu (sand) or
Embalebale (hard stone); or an ensibo of ground-up burnt potsherd. The Ensibo
for black pottery is always ground potsherd, this makes less porous pottery than an
Ensibo of sandstone but is said to make it more fragile.
No proportions for the mixture of clay and ensibo can be given for this varies
with the individual potter and his particular clay and is never measured but judged
each time by the "feel" of the mixture. A rough general estimate from my own
observation for red earthernware would be about six parts of clay to one part of
sandstone (the clay being very impure already contains a high proportion of other
materials); for the purer clay for black pottery three or four parts of clay to two
parts of ground burnt pot.
The ensibo is ground between two large flat stones and any obvious impurities
picked out by hand, this is usually the work of a younger son or apprentice.
While this is going on the older potters spread a cowhide on the ground and
put the clay on it. This is broken up by pounding with long poles and the stones,
roots and other large foreign bodies picked out. The ensibo and water are then
added little by little and mixed thoroughly by trampling with their feet. As they
stamp out the clay they chant Sedagala's song.
"Sedagala abumba, abumba n'entamu ezikala."
There is said to be one kind of clay which may not be trampled with the feet
but must be mixed with the pounding stick alone,
Clay for black pottery is prepared more carefully than that for red earthern-
ware, it is often soaked in water over night, and both the clay and the ensibo may
be passed through a crude sieve of pierced tin.
When the clay and ensibo is prepared for use it may be stored again in a pit
under a pile of rotting vegetation. This is all to the good as clay improves the
longer it is left to settle, but as in the heat of tropical African it tends to dry up
quickly the potter is usually content to mix only enough for immediate use and to
leave the lump wrapped in a banana leaf in the shade of his hut for a few hours only.
While he builds his pot the potter sits or squats on the ground, in front of him
is the Olubumbiro, a shallow earthernware bowl, standing on an enkata, a ring of
twisted banana bark such as a porter puts on his head beneath his load. On this the
pot is built, the potter twisting it round as he works, for this is the nearest he
knows to a potter's wheel. By his side is a broken potsherd or gourd containing
water and on a piece of cowhide lie his various tools. There will be a number of
nkayi, little pieces of calabash to smooth off and polish the pot, some of them
cut with grooves to shape the rim; then a piece of the split stem of elephant grass
akati, and smooth stones from the river bed, all for polishing; an olwola, a roulette
of plaited reed for making patterns on the vessel; perhaps an ekikongoliro, a maize
cob, for the same purpose; and olukato a little iron awl for making scratch patterns.
The potter first takes a small lump of clay for the base of the pot, this he
beats and pinches out into a saucer-like shape and places in the olubumbiro.
He then takes another lump and rolls it between his hands until he has a coil
about a foot long, if it is for a black pot it will be as thick as a pencil, if for a larger
earthernware vessel about an inch in diameter. Starting from the base coil after coil
is added to the pot each one being lightly pinched and pressed into place. Now and
again he will pause to smooth his pot both inside and out with the nkayi or akati,
dipping it first into the calabash of water. In this preliminary stage the work is
kept very wet, and with the larger coarse pots no especial care is taken to keep it
particularly smooth, although naturally the work of the black pots is more delicate
all the way through. In making an ensumbi or small gourd-like pot with a long
narrow neck, the neck is in continual danger of collapsing and falling in on itself;
to right this the potter blows air down the neck and this forces the clay out into
place once more.
When the pot is built the potter takes a shaped nkayi with which he turns
down the rim at the top. He then leaves it in the shade for some hours until it is
"leather hard". It is now ready for its final polishing; this is done with the nkayi
and akati, and in the case of a black pot with a smooth pebble; one potter scrubs his
pots all over with a very wet maize cob before the final smoothing down.
1. Trimming the edge.
2. Rolling on the pattern.
1. Drying the Pots before firing.
2. Protecting a small pot in an old cooking pot
The pot is now ready for decoration. Some potters ornament their black pots
with "scratch patterns" incised on the surface of the semi-dried clay with a small
iron awl (olukato), but by far the most common form of decoration of both types
of pottery is roulette pattern work.
The roulette or olwola is made by knotting or plaiting a certain type of reed
(oluyulu) until it is about the size of a match stick. A change in the knotwork pro-
duces a change in the pattern, in this way several different patterns can be made,
the most common being a succession of diagonal or a succession of arrow shaped
lines. The roulette is wetted and rolled along the still soft clay with the flat of the
The pots are then dried in a hut for from a week to a fortnight and then put
out in the sun for a few days before they are fired.
We have already shown that one of the reasons for the high mortality in the
burning of native pots lies in their very perfunctory efforts at cleaning the clay and
the resulting high proportion of impurities left to burn out at lower temperatures.
The other cause is the firing itself. Whereas for satisfactory firing the pots should
probably be taken up to a temperature of 11000 or 12000 centigrade, reaching
that heat only after some twenty-four hours slow firing, it is probable that native
pottery seldom reaches a temperature higher than 4000 or 500 centigrade, and is
forced up to that in the space of a couple of hours, being exposed to the direct
flame. The result is an enormous number of cracked and split pots, and what pot-
tery does seem to have fired without a disaster will be found to be like a piece of
toast, fired on both inner and outer surfaces with a layer of unburnt clay in be-
tween which will mix with water if left to soak. Such pottery will, of course, be
The same taboos hold good for firing as for the digging of clay; that is to say
pots cannot be fired at the time of the new moon, and women may not look on;
nevertheless women are expected to collect the grass and wood needed.
Pots are usually fired right out in the open and in direct contact with the
flames, although one potter was seen to fire in a large shallow pit, and another to
protect his firing of black pots in rough saggars of broken cooking pots.
A large platform of firewood about five foot square is built up to two feet
from the ground, on this the pots are stacked one inside the other as close as they
will go, large stones are piled round the edge to prevent them falling as the burnt
wood subsides. On and around the pots is piled a great heap of dried papyrus
or elephant grass until the whole thing is some eight or nine feet high; it is then
covered with a rough thatch of green elephant grass to keep it from burning out
too rapidly. A man runs round with a torch lighting the pyre on all sides. If
flames burst through in any one place more damp grass is thrown on, but no real
attempt is made to stoke up with more fuel. The fire is usually lit in the evening
and burns out in an hour or two, it is left until morning when it has cooled enough
to draw out the pots.
As far as the red earthernware is concerned that is the end; but the black
pots come out of the fire a dull copper colour and have yet to be blackened. The
methods of doing this seem to be considered by the potters as a trade secret and
I have never yet succeeded in watching the process right through but must piece
together odd bits of information and partial demonstrations.
There appear to be two distinct types of black pottery. The first has the
solid black shine of a well-polished shoe. This is said to be produced by smok-
ing and polishing alone. The pot is held in a forked stick over a smoking fire
of emuli; whether this is a particular type of reed or simply green reeds of any
kind I do not know. After a few minutes it is rubbed with an old rag or bark
cloth, then alternately smoked and polished until a rich, jet black is obtained.
The other type has a silvery sheen on the black which is very attractive. This
is produced by alternately rubbing the pots with a lump of graphite and polish-
ing. The graphite is brought from a deposit in the Hoima district and this
method seems peculiar to the Banyoro.
Both these types of black pottery show a beautiful sense of form but neither
method of glazing can be considered satisfactory. The pots remain porous and
the colour is apt to come off.
The Bajona or Royal Potters mostly come from the old potters' community
at Nakigala. They are given free land and are exempt from taxes. They dig
clay and cut their firewood free on the royal estate. Each year they must make
their tribute of a certain number of pots for the royal store but apart from that
they are free to work for their own gain. They are entitled to wear the goatskin
apron which seems to be the sign of position of all royal craftsmen.
THE HISTORY OF THE UGANDA VOLUNTEER
by H. R HONE, M.C., K.C.
The Uganda Volunteer Reserve was first formed in the Protectorate in 1903
after the passing, in March of that year, of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve
Ordinance which was sponsored by the Committee of Colonial Defence as an
internal security measure.
The Protectorate Government budgeted in the first year of the Corps'
existence for an expenditure on arms, ammunition and equipment of 775 on the
basis of 100 members. The original law authorised the formation of Rifle Corps
in any centre provided not less than 15 persons over the age of 16 were prepared
to volunteer. Rifles were provided at Government expense, and members were
issued with 100 rounds of ball ammunition free but each member was bound to
keep this in his possession and to produce the same whenever called upon. Over
and above this allowance, members were entitled to purchase further ammunition
up to a limit of 300 rounds from the Government at cost price for range practices.
In effect, therefore, every volunteer had to pay for every round he fired by way
of practice and this position soon led to protests, with the result that, in 1904, an
amending Ordinance was enacted by which members were given a free issue of
100 rounds of ammunition for practice purposes in addition to the 100 rounds
which they were bound to keep in their possession. The 1904 Ordinance also
removed a curious provision in the original law by which every member of the
Corps was required to deposit with the Secretary a sum equal to the value of his
rifle before the weapon could be issued to him; this provision had, in fact,
prevented a number of suitable persons from enrolling. The principal Ordinance
also provided that repairs to rifles must be carried out at the personal expense of
the volunteers but made the concession that the Government would effect the
repairs at cost price unless a volunteer had rendered the repairs necessary by his
negligence or carelessness.
Every member of the Corps was required to take the Oath of Allegiance if
he was a British subject, or a modified oath in the case of an alien. Every
member also was required to sign an undertaking that if he sold or parted with
his rifle except in accordance with orders, or took, or allowed it to be taken out
of the Protectorate, or did not keep it clean and in good order, he would forfeit
Rs. 300. Subject to the provisions of the Ordinance, the Rifle Corps in each
centre was empowered with the Government's approval to make its own bye-laws
for the management of its affairs, but the Ordinance provided a scale of fines
which could be inflicted by the Secretary of any Corps for various forms of mis-
conduct; for example, drunkenness at a rifle meeting involved a fine of Rs. 7/8,
and pointing a loaded or unloaded rifle at a person without orders cost the
delinquent Rs. 15.
It was also enacted by the Ordinance that in the event of war or serious
disturbance threatening the Protectorate, the Governor could call up the members
of the Volunteer Reserve for service in Uganda, but vested power in the local
Secretaries to give leave of absence in such case for sufficient reasons. It is to
be noted that, at least "two days' or other sufficient notice of the hour and place
of assembly" had to be given. Any volunteer who failed to obey the call was
liable to a fine of Rs. 75.
A capitation grant of Rs. 15 per head was authorised for every efficient
volunteer and, according to the original Ordinance, efficiency depended only upon
keeping one's rifle in good order and firing not less than twenty-one rounds at the
annual musketry meeting. It is not surprising to find that this quaint provision
was amended in 1904 and thereafter members were only regarded as efficient if
they fired an annual course prescribed by the rules and scored at least 45 points
out of a possible 105 at ranges of 200, 300 and 400 yards. In 1905 the minimum
qualifying score was raised by the Government to 50.
The Entebbe Corps was duly formed under sanction of the Governor (or, as
he was then called, the Commissioner) on the 28th April, 1903, and by the end
of that year the Corps was 33 strong, but for some reason no other Corps was
formed elsewhere for a number of years and it is interesting to note that the
Entebbe Corps was designated the "UGANDA Rifle Corps". The petition for
the formation of the Corps in Entebbe was signed by 23 persons among whom
were the following:- P. W. Cooper, W. H. de Boltz (for long, the Secretary of
the Corps), G. F. M. Ennis, G. Beroti, A. E. Booty, J. Martin, Dr. R. U. Moffat,
A. G. Boyle and J. F. Cunningham.
In 1905, a number of members wished to resign on account of the cost of
practice ammunition which was stated to be Shs. 15/- per 100 rounds and in
submitting the matter to the Government, the Secretary explained that, in his
opinion, nothing less than an annual allowance of 500 rounds per man would
enable beginners to shoot accurately. This suggestion was not supported by the
military authorities of the time who pointed out that the beginners might be en-
couraged by receiving some instruction off the range and also by being given
larger targets so that they should not be so disheartened by "having shot after shot
signalled as misses". The upshot of these discussions was a reduction in the cost
of ammunition to 1 anna per round as against the previous figure of 1 anna 9 pies.
By May 1905, the Corps comprised 43 members and it was then stated that
there was a possibility that a branch Corps would be formed in Kampala during
1906. No such branch was, however, then founded though it is clear that a
number of residents in Kampala were members of the Entebbe branch and that
they fired principally on the Kampala police range. In December, 1909, a formal
petition, signed by 15 Kampala residents, was sent to the Governor and he approv-
ed the formation of a Kampala Rifle Corps on the 4th January, 1910. The
Kampala members then held a meeting and resolved that the Entebbe branch
should be called upon to refund "all subscriptions paid by members of the Kam-
pala section into the funds of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve' and also asked "to
give a donation of 20 to help the starting of the Kampala section." This must
have been too much for the parent Corps in Entebbe for it was then pointed out
that most of the 15 petitioners were already members of the Entebbe Corps and
as such were stopped under the law from applying to be formed into another
Corps: on the 18th March, 1910, therefore the Gazette notice establishing the
Kampala Corps as a separate entity was cancelled.
Though in November, 1911, the Entebbe Secretary wrote to Kampala urging
that the volunteer movement should become more widespread, nothing further
was heard of the formation of a Corps at Kampala; in May, 1913, no less than 34
members of the Entebbe Rifle Corps were Kampala residents. In March, 1914,
however, "the Deputy Assistant Honorary Secretary, Kampala" forwarded to
Government a resolution, passed on the 23rd June, 1913, by 15 persons applying
to be formed into the Kampala unit. As, with one exception, all the signatories
were already members of the Entebbe Corps, this petition also had to be refused,
but a second petition, signed by 29 eligible persons (including many familiar
names, e.g., W. S. Garnham, A. Greig, F. C. Haslam, G. Ishmael, G. Mackenzie,
C. G. Moody, W. Small, A. S. Widgery), was acceded to and on the 25th June,
1914, the Kampala Corps was at length successfully launched.
Before the Great War the Entebbe branch seems to have been generally very
healthy, and a number of challenge cups and prizes were presented for competition,
while teams occasionally represented the Rifle Corps at Bisley to fire in the
National Rifle Annual Competition.
On the 4th December, 1909, a regrettable accident occurred on the Rifle
Range at Entebbe when the Uganda Volunteer Reserve were holding a shoot; a
sepoy of the Indian Contingent of the 4th K.A.R. was acting as a marker when a
bullet fired by one of the members penetrated the butts and passed through the
marker's head with fatal results. A full inquiry disclosed that no one was guilty
of negligence but expert examination of the butts revealed that the protecting
mound needed re-inforcement and the necessary work was immediately carried out
at the cost of 8.
Plans were made as early as 1913 for the procedure to be followed in case of
an alarm which was to be given by buglers of the Military or the Police in any
station at which a Rifle Corps existed. The rallying place was fixed at the flag-
staff outside the Collectorate.
In May, 1913, it was reported that recruiting for the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve in Kampala was at a standstill owing to the fact that no range was avail-
able since the Police Range previously used had fallen into a ruinous condition by
heavy rains. After much discussion as to the best site for a new range, an ex-
penditure of 95 was eventually approved in May, 1914.
In June 1914, the strength of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve was 129 members,
of whom 90 had qualified as efficient. Three challenge cups for annual competi-
tion had been presented to the Reserve since its inception namely the Coles Cup
(1905), the Governor's Cup (1909) and the Allen Cup (1913) while the Reserve had
given a very good account of itself in the interterritorial shoots for the East
African Dependencies by winning the Manning Cup in 1908, 1910, 1912, 1913
and 1914. The grand total of the Uganda team in 1912, viz. 1243, was the highest
score till then recorded by any of the competing territories.
The history of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve was profoundly affected by the
Great War which broke out on the 4th August, 1914; the local King's African
Rifles battalion was, of course, mobilised and was earmarked immediately for
active service outside the Protectorate and local defence rested entirely upon the
armed police and the Uganda Volunteer Reserve. The latter was in no sense a
-military unit and speedy plans had to be made for its reorganisation as a war
machine for which no plans had previously been prepared. The enemy was, of
course, on our southern frontier and had craft on the Lake. Public enthusiasm to
preserve our territorial integrity demanded some quick thinking and on the 6th
August the Provincial Commissioner, Kampala, called a meeting of Europeans
at which nearly all present who were not already members of the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve, enrolled themselves.
On the llth August, 1914, a further amending Ordinance was enacted as a
preliminary to the mobilisation of the Reserve. This provided for the calling up
of the volunteers without the previous restriction as to "two days or other sufficient
notice" and vested the power to exempt members from their liability in the
Governor. The amending law also declared that when called up volunteers would
be subject to military law and conferred power on the Governor to give directions
for the appointment of officers.
On the 13th August, the Acting Governor placed the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve on a war footing by the following notice:-
"I hereby call out the members of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve for
service in Uganda".
On the 20th August the first list of eight appointments to commissioned rank
was published which included the Acting Commissioner of Police as Commandant
and the Assistant District Commissioner, Entebbe, as Adjutant with local rank of
On the 22nd August, rates of pay were published for those members of the
Uganda Volunteer Reserve who were called upon to give whole-time service but.
as events proved, few were ever placed on the paid establishment of the regiment.
Except when actually on military duties as paid members of the Reserve or when
engaged in training, the volunteers were not called upon to wear uniform during
On the 26th August, Battalion Orders announced that it had been decided to
divide the members of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve into 3 classes as follows--
Class 1-Those available for general service.
Class 2-Those available for service-
(a) anywhere within the Protectorate;
(b) only within the district in which they reside.
Class 3-Those exempted from active service by the Governor.
Volunteers were asked to state in which class they wished to be placed and a
note was added that no civil official would be placed in Class 1 without the Chief
On the 24th August, the Uganda Volunteer Reserve was formed into a
battalion comprising three companies; the Entebbe unit became No. 1 Company;
that at Kampala No. 2 Company and the third company was composed of the
Indian volunteers newly enrolled in Kampala.
On the 26th August, a public meeting was held at Jinja with the Acting
Provincial Commissioner in the Chair when it was announced that it was in the
public interest to form a Jinja Company of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve and
those present-26 in all-expressed a desire to be enrolled. These formed the
nucleus of the Jinja Company which was finally included in the battalion organisa-
tion as No. 4 Company in October, 1914.
In the Toro District, 3 Europeans and 20 Asiatics submitted their names
during August, 1914, for district defence but in view of the improbability of
military operations in that area, no unit of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve was in
fact formed there.
Recruiting in the first few months was very brisk; some twelve Indian trades-
men were enlisted in the Entebbe Company among them being an armourer, a
blacksmith, a compositor, and a motor engineer but though several Indians
expressed a wish to join the Jinja Company none were actually enrolled, though
the reason cannot now be determined. The Kampala Indian Company, however,
was well supported; it included about 30 ex soldiers from the Punjab and was
composed partly of Sikhs with a fair sprinkling of Mohamedans and Hindus. For
the rest, the battalion consisted of Europeans among whom were included French,
Dutch, Boer, Danish, Scandinavian, Greek and Armenian subjects though neutral
citizens were enrolled strictly for local defence only.
Obviously at the outset the problem of supplying uniform, arms and equip-
ment to the Uganda Volunteer Reserve presented many difficulties but in time
these were happily surmounted. The battalion was armed with Martini-Enfield
and Lee-Enfield service rifles and equipped with belts, side arms, pouches or
bandoliers and haversacks. The clothing comprised khaki tunics, trousers and
puttees and brass "U.V.R." shoulder titles made by the Public Works Depart-
ment were worn. The Protectorate badge of the crested crane was adopted for
buttons and helmet badges; the latter being worn in front of the hat by Govern-
ment Officials in the Reserve and on the side in the case of other volunteers. The
Quartermaster and the Head Gaoler at Kampala were primarily responsible for
the clothing and equipment of the Reserve; some 1,135 yards of khaki drill were
supplied to the Central Gaol which were rapidly converted into serviceable, though
it is said, not ornamental uniforms. In the early days of August, 1914, when it
seemed that it might be difficult to obtain rifles, some members of No. 2 Company
privately guaranteed the military authorities the sum of 200 for the purchase of
rifles to arm the company, if it should prove necessary; while this offer was not
accepted, it was a worthy example of enthusiasm and patriotism.
Thus, on the outbreak of war, the Uganda Volunteer Reserve adapted itself
to its warlike role and commenced training in real earnest. Only a few volunteers
were engaged in whole time service and most volunteers were allowed to continue
their ordinary avocations subject to their attendance at three compulsory parades
a week. In addition many voluntary parades were arranged-some assembling at
6 a.m.-and special instruction was given in signalling, both Morse and Sema-
phore. In each station plans were made and rehearsed for the action to be taken
in the event of attack and it is reported that by the end of August, the Entebbe
unit was 58 strong and each of the two Kampala Companies comprised about 100
volunteers. The active service duties carried on by the paid establishment included
the following. On the 20th August, all German subjects living in and around
Kampala were arrested and detained at the Central Gaol while those at Jinja were
taken on the 22nd August and confined in the German Vice-Consulate there. At
a later date all internees were collected from all parts of the Protectorate and
detained in the Old Sikh barracks at Kampala. Later all were transferred to
Nairobi where they were taken to India for internment. Members of the Uganda
Volunteer Reserve were engaged in effecting the arrest of these alien enemies and
in guarding them while in Uganda and when they were subsequently moved to
Kenya. The C.M.S. Boys' School placed their swimming both at the disposal of
the prisoners and thrice a week two members of the Kampala Company were
detailed to escort them to and from this amenity. Prisoners who had business
interests in Uganda were occasionally allowed to return to offices or shambas for
the purpose of settling their affairs and again escorts were provided by the Uganda
In the early days of the War, at short notice, the Kampala Companies of the
Uganda Volunteer Reserve were called upon to provide an armed section to
protect the Indian Bazaar and Native Market in Kampala. The occasion for this
was the first arrival in Kampala of armed native levies raised by the Buganda
Government; the step taken was a precautionary one because it was well known
that in ancient times when the Kabaka called his warriors to war their first
exploit in their own country was usually to loot markets and other places where
food was stored. Owing to the preventive measures taken no damage occurred in
Kampala itself but the shambas in the surrounding country on the line of march
of those who had answered the Kabaka's War drum suffered more or less severely.
In October, 1914, the Commandant found it necessary to restrict recruiting
by accepting only British subjects and by requiring sanction to be obtained from
Headquarters in the case of each applicant for enrolment.
At Xmas 1914, all the members of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve-upwards
of 200 Europeans and 80 Indian-received the Princess Mary's Gift Boxes for
British troops. The gift comprised a small tin box painted gilt with Princess
Mary's profile embossed on the lid. Inside was a card bearing the inscription
"With best wishes for a Victorious New Year, from the Princess Mary and Friends
As the training of the Reserve proceeded it was possible to reduce the
compulsory parades first to twice a week and then to once. A "striking force"
was organised within the Reserve and in particular a section of Motor Despatch
Riders was formed in Kampala. All men enrolled in this section reported daily
to the Orderly Room for orders.
Meantime the military situation was clarifying itself and our defences on the
Southern frontier were being satisfactorily organised. The regular military
authorities were continually making demands on the Uganda Volunteer Reserve
to supply men for various duties and units and all these requirements were ful-
filled. In particular, the N.C.O. ranks of all the gun teams in the Uganda Volun-
teer Reserve and a party of six sharpshooters from the striking force were sent
to Sango Bay in December, 1914, for service with the frontier force. The battalion
was also regarded as a reservoir for the supply of officers to active service units
and many volunteers were discharged to commissions to the local and Home
fighting forces. Of the local forces all the following received personnel from the
Uganda Volunteer Reserve:-
The East Africa Ammunition Column.
The East Africa Mechanical Transport Corps.
The East Africa Mounted Rifles.
The East Africa Pioneer Company.
The East Africa Police Force.
The East Africa Supply Corps
The East Africa Transport Corps
The East Africa Volunteer Artillery.
The East Africa Veterinary Corps
Nairobi Defence Force.
Special Duty (Intelligence),
A number of the Indian volunteers were also transferred for duty as inter-
preters, clerks, despatch riders and signallers. 50 Indian volunteers were at one
stage earmarked for active service and received special training in Kampala but
these were not called upon to go into the field and their training was discontinued.
In December, 1914, the "paid" establishment of the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve was as follows'-
Number. Monthly cost.
Officers ... ... ... ... ... 15 210
European rank and file ... ... 24 361
Indian rank and file ... ... ... 12 52
As the military situation developed, the position was reviewed and the paid
establishment substantially reduced. On the 4th March, 1915, members of the
Uganda Volunteer Reserve who were not required for military duties were granted
"indefinite leave" and all compulsory training parades ceased, though the unit
continued to supply personnel to the fighting forces. Finally when our troops,
acting in conjunction with the Belgian forces, advanced to Bukoba and then to
Mwanza, which fell on the 14th July, 1916, it was decided on the 24th August,
1916, with the advice of the Officer Commanding Troops, Uganda and East Lake,
to terminate the period for which, under the Uganda Volunteer Reserve (Amend-
ment) Ordinance, 1914, the volunteers had been called out for service in Uganda.
And so ends the story of loyal service of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve
during the Great War. When the Reserve was demobilised it comprised some 181
officers and men but, during the course of the War, 319 Europeans and 110
Asiatics had served in the unit. While many members of the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve gained promotions and honours when transferred to other units in the field,
the regiment is proud to remember that No. 128, Sergt. Charles Thomas Campbell
Doran was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal whilst still on the roll of
the unit "for his very able assistance on 18th February, in the defence of the
Kachum bi Fort of which he was in charge and the defences of which had been
designed and constructed by him."
On the 5th September, 1916, the Commandant received from the Governor a
letter expressing sincere appreciation of the valuable services rendered by the
battalion to the Protectorate while in December, 1916, the Governor brought to
the notice of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the nature of the services
performed by the unit and asked that the names of certain officers should be
especially submitted to the Army Council for commendation. As a consequence,
the War Office published on the 7th August, 1917, a special notice commending
the services in connection with local defence of a number of persons throughout
the Empire and in this list figured the following names of officers of the Uganda
Capt. C. Riddick (Local Lt. Colonel).
Capt. E. H. T. Lawrence (Local Major).
Capt. F.A. Flint (Local Major).
Finally in the early part of 1920, the Army Council decided that all members of
the Uganda Volunteer Reserve were entitled to the award of the British War
Medal but not to the 1914-15 Star or the Victory Medal.
In 1917, an interesting volume entitled "The Uganda Volunteers and the
War" was published by A. D. Cameron of Kampala; the author veiled his identity
under the pseudonym of "One of Them" but it may now fairly be revealed that
the author was Mr. C. J. Phillips who joined the Corps early in August, 1914, in
Kampala and later was the Orderly Room Sergt. at Jinja where he had access to
many official records. The book has long been out of print but a copy now lies
in the Secretariat Library at Entebbe; in 1939, it was presented to Government
by Mr. H.B. Thomas, O.B.E., who purchased it from among the effects of the
late Capt. Maxted, whose brother was for a time an officer of the Reserve. While
this book contains much information regarding the work of the Uganda Volunteer
Reserve during the period of hostilities near the Protectorate, it is, in fact, a
complete history of every aspect of the war effort of the residents of the Pro-
At the end of 1916, the Commandant of the battalion submitted a compre-
hensive scheme for the reorganisation of the volunteers on a basis more suitable
for mobilisation in time of need than that existing before the war. While the
scheme was thought to be sound, it was decided to leave it and the activities of
the Rifle Corps in abeyance until the end of the war. The matter was discussed
again in 1919, and some financial provisions for the re-establishment of volunteer
units in Entebbe, Kampala and Jinja was made in the 1918-19 Budget, but the
matter hung fire and early in 1920, through the energy of the late Capt. T. Green-
wood, M.B.E., the Quartermaster of Police and the Secretary of the Uganda
Volunteer Reserve, the pre-war arrangements were adhered to by which the
Entebbe and Kampala branches resumed their rifle meetings and shooting practices.
During the period 1920-1931, the Uganda Volunteer Reserve entered teams to
compete for the Manning Cup and again succeeded in capturing that trophy in
1920, 1921, 1924, 1925 and 1926.
In 1921, there was a glut of small arms ammunition in the Protectorate as
a result of the enormous stocks accumulated during the War and hence the
Governor decided to amend the principal Ordinance (first enacted in 1903) to
allow members of the Rifle Corps to purchase at cost price as much extra ammu-
nition for range work as they wished.
The membership of the two Corps at Kampala and Entebbe remained for
some years at between 70 and 100, of whom nearly half were Asians and regular
shooting practices were undertaken with an annual expenditure of 16,000 to
20,000 rounds of ammunition.
In 1930, it was proposed to form a Corps at Jinja and additional funds were
sought. The Finance Committee which scrutinized the Budget, thereupon en-
quired into the whole question of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve, observing that,
in the previous year, the membership had fallen to 28 in Entebbe and 21 in
Kampala, the marked decline in numbers at the latter place, being due to the fact
that the range at Kampala had been closed and the construction of the projected
new range had been seriously delayed. The Committee urged that either the
Uganda Volunteer Reserve should be developed into a real and efficient defence
force or that it should be disbanded and replaced by Rifle Clubs financed by
members' subscriptions, augmented by a small annual grant from Government.
The latter course was decided upon and on the 21st November, 1932, the Uganda
Volunteer Reserve (Repeal) Ordinance was enacted and for the time being the
career of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve appeared finally to have ended.
From 1933 onwards, an item of 100 for grants to Rifle Clubs appeared in
the Annual Protectorate Estimates but it was not until 1937, that the Uganda
Rifle Association was finally registered under the Companies Ordinance and
commenced to sponsor the formation of rifle clubs in various centres. The
Association, with Mr. C. G. Hansford as its Honorary Secretary and Treasurer
and the Hon. D. MacGregor, C.B.E., as its President, did much excellent work in
the comparatively short time available to it before the outbreak of war in 1939
UGANDA JOURNAL. 75
and upon the resuscitation of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve in May, 1940, the
Association most generously placed all its arms and ammunition at the disposal of
Government for use by the new Defence Force.
And here the history of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve must pause, until the
restoration of peace permits the records of the regiment during the present war to
be committed to paper.
WINDS AND STORMS OF LAKE VICTORIA.
by C. W. CHORLEY.
This short article of the varied weather conditions on Lake Victoria may be
of some help to our local sailing community and it is with this aim in mind that
it has been written, for much remains to be learned before it can be said that
our knowledge of the Revolving Storms and more especially the wind directions
is complete. Winds, storms and hurricanes vary in different parts of the lake,
and any attempts to make hard and fast rules are foredoomed to failure.
Clouds, the travelling mountains of the sky, are one of the best indications
on the influence of the coming weather which they will bring, and it is the wise
who puts his trust in these, for they are the prophets of pleasant winds, calms,
head-winds or sudden squalls that aid one, hold one up, or blow one many miles
off one's course.
There are well-marked lake and land breezes from various foreshores; these
breezes blow strongly or lightly according to the sun's position-whether north or
south of the equator-and this has a great influence on our seasonal rains. There
are two early morning and afternoon trade winds which blow N.N.E. and S.S.E.
for the greater part of the year, one being dormant for two or three days at a
time. The land breeze which springs up about midnight blows up to 10 a.m.
and then alternates and changes to a lake breeze, which blows from 11 a.m., in-
creases in vigour to about 3 p.m. and then gradually wanes and relapses into a
profound slumber towards sunset.
Even when all the winds are dead, the undertones of the lake waves continue
to fall in soft thuds, gentle and regular, as the waves glide up to the foreshore
with a headless hiss and then slide back with a shuffle.
The early morning land and afternoon lake breezes usually blow direct, to
and from the lake, but about a mile or so from the coastline these winds take a
definite course, blowing from the land in a N.N.E. direction and E.S.E. from the
lake. The velocity of these winds varies according to the heating or cooling of
the earth, and the force of winds can be estimated by the Blanfort scale and in
practice will give very good results although not so accurate as those from an
SCALE OF WIND FORCE.
Calm. Calm. Smoke rises vertically. Less than one
mile per hour
Slight breeze. Wind fills sails. Wind felt on face. 4-7 m.p.h.
Gentle breeze. Yacht begins to Leaves and small twigs 8-12
travel, in motion.
Moderate breeze. All canvas with Small branches moving. 13-18
Fresh breeze. Shorten sail. Small trees sway. 19-24
Strong breeze. Reef in main sail. Large branches in motion. 25-31
High winds. Make for landing Whole trees in motion. 32-38
or lie to.
Gale. Breaks twigs on trees. 39-46 ,,
Strong gale. 47-63
Storm. Trees up-rooted. 67-75
Hurricane. ,, Above 75
On the Buddu Coast, winds are mostly calm during the months of February
and September and moderate during March and October; at other times of the
year the N.N.E. winds die down very early in the morning to be replaced by the
S.S.E. trade winds that reach a gale at various times of the day. The waves
along this coastline are usually a great length with high-water at the crest, slop-
ing at times to 24 feet or more to the trough. Should the weather change to
the worst, which is quite likely, too, on this coast, one's boat begins to go
through the most amazing motions, sweeping up to the crest of a wave and sweep-
ing down again with a most sickening plunge-providing a sensation of being
in a lift that has started so quickly as to seem to drop away beneath one's feet.
Storms in this area are of a revolving or circulating nature. They usually
appear over the north of Sesse Archipelago and work round in a north-westerly
direction, only to change their course and sweep down the Bugoma channel and
drive one miles in a south-westerly direction along the Kagegi Gulf. In some of
these storms rainfall is heavy and frequently comes down in torrents; fortunately
they only last for a short time, possibly for an hour or so, but to be caught out in
such a storm is an experience that haunts one's memories-heavy seas and yawn-
ing troughs, spray sweeping constantly over the boat, with now and again solid
green water hitting the bow, roaring and running forward to soak everything,
which adds to the discomfort-rolling and pitching, the cold, the fatigue, the
cramp and the long patient waiting to anchor in a quiet bay. The landing may
be at a fishing camp, noisy and smelly, but after all, anything to get away for a
time from Neptune's bullying, if only for a badly-needed rest. Far out on the
now calm, silvery lake surface, many objects such as branches stripped of their
leaves, reeds and pistos weeds, which a few hours before had been torn from
their anchorage with mischievous recklessness by the onslaught of the force of
the storm, may be seen.
On the swampy Mawokota coast, storms sweep inland from the north of
Sesse across to Kome channel, and turn in a west-south-westerly direction
towards Salisbury Channel, once again to go due west across Bunjaka and
Nsonga bays. These storms last for the best part of the day, bringing continuous
rains that last throughout night and early morning, possibly the huge swamps
have some attraction for these storms.
Storms crossing from W.S.W. pass from Bussi island on the Busiro coast
and are known as Nasonga by the local fishermen and are as much dreaded as
the mythical lake monster, Lukwata. These storms are also of a revolving
character, passing around or over Entebbe. At night they are mild and bring
rain in the early hours of the morning, but during the day they are violent and
soon are blown around towards the mouth of Murchison Bay by the S.S.W. winds.
In Damba channel at times bad weather can be experienced, the winds mostly
travel from S.E. giving rise to a lateral wave travelling N.N.E. producing a tidal
effect. Storms in this area usually appear from the open waters south of Kome
and cross over to the mainland causing little or no disturbance. Storms appear-
ing from the direction east of Entebbe towards dusk cross over the channel and
are usually violent and cause a great deal of damage to native plantations on
Kome and Nsadzi islands.
In Rosebery channel, winds blow up and down channel, N.E. or S.W., but
on the south side of the group of islands near, the S.S.E. trade winds blow.
Storms usually appear N. or S. from the land or open lake, in this area water-
spouts can be usually seen, sometimes during seven months out of the year. An
occasional storm passes up Napoleon Gulf, travelling N.N.W. Bad storms having
a hurricane velocity usually come from the north and sweep most of the islands
of Buvuma. Mostly the prevailing winds travel N. down Macdonald Bay, but
the storms of the Busoga coast appear from the direction of Mount Elgon and
travel W. and N.W.
The barometer will give very little or no indication of a coming storm as
there seems to be very little drop in the pressure. Another sign of these revolv-
ing storms is the well-known swell; the wind having created waves that move
outward from the storm. For example a bad storm in the Buvuma Area can
be observed to break up on the eastern islands of Kome group, a distance of
approximately 45 miles away.
Whirlwinds are the most dangerous of all storms to be met with; they are
known in various places as typhoons, cyclones, willy-willies-and are all of the
same general character, they blow with great fury, but seem to be confined to a
narrow path travelling for miles, hitting here and there, and then disappearing
into space. These whirlwinds could easily be mistaken for a coming storm when
seen from the lake, as they are not unlike nimbus clouds. The lake is dark and
deathlike, the air clammy, turgid and steaming. At first the winds are light,
having a peculiar quietness which is ominous of the terrific squalls to come,
which when they hit the earth can be seen by dust, leaves or branches circulating
upwards and should they strike a corner of a piece of land, they usually tear a
narrow path through the forest. Fortunately they only last for a few minutes, but
should they pass over water they form a waterspout.
Defying this outburst of vapour worming its ever-lengthening winding tail out
of the lake to obtain a better understanding of what such spouts are made, I
observed the base of a spiral that seemed to be a solid column of water approxi-
mately 20 feet high above the level of the lake. The balance of the column was
a mass of condensed vapour, and this could be seen whirling into a centrifugal
visible column. Every year during the month of June or July the lake is subject
to very rough weather for a period of five or nine days. There is very little'
warning at first, save a light breeze in the morning, which gradually develops
during the day and continues all through the night into a hurricane force.
These winds create tremendous waves that blow the tops of them away in
sheets of spray so that it is difficult to tell the difference between lake or skyline.
No native fisherman will venture out in the monsoon, or Kisawa as it is called,
and should one be caught during this time on the lake the chances are that the
boat may be swamped. The old "Clement Hill" experienced more than once
such a "dose" of weather. One of the Sleeping Sickness launches was once so
beached that it took fourteen days to dig it out of the sand which had silted over
it. The cause of this yearly monsoon may be the marked difference between the
temperatures of the lake and land surfaces as a result of rapid diurnal heating
and cooling. This heating process goes on for a considerable time and may so
reduce the pressure over land that when the change in the wind direction takes
place, it comes suddenly without warning. No rains have been observed to
accompany these yearly monsoons.
Lake storms cause little material destruction, in fact the storms are very
beneficial in distributing their rains over a great part of our inland forests near
the lake, which gives it that yearly perpetual green colouration.
A few Luganda names which may be of use to anybody wishing to study the
weather when on Lake Victoria are here given:-
Star heralding dawn- Nabaliyo.
Shooting star- Kibonomu.
Halo round the moon- Embuga y'omwezi.
Hurricane- Kikungunta or Empewo ey'aka-
Haze, dry season- Kalenge.
Overcast sky- Ekikome.
Heavy rain- Enkuba ya Togo.
Light rain- Enkuba ya Dumbi
Nightfall- Obudde buzibye.
Lake monsoon- Kisawa.
Breeze from the North- Mugenya.
Wind from the North- Mugendu.
Wind from the East- Nkoma.
Wind from the West- Mbugga.
Strong winds from N. Mukwasi.
Strong winds from Buyanja.
Strong winds from East- Mukwasi.
Strong winds from West- Nasonga.
Some Notes. on The Making and Maintenance
of Golf Greens in Uganda.
by F. R. KENNEDY, O.B.E.
The following method has produced satisfactory results in some of the less
fertile Districts of the Protectorate:
1. Pits were first dug close to the site selected for the Green which was to
be constructed and these were filled with cotton seed which had been thoroughly
watered (to prevent germination) and then covered over.
2. The Green itself was then marked out and excavated to a depth of six
inches, the earth from the excavation being turned over from time to time to
ensure proper aeration.
3. As soon as the cotton seed had rotted it was removed from the pits and
spread evenly over the excavation floor of the Green to a depth of three inches,
and the earth which had been removed replaced.
This left the level of the Green some inches higher than the ground in the
vicinity, but no attention need be paid to this as experience proved that the soil
gradually settles until it is no more than two inches higher-just enough to provide
4. Grass was then planted and as soon as this had made sufficient growth
a light roller, not heavy enough to cause "packing" of the soil, was used until
the grass could be cut.
It was found necessary to commence grass cutting earlier than usual owing
to the luxuriant growth; in fact on some Greens so thick a mat appeared that
putting was difficult owing to the "slowness" and heaviness of the Green. In
these cases one or two applications of sand or of poor sifted soil helped to thin
out the grass and make it puttable.
Instead of rotting the cotton seed in pits before spreading it on the excavated
Green, it can be placed direct in the excavation, but in this case a certain amount
of germination will take place and naturally the under soil will not benefit so
rapidly. A larger cubic quantity of seed is also required since the space occupied
by unrotted seed is obviously greater than that taken up by rotted seed.
A Green 25 yards square required from 6/8 tons of unrotted seed.
Three or four applications a year of Sulphate of Ammonia, followed by one
of Super Phosphates proved most effective.
The former burns the grass unless great care is taken, and the most satis-
factory method of application was either by dilution in water and then sprinkling
through a watering can, or by mixing thoroughly with fine compost or other
good, well-granulated soil and then broadcasting by hand if a proper 'sowing'
machine is not available.
As even a distribution as possible is desirable, and if the broadcasting is done
by hand by an African, supervision is necessary.
For the average size Green 6 lbs. of fertilizer at each dressing was found to
be sufficient. More may cause burning.
The first dressing should be applied at the beginning of the early rains and
followed by subsequent dressings at intervals of one month. After the third
dressing of Sulphate of Ammonia apply one dressing of Sulphate of Ammonia of
10 lbs. per Green, then no more till November, when a final dressing of Sulphate
of Ammonia will give a growth strong enough to last through the dry season.
2. Top Dressings.
The mown grass from Greens placed in pits and mixed with earth makes an
excellent top dressing. It should be turned over from time to time and when well
rotted brought to the surface, thoroughly mixed once more, and allowed to dry
Any type of fertilizer sprinkled into the pits on top of this grass helps to rot
it down quickly and renders it more effective, e.g. Bone meal, Sulphate of
Burnt cotton seed also makes a useful top dressing. It should be crushed
first and can be applied thickly as it does not burn.
To ensure healthy Greens aeration is essential, for not only does it assist
drainage, counteract the ill effects of "packing" of the soil by rolling, and allow
the sun to tone up the under-soil, but it disentangles roots which in time become
too interlocked for the best results.
A spiked roller is the usual instrument used, but if one is not available an
ordinary fork, thrust into the soil to a depth of four to six inches and moved
vigorously backwards and forwards and then withdrawn, is equally if not more
Sometimes when a Green has been badly neglected drastic measures are
necessary. In such cases much good can be done by forking-up the Green com-
pletely, every square foot being systematically levered up by the fork so that the
whole surface is thoroughly broken and scarified.
It should be left in this condition for at least 48 hours, then generously top-
dressed with a heavy manure such as dried farm-yard manure, forked over again
so that the manure gets down to the roots, then lightly rolled.
In a very short time the surface will resume its old smooth appearance but
the growth will have received new vigour.
When the growth of grass is strong no harm is done by close cutting, but
when the growth is weak, for example during the dry season, cutting should be
reduced in frequency and the blades of the machine put up so that the closeness
of the cut is also reduced.
Every Green benefits from an occasional rest. It also benefits from a change
in diet. Artificial fertilizers stimulate growth, but over-stimulation results in
weakness. When this stage is reached the only remedy is to close the green to
play and feed it with organic manure-the more heavily applied the better. Two
months of such rest and feeding will have surprising results and will well repay
the inconvenience caused by using a temporary Green for that period.
The Lusambya Tree.
I have read with great interest Mr. A. S. Thomas' article which appeared in
the September number 1940, on "Garden Making in Uganda". I note that the
Lusambya tree was recommended as being one of the trees which do not interfere
too much with other plants. I do not think that the Baganda will agree with
the writer concerning this particular tree.
In fact, it is known in this country that if Nsambya trees are interplanted in
a "lusuku", their greedy roots spoil the "lusuku", as "bitoke" or other small
plants cannot compete with them. It is generally found that they are planted
near the boundary where they cause much damage to the owner's "lusuku" or
land as well as to his neighbour's and I think it would be very interesting to see
what would happen in a test case if a neighbour sued for compensation for his
"lusuku" or "shamba" for the damage done by these greedy trees planted near his
The example given is on the Sesse Islands where an old coffee tree was found
branching at ground level with a big "lusambya" growing in the middle of it yet
the coffee tree was still flourishing. It may be partly because the Islands get
very heavy rain annually and partly perhaps because the ground where these trees
stand is covered with dead leaves which make a good cover of manure for both of
the trees to flourish.
It is noticable that wherever many "nsambya" trees or a grove of them are
found other small plants do not flourish, so it seems to me that the very useful
"Lusambya" should be planted in groves where they cannot interfere with other
I am Sir,
E. S. W. KIRONDE.
October. 31st 1940.
UGANDA JOUltR L.
12th December, 1940.
Private Post Bag,
The note on Meteorites in Uganda in the last number of the Journal prompted
me to refer to my diary for April. I find that it was on 29th April 1940, whilst
returning on foot from Erusi to Paida in West Nile District that I observed a
star-like object similar to that reported in the "Uganda Herald". It was visible
The sky was clear but for a few fleecy clouds and I watched the object for a
good hour. Africans with me were certain that it was a star but I myself was not
convinced of this. Observations through 8x field glasses showed that the object
did not twinkle.
My first idea was that the "star" was a silver-coated meteorological balloon, but
accurate focussing of the field glasses disposed of this impression. Moreover,
although the few clouds in the sky were moving rapidly, the object was stationary
as long as I observed it.
I am Sir,
W. J. EGGELING.
THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF THE KIPSIGIS
by J. D. Peristiany, D. Phil. Pub: George Routledge & Sons, Sh. 18/-.
This extremely useful book is to be recommended to anyone who is interested
in the group of tribes commonly known as "Nilo-hamitic." The book describes the
Social organization of the Kenya tribe commonly known as Lumbwa, who are
closely related to the Nandi. To Uganda residents it may be mentioned that these
two tribes are not far distant in type from the Iteso-Itapotha-Karamojong group,
and that Dr. Peristiany's study of the economic changes involved in the adaptation
of tribal life to the use of the plough are extremely relevant to present conditions
in Teso District. The book is provided with an admirable preface by Dr. E. Evans-
Pritchard. It is well illustrated and provided with many useful diagrams. Of the
sections in the book those on the Age-class system, the Organization of Economic
Life and the Military System are perhaps the best. I found that on Family Life
somewhat confusing, the diagrams being rather elaborate.
Nevertheless, having tried myself with the Iteso, I should not like to cavil at
his explanations, as I found the extension of the matrilineal connection both far
reaching and rather unexpected, in a Society heavily dominated by the masculine
A. C. A. W.
In the September 1940 number of the Uganda Journal Vol. Vh at the
top of the Contents page should be Vol. VIII. (Editor).
INDEX TO VOLUME VIII.
A. C. A. W.
CHORLEY, C. W.
EGGELING, W. J.
HOPKINS, G. H. E.
HONE, H. R.
KENNEDY, F. R.
KIRONDE, E. S.
R. N. F.
STEIGER-HAYLEY, T. T.
THOMAS, A. S.
THOMAS, H. B., O.B.E.
THOMAS, H. B., O.B.E.
WATSON, J. M.
WILLIAMS, A. W.
Book Review. "The Kipsigis" by Peristiani.
Winds and Storms of Lake Victoria.
Correspondence, Mutesa's Letter to Gordon.
The History of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve.
Some notes on the making and maintenance of
Golf Greens in Uganda.
Correspondence, The Lusambya Tree.
Book Review, "The Indigenous Trees of
Uganda" by Eggeling.
Wage Labour and the Desire for Wives among
Garden Making in Uganda.
The Last Days of Bishop Hannington.
Notes on the Sudanese Corps in Mexico
(1863-67) and on Fort Magungu.
Some Royal Craftsmen of Buganda.
Correspondence, Ospreys and Fish Eagles.
VITHALDAS HARIDAS & Co., Limited.
General Managers for
Uganda (Kakira) Sugar Works Limited.
(INCORPORATED IN UGANDA)
KENYA SUGAR LIMITED.
INCORPORATEDD IN KENYA)
Nile Industrial & Tobaooo Co., Ltd.
(INCORPORATED IN UGANDA)
Sugar, Cigarettes, and Tobacco Manufacturers, Ginners
and Cotton Merchants, Importers and Exporters.
Kakira Sugar Works :-
Holding about 14,000 acres of land mostly under cultivation.
At Mile 8 Jinja-Iganga Road. Employing about 6,000 Africans,
300 Indians, Europeans, Mauritians. About 30 miles of Light Railway.
Water supply to the Factory by means of pumping plant on Lake
Telephone: Kakira Factory 125.
P.O. Box 54, JINJA (UGANDA).
Kenya Sugar Limited-Works and Plantations:-
At Ramisi Estate (Digo District) near Mombasa.
P.O. Box 158, MOMBASA.
Gazi Sisal Estates.
TOBACCO FACTORY at Kakira-(Jinja).
COTTON GINNERIES -(Uganda).
li 5. Mbulamuti 9. kabiramaido 13. C
6. Kakira lo. Pilitoki 14. B
a 7. Kabiaza ix. Amaich 15. J
8. Butiru 12. Aboki r6. K
Ruvu and Kiberege.
Other Plantations totalling about 4000
acres Freehold land.
li 2. Busowa 3. Bukona 4. B
-r, W W4jf 5