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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Title Page 1
Title Page 2
Table of Contents
Table of Contents 1
Table of Contents 2
European travellers in Bunyoro-Kitara, 1862 to 1877
Recent volcanic activity in the Kivu District, Belgian Congo
The royal tombs of Buganda
Captain Eric Smith's expedition to Lake Victoria in 1891
The Speke glacier, Ruwenzori
Notes on the history of Koki
George Wilson and Dagoretti Fort
Notes on contributors
Index to Volume 23 (1959)
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 23, No. 2
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA, 1862 to 1877
A. R. DUNBAR
RECENT VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIvu DisTRICT, BELGIAN CONGO
C. G. B. Du Bois
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA ROLAND OLIVER
CAPTAIN ERIC SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO L.KE VICTORLk IN 1891 -
H. B. THOhMAS
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI J. B. WHIrrow AND A. SHEPHERD
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOK E. C. PLANNING
GEORGE WILSON AND DAGORETIr FORT H. B. THOMAS
A Sketch-map of Gordon's Equatorial Provinces H. B. THOMAS
Ground Stone Axes and Bored Stones in Uganda -
M. POSNANSKY AND J. W. SEKIBENGO
Stone Implements in Lugbara C. D. OLLIER
Two Inselbergs near Acholi-Karamoja Border H. A. OSMASTON
The Late Ham Mukasa CATHERINE SEBULIBA
The Death of Chieftain Kateboha E. C. LANNINO
Lango Religion N. AKENA
Harry Johnston and Clement Hill A. T. MATSON
The Leopard and the Hare J. WRIGHT
The Mutiny Memorial at Bukaleba J. SYKES
The Early Life of Rwot Isaya Ogwangguji - T. R. F. Cox
Distant Views of Ruwenzori and Elgon H. A. OSMASTON
The Kagera Triangle S JOHN GRAY
Fifteen Longo Folk-tales (by M. J. Wright) F. LUKYN WILLIAMS
Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers (by H. P. Gale) H. B. THOtAS
Outlines of East African Society (by J. E. Goldthorpe) H. F. MoRRIS
An English-Aieso and Ateso-English Vocabulary (by J. H. Hilders
and J. C. D. Lawrance) W. H. WHITELEY
SOCIETY NOTES -
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
Index to Volume 23 of The Uganda Journal -
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
Price Shs. 15 (15s.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
OFFICERS FOR 1959-60
His Excellency Sir Frederick Crawford, K.c.M.o., O.B.E.
Dr. A. W. SouthaU
The Hon. Secretary
The Hon. Treasurer
The Hon. Editors
The Hon. Librarian
Miss L. Bown
Dr. C. Ehrlich
Mr. H. S. S. Few
Messrs. Cooper Bros. & Co.
Corresponding Secretary at Ji
Corresponding Secretary at M
Corresponding Secretary at
Corresponding Secretary at 2
Mr. J. C. D. Lawrance
Mr. S. Kajubi
Mr. B. E. R. Kirwan
Mr. D. K. Nlarphatia
Mr. R. J. MehLa, O.B.E.
Mr. C. N. Mukuye
Mr. D. Stephens
Mr. M. Barrington Ward
Mr. J. M. Weatherby
Dr. W. Elkan
Mrs. M. M. Wallis
Mr. J. C. D. Lawrance
Dr. H. F. Morris
Miss P. Fiddes
Hon. Legal Adviser
Mr. C. L. Holcom
nia: Mr. E. B. Cunningham
!asaka: Mr. M. J. Wright
Mbale: Mr. E. Kironde
ororo: Dr. W. H. R. Lumsden
H.H. Mutesa 11, Kabaka of Buganda Sir John Milner Gray
R. A. Sir Tito Winyi Gafabusa IV, Mr. E. B. Haddon
c.B.E., Omukama of Bunyoro Mr. H. B. Thomas, o.B.E.
Lord Twining of Tanganyika and Professor A. W. Williams
Godalming, O.C.M.G., M.B.E.
Sir A. R. Cook, C.M.o., O.B.E. 1945-46
Mr. E. J. Wayland, c.B.E. 1946-47
Dr. H. H. Hunter, C.B.E., LL.D. 1947-48
Mr. H. Jowitt, c.M.o. 1948-50
Sir H. R. Hone. 1950-51
K.B.E., M.C., Q.C. 1951-52
Mr. J. Sykes. o.B.E. 1952-53
Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman, 1953-54
C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. 1954-55
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, C.B.E. 1955-56
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins 1956-57
Mr. R. A. Snoxall 1957-58
Dr. K. A. Davies, C.M.O., O.B.E. 1958-59
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, o.B.E.
Mrs. K. M. Trowell, M.B.E.
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Dr. G. ap Griffith
Rev. Fr. F. B. Gaffney, w.P.
Professor A. W. Williams
Sir J. B. Hutchinson,
Mr. J. D. Jameson, o.e.E.
Dr. Audrey I. Richards, c.B.e.
Dr. H. C. Trowell, o.B.e.
Mr. D. K. Marphatia
Mr. M. Barrington Ward
Dr. H. F. Morris
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, c.B.E.
Mr. B. K. Mulyanti
Mr. G. P. Saben
Secretary: Mrs. M. M. Wallis
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
J. C. D. LAWRANCE
Dr. H. F. MORRIS
(assisted in England by H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY HEADLEY BROTHERS LTD
109 KINGSWAY LONDON WC2 AND ASHFORD KENT
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA, 1862 to 1877
A. R. DUNBAR
RECENT VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIVU DISTRICT, BELGIAN CONGO
C. G. B. Du Bois
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA ROLAND OLIVER
CAPTAIN ERIC SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA IN 1891 -
H. B. THOMAS
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI J. B. WHITTOW AND A. SHEPHERD
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI E. C. PLANNING
GEORGE WILSON AND DAGORETTI FORT H. B. THOMAS
A Sketch-map of Gordon's Equatorial Provinces H. B. THOMAS
Ground Stone Axes and Bored Stones in Uganda -
M. POSNANSKY AND J. W. SEKIBENGO
Stone Implements in Lugbara C. D. OLLIER
Two Inselbergs near Acholi-Karamoja Border H. A. OSMASTON
The Late Ham Mukasa CATHERINE SEBULIBA
The Death of Chieftain Kateboha E. C. LANNING
Lango Religion N. AKENA
Harry Johnston and Clement Hill A. T. MATSON
The Leopard and the Hare M. J. WRIGHT
The Mutiny Memorial at Bukaleba J. SYKES
The Early Life of Rwot Isaya Ogwangguji T. R. F. Cox
Distant Views of Ruwenzori and Elgon H. A. OSMASTON
The Kagera Triangle SIR JOHN GRAY
Fifteen Lango Folk-tales (by M. J. Wright)' F. LUKYN WILLIAMS
Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers (by H. P. Gale) H. B. THOMAS
Outlines of East African Society (by J. E. Goldthorpe) H. F. MORRIS
An English-Ateso and Ateso-English Vocabulary (by J. H. Hilders
and J. C. D. Lawrance) W. H. WHITELEY
SOCIETY NOTES -
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS -
Index to Volume 23 of The Uganda Journal - -
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN
BUNYORO-KITARA, 1862 to 1877
By A. R. DUNBAR
T HE contacts that the early Europeans had with Bunyoro-Kitara' in the
nineteenth century may be conveniently treated in three parts. The first
period, from September 1862 when the first Europeans reached Bunyoro to
June 1877 when the River Semliki was discovered, is that of the scientific
explorers urged on by a desire to know, to map, and to classify. These men
were drawn to the region of the Great Lakes to discover the source of the Nile.
As far as Bunyoro-Kitara is concerned this period is dominated by Samuel
Baker who made two expeditions to Bunyoro and spent several months in the
country on each occasion. He recorded his opinion of the country, the people
and the rulers, Kamurasi and Kabalega, in no uncertain terms, typical of the
vigour of his tremendous personality, which is remembered to this day.
The Khedive of Egypt wished to found an equatorial empire based on the
Nile and the Great Lakes and perhaps stretching as far as the Indian Ocean.
In his service Gordon, who had achieved fame in China, led a cosmopolitan
band of subordinates, who were not only explorers and geographers but also
soldiers and administrators, to establish Equatorial Province. In so doing the
question of the Nile sources was solved, and a series of forts linked by river
and track was built in northern Bunyoro. Gordon himself, though he created
much impression elsewhere, left little mark on Bunyoro, mainly because the
intransigent Kabalega, who was reconquering the empire of his forebears, had
no desire to put it at the disposal of Egypt or of any other power.
The first period of scientific exploration thus merged naturally into the
second period of Egyptian attempts at domination. From July 1877 to May
1889 the central figure was Emin Pasha, who for the greater part of the time
was Governor of Equatoria, which included northern Bunyoro. He saw
Equatoria's decline and fall caused by the Mahdist revolt which severed com-
munications with Egypt. Though Emin with his lack of personality has been
unsympathetically depicted by many authors, he is esteemed in Bunyoro as
the only European who understood Kabalega. His intuitive appreciation of
the African way of life resulted in valuable notes on the Banyoro and their
customs. Emin was 'rescued' against his will by Stanley, and Equatoria
was abandoned in 1889.
Kabalega was not, however, left in peace for long. Until the Mahdist revolt
European influence entered Bunyoro-Kitara by way of the Nile because the
communications were less hazardous than those from the Indian Ocean. Once
these were cut, use was increasingly made of the route from the east
coast, and so the third and last period from June 1889 to April 1899 is that
of the Europeans, who came from the south-east by way of Buganda.
[EDITORIAL NOTE. Kabarega is the more usual form hitherto in use of the name here
given as Kabalega.]
102 UGANDA JOURNAL
This fact had far-reaching effects because in the supreme arrogance and
confidence of the late Victorian era the British officers made little attempt
to learn local languages or to understand the people whom they met. As a
result they were impressed, influenced, and misled by the Baganda, who were
only too anxious to obtain an ally to protect them from the resurgent Kabalega.
So the predominance of Buganda in the Uganda Protectorate was achieved
at the expense of Bunyoro-Kitara. It was an unhappy time for Bunyoro,
riddled by wars, pestilence, and famine until the indomitable Kabalega was
finally captured after a guerilla campaign of nearly six years' duration.
The outbreak of the Mahdist revolt in the Sudan had severe effects upon
Bunyoro-Kitara. If it had not occurred, Masindi might well have been the
capital of the Uganda Protectorate, Kampala might have been a district head-
quarters, and Entebbe just an obscure peninsula projecting into Lake Victoria.
The present article is concerned only with the first period of scientific
exploration, motivated by a desire to discover the source of the Nile. It was
this desire which brought Speke and Grant to Bunyoro-Kitara, and determina-
tion to complete Speke's unfinished task which brought Baker on his first
journey, although he returned a second time in the employment of the
Khedive to secure for Egypt the domination of the headwaters of the Nile.
Gordon after him established an Egyptian administration, and successive
officers in the service of the Egyptian Government, Chaill6-Long, Gessi and
Mason, succeeded in proving the correctness of Speke's inspired guess; each
had a share in proving that it was one and the same river that flowed from
the Ripon Falls to Gondokoro.
Speke and Grant were both captains in the Indian Army. Speke had been
associated with Burton in two expeditions and was an experienced explorer.
Grant was a competent naturalist. According to Speke the purpose of his
expedition with Grant was to establish the truth of his assertion that the
Victoria Nyanza, which he discovered on the 30 July 1858, would eventually
prove to be the source of the Nile.2 He planned to journey to the source by
way of Zanzibar and to descend, rather than to ascend the Nile, all attempts
at which had ended in failure. Petherick, British Consul for the Sudan, and
an ivory merchant, who had spent many years on the Nile, had offered to
make boats ready at Gondokoro, to send a party of men up the White Nile
to collect ivory in the meantime, and to assist the two travellers on their
journey down the Nile. Gondokoro was a station of the ivory traders,
occupied for about two months in the year when the annual boats arrived
from and then departed for Khartoum. The ostensible purpose of trade was
ivory; in reality it was slaves. This may account for the delays and difficulties
that Speke encountered on entering and leaving Kitara, for he was thought to
be in league with the ivory traders and slave raiders who were menacing the
northern marches of the kingdom.
Speke and Grant travelled through Karagwe and Buganda. Speke found
the Nile at Burondogani3 about four miles north-west of Mbulamuti,4 and
marched upstream to discover the Ripon Falls on the 28 July 1862. He then
wished to follow the river northwards, while Grant was to march direct to
Bunyoro, but this plan did not commend itself to Kamurasi, Mukama of
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA
Map of the ancient kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara.
104 UGANDA JOURNAL
Bunyoro-Kitara, who was doubtful of their intentions. Speke was therefore
obliged to rejoin Grant and to enter the kingdom by the conventional route,
north-west to the mouth of the River Kafu. Grant noted that: "nothing
marked the boundary between Buganda and Bunyoro . the country
waved in gentle long swells of land covered with tall grass and thin forest,
with a few low conical hills."5
On the 9 September 1862, they arrived at Kamurasi's residence, which was
in a naturally strong position on low flat land between the Nile and the south
bank of the Kafu,6 sited to guard against the attacks of his rebel cousin
Ruyonga. Nothing could be more desolate wrote Grant of Mruli, Bunyoro's
capital. "I can only compare it to a bare and dreary common-not a tree
nor a garden to relieve the eye or to afford shade from the equatorial sun.
The vast plain was covered with tall grass, through which at this season we
could not walk without wading, so that we were completely hemmed in by
Nine days elapsed before the suspicions and pride of the King permitted
him to see them. Speke, who would not believe that Kamurasi was to prove
less avaricious than either Rumanika of Karagwe or Mutesa of Buganda,
found him seated upon his throne: "like a pope in state-calm and action-
less."8 "In appearance the King was fair for an African, of slender figure,
nearly six feet high, and about forty years of age. His features were good,
with soft gentle eyes . a bark-cloth covering, tied round his body tightly
from above his waist to his heels, was his only raiment. It was the usual
salmon colour, but had small pieces of black bark-cloth, sewn very neatly
with a looping stitch, dotting it all over . Our presents of beads, boxes,
guns, cloth, etc., were received by Kamurasi very coolly, with no sign of
pleasure, only an occasional remark . all was affected indifference . .
he had seen all, except the double-barrelled rifle, and the watch which he
saw Speke take out of his pocket . At the other interviews it was constant
begging . With all his apparent rudeness, Kamurasi was not unkindly.
Though his neighbour, Mutesa, ordered his subjects to be butchered, no such
savage custom prevailed in Bunyoro; men were admonished, and were told
how fortunate they were under the King's lenient rule . Kamurasi was
constantly visited by men of far countries coming to trade with him for cattle,
slaves and ivory."9
During October enquiries were made about the route north and messages
were sent to reassure Petherick that they were on their way. Kamurasi wished
to delay the departure, but on the 9 November 1862, Speke and Grant went
by canoe down the Nile for four days, making the rest of the journey to the
Karuma Falls by land, along the west bank. According to Speke, Kamurasi's
"conduct throughout was most unjustifiable, and anything but friendly . .
He would not allow me to go to the Little Luta Nzige . .10 This was for the
purpose of making us tools in his conflict with his brothers."" In Bunyoro
the succession was decided by the brothers fighting for the throne and the
winner gained the crown. Speke had found Mutesa, though cruel and quick
of temper, an amusing companion, anxious for sport and pleasure. Rumanika
had been able to speak Kiswahili and became a great friend, a good adviser,
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 105
and an interesting informant. Speke liked him because he never begged. In
comparison, Kamurasi was prevaricating, wheedling, covetous, and his
palace was in uncongenial surroundings. Grant appears to have been more
tolerant. Doubtless Kamurasi was worried by the activities of the slavers
to the north and the possibility of their alliance with Ruyonga. The two
explorers, on the other hand were wearied by travel and fever, and were
anxious to complete the last stage of their journey.
From the Karuma Falls they marched north to Petherick's outpost at
Faloro, where they met a party of Nubians, Egyptians, Arabs and slaves in
the employment of the Maltese trader, De Bono. They accompanied these
men to Gondokoro, where they found Samuel Baker, who asked Speke if
there was anything left undone that might be of importance for him to com-
plete. Speke told him of his disappointment in not seeing the lake, how he
had seen the Nile bending westward where he had crossed near Karuma, and
then after walking down the chord of an arc described by the river, had found
it again in Madi, coming from the west, whence to the south, and as far at
least as Koshi,12 it was said to be navigable, probably continuing to be so right
into the Lake."
Baker came from a prosperous family of Bristol merchants and plantation
owners. Imbued with a great love of sport, he had already tropical experience
in Mauritius and Ceylon. On this occasion, he had undertaken a private expedi-
tion to discover the sources of the Nile in the hope of meeting his friend
Speke. Accompanied by his Hungarian-born second wife, he had already
spent some months exploring the tributaries of the Blue Nile and did not
arrive at Gondokoro until 1863, where he met Speke and Grant on 15
February. Speke expressed to Baker his conviction that the Luta Nzige must
be the second source of the Nile,14 and Baker determined to confirm this.
Held up at Fatiko by rains, he did not approach the Karuma Falls until
the 22 January 1864. He was then hindered from entering Bunyoro because
Kamurasi was suspicious of his motives, lest he was in league with De Bono's
slave traders or with Ruyonga. De Bono's men had at first been welcomed
as the friends of Speke and Grant, but with atrocious treachery, had repaid
hospitality by plundering and massacring their hosts.
On the 10 February, after further procrastination by Kamurasi, the Bakers
arrived at Mruli and were lodged on the east bank of the River Kafu, only
to find that Kamurasi was on the opposite bank. It must be remembered that
the first Europeans were thought to be the mythical Bachwezi, who had re-
turned to their former dominions, because they appeared to know the country,
to require no direction, and to show no fear. The complications of their
mode of life were mysterious and incomprehensible. The fact of Mrs. Baker
being a woman caused further suspicion because she could bear sons to
succeed. Baker was so ill with fever that when the Mukama arrived he was
carried and laid on a mat before him. Presents were exchanged and Baker
requested guides to lead him to the lake, which Kamurasi told him was called
M'-wootan N'zig6. The Mukama, however, asked that he should become his
ally to attack Ruyonga. Baker replied by saying that his only object was to find
the lake. More presents were requested and Baker finally expostulated: "it
106 UGANDA JOURNAL
is the rapacity of the chiefs of the various tribes that renders African explora-
tion so difficult."'5 Eventually it was agreed that porters were to be provided
to the lake, canoes to Bugungu, and porters to Shooa.16
Baker then requested Kamurasi to allow him and his wife to depart, but
Kamurasi replied: "You must leave your wife with me . drawing my
revolver quietly I held it within two feet of his chest . I explained to him
that in my country such insolence would entail bloodshed . my wife made
him a little speech in Arabic with a countenance almost as amiable as the
head of Medusa."'7
The Mukama was completely astonished at his giving offence. It was his
custom to give his visitors pretty wives, and he thought that Baker might like
Despite all these difficulties Baker was entranced with the country. "After
the disgusting naked tribes that we had been travelling amongst for more than
twelve months, it was a delightful change to find ourselves in comparative
civilization; this was evinced not only in the decency of the clothing, but also
in the manufactures of the country. The blacksmiths were exceedingly clever
and used iron hammers instead of stone. . they make a fine quality of jet
black earthenware, producing excellent tobacco-pipes . extremely pretty
bowls, and also bottles. The huts are very large, about twenty feet in diameter,
made entirely of reeds and straw, and very lofty, looking in the interior like
huge inverted baskets, bee-hive shaped . the country thickly populated,
and much cultivated with simsim, sweet potatoes, beans, finger millet,
sorghum, maize and plantains.'8
On the 23 February the Bakers left Mruli, made a detour around a great
swamp and eventually reached the Kafu. While crossing by a natural floating
bridge of papyrus, Baker looked back to see his wife: standing in one
spot, and sinking gradually through the weeds . her face distorted and
perfectly purple, she fell, as though shot dead."19 He thought that it was sun-
stroke, but it may have been cerebral malaria. She was carried in a litter
unconscious for three days, and having regained consciousness was in delirium
for seven days, and ended in convulsions. Then she recovered, rested for two
days, and continued the journey. Lack of provisions made it impossible to
remain for long in one spot.
On the 14 March 1864 near Kyangwali, Baker first saw the lake: "the
glory of our prize burst suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of quicksilver,
lay far beneath the grand expanse of water-a boundless sea horizon on the
south and south-west, glittering in the noon-day sun; and on the west, at fifty
or sixty miles' distance, blue mountains rose from the bosom of the lake to
a height of 7,000 feet above its level . I called this great lake The Albert
Nyanza.' The Victoria and Albert lakes are the two sources of the Nile ..
after a toilsome descent of about two hours . we gained the level plain
below the cliff . a walk of about a mile . brought us to the water's
edge. The waves were rolling upon a white pebbly beach: I rushed into
the lake, and thirsty with heat and fatigue, with a heart full of gratitude, I
drank deeply from the sources of the Nile."20 This was near a fishing village
called Vacovia.21 From descriptions given by the local inhabitants and as a
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 107
result of the dry season haze, he thought that the lake stretched further south
than it actually did.
When canoes had been acquired, the Bakers travelled northwards along
the east shore of the lake, enduring storms, mosquitoes and absconding boat-
men, until they reached Bugungu to find the same river that they had crossed
at Karuma boiling and tearing along its rocky course, now entering the lake
as a sluggish stream. Baker could not understand this phenomenon, though the
chiefs assured him that it was indeed the same river. He could follow by eye
the course of the Albert Nile as it made its way northwards, but his guides
refused to take him downstream from the lake exit because they feared that
they would be killed by hostile tribes on the return journey. Since he could
not travel downstream, he determined to fulfill his promise to Speke to explore
the doubtful portion of river between the Karuma Falls and Lake Albert, even
though this meant missing the boats at Gondokoro in which they had arranged
to travel north.
The Bakers travelled up the Victoria Nile and about eighteen miles east of
Bugungu noticed a slight current; "when the paddles ceased working we
could distinctly hear the roar of water . upon rounding the corner a
magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us . on either side of the river
were beautifully wooded cliffs rising abruptly to a height of about three hun-
dred feet; rocks were jutting out from the intensely green foliage; and rushing
through a gap that cleft the rock exactly before us, the river, contracted from
a grand stream, was pent up in a narrow gorge of scarcely fifty yards in width;
roaring furiously through the rock-bound pass, it plunged in one leap of about
one hundred and twenty feet perpendicular into a dark abyss below . in
honour of the distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society I
named it the Murchison Falls."22 Baker appears not to have climbed to the
top of the Falls because the gorge is there, at its narrowest place, only nineteen
The Bakers left the canoes at Fajao and marched eastwards parallel to the
Nile. One night they camped upon an island in the river, Patooan, a place
of refuge for people driven from their homes by the war between Kamurasi
and Ruyonga. The islands to the east to within a march of the Karuma Falls
were in the possession of Ruyonga and his half brother Fowooka,23 the
deadly enemies of Kamurasi. Owing to the war, the Bakers could not proceed
further, porters were unobtainable, and the country was deserted. They sub-
sisted on finger millet and local spinach for two months.
Kamurasi was in the vicinity, but presumably to put pressure upon Baker
to join with him to attack his enemies, did not help him. Eventually Baker
sent messages to Kamurasi that if he desired an alliance he must treat in
person. The bait was taken, they were given supplies and were transported
to Kamurasi's camp at Kisuna near Rabongo Hill. There they were greeted
by the man whom they had always thought to be Kamurasi, but who really
was Mgambi.24 Baker commented: the deceit of this country was incredible
-I had positively never seen the real Kamurasi up to this moment, and this
man Mgambi now confessed to having impersonated the king his brother, as
Kamurasi was afraid that I might be in league with De Bono's people to
108 UGANDA JOURNAL
murder him."25 As a result of this deception Baker had no further wish to
see Kamurasi, in case he should be fooled a second time, but he was eventually
persuaded to do so and decided: "to present myself to the king in as favour-
able a light as possible. I happened to possess a full-dress Highland suit . .
accordingly I was quickly attired in kilt, sporran and Glengarry bonnet . .
with plaid and kilt . I found myself in the presence of the actual king of
Bunyoro, Kamurasi, . not a word passed between us for about five
minutes . Kamurasi was a remarkably fine man, tall and well-propor-
tioned, with a handsome face of dark brown colour, but a peculiarly sinister
expression; he was beautifully clean, and instead of wearing the bark cloth
common among the people, he was dressed in a fine mantle of black and white
goat-skins, as soft as chamois leather. His people sat on the ground at some
distance from his throne; when they approached to address him on any subject
they crawled upon their hands and knees to his feet, and touched the ground
with their foreheads. True to his natural instincts the king started begging . .
disgusted with his importunity I rose to depart, telling him that I should not
return to visit him, as I did not believe he was the real Kamurasi. I had heard
that Kamurasi was a great king, but that he was a mere beggar, and was
doubtless an imposter, like Mgambi. At this he seemed highly amused .. ."26
Although Baker had learnt to hide as many of his possessions as possible,
the Mukama nevertheless coveted those that were there, and to change the
subject Baker asked him about the history of his kingdom. Kamurasi replied:
" it had formerly been a very extensive kingdom . and that Buganda and
Butumbi (near Lake Edward) had been comprised in the country of Kitara
with Bunyoro and Chopi. The kingdom of Kitara extended from the frontier
of Karagwe to the Victoria Nile at Bugungu and Karuma, bounded on all
sides but the south by that river and the Victoria and Albert Lakes."27
During the whole time that Baker was in contact with Kamurasi at Kisuna
he was pestered by the Mukama to provide military assistance against
Ruyonga and Mpuhuka. Baker had no wish to be embroiled in this family
squabble and made his poor health an excuse. Kamurasi eventually left in
anger, and did not send any more supplies. Action was, however, forced on
Baker by the advance on Kisuna of Mpuhuka's people, accompanied by
De Bono's men. Although Kamurasi was ready to retreat, Baker ran up the
Union Jack and explained that Kamurasi and his country were under British
protection; De Bono's men thereupon withdrew, much to Kamurasi's
After this incident Baker moved to Foweira. It was there that he made
waragi: the idea struck me that I could manufacture spirit from this source
(sweet potatoes) . I constructed my still . I found an extraordinary
change in my health from the time that I commenced drinking the potato
whisky. I became strong and from that time to the present day my fever left
me . he (Kamurasi) expressed his great regret that he had never sufficiently
appreciated their (sweet potatoes) value, and he expressed a determination to
cultivate whole districts . and to establish . a company."28 The Bakers
left Bunyoro on the 16 November 1864, and eventually arrived safely at
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 109
No European travellers penetrated into Bunyoro until the return of Baker,
now knighted, as Governor-General of Equatoria in 1872. On the 22 March
of that year a lavishly equipped and well-organized expedition reached the
Victoria Nile from Fatiko. Baker was accompanied by his wife and his
nephew, Lieutenant Baker, R.N. His instructions were to suppress the slave
trade by annexing the countries south of Gondokoro, by bringing the region
under permanent administration, and by encouraging legitimate commerce,
thereby severing the slave trade at its roots. He wrote on arrival: "it is
impossible to describe the change that had taken place since I last visited this
country. It was then a perfect garden, thickly populated, and producing all
that man could desire. .. all is wilderness! The population has fled! Not a
village is to be seen! This is the certain result of the settlement of the Khartoum
traders. They kidnap the women and children for slaves, and plunder and
destroy wherever they set foot.""29
Kamurasi had died some two years before. His sons had fought for the
succession, as was the custom, and each aspirant sought the aid of the slave
traders. Kabalega, Kabka Miro,30 and Ruyonga, were the chief contestants.
Baker believed that the armed bands of the slaver Abou Saud supported all
three, eventually installing Kabalega after killing Kabigumire, but keeping
Ruyonga alive in case it was necessary to depose Kabalega.31 Another version
does not mention Ruyonga and the Arabs, but only Kabalega and Kabigumire
who fought two campaigns before Kabigumire was defeated and killed.32
Baker left a garrison of former slavers at Foweira to maintain communi-
cations with Fatiko and marched to Kisuna, and thence to Masindi where he
arrived on 25 April. The next day he had an interview with Kabalega near
the cairn built to mark the spot, half a mile west of the East African Railways
and Harbours' depot. Kabalega's residence was near the former tobacco factory,
now Uganda Timber Sales Limited. Baker described his official visit:
" Kabalega was very well clad, in a beautifully made bark-cloth striped with
black: he was excessively neat, and appeared to be about twenty years of
age . I explained the intentions of the Khedive of Egypt . that I was
determined to suppress the slave trade . Kabalega was about five feet ten
inches in height, and of extremely light complexion. His eyes were very large,
but projected in a disagreeable manner. A broad but low forehead and high
cheek bones, added to a large mouth, with rather prominent but exceedingly
white teeth, complete the description of his face. His hands were beautifully
shaped . ."3 Baker went on to emphasize the importance of agriculture,
commerce and good government, but Kabalega replied that it was wasting
breath to talk of these until Ruyonga had been destroyed. Baker wrote: I
had studiously avoided meddling in native politics . I was therefore, deter-
mined not to attack Ruyonga, unless he should presume to defy the govern-
ment . Kabalega replied: "My father is dead; but Ruyonga is still alive.
Now you are my father, and your wife is my mother, will you allow your son's
enemy to live? "34 Baker was unmoved but promised to send a detachment to
release Banyoro stolen as slaves by the traders.
It is probable that Kabalega even welcomed Baker's arrival. He had
succeeded to the throne after hard fighting and was still opposed by Ruyonga.
110 UGANDA JOURNAL
He saw in Baker an ally, strong enough to assist him against his rival. More-
over for some time he had been harassed by the operations of the slave traders
in the country north of Bunyoro and once this country was occupied by the
Egyptian administration he felt able to turn southwards to recapture the
dominions of his forebears in Toro.
After his meeting with Kabalega Baker started to cultivate a tract of ground
near the present East African Railways and Harbours' depot, both to give a
field of fire and to provide food for the troops. On the third day after sowing,
the cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and cotton seeds showed themselves above
ground.""5 He was the first European to plant cotton in Bunyoro. On 14 May
1872, he took formal possession of Bunyoro in the name of the Khedive of
Egypt."36 For a while trade flourished, cheap manufactured goods being ex-
changed for ivory, but gradually Baker became suspicious of foul play.
Kabalega was outflanking and observing his position; food was obtained with
difficulty; a show of hostility was made when the troops were at their daily
drill. As a result, Baker started to build a fort.
On 7 June, poisoned plantain beer was sent to the troops, and next morning
an attack was made upon the encampment. Thousands of armed natives now
rushed from all directions upon the station . the troops were now in open
order, completely around the station, and were pouring heavy fire into the
masses of the enemy within the high grass, which had been left purposely
uncleared by Kabalega, in order to favour his treacherous attack. The natives
kept up a steady fire upon the front behind the castor-oil bushes and the
densely thronged houses."37 Baker gave orders for the firing of the town and
pursued the enemy through the flames. The attack had been repulsed, but
Baker could not understand why it had occurred: Since we have been in the
country, my men have been models of virtue. Nothing has been stolen . .
neither have the natives been interfered with . I have driven the slave
hunters from the country and my troops from Fatiko are ordered to restore
to Bunyoro all the slaves that have been stolen by the traders."38 Other writers
have, however, suggested that the bad habits of Baker's troops did not endear
them to Banyoro.39 It is easy to imagine that these men behaved as undisci-
plined troops do everywhere, demanding excessive quantities of food and
beer and troubling the women. Baker naturally could not admit to these
excesses since they reflected upon him as commanding officer. In any case
Baker must have been naive to have thought that the king and people of a
proud and ancient kingdom would willingly have endured the protection of
Egypt from whose subjects' excesses they had already suffered. Whatever the
rights and wrongs of the case the battle of Masindi confirmed in Kabalega his
hatred of Europeans.
After the incident Kabalega sent messages that the attack had not been
instigated by him, but Baker found this hard to believe.40 Baker was worried
that, if he should be unable to bring the enemy to terms, it would be impossible
to transport his baggage; he was also concerned about the fate of the detach-
ment sent to Fatiko to release the enslaved Banyoro. It seemed to him that
there was only one move, to march to the Victoria Nile and to make an
alliance with Ruyonga, who would be proclaimed the representative of the
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 111
Egyptian Government in the place of Kabalega. Even so, this would be diffi-
cult, for it was the height of the rainy season and the grass was nine or ten
feet high in a country of dense, tangled forest. Kabalega then made further
overtures of peace, to which Baker replied by sending a porcelain pot and
a musical box.
On 11 June there was an attempt to assassinate Baker as he was walking
peaceably about the ruins of Masindi. As a result the soldiers that night
withdrew into the fort, and the Banyoro fired the abandoned camp. The
following night incendiarism was renewed, and the next day an attack was
made upon the station. Baker retaliated by firing all the villages in the neigh-
bourhood, but decided to abandon Masindi and to march to Foweira; strict
discipline would be maintained; the minimum of stores would be carried; the
remainder would be burnt.
On the 14 June, the retreat started in light drizzling rain, and ten miles
from Masindi an attack was made upon the column. Next day, further attacks
were made, so the cattle and some baggage were abandoned. Ambushes were
laid by the Banyoro in the swamps, but by firing a few rounds into the reeds
before attempting to cross, the Banyoro were induced to throw their spears
at extreme range. Every day was the same, but fortunately there were no night
attacks. This was the mistake in the Banyoro's tactics; if they had attacked by
night, Baker's troops would soon have become exhausted and would have
expended all their ammunition. Even without the night attacks, they were so
nervous that the waste was prodigious. Eventually Baker reached Kisuna,
made a defensive position and rested. On 24 June he reached Foweira to
find that everything had been destroyed by fire. He at once set to work to
build a new station and to make canoes so that the Nile could be crossed.
Ruyonga had been so cheated and deceived by the slavers that he was
afraid to trust himself to Baker, and contact could not be made. However,
Ruyonga's messenger did arrive and later Baker visited Ruyonga and described
him: He was a handsome man of about fifty, with exceedingly good manners.
He had none of the stiffness of Kamurasi, nor the gauche bearing of Kabalega,
but he was perfectly at his ease . He declared that he would always remain
the faithful representative of the Khedive's Government, but at the same
time we must immediately exchange blood."41 Blood was duly exchanged to
give the neighboring tribes confidence in the alliance, and Ruyonga was pro-
claimed as the representative of the Egyptian Government. Baker did not
wish to take the field against Kabalega until the grass should be fit to burn,
which would be about the end of November. He therefore planned to leave
Abd-el-Kader with sixty-five men in a strong stockade to support Ruyonga,
and to organise the native forces, whilst he would march to Fatiko with the
On 27 July, Baker accordingly returned to Foweira from Ruyonga's and
on the next day prepared to cross the river. He learnt that he must hurry to
Fatiko lest his detachment there be attacked by the slavers, who he believed
had instigated Kabalega's attack on Masindi.42 On 2 August he arrived at
Fatiko and soon afterwards the slavers attacked Baker and his men but were
defeated. Baker feared, however, that if he exterminated them completely the
112 UGANDA JOURNAL
local Africans would rise against him as Kabalega had done when the slavers
had left Bunyoro.
Baker found that his forces were too small to restore order amongst the
slavers north of the Nile and Abd-el-Kader's men had to be recalled to Fatiko.
The offensive against Kabalega had to be postponed until reinforcements from
Gondokoro arrived. Meanwhile Ruyonga's men assisted by the Lango and
an army sent by Mutesa of Buganda succeeded in driving Kabalega from the
north of Bunyoro. When Baker's reinforcements finally arrived it was too
late for him to take his revenge upon Kabalega, for his term of office expired
on 1 April 1873.
On his part Kabalega had inflicted a noteworthy defeat on Baker and though
the Egyptians were later to occupy stations in northern Bunyoro, they were
never able to penetrate further south in force for long periods. Exploration
was also made difficult. Baker had achieved little during his tenure of office,
but he appeared to have gripped the imagination of the Africans with whom
he came in contact as no European has done since. He was an advocate of
firm but paternal government and though he had the intolerance, the com-
placency of a superior class and race and the belief in force of his generation,
these were defects which would impress, rather than repel Africans. He even
induced affection, being nicknamed Muleju, the moustached or bearded one,
and his wife was called Kanyunyuzi, little star.43
Baker was succeeded in office by Colonel Gordon to whom the Khedive's
final instructions, dated 16 February 1874, were to establish a separate govern-
ment in Equatoria because the Governor of the Sudan had been unable to
enforce his authority upon the lawless traders in ivory and slaves, to secure
to the state a monopoly of all trade with the outside world, to see that the
troops grew their own food and did not exact it from the people, to build a
line of forts along the banks of the Nile to bring the province into direct
communication with Khartoum, and to destroy the slave trade.44
Gordon had to rely on a cosmopolitan band of assistants, among whom
were an American, Chaill6-Long, a Frenchman, Linant de Bellefonds, Italians,
Gessi and Piaggia, a German, Emin, and an Englishman, Chippindall, all of
whom contributed to the opening up of communications from the Sudan,
through Bunyoro-Kitara, to Buganda.
Gordon reached Gondokoro in April, accompanied by Chaill6-Long, a
former colonel in the Federal Army during the Civil War. Both Mutesa of
Buganda and Ruyonga had sent messengers expressing their desire to be on
friendly terms with the Egyptian Government, and so Gordon sent Chaill6-
Long, who was accompanied by his Alsatian servant, Kellermann, to them
with presents to secure their goodwill and respect. Gordon meanwhile returned
to Khartoum to hasten the delivery of supplies for further operations in
Equatoria.45 From Gondokoro Chaill6-Long travelled by way of Fatiko to
Foweira where he arrived on 17 May, crossed the Nile, and met Ruyonga,
who impressed him favourably. From there he marched to Mruli, crossed the
Kafu on 31 May, and made his way to Mutesa's capital.46 He was frustrated
in an attempt to travel from Murchison Bay to the Ripon Falls by way of the
lake. So he marched to Burondogani, travelled down the Nile by canoe, passed
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 113
Nyamyongo,47 which appeared to be recognized by Mutesa's officers as being
within the territory of Kabalega, discovered Lake Kyoga, which he named
Lake Ibrahim, and near Mruli on 17 August was opposed by a fleet of Banyoro
canoes. He and his escort killed eighty-two of Kabalega's men, the remainder
withdrawing at nightfall. He was able to escape unmolested by the river route
to Foweira which he reached three days later. He arrived back at Gondokoro
on 18 October, having traversed the unexplored section of the Nile from
Burondogani to Mruli, and thence to the Karuma Falls.48
It was during Gordon's regime that a chain of posts was established on the
west bank of the Nile from Gondokoro to Dufile, and thus Fatiko and Foweira,
held by Egyptian troops, were linked to the north. The two steel life-boats,
named Magungo and Dufile, and a fifty-ton steamer, Nyanza, originally
brought by Baker to Gondokoro, were moved in sections to Dufile and
assembled.49 The steamer, Khedive, was not launched at Dufile until 1878.
In February 1875 Ernest Linant de Bellefonds was sent by Gordon to
persuade Mutesa to abandon the slave trade and to start trade with the north.
From Foweira to Mruli he took the west-bank road which had become the
established route between Buganda and the north. At Rubaga in April,
Linant met Stanley, who was on his journey across Africa. Gordon had the
idea that communications between Equatoria and the civilized world could
be made easier if there was a route westwards from the Indian Ocean to the
region of the Great Lakes. The hostility of Britain and Zanzibar prevented
this.50 It was suggested later that Linant de Bellefonds "had come to see
whether Buganda was worth the conquering and whether it was too tough
a job to tackle.""5 On his return northwards he was fiercely attacked on 5 July
at the Mruli crossing of the Kafu by eight or ten thousand of Kabalega's
warriors.52 He travelled through Bunyoro to Fatiko rejoining Gordon at
Muggi, but was killed soon afterwards by the Bari in a punitive raid.
Stanley by this time had completed the circumnavigation of Lake Victoria,53
and early in 1876 travelled westwards from Buganda to strike the shores of
a lake, later to be called Lake George.54 Kabalega did not wish Stanley to
advance further because his Baganda followers ruined the country, but in
order to be rid of them as soon as possible, he did not oppose their withdrawal
to Karagwe.55 This expedition by Stanley was an additional anxiety for
Kabalega because at the same time Gordon was engaged in establishing posts
at Mruli and Masindi. Although Kabalega opposed this move, he, nevertheless,
sent the large musical box which had been given him by Baker to Gordon for
Gordon's visit was a brief one. He arrived at Mruli on the 22 January from
Foweira. I am in rags from the thorn bushes . the elephants uproot the
trees and leave them in the path . not a soul or a house to be seen."57
On hearing of Gordon's approach, Kabalega withdrew from the north of
Bunyoro. "Kabalega's chief set fire to his house, and with his people left
for Masindi . a miserable country, full of mosquitoes, is the much vaunted
Mruli,"58 wrote Gordon. While at Mruli Gordon despatched troops under
Nuehr Aga to build stations at Burondogani, or failing that Nyamyongo, and
at the Ripon Falls. Mutesa persuaded them to build near Rubaga with the
114 UGANDA JOURNAL
result that the soldiers became virtual prisoners there. Only six days after
his arrival at Mruli, Gordon had returned to Foweira.
Back at Dufile he sent Gessi and Piaggia southwards to Lake Albert. Gessi
had been charged by Gordon with a difficult geographical mission, in which
Chippindall had failed, to solve the problem of whether the Nile really flowed
out of Lake Albert; if it did then Egypt could extend her influence and
territory to the proximity of the equator. He left Dufile with the two life-boats
on the 7 March 1876 and arrived at Magungo on the 30th. He left on the
12 April coasting down the east shore and circumnavigated Lake Albert in
the boats returning on the 21st to Magungo and reaching Dufile on the 23rd.
Gessi was the first person to establish that the Nile issued from Lake Albert,
and he also disproved Baker's contention that the lake stretched far to the
south of Buhuka for he discovered that about twenty-five miles to the south
the lake terminated in a mass of ambatch and papyrus.59
Meanwhile Piaggia had left Magungo on 12 April in an attempt to reach
the Ripon Falls; he dismantled his collapsible boat at the Murchison Falls,
arrived at Foweira ten days later, re-assembled the boat, sailed to Mruli, where
he arrived on 3 May, and penetrated into Lake Kyoga, but was unable to
ascend the Nile because of floating islands and fever. He returned to Mruli
on the 22nd and thence downstream to Foweira and by land to Fatiko.60
It was at this juncture that Gordon sent Emin, a German doctor in the
Egyptian Service, later Governor of Equatoria, on his first journey through
Bunyoro by way of Foweira to Buganda with presents for Mutesa, but sub-
sequently sent him instructions to negotiate the withdrawal of the troops from
Rubaga, Nuehr Aga having concentrated his troops there in spite of orders to
the contrary. Emin left Mruli on 10 July and arrived back with Nuehr Aga
and the soldiers on 9 September, giving evidence of his ability to undertake
political missions to African kings which he displayed during the final years
of Egyptian rule in Equatoria. There he found Gordon, who had arrived at
Mruli in August, having surveyed the Nile from Magungo to Foweira. In
September Gordon marched eastwards with the troops withdrawn from Rubaga
to Nyamyongo. He returned to Mruli by canoe.
Shortly afterwards, on 20 September, accompanied by Emin, he decided
to march direct to Magungo. Two days later they camped at Kisuga, some
eight miles east of the present Masindi. Earlier in the year Gordon had sent
some troops to establish a post at Masindi', and for this he was now heading,
only to learn that it had been built many miles to the north at Keroto.61 It
took four days marching through jungle, lost in forest, and threatened by
hostile attacks, before they gained the shelter of the Kikoroto stockade.
Magungo was reached on the 29th, and in the steamer Nyanza, Gordon in-
spected Kibero on 2 October 1876 before leaving to return to Khartoum and
Before he left he had made plans for an attack on Kabalega. When the
grass was dry enough to burn, three columns were to advance upon him, one
from Mruli to Kisuga, a second from Kikoroto to Masindi,62 and a force from
the steamer was to land at Buhuka. These columns caused Kabalega to
retreat, captured cattle, and established posts at Kisindizi and at Londu, on
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 115
Kabiama Hill, some four miles south-west of the present Masindi, but when
they retired, Kabalega re-occupied the country.63 Gordon had, meanwhile,
resigned his appointment but was induced by the Khedive Ismail to accept
the Governor-Generalship of the whole Sudan. By May 1877, he was once
more at Khartoum. Though he never revisited Equatoria, it remained under
his authority for another three years.
For these three years Equatoria was administered by Gordon's lieutenants.
The first was an American, Colonel Prout, who took over in November 1876
and who visited Mruli and Magungo.64 He "governed the province with
great ability" until his health broke down in May 1877. He was followed
by another American, Mason Bey, who in 1877 surveyed from Dufile to Lake
Albert. He left Magungo in the steamer Nyanza on 14 June, steamed along
the west shore of the lake to Kavallis', discovered and steamed up the River
Semliki, and returned along the east shore. In August Gordon withdrew
Mason from Equatoria, which was then administered by Egyptian governors.
It was their incompetence that led to the appointment of Emin in July 1878.
So ended the first period of scientific exploration. As a result of Mason's
and his predecessors' activity the whole course of the White Nile had been
mapped and Speke's guess had been shown to be correct. It only remained
to demonstrate the connection of Lakes Edward and George with the River
Semliki and Lake Albert. Nevertheless, it was amazing that neither Baker,
Gessi, Stanley, nor Mason had seen Ruwenzori, which still remained
The influence of these early travellers on Bunyoro-Kitara was slight. The
hostility of Kabalega soon isolated the forts, which had been established in
northern Bunyoro, and prevented any intercourse between their garrisons and
his people; and in time he was left free to reconquer and consolidate the
kingdom of his ancestors.
The assistance given by R.A. Sir Tito Winyi, C.B.E., Omukama wa
Bunyoro-Kitara, Mr. J. W. Nyakatura, and Mr. L. M. Muganwa, in recon-
ciling certain personal and place names, and the assistance given by Mr.
H. B. Thomas, O.B.E., in suggesting certain references, is gratefully
1 Bunyoro is the remnant of the extensive ancient kingdom of Kitara, which stretched
southwards to the River Kagera, eastwards into Buganda, westwards to the River
Semliki and Lake Albert, and northwards to the Victoria Nile. Thus Kitara refers to
the full extent of the kingdom, and Bunyoro to the present district that has well defined
geographical boundaries, the River Nile, the Kafu/Nkusi, and Lake Albert. The early
travellers do not make this distinction and both names are used indiscriminately.
Roscoe, J. (1923) The Bakitara, p. 1.
2 Speke, J. H. (1863) Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, p. 1.
3 The spelling of names of people and places in Bunyoro-Kitara is taken from
current official maps and from Nyakatura, J. (1947) Abakama ba Bunyoro-Kitara,
St. Justin, Canada.
4 Thomas, H. B. and R. Scott (1935) Uganda, p. 10.
s Grant, J. A. (1864) A Walk Across Africa, pp. 251, 270.
116 UGANDA JOURNAL
6 Thomas, H. B. (1932) M.S. Chronological Notes on the Historical Geography of
the Present Bunyoro (Provisionally Revised). District Commissioner, Bunyoro; File
entitled, Bunyoro: Historical Places.
7 Grant, op. cit., p. 277.
8 Speke, op. cit., p. 511.
9 Grant, op. cit., pp. 285-9.
10 Later named Lake Albert.
I1 Speke, op. cit., p. 547.
12 Near Wadelai.
13 Speke, op. cit., pp. 603-4.
14 Baker, S. W. (1866) Albert Nyanza, vol. i, p. 103.
15 Ibid, vol. ii, p. 73.
16 North of Fatiko.
17 Baker, op. cit., p. 77.
18 Ibid, pp. 48-55.
19 Ibid, p. 85.
20 Ibid, pp. 94-6.
22 Baker, op. cit., pp. 141-3.
24 Mgambi is a corruption of Mugema, one of the great chiefs of Kitara, whom
Kamurasi sent to negotiate on his behalf with Baker. Baker may have been misled by
his interpreters and so gained the erroneous impression that Mgambi was the Mukama.
R.A. Sir Tito Winyi, C.B.E., Omukama wa Bunyoro-Kitara, personal communication.
25 Baker, op. cit., p. 169.
26 Ibid, pp. 173-9.
27 Ibid, p. 187.
28 Ibid, pp. 244-6.
29 Baker, S. W. (1874) Ismailia, vol. ii, p. 136.
30 Kabka Miro appears to be a corruption by Baker of a Kinyoro name. Baker was
referring to Kabigumire. Nyakatura, op cit., p. 143.
31 Baker, op. cit., p. 138.
32 K.W. (1937) The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara, Pt. III Uganda J., 5, 53-84.
33 Baker, op. cit., pp. 181-6.
34 Ibid, pp. 192-3.
35 Ibid, p. 224.
36 Ibid, p. 242.
37 Ibid, p. 295.
38 Ibid, p. 300.
39 K.W., op. cit.: Bikunya, P. (1927) Ky'Abakama ba Bunyoro, pp. 71-2. London:
40 According to K.W. op. cit. the messenger, owing to a misunderstanding was
killed and hostilities flared up again.
41 Baker, op. cit., pp. 372-3.
42 It must be remembered that the European travellers in Bunyoro-Kitara at this
time, with the exception of Emin, were unable to understand Runyoro and depended
upon interpreters for their information. These interpreters from personal, clan, or
tribal reasons, may have, at times, intentionally misled their employers, or at other
times, may have unintentionally misinformed them, through lack of proficiency. This
may account for discrepancies in the accounts of Bikunya, K.W., and Nyakatura when
compared to the narratives of the European travellers.
43 Nyakatura, op. cit., p. 131.
44 Birkbeck Hill, G. (1881) Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, pp. xxxi-xxxii.
45 Stone, C. (1877) Provinces of the Equator, Pt. I, pp. 5-6. Cairo: Egyptian General
46 This seems still to have been at Banda, if the evidence of the map in Chaill6-Long's
book, Central Africa: Naked Truths of Naked People, (1876) is accepted.
47 In north Bugerere, opposite Pegi Hill. Thomas & Scott, op. cit., p. 17.
48 Stone, op. cit., pp. 37-79.
49 Birkbeck Hill, op. cit., p. xli.
50 Allen, B. M. (1931) Gordon and the Sudan, pp. 37-40.
51 Johnson, H. H. (1902) The Uganda Protectorate, vol. i, p. 222.
52 Thomas, op. cit.
53 Thomas & Scott, op. cit., pp. 13-14.
54 Stanley, H. M. (1878) Through the Dark Continent, vol. ii, p. 438.
EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS IN BUNYORO-KITARA 117
55 Nyakatura, op. cit., p. 154.
56 Birkbeck Hill, op cit., p. 66.
57 Birkbeck Hill, op. cit., p. 150.
58 Ibid, p. 153.
59 Gessi, R. (1892) Seven Years in the Soudan, pp. 99-136.
60 Ibid, pp. 136-8.
62 Kisindizi, some nine miles north of the present Masindi (Baker's Masindi).
63 Birkbeck Hill, op. cit., pp. 177-96.
64 Nyakatura, op. cit., p. 154.
RECENT VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIVU
DISTRICT, BELGIAN CONGO1
By C. G. B. Du BoIs
THE political boundary which separates south-west Uganda from the
adjacent parts of the Belgian Congo in no way reflects or infers any
geological differences between the two territories. Indeed, from the geological
stand-point, the whole of the area between Lake Bunyoni in Kigezi District
and the north-eastern shore of Lake Kivu, in the Congo forms a single unit
containing more volcanoes than any other part of Africa. Since the beginning
of the present century, eruptions of varying severity have taken place at
intervals of, very approximately, three to four years, which is clear evidence
that the field is far from being extinct. The fact that all of these have occurred
on Belgian territory is no guarantee that this pattern of behaviour will con-
tinue indefinitely and it is of prime concern to Uganda that any indications
of change should be observed as quickly as possible for reasons which will
become apparent later.
During the years 1956-8 a gradual build-up of regional pressure took place
at depth on the Congo side of the Virunga volcanic field as shown by: -
(a) a small terminal eruption of Nyamulagira on 17 November 1956;
(b) an eruption of a similar type north of Visoke on 1 August 1957;
(c) an eruption on the south-east flank of Nyamulagira on 28 December
1957, with some activity in the terminal crater. This was accompanied
by a distinct regional increase in the quantity of gas emitted (mainly
carbon dioxide) from the numerous fissures which occur in the rocks
of the surrounding country.
An intensification of this build-up of pressure was observed on the night
of 7 August 1958, when a crack opened on the north-west flank of
Nyamulagira following the main weakness zone2 of the volcano. The activity
lasted for one day and gave a flow about two miles long.
At 4 a.m. on 10 August the main eruption began in the lava plain north
of Nyamulagira, at an altitude of about 1650 metres and some five miles
from the main scarp bordering the western wall of the Western Rift Valley.
This eruption was located on a new crack roughly parallel to the main scarp
and is clearly visible on aerial photographs taken at 8 a.m. the same day.
1 The writer wishes to thank the Director of Geological Survey, Uganda, for permis-
sion to publish this article, and is indebted to the following for the assistance which
they so readily extended to him during his visit:-M. Van Straelen, President of the
Institute des Pares Nationaux du Congo Belge, M. Corin, Director, M. Meyer, Deputy
Director of the Service Geologique du Congo Belge and M. Dekkers, District Com-
missioner of Bishusha, who arranged for the supply of porters for the Kitsimbani visit.
2 Nyamulagira has what is thought to be a faulted flank i.e. a cracked side, because
several eruptions have taken place along this line. It is, of course, impossible to observe
this crack since it is covered by, and filled with, lava from previous active phases.
VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIVU DISTRICT 119
Later that day, the fissure was completely obscured by lava, and a cinder cone
began to form at one end of it. A flow was emitted northwards at the rate
of 40-50 cubic metres per second. The name Kitsimbani was given to the cone.
Kitsimbani in the native language means 'one who builds quickly' and the
name is an allusion to the speed with which the cone formed.
Gas pressures inside the vent were high and bombs were ejected to a height
0 5 10 1SKm.
Sketch Map showing Distribution of Volcanoes.
of 500 metres. The lava itself was kivite (Nyamulagira type) of very low
viscosity, and the cooled rock is highly vesicular and brittle, strongly resemb-
ling black coke. Measurements made with an optical pyrometer indicated
a temperature of 1030-1050C. at the time of emission. The volcanic eject-
menta varied in size from bombs a metre or two in diameter, through small
cinders, down to minute shards of glass known as 'Pele's Hair' (so called
after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire). Chemical analysis of the gas showed
that it consisted mainly of water vapour with large amounts of sulphur
dioxide, carbon dioxide and some hydrogen sulphide and sulphur trioxide.
It was emitted in such enormous quantity that it condensed and gave rise to
a continuous acid rain. An Agricultural Officer at Bishusha tested the acidity
120 UGANDA JOURNAL
of the water running off the roof of his house and found it had a pH of 3-5.
Because Kitsimbani is situated some five miles inside the Albert National
Park, which is uninhabited except for a few pygmies, it is not possible to
obtain porters locally. Access from Goma is by road to Bishusha where porters
can be recruited, thence some four miles by road to the top of the scarp. From
this point onward all travelling is by foot, first down the escarpment (1,200
ft.) to the National Park boundary and then across the lava plain which is
thickly wooded. All water must be carried since the only sources on the
plain are from clefts and fissures in the lava which rarely yield more than
a few pints of rather doubtful fluid. The only tracks are those made by
elephants and other game, hence it is essential to employ National Park
When I visited Kitsimbani, the lava flow had ceased moving and although
still warm it was possible to walk upon it. Activity near the base of the cone
was confined to sulfatara encrusted with yellow sublimates of sulphur and
emitting steam and other gases. The cinder cone was 80 metres in height with
sides at or above the angle of repose of 37. Near the top and around the
crater rim were arcuate fissures marking the outlines of incipient inward
landslides. These were red-hot at a depth of one foot and gave out copious
fumes of blue smoke. It was not found possible to spend more than a few
minutes inspecting these since the surrounding and overlying cinders were
still at a sufficiently high temperature to melt the rubber soles of boots, and
refuge had frequently to be taken on the cooler, lower slopes of the cone.
The deep central part of the crater was observed from several points and
seen to be choked completely with cinder-rubble from previous slides.
Acid rain is considered to have been the major cause of damage. Due to
the prevailing easterly wind, the rain was carried westwards for a distance of
12 to 15 miles and fell over an approximately triangular area having its apex
at Kitsimbani and a poorly defined base some 12 miles long roughly coincid-
ing with the crest of the escarpment. By 21 August, severe damage to the
vegetation had already occurred. For the first five miles, the forest vegetation
of the National Park suffered, the leaves of trees and shrubs being turned
brown and in many cases reduced to diaphanous skeletons. When the rain
reached the thickly populated escarpment, however, the native plantations
were attacked, with the result that the bean crops were completely lost, leaves
of sweet potatoes withered, leaves on banana trees were strongly burned and
nearly all the maize was lost. On the top of the escarpment, a large European-
owned pyrethrum plantation at Chomba was completely destroyed with a
resulting financial loss estimated at about 3,000. Nearby plantations of
eucalyptus suffered, young saplings being killed whilst trees older than three
or four years were damaged but have survived. Still further to the west in the
marshy country of the Mokoto region, where tea is cultivated extensively,
severe damage was caused to the gardens. The upper high quality leaves,
which were directly exposed to the rain, were practically all lost, and the
bushes themselves developed symptoms of acid burns at the funnel-shaped
junctions of leaves and stems and between the stems and branches. A more
insidious effect has been the spoiling of the flavour of the tea which remains.
IFhO1OS: C. (i. t. AlI BoIS
FIG. 2 (above)
Main cinder cone in background, ropy lava in foreground. Yellow sublimates
of sulphur and blue smoke from lava cracks are visible in middle distance.
Above figure on right is a black V-shaped cascade of solidified lava from an
early flow prior to the building of the main cone.
FIG. 3 (below)
View from near the crest of the crater rim at the top of the cinder cone. The
white smoke, visible upper left, is issuing from red-hot cracks associated with
incipient land slides into the crater. Even on the cooler flanks porters and
guides of the Parc National Albert find it necessary to sit on haversacks due
to the heat of the cinders.
IPhotos: C. G. B. Du Bois
FIG. 4 (above)
Blocky lava flow at base of cone, looking north-west across the lava plain
towards the western wall of the rift valley in the distance. A salient of forest,
showing fresh green growth, is visible to the left of the black plain.
FIG. 5 (below)
Sulphur incrustations on surface of ropy sheet-lava. The depression and
cracks in this sheet show where it has partially collapsed into an underlying
residual cavity, several feet in depth, formed by the flowing away of lava
whilst in the molten state. Sheets such as this are still in the process of
cooling and, like many other heated objects (e.g. motor-car engines), emit
small irregular ticking sounds as they do so.
VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIVU DISTRICT 121
Apart from the chemical action of the rain, there were several instances of
its mechanical effects. One pyrethrum grower, having had most of his crop
killed, uprooted the dead plants with a view to planting a second crop. Since
the hillside which he was cultivating was steep and terraced, the removal of
its vegetal cover left it at the mercy of the heavy rain which eroded and
channeled the soil with spectacular effect. An outwash fan of his best top-soil
formed a deposit two feet thick on the road at the bottom of the hill.
When large volumes of gas are ejected through molten lava, jets and foun-
tains of incandescent spray may be thrown to a considerable height. If these
are caught by a strong wind, the blebs of molten lava are drawn out into the
long glassy threads known as Pele's hair. During the first weeks of the erup-
tion, and particularly during the explosive crisis of 20 August, these condi-
tions were fulfilled at Kitsimbani with the result that large quantities of fine
ash and Pele's hair fell on the country to the westward. This contaminated
the pastures and led to the ingestion of the minute glass fibres by grazing
cattle which suffered intestinal perforation and consequent haemorrhages.
Two thousand cattle were potential victims, but due to prompt counter-
measures, no more than twelve were killed. Humans may be affected in a
similar way by eating contaminated vegetables, especially cabbage and manioc
leaves. In this connection it is of interest to note reports of previous eruptions
which have been immediately followed by outbreaks of what has hitherto
been thought to be dysentery, but which is now known to be a case of similar
symptoms being produced by accidentally taking in Pele's hair.
Fire was a serious cause of damage only in the immediate vicinity of the
cone and in the path of the lava flow. Many trees were crushed and consumed
by the advancing lava but owing to the damp condition of the forest at that
time, no major outbreaks of fire occurred. In most cases the effects of heat
radiated sideways from the lava are not apparent beyond about twenty feet
from the edge of the flow, although scorching of the upper branches and
leaves of trees is sometimes observed at two or three times this distance. This
effect is, however, liable to be masked by the greater effects caused by hot
falling ash and acid rain.
Within eight hours of the commencement of the eruption, the District
Commissioner at Bishusha and the Vulcanologist were examining prints of
the photographs taken from the air. In this way an accurate forecast of the
flow was made possible and the situation was rapidly in hand. About 2,000
head of cattle were moved temporarily to pasture country 20 to 40 miles
north and north-west. The Veterinary Department supervised the move in-
sisting upon compulsory passage through dipping tanks to prevent the spread
of East Coast Fever.
Since the affected area produces a surplus of food, export was immediately
stopped in order to combat possible famine. Police posts were set up to check
lorry loads and enforce the order. Agricultural officers in other districts were
required to put aside a proportion of the surplus food produced in their areas
also as an anti-famine measure. In an attempt to replace the ruined crops,
beans and potatoes were imported as seed and distributed through Govern-
122 UGANDA JOURNAL
Attention was drawn by the Medical Department to check all the symptoms
of intestinal haemorrhages likely to be mistaken for dysentery by uninstructed
personnel. Orders were also given for the careful washing of all vegetables
before cooking in order to minimize the risk of ingesting Pele's hair.
The flow of Kitsimbani was due to follow the slope of the lava plain to
the north and was predicted by the Congo Geological Survey to arrive in the
Rutshuru valley at the end of September. The course of the Rutshuru River
has already been displaced by previous flows and the valley is very shallow,
therefore the blocking of the river by the Kitsimbani flow would result in
the formation of a natural dam impounding a new lake. This would probably
overflow in time across the low northern watershed into another drainage
basin cutting the Ruindi-Rutshuru-Goma section of the main Congo-Nile road
near to the junction of the Rutshuru-Ruindi and the Rutshuru-Ishasha-Kasese
roads which are the vital economic supply lines of North Kivu.
Accordingly, the P.W.D. assembled sufficient heavy earth-moving equip-
ment to excavate a controlled overflow channel of the future lake large enough
to handle the volume of the Rutshuru River at the lowest point of the road.
Plans were also made for building an emergency bridge across the overflow
channel before it was filled with water. It was arranged that the precise loca-
tion of the channel was to be chosen by the Geological Survey once the future
lake had begun to form.
Arrangements were also made for the accumulation of a stock-pile of
petroleum fuels in case the supplies from the Kasese-Ishasha road were cut.
In the event, these measures did not have to be employed. The lava covered 18
kilometres in 21 days with a daily rate of flow of four million cubic metres
but stopped five kilometres from the Rutshuru River.
On 15 September, the Kitsimbani cone was breached on its western side
and at a lower level than that feeding the main flow. The latter, therefore, had
its main supply of lava cut off, and subsequently stopped. New flows were
poured out westwards into the country between the previous flow and the
scarp but after a few days the rate of flow fell to 30 cubic metres per second
and continued to drop steadily until the main eruption exhausted itself. The
volcanic rain decreased in both quantity and acidity and finally ceased
altogether. Up to the end of the eruption, new flows continued to break out
from the weaker western wall of the cone but remained within the confines
of the National Park and threatened neither crops nor communications.
I have already referred to the geological similarity of south-west Uganda
to the adjacent Belgian territory. From the evidence of erosion of the various
cones it seems likely that the earliest activity was centred on Sabinio. This
was followed by a westerly movement of the focus possibly to Mikeno and
Karasimbi, then a later reversal eastwards to Muhavura. Subsequently the
focus again moved westwards to its present position in the Nyamulagira-
Nyiragongo region. It is significant, however, that the degree of erosion of
Muhavura indicates that it has been inactive for only a very short geological
time, and history shows that more than one volcano believed to be extinct
has suddenly taken on a lease of life with catastrophic consequences. It is
therefore dangerous to assume that the youthful cone is no longer capable of
VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE KIVU DISTRICT 123
renewed activity merely because there are no records of eruptions during the
last hundred years.
The mechanics of events preceding a volcanic eruption are not well known,
but local or regional crustal instability is an important factor which sometimes
manifests itself by producing seismic disturbances. Similar disturbances or
earth tremors can also be produced by crustal adjustments of a non-volcanic
nature, so there is not necessarily a connection between the two. In fact, a
great deal more research must be carried out before any forecast can be made
on seismological grounds.
A method of estimating the growth of excessive crustal pressures, which
does not seem to have had the attention it deserves, is by measuring the
increase of gas seepages. First these seepages must be located, and only two
have been reported from Kigezi. The seepage may be quite a small hole, cleft
or depression in the rock filled with carbon dioxide gas. Lizards, rats, birds,
snakes and other small animals which venture into the depression die within
a matter of seconds. Goats and sheep suffer a similar fate if they venture
below the gas and air boundary and such a loss should make an impression
upon African herdsmen. The grass and other vegetation in and around the
depression is always of a paler, more yellowish green colour than normal,
which gives another characteristic feature by which the seepages may be
recognized. Once the seepages have been located it would be a simple matter
to measure the gas emission and obtain warning of impending vulcanicity.
We now come to the question of where, if at all, an eruption is likely to
occur in Uganda, and here it must be clearly understood that only an opinion,
and not an accurate forecast, can be given. It is the writer's view that the
most likely form such an eruption would take would be that of a vent or
fissure on the lava plains north of the Sabinio-Muhavura range. Less likely
would be an eruption from the northern flanks of these hills and least likely
of all, a recrudescence from the summit of Muhavura itself.
As to when such an eruption would occur, again only an opinion can be
given. The existing activity of the field as a whole is at present concentrated
in the west and from what we know of its past history, an eastward movement
of the focus would take some time to accomplish, possibly hundreds of years.
It is also likely that this movement would be gradual and that its eastward
advance would be marked by the initiation of new eruptions on the Congo
side which in themselves would serve to give some degree of warning.
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA
By ROLAND OLIVER
ANYONE who has dabbled, however superficially, in the traditional lore
of pre-literate African peoples, has had to face the problem of distinguish-
ing in each separate stream of tradition the point at which mythology ends
and history begins. The solution most commonly adopted has been to assume
that there must be a wide period of overlap between the two, or, in other
words, that traditional lore tends to hang purely mythical stories on the pegs
provided by the personalities of its early history. Taking, for example, the
traditions of southern Uganda, it did not require great erudition or deep
powers of discernment to notice an obvious similarity, and even more obvious
improbability, about the Ganda and Nyoro stories of the birth and upbring-
ing of Kimera and Ndahura. Yet it did not seem necessary to jump straight
from there to the conclusion that both Kimera and Ndahura were gods and
not men. There was much in the legends concerning both of them that seemed
to be telling an historical rather than a mythological story. It seemed simplest
to assume that in each case an ancient and widely-known myth had been
introduced into the historical narrative in order to prove a genetical connec-
tion between one dynasty and another where no such connection had in fact
existed. (cf. Oliver (1955) p. 115). In these circumstances it seemed fair
enough to ignore what was clearly mythical and to concentrate on what might
Lately, however, Christopher Wrigley, in two learned and elegant articles
published in this Journal (1958, 1959), has rendered a great service by return-
ing to the mythological aspect of these legends. His conclusions are clearly
of the greatest importance. The only question is whether, as he obviously
thinks they do, his mythological interpretations have emptied the legendary
accounts of all historical content whatever. Wrigley would abolish the Chwezi
altogether and curtail the Bito dynasty's history from about twenty generations
to fourteen. If he is right, many fresh problems arise to which solutions will
need to be found. If no Chwezi existed to build the earthwork sites associated
with them by tradition, we shall have to find another name for those who did
build them. If the Bito period in Buganda is to be abbreviated to fourteen
generations, reasons will need to be found for a corresponding abbreviation
of the Bito traditions of Bunyoro and Kiziba, of the Hinda traditions from
Ankole to Buzinza, of the Nyiginya traditions of Ruanda with their record
of a great clash with the Banyoro as long ago as the seventeenth generation
back. And, within Buganda itself, one of the most difficult problems will be
what we should make of the tombs of the Ganda kings from Kimera to
Nakibinge. For not only does tradition preserve the names of twelve sites
as the jaw-bone shrines and body tombs of these six kings, but in sheer hard
fact all these sites are to this day known, carefully guarded, and piously
visited by the princes of the royal house. All the people living in the neigh-
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA 125
bourhood of these sites are perfectly familiar with their existence and know
very well the names of the kings with whom they are associated.
Since legendary iconoclasm is in the air, it may perhaps be timely to develop
the last point a little further.
It is significant, first, that the dual system of jaw-bone temple and body-
tomb is confined to Buganda and Bunyoro, and appears to have been an
innovation of the Bito dynasty. There are no references to tombs of any kind
in connection either with the 'Kintu' and 'Chwa' episodes of Ganda tradi-
tion, or with the Chwezi chapters of Nyoro and Ankole tradition. The dual
system as practised in Bunyoro is said to have originated from the succession
struggle among the eligible princes which followed the death of an Omukama.
The body of the dead king was buried on the site of his last enclosure. The
jaw-bone and the intimate personal possessions were the credentials of the
successful candidate for the succession and were carried away by him to the
neighbourhood of his new capital and there lodged in a special shrine dedi-
cated to the memory of his father. In Bunyoro, according to my information,
which differs in this respect from that obtained by Professor Ingham (1953,
pp. 139-41), the long-term emphasis remained always upon the tomb of the
body. It was the burial of the body that was accompanied by human sacrifice,
and it was at this tomb that the royal widows took up their life-long watch and
ward over a grave that was closed only by a cow-skin, pegged down by nine
hoe-blades. The jaw-bone temple was of secondary significance, and in the
case of kings who were displaced and killed by their brothers, it did not exist
at all, since the credentials required by a fratricide were the jaw and possessions
of the common father.
In Buganda it would appear from the evidence which follows that the
system began in the same way, but later developed along very different lines,
by which the body-tombs were congregated in cemeteries while the jaw-bone
shrines acquired the positions of greatest importance. In Buganda these
shrines became in effect miniature reproductions of the royal capital, or
kibuga. The jaw-bone and the personal effects of the dead monarch were
housed in a large conical hut of similar dimensions to the house of the reigning
king, which was surrounded by a royal fence or lubiri; and the older surviv-
ing wives and officials of the late king took up their residence around it. As the
real widows died, their place was taken by fictitious widows, who were
frequently women who imagined themselves to be possessed by the spirit of
the dead king. As the real officials died, at least one or two of the more
important posts, such as Katikiro and Kangawo, were filled up, usually by
direct descendants of the original office-holders. In the course of time and
of successive re-buildings, the size of the shrine and its surrounding lubiri
was gradually diminished, and the court became reduced to one or two
widows and a Katikiro. Nevertheless, even the oldest shrines remained, and
still remain, places of pilgrimage to pious Balangira (princes); ceremonies of
various kinds are performed there; and the whereabouts of the shrines and
the names of the Kabakas commemorated are still perfectly well known to
the people who live within a mile or two of the places.
Throughout my visits to these shrines in June 1958, I was constantly
126 UGANDA JOURNAL
astounded by the extent of this local knowledge. On the road from Sentema
to Kakiri I stopped a passing cyclist and asked him if there was a tomb of a
Kabaka somewhere in the neighbourhood. "Yes," he said, "on the top
of that hill." Whose tomb is it? " Let me see . Junju's." He was right;
and the fact was equally familiar to three or four others from whom I sought
closer directions. Again, between Kakiri and Kiziba, I stopped to ask for
the turning to Dambwe from a group of people gathered round a shop.
" Good heavens," they said to my Muganda companion, Is he going to see
the place of Kigala? Kigala must have ruled at the turn of the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries. Again, I asked directions from a group of women
about three miles from Buga. "Are you going to see our Kabaka Kagulu? "
was the immediate question in reply. Similar experiences occurred day after
day. In the face of such widespread tradition, it seems to me extremely diffi-
cult to doubt the existence of the Kabakas so commemorated. The jaw-bone
shrines are in fact the real charters of Buganda's present dynasty.
The whereabouts of the jaw-bone temples were collected and published
by Roscoe and Kagwa, but it seems unlikely that either of them made any
attempt to check their information on the sites, since their information on
the subject is only about 70 per cent. accurate. To my knowledge, the first
thorough enquiry was made by F. Lukyn Williams in 1936, who evidently
visited most of the sites himself, entering the shrines, and drawing up inven-
tories of the contents. A copy of his report, with manuscript annotations by
A. C. A. Wright, was forwarded to the Curator of the Uganda Museum in
1952, where it is to be found in a file labelled 'Ceremonial Architecture'. The
outstanding omission from this list is the tomb of Kabaka Kaima at
Nabulagala, near Kongoje. Also, other than the names of the places, no
indication is given of where they are to be found. A gridded map accompanies
the report, but the key, if it ever existed, has been lost.
The following list of jaw-bone shrines has been drawn up with the assist-
ance of the Sabalangira; and, unless otherwise stated, I have visited personally
all the places mentioned. In the prevailing state of xenophobia, I judged it
unwise to ask permission to enter the shrines. Indeed, even accompanied by
a Makerere student as interpreter, by a personal representative of the
Sabalangira, and with a letter of commendation from the Katikiro, it was
frequently necessary to argue at length with the guardians in order to get
access to the precincts. It is noteworthy that the great majority of the shrines
have been re-built in semi-permanent materials since the present Kabaka's
return from exile in 1955. The current form is an oblong house of mud and
wattle with a bati (corrugated iron) roof, oriented east and west, with the door
at the east end.
List of Jaw-bone Shrines. Kings in chronological order.
1 KIMERA At Bumera, near Lunyo. Hoima Road to Mile 14,
turn right to Selinya, then left round the north side
of Baka Hill, as for Bujuko. Just under the highest
point of Baka Hill turn right, downhill, and bear left
between Bulondo and Buterega hills. The shrine is
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA
Full reference maps exist in the Uganda Museum to show exact location of the Buganda
Royal Tombs, as well as of certain known capital sites. These will be gridded on the East
African Grid Reference system, together with sites in Bunyoro and Ankole, when the
full gridded series of 1:50,000 sheet maps is issued. It is hoped to publish a list of
such sites and similar archaeological sites in the Corpus of Ethnohistory which is in
course of preparation by the Uganda Museum as a companion to Tribal Crafts of
Uganda by Trowell and Wachsmann. Students are welcomed at all times to consult
the Museum's reference map series.
9 SUNA I
then about one mile ahead on the right. House re-
built at Mutesa's own order in 1955. Katikiro in charge.
At Bujuko. Hoima Road to Mile 14, turn right to
Selinya, fork left and carry on for five miles to Bujuko.
Visited by Lukyn Williams, and confirmed by
Sabalangira, but not visited by me.
At Dambwe. Hoima Road to Kakiri. Turn right to-
wards Kiziba, and right again two miles short of
Kiziba. This road curves back through Dambwe to
Bujuko. Kigala's shrine is two miles along it, on the
left, by a left-hand fork, and nearly opposite a large
house with a straight reed-fence.
At Sentema, Saza HQ of Busiro, a quarter mile from
the village, on the fork road leading north to Kakiri,
on the left hand side of the road. Unfenced, and hardly
distinguishable from an ordinary house, but guarded
and well known to local inhabitants.
The proper site of this shrine is at Nabulagala, near
Kongoje. Hoima Road to Mile 14, turn right to
Selinya, fork left for three miles, then fork right at
Baka village, and carry on for one mile. This house
fell down in 1946, and pending re-building the jaw-
bone was transferred to Kayemba's shrine nearby.
At Kongoje. Access as for Nabulagala, above, but
carry on one mile to the end of the track. Shrine re-
built 1956. Shares Katikiro with shrines of Sekamanya
and Mutebi nearby.
At Bulondo, alias Mitwebiri. Access as for Bumera,
above. A prominent little hill, with twin peaks, said
also to be the site of Mulondo's capital.
At Mubango. Hoima Road to Kakiri, turn left, and
find Mubango Hill about five miles towards Sentema
on the left of the road. Said also to be Jemba's capital
At Jimbo. Hoima Road to Mile 10. Turn left through
Wakiso for about three miles and find Jimbo Hill
on right. Visited by Lukyn Williams, not by me.
At Kongoje. Access as for Nakibinge.
At Bugwanya. Hoima Road to Kakiri, turn left, and
find Bugwanya Hill about four miles towards Sentema,
on the left. The proper site of the shrine is on top
of the hill, which is said to have been a capital site
also. Owing to lack of funds and difficulty of access,
the guardian has recently moved the jaw-bone into a
temporary shed on the western slope of the hill.
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA
21 MWANGA I
At Buterega, alias Mitwebiri. Access as for Bulondo
above. A small hillock a quarter mile below Bulondo,
on the south-west side.
At Kongoje. Access as for Nakibinge above.
At Bujuko. Access as for Tembo above. Visited by
Lukyn Williams, and confirmed by Sabalangira, but
not visited by me. Said also to be a capital site of Juko.
At Nabulagala, near Kongoje. For access, see under
At Bundeke, near Lunyo. Access as for Kimera above.
Visited by Lukyn Williams, and confirmed by
Sabalangira, but not visited by me.
At Musaba, near Bujuko. Access as for Tembo above;
but fork left one mile after Baka village.
At Buga. Hoima Road to Mile 12, turn right and
then second right and continue for about six miles,
before turning right again. Ask the way frequently.
This shrine is one of the few which are well preserved
in a traditional style, with a good lubiri fence. Guarded
by a descendant of Kagulu's Katikiro.
At Kaliti, near Selinya. HQ of Sabalangira. Hoima
Road Mile 14, turn right.
At Selinya. Hoima Road to Mile 14. Turn right, and
climb hill on the right half mile after turning. The
shrine is in a traditional style house at the top of the
hill. Traces of a still larger house can be seen all round.
At Kavumba. Hoima Road to Mile 12. Turn left,
fork right immediately, and left at the top of the hill
one mile distant. The shrine is on the right after
quarter mile. House in traditional style.
At Muyomba. Hoima Road to Mile 10. Turn left to
Wakisu, and find the shrine on the hill behind the
dispensary. Not visited by Lukyn Williams nor by me.
At Kyebando. Hoima Road Mile 6. Not visited by
Lukyn Williams or by me. Lukyn Williams says it
was transferred from Gombe by Mutesa I.
At Luwunga. Hoima Road to Kakiri, turn left as
for Sentema, and right up Luwunga Hill after about
41 miles. At the top of the hill fork left again.
At Kisimbiri. Hoima road to Mile 10, turn right, then
left after half a mile. A large oblong house with bati
roof. Fig-tree posts of original lubiri fence clearly
visible: perimeter well over half-mile. A superb site,
with several widows, Katikiro and Kangawo.
27 SUNA II
At Kasengeje. Hoima Road Mile 7, on the right. Full-
size traditional-style house, as at Kasubi clearly visible
from Kisimbiri and Hoima Road. Not visited by me.
At Wamala. Five miles north of Kampala. Similar and
well-known. Not visited by me.
At Nabulagala= Kasubi.
Of itself, the list of jawbone shrines or temples is not very revealing.
All it tells us is that there is in fact one place of worship consecrated to each
of the Kabakas on Roscoe's and Kagwa's lists from the time of Kimera on.
It does not help us to check the order, and it could perhaps justly be argued
that since these are but temples, the first six could as well be the temples
of gods as of men. It is, however, the fact that each of these temples is paired
off with a body-tomb that makes such an argument untenable. In every case
that I was able to check, the guardians of the jaw-bone tomb knew where the
body was buried, and vice versa. Moreover, the style and location of the body-
tombs tell us a great deal more.
These tombs fall into three broad groups, of which the first is so different
from the later Ganda patterns as to be inexplicable except by reference to
the Nyoro system. The first six kings seem in fact to have been buried on the
sites of their own capitals, as follows:
At Kanzize. Hoima Road to Kakiri. Turn right to
Kiziba, and carry straight on northwards for about three
miles. Kimera's tomb is just to the left of the road, at
the top of Kanzize Hill. A good house in the tradi-
tional style, with two male guardians. The site is said
to be that of his last Kibuga. Mulume Hill, where
Kimera was killed by Tembo, is a mile away to the
At Luwoko. Hoima Road to Gobero. Turn right for
two miles to Katikamu school, then left for about two
miles and straight over the first cross-roads. Luwoko
is half a mile further, on the left.
At Manja. Masaka Road to Nsangi and fork right
opposite N.A.C. Primary School. Continue two miles
to Manja, which is on the left of the road, just short
of the Mayanja Kato swamp. There is said to have
been a house, which fell down many years ago. There
is a female guardian called Blandina, who keeps the
site of the grave free from vegetation. The site of
Kigala's last Kibuga is said to be just beyond the grave,
on the top of the ridge.
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA
I have not been able to locate the site of this tomb.
Lukyn Williams says Manja, but there is no record of
it there. Kagwa says Mpumude, a prominent hill to
south-west of Budo, was both the last capital and the
tomb. There is a capital site of Kamanya on this hill,
but the local inhabitants know nothing of Kiimba.
At Kibone, two miles short of Gombe on the right
hand side of the Kapeka road. I was unfortunately
unable to visit this site, as the guardian was unwell.
At Kitinda, close to that of Tembo. This is the most
impressive site of this series. It is set in a deep dell, and
a guardians' cemetery adjoins the temple, with about
twelve graves in it. There is, however, the most
curious fact that another tomb, said to be of Nakibinge,
is to be found at Gombe as mentioned below. The
guardian at Gombe is aware of the duplicate at Kitinda,
and offers the seemingly lame explanation that Kitinda
was prepared as the tomb of Nakibinge, but that there
was a later change of plan, and the body was sent to
From the sixth or seventh Kabaka (Nakibinge or Mulondo) to the twenty-
seventh (Suna II) an entirely different form of burial was practised, which was
described by the guardian of Gombe as follows (cf. Roscoe (1911), 103-12).
After the dislocation of the jaw-bone, the body of the king was handed over
to the chief executioner, Senkaba, who took it away with his band of ruffians
to the royal cemetery. There, the body was placed on a bed and certain friends
and officials of the dead Kabaka were killed and their bodies were thrown
upon the heap. These sites did not, like the jaw-bone shrines, become places
of pilgrimage. Neverthless they were guarded by Senkaba and his representa-
tives; houses were formerly built to mark the sites; and even during the
recent times of gross neglect a few square yards were kept free from cultivation.
There are two of these royal cemeteries, the earlier in date being that at
Gombe, Kyadondo, where, between the shops on the Kapeka Road and the
Gombolola Headquarters, the guardian in charge has shown me the graves
of Nakibinge (6), Mulondo (7), Jemba (8), Sekamanya (10), Katerega (12),
Mutebi (13), Juko (14), Kayemba (15), Tebandeke (16), and Junju (24). In
other words, Gombe was in continuous use as a royal cemetery from the
fifteenth (or fourteenth) to the tenth generation back-from the late sixteenth
century, therefore, to the early eighteenth. This fact provides some corrobora-
tion of the traditional order of succession of the Kabakas; and it therefore
becomes of special interest that exceptions should be reasonably accounted
for. The three exceptions are Suna I (9), said by Lukyn Williams' informants
to have been buried here originally but to have been transferred subsequently
to Jimbo, to the shrine of his jaw-bone. Kimbugwe (11) was killed by his
nephew, Katerega, the son of Sekamanya; and it was presumably for this
reason that he was not buried with the other Kabakas of his period at Gombe,
132 UGANDA JOURNAL
but at Kiterede near Merera, for which see below. The third exception is,
of course Junju (24), who was buried at Gombe nearly a century after it had
passed out of use: the reason is presumably once again to be found in the fact
that Junju was murdered by his brother Semakokiro, who was therefore not
prepared to allow him a place in the by then fashionable place of burial near
The 17th to the 27th Kabakas were mostly buried at Merera, two miles
from Kakiri, on the left hand side of the road leading northwards to Kiziba.
Most unfortunately the guardian in charge of these sites was absent on a pro-
longed visit to Busoga at the time of my visit; and local people were only able
to show me the graves of Kimbugwe (11) and Mawanda (20). The latter was
said to be empty, the bones having been transferred by Mutesa I to the jaw-
bone shrine of this Kabaka at Selinya. In addition to these two, however, the
following graves should also be at Merera: Ndaula (17), Mwanga I (21),
Namugala (22), Kyabagu (23), Semakokiro (25), Kamanya (26), and Suna
II (27). The exceptions are: Kagulu (18), who was drowned in Kyagwe;
Kikulwe (19), who, was deposed and later killed by his half-brother Mawanda,
and who is buried at Lugungude, two miles north of Kiziba; and Junju (24),
who, as already explained, was buried at Gombe. According to Lukyn Williams
the bodies of Semakokiro, Kamanya and Suna II are buried with their jaw-
bones at Kisimbiri, Kasengeje and Wamala respectively. The Sabalangira
denies this strongly; but, even if Lukyn Williams is correct, it seems that it
would be due to later exhumations by Mutesa I.
The 28th to 30th Kabakas, Mutesa I, Mwanga II and Daudi Chwa, were all
buried intact at Kasubi.
The drastic change in royal burial customs which occurred with Mutesa I
was of course due to the impact of Muslim and Christian ideas. What, then,
of the equally sudden and drastic change which occurred, possibly between
Kaima and Nakibinge, but more likely between Nakibinge and Mulondo?
We must certainly agree with Wrigley so far as to say that at this point in
the story something important must have happened. But can we really accept
Wrigley's hypothetical solution, which would make this the original Bito-
Nyoro conquest of Buganda? Wrigley (1959, pp. 40-1) says,
"According to the accepted tradition, Nakibinge led a heroic resistance
to an invading army of Banyoro, by whom he was eventually defeated and
slain. It is true that tradition goes on to claim that despite this disaster
the dynastic continuity of the kingdom remained unbroken, Nakibinge being
succeeded by his son Mulondo, who was still a child. Indeed there is no
further mention of the Banyoro in Kagwa's narrative until the reign of
Kamanya nine generations later. This fact is in itself somewhat suspicious.
It seems as though Baganda tradition-makers may have behaved rather
like Roman historians, who made much of the valour of Horatius, but
omitted to mention that his resistance was unsuccessful and that Rome long
remained a Tuscan vassal state."
This is a seductively presented analogy, but I suggest that the story told by
the Ganda tombs is an entirely different one. What we see there is six genera-
tions (from Kimera to Nakibinge) of pure Bito-Nyoro customs of royal burial,
THE ROYAL TOMBS OF BUGANDA 133
followed after Nakibinge by a sharp divergence from Bito-Nyoro practice.
In Bunyoro the body-tomb remains the important one, and in certain cases
the jaw-bone temple does not occur at all. In Buganda the body-tombs become
congregated into unvisited cemeteries, and the jaw-bone temple becomes the
active centre of remembrance, and indeed worship, on a scale unknown in
Bunyoro. Clearly, if there was a change of dynasty at this point, as Wrigley
suggests there was, the incoming dynasty did not come from Bunyoro. But
why need there have been a change of dynasty at all? Why should we not
accept the traditional story that Nakibinge led a heroic resistance to the
Banyoro who were trying to assert an overlordship dating from the time of
Kimera and Rukidi? Despite the death of Nakibinge, Buganda achieved its
independence, and forthwith ceased to do everything the Nyoro way. Perhaps
it is even credible that Nakibinge, the real hero of the revolution, had two
funerals, as the guardian of Gombe suggested-one of the traditional pattern,
and one according to the reformed rite-though according to Roscoe's infor-
mation Mulondo was The first to have his body properly embalmed and left
in a house" (cf. 1911, p. 218).
The tombs and jaw-bone temples of Buganda are not, of course, archaeo-
logical sites, in the sense that it would be either possible or desirable to under-
take excavations at them. Nevertheless, their mere existence, coupled with
the fact that they are known, guarded, and periodically re-built, affords the
strongest possible evidence in support of the reliability of the basic outline
of the traditional history of Buganda as recorded by Kagwa and Roscoe. On
the chronological side, I suggest they justify us in placing the origins of the
present dynasty in the fifteenth rather than the sixteenth century; and since
this dynasty was palpably of common origin with the Bito dynasty of Bunyoro,
they enable us to ascribe the immediately preceding Chwezi dynasty (or what-
ever is to replace it) to a still earlier period.
Ingham, K. (1953). The Amagasani of the Abakama of Bunyoro, Uganda J.,
Oliver, R. (1955). The Traditional Histories of Buganda, Bunyoro and Nkole.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 85, parts I and II.
Roscoe, J. (1911). The Baganda.
Wrigley, C. C. (1958). Some Thoughts on the Bachwezi, Uganda J., 22, 11.
(1959). Kimera, Uganda J., 23, 38-43.
CAPTAIN ERIC SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO
LAKE VICTORIA IN 1891
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
THE Imperial British East Africa Company was in existence for less than
seven years, 1888 to 1895. A competent account of its inception, aspira-
tions, achievements, and tribulations, as seen from the Company's London
office in Pall Mall, can be read in an invaluable volume, British East Africa or
IBEA by P. L. McDermott (2nd edition, 1895). But of the activities of the in-
dividual agents of the Company in the vast almost unknown territories which it
attempted to control there is no comprehensive chronicle.
The Company's records cannot be traced. Some outstanding journeys
appear in Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society;* other
impressions may be recovered from the byways of East African literature.
McDermott (p. 394 note) states that "the reports of exploring officers and the
results of their several expeditions were in all cases communicated to the
Foreign Office". A few such, particularly those of Captain (later Lord) Lugard,
have seen the light in published Parliamentary Papers. The Foreign Office
files now in the Public Records Office may yet yield illuminating reports to
the industrious searcher.
One such has recently been located in the Consular Archives at Zanzibar.
It was reprinted in State Papers and departmentally circulated among 'Foreign
Office Prints', and it is from a copy of the latter in the Secretariat Archives
at Entebbe that the report below is reproduced. It concerns the expedition
led by Captain A. F. Eric Smith who penetrated as far as Busoga in April-
Only passing references to this journey will be found in published literature.
Although it was the Chartered Company's major up-country contribution
towards the Mombasa-Lake Victoria Nyanza Railway project, it has escaped
notice in M. F. Hill's history of the Kenya and Uganda Railway, Permanent
McDermott (p. 393) speaks of Smith as having been sent to explore the
most practicable route by which Lake Victoria was accessible to the coast by
railway: while J. R. L. Macdonald (Soldiering and Surveying, 1897, p. 65)
notes the value of Smith's explorations in the assessment of the alternative
routes to the Lake, via Sotik or the Uasin Gishu.
Briefly, Smith, with a party of Company's men-Neumann, Martin, Bagge,
and Dr. Macpherson-left the Coast early in December 1890. They had with
them the returning Baganda envoys whom Jackson had brought down to the
Such are: Pigott's Journey to the Upper Tana in 1889, P.R.G.S.(N.S.), 11 (1890).
Jackson and Gedge's Journey to Uganda via Masailand in 1889-90.
P.R.G.S.(N.S.), 13 (1891).
Dundas' Expedition up the River Tana to Mount Kenia in 1891.
P.R.G.S.(N.S.), 14 (1892).
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 135
Coast in the previous September. All having assembled at the post established
by Lugard at Dagoretti (Kikuyu), the last three with the Baganda envoys
set off for Uganda at the end of January 1891. From Nakuru they found a new
route into Kavirondo by way of Eldoma Ravine and Nandi. They reached
Mengo on 31 March, less than four months after Lugard's arrival. Lugard
disappointed by the lack of ammunition delivered by this caravan sent Martin
back at once to the Coast to bring up further supplies. For this purpose he
was to recruit porters in Busoga on his way down country.
Meanwhile Smith and Neumann had struck west from Lake Naivasha to
follow the general direction, but south, of Jackson and Gedge's route through
Sotik and Lumbwa into Kavirondo, and from here investigations for a
steamer port on Lake Victoria took them as far west as Luba's in Busoga at
the end of April 1891, by which time Lugard was far away on the frontiers
of Bunyoro campaigning against the Muhammadans.
From Mumias on the return journey Smith, taking Martin with him,
followed, with diversions, Martin's upward road through Eldoma Ravine;
while Neumann set out to re-examine possible improvements of the Lumbwa
-Sotik route to Naivasha. In the course of this he was attacked and rejoined
Smith near Kedong only after suffering heavy losses.
Smith's report gives a valuable insight into up-country conditions at this
period. It also throws new light on the confused story of George Wilson's
part in the occupation and evacuation of Dagoretti Fort. This supplemented
by the diaries of Ernest Gedge who found Wilson at Dagoretti at the end of
March 1891 furnishes material from which it has been possible to extract a
more definitive account of these proceedings, which is published elsewhere in
In an appendix are some brief biographical notices concerning in particular
the less well-known persons referred to in Smith's report.
Imperial British East Africa Company to Foreign Office.-
(Received September 26.)
Sir, 2, Pall Mall East, London, September 24, 1891.
I AM instructed by my Directors to transmit, for the information of the
Marquis of Salisbury, the inclosed copies of two Reports received from Captain
Eric Smith, 1st Life Guards, one officially addressed to the Company, and
the other a private communication to the late Administrator, relating to the
journey recently made by Captain Smith to Victoria Nyanza with the object of
finding the most practicable route for the transport of a steamer to the lake,
and of reporting on the most suitable place on the shores of the lake for the
reconstruction and launching of the vessel after its arrival.
There are two points in the Reports of Captain Smith to Sir Francis de
Winton and the Administrator which my Directors regard as calling for some
observation. Captain Smith's criticisms in remarking upon the fortified
stations overlook the facts that Captain Lugard, after a careful survey of the
Sabakhi route, reported most favourably upon its capabilities, and established
six stockaded stations on the route, which the Company forthwith proceeded
136 UGANDA JOURNAL
to garrison and connect by a cleared road-track; but, unfortunately, Sir F. de
Winton, without sanction of the Directors, withdrew the garrisons and aban-
doned the route, which has now again to be put in order.
As regards the practicability of the proposed railway becoming a paying
line, my Directors do not concur in the views expressed by Captain Eric Smith;
and having in mind other examples of railways which have proved successful
in India and other similar countries, notwithstanding the authoritative
opinions expressed regarding their prospects when their construction was
under consideration, they believe that British East Africa is as promising a
field for future development as many others which had fewer natural resources
when taken in hand, and which have since become assured successes.
I am, &c.
(Signed) ERNEST L. BENTLEY,
Report by Captain A. E. Smith on his Journey from Mombasa to Uganda
I HAVE the honour to forward herewith a Report of my doings from
December 1890 to June 1891.
December 1 to 22.-On the 1st December, 1890, Messrs. Neumann and
Bagge, and on the 8th Mr. Martin and myself, left Mombasa and united at
Teita. Owing to the scarcity of porters at the last minute we had to leave forty
odd loads at Bandirini, Rabai, which will have to account for the seven days'
stop at Teita.
My instructions received previous to starting were to endeavour to find
out and pass over a practicable route from Kikuyu to the lake, which should
do away with the necessity which previously existed of the long detour north-
wards to Baringo; and having reached the lake, to try and find a spot where
sufficiency of water, timber, and general suitability would enable the steamer,
which it was then proposed to send up immediately, to be built.
The road from Teita to Machako's being by this time so well known to you
I will make no remarks upon it beyond the fact that, if it is intended to be
the permanent caravan road, the supply of water, which is at times extremely
uncertain, might be improved by the formation of tanks; and that, though
Machako's is at present the Company's established station, it is badly situated
both for food supply and firewood, the former of which has, to meet any large
demand, to be drawn from Kikuyu, and the latter obtained from the hills at
some distance from the station.
January 9.-It is at Machako's that one first gets on to the rolling grass
plains typical of the Masai country and the Naivasha Nakuru Valley. Strik-
ing to the W.N.W. from Machako's eight and a half hours bring one to the
Athi River, and thence seven and a half hours' marching over flat plain with
no timber, very marshy in the wet season, to the forest which forms the
southern border of Kikuyu. Along this fringe of forest, but some distance out
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 137
into the plain, are a few Masai kraals, but with this exception there are no
inhabitants between Machako's and the first shambas of Kikuyu. After six
hours' marching from this forest belt we reached Dagoreti (January 16) to
find Mr. Wilson absent, and that, in consequence, the letters sent forward from
Teita requesting him to have food ready for our caravan of 600 men had not
been attended to. The necessity of providing Mr. Martin (who was from this
point to proceed to Nakuru to try a new route across Mau to Kabra's and
Mumia's) with food for some twenty-eight days, compelled his part of the
caravan to remain in Dagoreti until I supplied him with eighty porters to carry
food as far as Nakuru. These men returned from there and rejoined me.
January 29 to 31.-Two days after Mr. Martin's departure, having obtained
guides from the Masai, Mr. Neumann and myself, with seventy-two men,
started with forty-seven [?] loads of food and a few trade goods to try for
a route to the west, south of Suswa, to Guaso Nyro and Loita, where we hoped
to be able to find fresh guides into Sotik.
Passing through the customary Swahili encampments at Ngongo Bagas, and
leaving Donyo Lamuya to the south, we descended into the Kedong Valley.
Here the guide told us we should have to go one day only without water before
reaching Guaso Nyro.
February 3.-Leaving Guaso Kedong on the 3rd February, and passing over
the base of the southern spurs of Suswa, we reached what should have been
a swamp, but was then quite dry, at 9.30 a.m. The hills which form the western
escarpment of the Kedong Valley appeared to be 12 miles off, but in an
attempt to find water immediately we turned north along the base of the moun-
tain. Across the whole of this Kedong Valley the grass was short, burnt up,
the ground covered with lava blocks, and the heat excessive. Between 2 and
3 p.m. all the men were done up. Mr. Neumann went on to try to find water.
I collected the men and all the loads except two under a bush, and went out
myself to the westwards to see if I could find any water at the spot marked
on the Company's Map as Fischer's camp of the 13th Ju[ne 1883]. There
was no water, and I returned to the loads.
February 5.-Early next morning, the 5th, leaving all the food loads stacked
and dividing the others up into small quantities, we started to try and get
back to the Guaso Kedong; after marching for about four hours, on passing
through a sandy ravine, I found the men scratching in a hole where they
ultimately found enough water to last us-forty men-two days.
Mr. Neumann, and the men who followed him, had not come in the pre-
vious night; from this ravine where we got water I went back next day to our
waterless camp of the 4th to recover the food loads. I found them all burned,
but whether this burning was intentional or the result of a grass fire I have
not been able to ascertain.
Being thus left without any food for the men beyond what they were carry-
ing themselves (three days) I was unable to do anything other than to return
to Dagoreti to refit. On reaching Guaso Kedong on the return march I found
Mr. Neumann and the men who had followed him. They had passed round
the northern side of Suswa back to our original camp on Kedong, and found
138 UGANDA JOURNAL
no water on the road. On mustering the men I found that we had sixty-five out
of seventy-two. We reached Dagoreti on the 9th February.
February 9 to 18.-A second attempt to get across the Mau plateau
north of Suswa and south of Longonoto having failed from the lack of water,
I determined to try further north by a route which, making use of the water
of Naivasha, should strike thence west across Mau and into Sotik.
February 24.-Being unaware of the existence of any such road further than
Naivasha, I dispatched Mr. Neumann and ten men to go forward and prospect.
I was unable to walk myself, having injured my foot, but waited for their
return in camp on Naivasha employing my men to collect as much food as
they could carry to that point.
March 3.-It was on the 3rd March that Mr. Neumann returned to camp
on Naivasha with news that he had found a road which, at any rate for some
days was feasible and in the right direction. We had no trouble with the Masai
at Naivasha, indeed their palmy days appear to be of the past. What few
cattle they had left were dying rapidly, the west and south-western shores of
the lake being strewn with carcases.
The disease does not appear to be, and the Masai declare it not to be, the
same as that found by Thomson. In no case in which we made a post-mortem
examination was there any disease of the lungs, the only obvious internal
disorder being a considerable enlargement of the gall-bladder, which in some
cases was as large as an ostrich egg. There are no cattle left in Kavirondo or
among Kabra's people, and disease is rapidly exterminating the buffalo.
West of Naivasha the Mau escarpment, which forms the western boundary
of the Nakuru Naivasha Valley, is divided into two parallel ranges running
north and south, one behind the other, with about 4 miles of partly-forested
country between them, but between these two ranges or steps there is no
March 9.-To the top of the escarpment we travelled by a very good road,
reaching the summit early on the 9th, and descending thence over the spurs
which run generally from N.N.E. to S.S.W., steering S.S.W. to camp on the 12th
to 16th March. From this point to Guaso-na-Erok the track, an old unused
cattle-road, leads through forest, the general direction south of west. In order
to carry sufficient food in addition to trade loads, I had to make all marches be-
tween Naivasha and Guaso-na-Erok twice over. Taking advantage of the two or
three days which this necessity gave me, I started from Guaso-na-Erok to
explore the road west into Sotik, and, having found that such a road did exist,
and that we should arrive at Sotik at Mr. Jackson's third camp in that country,
We all left Guaso-na-Erok, where are a few Masai kraals, and where the
track ceases on the 18th March. The first day's march, steering by compass
just north of west, brought us to the Guaso Nyro; the next, in the same direc-
tion, pointing for the southern end of the hill of Lekuto, brought us to a
spring, where we camped on the 19th. Just previous to this camp we entered
thick forest, which lies between there and Sotik, and which, according to Mr.
Neumann's later Report, extends a considerable distance to the south and
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 139
west. At this point, too, we struck an old Swahili road, marked by their
camps, which seems to come from the south, and which we followed into
Sotik, two days' march.
March 21.- Between Naivasha and Sotik I consider the road we traversed
to be perfectly practicable, well watered-for we passed at the end of the
dry season and found plenty of water; if peopled at all, peopled by Masai,
who are friendly; and that the time which a heavily-laden caravan should
occupy in getting over it would not exceed eleven days, which, allowing four
days from Dagoreti to Naivasha, leave only fifteen days for which food has
to be carried.
The people in Sotik appeared to be more frightened than hostile, but, after
some little conciliation, brought in small quantities of food, though we had
still plenty left. It was not until the 24th that I thought it advisable to halt for
a day to buy food, of which we were able to get as much as we required in
one afternoon in exchange for cowries and chain-white Masai and Smbayas
beads being of very little use, and cloth not asked for at all.
Between our first camp in Sotik and Ngare Davash the country is thickly
wooded, the road passable for caravan, but bad for donkeys. The natives live
in bee-hive huts, each in a little clearing on his own particular hill. There are
no kraals such as the Masai use, or such as we found later on in Kavirondo.
After crossing the Ngare Davash the country becomes less rugged, thick
forest gives way to thorny scrub, and the single huts to collections of two or
three, which are not protected by a boma of any sort. Away below us to the
south we could see the broad valleys of Kosoba, wild and wooded.
It was in Sotik that we first struck the rains, which continued until reaching
Naivasha, on the return journey, on the 8th June, 1891. Although the rivers
of Mau, Sotik, Lumbwa and Kavirondo had not then become unfordable,
Mr. Neumann on his return found he had to make bridges over all of them;
indeed, what were then hardly discernible watercourses or half-dry swamps
would later on in the rainy season be serious impediments to the rapidity of
a caravan's marching.
Near Likim Pibiris' kraal in Lumbwa we stopped one day to buy food:
beans and flour, besides honey. Mr. Jackson had made a Treaty with this
Chief;' he and his people appeared very friendly, but in view of what happened
subsequently to Mr. Neumann on the Ngare Sanao, it would be well to point
out that this is the last place, going north, where any timber or brushwood
can be got to build a boma of any service.
March 25 to 29.-And so through Bourgani, where the huts become more
concentrated and the cultivation rather better, and up to the rough highlands
which overlook the Katch Valley. As is almost universally the case with
these native tribes, there is a wide strip of uncultivated, uninhabited ground
between the Bourgani country and Katch.
The Katch kraal, situated 2 miles out in the flat marshy valley which ex-
tends thence westward to the lake and northward to the foot of the Toriki
Hills, is by far the biggest collection of huts I have seen in the interior. It is
surrounded by a wall of stones some 10 feet high, and has no ditch. These
140 UGANDA JOURNAL
stones must have been brought from a considerable distance, as there are no
stones in the valley. The people are, as Mr. Jackson describes them, "true
savages"-effusively noisy in their greeting, which is probably due to their
being always more or less drunk. The men are stark naked with the exception
of coils of wire round their ankles, and their head gear, which consists of
horns, cocks' tails, dead birds, cowries, and hippo teeth. The very young
ladies have no clothes; the middle-aged ones a little fringe of twisted grass
or fibre behind, and the old ones go either naked or similarly ornamented.
The people were perfectly friendly, and very anxious that we should camp
inside their kraal, which, however, I declined to do.
March 30.-The next day still over the dead flat of the valley brought us
to Sendege's and across the River Nyando, then running neck deep. The
Chief Sendege is dead; his six sons reign in his stead.
At Sendege's on the 30th I received a note from Mr. Bagge stating that Mr.
Martin, Dr. Macpherson, himself, and caravan had reached Mumia's all well
on the 27th day after leaving Dagoreti, and had met Mr. Gedge, on his way
to the coast, at Kwa Sakwa.2 At this time the Katch Valley was in many places
under water; it is extensively cultivated, has no timber whatever except a
patch or two of acacia bush and a few big fig trees, and the nearer we got
to the lake the scarcer even this wood. The kraals of the valley and of Kajuba
and Kisumu are collections of huts [?] by a very deep ditch and a red mud
wall 6 or 8 feet high, and in some cases with only a fence of some kind of
euphorbia. These fences, being full of gaps, are no real defence.
April 1.-I remained at Sendege's one day. On the 1st April, 1891, we left
for the lake. The road was throughout knee-deep in mud; passed numerous
kraals densely populated. We camped about 4 miles short of the shore of
April 2 to 4.-Leaving the caravan, Mr. Neumann and myself with a few
men went the next day to the mouth of the Nyando, which is unapproachable
by land owing to the great swamps and dense reed-beds which prevent any
access to it; but striking the shore of the lake 2 miles further north we walked
down through the shallow water to the river's mouth. It was not till next day
that we were able to get canoes patched up and fit to cross to the southern side
of the bay, which is similar in character to the east shore.
Fish traps set in some places half-a-mile out into the lake: the natives wad-
ing out to reach them, our being able to punt some 2 miles from one shore to
the other, as well as information gathered from the inhabitants, leave no doubt
in my mind as to the extreme shallowness of the water of Ugowe Bay, which
alone, without taking into consideration the distance from which timber would
have to be brought, renders this part of the lake perfectly unsuitable for the
building of a ship.
On reaching Kisumu, on the northern shore of the bay, I went down to the
lake again. Though the water there is more accessible, the depth is not suffi-
cient to admit of the launching of anything larger than the steel boats. This
I consider could be effected in particular spots. There is a little scrubby
timber, and in places water 4 feet deep 20 yards from the shore.
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 141
As I have pointed out in previous letters, no satisfactory investigation of the
shores of the lake can be carried out by means of the available native canoes,
which are quite unseaworthy, whose hire is a matter of great trouble, and the
rate of whose progress is entirely in the hands of owners and crews. I hoped
to be able to do better as regards exploring the shores of the lake, with the
assistance of Wakoli's canoes, so left Ugowe Bay on-
April 6.-Following Mr. Jackson's route as far as his camp (Mr. Gedge's
Map),3 and from this point wishing to avoid detours to the northward
which the road to Mumia's necessitates, we kept away further to the west, and
crossed the River Nzoia half-way between Mumia's and the lake. From
Kisumu to this river during the first two days the country is rough grass; the
kraals are placed along the slopes or at the base of the stony hills which rise
up here and there. Cultivation is very poor, but the natives throughout,
although they appear to have given Mr. Jackson some trouble, kept aloof
from us and gave none.
The country, called by the Swahilis Mwenyifa, to the south of the Nzoia
River, is much more densly populated and profusely cultivated. The people,
like their neighbours in South Kavirondo, are quite naked; they are "ingenious
bird snarers"; they had, I think, never seen a caravan before, and followed
us in thousands, but contented themselves with yelling and made no hostile
Getting over the Nzoia River, ankle-deep in the dry season, then a swift,
deep river, in the one available canoe was a matter which occupied one whole
The right bank of the river-Ugania of the natives-is, as regards its popu-
lation and villages, the same as the left; but the strip inhabited does not extend
more than a mile to the northward. The people are much afraid of Tunga,
who bears a very bad name. On the border of Ugania the track ceases, and
not wishing to go round the north-west end of the Samia Hills, we kept on in
a westerly direction through the bush, and at 8 a.m. of the 12th April were
on the top of these hills looking down over the Sio Valley across Tunga's
land into Usoga beyond. In Samia Mr. Neumann shot five elephants; the
ivory was small.
April 13.-Leaving the uninhabited hills of Samia, we crossed the Sio River
by a good native bridge among villages and people, and, passing the last town
of Tunga's on the 13th, entered Wakoli's territory on that day. Tunga's country
is like the rest of Kavirondo, cultivated in patches, and appears to have very
few villages and a scanty population.
April 14.-At one camp short of Wakoli's I got news that Mr. Bagge, Dr.
Macpherson, Mr. Martin, and caravan had gone into Uganda. Later on the
same day I heard that Mr. Martin had returned from there with instructions
from Captain Lugard to collect as many Wasoga as possible, and to proceed
with them with all dispatch to the coast.
April 15.-Next day I found Mr. Martin at Wakoli's, and a missionary
Mr. Smith, who had come from Uganda with Mr. Gordon, and was then living
in our camp. He had brought forty Waganda with him as native teachers, and
142 UGANDA JOURNAL
to do his work, but as they appeared to have declined to do the latter, and
Wakoli had to find them in food and Mr. Smith in labour, he was not unjustly
rather indignant. Wakoli seemed very glad to see us, and was very civil and
delighted with the present the Company had sent him. He appeared fully to
realize that the causes which had led to the present state of affairs in Uganda
were due to the presence of the Arabs and the two rival religious parties. He
promised that, as the English were first in the field, he would not allow the
Roman Catholics to build or effect any settlement in his country, and that he
would do his best to prevent Swahili traders going through. Usoga is a land of
bananas and plenty, and many friendly people whose chief accomplishment is
thieving. It is extensively cultivated, well wooded, but there are large tracts
of country which are as yet wild. Banana, Mahindi, and sweet potatoes are
grown in large quantities; in smaller: wimbi, mtama, and beans.
April 18.-Having arranged with Wakoli for the supply of as many canoes
as I wanted, and leaving his town on the 18th, the second short day's march
to the southward brought me to the lake. There were no canoes ready as had
been promised. It was not until two days later that I was able to make a start
in four large canoes. Previous investigations in a small canoe had told me that
there was no spot such as I was looking for in the immediate neighbourhood.
The canoemen, being nominally at war with Lubwa, their neighbour to the
west, declined to go in that direction, so I turned eastwards, skirting the
shore. After four days' paddling we reached what I take to be Shagga, as
marked in the Company's Map.4 To the south lay the high wooded Island
of Kiguru (Usuguru). At this point the canoemen, who had been very loth to
proceed even as far as this, and of whom two crews had deserted with one
canoe entirely, declined to proceed further. Threats and persuasion were of
no avail. I had no choice but to return. On the way back the canoe I was in
was broken in half by the waves, but we managed to get ashore without loss
of men or loads.
The result of a very unsatisfactory investigation is that I am of opinion
that, without considerable artificial assistance in the way of earthwork, no
place will be found where the ship can be built between Shagga and the Island
of Usamu.5 As at Ogowe Bay, so here, no proper investigation can be made
in native craft. As regards wood, labour, and suitability in respects other
than depth of water. Wakoli's shores of the lake are well adapted for the
purpose in view, but as regards this question of depth of water I have com-
pletely failed to find any suitable spot. On returning to the point on the lake
shore from whence I had started, I went one day to the westward to the village
of a petty Chief named Lukaranga.
April 27.-On the way there I found the inevitable shallow water. This man
was said to have a good deal of ivory, but three days' stay of my Headman in
his village failed to produce any. I here heard that Mr. Martin had not been
able to start for the coast owing to his being laid up with a bad foot and
consequent delay in engaging Wasoga.
I returned to Wakoli (where Mr. Neumann and the bulk of my caravan had
been since our arrival) on the 28th.
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 143
Mr. Martin said he would be ready to start in three days. I gave Mr.
Neumann instructions to take his men and to accompany Mr. Martin as far
as Mumia's, whither our Kavirondo guide had already gone, and from there
to return, more or less, by the way by which we had come up, using his own
discretion as to absolute choice of paths, principally with a view of ameliorat-
ing the road in Sotik, and, if possible, to try and get across from there to
Loita and reach Dagoretti by the way where we had failed coming up. This, if
he could find a path, was in no way impracticable owing to the quantity of
rain we had had.
At this time, too, I received a message from Lubwa, Bishop Hannington's
murderer, asking to see me. I understand, from a letter from Captain Lugard
to Mr. Martin, that Mr. Gedge on his way down, although he had not
actually seen Lubwa, had sent him word that he might be forgiven for the
Bishop's murder. In reply to Lubwa's message I sent him a cartridge and a
woman's belt, telling him if he wished for peace to return the former, if for
war the latter. He returned the cartridge. Two days' march westward from
Wakoli's, leaving the customary road to Uganda to the north, brought me and
fifty men to Lubwa's. He seemed frightened, and was anxious to make blood
brothers, which I refused. I told him that if he wished to be friendly he must
show it by deeds, not by words, and that if he desired to be forgiven for the
Bishop's murder he must pay ivory to secure our friendship. This he promised
to do. After waiting three days, during which he treated us well, he confessed
to be unable to produce the ivory. I do not for a moment believe this inability
to be true, but that he was awaiting instructions from Mwanga as to what
he should do.
May 4.-Failing the ivory, I took all the cattle I could lay hands on, with
Lubwa's sanction, and returned to Wakoli's, Lubwa promising to receive any
of our men sent from Uganda, to get food well and to sell them what they
wanted. This would be of advantage if carried out, as Lubwa's is two days
nearer the Nile than Wakoli's.
His people are very numerous, many are armed with guns, for which they
have but little ammunition; he has a good many Swahilis living in his town,
probably deserters from the Arabs in Uganda, and one or two of the men who
accompanied Bishop Hannington. He appears to be on terms of enmity with
his neighbours, and his messenger to me in Wakoli's was afraid to remain
there, and it was only by getting guides from village to village that we could
find out the way to his town.
May 5.-I left Wakoli's four days after Messrs. Neumann and Martin on
the 5th May, passing back through Tunga's and Tindi's, in which districts
the rains had made what should have been small swamps and little streams
into barely passable ponds and great rivers. I reached the banks of the Nzoia
River below Mumia's by 11 a.m. of the 10th May. Mr. Martin had arrived here
the previous day, had crossed himself and his loads in the only two canoes
which were available, and on my arrival the Wasoga were being taken across,
though at that time there must have been 600 of them left on the northern
144 UGANDA JOURNAL
bank. I got my men and loads over and into Mumia's by 3 p.m. Here I found
Mr. Martin laid up with fever.
May 12.'-Mr. Neumann left with instructions as before detailed on the
12th May; including the men he was to pick up at Sendege's, his caravan
amounted to between 90 and 100 men. Five days' stay here was sufficient to
buy 450 loads food, to get the Wasoga across the river, and to make Mr. Martin
On the 16th we started for Kwa Sakwa.
May 17.-Between Kwa Sakwa and Dagoretti, by the way Mr. Martin went
up and the way we came down, with the exception of the few scattered and
poorly-populated villages of Kikelelwa's and Kabra's, and the wandering
Masai's kraals on Gilgil and Naivasha, there is absolutely no place where
are any human habitations or where any food can be bought. The swollen
state of the river and the great train of over 700 Wasoga, prevented anything
like rapid marching.
Over rough grass and scrub country, with little or no timber, with Elgon
away to the north, and the north-westernmost spurs of the highlands of Nandi
to the right, four days brought us to Kabra's and one more long day to Guaso
Masa, a river which, flowing northward and westward, runs into the Nzoia.
This river was then about 30 yards across, 10 feet deep, and running like a
mill-race. The timber to make a bridge over this we had brought from the
neighbourhood of the previous camp. We were all over by 10 a.m. the follow-
May 22 to June 4.-After crossing this river, we kept away to the south-
ward, and in seven days, crossing grassy uplands, well watered and partly
forested, reached the skirts of the Mau forest on the 29th. This upland
country was once inhabited by the Wakwavi, who were driven out by the
Masai, who, however, make no use of the country themselves, probably from
fear of the Nandi, a tribe who are at war with every one, and into whose
country only a very few Swahilis have penetrated. We left Dongo Surgoi 10
miles to the north, and passed south of the slopes of Lelgeyo.
While in this forest of Mau, we had to cross two terribly steep ravines,
which, except by the native track, which long out of use and very difficult
to find or keep to, are absolutely impassable, even for active men with noth-
ing to encumber them. The stream at the bottom of the first of these gullies
was fordable, that at the bottom of the second had to be bridged, and so,
quitting the forest and skirting the north and north-east slopes of the double
hill which lies north-west of Nakuru, we reached camp near the north end
of that lake on the 4th June. From here into the customary Naivasha-Baringo
road at Kampi-ya-Mbaruk is only one day's march.
This country between Kabra's and the skirts of the Mau forest is certainly
the finest for agricultural (probably pastoral) purposes that I have seen in the
interior. The grass, though burnt and dried up at the end of the dry season,
is still green in patches along the swamps and watercourses. Mr. Martin on
his way up at that time of year reports plenty of water passed two or three
times each day. As far as I have been able to see, unlike the cultivated coun-
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 145
tries of Kikuyu, Ukambani, and Kavirondo, where the people already have
their holdings, and where nearly the whole extent is under cultivation, which
in many cases cannot do more than support population, this region is
uninhabited. Mr. Martin reports his road going up to be better than that
traversed coming down; but, taking things as I found them, I am certainly
of opinion that this road is perfectly impossible as a regular caravan route.
June 5 to 7.-From Nakuru, days to the northernmost camp on Guaso
Kedong, we passed a very few Masai at Gilgil, and again at Naivasha. These
people still possess considerable troops of donkeys, which they are very
loth to sell, but have lost nearly all their cattle.
June 10.-At this first camp on Kedong, two hours after our arrival, Mr.
Neumann and what was left of his caravan rejoined us. How he had travelled
by the upper ground through Suio and Toriki to Sendege's and Kitoto, and
thence into Lumbwa; how he had made arrangements there for guides to take
him through the forest to Loita; how he had been attacked and half his men
butchered on the Ngare Sanao, and afterwards, harassed by the natives, and
under great hardships, had plunged into the forest to the south, and ultimately
struck our old route some two marches west of Naivasha, the two Reports
which he has already furnished will have informed you.
We reached Dagoreti on the 13th June, 1891, and found Mr. George Wilson
there engaged in rebuilding the station with a total force of twenty-nine men,
and with Sudi Suliman and a caravan of 170 men camped just outside. I under-
stand that Mr. Leith had received instructions to stop Sudi, which instructions
had been cancelled. As this man had delivered the forty-two loads with which
he had been entrusted seven months before, and had certainly been of service
to Mr. Wilson, I saw no reason to interfere with his onward progress. He was
very anxious to go to Lykipia at once, and I did not consider it safe to leave Mr.
Wilson with a totally inadequate garrison in the then disturbed Kikuyu. I
could get no food, so was unable to remain myself. These, as I have already
reported, were my reasons for urging him to come down to the coast, which
June 19.-We reached Machako's on the 19th, and left on the 22nd. Pro-
ceeding to Kilungu, whither Mr. A. T. Brown from Machako's had been
already dispatched to buy food, and after staying there one day, we left on
the 25th, reached Tzavo on the 5th July, and marched into Mombasa on the
16th July, 1891.
As regards the construction of the railway through this country up to the
lake, I do not think there are any serious obstacles to its accomplishment
until reaching the very broken ground which extends between Nzoi and
Machako's; the rugged character of the country in Kikuyu, the ascent of the
Mau escarpment, or, if the more northern route be taken into consideration,
the steep hills and valleys of the Mau forest west of Nakuru will not be
surmounted without difficulty. But throughout the whole of the country I do
not see where any profit can accrue to any railway which may be constructed.
The climate throughout is quite healthy. (Signed) A. E. SMITH.
July 31, 1891.
146 UGANDA JOURNAL
Captain A. E. Smith to Sir F. de Winton.
Dear Sir Francis, Mombasa, August 10, 1891.
HEREWITH a fuller account of my journey to Usoga and back. I hope
the reading of it will not bore you.
Left Mombasa 8th December; joined Neumann and Bagge at Teita, and,
after waiting there seven days for balance of loads, left for lack of porters
at the Banderini, got off and to Machako's.
January 9.-Subsequent experience confirms what I wrote you of on my
way up: that Machako's is in the wrong place and scandalously badly
managed. Leith has gone there now, and Bateman, who in my opinion is in
every way entirely unreliable, goes to Taveta to cope with Dr. Peters.
I am afraid that I have offended the Directors by telling them that the re-
sults of their attempts at station building after some two years leave no result
whatever, and that if the stations are not to be established on a proper scale,
it will be as well to give them up altogether. Machako's is useless. Dagoreti
has been wiped out by the natives. All that remains is Taveita, off the road,
and the "fortified stations" which Mr. George Mackenzie is so fond of calling
attention to, and which do not exist.
Dagoreti, January 16.-My stay here was by casualty prolonged until the
Dagoreti was built on the very edge of the cultivated portion of the Kikuyu,
which has to be passed through en route for Naivasha. This necessitated food
carriage from some two days off, which is a distinct drawback. I am not sure
though, whether this drawback is not more than made up for by the greater
immunity from the constant presence of natives. Wilson is, I think, very fond
of seeing natives in and out of his boma, and even his house, and of having
immensely long "shauris" all day, but I think neither the excess of native or
"shauri" was necessary.
The climate of Kikuyu is much more like that of England than one would
think possible so near the Equator. On the way up, at the end of a very long
dry season, the mornings and evenings were quite chilly; fire a sine qud non,
and the wind from Kenia blowing too fresh. On the way down a grey mist
covered the tree-tops till perhaps 10 a.m., then the sun came through and
dried things up, and disappeared again in clouds at from 3 to 4. But, as far
as health goes, I am sure that Kikuyu is far better than Machako's, with its
eternal east wind and no cover.
Almost anything could grow in Kikuyu; the soil is a varying red and black
loam, with occasional patches of swamp, and any quantity of running water.
Further west towards-but not west of-Ngongo Baga's and Donyo Lamuyu,
outside the forest, which forms the south and west boundary of Kikuyu, is a
huge expanse of grass plain; this is just now occupied in places close to
Ngongo by Masai, but their cattle seem to be decimated by disease just as
much here as on the over-fed and over-stocked pastures of Naivasha. These
are not over-stocked now; the whole of the west shore of this lake is hardly
approachable for the number of dead beasts. Neumann and I made many
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 147
post-mortem examinations, and there is no symptom of any disorganisation
of the lungs, the only abnormal thing about the animals being a greatly
enlarged gall-bladder. The beasts keep fat to the last, but for two or three
days before they succumb are unable to do more than just keep on their legs.
Kikuyu, Ukambani, and the whole coast-line, notably Lamu and the northern
ports, have been visited with a cattle sickness, but in the case of the coast
towns I believe this has been declared to be an affection of the lungs.
Well, Martin left Dagoretti on the 29th January. It was on the 30th March
at Sendege's that I got a brief note from Bagge, saying that they had got through
all well to Kwa Sundu's in twenty-seven days. You know how the attempts
to get due west of Ngongo to Guaso Nyro failed.
On the 24th February, being myself unable to march from injury to big
toe, I sent Neumann and a few men off from the last camp on Guaso Kedong
to see if there was any sign of a possible road by the south end of Naivasha,
and thence west. I collected a quantity of food at Naivasha-my men doing
very well, and though constantly backwards and forwards never saying a word
-and waited the reconnoitrers' return.
On the 3rd March, at 3 p.m., I saw a figure coming towards camp from the
west. It turned out to be Mactubu; seldom have I been so glad to see anyone,
and later on Neumann and the rest turned up. The result of what they had to
say was that on the 5th I got away loads and men along the south shore
of the lake en route for Sotik.
I venture to think that it is a mistake to be more afraid of the Masai than
of any other natives. At times, on Naivasha, I was alone in camp, and a very
poor boma round it, with some twenty men; the Masai were in numbers, but
they never attempted any attack or insolence, and never received any hongo
more than a few coils of wire and a few strings of beads to their old men.
Again, Neumann and his little party had wandered about among Masai kraals
on Mau, and been shown the track, and obtained guides, and had not a word
of trouble. Doubtless, in recent days, when owners of great herds of cattle
and sheep, they were insolent and quarrelsome-now that their only posses-
sions, cattle, are dead and dying, they are amenable enough, and not nearly
the treacherous dogs that the other natives have shown themselves to be.
I hope the Secretary in London has complied with my request and sent
you a Map of our routes. [I have not received this.-F. de W.]
The result of nine days' marching from Naivasha was Sotik. Now it was the
greatest good luck hitting this road off the first time. You know how bad a
time Jackson had plunging into the Mau forest rather further north. Neumann,
on his way back under very painful circumstances, got a little south of our
route, and involved in forests and hills, and with difficulty got through. The
road we went up is excellent everywhere, but takes some finding. Starting from
Mau-na-Erok with a few men, it took me three days to get into Sotik, and
one day to get back, because on the way there we were plunging about in
forests and valleys and hills, and on the way back we followed a track through
the forest as far as our camp of the 19th March, where is a Swahili track going
southward, I presume, along the Guaso Nyoro to Myurumani;6 none of the
men in my caravan had been this road. I should much have liked to follow it.
148 UGANDA JOURNAL
Sotik, a land of densely wooded hills and valleys, where each man lives
in his own beehive hut in a small clearing on the top of a hill (21st March),
where we passed a land of heavy rain and many rivers not yet swollen so as
to be impassable. The natives were frightened, but not openly hostile. This
is Jackson's third camp in Sotik. We got a little food, more to conciliate the
people than because we wanted it, and went on our way in peace across the
two rivers of the Ngare Lavash (22nd), across the Sanao (23rd), and out of
Samburu into Bourgani (27th), and then to the high hills, rough and unin-
habited, which overlook the flat green swamp of the Katch Valley, on the 28th.
The general characteristics of all these districts are the same. Sotik is very
hilly and wooded; on the banks of the Sanao the dense forest gives place to
thorns very useful for bomas, and the huts, from being, single, accumulate
into communities of three or four. The natives are very numerous. At one
camp where we stayed to buy food they came in hundreds and in three hours
one buyer got seventeen loads for 9 kibabas cowrie and 21 fundi (hanks con-
taining about 12 feet) chain.
March 29.-Down into the Katch Valley on the 29th. This valley, which
extends from these hills of Bourgani on the south to those of Tosiki on the
north-west, and from 10 miles east of the Katch kraal to the lake westward,
is a great swampy flat grass plain, dotted with kraals, treeless except for a
patch or two of bush and a few great fig-trees, and, especially towards the lake,
much cultivated. The people are "true savages", and very naked, drunk, and
March 30.-Thence to Sendege's. There I heard of Martin's arrival at
April 1.-From Sendege's two days' march gets one to the lake. I left the
caravan in camp on the 1st April, and went with Neumann to prospect the
bay. It is impossible. There is no water, no timber, and no proper investiga-
tion can be done without a steel boat. This could be launched from Kisumu.
April 4.-The rains had been constant since reaching Sotik, and the road
was a sea of mud and red water; very melancholy, and the going bad. Again I
tried to find a decent depth of water from the Kisumu shore, and failed. I
venture to think that Stanley's Map of the bay is incorrect, both as regards
outline and islands.
April 6.-Left for Wakoli's, hoping to utilize his canoes for my purpose.
Followed Jackson's trail till camp of 7th. Thence the ford to the north being
impassable, and wishing to bear away to the west to avoid the detour which
going to Mumia's necessitates, I kept away left-handed, and crossing rolling
hills covered with crops and kraals, followed by thousands of interested and
April 8.-Reached the Nzoia on the 8th April. A running river, 70 yards
across, and one canoe-and that a very cranky one-to cross 145 men and
loads in. I stayed till the last and though I several times thought that our
caravan would perforce become two, half on one side and half on the other
of the river, got over at last-a matter of some seven hours; no little personal
exertion and shouting.
Mactubu, my Headman, whom Jackson could not get on with,7 I consider
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 149
to be invaluable. Energetic, never tired, prompt-a very rare feature-and
decided in his views and opinions. Talkative, inclined to get a big head, and
not strict or curt enough with the porters. These are his good and bad points.
Honesty, as the goods were always under my eye, I can say nothing of.
Across Samia into Tunga's and across Tunga's into Wakoli's on the 15th
April. In Samia Neumann shot five elephants, but ivory small, two days' bag,
thirteen cartridges, -577 Express = five hippo, five elephants; not bad for
I am very sorry that Neumann has left. Gone to take a Magistracy in Zulu-
land. He is a first-rate, though decidedly peculiar, chap. Wakoli was pleased
to see us. Martin had by then (15th April) been up to Uganda, left Bagge
there, and returned to Wakoli's on his way to the coast to bring ammunition,
&c., up to Lugard, who was said to be on the eve of an expedition against
Kabba Rega and Unyoro.
April 18.-I left the caravan at Wakoli's, and on the 18th April started
for the lake to prospect, and entirely failed. Briefly, after eight days' misery
in canoes, constant worry, and wet, rows with crews, and a shipwreck, and
no sign of sufficient water, I gave it up. Whoever is to be responsible for the
building of the ship must also be responsible for choice of site. I have failed.
But in these days the ship is apparently quite a matter of "the coming by-
April 28.-And afterwards went to pay a visit to Lubwa, Bishop
Hannington's murderer. He said he wanted to be friends with the White man.
I stayed there some days, but, as Lubwa produced no ivory as promised, came
away none the richer except for a small herd of cows and sheep. Lubwa is in
doubt as to whom he should fear most, Mwanga or the White, and tries to
temporize with both. There are still some of the Bishop's porters in his town,
and he has some Swahilis hanging about him.
I much fear that, in spite of promises, we shall soon see these people in
Usoga, and, though Wakoli scouts the idea, I have no doubt that he will then
be quite ready to spare some of his too numerous population for slaves. There
is plenty of ivory still in Usoga (and plenty of elephants to be shot, but
Neumann, thinking that the Company would annex all his ivory, declined
to shoot any), but only to be bought with guns or powder. Wakoli was very
pleased with his presents, perhaps most of all with his pombe pot, a blue
German glass affair covered with pink and white boils.
May 4.-Back to Wakoli's on the 4th May, and found Martin and Neumann
gone with many Wasoga and the caravan to Mumia's.
May 5.-Followed. The road from the first town of Tunga's camp of the
6th until Tindi's was under water, and the two marches, always good ones,
were too long to be good. A little watercourse, dry at most times, or a swampy
valley, when there is no wood for miles to help cross it, is a serious obstacle.
It is rather a wretched country this Kavirondo, so absolutely treeless and
desolate; few people and little cultivation, and, as a rule, what kraals there
are all bundled close together.
May 10.-On the 10th I got down to the Nzoia River opposite Mumia's,
and found a crowd of some 700 Wasoga on the bank waiting their turns to
150 UGANDA JOURNAL
get over in one of the two small canoes available. They all did get over by the
14th. I found Neumann, Martin, and all porters, etc., in Mumia's.
This is the second biggest town I have seen; the Katch kraal beats it hollow,
but is decrepit. Mumia, when Jackson was with him, was a rich man; he is a
poor one now, having lost every head of cattle he possessed from disease. This
disease is destroying the buffalo; on Mau and along the Nakuru Naivasha
Valley, where they used to be in great herds, not a buffalo now, only their
skeletons, fifty and more passed every day.
Mumia is a good sort of chap, rather silly and giggling, but keen to be
friends and do the right thing.
May 12.-Neumann left with some eighty men. He was to go back by
approximately the same route we had come up, and try to improve upon it,
east of Lumbwa, by keeping further south and striking across the end of
Kosoba, Ndare Serin, into Loita, and thence to Ngongo Bagas. I know that
such a road exists. Poor Neumann was attacked on the Ngare Sanao at night,
had thirty-two of his men killed on the spot, was himself wounded in the wrist,
plunged away to the south into the forest, and, keeping east and south-east,
rejoined our track up near Naivasha, and met Martin and me at the first
camp our roads joined at on the 10th June. Fifty-four men out of ninety-two!
This was in revenge for Jackson's cattle raid.8 Neumann was taken in by the
natives' apparent friendliness, and camped in thick bush without a boma.
May 16.-Martin and I left with 700 Wasoga. I wanted to see for myself the
Nakuru-Kabra's road. I have seen it, and say it is impossible. After leaving
Kabra's, where are a few poor villages, miles and miles over rolling grass
uplands and thick forest, tremendous ravines, and many rivers, but never a
human being. There are the sites of the villages of the Wakwavi, long since
turned out of this country by the Masai. I was very glad to see Nakuru and
get into known regions on the 4th June. Martin had gone up a slightly more
southern road, which was certainly two days shorter, and he says better; but as
I have seen and know the Kabra's-Nakuru road-not a yard of road exists
-I say unhesitatingly it won't do; from Nakuru down the valley to Naivasha
(Company's Map is wrong as to position of Nakuru), and after falling in with
Neumann, who had aged twenty years, but has since rejuvenated, reached the
ruins of Dagoreti on the 13th June. I don't think Wilson had treated the
natives judiciously. He was always having little wars and rumours of wars,
but I little thought when I left him three months before to find nothing when
I returned. He had evacuated the station with Gedge, had gone down to
Kikumbuliu, and then, influenced, I think, by hearing that you had gone
home, returned. Sudi Sulimani was with him. He had a long story to tell of
how he had been very ill at Maungu, and delayed there months; anyhow, it
had taken him seven months to fetch Kikuyu. He had delivered his forty-two
Company's loads, was doing and had done Wilson good service, and proceeded
north to Likipia on the 15th June. Then, not wishing to leave Wilson with his
totally inadequate garrison of twenty-nine men, I urged him to return with
me to the coast, which he did. And now I am to go back there and re-establish
confidence. Don't like the job. My companion to be one Purkiss, a good,
CAPTAIN SMITH'S EXPEDITION TO LAKE VICTORIA 151
The Wasoga, who had come along pretty well hitherto, began to give
trouble, and went raiding by night in the shambas, were time after time
severely wounded by the natives, but fortunately did not get us into any
trouble. These people as porters are a failure, they can carry loads right
enough, but can't walk, and are the most unmitigated thieves on earth. And
to Mombasa on the 16th July. This is an unprepossessing country, and I really
don't see how-barring the discovery of gold-any good is to come out of it.
In the majority of cultivable places the population is already in occupation
and plenty. Between the limits of the Mau forest and Kabra's are miles of fine
land entirely deserted, but now inaccessible. Of present natural products,
whose porterage to the coast would pay, there are none. Ivory can still be got,
but not by Company's caravans in the way they move at-for caravans-
express pace. The natives, of whom the Masai are much the best, are a lying,
treacherous lot. The supply of water on the road to Machako's is very pre-
carious, and constantly passing caravans have put food up to famine prices.
I don't think that any decently good road for the railway will be found
via Machako's, Kikuyu. The Mau escarpment has to be climbed, and the best
place I have seen to do that is due west of Nakuru. Not improbably the best
way will be found vid Mattata, the Ngiri Plain, and thence north to Naivasha.
I don't fancy that I shall stop out much longer, and when the time comes for
going the Red Sea route north I shan't be sorry, and more than pleased to
see you again in London.
We were all in the best of health up country, but since my return I have had
fever nearly every day, and am a wreck now, and writing under the more or
less intoxicating influence of quinine.
Good-bye, Sir Francis, yours sincerely,
(Signed) A. E. SMITH.
1 He may be equated with 'Menya Kasharia of Lumbwa' with whom Jackson made
a treaty on 13 October 1889; see Hertslet Map of Africa by Treaty, vol. i, p. 378. No.
74, sub-no. 65.
2 The meeting was on 26 February 1891 according to Ernest Gedge's diary.
3 It can be assumed that Gedge's map reached the Coast with Jackson in September
1890. Perhaps a copy was retained in Mombasa; or it is just possible that Smith
had received a copy of Intelligence Division, War Office map No. 814 dated November
1890 and entitled 'Imperial British East Africa Company's Caravan 1889-90' which was
based on Gedge's map.
4 The 'Company's map' is probably 'A map of part of Eastern Africa prepared by
authority of the Imperial British East Africa Company by E. G. Ravenstein 1889'; scale
1:500,000 in 9 sheets (published by George Philip and Son, London).
5 For details of the coast of Busoga the only authority available to Ravenstein
was H. M. Stanley's map in Through the Dark Continent of his voyage round Lake
Victoria in 1875. The island of Kiguru is now Sigulu Island. Shagga is the promontory,
now Bugana Island, on the north side of the Ugana Passage. Usamu, mapped by
Stanley as an island, is the peninsula on the west side of Macdonald Bay where is
the prominent hill Busamu.
6 Appears on early maps as Ngurumani towards the north end of Lake Natron near
the present Kenya-Tanganyika boundary. This would be on the caravan road to
Pangani by way of the south of Kilimanjaro.
7 Maktub was killed in an affray by the Kikuyu in the summer of 1892: see
Macdonald, Soldiering and Surveying, p. 115.
8 Gedge's diary gives some details of this affair, which took place at 'Kamangoso'
152 UGANDA JOURNAL
near the river 'Ngare Sangao' on 9 October 1889 in retaliation for the Sotik having
kidnapped a porter with his load of trade chain, and refusing to return the stolen goods.
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Bagge, S. S. (1859-1950). 1890-3 with I.B.E.A. Company; 1894-1902 district officer
Uganda Protectorate; 1902 to East Africa Protectorate as sub-Commissioner; 1910
retired; 1916-17 political officer German East Africa campaign.
Bateman, C. S. Latrobe ( -1892). 1884-6 Captain of Gendarmerie, Congo Free
State; 1885 first ascent of R. Kasai; 1889-92 with I.B.E.A. Company; August 1889 in
charge of Machakos station when Jackson set out for Uganda: 5 August 1892 died in
Brown, A. T. October 1889 joined I.B.E.A. Company; 1891 was in charge of
Machakos station; (to be distinguished from A. G. Brown who left the Coast with
Lugard in August 1890 and died 20 September 1890).
Fischer, Dr. G. A. (1848-1886). German naturalist and explorer. 1876 physician at
Zanzibar; 1882-3 discovered Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha twelve months before
Joseph Thomson's journey; 1885-6 led expedition to relieve Dr. Junker, reaching south
end of Lake Victoria and returning via Lake Baringo.
Gedge, Ernest (1862-1935). 1888-91 with I.B.E.A. Company; 1889-91 with Jackson's
expedition to Uganda; 1892-3 Correspondent of The Times in Uganda.
Gordon, Rev. E. C. (1858-1926). 1882-1905 C.M.S. Missionary in East Africa and
Hannington, Rt. Rev. James (1847-85). 1882-3 C.M.S. Missionary to south of Lake
Victoria; 1884 first Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa; 29 October 1885 murdered at
Leith, G. C. 1889-93 with I.B.E.A. Company; June 1891 in charge of Machakos
station; February 1892 relieved of charge of Machakos station by John Ainsworth;
1892 caravan leader for Bishop Tucker's party to Uganda.
Lugard, Captain F. D. (later Lord) (1858-1945). 1889-92 with I.B.E.A. Company;
1 November 1890 left Dagoretti on his mission to Uganda; 1 September 1892 returned
Mackenzie, G. S. (later Sir George) (1844-1910). Partner of the mercantile firm of
Gray, Dawes and Company in association with Sir William Mackinnon; 1888-91 first
Administrator of I.B.E.A. Company's territories at Mombasa.
Macpherson, Dr. J. S. (1863-1935). 1889-92 with I.B.E.A. Company; accompanied
Lugard to Lake Albert in 1891; 1895-1902 medical officer with Uganda Government.
Martin, James (1857-1924). Maltese ex-sailmaker and caravan leader; 1883-4 with
Joseph Thomson's expedition through Masailand; 1889-93 with I.B.E.A. Company;
1889-90 with Jackson-Gedge expedition to Uganda; 1893-1907 in Uganda Government
Neumann, A. H. (1850-1907). 1868-90 farming and hunting in South Africa; 1879
Zulu War; 1890-1 with I.B.E.A. Company; 1892-3 Magistrate Zululand; 1893-1906 one
of the most successful elephant hunters in East Africa: died in London sua manu.
"Of such a charming, lovable temperament to all who knew him intimately that his
society was a continuous pleasure" (see J. G. Millais, Wanderings and Memories, 1919,
which contains an admirable memoir).
Peters, Dr. Carl (1856-1918). Pioneer of German colonization in Africa; 1884 made
treaties with chiefs on mainland opposite Zanzibar; 1889-90 leader of German Emin
Pasha expedition which landed at Witu June 1889, reached Mengo February 1890,
returned to Bagamoyo July 1890.
Smith, Captain (later Lieut.-Col.) A. F. Eric (1857-1942). Retired from 1st Life Guards
on loss of arm; 1890-3 with I.B.E.A. Company; 1895-9 Uganda Government transport
service. "He led caravans to and fro between Mombasa and Uganda more times than
anyone else"-Sir Frederick Jackson, Early Days in East Africa, 1930, p. 69.
Smith, F. C. (1864-1920). 1890-3 C.M.S. layman missionary in Uganda; February to
September 1891 with Rev. E. C. Gordon opened mission station at Wakoli's, Busoga;
June 1892 re-commenced work at Wakoli's, but was compelled to withdraw when on
6 July Wakoli was accidentally shot by a mission porter; 1896 ordained.
Thomson, Joseph (1858-95). Geologist and African explorer; 1879-80 commanded
Royal Geographical Society's Central African expedition to Lake Tanganyika; 1883-4
led expedition through Masailand to Lake Victoria.
Wilson, George (1862-1943). 1889 came to East Africa from Australia; 1890-1 with
I.B.E.A. Company; 1891-3 with East African Scottish Mission to Kibwezi; 1894-1909
Uganda Government Service.
[From Lady Jackson's Alburr
Arthur H. Neumann, pioneer and elephant hunter,
[Reproduced by kind permission of F. P. Henderson
The Speke Glacier, Ruwenzori.
NOTE: Bujuku hut (lower left edge of photograph).
The recessional moraine at the foot of the rock-cliff.
The dry channel (a former melt-water channel) to the left of the main melt-stream.
The cirque-like basin to the left of the glacier snout.
I- -K .*'*
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI'
By J. B. WHITTOW AND A. SHEPHERD
ALTHOUGH the snows of Mount Speke had been seen from the eastern
slopes of Ruwenzori before 1906, it appears that the Duke of the Abruzzi
was the first European to set eyes on Speke glacier. The Duke did not traverse
the glacier itself but it was photographed during his 1906 visit and subsequently
depicted on a map.2 Unfortunately, the glacier snout is obscured by cloud on
this early photograph, so that comparisons with the present day position of the
glacier terminus are impossible. Thus there existed no published photograph
of the glacier snout until after the visit of Humphreys in 1926, when a photo-
graph of an avalanche descending from the Speke glacier appeared in the
It is probable that several photographs of the glacier were taken between
1926 and the visit of Menzies in 1949-50, but either they have remained un-
published or they are too small to be of great value for comparative purposes.
Menzies' visit was significant because the lower part of the glacier was photo-
graphed, surveyed and a map produced at a scale of approximately 1:2,500.4
During the months of June and October 1955 a series of aerial photographs
of Ruwenzori was completed and the Speke glacier was photographically re-
corded in its entirety for the first time.5 Between the latter date and the present
day several private expeditions to the mountain have photographed the glacier
and through the kind co-operation of the individuals involved the present
authors have been able to build up a fairly clear picture of the ice changes
over a period of the last ten years.
Since December 1957 a series of expeditions to Ruwenzori has been
launched by Makerere College, Uganda, in connection with the International
Geophysical Year, and visits to the Speke glacier at regular half-yearly
intervals have enabled careful note to be taken of the ice characteristics and
any changes which have occurred.6
The present characteristics of the glacier.
With the possible exception of the Vittorio Emanuele glacier, also on Mount
Speke, the Speke glacier appears to be the largest individual glacier of the
Ruwenzori. The Stanley Plateau, although the largest single ice-mass on the
Ruwenzori, is an ice-cap, not a true glacier. Collecting its firn7 from the summit
ridge of Mount Speke, the Speke glacier is approximately 450,000 square yards
in total area. The accumulation zone, which extends from the summit ridge
at 15,800 feet down to the fin line at 15,000 feet, is roughly twice the size
of the ablation8 zone (300,000 square yards as compared with 150,000 square
yards). The glacier descends almost due southwards and its present termina-
tion is at a height of approximately 14,250 feet which is about 450 feet below
the average elevation of the permanent snow line on the Uganda slopes of
154 UGANDA JOURNAL
Ruwenzori. From the present glacier terminus a melt-stream plunges over a
steep rock-wall before cascading a thousand feet down to Bujuku hut on the
valley floor, so that the Speke glacier occupies a fine example of a hanging-
valley at a 'trough's end' (Fig. 1). To the west of the present melt-stream a
deeply cut channel cleaves the cliff-face, and although it is now dry the pro-
minent cone de ddjection at the cliff-foot indicates that the feature was an
important lateral melt-water channel when the glacier stood at a slightly lower
Owing to the lack of snow cover during the authors' visits to the Speke glacier
in 1958 and 1959 it was possible to examine a prominent medial moraine9
on the glacier surface just above the snout (Fig 2). The constituent material
ranged from large blocks several feet in diameter to fine rock-flour, and
several of the larger blocks had formed glacier tables up to four feet in height.
Digging ultimately proved that all the morainic heaps were ice-cored. The
source of the moraine could not be traced, but there seems little doubt that
it is this surface moraine falling into the terminal crevasses that is responsible
for the build-up of a small end-moraine which is forming at the western end
of the ice snout. There is very little sub-glacial or en-glacial moraine and it is
noteworthy that in 1950 Menzies emphasized the absence of moraine either
on the ice or at the glacier foot.
Measurements taken some 150 yards above the snout suggest that the rate of
forward movement of the glacier is very slow. A line of prominent painted
stones placed across the glacier surface in June 1958 was resurveyed in
January 1959 and the amount of forward movement was found to be negli-
gible. In a few cases the stones had resulted in the formation of small glacier
tables and had subsequently toppled forward, but nowhere was there evidence
to suggest a forward movement of the ice surface of more than two feet. The
time period of less than seven months between the measurements is obviously
not sufficient to give a very accurate figure for the rate of glacier flow, or to
indicate any differential movement of the ice surface. It is suggested, however,
that the Speke glacier is approaching the stage of stagnation, a stage which
appears to have already been reached by several of the smaller Ruwenzori
glaciers.10 Proof that the Speke glacier is not merely a stagnant ice mass is
provided by the slowly changing crevasse pattern and the tumbling seracs1 at
the glacier terminus.
The glacier is quite heavily crevassed both at the snout and near the firn
line, and it was found that in the case of the terminal crevasses the fracturing
extended throughout the thickness of ice (60 feet). Where the two series of
terminal crevasses intercept they have produced a number of large seracs
near the centre of the ice front. Many of the seracs which were tilting ominously
in June 1958 were found to have fallen when visited in January 1959, and
many of the crevasses measured in 1958 were considerably wider at this later
date. Although the collapse of the seracs appears to be the result of a slight
forward movement by the glacier, the widening of the crevasses near the snout
appears to have been largely influenced by surface melting alone. There is also
evidence of serac formation in the higher crevasse fields of the glacier where
the ice descends steeply from the summit ridge. Despite the contention of a
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI
So V co
0- -, L, A ul
T2r 1 a)
\ww s O
4/ a 0 L3n 000)
0.0 00 YSs s- s ^
o o If ,
/ ~ 4 (I U U\\ l &fl^^ "
0 .c\\ 11 Ed
AV^ 00 ,N) ^^ ^
/~~ ~ ~ / > \ r g
VI 0 0
/ U. 0 / V
t o- x
/ / < 0' **m j Q
Cs^' 1' 0< 0CoA- \\ ~ -
o 4, 0 \
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156 UGANDA JOURNAL
recent author that the absence of seracs is characteristic of equatorial hang-
ing and valley glaciers,12 personal observation together with the descriptions
of climbing parties make it clear that many of the Ruwenzori glaciers are
characterized by serac formation. If it is true, as Spink suggests, that the
absence of seracs in the glaciers of Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro results
from the special nature of the ice, possibly caused by the extreme fluctuations
of temperature in low latitudes, then the presence of the Ruwenzori seracs
might be indicative of important contrasts in ice ductility, which in turn may
reflect significant differences in the climatic environments of the Ruwenzori
glaciers and those of the other East African ice masses. It has long been
realized that even though the Ruwenzori glaciers show abundant signs of
recent recession, they are undoubtedly better nourished and more greatly
preserved than the glaciers of Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
The precipitation on Ruwenzori is the result not only of the moisture bear-
ing prevailing easterly winds of East Africa, but also of the humid Congo air-
streams which fail to reach Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, so that accumula-
tion is almost certainly greater on Ruwenzori than on the latter peaks. Fig. 3
90 Rainfall in inches
Note: The precipitation figures for Kilimanjaro are
from the Geographical JournalVol 117 p 161.
The Ruwerzori figures*are from the East
African Meteorolosical Department statistics (Is5z)
The figure of 45" at 5,900' on Ruwenzor is the
water equivalent of a frn profile (Smth& Fletcher, 1955)
Up to 13,000 feet
e, - - -
S zpo00 4000 b,000 8,000 IUO) 12000
Altitude ;n Feet
Precipitation of Ruwenzori and Kilimanjaro.
14.000 16,000 18,000
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI 157
illustrates an interesting comparison between the precipitation of Kilimanjaro
and Ruwenzori. The noteworthy feature is the striking contrast in the trend of
the graphs above the point of maximum rainfall. Whilst both mountains
exhibit a fall-off with increased elevation, the precipitation total near the
Ruwenzori summits is many times greater than that of Kilimanjaro. No accurate
accumulation figure is yet available for the highest part of the Speke glacier,
but it is probable that the accumulation does not differ radically from that
of the neighboring Stanley Plateau, where figures equivalent to 45-50 inches
of rainfall have been recorded at an elevation of 15,900 feet."
The construction, by the Makerere College expedition, of a flow-gauge
on the melt-stream of the Speke glacier has enabled a comparison to be made
between the seasonal ablation rates. Specimen figures are available for the
so-called 'dry' season of January-February, the 'dry' season of June-July,
and the season of 'short rains' in October-November. No records are yet
available for the season of 'long rains' (March-May) since the mountain is
rarely climbed at this time. As might be expected the melting is found to
be greatest during the 'dry' seasons and least during the cloudier weather of
the November 'rainy' season. The average daily ablation rate of June 1958
was found to be about 21 times greater than that of November 1958, and 1l
times greater than that of January 1959. It may be true, as Bergstrom claims,
that a correlation can be observed on Ruwenzori between the alternately
thicker and thinner dirt bands of the firn and the respectively greater ablation
in June-July than in January-February.14
The evidence for recent changes in the Speke glacier.
There is little doubt that, in common with all the other East African glaciers,
the Speke glacier is at present in the midst of a recessional phase. Evidence
from Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya seems to point to a very rapid deglacieri-
zation, although preliminary investigations give reason to believe that the
Ruwenzori ice as a whole may be retreating at a somewhat slower rate than
that on the other East African ice peaks. The evidence of recession on the
Speke glacier is three-fold: decrease in length, decrease in width and decrease
It has not yet been possible to decide the date at which the Speke glacier
joined the glaciers which formerly descended eastwards from Mount Stanley
before flowing together down the upper Bujuku valley, but a series of reces-
sional moraines marking retreat stages of this trunk glacier can be seen at
intervals between Nyamuleju Hut (10,800 feet) and Bujuku Lake (13,000 feet).
At a height of 13,600 feet and clearly visible from Bujuku Hut, the innermost
of the Speke recessional moraines lies at the foot of the final rock wall leading
up to the present glacier terminus. Although there is a considerable difference
in elevation between the moraine and the Speke glacier snout, the horizontal
distance between the two points is in the order of 500 yards. This is com-
parable to the distance of 600 yards between the Elena glacier snout and
its innermost recessional moraine. Since the formation of the moraines both
glaciers have retreated a vertical distance of about 800 feet up correspond-
ingly steep rock walls so that there is every reason to believe that they are
158 UGANDA JOURNAL
now retreating at approximately the same rate, on the assumption that the
moraines are contemporaneous (see also footnote 16). If the Speke and Elena
moraines were formed at the same date, then they may be between 150 and
200 years old, for it has been tentatively suggested by Bergstrom that the ice
stood at these moraines at a date a little later than the Swedish ice advances
of 1740 and 1800.14
The Abruzzi map and photographs of 1906 depict what appears to be a
conspicuous cone of avalanched ice, or even a small regenerated glacier,15
lying at the foot of the rock wall below the Speke glacier, in a position approxi-
mating to that of the recessional moraine. Humphreys' photograph shows that
this ice cone was still in existence in 1926, but it is fairly certain that the
moraine must have been in its final stages of formation at that time, being
added to by avalanche debris from the glacier, because Menzies makes no
mention of the avalanche cone during his visit to the glacier in 1950, and it is
no longer in existence today.
Accurate measurements of the retreat of the Speke glacier in recent years
are restricted to a comparison between the 1950 map of Menzies and the map
produced in 1958 by the Makerere College expedition. The most significant
change has taken place at the eastern end of the glacier snout where a retreat
of about 70 yards is indicated (Fig. 2). An ice tongue which extended down
from the eastern side of the glacier terminus according to the 1950
map, has now disappeared. The 1926 photograph by Humphreys proves that
the ice tongue at that time extended much lower down the rock face. The
disappearance of this ice tongue in recent years suggests an increasingly rapid
rate of retreat during the past 30 years, a suggestion which agrees with the
evidence from other Ruwenzori glaciers.16
In June 1958 a series of cairns was erected and a number of prominent
stones were painted near the ice margin of the Speke glacier. A later expedition
from Makerere College made measurements from these markers in January
1959, and the comparative results are shown in Table I.
Several interesting points emerge from the above results. First, that the
western end of the ice front is slightly retreating or remaining stationary;
secondly, that the eastern end of the ice front is slightly advancing; thirdly,
that the width of the glacier just above the snout is rapidly decreasing. These
changes are depicted in Fig. 2.
Further evidence of decreasing width is provided by a comparison between
the 1950 and 1958 maps. At a point just above the ice front the glacier
measured approximately 320 yards across in 1950, whilst a measurement in
1958 showed that the width was only 265 yards. This apparently rapid decrease
in the width of the glacier in less than a decade is the continuation of a ten-
dency which has been evident for at least half a century. Fig. 2 shows a start-
ling decrease of glacier width in less than seven months, whilst a comparison
between the Abruzzi photographs and Fig. 1 reveals that a prominent cirque-
like basin to the west of the glacier is now completely ice free although it was
filled to overflowing with ice in 1906.
The final evidence of recent shrinkage is provided by a study of the glacier
thickness. A careful examination of all the available photographs since 1906
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI 159
Distance of ice from painted stones.
Stone June 1958 January 1959
A 3 ft. 3 ft.
B 13 ft. 19 ft. 6 in.
C 6ft. 5ft. 4 in.
D 4ft. 6 in. 7ft. 2 in.
E In contact 2 ft.
F In contact 3 ft.
G Vertically below lip of ice-cave 10 ft.
H In contact 11 ft. 7 in.
Cairn Distance of ice from cairns
5 27 ft. 29 ft.
6 24 ft. 41 ft. 9 in.
7 21 ft. 20 ft.
8 36ft. 33 ft. 5 in.
9 24 ft. 22 ft. 7 in.
shows that a considerable amount of rock which was submerged by ice some
30-50 years ago is now uncovered. This rock is easily discernible on the
photographs because it presents a light grey appearance, evidence that there
has not been sufficient time for a recolonization of the visible lichen cover
to take place. To support the contention of recent shrinkage in the ice thick-
ness are the measurements taken in 1950 by Menzies. At that date the thick-
ness of the ice front was recorded as being 120 feet in places whereas in June
1958 it was nowhere more than 60 feet thick.
One of the main reasons for the present shrinkage of the Speke glacier
appears to be excessive surface ablation caused by direct insolation. Further-
more, there is evidence of melting due to the effects of terrestrial conduction
and radiation around the edges of the glacier. This is especially true on the
western side of the ice, where a spectacular ice cave is in such a position as
to make it difficult for a melt-stream to be entirely responsible for its forma-
tion. Temperature measurements showed that the heat radiated from the
nearby rock-wall is undoubtedly playing an important part in the present rate
Another interesting feature of the Speke glacier, and one which appears
to be an important factor affecting the degree of melting, is the extent and
duration of the shadow cast by Johnston Peak across the glacier surface. It
is generally acknowledged that the sunniest time of day on Ruwenzori occurs
in the three or four hours immediately following the sunrise, before the cloud
cover develops sufficiently to blot out the sun. Cloud-free days are very in-
frequent, and it is normal for direct insolation to be obstructed before mid-
day even during the decreased cloud-cover of the so-called 'dry' seasons. This
means that not all the Ruwenzori ice receives an equal degree of direct insola-
tion. In the case of the Speke glacier the eastern margin of the ice was ob-
160 UGANDA JOURNAL
served to remain in the shadow of Johnston Peak until mid-morning by which
time the sun was usually obscured by cloud. Examination of the ice surface
during the early morning hours showed that on the eastern side of the glacier
the ice surface remained frozen and unchannelled by melt-water. During the
period of investigation in 1958 a small marginal lake impounded on this side
of the glacier was found to remain frozen throughout the day. On the other
hand, the western side of the glacier surface received maximum solar radiation
for a few hours during each morning whilst the sky was clear after sunrise,
so that this part of the glacier surface was often ankle-deep in melt-water
and eroded by channels. The protection of the eastern side of the glacier by
shadow probably played an important part in the preservation of the pro-
minent ice tongue which for many years extended down from the eastern
side of the glacier terminus until its disappearance a few years ago. Further-
more it is probable that the slight advance of the eastern side of the glacier
snout between June 1958 and January 1959 is connected with this factor.
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from all the observations and measure-
ments of retreat and shrinkage is that, if the present rate of ablation remains
unchanged, it is likely that the Speke glacier will be reduced to nothing more
than a summit ice-cap within a period of about 40-50 years.
The causes of the deglacierization of the East African snow peaks during
the present century are not fully understood, particularly since accurate
meteorological records for the early years of the 20th century are not in
existence. Two major climatic fluctuations which could account for the in-
creased ablation rate are, first, a decrease in the amount of precipitation,
and secondly, a rise in the average temperature of the region.
A study of the available rainfall statistics has demonstrated that in a thirty-
year period from 1920-1949 there have been significant rainfall trends in East
Africa." During this period there appears to have been a rainfall decrease
of at least six inches on Mount Kenya, but at the same time it was found that
in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro and Ruwenzori there has been an increase of
the order of three inches. Thus, although these rainfall trends may have im-
portant local repercussions they cannot be advanced as evidence for the
recession of East African glaciers in general. Nor does a study of long-term
temperature trends provide a satisfactory answer to the problem, for the East
African stations which have long-term records merely exhibit a series of wave-
like temperature fluctuations since 1915, the amplitude being about three
degrees Fahrenheit. If anything there has been a negative trend of East African
mean temperatures since 1938.18
It has been suggested that the cloud cover on Ruwenzori was possibly
greater at the beginning of the present century than today and this would
certainly have an important effect on the ablation rate if it were true. Un-
fortunately no accurate records exist for these early years, except for those
collected by the Abruzzi party in June and July 1906. It appears that the latter
party undoubtedly suffered from excessive rain and low cloud in comparison
THE SPEKE GLACIER, RUWENZORI 161
with some modern expeditions which have ascended the mountain during
comparable months, but there remains the possibility that 1906 may have
been an exceptionally wet year. Thus the evidence for a decrease in cloud
amount during the last half-century is interesting but inconclusive.
An investigation of high-altitude air-streams in the vicinity of Ruwenzori
has already yielded some significant results, but it is not yet possible to decide
whether this high-altitude meteorology will provide the answer to the problem.
It is probably true to say that climatic records for low-level stations in East
Africa are inadequate to account for the climatic fluctuations of the high snow
peaks, so that it is important to collect as many high-altitude meteorological
records as possible before a definite conclusion can be reached. If, as seems
probable, the recent glacial recession is on a global scale, then its cause must
be of extra-terrestrial origin.
1 With acknowledgements to all members of the three Ruwenzori expeditions from
Makerere College, to N. Downham of the Kenya Police, to T. D. H. Morris of the
Uganda Lands and Surveys Department, and to H. W. Sansom of the E. A. Meteoro-
logical Department, Entebbe.
2 De Filippi, F. (1908). Ruwenzori, an account of the expedition of H.R.H. Prince
Luigi Amedeo of Savoy.
3 Humphreys, G. N. (1927). New routes on Ruwenzori. Geog. Journ., 69, plate opp.
4 Menzies, I. R. (1951). (a) The glaciers of Ruwenzori, Uganda J., 15, 177-81. (b) Some
observations of the glaciology of the Ruwenzori range, Journ. of Glaciology, 1, 511-2.
5 Hunting Aerosurveys Ltd., June and October 1955.
6 (a) Report of the Makerere College Ruwenzori Reconnaissance, December 1957-
January 1958. p. 18. (Distributed through the Geography Department, Makerere
College, The University College of East Africa, Kampala, Uganda.)
(b) Second report of the Makerere College Ruwenzori Expedition, June 1958. p. 30.
7 Firn is the semi-consolidated snow before it has been compacted into solid ice.
The firn-line (i.e. the lowest limit of permanent firn) marks the altitude at which the
annual accumulation of snow is balanced by ablation; below this altitude the annual
fall of snow is all evaporated or melted during the dry season as well as some of the
8 Ablation means removal of ice and snow from the surface of a glacier by evapora-
tion and melting.
9 Moraine is the rock debris brought down by a glacier. It often lies in lines on the
surface of the ice, and in long characteristic ridges after being deposited at the end
of the glacier.
10 This is probably true of the Moore glacier (Mount Baker) and the glaciers of
Mount Luigi di Savoia.
11 Seracs are jumbled blocks and pinnacles of ice which break the smooth surface
of a glacier where it passes over a sharp drop in its rock bed, forming an ice-fall.
12 Spink, P. C. (1949). Equatorial glaciers of East Africa. Journ. of Glaciology, 1,
13 Smith, J. and Fletcher, T. (1955). Private communication.
14 Bergstrom, E. (1955). The British Ruwenzori Expedition, 1952. Journ. of
Glaciology, 2, 469-76.
15 Similar to that illustrated by Streiff-Becker (1947). Journ. of Glaciology, 1, 63.
16 Moore glacier (Mount Baker) Retreat Rate 1906-58 1-5 yds. year.
1930-58 2-0 yds. year.
Elena glacier (Mount Stanley) ,, 1930-52 5-0 yds. year.
1952-55 11-0 yds. year.
Speke glacier (Mount Speke) ,, ,, 1950-58 9-0 yds. year.
All these figures are approximate.
17 Sansom, H. W. (1952). The trend of rainfall in East Africa. Technical Memorandum
No. 1. East African Meteorological Department, Nairobi.
18 Private communication with the Meteorological Department, Entebbe, Uganda.
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI
By E. C. PLANNING
MODERN Koki, which at its southern extremity touches Tanganyika
Territory, is bordered on the west by Ankole, and on the north and east
by the Buganda counties of Kabula and Buddu. The open short-grass country
in the north and east of Koki gives way elsewhere to undulating grass-topped
hills rising to an average height of 4,700 feet.
As a result of raids by Banyoro in or through the area, there was probably
some temporary settlement by Banyoro in parts of Koki, which was known as
Kitara up to the first half of the 18th century. This settlement perhaps occurred
after campaigns across the Kagera River which, in the reign of Winyi I of
Bunyoro-Kitara, resulted in the foundation of a Babito dynasty in Kiziba.
Later, when Olimi II occupied the throne of Bunyoro-Kitara, there was further
settlement by Banyoro in Koki.
Local tradition tells how early in the 18th century Koki was thinly popu-
lated by a sturdy people, the majority of whom lived amongst the folds of
the hills and alongside the two lakes of Kijanebalola and Kachira. From these
people originate the oldest clans of present-day Koki, the colobus monkey,
cow, bushbuck and lion clans. Of the surrounding countries, most of the land
comprising modern Buddu was then divided between independent chieftains,
some of whom owed allegiance to Bunyoro-Kitara, although Kabula County,
as it is known today, came under the suzerainty of the Mugabe of Ankole.
To the south of the Kagera River, in what is now Tanganyika Territory, lay
the principality of Kiziba. Its rulers, like those who eventually came to
Koki (or Kitara as it was then called), originated from Bunyoro. These heredi-
tary rulers of Kiziba and Koki are all of the bushbuck clan, the ruling clan
of the Babito of the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara. At times the Baziba raided
north of the Kagera. The name of one chieftain, Kaziro Nsomo, is recalled in
Koki tradition as being a frequent raider in those early days which preceded
the Nyoro dynasty of Koki.
Koki was eventually settled permanently by Banyoro during the reign of
Duhaga I, Mukama of Bunyoro-Kitara.
At the end of the reign of the second Mukama of Koki, Kitahimbwa, during
the latter half of the 18th century, when a loose alliance had already been
made with Buganda, numbers of Baganda, mainly political refugees, came to
1 From the Uganda Government Essay competition, 1958. These notes are based on
oral traditions, which in some instances contradict facts recorded by other authors,
notably Sir John Gray (Uganda J., 2 (1934-5), 268) and Sir Apolo Kagwa. On the other
hand these traditions are in line with the observations of J. Nyakatura and K. W.
Acknowledgements are made to Messrs. Joshua Sebabi, Tomasi Mitama Mikalo, Joseph
Ssenyonga and J. W. Nyakatura, who helped in the preparation of the notes; to Mr.
Yoweri Kayemba, Owesaza Kamuswaga of Koki, who gave every facility to visit the
tombs of his ancestors and helped in the tracing of the sites of the earliest tombs;
and to Mr. H. B. Thomas for assistance given with regard to the movements of early
explorers, missionaries and travellers in Koki.
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI 163
this distant country in order to settle, and in subsequent years more arrivals
from neighboring areas, including Kiziba, sought refuge there.
At the end of the 18th century, during the reign of Mukama Mujuiga, Koki
became a tributary chiefdom of Buganda. Despite this relationship, through-
out the nineteenth century the area was still by no means free of raids, for
Ankole warriors swept into both Koki and Buddu plundering cattle. The Koki
rulers, in spite of the understanding with Buganda, maintained their con-
nexion with their motherland, Bunyoro, keeping up continuous contact
throughout the years. In the early days visits were made between capitals
by the Bakama of Koki themselves, and later by emissaries and messengers,
whilst Koki pilgrims also periodically visited the centre of worship at Masaka
Hill (now in Mubende District) some seventy miles away on the north bank
of the Katonga River, within the principality of Bwera.
In 1896 Mukama Ndahura II of Koki signed the agreement which placed
his chiefdom under the sovereignty of Buganda. This arrangement was the
outcome of the penetration of Koki by Baganda during the religious wars
of 1890-91. Since the signing of the agreement a hereditary ruler descended
from the first Mukama, Bwohe, has filled the appointment of Kamuswaga,
County Chief of Koki.
The rulers of Koki are shown in the following tree:
Bwohe (fl. c. 1740)
Kitahimbwa I Mujuiga Mugenyi Ndahura I
(fl. c. 1780)
(succeeded c. 1832)
Lubambula Ndahura II
(said to have been on throne (died 1907)
when Speke passed in 1862)
George Sefasi Kabumbuli Isansa II
(died 5 Oct. 54)
BWOHE. On the death in Bunyoro-Kitara of Mukama Isansa Gabigogo his
three sons contended for the throne. It was the eldest Duhaga II, who suc-
ceeded his father. The youngest of the three brothers, Bwohe, fearing the
newly assumed power of his brother, fled to the court of the Mugabe of
Ankole some time before 1720. Some years later Mukama Duhaga met Bwohe
in Ankole after a campaign in Ruanda. He invited Bwohe to return to the
land of his birth, and Bwohe agreed. Before returning to Bunyoro, the two
brothers, who were accompanied by their mother Ndagano, decided to raid
the lands of hilly Kitara, as Koki was then known.
164 UGANDA JOURNAL
As Bwohe liked the land and what he saw of the people, he sought his
brother's agreement to set himself up as overlord of this rolling terrain. His
wish granted, he settled there with his mother, and built his enclosure in the
vicinity of what is still the capital of the area, Rakai. Bwohe soon left no
doubt in the people's minds that he had come to stay. Even the ageing Kaziro
Nsomo from the far side of the Kagera kept his distance and in no way
contested the new authority.
It was Bwohe, so goes one tale, who named his newly acquired lands, Koki,
after a hill in Bunyoro-Kitara close to which he had been born.
Ndagano, his mother, died and was buried at Nsozibiri near to Rakai where
the site of the grave may still be seen.
Bwohe's reign was short. On his way back to Koki from a visit to his brother,
Duhaga, at his capital in what is now Singo County in Buganda, he fell ill and
died. His body was never returned to his adopted land but was laid to rest
at Busobolwa near Sembabule in Mawogola County, Buganda.
KITAHIMBWA I. Bwohe had appointed his son Kitahimbwa, to succeed him.
Nothing is known of the first part of Kitahimbwa's reign until the time when
the Baganda attacked those chieftains of Buddu who acknowledged the over-
lordship of Bunyoro-Kitara. Partly as a result of Kitahimbwa's armed inter-
vention the Baganda raiding parties were routed. The new chiefdom of Koki
had thus established itself as a useful dependency of Bunyoro-Kitara, and
proved to be an effective thorn in the side of Buganda during the reign of
Kitahimbwa, now on the crest of the wave of success, returned to Bunyoro
to pay homage to his uncle, Mukama Duhaga. He took with him captured
spears and other trophies of war, but perhaps he outstayed his welcome, for
as time passed and he remained at the capital, doubts came to be voiced as
to the military success he alleged he had achieved. Rumours spread that the
men of Koki had not even fought the Baganda. The fear grew that this show
of strength by Kitahimbwa might be an endeavour to intimidate the old
Mukama in order to grasp the reigns of the kingdom from him. Ill-founded or
not, the rumour caused the popularity of Kitahimbwa to wane. Perhaps it
was inevitable that his presence at the capital as a possible strong contender
for the throne should constitute a threat which could not in any circumstances
be risked. Kitahimbwa was accordingly murdered. His remains were taken
across the Katonga River to be buried at Kyaibi close to those of his father
It is evident that Kitahimbwa was not caught unawares. Perhaps he was
even held prisoner for some time, for he was able to send word to his people
in Koki of the treachery with which he had met. Before his death he had
2 Both burial places near Kyaibi in the County of Mawogola, Gombolola Sabawali,
can still be seen. That of Bwohe is in Muruka Mumyuka and that of Kitahimbwa
nearby in Muruka Sabagabo. Though no huts exist, the over-grown hut-circles are
plainly visible. A guardian still weeds the area of Kitahimbwa's grave from time to
time. It appears that no hut has stood over Bwohe's grave for at least forty years,
probably longer. The land wherein these graves lies is regarded as belonging to the
rulers of Koki. Three guardians (in their late 50's) of these two sites state that their
families came originally to Kyaibi in the time of Kitahimbwa I.
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI 165
urged those closest to him to break with Bunyoro and to unite with Buganda
From the moment of this turning point in the early history of Koki little
further detail has been handed down concerning the reigns and happenings
of subsequent rulers, until the recent times of recorded history.
MUJUIGA. MUGENYI. NDAHURA I. Kitahimbwa's three brothers. Mujuiga,
Mugenyi, and Ndahura, followed as rulers of Koki in quick succession. During
his reign Mujuiga co-operated with Kabaka Junju in the conquest of Bunyoro's
allies in what is now Buddu. As a result of this campaign the frontiers of
Bunyoro-Kitara were considerably reduced. Sometime during this period too,
Koki began to paying an annual tax in iron hoes and cowrie shells to the
Kabaka of Buganda.
Mugenyi then followed his brother on the throne. According to some
narrators he reigned for a very short period, perhaps only two months. Noth-
ing is related of the reign of Ndahura which was of equally brief duration.
From the time of these three Bakama onwards, Koki became popular as a
place of refuge. In particular, Baganda who had lost favour with their
Kabaka came to this haven far removed from the reach of the much-feared
abambazi. Here they settled, identifying themselves in time as Bakoki.
All three rulers, as well as their successors up to modern times, were buried
in Koki within the present Gombolola of Sabawali, Muruka Sabagabo.3
KITAHIMBWA II. The reign of Ndahura's son, Kitahimbwa, is remembered as
one of prosperity and peace, when people came from neighboring areas to
settle on the land. This was a time of plenty; cultivation was extensive;
millet, sorghum, bananas, and beer were plentiful; cattle thrived; people
could move to and fro with greater ease than previously. Unexplained arrests,
hurried sentences, the daily routine of previous rulers ceased. Kitahimbwa's
people lived in greater safety and in greater comfort than before. There were
changes in customs too. The brutal sentence of clubbing a man to death was
abolished; instead, the victim had a heavy stone tied around his neck and
was thrown into Lake Kijanebalola to drown.
It was during this reign that Arabs were first mentioned. They are said to
have entered Koki after crossing the Kagera River, having trekked inland
from Zanzibar through what is now Tanganyika Territory. These newcomers
had as the object of their frequent visits, the purchase of ivory and of slaves.
Elephants were plentiful in Koki in those days and the inhabitants were adept
at trapping them. The Bakoki sold as slaves those persons of both sexes who
had been captured from neighboring tribes. Payment was usually made in
cloth or cowrie shells. Kiswere village, now in Gombolola Musale, which lies
on the well-worn caravan track from Tanganyika, was a slave market.
Possibly the peace and prosperity of Kitahimbwa's reign depended much
3 The hut-circle of the grave area of Mujuiga at Kasebukengere is still visible.
Mugenyi's grave at Kisambo is the earliest over which a traditional grass hut is still
maintained. There is no hut over Ndahura's grave at Byakabanda, near Mpunge Hill.
Though the method of burial is similar to that of the Bakama of Bunyoro-Kitara
(Lukyn Williams, 1937), nowadays all graves are covered with planks or, as in the case
of the late George Kabumbuli Isansa II completely sealed with cement.
166 UGANDA JOURNAL
on favourable seasons for the crops and on the lack of aggression by his more
powerful neighbours. Nothing is told of his death, so it may be assumed he
died peacefully. His remains were buried close to those of his uncle, Mujuiga.4
ISANSA I. Isansa succeeded his father, Kitahimbwa II, about the year 1832.
Nothing is remembered of his reign except that he was killed in his own
territory during a running fight with the warriors of the Mugabe of Ankole.
There are two stories to explain the cause of the quarrel which led to his
death. One, perhaps the more likely, is that Isansa when prowling aggressively
in Ankole, had killed a member of the Mugabe's family, thus earning the
Mugabe's revenge. The other is that he had made rude remarks to emissaries
from Ankole concerning their Mugabe's prominent teeth. He is buried at
Mpunge; the grave hut is still well maintained.
From this period onwards, until the last years of Ntare, Mugabe of Ankole,
who died in 1895, there were sporadic cattle raids by warriors from Ankole
into Koki and beyond into Buddu, with subsequent counter-raids by Bakoki
LUBAMBULA. Isansa's son, Lubambula, followed him on the throne and soon
gained renown as a warrior. He carefully trained his men in warfare and later
ravaged the border lands of Ankole to avenge his father.
Although Koki was a tributary of Buganda, occasional forays by Bakoki
into the borderlands of Buddu were not unusual. Lubambula's exploits did
not always go well for him. On one occasion, when harassed by the men of
Kabaka Mutesa, whose wrath he had temporarily incurred, he was forced
to take refuge in Lake Kijanebalola on a small island known as Bulyanguge.
There is some doubt locally as to the correctness of this name; but no alter-
native was offered. It is significant that Mwanga's island of refuge near
Kampala in 1889-90 had the somewhat similar name of Bulingugwe.
During Lubambula's reign Speke passed along what is now the eastern
boundary of Koki, stopping for a few days at the village of Kiswere. Since
the whole area up to and beyond the River Kagera into Kiziba country had
by now come under the influence of the Pokino, the Kabaka's representative
in Buddu, it is not surprising that Speke makes no mention of Koki. He was
on his way to Mutesa's court, he was accompanied by Baganda emissaries,
and in his view had already set foot in Buganda before even crossing the
Kagera. [See Appendix I]
Lubambula eventually died of smallpox and was buried at Serinya.
NDAHURA II. Edward Kezekia Ndahura succeeded his brother Lubambula,
according to custom, having been appointed to the throne before the Mukama's
death.5 For Koki his was to be an eventful reign, for he was to be the last
completely independent Mukama of the dynasty founded by Bwohe. He was
also to receive the first European missionaries in his land.
The stirring historical events which took place in Buganda in the 1880's
did not disturb the tranquillity of Koki. In 1889 however, during his wander-
4 The hut sheltering the grave of Kitahimbwa II at Kasebukengere has recently
5 His photograph appears opposite p. 268 in Leblond's Le PNre Auguste Achte (1928).
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI 167
ings in Buddu, Kabaka Mwanga sought assistance from Koki, but Ndahura
refused to comply with this request. Afraid of retaliation, he then went into
hiding with his family, taking his goods and chattels to Bulyanguge island,
where his father had likewise taken refuge when threatened. The area around
Rakai was vacated. On this occasion Ndahura's guards accidentally set fire to
the dry grass on the island and many of the Mukama's personal belongings,
including an old wooden stool which had been used as a throne, were des-
troyed in the fire.6 As a defensive measure, to resist attack by Mwanga, a
trench had been hastily dug between the hills Nasumba and Kamzirembwa,
cutting the peninsula formed by two arms of the lake near to Rakai.7 In the
event, the Baganda by-passed Rakai and went north to Kabula.
Uganda's so-called Third Muhammadan War from June to August 1893
had repercussions in distant Koki. One of the last bodies of Moslem rebels
had been driven out of Gomba by Major Macdonald. There was some risk
that they might settle down in independent Koki which had a reputation for
aiding slave-dealers and the arms traffic. The Koki Expedition under
Lieutenant Hobart and C. S. Reddie, formerly of the Chartered Company's
service, was detached to forestall any such move and crossed the Katonga
River on 16 August. They marched direct to Kamuswaga's capital; but the
rebels judged it wise to retire, and Kamuswaga was glad enough to come to
a satisfactory understanding with Villiers who was back in Entebbe by 13
Ndahura visited Kampala in 1894 and in the following year he submitted
a request to the Commissioner of the Protectorate "that his territories may
be included in the Kingdom of Uganda under the protection of Her Majesty,
he himself adopting the rank and position of a first-class Saza or Great
Chief".8 The agreement, which was finally signed at Mengo on the 18 Novem-
ber 1896, placed Koki under the sovereignty of Buganda.9 The rights of the
Mukama were preserved and he was to remain at the head of his people as
their Chief. According to custom a title for the ruler in his capacity of County
Chief had to be found, and Ndahura chose the name by which he had been
known when a prince, namely that of 'Kamuswaga'. By this time too Ankole
had agreed to cede to Buganda the area which is now the Gombolola Musale
of modern Koki.
At the beginning of 1898 the alert was sounded again. For about a week
the countryside around Rakai suffered from plundering and destruction by the
rebels under Mwanga until they were routed by Captain (afterwards Lieut.-
Col.) J. R. L. Macdonald at Lusalira in Buddu on the 12 January 1898, and
thereupon fled north across the Katonga River into Bunyoro.
Ndahura died peacefully in 1907, and his son, GEORGE SEFASI KABUMBULI
6 Already this incident has assumed romantic proportions. The stool has in one
version become 'golden' and still 'rests at the bottom of the lake'. The most careful
enquiries on the subject can only substantiate the more likely account of the wooden
stool lost in a grass fire.
7 The trench is plainly visible, being about 9 feet wide and some 12 feet in depth.
8 F.O. E.A. Pt. XLIV p. 268, E. Berkeley to F.O. 18 December 1895.
9 The text of the Koki Agreement 1896 is given in Appendix II.
168 UGANDA JOURNAL
ISANSA II succeeded him as Kamuswaga, and held this position until his death
on the 5 October 1954.
The new Kamuswaga was his son YOWERI KAYEMBA, who had served as a
Gombolola Chief in Singo for a number of years.
The historic regalia of the Abakama of Koki has already been described
by Lukyn Williams (1937). There are, however, additional relics in certain
tomb-huts still under the care of guardians:
Isansa I (Tomb at Mpunge, Sabawali, Muruka Sabagabo).
(i) Three six-foot long bows with knotted bow strings.
(ii) An unusual type of circular wicker shield having a central boss.
(iii) A wooden food-bowl (olucuba) resting on four pairs of legs.
Lubambula (Tomb at Serinya, Sabawali, Muruka Sabagabo).
(i) An Arabian cutlass.
(ii) One flint-lock gun.
(iii) Two large flat-bladed spears and a short copper spear.
Kyangwa, a daughter of Mukama Lubambula. (An isolated tomb on the
flat summit of Nabunga Hill in Sabawali, Muruka Mumyuka).
(i) A grooved wooden milk pot with wooden stand, of Ankole type
though said to be of local manufacture.
Ndahura II (Tomb at Serinya, Sabawali, Muruka Sabagabo).
(i) A mweso board.
(ii) A European ceremonial sword, (infantry officer type).
(iii) Two bows (5 ft. 10 in.) with knotted bow strings and arrows.
(iv) Short stabbing spears.
(v) Long ceremonial spears.
(vi) An execution fork or prong, used to pin victims by the neck
to the ground.
(vii) Ndahura's throne, a large wooden stool called Namulondo.
(viii) A three-bladed spear.
(ix) A miniature shield, known as Bwohe's shield and said to have
been carried by him.10
No notes on the emergence of Koki from its mediaeval past would be com-
plete without some reference to the advent of the Christian Missions. Because
of its geographical position Koki's benefits from the work of missionaries
were dependent on their prior establishment in Buddu.
As early as 1883 the Rev. R. P. Ashe of the C.M.S. noted "the fair-faced
Lubambula of Koki from the west" among the throng of great chiefs, tribu-
tary kings and Buganda nobles and others who had come to pay their respects
to Kabaka Mutesa at Mengo. In a letter dated Rubaga 1 June 1883 the Rev.
P. O'Flaherty wrote "We have had visits from the king of Koki, whom with
his seven brothers [one of whom may well have been the future Mukama,
Ndahura II] I have taught to read the word of God. He and they speak
Kiswahili well. He is now gone home to Koki".1 It was perhaps from this con-
10 Until recently this interesting relic was kept at the residence of the Kamuswaga.
It has now been moved with other regalia, already listed by Lukyn Williams, to the tomb-
hut of the late Kamuswaga, George Kabumbuli.
11 C.M. Intelligence, 1884, p. 218.
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI 169
tact, coupled with the fact that Nikodemo Sebwato, the Pokino of Buddu
upon Mwanga's re-instatement in 1890, was a Protestant, that the ruler of
Koki came to be regarded as a C.M.S. adherent.
The decision to extend missionary work into Buddu was taken by Bishop
Tucker when on his first visit to Uganda in 1891. In March of that year the
Rev. R. H. Walker of the C.M.S. arrived at Masaka the headquarters of the
Pokino. At much the same time the White Fathers' Mission sent Fathers
Streicher and Gacon with Brother Victor to Kiwala close to Masaka where
they were subsequently reinforced from Busoga by Fathers Brard and
Schmeier and Brother Dominique.
Later in the year, Fathers Streicher and Schmeier went as far as Rakai being
the first missionaries to penetrate into Koki; but at an audience with Mukama
Ndahura II on 29 November 1891, their request for permission to establish
a mission was refused.
Following the disturbances at Mengo in January 1892 Buddu became pre-
dominantly Roman Catholic, Alikisi Sebowa one of the leaders of that party
being appointed Pokino. So that when in 1894 Father Streicher came again
to Rakai he was given a more favourable reception. By the 5 May Kasozi Hill
near Rakai had been bought for the proposed station: the arrival of Father
Gaudibert and Brother Amans followed, and on 8 October the Mission of
Notre Dame de la Paix was formally opened.
During his visit to Kampala in the summer of 1894 Ndahura was in
touch with the C.M.S. missionaries at Namirembe, and having declared his
wish to become a Protestant, he returned home with four teachers. The Rev.
A. B. Fisher was the first C.M.S. missionary to visit Rakai. Having marched
across country from Mityana he arrived on 17 June 1895 and received a
warm welcome. He records that, on the night following his arrival he gave
an exhibition of lantern slides to his host Kamuswaga.12 As a result of this
visit he left 140 Gospel readers in Koki and in the following year a C.M.S.
mission was opened at Rakai by the Rev. R. H. Leakey. It was Leakey who
in May 1896 reported to the Sub-commissioner at Kampala the capture of
certain slave-traders in Koki. They were eventually brought to Mengo and
arraigned before the Katikiro's court where they were sentenced to two years'
imprisonment with 150 lashes to be administered in six monthly instalments.
A vivid picture of the inaccessibility of Koki at this period is given in his
Uganda Memories by Sir Albert Cook who, in April 1897, was called urgently
to give medical attention to one of the missionaries. To reach Rakai within
a week of leaving Mengo demanded indomitable endurance.
The early years of the Koki mission stations were troubled ones. Following
Kabaka Mwanga's flight from Mengo in July 1897 rebellion broke out in
Buddu. Leakey, the Rev. H. Clayton and George Pilkington who were at the
C.M.S. station left Koki and headed north only to find their way blocked
by hostile bands seeking to join up with Mwanga. From this precarious situa-
tion they were extricated when on 28 July Major Ternan successfully attacked
the rebels at Marongo in western Koki. In the meantime the White Fathers
had been instructed to withdraw south into German territory, but Gaudibert
12 Rev. A. B. Fisher's diary in archives of C.M.S. London.
170 UGANDA JOURNAL
and Amans did not leave until 10 August, and since events quietened down
locally they returned to Rakai a month later.
But in December Mwanga, having escaped from detention by the Germans,
landed at Sango Bay, and soon the whole of southern Buddu was 'in flames'.
Compelled once more to evacuate, Gaudibert and his people made for the
Bikira mission in Buddu where they arrived on 31 December 1897 and
on the following day their Koki mission on Kasozi Hill was burnt by the
rebels. Clayton who happened to be absent returned just in time to withdraw
under the protection of Lieutenant Hobart to the temporary fort at Bija, while
Kamuswaga's capital and the C.M.S. mission were plundered and burnt. The
rebel bands soon passed on and, though Buddu continued in ferment for some
time, Clayton was able to return to Rakai by the middle of 1898. The
White Fathers also returned to Kasozi Hill, though it was not until a year
later that the mission itself was rebuilt.
Ashe, Rev. R. P. (1889). Two Kings of Uganda.
Cook, Sir Albert R. (1945). Uganda Memories (1897-1940). Kampala.
Cussac, Fr. J. (1955). Eveque et Pionnier, Monseigneur Streicher. Paris.
Ford, J. and Hall, R. de Z. (1947). The History of Karagwe (Bukoba District).
Tanganyika Notes and Records, No. 24.
Gorju, Fr. J. (1920). Entre le Victoria, I'Albert et l'Edouard. Rennes.
Gray, Sir John (1935). Early History of Buganda. Uganda J., 2.
Ingham, K. (1957). Some Aspects of the History of Western Uganda; and Early
Proposals for a Federal Uganda. Uganda J., 21.
Kagwa, Sir Apolo (1901). Basekabaka be Buganda na be Bunyoro na be Koki
na be Toro na be Nkole. Kampala.
K.W. (1936). The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara. Pt. II Uganda J., 4.
(1937). The Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara. Pt. III Uganda J., 5.
Lanning, E.C. (1954). Masaka Hill-an ancient centre of worship. Uganda J., 18.
(1957). The Cairns of Koki, Buganda. Uganda J., 21.
Leblond, Fr. G. (1928). Le Pare Auguste Achte. Paris.
Macdonald, J. R. L. (1897). Soldiering and Surveying in British East Africa.
Nyakatura, J. W. (1947). Abakama ba Bunyoro Kitara. Canada.
Oliver, R. (1955). The Traditional Histories of Buganda, Bunyoro and Ankole.
Roscoe, Rev. J. (1911). The Baganda.
Stanley, Sir Henry M. (1878). Through the Dark Continent. vol i.
Thomas, H. B. and Scott, R. (1935). Uganda.
Wallis, H. R. (1920). The Handbook of Uganda. (2nd ed.).
Williams, F. Lukyn (1935). Early Explorers in Ankole. Uganda J., 2.
(1937). The Coronation of the Abakama of Koki. Uganda
It is not easy to reconcile this chronology regarding Mukama Lubambula as
gleaned from the recollections of old inhabitants with entries in the 'Itindraire et
Notes' of E. Linant de Bellefonds, Gordon's emissary at Mutesa's court from
April to June 1875, which is printed in Bulletin de la Societe Khidiviale de
Geographie du Caire, 1876-7. At pages 76-7 Linant under date 18-20 May 1875
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF KOKI 171
discusses the 'Huma' [sc. Bahima] and records a meeting with a King of Koki,
Buamburo, who can hardly be other than the Lubambula of Koki, encountered
by Ashe and O'Flaherty in 1883. It is significant that both spoke Swahili.
Linant says, "A king of whose name I was totally ignorant has been to visit me:
he is claimant [pretendant] to the throne of Kittara, actually King of Koki, a
youth of thirteen or fourteen years. His name is Buamburo. With a pleasing oval
countenance, beautiful eyes, copper-coloured, and with fine features he represents
the perfect type of Abyssinian race.
Centuries ago the Huma coming from the north founded the kingdom of
Kittara, comprising Uganda, Unyoro, Usoga, etc. This Kingdom was dismembered
in the course of successive rebellions and has given birth to kinglets existing in
This explanation appeared to me correct, for all in Unyoro as in Uganda agree
on this matter. But Kabareka, M'tesa, Aufina and Rionga claim each in his turn
to be sole descendants of the princes of Kittara. When I made this remark to
Buamburo, certainly, he said, M'tesa, Kabereka, Aufina and Rionga are my
parents as a result of successive alliances; but the blood which runs in their
veins is not pure Huma. Look at them! Are they like me? Have they the same
colour? The same eyes? Buamburo has very beautiful hands which are moreover
remarkably well cared for.
Buamburo wears the costume of Zanzibar, with the language of which he is
familiar. On the death of his father, Saga, [to be equated perhaps with Isansa I]
the Ganda invaded his country and stole 4,000 cattle and a large number of women
and children. He had come before M'tesa to make submission and to recognize
the sovereignty of the powerful monarch of Uganda praying him not to invade
his country in the future."-[EDS.]
KOKI AGREEMENT, 1896
To all whom it may concern, be it known that we, the undersigned, Mwanga
King of Uganda, and Kamswaga, king of Koki, have this day made the following
Whereas I, Kamswaga, hitherto independent king of Koki, am desirous, on
behalf of myself, my chiefs and people, that our country of Koki shall become part
of the kingdom of Uganda, and be included therein as a new province, and there-
by enjoy and profit by the advantages secured to that kingdom through the
presence, guidance and assistance of British officials:
And whereas I, Mwanga, king of Uganda, with the full concurrence of my
Government, am ready and willing that the country of Koki shall be so included
in my kingdom and its inhabitants become Waganda subjects.
Now therefore I, Kamswaga, hitherto independent king of Koki hereby declare
and make known, on behalf of myself, my chiefs and people, that our country of
Koki becomes from this day forth part and province of the kingdom of Uganda
and passes under the sovereignty of Mwanga, king of Uganda;
And I, the said Kamswaga, do hereby of my own free will and choice surrender
my position as an independent king, and, recognizing myself to be henceforth a
subject of the king of Uganda, accept and assume the position of an Mganda Saza
of the first class, whose province shall be Koki, and whose powers, privileges,
rights, duties, obligation and position generally shall be those of the other Waganda
Sazas of the same rank;
And I recognize that henceforth the sovereign of Koki is Mwanga King of
Uganda, and, after him, his heirs and successors;
172 UGANDA JOURNAL
And I recognize further that all treaties, international agreements, laws and
regulations of every kind, as well as tribute and other obligations of every kind,
at this time and in future in force or leviable in Uganda are henceforth similarly
applicable and leviable in Koki, which now becomes an integral part of the
kingdom of Uganda.
And I, Mwanga, King of Uganda, hereby pledge myself and my Government
and my heirs and successors to recognize Kamswaga, hitherto independent king
of Koki, as an Mganda Saza of the first class, whose province shall be Koki,
which henceforth becomes part and province of the kingdom of Uganda;
And I, the said Mwanga, pledge myself, my heirs and successors, that the said
Kamswaga shall enjoy all the powers, privileges and rights which belong to the
position of an Mganda Saza of the first class, and, further, that the welfare and
prosperity of the province of Koki shall be the objects of all our care and solici-
tude equally with the welfare and prosperity of our kingdom of Uganda;
And we, the undersigned Mwanga, king of Uganda, and Kamswaga, hitherto
independent king of Koki, agree that we will submit this Agreement to Her Britannic
Majesty's Representative in Uganda in order to petition that he, acting on behalf
of Her Majesty's Government, may approve of it and confirm it;
And we freely agree and recognize that if at any time any question should arise
regarding the interpretation or meaning- of this Agreement or any part thereof,
this English text of the Agreement shall be considered to be the true text and Her
Majesty's Representative shall be its interpreter, whose decision on any point in
question regarding it or any part of it shall be final and binding upon us both.
In faith whereof we hereunto set our hands and seals, in public baraza at
Kampala, this 18th day of November in the year 1896 of the Christian era.
Done in duplicate both in English and Luganda at the place and date above-
Signed: Mwanga Kabaka
Kamswaga, X (his mark)
Apollo Kagwa Katikiros.
Stanislas Mugwanya K
Witness to the above signatures:
Signed: Kago Pozo George Wilson
Kabandagara X (their Katikiro of Kamswaga
Mugara X marks) Sabadu of Kamswaga
I, Ernest James Lennox Berkeley, Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner and
Consul General for the British Protectorate of Uganda and the adjoining territories,
hereby declare and make known that I have satisfied myself that the above agree-
ment has been entered into by the parties within named of their own free will,
and with full understanding of all its provisions, and that I, having received all
necessary authority in the matter from Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs, do hereby, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government approve
of the said Agreement, and declare the same to be ratified and confirmed and
henceforth binding upon both the within-named parties.
In faith whereof, I hereunto set my hand and seal of office in public baraza at
the place and date mentioned in the above Agreement.
(Sgd.) Ernest J. L. Berkeley.
GEORGE WILSON AND DAGORETTI FORT
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
ON 14 May 1890 F. J. (later Sir Frederick) Jackson, having failed to con-
clude a treaty with Kabaka Mwanga, left Mengo for the Coast. Ernest
Gedge remained to represent the Imperial British East Africa Company.
Lugard reached Mengo on the following 18 December. Gedge who was a very
sick man left to return to the Coast on 14 January 1891. He was delayed by
illness in Kyagwe where he was found by Captain W. H. Williams who was
coming up to join Lugard. Auburn,1 an assistant with Williams, was detached
to travel with Gedge who was at last fit enough to cross the Nile on 10
February. Passing through Kavirondo and Kabras, Gedge struck due east by
the recognized route over the Elgeyo and Kamasia escarpments to Lake
Baringo (Njemps) and thence southwards by Lake Naivasha to Dagoretti.
Gedge's diary reads:
28th March 1891. Reached Dagoreti about 4 p.m. Found Wilson well and also a
few letters. Camped men outside the fort which is well built. Had dinner and talk
with Wilson. He has had several scrimmages with the Wa-Kikuyu here. Martin's
caravan appears to have done a lot of harm according to Wilson's account.
29th March Sunday. In the morning Wilson asked me for some men to go to help
him recover two of his men who had been kidnapped by the Wa-Kikuyu, men sent
down with the mails. He and Auburn went off. On their return a bloody tale of
treachery was unfolded. The Wa-Kikuyu had most foully murdered them, men who
had always been Wilson's friends. Wilson reported the whole country up and seeing
the natives coming in great crowds over the hill. I called all the men inside the fort
and made ready. Altogether five of Wilson's men were scuppered. Two escaped, one with
an arrow wound. The Wa-Kikuyu were in great force and we had little or no ammuni-
tion. Two Pangani men [sc. from a Swahili caravan which had joined Gedge at Naivasha
for protection through Masailand] were also killed by them in the evening down at the
The whole thing is very serious and Wilson's position is no longer tenable. Had we
had ammunition it would have been easy work to hold the fort, as it is we had to
decide to retreat and take Wilson along with us as he would inevitably come to a bad end
if left with only his small force and no ammunition. Sat up nearly half the night and
a strict watch kept but the natives held off however shouting out defiance and were in
great crowds all round at nightfall. Their treachery is beyond belief. The very man
Lugard made a treaty with is the very man who has done all this.
The situation is simply this, Wilson is in danger here and I am only able to convey
him away, not having ammunition to stay and defend the place-besides I have my
own work and owe a duty to my own caravan. 500 rounds of bad cartridges is not exactly
an efficient quantity for standing a siege. It is most unfortunate but entirely the fault of
the coast people for not having placed a proper amount of ammunition in Wilson's
hands. The steel boat which is here will have to be left.
30 March. Everyone on the alert all night but no attack took place. Very busy bury-
ing such gear as we could not carry. Got away in good order at 7.30. I took the lead with
my safari. Then came Wilson with the cattle. After him the Pangani caravan, Auburn
bringing up the rear. Five minutes after leaving the natives were into the fort in crowds
and set it on fire. Marched very slowly, our strong well-formed line was too formidable.
After a weary march reached the forest. Here we had poisoned arrows shot at us, two
fell close to me. Camped outside the forest making a good boma.
1 G. J. Auburn was an ex-cavalry soldier. He joined the I.B.E.A. Company in 1888
and was in charge of the Company's plantations. In July 1890 he led an advance caravan
to Kibwezi with stores for Lugard's Uganda expedition.
174 UGANDA JOURNAL
31st March. Left camp at 6.15 a.m. across plain to Athi River. Reached camp at
1st April, Continued our way across the plains reaching Lanjora about 3 p.m.
2nd April. Walked into Machakos about 10 a.m. At the station a man called Brown
in charge-a queer little chap. The station is not up to much, no stores or anything
in it. Things seem generally to be in a proper mess down at the Coast. Brown has been
having a little trouble with the people here. Sir F. de Winton has gone home so I hear.
This is bad news.
3rd April. Gave out five days posho to men. Also got three loads of cloth from
Wilson to carry me down to the Coast.
4th April. Said good-bye to Wilson and Brown and moved off.
[Marched each day until]
7th April. Reached Nzoi at 11 a.m. and camped on the site of the old station.
Passed a Mombasa caravan encamped some 1I hours off under Sudi, one of the Com-
pany's pets. He came to see me in the evening. I don't know him.
[Marched each day until]
14th. Continued on road to Tsavo River. On the way met Leith going up to Machakos
with camels and gear. Had a chat with him and went on. He will not die from over-
work and enthusiasm. He has already had a month getting so far. Reached the Tsavo
at 10 a.m. Went into station.
Gedge reached Mombasa on 21st and sailed for England on 27 April 1891.
The story of George Wilson and Dagoretti Fort as found in the contem-
porary accounts listed at the end of this note is confused or incomplete. The
extracts from Ernest Gedge's diary given above together with Captain Eric
Smith's report printed elsewhere in this issue of The Uganda Journal, make
it possible to piece together a more coherent story. What emerges is that Wilson
twice evacuated Dagoretti, on each occasion on the advice of a senior and
more experienced officer.
Ngongo Bagas, under the name of Gognu Baghase, is mentioned by the
Rev. T. Wakefield as a camping place already known to Swahili caravans in
the 1860s.2 It is situated on the confines of Masailand within easy reach of
the rich food-producing Kikuyu country and was from an early date a
recognized staging point for up-country caravans which could here replenish
supplies before heading for the west or north-for Lake Victoria or for Lake
Baringo and beyond. Joseph Thomson in 1883 says that "this was the 'eye'
or spring of the Bagas one of the chief head-waters of the Athi River". The
missionary, Charles New, had also heard of it during his wanderings in the
1860s, referring to Ngongo Pagazi which suggests that the name may have
some reference to its being a meeting place for 'pagazis'-porters.
It was at this spot that Lugard, on his way up-country in 1890, was in-
structed by the Company's directors to build a station. But he thought it pre-
ferable to select a site "at the southern extremity of Kikuyu". He first camped
"on a knoll . on which Fort Smith was afterwards built . in the very
heart of the villages and fields of the Wa-Kikuyu"; but he concluded that this
might lead to friction and eventually, under the guidance of the local chiefs
Eiyeki and Miroo, he selected "a charming site at a little distance from the
cultivation and villages". This was Dagoretti.3
George Wilson, who had been delayed by sickness at Machakos, joined
2 Rev. T. Wakefield. Caravan Routes in Interior East Africa, J.R.G.S. vol. 40 (1870),
3 F. J. Jackson on his way up country with Gedge had camped in Kikuyu and made
blood-brotherhood and a treaty with 'Kamiri of Kikuyu' on 11 August 1889. It is
not clear if he was connected with Lugard's two chiefs.
GEORGE WILSON AND DAGORETTI FORT 175
Lugard at Dagoretti on 18 October 1890 and was left in charge of the post
when Lugard set off for Uganda on 1 November. His garrison was "some
thirty men mostly the refuse and sick of the caravan. He succeeded admirably
with the Wa-Kikuyu, and extended our influence far into the interior of the
country. As usual he obtained an extraordinary personal influence with them"
as also with the Masai.
Presumably Wilson was touring among the villages when on 16 January
1891 Captain Smith arrived. He remained in the vicinity until 21 February,
and it will be observed that the former officer of the Life Guards did not
hold with Wilson's conciliatory handling of the local population. Little more
than a month later (28 March) Gedge arrived from Uganda to find a critical
deterioration in the relations of the Fort with the local people. It is more
than likely that this was some result of overbearing behaviour by men from
the Company's caravans (Martin had gone forward to Uganda before the end
of January), or by freelance Swahilis who made Ngongo Bagas some five miles
away their camping place.
Open hostilities broke out as described by Gedge, and on his advice Wilson
on 30 March, retired from the fort which was forthwith overrun and burnt.
The shortage of ammunition at this stage is attributed to mismanagement by
the Company at the Coast, not to unhelpfulness by the officer in charge of
Machakos. They reached Machakos on 2 April, there to learn that Sir F. de
Winton, the Company's Administrator at Mombasa had gone home. This
seems to discount Smith's suggestion that it was information of de Winton's
departure which induced Wilson, when a few days later he went down the line
to Kikumbuliu, to return to Dagoretti.
More probably Wilson went on to Kikumbuliu (Kibwezi) to meet Leith
who was on his way up with supplies. Leith who was met by Gedge near
Tsavo on 14 April can hardly have reached Machakos before the end of the
month when he seemingly took over charge from A. T. Brown. Ainsworth
(pp. 18-19) clearly designates Leith (he speaks in error of "Mr. Leigh") as the
non-co-operating officer in charge of Machakos who denied ammunition to
Wilson. Nevertheless Wilson must have scraped together enough men and
supplies to enable him to re-occupy Dagoretti-perhaps with Sudi in com-
pany;4 and here on 13 June Eric Smith found him with 29 men doing his
best to re-build the devastated station. Smith counselled Wilson once more
to abandon Dagoretti, and together they reached Mombasa on 16 July 1891-
whereupon the Company terminated Wilson's employment. A private letter
from Jackson among Gedge's papers dated Lamu 28 August 1891 suggests
that his dismissal followed aspersions made "through spite" by Bateman and
Leith. It seems clear that it was not in disapproval of Wilson's conduct in
the abandonment of Dagoretti. For a letter, dated 29 June 1891, is extant
from the London Directors to Gedge lately returned to England in which,
having expressed satisfaction at his performance of his duties when left in
independent charge of the Company's interests in Uganda, it was added that
"your subsequent proceedings at Dagoretti and the judicious action taken by
4 Jackson, Early Days in East Africa, pp. 196-8 has much to say of Sudi, "one
of the most breezy, brazen-faced and wicked old men of my acquaintance".
176 UGANDA JOURNAL
you to withdraw the garrison of that place, exposed as it was by its weakness
and the want of ammunition to be overwhelmed by its assailants, is entirely
approved by the Directors".
Within a few weeks Wilson had been engaged by Dr. James Stewart, the
leader of the Scottish East African Industrial Mission party, and with them
he left Mombasa early in September 1891. He was still employed by the
Mission when in August 1892 Lugard on his way to the Coast met him between
Kibwezi and Tsavo at work on the construction of the Mackinnon Road.
This concludes the tale of George Wilson's connexion with Dagoretti. But
a few notes on the history of its successor Fort Smith during the next two
years may be added by way of postscript.
The decision to re-establish a station in Kikuyu must have been taken
within a few week's of Smith's return to Mombasa. He and W. J. Purkiss, a
Company's assistant, were back in Kikuyu before the end of 1891 building
a strong stockade, Fort Smith, on the site, not of abandoned Dagoretti, but
of Lugard's first camp among Kikuyu villages and cultivation. Here they
were found by Captain J. R. L. Macdonald's west-bound survey expedition on
24 March 1892. Two days later Smith left for England. Purkiss remained in
charge. Relations with the Kikuyu were once more strained. A section, the
Waguruguru, killed Maktub, one of Purkiss' most reliable Swahili headmen.
When on 7 August Macdonald, in company with Lugard, returned from
Uganda he agreed to co-operate in a punitive expedition. Wyaki, having again
shown active hostility, was arrested and died with Macdonald's caravan on the
way to the Coast. When Macdonald, ordered to return to Uganda, came again
to Fort Smith at the end of October he found that Captain R. H. Nelson, a
survivor of Stanley's Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, had taken command of
the post with Purkiss as second-in-command. A number of Europeans were at
this moment at Fort Smith. For Eric Smith with Martin and Herr Wolf bound
for Uganda had lately arrived. As the Kikuyu continued hostile more punitive
operations were undertaken before the Smith-Martin party moved on up-
country followed by Macdonald. From 6 to 13 November Bishop Tucker's
party of missionaries for Uganda (for which Leith was caravan leader) was
camped at Fort Smith. Ernest Gedge on his way to Uganda as special corres-
pondent of The Times was here from 17 to 24 December. He found Nelson
very ill-"said good-bye to Nelson: he is desperately weak, poor fellow. Left
what champagne I had with me for his use". But two days later, 26 December,
Nelson died, leaving Purkiss once more to take command.
On 30 January 1893 Sir Gerald Portal's mission to Uganda arrived, and
found that Martin on his way to the Coast with a large caravan of ivory had
come in from Uganda. Portal remained for nearly a fortnight and some sort of
peace was patched up with the Kikuyu. But the Fort was regularly invested
by the tribesmen and fighting continued until Purkiss was relieved about mid-
1893 by F. G. Hall, later the founder of Fort Hall. Frequent caravans were
now passing through Fort Smith and open turbulence by the Kikuyu came to
an end. Purkiss went on to Uganda and gave valuable service in the Unyoro
Expedition of 1893-4, particularly on Lake Albert-for he had been a mer-
cantile marine officer. His health broke down and on the way to the Coast
GEORGE WILSON AND DAGORETTI FORT 177
he died of blackwater at Kibwezi on 14 August 1894. He was buried near his
old antagonist Wyaki.
Lugard, F. D. The Rise of Our East African Empire, 1893, vol. i, pp. 323-37; vol.
ii, pp. 535-6.
Gedge, E. Diaries quoted by permission of his son Mr. Cuthbert Gedge.
Smith, Captain A. F. Eric. Two reports relating to his journey to Victoria Nyanza
in 1891. Reprinted in Uganda J., 23 (1959), 134-52.
Macdonald, J. R. L. Soldiering and Surveying in British East Africa, 1897, pp. 57,
Ainsworth, John. His verbatim recollections are at pp. 18-19 of John Ainsworth
by F. H. Goldsmith. (Macmillan, 1955.)
A SKETCH-MAP OF GORDON'S EQUATORIAL PROVINCES
By H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
In the Library of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst hangs a sketch
"Map of the Equatorial Provinces annexed to Egypt from Colonel Gordon's
Field Book". It is signed by C. G. Gordon and dated 1877, and is in his own
hand throughout covering two pages of a surveyor's field book. Its reproduc-
tion here is made possible by the good offices of our Past President, Mr. John
Sykes, O.B.E., and by the kind permission of the Librarian, Lieutenant-Colonel
G. A. Shepperd, M.B.E. It was given by Gordon in January 1877 to the Rev.
Horace Waller, and was presented to the Library a few years ago by his
daughter, Miss Waller.
Gordon had returned to London on Christmas Eve 1876 after nearly three
years (1874-6) of gruelling service in the Nile provinces during which he and
his assistants were responsible for mapping much of the Upper Nile. Waller
was a man after Gordon's heart (he had been with David Livingstone on the
Zambezi in 1861-2 and was a leader of the anti-slavery movement in England);
they were constant correspondents and with him Gordon was at once in touch.
It is not unlikely that this sketch map accompanied his letter of 4 January
1877 (Gordon to Waller) which is referred to at p. 106 of Dr. Bernard Allen's
Gordon and the Sudan (1931). It may be inferred that it was not made in the
field, but was dashed off for Waller's information after Gordon's arrival in
England, to illustrate the newly confirmed connexion of the Nile with Lake
Albert. It is not a finished affair. Redrawn and elaborated to include not only
the earlier work of Speke, Grant, Baker and Stanley (1875), but also that of
Gordon's assistants, Linant, Chippindall, Gessi and Piaggia, it is incorporated
in a map illustrating Gordon's 'Notes to accompany a survey of the White
Nile from Lardo to Nyamyongo' in the Journal of the Royal Geographical
Society, 46 (1876), 431-2. This was later expanded into a War Office publica-
tion 'Map of the White Nile from Khartoum to Victoria Nyanza by Colonel
C. Gordon, C.B., Royal Engineers and his staff. Surveyed in 1874-5-6-7' on
a scale of ten geographical miles to one inch, and dated 1878.
Gordon remained in England for only a few weeks. He had resigned from
the Egyptian service and threw himself, in association with Mr. (later Sir)
William Mackinnon, into plans for opening up Central Africa from the East
Coast, to be based upon a concession which Mackinnon hoped to obtain
from the Sultan of Zanzibar-the project fell through in 1878. But he yielded
to the blandishments of Khedive Ismail and rather dubiously left England
again on 31 January 1877 for a new appointment as Governor-General of
the whole Sudan. But he never again visited his southernmost provinces.
Gordon did not go out of his way to cultivate the Royal Geographical
Map of the Equatorial Provinces annexed to Egypt
from Colonel Gordon's Field Book.
Presented by him to Rev. H. Waller, January 1877.
Society, which he affected to regard as a rather bothersome institution. In
the Society's Annual Report for 1877 (Journal R.G.S., 47 (1887), viii), it is
stated that the 46th (1876) volume "will be published during the present week
(i.e., 28 May 1877) the issue having been delayed owing to the necessity of
including Col. C. G. Gordon's important Map of the connection of the Nile
with the Equatorial Lakes, and the accompanying Paper which was presented
after the rest of the Journal was ready for publication". From this it may be
inferred that Gordon did not submit his Notes (they comprise only 750 words)
until after his return to Egypt whence the Editor probably had some difficulty
in extracting them. Thus the Waller sketch map clearly antedates any wide
publication of the information regarding the course of the Albert Nile.
The sketch map indicates the places which seemed to Gordon at that time
to call for notice; and it is of interest to identify some of the less familiar of
these-'Rohinda' was king of 'Ukhanga', and 'Suwarora' of 'Usui' was his
brother. 'Rumanika' was king of 'Karagwe' while 'Rogero', his brother, was
settled nearer the 'Kitangule' River. All these, now within Tanganyika Terri-
tory, are derived from Speke's Journal. 'Sungoro' is probably Kagehyi where
in 1875 Stanley found the establishment of the Arab trader Sungoro Tarib.
'Sheemeyu' River entering Lake Victoria to the east of Kagehyi is also derived
from Stanley's map.
The river 'Mwerango' is crossed by the present main Kampala-Masaka
road some seven miles east of Mpigi. It had a special significance for
geographers, since Speke's records his delight at observing as he crossed it
on 13 February 1862 that its waters drained, not towards Lake Victoria but
northwards towards the Nile. At last, Speke felt, the water-parting of Africa
had been crossed and that he was on the continental slope which ended in the
'A' north of 'Wadelay' and 'B' north of 'L. Masanga' are Gordon's "dread-
ful off-shoots" (see U.J., 5, (1937-38), 284). Gordon had reports from Gessi and
Piaggia respectively of arms of the water system which might prove to be river
channels giving a cataract-free access from the Nile below Gondokoro; and
he felt that his task was complicated by the need to investigate such possi-
bilities. The name 'L. Masanga' is due to Piaggia (1876) and probably refers
to the north-eastern arm of Lake Kyoga.
'Isamba' are the rapids, mentioned by Speke, which are a few miles up-
stream from Mbulamuti. The name 'Cossitza' is not recorded by Speke who
refers only to the Ripon Falls. The earliest use of this name seems to be by
Gordon early in 1876 and it would be of interest to trace its derivation.
GROUND STONE AXES AND BORED STONES IN UGANDA
By M. POSNANSKY AND J. W. SEKIBENGO
In recent years a number of bored stones and ground stone axes have been
found in Uganda and presented to the Uganda Museum. This note is intended
to provide information on their occurrence. Discussion as to their origins and
180 UGANDA JOURNAL
use must await information that can only be obtained by excavation and the
discovery of these tools in association with tools of a culturally diagnostic
nature. It is hoped that this note will prompt the donation of pieces unknown
to the Museum.
The most recent accession, that of a small polished stone axe (Fig. 1,d)
Bored stones and ground stone axe.
made of haematite was found by a Mr. Kasoma near Arua whilst building
a house in 1952. The raw material is the same as that of a polished adze, a
longer form of the Arua piece, found at Gulu and now in the possession of
Mr. R. M. Brachi. Both pieces may easily have come from the Congo where
similar pieces are found and where the raw material occurs. Both would have
needed a large amount of skill to make, and a considerable length of time.
The method of manufacture would seem to have consisted of flaking followed
by pecking, with the edge alone ground down and polished. Neither piece had
any associations. The polished stone axe was once thought of as an indicator
of the Neolithic, but evidence from elsewhere in Africa indicates that Wilton
folk and other hunter-foodgatherer groups in the Congo used them. Both
conform to Leakey (1943) type A and are the first ever to be found in Uganda.
Bored stones which may have been used as digging stick weights, pestles,
mace heads, and drop weights for hunting traps are common in Africa in
contexts post-dating the Magosian Culture. The idea would seem to have
spread through Africa perhaps from the Hoggar at some time after 5000 B.C.
Their original use, for which there is rock painting evidence from South Africa
(Walton 1956), and which continued to be employed until recent times, was
that of digging stick weights for rooting up roots and later for agricultural
A recent specimen (Fig. 1, a) from Madi made of a rotted schist has a hole
much smaller than average and its slight weight (7- oz.) suggests its employ-
ment where weight was unimportant. In West Africa stone rings were certainly
used as a form of primitive currency (Jeffreys 1954). In Madi bored stones
were used in, though not necessarily manufactured for, rain making cere-
monies (Rogers 1927).
Two other illustrated specimens come from extremes of the Protectorate,
one from near Lake Kiyamwiga (Fig. 1, b) of a green volcanic tuff must have
weighed over 8 lb. before being broken; its edge shows no abrasion and its
use depended on its weight. The specimen (Fig. 1, c) from Moroto of
micaceous schist found by Mr. J. Wilson is much lighter (1 lb. 4 oz.) and
shows abrasions all round the edge indicating its use for grinding or hammer-
ing. The fact that so many are broken, in all five out of the Museum's collec-
tion of thirteen, indicates their often intensive use and the strain upon other-
wise non-brittle stone. All the central holes have been formed by pecking
from opposing faces, giving a characteristic hour-glass cross-section. The
majority of pieces are made from stone from the basement series of rocks and
appear to be local to the areas where found.
Others in the Museum collection come from Jinja (9 lb.); Nsongezi;
Kikagati (5 lb.); Buwalasi (5 lb.); Paraa (2 pieces); Kodiakori, Karamoja;
Kaiso, Lake Albert; Kingezi, Kigezi (1 lb.); and Bushenyi, Ankole (1 lb.).
A further interesting piece, the Masaka cylinder, which was found by Mr.
E. J. Wayland and weighs 71 lb., is made of terracotta with a central hole
and has a fluted form. Its friable nature would suggest a ritual rather than
a functional employment. Maces were used for ceremonial purposes in pre-
historic Europe, though no evidence for such a use exists in Africa. In both
Asia and Europe clay net weights have often been used, though again the lack
of comparative material precludes the possibility at the present of assigning
a use to the cylinder.
Leakey, M. D. (1953). Notes on Ground and Polished Stone Axes of East Africa.
Journ. E. Afr. Nat. Hist. Soc. XVII.
Jeffreys, M. D. W. (1954). South Afric. Museums Ass. Bull., V, No. 13, p. 347.
Rogers, F. H. (1927). Notes on Some Madi Rainstones. Man, 58.
Walton, J. (1956). African Village. Pretoria.
182 UGANDA JOURNAL
STONE IMPLEMENTS IN LUGBARA
By C. D. OLLIER
In many of the archaeological sites of Uganda there occur two types of
stone implements which give rise to considerable speculation regarding their
purpose. In this note I put forward, for what they are worth, the comments
of my Lugbara house-boy, Natale Dranzila, hoping they might offer a reason-
The first type consists of perfectly round stones, usually quartz, about four
inches in diameter. Some of these have been found in groups of three, and the
suggestion has been put forward that they are bolas stones. Many people,
however, have found single stones and this explanation is not now accepted.
Natale says they are grindstones, called oninva in Lugbara. Many people
thought of this explanation, but there seemed no reason why a hand-used
grind-stone should be spherical. Natale says it is because the Lugbara like
their grindstones to be pretty. Women often have two or three stones in the
home as spares. When a stone wears too small it is thrown away. Nowadays
some people specialize in making these grindstones, and they can be bought
in the markets of the West Nile District.
The purpose of the second type of stone is more difficult to understand.
It is a ring about eight inches across and two or three inches thick with a hole
one or two inches in diameter bored through it. Such stones are often of
phylite or other soft rock. One purpose I have heard suggested is that two
such stones were put together on a piece of wood as an axle, and the whole
contraption rolled along by children for a game. If this is so we might conclude
that Africans did have the wheel before the coming of Europeans. Another
suggestion is that they are weights for use on digging sticks. This idea is sup-
ported by the fact that such weights are known to be used in other parts of
the world, but Natale has never heard of this practice and has a more com-
Such stones are called diboo in Lugbara, and represent the most recently
departed ancestor, for example the grandfather. If a man or one of his children
is very ill and near to death it is a sign that grandfather is hungry. A goat is
killed by slitting its throat, and the blood is poured through the hole in the
stone onto the ground to feed the grandfather and removes his malign influence.
The flesh of the goat is eaten by the living members of the family.
If the father of the family dies, he takes over the same diboo and grand-
father is relegated. If the stone should break it is thrown away and a new one
made, but there is never more than one stone in use at a time.
For minor illnesses there are small disc-shaped stones, called orinva in
Lugbara, on which the blood of a chicken may be poured. I have not heard of
these being found on archaeological sites, but they might be difficult to recog-
nize. Although most are round, they may be square or even irregular flakes
of rock. The orinva represent more distant ancestors who died long ago.
They are not as important as the near ancestor represented by the diboo,
and their influence is less malign.
An old Muganda house-boy tells me that the same practice is followed
all through Uganda. The Baganda use a ring made of earth called muzimu
in Luganda, instead of a stone ring. The earth rings, of course, are not per-
manent and would not be found on archaeological sites.
These stones have mystified many people, and I hope this note will bring
comments from anyone who knows more about them.
TWO INSELBERGS NEAR ACHOLI-KARAMOJA BORDER
By H. A. OSMASTON
Several groups of hills lie along the borders of Acholi and Karamoja, in-
cluding among them some very striking inselbergs;1 chief of these is Rwot
in the Labwor Hills, which rises to over 1,500 feet above the surrounding
plain and is shaped something like a tea-cosy. This pleasant domestic simile
is however not particularly reassuring if one is examining its sheer rocky sides
with a view to climbing them; from the village of Alerek it appears to be
impossible and the local inhabitants, who regard it with considerable venera-
tion, are most discouraging with tales of the hordes of snakes which frequent
On the south-west however there is a small cleft which runs up the side
and offers a possible means of attack. On 30 June 1957, a party of Austrian
climbers comprising Ing. Fritz Moravec, Karl Prien, Josef Pfeffer and Stefan
Pauer attempted this route and succeeded in making the first recorded ascent.
Details of this climb have been published in German (Moravec, 1958) but
are also given in a delightful English account which they wrote for the District
Commissioner at Moroto. They called it the "sugarhat of East Africa",2
and described it-"on all sides fallst this mountain in smooth steep rock-
platewalls down . ." The first pitch (where from a distance the base of the
cleft appears to have broken away) was climbed by "Inagainstpresstechnik"
which probably means a layback-the English term for a painful and laborious
method of climbing outside a narrow crack, leaning the body to one side and
balancing the pressure of the feet on one side of the crack by the pull of the
arms on the other. For about ten rope-lengths they followed cracks and
chimneys, noting that "the vegetation is sometime very hindern" and recom-
mending the use of a piton3 at one point; then passed over easy slabs to the
summit, where they built a cairn. The climb took them only two and a half
hours up and two down, but they appear to have been a very experienced
party. They recorded some local resentment at their success and it is interest-
ing that when I asked at Alerek in April 1959 whether Rwot had ever been
climbed, it was firmly denied that it had even been attempted in the last few
years; yet a party of Austrians in lederhosen could hardly have escaped
1 More or less isolated hills, usually of rounded bare rock rising steeply from the
plain; produced by tropical weathering and erosion.
2 The German 'sugar-loaf'-Der Zuckerhut Ostafrikas-is so englished. I feel there
may be some not inappropriate confusion between a sugar-loaf and a top-hat.
3 An iron peg to which a rope may be attached.
184 UGANDA JOURNAL
Twenty miles north-west lies Amiel, a similar but slightly smaller hill with
nearly vertical walls on the north, east and west, and a 45 degree slope on
the south. R. M. Bere (1953) has recorded a local tradition that a former
chief had a beautiful daughter with many suitors for her hand in marriage.
Proudly he offered her, free of the customary bride price, to the first man
who should prove his mettle by climbing Amiel. Only three attempted it; of
these, two fell to their death and the third was never seen again. It is just
conceivable that a determined man in bare feet and with no nerves might
get up the steep smooth slabs; it is very unlikely that he would successfully
climb down them again.
For more sophisticated climbers there remains a slender buttress which
leans against the north-east shoulder; though pleasantly steep this is broken
by a series of chimneys and ledges which offer both nesting places to marabou
storks and means of safeguarding a companion with a rope. Bere and another
attempted this route and subsequently my wife and I got half-way up at
Easter 1950. This Easter (1959) I completed the route with Andrew Stuart,
celebrating our arrival at the top by building a cairn and letting off a rocket,
to the astonishment and delight of the local populace who had gathered at
the foot. There was no trace of a previous ascent, not even a skeleton, which
disappointed at least one of the spectators who claimed that an ancestor of his
had gone up there.
This area is only a day's drive from Kampala via the Lwampanga ferry
and there are pleasant rest camps at Pimol, Alerek and Adilang. The other hills
offer pleasant and interesting walking for non-climbers who may find other
excitements; on both occasions I have disturbed a puff-adder on Amiel, and
Stuart was stung by a scorpion; hyrax abound and I have seen klipspringer at
the foot of Amiel.
Bere, R. M. (1953). The hills of Acholiland, Mountain Club of Uganda, Bull. 1, 7-9.
Moravec, Fritz (1958). Im Reiche de Riesenkrater Ostafrikas. Osterreichische
Bergsteigerzeitung, 36. No. 4, 21-29, where there is an excellent photograph
THE LATE HAM MUKASA
By CATHERINE SEBULIBA
In the year 1873-the exact date is unknown-a man called Zakaria
Sensalire was presented by his wife Nyakanzana with a son, whom he called
Mukasa and who was later known as Ham Mukasa. Mukasa showed early
promise of greatness. He did not attend a school but acquired his education
and knowledge through his own extensive reading. He came into close contact
with European missionaries when they visited Kabaka Mutesa I, and through
them had access to many people, from whom he learnt much. He was always
eager for knowledge and quick to take in new ideas. Once he undertook to
do something he would press on until he had finished it. He never left any-
thing half done. He used to say "Few of the things that come to the man who
waits are the things he has been looking for". Guilty of the crime of being
a Christian he was often threatened with death, but never gave up his religion.
One result of his staunch stand for Christianity was a shot in his leg which
made him lame for the rest of his life.
He did not marry until he was twenty-seven years old. His first wife was
Hanna Wawemuko, daughter of the late Katikiro Mukasa, who bore him four
children and who died in 1919. He married his second wife a year later.
She was the daughter of the late Yakobo Musajjalumbwa. Her name is Sarah
Nabikolo, and she is still living. She bore him ten children.
Mukasa used to start and end his day with prayers in which the whole
household took part. He also encouraged his family to attend services in
church every Sunday, and whenever the number of those who were unable
to go to church was more than five, a special service was held at home, one
of them leading it.
There were over twenty people at his home. He was in the habit of going
to bed very late-always after midnight-and in consequence did not usually
arise until about nine in the morning. After his breakfast, which he normally
had shortly after ten o'clock, he used to busy himself reading or writing or
indulging in his other interests.
He wrote letters to people in all walks of life. It was perhaps fortunate for
him that among his children and grandchildren and relatives he had enough
typists to cope with his requirements. Typing his letters was no joke for he
rarely wrote one of less than five foolscap pages. If any of his typists tried
to omit anything from his drafts or dictated material he was likely to be told
to re-type the whole letter, inserting what had been left out and, more often
than not, this gave Mukasa a chance to add something more to the letter.
He was an avid reader, and when he was not drafting or dictating letters
he used to bury himself in books on a variety of subjects, such as history,
geography and science. He had a retentive memory and passed on the know-
ledge and information acquired from his reading to his children and to the
friends who visited him.
He had a particular interest in measuring and estimating distances. For
instance, he would often take a tape measure to determine the distance between
various objects in his garden, or he would try to estimate the distance between
his door-step and the boundary of his garden. He remembered by heart the
measurements of each room in his house. In his garden he marked off various
distances by poles of different sizes connected to each other by strings of
different colours. As part of his interest in measurement he kept a rough
rain-gauge by fixing an empty bottle in the ground with a funnel placed in its
neck. After rain he measured the fall with a foot rule and recorded it.
He could never remain idle at home. He was forever emptying his drug
box and putting the medicines back again in their appropriate place or tidying
the drawers of his desk, which he always kept locked. The keys of his drawers
and of his safe were kept on a long chain fixed to his waistcoat by a special
button. Or perhaps he would spend hours filing the large number of copies
of letters which he wrote; for some unknown reason he would never use file
covers, but preferred to keep his letters pinned together with a safety pin.
When he rang the bell which was kept on the table in his study, anybody who
186 UGANDA JOURNAL
happened to hear it had to run as fast as his legs would carry him to Mukasa.
The first person to reach him would shout his name and was usually given a
small present of sweets or some cents. After the presentation of this small
gift he was sent on some errand. Mukasa enjoyed this ritual so much that
he made two holes in the door so that he would see the people running towards
Another foible of his was his passion for marking all his property with his
name. It is even said that he wanted to write his name on a new car he had
just purchased, although he eventually accepted his friends' advice not to.
But such things as tables, toothbrushes, and spraying guns were all marked
with his name. This carefulness in looking after his property was reflected
also by the fact that he hung a bell which rested against the door of his store,
so that whenever anybody opened the door the bell rang. Whenever the bell
was heard a check was always immediately made to ensure that the person
who opened the door was not a thief. Another example of his carefulness
was the fact that he used to lock up his telephone in a specially designed box
in case it was tampered with.
He was an average musician, having a good voice and an ability to play the
Kiganda lute, xylophone and other instruments. When in a good mood he
sang Kiganda or Kisoga or Kisese songs, mainly sea shanties, which he accom-
panied himself. He also wrote words of his own to fit the music.
At a set hour each day he chose somebody to read as many newspapers as
possible to him, to keep him informed of current events.
Some of his actions were incomprehensible to his family. For instance, he
owned about twenty pendulum clocks. He insisted on winding them himself
each day but refused to synchronise them. As a result, when the hour came
round none of them struck together, and it was his rule to insist on everybody
waiting until all the clocks had finished striking.
Missed by many people Ham Mukasa died on 29 March 1956. He was
survived by his wife, thirteen children, slightly over forty grandchildren
and nearly thirty great grandchildren.
THE DEATH OF CHIEFTAIN KATEBOHA
By E. C. PLANNING
Stretching from Bunyoro through Buganda right down to the south bank of
the Kagera River in Tanganyika are a number of ancient earthworks, great
trenches, too wide for man or beast to cross, so sited as to form a defence
against raiders in search of captives, cattle or booty. People believe that some
of these trenches, those in the area of Bugangadzi in Mubende District, were
built by a chief known as Kateboha.1 Some believe that the last encampment
he built was at Kijwenge, some miles south of the River Kafu.2
1 Kateboha (Lunyoro) is a nickname. Nicknames are common amongst notables in
Bunyoro. Kateboha means 'a person who does not tie on his belt himself', in other
words one who has servants to do this for him, a man of substance. Such a man is
referred to by Baganda as Mutesiba.
2 Although ancient earthwork encampments do exist in the neighbourhood, careful
search of the area known as Kijwenge has not revealed any signs of such an encampment.
The following story was told to me in 1952 by Yosiya Kitahimbwa, former
Mukama of Bunyoro. I can vouch for the accuracy of its relation which was
checked and rechecked with Banyoro interpreters. It describes how Kateboha
excavated that large circular trench not only to safeguard himself and his
property, but with the object of keeping his daughter in seclusion, for he did
not wish any man to woo her.
"Kateboha was known as a hard taskmaster and was much disliked by
his people. Having planned a new camp he ordered the trenches to be dug
wide and deep, and when the main work was finished there was only one
place where persons could cross over the trench. There Katehoba placed tree
trunks to bridge the wide gap, but at night, this bridge was removed.
Kateboha lived in the centre of the encampment with his daughter, mem-
bers of his family, and servants. Only those visiting him or bringing food or
drink were allowed across the bridge in day time.
On the far side of the great encircling trench, Katehoba kept his people
busy building a rampart and cultivating the land. But many of them grew more
and more discontented with the hard work, for no one was allowed to stop
working until a fixed time each day. If anyone stopped working before the
allotted hour, he was put to death at once. But the men were crafty, and as
the time to rest approached they took care that all were working together;
then at a given moment they uttered a loud cry, and stopped together at the
same instant. Thus no person could be accused of having shirked his task
by finishing even a matter of seconds before the others.
There was much to be done and time dragged on as the men perfected the
One day Kateboha's daughter noticed a youth working on the far side of
the trench. From then onwards the lonely girl watched him frequently, and
eventually sent out one of her attendants to ask him to enter the camp. The
young man replied saying that this was impossible, for no ordinary person
was allowed to cross the bridge which was always guarded, whilst at night-
fall the logs were invariably removed. The trench was too wide to jump across.
But the girl was undismayed. She sent word back that they must wait for
a favourable night; when her father was deep in sleep, she and her servants
would place the trees in position so that her lover could enter. The plan worked
and from thence onwards, unknown to anyone, the youth paid frequent visits
into the prohibited camp.
The day came when all Kateboha's men had grown so weary of the heavy
work which they were given to do that they tried to devise some means of
getting rid of their cruel leader. It was then that the youth's nocturnal absences
were discovered by his fellow-workers, who were not slow in recognizing
this opportunity for gaining access to the camp.
It was decided that on the next night when there would be no moon, a party
should follow the young man across the bridge that would be placed in posi-
tion by Kateboha's daughter. So it came about that on one dark night the
youth signalled to his lover's attendants that he was ready to enter. Close
on his heels came the avenging party. Quickly they sought out the sleeping
Kateboha and killed him, thus freeing themselves of his tyranny."
188 UGANDA JOURNAL
Thus ends the tale. What became of the chieftain's daughter and her lover
is left to conjecture though it is assumed that they left the area of Kijwenge
whilst, "nobody can tell where they went nor where they died".3
Ggomotoka, J. T. K. (1950). History and Legends of the Rocks of Kakumiro.
Uganda J., 14, 86-7.
Gray, Sir J. (1951). The Rocks of Kakumiro (letter). Uganda J., 15, 119.
Lanning, E. C. (1953). Ancient Earthworks in Western Uganda. Uganda J., 17,
59; and U.J., 18 (1954), 78.
(1954). The Munsa Earthworks. Uganda J., 19, 180-1.
(1954). Earthworks in Uganda (letter). Antiquity, 109, p. 37.
(1958). Kibengo-An Iron Age Site on the Nkusi River, Mubende
District. The Bulletin (Uganda Govt.) vol. 9, 7. pp. 104-6.
3 The name of Kateboha is associated with the following sites:
The unfinished trenches at Karwata in the Bugoma Forest, Bunyoro.
The Kibengo earthworks, near Lake Albert, Mubende District.
The small single-perimeter entrenchments of Kyabeya, Nongo, Masa and
Lwotoma in north Buyaga, Mubende.
The Munsa earthworks near Kakumiro, Mubende.
A large rock shelter in Semwema Hill near Kakumiro, Mubende.
Strangely enough where tradition is strongest, at the Munsa earthworks, nothing
seems to be known of his death nor of this tale.
By N. AKENA
The key to understanding Lango religion lies in the equivocal term JOK.
The first meaning of Jok, spelt with a capital J, is God, the almighty, all-
beneficent being pervading the universe. He is an indivisible entity whose
manifestations bear different names, each primarily concerned with a limited
number of activities. Thus we have Jok Lango whose speciality is diseases
other than demoniacal possessions which come under the sphere of Jok Nam.
Other manifestations of Jok are Jok Orongo, Jok Atida, and Jok Adongo.
But the spheres of activity of the different manifestations of Jok overlap, and
when one speaks of Jok as the creator or controller of human destiny, or as
possessing divine attributes, in such words as Jok ocweowa (God made us),
or Jok otero kwo mere (God has taken his life), or Jok tek (God is almighty),
the reference is to Jok as an indivisible entity and not to any particular mani-
festation of Jok.
The second meaning of jok (with a small j) is devil, a supernatural evil
being. There are many joggi (plural of jok). Their most notable supernatural
attributes are the power to make men suffer from certain types of disease or
to meet cruel fates, and the power to appear in physical form or to disappear
1 All the aspects of Lango religion mentioned in this brief account have been treated
at much greater length by Driberg (The Lango (1923), pp 216-43). This account is,
however, printed here since Driberg's work may not be readily obtainable by readers
of the Uganda Journal, and because Driberg's original theories are here substantiated
by a Lango writer.-EDs.
at will. Joggi, so the rumours have it, have kidnapped mortals and taken
them in a whirlwind to the devils' world. Some of these people have re-
turned to their homes after such adventures and narrated their experiences.
Thy naturally differ in detail but agree that although some joggi may inhabit
certain trees or hills in this world, their main abode is a world below this
earth, just as Jok (God) is said to live in a world above ours, called polo (a
region above the sky). They have also reported that joggi are, in some respects,
the same as men: they are mortal; there are male and female joggi; their
society upholds marriage and abhors adultery; birth is a thing for celebration
whereas tears are shed whenever a member of the society dies. In their human
form, joggi are said to have long, curly, tangled hair, a black or slightly brown
skin which is somewhat tarnished by dust. But although joggi resemble us in
certain ways, what is fair to them is foul to us and vice versa. Flies, for in-
stance, are things none of us ever dreams of eating; they are the joggi's most
delicious food. Such are the dishes which joggi offer to those whom they kid-
nap; if the victims refuse to eat, they are returned to their homes lest they
die of starvation, a form of killing which for an unknown reason (probably
connected with the fear of Jok) even joggi refrain from committing.
Both Jok (the beneficent God) and jok (the evil devil) have their agents
among men. Ajwaka, the medicine man, claims contact with the manifestation
of Jok from whom he derives power which he uses for the benefit of mankind.
To him the world and all that happens in it hold only good things in store
for man, unless interfered with by man's sinning in the sight of Jok or by the
evil machination of jok. Fortunately the ajwaka, by contacting the manifesta-
tion of Jok, can prescribe the course of action to be taken in order to thwart
or get rid of any unwelcome influences. If what he prescribes is scrupulously
followed, success is bound to follow. Failure would definitely be attributed
to not following the exact directions given by the ajwaka; but too many failures
show that the ajwaka, being human, might himself have erred in the sight
of Jok, who has in consequence withdrawn the power of divination from
him. Such cases are, however, rare. Most of the complaints with which an
ajwaka is confronted on any particular day are of ill-health. His method
of treatment is more or less stereotyped; he begins by asking questions de-
signed more, I believe, to find out the nature of the disease from which a
patient is suffering than its cause. Then the ajwaka resorts to psychological
treatment. He communicates, through the medium of an oracle, with the
manifestation of Jok power which advises the expedient measures to be taken.
Can any patient doubt the efficacy of the remedy recommended by Jok?
The remedial measures normally consist of a direction by the ajwaka for
certain ceremonies to be performed, either for the pacification and outwitting
of jok, or as an outward sign of sincere repentance for having sinned in the
sight of Jok. Lastly, the ajwaka offers a physical cure in the form of medicine
-a concoction from plant root or leaves- which long experience has proved
to be effective.
Ajok, a sorcerer, is the agent of jok (the evil spirit). It is the ajok, who by
means of black magic, harnesses the malignant power of jok and uses it for