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|The diaries of Emin Pasha - Extracts...|
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|Kakunguru in Bukedi|
|The Kampala to Bombo railway|
|The Anglo-German Hinterland settlement...|
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|The Brathay exploration group's...|
|Notes on contributors|
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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
The diaries of Emin Pasha - Extracts V
The concept of Jok among the Acholi and Lango
Kakunguru in Bukedi
The Kampala to Bombo railway
The Anglo-German Hinterland settlement of 1890 and Uganda
The re-excavation of Nsongezi rock-shelter, Ankole
The evolution of the Uganda protectorate
The Brathay exploration group's expedition
Notes on contributors
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 27, No, I MARCH 1963
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS V SIR JOHN GRAY 1
THE CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND
LANGO - - - - - OKOT P'BITEK 15
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI - - - SIR JOHN GRAY 31
THE KAMPALA TO BOMB RAILWAY - - W. J. PEAL 61
THE ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT
OF 1890 AND UGANDA - - - WM. ROGER Louis 71
RE-EXCAVATION OF NSONGEZI
ROCK-SHELTER, ANKLE - - SUSANNAH PEARCE AND
MERRICK POSNANSKY 85
THE EVOLUTION OF THE UGANDA PROTECTORATE
ANDREw ROBERTS 95
THE BRATHAY EXPLORATION GROUP'S EXPEDITION
TO UGANDA, 1962
I GENERAL ACCOUNT - - - - IOAN THOMAS 107
II FOSSILS FROM KARAMOJA - - B. J. K. TICKER,
W. H. TAYLOR
and W. W. BISHOP 109
wI THE FLAT-ROOFED HOUSES OF THE SEBE
AT BENET - - - - - IOAN THOMAS 115
Dr.Emin and Mutesa I of Buganda - Sm. JOHN GRAY 123
A Noteon Lunyole - - - - H. F. MORRIS 127
African Holocaust (by J. F. Faupel) - F. B. WELBOURN 135
Birds of the Southern Third of Africa
(by C. W. Mackworth-Praed and C. H. B. Grant)
W. B. BANAGE 136
Some Common Flowering Plants of Uganda
(by E. M. Lind and A. C. Tallantire)- - P. A. HUXLEY 137
The Western Lacustrine Bantu (by B. K. Taylor) D. J. STENNING 138
Tanganyika: Sail in the Wilderness
(by Kathleen M. Stahl)- - - - G. BENNETT 139
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS - - - - - 140
New Publication : the East African wildlife Journal - - 141
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
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H.H. Frederick Mutesa II, K.B.E.,
Kabaka of Buganda
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C.B.E., Omukana of Bunyoro
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Godalming, G.C.M.G., M.B.E.
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Dr. H. H. Hunter, C.B.E., LL.D.
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THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
C. J. GERTZEL
J. K. ALMOND
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
Printed by Uganda Argus Ltd.. P.O. Box 20081, Kampala
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS V SIR JOHN GRAY 1
THE CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND
LANGO - - - - - OKOT P'BITEK 15
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI - - - SIR JOHN GRAY 31
THE KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY - - W. J. PEAL 61
THE ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT
OF 1890 AND UGANDA - - - WM. ROGER LOUIS 71
RE-EXCAVATION OF NSONGEZI
ROCK-SHELTER, ANKOLE - - SUSANNAH PEARCE AND
MERRICK POSNANSKY 85
THE EVOLUTION OF THE UGANDA PROTECTORATE
ANDREW ROBERTS 95
THE BRATHAY EXPLORATION GROUP'S EXPEDITION
TO UGANDA, 1962
I GENERAL ACCOUNT - - - - IOAN THOMAS 107
II FOSSILS FROM KARAMOJA - - B. J. K. TRICKER,
W. H. TAYLOR
and W. W. BISHOP 109
III THE FLAT-ROOFED HOUSES OF THE SEBEI
AT BENET - - - - -IOANTHOMAS 115
Dr.Emin and Mutesa I of Buganda - SI. JOHN GRAY 123
A Note on Lunyole - - - - -H. F. MORRIS 126
African Holocaust (by J. F. Faupel) - F. B. WELBOURN 135
Birds of the Southern Third of Africa
(by C. W. Mackworth-Praed and C. H. B. Grant)
W. B. BANAGE 136
Some Common Flowering Plants of Uganda
(by E. M. Lind and A. C. Tallantire)- - P. A. HUXLEY 137
The Western Lacustrine Bantu (by B. K. Taylor) D. J. STENNING 138
Tanganyika: Sail in the Wilderness
(by Kathleen M. Stahl) - - - -G. BENNETT 139
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS - - - - - 140
New Publication :the East African Wildlife Journal - - 141
Uganda Journal, 27, i (r963) pp, --r3
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V
Edited by SIR JOHN GRAY
[These extracts from Die Tagebucher von Dr. Emin Pascha, edited Dr.
Franz Stuhlmann, vol. i, ii, iii, iv and vi, (Braunschweig: Westermann, 1941-
27), have been translated and provided with introductory notes and comments
by Sir John Gray. They are planned to appear in The Uganda Journal as a
series covering Emin's first visi. o Buganda in 1874, his visi to Bunyoro in
1877 and his second visit to Buganda in the same year, followed by such portions
of his later diaries as are relevant to Emin's contacts with the Uganda region
during the years spent as Governor of Equatoria until his withdrawal in 1889.
Extracts I to IV have appeared in successive issues of the Uganda Journal,
commencing with Extracts I in the U.J. 25 (1961) 1. Eds.]
V. EMIN AS GOVERNOR OF EQUATORIA, 1982-1885
Between 1882 and 1886 Emin had very little to record in either his diary
or his correspondence regarding the countries which now form part of Uganda.
During those years he was mainly occupied with work at his headquarters at
Lado and visits to the northern portions of his province, which lay on the west
bank of the Nile. In March 1882, he had paid a short visit to Khartoum.
Whilst there he had learnt that a Congolese boat-builder ,who lived on the
island of Aba and who was named Muhammad bin Ahmad, had proclaimed
himself as Mahdi and had become a thorn in the flesh of the government.
Like other government officials at that time he failed to realize how strong was the
rising tide of discontent amongst the Sudanese against the existing regime
and how easy it was for the Mahdi to exploit it.
Emin left Khartoum on 15 June and reached Lado on 13 July 1882. The
Ismailia which brought him back to Lado was the last but one to reach that
place from Khartoum with a little merchandise. In March 1883 the Talgawin
brought further news about the activities of the Mahdi, but this did not cause
Emin any serious alarm. In a letter to Wilhelm Junker dated he said-
"I am curious to know how long the central government at Khartoum will
remain a passive spectator of these things on the Ghazal, and whether it cannot
bring itself to understand that to this day the Bahr el Ghazal only acknowledges
Egyptian rule to the extent of receiving merchandise, money, guns and powder
from Khartoum and sending ivory in return."
For a long time Emin was to remain in the dark regarding the progress
of the Mahdist revolt. Whilst it soon became clear that the rebellion had cut
off communication between Khartoum and Lado, Emin believed that contact
could be restored by forces operating from Khartoum. It was not until 27
March 1884, when Lupton sent his last message, that Emin came to realize
that there was little or no hope of obtaining relief by way of Khartoum.
It was then that Emin began to look to the south to see if he could invoke
the assistance of some European Consul in Zanzibar. In order to do so, he had
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
to open up some line of communication through either Bunyoro or Buganda
or possibly through both countries. This, of course, entailed propitiating
the rulers of those lands. Fortunately for Emin his prediction that missionary
enterprise in Buganda was doomed to be a failure proved not to be true. There
were French and English missionaries in that kingdom and their good offices
could be invoked in order to obtain the ruler's consent to the passage of messages
through Buganda between Equatorial Africa and Zanzibar.
Extracts from Emin's Diaries
(Emin had proceeded to Khartoum, where he arrived on 7 March 1882.
He left that place on 15 June and reached Lado on 13 July. Letter from Emin
to Junker, Lado, 15 July 1882). In August of the year 1881 a person living on
the island of Abba near Kaua called Fakih Mohammed Ahmed spread the
report that he was the Mahdi (the Mussulman Messiah) and ordered the
whole world to acknowledge his spiritual supremacy.'
July 16, 1882. During my absence apparently nothing has been done because
my assistant, as he often says, came here to make money and not to grieve
over negroes. In the south advantage has been taken of my absence to conduct
a raid against the recently ill-famed Umiro of Umiro-Lango, and thereby to
lose a lot of people and munitions. Finally there is the death of Mohammed
Aga Ali, the chief and spokesman of the Padibe.
Kabarega's people came to bring me presents of ivory, salt and coffee and
to take one to their lord. Also Anfina and Ruyonga's son and successor Kamisoa
sent people and presents.
October 5. Mail from the South. Bitter enmity and open war prevails bet-
ween Kabarega and Mutesa. Kabarega has once more found me indispensable,
so as not to have a danger in his rear, and wishes therefore to live with me in
the same friendship as of old. Kamisoa's people, one of whom belongs to the
chief Karamalli and was usually commissioned to take my letters to Kabarega,
tell that a numerous colony of Zanzibar Arabs have settled with
Kabarega as traders and gunsmiths and he is now rejoicing over this great
protection he receives.
They have not come through Buganda but direct from the south-east (sic;
actually they came through Karagwe) because Mutesa did not grant them right
of passage. Like the Baganda, Kabarega's people are all armed with guns.
Kabarega's residence is still Mparo-Nyamoga where I found him. He dearly
wants me to visit him. Mruli is now entirely in the possession of his people,
who have built all over the land and converted our zeriba into a large village.
Londu is also occupied, not so Kisuga. A very big village has been erected at
Kimanya. The road from Mruli goes there direct from Londu to the foot of
Jebel Musaijamukulu and further on for four days to Mparo passing con-
tinually through villages. The former hostile relations with Ruyonga have
since his death become very friendly relations with Kamisoa, Ruyonga's son
and successor. His people come and go without hindrance. On the other hand
the old hostility against Anfina has become stronger; because here a very willing
instrument has been found in Murjan Aga, our commanding officer. Now, may
this not last long!
October 6. Kamisoa has given his father's old wife a district for her main-
tenance, but has annexed the young members of the harem.
(From 9 October to 5 December 1882, Emin was travelling in the Makraka
country to the west of the Nile. He arrived back at Lado on the last mentioned
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V 3
date. On 25 December 1882, he sent the following letter to the Editor of
Open war prevails between Mutesa and Kabarega. On the other hand
Kabarega is on good terms with Kamisoa, Ruyonga's son and successor.
Many Zanzibar Arabs have settled with Kabarega. They came direct from
Karagwe without passing through Buganda. Mruli has been taken possession
of by the Banyoro and has been thoroughly built over. There is a direct route
from Mpara-Nyamoga to Londu in four days.
(From 7 May to 15 October 1883, Emin was travelling in the Monbuttu
country to the west of the Nile.)
January 21, 1884. (Wilhelm Junker,2 a Russian citizen of German descent,
reached Lado. He had been exploring the Azande and Monbuttu countries and
had found his way to Khartoum barred by the Mahdists.)
May 23. (Letters received from Frank Miller Lupton,3 dated 3, 7 and 12
April, announcing that the Bahr el Ghazal is in imminent danger of being in-
vaded by the Mahdists.)
May 27. (Letter received from Lupton announcing that he has been com-
pelled to surrender to the Mahdists, that the army of Hicks Pasha4 has been
destroyed and that Khartoum is being besieged. A proclamation was also
received from the Mahdi calling upon Emin to surrender.)
June 7. (Junker leaves Lado with the intention of trying to make his way to
Zanzibar by way of Bunyoro and Buganda. He reached Dufile on 18 June
whence he wrote letters to Emin informing him that he had been ill and that
for this and other reasons he had decided to return to Lado.)
June 15, 2 p.m. (Postscript to letter from Emin to Junker.) Ahmed Effendi
has just arrived and has told me of your meeting at Kiri, and also that some
of Kabarega's people are on the way. This would be fortunate. I shall of course
give them as many presents as possible and send them back at once. May I
beg you by every means possible to keep open for me the lines of communication
with Kabarega and to write often to ensure that messengers may be sent fre-
quently, and thus to enable me to communicate with you. If he wants ammuni-
tion, etc. you need only to tell him to send for it. Let him send us coffee at the
same time. The journey from his place to Buganda is more difficult to arrange.
Patience and perseverance will do this, because the people of Buganda do some-
times go there. When Mutesa has heard of you, he will soon have you fetched.
August 3. (Letter received by Emin from Junker stating that he is detained
at Dufile by a bad leg and illness.)
August 19. (Another letter received by Emin from Junker stating that he
is still detained at Duffle.)
August 26. (Letter received by Emin from Junker, who announces his
intention of returning from Dufile to Lado.)
September 18. (Junker returned to Lado.)
(From this date onwards references to events in what is now Uganda
become more frequent in Emin's diaries and correspondence.)
October 22. (Letter from Emin to Schweinfurth5.) Private letters which
have just come from Dufile contain a curious tale. According to the statements
of negroes who have come to Patiko, a large body of English soldiers, in fine
uniforms and well armed, have arrived at Kabarega's residence on their way
to us. Can this refer to Thomson or Fischer?
(A later entry in Emin's diary shows that the rumour was born of wishful
4 UGANDA JOURNAL
October 26. According to a report received at Wadelai, the people who have
reached Kabarega are only traders from Zanzibar with their porters.
November 14. People came from Anfina, who asked for soldiers to be
stationed at Anfina's. There is no news from Buganda. Ruyonga's successor,
Kamisoa, stands on the best of terms with Kabarega, who has a representative
at Kamisoa's, whilst Kamisoa has a representative at Kabarega's. Mutesa's
people, who want to come, find the road barred. Also the road from Anfina
to Patiko is interfered with by the Acholi at Koich and Patira. The road from
Wadelai by Tor, the Alur chief Wamava's village, is no more. For the present
I will send a dragoman to Anfina. If all goes well, I will myself go south and
On 17 November Anfina's people departed with a letter to Kabarega, in
which I enclosed a packet containing letters for the English and French mission-
aries in Uganda and the English Consul-General at Zanzibar, all containing
the request to inform our government that up to now we are alive, but we need
help. Junker and Casati6 are here. At the same time I have asked both Mutesa
and Kabarega to send people to us and possibly to bring with them cloth and
January 6, 1885. (Extract from letter of Emin to Schweinfurth announcing
that the Mahdists are threatening Amadi and that the fall of the place may be
imminent.) We must wait and see what happens to Amadi during the next few
days. If this affair turns out badly, nothing will be left for us but a retreat to the
south, provided that we can still accomplish it. There the great chiefs, Anfina,
Kabarega and Mutesa, will readily receive us, and from there communication
with Egypt by Zanzibar might be possible.
January 10. (Letter from same to same.) The apothecary (sc. Vita Hassan)
who has just returned from Amadi denies the truth of all that I have narrated
above... It may or may not be so. The retreat to the south has been decided
upon. Junker goes tomorrow morning to Anfina first of all. He is taking my
correspondence with him. If I overtake him, I will send you further reports.
I have faith in my lucky star.
January 26. On the morning of 26th Dr. Junker went south (sc. for the
second time) so as to get in touch with the English in Buganda from An-
fina's... Junker will first stay at Anfina's and wait for news from Buganda.
It is to be hoped that the English or French will, if such things exist in Buganda,
send us a few old newspapers, from which we may learn what has happened
in the Sudan.
February 4. (Letter from Emin to Junker.) The people at Bor refuse to
evacuate the place. I have summoned Dufile, Labore and Makraka to send me
forthwith all the available regulars, whom I propose to despatch to Bor with
Wad el Hak... so that they may get these madmen to Lado.
February 28. (Vita Hassan7 left for Dufile. On the same day Emin received
the following letter from Junker from Wadelai, dated 15 February 1885.)
On 9 February, Monday, I left Dufile on the Nyanza and we arrived here at
10 in the evening. Unfortunately the outlook is not promising for my proceed-
ing from here to Anfina. As you will know, there is a small raid on hand for the
necessary collection of cattle. Most of the soldiers are occupied with it. But
Hawash Effendi wants to give me an escort of ten soldiers It is not advisable
to take these away from the zeriba before the return of the people from the raid
and I therefore wait for these people. Anfina's people had already left here
before my arrival and only a few remain. Perhaps Anfina will send one man
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V 5
once more. I have discussed everything with Hawash Effendi. He will hold his
people together for every possible emergency. It is to be hoped further discus-
sions will not be necessary. Frequent communication should be maintained
with Anfina from here. I myself wish to keep the road open behind me.
April 1. (Letter from Emin to Junker.) There can no longer be any question
of my going to the south, for on my leaving Lado, the whole card-house would
collapse, and I should in all probability be held fast by my men. Voices have been
heard to say that we intend to lead the soldiers to the south and sell them to
the great chiefs there so as to save ourselves. Consequently, I have called a meeting
and it has been decided in the first place to inform you of the situation and to
invite you to return and throw in your lot with us. Patiko will now be aban-
doned, and as soon as you are here, Wadelai, Dufile, Labore and Muggi. We
shall confine ourselves to Kiri, Bedden, Rejaf, Gondokoro, Lado, Mkakraka
and Bor. Above all, Gondokoro is to be fortified, so that, if necessary, we may
fall back upon it... The road to the south is rejected by all hands, although
they formerly held a contrary view. There is not one of them that I can depend
upon now ... When I urged you to take the road to the south, I had every
intention of following myself.
April 11. (Letter from same to same.) Hawash Effendi will neither abandon
Patiko nor join us, but urges me to come to the south, a course which the
attitude of our soldiers renders impossible. The officers have sent a unanimous
petition to me to hold Lado.
(Emin's diary continues as follows.)
On 13 (April) a letter from Dufile, where a fire in the station has destroyed
40 huts; what else was lost is not stated. Chief Rwot Ochama, after his people
had killed a dragoman from Patiko, has asked Kabarega for men so as to attack
the station at Patiko. Also in Dufile a good deal of unrest has been excited by
On 17th letter sent to Junker and Vita.
(At this point the following letters have been incorporated in the diary.)
(Letter from Junker at Anfina's, 9 March 1885.) The stutterer Anfina troubles
me by wanting my opinion as to a very limited submission (sc. to Kabarega).
They have made his position much more difficult. At any rate my impression
is that with his few people he would be able to do nothing in the land but for
the recent reinforcement of your soldiers, and sooner or later either Kamisoa
or Kabarega will devour his territory. Up to my arrival he was sitting out on
a water-washed and lonely island so as to protect his valuable life from
I should explain that I shall soon have good news regarding Kamisoa. A
messenger can reach him in one day and at the latest return to me in three days.
With this object I sent on 28 February a messenger who was given to me by
Anfina with your seven months' old letter of recommendation and the neces-
sary instruments and instruction to bring Kisa with him. Days and weeks passed.
Yesterday I received back by a third hand the letter I sent unopened. (the letter
was only to serve as a pass to remove the doubts entertained by Kamisoa owing
to my arrival at Anfina's) and I have not seen the rascally fellow I sent as a
messenger. (After sending three messengers who failed to reach Kamisoa,
Junker sent a fourth.)
This morning at last there came a chief of Kamisoa's and brought to me a
very different rendering of Kamisoa's answer ... I have today sent his chief
back with promises, and also the request ,that if Kamisoa himself does not
6 UGANDA JOURNAL
actually wish to see me, he would, as you directed me, send me Kisa within
four days' time.
(Letter from Junker at Anfina's, 23 to 25 March 1885.) Kisa is reported
to be ill and the writer has been unable to proceed to Kamisoa.
(Letter from Junker at Anfina's, 5 April 1885.)
(Junker arrived at Kamisoa's residence on 28 March. He sent thence a present
to Mwanga, the son of Mutesa of Buganda. Mutesa has been dead "a year
and a day.") It is very lucky that some people, messengers from Kabarega,
were staying at Kamisoa's especially as one of them was an old acquaintance
of yours, Msige, who some years ago was sent by you to Khartoum, as he tells
me, and also at other times to the south by Kabarega, without however reaching
Zanzibar. From him I learnt a good deal about Mutesa's death, although Anfina
and at first Kamisoa were a little bit anxious to conceal Mutesa's death. Accord-
ing to his statements there are still three Europeans with Mwanga. After the
death of his father Kabarega entered into friendly relations with Mwanga
and asked that hostility should cease and that the people of both lands should
cross the frontier without formality for the purposes of necessary commercial
relations. Msige also told me that a consignment of goods from Zanzibar for
Masudi, an Arab trader, had reached Kabarega's and that at the time of Msige's
departure to Kamisoa the people had built a new zeriba at Kabarega's. This
information cannot be open ro doubt because Msige as well as others have
during my stay at Kamisoa's been sewing new clothing. I suspect also a great
desire on Msige's part to set out for Kabarega's, as he was poorly equipped by
reason of his long absence. I contented myself for the moment to hand to Msige
your old letter of recommendation to Kabarega as well as a small present (cups
which fitted into each other) with the request to send messengers to me.
(Letter from Emin to Junker, dated 24 April 1885.) The northern stations
in the province are to abandoned.
(Letter from Junker at Anfiina's, 2 May 1885.)
Unfortunately at present I can give you no news from the missionaries. I wait
daily for an answer to our letters, which, as I wrote to you in my last letter,
I sent on 31 March by a messenger from Kamisoa direct to Buganda. So long
as I await this answer from Buganda and news from Wadelai hope is not given
up; and until I can, as I hope, send you the letters at the right time, I will not
leave here for the south. If our letters are not lost on the way, the answer must
come to Kamisoa in the course of this month. I do not think Kamisoa has
gone behind me because I have promised him three guns, for the arrival of
which I have left my own gun with Kamisoa as a guarantee.
(Letter of Emin to Junker, 14 May 1885.)
(Emin intends to proceed from Muggi to Dufile in a few days' time.)
(Letter from Emin to Junker, 16 May 1885).
There appears to be some unrest at Dufile, which must be suppressed. Hawash
begs me earnestly to go there myself. Reading between the lines, he is in a diffi-
cult position with all these intrigues. If I can discover the ringleader, I am
resolved to have him shot under martial law.
(Continuation of diary.)
On 5 June in the evening came a post from Junker and two letters addressed
to him from Kabarega.
S. The two letters from Kabarega were written in the recognized style and
Arabic of the Zanzibar people and contained urgent and repeated requests to
Junker to come to him; he should not listen to the talk of people who say Kaba-
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V 7
rega kills people, because he would receive him with all honour. What happened
between him and the Christian (Baker) was now past history. He sent him 10
pieces of white cloth and one piece of bark-cloth and asked him to send some-
thing as a present. He had sent everything else he wanted and if Junker wanted
anything else, he had only to write. Anyhow he must come. He should come
back with Msige (my old companion). By the second letter Kabarega sent 4
rabbits and 10 pigeons, which were freshly killed at the time of sending again
a demand that the journey should be made to him. "My land is your land."
(The following are summaries of the two letters received by Emin from
(Letter of Junker, 24 May 1885) From Kamisoa I have likewise no news.
The retreat from Lado, which has become known here through the dragoman
and people of Anfina from Wadelai, has caused a sensation. Anfina will not be
displeased thereby, because he can foresee the arrival of his much wanted
soldiers. But Kamisoa? I fear that, if the position is not explained to him with
foresight and tact, he will hardly allow soldiers in his land without bloodshed.
(Letter from same to same, Anfina's, 27 May 1885.)
. . Yesterday came a report that Kabarega was making war on Mwanga.
(The diary covering the period between 8 and 14 June deals with the decision
to remove military headquarters to Dufile or Wadelai.)
(Letter from Junker, 2 June 1885.) (Letters from Buganda appear to have
gone to Bunyoro. He does not recommend establishment of a station at Anfina's.
"For the moment the establishment of a station here appears to be inadvisable.")
(Letter from Emin to Junker, 6 June 1885.)
Sets out the distribution of the troops as under -
Nos. 1 and 2 Companies .. .. Dufile
No. 3 Company .. .. .. Labor
No. 4 Company .. .. .. Muggi
No. 5 Company .. .. .. Padibe
No. 6 Company .. .. .. Patiko
Nos. 7 and 8 Companies .. .. Wadelai
"The second companies at Dufile and Wadelai will later be displaced and
occupy B. Tor (sic.) All the stations survive. Even Padibe has been occupied
and the blacks can clearly see that we are alive.
(Letter from Emin to Junker, dated at Dufile, 24 June 1885.)
Yesterday at 4.30 p.m. we reached here and were well received.
(Letter from Emin to Junker, 4 July.)
Write to me at once and say if we ought to establish a small station at Magungo,
so as to open the road for a direct expedition to Kabarega and free ourselves
from Anfina and Kamisoa and their patronage. I would send a dragoman and
some soldiers there and perhaps ask Casati to establish himself there.
(Continuation of diary.)
On 5 July 1885 the station commander at Patiko arrived here (Dufile).
The officers at Patiko have sent a trustworthy negro to Kabarega, to deal in
stores for them. He has come back with necessary things and brought back the
request from Kabarega to establish a station in his neighbourhood; he would
like to start trade and exchange in every form. The request for establishing a
station is not really intended as Bantu chiefs do not love soldiers in the neigh-
bourhood and are quite right in doing so, and likewise the permission for the
Zanzibar people to trade with us is not a small concession on the part of Kaba-
8 UGANDA JOURNAL
July 9. (Emin sailed from Dufile for Wadelai.)
July 10. (Emin arrived at Wadelai.)
July 12. (Some people of Anfina arrived at Dufile to purchase tobacco.)
(Agreement concluded with chief Wadelai (sc. Fishwa), son of Lai (Wat
el Lai), to erect a station on his land.)
(Letter from Junker, 16 July 1885).
Without having given it up, I have postponed my further journey to Kabarega
(Letter from Junker, 7 August 1885.) What will you say to it when I tell you
that the pigeons and rabbits were brought to me one month after they were sent?
(Junker is afraid Kamisoa is being a rogue.)
(Continuation of diary).
August 13. Anfina's people who came with Dr. Junker's mail told me several
things. Mutesa's son, Mwanga, will be killed by the important chiefs because
of his cessation of hostilities with Kabarega. The Baganda are always in a state
of bitter warfare with Kabarega and foster the intention to take up the land up
to the Somerset River and to enter into relations with us. Is this true? Dr.
Junker appears to have heard nothing of it.
August 20 . I am writing a letter to Kabarega asking him to send me
people and telling him that I am waiting here for an answer. At the same time
I am writing to Masudi, the Arab trader with Kabarega, asking him, if he can
possibly obtain the permission to come to us with goods and at any rate to
inform me, if he can, whether he can forward letters to Tabora by Karagwe.
I would pay him for it with ivory.
(Letter from Junker, Anfina's, 30 August 1885). Can get no news from Kamisoa.
According to a statement of Anfina the present sovereign of Buganda is called
(Continuation of diary.)
September 14. Towards evening three of Kabarega's people arrived, one
chief and two dragomen dressed in new white cloth. They brought no letter but
plenty of greetings from Kabarega together with the request for me to come
to him. As he had heard that Boki had held up my letters, he had sent these
people to see what I wanted. On arrival at Boki's they had sent the letters by
one of their people to Kabarega. Kabarega will do everything that gives me
pleasure. He is always at war with the Baganda, who despite frequent defeats,
are for ever and ever making raids. they have recently lost eight chiefs, whilst
Kabarega lost only one chief and Manguro who was wounded in the thigh,
but is already better. They are now waiting upon my orders and will return as
soon as possible to Kabarega. The people have made a very good impression
on my people. The new cloth, in which they are dressed, stands in great contrast
to our coats of skin. After speaking of the length of the journey, they stated
that they have come from Kabarega who now lives a little to the west of Mparo,
having spent the night with one chief and reached the lake the next day. A third
day had brought them by boat to Boki (at Mahagi) and after that they had spent
the night with Okello and arrived here on the fifth day.
September 28. I sent back Kabarega's men with letters, presents etc. and
am now expecting a proper embassy from him. The great lords of the south
will take their own time.
October 18. In the evening Kabarega's people arrived here under the
leadership of my old dragoman Msige.
Today the 19 (October 1885), Kabarega's people were received. They are four,
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V 9
the three who came the last time, and, as chief, my old dragoman and travelling
companion Msige, who also took Dr. Junker to Kamisoa. With them are 30
men as escort. No sooner had my trivial presents and my letters come into
Kabarega's hands than he ordered Msige to go to me at once and to get acquain-
ted with all my wants within three days. Therefore they must set out all with
haste and take with them enough cloths and other things to trade. The Arabs
had also prepared a lot of things only Kabarega had told them they must
not send anything this time but must wait for Msige's return and his report
and then, if the country was safe, go with their goods. Msige fell ill on the way
and this had consequently delayed the people. He now brought four letters -
two from Kabarega, one from Abder-Rahman bin Abeid bin Hamud el-Halashi,
a relation of the Sultan of Zanzibar, and one from my old Uganda friend,
Masudi bin Obeid. In addition to the usual talk about the Turk having been
in former times a friend, Kabarega's letters said that Kamisoa and Anfina
would be killed for continually barring his way to me; also much affection for
me and the request to come to him with all my people. He appealed to our
former friendship and reproached me for not writing to him about the war
and our losses and not telling him whether or not Khartoum still existed.
Abder-Rahman and Masudi only wrote professions of friendship in the name
of the Zanzibar colony. A quantity of presents accompanied these letters ...
... More important was the news which Msige subsequently gave me in private.
In Buganda the new sovereign had killed all his father's officials; only my old
friend the Katikiro, Pokino, is spared and he has exchanged blood with him.
According to the reports of Wangwana (Zanzibaris) there are four foreigners
resident in Buganda. The old relations, that is to say, collaboration, exist bet-
ween the two countries. There is nothing to prevent people coming and going
on trading business, the Zanzibar people send their mails and goods without
hindrance. There is not yet a direct route from Bunyoro to Karagwe, because
Ntare, the chief of Ankole, blocks it. But Kabarega readily allows the journey
to Buganda and could readily forward a mail. Abder-Rahman has suddenly
resolved to go back to Zanzibar and would either take or forward mails.
October 22. I have written two letters. I am sending one to Kabarega and
the other to the Arabs, with a request that they may be forwarded to the mission-
aries in Buganda. If only one reaches them, it will suffice. Each of these packets
contains two identical letters in English and French. In them I request that the
Consul-Generals in Zanzibar, and through them the Egyptian Government,
may be informed of our situation, that messengers may be sent to us from
Buganda, and that they may bring a few old newspapers to inform us what has
taken place in the Sudan and Egypt since 1883.
(The following is the English version of the letters sent to the missionaries in
Sir, Two years and a half are past since the last steamer left for Khartoum.
During all this time we never heard a single word from our government, nor
had we any intercourse whatever with the civilized world. The Bahr el Ghazal
province has been overwhelmed by the Dangala mob; my poor friend Lupton,
the governor, has been betrayed by his people and forced to surrender. Our
province has been attacked repeatedly and we have had to undergo very severe
losses in men and arms. At last the Dangala retired after having received a
severe lesson at Makraka. Now the Bari and Dinka tribes have revolted and
I do not know what has to happen if the revolt spreads over the land. Our
ammunition runs very short; our men are few; we have barely anything to eat;
10 UGANDA JOURNAL
from Khartoum, where probably they believe us dead, no help comes. It is
therefore that I venture to address you with a request to inform immediately
your Consul-General at Zanzibar of our position. He will be good enough to
insist to whom it concerns that help is speedily afforded to ourselves, be it by
way of Khartoum or by way of Zanzibar. If steamers should be sent up from
Khartoum it should be known that our Shambe and Bor stations have been
destroyed by the negroes, and that our forces are now concentrated on the river
line from Lado to Wadelai. Twice I tried to write to you by other ways; my
letter never reached you. So I forward this letter in two copies; one by means
of King Kabarega, who kindly sent me his men with some clothes and pro-
visions, and the other by means of the Zanzibar merchants Abder-Rahman and
Masudi, my old Uganda acquaintances. Be good enough to let me have the
answer by the bearer of this letter. If you are able to insist with my old friend,
the Katikiro Pokino, that he sends an expedition to Rionga's son Kamisoa,
the men may easily come here and see myself. Please inform likewise your
consul that Dr. Junker and Sgr. Casati, the explorers, are in our country and
well. If you can spare some old newspaper you will greatly oblige me by sending
it. From April 1883 we have not heard so much as a word about what has
happened in the Sudan, nor in Egypt and Europe. Should you be able to for-
ward some letters of ours-official and private to Zanzibar, be kind enough
to tell me; I shall send them at once. Accept Sir, etc., etc.")
October 23. Kabarega is now fully clothed. Seyyid Barghash, when he heard
that Bunyoro was open to traders, sent as a present to Kabarega by Abder-
Rahman garments and cloth and let him know that he now, like all other
sovereigns, could clothe himself and commence to be civilized.
October 29. Yesterday I accidentally heard that Anfina is very angry because
Kabarega's people have come here. As if the stupid fellow during the nine
months that Junker has been with him could not have sent letters from us to
Buganda or, if he had wanted, could not have supplied us with cloth. Now he is
vexed for nothing...
In conversation Msige told me that after Mutesa had been dead for two
years as the result of a stricture, his son and successor burnt all his father's
chiefs, amongst them Kyambalango, Mukwenda, Sabanganzi etc., and only
the old Katikiro Pokino remains. At the burial of Mutesa an enormous quantity
of cattle were slaughtered and also all his weapons, guns, dresses, and even
his wives were thrown into the grave, and the new sovereign has announced
that he himself is man enough to procure all that is necessary without becoming
heir to his father. Masudi bin Salimin has now settled in Karagwe and Bwana
Schole is dead. It is possible to go south from Kabarega to the lake because all
the countries there recognize his sovereignty.
October 30. Yesterday evening a brother of the chief Namara came here
with some people, who were staying at Anfina's, and has today told Msige that
Kabarega, upset by his long tarrying, has sent people to look for him. When
they reached Magungo River, they were attacked by Anfina's people.
One of them was killed and two women of theirs and two of Anfina's were
carried off. Anfina's people are now waiting for Msige's return, to ambush
and overcome him. I am at once sending people to Boki, to inform Kabarega
through him that he need have no fear, because they will go by steamer. For
my part I think Namara is playing a double game.
October 31 ... The new sovereign in Buganda is called Mwanga. In Karagwe,
despite all the boasts of Mutesa who liked to treat it as a subject province
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS V 11
which had been given to him, Rumanyika has been followed by his son Kayenje.
Between Kabarega's land and Ankole as well as Mpororo relations are disturbed,
but the Zanzibar people go there. Kabarega's people go to Busongora. There is
a big lake there entirely separated from Lake Albert (Stanley's Beatrice Gulf).
People have not yet been able to advance into the country of Ruanda but
people come from Ruanda direct to Kayenje.
November 1. I have sent Kabarega's people in the steamboat to Kibiro
with some presents and the letters already mentioned as well as a few presents
for the Arabs. Everything now depends upon Kabarega.
(The party reached Kibiro on 2 November and arrived at Kabarega's capital
two days later.)
(Letter from Junker, Foda, 16 November 1885)
Anfina, for his part, announced yesterday evening that he would not let Kami-
soa's people pass by his place.
(Continuation of diary)
November 20. With the mail came four of Kamisoa's people Kiza, my old
dragoman, Kassiolla, Kamisoa's uncle, and two others. They told me Kamiosa
was very anxious about me; but being brought to the point, they said he had
treated Junker disgracefully. But it is irrefutable" clear from all they say that
Kamisoa is not in a position to forward a mail to Buganda and so there is no
hope for us in that direction. So we will close Kamisoa's chapter and at once
send the people back. From Vita's letters it is clear that Anfina is in daily fear
that we will desert him.
December 9. At two in the afternoon a negro brought me the following
letter. "Fagongo, the 9 December 1885, 3 o'clock on the afternoon. At this
moment we have reached Fagongo. We await the steamer. V. Hassan." Below:
"Hearty greetings, Junker." So that is the end. Now Kabarega's people.
December 11. I steamed upstream in the Khedive to fetch Junker. In the
evening we were together in Wadelai.
December 18. Towards evening Boki's people came to inform me that
Kabarega's people had reached the lake and were waiting for the steamer -
a very welcome piece of news. They brought a letter to me from Kabarega in
which he wrote that there were no goods there, but goods were coming and he
has sent people for them. Msige had told him all I had told him, and when I
came I should fear nothing. He had given his answer to Msige who would speak
with me. There are also other people with Msige. One passage in the letter is
quite unintelligible to me. It speaks of a servant of Kabarega's who wears two
armlets on his right arm. I should send the steamer as soon as possible to Kibiro.
As a postscript Abu Baker, the writer of the letter, writes that the Arabs have
no permission to come here and he asks for some scissors. Also greetings from
Masudi and Abder Rahman.
Late on the evening of 22 December the steamer Nyanza arrived here with
Kabarega's people. It had met them at chief Boki's and brought them here.
Msige has come back, but, as I fully thought, no Arab were sent to Buganda
two days before Msige's departure from Kabarega. I am somewhat disposed
to doubt this, but it is possible. Early on 23rd I received Kabarega's
people, who handed me presents from Kabarega and his minister
Rwabidongo; cloth, tobacco and a little coffee, salt and some bark-cloth.
Kabarega has sent seven boys here to learn to read and write, and also my guide
from Mruli to Kabarega, Mahopgoki, and is positive that he will permanently
settle here. Two letters from Kabarega and one from his minister were handed
12 UGANDA JOURNAL
to me. In the first Kabarega writes that my presents have arrived and thanks
me. He also sends some things and asks for others in return then follows
a list of things he wants (enumerated). Then directions to allow the seven
youths to learn diligently to read and write the words of the Nazarene. Naturally
the Arabs also want a lot of things for themselves. Kabarega's second letter
is of a formal character. It blames me for always relying on Anfina and Kamisoa
"who in comparison with him are only mice". Then follow repeated requests
to come to him. Goods have not arrived for a long time, but he is sending what
is always in stock. "I have not sent your letter to the Nazarenes (English in
Buganda) but have sent it to Zanzibar. For my part I have heard the English
and Americans have reached Usukuma and, if you come here, you will hear
everything with your own ears, whether good or bad. Let me know quickly
whether you are coming or not." The Minister's letter contains a lot of figures
of speech, and the request to buy some ells of Tromba for himself and a list of
presents for which he asks. Msige is moreover instructed to give me a hearty
invitation and to tell me that in the event of a withdrawal Kabarega's country
will always be open to me. Msige tells me quite his own story. A steamer is
coming from Usukuma over the lake to Butembe (Busoga). Mwanga has heard
of this and has sent Idi there with a force. The people of Butembe have turned
against the Baganda and killed these people. The steamer has, however, gone
to the south with one or two more Europeans. Mirambo appears to be dead.8
1 Muhammad Achmad ibn al-Saiyid Abd Allah, al Mahdi (1848-1885) claimed descent
from the family of the Prophet. After leaving a Quaranic school he began his career on Aba
Island as a boat-builder, but soon devoted himself to study meditation. In May 1881
he announced his divine mission and summoned his fellow countrymen to fight the infidel
Turks as a first step towards the creation of a purified society based on true Islamic precepts.
He evaded more than one feeble attempt on the part of the government to arrest him and in
1882 massacred a large body of troops at Jabal Qadir, which had been sent to suppress his
revolt. Thereafter he and his movement went from strength to strength, culminating in his
capture of Khartoum on 26 January 1885. The Mahdi did not, however, long survive these
sweeping triumphs. He died at Omdurman on 22 June 1885.
2 Wilhelm Junker (1840-1892) began his journeys of exploration in the Sudan in 1876.
In 1879 he set out to explore the Nile-Congo watershed. The results of his explorations have
been published in three volumes in English, Travels in Africa (1908-1-2).
3 Frank Miller Lupton (1854-1888) was originally in the mercantile marine. In 1879 he
took service under Gordon as officer in charge of the government steamers on the Nile. In
1880 he was appointed to be Emin's deputy in the Equatorial Province. Shortly afterwards
he was appointed governor of the Bahr el Ghazal. After falling into the hands of the Mahdists,
he was taken to Omdurman, where he died in captivity in 1888.
4 Hicks Pasha's force was attacked and massacred by the Mahdists at Kashgil in Kordofan
in September 1885, Hicks Pasha himself being killed.
5 Georg August Schweinfurth (1836-1925), naturalist and explorer, explored the White
Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Azande regions between 1868 and 1871. He was director of the
Cairo Museum from 1880 to 1889. His Im Herzen von Afrika (Leipzig, 1873) has been translated
into many languages.
6 Gaetano Casati (1838-1902), a former officer in the Italian army, came out to the equa-
torial regions in 1880 to undertaken topographical work. He was working in the upper reaches
of the River Uele in 1883, when the advance of the Mahdist forces into Equatoria made his
position dangerous. He reached Lado on 20 March 1883.
7 Vita Hassan (1858-1893), Jewish pharmaceutical dispenser, born in Tunis, joined
Emin's staff as a dispenser at Lado in 1881. Author of Die Wahrheit iiber Emin Pascha (Berlin,
8 The following would appear to be the origin of the canard about a steamer on Lake
Victoria. Bishop Hannington had made his way to Buganda through Masailand. This action
DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA EXTRACTS V 13
aroused the suspicions of Mwanga and his principal chiefs, and Mwanga had announced that
the Bishop would not be allowed to enter his kingdom by way of Busoga. Writing to Sir John
Kirk on 27 October 1885, the C.M.S. missionary Alexander Mackay reported that Mwanga
had "sent messengers with our boat to embark (Charles) Stokes at Msalala (sc. at the southern
end of Lake Victoria) and thence to find the Bishop about Sendege (?Kavirondo), but on no
account to fetch the Bishop or any of his party to Buganda, on the other hand to convey them
all to Msalala and return here to report. We wrote Stokes to that effect. The boat left this on the
2nd and should have been at Msalala by the 10th or 12th. The Bishop expected to reach
Sendege by the end of the month, so that Stokes would have found him there about this time.
For what reason he changed his plans and decided to come all the way by land, we cannot
tell." ('Correspondence on Death of Bishop Hannington', U.J. 13 (1949), 11-12). Writing to
his father on 9 December 1885, Mackay says, "Stokes, hearing nothing of the Bishop,
waited only two days off Kavirondo ,returned to Msalala, thence to Uyui." (A. M. Mackay
by his Sister, p. 267). As Mackay says, Hannington changed his plans and reached Buganda
overland by way of Busoga, where he was murdered on 29 October 1885, on orders sent by
Mwanga to the Musoga chief Luba.
Stokes possessed only a sailing vessel (the C.M.S. Eleanor) and he was the only European
on board. His voyage and the situation of Sendege are discussed at U.J. 25 (1961), 49 note 9.
No steamer was launched on Lake Victoria until about 1895.
Uganda Journal, 27, I (i963) pp. z5-29
THE CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO
by J. p'BITEK OKOT
No systematic study has yet been made of the religious ideas of the Acholi.
The material available is controversial and insufficient, consisting of brief
statements by missionaries, travellers and administrators, all of whom tried
to define JOK in very generalised terms. Captain Grove wrote that Jok were
spirits, active forces for good or ill in the lives of men, who spent their time
interfering in men's lives'. Seligman stated that Jok of the Acholi corresponds
with the Juok of the Shilluk, and was associated with the firmament2. Thomas
and Scott, Professor Boccassino and Father Crazzolara all maintained that
Jok was the supreme being of the Acholi, adding however that some sort of
ancestral worship might also exist3.
Wright rejected the idea of a high god among the Acholi and suggested that
this was of recent introduction. He tried to explain Acholi religion in terms
of the MANA principle. The world to the Acholi according to him was a vast
plain enclosed by the vault of the sky, and this is charged throughout with
magical force. This force is released from its static condition and then becomes
fluid and powerful, as is seen in lightning, whirlwind, curious mountains and
These brief and general statements do not help us much. They do not
for instance, tell us what sort of spirit the jogi are. Are they spirits of dead people?
Are they spirits of animals or of rocks? What is magical force? What is meant
by magical force being in a static condition? How does force become fluid?
Are rocks fluid?
We may be interested in the ways in which these students of Acholi religion
carried out their researches. What methods did they use in collecting the data
on which they based their conclusions ? What sort of questions did they ask, from
what assumptions did they proceed? In a most revealing paragraph, Father
Crazzolara recorded some of the techniques that the missionaries used.
Among the Acholi, as will become clear, there are many categories of ghosts
known by various names, but the term JOK is applied to all of them. Father
Crazzolara wrote5 :
"It was taken for granted that the generic term jok could not mean some-
thing independent from the particular jogi (pl. of jok) with their peculiar
names. Based on such assumptions natives were urged by tiresome questions
to make a choice as to which jok among the many had created them. Such
enquiries implied suppositions which probably never occurred to their
simple minds; it puzzled them, as they are still puzzled at such questions.
With hesitation they answered that they did not know, which was more near
to the truth but less satisfactory, or they decided that it was Rubanga or
From this confession it seems clear that the generalisations about Acholi
beliefs by such students are not the most trustworthy. The aim apparently
was to obtain satisfactory answers whether truthful or otherwise. A more correct
16 UGANDA JOURNAL
description of Acholi religious beliefs must await a scientific analysis of data
obtained in a more satisfactory manner.
As regards Lango religious beliefs, two works have been produced.6
Driberg, however, confessed that his account was spasmodic and contained
many gaps. He complained that the Lango were extremely reticent on matters
of religion and magic, and were vague and uncertain about essential points
concerning their religion (that is, about what Driberg himself considered to
be the essential points of Lango religion). But in spite of this he collected much
useful material, although his attempt at analysing it was not very successful,
mainly because of "lack of sufficient opportunity to study the question with
an adequate intimacy", as he put it.
Similarly, Hayley's The Anatomy of Lango Religion contains much useful
material, and his analysis is good in certain respects. It may be pointed out,
however, that the author was in the country for only 8 months (September
1936 to May 1937). He does not tell how long it took him to learn the language,
but says that as soon as he could speak it when the Lango saw that he was
living with them, dancing, eating and drinking with them, they eagerly invited
him to all their ceremonies. Something had happened to the Lango since the
days of Driberg thirteen years earlier. Much confusion however arose from his
approach to the study, for to him Jok was to be considered as the Mana principle
of the Lango;7 a blanket premise with which every phenomenon which could
not be easily explained by the author was wrapped.
All our students of Acholi and Lango religion occupied themselves with one
task, to find the meaning of the term JOK. Those who assumed that it must
be equated with god proceeded to ask questions that would satisfy them: Who
created you? Which among the many joks sustain life and establish order?
But as Father Crazzolara confessed, such questions only puzzled the natives.
Those, on the other hand who considered Jok to be the mana principle of Acholi
and Lango, as might be expected, said that the different ghosts are manifest-
ations of this blind force which pervades the universe. Having assumed what
Jok stood for, they endeavoured to order the available material to suit their
assumptions. They became slaves of their definitions.
In trying to find out something of the religious ideas of the Acholi and
Lango, I have turned to certain of their activities which may be called religious:
funerary rites, ceremonies at shrines and spirit possessional dances. On these
occasions the Acholi and Lango, faced with actual or threatened danger,
turn for help to ultra-human powers. The threat of death, ill health, ill luck,
or natural calamities such as floods, droughts, hailstorm, lightning, and the
constant interference of human conflicts in wars, raids jealousies etc., constantly
hang over human groups everywhere and in all ages. In scientifically less-
advanced communities such threats often contradict the limited body of em-
pirical knowledge, and so cannot satisfactorily be explained or dealt with
through existing scientific theories and techniques. But there usually exist a
complex of beliefs in non-natural or mystical causal agents which may be propi-
tiated by prayer or sacrifice, or used by proper techniques, for the benefit of man.
Such beliefs provide intelligible and acceptable explanations and prescribe
actions to be taken; and although the explanations are scientifically false, and
the actions do not in fact produce the desired end, (looked at scientifically),
the performers feel that they are coping with the situation, and in overt beha-
viour express their pent-up emotional steam of anxiety. As John Beattie aptly
put it, these actions are socially and psychologically, if not clinically, satisfactory8.
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 17
This is not to underrate the importance of the social and psychological aspects
of medical practice, nor is it intended to suggest that beliefs in ghosts are con-
fined to the so-called under-developed countries, The ajwaka (diviner) among the
Acholi and Lango was a consultant psychiatrist, chemist and priest combined.
He administered medicines which effected cure and gave psychological treat-
ment to patients who needed it.9
From what a people say and do at these ceremonies, what songs they sing,
what litanies and prayers they repeat, we may learn something of their ideas
about the ultra-human powers that they believe affect or control their lives.
To whom are the songs and prayers addressed? What do the people ask for
in their prayers ? What kind of songs are sung: songs of praise ? of fun and jokes ?
such as are sung at moonlight dances? By asking such questions we may learn
something of the nature of the spirit world as they see it, and their attitudes
to it, whether of fear and awe, etc. By paying attention to the congregations
- the groups that attend the different religious ceremonies we may see how
the different groups regard the spiritual world, by asking whether at all of the
ceremonies the prayers and songs are addressed to the same power or not;
whether the rituals are similar or different, etc.
This paper is based mainly on texts : funeral dirges, chants and songs used
at such ceremonies as mentioned above; but for a complete study of a people's
religion much more is needed. The ceremonies and rituals, the objects used in
the ceremonies, the symbolism, the roles or religious characters such as ajwaka
(misinterpreted as witchdoctors), sorcererers, and such like, all these must be
studied and interpreted. This I have not done in this paper, for various reasons:
but although thereby the picture may not be as clear as it might otherwise be,
it is maintained that the conclusions drawn at the end are not any less valid.
A ceremony or a ritual are the fixed or sanctioned patterns of behaviour
required at certain occasions to invest them with solemnity, dignity and im-
portance; and demanding from those taking part, an attitude of reverence.
Apart from learning what kind of attitude our congregation has, rituals and
ceremonies tell us little about the nature of the spiritual world. Moreover, the
religious characters are important only in so far as they take leading roles, in the
ceremonies. They may be as vague as any one else in their own minds as to
the sort of questions that the missionaries asked; they are experts in the ritual
proceedings, and give 'explanations' as to why this or the other disease has
caught so and so, without necessarily being theologians.
We may divide the spiritual world of the Acholi and Lango into three
major groups, according to the different modes taken to deal with threatened
or real danger that different groups of people feel, or believe are caused by
ghostly activities. This classification applies equally to the beliefs of the Alur.
1. CHIEFDOM (OR CLAN) JOK. These usually have their shrines on hills or by
rivers. The chief, (rwot) is the owner ofthejok, that is to say he is the person
responsible for organising the ceremonies at these shrines, he provides the food
and drinks, tells the day, etc., for the occasion. The actual celebrant at these
political jok shrines, however, usually belongs to a commoner clan.
Each of the chiefdoms in Acholi (and some of the clans too) had a jok
kaka, as they are called. Payira chiefdom, the largest in Acholi, had seven
of these situated in various parts of the territory. Patiko chiefdom had two:
Baka and Alela (situated on two neighboring hills and the latter regarded as
wife of Baka.)
18 UGANDA JOURNAL
Driberg tells us that groups from Lango used to make pilgrimages to Got
Agoro in north-east Acholi (it is not clear what groups those were; clans or
sets, etc.); these were dangerous trips as they had to pass through the hostile
territories of Acholi and Madi. At the foot of the Mount there was a Lango
village in which the guardian and celebrant of the jok shrine lived. Wot pa
Odur who died about 1913 was the last celebrant.'1 Another of the Lango
common shrines was called Jok Atida, with its shrine at a large Bunyan tree
north of the River Moroto. The celebrants of this shrine were women."
Jok Riba, physically associated with a small cliff above Lake Albert (Onek
Bonyo) is generally recognized as a premier shrine in Alur land. To this, chiefs
from Mukambo, Panyikango, Anal and Jukoth offer sacrifices. The celebrant
came from a Lendu clan. The chiefdoms also had their own jogi.12
It is almost impossible to discover what actually happens, what the celebrant
does or says when offering the offerings, because of the veil of secrecy which
surrounds the proceedings. This in turn makes it difficult to discover what sort
of spirits they are to which the people pray at these shrines (if indeed they are
spirits). On some of the Acholi chiefdom joks we have the following infor-
mation'. Padibe chiefdom call their chief's jok Lariol. It is said that the jok
is like a man, and first fell from the sky and broke his thigh bone, hence its
name derived from Uolo which means cripple. It first appeared to a man called
Del of the aristocratic clan and possessed him. Its shrine is under a tarmarind
tree on an ant hill by the River Aringa at a place called Keca.13 Labongo
chiefdom jok, Abayo, also fell from the sky; (bayo means to throw down).
Byeyo, one of the seven joks of Paira cheifdom, was founded by Rwot
Loni, the 15th chief of the dynasty; its shrine is on a hill of the same name.'4
During the reign of the same chief, there was a great drought, and when prayers
to all the chiefdcm joks failed to bring rain he sent his priests to go and look
for rain; they returned with glassy-looking pieces of rocks which, when invoked,
after sacrifices had been made, caused rain to fall. This is also called the chief's
Among the Alur the jok of important chiefdoms are materialised in earth
brought in a pot from the original Luo homeland. Some of the lowland chiefdom
jok, however, possess one of the chief's wives in each region, and such a wife
has some seniority and has duties in the service of jok.'5 Such is also the case
with the jok of the Koc chiefdom of Acholi.
What are the jok of chiefdom shrines? The situation is confused, for there
does not seem to be one uniform type of spirit, some are embodied in materials
others are believed to be ghosts, but we do not know whose ghosts they are.
But in all cases the prayers are for rain, fertility in women and crops, health
and success in war; that is for protection against dangers facing the whole
chiefdom. The fact that the ownership of these jok are limited to chiefs imply
that the welfare of the entire people is involved. In operating the shrines the
unity of the chiefdom and the power of the chief are enhanced.
2. SPIRITS OF KNOWN RELATIVES
These may be further divided into three sub-groups :
(a) Spirits of ancestors, heads of lineages; these are believed to be bene-
volent and protective, and shrines are dedicated to them.
(b) Spirits of relatives born abnormally, especially twins; they are feared,
and shrines may also be built for them.
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 19
(c) Spirits of relatives who died with grudges. They are greatly feared,
since they are believed to be all out for ghostly vengeance. In all Luo-
speaKing nations these ghosts are known as cen (variously pronounced).
They are treated in the same way as the hostile ghosts of unknown
persons and dangerous beasts.
3. SPIRITS OF UNKNOWN PERSONS AND DANGEROUS BEASTS
These are believed to dwell in streams, rocks, bushes etc. They are all hostile
and cause sicknesses and other misfortune to an individual. At spirit-posses-
sional dances cure is effected by inducing these spirits to possess the patient,
who then becomes a medium through whom the ghost may say why it has caused
the patient to suffer, and what it wants. The request may either be granted or
rejected, the ghost is then exorcised and then driven out or captured and 'killed'.
More will be said of these groups of spirits later. At this point it may be
useful to stop and consider what the Acholi and Lango beliefs are as regards
spirits. Do they believe in life after death? What sort of existence is it? What
happens to a person when death occurs? In trying to answer these questions
we shall examine mortuary rites and especially the funeral dirges; paying
attention to what the songs say, and the sociological significance of the cere-
monies. What follows, however, is an examination only of Acholi funerary
rites, which, although different from those of the Lango in certain aspects,
seem to have more-or-less similar meanings.
The funeral dirges of the Acholi form an important part of the conven-
tionalised and dramatised outburst of grief and wailing in sorrow, with which
the people face the supreme crisis of life death. As soon as a person has died,
the women start wailing and messages are sent out to relatives. Some of the
men in the homestead straightaway begin digging the grave, others, in tears
but not wailing aloud, blow their horns and stage the mock fight, uc.
When the grave is ready, a brief ceremony takes place in the house in which
the corpse is lying. It is attended only by a handful of elderly men and women.
The procedure differs in minor details from chiefdom to chiefdom, the follow-
ing is what the Paira do. The wife of the deceased lies over her dead husband
and embraces him, one of the elders present covers them with a duiker skin,
and gently strikes their heads with the bread-making spoon-(oluto kwon).
The head of the corpse is then shaved and smeared with oil and ochre. Then
the widow is led off into the wilderness, and remains there till after the burial.
During the burial all wailing ceases. All gather around the grave, and after
lowering the corpse, the mourners throw handfuls of sand into the grave,
three or four times, according to whether it is a man or woman. The grave is
then filled-in. Care is taken to see that all the little details of the burial are
attended to, for neglect may cause the spirit of the departed to become angry.
The general tidying-up of the area around the grave is done within one week,
at a ceremony called puyu lyel, smearing over the grave (as the floors of houses
are done). This is usually a local affair, but more distant relatives may also be
seen. At this time solitary wails and funeral dirges may be heard.
The final feast takes place at a carefully-chosen time, to ensure maximum
attendance by relatives. It entails a great deal of organisation for feeding and
accommodation. The size of the feast depends on the age, and economic,
social and political status of the deceased. Youths, that is, persons under the
age of about 18, never enjoy this honour; and of course, as Shakespeare put
it, "When beggers die there are no comets seen, the heavens themselves blaze
20 UGANDA JOURNAL
forth the death of princes". The general attitude of the dancers is determined
by how old the deceased was, the gayest funeral dances being those for the
very oldest persons, while those in memory of men in the peak of their powers
tend to be sad and sober.
On the appointed day groups of relatives and their wives begin to arrive
with their contributions for the feast in the form of provisions and animals.
About 30 or so yards from the compound the dancers, who up to now were in
single files, form up in battle formation, and storm the homestead in a mock
attack. The women run behind them, making alarms and shouting the clan
praise names of their men-folk. On reaching the middle of the compound,
one of them calls out the first line of a well-known dirge, leaping up and stam-
ping the ground rythmically. The rest take up the song:
Fire rages at tayima
It rages in the valley of River Cumu,
Everything is utterly destroyed;
Oh! my daughter,
If I could reach the homestead of Death's mother,
I would make a long grass torch;
If I could only reach the homestead of Death's mother
I would utterly destroy everything,
Fire rages at Layima.
The dancing is accompanied by drumming and scrubbing of large half-
gourds on planks this makes a sharp wailing rhythmic tone. The mourners
may dance three or four steps or songs, before they are replaced by another
group. Later on in the night there is a joint session, and especially when the
dead person is very old, there is much romancing.
The funeral songs are often well-known and tend to last much longer than
the occasional songs of the moonlight dances. A study of 49 dirges has revealed
the following two themes: first that death is inevitable and second, that the
dead never return. The first theme is expressed in the subtle distinction made
between the causes of death and Death itself. With spears and shields we may
ward off the attacks of some hostile clan, and sickness may be fought with
medicines and care. But these are agents of Death, and are seen as distinct
from Death. The final struggle is conceived of, as it were, a contest inside a
strongly-fortified ring, between, in the one corner Death powerful, blood-
thirsty and cruel and in the other corner, Man, holding on to life as best
he can. From outside the ring the parents and other relatives watch anxiously,
angry but helpless:
Behold Oteka fights alone
The Bull dies alone.
O men of the lineage of Awic
What has the son of my mother done to you
That he should be deserted
Behold the warrior fights single handed.
My brother is armed with bows and barbed-headed arrows,
He fights alone, not a single helper beside him;
My brother fights alone,
He struggles with Death.
The dirges are outbursts of deep grief uprising from the agonies of heart
and mind frustrated and in utter despair. Unable to do his duty to defend,
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 21
protect and help his brother, full of fierce revenge, but knowing too well that
the feud against Death will never be fought out, the tearful mourner cries out:
O! If I could reach the homestead of Death's mother...
Here we see a frank admittance of complete helplessness and hopelessness
of the living in stopping Death from carrying out its cruel purposeless scheme
of destruction Against Death there is no defence.
It is only by grasping this distinction between Death and the causes of death
that we may understand the reason why in the dirges there is completely no
expression of bitterness against any living persons, even those who may have
caused the death.
Listen to her congratulating herself!
The poison from her mother
Is bitter, much bitter than gourd juice;
She bothers women with wailing and sorrows,
But it is no matter!
To be sure, death is avenged, it must be avenged: feuds are fought; poisoners
and witches and sorcerers are killed; hostile ghosts are captured and 'speared
to death'. At the crucial moment however, when the question 'to be or not to be'
is being settled, it is an issue between Man and Death. In this sense then, the
funeral songs are an expression of personal tragedy, defeat and helplessness.
This sense of tragedy is heightened by the knowledge that the dead never
return. Pagak the place of no return is the praise name of Tomb.
Listen to the flute of my beloved!
He should soon be home.
I hear his flute early in the morning,
I wait for my beloved on the pathway
In vain I wait for my beloved!
There is a big dance yonder,
The arena is full of youths from Cua;
Who can spot my beloved's head dress?
Who can recognize the sound of his horn?
Who the music of his drum?
Mother can you see my beloved?
In vain, I strain my eyes, in vain!
Friend will you not talk to me?
Will you not answer my words?
O, if you are dead
Let them bury both of us,
Let them bury us in the same tomb.
Of course spirits and ghosts exist and manifest themselves. But spirits
and ghosts are not the same as living beings. As a Maori poet sang "They
greet not those whom they meet, they show neither affection, nor yet sympathy,
more than a stump". The personal and group loss occasioned by death is
real and permanent.
But at this supreme crisis, the Acholi exhibit a clearly irreligious tendency.
There is no blinking at death. It is faced squarely without turning to ultra-
human forces for consolations. There is no heaven to which the departed retire
22 UGANDA JOURNAL
to join some god in celestial splendour, nor a hell to await the sinful. Death is
not a gateway to some sort of desirable eternal existence, but a cruel monster
which strikes down a member of a family and the lineage.
But if they are helpless against Death, the Acholi have an effective means
of coping with the crisis. The whole sad episode is taken as an attack on the
lineage group, and this group is summoned to meet the emergency. The rela-
tionships mobilised in the rituals, ceremonies and the dance are primarily kinship
relationships.'6 All the members of the group together with their wives and
husbands, gather at the homestead struck by death. Together they weep, bury
the corpse, work, eat, drink; each person as a member of a sub-group, playing
his known role. Then, having ensured the well-being of the dependants of the
departed member, finally comes the dance. And as the mourners return to their
respective villages, the bond of unity of the lineage group is strengthened by
the crisis that has just passed.
What then is life? This philosophical question which ultimately embraces
every aspect of human existence and life, cannot be adequately answered merely
by analysing what a people sing about death. But certain points arise from this
which are relevant to our quest for the meaning of Jok. From a people's attitude to
death we may also learn something of their attitude to life. Here is no pessimism
which pervades eastern and some Christian philosophies. Leopardi's remark
"existence itself is evil and destined to evil, there is no other good than non-
existence" sounds like the talk of a witch to the Acholi. Ghosts exist, but this
is not the same as a belief in life after death such as is held by Christians;
such a state is not desired. Lastly there is much stress on the lineage group,
and this is consistent with ancestor worship which will be discussed below.
To summarise briefly, we have classified the spiritual world of the Acholi
and Lango into three groups according to function. The political jok were
approached with offerings and prayer for protection against danger threatening
the entire chiefdom or clan; spirits of known relatives were asked for blessing
upon members of the lineage group; and certain ailments and diseases were
personified as ghosts, and were dealt with by the technique of spirit possession.
We have also seen that death is not regarded as a gateway into some desirable
heaven. When a person dies it is said that his spirit has escaped (cwinye orwenyo).
Death sets free the non-material part of man. The corpse is buried but the es-
caped spirit is thus enabled to act, for good or ill, from a distance without
visible or physical contact.
When the Acholi and Lango wish to offer sacrifices to spirits of known
relatives, either for joyful or sorrowful events, in thanksgiving or propitaition,
they gather before the abila or kac. These are shrines, untidily-made structures
which in pre-Christian days could be found in every homestead. The abila
assumes various forms1 and sizes. In some areas it is a miniature hut no higher
than 2 feet, in others it is made of stones arranged so that they form a little
table. Hunting trophies are hung on branches of a tree or some other cons-
truction under which the abila is. This also acts as a place for resting spears.
A new shrine is built and dedicated to an old man or woman of the lineage
group'8, but there is more emphasis on the male line. The signal for construction
is usually given by the spirit itself through dreams or by causing some minor
illness. The diviner, (ajwaka), is consulted, and through him the spirit makes
known his desire for a shrine. He complains of having been neglected too long,
that he is cold and hungry and thirsty for blood; that he is now tired of attending
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 23
ghostly feasts in the shrines of spirits of members of other lineages, where he is
constantly embarrassed by the jokes of his ghostly friends who ask when they
too would be invited to a feast at his own abila.
Arrangements are then made for the building and dedication of a new shrine.
The eldest son of the deceased is responsible for this, and he is called the owner
of the abina. All members of the lineage group, males and females together
with their wives and children and husbands (the same group that comes to the
funeral), assemble. The ajwaka arrives, accompanied by a small group of
assistants, blowing their horns and shaking gourd rattles. It is said that the
ajwaka meets the spirit on the pathway and brings him into the homestead
and so into the house where the elders have gathered.
Then through the ajwaka, a joint council takes place between the living
and the dead. Greetings are exchanged; they address each other by name
and recognize each others' voices. The spirits complain normally of the dis-
comforts of their present existence. They may also tell of the manner of their
death, if this is socially relevant; for instance, if a feud ought to have been
fought to avenge a murder.
This is followed by short speeches by the living, putting their cases. In some
instances an argument ensues between a spirit and a living person. After every-
body has said what he or she had to say, the whole party emerges from the
house for the public session, at the newly-erected shrine.
A billy goat is slaughtered, and its blood is sprinkled on the shrine, later
some morsel of the meat and some bread, and some beer are also offered;
all these are followed by prayers for health and well-being of the lineage group.
The owner of the shrine, that is the eldest son of the deceased person, leads
the prayers :
Today I have slaughtered a billy goat for you;
Here is blood for you.
Here is meat for you,
We have no fear of you
For you are our ancestors.
Today I give you a billy goat,
Drink ye of its blood,
The plagues that are coming
Let them pass away from our homestead.
Here is food for you
Let your children be healthy,
And their wives, let them bear fruits
Healthy and strong
so that your names may not be obliterated...
It is important to note here that the prayers are addressed to the ancestors,
and not to other spiritual beings. The Nuer, according to Evans-Pritchard19
direct their prayers to Kwoth god in the sky. Dr. Godfrey Lienhardt20
says that the Dinka pray and make offerings to Naylich god in the above,
the creator of the world and establisher of order. In both cases the spirits of
ancestors only act as intermediaries. Not so with the Acholi and Lango, to
whom offerings are meant to propitiate the spirits of ancestors, and prayers
are for them to answer.
24 UGANDA JOURNAL
This difference between the Acholi and Lango on the one hand and the
Nuer and Dinka on the other, is of vital importance for its raises, and in a
vivid way, the question of the meaning of the term JOK. Does the term have
the same meaning to all Nilotic peoples? Are Kwoth and Nyalich joks? Can
we equate these with the chiefdom joks of the Acholi, Lango and Alur? Some of
these questions must await a more-detailed comparative study of the concept
of JOK among Nilotic Peoples, and the question of whether the Acholi and
Lango practice what is called ancestral worship must be left until after a dis-
cussion of spirit possession among the Acholi and Lango.
When according to the diviner-priest ill health or other misfortune is due
to the activities of ghosts of unknown persons or of dangerous beasts, the situ-
ation is dealt with by inducing the ghost to possess the patient, who then
becomes a medium through whom the ghost makes its complaints known,
and depending on whether these are regarded as reasonable or not, they may
be offered some sacrifice, or be driven out or even captured and killed.
The ajwaka arrives in full regalia, which makes her look quite frightening.
She is accompanied by a small group of assistants carrying basketsful of aja-
gourd rattles. At the entrance of the house in which the patient is waiting the
diviner trembles all over an indication that the spirits inside do not welcome
her21. Water is sprinkled on the door posts before she and her party enter in.
The patient is then administered some mixture, the rough remains of which
is smeared on his head22. The rattles are then distributed among those assemb-
led in the house, and the stage is set for the spirit-possession dance.
There are a number of categories of ghosts of spirits of these unknown
persons and beasts, identified by the kind of illness or misfortune caused, and
believed to dwell in different locations. Each category has songs and peculiar
steps of dance appropriate to it. The following are some of them :
Ayweya-dwell in bushes and under big trees; Kulu-dwell in rivers (kyly
means river, stream, swamp); Odani-dwell on hillsides and mountains (but
must be distinguished from the chiefdom joks which may also be found on hill-
sides and mountains); )uu-ghosts of dangerous beasts such as lions, leopards,
elephants, etc.23; Anyodo-reside near homesteads.
One of the most feared of these ghosts is Lubanga, which is held responsible
for tuberculosis of the spine, and causes hunchbacks. It is important to note
that this is the name of the Christian god today among the Acholi and Lango.
About 1920 the then head of the Catholic mission abolished the use of the term
jok in favour of Rubanga. He had done a similar thing in the Southern Sudan
where the term jok was replaced by the Italian 'Dio'. At that time the Protestant
missionaries used Allah but later took up Lubanga24.
This particular cult seems to have originated in Bunyoro, from where it
has spread widely, and is known among the Acholi, Lango, Alur, Madi, Lugbara
and Bari, but neither among the northern Nilotes (Dinka, Nuer, Anuak Shilluk),
nor the southern Nilotes (Jopadhola and Kenya Luo). In Lunyoro the two
terms Ruhanga and Rubanga mean respectively god, and the Omucwezi of
twins. According to Beattie, Rubanga is one of the most powerful of the original
Cwezi spirits, and is especially concerned with twin birth. The medium of this
spirit plays an important role in ceremonies connected with twins.
At birth, the mandwa, as the medium is called, stays with the twins and
their mother in the special hut until the fourth day when she brings them out.
If either or both of the twins are born dead, or die soon after birth, the Rubanga
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 25
medium is called and two pots are obtained. The medium bends or breaks
(kuhendeka) the bodies and squeezes them into the pots which are then sealed
with clay. Four days later the medium, while possessed, bores two small holes
near the top of each pot. Some days later the pots are deposited under a special
tree in the bush, and that completes the burial25.
Wright relates26 how, in Acholi, he came across a shrine of jok Rubanga
which differed from all other shrines he had seen before, there being a four-
mouthed pot set up as a result of an affliction of tuberculosis of the spine,
which had caused the death of two children and a hunchback in a third. The
local doctor, having failed to effect cure, advised that a Jopaluo doctor from
across the Nile, in Bunyoro, be called in. The doctor from Bunyoro announced
that the trouble was due to a visitation from jok Rubanga. A feast was held
and much beer drunk. Later the hunchback was killed by the Nyoro doctor
and buried in the curious pot. Wright adds that similar stories were known
among the Alur and Mahagi.
Professor Southall tells27 that, among the Alur, some of the political or
chiefdom joks are called Rubanga, but "the most current manifestation ofjok
in the everyday life of the society at large are the semi-trance phenomena of
the dances at spirit possession seances . they are ascribed to numerous jok
of different names"; one of these is Rubanga. He continues, "In the highlands
all these possession jok are regarded as a recent intrusion from the lowlands.
The Alur of the lowlands to some extent reinforce this by claiming that they
too were invaded by the jok from further east"; that is from Acholi and Bunyoro.
The Lango28 put the phenomena of possession by ghosts in the province
of Jok Nam; nam refers to the people of the River Nile and Lake Kioga, that
is the Nyoro and other Bantu tribelets. Driberg writes that the ajwaka who
deal with diseases due to jok nam are called abanwa (pl. abaani); and are them-
selves men and women who were at one time possessed by jok nam. One of
these is called obanga. It may be added that Fr. Crazzolara in his 'A study of
Acholi Language' defines an Acholi word abaani (which is not in use today)
as "a person chosen, and at times possessed by jok"; he adds that an ajwaka
belonged to this group.
The Nyoro origin of the cult seems clear, although certain questions still
need to be answered; what is the significance and implication of the term
Rubanga as applied to the chiefdom joks of Alur? why is Rubanga connected
with hunchbacks and tuberculosis of the spine in Acholi, while in Bunyoro
it is connected with twins? What is it connected with in Lango and Alur, and
why? etc. One implication of this, however, is that the Christian word for god
in Acholi and Lango stands for a category of hostile ghosts recently introduced
from Bunyoro. Acholi say "Lubanga oturu kore", (Lubanga has broken his
Another point of interest which arises from this is that most of the other
categories of possession joks are also migratory. Thus we find the following
possession joks common to Acholi, Alur and Lango: Odude, Orongo (which
is also known in Bunyoro), Anydo and Rubanga. The Lango and Acholi have
Omarari, Olila and kulu in common.
The procedures of spirit possession among Acholi and Lango are almost
identical, and these have striking similarities to the Nyoro initiation into the
Cwezi cult. A patient may be suffering from a number of diseases, and this is
diagnosed as visitations by a number of categories of ghosts at the same time.
26 UGANDA JOURNAL
In such cases it is necessary that each category must be dealt with at a time,
following the appropriate methods suitable for that particular category.
The ajwaka strikes out with a well-known song, shaking his rattle rhythmic-
ally. The rest join in the chorus, shaking their rattles, those without rattles
clapping their hands. The drummers join in, and the rhythmic movement
is terrific29. For a moment nothing happens to the patient. The ajwaka prances
here and there, making gesticulations, and says:
Come out you spirits
And untie this knot;
Why do you not come quickly,
And release the patient?
If the ghosts refuse to come, that is, if the patient is not affected by the
rhythmic movement, this is a sign that they are extremely hostile and dangerous.
Another trial is made later, or probably another more powerful ajwaka is called
in. In most cases however, the patient soon succumbs to the bright music,
and begins to tremble and dance. The ghost has now entered his head.
The volume of singing, shaking of rattles, clapping and drumming increases,
and the tempo quickens. Other persons who were once possessed may join
the dance, but otherwise the patient and the ajwaka alone may dance; (another
indication that spirit possession is a matter for a special group, the society
of media, abandwa).
The patient is then led into the inner room. He is now a medium, and
through him an argument takes place between the ghost and the ajwaka.
If the ghost agrees to accept an offering and leave the patient alone, it is said
to be reasonable; later a goat is killed and offered to it. But if it is simply
obstinate, and rejects any offerings, a violent struggle takes place between
the ajwaka and the ghost, which is heard to cry:
Why do you kill me?
O why do you kill me?
To this the ajwaka replies:
You have troubled us badly
Today it is your turn (to suffer).
The hostile ghost is captured and put into an empty gourd or pot, and this is
buried in a live ant hill or in the middle of a swamp, or it is 'speared to death'.
The patient resumes his seat in the outer room. More categories of ghosts
are treated in the same manner, but others may just be 'driven out'. The play-
ing of the aja and singing and drumming is resumed, and the patient dances
vigorously until he is about to collapse with exhaustion. Then a goat is given
to him, and this he carries on his back and runs with it towards the stream,
or hill or bush, depending on where the ghost being driven out is believed to
dwell. On the way, he puts the goat down, and this is killed by stamping on
its throat30. This is usually followed by the collapse of the patient, although
he may fall before the goat is killed. He is then carried into the house, uncon-
scious. There he remains until he comes to. The ghosts that had caused his
ailments having been driven out, he should now recover, completely.
The cult of spirit possession provided the Acholi and Lango with a means of
coping with diseases which in their present stage of culture cannot be dealt with
through more scientific means. But our main interest here is not whether these
means are effective or not, but to see how the Acholi and Lango regard these
spirits or ghosts which they believe cause ill health and misfortune. First, they
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 27
are regarded as hostile, and are treated accordingly; they are given offerings
if they are reasonable; if not they are driven out, captured and sealed in
pots and buried into live ant hills or killed with the spear. They are strangers,
and like human strangers they may be killed in self defence or for any other
good cause. This contrasts with the attitude adopted towards the spirits of
ancestors, who are generally benevolent. The offerings given to them are food,
blood and beer, they become angry if neglected and remind their children by
dreams or mild illnesses. This is the sort of attitude one has towards members
of one's own family and lineage. They are not killed, for they are not really
hostile except for those vengeful spirits of members of the lineage who died with
a grudge, cen. These may be killed if they persist in their anti-social ways.
Secondly, there is no question of worship here, no songs of praise, no prayers
are offered to them.
All the spirits belonging to the three groups into which we have divided
the spiritual world of the Acholi and Lango are known by the generic term
JOK; the chiefdom jok of Patiko is called Jok Baka, the lineage jok may be
found in a number of homesteads, and the spirit possession joks known by
different names are all qualified by the term jok: jok orongo, jok olila, jok
lubanga, etc. What then is JOK?
At the beginning of this paper I referred to the assumptions of the earlier
students of Acholi religion and some of the questions they asked. As we can
see now, they erroneously took it for granted that the generic term jok could not
mean something different from the particular joks with their peculiar names,
and then proceeded to ask which among these had created the Acholi. Father
Crazzolara tells us that the Acholi were puzzled at such questions. Is it a wonder
that they were puzzled? But the missionaries rejected the honest answer of their
informants that they did not know who had created them; because, Father
Crazzolara says, these were not satisfactory answers. Why were these answers
unsatisfactory? Because, it seems that it was necessary for the missionaries
to find something with which to equate the Christian god. It was probably
thought that this was necessary for the success of missionary work, or perhaps
the missionaries could not imagine any other situation possible considering
that every community must have some sort of belief in a high god. But when,
out of sheer exhaustion from tiresome questions, someone hesitatingly, and
knowing full well that what he was about to say was far from the truth, said
that Rubanga was their creator, the missionaries, instead of exorcising these
hostile ghosts which break people's backs and sending them out among pigs,
proceeded to elevate them to the level of God the creator, the Almighty Father
of Jesus Christ, Lord of All. And more, having thus raised Rubanga above,
not only the other categories of malevolent ghosts, but also above the bene-
volent lineage joks, as well as the joks of chiefdoms, the missionaries then
proceeded to argue and write that the Acholi believed in a high god called
The Acholi and Lango seem to have turned to ultra-human powers in order
to deal with specific cases of ill health, ill luck and natural calamities. The
ultra-human forces were conceived of in terms of spirits, the non-material part
of man or beast which is set free when death occurs. (The case of chiefdom
joks is not certain). But all these were given the generic name JOK. And the
meaning of the term depended on the group or category of ghost or spirit
28 UGANDA JOURNAL
that was faced at any given moment; thus we speak of JOK KAKA, JOK
PACO, and of the spirits of unknown persons and beasts, JOK ODUDE and
JOK IJUU, etc.
These do not seem to have been arranged in any hierarchical order with,
for instance, the chiefdom joks above the lineage joks at the bottom the hostile-
disease joks, but they were responsible for definite areas of problems; and
within these a particular jok was 'sovereign', that is, none was treated as an
intermediary. The lineage joks were not asked to intercede, and the hostile
joks were dealt with directly.
In so far as the Acholi and Lango made offerings to the spirits of their
ancestors and prayed to them, we may say that they practised some form of
ancestor worship. The joks at whose shrines the entire chiefdoms gathered were
also worshipped, but they appear to have no direct relationship to lineages.
They were not the spirits of the ancestors of the chief, for each chief had his
own lineage jok. The worship at the chiefdom shrine cannot therefore be called
ancestor worship. As for the hostile ghosts, there was no question of worshipp-
It is interesting to note the impress of the social structure of the Acholi
and Lango on their religious thought.32 Like that of the Nuer and other Nilotes,
there are the segmentary political and lineage groups which tend towards
fission and fusion, two lineages are distinct and separate at one level of segmen-
tation and are a unit at a higher level. The clan is composed of a number of
lineages, but with other clans they form a chiefdom. There was, however,
no central chief who unified all the chiefdoms. Thus the biggest congregations
gathered at the chiefdom shrines, and after that at the clan shrines (where they
existed), then the lineage shrines, and household shrines, until we come to per-
sonal afflictions due to the hostile ghosts. But there was no high god to whom
all knees were bended.
Magic, witchcraft and sorcery also existed, but these tended to be overshad-
owed by the beliefs in spirits.
1. E. T. N. Grove. Sudan Notes and Records. 11. (1919), (3), 157.
2. G. Seligman. Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan. (1932). 126-7.
3. H. B. Thomas and R. Scott. Uganda. (O.U.P., London, 1936); R. Boccassino. Uganda
J. 6. (1939). (4). 196;
4. A. C. A. Wright. Uganda J. 3. (1936). (3). 175.
5. Crazzolara J. P.. The Lwoo, 3 volumes verona 1950-55.
6. J. H. Driberg. The Lango. (London, 1923). Ch.6. 216-268; T. T. S. Hayley. The
Anatomy of Lango Religion. (Cambridge, 1947); N. Akena's article in Uganda J. 23. (1959).
188-90 is a brief account of Lango religion which is a short re-statement of Driberg's much-
longer and more-detailed work.
7. Hayley. Op. cit. p.2.
8. J. Beattie. Bunyoro. (California, 1960). 70.
9. Dr. Lambo, the Consultant Psychiatrist at University College, Ibadan, works with
Nigerian diviners, and in Kenya Dr. Otsyula also allows diviners in wards of Government
hospitals. (See F. Welbourn. 1962 Transition No. 5).
10. Driberg. Op. cit. 218.
11. Driberg. Op. cit. 219.
12. A. W. Southall. The Alur. (Cambridge, 1953). 370.
13. Anywar, R. S. Acholi ki Ker Megi.
14. Anywar. Ibid.
15. Southall. Op. cit. 374.
16. G. Wilson. Rituals of Kinship among the Nyakyusa. (Oxford, 1957). 226-8.
CONCEPT OF JOK AMONG THE ACHOLI AND LANGO 29
17. For a full description see: A. Malandra. Uganda J. 7. (1939). (1). 30.
18. Malandra. Ibid.
19. E. Evans-Pritchard, Nuer Religion. (Oxford, 1956). 1-27.
20. Godfrey Lienhardt. Divinity and Experience. (Oxford, 1961). 29.
21. "What have I got to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high, I adjure thee
by God, that thou torment me not". Mark. 5. v.7.
22. See Beattie's description of Nyoro initiation to Cwezi Cults: Journal of African
Studies. 16, 150; also: the Bacwezi Initiation Ceremony, by H. Cory, in American Anthro-
23. For list of Lango dangerous beasts see Hayley, op. cit. 15.
24" Crazzolara. Op. cit.
25. J. Beattie. Journal of African Studies. 16. 150.
26. Wright. Op. cit.
27. Southall. Op. cit. 374; see also footnote, 372.
28. Driberg. Op. cit. 237; Hayley. Op. cit. 7.
29. For the use of drums etc, in psycho-analytical treatment, see W. Sargant. The Battle
for the Mind. (Heinemann, 1957).
30. Among the Lango the goat is only kicked by the patient and killed later, but Cory
says that at the Cwezi initiation the goat is choked and its bones broken in a very cruel way.
31. R. Boccassino. Uganda J. 6. (1939). 196.
32. Evans-Pritchard. Op. cit. 112,118.
Uganda Journal, 27, i (i963), pp. 31-59
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI
by SI JOHN GRAY
In this article I shall be covering much the same ground as H. B. Thomas
in his 'Capax Imperii' (U.J. 6 (1938-9), 125-36). My excuse is twofold. In
the first place Semei Lwakirenzi Kakunguru has of recent years become some-
what of a legendary figure. Secondly, when in 1924 I was deputed to inquire
into his grievances, I had a number of interviews with him. In the course
thereof he indulged in numerous reminiscences which, although not very
relevant to my terms of reference, I none the less recorded because they seemed
to be of considerable general interest.
I will not set out those reminiscences verbatim, because by that time the old
man had become extremely biblical in his language and was insistent that
he had scriptural warrant for all that he had done in the past and wished to
do in the future. For example, one of his grievances was that certain land owned
by him in Buganda was required for public purposes and he was either unwil-
ling to part with it or else would only sell at a price which the Uganda Govern-
ment was unwilling to pay. By way of explanation Kakunguru informed
me in the language of Matthew iv. 8-9 that Satan had taken him up into an
exceeding high mountain and had shown him all the land beneath, saying
"All these lands I shall give you, if you agree to my words." At first I thought
he was speaking to me allegorically, but later on he explained that Satan
had come to him in the guise of a certain District Commissioner (sc. A. E.
Weatherhead), who later became a respected Provincial Commissioner, and
that the meeting took place at Kakunguru's house at Gangama on the slopes
of the Buwalasi range.
From this it may be inferred that the legendary Kakunguru was in no small
measure the creation of Semei Lwakirenzi Kakunguru himself, and that his
autobiographical reminiscences require in many instances corroboration from
other sources. This is particularly the case in regard to some of his assertions
as to his achievements in what was known in his early days as Bukedi.
Semei Lwakirenzi, who was later given the honorific title of Kakunguru,
was born in Koki, but he was not, as he asserted in his later days, a member
of the Bushbuck clan, the clan of the ruling family in Koki. Yona Wajja, who
became Kakunguru's servant in 1892 and who remained with him until his
death in 1929, tells us that he was the son of a Muganda, named Semuwamba,
of the Lung-fish (Mamba) clan, who hailed from the village of Kazinga, near
Seguku, in the county of Busiro. At an early age Semuwamba left Buganda
and took service with the Mukama of Koki. He married a woman of Koki,
named Kyangwa, who bore him seven sons and three daughters. Semuwamba
rose to be Katikiro of Koki, but later fell into disfavour and together with his
wife was put to death.
The Mukama of Koki tried to make prisoners of the dead Katikiro's child-
ren, but all of them managed to escape into Buganda. Kakunguru fled to Buddu,
where he formed a friendship with, and became the blood brother of, Yusufu
Biakuno, the son of Tebukoza, the Pokino (County Chief) of Buddu, who
32 UGANDA JOURNAL
belonged to the Lugave clan. Kakunguru is said to have embarked on the
career of elephant-hunter, but early in Mwanga's reign (1884-1897) he was
given the mutongole chieftainship of Kirumba in Buddu.
Regarding Kakunguru's career in Buganda between the years 1889 and 1892
I have nothing that I can usefully add to what H. B. Thomas has already said
in 'Capax Imperii'. It suffices to say here that he obtained a well-deserved
reputation as a military leader of the Protestant Baganda. At the same time it
became very patent that mutual jealousies were beginning to grow up between
him and Apolo Kagwa. There is no need to go into details. It was more or less
inevitable that such rivalry occur and that in the ensuing quarrels between the
two, each party was to some extent to blame. It was clear that Mwanga dis-
liked Apolo Kagwa. Whilst one cannot acquit Apolo of personal ambition,
his loyalty to his master, in so far as loyalty was in the very difficult circum-
stances possible, revealed in him a sense of true statemanship, which does not
ever appear to have entered into Kakunguru's make-up. To many it seemed
evident that Kakunguru was relying on the differences between the Kabaka and
his Katikiro to supplant the latter when a suitable moment came.
It was no doubt for this reason that Kakunguru indulged in the first of his
ventures in matrimony with royalty. On 15 October 1894 he took unto himself
for wife Elizabeth Semiramis Nakalema of the Colobus Monkey (Ngeye)
clan, a daughter of Mutesa I. According to Ansorge, Mwanga "made him pay
extra heavy" for this privilege. As Ansorge also says, "the lady was under a
cloud at the time," having very recently been deprived of the post of Rubuga
(Queen Sister) for having so unmercifully beaten a maid-servant that the girl
subsequently died of her injuries. The fact that Apolo Kagwa had strongly
urged the lady's degradation and thereby added to his unpopularity with
Mwanga may well have been one of Kakunguru's motives for this matrimonial
venture. A portrait of the bride appears in the C.M.S. Gleaner for 1896. It hardly
suggests that at this date the lady had the "noble bearing" attributed to her
by Ansorge at the time of her wedding. Martin Hall, who took the photograph,
alleges that she was "tainted with a terrible inheritance of vicious habits, such
as, drinking, bhang-smoking and worse. She is a sore grief to her husband."
Kakunguru bore his grief for some ten years and eventually in 1905 obtained
a judicial divorce. He then married Besumansi Hana Dimbwe of the Monkey
(Nkima) clan, a daughter of the former Muslim Kabaka Kalema. This marriage
was almost as unsuccessful as the previous one and was followed by a judicial
separation in 1918. According to Roscoe, who stayed for some time with
Kakunguru in 1920, his later secession from the Native Anglican Church was
"due to those marriage difficulties which have so often been the cause of con-
verts' defection from their early zeal."
When at the end of 1893 Colonel Colvile communicated to Mwanga his
intention of leading a punitive expedition against Kabarega of Bunyoro, Mwan-
ga announced that he proposed to give the command of the Baganda who were
to accompany the expedition to Apolo Kagwa. According to the Protestant
Baganda the motive behind this appointment was that which prompted David
in the case of Uriah the Hittite. Very naturally Mwanga's message to Apolo
was not worded as was that of David to Joab, but he may well have been
indulging in wishful thinking. If Apolo was not killed, at any rate he would
not be able to intervene in councils of state for several months to come. But
Apolo Kagwa had what Kakunguru lacked, namely, the support of the vast
majority of the Protestant party. Certain of the leading chiefs of that party
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 33
persuaded Roscoe to submit their views to Colvile. "They say", wrote Roscoe,
"the King is forcing the Katikiro to go against the wishes of all the chiefs.
They all want Kakunguru to go because the Katikiro is the only Muganda who
can really manage affairs here. The King is angry with the Katikiro because
he had some canoes, which were carrying slaves off to the south, captured,
or rather reported, and secondly, because he assisted Major Macdonald in the
matter of the Queen Sister (sc. Kakunguru's wife). He now hopes that the
Banyoro will kill him". In justice to Kakunguru it must be said that there is
no evidence that he was in any way a party to the proposal to despatch the
Katikiro to the war. Very understandably, he was extremely anxious to add
to his own military reputation by accepting command of the Baganda levies.
He accordingly went to Bunyoro, where he won fresh laurels and a high tribute
from Colonel Colvile "for his ready acquiescence to all my orders, his well-
directed influence with his chiefs and men, his skilful simultaneous concentra-
tion at Kaduma's of his fifteen thousand troops, and for his brilliant surprise
and defeat of Kabarega's army in the Budongo forest."
In April-May 1895 Kakunguru was employed in further operations against
Kabarega. These took him for the first time into the country which he after-
wards called Bukedi. When the expedition reached Foweira, he was sent along
the east bank of the Nile into the north-east Lango country in search of the
fugitive ruler of Bunyoro. As the operation lasted only three days, the party
cannot have penetrated very far, but it came back with five hundred head of
cattle. Despite the fact that the expedition was larger in size than any that had
hitherto left Buganda, it failed to achieve its object, namely, the capture of
Kabarega, because, in the words of Major (afterwards Brigadier-General)
Cunningham, "the Waganda chiefs were averse to a prolonged pursuit in an
unknown country like that of the Wakeddi, and I did not consider circumstances
justified my attempting it with only a small column of Soudanese."
It was a dispute in regard to the captured cattle which led to the final rupture
between Apolo Kagwa and Kakunguru. It had originally been agreed that half
of any cattle captured should be given to the Baganda levies and the other half
taken over by the Uganda Administration. Apolo Kagwa in person was in
command of the Baganda forces which accompanied Cunningham, and from
which Kakunguru's column was detached. It seems that Apolo called upon
Kakunguru to deliver the Baganda share to him for distribution. Kakunguru
declined to do so and appealed to Major Cunningham, who told him to comply
with the Katikiro's orders. As we only have Apolo Kagwa's very meagre account
of the incident, it is difficult to pass judgement regarding the dispute. It is
quite possible that Kakunguru had some measure of right to be urged on his
behalf. Be that as it may be, the result was exceedingly mortifying to Kakunguru's
kitibwa. From that date he made up his mind that he could no longer work in
harness with the Katikiro. As Apolo Kagwa more or less admitted in his Base-
kabaka, he had by this date become exceedingly domineering and others besides
Kakunguru were complaining of his attitude. He records that on 11 October
1895, Mr. Berkeley, the Commissioner of the Uganda Protectorate, "told us
both, myself and Mugwanya (the Roman Catholic Katikiro) to live amicably
with one another and to increase our friendship for each other and to put away
all religious jealousies; and on that day Kakunguru made up his mind to quit
the chieftainship of Kimbugwe. We begged him saying 'Do not quit the chief-
tainship', but he refused and would not agree to what we said and went to
Wunga." One cannot but feel that the man, who was thus ready to resign a
34 UGANDA JOURNAL
very important chieftainship rather than agree to be reconciled with his rival,
was labouring under a very substantial sense of grievance.
His resignation did not mean that it was a case of Othello's occupation gone.
The Uganda Administration was still glad to avail itself of his services. After
Colvile's expedition it had been decided to hand over such portions of Kaba-
rega's dominions as lay to the south of the Rivers Nkusi and Kafu and Lake
Kyoga to the Baganda, who were instructed to erect a chain of blockhouses
along the sector lying to the south of the River Kafu and Lake Kyoga. Kaku-
nguru was in the first place entrusted with the erection and maintenance of a
blockhouse at Kisilizi. Later on he was further entrusted with the task of
erecting and defending two posts at Kabagambe in the county of Buruli, which
had originally been allotted to the Katikiro. He was also recognized as the
chief of the district of Bunyala, the northern portion of the present county of
The population of Bunyala were of Bunyoro stock. Their hereditary ruler,
Nyamyongo, claimed kinship with the Bakama of Bunyoro. When Kakunguru
arrived to take possession of the district, he came into conflict with Kwambu,
the then Nyamyongo. Apparently Kwambu offered little resistance and soon
took refuge on an island on Lake Kyoga. When Captain (afterwards Colonel)
J. H. S. Gibb passed through the district in May and June of 1894, he reported
that he "found that the Kakunguru had already taken possession and had
by his wise and considerate conduct induced the Wanyoro to continue in their
shambas and work in unity with his people instead of running away to the
swamps." Later, Kwambu was induced to return and to accept a subordinate
chieftainship,under Kakunguru. The reputation which Kakunguru left behind
him in Bunyala was that, while he was very much of an autocrat, he was in
contrast to certain of his immediate successors, just and fair in his dealings
with the local inhabitants. Perhaps one of the best tributes to his popularity
was that, when he set out to carve for himself a kingdom out of Bukedi, some
of his right-hand men were Banyala.
In a written statement, which he submitted to myself, Kakunguru alleged
that he "was given the task of subduing (kuwangula) the people of Bukedi,
who were very backward." There is no written record of any such instructions
having been issued to him, but he was doubtless directed to try to get in touch
with the people of those lands, and to endeavour to induce them to take up a
friendly attitude and to accept British protection. He was undoubtedly told
to do his best to wean them from any display of affection for Kabarega, who
was then a fugitive in their lands. As there was a distinct possibility that either
Kabarega or his adherents might try to raid, if not to recover, the annexed
territory, Kakunguru was supplied with a quantity of guns and ammunition.
For purposes of protection he built a substantial brick fort at Galiraya (Galilee)
on the northern extremity of Bunyoro, the ruins of which can be seen to this
Whatever his written or verbal instructions may have been, Kakunguru
regarded them as authorizing him to make a military occupation of Bukedi
According to himself, in January 1896, he built forts at Kagaa (near Lake
Kwania), Kaweri Island in Kyoga, Mulema near Kabiramaido, and Sambwe
near Serere. Though it is very probable that the fort on Kaweri Island was
constructed at about this time, there is no official record of the construction
of any other forts or blockhouses. If they were in fact built, they were doubtless
stockades of a temporary character, which were soon evacuated.
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 35
The fort at Kaweri was built under the shelter of a hill on an island, which
is separated from the mainland by a shallow channel about a quarter of a mile
wide. At the time of its occupation by Kakunguru's followers the island was a
place of sacrifice and was occupied by a few families of Badope, a tribe of Teso
origin. The fort is doubtless open to criticism that it was badly sited, but the
island served admirably as a base for the operations which Kakunguru by this
date had clearly conceived. The narrow channel between it and the mainland
greatly reduced the chances of the position being taken by surprise. Not only
did it closely adjoin the Lango country to its north, but there was also a large
peninsula jutting out to the south of the island, thus affording exceptional
opportunities for penetration, peaceful or otherwise, into the land known to
Kakunguru and the Baganda as Bukedi.
Either Kakunguru himself or his emissaries very soon got into touch with
the chiefs on the mainland adjoining Kaweri. At this date the country was suffer-
ing from constant raids by the Lango. As the Lango were also rendering assist-
ance to the fugitive Kabarega, Kakunguru made common cause with them
against the Lango. When in February 1896, Captain (afterwards Colonel)
Claude Sitwell reached Kakunguru's headquarters at Bale in Bugerere, he
found a number of 'Wakeddi' chiefs there. Sitwell reported that "they all wish
for peace . Kwara is the name of the head one. He wishes a boma (to be)
built in his country. He says the Wakeddi further north (sc. the Lango) are
always raiding him. I have told him to try and get into touch with the other
Wakeddi and then we are quite prepared for peace, if they are."
About two months later Kakunguru decided to go to the assistance of some
"friendly Wakeddi", who were evidently Teso, against certain other "Wakeddi",
who would appear to have been Lango. The result was disastrous. After having
expended all his ammunition, Kakunguru had to beat an ignominious retreat,
having lost fifty of his men and twenty-seven guns. At the time Kakunguru
attributed his defeat to his allies who had "behaved badly." Evidently this
disaster offended Kakunguru's amour propre. He never mentioned it to me at
the time of giving me his reminiscences. But at the time he had perforce to admit
his defeat to Bwana Tayari (George Wilson), as he had to explain to him why
he stood in need of a further supply of arms and ammunition.
In September of the same year Kakunguru brought with him to Mengo a
number of Teso chiefs and their followers. The names of the chiefs, as supplied
to me by Kakunguru, were Kyeunda I, Mulema, Tagi, Koladyani, Nyamulange,
Masa and Kyeunda II (of Musala near Soroti). In his Basekabaka Sir Apolo
Kagwa adds to these one Kigamu. According to him, they informed Mwanga
that "we want to come into Buganda and we want you to help us by giving us
armies so that we may go and fight those who are oppressing us every day."
The reply was not very encouraging. "We told them to go back to their homes.
'When we want to help you, we will send for you.' After we had told them this,
they went away."
According to Kakunguru's information to myself, in 1897 he pushed his
forts, or more probably stockades, further out into Bukedi. He gave me the
names of these posts as Kanyiriri (in Kuman County), Bululu (on the mainland
opposite to Kaweri), Lale, (about twelve miles west of Soroti on the shores of
Lake Kyoga), Kisoga and Wamasa (near Serere) and Nyala (on the Teso-Lango
boundary). As in previous years, he still made Bale in Bugerere his headquarters
and evidently spent a good deal of time there. At this date he was not subsidized
by the Uganda Administration, but both he and his followers paid themselves
36 UGANDA JOURNAL
handsomely in the shape of cattle and other spoils, which they obtained from
those with whom they came in conflict.
In September 1897, the outbreak of the Sudanese mutiny put an end for
the time being to Kakunguru's further plans of expansion. With some of his
retainers he went to assist Major (afterwards Major-General Sir) James Mac-
donald at the siege of Luba's Fort. In the early days of January 1898, the
mutineers evacuated that fort and made their way down the Nile towards
Lake Kyoga. Kakunguru was instructed to return to Bugerere so as to prevent
the Sudanese from crossing the Nile into that district. The mutineers, however,
managed to effect a crossing. Kakunguru was hopelessly outnumbered and was
running short of ammunition. He was forced temporarily to abandon his fort
at Galiraya, which was occupied by the enemy. The arrival of Macdonald's
pursuing column restored the position. On 19 February the Sudanese evacuated
Galiraya and after crossing the Sezibwa made their way into what is now Buruli
county of Buganda. Later still they crossed over into Lango where they joined
forces with the fugitive Kabarega of Bunyoro.
Gabula, the chief of the Budiope district in north-west Busoga, had provided
canoes, which enabled the Sudanese to cross the Nile into Bugerere. He also
took advantage of a large amount of plunder, including women and cattle.
In May of 1898, Kakunguru, who had taken part in the campaign leading to
the mutineers' retreat into Lango, proceeded to Luba's, near Jinja, to seek
redress from Gabula. In the course of conversation with the Sub-Commissioner,
William Grant, he spoke "glibly of giving up Nyamyongo (sc. Bugerere) and
coming to live in Busoga." On political grounds it was considered extremely
undesirable that either he or any other Muganda should be given a chieftain-
ship in Busoga and he was bidden to return to Bugerere.
Kakunguru's attention was diverted from Busoga when he was instructed
by the Uganda Adminstration to assist Captain Kirkpatrick and Surgeon-
Captain McLoughlin in a survey of Lake Kyoga. In company with these officers,
he crossed from Galiraya to Mount Pegi on the opposite bank of the Nile.
Thereafter the party explored the Lake in canoes for several days. As he and
his companion were the first Europeans to visit Kakunguru in Bukedi, Kirk-
patrick's account of the survey is interesting:
The Wakedi live round the northern, eastern, and south-eastern shores of the lake.
Kakunguru, the Kaganda (sic) chief who accompanied us, said those on the northern
shore were hostile, and we could not land without a fight; we did not land or see any-
thing of them. We found those on the southern shore perfectly friendly, and ex-
changed presents with Kenaga, chief of Msara, the chief of Sabot, and Tende, chief of
Kehera. They have no tribal chiefs and these men are only chiefs of villages...
The Wadope live on Kaweri and Namlimoka islands .. Kakunguru has a fort on
Kaweri island, and says he is their chief. He says there are about two hundred men on
the island. Most of them wear bark-cloth obtained from the Waganda ...
... Lake Kwania, Kakunguru had himself seen. He said it was from four to six
hours march from the north of Lake Choga, about two miles wide, and joined the Nile
near Mruli to the south of the Marusi or Mashorsi hills.
It is to be noted that Kirkpatrick refers to Kaweri as if it were the only
fort which Kakunguru had constructed at this date. The report hardly suggests
any deep penetration by Kakunguru or his followers into the Teso country.
The Lango country was clearly still untouched.
In March 1899, Kakunguru proceeded to Mruli with some canoes to take
part under Major (later Brigadier-General) Evatt in the operations which led
to the capture of Kabarega and Mwanga. Kakunguru himself was responsible
for their final rounding up as they were trying to escape from the village of
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 37
Oyom, near Kangai, in the Dokolo county of Lango. Kabarega had been so
badly wounded in one arm, that later it had to be amputated, and also in the
other hand. With him were several of his sons, one of whom (Jasi) died from
wounds a few weeks later, Another, Andereya Duhaga, who was later to be-
come Mukama of Bunyoro, said that, when Kakunguru arrived on the scene,
Kabarega told him to kill him. This Kakunguru refused to do and handed
him over to Evatt. He was then entrusted with the escort of Kabarega and
Mwanga to Kampala.
Referring to Kakunguru in his report of these operations Evatt said: "I
believe that he is desirous of adding to his province a portion of the terrain of
the recent operations".
According to information given to me by Kakunguru himself, Evatt's
surmise was correct. Kakunguru informed me that in June 1899, after having
delivered his prisoners over to the authorities at Kampala, he returned to
establish himself in the Lango country. He said he had at this date built fortified
outposts at Kiwula (near Mruli), Kangai (the scene of Kabarega's last stand),
Kikukuba (? Akabo) and Dokolo. Information from other sources sug-
gests, however, that his foothold in most of these places was extremely pre-
carious. On 27 July 1899, George Wilson reported to the Commissioner that
"Kakunguru, finding in the recent development of affairs that Kawera (sic) is
quite safe, and as a post is now of comparatively little use, has erected two
advance posts (to the north I presume)."
Very shortly afterwards Kakunguru reported to William Grant that he had
been attacked by the Wakeddi (presumably the Lango), but had driven them
off. He further reported that some of the Sudanese mutineers had joined the
Wakeddi and that they contemplated attacking his position. He followed this
report up about three weeks later by announcing that an attack was imminent
and requesting the loan of some Sniders. On 24 September 1899, Grant received
a letter from Kakunguru stating that "A large force of Wakeddi had sur-
rounded his boma. They were unable to get near enough to force an entrance.
The Kakunguru and his men pursued and fought them, ultimately driving them
off. He states that he has only one box of ammunition and asks for more."
As Kakunguru's requests for arms and ammunition appear to have been
very frequent, the Acting Commissioner (Colonel, afterwards Brigadier-
General) Ternan expressed doubts as to whether it was either necessary or
desirable to send him any more. He recalled Kakunguru's disastrous venture
against the Lango in 1896 and added that "I believe, if he stayed quiet, the
Wakeddi would also be so, but I am afraid he will raid and I do not wish to
encourage him in doing so, which only brings on attacks from the Wakeddi,
and is also quite indefensible on other grounds."
Though on this particular occasion Kakunguru claimed a success for his
own arms, he frankly admitted to me that on other occasions in 1899 he met
with more than one reverse. Asanasiyo Gwentamu, whom he had appointed as
his Katikiro, was for example killed at Dokolo. Eventually, to use his own
words Kakunguru "fought many battles against the Lango and returned to
Bululu," that is, to the mainland shore of Lake Kyoga opposite to Kaweri. He
said he left a certain Bijabiira, whom he styled his Kago at Kikabukabu (?Aka-
Two significant facts appear to emerge from this information. Firstly,
enemy pressure led him to abandon several of the outposts, which he claimed
to have established in the interior of the Lango country. Secondly, the fact that
38 UGANDA JOURNAL
he bestowed upon certain of his subordinates the same titles as those of pro-
minent chiefs in Buganda shows that by this date he had made up his mind to
carve out an independent kingdom for himself.
The Rev. (afterwards Archdeacon) T. R. Buckley visited Kakunguru in
January 1900. He found him at Kaweri with about two hundred and fifty armed
followers. From Kaweri Buckley proceeded with an armed escort to an unnamed
village about ten hours' distant. At an intermediate village one of the escort
stole a hoe from one of the villagers. For the moment the situation looked
ugly. The villagers began to fetch their spears and the escort got ready with
guns. Fortunately, Buckley was able to prevent bloodshed by undertaking to
see that the thief was punished by Kakunguru for the offence. But, as Buckley
said, "it showed that though the Baganda had guns, the Bakedi were not afraid
of them." It also showed that the escort provided by Kakunguru hardly sup-
ported Sir Harry Johnston's contemporary statement that Kakunguru "has
made the district perfectly peaceful for Europeans to penetrate."
Sir Harry Johnston had arrived in Uganda in December 1899, as Special
Commissioner empowered to organize a civil administration for the Protect-
orate. On hearing of his arrival Kakunguru at once left Kaweri to seek an
interview with him. His position called for special consideration. His work in
Bukedi had resulted in his having to give up any claim to be County Chief of
Bugerere. In any event he was unwilling to accept a post in Buganda, whilst
his rival, Apolo Kagwa, filled the more important and lucrative post of Kati-
kiro. Sir Harry Johnston therefore asked the Foreign Office to consider him for
the post of Native Assistant in charge of Bukedi District at a salary of 200 a
a year, with directions to impose a hut tax and gun tax upon the people under
There appears to be no official record of what transpired at any conversation
which took place between Johnston and Kakunguru. The latter says he was
told to go back to Lango. Whilst one is disposed to think that at this date
Johnston was ready to take Kakunguru at Kakunguru's own valuation, it may
reasonably be surmised that he was somewhat uneasy about Kakunguru's
methods of handling such people as the Lango. Obviously with the men and
weapons at his disposal Kakuhguru was incapable of reducing this warlike race
by force of arms and any attempt on his part to do so would be extremely
impolitic. As already mentioned, a number of the Sudanese mutineers were
known to be still at large in Lango. Until effective steps could be taken to round
up the last remnant of these, it was desirable to abstain as far as possible from
interference in Lango.
It so happened that in the early months of 1900 Johnston was much
worried about a famine in Busoga. On 19 April 1900, he wrote to Bishop Tucker
informing him that "the Kakunguru, the recognized Government Administ-
rator of Bukedi," had recently come to see him on business. "He boasted of the
peace which now reigns in his province and the abundant supplies of food
which could be obtained there. I at once invited him to send the overplus of his
produce to Busoga and also the Uganda (sic) markets, but I noticed that to my
eagerness he gave evasive replies. However, I am not easily baffled and I am
sending up to this country Mr. C. W. Fowler for the double purpose of report-
ing on the navigation of Lake Choga and the Victoria Nile and of pressing
Kakunguru to furnish supplies of food which can be sent into Busoga up the
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 39
Fowler's expedition did not entirely conform to the plan outlined in the
Special Commissioner's letter. Disturbances in north-west Busoga had to be
dealt with before Fowler could turn his attention to matters further to the east.
Meanwhile reports were received that a number of Sudanese mutineers, to-
gether with some Baganda and Basoga rebels, were lurking to the east of the
Mpologoma swamp and that the tribes in that region were raiding Busoga and
showing themselves to be generally hostile. As there was a distinct possibility
that, working in collaboration with these malcontents, the tribes in the corridor
between Mount Elgon and the Mpologoma might make their way south to
Lake Victoria and menace communications between Uganda and the coast,
Kakunguru was instructed to proceed overland from Bululu to the foothills of
Mount Elgon to establish himself there. Moving along the northern shores of
Lake Kyoga with a considerable armed following Kakunguru reached Nabowa,
about ten miles west of Mbale.
The march to Nabowa appears to have been a bloodless one, a fact which
redounds to Kakunguru's credit and certainly does not belittle his achievement.
A party of Baganda rebels surrendered to him, Any other mutineers or rebels,
who may have been in the beighbourhood, retreated further north on learning
of his approach. The one and only critical situation which arose was due to the
conduct of the first European trader to penetrate to those parts. John Gemmill
had at one time been employed by the Chartered Company and later by the
Uganda Administration as a caravan leader, but his handling and treatment of
porters had left much to be desired. After the Sudanese mutiny he had made
certain claims against the Uganda Administration. Whilst it appeared that
Gemmill had suffered a loss of some of his contracts with the Administration, it
was clear that none of these claims was legally sustainable. Sir Harry Johnston
decided that in the circumstances he should be given some compensation as an
act of grace. Gemmill was accordingly offered and agreed to accept one
thousand acres in full satisfaction of his claims. He accepted the offer and set
off for Busoga ostensibly to select the land. Gemmill, however, crossed the
Mpologoma and entered the country further to the east, where he behaved
in a high-handed manner towards the local inhabitants. He soon came in
conflict with Kakunguru's people. He attacked some of the Baganda ex-
mutineers, who had enlisted in Kakunguru's levies, and seized the guns of others
of Kakunguru's followers.
Very fortunately, at this critical moment the Sub-Commissioner, C. W.
Fowler was making his way towards Kakunguru's new headquarters. He was
accompanied by an escort of Uganda Rifles under the command of Captain
(afterwards Brigadier-General) M. L. Hornby. In the circumstances Gemmill
decided to comply with Fowler's orders to meet him in Busoga. On arrival he
was arrested, tried for various offences arising out of his misdeeds, sentenced
to a term of imprisonment and ultimately deported. Perusal of the evidence
given at his trial shows that some of the doings of Kakunguru's followers were
quite indefensible. But this in no way excuses or palliates Gemmill's conduct.
He was rightly found guilty on a number of the charges preferred against him
and his presence in what was Uganda's Alsatia was clearly uncalled for and
In the meanwhile trouble had arisen further to the east with the Nandi, and
the Uganda Rifles were ordered to proceed to that country. Kakunguru was
originally instructed to accompany them with one hundred guns. As, however,
he was a sick man, he was later excused personally from taking command of the
40 UGANDA JOURNAL
contingent and the leadership was entrusted to a man, who is described in
contemporary official correspondence as "his Mujasi" (army commander).
As Kakunguru informed the present writer, the Mujasi in question was "my
Pokino, Isaka Nzige."
In other words, by this date Kakunguru was holding himself out to be the
Kabaka of the Bakedi. Fowler indeed found it necessary to inform the local
chiefs "that the Kakunguru is ruling their country under the permission of
H.M. Special Commissioner, and that the country is not, as he (Kakunguru)
appears to have informed them, his personal property: further that important
questions, such as the deposition of native chiefs and the adjustment of import-
ant claims and settlement of feuds, are to be brought before me or the Col-
lector succeeding myself at Iganga," that is, at administrative headquarters in
Fowler also instructed Kakunguru as soon as possible to remove his fol-
lowers' womenfolk and their personal effects from Buganda to his new settle-
ment at Nabowa. He also directed him "to cease from levying local supplies
from the natives, and to commence immediately the cultivation of shambas for
the support of his levy, to take no hostile action without my sanction and to
endeavour to live in friendly relations with the inhabitants. I much fear he has a
somewhat unruly force under his command. His latest reinforcement of ex-
mutineers will not in my opinion improve the tone of the levy."
On 18 November 1900, H. M. Tarrant, then Acting Collector, Busoga,
wrote a report, in which he gave a detailed account of the country which Ka-
kunguru asserted was then under his control. This territory included "Buiro"
(sc. Lango), Kumam, Serere, Ngora, "Kassarsin" (Pallisa), Bugwere, Bunyuli
and Masaba (Elgon). His headquarters were in the district of Masaba, where
he had two posts with one hundred and fifty guns between them and where he
proposed shortly to construct a third post. With the exception of Kumam, where
he had two posts, there was only one post in each of the other districts. The
garrisons in these posts varied in number from sixty to twenty men. In all he
had about six hundred men armed with guns at his disposal. As already said,
Kakunguru claimed to have established the posts in Lango and Kumam by the
end of 1899. The remainder had been established during his march from Bululu
to Nabowa in 1900.
Certain of the local chiefs had definitely shown themselves to be hostile.
Amongst these was Kochi, the leading chief in what is now the country of
Bukedea, against whom Kakunguru had led a punitive expedition. Another was
Majanga, chief of the Badama or Jopadola, who was constantly raiding the
Banyuli. But the greatest trouble of all came from the Bagisu, who about
August 1900, attacked one of Kakunguru's forts, but were driven off with the loss
of sixty men. One result of all this campaigning was the acquisition of a large
number of cattle and goats from the recalcitrant tribes. Obviously the temptation
to find excuses for indulging in this kind of warfare were very great, but a check
on over-indulgence therein occurred in October 1900, when a stock of cart-
ridges at Nabowa exploded and the boma was burnt down. Thereafter
Kakunguru removed to Mpumude (Nabumale) in the southern foothills of
Tarrant none the less believed that Kakunguru was making a genuine
attempt to establish friendly relations on all sides. He had made his people
cultivate in the Lango, Kumam, Serere and Masaba districts. Food shortages in
the other four districts had prevented temporarily the introduction of a similar
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 41
policy in those parts. Tarrant, however, impressed upon the Kakunguru the
necessity for his men to cultivate grain for themselves as soon as possible, as it
would be a pity to have to withdraw his men from these districts, seeing that
their relations with the natives were so friendly.
Two months after this report was written the Rev. W. A. Crabtree and Mrs.
Crabtree of the C.M.S. travelled through Kakunguru's sphere of influence
from Bululu to Nabowa and thence to Mpumude (Nabumale). Crabtree has
left a very interesting account of this journey.
There is a mixture of people on the shores (sc. Of Lake Kyoga), but all the hinter-
land is filled with Bakedi, who cannot be trusted not to fight a visitor. The people are
described as generous and fearless, fighting one day, and, if peace is proclaimed,-
coming in freely to converse the next day. Needless to say the language is not a Bantu
one. Some speak a dialect which many of the Baganda learnt in the old days for
trade purposes and call Lumogera. ..
By far the greater number of Bakedi under Kakunguru speak a language which I
do not think has hitherto been known to any European. The people call it Teso; it is
strikingly akin to Bari ..
They are certainly encouraging the people to wear clothes, but they do not seem to
understand how to encourage trade, by which alone the people can become able to
buy for themselves. I am not aware of any market in the whole of Kakunguru's
district. The system of administration is the feudal system so familiar in Uganda ...
The Baganda throughout the district are somewhat estranged from the people by
their position as rulers and what one might term Protectorate Police. As the oc-
cupation of the country progresses, the Baganda settle down in gardens or spheres of
influence (emitala) allotted to them. Then they make friends with the people, and I
think at Nabowa one may see hopeful signs for the future. The language of Nabowa
is Lusoga (Lugweri), a language very like Luganda and eventually destined to give way
to it ...
Amongst the Bakedi the language difficulty comes in: those boys or lads who
join the Baganda and live with them and learn their language, are being taught slowly
as at Bululu and Kikabukabu (Kago's fort) (? Akabo) in the Lumogela district.
But all the rest of the people are left untaught. Three years, and yet not a Muganda
able to teach in the vernacular ...
Whilst at Bululu, Crabtree visited the nearby village of a chief called Masa,
where a Muganda named Eriya Bagenda was living with his wife. It was sig-
nificant that Eriya possessed a Martini rifle and that the walls of his house
were loopholed, but this was probably for protection against raids by the
Lango. Eriya was in fact on very good terms with the Kumam. He spoke their
language with some measure of fluency, "the only Muganda," wrote Crabtree,
"I found that could do so."
From Bululu the Crabtrees made their way eastwards to Serere, where
there was a garrison under the command of Kakunguru's Sekibobo.
We were at once struck with the fort, (at Serere) "the first we had seen.
The pallisade so squarely laid with two advanced angles at opposite corners, and the
ditch evenly dug it was a great credit to the Baganda. We found afterwards that all
forts were of this pattern.
From Serere the missionaries had to make their way round the swamps
at the eastern end of Lake Kyoga. "In fact we were now fairly entangled in the
lake," wrote Crabtree. Though he does not say so, the safari must have been
extremely trying and difficult, especially for a European lady. After camping for
the night at a place called Ros, they reached Pallisa, where there was a garrison
under the command of a Muganda named Sedulaka. Thence, after journeying
for three days by easy stages, they reached Kakunguru's new headquarters at
Nabowa in the country of Bugwere. Whilst they were there, parties of Teso
were brought in to visit Kakunguru, and the Crabtrees had an opportunity
of conversing with them.
42 UGANDA JOURNAL
Crabtree was unable to visit all the forts, but he was given to understand
that "the Baganda under Kakunguru many of them baptised Christians -
are scattered over a line eighty miles in length in about nine different forts.
No fort had more than eighty soldiers (technically guns), which would mean a
community of not over one hundred and fifty souls."
From Nabowa the Crabtrees moved to Mpumude ("I have rested") in the
foot hills of Mount Elgon, where Kakunguru had established a base for penet-
ration into Bugisu. So impressed were the missionaries by the needs and op-
portunities for evangelization in this part of the world that they asked for and
obtained leave to remain there. Kakunguru handed over his house to them and
the Crabtrees set out to get in touch with the people. They spent close on four
years at Nabumale, for the most part labouring amongst the very primitive
Bagisu under exceedingly difficult and trying conditions. A number of years
were to elapse before it could be said that peace, order and good government
had been introduced into Bugisu, but there can be little doubt that the quiet
and unostentatious labours of the missionaries in their own sphere at Nabumale
in no small way contributed to the attainment of this end.
In December 1900, Bishop Hanlon of the Mill Hill Mission reached Nabowa
by way of Busoga. He was given a friendly reception by Kakunguru, but found
that he had arrived at a critical time. As Kakunguru explained in a letter which
he wrote on Christmas Day "to my friend Balozi" (i.e. Sir Harry Johnston),
he had on 3 November received information that the Bagisu and Masai were
combining to attack his fort. He decided to anticipate events by attacking
them. A detachment of his people was ambushed with the result that twenty
were killed and only one escaped. The main body of his forces had to relin-
quish pursuit because they had run short of ammunition. On 5 December
shortly after the arrival of Bishop Hanlon, the Bagisu retaliated by sur-
rounding and attacking the fort. They were eventually driven off after Kaku-
nguru had lost two men killed and two wounded. One of the killed was "one
of my leading men, Fenekansi "Kangawo," whose second name was honorific,
being the title of one of the leading chiefs of Buganda.
Bishop Hanlon shortly afterwards returned to Busoga and informed the
Collector at Iganga that "he was much pleased with the country," but in view
of the incident which he had just witnessed and of a food shortage in the land,
he decided not to expose his missionaries to unnecessary risks by attempting
forthwith to establish a mission station there. Ten months later he sent
Father Kestens to the district. Kakunguru promised to give Kestens certain
land at Budaka for a mission station, but failed to carry out that promise.
Kestens wrote to the Sub-Commissioner to complain. It is interesting to note
that in his letter to William Grant he described Kakunguru as "the King of this
There were other indications that Kakunguru was holding himself out to be
"Kabaka" of all the land around him. At about this date he prepared a grave
for himself at Nabowa. It consisted of an enormous pit, some thirty to forty
feet deep and some fifteen to twenty feet in length and breadth. It resembled
the last resting place of the byegone rulers of Buganda and Bunyoro and led his
followers to believe that the land was his. As already seen, he divided up his
district into sub-districts resembling the amasaza (counties) of Buganda and
bestowed upon the persons whom he placed in charge thereof the titles enjoyed
by county chiefs in Buganda. He also made them presents of land to be held as
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 43
freehold property in undoubted imitation of the allotments made under the
then very recent Uganda Agreement of 1900.
In April, 1901, Sir Harry Johnston reached the foothills of Mount Elgon on
his way down to the coast on completion of his task as Special Commissioner.
He specially diverged from the usual route in other to have a final meeting with
Kakunguru, whom he wanted to co-operate with Captain (afterwards Bri-
gadier-General) Charles Delm6-Radcliffe in the campaign which eventually
ended in the final rounding up of the last of the Sudanese mutineers in Lango.
The two spent two days together at Busano, not far from the present Catholic
Mission Station at Nyondo. As was to be expected, Kakunguru asked for a
quid pro quo for his assistance in the Lango campaign. According to what he
told me in 1924, he in the first place expressed a wish to the Commissioner to be
allowed to establish a fort in the Budama district. As later information
showed, Majanga, the principle chief in those regions, had always wanted to
enter into friendly relations with the Europeans. Before his death he told his
son and his chief men "that, whatever happened, they must keep on good
terms with the Europeans" and this advice was consistently carried out.
But Majanga was not on good terms with Kakunguru, who in the previous
November had asserted, possibly with a substratum of truth, that he had a
penchant for raiding the Banyuli. According to Kakunguru Sir Harry Johnston
assented to his proposal to build a fort in Budama. Kakunguru then raised the
question as to his being officially recognized by the British Government as
Kabaka of Bukedi. In Kakunguru's words to myself, Johnston replied that "he
would send me a letter from Mbai (sc. Sebei) about what he intended." Whilst
Kakunguru was waiting for this letter, certain of his men entered Budama and
returned with a large number of cattle. 50
On 30 April Sir Harry Johnston ordered Captain Howard to take a company
of the Uganda Rifles to co-operate with Delm6-Radcliffe in rounding up the
mutineers In the first place Howard was instructed to proceed to Masaba and
take with him Kakunguru "and as many men as he could put together."
Afterwards Howard reported that on his way from the Sebei country to Masaba
"the natives proved unfriendly" and this had considerably delayed his progress.
According to Kakunguru, on arrival at Nabowa Howard delivered a letter to
him from Sir Harry Johnston, which was dated 29 April 1901, and which will
be referred to again on a later page. Howard later reported that there was a
further delay whilst Kakunguru collected his men. Their combined forces
eventually reached Lake Kyoga on 15 May at or near Bugondo.
They crossed the Lake the next day and landed at Bululu. Thence they made
their way in a north-easterly direction, leaving Lake Kwania well to their left,
and made their way towards the mutineers' fortified post at Modo in north-
west Lango. Howard reported that two days after leaving the shores of Lake
Kyoga, that is after leaving the friendly Kumam country and on entering
Lango, "the natives were also unfriendly, and there was a difficulty in obtaining
guides. On the 24th of May our guides led us wrong, and on the 25th we had to
retrace our steps, and from this point I proceeded by map and compass without
the help of guides." At the same time he put it on record that "the Kakunguru
did everything in his power to assist me in carrying out the Commissioner's
orders, and also in punishing en route those natives who attacked us." On
29 May the column reached the village of a chief named Atai, near to the modern
district headquarters at Lira, having taken thirteen days to cover little more
than sixty miles.
44 UGANDA JOURNAL
Here they got into touch with the main column under Delme-Radcliffe, who
was not in the least expecting them. On Delm6-Radcliffe's instructions Howard
made a forced march the next day and reached the village of a chief named
Atachu. Next day Delm6-Radcliffe recorded in the Lango Field Force Diary
that Kakunguru was despatchedd to Paoera (Foweira) with his mob en route to
his own district." In view of Howard's tribute to Kakunguru this reference to
"his mob" does not appear at all generous, but Delm6-Radcliffe had good
reasons for dispensing with the services of Kakunguru and his men. At the
beginning of the campaign he had been joined by a party under the leadership
of a friendly Acholi chief, but, as Delm6-Radcliffe afterwards reported, "as his
men's and our notions of discipline did not coincide, I dismissed them to their
homes to avoid any risk of friction, which I should have regretted, as their
intentions were excellent." Whilst he was ready to take suitable military measures
against those Lango chiefs who had rendered assistance to the mutineers,
Delm6-Radcliffe was at the same time anxious to hold out the olive branch so
as to win over waverers. Ill-disciplined levies, with strong free-booting
propensities were very likely to impede these endeavours and for that reason
Kakunguru's contingent, for whom he had never asked and regarding whose
despatch he had never been consulted, were not very welcome. A fortnight later
Delm6-Radcliffe had good reason to be glad that he had sent them away.
Smallpox broke out amongst Howard's men and at the same time news was
received that Kakunguru had lost a large number of men through that disease
both at and after leaving Foweira. As it was, the outbreak seriously impeded
Delm6-Radcliffe's operations and his medical Officer Dr. (afterwards Sir)
Arthur Bagshawe was hard put to it to cope with the situation.
According to a statement made to myself, whilst he was at Foweira, Kaku-
nguru assisted in the rounding up of some insurgent Chopi (Jopalwo) chiefs,
but I have been unable to find any official record of any such operations.
From Foweira Kakunguru and his men made their way along the left bank of
the Nile to his old haunts in Bugerere. Thence they took canoes to Bugondo and
and after that made their way back overland to Nabowa.
According to Kakunguru's reminiscences as given to myself in 1924, after
his return to Nabowa his men captured Majanga, the leading chief of Budama,
and brought him to Kakunguru, who came to an agreement with him that he
should be allowed to retain his chieftainship on recognizing Kakunguru as his
In the meantime a number of reports were reaching the Uganda Administ-
ration regarding Kakunguru's treatment of the tribes to the east of the Mpo-
logoma River. The raiding of Budama in particular caused some perturbation.
As William Grant said, the relations between the Badama and the Basoga had
been on the whole most friendly long before Kakunguru had ever set foot in
Bukedi, and one of their leading chiefs, named Liada, had expressed his wil-
lingness to accept British protection.
When asked for an explanation, Kakunguru wrote on 30 July 1901, to the
Acting Commissioner to inform him that Sir Harry Johnston had told him to
make war on the Badama. In the same letter he announced that Kochi, the
leading chief in what is now the county of Bukedea, was raiding the neigh-
bouring Bagisu and Bagweri and that he wanted permission to lead a punitive
expedition against him. As there was no written confirmation of Kaku-
nguru's allegation under Sir Harry Johnston's hand, it is not in the least sur-
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 45
prising to learn that at the time the statement imputed to the Special Com-
missioner was disbelieved.
Without in any way seeking to hold a brief for Sir Harry Johnston, sur-
rounding circumstances lead me strongly to doubt whether any written or verbal
instructions of the nature alleged were ever given to Kakunguru. It is of course
possible that on the strength of Kakunguru's representations the Special Com-
missioner may have sanctioned the erection of a fort in Budama, but one feels
certain that he never sanctioned a punitive expedition against the Badama.
Sir Harry Johnston was anxious to get Kakunguru to co-operate in the Lango
campaign and as the letter, to which I shall shortly refer, makes no mention of
Budama, it appears to me to be incredible that Sir Harry Johnston should have
sanctioned any such expedition as Kakunguru alleged.
Other complaints besides those already mentioned were reaching administ-
rative headquarters and the Acting Commissioner, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Fre-
derick Jackson, directed William Grant to make inquiries on the spot. Grant
reached Budaka on 25 August 1901, but after inquiry found himself unable to
bring home to Kakunguru any of the charges of oppression which had been
made against him. Nevertheless, as Grant explained at the time, he had a
shrewd suspicion that many people with genuine complaints were afraid to
speak out against Kakunguru. In his report to the Acting Commissioner he
I cannot but think that the Kakunguru has as much territory as he can effectively
and efficiently control now. He has altogether sixteen forts garrisoned. To ration
these men alone, it must take an enormous quantity of food. Though no complaints
have been made, I cannot help thinking the natives supply all the necessaries required.
They must more or less supply all wants, as men without remuneration from Govern-
ment must have some inducement to remain in the country. The Kakunguru cannot
pay them and I cannot but surmise that they have other means of paying themselves
from various sources.
Having been able to refute the charges made against him, Kakunguru
proceeded to urge his own claims. He announced that Sir Harry Johnston had
made him Kabaka of Bukedi.
Grant does not say in so many words that at this date Kakunguru produced
any written evidence in proof on this assertion, but in a much later letter of 13
November 1903, he somewhat cryptically said that Kakunguru "had tangible
reasons for being under the impression that he was, or would be, King of
Bukedi," which leads me to think that he must at some time or other have seen
the letter to which I am about to refer.
I myself have never seen the original letter. Kakunguru told me that it was
stolen from his house some years later. Some time prior to the theft the Rev.
J. B. Purvis, who succeeded Crabtree at Nabumale, had made a typewritten
copy thereof together with an English translation. These two documents were
produced to me by Kakunguru in 1924. They both appear in full in Appendix I,
but certain important parts thereof (as translated by Purvis) must be given here.
After giving Kakunguru instructions to accompany Howard to Lango, the
letter proceeds as follows :-
I also want to tell you this. I promised (nakusubiza) to make you King of Buke-
di. Quite so. Do not think I have forgotten this. No. You will receive agreements
(endagano). First we must ask the King our Kabaka and the Government -
our Lukiko. I know they will not refuse, but it is well that they should know first of
all. When the Kabaka has assented to your agreements, I shall write the name. I
will send them to Entebbe to Jackson and he will call you and you will write your name
as Kabaka. But first of all help me in this. I will help you by giving you Snider
46 UGANDA JOURNAL
rifles and ammunition to guard your land. When I reach Simoni (the Ravine station).
I will send you a permit to buy your guns, because here I have no forms to write this.
Of the booty you will receive your share. I have nothing else to tell you. Farewell.
God Protect you. I am your friend, H. H. Johnston."
As Jackson wrote on 24 January 1902, to Lord Lansdowne stating that
Johnston had "informed Kakunguru that he would suggest to your Lordship
that he be appointed Kabaka (king)," there would appear to be no doubt at all
that the document I saw was the copy of a genuine letter. Internal evidence
tends very strongly to confirm this view.
Kakunguru further informed Grant that Sir Harry Johnston had told him
that the boundaries of his territory were to extend from the Toshi River on the
eastern boundary of Lango to the slopes of Mount Elgon. Grant reported
that Kakunguru was unable to produce any document in support of this claim
from which it may be inferred that he was aware of the contents of Sir
Harry Johnston's letter of 29 April 1901. Grant evidently expressed incredulity
as to the extent of territory which the Special Commissioner was alleged to
have agreed to give him. Shortly afterwards Kakunguru wrote to Jackson as-
serting that Sir Harry Johnston "stood on the top of a high rock and, waving
his hands to the west and north, said: "I will ask that you may be King of all
this country." Even if Sir Harry stood upon that rock and waved his arms,
as alleged, which may possibly be open to doubt, he in no way made a firm
promise that all the land which he is alleged to have pointed out would be given
Subsequently Kakunguru took full advantage of the contents of Sir Harry
Johnston's letter. Jackson, the Acting Commissioner informed Lord Lans-
downe that" he has taken it for granted that he would be made a King and has
anticipated your Lordship's sanction by declaring himself one." But no such
sanction was ever forthcoming from the Foreign Office and Kakunguru's
assumption of regality was giving offence to others besides the Uganda Ad-
ministration. Promises of loot and of the acquisition of large estates in Bukedi
had led to a considerable emigration of Baganda from their own country to
Bukedi. This emigration was leading to a reduction of the tax-paying po-
pulation of Buganda and the Regents appealed to Kakunguru to check it.
His reply caused considerable offence. Kakunguru told the Regents that he was
giving his followers much better estates than they could get in Buganda, and that,
as he was now king of the country, he wished to have with him as many of his
countrymen as cared to come.
At the same time complaints continued to reach the Uganda Administration
from Bukedi. Kakunguru was trying to extend his territory to the well cul-
tivated western slopes of Mount Elgon and its foothills. The inevitable result
was that the Bagisu resented this intrusion into their country by force of arms
and thus provided Kakunguru with excuses for further punitive expeditions.
He had been instructed to try to persuade the local inhabitants to agree to pay
hut tax, but he made no attempt whatever to collect taxes from his own fol-
lowers and complained bitterly of his inability to collect any tax from the people
of the land.
In October 1901, Grant decided to send W. R. Walker, a junior administ-
rative officer, to reside temporarily at Kakunguru's headquarters at Budaka
"to endeavour to get the Bakedi to realise that it is to their advantage to pay
the lawful and recognized tax imposed by His Majesty's Government."
Walker very soon gained an insight into the true state of affairs and Kakunguru's
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 47
methods of dealing with the inhabitants. He reported that the vast majority of
the inhabitants were practically destitute. Some even asserted that they had been
driven to feeding on rats. There were practically no cattle, sheep or goats to be
seen in the country except those that belonged to Kakunguru and his followers.
The inhabitants therefore entirely lacked the wherewithal to pay taxes. In the
circumstances the Acting Commissioner instructed Grant to write and inform
Kakunguru that he (the Acting Commissioner) knew nothing of his ap-
pointment as King and that he was quite mistaken in imagining he was a King;
that he had no right to give his followers land that belonged to the natives of the
country; that such land would not be acknowledged by the Government as
belonging to any of his followers; and that he must withdraw with all his people
from the territory to the east of Budaka and return with them to the vicinity of
Kakunguru, however, displayed no readiness to comply with these in-
structions. The situation was a delicate one. Walker had only twenty police
with him. Kakunguru was living in a fort surrounded by a moat with a high
earthen wall and had at his beck and call several hundred Baganda armed with
Remingtons, Sniders and muzzle loaders. Thanks very largely to the good
offices of Father John Kirk of the Mill Hill Mission, who had recently opened a
station at Budaka, the tension was relieved. Kakunguru agreed to relinquish
his position, but wrote to Jackson asking to be allowed to settle on land at
Eventually on 26 February 1902, William Grant arrived at Budaka with full
power to allot land to Kakunguru, provided that he complied with his in-
structions. Grant was able to take a strong line. He insisted that Kakunguru's
followers should evacuate all the posts occupied by them and concentrate on
twenty square miles of land in the vicinity of Mbale, which he agreed to allot
to Kakunguru. By 14 March all the posts had been evacuated and their gar-
risons concentrated in the vicinity of Mbale. Thereafter Grant visited all the
posts (except two in Budama), leaving garrisons of armed police at Budaka,
Mkongoro (ten miles east of Bukedea) and Khomeleko (to the south of Ngora).
At the time of evacuating these posts Kakunguru delivered to Grant a list
thereof, signed by himself. The following are the particulars :-
District Chief Military Posts
Bwiro (Lango) Leubeni Mitege, Mukwenda Bululu, Akabo, Nyara
Serere Kyagirikama, Sekibobo Serere, Magolo
Ngolatuko (Ngora) Jafari Mayanja, Mugema Khomeleko, Pegi, Go-
Moita Sedulaka Lubabale, Pallisa, Mkongoro, Puti
Kimbugwe, and Mukade, Puti, Kasasira
Bukedea Isaka Namuzige, Pokino Bukedea
Bumonzi Esitasiyo Baka, Muwanika Iki Iki Naboa Kitolotolo
Bunyuli Yakobo Kiriyabuganda, Butaleja, Doko and
Budama Yosiya Musoke, Mukungulu Nagongera, Mulanda,
Nyemera Nsango and
48 UGANDA JOURNAL
Jaberi Yowasi Mivule,
Bukumama Hezekiya Kidza, Lumama No posts mentioned
Buloki Samusoni Lugenda,
As Grant had already written, at the time when this evacuation took place
Kakunguru very clearly had far more territory to garrison than he could
effectively control. It was therefore decided to divide Bukedi into three parts.
It was felt that a change of policy was needed in Kumam. Delm6-Radcliffe's
successful rounding up of the Sudanese mutineers afforded an opportunity for
trying to establish more friendly relations with the Lango. This was impossible
so long as Kakunguru's following sought to play the role of conquistadores in
those regions. The Baganda levies were accordingly withdrawn and the district
was handed over to a certain Musabira. This man was a Munyara from Kaku-
nguru's former county of Bugerere. He made Kaweri his headquarters. He was
supplied with a certain number of guns and was granted permission to collect
hut tax from the people of Kumam living in the vicinity of Bululu, who had
expressed themselves willing to pay that tax in return for the protection of the
Uganda Administration. He was instructed to abstain from any kind of ag-
gressive action against the Lango and would appear to have complied with this
direction. His sphere of influence seems to have extended from Kele on the
shores of Lake Kyoga to Nyara in what is now the Kabiramaido county of the
Early in 1903 when the Lango made a raid into this sphere, and Musabira
went to the aid of the Kumam, he was killed together with about one hundred
Kumam He was succeeded in his post by a relative named Kazana. In his
early days Kazana had to act very much on the defensive. In August 1904, he
reported that there had been another raid by the Lango, in which twenty-five
men and fourteen women had been killed. He complained that, whereas in the
past Kakunguru's out posts had formerly kept these raiders ih check the Lango
had once more become emboldened and aggressive. Eventually, he managed
not only to hold his own, but also to turn the scales in his favour. He es-
tablished his headquarters at Kele and fully gained the confidence of the
Kumam. Except for a few small pockets in the Namasale peninsula at Awelo
(on the south shore of Lake Kwania) and at Agaya (about twelve miles east of
Kele) he eventually drove the Lango back beyond the Abalong River, which
forms the present boundary between Lango and Teso. For administrative
purposes he was placed under Gabula, the chief of north-east Busoga. He not
only collected hut tax to the south of Lake Kwania and the Abalong River,
but also introduced a system of local government based on the model of the
kingdom of Buganda, including within its scope the few Lango settlements
remaining in his sphere of influence. When in 1907 the Uganda Administ-
ration established a station at Bululu, he placed himself and his influence
entirely at the disposal of the government. Until his retirement in 1918 he
actively co-operated with the Government in the measurers taken to bring the
Lango under effective administration. "In his day," wrote Driberg, "he was the
most potent enemy with whom the Lango had to deal."
As Grant had said, the great majority of the Badama had always shown
themselves well disposed towards the Uganda Administration long before
Kakunguru had arrived in their land. Kakunguru's erection of five military
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 49
posts in their country, the seizure by his followers of a large number of their
cattle and the capture and humiliation of one of their leading chiefs had str-
ained those relations almost to breaking point. It was therefore decided as a
temporary measure to incorporate the territories of certain of their chiefs in
Busoga District. Within a very short time, certain of the Badama, who had
declined steadfastly to pay any tax to Kakunguru, began bringing it to district
headquarters at Iganga. Later on, Budama was incorporated in Bukedi District,
to which it properly belonged.77
The rest of Kakunguru's former sphere of influence was handed over to
Walker, who made his headquarters at Budaka. In 1904 the station was removed
Kakunguru gave me the following account of what happened to himself :-
On the 5th February 1902, I was dismissed from the District of Bukedi by my
masters, but there was no real reason why they dismissed me. I asked them to grant me
a small village to stay in, but in vain: they drove me out into the desert, where there
was not a single person but only wild beasts, leopards, poisonous snakes, hyenas,
elephants and everything harmful. I was in great danger during that period . .,
but God protected me and my people from all dangers. On my arrival at Mbale in
the desert I fed 5567 people out of my own pocket which cost me 82,640.
This statement, which was in writing, is on the face of it highly coloured.
As already said, Kakunguru had asked to be allowed to settle at Nabowa.
As that place lay in a populous area, he and his five thousand followers coula
only have been located there after the eviction of a large number of indigenous
Bagweri. It was for that reason that he was allotted twenty square miles of
land in a sparsely inhabited district which had Mbale for its centre. Though
sparsely inhabited, it was nevertheless by no means infertile ground. His
followers were being called upon to do no more than newly arrived settlers
have been called upon to do in many other lands, namely, to clear the bush
and make the land fit for cultivation. This they set to work to do with a right
good will and in a very short space of time wrought an astonishing change
on the country side.
Kakunguru still hoped against hope that the Uganda Administration
would be induced to recognize him as Kabaka. More than one letter on the sub-
ject was sent to Entebbe. Shortly after his arrival Colonel (afterwards Sir)
James Hayes Sadler, who had succeeded Johnston as Commissioner, received
a lengthy missive from Kakunguru. After many protestations of injured in-
nocence, the writer said: "I wish you, my master, to lift me up and not to
throw me aside altogether ... I know that you know the writings of Saint An-
tipas. This child of Herod, who did good work, was made a Sultan and he
remained a Sultan as well as Caesar."
In the meantime the Bagisu periodically raided Kakunguru's land. They
succeeded in carrying off a number of cattle and on more than one occasion
killed some of his followers. In December 1902, William Grant led a punitive
expedition into Bugisu and patrolled the country as far north as Sebei. The
operation was a bloodless one, most of the offending Bagisu agreeing to make
restitution of the cattle.
During this expedition and on other occasions it became manifest that
Kakunguru had a very considerable influence with a number of chiefs of the
more primitive tribes in the outlying portions of his former district. In a written
statement, which he handed to me in 1924, he made no disguise of the fact
that influence was mainly obtained by means of presents. In his statement he
described how after his arrival at Mbale "I started to make friends with all the
50 UGANDA JOURNAL
natives in Lango, Teso, Bugweri, Bugishu, Masaba, Bunyuli, Budama and
Bukalamoja. For that purpose I spent 2579. Out of these expenses nothing
was spent by the government." This admission that, at a time when he was
no longer in government employ, he was seeking in this manner to gain the
friendship of local chiefs is not without its significance.
In December 1903, Hayes Sadler met Kakunguru at Mbale. In a despatch to
the Foreign Office the Commissioner reported that :-
The Kakunguru has applied himself to the settlement of his people on the area
assigned to them, and to extending cultivation with signal success. He also has been
very useful as a medium between us and the Bakedi tribes as well as the friendly western
tribes of Mount Elgon, who all seemed to respect him and to trust him. At Budaka
and Mbale the chiefs or their representatives from all the principal Bakedi tribes up to
Bugondo and Lale came to visit me in my camp, often accompanied by a large body of
followers. Barazas were held daily and a few presents of cloth and beads distributed.
Their salutation is Mirembe (peace) repeated several times. I noticed that they all of
their own accord came up to Kakunguru first
The italics are mine.
From Mbale Hayes Sadler proceeded in company with Kakunguru to Sebei
country; his despatch continues:-
On my return to Mbale, I reinstated the Kakunguru in his position as Saza under
the Assistant Collector, making him responsible for the collection of hut tax over his
own people, but giving him strict injuctions that he was not to have anything to do with
the hut tax collection outside his settlement, unless desired so to do by the Assistant
Collector, under whose orders he was to be. As an intermediary with the Bakedi and
the tribes on the outer slopes of Elgon, who trade with Mbale, he can be of great
assistance to the Administration, and during the three weeks he was in my camp I had
plenty of opportunity of seeing the tact with which he dealt with the natives, who all
referred to him and looked upon him as their chief.
Written instructions were handed to Kakunguru, explaining to him what
was to be the extent of his private estate and to his sphere of influence and what
was to be the scope of his authority. But to Kakunguru the written word was
but a scrap of paper. For him his reinstatement meant that he could once more
hold himself out as being the Kabaka of Bukedi.
Within a very few months he and the Assistant Collector were at logger-
heads. In March 1904, it was discovered that he was making an illegal exaction
of two annas or beads of the like value for every letter he gave in support of an
application for a road pass. For this the Sub-Commissioner, Central Province
fined him a month's pay. Writing to the Sub-Commissioner on 11 November
1904, the Assistant Commissioner (A. H. Watson) reported that he had every
reason to believe that Kakunguru was secretly encouraging the idea of his
kingship throughout Bukedi. Outwardly he accepted without demur his status
of County Chief, "but, as we know, it is quite a common thing for the Baganda
to call him Kabaka." He was constantly trying to oust certain chiefs, whom
the Administration had appointed only six months before, and he was fre-
quently disobeying instructions given to him in regard to matters arising out-
side his sphere of influence. "Kakunguru's aims are twofold. He wishes to stand
well with the Administration ... At the same time he wishes to make it appear
to the natives that the Administration rules by the grace of Kakunguru."
At the same time his frequent complaints of attacks by the Bagisu and others
on his followers and his as frequent requests for punitive measures to be taken
against them show that he personally was well aware of his dependence upon
At the end of September 1904, Kakunguru personally took the field for the
last time. The Uganda Administration had decided to take punitive measures
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 51
against two Bagisu clans the Baligenyi and the Bayobo who had murdered
two Indian traders and their porters. Kakunguru was asked to supply a contin-
gent to assist the military and the police. His collaboration on this occasion
left a great deal to be desired. The Sub-Commissioner, Mr. (afterwards Sir)
Alexander Boyle, was anxious to arrive at a peacable settlement of the matter
instead of having recourse to arms. He was, however, unable to get in touch
with the tribesmen, who proceeded to withdraw from their own territory,
taking with them all their cattle. The officer in charge of the King's African
Rifles then gave Kakunguru leave to try to seize some of their livestock. Eleven
head of cattle and some sheep and goats were captured, but Kakunguru then
proceeded to commit the same tactical error as he had more than once per-
petrated in the past. Anxious to secure more cattle, he penetrated so far into the
hostile country that he was unable to return to camp that night. The following
day in the course of his retreat he was attacked by the Baligenyi and opened fire
on them. Eleven of the Baligenyi were killed and seven of his own party. After
that Boyle decided that Kakunguru and his men must not be allowed to leave
camp, and that future operations must be conducted by the military and police
without his collaboration. Kakunguru's one and only capture besides the cattle
was a young girl, whom Boyle sent with a message to the Baligenyi chiefs.
The result was that a meeting was arranged and that matters were settled
without further bloodshed.
At the end of 1904 Kakunguru was making trouble about the twenty square
miles which had been allotted to him by Hayes Sadler. "As far as I can judge."
wrote the Assistant Collector, "Kakunguru claims nearer three hundred square
miles than twenty, and not only are his people settling on native land, but
through his agents the natives are being forced to leave their own land and
come and settle and cultivate on what he believes to be his twenty square miles
As H. B. Thomas has said in 'Capax Imperii', fixed metes and bounds were
incompatible with Kakunguru's principles. What he appears to have been
claiming at this date was a square with twenty mile sides.
Another difficulty which arose between him and the Assistant Collector
was in regard to Kakunguru's jurisdiction over Baganda. His letter of ap-
pointment as a Saza chief had empowered him to collect hut tax not only from
people on his private estate but also "from any Waganda who may elect to
settle on land adjacent to that estate, although not within its limits." Again,
he was given "liberty to settle Waganda on land outside and adjacent to his
miles, provided that it is waste land and that it is clearly understood that all
such land is Government property and that any time the occupiers can be tur-
ned out without any compensation." The words "adjacent to that estate"
would have been exasperatingly vague, even if the boundaries of that estate had
been clearly defined, but their vagueness was aggravated by the fact that it was
not until 1908 that those twenty square miles were delineated by a proper
As the District of Bukedi comprised a heterogeneous collection of tribes,
none of which had any sense of political cohesion, the Uganda Administration
relied upon Baganda agents to try to set up some stablised from of local govern-
ment. Most of these were recruited from the ranks of Kakunguru's followers as
being the only persons with any previous knowledge of the tribes in question.
Some of these, but by no means all, proved both reliable and efficient in the
performance of a by no means easy task, but their retainers were almost without
exception drawn from the rag, tag and bobtail of Buganda, who were attracted
52 UGANDA JOURNAL
by the prospect of getting rich quickly at the expense of the unfortunate people
whom they were supposed to assist and protect. Many of these Agents con-
tinued to call themselves by the titles which Kakunguru had bestowed upon
them as soi disant Kabaka of Bukedi. In addition they had a habit of taking
their instructions from Kakunguru, thereby creating the impression that he had
"come into his own again."
In June 1905, there was trouble in Budama, where the local inhabitants
attacked the boma of a Muganda agent and killed all its occupants. When in-
quiry was made, it was discovered that, contrary to his instructions, Kakunguru
had ordered tax to be forcibly collected from the Badama. The Baganda tax
collectors had levied the tax by seizure of cattle and consequently the district
was seething with discontent. Matters were brought to a sudden head when a
Muganda seized the wife of a prominent chief, tied her up, and beat her because
she refused to supply him with beer. Her son rescued her and then collected
a band of men, who entered the agent's boma and massacred the inmates. 90
In the circumstances it was decided that Kakunguru's usefulness was far
outweighed by the rouble arising from his and his followers activities and that
the sooner he was removed from Bukedi the better. He was allowed to retain his
chieftainship, but was sent in 1906 to Busoga to take up the post of President
of the Lukiko. There, he did a great deal towards the welding of many
scattered chieftainships into a single tribal organisation. But behind all his
labours was the one all pervading idea of personal aggrandizement. If he could
not become Kabaka of Bukedi, he would be Kabaka of Busoga. In course of
time he began more and more to neglect his duties as President and to incur the
increasing hostility of the Basoga chiefs. Eventually the Uganda Administration
decided that his usefulness in Busoga was at an end. On 13 December 1913,
the post of President of the Busoga Lukiko was abolished and Kakunguru
returned to Mbale, where he resumed his duties as a Saza chief with an in-
creased salary and certain other privileges.
During his seven years of absence the aura, which had once surrounded him,
had become dissipated. The Bakedi no longer looked upon him as their Kabaka
and his own compatriots realized that his sun had passed its zenith. But Kaku-
nguru was still resolved that he should be treated as a king. It was not enough
that his wife hadthe blood of the royal house of Buganda in herv eins. He must
show to all the world that she had not made a misalliance.
In 1914 a native of Koki, named Mali who arrived at Mbale, gave himself
out as being a member of the royal family of Koki, He and Kakunguru con-
ferred with one another and finally announced to the world that it had been
mistaken in supposing that Kakunguru was a member of the Lung-fish (Mamba)
clan. In reality he was the son of a certain Matambagala, who himself was the
son of one Kitayimbwa, a Mubito (prince) of the royal house of the rulers of
Koki and that Besimansi Bimanyawa or Kyabutuliza was his sister and was
hence forth to be called his Lubuga (Queen Sister.) Not unnaturally this very
belated announcement of his new pedigree caused considerable surprise in
Buganda. It gave rise to great indignation in Koki where it was asserted,
that his alleged father Matambagala was an ordinary Munyankole herdsman
who had taken service under Lubambula, Mukama of Koki. As said at the
beginning of this article, the Baganda had always believed that his father
was Semuwamba, a Muganda and a member of the Lung-fish (Mamba)
clan. Though the African public as a whole was not in the least taken in
by Kakunguru's claims to this ancestry, more than one European was, in-
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 53
eluding, as The Soul of Central Africa shows, the late Canon Roscoe. As for the
Africans, some were amused, but a great many were indignant.
Kakunguru remained a Saza chief until 1923, but every year he became less
and less co-operative with the Administration. In the words of H. B. Thomas
"he was now a fanatical old man, with a considerable talent for quoting scrip-
tures," though not always with entire accuracy. When in 1914 a certain Malaki
Musajakawa broke away from the Native Anglican Church and founded a
new sect, Kakunguru joined its ranks. Writing in November 1914, Canon Row-
ling of the C.M.S. reported that Kakunguru was "very active in spreading the
movement, in which his leading position counts heavily. His immediate reason
comes from government regulations. On his way to the Kabaka's coming of
age ceremonies he passed through Jinja and, owing to plague, was notified that
all wishing to proceed to Buganda must first be inoculated against plague.
This he most indignantly refused to undergo, and hence his present action."
But conversion to this new faith did not satisfy Kakunguru very long.
The Head of a State must be the Head of a Church. So Kakunguru broke away
from the Malakites and formed a sect of his own. The members of this new sect
called themselves Bayudaya (Jews). They based their observances very largely,
but not entirely, on their interpretation of the Old Testament. Members of the
sect practised circumcision according to the rites of the Jewish Faith, but at the
same time retained the Christian form of baptism. Saturday was their day of
rest and they practised faith healing. The use of medicines and drugs more
especially those of European manufacture was anathema to them. Kaku-
nguru built a number of schools in his own domains. The teachers in those
schools wore turbans like the Jews of old in imitation of the coloured prints
which were distributed by the missionary societies. Canon Roscoe, who stayed
in Kakunguru's enclosure in 1920, reported that "Kakunguru himself attends
service regularly, taking an active part, and bearing himself very much as the
High Priest of the sect."
On 15 December 1927, four years after Kakunguru had been retired upon
pension, he sat down to write his last will and testament. It begins as follows :-
My father Matambagala, son of Kitayimbwa, Omubito of Koki begat four of us -
two boys and two girls. One boy and one girl died, their names being Luwaraza and
Kinene. Now we are two only namely, Kakunguru, and Besumansi Kyabutuliza
The testator then proceeded to appoint guardians for his children. The
following are the names of those guardians as given in the will :-
"Yekoasi Kaweka, the Katikiro of the Lugave clan
Tefiro Tebasoke, the Omuwanika (Treasurer) of the Mamba clan,
Tefiro Kyamanywa, Omubito of Koki,
Erisafu Musisi Musoke, my clerk."
With the exception of Kyamanywa, all the above witnessed the will, as did
Besumansi Kyabutuliza Lubuga.
Other passages in the will are not relevant to the subject matter of this article.
Those cited recall the will of that incorrigible romanticist Captain Kearney in
Marryat's Peter Simple.
Not quite two years later, on 19 November 1929, Kakunguru died in his
house at Gangama on the slopes of the Buwalasi range.
I did not meet Kakunguru until after his retirement. He then posed very
much as le roi en exil with a long bede roll of grievances against those who had
deprived him of his kingdom. Albeit, he was a tall, imposing figure and a courtly
54 UGANDA JOURNAL
old gentleman, who never allowed his strong sense of grievance to ruffle his
outward demeanour. He did not seek redress as a suppliant. He presented his
many claims in a dignified manner as though he were in fact a king, demanding
what was his right. With his tall, stately figure and his long beard, he certainly
looked the part. I feel convinced that by the time I first met him he had so often
repeated many of his stories and in particular that of his ancestry that he
had reached the stage of fully believing in their veracity. Behind all his regal
pose, however, one thing remained painfully clear, namely, his appalling
As I have endeavoured to show, Kakunguru's ambition to carve out a
kingdom for himself was conceived long before he ever met Sir Harry Johnston.
Nevertheless, although it is clear that Johnston gave Kakunguru to understand
that his appointment as Kabaka would have to be made by the British Govern-
ment, he nevertheless left him under the impression that this was a mere for-
mality. It is also a matter for comment that there appears to be no evidence that
his promised recommendation was ever made to the Foreign Office. Equally
surprising is Johnston's apparent omission to inform the Acting Commissioner,
whom he left in charge of the Uganda Administration, or any other officer of
the promise which he had made to Kakunguru. Finally, there is the extra-
ordinary fact that the officer in charge of the Lango Field Force was never
consulted or informed that, on the strength of this promise he was to be rein-
forced by a contingent of native levies, whom he did not want and most
decidedly wished to do without. All these three things may be capable of
explanations of which I am at present unaware, but they certainly call for ex-
Turning to Kakunguru himself, he was, as H. B. Thomas has said, born
half a century too late, but at the same time one wonders whether he would
have permanently succeeded in his ambition, if he had been born half a century
earlier, and had set out to fulfil it untramelled by British intervention. Des-
pite his superiority in firearms more than one of his punitive expeditions ended
in disaster. According to a written complaint drawn up and signed by him in
1921 he lost 739 men out of 1246 on these expeditions. But that was not all.
He and his followers behaved with all the arrogance of herrenvolker in the lands
into which they managed to make their way. Crabtree's comment upon the fact
that, with few exceptions, neither Kakunguru nor his followers took any real
trouble to acquire the languages of those countries is evidence of only one of the
many short-comings of Kakunguru and his followers, which disqualified them
from being regarded as leaders of the alien races amongst whom their lot was
cast. There is no doubt that, thanks in no small measure to his superiority in
weapons, Kakunguru became a successful conquistador, but it seems clear that
both he and his followers lacked the qualifications and ability to set up a per-
manent kingdom in Bukedi. He needed something besides a superiority in wea-
pon-power and the wherewithal to bestow lavish presents upon those whom he
sought to rule. In his later days he constantly complained that by their inter-
vention the Uganda Administration had prevented him from fulfilling his one
great ambition in life. One ventures very strongly to doubt whether he would
have accomplished it, even if there had been no Uganda Administration to
intervene. With trained troops and a superior weapon-power the Egyptian
Government failed to subjugate the peoples dwelling in the northern districts
of the Uganda Protectorate. One very much doubts if Kakunguru would have
fared better if left to himself to establish a kingdom in Bukedi.
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 55
LETTER OF SIR HARRY JOHNSTON TO KAKUNGURU
Aprel 29, 1901
S. Kakungulu Otyano? mukwano gwange. Kale nkutugeza ensonga zino.
Kakano situka gwe nabalwanyibo ne Bwana Captain Howard mutambule
okukwata ekubo edungi era eryokumpi okutuka e Bululi. Awo wemulifuna
ebaruwa eribategeza obulungi obanga olutalo lukyaliwo obanga wagwawo,
bwemuli okutegera nemulioka mutambula emitala weno ewa Kiira okutuka
gyebali era mulisanga nabaserikale abalala. Mumalire dala olutalo olwo.
Kale buli kulagirwa kwona onouliranga ebigambo bya Bwana Howard okutusa
olutalo okugwa oloike osituke okuda mu Bukedi okulongosa Bukedi.
Ate njagala okukutegeza kino. Nakusubiza okukufula Kabaka we Bukedi.
Kale wewawo: naye torowoza nti nerabira ekyo. Neda. Endaganozo olizifuna.
Okusoka kigwanide okubuza King ye Kabaka wafe: era neserikale lwe
lukiko Iwafe. Manyi tebagana: naye kirungi basoke okumanya. Kabaka
bwalimala okukiriza mu ndaganozo, nawandika erinya, ndiziwereza Entebe
eri Jackson nakuita nowandikako erinyalyo no Kufuka Kabaka. Naye okusoka
mala okumbera enyo. Ate nakubera okukuwa emundu eza senadali okukuma
ensiyo ne byasi. Kale ate bwendituka e Simoni, ndikuwereza ebaruwayo
eyokugula emunduyo: Kubanga wano sirina mpapula eziwandikwako ebi-
gambo nga ebyo. Ate mu bintu ebirinyagibwa olifunako ekitundukyo. Kale
sirina birala okukutegezza. Kale; weraba. Katonda akukume
(omukonogwe) H. H. Johnston
(Translation of above letter by Rev. J. B. Purvis)
April 29, 1901
How are you, my friend? I write to give you the following information. Now I
am not coming to you '. You and your warriors and Captain Howard will take
the best and nearest way to Bululi. There you will receive a letter info rming you
whether the war is still continuing or finished. On receipt you will go to Kiira
where you will meet other soldiers. Finish the war completely. Obey all the
orders of Bwana Howard until the end of the war. Then return to Bukedi to
put Bukedi in order.
I also want to tell you this. I promised to make you King of Bukedi. Quite so.
Do not think I have forgotten this. No. You will receive agreements. First we
must ask the King our Kabaka and the Government our Lukiko. I
know they will not refuse, but it is well that they should know first of all. When
the Kabaka has assented to your agreements, I shall write your name. I will
56 UGANDA JOURNAL
send them to Entebbe to Jackson and he will call you and will write your name
as Kabaka. But first of all help me in this. I will help you by giving you Snider
rifles and ammunition to guard your land. When I reach Simoni (the Ravine
station) I will send you a permit to buy your guns because here I have no forms
to write this. Of the booty you will receive you share. I have nothing else to
tell you. Farewell. God protect you.
I am your friend
(signed) H. H. Johnston
1 I venture to suggest that this is a mistranslation. Situka would appear in the context
to be the imperative of the verb situka meaning "arise". The sentence should be translated
"Arise you and your fighting men and Captain Howard and take the best and nearest way to
Bululi". Si-tuka is the negative of the first person in the present tense of tuka meaning
"to come". Hence the understandable error in translation by Mr. Purvis the Luganda of
the letter is very far from being idioatimc and grammatical. It was clearly not the work of a
Abbreviations CMG = Church Missionary Gleaner
CMI = Church Missionary Intelligencer
MN = Mengo Notes
UJ = Uganda Journal
UN = Uganda Notes
Africa. No. 7 (1895) Papers relating to Uganda
Africa. No. 1 (1896) Report of Military Operations against Kabarega, King of Unyoro
Africa. No. 2 (1898) Papers relating to Recent Events in the Uganda Protectorate.
Africa. No. 7 (1898) Papers relating to Recent Events in the Uganda Protectorate
Africa. No. 10 (1898) Report on the Recent Mutiny of the Soudanese Troops
Africa. No. 1 (1899) Papers relating to Recent Events in the Uganda Protectorate
Africa. No. 4 (1899) Papers relating to Events in the Uganda Protectorate
Africa. No. 9 (1899) Report by Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonald of his Expedition
Africa. No. 6 (1900) Preliminary Report on the Protectorate of Uganda
Africa. No. 7 (1901) Report by His Majesty's Special Commissioner on the Protectorate
Africa. No. 15 (1903) General Report on the Uganda Protectorate
Africa. No. 12 (1904) General Report on the Uganda Protectorate
Ansorge, W. J. Under the African Sun, (1899) pp.103-06
Ashe, R. P. Chronicles of Uganda (1894)
Baskerville, G. K. Journal. 22 Apr. and 11 Jul. 1894, CMI (Jan. 1895), pp.27, 33
Four Pictures from Uganda, CMG (1896), 104
Bikunya, P Ky'Abakama be Bunyoro, (1927) pp.66-9
Blackledge, G. R. 'Bugerere and Bukoba Mission', UN(1902), p.191
Buckley, T. R. 'Among the Wild Bakeddi', CMG (1901), pp.66-9
Letter of 22 Nov. 1901, CMI (March 1902), p.191
Church Missionary Society, Proceedings of, 1914-15, p.65
(Note as to Kakunguru's secession from Native Anglican Chruch)
Colvile, H. E. Land of the Nile Springs (1895)
Crabtree, W. A. 'Openings beyond Uganda An Appeal for Bakedi',
CMI (May 1901), pp.369-70
Letters of 4 Mar. and 4 Nov. 1902, CMI (Mar. 1903), pp.181-3, 187-90
Letter to Roscoe, 4 June 1901, CMI (Nov. 1901), p.360
Letter n.d. CMI (June, 1903), p.454
'Bukedi', MN 1901, vol. i, pp.51-8, vol. ii, pp.1-2
Driberg, J. H. The Lango (1923)
Ebifa mu Buganda (1929), pp.69-70 (Gives particulars of Kakunguru's ancestry and early
career and sets out his will in extenso)
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 57
Fisher, A. B. Letters of 20 Mar. and 14 Apr. 1899, CMI (Sep. 1899), pp.788-9
Fisher, Mrs. A. B. Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda, (1911) pp.176-8
Fraser, A. G. Letter n.d. CMI (Feb. 1903), pp.123-4
See also UN (1903), pp.74, 84
Gale, H.P. Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers. (1959)
Hall, M. J. Letter of 23 Mar. 1896, CMGC 1896), 85
In Full and Glad Surrender, The Story and Life of Martin J. Hall (by F. E. R.
Hayes, T. R. 'Land Tenure in the Eastern Province' (printed at pp.31-8, in Tothill q.v.)
Hippell, W. R. "Kaweri', UJ 10 (1946), 158, 165
Johnston, Sir H. H. The Uganda Protectorate. (1902)
see also Africa. No. 6 (1900) and No. 7 (1901)
Kagwa, Sir Apolo Ekitabo kya Basekabaka be Buganda. (1953)
Kakunguru, S. L. Notices as to Resignation of, UN(1902), p.18 and UJ 11 (1947),58-9
Katenda, Samwili 'A Muganda on the Customs of the Bakedi', UN (1902), p.65
Katyanku, Omubitokati L. O. Obwomwezi bw'Omukama Duhaga II, pp.36-7
Kirkpatrick, R. T. 'Lake Choga and Surrounding Country', Geog. J. 13 (1899): UJ 10
Lawrance, J. C. D. The Iteso (1957)
Macdonald, J. R. L. Soldiering and Surveying in British East Africa (1897)
Moyse-Bartlett, H. The King's African Rifles (1956)
Nyakatura, J. W. Abakama ba Bunyoro-Kitara, (1947) pp.211-2
Purvis, J. B. Through Uganda to Mount Elgon (1909)
See also UN (1904), pp.120, 138, and 155-60
Roberts, A. D. 'The Sub-Imperialism of the Baganda', Journal of African History (1962) III
Roscoe, J. The Soul of Central Africa, 1922 pp.138-40
Twenty-Five Years in East Africa, (1921) pp.251-2
The Bakitara, (1923) p.89
Letter of 11 Jul. 1905, CMI (Oct. 1905), p.770
Seligman, C. G. Races of Africa (1930)
Stock, E. History of the Church Missionary Society (1899)
Thomas, H. B. 'Capax Imperil' UJ 6 (1838-9), 125 seq.
Thomas, H. B. and Scott, R. Uganda (1935)
Tothill, J. D. (Editor) Agriculture in Uganda, see Hayes, T. R. (supra) (1940)
Tucker, Rt. Rev. Bp.A.R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa (1908)
'A Journey to Mount Elgon and the Bukedi Country', CMI
(Apr. 1904), pp.255-60
Letters of 14 Sep. and 4 Oct. 1895, CMI (Feb. 1906), pp.95, 98
Letter of I May 1898, CMI (Oct. 1898), p.751
Uganda Protectorate Intelligence Reports
No. 8 up to Jan. 1902 (information regarding Bukedi by W. Grant in App. D)
No. 10 up to Feb. 1902 (Report on Kakunguru's conduct)
No. 12 (Notes on Bukedi in App. A by W. Grant)
No. 17 for Oct. 1902 (Notes on Bukedi)
No. 18 for Nov. and Dec. 1902 (Notes on Bukedi)
No. 23 to Jul. 1904 (Report by H. Gait on road from Nabumali to Sebei)
No. 24 to 31 Dec. 1904 (reports on Baeigenyi and Bayobo expeditions in App. D and
Walker, R. H. 'Notes on Uganda', CMI (Mar. 1893), pp.199-200
Letter of 1 June 1898, CMI (Oct. 1898), p.775
Welbourn, F. B. East African Rebels (1961)
Whiteley, W. H. and Gutkind, A. E. A Linguistic Bibliography of East Africa (1954)
Woodward, E. M. Precis of Information concerning the Uganda Protectorate
Worthington, S. and E. B. The Inland Waters of Africa (1933)
Part I. Entebbe Secretariat Achives
(a) Staff and Miscellaneous, 1893, Vol. III
J. Roscoe to Col. Colvile, 6 Dec. 1893
(b) Staff and Miscellaneous, 1894, Vol. II
W. J. Ansorge to Col. Colvile, 15 Oct. 1894
Capt. J. H. S. Gibb to Col. Colvile, 10 June 1894
58 UGANDA JOURNAL
(c) Staff from 1895, Vol. I
W. Grant to F. J. Jackson, 8 and 22 June 1895
(d) Staff from 1896, Vol. I
C. Sitwell to Commissioner, 17 and 21 Feb. 1896
(e) Staff from 1896, Vol. II
George Wilson to Commissioner, 6 May 1896
(f) Staff from 1896, Vol. III
Trevor Ternan to Commissioner, 24 Sep. 1896
(g) Staff, 1899, Vol. I
Lt.-Col. J. Evatt to Commissioner, 10 Apr. and 18 May 1899
(h) Staff, 1899, Vol. V
George Wilson to Commissioner, 5, 26 and 27 Jul. and 28 Aug. 1899
W. Grant to Commissioner, 4 Aug. and 24 Sep. 1899
Commissioner to Grant, 16 Sep. 1899
(i) Staff, 1900, Vol. V
C. W. Fowler to Commissioner, 25 June and 8 Jul. 1900
(j) Staff, 1900, Vol. VI
Capt. M. L. Hornby to Senior Staff Officer, 1 Jul. 1900
(k) Busoga, 1900, Vol. I
C. W. Fowler to Commissioner, Report on Eastern Bukedi n.d.
Further reports on 19 Aug. and 2 Sep. 1900
W. Grant to Commissioner, 30 Sep. 12 Oct. 18 Nov. and 2 Dec. 1900, and 2 Feb. and
1 June 1901
Kakunguru to "my friend Balozi", 25 Dec. 1900 (Reporting attack on 3 Nov. 1900 on
his fort by Bagisu and Masai. Bishop Hanlon was in the fort at the time)
(1) Busoga, 1 Aug. 1901 Dec. 1902, Vol. II
Kakunguru to Jackson, 30 Jul. 1901 (Johnston authorised raid on Budama)
Same to same, 22. 01 (sic) Johnston "stood on a hill" and pointed out the boundaries
of Kakunguru's territory)
Same to same, 9 Feb. 1902 (Asks to be given a shamba at Nabowa)
W. Grant to Commissioner, 7 Sep. 1, 7, 24 and 27 Oct. and 4 Nov. 1902
Same to same, 21 Mar. 1902 (Reporting that Kakunguru has handed over to W. R.
Walker, Budaka and all his forts etc.)
Same to same, 25 June 1902 (Recommends that Walker should remove from Budaka
"and establish himself near Masawa in the vicinity of Kakunguru's place")
Father Kestens to Grant, 22 Oct. 1901 (Complains that Kakunguru, "king of this
country" will not allow him to reside at Budaka)
W. R. Walker to Grant, 7 June 1902
Kakunguru to Hayes Sadler, 3 Aug. 1902 ("I wish you, my master, to lift me up and
not throw me aside altogether")
(m) Busoga, Jan. 1903 May 1904
W. Grant to Commissioner, 11 Jan. 14 Jul. and 13 Nov. 1903 and 15 and 24 Feb. 1904
A. H. Watson to Commissioner, 10 Feb. and 14 and 21 Mar. 1904 and also Report on
Bukedi for Feb. 1904
A. H. Watson to A. G. Boyle, 5 and 16 Apr. and 6 and 17 May 1904
(n) Busoga, June 1904 June 1905
A. H. Watson to Commissioner, 24 Aug. 1 and 15 Sep. 14 Oct. and 16 Nov. 1904
Reports on Bukedi District for Aug. and Oct. 1904 and Mar. Apr. and May 1905
Ormsby to Sub-Commissioner, 27 Feb 1905
(o) Busoga, Jul. 1905 May 1906
Sub-Commissioner to Commissioner, 4 Jul. 1905 (Kakunguru wishes to proceed to
Entebbe to get married)
Reports on Busoga for Aug. Sep. and Oct. 1905 refer to unrest in Budama
(p) Minute Paper 1760/08
Memorandum by P. W. Perryman, formerly D.C. Mable and later Chief Swcretary,
on Kakunguru's career
Part II. From Foreign Office Prints in Entebbe Secretariat
Capt. J. R. L. Macdonald to Sir G. Portal, 21 Oct. 1893
(Deposition of Rubuga for cruelty)
C. W. Hobley to E. J. L. Berkeley, 5 Feb. 1896
(Report of tour in region of Mount Elgon)
KAKUNGURU IN BUKEDI 59
Major J. R. L. Macdonald to Lord Salisbury, 1 Mar. 1898
Major J. R. L. Macdonald to E. J. L. Berkeley, 25 May 1898
(Services rendered by Kakunguru during Sudanese mutiny)
Sir Harry Johnston to Lord Salisbury, 6 Apr. 1900
St. John Brodrick to Sir Harry Johnston, 15 June 1900
(Proposed status to be conferred on Kakunguru)
Major C. Delmb-Radcliffe to Col. A. H. Coles, 10 Sep. 1901
(Encloses Diary of Lango Field Force, 1901)
A. G. Bagshawe to Delmh-Radcliffe n.d.
(Medical Report on Lango Field Force)
Capt. T. N. Howard to Delm6-Radcliffe, 13 June 1901
(Report on march in company with Kakunguru from Masaba to Lango.)
Commissioner Sadler to Lord Lansdowne, 10 Nov. 1902, 17 Apr. 2 June and 2 Dec. 1903 and
27 Feb. (bis) and 1 Aug. 1904
W. Grant to Sadler, 8 Jan. 26 May and 10 Nov. 1903
F. H. Leakey to Sadler, 7 Sep. 1903
(Matters relating to administration in Bukedi)
A. G. Boyle to George Wilson, 8 Oct. and 4 Nov. 1904
(Expeditions against Baligenyi and Bayobo)
Part III. Kakunguru papers
Papers relating to certain claims presented by Kakunguru to the Uganda Administration
in 1924 and investigated by the writer (Sir John Gray). They include (inter alia) the following:
'The Taking of Bukedi' (in Luganda with English translation) submitted by the claimant to the
D.C. Mbale and dated 17 Dec. 1923. The covering letter to the D.C. Mbale is dated
10 Oct. 1924)
Notes of statements made in amplification of the foregoing document by the claimant at
interviews with the writer on 13 and 18 Nov. 1924
Memorandum by claimant of a conversation with Sir Hesketh Bell at the time of his transfer
to Busoga in 1906
Letter in Luganda from Harry Johnston to claimant dated 29 Apr. 1901 (see Appendix I)
English translation of above letter by J. B. Purvis (see Appendix I)
Letter dated 19 Jan. 1904 by A. G. Boyle defining claimant's sphere of influence in Bukedi
Uganda Journa', 27, I l963, pp. 6x-70
THE KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY
by W. J. PEAL
A fine account has been given of the development of the main railways of
East Africa in Permanent Way', but this extensive work describes only those
railways which are now part of the East African Railways and Harbours system.
A number of minor railways, owned privately or by Governments, have also
made their contribution to the development of the East African countries.
In Uganda two of the most interesting of these were the Port Bell-Kampala
Mono-Rail* (1909-1914) and the Kampala-Bombo Road-Rail (1923-1926).
Both employed unconventional forms of rail traction and were therefore to
some extent experimental. This paper describes the second of the two; it is
hoped in a later paper to describe the Mono-Rail.
During the years immediately following the first world war inadequate
transport both within Uganda and to the coast was a recurrent theme at meetings
of the Uganda Chamber of Commerce, of the Planters' Association, and of the
legislature. It is not surprising, therefore, that the possibility of the introduc-
tion of a novel form of light railway, cheap to construct and operate, aroused
considerable interest. A trial stretch of track was laid in 1920 from Kampala to
Kawempe along the Bombo Road but the line from Kampala to Bombo did
not come into commercial operation until 1 April 1923. A year later a branch
line to Gayaza was opened. The railway was built primarily to facilitate the
transport of cotton from the Bulemezi area to Kampala. Its use for the trans-
port of military personnel and stores for the Bombo cantonment gave rise to the
widely held but incorrect view that it was a military railway.
The railway used the 'Loco-Tractor' system invented by Mr. Frank Dutton
of the South African Railways Motor Transport Department.2 Dutton, together
with General Stronach of the Royal Engineers, patented the system, the rights
being invested in a firm at first called 'Stronach-Dutton Road-Rail Loco-
Tractor Limited' with offices in London. Lord Milner, the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, was Chairman of the Company, Stronach Vice-Chairman and
John Buchan, the author, a member of the Board.
The novel feature of the Loco-Tractor was the large driving wheels which
operated outside the rails on the roadway. The sponsors claimed that it was
capable of handling heavy loads on considerably steeper gradients than could
be achieved by conventional railway locomotives. It was further claimed that
the cost of construction and maintenance of the track was less than the cost of
either a road or a railway. A successful demonstration was given in Kampala
on 26 August, 1920. The Uganda Herald commented3 :-
"Thus in a simple way has come what will in all probability prove to be the solution
of the transport problems in the Protectorate for if the Tractor will do only half what is
claimed fcr it the results will be far reaching indeed"
*If any reader of the Uganda Journal has photographs or other documentary
material about the Mono-Rail the author would be very pleased to see it. Such
material would be copied quickly and returned.
62 UGANDA JOURNAL
"To H. E. who originated the idea of this form of transport in the Protectorate
are due the thanks of the community."
Six years and 90,000 were required to prove that this was not the solution to
Uganda's Transport problem.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE RAILWAY
Before proceeding to England on leave in 1919 the Governor, Sir Robert
Coryndon, left instructions with the Director of Public Works, Mr. Espeut,
that experiments with the Road-Rail were to be carried out as soon as possible.4
Rails and trucks formerly used on a light railway at Mbagathi in Kenya were
purchased from the War Salvage Board and a 300-yard length of track was laid
near to the Kampala railway station. Trials on this track were carried out in
February, 1920 using a modified 2-ton Lacre van as a locomotive. The results
were so unsatisfactory and public opposition from the Chamber of Commerce
so powerful, that the Acting Governor promptly reported by telegram to the
Secretary of State for the Colonies that the experiments ought to be discontinued
since such experiments would take a long time to come to fruition whereas the
country's needs were immediate. He further pointed out that if the Road-
Rail were built from Mbale to Mjanji Port (62 miles) as had been initially
suggested, the cost would cover the purchase of sufficient motor vans for the
whole Protectorate. Similar views were expressed by the Uganda Development
Commission5 reporting at about the same time. On 24 February, 1920 the Chief
Secretary wrote, in reply to a query from the Chamber of Commerce, that it was
not the Government's intention to proceed with the Loco-Tractor experiment.
However, the Secretary of State in London forwarded the adverse report
from Uganda about the Loco-Tractor to Sir Robert Coryndon who was then
on leave in Surrey. Sir Robert at once drafted a reply which was despatched
from the Secretary of State with only minor modifications. In this cable, dated
10 March 1920, the Secretary of State greatly regretted that no progress was
being made with the Loco-Tractor experiment since proofs of successful work
would have provided strong reasons for loan assistance for the development of
internal transport. In conclusion the Director of Public Works was instructed
to proceed at once with the construction of a 5-mile section of experimental
track. Thus Sir Robert started this experiment in Uganda against the advice of
almost all persons connected with transport in the country.
It is not clear why Sir Robert Coryndon was so convinced of the value of the
Road-Rail system. Two people may have been influential in interesting him in
this method of transport. The first was Mr. Frank Worthington, the Governor's
brother-in-law, who acted on behalf of the Road-Rail Company in Uganda
for a time and who, in September 1920, applied for permission for a company
he represented to operate the Mbale-Mjanji route with a Road-Rail4. The
second was Major E. A. T. Dutton who was appointed Secretary to the Govern-
or in 1920 and who was, I understand6, related to Mr. Frank Dutton, the
inventor of the system. Sir Robert's enthusiasm for the Road-Rail may be judged
from a letter5 written to General Stronach in February, 1920 in which he says :-
"I have told my people in Uganda to expedite my own little Loco-Tractor ex-
That he was one of the first people seriously to consider employing this type of
railway may be deduced from the fact that in this letter he notes that he had
taken up the system before it was patented by General Stronach and therefore
presumed that he was not infringing any patent rights. He further pointed out
ML I ML 3 4 5 MILES ORTEL
---- FIRST TRIAL TRACK LAID JANUARY 1920 o \
----SECOND TRIAL TRACK LAID MID 1920
:i;: :::mFINAL ROUTE OF KAMPALA-BOMBO
UGANDA RAILWAY KAMPALA- PORT BELL u RAILWAY
_______ ED F 0 3000 *0ROADS( 0 00 6
KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY 63
the great value to the Road-Rail Company of a successful demonstration of the
railway under tropical conditions.
Needless to say the very definite instructions in the Secretary of State's
cable were carried out at once, the decision being taken to build the first ex-
perimental line along the Bombo Road to Kawempe. By August 1920, and after
Sir Robert's return to Uganda, the line was ready and the successful demons-
tration already noted was given.
The locomotive was a converted Ford Box motorcar from which the front
axle and front wheels had been removed and a railway bogie fitted. The journey
from Kawempe to Kampala was achieved in 12 minutes pulling a bogie wagon
carrying 3 tons of cotton. At one point a gradient of 1-in-20 was negotiated at
10 m.p.h. This demonstration of the ability of the system caused the rather
fanciful prediction by the editor of the Herald already noted. Perhaps more
important it convinced the members of the Chamber of Commerce of the
potential of the Road-Rail so that at their next meeting they passed the fol-
lowing resolution7 :-
"That the Chamber approves of the decision of the Government to order a further
50 miles of rail and tractor on the lines of the trial length laid along the Bombo Road.
The Chamber would welcome the opportunity of giving its opinion on the most suitable
routes for any extensions to be placed."
A regular service was operated on this experimental section of track during the
1921 cotton season.
The popularity of the project increased with the showing of a film in Janu-
ary 1921 in this film it was claimed that a 15-h.p. tractor would haul 40 tons
up a 1-in-20 gradient or 300 tons on the level. These figures represented, ac-
cording to the film, 4 times the tractive effort per ton of axle load that a con-
ventional railway locomotive could achieve. Once again the editor of the Herald
wrote enthusiastically8 :-
"Its adaptibility for curves as will be seen in one part of the film is remarkable -
the ease and grace with which it glides round seemingly impossible loops being wonder-
ful to behold."
In order to convince everybody the film was run through twice! Shortly after-
wards the suggestion was made that the Port Bell-Kampala railway should be
replaced by a Road-Railway.
Sir Robert Coryndon's great interest in the Road-Rail was shown by the
frequency with which he mentioned it in his speeches. Thus, when speaking as
first president of the first Legislative Council in March 1921, he referred to
the wide interest in the Stronach-Dutton system in a number of countries and
that construction work on the first 30 miles in Uganda was more than half
completed. In an earlier speech (December 1920) he had reported interest in the
system in Central Europe, India, and Rhodesia and had claimed that Uganda
was the first country in which it was operating. Presumably the film was of the
experimental track operated in South Africa by the holders of the patent, the
Road-Rail Company. In his farewell speech in August 1922, before leaving on
his appointment as Governor of Kenya, Sir Robert regretted that he would not
be in Uganda when the system came fully into operation. In November 1922 a
committee appointed by the Government of Kenya was set up to study the
system and report on its suitability for Kenya. They wisely urged that the
results of the Uganda experiment should be awaited before a decision be taken.
One of the attractions of the Road-Rail was that it could be laid along the
edge of an existing road. Not only did this avoid all the problems connected
64 UGANDA JOURNAL
with the expropriation of land for railway construction but it also meant that
the railway was able to serve the public better since it passed through the midst
of towns and villages. Some of these advantages were demonstrated on the
Bombo Road experimental section. Considerable dismay was therefore ex-
pressed when the Government announced its decision to re-route the railway
along the Kitante Valley and thence on its own alignment to Bombo. One reason
given for this was that the drainage of the Bombo Road was suffering con-
siderably with the result that both the experimental Road-Rail and the road
itself developed great puddles during wet weather. Another, and very un-
palatable reason, was that the rails used on this experimental track differed
in gauge by I in. from those being supplied by Robert Hudson Ltd. and that
therefore this whole section of track would have to be relaid in any case.
Finally it was considered by Government that it would be better if the Road-
Rail did not run through the centre of Kampala, in order to avoid traffic dis
location and the necessity for level crossings.
Two special tractors arrived in about the middle of 1922. In their printed
report9 dated February 1924, the Director of Public Works Mr. G. N. Loggin
and the Director of Transport Major R. B. Hill record that, as these two trac-
tors were the first of their kind to be constructed, much trouble and expense
had been incurred locally in remedying defects in both engines and chassis.
Delay in starting official operation was also caused by the failure initially to
recognize the need for special wheelways for the driving wheels of the tractors.
Prior to the opening of the railway, but after laying the 2-foot-gauge track, the
whole formation was double-trench foundationed, the trenches each being 18
ins. wide, 6 ft. 9 ins. deep, and approximately 5 ft. ft 6 ins. apart. The broken
stones used for this purpose can be seen in many places on the route to-day
and an imaginative eye can sometimes detect them in two parallel tracks
a remnant, possibly, of the old wheelways! Needless to say this additional
construction work after completion of the track-laying caused a lengthy delay.
In February 1923 the Uganda Chamber of Commerce expressed dissatis-
faction with the slow rate of progress and, in particular, the failure to have the
system working in time for the 1923 cotton crop. However, on 1 April of that
year commercial operation was commenced, and by 31 December traffic
amounting to approximately 3,700 tons had been carried. In its first nine
months of commercial operation the railway earned 1,812 and had an oper-
ating expenditure of 2,341.
Considerable difficulty was experienced with the two Guy-engined tractors
and so it was decided to order two steam tractors, designed by the Road-Rail
Company. In their report Loggin and Hill maintain a note of optimism about
these tractors :-
"Not only will these steam tractors be able to reverse but their design should eli-
minate most of the traction troubles with which we have had to deal."9
However when these steam tractors arrived in May 1924 the Uganda Herald,
by now thoroughly sceptical about the Road-Rail scheme described10 them as
"such huge things so very powerful and very heavy that they will probably
necessitate the relaying of the track wheelways"7
and in conclusion
"Wait and see or Weight and sink!"
At first, the steam tractors gave great difficulty. They did not operate satis-
factorily with wood fuel despite the fact that their specification was for this
type of firing. Advice was sought from the Local Foreman of the Busoga
KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY 65
Railway and as a result of this and of the increasing experience of the engine
crews the steam tractors finally gave much more satisfactory service than the
The crisis for the Road-Rail was the cotton season of 1924. During a period
when approximately one hundred tons a day required moving the railway
carried only about 15 tons on each trip and only 46 trips were run in the vital
3-month period from the beginning of March until the end of May. The weather
was poor and the formation of the Road-Rail was in such bad repair that
mishaps and delays were frequent. Thus a letter" written in June 1924 from
the Director of Transport to the Chief Secretary ends on this exasperated note:-
"Again the movement of cotton by Road-Rail from Bombo is at a standstill."
The Chamber of Commerce and the Ginners' Association were greatly dis-
satisfied and pressed the Government for an enquiry. Thus in June 1924 Major
Rhodes, the Chief Engineer of the Uganda Railway came to Kampala
to report and advise on the Road-Rail. He reached the conclusion that
with the use of coal the steam tractors would be much more useful than
their petrol/paraffin counterparts. He considered that the permanent way was
the weakest part of the railway, and made a number of suggestions for the
improvement of its maintenance. He further considered that it would be worth
the attempt to keep the system in operation.12 In retrospect it seems unfortun-
ate for the future of the Road-Rail that the steam tractors arrived just too late
to be of service for the 1924 cotton crop.
In the year 1925 the Road-Rail maintained a reasonable service and carried
the greatest tonnage of any of its four years of operation, but in 1926 the volume
of traffic decreased considerably. In part this was due to handling difficulties in
Kampala so that cotton ginners found it expedient to send their products by
motor van direct to Port Bell and thus avoid the delays so frequently incurred
by using the Road-Rail to Kampala in conjuction with the Uganda Railway to
Port Bell. An attempt was made to increase revenue by a 20 percent tariff
increase13 in April 1926 but by November of the year it was clear that the
Road-Rail would never be a paying proposition. Finally at the December 1926
meeting of the Legislative Council, the Acting Governor reported that the
traffic on the Road-Rail had been most disappointing, largely owing to the
active competition of native-owned lorries. He announced his decision to close
the system down on 31 December 1926.14*
OPERATIONAL FIGURES FOR THE ROAD-RAIL 1923-192616
1923 1924 1925 1926
Train mileage .. .. 6,252 10,763 13,230 6,952
Tons carried .. .. 3,688 6,425 8,763 2,902
The first 'locomotives' of the railway were the Lacre 2-ton van and a Ford
Box car used in the original trials of 1920. Both these vehicles were re-converted
for road use after the completion of the 1920 experiments.
An Albion Lorry (32 h.p.) was converted locally for use on the Road-Rail.
It performed useful service in running short journeys and shunting. Its hauling
capacity compared with one of the Guy Tractors was 1 to 21.
Two Guy-engined Road-Rail Tractors (See Figures 2 and 3). These two
tractors were named Sir Robert and Lady Phyllis. Each tractor had two 25-h.p.
(*Correspondence is invited from any reader who may be able to add to the information
from personal memory of the railway Eds.)
66 UGANDA JOURNAL
4-cylinder internal-combustion engines in parallel which used petrol for starting
and, when warm, ran on paraffin. The final drive was transmitted to the rear
wheels by shaft and bevel gear. The wheelbase of these tractors was 9 ft., the
track 5 ft. 61 ins. and their weight was 5 tons 2 cwt. The tractors could be
removed from the bogie and driven in a normal manner (see steering wheel and
front wheels angled in Figure 2). The driving wheels were shod with twin solid-
rubber tyres and had an overall diameter of 4 ft. 11 ins. Considerable difficulty
and expense was incurred in remedying defects in both engine and chassis.
Furthermore when the tractors were changing gear it was found almost impos-
sible to prevent a slight tendency for the vehicle to "rear" as the clutch was re-
engaged. Derailments from this cause were apparently all too frequent despite
the fact that trains were normally made up with one truck in front of the
tractor to hold it down during gear changing, as well as three or four behind
(see Figure 2). Loggin and Hill write15 of the driving of these tractors as
"It is hoped that within a short time it will be possible to employ native drivers
for the steam tractors. It has not been possible to do this for the two high powered
motor tractors, the native drivers being afraid of handling such powerful engines and
the manipulation of the controls being a matter of such great difficulty. The converted
Albion lorry has regularly been driven by a native but it has been found essential to
post European drivers to the two big (Guy engine) tractors."
I have been told16 that the frequency of derailment caused the drivers of these
tractors to carry with them a motor bicycle so that, in the event of a derailment,
they could ride to Kampala or Bombo to summon aid!
Early in 1923, prior to the framing of a tariff, a series of hauling tests
was made with the Albion lorry and the 'Guy-engined tractors'.
Haulage Test No. 217
(i) Haulage by 50-h.p. 'Guy'-engined Tractor.
(ii) Grade 1-in-26. Length 800 feet. No sharp bends.
(iii) Train hauled consisted of :-
Tons Cwts. Qrs.
4 Trucks, tare weight of each .. .. .. 1 8 3
1 Covered wagon, tare weight .. .. 1 15 0
Load carried on 4 trucks .. .. .. 22 2 0
(iv) Gross Load behind drawbar .. .. 32 12 9
Result :- Section was passed at a full 5 miles per hour with power in reserve.
Haulage Test No. 517
(i) Haulage by 32-h.p. adapted 'Albion' Lorry.
(ii) Grade 1-in-50. Length 1,400 feet. No sharp curves.
(iii) Train hauled consisted of :-
Tons Cwts. Qrs.
3 Trucks, tare weight of each .. .. .. 1 18 3
Load carried on trucks .. .. .. 17 10 0
(iv) Gross Load behind drawbar .. .. 23 16 1
Result :- Section was passed steadily but at the low speed of 3 miles per
Two Steam Tractors, made by the firm of William Beardmore, arrived in May
1924. (See Figures 4 and 5).
Their specification included a reversing mechanism (not available on the
Guy Tractors) and that they should be wood burning. After attempts to operate
FIGURE 2. Side view of Guy-engined Loco-Tractor
!f'# r VO Y, W2, W -'W?6'PW%.W .& -%: 0*' -. -
FIGURE 3. Guy-engined Loco-Tractor on train. One truck
can be seen in front of the tractor to prevent derailment
during gear changing. The front wheels are angled and the
steering wheel can be seen in the 'cab', showing that the
tractor could be removed from its rail bogie and driven as an
ordinary road vehicle.
rI t, 1 u
FIGURE 4 and 5. Two views of the prototype of the steam
tractor, manufactured by Willam Beardmore, prior to
mounting the 'Sentinel' boiler.
KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY 67
them with wood had failed, coal was imported specially for them. They were
designed to give 40-50 h.p., power being transmitted to the wheels by roller
chain. They weighed about 81 tons and were fitted with Sentinel boilers and fire
grates. Even under favourable conditions they proved capable of hauling only
about 20 tons.
Ten 6-ton Bogie Platform Wagons (see Figures 2 and 3). These 10 wagons,
supplied in 1921, were each capable of carrying 4 tons of pressed cotton bales
on a platform measuring 15- ft. x 5 ft.
Two 6-ton Covered Bogie Wagons used the same design of chassis as the plat-
Two Bogie Passenger Cars each with seating capacity for 28 persons. Again, the
general design of the 2 cars was similar to that of the 6-ton platform wagons.
The wagons immediately behind the loco-tractor in Figure 2 may well be these
passenger wagons since there are stanchions (see Figure 1) and side-boards not
evident on the front 6-ton platform wagon Also a passenger (?) is sitting in the
second of these wagons.
Twenty 8-ton Bogie Platform Wagons. The first fifteen of these larger wagons
were supplied in 1923. Their platforms were 214 ft. x 5 ft. and each was capable
of carrying 5 tons of pressed cotton bales or 8 tons of cotton seed. A further
five were ordered for the Gayaza branch and presumably arrived during 1924.
GENERAL OPERATION OF THE RAILWAY
Stations and Signalling.
Large sheds capable of containing a complete train were built at Bombo,
Kampala and Gayaza.* Thus it was possible to avoid keeping a night staff for,
when a train arrived late in the evening, it was locked in the shed and offloaded
the following day. Each shed measured 116 ft. x 25 ft.: the track passed through
the shed at one side leaving a working platform 16 ft. wide for dealing with
goods. Small offices for clerks were built in the corners of these platforms.
To facilitate the 'turn round' of trains large loops were built at the ends of the
main line, the branch line and the main sidings at Kawempe and Mulago.
Automatic signalling was considered unnecessary, traffic being controlled
by a self-contained telephone system.
Loggin and Hill (1924)18 describe the traffic arrangements as follows:-
'The Transport Department, which is responsible for the working of the service,
stations motor vans at Bombo and these go to the surrounding ginneries and bring the
cotton to the goods shed at that place. From there the cotton is transported by the
Road-Rail to the Kampala goods shed which is situated within a few yards of the goods
shed of the Uganda Railway. In addition to traffic in pressed lint and cotton seed
there is and will be an increasing traffic in seed cotton which is purchased at Bombo by
the owners of the ginneries at Kawempe. This is taken by the Road-Rail from Bombo
to the Kawempe ginneries where it is ginned, pressed and baled. From there it can
again be transported to the Kampala goods shed. Traffic for the outward journey
from Kampala to Bombo has never been expected to equal that for the inward journey
but the experience of the last few months has revealed a considerable demand for
transport for Government Departments transport which would otherwise have had
to be undertaken by road vans. In particular the existence of a large military canton-
ment at Bombo creates a considerable demand for outward traffic not only of personnel
but also of food and stores.'
*In 1928 the abandoned station building from Gayaza was dismantled and re-erected at
Ndejje, a few miles West of Bombo, as part of the Nurses Training School being started by
Lady A. R. Cook (Sir Albert Cook, 'Uganda Memories' Kampala, 1945, p.355). These
buildings are now part of the Nalinya Lwantale High School, Ndejje.
68 UGANDA JOURNAL
Journeys from Kampala to Bombo with a fully loaded train hauled by a
Guy tractor took about 31 hours and the return journey about 3 hours
under favourable conditions. On the flat a speed under load of 18 m.p.h. was
readily attainable but in the interest of economy and of safety no attempt was
made to accomplish quick journeys.
THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF THE RAILWAY
The Acting Governor, speaking in Legislative Council about the closure
of the railway stated that the expenditure on it from April 1923 until July 1926
had exceeded receipts by 20,850 and that furthermore a capital loss of 69,402
would have to be faced.
Details of the capital expenditure on the Road-Rail were given in the final
report12 on its operation written by the Director of Public Works (July 1927).
(i) Earthwork, wheelways, bridges and culverts, permanent way,
sidings, loops, compensation to local inhabitants for damage to
crops etc. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 48,975
(ii) Buildings :goods sheds at Kampala, Bombo and Gayaza,
office and godown at Kitante, workshop and garage, tools etc. 3,025
(iii) Telephone installation .. .. .. .. .. 549
(iv) Payment of Royalty to Messrs. Road-Rails .. .. .. 800
(v) Rolling stock .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 15,478
(vi) Office furniture .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 575
Commenting on this capital expenditure, Loggin and Hill note that the cost
per mile was about 1,950. This was more than 50 per cent higher than the
promoters' claim for the laying of the railway (1,200 per mile). However,
Loggin and Hill did point out that the rails were ordered in 1921 when very
high prices prevailed, and that in 1924 the work could be carried out for about
1,550 per mile in Uganda.
Income and Expenditure
The tariffs19 laid down in 1923 resulted in a rate for lint cotton of 67.3
cents per ton mile whereas the comparative rate for either motor lorries or hand
carts was Shs. 1.50 per ton mile. When these rates were proposed it was re-
cognised that they might require revision, but the operators considered it
necessary to demonstrate that an efficient and regular service could be provided
so that therefore in the first instance rates were fixed which were bound to
attract traffic. However, the Road-Rail never provided a sufficiently reliable
and efficient service to attract a large enough volume of traffic to enable it to
pay its way.
Annual figures of income and expenditure are given in the Director of Public
Works' final report.12
1923 1924 1925 1926
Receipts .. .. .. 1,812 3,482 4,210 2,280
Expenditure .. .. .. 2,341 3,695 4,552 3,473
Losses .. .. .. .. 529 213 342 1,193
KAMPALA TO BOMBO RAILWAY 69
During its four years of commercial operation just over 2,000 was lost.
In calculating the total losses incurred by the Road-Rail the figure of 20,000
quoted by the Acting Governor (December 1926) included both the loss of
interest on the initial loan and also the cost of the Bombo Road trial line
In December 1924, when it became clear that the railway was proving
unsatisfactory, the Chief Secretary wrote to the Crown Agents authorising
payment of the 50-per-mile royalties to the Road-Rail Company. At the same
time he commented that it would be not unreasonable to ask the Road-Rail
Company to reduce these royalties in view of the many difficulties which
were being experienced. However, the agreed royalties were paid.
In 1928 most of the track and rolling stock was put up for disposal by tender.
Some of the track was sold to one of the sugar estates at Lugazi. The Public
Works Department retained the remainder to augment its stock of 'Decauville'
temporary light railway equipment. For two years after the closure of the
railway a section of track about a mile long was operated for the movement of
heavy material from the Port Bell-Kampala railway to the P.W.D. stores,
a steam tractor being retained to operate this service.
In 1920, the Uganda Development Commission had considered the Road-
Rail project and reported 5:-
"We cannot test the figures quoted for cost (1,200 per mile) but we have no
hesitation in recording our opinion that the initial expense coupled with the uncertainty
of success renders the proposition impracticable in this country at the present time.
The need for an efficient transport service is urgent and there is neither the time nor the
money for costly experiment. We cannot advocate a system which has not been tried
on a commercial scale and it may well be that unexpected defects in the machinery
may come to light."
In the outcome, this sober and realistic assessment of the prospects of the
Road-Rail was proved in virtually every point except that the cost per mile
for constructing the track proved to be a substantially larger figure than the
one the Commission were given. It was therefore possibly unfortunate that
shortly after the publication in March 1920 of this report, the highly successful
demonstration of the system on the Kampala-Kawempe trial stretch of track
was given, which so clearly convinced both Sir Robert Coryndon and the
Uganda Chamber of Commerce of the feasibility of the scheme. The Council
of the Uganda Railway also considered the Road-Rail project at their March
1921 meeting20 and came to the conclusion that it should not be taken over
until it had passed the experimental stage and proved itself likely to be a sound
It is conceivable that the scheme had possibilities as a temporary ex-
pedient to boost the carrying capacity of the Uganda Transport Department's
fleet of motor vans on routes carrying heavy or fairly heavy traffic. Its potenti-
alities would have been even more valuable if existing roads and vehicles,
suitably modified, could have been used. However the attempt to make the
Road-Rail a permanent solution to part of Uganda's transport problem was
clearly mistaken since it involved the Government in extensive capital outlay
both on the specific wheelways and on the specially designed tractors. Never-
theless, as a railway experiment and as an attempt to solve an urgent economic
problem the Kampala-Bombo Road-Rail was an imaginative, if misguided,
70 UGANDA JOURNAL
I would like to express my thanks to the many older Kampala residents
who have given me information and suggested sources of material. In particular
I should mention Mr. E. Chambers who first aroused my interest in the Road-
Rail and Mr. J. W. Pool who supplied the two informative photographs of the
Guy-engined tractors. I am indebted also to colleagues at Makerere College
for their help and criticism, to the staff of the Geography Department for the
preparation of the map, and to members of the Kampala Crusader Class whose
interest and assistance have been of great value.
1. M. F. Hill, Permanent Way, Vol. I, (1949), Vol II. (1957).
2. F. Dutton, South African Journal of Industries, (1918), 1089.
3. Uganda Herald, (1920), 27 August.
4. Entebbe Archives, No. 6085 (Loco-Tractor), Pt. I.
5. Uganda Herald, (1920), 26 March.
6. Private Communication, Mr. A. S. Folkes.
7. Uganda Herald, (1920), 24 September.
8. Uganda Herald, (1921), 7 January.
9. G. N. Loggin and R. B. Hill, (1924), Report on the Stronach-Dutton system of Road-Rail
Transport as in operation in the Uganda Protectorate. Government Printer, Entebbe,
10. Uganda Herald, (1924), 16 May.
11. Entebbe Archives, No. 6085 (Loco-Tractor), Pt. II.
12. Ibid, Pt. III.
13. Uganda Official Gazette, (1923), p.228.
14. Ibid., p.553.
15. G. N. Loggin and R. B. Hill, op. cit., p.6.
16. Private Communication, Mr. F. J. Hopgood.
17. G. N. Loggin and R. B. Hill, op. cit., p.8.
18. Ibid., p.4.
19. Uganda Official Gazette, (1923), p.228.
20. M. F. Hill, op. cit., p.420.
Uganda Herald 1919-1927.
Entebbe Archives Minute Paper No. 6085 (Loco-Tractor) Pts. I, II and III.
G. N. Loggin and R.B. Hill (1924) Report on the Stronach-Dutton system of Road-Rail
Transport as in operation in the Uganda Protectorate. Government Printer,
Public Works Department Annual Reports 1920-1929.
Uganda Official Gazette 1919-1928.
Uganda Journal, 27, 1 (i963) pp. 7r-83
THE ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF
1890 AND UGANDA
by WM. ROGER Louis
As Great Britain and Germany divided the disputed East African hinter-
land' in 1890 they invoked two principles2 to defend their claims: the "hinter-
land doctrine" and the "theory of effective occupation". In 1886 the two powers
had delimited their spheres of influence east of Lake Victoria;3 in 1887 they
agreed to "discourage annexation" in the rear of each other's sphere: where
one power occupied the coast "the other could not, without consent, occupy
unclaimed regions in its rear".4 The Germans were free to colonize to the south
of Lake Victoria, and, as the colonial enthusiasts interpreted the theory, the
west also.5 The British would confine themselves to the north of the lake;
this was similarly interpreted by the jingoes to include the west.6 Had the
hinterland agreement extended definitely the line of demarcation, it would
probably have run along the first degree south latitude to the eastern frontier
of the Congo.7 But it was not clear that it did. As The Times commented in
1890, the hinterland agreement "left considerable room for misunderstanding
in the future."8
While the first principle was "not entirely destitute of support from inter-
national usage,"9 the second, according to Salisbury, was more valid. It was the
theory of "effective occupation". The discovery of a region, the establishment of
missions and stations in other words, colonization10 was a far stronger
claim than the coincidence that certain territories lay within the same parallels of
latitude as possessions further to the east. Even questionable treaties with
African tribes were a stronger claim than the vague hinterland doctrine. The
question in 1890 was whether there were any treaties which could be used to
support British or German claims to the region north of Lake Tanganyika.
Nationals of both powers were competing in the late 1881s for the area
between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria; they pressed their governments
for annexation. Two entirely different ideas of empire dreamed of by some of
the principal protagonists clashed in Central Africa. The one was the British
Cape to Cairo route, spanning the continent from north to south; the other, the
German Mittel-Afrika, stretching from east to west. Stanley urged British
annexation of what he considered valuable territory; William Mackinnon and
Harry Johnston were definitely committed to the Cape to Cairo notion. Carl
Peters and Emin Pasha tried to extend Germany's influence to the sources of
the Nile; Emin aimed to link German East Africa with the Cameroons. 1on
Stanley's exploits and the activities of the agents of the Imperial British East
African Company in Uganda, however, were the only adventures that directly
influenced the Anglo-German settlement in 1890. The rest were either frustrated
from the outset, or were ineffective because their results only became known
after the negotiations and agreement had been concluded.
On the eve of the negotiations that were to partition East Africa, rumours
reached Berlin that treaties had been concluded by representatives of the British
72 UGANDA JOURNAL
Company with the King of Uganda." A conversation between Sir Edward
Malet, the British Ambassador to Germany, and Baron Von Marschall, the
German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, before the negotiations had
begun, illuminates the official German view toward the treaties, as well as
toward the hinterland, in early May 1890.
Malet commented that the reputed treaties had been made many months
ago, and that as far as he could see Uganda was within the geographical hinter-
land of the British sphere. "Baron Marschall replied that there was no agree-
ment as to the sphere of interest west of Lake Victoria Nyanza and that with
regard to popular pretension German maps embraced all the territory, whereas
English maps represent it all in the British sphere."12
This conflict of views became immediately apparent at the outset of the
Anglo-German negotiations, which began in Berlin on 5 May. H. Percy Ander-
son,13 the British negotiator, in accordance with Salisbury's instructions,
claimed all the hinterland west of Lake Victoria. Dr. Krauel,14 Anderson's
German counterpart, was "both startled and alarmed."15 Since there was total
disagreement about the hinterland, they decided to begin with points which
were not contested; the interior would be dealt with later.
The region north of Lake Tanganyika played an important role in the nego-
tiations; the reason is commonly assumed to be because the region was the
'wasp's waist', the connecting link between the British spheres in the north
and south. Anderson's despatches from Berlin, however, show that he did not
expect Krauel to accept his initial hinterland claim. Even at the beginning of
the negotiations Anderson considered the realization of the uninterrupted British
sphere as impossible.16
Three days after his original bid for the whole area west of Victoria he
agreed with Krauel that the German sphere should abut the Congo; the Anglo-
German boundary was to be drawn along the first parallel of south latitude. 17
Anderson was, above all, interested in securing Uganda. Had he thought the
Germans might concede the corridor, or even had he been attracted by the
Cape to Cairo idea (there is no evidence that he was), it is highly improbable
that he would have conceded the crucial link so easily or quickly. Krauel's
acceptance of the first degree south was equally revealing: the Germans had no
serious hopes of acquiring Uganda.18
Salisbury objected to Anderson's first parallel proposal. The British Govern-
ment could not regard this as a compromise, because the 'hinterland doctrine',
as Salisbury understood it, would give Britain at least as much. Anderson was
to put aside for the present the question of the hinterland.19
At this point in the negotiations Stanley's treaties became important.
Salisbury thought that Stanley had concluded treaties in the districts "lying
between the northern point of Lake Tanganyika and the Victoria Nyanza."
If this were true, then it would strengthen Britain's claim to this territory, and
would "be scarcely permissible for Her Majesty's Government to transfer them
to Germany, even though they (the treaties) have not as yet been adopted by
Anderson knew of Stanley's treaties; he had talked to Stanley about them
before he left for Berlin. 21 The question was how far south they extended.
Stanley himself was energetically demanding before large audiences British
annexation of the valuable territory between Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria.22
Yet he had told Anderson that he had made no treaties south of Mount Mfumbiro
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 73
(estimated to be on the first parallel of south latitude or some 20 minutes
Stanley, on his march from Lake Edward to Lake Victoria, had concluded
six treaties.24 As Sir John Gray has correctly pointed out,25 most of the
documents were vague and inaccurate. Even whether they were concluded
may be questioned. Stanley wrote to Mackinnon in February 1890: "I have
made several verbally but no written as the Pasha and Casati were there26
. . Stanley nevertheless claimed to have acquired treaty rights to "Mt.
Mfumbiro". In none of the six documents, however, is the word "Mfumbiro"
to be found; nor is there any other documentary proof that Mfumbiro was
"ceded" to Stanley.27
Stanley confused and aggravated the negotiations.28 Salisbury was misled
and Anderson puzzled.29 Dr. Krauel pointed out to Anderson that Stanley
in a speech at the Royal Albert Hall had claimed "vast territories between the
lake and the Congo State;" Anderson could reply that he had only seen an
outline of the speech and that Stanley was not a British official.30
In reply to Salisbury's telegram of 9 May to drop the hinterland question,
Anderson requested on 10 May that a map be obtained from Stanley showing
the territories affected by his treaties; then the whole matter might be cleared up.
He emphasized the advantage of his understanding with Krauel: none of the
British claims were prejudiced by the first parallel settlement: "it covers Jack-
son's treaties, if they exist, and, I believe, the whole of Stanley's; ... it secures
Uganda as beyond present controversy."31 In accordance with his instruc-
tions, however, he informed Krauel that the British claimed the whole
area west and south west of Lake Victoria as hinterland; the question was
dropped for the present.
Mackinnon sent Salisbury the requested map prepared by Stanley on 14
May.32 Salisbury had told Hatzfeldt, the German ambassador, the day before
(May 13, that is before Salisbury could have seen Stanley's map) that the
theory of the hinterland, which he said the Germans had invented, was not
recognized by international law.33 Salsbury also told the German ambassador
that Stanley had concluded treaties in the interior which the British Government
could not ignore because of public opinion. Hatzfeldt thought Stanley's in-
flammatory speeches made Salisbury's position difficult; they deceived the Bri-
tish public about the justice of German claims in East Africa.
At this point the negotiations had reached a deadlock. There was, above all,
no agreement about the region north of Lake Tanganyika, "the most impor-
tant and most difficult" problem, the one over which there was the most "sharp
fighting".34 Salisbury confidentially made a number of proposals to Hatz-
feldt on 13 May; he maintained his position that the line of demarcation
should be drawn from Lake Victoria to the north of Lake Tanganyika. Ger-
many, in return for African concessions, was to receive Heligoland which the
Germans thought to have great strategic value in the North Sea,35
Even before the Heligoland proposal Dr. Krauel was becoming increasingly
uneasy about Caprivi's and Marschall's expressions of friendship to Britain and
their disavowal of a "policy of annexation for the sake of annexation. "36
Anderson was optimistic; he was under the impression that Krauel had a free
hand to get as much as he could but that he would not be allowed to go too
far Germany wanted a friendly settlement.37 Heligoland provided the way
out of deadlock to a settlement satisfactory to both sides.
74 UGANDA JOURNAL
The acquisition of Heligoland became the most important goal; on all else
Germany was prepared either to concede or to compromise. Africa was of
secondary importance to the North Sea.38 The Germans, however, did not
appear to swallow the bait immediately, and Hatzfeldt's skilful diplomacy
salvaged African territory that Marschall might have given away.
There was one point on which Marschall was especially firm. The boundary
must run from Lake Victoria to the Congo; the British must not be allowed to
drive a "wedge" to Lake Tanganyika behind the German sphere. Salisbury's
Lake Tanganyika proposal was flatly rejected. This was expressed in forceful
language.39 As Marschall explained to Anderson, it was impossible to permit
Britain "to close up behind the German sphere."40 The British attempt to
reach Lake Tanganyika was a contradiction with the hinterland agreement
of 1887; the German public would never accept being "cut off" from the Congo.
By 21 May Salisbury apparently was convinced that the Germans could not
be persuaded to abandon their claims to the region north of Lake Tanganyika.
Moreover, the British claims to the disputed area had been destroyed by
Stanley's map. It was clear that Stanley had made no treaties south of
Mfumbiro. Salisbury's principal of "effective occupation" was irrelevant;
the territory was unexplored and there were no treaties. He yielded. On 21
May Salisbury told Hatzfeldt confidentially that he would consent to the
demand that the German sphere touch the Congo.41 There was to be free-
dom to trade, however, between Lake Tanganyika and the British sphere.42
Hatzfeldt had been under instruction to make every effort to secure Heli-
goland. The next priority was the acquisition of the territory north of Lake
Tanganyika. The Germans were willing to concede that Uganda should be
British if the British would agree to a straight line drawn from the mouth
of the Kagera River to the Congo State (along the 1st parallel).43 If however
Salisbury insisted on the Kagera River as boundary (south of the 1st parallel),
and if the whole of the agreement depended on this point, Hatzfeldt was to
telegraph for further instructions.44 Hatzfeldt had quickly seen the value which
the German statesmen attached to Heligoland; but he also saw that if the
Germans appeared too eager the result would be an abandonment of all African
claims in order to acquire the island. In his conversations with Salisbury he let
Salisbury broach the question of Heligoland rather than he himself. Perhaps
Hatzfeldt's tactic of restraint was decisive in Salisbury's acceptance of the south
parallel rather than the Kagera boundary, which the Germans probably would
Salisbury, of course, knew nothing of Hatzfeldt's instructions to telegraph
for further orders; he did know the determination of the Germans to secure
the area north of Lake Tanganyika. Gwendolen Cecil comments that he con-
curred because "hard bargains make bad diplomacy."46 Yet for an unexplored
territory to which Britain had no claim, Salisbury had put up a hard fight. The
explanation usually given is that he was trying to acquire a corridor for the
Cape to Cairo route.47 The correct explanation lies in the relation between
Salisbury and the Company.
Salisbury's famous comment in early April ran: "The difficulty here (in the
East Africa problem) is the character of Mackinnon . any terms we might
get for him from the Germans by negotiations he would denounce as a basic
truckling to the Emperor. So the responsibility must be thrown on to an ar-
bitrator."48 Salisbury had a difficult task: to wrench as much as possible from
the Germans in the hope that it would meet not only the British public's but
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 75
also Mackinnon's minimum demands. Salisbury was arbitrator as well as
Prime Minister. His position was unusual and difficult.
If there was any point on which the Germans were adamant it was the boun-
dary westward to the Congo State. Yet Mackinnon wanted his corridor. As
The Times put it: "The full satisfaction of both desires is geographically impos-
sible."49 Salisbury knew through his conversations with Hatzfeldt that the Ger-
mans would never accept the British "wedge".50 Could Mackinnon, then, be
induced to acquiesce?
Mackinnon's position was weak, after Mackay's failure to acquire treaties
north of Lake Tanganyika,51 Mackinnon's claim to the disputed area could
only be based on Stanley's six alleged agreements, which did not extend south
of Mfumbiro. Furthermore, there was no agreement within the Company
itself about the corridor. Sir Francis de Winton, Secretary of the Company,
told Salisbury in mid-May52 that, in his opinion, "all the claims of the Com-
pany would be fully satisfied by a line of demarcation which would correspond
with the 1st degree south latitude."53
The proposition was put before Mackinnon and a committee of the Com-
pany's directors. They objected. The proposed boundary violated the hinter-
land agreement of 1887 (as they interpreted it). Their stockholders, who had
subscribed money for the development of the British sphere, would object to
a settlement at variance with the original goals of the Company (which pre-
sumably included the colonization of the disputed region). The most important
objection was that "the effect of the suggested line of demarcation would be
to debar the company from access to Lake Tanganyika and from the free
navigation of that lake in virtue of the possession of a port on its shores." 54
Salisbury finally persuaded Mackinnon in early June.55 In a letter to Salis-
bury of 7 June Mackinnon reluctantly but explicitly consented to the proposed
boundary. "Although the concessions required by them are of a character
calculated materially to curtail our legitimate claims to the territory which is
required to give us access to Lake Tanganyika, and the advantages which such
access would afford to national interests and the development of British trade...
I am prepared on behalf of the Board of Directors, if more satisfactory terms
cannot be secured, to agree to the line of delimitation arrogated by Germany."
The Company "ardently and confidently" hoped, however, that Salisbury
would be able to secure the 2nd degree instead of the 1st.56
Even Stanley urged Mackinnon to be happy with the arrangement. In a
muddled letter to Mackinnon on 11 June he told him that the Company "may
very well accept it and be grateful... (if) the 10 south (latitude) west to the Con-
go Free State be added you have great cause to be thankful, and if no more
can be done your future is hopeful." Stanley was disappointed that the boundary
did not follow the natural tribal boundary of the Kagera River: the Waganda
should not be divided. Nevertheless Mackinon should rejoice because he would
receive Mfumbiro and "the best part of Ruanda" !57
By bartering Heligoland Salisbury had accomplished the remarkable feat
of satisfying the minimum demands of both the German statesmen and the
Company, which had British jingo opinion behind it.58 For the latter Salisbury
had utilized conscientiously and literally every treaty or agreement which could
conceivably be interpreted as "effective occupation." An example may be
found in one of the most peculiar articles of the agreement. The boundary
by running from Lake Victoria to the Congo State was to swing south from
the first parallel south latitude around the mountain Mfumbiro (if it were
76 UGANDA JOURNAL
found later to be in German territory), enclosing it in the British sphere.59
on 21 May Salisbury had emphasized to Hatzfeldt the value which the British
Company placed on Mfumbiro.60 A few days later, however, Sir F. de Winton
told Salisbury that he "attached no importance to the possession of the moun-
tain Mfumbiro, because though it would be valuable as a sanatorium undoubted-
ly to the Germans, it was not required by the English, who already had one
of superior value a little to the north in Ruwenzori."61 Nonetheless the moun-
tain was ceded explicitly to the British in the agreement.62 The seed of contro-
versy was planted; it was Mfumbiro which eventually determined Ruanda's
northern and Uganda's south-western frontiers.
One month after the signing of the agreement an interesting article appeared
in the Kolonialzeitung. It was concerned with Mfumbiro, and discussed the
exploration which led to the discovery of the mountain and its possible signi-
ficance for the future. Weichmann, the German African authority who wrote
the article, expressed surprise that such a little known mountain played such a
prominent part in the treaty. So little about it was known, indeed, that it was
impossible to be certain whether the term 'Mfumbiro' applied to one mountain,
a range of mountains, or a whole territory. Was it possible that a series of lakes,
rivers and mountains designated 'Mfumbiro' might extend all the way to Lake
Tanganyika? If it were true, then the British might yet attempt to push their
'wedge' between German East Africa and the Congo; perhaps this was the
motive for explicit rights to Mfumbiro.63
Weichmann's speculation was not true; but the idea did occur to the British
ten years later6. The mountain was mentioned in the 1890 agreement because
Stanley supposedly had a treaty which ceded it to the British Company and
because Salisbury thought it would be "scarcely permissible" to "transfer' to
Germany anything to which Britain had a claim.65 The German Government
accepted the British claim, including Mfumbiro, because Salisbury said the area
was covered by Stanley's treaties indicated on a map;66 the treaties themselves
were not questioned.67
German suspicions, however, were well founded. Mackinnon had let go of
his plan very reluctantly. Salisbury could not secure the corridor through nego-
tiations with Germany; there were other ways. Mackinnon had not agreed
until early June to give up hope of attaining access to Lake Tanganyika through
the German negotiations. In the meantime he had made other arrangements
for his road with King Leopold II of the Belgians.
On 14th May Mackinnon had sent Salisbury the map prepared by Stanley
which showed the southern limits of his treaties. The map also indicated "a
little give and take which he (Stanley) proposes in connection with the Congo
State." Mackinnon thought Stanley's proposal "not unfavourable to British
interests." "The King of the Belgians is satisfied and most generously expresses
his desire to help us in every way to facilitate our access to Tanganyika. In
a day or two I should like to communicate to you for your approval full par-
ticulars of what is proposed."68
A draft was prepared of an agreement between the British Company and the
Congo Free State; the main object of one part was a delimitation of Congolese
and British spheres; the other section of the treaty ceded to the British Company
a road five miles in width from the centre of the southern shore of Lake Edward
to Lake Tanganyika (with sovereign rights over the territory through which the
road would pass) and a port on Lake Tanganyika with a district of 10 miles
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 77
Leopold, who was in London at the time, gave Salisbury the draft on 18
May.70 Salisbury examined the agreement and noted that it should be returned
"with our approval to the King at the Burlington Hotel as soon as possible."
Salisbury thought that it would form the basis of an arrangement between the
Congo and the Company; he refused to comment further, and asked that he be
shown the draft when it was completed in more detail. Salisbury wrote to Leo-
pold on 21 May: "I have satisfied myself that no objections will be raised on
the part of the Foreign Office ."71
The agreement was signed on 24 May by the Company and the Congolese
authorities. Mackinnon was aware, however, that Salisbury had not given his
unqualified approval. He wrote on 31 May that since "some objection" was
taken by the Foreign Office to a "few words in some of the clauses", he hoped
Salisbury would write privately to Leopold, explaining the difficulty which had
arisen "and perhaps to arrange with him that the document should be altered so
as to meet the requirement of the Foreign Office."72
Anderson noted on 4 June that Mackinnon had told him the day before that
"it is almost impossible to delay the ratification" (between the Congo Free
State and the Company); an explanatory note might be sent to the Foreign
Office explaining all the details. A paper could then be drafted by Hertslet and
Anderson, and sent confidentially to the King of the Belgians. Thus the approval
of the British Government would be given, a condition of the validity of the
Mackinnon, in a letter to Salisbury of 7 June, informed him that the agree-
ment had been ratified by the two parties. Mackinnon had explained to the
Congolese authorities that Salisbury "thought certain expressions used in the
agreement would require to be slightly altered or modified," but that Salisbury
would personally deal with Leopold about them. Mackinnon's attitude through
out the negotiations was that there would be no difficulty in concluding the
Salisbury, however, now had second thoughts about the arrangement.
There was the problem of the cession of sovereign rights and Franche's re-
versionary claims over the Congo territory. Salisbury also mentioned in a
letter to Leopold of 9 June that "the line which the German Government has
taken in recent negotiations has left in my mind the impression that it would
view strongly (the word strongly crossed out) with objection the concession of
territory at the back of their sphere without their knowledge and express (the
word express deleted) consent."75
An amended declaration, which limited the concession of rights, was
annexed to Salisbury's letter to Leopold of 9 June, and was also transmitted to
the Company. No mention was made of the corridor or port.76
Nothing further took place. The negotiations were dropped; the arrange-
ment was inchoate only and was never completed. The agreement was r ever
ratified by the British Government, and therefore never became a valid inter-
national instrument.77 The Company received no port on Lake Tanganyika,
nor road between that lake and Lake Edward. The matter was forgotten until
two years later when Leopold despatched an expedition to the Nile and jus-
tified his actions by the Mackinnon agreement.
Sir Percy Anderson commented in 1892 that Mackinnon "found out he
had made a mistake and went no further" (for reasons concerning the other
78 UGANDA JOURNAL
part of the treaty). In any case the Company had regarded the arrangement as
null and void; much as some of their group wanted a road to Lake Tanga-
nyika they had no hope of receiving one.78
The corridor to Lake Tanganyika had : ee i blocked by the 1890 Anglo-
German delimitation. Salisbury, defending the Heligoland treaty, stated: . .
"there has been only one strong criticism adverse to that agreement. It has
arisen from a curious idea which has become prevalent in this country, that
there is some special advantage in handling a stretch of territory extending
all the way from Cape Town to the Nile ... It could not have been obtained
without absolutely breaking off the agreement altogether .. ."79 The partition
was so advantageous to Britain, however, that the few dissident voices ob-
jecting to the surrender of the corridor were lost in the general exultation.
Salisbury had concerned himself with the scheme only in relation to the
practical problems of negotiating with the Germans and satisfying the Mackin-
non claim; he was not enraptured by the idea itself. He did not hesitate to push
British claims as far as possible (as in the Mfumbiro matter); he was sceptical
about the German acceptance of the passage-way which might have been se-
cured by the Mackinnon agreement. It is remarkable how very seldom the
project was mentioned at all during the negotiations.80 Salisbury's decision to
accept the first parallel south latitude as the division between the German
and British spheres was shaped by the German determination to acquire the
region north of Lake Tanganyika, the failure of Stanley's alleged treaties to
cover the region, and perhaps, the division in the Company itself regarding the
necessity to have access to Lake Tanganyika.
Despite the disappointment of the Cape to Cairo enthusiasts81 there
could be no doubt that the negotiations had been a success. In the midst of the
negotiations Anderson, speaking of the first parallel, had commented that the
only cause which could disturb the arrangement would be "premature exul-
tation".82 Stanley could not believe that Salisbury had bargained so well;
Britain had acquired Mfumbiro and "the best part of Ruanda".
In Germany the reaction was different.83 When a sketch of the African
arrangement appeared in the St. James's Gazette in mid-June84 there was
angry comment in German colonial circles. Dr. Krauel was offended by the
African settlement; contrary to usual diplomatic practice, his government had
not even kept him informed of the developments in negotiations with Salis-
bury.85 Apart from the indignation of the German colonial enthusiasts,
however, the public reception of the agreement was favourable. The Norddeut-
sche Zeitung published a leading article congratulating both sides; even the
ultra-conservative Kreuz-Zeitung and the colonially chauvinist Kilnische
Zeitung declared themselves satisfied with the agreement.86 The German
satisfaction was with the acquisition of Heligoland rather than over the African
settlement. The radical Freisinnige Zeitung wrote: "The agreement may be
summed up by saying that Germany accords to England the primary place in
East Africa, while England, on the other hand, cedes Heligoland to Germ-
All in all it was a clear-cut agreement which pleased most of both sides;
there were only a few small points like Mfumbiro which remained to be settled.
'Mfumbiro' was not agreed upon until the German-Belgian-British 'Mfumbiro
Conference' of 1910. Apart from this minor point it was almost a definitive
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 79
1 This paper is concerned only with the delimitation of the hinterland west of Lake
2 Both are discussed in Salisbury to Malet, no. 44 (no. 223 Africa), 14 June 1890, FO
403/142 (when reference is to a Confidential Print the number of the original despatch is
given in parenthesis); see also, Gwendolen Cecil, The Life of Lord Salisbury, (4 vols., London,
1931) iv, pp.283-4; J. S. Keltie, The Partition of Africa, (London, 1895), pp.245-6; F. D.
Lugard, The Rise of Our East African Empire, (2 vols., London, 1893) ii, pp.599-600; and The
Times editorial, 5 June 1890.
3 Iddlesleigh to Hatzfeldt, no. 40, 1 November 1886, FO 403/99; Sir Edward Hertslet,
The Map of Africa by Treaty, (3 vols., London, 1909 edition), iii, pp.882-7.
4 Salisbury to Malet, no. 44 (no. 223 Africa), 14 June 1890, FO 403/142.
5 Even the "bellicose and defiant" Kolnische Zeitung, as The Times dubbed it, usually
regarded Uganda or Equatoria as out of bounds. See The Times, 5 April 1890; also 12 April
1890. The German jingoes, however, left no room for a connecting link between the British
possessions in the south and north, but insisted on all the region from Lake Victoria to the
Congo; ibid., 24 May 1890.
6 and even the south-west, see Kemball to F.O., no. 35,2 June 1890, FO 403/142.
7 In September 1888 Mackinnon, the Founder of the IBEA CO., fearing German an-
nexation west of Lake Victoria, had written to Salisbury about the necessity for delimitation.
According to Mackinnon, the understanding of 2 July 1887 "expressly stated that Germany
desired a free hand only in the territories south of the Victoria Nyanza Lake and eastwards
from the Lakes Tanganyika and Nyanza," leaving the west of the lake for the British. Mackin-
non then stated that the boundary should run west from Lake Victoria along the 2nd parallel
south latitude which would not have given the British Company access to Lake Tanganyika.
(Mackinnon to Salisbury, 24 September 1888, FO 84/1928). Anderson, however, in 1888,
interpreted the agreement to mean that the division should be along the Ist parallel south.
(Anderson's minute on Mackinnon's letter of 24 September.)
8 5 June 1890.
9 Earlier Salisbury had denied the hinterland principle any validity at all in international
law. Hatzfeldt to Marschall, 14 May 1890, Die Grosse Politik, VIII, no. 1676.
10 These were the claims upon which Britain based and received the disputed territory
in the Nyasa region.
10a See Sir John Gray, "Anglo-German Relations in Uganda, Journal of African History,
1 (1960), 281-97.
11 A telegram in The Times of 1 May 1890 stated that "Mr. Jackson has concluded treaties
with Mwanga and his chiefs placing the King and his country and all the Uganda territory
and possessions exclusively under the influence of the British Company." see also The Times
10 June 1890, and Anderson to Currie, private, no. 4, 3 May 1890, FO 403/142.
12 Malet to Salisbury, no. 44 Africa, 3 May 1890, FO 84/2031; see also Salisbury to Malet,
no. 140, Africa, 5 May 1890, FO 84/2030.
13 Anderson was the British African expert; since 1883 he had been head of the Africa
Department in the Foreign Office and had participated in the Berlin Conference of 1885.
Lugard commented in 1895: "After all the great and only African power is Percy Anderson."
Cited in Margery Perham, Lugard, the Years of Adventure, 1858-1898, (London,) 1956, p. 556.
14 The Times wrote of Krauel: "The long-talked-of colonial department of the German
Foreign Office has now been established under Dr. Krauel a man whose name is already well
known to Englishmen in connection with the Samoan conference... Dr. Krauel is aided by a
very efficient staff of experts .. ." 5 April 1890.
15 Malet to Salisbury, no. 10 (no. 14 Africa tel.), 8 May 1890, FO 403/142.
16 see Accounts and Papers, Africa no. 6, 1890, LI.
17 Malet to Salisbury, no. 10, (no. 14 Africa tel.), 8 May 1890, FO 403/142.
Anderson argued that the limits of Uganda were not defined but that the British
British Government held that with its tributary states it comprised the whole of the west of
Victoria, and even to the south. Anderson admitted that this was disputed, but that there
was no disagreement that Uganda extended at least to the 1st degree south latitude; it should
be taken as settled point that Uganda to the 1st degree was within the British sphere and out-
side the German. (Malet to Salisbury, no. 10 (no. 14 Africa tel.), 8 May 1890; and Anderson to
Malet, no. 4, incl. in Malet to Salisbury, no. 16 (mo. 53 Africa) 9 May 1890, FO 403/142.)
In a memorandum in 1892 Anderson smugly noted that he had known from the be-
ginning of the negotiations that the 1st degree was the line of demarcation which the British
80 UGANDA JOURNAL
would be able to get, and that it was, "with a slight modification . finally adopted." (17
November 1892, FO 83/2263). The modification was "Mfumbiro".
18 Malet to Salisbury, 8 May 1890 F.O. 403/142.
19 Salisbury to Malet, 9 May 1890. F.O. 403/142.
20 Ibid, see also The Times 29 and 30 May. According to an editorial on 30 May the area
secured by Stanley included "the north and west of the Victoria Nyanza and thence south-
wards to the upper end of Lake Tanganyika, thus 'marching' for a long distance with the
21 Anderson memorandum of 29 April 1890. see also Malet to Salisbury, 5 May 1890,
(no. 13 Africa confid. tel.), F.O. 403/142.
22 To Stanley's credit he advocated annexation on grounds of the hinterland principle
rather than upon the treaties which he was reputed to have concluded. See the report of his
speech at Fishmongers' Hall in The Times, 3 June 1890.
23 Anderson to Currie, no. 14, private, 19 May 1890; Malet to Salisbury, no. 13 (no. 17
Africa tel.) 10 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
24 See Stanley to Euan-Smith, 19 December 1899, Accounts and Papers, LI. The original
treaties are in F.O. 2/139; copies are in F.O. 84/2081. The British Company wrote that the
government "may be pleased with as little delay as possible to declare a protectorate over the
territories which have been ceded to the Company in virtue of the treaties." IBEA CO. to
F.O., 2 May 1890, F.O. 84/2081. see also Sir Edward Hertslet, The Map of Africa by Treaty,
(3 vols.; London, 1909 edition iii, pp. 374-8; Accounts and Papers, LVI, Africa no. 4 1892;
and H. R. Fox Bourne, The Other Side of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition (London, 1891),
Neither Stanley's Autobiography (Dorothy Stanley, ed., London, 1909), or In Darkest
Africa (London, 1890) reveal anything about the treaties.
25 "Early Treaties in Uganda, 1888-1891," Uganda Journal, 12 (1948), 25-42.
26 Stanley to Mackinnon, 6 February 1890, Mackinnon Papers; cited in Margery Per-
ham, opcit. p. 259.
27 Sir John Gray has kindly answered my queries on this point; he knows of no found-
ation to Stanley's claim to Mfumbiro. To my knowledge there is no record at the Public
Record Office, in the Mackinnon Papers or the Salisbury Papers which throws light on Stanley
28 Mackinnon was apparently embarrassed by Stanley's speeches concerning the dis-
puted territory; Mackinnon regretted "many of his utterances and thinks they had better
have been left unsaid." Mackinnon to Salisbury, 23 May 1890, Salisbury Papers, unbound.
The Kolnische Zeitung wrote: "If ever there was a man who abused his position and
merits in order to show hatred between two nations, it is Stanley." translated in The Times,
6 June 1890.
29 "If there is a liar about (and there must be one), I should be surprised to learn that it is
Stanley, though of course, it may be. It seems to me more likely that the Company is bragging.
as usual." Anderson to Currie, 10 May 1890.
30 Anderson to Malet, (no. 4), 9 May 1890, incl. in Malet to Salisbury, no. 16 (no. 53
Africa), F.O. 403/142.
31 Malet to Salisbury, no. 13 (no. 17 Africa tel.) 10 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
32 Mackinnon to Salisbury, 14 May 1890, Salisbury Papers, unbound.
33 Hatzfeldt to Marschall, 14 May 1890 Die Grosse Politik, VIII, no. 1676.
34 Anderson to Currie, no. 14, private, 10 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
35 Hatzfeldt to Marschall, 14 May.
36 See Stenographische Berichte iiber die Verhandlungen des Reichstags, I Session, 4
Sitzung, pp. 39-42; also The Times, 13 May 1890.
37 Anderson to Currie, no. 24, 15 May 1890, private, F.O. 403/142.
38 Marschall to Hatzfeldt, 25 May 1890, Grosse Politik, VIII, no. 1680.
39 Marschall to Hatzfeldt, 25 May 1890, Grosso Politik, VIII, no. 1680.
40 Anderson to Malet, no. 10, 16 May 1890, incl. in Malet to Salisbury, no. 30 (no. 64
Africa), F.O. 403/132.
41 Salisbury to Malet, 21 May 1890. F.O. 403/142.
42 See "Agreement between Salisbury and Hatzfeldt," no. 48, 17 June 1890, F.O. 403/142.
The Times foresaw the probability that Britain would not be able to get access to Lake
Tanganyika. But since Germany insisted on this "harsh unwelcome condition" before she
would even continue the negotiations, it had to be accepted as an outcome, if the negotiations
"have any outcome at all." 5 June 1890.
When the terms of the agreement were made public, the National Zeitung commented:
"From the German point of view we doubt very much whether this is all correct... the right
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 81
of way said to be claimed by England between the Congo State territory and the German
protectorate would tend to divert north and south the stream of commerce the very result
which we would fain aim at obviating by making our territory conterminus with that of the
Congo." translated in The Times, 14 June 1890.
43 Marschall to Hatzfeldt, 25 May 1890.
44 Marschall to Hatzfeldt, tel. 31 May 1890, Grosse Politik, VIII, no. 1683.
45 Ibid.; also 30 May.
46 The Life of Lord Salisbury, (4 vols., London, 1931), iv, p. 296.
47 William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism, (New York. 1936 edition), p. 119.
48 On the question of arbitration, Gwendolen Cecil says that a "fundamental change"
took place in her father's policy, and that there is nothing in the Salisbury papers which
mentions arbitration after 10 April. There is evidence to be found even in the limited problem
of delimitation west of Lake Victoria to suggest that this is misleading. There was never any
question that if diplomacy failed arbitration would follow. As Anderson expressed it, "If the
Germans will not give way, arbitration." The mention of arbitration appears repeatedly in
both Anderson's and Salisbury's despatches whenever there was fear of a breakdown of
negotiations; but Anderson was clearly trying "to settle without recourse to arbitration being
necessary." (Malet to Salisbury, no. 10 (no. 14 Africa tel.) 8 May 1890; also Anderson's memo-
randum, no. 2, 30 April 1890, F.O. 403/142)
49 5 June 1890.
50 See The Times, 5 June.
51 Mackinnon had written to Stanley on 1 August 1889 (F.O. 84/2036): "It is of the great-
est possible importance in British interests that Mackay (the missionary) or some one else
should promptly make treaties on the line drawn from Msalala to the north end of Tanganyika,
as I hear the Germans are pressing our Foreign Office to agree to a line of delimitation as
regards these territories, drawn right across the lake and straight from there to the boundaries
of the Congo Free State. This would altogether exclude us from the territory we think essen-
tial to the future development of British territorial influence in Central Africa, as it would
absolutely prevent us from getting access to the lake Tanganyika and there joining with the
new South Africa Company which is now being formed in London and for which a Royal
Charter on the same lines as ours will be obtained. I cannot urge too strongly the importance
to British commerce and to our Company of securing all the territories north of the line
drawn from the south end of Victoria Nyanza Msalala or other point to another point on
lake Tanganyika about 30 miles from the north end of that lake." Mackay did not, however,
conclude the treaties (see A. M. Mackay to Mackinnon, 2 September 1889, Salisbury Papers,
unbound); Stanley's treaties did not fulfill Mackinnon's expectations.
52 The date of the conversation is not clear; on 28 May Salisbury noted: "I had an inter-
view last week;" this appears to be when Salisbury learned that Mackinnon did not have
unanimous support behind his Lake Tanganyika demand. The debatable point is whether the
division in the Company influenced Salisbury's decision to yield the area north of Lake
Tanganyika on 21 May.
53 Salisbury to Malet, no. 33 (no. 208A Africa), 28 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
54 A. Kemball to the F.O., no. 35, 2 June 1890, F.O. 403/142.
55 At an interview with Mackinnon and Kemball, at which Anderson (who had returned
from Berlin for instructions) was also present. "To the surprise of Sir Arnold (Kemball),
Sir Wm., who had assured him he never would yield, gave way and accepted the 1st degree
line." Anderson memorandum 17 November 1892, F.O. 84/2263. The exact date is not clear.
56 Mackinnon to Salisbury, no. 39, 7 June 1890, F.O. 403/142.
57 Stanley to Mackinnon, 11 June 1890, Mackinnon Papers, 55/219.
58 See the letters from a 'British Patriot' 21 May and 30 May 1890, F.O. 84/2082.
59 See Hertslet op. cit pp. 899-900.
60 Salisbury to Malet, no. 168A Africa, 21 May 1890, F.O. 84/2030.
61 Salisbury to Malet, no. 33, (no. 208A Africa), 28 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
62 See Cecil, op. cit.
63 E. Weichmann, "Der Nordwesten Deutsch-Ostafrika", Kolonial-zeitung, August 1890,
64 See A. St. H. Gibbons to Salisbury, 1 October 1900, F.O. 2/800.
65 Salisbury to Malet, no. 12 (no. 27 Africa tel.), 9 May 1890, F.O. 403/142.
66 I have not been able to locate the map, either in the Public Record Office, the Foreign
Office, Colonial Office, Salisbury Papers, or Mackinnon Papers. It is, however, described in
detail in the diplomatic despatches.
67 The question of Stanley's treaties did not arise again until a year later, when the Foreign
Office examined a political map of East Africa sent by the Company. Philip Currie commented
82 UGANDA JOURNAL
that no treaties had been sent by the Company to the Foreign office which covered the country
west of Lake Victoria. (F.O. to IBEA Co., 30 June 1890, no. 211, F.O. 403/158; also "Notes
on the Political Map forwarded by the IBEA Co.", no. 157, 16 June 1891, F.O. 403/158).
This, of course, was a mistake; the Company reminded the Foreign office that Stanley's
treaties had been communicated to the British Government on 2 May 1890 and that "the de-
limitation of the boundary line west of the Victoria Nyanza was expressly based upon the
recognition of the Treaties referred to." (IBEA Co. to F.O., no. 2, 2 July 1891, F.O. 403/159).
The matter was brought to Salisbury's attention; whether he now doubted the validity of
Stanley's transactions, or whether he acted merely on legal scruples is not clear, but he directed
Currie to inform the Company that the Chiefs involved should sanction the transfer of the
treaties from Stanley to the Company (F.O. to IBEA Co. no. 36, 18 July 1891, F.O. 403/159).
Lugard concluded three treaties with the Chiefs Kavalli, Mugenyi, Bakebwa, and Katonzi
(covering roughly the territory west of Victoria and around Lake Albert) in September and
October 1891, but no mention was made of Mfumbiro. (Portal to Rosebery, no. 286-no. 188
- 29 August 1892, with inclosure, F.O. 403/172.) By no stretch of imagination can they be
regarded as extending to Mfumbiro. See also Sir John Gray "Early Treaties in Uganda 1888-
91', Uganda J. 12 (1948), 40-1.
68 Mackinnon to Salisbury, 14 May 1890, Salisbury Papers, unbound.
69 An agreement was also drafted with the British South Africa Company, which granted
to them "should . (they) desire it" a road five miles wide from Lake Bangweolo to Lake
Tanganyika; see F.O. 84/2082.
70 The draft was docketed: "Communicated by the King of the Belgians on 20 May,"
Salisbury noted on 19 May, however, "the King of the Belgian gave me these yesterday."
Salisbury memorandum, 19 May 1890, F.O. 84/2082.
71 Salisbury to Leopold, 21 May 1890, F.O. 84/2082.
72 Mackinnon to Salisbury, 31 May 1890, Salisbury Papers, unbound.
73 Anderson memorandum, 4 June 1890, F.O. 84/2082.
74 Mackinnon to Salisbury, 7 June 1890, F.O. 84/2083.
75 The draft had originally run: "I apprehend that the German government would strongly
protest against the concession .." This phrase was scratched out by Salisbury. In the margin
he wrote "I apprehend that the German government would . .", which was also deleted.
The passage then ran as above. This is one of the extremely few direct references made by
Salisbury during the 1890 negotiations about the corridor. Salisbury to Leopold, confid., no. 77
Africa, 9 June 1890, F.O. 83/2083.
76 A copy of the declaration may be found in F.O. 84/2083.
77 Salisbury had, nevertheless, in his letter of 9 June, still left the impression that there
was nothing in the agreement to which the Foreign Office was entitled to object; only that
great care should be taken because of the delicate problems involved. See Vivian to Salisbury,
no. 9 Africa, 3 March 1892, F.O. 84/2201.
70 Anderson memorandum, 3 March 1892, F.O. 84/2200; Salisbury's reconstruction,
Salisbury to Gosselin, Africa no. 35, 19 March 1892, F.O. 84/2200; and Anderson's memo-
randum, 17 November 1892, F.O. 84/2263.
79 Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series, CCCXLVI, c. 126-8. see also CCCXLLV, CCCXLVII
and CCCXLVIII for the debates on the Agreement.
80 In contrast to the frequent discussion in, for example, The Times, about the uninter-
rupted chain. See editorial of 5 June 1890.
81 The Daily Chronicle commented: "We are bound to say that the basis which Lord
Salisbury now proposes to accept as a settlement of the disputes between this country and
Germany in East Africa is extremely unsatisfactory to patriotic Englishmen. To them it re-
presents the most abject and ignominious surrender of British interests since England aband
oned the virgin continent now known as the United States of America. The main point to
note is that Lord Salisbury is said to be willing to sacrifice to Germany the only thing of sup-
reme imperial value in this business from beginning to end the line of communication
between the various spheres of British dominion in the Africa continent." Press clipping in
82 Anderson to Malet, 9 May 1890. F.O. 84/2082
83 Manfred Sell discusses German press attitudes towards the treaty in his Das Deutsch-
Englische Abkommen von 1890 (Berlin, Bonn, 1926); see especially pages 16-20. See also M. v.
Hagen, Geschichte and Bedeutung des Helgolandvertrages, (Munich); A. von Hasenclever,
"Zur Geschichte des Helgolandvertrages vom 1 Juli 1890,". Archiv fur Politik und Gescchte,
III, 1925; Gunther Jantzen, Ostafrika in der Deutsch-Englischen Politik, x884-i890 (Hamburg,
1934); L. Caprivi, Die ostafrikanische Frange under Helgoland-Sansibar- Vertrag (Bonn, 1934);
F. M. Miller, Deutschland-Zanzibar-Ostafrika, (East Berlin, 1959); and Oron J. Hale, Pub-
ANGLO-GERMAN HINTERLAND SETTLEMENT OF 1890 83
licity and Diplomacy, (New York, 1940). German and British press clippings may be found in
84 12 June 1890.
85 Malet to Salisbury, 17 June, 1890, F.O. 403/142.
86 Malet wrote that "when the whole is known there is no doubt that there will be loud
cries in both Germany and Britain a sign that the two governments have behaved with even
balanced wisdom." Malet to Salisbury, 14 June 1890, Salisbury Papers, A/63/105.
87 Translated in The Times, 19 June 1890. see also Hans Spellmeyer, Deutsche Kolonial-
politik im Reichstag, (Stuttgart, 1931), pp. 48-50.
Uganda Journal, 27, I, f[963j pp. 85-94
THE RE-EXCAVATION OF NSONGEZI
By SUSANNAH PEARCE and MERRICK POSNANSKY
Nsongezi rock-shelter overlooks the Kagera River, a few hundred yards
from the Kikagati-Nsongezi road, less than a mile from the Nsongezi Ministry
of Works Camp, in Isingiro County, Ankole District, Uganda (104'S, 300' 45'E)
(Fig. 1). A small excavation was undertaken in order to obtain a satisfactory
section and sequence from the site which has already been excavated three times.
E. J. Wayland excavated one sixth of the deposit to bedrock in 1932 and
O'Brien excavated a further portion in 1935. In 1937 van Riet Lowe took away
a 12 inch check strip from top to bottom (Lowe, C. van Riet: 1952, pp.99-100,
O'Brien, T. P.: 1939, pp. 269-270).
Further excavation was necessitated by the discrepancy between the three
rather inadequate reports of the previous excavations. O'Brien found pottery
abundant in the top 4 feet, though he made no distinction in the type. He found
no pottery in the lower levels. Van Riet Lowe refutes this and says that "the
excavation revealed a homogenous industry from top to bottom. Certain
layers were richer than others, while no evidence was found to suggest more
than one folk with the same material culture living in it during any one period
of time." Later he states that "postsherds were recovered at all levels."
In 1960 new finds of dimple-based ware, then the earliest known Ugandan
pottery, were found in Uganda (Posnansky 1961) and following Hiernaux's
research on this pottery in Ruanda (Hiernaux 1960) it seemed essential to
establish the exact relationship between the Wilton, the last of the Later Stone
Age Cultures, and this the earliest pottery of the Iron Age. One of the writers
(MP) also restudied the material from the previous excavations at the Cam-
bridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The occasion
was made more opportune by the announcement by the University of Michigan
(Flint and Deevey 1962) of Carbon-14 dates from Nsongezi from samples
collected by Professor Clark Howell and Mr. E. J. Wayland in 1956.
THE SITE (Figs. 1 & 2)
This rock-shelter lies just above the thirty-foot terrace, about a hundred
yards from the river, which is alive with fish and hippopotami. The shelter has
been excavated by the river out of a pebble conglomerate to form an overhang
of about 10 feet. The ground, covered with light bush, slopes sharply away in
front leaving scarcely any terrace. The shelter is about 40 feet long, but the
edges of the overhang tail away on either side (Fig. 3).
An excavation was carried out in June 1961. The first 31 feet of deposit
consisted of a brown cave earth very much disturbed by roots and burrowing.
The top 21 feet of this contained a few fragments of recent pottery, whilst from
21 to 31 feet deep, dimple-based pottery was found with one fragment of
ROCK SHELTER exc
Area cleared e fta c
by O'Brien r "
^ /^ ^^ /-r o /a|
0K .A a feel
A KARAGWE o I
KIKA A U SITkS OF
Kobolo 4, muil KENYA AND UGANDA
FIGURE 1. Diagram to show the location of the Nsongezi
i~. r -. -- ---, S.
F GURE 3 Vit ft- prior t
F E .V
FIGURE 3. View of site prior to excavation.
FIGURE 7. The clay 'mace' recovered from
the talus and clearly associated with the re-
RE-EXCAVATION OF NSONGEZI ROCK-SHELTER 87
Kantsyore ware. Below this a layer of shells merged into a hearth layer of
white woodash, just under a foot deep, containing Wilton material and many
tiny bones. Wilton material continued in a brown loose stony soil 1 feet deep,
which lay on the weathered natural surface of the pebble conglomerate.
FIGURE 2. Section through the deposit in the Nsongezi
Three types of pottery were found in the 1961 excavations: Kantsyore
ware, Dimple-based ware, and "Recent" pottery.
This ware was first described from the nearby Kantsyore island in the
Kagera river where it appears to be contemporary with or predate the dimple-
A 61293/8 A 5608
A 61293/9 A 6123/6
A 61293/7 A 61293/3
FIGURE 4. Pottery. Kantsyore ware, 1; Dimple-based ware,
2 to 6.
RE-EXCAVATION OF NSONGEZI ROCK-SHELTER 89
based ware. At Nsongezi one fragment (fig. 4.1) was found at a depth of 21 to 3
feet, in the lower part of the brown cave earth, where the dimple-based pottery
came from. It is black and J inch thick with a rough surface decorated with
irregular rows of triangular and fingernail impressions.2 It could also be here
slightly earlier than or contemporary with dimple-based pottery, though it is
of an entirely different character. This one piece is of great importance since
the layer immediately below which it was found, the hearth layer, has been
dated by Carbon 14 (Flint and Deevey 1962) to about 1,000 A.D. and so both
Kantsyore ware and dimple-based ware would not appear to be earlier than
this at Nsongezi.
Dimple based war?
Except for the one Kantsyore ware fragment, dimple-based pottery was the
only type to be found in the lower brown cave earth 21 to 3 feet deep. The de-
signs on it are typical. Criss-cross hatching occurs immediately below a plain
(fig. 4,2) or bevelled rim (fig. 4,3). In fig. 4,4 the lower edge of the cross-hatching,
i-inch wide is emphasised by a series of triangular impressions while in fig. 3 5
both edges of a band J inch wide are marked by circular impressions and in
fig. 5 1 a band of cross-hatching 1 inch wide is separated by three horizontal
lines of dots. In one instance (fig. 4,6) the cross-hatching is so uneven that the
impression is almost of a herring-bone design.
Parallel grooves are used round and below the rim, so creating one type of
bevel (fig. 4;3, 4 & 6). Several fragments have a bevelled rim but are otherwise
plain. Parallel grooves can also occur below the cross-hatching. In fig. 4,5 they
cover a large part of the body of the pot and in this instance the parallel
grooves are looped at one point. Fig. 5,1 shows a similar design, but here a
small depression has been made in the space left by the loop (cf. C. van Riet
Lowe: 1952, P1. LIII.l.)
The only dimple-base to be found (fig. 5,2) came from the lower transitional
part of the talus.
A few fragments of the dimple-based pottery have the finely-burnished
black colour for which some of it is noted (fig. 4,4), while other bits are a dull
grey (fig. 4,6), or a buff colour tinged with red, whilst two plain fragments can
best be described as a bright orange.
The pottery varies from just over to just under I inch thick. There are only
two fragments which give any idea of the form of the whole pot. Fig. 4,4 has
broken off at a sharp curve in the pot, suggesting that it was originally a narrow-
mouthed bowl with a wide base, the side and base of the pot forming an acute
angle, similar perhaps to that illustrated by Hiernaux, J. and Maquet, E.
(1960, p. 47 fig. 23). Fig. 4,2 is possibly the everted rim of a globular pot,
similar to M. D. Leakey's Type D (Leakey, M.D.: 1948).
This pottery is called 'recent' because, though it varies in many details, it all
carries the distinctive modern type of decoration, the knotted grass roulette
The only clearly-stratified decorated piece of pottery came from the brown
cave earth 18 to 24 inches below the surface in the main part of the excavation
3 A 61293/10
6 A 6293/2
FIGURE 5. Pottery. Dimple-based ware, 1 and 2; Recent
pottery and Bigo ware, 3 to 6.