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|H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.: In memor...|
|H. B. Thomas: Bibliography of published...|
|Laterite and topography in...|
|The Lugbara: Migration and early...|
|Royal shrines and ceremonies of...|
|Stone hammers and horn profile...|
|Eucalyptus is here to stay|
|Uganda bibliography 1972|
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|Table of Contents|
Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Title Page 1
Title Page 2
Table of Contents
Table of Contents 1
Table of Contents 2
H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.: In memoriam
H. B. Thomas: Bibliography of published works
Laterite and topography in Buganda
The Lugbara: Migration and early settlement
Royal shrines and ceremonies of Buganda
Stone hammers and horn profile in Karamoja
Eucalyptus is here to stay
Uganda bibliography 1972
Back Cover 1
Back Cover 2
EUCALYrr US IS HERE TO STAY
and J. D. Gqo
P. AK. 6
MUBENDE NoT -
-RooY OWEN AND OWEN FALLS -
AN EARLY PLEA FOR A LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
CAMELS IN UGANDA -
MACDONALD'S MAPS 1899-1900 -
BRONZE MANNKINS FEEDING ON GREEN
AN ADDITIONAL NOTE ON FOOD HAwTs OF
GIRAFFE IN EAST AFRIA R.L.
Luganda-English dictionary (by R. A.
Southern Nilotic history: (by C. Ehre -
Speke (by A. Maitland) -
Reation to colonialism: (by H.S. Mbeleila)
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS -
ti JD A BIBLIOGS API Y 1972 Compiled by
. t .... .
E. C. LA
E. B. a
A. T .
A. T 2 oV
R. A. S
W. B- BtMy,.-9-
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W. ;41). .* :. ..
t Dr. A.,, LiWra
R". Fir, A. Oke-Ud.
6r.' B. Otaala
dau Dr.', 4ejjVRjA-NUV
jW''Librarla *rs, bL Stjckland,:,
& W, R.
r'J.'P, Crazz4$kU- Z 4!.t u
14, Cook C'u., 0"Rk.
4X4blwiol CVG. 4, Mr. J D. J& mesun, ".V
M.C., QC. Ae;V. Dr. H- Trovw*u, cix.jc.
0. By. 1 7 Mr. 1). V- Awpbaua, m.B.E.
1 8 Ur.,j)arrft* Wtrd
fIII c pitmat, C.BF, I R Dr. fL F. Mortis
Ptof4pwr A W. SaUtb&U
csx- 1""I Ur. I. C. D, Tawr-Mce,
,A Templo Perkin&
R Kirwan, ftwk.
all W. S. Xujubi
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Hopkinz, omx. IINOM ge
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M Tedw&L L A.zx- lrss"7
4. LI Dixon
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Wiliam$, C.VF& t1i Arv:.T. Sempale-fitfte
The Journal of the Uganda Society
P.O. BOX 4980.
Including Uganda Bibliography
Uganda Society 1972
H B. THOMAS, O.B.E.: IN MEMORIAL
H. B. THOMAS: BIBLIOGRAPHY OF
PUBLISHED WORKS A. T. MATSON
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA M. J. McFARLANB
THE LUGBARA: MIGRATION AND EARLY
ROYAL SHRINES AND CEREMONIES OF
ACHOLI COSTUMES -
STONE HAMMERS AND HORN PROFILES
THB EMBALASAASA (Riopa fernandi)
EUCALYPTUS IS HERE TO STAY -
MUBENDE NOTES -
RODDY OWEN AND OWEN FALLS -
AN EARLY PLEA FOR A LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
CAMELS IN UGANDA -
MACDONALD'S MAPS 1899-1900 -
BRONZE MANNIKINS FEEDING ON GREEN
AN ADDITIONAL NOTE ON FOOD HABITS OF
GIRAFFE IN EAST AFRICA -
Luganda-English dictionary (by R. A.
Southern Nilotic history: (by C. Ehret) -
Speke (by A. Maitland) -
Reaction to colonialism: (by H.S. Mbeleela)
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS -
UGANDA BIBLIOGRAPHY 1972 Compiled by
- O. J. E. SHIROYA
-J. C. OKELLO-OLOYA
- J. G. WILSON
- W. B. BANAGE,
W. N. BYARUGABA
and J. D. GOODMAN
P. K. KARANI
E. C. PLANNING
E. B. HADDON
E. B. HADDON
A. T. MATSON
A. T. MATSON
E. B. HADDON
A. T. MATSON
R. A. SNOXALL
W. B. BANAGB
R. W. LONG
J. K. RENNIE
B. W. LANGLANDS 99
H. B. THOMAS, O.B.E.
The Uganda Society owes an apology to the family and friends of
H. B. Thomas for its lateness in publishing an appreciation for the services
rendered to the Uganda Journal by its most stalwart supporter. Harold
Beken Thomas died on 12 August 1971, aged 83 years. An obituary
was published in The Times of 13 August. This dwelt at length upon
his services to the Church Missionary Society in London, and briefly covered
his career in Uganda as an Officer of the Land and Surveys Department
from 1911 to 1940, eventually rising briefly to be its Director. Tribute has
also been paid to his scholarship, and especially to his contribution to the
standard reference work Uganda which he wrote in collaboration with R.
Scott; and to his A history of the Uganda Land and Surveys, with A. E.
Spencer. Full acknowledgement, however, has yet to be paid for his assis-
tance to the Uganda Journal, and through it to the new generation of
historians whom he helped by example and by more directly sharing his
knowledge. In a sense recognition has already been paid in the Uganda
Journal, Vol. 26, September 1962. This contains an appreciation and a
photograph, and was published at the time that he formally retired from
being the Honorary Editor's representative in the U.K. In this capacity he
had seen most journals from 1947-1961 through the press, that is through-
out the period that the journal was printed in Britain. Nevertheless, his
assistance continued, partly in distributing journals and collecting sub-
scriptions, but more particularly in soliciting and editing articles. Even
until the second number for 1968, H. B. Thomas' help in polishing Sir John
Gray's translation of Emin's Tagebiicher was greatly valued.
As the last editor to be in constant touch with H.B. it is an honour
to put on record the Society's appreciation for his generous help. A letter
from H.B. in a closely packed fine black pen, was always a pleasure to
receive. His forgiveness for one's errors was always a source of encou-
ragement. When lesser scholars complained too much, a kind word from
one who understood and had experienced the same difficulties, did much
to overcome despondency. His help and interest went far beyond material
contributions and even beyond the sharing of scholarship he generated
a spiritual belief in the value of the Journal and this acted as a stimulus
to the many Honorary Editors who have worked with him.
H. B. Thomas, though never officially the Honorary Editor, had acted
as the driving force behind the Journal for nearly forty years. As A. T.
Matson's bibliogranhv shows, he was the author of 14 articles of great
historical value, which, as the editors of 1962 record, bear "the stamp of
his enquiring attitude and pains-taking search for the truth." In addition
he provided a constant stream of notes, numbering over 50 in all. It would
seem that he never held executive office in the Society during his stay in
Uganda. Subsequently he was honoured by being made an Honorary Vice-
President. Apart from an O.B.F. for his work on the Uganda handbook,
other recognitions came late. He was made an Honorary Member of the
African Studies Association of the U.K. in 1965. and he was awarded the
bronze medal of the Royal African Society for dedicated service to Africa
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
Various loyal supporters of the Uganda Journal have written to express
their appreciation for the help received from H. B. Thomas in the past.
The words of Mr. J. Sykes, the Honorary Editor for 1935, may be taken
as representing the views of all subsequent editors. "He is a great loss to
all of us. The Uganda Journal owes him an immense debt I could
almost say its survival to him. I had a lot of correspondence with him
- he was always charming, enthusiastic and helpful". Similarly the Hon.
Editor for 1937, R. A. Snoxall, writes "I cannot mention H. B. Thomas
without saying how bereft we all feel that he who did more for the Uganda
Society and for the Journal than almost anyone of Uganda's ex-residents,
has been taken from us. Si monumentum requieris circumspice; for nearly
every single number of the Uganda Journal provides evidence of his scholar-
ship and knowledge, and there are few of the older contributors who have
not received a helping hand or benevolent correction in their searches into
the country's history. 'Twinks', Wayland and H.B. we should never
have had our Society without them".
B. W. LANGLANDS,
Honorary Editor, Uganda Journal.
Uganda journal, 36 (1972) pp. 3-8.
H. B. THOMAS: BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PUBLISHED WORKS.
By A. T. MATSON
1. Uganda (with R. Scott); London. Oxford University Press 1935, pp. 559.
2. Ensisana na Ebyafayo bya Uganda Protectorate (translation into Lunyoro
by A. K. B. Kasozi of chapters I and II (Historical Retrospect; Situation,
and Climate of the above); Sheldon Press, 1939, pp. 111.
3. A History of Uganda Land and Surveys and of the Uganda Land and
Survey Department (with A. E. Spencer); Entebbe Government Printer,
1938, pp. 206.
4. The Story of Uganda; London Oxford University Press, 1939, pp. 96.
Revised editions 1955, and 1972 (by Dr. S. Karugire), 17 impressions to 1971.
5. Catalogue of Books in the Secretariat Library, Entebbe; Entebbe Govern-
ment Printer, 1940, pp. 90.
B. CONTRIBUTIONS IN OTHER WORKS:
1. 'Uganda, The Pearl of Africa'; 1935: 'History', pp. 14-16; 'Bibliography',
pp. 110-112. (2nd. edition, 1938.)
2. African Ideas of God; E. W. Smith (ed.); 1950. Ch. 7. 'The Doctrine of
God in Uganda', pp. 201-207. (2nd. edition, 196.)
3. Saben's Commercial Directory and Handbook of Uganda, 1950-1951; 1951:
'Uganda's Past', pp. 36-40.
4. Uganda National Parks Handbook; 1954: 'The Early History of the
Uganda National Parks', pp. 13-17. (2nd. edition, 1961.)
5. The Diaries of Lord Lugard; M. Perham and M. Bull (eds.); 1959:
'Biographical Notes', pp. 404-424.
6. Some Historic Journeys in East Africa; C. Richards (ed.); 1961: 'Biogra-
phies and Notes', pp. 129-134.
7. Atlas of Uganda; 1962: 'History', 'Early Travels', 'Evolution of Uganda's
Boundaries', pp. 70-74. (2nd. edition, 1967.)
8. The Nile Quest; M. Posnansky (ed.); 1962: 'The Logistics of Caravan
Travel', pp. 12-15.
9. Encyclopaedia of South Africa; 1969: 'Uganda: Missions and Churches'.
10. Early Days in East Africa; Sir. F. Jackson; 1969: 'Memoir of Sir Frederick
Jackson', 'Notes on the Text', 'Notes on Illustrations'. pp. v-xvii. (Dawsons
of Pall Mall reprint.)
11. Mengo and Uganda Notes (1900-1912); 1973: Introduction to microfilm
sponsored by the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom.
12. Charles Stokes in Africa: Anne Luck; 1973: 'Foreword', Appendix I:
'Will of Charles Henry Stokes'.
C. UGANDA JOURNAL:
1. Ernest Linant de Bellefonds and Stanley's letter to the Daily Telegraph,
2, 1934, pp. 7.13.
2. Jackson and von Tiedemann, 2, 1934, pp. 158-159.
3. A Federal Capital for Eastern Africa Some early proposals, 2, 1935,
4. Ruwenzori and Elgon-Footnotes, 2, 1935, pp. 249-250.
5. Our Predecessors, 3, 1936, pp. 239-242,-322; 22, 1958. pp. 185-187.
6. "Futki" and some other elephants, 4, 1936, pp. 151-155.
7. Gordon's farthest south in Uganda in 1876. 5, 1938, pp. 284-288. (See D. 4).
8. Capax Imperii-The story of Semei Kakunguru, 6, 1939, pp. 125-136.
9. Giovanni Miani and the White Nile, 6, 1939. pp. 176-194.
10. Imperatrix v. Juma and Urzee, 7, 1939, pp. 70-84.
12. The last days of Bishop Hannington, 8, 1940, pp. 19-27.
13. Notes on the Sudanese Corps in Mexico (1863-1867) and on Fort Magungu,
8, 1940, pp. 28-32.
14. Emile Jonveaux An Armchair African explorer 10, ,1946, pp. 152-154.
(Reprinted from Bulletin of the Uganda Society, 4, June 1945, pp. 29-30.)
15. Extracts from Lt.-Col. C. Delme-Radcliffe's typescript diary report on the
delimitation of the Anglo-German Boundary, Uganda, 1902-1904, 11, 1947,
16. An early visit to Ruwenzori, 11, 1947, pp. 9-29.
17. Delme-Radcliffe's movements in 1899, 11, 1947, p. 128.
18. Tribal nicknames, 12, 1948, pp. 115-116.
19. Arabic correspondence captured in southwest Bunyoro in 1895; with
a Note on Arab Traders in Bunyoro, 13, 1949, pp. 31-38.
20. The death of Speke in 1864, 13, 1949, pp. 105-107.
21. More early treaties in Uganda, 1891-1896, 13, 1949. pp. 171-176.
22. An autograph letter of Emin Pasha, 13, 1949, pp. 235-236.
23. A relic of S.S. Khedive, 14, 1950, pp. 103-104.
24. The death of Dr. Livingstone: Carus Farrar's narrative, 14, 1950,
25. The Baganda Martyrs, 1885-1887, with special reference to the Protestant
victims, 15, 1951, pp. 84-91.
26. A note on Leven House, Mombasa, 15, 1951, pp. 160-164.
27. Jacob Wainwright in Uganda. 15, 1951, pp. 204-205.
28. The Imperial British East Africa Company Medal, 16, 1952, pp. 28-29;
19, 1955, pp. 209-210. (Reprinted in The Numismatic Circular, 64/1 Jan
29. 'The Maria Theresa Dollar', 16, 1952, pp. 96-98.
30. 'Chronology of Buganda, 1300-1907, from Kagwa's Ebika', 16, 1952, pp
31. Two finds in northern Uganda, 16, 1952, pp. 173-175.
32. Emin Pasha A last portrait. 16, 1952, pp. 175-176.
33. The Mission to Uganda in 1893 In Memory, 17, 1953, pp. 1-7.
34. Uganda place names: Some European eponyms (with I.R. Dale). 17, 1953,
35. Roddy Owen, 18, 1954, pp. 186-187.
36. The Kivu Mission, 1909-1910, 20, 1956, pp. 108-112.
37. Early ascents of Mount Elgon (with R. F. Lindsell), 20, 1956, pp. 113-128.
38. The Wilsons of early Uganda, 20, 1956, pp. 210-213; 21, 1957, pp. 232-233.
39. The Rev. A. B. Fisher in Uganda: A Memoir, 21, 1957, pp. 107-110.
40. The inheritance of land in Buganda, 21, 1957, pp. 122-123.
41. Eugen Wolf, 1850-1912. 21, 1957, pp. 221-223.
42. The Mutiny Memorial at Bukaleba, 22, 1958, pp. 74-75.
43. Conurbation, 22, 1958, pp. 85-86.
44. The Kenya History Society, 22, 1958, pp. 181-183.
45. James Martin: his medals, 22, 1958, pp. 183-185.
46. The death of Bishop Hannington: supplementary evidence 23, 1959,
47. The Kagera triangle and the Kagera salient. 23, 1959, pp. 73-78.
48. Captain Smith's expedition to Lake Victoria in 1891, 23, 1959, pp. 134-152.
49. George Wilson and Dagoretti Fort, 23, 1959, pp. 173-177.
50. A Sketch-map of Gordon's Equatorial Provinces, 23, 1959, pp. 178-179.
51. Richard Buchta and early photography in Uganda 24, 1960, pp. 114-119.
52. Mohamed Biri, 24, 1960, pp. 123-126
53. Early treaties made by F. J. Jackson, 24, 1960, pp. 260-262.
54. Church Missionary Society boats in East Africa, 25, 1961, pp. 43-53.
55. Livingstone's Muganda Servant A Postscript. 28, 1964. pp. 99-100.
56. Fakih Ibrahim, Muslim Ulema, 30, 1966, p. 97.
57. Kigezi Operations, 1914-1917, 30, 1966, pp. 165-173.
H. B. THOMAS: BIBLIOGRAPHY
58. On the frontiers of another world, 31, 1967, pp. 123-126.
59. Gordon's sailing boats in Equatoria, 32, 1968, pp. 215-217.
60. Early Christian activity in North Uganda and South Sudan, (with
E. B. Haddon), 32, 1968, p. 220
61. The end of Jacob Wainwright, and An African Odyssey, 33, 1969, p. 87.
62. Bishop Hannington: a miscellany, 33, 1969, pp. 209-212.
63. The Uganda Mutiny Medal of Rev. F. Rowling, 33, 1969, p. 213
64. Lord Lugard's parents 34, 1970, p. 178.
65. Place names in Kampala, 34, 1970, p. 178.
66. 'Cossitza', 34, 1970, p. 216.
67. 'Kulekwa', 34, 1970, p. 216.
D. CONTRIBUTIONS TO OTHER JOURNALS
1. A visit to the glaciers of Ruwenzori. (Alpine Journal, 37, no. 230, map,
1925 pp. 96-107.)
2. An experiment in African native land settlement. (Journal of the African
Society, 27, no. 107, April 1928, pp. 234-248.)
3. The surveyor and the politician: an African object lesson. (Empire Survey
Review, 2, no. 7, January 1933, pp. 28-32.)
4. Gordon's farthest south in Uganda in 1876. (Empire Survey Review. 3
no. 17, July 1935, pp. 147-152.)
5. Uganda Land and Survey Department Annual Report, 1938. (Empire
Survey Review, 5, no. 34, October 1939, pp. 259-260.)
6. Bibliography of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition and Emin's diaries.
(Journal of the Royal African Society, 42, no. 160, October 1943, p. 194.)
7. Native tribunals in the Gold Coast Colony. (Journal of Comparative
Legislation and International Law, 26, no. 3, November 1944, pp. 30-35.)
8. Extracts from Lt. Col. Delme-Radcliffe's diary report on the delimitation
of the Anglo-Germany Boundary, Uganda, 1902-1904. (Empire Survey
Review, 9, no. 66, October 1947, p. 183.)
9. The spelling of African place names. (Empire Survey Review, 10, no. 72.
April 1949, pp. 92-94.)
10. The Kioga triangle. (Tanganyika Notes and Records, 31, 1951, pp. 47-50.)
11. Speke's death. (Tanganyika Notes and Records, 58/59, 1962, pp. 290-292.)
12. And now Uganda becomes sovereign on October 9. (Commonwealth
Journal, 5, no. 5, September 1962, pp. 247-250.)
13. Dictionary of East African Biography. (Makerere Journal, 8, 1963,
14. Dictionary of East African Biography. (Commonwealth Journal, 7, no. 4,
August 1964, pp. 183-184.)
15. Comments on the East African ivory trade. (Journal of African History,
9, no. 1, 1968, p.. 188.)
E. CONTRIBUTIONS TO NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS:
1. The Christian, 7 & 14 Oct 1949, Mackay of Uganda.
2. C.M.S. Membership Bulletin, 26 (April 1959), The story of C.M.S. (Nigeria)
3. C.M.S. Outlook, Sept. 1955, Prospect for East Africa.
4 Dovorian, 244 (Nov. 1917), G. L. Pilkington's association with Dover
5. East Africa (and Rhodesia), 7 Apr. 1927, Bellefonds and Stanley's letter.
6. Kenya Weekly News, 9 Sep. 1949, The Uganda Society.
6. Kenya Weekly News, 16 Sep 1949, The Uganda Journal.
7. Mengo Notes, 6 May 1965, Dr. E. J. Baxter (1853-1939).
8. The Times, 16 Apr 1945, The Classics. (Lugard in Uganda). 22 Jan 1955,
Surrenders in Kenya (with Sir K. Grubb and Sir H. Mance).
9. The Times British Colonies Review, Uganda Number, Winter 1955. The
Growth of the Towns. (Reproduced in the Uganda Dept. of Information
Background Service, 1956.
10. Yes, no. 40, Oct 1962, Uganda: looking back.
F. OBITUARIES AND APPRECIATIONS:
1. African Affcirs, 55, no. 219, April 1956, 122-123, J.R.P. Postlethwjite.
2. 64, no. 256. July 1965, p. 168, Father J. P. Crazzlara.
3. East Africa and Rhodesia, 22, 14 Mar 1946, p. 704. "H. R. Wallis'.
4. 42, 2 June 1966, p. 709, Lary Aline .Jackson.
5. The- Times, 10 Nov 1955. The Rev. A. D. Fisher.
6. 19 Jan 1970, Sir John Gray.
7. Ug.'nda Church Review, 1, (Jan-June 1959), pp. 4-7, W. E. tHoyle.
8. Uganda Journal, 4, 1936. p. 162. T. B. Fletcher.
9. 15, 1951. p. 211, Sir Albert Cook.
10. 16, 1952, p. 182. N. Godinho.
11. 19, 1955, pp. 103-104. Bishop Willis.
12. 21, 1957, p. 121. Sir Mark Wilson.
13. 25, 1961. pp. 134-135: 34. 1970, pp. 33-34. Sir John Gray.
14. 34, 1970, 34, (with E. B. Haddon), Sir Edward Mutesa.
15. United Empire, 49, no. 2. Mar-Apr 1958. p. 23, Rev. E. W. S--nith.
G. OFFICIAL ENQUIRIES, etc.:
1. Report of the Committee of Enquiry in'o the Grievances of the Mukama
and People of Toro (with C. F. E. Sullivan), 1926: Government Printer,
Entebbe, 1926 (pp. 23).
2. Report of the Commi'tee of Enquiry into Land Tenure and the Kibanja
System in Bunyoro (with J. G. Rubie). 1931: Government Printer,
Entebbe, 1932 (pp. 33).
3. Report of the Road Accidents Commititer (Chairman), 1935; Gve-rrnmcnt
Printer, Entebbe, 1936 (pp. 22).
4. Interim Report and Report of the Development Committee (iniembcr),
1936; Government Printer. Entebbe, 1936 (pp. 23 and 7).
5. Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Labour Situation in the
Uganda Protectorate (Chairman). 1931: Government Printer, Entebbe.
1938 (pp. 67).
6. Report of the African Education Committce (Chairnman]. Government
Printer, Entebbe, 1940 (pp. 47).
7. Native Land Tenure in Africa: Report of an Informal Committee under
the Chairmanship of Lord Hailey memberer. Colodial Ofce. Confidential.
C.M. 10, 1945 (pp. 21).
0. Annual Reports of tho Uganda Land and Survey Depa'tmoent. 1926, 1938,
1939; Government Printer, Entebbe, 1927, 1939. 1940.
Speech on the Estimates of the Land. Survey and Mines Organisation,
7 Dec 1929; Proceedings of the Legislative Council, 93-97: Government
Printer. Entebbe. 1940.
1. African Aq iirs, 45, no. 178, Jan 1946, pp. 43-49. Sir Albert Cook, Ugando
2. 45, no. 180. Ju'y 1946. pp. 159-160. Mrs. E. G. Robeson, African
3. 52, no. 208 July 1953, pp. 255-256. Mrs. M. Tro-well and K. P. W:,chs-
mann, Tribal Crafts of Ugonda.
4. 57, no. 228, July 195;.. pp. 240-242, P. Mukherjee. The Problkia of
5. 57, no. 228, July 1958. pp. 243-244. K. Ingham. The Makinl oi
6. 59, no. 237, Oct 1960, p. 337, C. Couturier, The Mission of Ihe
7. 61, no. 245, Oct 1962. pp. 337-338. G. Parrinder. West African
8. 63, no. 250 Jan 1964, pp. 74-76, Mrs. A. Luck. African Scinm.
H. B. THOMAS: BIBLIOGRAPHY
9. 63, no. 252, July 1964, pp. 245-247. Sir Geoffrey Archer. Personal
and Historic" Memoirs of an East African Administrator.
10. 63, no. 253, Oct 1964, pp. 293-295, P. C. Gutkind. The Royal Capital
11. (4, no. 254. Jan 1965, pp. 50-52, F. G. Burke, Local Government
and Politics in Uganda.
12. 64, no. 256. July 1965, pp. 226-228, R. G. Gregory. Sidney Webb
and East Africa.
13. Books for Af;icc. 31, no. 1, Jan 1961, p. 15, C. C. Wrigley, Crops and
Wealth in Uganda.
14. British Book News, 79, Mar 1947, pp. 164-165. C. K. Meek, Land Law
nd Custom in the Colonies.
15. C.M..S. Outlook, July 1957, pp.. 18-19, Mrs. M. Stuart. A Land Worth
16. Church of England Newspaper. 7 Oct 1960, pp. 10, I. Schapera Living-
co;.-'s Private Journals, 1851-1853.
17. Commonwolc h Joulrnal. Aug 1968. p. 193, G. P. McCGrrgor. Ki.n's
18. Empire Survey Review, 8, no. 59, Jan 1946, pp. 194-196. V. Liversage.
Land Tenure in the Colonies.
19. 9, no. 63. Apr 1948, pp. 276-277. Sir S. Abrahams. Nyasal':.'d
Protectorate Land Comm:ission. 1916.
20. 9. ,o. 69, July 1943, pp. 324-325. Palestion D'poirlment of Si;-vels
Report for 1940-1948.
21. 9, no. 70 Oc' 1948. pp. 364-366, Report of the Surrcey. Land and
Mics Departm.ent. Uganda Protectorate for 1946.
22. 10. no. 71, Jan 1949. p. 43. C.K. Meek. Colonial La',. ;' Bibiioorraphy.
23. 10, no. 71, Jan 1949, p. 44. Reports of the Surveyor General, South"rn
Rhodesia for 1939-1945.
24. 10, no. 74. Oct 1949, pp. 133-189. Land Holding and Land Usapc
among the Platerau Toonga.
25. 1, no. 79. J;n 1951. pp. 39-40. R. L. Brohier. Landr. Mapy a i:d
Sirve.'.s. vol. i (Ceylon).
20. 11. no. 81, July 1951. pp. 140-141. Bibliography of Publishedn
Sources reiatini; to African Land Tenure.
27. 11, nc 31, July 1951. p. 141. Journal cj African Ad ministratio;,.
28. 11, no. ":6. Oct 1952, pp. 377-378. R. L. Brohier and J. H. Paulus7.
Ld(,;d, ?.an.s oi' Snurveys. vol. ii (Ceylnn).
29. 12. no. 8j. Apr 1953. pp. 87-91. Sir E. Dowson and V. L. Sheppard.
Laad *.... ,,, (1952), Jouoral of Africao Admniistration
Spci. ~u(pplp', et on Land Te nrc,
3 -- 13, no. 39. J n. 1956, pp. 232-233. II Kendall, Tcirv Plonnring 'a
31 3, no. 102, Oct 1956. pp. 384-385. Sir E. Dowson and V. L. Sheppard,
Land Registrrtion (1956)
32. 14. no. 107. Jan 1958, pp. 235-236, M. Auroussenu. The Rende,inp
of GC;', graphical Names.
33. 15, no. 118. Oct 1960. pp. 315-3M6. E. John. Lann Tcrmaui. in Efrli
34. 17, no. 129. July 1963. p. 152, Atl's of Uganda.
35. 18, no. 142, Oct 1966. pp. 339-390, H. W. West, 7Th Mailo System:
36. 19, no. 145, (July 1967). p. 141. R. E. Wraith, Guggisberg.
37. Geogranh7'al( Jowrnel. 102, no. 4. Oct 1943. pp. 190-19!. Atlas of the
Tinp i.;'.iaiko Terrin cor.
3. -- 11i. no. 4-6. Oct-Dec 1947. pp. 234-235, 0. Manning. The Remarkl,.ble
39. 1!, ijo. 1-3. Jan-Mar 1948, pp. 123-124, E. B. W.'; thm.'l,.,. A
Development Plan for Uganda.
40. 112, no. 1-3, July-Sep. 1948. p. 100, Sabcn's Con.mnrrcial Directory
and Handbook of Uganda. 1947-1948.
41. 113, Jan-June 1949, pp. 113-115, Lord Rennell of Rodd, British
Military Administration of Occupied Territories in Africa, 1941-1947.
42. 118, no. 4, Dec 1952, pp. 494-495, Lady Southorn, The Gambia.
43. Journal of African History, 5, 1964, pp. 150.152, J. F. Faupel, African
44. Uganda Journal, 2, 1934, pp. 171-172, H. Brendel, Die Kolonisation
45. 16, 1952, pp. 103-104, R. Hill, Biographical Dictionary of the
46. 17, 1953, pp. 94-95, 0. G. Crawford, The Fung Kingdom of Sennar.
47. 17, 1953, pp. 95-98, R. Oliver, The Missionary Factor in East Africa.
48. 21, 1957, pp. 128-129, H. Moyse-Bartlett, The King's African Rifles.
49. 22, 1958, pp. 91-93, R. Oliver, Sir Harry Johnston and the Scramble
50. 22, 1958, pp. 191-192, Sir J. Gray, The British in Mombasa 1824-1826.
51. 23, 1959, pp. 199-201, H. P. Gale, Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers.
52. 25, 1961, p. 119, L. Hollingsworth, The Asians of East Africa.
53. 25, 1961, pp. 120-121, E. R. Vere-Hodge, Imperial British East
54. 25, 1961, pp. 225-227, R. Meinertzhagen, Kenya Diary 1902-1906,
Middle East Diary 1917-1956, Army Diary 1899-1926
55. 25, 1961, pp. 227-228, F. Welbourn, East African Rebels.
56. 30, 1966, 108-110, W. Ward, Fraser of Trinity and Achimota.
57. United Empire, 43, no. 4, July-Aug 1952, pp. 202. E. W. Smith African
58. Yes, 45, Jan 1964, pp. 2-3, Mrs. A. Luck. African Saint.
I. MISCELLANEOUS: Articles, Notes and Letters contributed to
All Saints' Biddenden Parish Magazine,
Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries,
Journal of the Barbados Museum and
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972) pp. 9-22.
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA
By M. J. MCFARLANE
The mesas, or flat-topped hills of Buganda, have been described by
Pallister (1956.) According to him they comprise four elements: a hill flat
underlain by a laterite carapace, a free face where the laterite is exposed
at the periphery of the mesa, a hillslope (averaging 23-24 degrees) below
this, giving way to a pediment sloping at 5-7 degrees. This form can be
seen often. Nevertheless in Buganda the exceptions to this generalisation
are frequent and as is often the case these exceptions are more informative
than the rule. From valley vantage points the mesas appear sharply delimi-
ted and flat-topped. From their tops the scene is often very different and
three main types of mesa can be distinguished. Three essentially different
types of laterite occur on them and from this relationship a fuller picture
of the development of the mesas can be established.
(1) Mesas capped by massive vermiform laterite.
The laterite: The highest and often most extensive mesas (frequently
occurring in Kyaggwe) are capped by massive vermiform laterite. This has
been more fully described elsewhere (McFarlane 1971). It can be generally
recognized in the field by its clearly defined vermiform or tube-like cavities
(Plate 1). In surface exposures these may be lined by rings of dark brown
goethite. The matrix is a buff-yellow colour when freshly exposed but
becomes darker brown and often shiny when it has been exposed for any
length of time. The matrix may be webbed by fine dark brown veins of
goethite, also believed to be an exposure feature, and in part responsible
for the hardness of the laterite when exposed. In the unexposed state it is
very fragile and readily breaks down to a gritty powder.
Hillform:(a) The hill flats of mesas capped by vermiform laterite are in
detail by no means flat. They are very reminiscent of karst topography.
Invariably the surface undulates and is usually dimpled by enclosed hollows,
ranging from barely perceptible depressions a few inches deep and a few
feet in diameter to basins some 20 or so feet deep and 200 or 300 yards
wide (Patz 1965, McFarlane 1969, Chap. 17). Occasionally (e.g. Sangana
hill and Nabubu hill, Kyaggwe see Table 1) small collapse features
occur at the bottom of these hollows, but generally they are merely shallow
grassy depressions which may be temporarily water-logged when it rains.
For the most part these depressions have no outlet and are drained inter-
nally. Hollows which occur near the edge of the hill flat are often asymme-
trical and may have a 'lip', but since the base of the hollow is frequently
lower than the threshold of the 'lip' this can only operate as an outlet
occasionally when it is very wet.
(b) The free face. The periphery of the vermiform laterite-capped
mesas is usually fluted and relatively rarely is a free face of laterite exposed.
Indeed the break of slope between hill flat and hillslope is often very poorly
marked. Only where the laterite is well exposed and indurated is there
any free face and this is usually narrow and limited in extent and certainly
gives no indication of the thickness of the laterite profile.
A free face of this vermiform laterite is sometimes exposed where there
is a protective capping of pedogenetic laterite. This latter is a palaeosol
occurring in patches over all the mesas and has in the past been something
of a red herring for geomorphologists. It often contains artefacts (Wayland
1932, Patz 1965, McFarlane 1968) and so is responsible for digressive and
erroneous thoughts along the lines 'is the laterite of the Buganda Surface
still developing today .?'. In fact the pedogenetic laterite is a mere
plaster on the superstructure and its induration is very recent and probably
proceeding today as the vegetation deteriorates. The pedogenetic laterite
has been more fully described elsewhere (McFarlane 1971) and can be
readily recognized in the field by its usually bright orange and black colour-
ing when freshly broken. It is generally pisolithic, but the pisoliths are
often very irregular, so irregular in fact that the interstices may be the
more obvious feature, giving it a roughly cellular appearance. It is not
being facetious to say that it is best recognized by the fact that usually it
is almost impossible to describe adequately, so irregular may be the discrete
bodies and cavities. Pedogenetic laterite, although invariably a thin skin,
is usually hard and protective (Plate 2) and this virtue occasionally allows
the development of an exposure or free face of vermiform laterite below
it where otherwise there would be none visible.
(c) The hillslope or sub-carapace slope. The angle of this slope is
often influenced by the distance to the adjacent river valley and the depth
of the valley. Thus if the mesa is near, the sub-carapace slope is steeper
than if it is far away.. With rivers of equal distance from the mesas, steeper
slopes occur where the valley is lower. These effects are interesting in view
of the 'buffer effect' which the intervening pediment would be expected to
These variations of slopes occur with all types of mesas and obscure
to some extent the variations in the hillslope caused by the nature of the
laterite carapace. It is quite clear, however, that when the carapace is of
massive vermiform laterite, the hillslope or sub-carapace slope is often
much less steep than those recorded by Pallister, and slopes as low as 11
degrees have been measured below massive vermiform laterite carapaces in
Kyaggwe (McFarlane 1969).
Where the vegetation is thin, the sub-carapace slope below the vermi-
form laterite is seen invariably to be strewn with loose, red pisoliths which
act rather like ball-bearings. Climbing such slopes can sometimes be di-
fficult. The occurrence of pisoliths on the slopes below the massive vermi-
form carapace clearly shows that they originate in an horizon underlying
the vermiform laterite, a relationship which has been confirmed from a
number of natural and excavated profiles.
(d) The measurements made of slopes on the pediments in Buganda
appeared to confirm Pallister's observation that these are unusually steep
and this is in all probability attributable to the humid conditions and a
fairly thick vegetation cover. The pediment slopes did not appear to vary
with the nature of the laterite on the mesas as did the other slope elements.
To summarise, the mesas capped by massive vermiform laterite are
characterized by undulating surfaces, dimpled with hollows, little or no free
face, and shallow sub-carapace slopes. (Fig. 1).
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA
.., "* \ .
n _n _
(2) Mesas capped by spaced pisolithic laterite.
The laterite: This laterite is characterized by its well-defined ooliths (dis-
crete bodies less than 2mm. diameter Twenhofel. in Preez 1954) and
pisoliths (often the size of a pea). Larger, discrete but often imperfectly
rounded, concretions also occur. All are unbanded, contain saprolite-like
material and are separated from each other by a white kaolin and quartz
matrix (Plate 3). The pisoliths and ooliths are a distinctive wine-red colour,
though the larger concretions may be paler and more orange-red. The
chemical content and clay mineralogy have been described elsewhere
Hillform: (a) The hill flat. Hills capped by this type of laterite are usually
forested, partly because they are too small to be of much interest as grazing
areas like the other mesas and partly because it is relatively easy for forest
to regenerate on such laterite. Roots can readily penetrate the kaolin
matrix, whereas with the other laterites, exposure and induration make
root penetration extremely difficult, if not impossible.
(b) The free face. This never occurs except, as with the vermiform
laterite, where pedogenetic laterite overlies and protects it (McFarlane, in
press), for on exposure it very readily breaks down into a rubble.
(c) The hillslope or sub-carapace slope. Once again shallow slopes
are common, similarly strewn with hard pisoliths and ooliths. It is clear
that these have eroded out of the disintegrating laterite. The larger conc-
retions, being softer, usually break up into a gritty powder as does the
white kaolin and quartz matrix.
In short, mesas capped by spaced pisolithic laterite have least claim
to the term 'mesas', being usually small in area, well rounded, with no free
face and with shallow sub-carapace slopes (Fig. 1). The degrading residuals
which Pallister (1956) described fall within this group, but it must be
noted that not all are simply rounded degrading humps. Many have an
obviously truncated rather than a degraded surface.
(3) Mesas capped by packed pisolithic laterite.
The laterite: This is also pisolithic (McFarlane 1971) but can be distingui-
shed from the variety described earlier by the juxtaposition of the pisoliths
and ooliths, which are usually bound together into an extremely hard mass
by an iron-rich 'cement'. It is a characteristic of the pisoliths and ooliths
that they have an outer yellow 'shell' or cutane which does not occur in
the spaced variety (Plate 4). Also, the larger softer concretions are absent.
This type of laterite is a remanie (McFarlane 1971), that is, the detritus
which survives the break-up of the spaced pisolithic laterite. Only the hard
pisoliths and ooliths survive to become 'recemented' wherever they come
to rest, the soft concretions and the kaolin and quartz matrix having disin-
tegrated and been carried off.
Hillform: It is quite striking that it is the mesas capped by packed piso-
lithic laterite which provide the best examples of Pallister's (1956) classical
form (Fig. 1).
(a) The hill flat. If the mesa is small, the hill flat often appears
incredibly level. On larger mesas it can be seen that in fact the sheet of
laterite is always gently sloping and may sometimes comprise a flight
of shallow steps. For example, on Nansenya hill, the gently sloping
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA
steps were in the order of 200 yards wide, with a 'rise' of a few inches or
a foot or so between (McFarlane 1969).
(b) The free face. It is the packed pisolithic laterite which forms the
free face exposures at the periphery of the carapaces. The hardness of
the laterite as a whole depends upon how well bonded the pisoliths are.
The harder the laterite the better the development of the free face, which
sometimes attains the status of a small cliff up to 10 feet high.
(c) The hillslope. The slopes below such carapaces are usually very
strongly controlled by the laterite and can well be described as 'constant
slopes', usually of 23-26 degrees. They are often strewn with large blocks
of the cemented laterite, which have broken away from the edge. Indivi-
dual pisoliths may sometimes be found if the packed pisolithic laterite
overlies the spaced variety from which the individual pisoliths may erode.
In short, mesas capped by packed pisolithic laterite have the best mesa
form with flat top, free and steep sub-carapace slopes.
The three mesa forms and the three associated laterite can be sum-
marised as shown in Figure 1.
The spatial relations of the three mesa types.
Although these types of mesas may occur independently, often all
three elements are represented on a single mesa if it is large (see Fig. 2 A,
B, C.). Thus, on the higher parts the undulating form underlain by vermi-
form laterite occurs (Type 1). This gives way downslope to the rounded
form underlain by spaced pisolithic laterite (Type 2), and further down-
slope lie sheets of packed pisolithic laterite (Type 3). In plan such mesas
often have a dumb-bell shape, for the mesa narrows where the spaced
pisolithic laterite outcrops (Fig 2b). So incohesive are such exposures of
spaced pisolithic laterite that the dumb-bell 'neck' is often reduced to
merely a small pisolithic-strewn saddle or col, for example Bya-Moniko,
Lugazi and the Bandwe-Katale and Mutundwe-Bunamwaya ridges, Kampala
(See Table 1 for locations).
Very long narrow mesas commonly occur along the watersheds, and
wherever the spaced pisolithic laterite is exposed the mesa narrows and
dips. The sky-line thus appears notched (Fig 2d), and in plan a 'string of
beads' effect results (Fig. 2e). Another commonly seen variation is shown
in Figure 2f and 2g.
These different types of laterite and the different detailed forms of the
mesas they cap are all readily recognisable in the field. Nevertheless the
recognition of these differences must be regarded as a means to an end -
that of understanding how the laterite developed and what kind of environ-
ment favoured its development. But the mere recognition of these different
elements in the 'laterite landscape' leads some way towards this end, and
some conclusions can be drawn and discussed.
1. It is very important to recognize the thin and patchy skin of
pedogenetic laterite for what it is. It frequently contains artefacts and,
as mentioned earlier, has lent support to the suspicion that the high level
laterite may still be developing even today. The groundwater laterite of
the mesas, being in its present position 'suspended' well above the per-
manent water-table, cannot be still developing. Rain falls on it. Some drains
over the surface. Some percolates through it. Both of these actions are
PROFILE .1....- I ... I
COL COL COL COL
Figure 2 A, B & C. Profile, plan and transect of a compound mesa
on which all three types occur.
D & E. Profile and plan of watershed mesas. Pisolith-
strewn cols occur where spaced pisolithic laterite
outcrops and the mesa form breaks down.
F & G. Profile and plan of another commonly seen
grouping of watershed mesas,
1 .. 4
p I -
Plate 1. Massive vermiform laterite exposed on the surface of a mesa.
The ends of the tubes stand open to the surface. The tubes can
be seen in the broken blocks. (Panga for scale).
Plate 2. Pedogenetic laterite, approximately one foot thick, forming a
protective capping over vermiform laterite.
Plate 3. Spaced pisolithic laterite. The pisoliths are spaced within
a white kaolin and quartz matrix. (Pin for scale).
Plate 4. Packed pisolithic laterite. Note the yellow outer cutane. (Pin
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA
destructive of the laterite and not creative. The laterite mesas are certainly
being destroyed, not developed. Induration of the vermiform laterite appears
to be proceeding as the vegetation deteriorates, but the laterite is not being
created. Nevertheless, it is clear that the patchy skin of pedogenetic laterite
is still developing and, is merely a palaeosol. It is believed (Chaplin and
McFarlane 1967) that the laterite mesas were formerly forested. Defore-
station exposes the soil to more extreme conditions of alternate wetting
and drying, heating and cooling. Concretions form in this iron-rich soil,
work their way to the base and become consolidated into a pan. This has-
tens the destruction of the rest of the overlying soil which loses structure
by waterlogging and extreme dessication and thus falls prey to complete
erosion and removal. Artefacts dropped in the soil and partially buried
in it were enclosed in this new pedogenetic laterite. Since deforestation is
still continuing, the 'development' of this pedogenetic laterite or palaeosol
is still going on, but it is clearly a limited process. It would be more correct
to say indurationn of a superficial palaeosol of limited quantity is not yet
complete', rather than to say a pedogenetic laterite is still 'developing'
for the latter has connotations of relatively unlimited development.
2. The hydrated nature of the vermiform laterite and other aspects
of its mineralogy and composition (McFarlane 1971) indicate that it formed
within the range of oscillation of a long stable water-table, that is, it is a
planting surface laterite. The mesas therefore which often in detail look
least likely to be remnants of a planation surface, those with undulating
and dimpled surfaces, poor or non-existent free faces and shallow sub-
carapace slopes (i.e. Type 1), are the only ones that with any certainty were
once part of a planation surface.
3. Since the spaced pisolithic laterite underlies the vermiform laterite
(the planation surface laterite) those mesas capped by it have clearly been
truncated, that is, the overlying vermiform laterite has been eroded from
the surface. The tops of such mesas therefore fall altitudinally short of
the planation surface. A good example of this is Makerere hill (Fig. 3).
Spaced pisolithic laterite is exposed at the school on the highest part of
this long sloping mesa. Here the pisoliths are relatively small and closely
spaced. Further downslope on the surface of the mesa, a rubble of pisoliths
and concretions occurs the gently reworked lower parts of the spaced
pisolithic laterite profile. This is a packed pisolithic laterite, but by virtue
of the very gentle reworking, many of the softer concretions are also still
preserved whole in the remanie. Therefore the flat but sloping surface of
Makerere hill is an erosional slope and not part of a planation surface,
and a planation surface (marked by the vermiform laterite level) for-
merly existed some feet above even the highest part of the hill. Makerere
is one of many hills in the Kampala area which despite their good mesa
form must be reassessed for their qualification as parts of a planation sur-
face, the essential test being what kind of laterite is exposed. With such
hills it is often possible to estimate within a few tens of feet how far above
it the vermiform laterite was, since it is known that the spaced pisolithic
laterite is in the order of 60 feet thick and that at the top the pisoliths
and ooliths are small and closely spaced. With depth the spacing becomes
wider, the larger concretoins becoming more common. Thus the size of
the pisoliths and their spacing gives an indication of how far down this 60
foot profile they occur and thus how much has been removed by erosion
from the top of the hill.
4. The mesas which most commonly have the form described by
Pallister, that is Type 3, with their hard-packed pisolithic laterite, flat
carapace and well developed free face and steep sub-carapace slopes seem
to be responsible for much of the confusion concerning the Buganda
Surface. Since the laterite on them is detrital, derived from the reworking
of spaced pisolithic laterite, they cannot, despite their often good mesa
form, be regarded as parts of a formerly existing planation surface.
Formerly this laterite was not recognized as being detrital, the in-
clusion of 'blocks of an older laterite' being a necessary diagnostic criterion;
but if the higher lying vermiform laterite were forested, that is unexposed
and unindurated, it would completely disintegrate on erosion and not break
up into recognisable blocks as it now does where it is exposed and being
eroded. So the only hard pieces which would be produced by the erosion
of the high level laterite are the small hard pisoliths and ooliths of the
spaced pisolithic laterite. The larger softer concretions are usually absent
from it, since they, like the vermiform laterite, are readily broken down.
The position of the packed pisolithic laterite in relation to the spaced
variety is consistent. It lies downslope from it, often as a continuous sheet.
If it occurs on an isolated mesa it is altitudinally lower than the nearest
independent exposure of spaced pisolithic laterite. Examples of such
'classical' mesas, capped by packed pisolithic laterite are many and they
can be seen to be consistently lower than those previously described.
Nsamizi hill is a well known example. Its anomalously low altitude, and
that of some of the mesas on the islands in Lake Victoria, had led to the
conclusion that there is a downwarp into the Victoria basin, in the order
of 300 feet (Pallister 1956). The low altitude in itself is insufficient to evoke
the downwarp, and in Kyaggwe such low mesas are so frequent between
the higher ones that downwarp must be abandoned as a general explana-
tion for their occurrence.
It is ironical indeed to find that in the type area of the Buganda
Surface it is the classical mesa form which is of least use in establishing
the denudation chronology of the region.
5. Perhaps the most important conclusion from the study of the
different laterite and mesa types is that to map the existing mesas and
attempt to reconstruct from them a single former laterite landscape is
entirely misleading. Such attempts produce totally unrealistic landscapes
in some areas, e.g. Lugazi and South Kyaggwe (McFarlane 1971), while
in others they appear to indicate a laterite land-surface with a relief which
is lithologically controlled and in the order of 600 feet (de Swardt 1964).
This is irreconcilable with the well established fact that laterite genesis is
associated with low relief if not entirely flat surfaces, which are independ-
ent of lithology. This has in turn led to new attempts to explain laterite
genesis in terms of a high relief environment, a false high relief environ-
ment because planation surface mesas, truncated mesas and detrital elements
have erroneously been assumed to be parts of a chronological entity. The
custom, already suspect (Brosh 1970), of mapping the laterite and assuming
that one is mapping a planation surface has now been proved to be a
malpractice. It cannot be emphasised too strongly that to analyse such a
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA 17
1j 0 .
Figure 3 Makerere Hill.
landscape the nature of the laterite must be included as a diagnostic
Figure 4 shows an idealised landscape and methods of interpretation
past and present. Figure 4a shows a commonly occurring laterite-lithology
relationship, with the higher mesas in areas of hardest rock (quartzite),
lower ones over phyllites and the lowest ones over granite. Formerly this
was reluctantly interpreted to indicate an imperfect planation and a laterite
landscape which was lithologically controlled (Fig. 4b) despite the general
belief that laterite forms on a low relief surface which is independent of
lithology. If laterite type is taken into consideration using the criteria earlier
discussed, a more reasonable explanation emerges. With massive vermi-
form laterite on the highest residuals, spaced pisolithic laterite on the inter-
mediate, and packed pisolithic on the lowest (Fig. 4c) chronology can
be reconstructed as follows. A continuous sheet of massive vermiform
laterite existed, some distance above the top of the pisolithic laterite mesa
and an even greater distance above the packed pisolithic laterite mesa
(Fig. 4c). When erosion of this sheet started, the area of weathered phyllites
was more easily attacked than the weathered quartzites, and the weathered
granites more easily still. Erosion was favoured over the granite area and
the laterite was removed save for a rubble of hard detrital pisoliths. Over
the phyllites the profile was eroded to the extent that the spaced pisolithic
laterite was exposed (Fig. 4d). Continued erosion along the most deeply
weathered zones not only left the massive vermiform laterite mesas strand-
ed but also areas capped by packed and spaced pisolithic laterite. The
lithological control on the altitude of the mesa surface here is not original
but secondary, in that the highest mesas are in areas where the original
surface has been preserved by virtue of the resistant underlying lithology,
not areas in which the surface was imperfectly planed. Kyaggwe provides
a clear example of this laterite-lithology relationship,
Certainly to map laterite type as well as mesa form adds considerably
to the labour of the denudation chronology analyst. It is a considerable help
to the geomorphologist that the variations in mesa form so frequently relate
directly to the nature of the laterite but it is the nature of the laterite which
is the ultimate criterion. This is even more so when more than one planation
surface occurs. Thus, when this technique was applied to the Kampala-Jinja
area it emerged that two planation surfaces occur (McFarlane 1971 and
Fig. 5b). Figure 5a shows schematically the diposition of the laterite capped
mesas and Fig. 5b shows the present author's interpretation of this. Inter-
pretation of their development on purely morphological grounds without
distinguishing between the different laterites could not go beyond three
possibilities. (1) The mesas represent a polycyclic landscape. (2) The mesas
represent a single imperfectly planed high relief landsurface. (3) The laterite
is acyclic and develops independently in individual interfluves (Trendall
1962). With the nature of the laterite and associated mesa forms taken into
account two planation surfaces can be identified (Fig. 5b) and attempts are
now in hand to determine the relationship of these two surfaces (named
respectively the Buganda Surface and the Ntenga Surface) over a wider area
with a view to their relative dating.
From this survey the flat-topped hills of Buganda do not form a simple
planation surface as had once been believed. The simple mesa form as
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA 1
L.* A. I I
O U ,T ../ '.I.
"I. M,, ''
WEATHER D w WAH 7 a lI
E 1 1 1 1 "1 11 1 I M Ri i R A P ID E R OSiI O N g" .i n M 10` m .
Figure 4 A & B. Old attempts to reconstruct the former laterite
which is lithologically controlled.
iflJiSHVS ..P r .' ^''^^K i LXTERI. t
S .. .. ....
Figure 5 Schematic representation of the mesas in Kyaggwe.
A. Laterite capped mesas occur at a variety of
B. Interpretation based on the nature of the late-
rite shows two former surfaces represented by
mesas capped by vermiform laterite. At inter-
mediate altitudes truncated profiles and detrital
~ -- --
LATERITE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN BUGANDA
described by Pallister appears inimical to the understanding of the true
denudation chronology, while the more poorly defined forms bearing vermi-
form laterite seem more certain witnesses of the former planation surfaces.
Brosh, A. 1970 Observations on the geomorphic relationship of laterite in
Southeastern Ankole (Uganda). 1. Land Surfaces and types of laterite
occurrence. (Jerusalem Studies in Geography, Vol. 1, Dp. 153-179.)
Chaplin, J. H. and McFarlane, M.J., 1967. The Maniko Petroglyphs. (Uganda
Journal 31, pp. 207-209).
McFarlane, M. J., 1968. Some observations on the prehistory of the Buvuma
Island group of Lake Victoria. Report of East African Freshwater Fish-
eries Research Organisation 1967, Appendix F. pp. 49-54.
McFarlane, M.J., 1969. Lateritisation and landscape development in parts of
Uganda. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University College, University of
McFarlane, M. J., 1971. Lateritization and landscape development in Kyagwe,
Uganda. (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, Vol. 126,
Patz, M. J. (McFarlane) 1965. Hill-top hollows further investigations. (Uganda
Journal 29, pp. 225-228.)
Pallister, J. W., 1956. Slope form and erosion surfaces in Uganda. (Geological
Magazine 93, pp. 465-472.)
Preez, J. W.du, 1954. Notes on the occurrence of oolites and pisolites in Nigerian
laterites. Comptes Rendus, 19th International Geological Congress,
Algiers, 21, pp. 163-169.
Prescott, J. A. and Pendleton, R. L. 1952. Laterite and lateritic soils. Common-
wealth Bureau Soil Science Technical Communication No. 47.
Swardt, A. M. J. de, 1964. Lateritisation and landscape development in parts
of Equatorial Africa. (Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, 8, pp. 313-33.)
Trendall, A. F., 1962. The formation of apparent peneplains by a process of
combined lateritisation and surface wash. Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie
6, pp. 183-197.)
Wayland, E. J., 1932. Notes on Kololo Hill, Kampala. Unpublished Report of
the Geological Survey, Uganda.
TABLE 1 EXAMPLES OF SOME OF THE FEATURES DESCRIBED
Hollows with a
slope below vermiform
Mesas capped by
Mesas capped by
with Type 1 form
on highest parts,
Type 2 in central
parts and Type 3
on lower parts.
laterite on the
mesas break down
'String of beads'
effect on long
mesas which are
Topographical sheet 1:50,000
Kibanda Port (71/IV)
Kibanga Port (71/IV)
Nsamizi Entebbe (70/IV) 440/007
Nyonja Bwema (72/III) 503/011
Ntenga Lugazi (71/II) 489/038
Kimera/ Kibanga Port (71/IV) 498/022
Butale/ and to
Kiringo Bwema (72/III) 501/021
Namagolola Kibanga Port (71/IV) 498/011
of the hill)
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972), pp. 23-34.
THE LUGBARA OF NORTHWESTERN UGANDA:
MIGRATION AND EARLY SETTLEMENT
By O. J. E. SHIROYA
The Lugbara are a Sudanic-speaking people' and are classed as
members of the Moru-Madi sub-group of the Eastern Sudanic group. They
know of the Madi, to the east, and the Kaliko and Logo to their west as
being especially closely related to them, and their languages are mutually
intelligible. The Lugbara2 live on the Nile-Congo watershed where this
forms the international boundary between Uganda and Zaire. The country
consists of open, almost treeless rolling plains between 4,000 and 5,000
feet above the sea level. The heart of the Lugbaraland is this plateau
bounded by the watershed and the circle of mountains Liru, Wati and Luku.
The country is fertile and has many permanent streams and rivers, and a
The migration and settlement of the Lugbara in their present homeland
is connected with the general migration and movement of the rest of the
peoples in the Southern part of Sudan. According to recent studies, modern
day Rejaf-Juba region in the Sudan (i.e. presentday Bariland) was by 1000
A.D. the home of the Moru-Madi groups of people. Between 1000 A.D.
and 1500 A.D., however, the area was subjected to a series of invasions of
people from the east: the Lotuko invasion seems to have been the earliest.
and that of the Bari the latest. These invaders forced the Moru-Madi groups
out of their original homeland, thus causing them to disperse and settle
in new territories. The origin and separate identity of the ethnic groups
we now call the Moru, Madi, Logo, Kaliko, Avukaya and Luluba, can be
traced back to this period. In those early days, however, these movements
were organized neither on ethnic lines nor clan basis; people generally
moved in small groups of a few families. The ancestors of the people we
now call Lugbara must have arrived in their present homeland about 10
to 12 generations ago i.e. between 1600 and 1650.4
It would appear that these founding families were "Madi families or
groups" in much the same way as those families or groups which gave rise
to the present day Madi-Moyo or Madi-Okollo.6 At this early stage the
term "Lugbara" did not exist. Indeed no ethnic group was known by
this name until the last quarter of the 19th century. Before this time the
Lugbara neighbours had simply referred to them as "Madi", thus grouping
them together with presentday Madi-Moyo and Madi-Okollo.5 Thus while
the people themselves have been in the area for well over three hund-
red years, their name is of recent origin. The majority of Lugbara infor-
mants admitted that until very recently their neighbours used to call them
"Madi". There are a few witnesses who state that they have always been
Lugbara. They give a rather localized and personal explanation of the
meaning and origin of the term. I came to this conclusion because such
explanations are not mentioned anywhere else in Lugbara tradition or
remembered by any other Lugbara informant. These versions of the origin
of the term are so isolated that they seem to be recent invention.7
A vast majority of witnesses claim that the term was introduced by
Mundu i.e. foreigners.8 They are, however, unable to say exactly which
group of mundu introduced the term. Within this group, there is never-
theless, a very small section of witnesses which singles out the first Arab
Slavers to come to this area as the mundu who started referring to this
division of "Madi population" as Lugbara. According to this tradition,
these Arab Slavers first organized and carried out their "hunting exped-
itions" among the Kakwa people. They then moved into the Lugbari clan
which lived to the southeast of the Kakwa and spoke both Kakwa and
Lugbara languages (this clan still lives in this area and speaks both Kakwa
and Lugbara). Because the Arabs were ignorant of the fact that Lugbari was
only a clan, they assumed they had "discovered" another large ethnic group
which called itself Lugbari. They therefore concluded that the vast territory
between the Kakwa and the Madi was occupied by the Lugbari.9 On all
subsequent maps which were drawn by the Arabs, this territory was marked
Lugbari.1o Most probably this is how the term originated. Arab slavers
invaded this part of the country around 1880. This would mean that the
Lugbara got their name some time between 1880 and 1885."x The new
mundu i.e. the Europeans seem to have taken the maps and therefore the
name for granted. It however remained for them to popularize it.
The Lugbara tradition speaks of three separate and independent groups
which came to settle in the country now called Lugbaraland, and that these
groups gave rise to three main divisions among the Lugbara. One of these
divisions claims that BanaleX2 is their hero-ancestor. Their tradition
says that his father, Tere or Utere, originally lived in "Moru in the Sudan."
He later migrated to presentday west Acholi via the Nile valley. Here his
son, Banale, was born. When he was "very much advanced in age" Banale
decided to migrate to the west side of the Nile (Miri) crossing it near
Gimara and eventually settling on Mt. Wati or Eti. He met a woman by
the name of Ofunyaru who had been disowned by her own people because
she had leprosy. He cured her of the leprosy and they eventually became
husband and wife; later "God blessed them with a son" whom they named
Angunduru ("Looking for a place"). Angunduru had seven sons; the latter
became the founding fathers of the Teres13 or Banale clans.
Much of this information is mythical. There is however some element
of history in it, especially when the general migration of Moru-Madi
people is considered. Some Madi groups moved into the area we now call
western Acholi. A section of this Madi must have crossed the Nile and
eventually settled around Mt. Wati. Obviously a great deal of modernism
has been injected into the tradition, particularly when the tradition refers
to "Acholi", and that "Banale spoke Acholi" The word Acholi did not
exist at that time, and as far as we know the Lwo-speakers had not
yet settled in this area. A historical fact on which much of this mythology
is based seems to be that most of the ancestors of the Teres clans came
to their present homeland from across the Nile i.e. modern day western
Acholi, and that they broke away from a "Moru-Madi-speaking" group.
The Lugbara in the second division trace their origin back to their
hero ancestor called Jaki or Zaki. This group is sometimes referred to as
"Kakwa group" because the Kakwa also claim that Jaki is their hero-
ancestor (although some Kakwa traditions say that Yeki, Jaki's father, is
their hero-ancestor.) Both Lugbara (Jaki group) and Kakwa traditions
assert that Yeki, Jaki's father, migrated from "Bari in Sudan" and even-
tually settled near Mt. Liru where his son Jaki was born. Jaki in turn
had a number of sons who eventually moved out of Mt. Liru area and
settled in new areas. One group of these sons became the founding-fathers
of the clan in Jaki division of the Lugbara, while the other group
became the ancestors of the various Kakwa clans. The Lugbara in this
division proudly admit this common origin which they share with the
Kakwa: "we were all brothers" is a common remark among Jaki Lugbara
whenever they are asked about their historical connections with the Kakwa.
The Kakwa, on the other hand, admit that certain clans among the Lugbara
are the descendants of Jaki's sons. These clans are to-day concentrated in
Maraca County although a few are to be found outside this area.'1
There is however a section of "Kakwa" Lugbari i.e. Lugbara of Kakwa
origin who do not consider Jaki their hero-ancestor. Their tradition
states that like the Jaki group, their ancestors migrated from "Bari in
Sudan" but that they were separate from and independent of the Jaki group.
In spite of this independence, the two groups migrated at the same time,
followed the same route and eventually settled in the same area i.e. around
Mt. Liru. Their tradition goes on to say that on leaving this area they
split into two groups: a smaller group went to modern day Aringa county
(northern Lugbara) while the bigger section went first to "the Congo" and
eventually settled down in modern day Vurra county (Southern Lugbara).
Some scholars including Baxter, Butt and Middleton have suggested that
these "Congo Lugbara" i.e. the Lugbara who claim to have travelled from
Mt. Liru via the Congo before eventually settling in presentday southern
Lugbara are in fact a branch of either the Logo or the Kaliko.'s
However, traditions of these groups strongly deny having had such histor-
ical links with either the Logo or the Kaliko: "From Mt. Liru our founding
fathers came to Vurra via the Congo." On balance the tradition seems to
stand on firm grounds, especially when it is remembered that the tradition
of the section which went to Aringa, still maintains that they and the
"Congo Lugbara" were at one time "brothers" and that they parted ways
around Mt. Liru. Perhaps the Congo Lugbara merely acquired some cul-
tural traits from the Logo and the Kaliko without necessarily absorbing
the people themselves into their society.16
We have so far considered the two Lugbara divisions which trace their
histories back to either Jaki or Banale i.e. the divisions of the Lugbara
which broke away from the Kakwa, and those who came to Lugbaraland
via "Acholi". There is a third division which is just as important in Lug-
bara history as these two groups. It denies any historical links with either
the Banale group or the Jaki group. Unlike the other two groups, it claims
several founding-fathers.17 Their traditions state that their- ancestors
came directly from "Moru in the Sudan" to Lugbaraland. Their first set-
tlement was to the southeast of Mt. Liru, and later on they spread
out to occupy most of the territory between Mt. Liru and the Nile. Accord-
ing to both their own traditions and those of their neighbours, they were
the first "Lugbara-speaking" groups to come to this area, and the
Ndu (Ke'bu) were their southern and only neighbours. Both Banale and
Jaki groups were preceded in Lugbaraland by the members of the third
MIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT OF LUGBARA
First group (from MOru
joki group ( Boris )
Bonale group Vio Achol I
MOru Mads ona related fonguoage
S 40 80
group. The third division occupied a much larger territory than either
of the two divisions; it was also numerically superior to the other two.
There is a tradition among the Banale group which states that after their
ancestors had crossed the Nile, they settled among the Imvepi for some
time before moving to Mt. Wati area. Ofunyaru belonged to Alia clan
and Kakwa tradition refers to a marriage between Jaki and a girl from
the Aya clan. Again this specific information might turn out to be myth-
ical, but it underlines one point which is that there was meaningful contact
and interaction between these three divisions.
These mythologies, therefore, help to explain historical contacts and
cross cultural relations which were relations going on between these three
groups. Compared with the third division, Banale and Jaki groups were
numerically inferior; they were also "outsiders", one group having broken
away from the Kakwa; and the other one having come to the country via
"Acholi". Although this latter group had migrated from "Moru in Sudan",
by the time they reached Mt. Wati they had evolved a very distinct dialect
from that spoken by the people in the third division. It also seems that
this third section was not only numerically superior but also culturally
dominant: Jaki and Banale groups adopted the language of the third group,
a 'language' which was at that time a dialect of the Moru-Madi language
and which eventually developed into the Lugbara language as we know it
to-day. Since that time Lugbara as a language has remained the most
important single factor in the cultural unification among the Lugbara. It
can be argued that a common language, at that early stage, was the first
of steps which started the Lugbara along the path of cultural oneness.
Although these groups would continue to speak of their own separate
origins, and although they would even continue to be politically independent
of each other, from this point on they began to share a fairly similar
culture" particularly in language and in political and social institutions.
This process was at its highest peak some time between 1630 and 1680.18
Mounts Liru and Wati occupy a very special place in Lugbara
mythology because the founding fathers of the two of the three major
Lugbara divisions finally settled on these mountains and eventually died
there: Jaki was buried on Mt. Liru and Banale on Mt. Wati. But
Liru-Wati area is important to the Lugbara in yet another way:
it is an historical area. It was from this area, after the three main divisions
had intermingled and virtually fused into one cultural group, that the rest
of Lugbaraland received its settlers. In short the rest of Lugbaraland owes
its cultural foundations to the Liru-Wati area.
About 1700 small groups organized on a family basis began to break
away from the 'parent group' around the mountains and migrated to new
settlements: this was the beginning of the secondary or internal migrations
which continued, among the Lugbara, until the first quarter of 19th century.
These migrations were generally to the south and west of the mountains,
and by the end of the 18th century the whole of Lugbaraland as we know
it to-day had virtually been occupied by various Lugbara clans. These
new settlers seem to have displaced a somewhat thin population of the
Ndu (Ke'bu) people who originally occupied these areas. No hostility or
military confrontation between these two groups seems to have been assoc-
iated with this process of displacement. According to Lugbari traditions,
the majority of the Ndu "left the land peacefully and voluntarily and moved
to the Congo." The Ndu witnesses confirm this when they state that "there
was no conflict between us and the Lugbara; we always moved ahead of
them". These traditions might be regarded as a fair representation of
what really took place especially when it is realized that there was plenty
of unsettled land to which the Ndu people could move, thus avoiding direct
conflict with the new-comers. While the majority of the Ndu decided to
move away, a few groups remained behind and were peacefully arbsorbed
into various Lugbara clans. This was generally true during the secondary
migrations when the Lugbari moved farther west.
The extension of the Lugbara-speaking population into presentday
northern Lugbara i.e. Aringa, county was brought about in a different
manner. The area seems to have been fairly thickly populated by a section
of Kakwa people, the nucleus of the large group known to-day as Aringa
-Ole'ba. According to both Kakwa and Lugbara traditions, the majority
of the people living in what is now Aringa county i.e. northern Lugbara
were by 1780 Kakwa-speakers. These same traditions show that between
1790 and 1850 most of these people had been "Lugbaraized". It seems
that Lugbara-speakers in this area i.e. the Aupi, Yiba and various other
clans in Omugo-Otumbari area started what I consider a systematic
process of the "Lugbaraization" of the Aringa-Ole'ba group. The influ-
ence does not seem to have come through territorial conquest or set-
tlement, it seems to have been achieved through cultural domination starting
first with the displacement of the Kakwa language by the Lugbara language,
and then eventually introducing other Lugbari cultural traits. What should
be noted is the fact that the Lugbara culture penetrated Kakwa com-
munities without the Lugbara people actually settling among them. The
process was generally from south to north, and was still going on when
both the Arabs and Europeans invaded this area. The Ludara division
in Kakwa county is a case in point. People in this area are Kakwa by
ethnic origin, but speak Lugbara. They explain the loss of their original
language by simply saying that "we lost our language because we live near
the Lugbara and we intermarry with them." This is a classic illustration
of how Kakwa communities in Aringa lost their original culture. It seems
that they always lost their language first, this was the first step: the loss
of other cultural traits followed later on. The following clans in Aringa
were formerly Kakwa-speaking: Lormujo, Leiko, Morobu, Le'ba, Riaka,
Kerikula, Reli, Tomario, Nyamara and Ingili.
Although the Lugbara clans developed what might be considered a
common culture, they remained politically independent of each other. They
never had an over-all ruler or paramount chief. They have always been
a segmentary or decentralized society. The clan seems to have been the
largest political unit. Each of the clans was headed by a clan chief or
Opi.'1 He made political and military decisions for the clan. For instance,
he settled both intra and inter clan disputes. In the case of inter-clan
disputes he met with his opposite number in the opposing clan in order
to settle their differences. In the event of migration or clan movement
Opi's decision was final. Cases were tried by a council of elders sitting as
a court with the Opi as the judge.
Opii (plural) also sought wise advice from the Ojoo particularly during
"national" crises such as war, famine, epidemic, etc. The Ojoo had a
combination of qualities: he was a medicine man, foreteller and diviner.
It was because of these special qualities that he was called upon to advise
political leaders during crises. Political development in Maraca, Terego and
Aringa deserves special mention. In Maraca each clan had its own opi but
during major crises all the opii would seek advice from the most outstanding
and powerful rain-maker in the region whose title was "Opi Ozooni" i.e.
"The chief of rain." At such a time Opi Ozooni wielded a lot of power,
both military and political, by virtue of being the sole advisor to all the
opii in the area. It is no wonder that some informants actually thought
that he was the "paramount chief' of all the Maraca clans.20
Perhaps this is an exaggeration of the fact. What seems to have hap-
pened was that during normal times opii of various clans had full power
over their respective clans, but during a crisis, Opi Ozooni assumed a lot of
power which greatly affected both political and military decisions in the
whole cluster of Maraca clans. In Aringa all opii were rain-makers, in
fact this was a necessary and required qualification for holding this position-
This influence of rain-making in Maraca and Aringa political development
helps to explain their historical connections with the Kakwa, because among
the latter rain-making was very closely associated with both political and
military leadership. It was in fact the most important single qualification
for holding the office of the chief among the Kakwa. In the rest of Lug-
baraland, rain-making had no political implications at all. Another group
of clans which evolved a somewhat unique system of government was the
Terego cluster which includes Katrini, Aiivu, Beliefe, Ombaci and Paranga.
All these clans acknowledged only one overall opi who was always prov-
ided by "the ruling family" in Beliefe clan. This was unique in the Lugbara
political system because in the rest of Lugbara each and every clan had its
own opi. Throughout Lugbaraland, the office of the opi was both here-
ditary and for life. The opi was always succeeded by his first son of the
first wife. If for some reason the first son was incapable of becoming the
opi then the elders appointed the opi from among the remaining sons.
Farming and cattle-keeping were the two most important aspects of
the Lugbara economy. When they settled in their present homeland they
used wooden hoes for cultivating. Later iron hoes were introduced into
Lugbari by their neighbours, the Ndu. In addition to producing hoes, the
Ndu made arrow-points, spear-heads, bracelets, bangles and rings, etc.
Because of these special skills and services, the Ndu became popular with
the Lugbara, they intermarried with them and received complete ethnic
equality within various Lugbara clans in which they lived. One of the
Lugbara traditions states that: "We had no blacksmiths. We bought hoes
from the Ndu whom we called "Ondoa" (i.e. the clever ones.) They were
supposed not to be killed. Some settled among us. Our elders used to say
that if you killed the Ndu, people would be unable to get hoes and famine
would break out and people would die for there would be no food".
The Ndu claim that they have been smiths since "time immemorial."
Traditions among those ethnic groups with which the Ndu have historical
connections the Kakwa, Lendu and Lugbara seem to confirm this
view. As the Lugbara population increased, the Ndu were forced to mig-
rate farther south; this made it difficult for the Lugbari to obtain both
iron ores (Onzi or Modo) and iron goods. Some Lugbara communities
attempted to solve this problem by absorbing Ndu groups into their own
clans. The Aya in Terego and Nyangilia in Kakwa applied this method
and succeeded in transforming their own areas into "manufacturing centres".
Compared with the "manufacturing centres" farther south among the Ndu,
these two centres were extremely limited for they managed to serve only
local or at best regional needs. For the rest of Lugbaraland, iron goods
could only be obtained through long-distance trade with the Ndu in the
south. People covered great distances in order to obtain these goods.
According to some traditions among the Lugbara, it sometimes took months
to make a return trip. In view of this overwhelming evidence regarding
inter-ethnic trade, Middleton's remarks that "men (Lugbara) had no need
to go far from their own neighbourhood for economic reasons" should
seriously be revised. Traditionally the Lugbara had no currency, exchange
was therefore by barter: Ndu smiths received livestock, foodstuff, iron
ores or even services in exchange for their manufactures. This criss-crossing
of the Lugbaraland by the long-distance traders apart from fulfilling
an economic purpose also strengthened cultural ties among the Lugbara.
The Lugbara had no standing army but they had, at the clan level,
a military commander or a war captain whom they called Keigo or Ambo.
This office was not appointive, it was held by any fighter who distingui-
shed himself as the most courageous and the most knowledgeable in
military tactics and strategies: in short a military genius of his time.
He however had no power to either declare or call off any war; that was
the responsibility of the Ataloo (Opi). The Lugbara fought both private
and public wars. The former were mainly intra-clan, the latter were both
inter-clan and inter-ethnic. Ideally all types of wars were to be reported
to the Ataloo; but some of the private wars were too small to warrant any
reporting. Thus they have rightly been called feuds by the anthropologists.
There was hardly any loss of life or property-in a military confrontation
of this sort. According to some Lugbari traditions, such "wars" amounted
to mock battles which were aimed at "keeping the soldiers fit" in case of
an outbreak of a major war. On the whole private wars, and to a large
extent inter-sectional wars, were easily and effectively controlled by the
Opii, and therefore the occurrence of such wars was more potential than
real. Middleton (Lugbara Religion) observed that among the Lugbara
"There were rainmakers who had the power to curse people who were
feuding, threatening them with death unless they put down their weapons."
Various Lugbara traditions speak of the supernatural power of the Ataloo
and how he used it in controlling the affairs of the entire clan. One of
these traditions states that: Opii settled disputes in their clans. They also
made decisions concerning wars. Their power lay in the people's belief
that Opii had some supernatural ability with which they could bless or
curse persons or clans. If you disobeyed him, you always met some
Inter-ethnic wars, as we know them to-day never actually occurred.
There is no evidence that the Lugbara as an ethnic group, for instance,
ever fought a war against an Alur group consisting of fighters from all over
Alurland. The so-called inter-ethnic wars were those between a few
clans of the adjoining or neighboring ethnic groups. Among the Lugbara,
Maraca clans occasionally fought against Nyangilia clans in Kakwa. In
southern Lugbara, it was the Ayivu sub-clans who occasionally clashed
with Alur sub-clans who lived in the Warr area. Such clashes can correctly
be called public wars. Among the Lugbara there were two types of these
wars: Andea and Mayi. The former was a bilateral confrontation, while
the latter was a multi-lateral confrontation involving three to eight clans
on either side. The two types of wars had one thing in common: they
were all-out wars in which the attacking army invaded the enemy territory
and destroyed everything including life and property.
Traditions within the oldest settlements among the Lugbara i.e. in
northern and eastern Lugbara, are generally silent on the "military
history" of their clans. Their traditions are very rich in "migration history"
or genealogies but are extremely poor in "settlement history" i.e. they are
unable to recall the kind of life they experienced when they first arrived
in these areas. This is partly due to the time factor, and partly due to the
fact that when the earliest settlers arrived in these areas, the land was
By comparison, the settlement in southern Lugbara is a recent phenom-
enon whose memories are still fresh and vivid.2 There is yet another
fundamental factor which might account for this difference between the
two sections of the Lugbara. When the first Lugbara settlers arrived in
southern Lugbara they encountered a sizeable population of other ethnic
groups: Ke'bu, Madi and Alur. This situation necessitated either defensive
or offensive wars in order to gain or retain territories. These factors help
to explain why the southern Lugbara attached so much importance to
military affairs. While in other Lugbara areas clans were headed by political
leaders (opii), the clan heads in this area were war-leaders (Aju drile). Prio-
rity was given to military leadership to which all other types of leadership
were subordinated. Experiments with new methods of warfare were frequent.
It was, for instance, at this time that the Ocoo groups of sub-clans invented
the Gombere which was used in battle. Gombere was a solid, heavy armour
which was made from cow-hide. This armour proved extremely effective
against arrow or spear missiles launched by the opposing army. Because
of this innovation, the Ocoo group became the most powerful clan in the
region; it also became notorious for organizing the most destructive andea
against their neighbours. Eventually the new military technique spread to
other clans in southern Lugbara; but this was long after some of the Vurra
and Ayivu sub-clans had suffered a number of defeats at the hands of the
At any rate the southern Lugbara were now in a better position
militarily to challenge their neighbours. The majority of the Ke'bu were
forced to flee to the "Congo" although a good number of them remained
behind and were absorbed into Lugbara society: Tuli, Paanza, Ozoo, Okavu,
Ayavu, etc. were all Ke'bu speakers but they now speak Lugbara. The
same fate befell Madi groups which lived in this area. Some fled to what
is now Madi-Okollo, while others remained behind and were absorbed into
Lugbara society. The greatest Madi concentration in southern Lugbari is
in the Bondo and Arivu areas.
According to Lugbara tradition, the military confrontation between
them and the Alur was the fiercest and the most protracted. The groups
which were directly affected on either side were the Ayivu clan in southern
Lugbara and the Alur sub-clans around modern day Warr.
The Lugbara say that the sub-clans around Warr had territorial
ambitions across River Odrua which had been recognized for some time
as the boundary between the Lugbara and the Alur; but because these clans
chose to pursue their expansionist policy, they launched three major mii-
tary campaigns against the Ayivu with the sole purpose of occupying "tne
Lugbara lands" north of River Odrua. In the first campaign these Warr
clans were aided by the "Panduru from the Congo", the "Lango" aided
them during the second attack, and they allied with the "Kabalega" in tha
third and final assault. The tradition goes on to state that these attempts
to occupy Lugbara territory proved futile because each time they were
made. the Alur were badly defeated. In the end the Alur were forced to
recognize River Odrua as the boundary between the two groups. However,
there seems to be a curious development which occurred soon after the
peace agreement. The Lugbara say that "the Alur chief" started appointing
clan chiefs for them from among several Lugbara candidates. They say
that the Alur chief was "permitted" to appoint chiefs for the Lugbara
because he "claimed that he had the power to make rain for both the
Lugbara and the Alur". From this tradition, it would appear that what
the Alur chiefs failed to achieve through force, was gained through "super-
natural powers" which they claimed to possess.
From the foregoing paragraphs, certain tentative conclusions regarding
the early history of the Lugbara can be made. First, from the point of
view of culture and language, the Lugbara society is an extension of the
Madi world; but from the point of view of history and ethnic origin, a
large section of the Lugbara belongs to the Kakwa and Ke'bu world.
However, it should quickly be pointed out that in recent history these
diverse elements have been fused together to form one ethnic group: the
people we now call the Lugbara.
The earliest settlements in the Lugbara country were in the neighbour-
hood of Mts. Liru and Wati. This area is important in Lugbara history
because it became the nucleus of the new society. This is the area to which
the rest of Lugbaraland owes its culture and language; the area also provided
settlers for the rest of the country. Primary migration and settlement took
place roughly between 1600 and 1650; from this time till the end of the
century, the Lugbara society was consolidating its culture. The next century
i.e. 18th century, seems to have been the period of secondary migration
and settlement the era of expansion and by the end of this period
practically every part of the country we now call Lugbara had been
occupied by Lugbara-speaking people.
1. John Middleton has written quite extensively on Lugbara; however, his work
is anthropological. Some serious studies on the linguistics and ethnology of the
peoples of Southern Sudan have been done and should be consulted because
they make some useful comments on the Lugbara.
2. The Lugbara is the largest ethnic group in West Nile with a population of
285,000 people. About a third of this number lives in Zaire.
3. See P.T.W. Baxter and A. Butt, The Azande and Related Peoples, and 0. W.
Huntingford, The Northern Nilo-Hamites.
4- J. P. Crazzolara, The Lwo Clans: Part III. See also L. F. Nadder (ed.) A
Tribal Survey of Mongolla Province.
LUGBARA MIGRATIONS 33
5. Kaliko were also known at one time as Madi, and they still prefer this name.
The Azande gave them their present name which means "wild men" in Azande
language. If this is correct then all the people living in the area between Moyo
and Kaliko i.e. the people we now call Madi, Lugbara and Kaliko, were all
called Madi. See Baxter and Butt, op-cit. and Equatoria: The Lado Enclave
by C.H. Stigand.
6. In modern usage the Madi in Madi District are generally referred to as Madi-
Moyo; those in Madi county in West Nile District are referred to as Madi-
Okello. Moyo and Okello are their respective administrative centres.
7. One of the witnesses said that Lugbara comes from "Lu-Bari" and that it is a
Kakwa phrase which means "There are the Bari". Another one said that the
word comes from "Lui Bari," and that it came about because their neighbors
mistook them for a Bari group which spoke "Lui" language. A third one claim-
ed that the Lugbara were so dominant in this area that their neighbors started
calling them "Luu Gbara dayi" i.e. "The Distinguished Luus."
8. The Lugbara use this term only in connection with such foreigners as the
Arabs, Turks and Europeans.
9, 10, 11. Stigand states that by 1885 Egyptian stations had been established among
both the Kakwa and the Kaliko and at several points along the Nile including
Wadelai i.e. southern Madi. By 1908 the Sudanese government was writing that
"immediately to the south of Wati there are communities these are
mostly Lugwara, but towards Mount Baker they gradually merge into Madi"
Note that Lugwara, Logobari, Lugbara, etc. are interchangeably used by various
writers. See Equatoria: The Lado Enclave.
12. Banale is known by different names in various Lugbara traditions. The follow-
ing names also refer to him: DRIBIDU, DRATO, LATHO AND OGONALE.
13. The Lugbara say that the term Tereo was derived from Tere (the supposed
name of Banale's father). Tereo clans include Katrini, Aiivu, Baliafe (these are
the major clans in this cluster and they all live in Tereo county). Ewadri, Ajia,
Otrevu and Oluvu belong to this group although they are found outside Terego.
14. Jaki group is concentrated in Maraca county: the clans are Maraca, Oleba
and Taraa. However, members of this group may be found in Aringa and
Ayivu counties as well as in the Congo.
15. See The Lugbara of Uganda and The Azande and Related Peoples.
16. This group which includes such clans as Vurra, etc. seem to be related because
Ojjia, Kirijo and Galaa who they claim are their founding fathers were close
17. This group consists of the following clans: Invepi, Aya, Alia, Aripi, Aliba,
Udupi, Orinzi, Oraa, Ibia, Obi and Erea.
The Lugbara are both clear and firm on their diverse origin; although they
quickly point out that they are now "one people". In view of this, ideas held
by some writers are misleading. Baxter and Butt have written that "The main
divisions of the Lugbara have different versions of their history, although
it is certain that originally they' came from one common home." For reasons
known to themselves, the writers rejected evidence given to them by Lugbara
informants, and concluded that all Lugbara came from "a common home."
18. Primary migration and settlement among the Lugbara seem to have been over
by 1650. Cultural consolidation seems to have taken place between 1630 and
1680 just before the start of the secondary migration and settlement.
19. The term Opi is interchangeably used with other terms such as Staloo, Ba
ambu Angu ipi, Vu dipi and Atamva.
20. Kerniru clan provided the "Opii Ozooni." This clan seems to have some re-
lationship with Komiru (Lion) clan in Kakwa which makes rain.
21. There is overwhelming evidence to show that in relation to the rest of the
country southern Lugbara land was the last frontier. The Lugbara tradition is
emphatic on this phenomenon- Even Middleton in his anthropological studies
among the Lugbara observed that, "In southern Lugbara there is more
interperson of small lineages than elsewhere, and lack of long attachment to
a lineage home (these are the more recently settled areas)". Lugbara Religion
Middleton's views are also misleading; he states that "Every lineage and
family of whatever size has its own genealogy going back ultimately to one
of these heroes (i.e. Drubidu and Jaki)".
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ROYAL SHRINES AND CEREMONIES OF BUGANDA
By B. RAY
The kingship of Buganda has been extensively written about in an
impressive number of ethnographic and historical studies. Yet, despite this
volume of published material, there is little recorded information concerning
the most important ritual sphere of the kingship: the shrines of the royal
ancestors.1 Apart from two tourist pamphlets on the Kasubi tombs and
some brief notes on the external features and insignia of other shrines,2
there are no complete accounts of the architecture, symbolism, and sacred
relics of the numerous royal shrines, nor of ceremonies performed within
them. As a result, studies of the kingship of Buganda and of Kiganda
religion in general, have remained essentially incomplete. It is at the shrines
that the religious ideology of the kingship is most fully and dramatically
expressed, and from what I have been able to observe, the shrines also
appear to constitute a separate religious sphere of their own.
The shrines (amassiro) are located in the small county of Busiro,
which derives its name from their presence in this area. The large majority
are situated on either side of the Hoima road, ranging from ten to fifteen
miles west of Kampala. This region belongs to the core of the ancient
kingdom of Buganda, and it is where most kings (Kabaka) preferred to
build their palaces and capital cities. As the "palaces" of the deceased
kings (Bassekabaka), the shrines were built in this area, sometimes on or
near the sites of the last palaces occupied by the Kabakas before they died.
Also, like the palaces of the living Kabakas, the massiro have been built
on major hills.
At present, only four of the twentythree existing massiro are construc-
ted in the traditional, conical thatched-roof style. Of these, the largest are
at Kasubi (Nabulagala), where the last four Kabakas are buried, and at
Wamala, the shrine of Suna II. The two others are at Kyebando, the shrine
of Kyabaggu and at Bundeke, the shrine of Tebandeke. The rest have been
rebuilt during recent years in a more modern and durable manner, in the
form of rectangular houses with mud wattle walls and corrugated iron roofs.
The great majority were reconstructed in this fashion at the request of the
shrine attendants and the royal spirits themselves by the late Sir Edward
Mutesa II after his return from exile in 1955. In this form many of the
massiro are virtually indistinguishable from ordinary village houses. A few
still retain the traditional lubiri, or reed fence, together with an entrance
gate (wankaaki) and council huts (ebigango) which serve to identify them
as royal palaces. Modem innovation has not affected the traditional archi-
The lubiri which surrounds the massiro is made from inverted lumuli
(elephant grass) reeds. This inversion is a deliberate reversal of the normal
lubiri whose reeds stand right side up, that is, in the manner in which
they grow. This inversion signifies that the palace within the lubiri belongs
to a deceased, not a living, Kabaka. For the same reason inverted reeds
are also placed on top of the thatched-roofed massiro with their uncut
roots pointed toward the sky. The main entrance through the lubiri is
formed by a gate-house called Buggya-Bukuta ("To incite the people to
go to war"). It serves the same function as the gate-house (wankaaki) of
a living Kabaka's palace where a guard is on duty.
At Kimera's massiro a fig tree also stands in the forecourt in front
of the shrine. This is the same type (ekkokoowe) as the fig tree planted
by the Kabaka to inaugurate his installation ceremonies at Buddo Hill, and
it represents his personal reign. At the massiro, attendants deposit their
head rings at the foot of the tree when they become worn out in service
to the shrine. Huts of attendants are located in the forecourt of most
shrines. Behind the shrine itself there are usually graves and burial huts
of princes and princesses related to the deceased Kabaka.
A log hearth (ekyoto) may also be found in the forecourt of most
shrines, usually on the right, though in some cases this hearth is located
inside the massiro. The same type of hearth fire (gombolola) is kept cons-
tantly burning outside the palace of a living Kabaka. It signifiies the life
of the king, and it is extinguished only when the Kabaka dies, hence the
euphemistic expression "the hearth is extinguished" (ekyoto kizikidde),
used in reference to the death of the Kabaka. At the massiro the hearth
is lighted only on ceremonial occasions when the spirit of the Ssekabaka
manifests itself through his medium.
Each massiro bears a special name or title. Usually this is the same
name which the Kabaka gave to his palace.3 These names refer to special
qualities of the kingship or to the Kabaka himself. At Kasubi, the massiro
of Mutesa I (and his successors) bears the name Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga,
"It is an unusual person who begets a cock (a king)," meaning that only
a king can beget an heir to the throne. Suna II's massiro bears a similar
name, Batanda Bezaala, "the dignified ones (kings) beget themselves."
Kyabaggu's massiro is called Bunoonya, "The place which is looked for,"
which, more freely interpreted, means "I enjoy my kingship." Several other
names became popular and were used repeatedly. Thus the massiro of
Kimera, Nakibinge, Mutebi, and Juko all bear the same title, Kanyakasasa,
"Blacksmith's forge." This name derives from a proverb, "Just as the
blacksmith's shop has coal burning all the time, yet no ashes accumulate,
so it is with the king who always kills his people, yet they go to him.'
Another popular name, Kiryokyembi stresses the mortality of the king. It
derives from the proverb, "That which will burn an ugly house will also
bur a beautiful one." It means that the Kabaka as well as the peasant
will die. This was the name of Mulondo's palace, but his massiro is now
called Muteggala, "Never closes". It refers to the fact that the barkcloth
curtain concealing Mulondo's jaw bone is always kept open, enabling
Mulondo's spirit to keep constant surveillance over it. This important relic
has been stolen several times, but always returned by virtue of Mulondo's
alertness and far-reaching power.
The doorway into the massiro is centrally located in the front of the
shrine, and faces in the direction from which the Kabaka came to establish
his capital city and palace. For this reason some doorways face the massiro
of the previous Kabaka, if it is nearby. But in recent times, the massiro
nearer to Kasubi have been rebuilt with their doorways facing in this
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA
direction because Kasubi is the central shrine of the last four Kabakas
and currently the ritual headquarters of the kingship. At Kasubi the door-
way of the massiro faces east, in the direction of Busiro county where the
ancestors lie and where the kingdom originated.4
Across the doorway is a raised threshold (muziziko) which divides
the space within from the world outside. At traditional style shrines these
thresholds are pronounced in size. Upon entering one must remove one's
shoes or sandals and be careful to step over the threshold as a sign that
one is crossing from the material to the spiritual world. Covering the
floor is a layer of lemon grass (essubi) over which sitting mats are placed.
During ceremonies it is a rule that men sit on the left and women on the
right. This is an explicit reversal of the normal Kiganda custom and ref-
lects the spiritual and royal orientation of the shrine. Men, I was told,
must sit on the Ssekabaka's right. Since he is envisioned as sitting in front,
facing the people, it is the spirit which determines the interior orientation
of the shrine and dictates the reversal.
The interior of the shrine is divided in half by a large barkcloth curtain
which hangs from the ceiling to the floor. In front of the curtain is a
raised platform, called the omwaliiro. It is situated directly under the
centre of the roof. In the traditional shrines it lies under the dome between
the four (or eight) central roof poles. In some shrines the omwaliiro is not
raised up but consists of straw spread out on the floor in a rectangular
shape. Straw may also be spread out over the top of the raised omwaliiro.l
During ceremonies goat skins are placed over the front of the omwaliiro,
with the head of the skins facing the people. This covering of skins is
called ekiwu or "royal carpet," and represents the skin mats which royalty
and other important people have placed .at the foot of their chairs when
holding public audiences.
Immediately in front of the omwaliiro is a barrier of raised spears
knives, and shields. This screen of insignia separates the omwaliiro from
the area where the people sit, and partially obscures it from view. Each
weapon bears a name recalling some distinctive feature of the Ssekabaka
or his reign. Some of the royal daggers (empiima) and knives (bwambe
or ebiwabyo) also have double blades and some of the shields have double
bosses. This "doubling" may symbolize the idea of twinness associated
The other half of the shrine hidden behind the barkcloth is called
the "forest" (ekibira). It is the domain of the Kabaka's spirit, that is, the
Ssekabaka, and no one may enter. According to Kiganda mythology,
Kintu, the founder of the kingship, was sent from Heaven (gulu) by the
Creator (Katonda). After conquering the snake-chief Bemba (Bemba
Musota) at Budo Hill, Kintu united the Kiganda clans and became their
king. Kintu's last capital was at Magonga where he is said to have "dis-
appeared" into a forest. His shrine now stands at a site called Ttondb,
"place of creation," next to the forest in which he vanished. The forest
is also called his "place" (lubiri) and this is where his spirit dwells. The
symbolism of this primordial event has become part of the royal ideology
and it serves as an archetype for the architecture of the massiro. Like
Kintu, the spirits of the dead Kabakas go into the "forests" of their shrines.
As one attendant expressed it, while pointing to the barkcloth partition,
"This is where the 'Lion' (the Ssekabaka) went. He is in there, like the
wind (empewo), and he can hear anybody."
On certain occasions the Ssekabaka comes out of the "forest" and
possesses his medium. This is the purpose of the central doorway (con-
cealed by barkcloth) behind the omwaliiro. The barkcloth curtain can be
parted ("opened") in order to expose it. This "alerts" the Ssekabaka so
that he will come out "onto the head" (kumutwe) of his medium. It also
exposes to view the jawbone (oluwanga) stand within the darkened chamber.
The stand (which Roscoe calls a "throne") is a tall four-legged frame on
top of which sits the conical shaped jawbone container. (Until recently,
the body used to be buried elsewhere at one of the royal cemeteries at
Gombe and Merera.) The jawbone stand at the massiro of Sselabaka
Mulondo is wrapped in yards of barkcloth and resembles the seated figure
of the Kabaka himself. On it are placed shields and spears where the
Kabaka's "arms" land "hands"' would be.
On either side of the central jawbone chamber are doors opening into
two other hidden chambers. The left chamber usually serves as storeroom
for brewing beer (omwenge) used in the ceremonies, and also as a room
for the Nnaalinnya in charge of the shrine, when she is visiting. The right
chamber contains the "Twin" (omulongo) of the deceased Kabaka, together
with the "Twins" of his Queen-Sister (Lubuga, Nnaalinnya) and certain
princes and princesses.
A few important princes (balangira) and Queen-Sisters (bannaalinnya)
have their own massiro. These are identical in every respect to those of
the Bassekabaka. The large massiro of prince Golooba at Wakiso is
surrounded by a lubiri, and has a full retinue of attendants, including a
prime minister (Katikkiro), a resident Nnaalinnya, and a medium. It is also
provided with a conical thatched roofed ssabo, or "house" in which Goloo-
ba's spirit may rest when not engaged in ceremonies at the massiro. Smaller
massiro for princes Kalemeera and Mutimba are located at Serinya and
Kalili, and a massiro for Suna II's mother is located near Suna's own shrine
From the preceding description, it will be readily apparent that the
massiro are far more than tombs or mausoleums for royal relics (as Roscoe
once described them). They are the "palaces" (lubiri) of living dynastic
ancestors. As such, they are places where people may go to "attend their
court" (okukiika mbuga). This is the function of the architectural symbol-
ism. The "forest" portion of the shrine represents the "other" world where
the spirits live; and it enables them to remain in contact with this world,
and this world with them. Within the massiro the two worlds meet precisely
at the centre of the shrine at their point of "juncture" over the omwaliiro.
Although the royal spirits may come out of the "forest" at ariy time,
in traditional times people "attended court" at regular intervals, at the
"appearance of the (new) moon" (okuboneka kw'omwezi). In the Kiganda
calendar the cycles of the moon (omwezi) are the basic divisions of the
year (hence, omwezi is also translated "month"). The intervals between
the "moons" are thus the basic periods of transition. During these liminal
periods of "darkness" (enzikiza), time itself is temporarily abolished, until
the "appearance" of the new moon. At this time, celebrations were held
throughout the country as they had been since the times of Kintu, who
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA 39
established the Kingdom. Princes and princesses would go to the massiro,
hold audience with their departed forebears, and the royal "Twins" would
be taken from the shrines and brought to the palace. Today this latter
ceremony is no longer performed. It was already falling into disuse during
the early part of this century when the French missionary, J. L. Gorju,
wrote this brief account: ". from all parts of Busiro, the bearers of the
royal umbilici (the "Twins") came down from the hills. At a given moment
each of them would pass before the king, holding the vase (the "Twins")
by the handle resting on the left shoulder, and say, "Behold, thy father
so-and-so!" As each spoke, in the order of the succession of the ancestors,
he handed the venerated symbol to the monarch, who was standing in
silence. The king pressed it to his heart ,and then handed it back to the
bearer."6 "Here," wrote Gorju, "was history before one's eyes!" On the
same day, an official, called the Kimbugwe, took the king's own "Twin"
from its temple near the palace and exhibited it to the king. Afterwards he
exposed it to the moonlight and anointed it with butter.7 The common
people also celebrated the appearance of the new moon by observing a
period of rest, called Bwrende, and by renewing their contact with the
spiritual world. According to one account, "on the day the new moon
became visible, people rejoiced, took out their fetichess' (mayembe) and
requested that their lives might be prolonged and praised their gods
(balubaale) for having enabled them to see the new moon."8 The king
observed one day of rest, which he spent reviewing the relics of the lubaale
at his palace in gratitude for living to see another new moon. In the evening,
he was required to sleep in the palace alone.
At present there are three types of ceremonies, all generally referred to
as okukiika mbuga, "to attend the (departed) king's court."
The first of these is the monthly new moon ceremony performed at
the massiro. Today, this ceremony is less regularly performed owing to
the dispersion of some of the shrine authorities and to the reduced number
of attendants. This decline does not appear to be entirely the result of
modem influences. Even in the past the reigning monarch concentrated
his attention upon the shrine of his immediate predecessor while neglecting
the others. In some cases the shrine lacks a medium for the Ssekabaka's
spirit, and ceremonies cannot therefore be performed. One attendant
explained that this sometimes happens because the spirit does not care to
choose a new medium and perhaps did not take an interest in such cere-
monies even when he was alive. Usually this is only a temporary situation
and ceremonies resume when a new medium is chosen. In most cases
attendants say that except for a brief period during the second exile of
Mutesa II (in 1966), when some of the shrines came under attack and
attendants were forced to leave, ceremonies have been performed more
or less regularly for as long as they can remember. Nowdays, the attend-
ants try to hold the "monthly" ceremonies as regularly as possible, prefer-
ably at the time of the new moon. In this connection it may be noted
that the coming of Christianity does not appear to have seriously affected
the activity of the shrines. Indeed. the royalty in charge of the ceremonies
are all baptized Christians.
The "monthly" type of ceremony begins (usually early in the morning)
with the shrine's drummer beating loudly upon the royal drum to call the
people together and to welcome the spirit of the Ssekabaka. The shrine
officials come dressed in the traditional busuuti and kkanzu over which
they wear barkcloth wrappings (men knot their barkcloths over the right
shoulder, women tie them across the chest). They also wear a garland
of bbombo, a vine which is sacred to deceased twins (men tie it over the
right shoulder, women around the waist). The hearth fire is smouldering
outside, or inside, as the case may be. People enter the massiro and sit
down in the Kiganda posture of respect (legs tucked up neatly to the right)
and face the omwaliiro. A broad aisle between the door and the omwaliiro
separates the men and women leaving a space dancing, pouring beer and
drumming in front of the omwaliiro.
The first songs announce the ceremony to the spirit of the Ssekabaka
and call upon him to be present. He is often addressed by the honorific
titles Ssalongo, "father of twins," rand Ssewaswa, "deceased twin," because
all royalty are considered symbolic "twins."
Is the occupant (of the massiro) present?
Chor: He doesn't know how to disown (his) relatives,
these children come to theirs.
Occupant, oblige yourself.
Chor: Sir Ssalongo, oblige yourself,
we are bringing your "Twins."
Come and see me, you, the one who abused me.
Make a sound with the drum.
Chor: Ssewaswa, the father of children.
Royal drums are heard at Ndawula's.
Chor: Ndawula, Ndawula, brother.
The last title, Ndawula, refers to a king, named Ndawula, who lost his
eyesight and had it restored while hiding in a forest. There he was discovered
by the members of his court and triumphantly brought back to his palace.
All ceremonies in a sense, repeat this legendary act when the spirits of the
kings come out of their "forest" to "see" the members of their court.
Another song announces,
Ndawula, Ndawula, Ndawula's is where they are drumming.
Chor: Ndawula's, it's where they are druming,
Convey my greetings to my friend Ndawula.
Other songs implore the Bassekabaka to manifest themselves. The
people want to see them "invade" and "settle down" on their mediums and
greet" the congregation. The kings are the "favourite ones," and the
people are anxious to see them.
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA
He is invading, he is invading.
Chor: Let the owner invade, if he had a spear, be would.
He is invading, he is invading, the king's invading.
Chor: The owner of the house, oblige yourself.
He has settled down on him, your king.
Chor: The owner of this house wants you
to go (and see him).
Make an alarm, the king is there.
He greeted the elders of the (elephant) tusk
Chor: He greeted them.
He greeted the cultivators.
I am proudly singing, my favourite one, I faq, ur you.
Chor: How are you? I have given meat to the children.
We came for conversation. You, Waswa, where are
I am calling (prince) Kizza Kalemeera, the carrier of the hoe.
Where did my favourite one go?
I am worried about my favourite one, (prince) Lumansi.
How is he?
I did not see him, he had closed, my favourite one.
As the ceremony begins the barkcloth curtain is already "opened" to
expose the "forest." This alerts the Ssekabaka so that he will come out
and "climb over the head" (okulinnyuka ejjoba) of his medium. As the
last line above suggests, this is the climactic moment, not to be missed.
Afterwards the spirit will "close" the "forest" and the ceremony will end.
They are climbing (baninnya), the children of (prince) Golooba at
Chor: The elders are climbing. I shall come and see.
I didn't see him. I found he has closed (yegalla)
Informants agree that possession takes place when the medium first
sits on the omwaliiro. But in the ceremonies I witnessed, possession occur-
red without this initial step. In one instance the omwaliiro was not fully
constructed; in the other instance it was already occupied with a collection
of "Twins" which had been placed upon it. But as the "centre" and place
of transition between the two worlds, the omwaliiro is obviously the suitable
place for the spirit to possess the medium.
The mediums are chosen by the Bassekabaka themselves and usually
only one serves at a time. Mediumship is not an inherited office and
anyone may thus be chosen. I did not encounter any mediums of royal
blood, and the large majority of those I met were women. The Basseka-
baka have a preference for people from distant places who are frequently
unknown to the shrine attendants. In one case I was told that a woman
spent five days in a state of trance outside a remote hilltop shrine before
the people of the village discovered her. This was said to show the superior
power of the Bassekabaka who are able to draw mediums from great dis-
tances, unlike the lubaale spirits who must rely upon local people.
Once a new medium has been revealed through possession at a shrine,
he or she is taken to the shrine of the Ssekabaka's grand-father for his
approval. Afterwards the new medium is officially "married" to the
Ssekabaka at a wedding ceremony (embaga) at his own massiro and
becomes his "wife." Henceforth, the medium lives near or at the massiro.
If the medium has left relatives some distance away permission to leave
the shrine and visit them must be obtained from the Nnaalinnya or other
authorities in charge.
Unlike the mediums of the lubaale spirits, the mediums or "bearers"
(abakongozi) of the royal spirits use no stimulants (smoke or alcohol) to
induce possession. Merely "opening" the "forest" is enough to bring the
spirits "onto the heads" of their "bearers." A further difference is the
absence of ankle-bells (endege) and rattles (ensaasi) which are used in
When possessed, the medium begins to dance and to brandish the
Ssekabaka's spear at the people. As indicated in one of the songs above,
the spear is essential to possession and the medium's dance cannot begin
without it. The spear gesturing itself is called okuwera, "to display loyalty."
It appears to express the war-like power and supreme authority of the
Kabaka. Indeed, an honoured guest may find himself especially singled
out as the object of vigorous "spearing," much to the pleasure of the
assembled people. The people themselves respond by greeting the spirit
in the royal manner, Businze, obusiro naffe bwatusinga, "He has conquer-
ed, He has conquered, obusiro (the king) has conquered us, too." The
Ssekabaka, in turn, may respond by calling out the greeting, Businze,
I have been told that people may also voice special requests to the
king's spirit for children, property, and health. On several occasions I have
been told to make requests for myself, and invocations have been offered
on my behalf ("Please, give him whatever he asks for. He has brought and
made these contributions.") I have been told that the Ssekabaka may advise
people concerning their needs. According to one informant, "He can dis-
cuss with you about a certain point, and you may later forget. But when
you go back, you will find that he can remember and will be able to
remind you of it." It is generally agreed that there is no guarantee such
requests will be answered. Unlike the lubaale, the Bassekabaka do not
ask for money, and they do not promise success. "Just like the Bible,"
said one attendant, "prayers should be made with a pure heart (omutima
omulongoofu). So it is with the Ssekabaka. If one wants to make requests,
one must make them with a pure heart." It is necessary only to bring the
Ssekabaka some beer.
After the okuwera, or at some other point in the ceremony, the visiting
princes and princesses may go up to the "bearers" and sit on their laps,
and embrace them and exchange affectionate greetings. Since the mediums
are still possessed, and still "are" the Bassekabaka, the royal offspring are
said to be sitting on the laps of their "grandparents" and to be holding
conversation with them.
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA
I have also seen a medium greeting certain princesses (bannaalinnya)
in this way, with the following words, Mulaala, Mulaala nnyo. Okyaliyo?
Mwalwana bannange. Twalwana naye tetunnaba, "Be calm, be calm.
Are you all right? You fought, my friends. We fought but we have not
The second type of okukiika mbuga is a larger and more elaborate
version of the first. The main difference is that in this ceremony the
"Twins" are taken out of the "forest" and put on display, seated on the
royal mats (ekkiwu) of the omwaliiro. This is done only when the king,
or some other dignitary, pays a visit to the shrine. In the past, royal visits
were infrequent and limited to special occasions, e.g., the king's birthday.
On such occasions, the Kabaka would bring quantities of food and special
gifts. Such visits were not entirely welcomed in traditional times because
they involved great loss of life, both as a display of royal power and as a
way of dispatching servants to the spirit world.
A third form of okukiika mbuga is performed at the opening of a new
shrine. This is called by the general title okuyingira enyumba, "to enter
the house." It includes the okukiika mbuga together with several additional
ceremonies; the cutting of the porch (okusala ekisasi), the procession of
"Twins" (okkukonja abalongo), the greeting of the Bassekabaka (okuloma),
the running display of the mediums (okuwera), the confirmation of the
resident medium by the blood of a goat (okubaaga), the feeding of the
royal spirits by the women of thy resident Kabaka's mother's clan. This
group of ceremonies was recently performed at the opening of Suna II's
rebuilt massiro at Wamala (5 and 6 August 1972).
At Wamala, the massiro was officially opened by trimming the thatch
over the front porch (okusala ekisasi). This was done by an official called
the Sentongo. He is appointed by the Mugema, who rules over Busiro
county and has authority over the funeral rites of the kings. As soon as
the entrance was thus opened, the "Twins" of the "visiting" Bassekebaka
(approximately sixteen) were carried into the massiro on the right shoulders
of their bearers.
The "Twins" are made in two styles. The majority resemble large
vases with loop shaped handles. The base and handles are decorated with
red, white, yellow and blue beads in zig-zag and chevron patterns. The
"older" style has a leather handle and an egg shaped container covered
with cowry shells. The "Twins" are treated with great care and respect
and appear to be personified as well. The loop handle on top is called
the "arms" (emikono), and the container at the base is called the "stomach"
(olubutto). While inside the "forest" the "Twins" are "dressed" in bark-
cloth wrappings and bound with a bbombo creeper, the same as dead
twins. In the public procession at Wamala, the royal "Twins" were decked
out in colourful pieces of Kanga cloth.
The "Twins" container is said to hold the actual "twin" (omulongo)
of the Kabaka. This has been described to me as being a small, human
shaped likeness (ekifaananyi) which is attached to the side of every prince
or princess at birth. It is detached at birth and put in the "Twin" container.
According to Kaggwa, the royal "twin" is actually made from part of the
placenta.9 Kings also name their "twin" with titles expressing royal power
and authority. During the king's lifetime, his "twin" is kept in a temple
near the palace by the Kimbugwe on a special "bed." Kagwa says some
other "Twins" were also kept here, instead of Busiro, and that their
Nnaalinnyas cared for each of them "as though they were caring for a
living king."'" As previously mentioned, the Kimbugwe also regularly
exhibited the "twin" to the king at the time of the new moon and after-
wards exposed it to the moonlight and smeared it with butter. The king's
official "bearer" (omukongozzi) who carries the king on ceremonial
occasions also serves as a medium for the "Twin" and may curse (okuko-
lima) the king in its name when he does wrong. In this regard, the "bearer"
may be serving as a medium for the "ghost" of the royal placenta which
Roscoe says is "attached" to the "Twin;" but I have no confirmation of
After the "Twins" were taken inside the massiro at Wamala, they
were laid down on the omwaliiro and covered with bark cloth. The
mediums then gathered in double ranks before the omwaliiro and the opened
"forest." Possessed by the spirits of their kings, each medium recited
(okuloma) his and her monarch's genealogy in the first person. The
mediums began their recitations by calling out the name Ndawula, and
when they ended the people made ululations. Some mediums spoke in
noticeably high pitched and throaty voices. This, I was told, was the
spirits' manner of speaking.
After their recitations, the mediums left the massiro and proceeded
to run back and forth along the path to the entrance gate while flourishing
their spears. The watching crowd greeted them with ululations, befitting
the appearance of royalty. This form of the okuwera is said to resemble
the triumphant conclusion of the coronation ceremonies, when the new king
is displayed (okukaazakaaza) to his people seated on the right shoulder
of his running bearer (omukongozzi).
Several hours later, the mediums assembled on the porch of the
massiro to witness the confirmation of Suna II's female medium. A black
goat was slaughtered and the medium was made to step over its blood
which was spilled out on the ground. Afterwards she ate its flesh. This, I
was told, is a form of ordeal which tests the genuineness of the medium.
If she were falsely speaking Suna's words, she would die. It may also be
noted that she was wearing a kkanzu, the men's traditional robe. By
wearing this robe she further reinforced the idea of her identification with
Ssekabaka Suna II whom she represented
Inside the massiro the mediums again greeted Suna II before his
"forest" by repeating the okuloma. Then they led the singing and dancing
of the okukiika mbuga, waving their spears while possessed. At this time,
people came forward and knelt down to place their offerings of money in
the baskets before the omwaliiro.
The final rite, called okusiba enkweyo, was performed the next day
by the women of the Lungfish clan, the clan of Suna II's mother. As the
"mothers" of the house, they brought goat's meat, beer, and coffee beans
into the massiro to feed the royal spirits, and they sang songs to entertain
In the light of previous confusion about the nature of the royal spirits
and their relation to the lubaale gods, it will be appropriate to conclude
by reporting the limited information I have received on this question.
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA
Kiganda cosmology includes several orders of spirits (lubaale, misa-
mbwa, mayembe, mizimu), some of which are not easily distinguishable
from one another and appear to have changed in status in recent times.
The most important are the lubaale. They are both gods and mythical
heroes and a number of them are referred to as "princes" (abalangira), as
well. As Taylor has noted, early missionaries confused the words kiggya
(tomb) and kiggwa (temple) and misleadingly equated the spirits of the
royal ancestors with the lubaale." The missionaries may have been misled
by their own Kiganda converts, one of whom wrote, "they (the Baganda)
thought Kabakas to be balubaale, so when any Kabaka died, they began
to believe in him as lubaale and made offerings for his spirit."12 Other
Kiganda and European writers know that the royal spirits belong to the
category of muzimu ("ghost" or "ancestor spirit"), not lubaale. Roscoe,
nevertheless, thought that "the ghosts of the kings were placed on an
equality with the gods and received the same honour and worship."'9
Taylor also accepts this view, but qualifies it by adding that a dead Kabaka
"just falls short of being a lubaale." In a recent study, Rigby and Lule
also report that certain lubaale mediums near Kampala explain the reversed
seating order in the ssabo by reference to the "presence" of the Bassekabaka
in the ceremonies.14
My own inquiries have met with two different interpretations. These
appear to correspond to an underlying sociological difference between royal
and non-royal points of view. On the one hand, non-royal attendants agree
that the Bassekabaka and lubaale are essentially different; but most also
agree that they are similar in so far as both grant requests which people
ask of them. One attendant went even further and told me, "there is no
real difference between the Bassekabaka and the lubaale because both give
similar help to people. They also appear similarly when they are 'on the
heads' of the abakongozzi (the royal mediums) and the abalaguzi (the
lubaale mediums)." But the majority recognize that the mediums behave
differently. The abakongozzi do not, as a rule, drink beer or smoke during
possession unless the Ssekabaka himself did this and none of them wear
bells or shake rattles or demand money. But most non-royal informants
agree that spirits do answer requests for the same things which people ask
of the lubaale, e.g., children, money, health.
By contrast, all the royalty with whom I talked firmly denied that the
Bassekabaka are efficacious in this way. While recognizing the tendency
among the common people to believe otherwise, they themselves strongly
minimized the efficacy of the royal spirits in this world. The Ssabalangira,
(head of the princes) who is an educated Roman Catholic, put it this way:
"People usually ask the Bassekabaka for things, such as property and
children, but they forget the fact that they cannot get anything, because
the Kabaka is oan ordinary human being, just like anybody else." An
educated Nnaalinnya expressed her view more explicitly in terms of the
coming of Christianity and western education. "Before the introduction of
religion (dini) by the Europeans, the Baganda believed in the Bassekabaka
as their lubaale." But in her view, "requests can never be granted by the
Bassekabaka because they are not lubaale, even though uneducated people
believe that they are." She went even further, and demythologized the
lubaale in this way as well. "Neither the lubaale nor the Bassekabaka are
able to help people in any way. This is because they are all spirits (emizimu)
of people who once existed. And human beings cannot give such blessings
to other human beings."
This "royal" point of view may be the result of Christian influence
and western education. It may also be part of the gradual disengagement
of the monarchy from traditional religious ideology which began in the
late nineteenth century and arose from both internal and external factors.
Indicative of this is Mutesa I's refusal to have any cult associated with
his spirit after he died. According to Zimbe, "He prohibited prayers being
offered to him [after his death], as he did not want to be 'ridiculed'. He
also said, 'Never listen to people who imitate my voice'."'s If someone
claimed to be a medium for his spirit, Mutesa wanted him (or her) to be
tested while possessed by reading from the Koran, which he himself was
able to read. Knowing that most mediums would be illiterate in Arabic,
and fail the test, this would demonstrate Mutesa's personal "disbelief in
the whole matter."'6
On the other hand it may also be true that there always has been a
difference between non-royal and royal strains of belief, reflecting different
sociological orientations. The non-royal attendants owe their association
with the shrines to certain ancestors whose merits gained them palace
appointments and, later, the privilege of living within the shrine precincts
after the monarch died. Over the years this close and constant association
with the shrine may have led the descendants to more or less shift their
religious ideology over to this sphere and, in the process, to transfer to
it some of the characteristics of the lubaale cult which went on outside
the shrines in other areas. This elevation of the spiritual side of the mon-
archy may also be an expression of the attendants' loyalty to it. Today,
at any rate, there is a clear division between the two spheres, and, as I
shall indicate below there are no lubaale temples (amasabo) within the
vicinity of the massiro. The royalty, for their part, may simply have
continued to regard their ancestors as family mizimu, (a category whose
powers are rather limited), while at the same time maintaining a clear
separation between them and the lubaale with which the kingship was
often in conflict.
Whatever the historical situation may have been, today at least, the
royal mizimu do not belong to the same spiritual and sociological order
as the lubaale. First of all, the Bassekabaka constitute an exclusively royal
cult. Only royalty and descendants of palace officials and other royal appoin-
tees may attend the ceremonies at the massiro. Secondly, the ceremonies
appear to be primarily acts of homage and devotion and not acts of divin-
ation, which is the primary purpose of the lubaale cult. Personal requests
may sometimes be made and messages sometimes given through the mediums
to the king, but these appear to be infrequent occurrences.
These distinctions are confirmed by several important linguistic dif-
ferences pertaining to the two spheres. Possession by a lubaale (or a
muzimu) is called okusamira. This term is never properly used in reference
to possession by the Bassekabaka. The only way to refer to royal pos-
session is to speak of the Ssekabaka as having "climbed over the head"
(okulinnyuka ejjoba) or "onto the head" (kumutwe) of his medium. Further,
the term "diviner" (omulaguzi) is never used in reference to a royal medium
Plate 1. Omwaliiro at massiro of Ssekabaka Mawanda at Serinnya.
Mwanda's omulongo stands in the centre, that of Nnaalinnya
Nawatte on the left and princess (mumbejja) Nandawula on the
right, those of princes Mayanja and Semalume (in old style) on
the extreme left and right respectively. Note ekiwu and spears
in foreground and barkcloth covering central doorway into
"forest" in background.
ROYAL SHRINES OF BUGANDA
who is called a "bearer" (omukongozzi), except in the lubaale cult when
one of the mediums is possessed by the spirit of a "prince".'7 This pheno-
menon, in fact, surprises and somewhat puzzles the shrine attendants, for
they have not generally heard of such "royal" lubaale. This category of
lubaale may actually be a recent development, and an attempt on the part
of the lubaale mediums to gain wider respect for their spirits in face of
long standing Christian criticism by associating them with the kingship,
which is still one of the highly respected institutions of the traditional
culture. This may also explain why the mediums near Kampala wish to
associate their ceremonies with those at the large and well-known massiro
nearby at Kasubi.'8 But even if some lubaale have been co-opted from the
royal sphere, it would not be correct to refer to the ceremonies at the massiro
by the lubaale terminology of "divination" (okulagula). Nor would it be
correct to refer to the lubaale rites as okukiika mbuga.
Finally, it is important to note that the two spiritual spheres are not
only regarded as different and separate, but also as largely exclusive and
even incompatible. At every shrine, I asked whether there was a lubaale
ssabo nearby or in the general vicinity, and I was consistently told that
there was not. In the area which I came to know best (it included about
a dozen massiro), I was able to ascertain this was correct. The reason
generally given was that the amasabo are prohibited either by the royal
officials or by the Bassekabaka themselves. One attendant said, "This is
because the Bassekabaka have the power to refuse anything they do not
like. They think it disrespectful to have other gods (lubaale) while they
exist." But the same informant admitted that a ssabo might be allowed
to exist if the Nnaalinnya in charge of the massiro permitted it. The
Ssabalangira, on the other hand, was more strict. "The Kabaka and the
Ssabalangira, cannot permit anyone to have a ssabo in the area of a
massiro." In his view, the two spheres are as incompatible as different
denominations and religious systems. "Even if people ask for things from
the Bassekabaka, you cannot also ask them from the lubaale, because it
is not believed that a person can attend a service at two or three different
types of Churches, e.g., a Catholic cannot go to a Protestant Church or
a Mosque." The first informant, who believes in the efficacy of the Basse-
kabaka, used the same analogy, but expressed the situation slightly more
flexibly. "People do make requests to the Ssekabaka, for example, for
children, but if a person has a lubaale at home, his request might not be
considered (by the Ssekabaka), for both the Ssekabaka and the lubaale are
spirits. Thus you cannot decide to stop going to your particular Church
to worship and go to a Mosque or another kind of Church. If you do
request something from your lubaale and get a response, then you can go
to the Ssekabaka," for something else. In other words while the two
spheres should not be brought into competition, they are not totally
In light of this, it seems appropriate to sum up the significance of the
massiro in terms of the notion of the sacred Centre. Each shrine acts as
a cosmic and sociological "pivot," each exerting a two-fold centrifugal
force. On the one hand, the shrines unite in themselves the cosmic, mythic,
and historical foundations of the Kingdom as a whole. On the other hand,
they unite together the otherwise segmented royal class which, in the
absence of a royal clan or lineage, has no natural unity of its own. The
periodic coming together of the royalty (and royal servants) at the shrines
both expresses and reinforces the social identity of this class and the wider
historical continuity of the kingdom with its sacred and mythical past.
1. I wish to record my gratitude to Ssabalangira Paul M. Lukongwa for
permitting me full access to the shrines and for his enthusiastic support
of my study. I am also indebted to several bannaalinnya, bakatikkiro,
bakongozzi, and bazaana for their helpful assistance, especially those at
Bumera, Bulondo, and Wamala. In addition, I wish to acknowledge valua-
ble assistance in matters of translation from Mr. George Kijjambu of
Kasubi and Mr. James Nsubuga of the Department of Sociology, Makerere
University, Kampala. My research was supported in part by a Study Fel-
lowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
2. The Tombs of the Kabakas (Kampala, n.d.); H. Sassoon, Guide to Kasubi
Tombs (Kampala, Ministry of Culture and Community Development,
Monuments Section, 1969); R. Oliver, "The Royal Tombs of Buganda."
Uganda J. 23, 2, (1959); J. Roscoe, The Baganda (London, Macmillan, 1911).
3. Most of the original palace names may be found in Apolo Kagwa's Ekitabo
Kye Empisa za Baganda (Kampala, Uganda Publishing and Printing, 1918,
Reprinted; London, Macmillan, 1952); The Customs of the Baganda, ed.
M. Edel. trans. E. B. Kalibala (New York, Columbia University Press,
1934), Ch. 7.
4. Oliver's statement that the massiro are "oriented east and west, with
the door at the east end" (op. cit., p. 126), applies to only some nmssiro.
5. The straw covering may indicate that the mwaliiro represents Ahe
Kabaka's grave, since (until recently) the body was buried elsewhere.
The noun omwaliiro derives from the verb okwala, "to spread out, lay
mats," and from okwaliira, "to spread out for." In referring to the cons-
truction of Mutesa I's tomb, B. M. Zimbe interprets the word omwaliiro
as "to cover the body with tall grass" (Buganda ne Kabaka, Kampala.
Gambuze Press, 1939, p. 78), in accordance with the Kiganda custom of
covering graves with straw.
6. J. L. Gorju, Entre le Victoria, I'Albert et V'Edouard Rennes, Oberthur,
1920, Ch. 9.
7. Roscoe, op. cit., pp. 235-6.
d. Zimbe, op. cit., p. 13.
9. Kaggwa. Customs of the Baganda, p. 107.
10. Kagwa. ibid., p. 75. Press, 1958, p. 217.
11. J. V. Taylor, The growth of the Church in Buganda, London, SCM.
12. Zimoe, op. cit., p. 10.
13. Roscoe, op. cit., p. 283.
14. P. Rigby and F. Lule, "Divination and Healing in Peri-Urban Kampala.
Uganda," M.I.S.R., 1971, p. 26.
15. Zimbe, op. cit., p. 75. 17. Rigby and Lule, op. cit., p. 34.
16. Kagwa, op. cit., p. 14. 18. Rigby, personal communication.
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972), pp. 49-55.
By J. C. OKELLO-OLOYA
The Acholi people live in northern Uganda, surrounded by Karamoja,
Lango, Madi, West Nile, Bunyoro and the Republic of the Sudan. Their
ancestors can be traced from the time of their migration from the Sudan
and their time of settling in the present place many years back. They were
fierce war-like people who were often locked in fighting feuds against their
neighbours and sometimes between themselves. These ancestors had time
to advance and develop their increasing perception and enlarging awareness
of themselves and their place in the continent.
The early Acholi were tool-makers and tool-users, musicians and
dancers and they were politicians, as well as warriors. Their traditions were
therefore inextricably tied to dances, music, wars, religion, domestic needs
and politics. All these factors indicate the wealth of cultural activities.
They practised body cicatrization, removed teeth, weighed down earlobes
with pounds of metal ear-ring; the legs and arms likewise carried extra
pounds of bangles and anklebands. The making of war-dress and dance-
dress was a competitive activity and everybody tried to be an artist of
special talent in order to make a name for himself.
However, with the coming of the Europeans to Uganda, and especially
the missionaries, the new concept of the Christian God hindered, if not
prevented, any further developments of these activities; for the missionaries
frowned upon traditional dress, traditional activities, and associated them
with Satanic ways. This new concept brought changes in the entire social
structure. People were taught to hate their traditional customs, and cam-
paigns were waged against such activities as traditional dances, burial
ceremonies and native religion.
These changes occasioned the loss of many traditional objects of value
such as costumes and religious objects. The few which survived the revo-
lutions have witnessed no changes whatsoever in their design. They were
completely functional and need little adaptation even to modern conditions.
Material for costumes.
Like most African peoples, the Acholi ancestors paid more attention
to beautifying their women than the men. This is in accordance with the
custom that it is unusual for a man to deck himself with ornaments in
order to win fame. The men won fame by displays of extra courage and
prowess in war and hunting, or by excellent dancing and playing of music.
They had no time for body decoration although occasionally they did it
especially when preparing for dances and other ceremonies.
Being skilled hunters, the skins of animals they killed catered for
most of their needs in terms of clothing and bedding. As Margaret Trowell
wrote in her book African Design, "Skins, both in the form of raw hide
among primitive peoples, and dressed leather the more technically advanced,
have always been very widely employed. Not only can they be used for
clothing, but also to make screens and shelters, harness, and binding thongs,
shields and scabbards, shoes and sandals, bags, water-pots and containers
of all sizes and shapes."
It is therefore not surprising to find that a number of different methods
have been evolved for their decoration. Skins played an important part,
not only for the technically advanced people, but also for people like the
early Acholi who depended wholly on skins for most of their needs. These
skins were graded into three groups:- (i) skins for making clothes;
(ii) bedding, drum-making and shields and (iii) shoes and sandals. The
last two groups needed no special treatment other than the normal drying
of hides and skins. The method of drying a skin was by stretching it on
the ground and pegging it in position in the sun. The skins for making
clothes had to undergo special treatment until they became as soft as clothes
of today. This was done by pounding it continuously with a stick or mallet
called two until it became soft. Then followed the rubbing between the
hands, known as nyongo laa. This process continued until the skin became
soft, then it was rubbed with tallow to keep it permanently soft. The skin
at this stage was ready for use as a garment for men and was called laa.
which is the general name for all skins. When it was to be made into
ladies' garments, it was then cut into shapes and sewn.
Different qualities of skins were also used for different purposes:-
1. Skins worn by men and young women for daily use were of gazelles
and particularly of kob, although chiefs would sometimes wear leopard
skin. This was because gazelle was not as difficult to process as the skins
of other bigger animals, and again, their sizes did not need much cutting.
For dances, however, men wore the more decorative skins as a cloak or
cape, called kol. The highest prized of these was the leopard skin, and
was closely followed by the civet cat skin, which resembles the leopard skin
in appearance. The two kinds of monkey skin, colobus and baboon, were
also prized because of their shaggy hair.
2. Skins and hides for bedding or for the making of drums were obtained
from the larger animals such as buffaloes, cows and the antelope family.
This was called pyen or odwel, and the horns were used for decoration
in dancing. Buffalo skin alone was for making shields because of its
3. Lastly, sandals or war ogele were made from elephant skin only and
especially the skin from the ears.
Costumes for men.
As far as our ancestors were concerned, skins catered for all of their
forms of clothing called laa or kol, as already stated. The monotony of
costume was compensated for the variety of ornaments and head-dresses,
armbands and wrist-bands. These gave the wearer his majestic looks.
Kono This head dress is made of ostrich feathers artistically arranged
on a ring-pad made of fibre. It is usually of different coloured feathers
from white to red to black and is highly prized by the owner, for it was
formerly used to indicate wealth. The bigger the plumes, the wealthier
the wearer was considered to be. These feathers had different names. The
fore feathers, specially long and soft, crowning the top, are called yile to
indicate their movements in the breeze, and the red dyed feathers, are
ACHOLI COSTUME 51
Aula This armband was formerly made of skin or bark-cloth. These
days heavy cloth is used for making it. It is adorned with cowrie shells
which are artistically arranged in rows, then a tassel made out of the hair
of the giraffe's tail is attached to it. It is used chiefly for the royal dance
and the war dance. It was also used to pick out poor dancers by twitches
of the tassel. The whole outfit when worn presents a colourful sight es-
pecially when in a group, for the splashes of colour in the plume, coupled
with the designs of the leopard skin cloak, the skin worn around the waist,
and in case of war dance, the whiteness of the shields and glittering of the
spears, all add up to a spectacular sight.
Costumes for women.
Like women elsewhere, Acholi women also paid much attention to
body decorations. Songs can still be heard of men giving praise to some
beautiful women, usually by praising their sparkling teeth, heavy buttocks
or adyeny, and their slender graceful build, lunede. These compositions
gave rise to intensive competition especially among young women to try
to out-shine each other in order to win praise. Costumes for women varied
according to age. Girls and young women dressed differently from older
women. Like the men, Acholi women had to make up for their lack of
costume by resorting to wearing ornaments and other forms of body
Bune was for unmarried ladies and young married women. It was made
of skin and cut to the fashion of a skirt, extending to the knee. The lower
part was cut into strips for two reasons either to afford ease of move-
ment especially in running or as a decoration to break the continuity of
the sack-shaped skirt.
Ceno This was for older women but also used by girls and young women
for dances. It was restricted to daily use by older women because they
were more careful and experienced in their movements. It was made of
two parts, the ceno and cip. Ceno was made of strings obtainable from
the fibre of the laliya tree. These strings were arranged and attached to
a leather thong for tying. The ceno is the piece covering the buttocks
extending from the waist down to the knee or below. The ceno was later
polished with akuku, a blue-black clay, to give it its characteristic black
colour and the straps are smeared with pala a reddish clay similar to ochre
which was used mostly for body decoration.
Cip This is made like the ceno and used for covering the front part.
It is narrower and shorter than the ceno, reaching high above the knee.
When worn, the ceno leaves the head of the hipbone exposed. The reason
was to show who had well rounded hip-bones or protruding hip-bones
called otole. This was considered to be a kind of disease and whoever
had a protruding hip-bone was coy of exposing it and songs were even
composed of such persons.
Also worn with the ceno were the Otyel and Ataka. These two were
made of metal bits, beaten into the form of beads and then threaded.
Ataka This was worn over the ceno as waist beads, the number of
rows depending upon the wealth of the individual.
Otyel Consisting of two rows suspended from the ceno, it hung down
below the knee usually ending in a small tassel or other decoration.
CCNO ?.NO Cv CIP AND OTYEL WITH OGUL 4NO
CANGA AND LUOORE WIIM CANGA INSET
OGUL AND *OG.
These two were worn during dances only, when they were polished
to a dazzling whiteness to give a sharp contrast to the black of the ceno,
and the red of the thongs rubbed with pala. The otyel like the male arm-
band was also used to pick out expert dancers and poor dancers as it
swings to the rhythm of the dance steps.
Other forms of ornaments worn by old women included:-
Ludore This was made of bits of ivory, or bone, or the shaft end of
feathers, and was pushed or inserted through the perforated lower lips.
This was not confined only to the Acholi, but it was used in the whole
of the northern Uganda and beyond and can still be seen among the
Karamojong, Nandi, Masai and the Turkana.
Atego These were made usually of copper or alloy wires, beaten to
form a ring and worn on the wrists and ankles. They can still be seen with
the Karamojong, Masai and Turkana. These were worn extending from
the wrists to the elbow and from the ankle up to the knee.
Ogul These were also of metal beaten like the atego but of a heavier
metal. Because of the weight, the numbers worn by an individual was
kept down to four only, that is, one for each wrist and one for each ankle.
Ogul were later devised by some women as weapons for self-defence, and
there are songs of woman who cracked their husband's skull with the ogul.
Pogo This was similar to the ogul, but made of ivory and later of metal.
It was worn on the arm between the elbow and shoulder.
Wino These were made out of the tail hair of giraffes or elephants into
a necklace, and can still be seen even today. It was the pride of young
women and girls who could wear one or two bands for daily use, but
during the dances they could display their wealth by putting on up to ten
bands which were well oiled with simsim or shea butter oil to give them
a shiny look.
Canga These were the most expensive and highly prized of ornaments.
They were exclusively used for dances. They were made by cutting ostrich
eggshells into small round pieces and making holes through them. These
were later threaded and arranged into a necklace shaped like a cone with
the top cut off. The canga was the pride of long-necked woman as it could
not look nice when worn by short-necked women. Acholi ancestors gave
praise to long-necked graceful ladies calling them lunede and comparing
them with the kobs, til. The canga had one disadvantage and that was
that it allowed no neck-bending whatsoever for the wearer who was thus
compelled to look straight ahead.
Another form of decoration worth mentioning was the cicatrization of
the body which although it later died out amongst some people, can still
be seen among the less sophisticated people like the Lugbara and Madi.
It is, after all, common to all humans and women especially, to attempt
to enhance natural beauty by some form of body decoration. Amongst
many people this was confined to costume, or hair styles or painting of
such prominent parts as the face or finger nails, but the Acholi carried
this considerably further by employing methods of cicatrizing their bodies.
The area around the belly, chest, arms were masses of lines done according
to certain patterns. Mostly, this was for aesthetic purposes to give visual
and tactile pleasure to people in their intimate personal relationships.
Again, since most Africans prize oiled and polished bodies, our ances-
tors achieved this by using the simsim or shea butter oil of the Yaa tree
(Butyrospermum parkii) mixed with Pala, a reddish clay similar to ochre
and smeared on the body to give a reddish shiny look.
Costumes for girls and boys.
Boys and girls below the age of ten used to go about naked, whereas
those from ten years and above wore short skirts of skin for girls and a
soft rectangular shaped piece of bark-cloth olwa or skin to cover the front
part, for boys. This was suspended from a string around the waist and
was called lacom or lacomi. The bark-cloth or olwa was obtained from
trees of the same name and was chiefly used for bedding. It differs from
the bark-cloth of the Baganda in its whitish colour.
Occasionally when preparing for dances, boys and girls would oil and
dab themselves with pala as older people did. On reaching puberty, some
could undergo the pains of cicatrization and the removal of teeth. This
was mostly done by girls although some boys did it occasionally.
For undergoing dances, young men had the odyee, and one or two
ostrich feathers or even the tail feather of a cock stuck in their hair. Or
sometimes they nut on a small ring-pad in imitations of the plume used
by their elders. Girls had the skin skirt bune. described before.
Odyee This was made of two nieces of skin, hinged together and attached
to a thong for the waist band. The upper piece was a rectangular shaped
skin. usually cowhide, about 4 inches by 8 inches. The lower piece was
made up of two U-shaved skins hinged to the upper part loosely, in order
to give it flexibility and enabling backward and forward movement. Designs
were then burnt into the piece. The odyee was then worn resting on the
buttocks and its movements when dancing like the aula and otyel were
used to determine an outstanding dancer and a poor dancer, as it swings
to the rhythms of the body movements. The front part was then covered
with the lacom or lacomi.
Lack of various costumes did not deter Acholi young men and girls
from exploring other fields of decoration. Girls used a wino or tail hair
necklace, and wire ear-rings or legelege. For boys the larakaraka arena
was the place for displaying love-tokens from girl-friends. These usually
consisted of beads, neck-bands, arm-bands and ear-rings, which were either
worn around the chest in the bandolier fashion or worn around the waist.
The champion at wooing was the boy who displayed the largest number
of these articles.
From the foregoing, one can briefly get an insight into the pride of
the Acholi ancestors, although some of the things they did might look
childish now. Some of these articles perished because young men have
neglected the ways of their ancestors, but they are being replaced by
adaptations. For example Marina or Skirts instead of odyee are worn to
suit modern tastes. However, with the emphasis being placed on the revival
of cultural activities by the Ministry of Culture and Community Develop-
ment, the existing objects will not get lost again, although, some might
later undergo a process of adaptation or modernization.
AULA ARM BAND
PLUMES AND THE
SKIN CLOAK, KOL
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
William Banage worked on this during a period of leave as Minister of
Animal Resources; he has since resumed his post of Professor of Zoology
at Makerere which he held at the time of his initial interest in the emba-
lasaasa problem. He has contributed to the Journal previously and is a
past-President of the Uganda Society.
W. N. Byarugaba works for the Animal Health Research Centre of the
Ministry of Animal Resources at Entebbe.
John Goodman was a visiting Professor of Zoology in the Faculty of
Agriculture at Makerere and is in the process of writing a book on African
Peter Karani graduated from Makerere in 1960 and has been with the
Forestry Department ever since. At the time of writing he was the Forest
Officer in charge of Buganda.
A. T. Matson is by way of becoming the Journal's most regular contri-
Marty McFarlane (n6e Patz) has recently obtained a Ph.D. of the Univer-
sity of London on the geomorphology of south Buganda, having been a
research student attached to the department of geography at Makerere
in the mid-1960s. She has contributed notes on the archaeological finds
on the hills of Mengo in earlier issues of the Journal.
J. C. Okello-Oloya wrote the present paper as a graduating essay for the
Diploma in Drama course of Makerere in 1972.
Benjamin Ray is a Professor of Religion at Princeton University and spent
three months visiting Uganda in 1972. The present paper arises out of a
talk given to the Uganda Society.
Okote Shiroya is now head of the department of history at Kenyatta
University College, Nairobi, but undertook this research for the study
presented here whilst a member of Makerere staff.
John Wilson is a resident of Moroto, having been the District Agricul-
tural Officer for Karamoja, and is an expert on the vegetation of the
district. He has contributed to the Uganda Journal previously.
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972), pp. 57-65.
THE USE OF STONE HAMMERS IN THE ALTERATION OF HORN
PROFILE AND THE POSTULATED ORIGIN OF THIS
AND OTHER CUSTOMS IN ANCIENT EGYPT
By J. G. WILSON
The writer mentioned the finding of stone objects closely resembling
what have been referred to as 'Polished Stone Axes', in an earlier article
in Uganda Journal.' Since then extensive enquiries on the use of what he
described as a Horn Hammer have been made among the Karamojong and
a comprehensive collection of the different types extant in Karamoja and
Turkana districts has been made. From Turkana both cattle horn hammers
and also goat horn hammers were acquired, the latter being much more
common. Enquiries among the Pokot people of both Kenya and Uganda
revealed that they too practise horn profiling on cattle. In all, more than
twenty hammers have been collected and their examination leaves no doubt
that they are identical with at least three types of stone objects that have
been described and illustrated by Leakey,2 Cole3 and others as 'Polished
Stone Axes'. Having found these objects in the possession of the people
listed and being employed for the purpose of re-profiling cattle and goat
horns, the validity of the term 'Polished Stone Axes' is therefore disputed.
The discovery of their very existence in the present-day among the Kara-
mojong and Turkana for the purpose of horn profiling must also apply
to their archaic use.
The three main types of hammers are illustrated in Plate I. The larger
ones are those employed in cattle horn profiling and the smaller ones are
for goat horns. It should be noted how identical the, goat and cattle types
are, the difference being one of size only. The first type represented by
figures 1 and 4, is a two-lugged hammer in which both lugs are wider than
the stem which is rounded in outline, one of the lugs is bulbous and displays
some pitting, the other has an axe-like profile. The larger specimen
measures approximately 29 cms in length, the smaller one 17 cms in length,
both axes have a smooth overall surface which only the 'axe' lug might
be described as polished. The second type, represented by figures 2 and 5
has a narrow, bulbous, butt end and a wider axe-like distal end, the whole
unit being wedge-shaped with a smooth polished surface. They measure
in length 22 cms and 14 cms respectively. The third type represented by
figures 3 and 6 has a comparatively narrow axe-end and a wider bulbous,
butt end which is markedly pitted. They measure 23 cms and 13 cms in
length respectively. The hammers are fashioned from a number of different
minerals which include unidentified volcanic rock, diorite, crystalline lime-
stone, quartzite, quartz-mica schist and soapstone.
The phenomenon of horn profiling among pastoral peoples in the
southern Sudan has been described by Kronenberg who also mentioned the
use of a horn hammer, though he did not connect this with what were
termed 'polished stone axes'. Dyson-Hudson5 mentions the use of 'stones'
in the artificial horn-training of animals and illustrates and names twelve
profiles in Karimojong Politics. He also mentions that the trouble of horn
training is usually only taken with an owner's favourite ox. As far as the
writer can ascertain only the horns of favourite or name-oxen are re-profiled.
Profiling takes place while the animal is still young, that is between 3 and
4 years old. This allows time for the horns to have grown to a certain
size and shape and the owner may then judge what profile to aim for. It
is said that profiling the horns of animals "which are too old" is unsuccess-
ful as the fractured bone tissue does not mend.
In the actual operation of horn profiling the animal is first immobilised
by secure tying, the head is held and the owner then makes the first per-
cussive strikes at the base of the horn. The 'axe' end of the hammer is
for this purpose and this smashes the bone tissue and loosens the horn.
Once loosened the horn is then turned in the desired direction and secured
by a tightly bound leather truss. Depending on the desired profile one or
both horns may be loosened; for example in profile no 6, 'Lokamarr', only
one horn needs to be loosened and turned in the reverse direction from
its mate. The resultant beauty of form is illustrated in the profile of this
type in Plate No 2, a definite rhythm has been achieved by the alteration.
Of course both horns may be loosened and re-profiled as in profile numbers
1, 13, 15.
Among the Karamojong and Turkana peoples enquiries as to the use
of the bulbous end of the horn hammers invariably produce the answer
that it has no function, or that it balances the percussion end. Enquiries
among the neighboring Lango and Acholi only established that the
hammer was known to'them in tradition, and that it was used in profiling
cattle horns in the same way as the Karamojong, except that the bulbous
end was employed also. In contrast with Karamojong and Turkana in-
formants, Acholi and Lango informants invariably state that the bulbous
end was employed in castration. Two hammers being brought together over
the testicle in a hammer action. This is interesting as pitting at the bulbous
end could result from long-continued usage in this fashion. It also grooves
with the very action of horn profiling since this is carried out on oxen,
and in former ritual, the two operations may well have been performed
The horn hammer is known to the Lango and Acholi as nyol and
very occasionally as lor. To the Karamojong and Turkana it is referred
to as aramet and similarly to the Teso who know of it by tradition. To
the Pokot it is known as kogh but limited enquiries among members of
the Nandi people indicate that it is unknown to them. Similarly limited
enquiries among members of the Somali and Borana peoples indicate that
such an instrument is not known. Enquiries among various Sudanese tribes
who were resident in Karamoja as refugees proved more fruitful, the ham-
mer being either known by tradition or was still in use among the following
tribes the Topossa know it as aramet, the Didinga as erimet, the Latuko
as namuruwo, and the Kakwa and Bari as ngurupit. Knowledge of, or
continuing use of, the stone hammer therefore extends over a considerable
geographical area within the approximate limits of 32 to 37E by
1 to 6"N. It may be further recorded that the tribes listed fall according
to Greenberg's6 classification into the category of Plains Nilotes.
One may now ask what the motivation is behind the alteration of a
horn profile. To understand this one must understand the attitude of the
pastoralist towards his cattle, or for that matter towards his goats, where the
STONE HAMMERS AND HORN PROFILES IN KARAMOJA 59
environment is like that of Turkana and cattle keeping is restricted to the
moister areas. A Karamojong male from the moment of his birth is in
contact with cattle in terms of sight, sound and smell as well as physical
contact. From a very early age he will be entrusted with the care of calves
and as he grows older he takes care of the adult cattle themselves. Accord-
ingly he will learn the economy of cattle keeping, as in the provision of
grazing and water, and he will in time have the traumatic experience of
defending or even losing his father's cattle or those of the immediate social
grouping, as the result of the depradation of enemies. There is also a
strong likelihood that he himself will embark on acquisitive raids with other
young men and be prepared to die on the occasion. Cattle therefore are
of prime importance to the Karamojong male and demonstrably there exists
a close relation between cattle and their owner.
The place of cattle is much more than merely a domestic one; cattle
are an inextricable part of tribal ritual. For instance it is believed that
malign influences are responsible for drought and concomitantly shortage
of grazing or food. On such occasions elaborate preparations are made
by elders and at an appointed place where the populace is gathered. The
gathering keeps quiet and then at the requisite moment horns are blown,
these horns are known in the singular as arupepe. This is believed to dispel
evil which is known as akapil. Following this a signal is given and slaughter
of oxen begins, these are often black in colour. Prayers then follow and
God (akul) is invoked to intercede on behalf of his people and alleviate
their suffering. Similarly cattle may be sacrificed in divination by elders,
the stomach of the animals being opened in a certain way and the mtes-
tines are then 'read'. From this it may be seen that the offering of cattle
is part and parcel of religious ceremony.
The offering of oxen in religious ceremony occurs in the asapan
ceremony which is the initiation into an age-set or generation-set. This
involved the ritual gathering of elders under one supreme elder, together
with friends and relatives of the would-be initiated, who is called upon
to spread an ox in a prescribed fashion. After slaughter the animal is cut
up into certain sections which are laid out in front of the presiding elder
in a certain order. Thereafter follows a complicated ceremony involving
among other acts, the smearing of chyme on the initiate and the invocation
of good fortune on the initiate by the presiding elder chanting set phrases
which are repeated by those assembled. The chanting is of some duration
and ends in phrases invoking the well-being and wealth of the individual.
Thereafter the initiate has a ritual knot tied on the back of his head and
takes part in the feasting and rejoicing; but up to the act of tying the
knot the ceremony is one of great dignity and solemnity. This again
illustrates the importance of cattle to the individual in sacrosanct ceremony.
The Karamojong do not raise monuments or idols to the supreme
deity as one finds in the tradition of many peoples. Horn profiling of oxen
may, however, be another way of expressing his mystical relationship to
cattle and through cattle his distant relationship with God. Dyson-Hudson7
describes in graphic detail the adoption of name-oxen. The custom begin-
ning by the gift of a male calf by the father to the son who thereupon
'grows up with the calf' in special relationship. He will weave tiny collars
of wild sisal string and hangs from the collar a tortoise-shell bell with
wooden clappers. He tries out his first songs about it, and with the help
of his elders, beats the horns into the shape he wishes. He feeds it part
of his own ration of milk and blood, so that it will grow strong. As he
grows, and with him the calf, he will weave more handsome collars and
buy a metal bell. Later, as a young man, if he successfully kills an enemy
or dangerous animal, he notches the ears of his ox in commemoration
and the ox 'becomes happy'.
In continuing quotation from Dyson-Hudson it is stated "The link
between a man and his name-ox is so strong that the death of either is
a matter of consequence for the other, and a number of specific arrange-
ments exist for dealing with this situation. If the owner dies, then one
of his sons will spear his name-ox, for the link between man and beast
is so great that every time the family sees the dead man's animal, it is a
re-emphasis of their loss and grief. Since a man normally outlives his
name-ox, preparations are made for its death. The owners of old or weak
name-oxen arrange a ceremony for their sacrifice at the onset of the dry
season and the privilege of spearing is given to a friend... If a
name-ox simply dies, this is considered a misfortune, and a man's friends
gather to console him for his loss. It is expected that a bereaved owner
will grieve for several days, and it is not unknown for him to commit, or
attempt, suicide. Whatever the circumstances of death, a man is required
to replace his name-ox with another of exactly the same description, so
that he may bear his ox-name as before."
Thus, the relationship between cattle in general and a name-ox in
particular to their owner is a special one. It goes beyond the mere owner-
ship or companionship that many derive from a dog. It has the elements
of a spiritual relationship and indeed must be construed as this in the
overall context of cattle being the manifestation of the Supreme Deity.
To the Egyptians cattle were the manifestation of Hathor and other deities,
including the sun-cow relationship of Re and Atum, and their representa-
tions whether as painted murals or sculpture often depicted the deities
bearing horns. These deities were worshipped, hymns were sung in their
praise and elaborate rituals were connected with them. As part of the
overall veneration of cattle the sacred bull, Apis, was kept opposite the
temple of Ptah. The movements of Apis were closely watched as they were
believed to foretell the future. Apis had strange markings including a white
star on the forehead which connected him with Osiris and other distinctive
markings including double-hairs on his tail. Some time after his death his
reincarnation was sought in an animal bearing exactly the same markings.
On comparing the veneration of cattle and some of the customs invol-
ved between the ancient Egyptians and the Karamojong many parallels
emerge. There is a parallel to the veneration of Apis. A man on the death
of his name-ox must look for a 'reincarnation' of exactly the same appear-
ance which bears close similarity to the search for the reincarnation of
Apis. The link between Apis and Karamoja custom emerges again in
the name and in the ritual itself of the asapan initiation. Dyson-Hudson8
states, "Karamojong adult males are recruited into named corporate groups
of coevals, called age-sets. Each age-set comprises all the men throughout
the tribe who have performed an initiation ceremony within (ideally) a
single five to six year period. Five-age sets amalgamate into a corporate
STONE HAMMERS AND HORN PROFILES IN KARAMOJA 61
group of wider time span and wider membership, to which is given the
name generation-set." Each generation set thus comprises all men of the tribe
who have performed initiation within (ideally) the twenty-five to thirty
year period covered by its constituent age-sets. The two generation-sets
extant at any one time are part of a total series of four distinctively named
generation-sets recognized by Karamojong, which succeed each other
cyclically and continually. Since recruitment to age-sets is continuous and
serial, the time span of a single complete cycle of the total series of gene-
ration-sets is approximately a hundred to a hundred and twenty years." So
here we have an Apis-like ceremony known as Asapan whose initiates pass
through to become adult members of an age-set who are then recruited
into a larger grouping, a generation-set which lasts for twenty-five to thirty
years. These generation-sets are specifically named and reincarnate in turn
once in a span of one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five years. This
seems to identify with the cyclical death and later re-appearance of Apis.
Other parallels with Egypt would appear to exist in the Karamojong
customs of wrapping the body of an important person in the hide of his
name-ox at burial, which may be compared to the wrapping of mummies.
There is also the usage of a symbolic spear known to the Karamojong as
Atum which is held by the presiding elder (priest) during invocations to
God at special ceremonies, which commence at dawn and continue until
sunset. This strongly parallels Egyptian ceremonies in the worship of Atum
which also commenced at dawn and continued until sunset and it is note-
worthy to record that the god Atum was associated with the sun whose
rays were sometimes depicted as spears. Finally, on the occasion of cere-
monies in the worship of Hathor it was customary to precede the ceremony
by blowing an instrument known as the sistrum, with the object of dispel-
ling evil spirits. Foremost among those spirits was one known as Apep.
The Karamojong custom of blowing an instruments to dispel evil spirits
on certain religious occasions would appear to parallel this, particularly
when the Karamojong instrument is known as arupepe.
There can be no doubt that the above-mentioned ceremonies were
based on those of ancient Egyptlo especially when one examines certain
Egyptian words and finds Karamojong words which are irrefutably derived
from them. The list of words presented in the Appendix is not exhaustive
but should suffice to show that cultural contact must have existed in the
past and therefore cultural borrowings must have occurred too.
Having established that the Karamojong way of life shows numerous
borrowings from dynastic Egypt there remains the question of linking horn
hammers with the Egyptians. No egyptologist has mentioned horn-pro-
filing as being a custom of ancient Egypt, the fact remains nevertheless
that cattle were believed to have entered Egypt from Asia Minor and to
have spread southwards from there. It is also logical to assume that the
horn hammers (axes) found on archaeological sites throughout the cont-
inent were a concomitant of the early cattle movements, and since the
movement spread from Egypt the practice must have been established
there. This must indeed have been the case where Cole" mentions the
finding of a two lugged stone axe on a site at Molo and states, "that they
are undoubtedly copied from Egyptian two-lugged metal axes". Then as
the two-lugged stone 'axe' is in fact a horn hammer, it is logical to assume
that the parent metal 'axe' was also a horn hammer. This is logical when
one reflects on the deifications of cattle by the Egyptians and the frequent
appearance of cattle horns on their sculpture and paintings.
There remains one more point concerning the possible origin or horn
profiling. Since cattle came into Egypt from Asia Minor it is likely that
they came in with accordant beliefs and customs and this poses the question
as to where the custom of horn profiling arose. Without answering this
directly, a clue may be given in the fact that alteration of horn profile
was not unknown to the Punjabi people of India, according to an informant
in Moroto, and a few Punjabi names of horn profiles were provided be
the informant which are included in the list of profile names in Appendix II.
The writer is indebted to many Karamojong for their unstinted provision
of information, in particular Mr. James Lamakol. Mr. J. O. Korobe and Master
1. Wilson J. C. Preliminary observations on the Oropom people of Karamoja,
their Ethnic Status and Postulated relation to people of the Late Stone
age. Uganda J. 34, 1970, pp. 125-145.
2. Leakey M. D. Notes on the ground and polished stone axes of East Africa,
Journal of E. Afr. Hist. Soc., 17, 1943.
3. Cole S. The prehistory of East Africa. London, 1964 p. 279.
4. Kronenberg, A. The Longarim favourite beast Kush 9, 1961, pp. 258-277.
5. Dyson-Hudson N. Karimojong Politics, London, Oxford University Press,
1966, p. 98.
6. Greenberg J. H. Languages of Africa. The Hague 1963.
7. Dyson-Hudson, Op. cit., pp. 98-101.
8. Ibid. p. 156.
9. This is the first mention of a musical instrument being used by the
Karamojong and counters Dyson-Hudson and other authorities who have
stated that they do not possess musical instruments.
10. Graves R. Larousse encyclopia of mythology, 1966 p. p. 9-48 London.
Extensive use has been made of the above in references too numerous to
11. Cole, S. Op. cit. p. 296.
STONE HAMMERS AND HORN PROFILES IN KARAMOJA
mun. Goddess associated with and often
depicted with snakes
*khmet. Goddess associated with many things
including oils, fats and riches (
turn.God-king, often symbolised by a lion I
'in. God associated with fertility and love I
mon. God associated with grain fields
hepera. God of the transformations, renewal S
(sleep) etc, often represented by a
b. The planet Saturn.associated by the
Egyptians with harvest and sometimes
represented by a sickle.
7teroth. The planet Venus associated with
the female principle, veins, heart
and cylindrical objects.
pe. Evil spirit driven away by blowing
the sistrum (see text).
get. Goddess of child-birth and maternity
usually represented as a hippopotamus
but sometimes as other animals.
z. Sun-god, sometimes sunrays were
symbolised as spears
7is. Sacred bull associated with renewal
hyr. (Hathor) Goddess of the sky, mistress
of song, dance and ornamentation.
Snake ............. Emun
)il, Fat .........Akimet
ion ...... Engatun
rain fields ........Amana
'hild bor during the night
hat is the time of sleep.........
Vulgar reference to uterus:
container ......... Ateroth
Horn used for dispelling
evil spirits .........Erupepe
Eland ........ Ewapet
Midnight (lit: when the sun
has passed) .........Nakware
Spear ........ Akwara
Cyclical age-set ceremony
N.B. The Editor advises a degree of caution in accepting some of
these summaries of Egyptian mythology. Not all authorities give the
same association as given here, and there is some variance between
different authorities. Thus whilst agreement is reached fairly generally
on Athyr, Apis, Re/Ra, Apet, Min and Amon, there is less agreement
on other gods. Further it should be noted that a sistrum is a form of
APPENDIX II HORN PROFILE NAMES:
Akaramojong Ngiturkana Pokot Acholi Didinga Punjabi
1. Locongor Locogor Chokor Atodo -
2. Elakodo Loyopo Yopo Chochocho
3. Lorionga Lorionga Napa Ojaro -
4. Lopeta Lopeta Peta Chapar
5. Loluk Locogor Koda Nyeluk
6. Lokamarr Lokamarr Kamarr Ongele Ngkamarr
7. Elodieta Loluk Setane Laluk Shetan
8. Longelech Longelech Ngelech Ngelech Dhaltalwar
9. Lotidong Lotidong Tidong Lachwii Chikidi Nara
10. Lolem Lolem Lemu Olemu Lolemu -
11. Loeriaman Lokiriaman Kiriaman Oremo Sangara
12. Elota Loleta Wala -
13. Elolit Lodoko Nukuryon Chalaka-
14. Loyepo Lokiriaman Kimwat Owaro -
15. Elelokun Lokorobe Kilinyo -
16. Losogol Losogol Kalosion Acel Iriamane -
Note: There is not always agreement among Karamojong about the specific
name for any one profile, the same applying to the Turkana. Some
individuals applying one name and others a different name for the same
profile. The above list therefore gives a range of names which are
applicable. J. W.
Nor is it easy to equate either the diagrams or the names with the
twelve styles given in Dyson-Hudson, page 98. Numbers 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
and 16 of Wilson seem to equate with figures 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 4, 5 and 6 of
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Tuzanye Emizanyo 2 45
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Ninshoma 3 25
Emitwarize ya Wakami 2 65
Ninsoma 4 00
Bnganda in Moder History 30 00
Nelson Africa Ltd.,
P.O. Box 18123,
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972), pp. 67-72.
THE EMBALASAASA (Riopa Ferandi): A STORY OF
REAL AND MYTHICAL ZOOLOGY
By W. B. BANAGE, W. N. BYARUGABA AND J. D. GOODMAN
Time was when man-eating lions and other predators could dominate
the news, but with the possible exception of the now legendary Man-Eaters
of Tsavo, even they could not have had the pride of place which a beau-
tiful, but shy and harmless lizard, the Embalasaasa, had in the Uganda
press during 19701. This lizard drew banner headlines and even questions
in Parliament2. For two weeks, starting with the reported death of a child at
Kamwokya on the outskirts of Kampala, it allegedly terrorized the popula-
tion and animal life in Kampala and its environs.
According to the newspaper reports, the mother of the child who died
saw a creature which looked like a Kkonkome descending the wall to the
bed where the child was laid to sleep inside the house, and the reptile
was making a noise. Embalasaasa, according to Pitman, Uganda's first
Chief Game Warden who investigated mythical and not so mythical crea-
tnres in Uganda, is reputed by the Baganda to make strange, booming
noises at night (Pitman, 1942, 1971). But, as he reported, this particular
lizard is not nocturnal. Furthermore, with one exception, no lizard known
to science utters a proper sound as opposed probably to a hiss when under
extreme provocation. Nonetheless, not only does the lizard in question
not have any vocalization, but in the vigorous campaign launched against
it at the height of the Embalasaasa scare none of those who hunted it ever
reported it uttering a sound. The identity of what the woman saw, if real,
has therefore to be sought elsewhere.
The suggestion was made, on the basis of the sound allegedly heard
and the woman's poor description, that she saw a Gecko, which is the
sound-making exception among lizards already mentioned. This flat-headed
reptile with foot-pads enabling it to climb up and down smooth walls and
run up-side-down on ceilings, is very common in houses in and around
Kampala. Geckos can be seen challenging and fighting each other with
much noise-making. The common Uganda House Gecko (Hemidactylus
brookii angulatus Hallowed) is particularly notable and in the semi-darkness
of the inside of a mud and wattle house this could be described as appearing
like a Kkonkome (Agama atricollis Smith), the Blue-headed Lizard that is
often seen nodding its head on trees. Geckos however would not bite man
unprovoked and, in spite of their (to some people) revolting or bizarre
appearance, are not poisonous.
Various aspects of the Embalasaasa episode assumed puzzling, if not
confusing proportions. It was even linked to the political events of the time
(Anon, 1970). The hypothesis put forward by one of the authors, if indeed
the observations of the mother could be believed and she had not been
hiding the real cause of death of the child, was that the latter "died from
the bite of a snake which had entered the house in pursuit of lizards"
(Banage, 1970). The coroner's verdict was of death from causes unknown.
The episode, however, served to highlight the need to examine the real
identity and characteristics of the Embalasaasa. The notes and observations
made during this episode are combined in this article.
Identity and Distribution.
The Luganda name Embalasaasa (sometimes Embalabaasa) is also
given to at least two kinds of venomous snakes, the night adders, one of
which is said to be "partial to hiding in rubbish heaps, piles of stones or
among the litter of outhouses" (Pitman, 1938). This is probably the reason
for the word being used in translation for the creature mentioned in several
places in the Bible as a viper, although here again there obviously is con-
fusion. A famous reference, for instance, is that in connection with the
"viper" which, driven out of the bundle of firewood by heat, "fastened"
on St. Paul's hand during ship-wreck (Acts 28: 3). The identity of this
creature (allegedly a scorpion but translated Embalasaasa) is not certain.
All the animals examined by the three authors during the Embalasaasa
episode from all parts of the country turned out to be the same lizard,
identified as Riopa (= Lygosoma) fernandi (Burton, 1836). Among other
names, it is popularly known as Fernand's Skink or the Red Black Skink.
Specimens were shown to people of various tribes and were named as
Baganda Embalasaasa, Embalabaasa, Enfubutukizi
Bakiga/Banyankole Engurukizi, Enteramutete, Enyarugira
Banyoro/Batoro Engurukizi, Bulyeradi
Bagisu Imbalaga, Nabuziba
Acholi Lagwe (non-specific)
Lango Agwegwe (non-specific)
Ateso Amongo, Aliliang (non-specific)
Baluhya (Kenya) Indangalasi.
The range of this lizard extends through most of West Africa and
Zaire inland as far as the western areas of Uganda. In West Africa it is
associated with forest country (Cansdale, 1955). According to Loveridge
(1957) it does not occur in Kenya, Tanzania or eslewhere in eastern Africa.
However, it is a representative of a common, nearly world-wide, family of
lizards, the Skinks (Scincidae) which are particularly common in the tropics
especially in Africa and Asia. In Africa the family is represented by the
Common Skinks (Lygosoma), the writhing Skinks (Riopa), the Mabuya
Skinks (Mabuya) and other Snake-eyed Skinks (Ablepharus) as well as a
The group of skinks to which this particular lizard belongs is interest-
ing in that they show types in which the limbs are sometimes reduced or,
in some cases, totally absent. The result of this is that the tail is very
well developed and becomes a powerful means of movement, more or less
as in the fashion of snakes. Those engaged in hunting it during the
Embalasaasa campaign usually remarked how insignificant its legs appeared
in relation to the sturdy body and also how, when supposedly attacking
their assailants, the lizards appeared to "swim" on the ground rather than
"run" on the limps. This could easily have led to confusion with a snake.
Riopa fernandi is a medium-sized, stout lizard. Specimens grow to a
decent size of 12-14 inches (30.5-35.6 cm.) from snout to tail. Most of the
specimens examined were 7-9 inches (18-23 cm) with a belly girth of 0.18
- 1.2 inches (2.5-3 cm.) in adults. In colour, they are conspicuously sleek
dark-grey to almost black on top, with flanks of barred red, black and
white or cream. The tails are black and white ending in black points.
Underneath the lizards are entirely cream or white. Fernand's Skink has
been described as the most brilliantly coloured lizard in Africa. In the
juveniles examined, the red was not pronounced and on the tail the white
bands were replaced by bright blue ones. The two sexes were hardly differ-
ent in colour.
The limbs are plump and short and each bears five toes with short
claws. The two middle toes are the longest. The head is somewhat flat
and broad, particularly at the rear where it joins the plump body by a
Teeth and diet.
The first two specimens of Riopa fernandi, those supposed to have
been responsible for biting the child, were handed in dead by the Fire
Brigade on the same day, 27 April, 1970. It was established, after exam-
ination, that they possessed no fangs such as could be used in injecting
venom. Instead, these and all subsequent lizards presented, all had in
both jaws, numerous, uniformly small, short and fine teeth. As demonstrated
later the lizards were capable of biting by using these teeth to graze the
skin and draw blood but they were not capable of removing pieces of
flesh as alleged in the case of the dead child. The abrasive bite was always
"clear" and aseptic, saliva was very nearly acid, with a pH of 7.5.
These skinks are known to feed on insects and other invertebrates
(Cansdale, 1955) under natural conditions, Stomachs of those examined
during this study contained principally small, terrestrial or burrowing in-
vertebrates such as millipedes, termites, slugs and snails. Small amounts
of plant matter and dirt were also found which could have been ingested
with the animal food or could have been contained in the guts of the
invertebrates. In captivity the lizards fed on cockroaches and locusts. Food
offered was seized with the teeth by an initial grabbing and arresting
motion, bitten two or three times and swallowed whole. They preferred
active prey to dead food.
Habits and habitat.
Riopa fernandi is a very shy lizard and so is often overlooked. It
prefers a semi-humid environment where it burrows underground, under
leaf or under rotting logs. Cansdale, states that in West Africa he generally
found it by accident. "My staff and I found all our specimens in rotten logs
lying on the ground, and we never saw one away from such cover" (Cansdale,
1955). It is also found in holes in termite mounds, among abandoned brick
or stone heaps, in hollows of dead tree stumps and in rank grass. A related
lizard found in eastern and southern Africa, Riopa sundevalli sundevalli
(Smith), is said to live in old camp sites, manure heaps and also termite
hills (Fitzsimons, 1934). If these haunts are anywhere near human dwellings
Riopa fernandi have been known to wander into houses. There are, for
instance, reliable reports of them doing so on Makerere hill. But always
on being discovered they swiftly attempt to regain their wild habitat by
the shortest route available, if by then they have not been beaten to death.
This behaviour may explain what was described as "charging" at the
surrounding crowds of people during the 1970 hunt for these creatures.
Several specimens were kept in captivity in cages either with wood
shavings alone or with sand in addition. Water was provided in watch-
glasses. For most of the time the lizards remained buried in the wood
shavings or sand and, unless forcibly unearthed, emerged only periodically
to feed on the cockroaches and locusts put in for them. Unless excessively
harassed by being picked up, they did not feel provoked to attack either
the human hand or mice which were put into the cage with them.
They are, therefore, non-aggressive.
Several of the specimens kept in captivity soon died from unaccount-
able causes. These observations agree with those of Cansdale (1955) who
reported that a specimen he sent to the London Zoo lived for many months
but "was very seldom seen; it spent all its time buried in the peat of its
cage, with the tip of its head just showing."
From these observations and from the fact that it is generally seen
either in the morning or late afternoon to evening, Riopa fernandi may
be mostly nocturnal in its habits, but this has not been definitely estab-
lished and Pitman (1942) asserts that it is not. It is a common and regular
member of the Uganda fauna, albeit nowhere very abundant. It is known
from not only the Buganda region but also from the two major national
parks (Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls) (Pitman, 1971). The 1970
"eruption" of Embalasaasa, therefore, showed no unusual abundance but
rather greater effort to find and dig up the lizards from their haunts.
Investigations on possible venom.
It has been suggested that although it has no fangs with which it
could inject venom, the saliva of Riopa fernandi might be venomous. For
an insectivorous creature it is difficult to see what use it could put this
poisonous saliva to normally, remembering that the primary function of
venom in snakes is to immobilize prey and only secondarily for defence.
However, the possibility of a poisonous saliva was investigated both by
allowing it to bite man and mice as explained above and also by injecting
the saliva and whole extracts of the head into mice and guinea pigs. There
was no ill effect on either man or the other animals.
Facts and Myths.
The widespread interest in Riopa fernandi which stimulated these
investigations arises from the rumours that it is poisonous and capable of
killing any person or creature bitten by it. As already seen these assump-
tions are entirely groundless and indeed there are no venomous lizards in
Africa, although there are hundreds of such snakes, some very deadly.
There are, in fact, only two lizards known to science to possess not only
venom but also the necessary apparatus for injecting it in the form of
fangs (Pitman, 1933). These are the Gila Monster (Helolerma horridum)
and its relative, the Beaded Lizard (H. suspectum), both found in the desert
areas of North America. These lizards are quite large, up to two feet
(60.96cm) or more in length. The Beaded Lizard is very colourfully marked
with pink and black on the head, body and tail (hence its name), whilst
the Gila Monster is basically black with many areas of cream-yellow form-
ing an intricate pattern over the body. They are normally sluggish reptiles,
with no aggression to bite unless very disturbed, injured or kept too long
in the sun. Even so, there are a few authenticated cases of death from
their bite in the USA.
The colour patterns of both the Helodermatids and the Fernand's
Skink are striking and are what, biologically, might be described as "warn-
ing colouration." Warning colours are found in two types of animals namely
those which are harmful or distasteful, like the Helodermatids, and which
therefore warn enemies to keep off them, or secondly, those which are
actually harmless but are only bluffing or resembling others which are
harmful. The apparent warning colours of Riopa fernandi are of the second
type and, judging by the fear it arouses, the bluff is effective as the fear
of it is widespread. Cansdale (1955) records that in West Africa "farmers
and hunters seem to be more than normally frightened of it and unwilling
to handle it for any reward."
While its colouration, its snake-like mode of rapid movement already
alluded to and its sharing a habitat with poisonous vipers could be
sources for its fear, it is difficult to explain the reason behind some of the
other mythical beliefs about Riopa fernandi. It is, for instance, widely
believed that it can jump at its victim which is the origin of the vernacular
name "Engurukizi" in several languages. This belief is called into question
by the nature of the limbs already described. Incidentally, its South African
relative, Sundevalli's Skink (Riopa sundevalli sundevalli (Smith)), is also
believed to be poisonous and to jump at its victims (Fitzsimons, 1943).
Like most lizards, Riopa fernandi can shed its tail if attacked by a
predator and later on grow another one, a very useful escape device as
the discarded tail remains active while the lizard gets away. This is pro-
bably the origin of the myth that on jumping and missing its victim,
it "breaks up" into pieces. The other belief widespread in Buganda and
western Uganda is that like the Biblical Embalasaasa, it not only bites,
but also hangs on and can only be dislodged by cutting off the skin with
it. There is no evidence for this. One of the embellishments of the news-
paper stories of the Kamwokya incident reported the mother experiencing
difficulty in dislodging the "Embalasaasa" before it removed a piece of
flesh from the child's cheek. It is significant that both the Blue-headed
Lizard, Agama atricollis, and the chameleon, both sometimes feared but
known to be harmless, are believed to bite in a similar fashion and it may
be this mythical belief which may have been behind the newspaper story.
The Embalasaasa episode illustrates what can happen when fact and
fiction become inextricably mixed under conditions of mass hysteria.
72 UGANDA JOURNAL
1. The Embalasaasa affair was reported sensationally in the vernacular
papers Munno and Taifa Empya (Uganda) and more soberly in The People
and The Uganda Argus between April and September 1970. For an outside
report see: Safari Magazine of 31 June. 1970.
2. See: Hansard 2nd Ser. Vol. 100: Luande: Poisonous Lizards (Question
No. 80 of 1970) and Sembeguya: Snake and Lizard Bites (Question No. 96
Banage, W. B.
Ditmars, R. L.
Fitzsimons, V. F.
Pitman. C. R. S.
Pitman, C. R. S.
Pitman, C. R. S.
Embalasaasa affair. Editorial in The People 13 June
(1970) Pity the poor lizard (The Embalasaasa) Uganda
Argus 29 May, 1970.
(1955) Reptiles of West Africa. London Penguin Books,
(1933) Reptiles of the World, 12th print. 1955. New York,
(1943) The lizards of South Africa. Memoirs of Trans-
vaal Museum, No. 1.
(1957) Check list of the Reptiles and Amphibians of
East Africa (Uganda. Kenya. Tanganyika, Zanzibar) Bull.
Mus. Comp. Zool. Harv. Vol. 117 no. 2, pp' 153-362.
(1938) A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Kampala,
(1942) A game warden takes stock. London, Nisbet.
(1971) Reptiles and Amphibians of Murchison Falls and
Queen Elizabeth National Parks. In: Uganda National
Parks Handbook, 5th ed. Longman (Uganda) Ltd.
Uganda Journal, 36 (1972), pp. 73-77.
EUCALYPTUS IS HERE TO STAY
By P. K. KARANI
About 1907 it had become apparent that the supplies of firewood and
building poles from natural vegetation were becoming scarce, they were
being collected from as far as 10 to 13 kilometres away from government
stations. Most of the natural forest on the Entebbe peninsula had been
cleared and Kampala firewood supplies were being collected from as far
east as Namanve and Namilyango. The Forestry and Scientific Department
advised the Governor, that in order to meet the firewood requirements,
planting of trees had to be done near government administrative stations.
This advice seems to have been acted upon immediately, for in the report
of the Forestry and Scientific Department for the year ending March 1908,
M. T. Dawe, the head of the department reported "by the Governor's dir-
ective a timber plantation has been formed in the vicinity of each station
excepting those of the Nile Province. The two most important timbers of
the Protectorates, Markhamia platycalyx, (Nsambya) and Chlorophora
excelsa, (Mvule; Muwule) have been planted. The area of the plantations
vary from 10-30 acres (4-12 hectares) according to the importance of the
station. It is hoped that these plantations will afford an adequate supply
of timber for station purposes in the years to come."'
As a result of this directive many species of trees were planted near
administrative centres. Aside from the two species mentioned, two indig-
enous species Podocarpus milanjianus (Podo) and Maesopsis eminii (Musizi),
and exotics Widdringtonia whytei (Milanji Cedar), Toona ciliata (Toon)
and Cupressus lusitanica or macrocarpa (Guatemala cypress) were used in
the early plantations. The Eucalyptus species commonly found in towns
were not introduced till 1912 when the first recorded Eucalyptus seed was
imported into this country. The species involved were Eucalyptus crebra F.
Muell, E. polyanthemos Schaner, E. hemiphloia F. Muell. and E. tereticornis
Donin. Seedlings of Eucalyptus species together with other exotic hard-
woods were raised in banana fibre pots (ebikopo by'ebyai) at Entebbe nur-
sery and were sent for planting at Entebbe, Kampala and Jinja. An inter-
esting point to note is that field planting was carried out by Administrative
Officers and not by the Forestry and Scientific Department which was re-
sponsible for forestry matters in the whole Protectorate. This is understand-
able because the directive had come from the Governor and because the
object of such plantations was to get trees for timber supplies at government
stations. The Administrative Officers appear to have done a good job and
many of them used to submit progress reports on planting to the officer in
charge of the Scientific and Forestry Department. Some of the Eucalyptus
plantations seen near administrative centres today are relics of the early
planting. They are characterized by mixed species; Eucalyptus species,
Cypress, Muvule, Musizi, Nsambya, and Milanji Cedar. They are to be found
at district, saza and gombolola headquarters throughout the country. Several
such plantations have been cleared to make way for the expanding towns.
All major towns of Uganda are dominated by Eucalyptus. Apart from
being used in plantations they have been planted in road avenues and as
an ornamentals in gardens and compounds. They have also been extensively
planted in swamps near the major towns of the country.
Eucalyptus planting in swamps near towns was undertaken as a biolo-
gical control against Anopheles, the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. It had
been observed that Anopheles does not breed in dark places as would be
found in the forest. Hopkins (1934) explains that "An important fact in
connection with control of mosquitoes by means of tree-planting is that the
dangerous species of Anopheles do not like shade. For this reason any rain-
pools which may form in wet weather in an area closely planted with trees
will not be a source of malaria-carrying species, because of the denseness
of the shade".2 It should be noted that none of the Eucalyptus species casts
heavy shade as mature stands of trees. Although E. robusta and E. grandis
were planted in swamps, they were probably selected because no other tree
species could grow fast enough to provide the desired shade. Some of the
early swamp planting can be seen in towns like Masaka, Kampala (Kitante)
and in Fort Portal
Up to about 1925 many species of Eucalyptus had been introduced,
although not all of them were suited to the sites where they were planted.
Some failed to survive. On high altitude sites, like Mbale, Fort Portal,
Mbarara and Kabale many species have grown quite well. In Mbarara town
and in some of the early plantations in Ankole, for example, such species
as Eucalyptus citriodora, E. crebra, E. grandis, E. globulus, E. hemiphloia,
E. microcorys, E. paniculata, E. tereticornis, E. robusta, E. botryoides, E.
resinifera and E. sideroxylon are found.
E. grandis is commonly called E. saligna or simply saligna. In their
native land of New South Wales, in eastern Australia, E. saligna and E.
grandis occur in the same region and sometimes in the same locality. The
species widely planted in East Africa might have come through South Africa
under the name of E. saligna, although it is actually E. grandis. The con-
fusion of the two species could have arisen at the time of collection of the
seed, which was brought to Africa as E. saligna, but was actually E. grandis.
It is quite probable that both species were collected but E. grandis has be-
come dominant as a result of selection. Another possibility would be that
the seed was imported into Africa before E. grandis and E. saligna were
differentiated as two separate species.
Today there are two species of Eucalyptus which are commonly used
in plantations, on a large scale. The first is E. grandis. It has been planted
very extensively throughout the country because of its adaptability to a
variety of sites. With drainage, it grows very well in swamps and can attain
an annual height growth of about 3 metres for the first 10 years on some
of the best sites in this country. The second is E. tereticornis, known locally
in Ankole as Rwambaguta or Kakoba. It derives its first name from the late
Nuwa Mbaguta, who was the Enganzi of Ankole up to 1938. During his time
the E. tereticornis was used extensively throughout Ankole. The second
name, Kakoba, described the hardness of the timber; because the wood is
fairly hard and difficult to split, it is said to be as hard as ekikoba, which
is part of the hide.
Eucalyptus robusta, though not as extensively used in plantations as
the other two species is quite common in swamp plantings and especially in
many of the old plantations. It is more tolerant of water-logging and was
used a lot in malaria eradication schemes, but it grows quite satisfactorily
on well drained sites.
As stated above the policy was also to use native species, Nsambya
and Muvule. These two species, especially Nsambya, were planted widely
before and after the advent of Eucalyptus. Nsambya alone used to form
about 90% of the annual planting during the early periods of plantation
development. It was later realized that Nsambya was a difficult species to
use. It is slow growing and yields poor, crooked and usually forked stems.
Slow growth called for many years of tending before plantations were
established. In order to grow trees with relatively straight stems close
spacing was adopted and a spacing of 0.6 x 0.9 and 0.9 x 0.9 metres were
used. It is common knowledge that closely planted trees do not grow fast
and crowding slows down their rate of growth. Diameter growth is par-
ticularly affected. Close planting also means that many more seedlings
are required per hectare. This meant that a lot of money was being spent
without much benefit.
Chlorophora excelsa (Muvule) is known to be severely attacked by gall
fly, a species of Phytolyma. The damage caused by the larvae of this fly
is so severe that trees cannot grow. This is the reason why Muvule is not
grown in plantations in Africa.
When Eucalyptus was introduced, its growth rate was superior to that
of Nsambya. In the annual report of the Forestry and Scientific Depart-
ment for the year 1913, it was reported that "Eucalyptus seedlings trans-
planted extremely well and have made good growth being approximately
5 feet (1.5 metres) high from the seed sown on the 6th of June. This
height is remarkable as it has been attained in the confined growing area
of a fibre pot". This is a growing period of about 10 months and the species
of Eucalyptus in question is probably E. tereticornis, which would be the
likely species to attain such a height. Such rates of growth were naturally
more attractive than Nsambya.
Eucalyptus is one of the few tree genera with numerous species that
have an adaptive ability to thrive as exotics in a new environment. This
ability is undoubtedly possessed by Eucalyptus species as E. grandis,
E. tereticornis and E. camaldulensis, which has been grown in many tropical
and subtropical countries with success. In this country Eucalyptus species
can be grown in many areas, which differ markedly in soil and climatic
conditions. E. citriodom, E. tereticornis, E. grandis and E. camaldulensis
can be grown with varying success in places which are as dry as Karamoja
and as wet as Entebbe. In its homeland of Australia there are many varying
climate conditions ranging from the wet northeast to the very dry area
of northwest and central Australia. Eucalyptus are found throughout the
whole range of these conditions which is perhaps the reason for their success
in many new places where they are grown as exotics.
The ability to coppice (i.e. grow new shoots from the stump when the
original stem is cut) is possessed by many tree genera and Muvule and
Nsambya coppice well. Coppicing is of great advantage in forestry when
the timber is required in small sizes. As plantations are grown to provide
firewood and building poles, trees can be harvested when they are small
and tree species which can coppice are advantageous since they provide
continuous produce for many years. What is needed is to plant and tend
the trees for one or two years, and thereafter the plantation can be coppiced
with a minimum of tending. Eucallptus tereticornis also coppices well.
Entebbe eucalyptus plantation was established 1918-1920 and is still being
coppiced; although some replanting has taken place, old stumps are still
present, some which may be over 50 years old.
Eucalyptus hybridises easily and as the genus contains very many
species, it continually forms hybrids between different species. Already in
East Africa new strains have arisen through hybridisation. There is one
in Uganda at Soroti referred to as E. tereticornis Soroti strain whose stem
form is usually straighter than the normal E. tereticornis. It has been sug-
gested that it is a hybrid between E. grandis and E. tereticornis.3 There
is another hybrid of provenance of E. tereticornis known as the Zanzibar
variety, whose stem form is superior to that of E. tereticornis proper or
to E. grandis. It is not clear whether this is a new strain or provenance.
Eucalyptus has been in East Africa for less than 200 years and has already
shown its ability to form new strains whose properties are better for
economic purposes than the original species. The Zanzibar strain is re-
nowned for its stem form and is sought after for building poles, where stem
straightness is a great advantage. There are also indications that it is more
drought resistant than some other provenance of E. tereticornis. The Soroti
strain can be grown in some of the places in Uganda where E. grandis
does not survive well.
Eucalyptus are among the highly productive tree species. Where they
are grown as exotics their volume production is often unequalled by indi-
genous species. Maesopsis eminii (Musizi) is one of the fast growing trees
in Uganda, its volume production per hectare per annum is unlikely to be
more than 10 cubic metres of wood, whereas E. grandis, grown on the same
site can produce more than 30 cubic metres per hectare per annum. It has
been suggested that the reason why eucalypts yield more wood per unit
area, is that they may have a higher energy fixation ability than many
native tree species.4 Volume production is high as a result of fast growth
and tolerance to crowding. While Musizi and E. grandis are fast growing
species, in this country the former needs more room for its optimum crown
development while the crowns of the latter need a relatively small space.
The original objectives for which many Eucalyptus plantations were
established, by the government and individuals, were to grow wood for
firewood and building poles in towns. When many towns in this country
were supplied with electricity the use of firewood for industrial and domes-
tic purposes diminished. It was feared that Eucalyptus plantations near
towns would have no market for poles and firewood and for several years
the Forest Department decreased its annual programme of planting. As the
standard of living in towns rose, and many Ugandans started moving to
towns, they could not afford electricity for lighting and cooking, so the
demand for firewood rose. Electricity created a demand for a new kind of
produce from Eucalyptus plantations, that is transmission poles. The
transmission poles are required in larger sizes than firewood and building
poles. Plantations near Kampala and Tororo are managed for such poles,
while at the same time producing small sized produce for firewood and
building poles. Namanve plantation which is about 13 km. on Jinja Road
has been producing transmission poles for many years.
Recently Uganda started growing tobacco on a large scale and Eucaly-
ptus trees are needed as firewood to cure tobacco. In West Nile, Kigezi,
Acholi and Lango Districts hundreds of hectares of Eucalyptus plantations
have been established for this purpose. Cattle ranches and fenced farms
which are springing up in areas like Acholi, Ankole, Teso, and Buganda
are using treated fence posts of Eucalyptus.
As far as one can see the future of Eucalyptus in Uganda is bright.
The Forest Department has not started growing Eucalyptus for sawn timber
as in Malawi or South Africa because of the difficulties encountered while
converting logs to sawn timber. There is one sawmill which has been sawing
Eucalyptus and using the timber for furniture making. Eucalyptus is likely
to be grown on a large scale for production of short fibre pulp; certain
types of paper are made from a mixture of short fibre pulp, which is made
from hardwood species (Angiospermae) and long fibre pulp made from
conifer species (Gymnospermae). Recently it was announced in local nev.s-
papers that a steel mill is to be set up, and as steel manufacturing requires
carbon and Uganda has no natural coal deposits, the only cheap source
of carbon is charcoal. Thousands of hectares of Eucalyptus will have to
be established in order to meet fuel requirements from which charcoal
will be manufactured. It is most likely that some of the natural forest
around Jinja will be converted into Eucalyptus plantations.
1. Dawe, M. T. Annual Report Forestry and Scientific Department for the
year ending March 1908.
2. Hopkins, G. H. E. Notes on Uganda mosquitoes and methods of control.
(Uganda J., 2, 1934, p. 58)
3. Kriek, W. Performance of indigenous and exotic tree species in species
trials. F.A.O. Report NO. TA 2826 of 1970
4. Pryor, L. D. Eucalyptus in plantation present and the future. F.A.O.
world symposium on man-made forests their industrial importance
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By E. C. PLANNING
By the end of the last century Banyoro resistance to the encroachment
of British influence had collapsed. One of the first steps to be taken by
the British protecting government after the signing of the Uganda Agree-
ment of 1900, was to set up a civil administration in the unadministered
area of what had been the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara. A Collectorate
was set up in Hoima to cover what was to be known as Bunyoro District,
incorporated in the Northern Province. The first Collector to be appointed
there was George Wilson, in post from mid 1900 to November 1900.
What had been the southern sector of the Kingdom, namely the counties
of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, south of the Kafu river and east of the Nkuse
river, was incorporated in the Kingdom of Buganda. After various vicis-
situdes Baganda chiefs were installed in this region which, for administra-
tive reasons, was joined with the Buganda district of Buwekula.'
Arising from the period of unrest, from 1893 to 1898, which had
developed into guerilla warfare, perhaps the major occurrence following
the arrival of missionaries close on the heels of the soldiers was the erection
of a fortified mission at Kikakure, only a few miles from Lwekula, the base
for the Baganda occupying forces. Both places changed their names. The
former came to be known after the mission station as Bukumi, whilst the
latter reverted to its original pre-occupation name of Kakumera.2
In 1900 C. W. G. Eden was sent from Kampala to open a Collectorate.
He set up temporary camp at Kakumera.
During 1901- 1902 there were three more assistant collectors, apart
from Guy Eden, at varying times at Kakumiro (modern spelling), namely
Talbot Smith, R. Paske Smith and C. E. Dashwood. During this twelve
month period a site was chosen for the boma on a low hill a short distance
south of Kakumiro. Here a Collectorate was opened, buildings being
completed in April 1902.3 Towards the end of that year the number of
missionaries in the area had increased. The mission at Bukumi was well
staffed and there were three missionaries resident at Bujuni in Buyaga
County. The missionary influence was such that when Dashwood went to
Kakumiro he was warned by George Wilson, by then Sub-Commissioner,
Western Province, that he would find Kakumiro District 'priest-ridden'.4
But it was not until December that the retainment of the Collectorate per-
manently at Kakumiro was considered.5
The small station consisted of the Collector's four-roomed house, a
clerk's house, an office and a store. (The foundations of these buildings
were easily discernible in 1955). Fruit trees were planted; also a large
avenue of trees alongside the track which, in later years, was to become
the motor road. This track linked Kakumiro with the headquarters of the
Luwekula, the County Chief of Buwekula County, at Kaweri (also known
as Luwekula), 16 miles to the south, at the foot of the range of hills then
known as Mt Mubendi. Here, too was the fort which had been erected
earlier by Captain Fisher.
By 1903 the station of Kakumiro was flourishing and reported as
being in excellent order. The Kiyimba, the County Chief for Bugangaizi,
also resided at Kakumiro, and there was one duka owned by an Indian
To the south, the Mubende range of hills, which Congo caravans
crossed on the way to Toro, had always caught the attention of visitors.
Flat-topped, partly wooded but mostly open and grass-covered they stretch
for about nine miles at a height of nearly 5,200 feet above sea level, 600
feet above the surrounding plain. Noted by the first Europeans to come
to that part of the region (Fathers Achte and Houssin 1893, Captain Sitwell
1895) the range attracted Sir Hesketh Bell, Governor of the Protectorate
from 1906 to 1909 who made a number of visits to the district. It was he
who formulated the idea that Mt Mubendi might be a suitable site for a
sanatorium, a hill station where officials working in hot and unhealthy
climates could come to recuperate.6 From this idea the plan emerged to
move the Government offices from Kakumiro to Mubende Hill. The
Luwekula, Cyprien Mutagwanya, was consulted.7 He welcomed the pro-
posal for the Protectorate Government to bring its local headquarters to
his doorstep. Having been christened he was undoubtedly prepared to
show his official disdain for anything pagan. The opportunity was not
missed, therefore, to try to weaken the power of the Muhima sorceress
whose huts and shrine were located on Mubende Hill in the vicinity of a
giant forest tree, Omuti gwa Nyakahuma, commonly known nowadays as
the Witch Tree. In this context it is interesting to note that the White
Fathers after settling in their mission of Bukumi at the turn of the century,
had taken the stringent step of cutting down such a sacred tree, the bole
being made into an enormous drum which was still in use at the mission
(1955) to summon the faithful to prayer.
In the meantime at the Kakumiro Collectorate other names had been
added to those of the first officials who had been and gone. V. M. Manara
and A. G. Speke took over the post. Then in 1907 a military post was
established on Mubende Hill. In February 1908 R. D. Anderson succeeded
Speke at Kakumiro. His main task was to prepare the lay-out of the
government station now planned for Mubende Hill. Though the Collectorate
continued to function at Kakumiro, Anderson spent most of his time at
the Hill. Sites were selected. Government Lodge was to be placed close
to the sacred grave of the late sorceress who had died in 1907. In the
same year the Luwekula had built a house of sun-dried bricks, handsomely
thatched, for the use of the Governor. Subsequently this was used as a
temporary Collectorate. In June of that year a party of surveyors passed
through the district surveying the land for a proposed Uganda Railway
Extension, Entebbe to Kakumiro.8
Anderson completed Government Lodge in January 1909. Trees were
planted and flower beds laid out at the Collectorate compound. Work
was also started on the winding road leading from the foot of the range
to the Collectorate at the top of the Hill. On the 30 January a 48 foot
flag staff was placed in position at the highest point of the station. On
the 18 February the Collectorate and Police moved from Kakumiro to the
new quarters and offices on Mubende Hill.9
In the same month Sir Hesketh Bell stayed at the Lodge for nine days.
Accompanied by his ADCs Tyrell and Redford he had left Kampala on his
farewell safari prior to his departure from Uganda in April. This trip was
especially noteworthy for the party travelled to Mubende along the recently
made road by motor car, driven by Captain Hill, the baggage and servants
following by motor-van in the hands of Mr Sandford. This journey from
Kampala to Mubende took fifteen hours, a great improvement in time
compared to the normal six days safari with porters.10 At Mubende the
safari joined up with Sir Hesketh's Indian elephant, Futki, which had
preceded the motorised party by a few days. From then onwards everyone
continued on foot in the company of Futki, to Kakumiro and from thence
to Hoima. The progress of the elephant, as might be expected, caused
quite a sensation.
Kakumiro was abandoned. A short while later, when passing through
the old Collectorate, Captain Lardner commented on the prettily laid out
township which "had quite recently been deserted in favour of the healthy
station at Mbendi.""1 Though paths and roads were still most beautifully
kept as were the grounds in the precincts of the government buildings, the
boma looked quite pathetic standing forlorn and desolate amidst beautiful
roses, flowers, creepers and fruit trees from which the visitor gathered
lemons and pawpaws.
On the 15 June 1909 the title of the District was changed from
Kakumiro to Mubende District.12
During 1911/1912 the title Collector was changed to that of District
Commissioner. In 1944 the title of the administrative officer in charge was
again changed, this time to Protectorate Agent, with the additional des-
cription of Assistant Resident being added later.
1. For the period before 1900 see E. C. Lanining, Kikukule: guardian of
southeast Bunyoro. (Uganda J., 23, 1968, pp. 119-147.)
2. The first Europeans to visit the areas of Bugangaizi or Buyaga were:
1893. Major E. R. Owen with the traveller L. Decle who, with Sudanese
troops, entered Bugangaizi from Singo, routing the Banyoro at
Kikakure, later to be known as Bukumi.
1894. Fathers Achte and Houssin who arrived at Kaweri (Luwekula's)
at the foot of Mubende Hill, and later set up their mission at
1895. Lieutenant C. F. S. Vandeleur who entered Buyaga from Hoima
traversing the district from Mwenda's to Nakabimba, south of
the Musisi river.
Major W. P. Pulteney, who returned with Vandeleur from
Nakabimba to Mwenda's, and subsequently served as Civil
Officer in the newly formed District.
1896 98. Captain C. G. H. Sitwell and others, soldiers and mission-
aries, who gathered at Kaweri (Lwekula's) as well as the
mission station at Bukumi.
3. SMP Vol. I Aug. 1900-Apr. 1902
4. SMP Vol. III Jan. 1903-Nov. 1903
5. SMP Vol. II May 1902-Dec. 1902
6. CMP Vol. 299 of 1909
7. The same Mutagwanya who had commanded the Baganda occupation force
which entered south-east Bunyoro in 1894.
8. SMP No. 464 of 1908
9. SMPs Nos. 292 & 299 of 1909
10. E. B. Haddon. Pers. comm. 1972
11. Lardner, E.G.D. Soldiering and sport in Uganda, London, Scott, 1912, p. 115.
12. The original Kakumiro Collectorate Seal remained in use in the District
Court up to 1955 when it was handed over to the Uganda Museum,
RODDY OWEN AND OWEN FALLS
By E. B. HADDON
Reference to J. L. Dixon's article on Survey and the Nile Basin in
the Uganda Journal, 35, no. 2, 1971, poses a question concerning the
naming of 'Owen Falls'. I had always understood that the falls named
after Roddy Owen were about 11 to 12 miles north of Jinja and that it
was only in recent years that the rapids where the dam is built became
popularly known as the Owen Falls. They were not generally known as
such in 1923, for they were then just spoken of as 'the rapids'. Thomas
and Dale (Uganda Journal, 17, 1953, p. 117) state that the name first
appeared on Macdonald's map in 1899, in which case it can probably be
attributed to Macdonald who served with Owen in 1893-94. There is no
evidence in contemporary accounts, (Portal, Moffat, Owen's diaries etc)
that Owen crossed the Nile other than at Ripon Falls. On each occasion
he crossed in haste, both on 12 March 1893 and in March 1894. Speke,
Journal of the discovery of the source of the Nile, pp. 464-466 makes it
clear that he approached the Ripon Falls by way of the Iramba rapids
from the northwest with, so far as one can judge from his map, there
being rapids at roughly 5, 12 and 22 miles northwest of the Ripon Falls.
Macdonald's map shows Owen Falls as about 21 miles northwest of Ripon
Falls. It might be that the several rapids were so unimportant and indist-
inguishable that the name Owen Falls was used for more than one of
them in common parlance until comparatively recently.
By E. B. HADDON
I am very dubious over the derivation of Shimoni as meaning "from
the Ravine Station", (Uganda J., 34, no. 2, 1970, p. 178.) I never heard
this suggested and have always thought that it derived from a suburb of
Mombasa. Further, shimo (better expressed as shimo-ni) is more correctly
to be translated as "in the hollow".
In 1905, when I was posted to the newly built Collectorate on Naka-
sero as Assistant Collector, Mengo, the Nubian lines the Mulki of
retired K.A.R. was on Kololo, half way up the hill and facing Nakasero.
The Mulki, which was still there in 1914, made an ugly scar on the hill-
side. Shimoni consisted of township plots occupied by Lendu, Manyema
and other foreigners, probably including Swahili. In late 1905 the Police
built their lines between the foot of Gun hill (on which the International
Hotel now stands) and Shimoni, evacuating their old lines on Kampala
hill below the fort on the road to Hoima.
AN EARLY PLEA FOR A UGANDA LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL:
By A. T. MATSON
On page 55 of the Uganda Journal, 25, (1961), T. W. Gee notes in his
account of 'Uganda's Legislative Council between the Wars' that "the first
suggestion that there should be unofficial intervention in the enactment of
legislation was made as early as 1912 when the Uganda Herald published
a letter from a writer exasperated by what he considered to be a series of
rash, hasty and uncalled-for ordinances, and urging the formation of a
strong political association to keep a careful watch on the Government".
Apparently relying solely on the evidence provided on page 172 of K.
Ingham, The making of modern Uganda, Gee does not make it entirely
clear whether the Uganda Herald correspondent advocated the creation of
a legislative council as well as a strong political association.
A few months before the publication of the letter paraphrased by Gee,
a series of contributions on a similar theme had appeared in Uganda Notes.
The discussion was initiated in April 1912 by one of the C.M.S. monthly's
regular contributors, who commented on the proposal to introduce a
'dealer's licence' costing 25 a year. The commentator thought the govern-
ment's proposal was fully justified in the interests of the country, since it
might prevent over-trading in certain districts, reduce the number of Indian
traders," and encourage those that remained to erect more suitable buildings.
The writer's views might have passed without comment if he had not
implied that Indian traders were parasites whose practice of sending their
profits to India brought no benefit to Uganda.
These 'un-English' and 'unfair' imputations were challenged in June
1912 by A. E. Bertie-Smith', a trader and planter with many interests who
is best remembered as the proprietor of a rickshaw business centred on
Entebbe.3 He pointed out that protests against the proposed Licensing
Ordinance were not confined to the Asian trading community but had also
been expressed by a number of European merchants and the Chamber
of Commerce. His statement that Uganda Notes was in danger of becom-
ing a political organ was taken up in the same issue by the writer of
'Nakasero Notes', who justified the paper's interest in matters of public
These conflicting views were discussed by 'A Contributor' in a letter
published in the July issue, in the course of which he wrote: "Owing to
the growing population of Europeans and Asiatics, problems of this kind
must necessarily arise, and the best way to solve them, in my opinion.
would be to form a legislative council such as they have in East Africa.4
(Surely both the growing population of European settlers and the import-
ance of this Protectorate would justify such a step?) This would not only
clear out misunderstandings existing between the people and the Govern-
ment, but also lessen a great deal of unnecessary criticism with regard to
such Government policies and measures. With reference to the law in
question, it is quite clear that with a legislative council the effect of this
law on trade would have been foreseen, whilst at present it is quite evident
that this law will have a quite different effect to what the Government
meant it to have on trade, for it must be remembered that this law does
not affect Indian traders only as some seem to think".5
In view of the alleged widespread opposition to the proposed Licen-
sing Ordinance, it is strange that the views of 'A Contributor' were not
seconded by members of the commercial community; it is more strange
perhaps that the writer of 'Nakasero Notes' did not consider that such a
topic as the suggested legislative council fell within the definition of
'matters of public concern'. Perhaps the Editor felt there was some sub-
stance in Bertie-Smith's fear that Uganda Notes was becoming a political
organ, especially in view of the decision to change its title from January
1913 to Uganda Notes and Diocesan Gazette, and to change the editorial
policy of what hitherto had been "a purely unofficial, and to that extent
an irresponsible paper".6 This change of title and policy was decided upon
after the Uganda Advertiser, which first appeared on 8 May 1912, had
"blossomed forth" on 5 July 1912 into a newspaper, the Uganda Herald.
If a change of editorial policy did in fact deter Uganda Notes from encou-
raging further discussion of the proposal for a legislative council, similar
considerations could hardly have induced the Editor of the Uganda Herald
to place a like restraint on correspondents to an independent newspaper.
Ingham records that the proposed formation of a political party was not
followed up in the Uganda Herald; readers both of that paper and Uganda
Notes presumably did not feel that the idea of a legislative council war-
ranted further discussion.
The sudden, and short-lived, interest shewn by a few members of the
European trading and planting community in political matters was pro-
bably prompted as the "exasperated writer" had asserted in the Uganda
Herald by the promulgation in 1912 of an exceptional number of laws,
some of which sought to control certain aspects of commercial and agricul-
tural activities: Patents, Designs and Trade Marks; Weights and Measures;
and Plant Pests.7 The Licensing Ordinance, which was not signed by the
Acting-Governor, H. R. Wallis, until 24 December 1912, was evidently
the principal cause of complaint. It provided for the payment of an annual
fee of Rs. 150 for a general licence, Rs. 45 for a retail licence, and Rs. 15
for a 'branch licence' in either category; also for accounts to be kept in
a prescribed language.8 The fees were similar to those demanded under
the previous licensing enactment, The Traders' Regulations, 1902, which
provided for a Protectorate licence for Rs. 150, a provincial licence for
Rs. 50 and a township licence for Rs. 15. The 1902 Regulations, which
were a legacy of Johnston's efforts to boost the revenue in accordance with
the terms of his Special Commission, proved unpopular.9 After their re-
vocation by the Uganda Trade Ordinance in March 1904, no trading licences
were required except in districts where trading was prohibited by the
Traders were alarmed in 1912 by the re-imposition of trading licences
after a lapse of eight years, and tried to enlist the support of the missions
and planters" by representing that the Ordinance had been so widely drawn
that anybody anywhere would have to pay the licence fee. The govern-
ment's proposals looked for a short period as if they might stimulate
enough interest in public affairs to lead to the formation of political assoc-
iation pledged to campaign for a legislative council with non-official re-
presentation. Traders' licensing soon ceased to be a talking point, as also
did the proposals which it had been mainly responsible for bringing to
1. 2,216 Indians were counted in the first Uganda census in 1911; most of
the adults among the 1,852 males were engaged in trade.
2. Bertie-Smith was appointed a dispenser in the Medical Department on
14 August 1903. Early in 1905 he resigned his government post at Entebbe
to b4gin business there as a curio dealer and official broker. Later the
same year he founded the Chamber of Commerce and became its first
president. In addition to his rickshaw, curio and brokerage business.
his other commercial interests included general merchandise, hiring of
mules and transport wagons, and management of the Uganda Land &
Building Co. Ltd., Rubber & Cocoa Estates Ltd., and the agency for Reuters.
He was also a coffee exporter with a 4-acre plantation at Entebbe and,
in 1903, he was planning to cultivate two square miles at Singo. The
date of his death or departure from Uganda is not known: his name is
not among those listed in C. J. Philips, Uganda Volunteer:: and the War
3. Bertie-Smith's Uganda Jinricksha Co. inaugurated, around April 1905.
a service which operated from the Entebbe head-office and the Kampala,
Jinja and Bombo branches "to any part of Uganda". including Butiaba
to connect with the Nile steamers. Fort Portal and Mbale, (S. Playne,
East Africa 1908-1909, p. 376: a photograph on p. 377 shews that Bertie-
Smith had a dozen or so rickshaws at Entebbe.)
4. The E.A.P. Legislative Council was instituted in 1906;membeiship in 1912
was 9 officials, including the Governor, and 5 unofMcials. For the official
attitude to a similar body in Uganda. where fhbere was 'no "public voice"
to be listened to', see Sir H. Bell, Glimpses of a Governor's life 1946
pp. 124 and 145.
5. If the writer was not a trader, this is possibly a reference to the practice
of missionaries, planters and government officials of obtaining goods for
Africans at cheaper rates than those charged by shopkeepers.
U. See Uganda Notes for August, September and December 1912.
7. 15 principal and 9 amending ordinances were issued in 1912 compared
with 7 and 5 respectively in 1911.
About 10, much less than the 25 forecast in Ufanda Notes. The rate
of exchange was fixed at Rs. 15 to the pound by the East Africa and
Uganda (Currency) Order in Council, 1905. (H. B. Thomas and R. Scott.
Uganda, 1935. p. 231.)
9. Foreign Office-Johnston, 1 July 1899 (FOCP 7402/1): "You will pay
special attention to the possibility of raising the present revenue whether
by a hut lax or otherwise". Amounts of 800 and 1.100 for 'Trade
Licences' were budgeted for in the revenue estimates for 1901-1902 and
1. See C. Ehrich "The economy of Buganda 1893-1903', Uganda J., 20. 1956.
p. 22. As a result of Hobley's representations on 23 Sept 1899 (ESA
A/4/21), Ternan published a Native Traders' Passes Circular on 11 Oct
1899 (ESA A /5/8), imposing a uniform fee of 2 annas p.a. "on native
traders and other travellers". Johnston issued Traders' Regulations
(under art. 99 of the Africa Order in Council, 1889) on 10 May 1900
and again on 30 September 1900 fixing the licence fee for 'non-natives
of the Protectorate' at Rs. 150. the same rate as he had imposed in
British Central Africa, and exempting other traders from payment of a
licence fee. (ESA A/5/10; FOCP 7404/45/63). See Oficial Gazette of
East Africa & Uganda Protectorates, IV/58, p. 103 and VI/707, p 115
for the 1902 Regulations and the 1904 Ordinance respectively; and
Official Gazette of the Uganda Protectorate, V/25. pp. 635-638 for the
1912 Ordinance, which was amended in 1913, 1915, 1916, 1919; 1920 and
1921, and replaced by the Trade Ordinance 1923 (Official Gazette, XVI/3,
11. Only 20.32% of the 640 Europeans counted in the 1911 Census were
engaged in private enterprise. (Thomas & Scott, op. cit., p. 360.) In
contrast to the E.A.P., land was not an issue with Uganda planters, who
had formed an association in July 1910 in view of the encouragement
given to their activities when the Carter Land Commission reported on
15 January 1912. (H. B. Thomas and A.E. Spencer, History of Uganda
Land and Surveys 1938, pp.55-56).
12. I am grateful to E. B. Haddon for his comments on this note.
By A. T. MATSON
Readers interested in the origin and distribution of omwesho petro-
glyphs in pastoral and semi-pastoral areas might like to compare the
descriptions and deductions in the article by R. White and J. Nkurunziza
in Uganda Journral, 35, 1971, pp. 175-184 with two papers published in
the Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society, 24, June, 1962:
A. T. Matson, 'Bau Petroglyphs', pp. 43-49 (Kalenjin, and Masai, with
particular reference to Nandi); and (Lord) Claud Hamilton, 'Notes on
some Newly-found Bau Petroglyphs and the Masai game Ngeshui" pp.50-53.
CAMELS IN UGANDA
By E. B. HADDON
J. L. Dixon's article on Survey and the Nile basin in the Uganda
Journal, 35, no. 2, 1971, p. 137 refers to the use of camels by survey
officers in Uganda. Reference to S. W. Baker's Albert Nyanza vol. 1, p. 27
shows that he had four camels with him; the last one dying in Obbo
country on 23 August 1863. I seem also to remember that the Sudan party
on the Uganda-Sudan Boundary Commission in 1912(?) used camel and
donkey transport. I think also that J. C. R. Postlethwaite bought one of
them when he was in Chua in 1912-13 and had an amusing correspondence
with the Treasury claiming a mule allowance and requesting that it be
treated as the equivalent of porters carrying 360 lbs of load. It was not
a success as it was useless in the rainy season. I think it was still there
when I took Kitgum station over from Postlethwaite in April 1913, though
I do not remember what happened to it. Another use of camels was by
Capt. Barratt who brought some camels up from the coast with the E.A.P.
Sikh contingent in the Mutiny Relief Operations in 1897.
MACDONALD'S MAPS, 1899-1900.
By A. T. MATSON
On page 129 of Uganda Journal, 35, 1971, J. L. Dixon says that he
is puzzled by the reference in Thomas and Spencer to the map compiled
by Macdonald in 1899. The following notes might help to explain the
Macdonald and his staff arrived on 16 April 1899 in London, where
they spent the summer months preparing reports and maps of the Juba
Expedition. The first map that was prepared was entitled "Map of Uganda
Protectorate and Territories to the North explored by the Macdonald
Expedition 1897-98". The scale used was 1:1,900,800 or 30 miles to an
inch. The map was lithographed in June 1899 by the Intelligence Division
of the War Office and catalogued as I.D.W.O. 1420. This was the version
printed in Foreign Office Confidential Print 7167 to accompany the "Report
of the Juba (Macdonald) Expedition, Part I, Operations of the Expedition",
but was not published.
It was superseded by "Map of Uganda, reproduced at the Intelligence
Division, War Office, from a map compiled by Lt-Col. J. R. L. Macdonald,
R.E., assisted by Major H. H. Austin, R.E., and Lt. R. T. Bright, Rifle
Brigade, from surveys executed by the Officers of the Macdonald Exped-
ition 1897-98 and other sources". The scale used was 1:633,600 or one
inch to 10 miles. The cased version sold by Edward Standford was printed
on two linen sheets (I: North; II: South), each measuring 53" by 331".
Lithographing of the four sheets as originally drawn (Northwest,
Northeast, Southwest, Southeast) was carried out at the Intelligence Division
as follows: I.D.W.O. 1429(a) November 1899; 1429(b) September 1899;
1429(c) January 1900; and 1429(d) August 1900.
On the Northeast sheet, 1429(b), it was stated that additions had been
made in November 1900, presumably to include routes and information
from the maps compiled by Capt. M. S. Wellby during his travels in 1898-
1899 (see Geographical Journal, 16 (1900), pp. 292-306, 'King Menelek's
Dominions and the Country between Lake Gallop (Rudolf) and the Nile'),
and by A. Donaldson Smith in 1899-1900 (see ibid., pp. 600-625, 'An
Expedition between Lake Rudolf and the Nile'). It seems likely that
additions were also made before publication to some of the other sheets,
such as the route taken by E. S. Grogan late in 1899 which was inserted
on 1429(a) presumably from From the Cape to Cairo, which was published
in 1900. These suppositions could be confirmed by a comparison between
I.D.W.O. 1420 and 1429.
I.D.W.O. 1429, which was lithographed between September 1899 and
November 1900, was reproduced in 1902 on four sheets, each measuring
341" by 261", for Major E. M. Woodward's Precis of Information concer-
ning the Uganda Protectorate, and remained the standard map of the
country for several years.
By R. A. SNOXALL
I was very interested to read the information passed on to E. C.
Lanning by the late H. B. Thomas with reference to the place-name Simoni
on p. 178 of Uganda J., 34, no. 2, 1970. I have never had any doubt that
the word derived from shimo = pit, hole, hollow, excavation in swahili,
of which shimoni is the locative form. The standard Swahili dictionary
goes on to say, after the word "excavation" "used very generally of
small and large holes, mines, quarries, graves, pitfalls, tunnels etc". I
always thought that the name had been given to the playing area of the
old Kampala Sports Club at the time when the arena had been hollowed
out; for the work must have been noteworthy at the time and must have
entailed much labour. This is what I was told by the old groundsman of
the Club and this was the name always used by the older generation of
Baganda who of course pronounced the sh of Swahili as an s in Luganda.
However, Shimo could also have referred to a ravine, though genge or
bonde would have been more likely. H. B. Thomas' memory would have
gone back much further than mine, perhaps to the actual time when the
Nubian lines were going out of commission and were being excavated into
what we later knew as the playing grounds of the Kampala Sports Club;
so there may have been two reasons for the name.
Mr. R. Snoxall also points out that the word "maker" in his previous
note in the Uganda J. 34 no. 2 of 1970 should read "marker", page 178,
sixth line from the bottom (Ed.)
BRONZE MANNIKINS FEEDING ON A GREEN ALGA
By W. B. BANAGE
The Bronze Mannikin (Spermestes c. cucullatus Swain) was seen
feeding on the filamentous green alga Snirogyra at Kabanyolo University
Farm near Kampala on April 1969. While watching birds and monkeys
at 1100 hrs, a twittering flock of these birds, numbering about twelve, was
spotted on the ground amongst a lot of shallow water pools. The area, on
the west side of the Farm, was in a newly cleared swamp forest. I approa-
ched the birds and was interested to see that they were continually dinping
their heads into the pools, pulling up and swallowing strands of a filamen-
tous alga which was very abundant in the water. This feeding activity
went on for about fifteen minutes, by which time the birds had come to
within ten yards of where I was standing still, observing their activities
through binoculars. I then decided to chase the flock away to collect the
alga for identification. I was, therefore, able to make very certain of the
birds' identity and to see clearly the alga they were swallowing, which I
later identified as a species of Spirogyra.
The Bronze Mannikins are described as abundant, tame, cheerful birds
by Mackworth-Praed and Grant who describe their food and feeding be-
haviour. They are said to feed on grass, rice and millet seeds and to follow
their food grains as they ripen. The grain is obtained from the stalks on
which the birds often hang up-side-down, but they may also feed on the
ground like miniature sparrows. A diet of aquatic, green algae would,
therefore seem to be unusual and worth recording.
AN ADDITIONAL NOTE ON FOOD HABITS OF GIRAFFE
IN EAST AFRICA
By R. L. BRAHMACHARY
In a previous note' certain observations chiefly in Murchison Falls
National Park, were reported together with a summary of literature pub-
lished by earlier authors on the food habits of the giraffe. The present
note is a continuation of the same study.
During about ten hours of observation on giraffe feeding (on the
average more than a hundred feedings per hour) at Paraa in December
1969 (1.12.69 to 5.12.69) the Namsika herd of giraffe were seen to feed
only on one species of plant, namely Harrisonia abyssinica. The major
part of vegetation here is accounted for by H. abyssinica (local names:
akere, lukere, pedo) and secondly by a Combretum with winged fruit
(Combretum aculeatum) and a few large trees like Tamarindus and Kigelia
The striking prevalence of H. abyssinica and C. aculeatum in a neighboring
region had been noted by Hall2. According to my observation, C. aculeatum
was avoided by the giraffe. Kjeldahal (boric-acid) nitrogen estimation
at the laboratory later showed 15-16% protein content in the leaves of
H. abyssinica and 22-23% in the leaves of C. aculeatum. During the period
of observation red berries were frequently seen on H. abyssinica. The pro-
tein content of this fruit was not estimated because the over-all amount
would be negligible in comparison with that of the leaves. As protein
content may vary in different parts of the plant, only the leaves on outer
most twigs were collected for protein estimation because these are the parts
of the plants eaten by giraffe. It is noteworthy that H. abyssinica is quite
rich in protein, for cultivated fodder grass in India such as Hybrid Napier3
has a protein content of only 8-9%. It is interesting that gilaffe avoid
C. aculeatum which has a considerably higher protein content. This fact
may be due to the presence of toxic substances, or the over-all nutritive
value (i.e. considering the total effect due to minerals, vitamins etc.) may
be higher in H. abyssinica. Detailed chemical analysis may throw more
light on this aspect. Hall2 found that patas monkeys consume the
H. abyssinica berries and C. aculeatum seeds. They may compete with
the giraffe only to a very slight degree.
Of the 12 non-acacia species of plants consumed by the giraffe during
a ten hour period of observation at Chobe (from 6.12.69 to 11.12.69), the
following have been identified.
1. Combretum binderanum 2. C. gueinzii 3. Gardenia sp. 4. Vangu-
eria sp. 5. Capparis sp. 6. Securinega virosa.
Gartlan and Brain4 noted earlier the predominance of S. Virosa,
Hoslundia opposite, Capparis sp. and Ipomoea cairica, plants that colon-
ized in the badly damaged forest of Chobe. C. gueinzii and C. binderanum
are broken down by elephants and produce a fairly leafy regeneration.
Most of these plants provide food for giraffe which were also seen to browse
occasionally on the lowermost branches of some tall trees. One of these
was the well-known Kigelia (sausage tree). As often even the tallest giraffes
can only eat a little from the lowest branches of the tall trees, these may
not be very important as a food source. Low or ground-level feeding on
the plants mentioned above (of which Acacia and Securinega were the most
frequently observed) seems to be mainly responsible for the sustenance of
giraffe in the region.
During a less quantitative observation in the typical acacia-land of
Sebei and Karamoja the giraffe were seen to feed almost exclusively on
Acacia drepanolobium, the whistling thorn. This is well known as giraffe
food but on one occasion a female giraffe was seen to gnaw at the bark
of three tall A. drepanolobium consecutively. The trunks bore evidence
of giraffe bites at various points. The first two layers of the bark (green
and red) had been eaten up.
At Mkomazi, Tanzania, the Masai giraffe appeared to be feeding on the
ubiquitous short plant with broad leaves Eminia antennulifera. A single
instance was noted of very active feeding on just one tree, an individual
of Melia volkensii, but no other tree of this species was noted in the
neighbourhood. Another species of tree which was predominant in another
area seemed to be the common food. This could not be identified but
was probably a species of Dalbergia.
Feeding frequencies were noted in all the places but these are too
variable, probably depending on the plant species availability, to be
I take this opportunity of thanking Miss A. Tallantire for identifying
the plants, Professor W. B. Banage for a critical review of the manuscript,
the Uganda Hotels Limited for assistance with accommodation and
Mrs. S. Banerjee for helping me in various ways.
I. Brahmachary, R. L. A note on the food habits of the giraffe in East Africa.
(Uganda J. 33, 1969. pp. 214-216.)
2. Hall, K. R. L. in Primates edited by P. C. Jay, New York, Holt. Reinhart
and Winston, 1968.
3. Sabuj Ghaser Chas (Cultivation of Green Grass). Animal Husbandary
Division, Government of West Bengal. Calcutta.
4. Gartlan, J. L. and Brain, C. K. in Primates op. cit.