Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Note: Except for the map all images and photos are from the moderator of the blog.
wing morning the king paid an official visit to the Consul, and remained with him upwards of two hours, discussing matters of business.
Author(s): J. T. Last, Commander of the Society's Expedition to the Namuli Hills, East Central Africa
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, New Monthly Series, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Mar., 1887), pp. 177-187 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
Note: Except for the map all images and photos are from the moderator of the blog.
In May last (1886), being retained at Blantyre, waiting for the favourable season to start for the Namuli Hills, I made a journey, in company with Consul Hawes, to the Angoni country, on the highlands to the south-west of Lake Nyassa. I now submit to the Society the following account of this expedition :-
The course of the journey was from Blantyre to Zomba, thence by way of Malemya's, on the west side of Lake Shirwa, to the river Shire, on to Mponda's at the south end of Lake Nyassa, up the east side of the promontory jutting into the south end of Nyassa to Livingstonia. From Livingstonia we traversed the west side of the promontory, and then travelling west we went via Mount Chirobwe to Chikusi's in Angoni-land. On leaving Angoni-land, we travelled E.S.E., striking the river Shire at a village called Mpimbi. Here we passed over and went on to Zomba, returning to Blantyre from Zomba by the way we had come.
We started on May 3rd from Blantyre. Our way took us past the Scotch Mission Station at Blantyre, and then, after leaving the small hill of Nyambadwe on our left, we went round the western spurs of Ndilandi Hill, and down to the river Lunzu. The bed of this river is some 20 feet wide, and its banks 10 feet high; -during the dry season there is but little water here, but the dried grass and debris on the trees on its banks show that during the rains there is frequently a rush of water 10 or 12 feet deep. The Lunzu rises about Bangwe and the adjacent hills, some eight miles to the east of Blantyre, and empties itself into the river Shire', south of the African Lakes Company's trading station at Matope. We crossed to the right bank of the Lunzu at 6 p.m., and camped on the rising ground close by. The next morning we started at 7 a.m., and in the evening reached the river Mnamazi. Here we found the camp of the Portuguese traveller, Lieut. Cardozo, still standing. This our men were glad to make use of. During the day we crossed several rivers and streams, of which the Chipandi is the chief. This river, which is somewhat larger than the Lunzu, rises on the west side of Mount Kiladzulu, and rushes west between rocky defiles into the Shire, a short distance south of Matope. Several long pieces of bog and marsh had to be crossed during the day. The marshy surface was hid by a coarse grass, about 18 inches high, which grows in the water, but the paths were only too distinguishable by the long line of black mud and slime. On leaving the Mnamazi the next morning, we passed over gently undulating ground covered with long grass, from five to eight or more feet high, which renders travelling very wnpleasant, both on account of the heavy dew with which the grass is surcharged ?during the early morning, and also from the stifling atmosphere during the greater heat of the day. We crossed a number of marshes and small rivers on the way, of which the Likangala is the principal. This rises in some hills on the left bank of the Shire, passes along the foot of Zomba, and enters Lake Shirwa. It is the largest river between Blantyre and Zomba, having a bed 50 feet or more wide. It rises and falls in the wet season after the manner of the Lunzu and other rivers. At 2 p.m. we reached the site of the British Consulate, which stands on the right bank of the river Mlunguzi. The Consulate is being built by Messrs. Buchanan Bros. on one of the spurs which jut out from the south side of Mount Zomba. The Mlunguzi river, which rises on the top of Zomba, and separates the Consular estate from that of Messrs. Buchanan, rushes down over rocks and boulders, forming pretty cascadesn and waterfalls with its bright sparkling waters, and thence goes on to join the Likangala.
Mount Zomba, which is nearly 5000 feet above sea-level, has extensive spurs from 300 to 600 feet high jutting out from its sides. These are all fertile, well watered, and apparently very healthy. They are but sparsely inhabited at present, but this is probably owing to the contintial feuds the natives have amongst them? selves, and the extensive raids which have of late years been made by the Mangoni tribe. I think the spurs round Zomba are more healthy than Blantyre or any district for a great distance, The district about the south *of Zomba proves to be very fertile, by the fine crop of coffee which Messrs. Buchanan have on their plantations this year. Sugar-eane grows equally well. Tea, cocoa, cinchona, arrowroot, and other products are being tried, and they promise to do well.
Whilst detained at Zomba I made the ascent of the mountain twice, and ascertained its height by boiling-point thermometer. The top of the mountain is an undulating flat, covered with grass about two feet high, and having here and there small patches of thick forest. The most interesting plants, to me, were heaths, ferns, and ground-orchids. Of the ferns, some of which are arboreal, and orchids, there are several varieties.
On Monday, May 17th, shortly after noon, we started for the village of Kumjali, where Malemya, a chief of considerable influence, resides, on the spurs at the north- east of Mount Zomba. We reached our destination about 7.30 p.m. Near to Malemya's is a small missionary station, an offshoot of the Scotch Church Mission at Blantyre, under the charge of a native teacher named " Bismarck." This man kindly invited us into his house while we were waiting for the caravan to come up, and we remained talking for about au hour, during which he showed himself to be a very intelligent man, as also on the following day, by his manner and conversation with the chief Malemya, which took place in our presence.
As soon as we reached Malemya's the chief invited us to camp in the inclosure at the back of his house. He was very noisy, being somewhat under the effects of native beer; still he wished to make us as comfortable as possible. He has a number of villages scattered about on the eastern spurs of Mounts Zomba and Malosa, from which one may look over the whole of Lake Shirwa and the north- west side of the Milanji mountains. The next morning the chief was sober, and came early to pay his respects to the Consul; he then made himself very agreeable, and through his influence the men were able to get plenty of food. He also promised to do all in his power to help the caravan on.
On the 19th we started again, Malemya having given some men to carry some extra loads belonging to the Consul. These men were ordered to take us on to the river Shire and then return. Our path took us over the undulating spurs of the east side of Malosa Hill. We reached Machinjila's village after an hour and a half's walk, and stayed there to lunch. In the distance to the north were the districts under the two chiefs Che Mchamba and Che Kawinga, the former at the foot of Mount Chikala on the south side, and Kawinga on the spurs extending from the north side of the same. The Consul was very desirous of visiting these chiefs,. but as there had lately been fighting between the people at Machinjila's and those of Che Mchamba the men from Malemya would not go. From Machinjila's we went on over the same kind of undulating ground till we reached the villages of Mpasu, a relation of Malemya's. Here we found plenty of food, flour, potatoes, bananas, fowls, with other common products of the country.
We went on next day to the villages of Manguiu, on Kumbanga Hill. The country is of the same undulating character as that hitherto traversed. Several rivers and streams were crossed on the way, of which the most important were the Lafani, Nyambanyisa, Likweni, and the Mbelezi. There are no people between Mpasu's and Mangulu's, the people who formerly inhabited the country having been removed by the Mangoni. Mangulu's village is built in a very peculiar position. The north-east end of Kumbanga Hill is covered with huge boulders and rocks, having spaces between them which are utilised by the natives as sites for their houses; seldom more than five or six houses can be seen from one point of view, though there are a good number, In the evening the chief came to the Consul's tent, and we had a long talk together.
In the morning we desired to start early for the river Shire, but the men from Malemya's refused to go any farther, saying that Malemya had told them not to go any farther than Mangulu's village. This we knew was contrary to what Malemya had told us, and as they persisted in saying that they would not go on, they were told that they would be paid, according to their agreement, on the bank of the river Shire, and not before. They, however, refused to go on, and other men had to be hired from Mangulu.
We managed to get away at 8 a.m. The road lay over rough barren ground for some six miles, till we again approached somewhat near the Likweni river. Onward from this place the ground was level, and covered with long grass. The country abounds with game?elephants, buffaloes, and various kinds of antelopes. These were known to be in the district by the many tracks and marks about; we did not see any, however, it being about the time such animals go to water, which was several miles to the south-west. At 5 p.m. we reached a small lake near a clump of trees, and camped for the night.
The country is very flat on to the banks of the Shire. Here we met with some large euphorbias, and also the big awkward-looking baobab (Adansonia). Trees are in patches, with intervals of grass. In other places there are trees very much like elms in appearance standing scattered about. They grow from 60 to 70 feet high, with good straight trunks from one to two feet in diameter, and would make good timber for building purposes.
On Saturday, May 22nd, we reached the river Shire about noon. There is a long stretch of low-lying ground all along the left bank some 1 1/4 mile wide. This in the close vicinity of the river must make the country unhealthy at all times of the year. The chief of the place was Che Liwonde. At Mangulu's village we were told that Liwonde had died a few days previously, but was not yet buried. The custom here is to keep the dead for some days after death, the idea being that if the bodies are kept till they are well advanced in decomposition, the so-called wizards are not so likely to dig them up and eat them. There is a strong belief amongst these people that wizards eat the dead as opportunity occurs, and by that means get a supernatural power over their fellow-creatures. As we arrived at the river we heard the beating of drums and people singing. Soon afterwards three canoes came in sight filled with people. The home of Liwonde was on an island in the river, and men were bringing his body thence, in order to bury it on the mainland. On landing, a sort of procession was formed, two or three men in front carrying beer and flour, then the body, which had been bound up in a kind of mat made from the stalks of the long matete grass, and suspended horizontally to a pole, was brought on by two men. After these came a number of men and w^men. bearing beer and other things, some had small drums and rattles, which they were beating and shaking, and others were singing the funeral dirge. The stench arising from the body as it was carried past showed that we had not been wrongly informed as to the time the natives keep their dead before burial.
Soon after we appeared on the left bank of the Shire*, people living on the right bank saw us and came over in their canoes. Among them was Litete, the head-man of the village, with whom an arrangement was made to take us over. This he did for eight yards of blue calico and four yards of white. We were quickly ferried across, and soon had our tents pitched in the inclosure of one of the houses of the head-man. There is a marked difference between the right and left banks of the river. The left is quite uninhabited, and very unhealthy. The right bank is fairly healthy, well-peopled and very fertile-large quantities of good rice are grown, and an abundance of Indian corn, millet of three kinds, a variety of beans, and other leguminous plants ; pumpkins, potatoes, and cassavaare also cultivated. Most of the natives have patches of tobacco, and some indulge in Indian hemp. Fowls are abundant and cheap; but goats and sheep scarce. Only bush-buck and other small antelopes are found in the vicinity. The people in all these districts are Nyassas and Yaos (Ajawas). Between this place and Livingstonia many of the natives are in the habit of going down to Quillimane, or to the more northern coast towns of Kilwa and Lindi, so that several can speak Swahili, and understand coast customs.
From Litete's we went on to Che Mlelemba's village, on the way crossing the rivers Mnangona and Mkasi. The chief here has been to the coast several times to barter his goods and bring up coast stuft*. Our visit gave him an opportunity of showing ofT his knowledge of the coast language and customs, which he did not fail to make use of. He was very anxious that I should come and live with him at his new village, which he is building in a group of hills some ten miles away to the west. The country here is very fertile, immense fields of millet are grown, and Indian corn is planted all the year round.
The next day we went on to Mwasama's, passing through Che Pita's district at midday. During the day we passed several large villages belonging to the Nyassa tribe. Mponda, who is the head chief or Sultan of all these districts on the right bank of the Shire*, has made some terms of friendship with Chikusi, the Mangoni king, and now his people live in peace and safety. The path lay through the same fertile kind of country all the next day. In the afternoon we crossed the Nasenga river and camped in the forest some distance further on. Thence a messenger was sent on to the Sultan Mponda, to obtain his permission to visit him. Near the spot where we camped there had lately stood a large village, but the chief of it, refusing to obey some command of Mponda's, was attacked by his order, killed, his village destroyed, and his people scattered. The messenger returned the next morning with favourable answers, and we moved on. We could not but notice the barren appear? ance of the flat district in which Mponda lives. The soil consists chiefly of dry- washed sand, which has probably been drifted up at some time. It seems that large portions of the country, forming the east side of the promontory, were formerly covered with water, the hills and rocks then forming little islands. Since then, drift sand, or sand and mud, has filled the spaces between the hills. This is indi- cated both by the surface of the flats and also by breaks in the ground, which shows that it is simply made up ground. When there is simply sand on the surface little else but grass will grow ; but with a mixture of sand and mud, the ground is very fertile.
The next morning we went on to Mponda's. On reaching the town we were conducted to one of the chiefs houses, where we remained for about a quarter of an hour, and then proceeded to the houses which he had placed at our disposal. About two hours afterwards Mponda came, bringing a fine goat and two baskets of rice as a present. The Sultan remained talking for about two hours, and then retired with the present the Consul had given him. The present Mponda is a young man who has only lately succeeded to the sultanship. The custom is that when a sultan or chief dies, his sons cannot inherit, but the sultan's brother or brother's sons. The present Mponda is a younger brother of the late sultan. A great difficulty against a son inheriting is the custom that on the death of a sultan or chief, all his wives and women become the property of the person succeeding.
There is now a general feeling among the sons of great chiefs in these territories that they ought to succeed to the position and property of their fathers. The two sons of the late Mponda, who live in the great town of their father, are much dis- contented with their position, and are intriguing to turn out the present Mponda. Also at the great chief Makanjila's, on the south-east shore of Lake Nyassa, the same feeling is shown. The son of Makanjila is at war with his father, because the latter will not consent to make him his heir. All the chief young men are well acquainted with the coast towards Zanzibar, and have become Mahommedans. They are surrounded by a number of Warima, or Coast-men, who exert great influence over them. It is probably owing to the increased knowledge they have gained by their journeys to the coast, and also the influence of the coast-men who live with them, that these young chiefs are desirous of altering the present customs of their country.
On the evening of the day of our arrival at Mponda's, the African Lakes Company's steamer llala came in, bringing down from the north end of Nyassa Mr. Nicoll and Mr. Stephenson, employes of the company. They, with Mr. Morrison, who is in charge of the steamer, came ashore, and we spent a pleasant evening together. In the morning they were off again on their way to Matope, the com? pany's station at the upper end of the Falls on the river Shire.
We remained at Mponda's the following day, and on the next, May 29th, resumed our journey. Our way led through the large town where the former Mponda had lived. Here we were met by his two sons, who were very anxious that we should stay the night with them, but time would not allow us to do so. The grave of the late Mponda is built just in front of the house where he resided. It is the largest building of the kind I have seen in all fiast Africa. Its large size is chiefly owing to coast influence?but the style and custom are purely native. The building is about 40 feet long by 30 wide, with a verandah 5 feet wide all round. The roof, the ridge of which is some 25 feet from the ground, is thatched with grass, the thatch being covered all over with white calico from the ridge to the eaves. The building stands nearly east and west, with the door at the east end. The roof inside is of bamboo, and hung with numberless pendants of white calico, about 1 foot long and 1 inch broad. The position of the grave shows the coast influence exercised at the burial. The grave was dug nearly north and south, looking towards Mecca, and when the body was buried, it was placed with its head towards the north. I was told that the burial was performed with the customary Mahommedan rites. Over the grave a tomb has been erected on a raised platform or dais, which is ascended by two steps. The tomb is formed by a turreted wall about four feet high, which surrounds the grave. The square enclosed by this wall is left open at the top, and inside is a mound raised like that of an ordinary grave. On either side of the tomb outside there is a large square box, said to contain rupees, the offerings of people who have come to pay their respects to the dead. The wall of the tomb facing the door is inlaid with round earthenware plates, basins, looking-glasses, a copper plate, and other things of European make, and hung with numerous strings of beads, the offerings of friends and visitors. In front of this wall a rail is put up, about six feet from the ground, from which are suspended a number of good Muscat cloths, and some coloured cloths of European manufacture. These form a screen to the tomb, and are always kept down except when people come to visit the grave. The door is always kept locked, and a man is appointed, whose sole duty is to keep charge of the place. After a small present had been made to the two sons of the late Mponda we moved on, and passing the villages of Kumlomba on the way, reached Malunga's in the evening. The country passed over was low and sandy, with numerous patches covered with salt. These patches are covered with water during the wet season, and, as the water is evaporated, the salt deposit is left. We saw several parties of women engaged in gathering up the salt, which they mix with water, and strain ; it is then evaporated by boiling, after which it is ready for the market. A large quantity of salt is.thus collected about Mponda's district, and it finds a ready market with the Yaos to the south, and among the Mangoni to the west. At Malunga's we were told that hippopotami were plentiful; they must have been very shy, for we only saw one at a distance. In an endeavour to shoot it we were not successful. We had heard much talk about these animals in the river Shire. They must be few in number, however, for we did not see more than half a dozen all the way up the Shire, and along the shores of the lake.
From Malunga's we went on the next day past the villages of Ngumbi, Makopola, and Chipoka, to the village of Abdulla. We camped outside the village, at which the chief! was rather surprised, the general practice being for travellers to camp inside. Abdulla's village is strongly situated on a neck of land on the lake coast, surrounded ^by hills. At the foot of one of these hills is a little lake of salt water, in which there is a variety of fish.
From Abdulla's we made a long journey, and at night reached the broken-down village of Pampamba, of which the chief is named Kizura. The country we passed through varies considerably; some of it is most fertile, while other parts are simply clean sand, and useless for gardens. In other places there are large swamps, shut off from the lake by low banks, upon which some of the natives have built their small villages. The chief of these are Mlela and Walo. Beyond these villages we passed over the Ngnzi Hills, and came to a deserted village. There we had to retrace our steps for a short distance, till we entered a broken track, which took us sometimes along the shore, sometimes over rugged rocks, and ultimately brought us to Kizura's village, at which we arrived about 6.30 p.m. This is a most desolate, broken-down, and unhealthy place, and v/e were glad to be off again the next morning. On leaving, we went for some distance along a scrubby forest, and then came upon the shore of the beautiful bay of Mazinzi, where we stopped for break- fast. At 11.30 we reached another beautiful bay, called Lusumbwe. This bay is about half a mile in width, and a mile in length. The sides of the bay are formed by the hills Sanu and Dimwe on the right, and Punzi and Tumbwe on the left. These two rows of hills are parallel to each other, and a strip of low bank at right angles to these forms the head of the bay. There is a good-sized village just over this bank, the inhabitants of which pass a good deal of their time in catching fish in the bay, where they are plentiful and in great variety. A large seine or net is taken to the mouth of the bay in canoes, where it is dropped into the water, and stretched from side to side. Hopes are attached to each end of the net, and the men with these draw the net to the head of the bay, and land the fish. We stayed at this place for about two hours, and left at 2 p.m., thinking we had ample time to reach Livingstonia before dark. We had to cross over a high pass in the Kunguni Hills, and night came on before we were at the foot on the other side, so when we arrived at the gardens we had to camp, and go on the next morning. We reached Living? stonia in less than an hour's march from the last camping place, on June 2nd.
The mission station of Livingstonia is built on the shores of a little bay at the foot of the Kunguni Hills. An elevated bank of shingle and sand is thrown up all along the shore of the bay, and inside this bank is a low flat, extending up to the hill-side. Many parts of this flat are lower than the lake level, and con? sequently very damp and unhealthy. In the rains all this must be an extensive swamp, as is shown by the elevated roadway which the missionaries have had to make in order to get over it at that season of the year. At first sigbt the place has the appearance of being unhealthy and unsuited as a mission station, and for the first two days of the time we were obliged to stay here the excessive humidity of the place made both the Consul and myself quite ill, and incapable of doing any? thing. The missionaries have lately retired from the place on account of its un- healthiness and gone to Bandawe, a place more north on the west side of the lake. A number of good houses have been built here, but they are now rapidly falling into decay. At present a young native named Albert has charge of the scholastic and religious work of the station. Teaching in reading, writing, and arithmetic is carried on every morning for about two hours, and on Sundays a religious service is conducted by the schoolmaster Albert, at which, it is said, all the people of the place attend. The station itself is in charge of a man named Mlolo, who acts as chief of the district. The people living at or near the station are Nyassas andYaos. The Yaos were brought here by the missionaries, and the Nyassas have come to live near the station, feeling that they get some kind of protection by living near the Europeans. They still retain their old superstitious customs. Only a short time ago a woman accused two men of being wizards, stating that she had seen them take the body of a child, who had lately died, into a house, and that there they had eaten it. On the charge being made the men protested their innocence, but to no avail; they had to submit to the ordeal of mwavi-drinking. The mwavi is a mixture made from certain plants, which varies in its action, probably from the manner in which it is prepared. If the person who is made to drink it is sick and recovers, it is taken as a proof that he is innocent, but if he dies he must have been guiity according to native ideas. The men above mentioned were made to drink the mwavi, and both died. Some short time afterwards the Ilala steamer of the African Lakes Company came down and anchored off the station. On hearing of the affair the Europeans on board protested against the use of mwavi, and after some persuasion induced the people to dig open the grave to see whether the body was really buried or not. They did this, feeling sure that the body bad not been eaten, and hoping thereby to convince the natives that the use of mwavi was entirely wrong, and not a test in any way of a person's guilt or innocence. The grave was dug open, and at a depth of 12 feet the child's body was there found. Many of the people were astonished, and admitted that in this case the mwavi had failed. But it did not convince the people that though the mwavi had failed in this case that it was a wrong thing to use, or that it would fail in other cases. The old chief Mlolo told me that though the Yaos and those connected with the mission were obliged to give up such customs, still the Nyassas who lived near would not think of doing so. It is hardly to be expected that natives will give up such customs quickly. If the practice was simply for the purpose of determining the guilt or innocence of a person, then it might easily be given up; but as it is one of the safest and most powerful means the natives have of removing obnoxious persons, it is not to be expected that it will be quickly abolished.
On June 4th we left Livingstonia at 4 p.m-, and proceeded south over a spur of the Kunguni Hills along the west shore of the promontory. At 5.30 we reached the village of Mpamba, and camped for the night. The village consists of a string of huts built along the coast-line at the foot of; the hill. Nearly all the people were away in their gardens driving away the monkeys which live in the hills. The damage they do to the garden crops is very great, and this the natives here feel all the more because they have only the rocky sides of the hill where they can grow anything.
The next morning we went on past the villages of Mpangu, Nyamkumba, Marungano, Mpande, and the border village of Mbapi at 2 p.m. At Marungano's we found a blacksmith busy forging hatchets. These are made from iron picked up in the swamps and bogs of the district. The iron was apparently of a poor quality, being very sealy. There was one hatchet which the smith seemed to value, the iron of which came from the hills on the west side of the lake. The smith's anvil was a great stone, for a sledge-hammer he used a large stone, and for finishing his work he has small hammers, probably of his own make. With these rough tools he turns out hatchets, axes, arrow and spear heads, hoes, and other implements of such good quality and finish, that a European smith would hardly believe that the work was accomplished with such tools. Most of the country from Marungano's is very fertile, covered with fine crops of Indian corn and millet. Between Mpande's and Mbapi's we crossed the dry bed of the river Lusangadzi. This is a considerable river in the wet season, its bed being some 30 yards wide with banks 12 feet high. The marks on the banks show that the river is full during the rains. The strata of mud and sand seen in the banks show that all the adjacent flat country has been gradually made up, or rather that it was formerly part of the bed of the lake from which the waters have now receded, Mbapi's village is extensive, and surrounded by a high fence of trees. The people all along the shores of the lake in these districts are chiefly Nyassas. Whilst walking about the village of Mbapi, I saw a little hand-loom for making cloth from cotton yarn. The cloth produced was in pieces about 7 feet by 6, and very strong, very much like stout canvas, bufc softer. At Mbapi's we laid in a supply of food, and proceeded the next morning to cross the plain which separates this district from that held by the Mangoni. It is nearly all a continuous long flat, large portions of which are swamped during the wet season. We camped near a little stream of water, and next morning went on to the village of Mpulusa. This is the frontier village of the Mangoni in this direction, and is held by a sub-chief named Chakuawa. On our way from Mbapi's we passed several sites where villages had once stood. We learnt that the late Mponda, several years ago, had attacked and destroyed these villages. He was driven out of his own country on the west side of Nyassa by the Mangoni, and he in his turn attacked the Nyassa villages at the south-west end of the lake. Taking the people thus captured with him, he went and established the villages now ruled over by the present Mponda. About this forest and flat there were the marks of plenty of large game, but we did not see any, owing to the size of the caravan, and probably also to the long grass with wThich the country was covered. We breakfasted at Chakuawa's village under a large Mtondo tree, the shade of which covers the baraza, or gossip-place of the village. From Chakuawa's we went on to Mbeu's, where we saw some more cloth being made, thence to the river Bvvanji, where, after crossing, we camped on the left bank. The whole of the country is very fertile, corn is grown in abundance, and also large quantities of the cotton plant. The village of Mtenganjila is opposite, on the right bank, and a little in advance of where we camped are the villages of Mafua. The inhabitants are Nyassas and Yaos, ruled over by Mangoni head-men.
On starting the next morning we passed a nupiber of villages with extensive gardens, and in two hours reached the village of Chifisi Kwipa, the chief head-man of the villages in this part of Chikusi's country. We stayed here to breakfast, and were informed by Chifisi that wTe must not go alone to Chikusi's; that he would undertake to guide us there, and arrange the meetings, as that was part of his duty* At 10.30 a.m. we resumed the march ; Chifisi, who was accompanied by some of his men, leading the way. During the day we crossed and recrossed the Tuta, a small stream which runs into the Bwanji. On our way we passed over a rather steep hill. On the top we found large heaps of stones, which reminded me of similar heaps I had seen on the road from Zanzibar to Unyamwezi. On inquiry I found they had been raised in a similar manner. Probably the spot is regarded with some idea of sanctity, for any one passing this way on business throws a stone on the heap to secure success to his undertaking. At the foot of the hill we crossed the Tuta again, and camped on its left bank. Here there are no villages, but the country has the appearance of being very fertile. The next morning we ascended the hilly district of Nyandi, with the rocks Ondwe on the right, and Funi on the left. At 9 a.m. we reached the banks of the Liveleze. This river rises, one day's journey to the south, out of a small lake near the villages of Banda, of which Kamkodo is the head-man. After resting on the Liveleze we moved on to the village of Malimba, situated at the foot of the high hill Chirobwe.
From this place we sent two men to acquaint the king of our approach to his town, and to ask his permission to visit him. They returned with the message that we were to move on the next morning, and that the king's nephew Ziengea would meet and take us to the king.
|From Drop Box|
The next day we ascended the hill Kamtanda at the south of Chirobwe. On descending a little on the other side we came to a small stream which runs south and enters the Liveleze. Here we breakfasted, and then ascended to the top of the ridge, which opens out into an extensive plateau. We stopped here to make some observations, and towards evening reached Geagea's village, where we camped for the night. There are but few villages in this part of Chikusi's country, and the land is very poor. When we were about to start the next morning, two messengers came from Ziengea, saying that we were to go on to Mavunji's village, and await him tbere. This we did, and about 11.0 a.m. Ziengea came up, and we had to go with him to his village of Maiwe. On our way we crossed the river Lifobwe, which rises in the Deza mountains and empties itself into the Zambeze. We remained at Maiwe for two days waiting for a message from the king. He ultimately sent word that we were to move on to his chief town Luisini, where we stayed two days more waiting for the king's arrival. Finally we had to move on to Kujipori village to meet him.
The next morning we started again, our course lying along the left bank of the Msunguzi. Leaving the hill Mang'ani on our right we went on for 1 1/2 hours, and then crossed the streams Chigaga and Chikubwe in close succession. About a mile further on we arrived near the village of Kujipori. Messengers were then sent to the king to announce our arrival, and after waiting for an hour he came out to receive us. A seat was prepared for him on some bales of cloth, to which he was conducted when he arrived. The Consul and I then went out of the tent to him. He was very cordial in his manner, and expressed himself as pleased that we had come to see him. Afterwards when the camp was arranged, the men of our caravan were drawn up in line, and three volleys were fired as a mark of respect to the king. This seemed to please him much. After some conversation, the king moved to go away; the natives, of whom there were some 200 or 300 sitting about, at once set up a low bleating sound, as a mark of respect to him.
|An artist impression of another meeting between Chikusi and anothe European, W Montagu Kerr in 1883. He is seated on the ground before Chikusi and his advisers and subjects.|
The king Chikusi is of middle height, but of extraordinary stoutness, so much so that he can only walk for a short distance at a time, and that very slowly. Except this obesity, there is but little to distinguish him from any of his subjects. His dress is no better, and not so good as that of some of his head-men.
|From Drop Box|
The whole of Chikusi's home district is a large plateau, which begins at the ridge of the hills of which Chirobwe forms an elevated part, and extends away towards the west far beyond the hill ranges of Samang'ombe and Kandunda. Over all this district there is scarcely a tree to be seen, the fuel commonly used by the people being corn stalks and ox-dung. The land near the east is very poor, but as one proceeds towards the west it greatly improves in appearance, and all the country around Luisini and Kujipori is very fertile and extensively cultivated. There are a number of small streams traversing the whole country. These have their sources in the hill ranges dotted all over the plateau. These keep the land somewhat damp, and then the plateau being at an elevation of nearly 5000 feet, the land does not become so scorched and dried up here as in the plains below. We found it very cold on the plateau; the minimum thermometer one night was as low as 37? F. This may not seem much to Europeans, but by Africans and travellers in Africa so low a temperature is felt very much. From a sanitary point of view, I think the plateau in many places is very healthy, and several suitable spots could easily be selected for European residences, but it loses much by its want of good scenery and by its bleak and treeless appearance. Food is generally cheap and plentiful, fowls being bought at the rate of six for two yards of calico, value lld. The people, most of whom have been taken prisoners from the various Nyassa and Yao tribes, are in many respects different and superior to the people of the same tribes living in the plains. These latter are generally intrusive, boisterous, and often without any show of respect, whilst the people who have been brought up under the Mangoni rule are most respectful and quiet. When they come with their articles for sale, they first sit some 15 or 20 yards away; on being invited to approach, they do so. There are but few of the true Mangoni stock, the bulk of the people called Mangoni being men who have been taken in war, and then trained up to the Mangoni customs. There are probably more true Mangoni women than men. They are nearly all the wives of the king. They are easily distinguished from other women by their light colour, and by being generally taller and stouter than the ordinary women. The common dress of the women is a loin cloth. Some may be seen with another cloth in addition to this, with which they wrap themselves up. Others have neither the one nor the other, but simply fasten a string round the waist, to which in front they attach a piece of cloth about two inches wide : this is drawn tightly between the legs, and the end fastened behind to the string round the waist. They are very fond of bead ornaments, which consist of necklaces, bangles, earrings or plugs, snuff-boxes, and other articles. The women also wear a great variety of brass bangles.
|From Drop Box|
With the exception of the chiefs and head- men the dress of the men is very meagre, like that of most African tribes, consisting as it does of a loin cloth or piece of skin as a substitute; in addition the Mangoni wear a private covering peculiar to all the Zulu tribes.
The arms used are chiefly clubs and spears, in addition to which they all carry the large oval-shaped shield.Bows and arrows may sometimes be seen. Unlike the Masai it is said they do not throw the club, but on coming to close quarters, they strike their opponents' legs, and when they have brought them down, then spear them. The king has a few guns, but it appears they are never used in the raids upon the neighbouring tribes, but for elephant hunting, or occasionally when parties are sent on duty to a neighbouring territory, in which case a gun or two is taken, probably for the purpose of firing a friendly salute on arrival. King Chikusi seems to have complete control over all his country, and there is the greatest respect shown by the ordinary people both to him and his head-men. This is owing probably to his despotic and tyrannical rule, for he has the credit of removing at once any person who is unfortu- nate enough to make himself obnoxious to him. It was said that only a short time ago the head-man of Luisini village, being on a visit to the king on business, he requested permission, as night drew on, to retire, and at this the king took great offence, and ordered him to be taken out and speared, which was done. The houses of the Mangoni, excepting those of the king at Luisini and Kujipori, are most miserable buildings. They are like the Nyassa round huts, but much smaller, and almost all in a dilapidated state. This undoubtedly is owing to the fact that there is no wood in the neighbourhood. The king's houses at Luisini, which are the best we saw in Angoni-land, are large, being some 30 feet in diameter, with bell-shaped tops. Each wife at Luisini has an inclosure to herself, in which is included the royal hut, with two or three smaller ones, in which the lady's attendants live, and space sufficient to conduct the general household work of grinding corn and brewing beer being carried on. All these are kept very clean, and well swept, which is quite in contrast to the general appearance of the other villages.
|From Some of the Earliest Pictures Of The Ngoni|
We remained at Kujipori till the 19th June, the king being unwilling that we should leave before. On our departure we were given an escort of ten men, and an official was sent in charge. They accompanied us to Mpimbi on the river Shire, where the Angoni territory in that direction terminates.
We started about 10.40 a.m., and passing under Mpulu hill, reached the village of Kamtawila on the right bank of the Lifobwe at 2.20. We stayed here to lunch, and then crossing the Lifobwe reached the village of Kasungwe and camped at 5.20.
On June 20th we left Kasungwe's and reached the villages of Goma at 11.45. On our way we crossed several streams of good water all making their way to the Lifobwe. From Goma's the path lies between the hill Mbidzi to the north, and some spurs of the Lipepeta range on the south. On issuing from the pass we traversed some undulating ground and descended into the district of Kamkodo. Thence we went on to the Lisipi, and camped on its right bank. This river rises on Kitungwe hill. The next morning we descended into the Ncheu district, head-man Kadole. After a rest we went on to Bangala village, where Lunduka is chief. At 4.50 p.m. we crossed the Msipi, which rises on Mount Ncheu, and marched on to the villages of Sakapi, in the district of the Msipi. The whole of the country between the Lifobwe and the villages of Ziwandea is poor, the soil is dry and little cultivated.
On the 22nd June, at 8.0 a.m., we crossed the Luvelevi river, which has its source in the Mvai Hills, in the district of Kama, head-man Njala. At 5.40 we reached the stream Kapeni, which flows into the Luvelevi; this we crossed and camped on the right bank. The journey was for the last two days over gently undulating ground, except at one place, where there is a rapid descent from the central plateau to this lower one. The next day we made a short journey over a fairly level country, and reached the village of Ziwandea. This is a collection of broken-down villages on both banks of the dry bed of the Mulunguzi. During the rains its water flows into the Luvelevi. Here the land is very good, and large crops are raised. Judging from the present young Indian corn, it is possible that the natives have fresh corn all the year round. Eice is grown plentifully here, and sold at Matope to the Europeans on board the steamers which call there. The next day we had a very rough walk thvough long coarse grass, which renders travelling very tedious, when beaten down over the path. At noon we crossed the dry bed of the Nazipili river. It had cut its way through a deep stratum of white limestone, which, by report, lies under the soil of all the country about Mpimbi. At 1.0 p.m. wTe reached the villages of chief Kumtali on the right bank of the Luvelevi. After stopping to lunch, we moved on to the village of the head-man Nyozera. Next day we reached Mpimbi, on the river Shire, about 11.0 a.m. After a little delay we bade farewell to the Angoni escort, and were taken over to the left bank by Mpimbi's people. We then moved on and camped in the forest. The next morning we started early and reached the top of Che Mlumbi's hill at 12.15. We rested in his village to lunch, and in the afternoon w^ent on to Zomba, where we arrived at 5.30, and pitched om tents in the Consulate grounds.
On Monday we started for Blantyre, arriving there on Wednesday, July 1st.