Tuesday, August 10, 2010



  • Tuesday, August 10, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
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    The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.37 (Jan - June., 1907 pp 119-132

    1. Arts. 2. Burial Customs. 3. Customs and Dances. 4. History. 5. Language. 6. Mode of Subsistence. 7. Musical Instruments. 8. Ornaments and Disfigurations. 9. Religion and Superstitions. 10. Various and Miscellaneous.

    Brass Anklets and Bracelets.-These are made from empty cartridge-cases, brass wire, etc. The crucibles, made of clay, are filled with cartridge-cases, which are heated in a charcoal fire, blown by means of bellows made of goat skin flayed in the form of a bag and attached to a wooden mouthpiece at one end, and to a stick at the other, to pull it open and shut. The crucible is held by a pair of long iron pincers. A mould is made by holding a stick upright and piling white powdery sand round it next to the stick, and supporting this outside with wet sand. The stick is then withdrawn, and the metal, when molten, poured into its place. This makes a stick of mnetal when cool, which is then hammered round to form the anklet or bracelet.

    Anklets.-Made of the seed of wild banana (sarakoto). Holes are bored in the black seeds with a red-hot nail, and strung on string. Used to make a rattling sound in dancing.

    Chipini.--Made of solder. Originally came from Zanzibar and bartered in this country in the ivory trade, etc., which used to be carried on. Now they are made in this country.

    Bark Cloth-Chiondo (Chinyanja).-Made of mtawa, kachiri, bwazi, and other trees. A circle is cut round the tree at the top and another at the bottom of the piece of bark to be removed. The circles are then connected with a vertical cut A piece of string or luzi is tied round in the upper circle, and worked round and down under the bark until the bottom circle is reached, when the whole piece comes off. The outer bark is stripped off, leaving the inner bast; this is hammered with a piece of wood shaped like an axe, and then ruibbed with oil or reinains of powdered ntesa nut till soft.

    Mat-making (as made by Chapeta).-Mabango (reeds), sometimes called spear- grass (chiyaolitete), gathered green, are split into about six strips, leaving about eight inches of reed unsplit at the bottom. This unsplit end is afterwards chopped off, but is left at first, so that the different strips of the same reed will join where they were originally cut, when they are sewn together afterwards. The reeds are then put in the sun for from three to five days, after which they are soaked in water for one night to make them soft. The strips are now sewn, or rather threaded, together side by side with chinywe, a joint or thick part of the reed being chosen to thread through. The eight inches of butt is then chopped off.

    Needle.-The needle (nsingano) to sew the mats, described above, is a curved piece of iron, generally about eight inches long, pointed at one end, with a hole in the other, through which the string is threaded.

    Preparations of Salt from Grass.-Certain kinds of tall grass are gathered, dried, and burnt. The ashes are collected and put in an earthenware vessel, with a small hole in the bottom. They are well pressed down and the pot placed on the top of another empty one. Water is put in the first pot and filters through to the second, dissolving the salt. This salt water is either boiled down to a thick fluid or used as it is to cook food in.

    Salt is made from the ashes of gumbwa (papyrus), dried and burnt, also from a grass called chesa. There is extensive manuiacture of a very impure salt in this way west of Kambwire's, near Loangwa, at Chichere, where the ground and the water is full of gypsum and salt, and presumably the grass takes it up from the earth. A still greater amount is made south-east of Bangweolo. In Chapeta villages baked clay basins, for making salt in, are seen in the earth.

    Preparation of Castor Oil.-The bean (nsatsi) is picked from the bush (msatsi) before it is dead. The inside bean is taken out and dried in the sun, then fried on a tin over the fire, pounded and put in a pot with water, and simmered. The oil floats to the top and is skimmed off.

    Preparation of Ground Nut Oil.-This is prepared in the same way, but can also be made by pounding alone.


    When a person dies he is wrapped up in calico and carried to the grave. The sister, daughter, or son of the deceased takes a basket of flour and proceeds in front of the procession, scattering it at the cross roads or any path coming into or leaving the one taken. This makes the body glad and therefore lighter, so that they get to the grave sooner. Then the grave is dug. If a man cuts or hurts himself while doing this, it is said that the spirit (mzimu) of the deceased is angry with him. After interring the body and filling in the grave, flour and water are put into a pot, and, sitting round, the brother or father of the deceased, at the head of the grave, says to the spirit, " Now you are gone we will not see you again. You must forgive anyone that has done you harm in the village. You have left so many wives, sons, daughters, brothers, etc.; your spirit must take care of them and keep the evil spirits away." The pot is then broken over the head of the grave, and the party returns to the village. On the way back, if they pass any water they all wash.

    On returning to the village all the mourners sleep outside the deceased's house for several days; then, after shaving their heads, they depart, leaving only the family. The roof is then lifted bodily off the hut and put on the ground, the walls are taken down and piled round the roof and the family live there till the mourning is finished. Sometimes only the mud walls of the verandah are knocked down, to show that it is not occupied, and the hut allowed to stand. After perhaps three years, it is burnt.

    When the mourning is over, all the people again assemble, and a pot of beer is broken over the roof of the hut as it lies on the ground. Then the mourners are shaved and the ceremonies are over. The whole body is shaved. Perhaps four or five days after the mourning is finished the wives of the deceased are again married. The brother generally takes his deceased brother's wives or arranges for their marriages. If he does not want them himself, he gives them the knife or spear. (See MARRIAGE CUSTOMS)

    On the death of a chief, the new chief (even if he be the son) generally takes the late chief's wives, excepting, of course, his own mother. The Ayao and Atonga bury the body with the head to the west and feet to the east, with the eyes turned to the north-west so as to see the new moon on the first day. The Achewa bury north and south; head to north, eyes turned south-west.


    Chinamwali Dance.-This is held by most tribes on the first appearance of the menses. Girls are generally married previouslvy to this. When this takes place girls are called namwali; before that a girl is a mwana, child.

    The Ayao call the first menses chiputu, and a dance called Unyago is then held, lasting perhaps ten days. The Atonga call it Mwali. The Manganja, Achewa and Achapeta call the dance Chinamwali, and during its course the elder women give homely advice to the anamwali.

    The Achewa hold Zinyas (picture dances) in the evenings during the Chinamwali. These are a kind of mumming.

    The Angoni husband does not sleep with any other woman or any of his other wives while one of them is going through the Chinamwali ceremonies, but sleeps with her when she returns. If he sleeps with any other woman during this time there is a superstition that the namwali may become ill or die. After the ceremonies are over, the namwali has her head and eye-brows shaved and is dressed up in clean clothes. Dances are held after this.

    A native woman is very little upset by the occurrence ot menses, and works in the fields or carries loads just the same as usual, but a string or bit of grass is generally tied round the head, as for head-ache. A woman also makes no fuss about childbirth, and works up to the last moment. It is a common occurrence for a child to be dropped while at work in the fields. The woman performs all the necessary offices, picks up the child, and walks home.

    Enceinte Dance.-When a woman has been six months enceinte a dance, called Litiwo, is held among the Ayao. Men are not supposed to commit adultery while the wife is in this condition, or she may get ill or die, but they may sleep with their other wives.


    The Atonga, Ayao, Achapeta and Achewa make the new chief from among the brothers of the old, should there be any. It need not necessarily be the next eldest, but one selected from amongst the others. The Angoni and Swahili make the son chief.


    Achapeta, Atonga, Achewa.-The maternal uncle (msi bweni) of the girl is asked first by the intending husband. He arranges with the father and mother of his niece (mbumba). He afterwards takes the intending husband's present to the father and mother, and gets a small share of it. A man whose brother-in-law had died, having charge of his sisters, nephews and nieces, is said to have a lot of mbumba, this word then being used collectively.

    When husband and wife fall out or do not suit each other, if the latter's parents take her back, the original present or its value is returned to the husband, and he gives the msibweni a knife or spear in token that he abandons all claim on her, and will not interfere with her next marriage. Anything, he may have given her during their married life is considered as payment of the work she has done for him. If, however, the husband marries her to another husband without the msi bweni's participation, the new husband has to pay the old for her.

    Ayao.-The brother is first asked about the marriage, and arranges it with father and mother. The present is divided between father, mother, brother and maternal uncle.

    Among the Ayao it is a common thing for two men who are friends to lend each other their wives. If a man's wife admits that she has committed adultery, he sends to the co-respondent to say he has found out, demanding a present. If the present is not suitable, or if it cannot be arranged privately, the case goes before the chief, but it is more usual to arrange the matter privately. Sometimes the co-respondent, instead of a present, lends his wife for the sanme number of nights as he slept with the other man's wife.


    Filing Teeth.-The Awisa sharpen their teeth to a point; this process is commonly referred to as filing, but in reality it is done by means of a very small axe, a small block of wood being placed in the mouth under the teeth while beinig chopped. The younger men are now giving up the practice.

    Awemba Villages.-The Awemba or Wawemba of Chambezi River and the vicinity appear to be constantly changing villages, having at least two, a dry- weather one on the banks of the river, and a wet-weather one inland. The wells at the latter appear to dry up generally in the dry weather, necessitating the change to the river, but it is used during the rains and is the cultivated village, and is usually surrounded outside the plantations with a game fence.

    Mutilation.-The Awemba used to punish extensively by mutilation, and an enormous number of the population at the present day bear testimony to the rule before the country was taken over by us. Many are seen without a single projection on their bodies-nose, ears, fingers, lips, penis and toes being cut off, all of which they have survived with nigger vitality. To heal the severed part, they were accustomed to bury the member in river mud and remain there till it had healed.

    Mourning.-The Angoni women wear plaited or twisted strings of grass round the head (Nt'hambo).

    The Achapeta women (ofedwa) wear a grass head-dress differing from that of the Angoni.

    Eating.-The Angoni wash the right hand, take nsima from the dish with the right hand, roll it in a ball, and then dip in the ndiwo.

    Small flowers of sasama are somnetimes used as ndiwo, also leaves of devils' pitchforks (zyazongo chingoni).

    Nkufi.-Nkufi is a poisonous kind of tick which gets into the walls of huts and lives there. Whole villages are often deserted on account of nkufi, as the bite often induces sickness in the native.

    The Angoni eat lion and leopard's hearts to make them brave.

    All the tribes appear to use tobacco.

    The Atonga, Chapeta and Yao use pipes (kaliwo, plural akaliwo) and also snuff. The Angoni chiefly take snuff and seldom use a pipe-chikololo.

    Cultivation of Tobacco.-Names of Tobacco (three kinds):-

    (1) Fodia Maskudu, as grown at Tagonera's village and the country between Mvera Mission and Lake Nyassa.

    (2) Fodia Kapeni, as grown at Fort Manning.

    (3) Podia Kambuya, as grown at Kapilama's in Kalumbi Hill and also at Mzama's.

    Native tobacco is strolng and hot, and will make one hiccough if smoked in one's pipe.

    Tobacco appears to be in use amongst all the tribes. The method of preparation, however, differs.

    Tobacco (Fodia, Chinyanja; Soona, Yao; Forro, Angoni) is prepared as follows by:-

    The Atonga.-A raised platform having been made in a shady place, the leaves are picked, and without removing the ribs, are laid in heaps on banana leaves on the platform. More banana leaves are laid on the top and then weighted down with stones. They are left compressed like this for about three days; then they are unpacked, and p-ut in the sun for a few hours in heaps of three or four. The tobacco is now ready to smoke or chew, and is put into a bag. Ku-Koka fodia Chinyanja = to smoke, i.e., to draw tobacco.

    The Angoni Chapeta.-(1) The leaves are picked when ready and the mid-ribs torn out. The leaves are then pounded slightly between stonies to make them soft, and rolled up tightly into a ball called Chambwa. (In Yao and Chinyanja it is called Wamponda.)

    The Chambwa is then dried in the sun for several weeks. It is now ready for use, and is cut off as required.

    (2) The mid-ribs are removed and the leaves rolled up tightly. Bark rope is tied tightly round the outside, completely covering it. It is then dried in the sun for several weeks, when it is ready for use. It is hard and long, and is cut off as required. Called mturgo.

    The Achapeta often hollow out the centre of a corn cob, stuff it with tobacco, and smoke it in this manner.

    The Ayao.-The leaves are; picked, put on the verandah of the hut for several days and then twisted up tightly into a rope called Chingwa. They are then dried in the sun for about a week.

    Preparation of Snuff. Snuff-Fodia Onusa (i.e., tobacco for smelling) is prepared in various ways.

    Atonga, Yao, Swahili.-(1) Tobacco is pounded between two stones and mixed with ashes from banana ribs, or ashes made from small branches of the Masuku tree, or ashes of certain other trees.

    (2) Salt water is made from ashes of cassava (Chinangwa) or banana ribs (Ntochi). This, when it is to be used for snuff, is called magarri. The water is evaporated till a thiick fluid is left. Tobacco is pounded, heated in a tin over the fire, and when slightly cooled is mixed with the magarri.

    Snuff and Snuff Boxes.-Snuff Box (Mtete) is made from the fig-shaped fruit of the msechi tree, dried and hollowed out and fitted with a wooden plug. Skins of small mammals (skinned in the shape of a bag) are also often used to keep tobacco and snuff in. The Angoni are especially fond of the skin of the Simba (spotted cat) for the purpose. Likongwe, Kakaka, etc., are also largely used.

    Angoni tobacco is torn from the ball with the hands into small pieces. These are pounded between two stones. A little water is added during the process to prevent the dry tobacco powder from blowing away. This powder is mixed with ashes of masuku branches, cassava, or banana ribs.

    The snuff is generally kept in the skin of a lesser spotted cat called Simba, the pelt being drawn off the body from the head in the form of a bag, in the same way as skin water-bags are made in India and other places. This bag is usually worn at the waist.

    Tobacco for- Chewing.-Swahili and Yao.-A certain kind of small shell, called Nhhono in Chinyanja, Ngumbwa and Yao, is reduced to a kind of lime by burning over the cobs of nmaize or cow-dung. The white powder is then removed, put on the leaves of the banana, aind slacked with a little water. Then it is either rolled up in leaves and roasted near a fire, or heated in the bottom of a pot. The tobacco is mixed with this powder and chewed. The powder is called Swaka in Swahili, and Swakarra in Chiyao.


     Ayao.-The Fort Johnson and Liwonde Yao were formerly called Amachinga, and those on the other side of the Lake Amazaninga, while the Blantyre and Zomba people were called Ayawa, and by others Achawa.

    The Ayao asked the Mlangeni Angoni to help them against Mponda on the Shire River. Mponda held out against them both.

    Angoni.-The Mpeseni Angoni fought with Jumbe at one time, but neither side seems to have gained anything. They also fought a good deal with Mwasi, but do not appear to have broken his stronghold at Kasungu. They drove Kongonio out, and the latter fled to Chirobwe. Kalulu's village, the present village on Fort Manning, Kongoni road, was "broken" by Kangwere. The Angoni arrived at Nkuku Yimodzi (first cockcrow). They came three times, but did not get in. There was much famine in the village owing to the siege. Mabwera, another fortified village between Bua crossing and Dowa close to the road, was attacked by Mpeseni and Chibwere's Angoni.

    Swahili.-Jumbe came from Zanzibar anid settled near Kota Kota. He made many slaves, hence the Swahili now at Kota Kota. He is now dead, and so is his son, who was chief after him. He formerly attacked Kabadula's village and took everybody prisoner to Kota Kota. When these were subsequently released by the British they returned to their old village.

    Jumbe fought with Mwasi, the Achewa Chief of Kasungu, but was repulsed. This was after the arrival of the Mpeseni Angoni. Fundi, ex-askari, who has founded a small village close to Fort Manning, was a Kota Kota Swahili, but had trekked across from the coast, when he was a young man, with Kiisi, ex-askari and and present belt-mender (flattery to call him a cobbler), and a party of Swahilis. He is now (1904) a man of perhaps forty years or more. He says that when he originally came from his home, Kavinga, three days from Zanzibar on the coast, he was a young man, just too young to carry a man's load. They crossed German East Africa, but this was before it was occupied by the Germans.

    History of the Angoni.-In consequence of fighting between Ngcowa (C represents a click like a sound of vexation) and Zongandowa, the latter left with his people and trekked northwards sixty to seventy years ago. Shortly after crossing, the Zambezi, his head Induna, Gwasa, left him and struck out more to the east; his son Chikusi founded the settlement of Angoni, now at Mlangeni; Zongandowa proceeded northwards with his people and sons-Mpeseni, Khlova (elephant), Mombera Mkhlashlu-and settled where Mombera's people are now. Then Zongandowa died. Shortly after his death Mpeseni and Chiweri left Mombera. Chiweri and his people settled near Dowa. Mpeseni and his people went right up to the Awemba country and Luapula. They captured much cattle; owing to a plague of locusts, and to being attacked with small-pox, they left the Luapula and came down to Pinduka. They then moved again and settled in the neighbourhood of Fort Jameson.

    Mlanyeni was the son of Mpeseni, and fled to Mombera (in consequence of the Mpeseni Expedition), where he is still living. His son Mlanyeni is now the biagest chief of the Angoni in the Protectorate. His wife Mphete, who was left behind when he went to Mombera, is also a chief in this district. She may be anything between fifty and seventy years of age, and has a grandchild about sixteen or seventeen years old. She was born during the trek of the Angoni when they were about the Zambezi.

     Mlangeni Angoni.-After the death of Chikusi, his son Gomani was made chief. Kachere (Chikusi's brother) also died; his son Kachinda fought with Gomani, but got beaten. He then left and went to Chitundu, where he unsuccessfully engaged the Ayao under Tambala. He then went to Lake Nyassa, and the Government intervened. Gomani was hanged and Mdala made chief. Mdala was deposed and Mlangeni, widow of Chikusi, was made chieftainess.

    The chief tribes in the neighbourhood of Mpeseni Angoni are:-(a) Angoni, (b) Achewa, (c) Achapeta, (d) Achikunda, (e) Asenga, and more distant (f) Akunda. Since the arrival of the Angoni and the consequent wars, the tribes have become rather mixed.

    The section of Angoni who settled under Mpeseni have occupied chiefly Asenga and Achapeta country. For instance, Mponda, a Chapeta chief, used to have his village under the west side of Mchenje, and held out in a fortified village against the Angoni for some time, but was finally worsted, so had to run away. When things had quieted he built his village near the Russa, about 15 miles to the east of Mchenje.

    Katungwe, another Chapeta chief, used to have his village near where the White Fathers (Kachibire Mission) are now. A tree in the gap between Chilembwi and Kalulu Hills is called Kuvakutiraa by the Angoni, from Kuvakuta (Bellows), as when attacked, Katungwe, at that place, made the points of his arrows red hot with a native skin bellows before shooting them. He afterwards built his village 25 miiles to the east.

    When the Angoni began to beat everybody, the Achapeta concentrated in several places: many joined Mwasi, the Achewa chief, at Kasungu, to the north, while others collected near Dowa.

    When peace was restored, the Achapeta, who had been with Mwasi, had got mixed with Achewa, and there are many who still do not know whether they were Achewa or Chapeta originally.

    The Angoni raided and made slaves in every direction, marrying the women captured, and keeping the men to help them fight.

    There are numbers of Asenga, Achewa, Achikunda, and Chapeta among the Angoni who now call themselves Angoni, also a few Atambuka; but the latter are chiefly the slaves of the Mombera section of Angoni to the north. There are also Akunda among the Angoni.


    Negroid lips are thick, hence they are not able to speak so clearly as other nations, and slur over the letters "b," " v," " w " " f " especially, making a sort of mumble which might be either. One white man contends that a word should be spelt with a " b," while another says it is a " w." As a matter of fact, it is neither.


    Medicines may be divided into two classes:

    (1) Real medicines, which are often wonderfully efficacious.

    (2) Charm medicines: stuch as putting horns in the way of a man to cause his death, tying a small cube of bango round his neck to cure blindness or bad eyesight; a medicine made of a bundle of sticks slung up over a patch of tobacco in a village which has been left, to prevent it from being stolen.

    Snake Bite Antidote.-Made of roots and leaves. A different medicine made for each snake and mixed together. Venom of snake, ulwilwi. Poison to drink, ndura. Poison for arrow, chaola.


    Hunting among Achikunda.-Elephant and buffalo are shot with rifles. The side or frontal head shots are used to kill elephant, and the head or neck shot generally for buffalo. The native names are the following:-Elephant, mzo'oo. Tuskless male, mowi. Elephant having tusks about 20 lbs., golonga. Elephant having tusks about one load, batwa (weight about 56 lbs.). Elephant having tusks about two men's load, pinga; female elephant and its tusks, hurakazi (whatever weight). Buffalo, nyati. Bull, tambwi. Cow, nymang'ombe.

    With dogs they chiefly hunt the klipspringer. The klipspringer (mbalali) generally ascends when frightened, and the dogs drive it to the top of a rock or peak, frora which it cannot get away, and it is then shot with arrows.

    They also hunt with dogs hartebeest (nkonze) and waterbuck (nyakodzwe) and smaller antelope, but the dogs are not able to tackle kudu (nzilowa), eland (ntuka), or the bigger antelopes.

    Game-pits (dindi) are common in Portuguese territory. A long, narrow, deep trench like a grave is dug, where animals are expected to pass, either on a pathway or in a row, and covered over with brushwood, grass and leaves. They do not put pointed stakes in the bottom. A bigger kind are made for elephant and rhino.

    A Game Fence (chinga) is often put round a field to keep game off at night, with a game-pit and noose in an opening.

    The Noose (matanda) is fastened to a strong bow firmly fixed in the ground and bent down, and so arranged as to be released when the animal tries to pass. When set for smaller animals, it is arranged to catch the neck; for larger animals, the legs.

    Stone Traps.-Maliwa (diwa in Chinyanija) and falling logs are arranged to catch smaller animals and lesser cats which are valued for their skins, either as ornaments or to keep tobacco and snuff in, being skinned from the head in the form of a bag.

    After an elephant has been killed and the tusks cut out, it is the custom for the oldest hunter present to remove the mass of nerves from the interior of the tusk. This he does out of sight, and the rest carefully avoid the place. If a younger hunter were to do this, or see the operation done, he would lose his eyesight, according to the superstition. A favourable omen is sought before setting out hunting. Medicine is taken the night before the proposed expedition, and a dream of a bird flying upwards, or of a person ascending a hill, are accounted favourable whereas a dream of falling, or of people in black clothes, would deter the hunter from starting.

    Hunters are tatued on the arm in a special way. On return from a successful hunt, a dance called Chipalu is generally held.

    Measures.-A mkono might be called the unit of linear measure. It is, roughly half a yard. Two mikono are called a lupande, two malupande are called a mkwamba, two mikwamba are called a chirundu, and two zirundu are called a magola.

    Very often chirundu is used to denote any piece of cloth bigger than a mkwamba, the computation of anything above being too severe a mathematical problem to deal with. A mkono is measured when a bargain is struck, by calling any average-sized mnan and measuring from the tips of his fingers to his elbow-joint. The cloth is then doubled to make a lupande, and the lupande doubled over till the required number are measured off.

    Honey (Uchi).-Bees (njuchi) are not domesticated, but prepared hives of bark are sometimes hung in the trees to entice them to hive there. The natives are very fond of honey; they devour the honey and the grubs impartially. To take a nest, a wisp of grass is lit and held near the nest for a short time or poked into the hole. It is then dug out with a pointed stick if in the ground, or hacked out of a tree with an axe. The bees do not appear to be stupefied in the least, and fly round, but hardly ever sting.

    The honey-bird is no myth, and whenever its twittering is heard the natives always look round carefully. The following are the native names for the bird: in Chinyanja, Nsadzu; in Angoni, Soro; and in Swahili, Segu.

    Wooden Pillows are called in Yao, msamilo; in Swahili, mto or msamilo; and in Angoni, chigoko.

    Washing.-The villager uses madea (maize bran) with which to wash things (having no knowledge of soap).

    Architecture.-Villages are stockaded to keep out lions, as Gwirisi and other villages near Lilongwe; others have a stockaded court outside each hut, as in Portuguese territory south and south-east of Fort Manning.

    Making Fire.-Before the introduction of matches, fire was made by Swahilis by snapping their flint locks till the sparks so produced kindled the grass, threads of cloth, or whatever they had prepared to ignite. Powder was not used for this purpose.

    Other tribes make fire in the same way as most uncivilised peoples, by two sticks cut for the purpose. One, long, thin, and pointed, is stood with the point in a notch on the side of the second, which is placed lying on the ground. The vertical stick is then made to revolve rapidly by rubbing between the palms until fire is produced at the point. When a man is alone he has to make it himself, but if several are present it can usually be done in two reliefs. Only special trees are used for this purpose. A tree called mpeka is one tree used for this purpose, also the bamboo.


     Kaligo (Chinyanja); gubu (Angoni).-

    This instrument is shaped like a bow, with a string made out of prepared sinews from the back of eland or other game. In the middle of the wood is a cup made of a gourd, to make it sound; the string is twanged. There are sometimes some finger-notes arranged at one end to vary the sound.

    Princess Magogo ka Dinizulu, mother of Chief Buthelezi of South Africa playing an Ughubu.

             FIG. I.-ISCHLIANGA.
    Ischlianga (Angoni).-A section of mapira cut off with the knot or joint left at a, cut almost round at b, but a strip (c) left. This is split down a short way so that it can vibrate. Hole cut at d. They hum through this hole and vibrate c with a piece of grass, which makes a buzzing sound.

    The natives, although having nothing which can be called a tune on their musical instruments, can recognise a piece of music again. Some boys, having heard " The Soldiers in the Park" played by the band of the 1st K.A.R. fairly often, recognised the same tune on the gramophone about three months later. They sometimes whistle tunes they have heard the band play.

    The Angoni sing in parts when carrying loads.

    The Askari of the band do not learn by ear, but by watching the instructor's fingers. 


    The old religion of the country consists of a belief in spirits anid a vague idea of a Supreme Being. Many of the Ayao, however, call themselves Mohammedans, having had more to do with Zanzibar than others. They are really only Mohammedans in that they call themselves such and circumcise their children, and make some pretence at praying on rare occasions. Of the precepts of Islam they know nothing. It does not prevent their drinking beer; they never observe the five times of prayer religiously, and some only pray during Ramadhan. They, of course, get very distorted ideas; one idea is that it is against their religion to remove from their heads in public a white cap of Swahili origin, from the fact that it is considered bad manners among the Arabs to remove the turban except in the house of a man you know very intimately.

    It is largely thought that the Koran is written in Swahili.


    A bird flying upwards ... ... ... Climbing a hill ... ... ... ... Much money ... ... ... ... ... A lot of people dressed in white ... ... Denote good luck.

    People dressed in black ..... Falling ... ... ... ... denote bad luck.

    Boiling Water Ordeal.-As in England in the Middle Ages.

    Spirits (Mzimu) (plural, Azimu).-Azimu are the people that come to us in our dreams; they are never seen except in dreams. Authorities differ as to whether they can be heard or not. A noise seemingly without cause is often referred to Azimu, such as a squeak or cry which cannot be accounted for. Ghosts are never seen, or Azimu out of dreams.

    The spirits of father and mother should provide for one's welfare, or, if they are alive, perhaps grandfather or other near relation. They should keep off the bad spirits who want to do harm.

    If you meet with trouble, you can put white beans or flour under certain trees and ask your Azimu to do better.

    God (Chiuta or Mulungu).-Nothing much is known about him. He is regarded as more or less omnipotent and omniscient, but seems to be a hazy idea of some supreme being and to account for unexplained phenomena, such as thunder, lightiling, and small-pox. He does not seem to require prayer, and is hardly ever mentioned.

    Witchcraft (Ufiti). Wizard or witch (mfiti).-An mfiti can kill a man by medicine. If he does this he always comes to the grave to eat the body, generally with his fellow mfiti. If a man is supposed to have been killed by mfiti, a man skilled in medicine to use against a mfiti stops by the grave at night after the man is buried. When the mfiti comes he sticks a sharpened stick up either its anus or penis. The mflti then runs away and dies in his village. A native who had had this done to him would be afraid to tell, in case it was thought that he was mfiti, and so a man is sometimes removed in this way.


    The ordinary European will show the height of anything by holding the hand horizontally, palm downwards; the native only does this to denote inanimate objects. The height of a human being is alwavs shown by hiolding the hand upright, fingers uppermost, and the height of an animal by holding the arm horizontally, with the palm outward.

    In the sign of beckoning they reverse the palm, and at first sight it would look like a sign of repulsion. To attract attention (perhaps when shooting or when they don't want to talk) they make a click, click, click with the tongue aild teeth, like many women do to denote vexation.

    The native day is the reverse of the astronomical day, usiku wa lelo (the night of to-day), is what we call " last night." The night has the prior place in their mind apparently.

    A journey is not reckoned by how many days' trek is performed, but by how many nights are slept on the road. Time and distance are both very hazy ideas in the native mind, as they are both so immaterial to him. There is no reason for hurry in his ordinary life, nor any reason for getting to a place in a given time. An askari going on leave for a certain number of days generally keeps count by notching a stick every night.

    Knowledge of Stars.-Only a very few stars are known; their names are here given. Milky Way.-In Yao lichinga usiku (the game fence of the night). Pleiades.-Yao, irimira or ilimila; Achikunda, nsangwe.

    Stars.-Chinyanja, nyenyezi; Chiyao, ntondwa.

    The Moon.-Mwezi. New Moon.-Lero wambalame mawa uoneka (to-day it is for the birds (the birds see it); to-morrow it will be visible). Birds are supposed to have keener sight than man.

    Mawa nyanga uoneka chifukwa lero wazimu.-To-morrow the moon will be visible, for to-day it is a spirit.

    Moon in Angoni is Nyanga.

    Albinism occurs occasionally. Albinos are said (by the natives) to have reddish skin, and to suffer much from the sun. The hair is white but woolly, and the eyes delicate.

    Madness (masoka).-Natives are afflicted with a kind of madness which causes them to rush into the bush and wander about. They sleep out in the bush, and, when hungry, come into a village and take what they want, but are not able to recognise their own village from any other. People are usually very good to them and put out food for them. They, however, prefer uncooked food, and will generally take maize or cassava from the fields. If they are offered cooked food they will generally throw it back in the face of the person who gives it. The natives have certain medicines they give for madness, which are said to cure it.

    A man who had been mad was questioned about it. He said he could remember first running out into the bush, and nothing since, till he had an idea that he felt better. Other natives said that he had been found in the bush by some men, who brought him back and gave him medicine, and after a short time he was cured.


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