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Full text of "Land and peoples of the Kasai; being a narrative of a two years' journey among the cannibals of the equatorial forest and other savage tribes of the south-western Congo"

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AWTHROPOLOGY UBRARY 




LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 




(-•.■ pa.i,- .,..,) 



LAND AND PEOPLES 
OF THE KASAI 

BEING A NARRATIVE OF A TWO YEARS' JOURNEY 

AMONG THE CANNIBALS OF THE EQUATORIAL 

FOREST AND OTHER SAVAGE TRIBES OF 

THE SOUTH-WESTERN CONGO 



BY 

M. W. HILTON-SIMPSON 

F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., F.R.A.I. 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS AND EIGHT FULL- 
PAGE COLOUR PLATES AND A MAP 



LONDON 

CONSTABLE AND COMPANY 

LIMITED 

1911 



CrM 



ANTHROPOLOGY LIBRAHT 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson 6* Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 






INTRODUCTION 



I OUGHT to say a few words as to how the expedition 
I have attempted to describe in the following pages came 
to be undertaken, and why the task of describing its 
wanderings has fallen upon me. 

In the summer of 1907 I was contemplating a journey 
in the Sahara Desert, a country with which I had some 
previous acquaintance, when the trouble between France 
and Morocco led the French Government to decide that 
the state of affairs in the Sahara was too unsettled to 
admit of its allowing travellers to wander there unescorted, 
and, there being already sufficient to occupy all the troops 
in that region, it felt itself unable to offer me any soldiers 
to accompany me. I was accordingly obhged to abandon 
my expedition, for which most of my preparations had 
been made. I was determined to go somewhere, however, 
and Mr. T. A. Joyce, of the British Museum, suggested 
that I should visit the Congo, in the natives of which 
country he was keenly interested. He introduced me to 
Mr. Emil Torday, the Hungarian traveller, with whom 
he had collaborated in the writing of numerous papers 
about the Congo natives for the publications of the Royal 
Anthropological Institute, and Mr. Torday invited me to 
join him upon an expedition which he was about to 
undertake in the Kasai basin of the Congo Free State. 



253330 



vi INTRODUCTION 

I at once agreed to accompany him, delighted at the 
opportunity of visiting equatorial Africa, and of seeing 
something of the life of its primitive inhabitants. Mr. 
Torday had already studied the peoples who dwell in the 
south-western portion of the Congo State around the 
Kwilu River, and he desired to make an ethnographical 
survey of the natives of the Kasai and Sankuru basins, at 
the same time making extensive collections for the ethno- 
graphical department of the British Museum, and, if 
possible, of visiting the hitherto unexplored country 
between the Kasai and its tributary the Loange, which 
is inhabited by the Tukongo, a people so hostile to the 
white man that their tract of country had never been 
traversed by a European. 

The Kasai is the largest of those mighty waterways 
which form the tributaries of the Congo. Rising not far 
from the sources of the Zambezi, it flows northward into 
Congo territory, turning almost at right angles to the 
west at the point where it receives the waters of the 
Sankuru, and falling into the Congo about 140 miles 
above Stanley Pool. The Kasai is navigable for river 
steamers up to Wissmann Falls, above its confluence with 
the Lulua, and these vessels ply upon the Sankuru to a 
point a little above Lusambo. Upon one or two of the 
lesser streams of the district, such as the Kwilu (itself a 
great river), the Inzia, and the Lubefu, small steamers are 
employed. The trade of this country was in the hands 
of the Kasai Company, which has established numerous 
factories on the banks of the principal rivers and in the 
interior. As no coinage had in 1907 been introduced in 



INTRODUCTION vii 

the Kasai district, Mr. Torday knew that we should 
require very large quantities of trade goods, such as cloth, 
salt, iron bars, knives, &c., which passes for money among 
the natives, and in order to avoid the waste of money 
which would result if we purchased these commodities in 
Europe and then found many of them unsaleable in Africa, 
he approached the Kasai Company with the request that 
we might buy such goods as we required at the factories 
from the stock kept by the Company for the purchase 
of ivory and rubber. In this way we should be sure of 
obtaining the goods the people of each locality we visited 
really required. The Kasai Company kindly agreed to 
this proposal, and also consented to allow our baggage 
and the collections we were to make to be conveyed in 
their steamers. The Government of the Congo, which had 
been requested by the authorities of the British Museum 
to further the interests of our expedition, and which is 
ever ready to help forward the efforts of the scientist 
or sportsman, ;agreed to give us special facilities for collect- 
ing natural history specimens, and to allow the cases we 
addressed to the Museum to come out of the Congo 
^mopened by the customs' officials. While Mr. Torday 
was busily engaged in making the arrangements necessary 
for our journey, Mr. Norman H. Hardy, a well-known 
painter of native life, offered to accompany us for the 
first six months of our journey, and as Mr. Torday was 
particularly anxious to secure reliable coloured pictures of 
the natives among whom he was to work, he gladly 
agreed to this suggestion, and Mr. Hardy became the 
third member of our party. While Mr. Torday was 



viii INTRODUCTION 

making his investigations in the field, Mr. T. A. Joyce 
had been engaged upon library work in Europe, and they 
have collaborated in publishing the scientific results of the 
journey, some of which are not yet fully worked up, 
although their monograph on the Bushongo tribe has 
recently been published. 

During the whole journey I carefully kept a personal 
diary, in which I described the country we passed through 
and the various adventures which befel us in our wander- 
ings. Upon our return home several people suggested to 
me that I should write some account of the expedition which 
might prove of interest to the general reader, Mr. Torday 
was anxious that I should do this, for his own time would 
be too fully occupied in working up his scientific notes to 
allow him sufficient leisure for the writing of a book of 
travel. 

When I returned to Europe, however, I was in a very 
bad state of health, for I had broken a bone in my right 
hand some nine months previously, which I had not been 
able to have set, and which necessitated my carrying my 
arm in a sling for a couple of months on reaching England, 
and also the frequent fevers of the equatorial forest and 
the period of starvation through which we passed during 
the latter part of 1908 had told seriously upon my con- 
stitution. I was accordingly unable to undertake any work 
for a considerable time after my return from Africa. This 
must be my excuse for publishing now a book relating 
to a journey which came to an end in 1909. I would 
ask my readers to be so kind as to remember that 1 make 
no pretensions to literary merits. I have for some years 



INTRODUCTION ix 

led the life of a wanderer, and it has been my good fortune 
to witness many strange scenes, to come in contact with 
many remarkable peoples, and to visit districts many of 
which have never hitherto been described in the English 
language. I only regret that I do not possess the literary 
skill necessary to do justice to them. Had there been 
any other member of our party who stayed with the 
expedition during the whole of its sojourn in Africa, 
doubtless the task of narrating our adventures would have 
been very much better fulfilled ; as it is, with Mr. Torday 
busily engaged in scientific work, and Mr. Hardy absent 
during the last part of our journey, I am the only person 
upon whom this task can devolve. 

As my readers will observe, this book has no political 
motive ; it is intended merely to be a record^^our journey, 
and they will find in the following pages nothing about 
the atrocities which we hear have been perpetrated in many 
parts of the Congo. The reason for this is that we came 
across no brutality on the part of white men towards natives 
during our journey in the Kasai district. When I returned 
from Africa I made this statement to a representative of 
the Press, with the result that I aroused such indignation 
on the part of certain persons that I almost feel I ought to 
apologise for my misfortune in having no atrocities to 
describe. As my narrative will show, we lived_foi^_practi-_ 
cally two years in close ^'^nt?^*- with t^^ ny^fivpc^^-^^d we 
were fortunate enough to win the confidence of nearly all 
the peoples with whom we dwelt, but I was able to obtain 
no tales of atrocities from them. What goes on in parts of 
the Congo which I have never visited I am not in a position 



X INTRODUCTION 

to state ; I shall only deal with districts which I personally 
know. 

Nor is it my intention to attempt to instruct the 
Belgians how to govern their new colony — it would take a 
far wiser head than mine to face the many problems by 
which they are confronted in the Congo — but I would like 
to say one word of warning. Let no one imagine that 
"any sort of man " will do to administer the black man's 
country, and that the negro regards every European as a 
great and wonderful personage. Far from it. The negro 
judges every white man on his merits, and no one can more 
quickly distinguish a gentleman from a scapegrace, or a 
strong man from a weak, than the primitive inhabitants of 
Central Africa. Let the Belgians, bearing this in mind, do 
their utmost to induce men of the best class to enter the 
Congo service, and the success of their colonial enterprise 
should be assured. 

As my readers may very possibly wonder how we obtained 
a great deal of the information relating to tribal customs, 
&c., to which I shall allude, I may here give some idea of 
how Mr. Torday carried on his investigations. In the first 
place he never accepted an item of information concerning 
the natives imparted to him by a white man, but only 
recorded what was told to him by members of the tribe 
concerned. Secondly, he used always to select as his 
informants from among the natives men who had been as 
little as possible in contact with the European, and who 
were, therefore, still in a primitive state of culture them- 
selves ; very often he obtained his data from chiefs. 
Thirdly, a working knowledge of eight native languages 



INTRODUCTION xi 

enabled him almost always to dispense with the services of 
that very unsatisfactory person an interpreter, and also 
allowed him to pick up from the natives a lot of informa- 
tion and some legends which he was able to overhear when 
they were being related by the people among themselves, 
and not directly addressed to him. An acquaintance with 
Chikongo and Chituba, two bastard languages (both very 
easy to learn) which serve as a medium for trade between 
the various tribes, will perfectly well enable one to travel in 
the Kasai district unaccompanied by an interpreter speaking 
English or French, but a knowledge of the real languages 
of the tribes is essential to any one desiring to undertake 
serious ethnological researches, and this knowledge Mr. 
Torday possesses. A long study of the negro, a great 
liking for the primitive savage, and a keen insight into his 
character have endowed him with a way of gaining the con- 
fidence of the negroes, and of becoming popular with them, 
which enabled him to visit in safety places where a less 
experienced man might easily have been murdered, and to 
which must be attributed the success which Mr. Torday 
obtained in extracting much valuable information from the 
natives — information they would never have imparted to a 
man they did not both trust and like. As regards the 
results of our journey, I gather from the remarks made by 
scientists at the conclusion of Mr. Torday's lecture before 
the Royal Geographical Society in March, 19 lo, that they 
are considered satisfactory, while the collections made for 
the British Museum are very extensive. Unfortunately 
lack of space prevents the exhibition there of many of the 
articles collected, but any of my readers who care to look 



xii INTRODUCTION 

in the Ethnographical Gallery may find some good speci- 
mens (a small part of the collection) of Bushongo wood- 
carving and embroidery to which I shall allude in my 
narrative. 

I feel that I ought to say something about the photo- 
graphs which illustrate my pages. With the exception of 
the picture of the statue facing page 209 (for which I am 
indebted to Mr. Joyce) and that of the buffalo head on 
page 248, they are all reproduced from our own negatives. 
Some of them, I know, lack clearness ; but if my readers 
will remember that the films were used in a terribly damp 
climate, that near to the Equator the rainy season continues 
practically the whole year round, and that for twenty 
consecutive months we lived under canvas and, accordingly, 
lacked favourable opportunities for developing our photo- 
graphs, some allowance may be made for the shortcomings 
of certain of my illustrations. We took a large number 
of photographs, but unfortunately many of the most 
important of them (particularly of those taken in the 
forest) were ruined by the heat and damp of that most 
trying climate. 

In bringing my introductory remarks to a close, I wish 
to thank the Directors of the Kasai Company for the 
facilities they gave us, to which allusion has been made, 
and also the many employees of that Company who showed 
us kindness during our journey ; the Belgian Government 
and those of its officials who speeded us on our way ; the 
Royal Geographical Society for permission to reproduce 
the map which illustrated Mr. Torday's lecture in the 
Geographical Journal for July 19 10; and all those natives 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

who received us well, and to whom we owe the infor- 
mation we collected, particularly Kwete Peshanga Kena, 
the king of the Bushongo, and Okitu, a Batetela chief. 
I would like, also, to offer my heartiest thanks to 
Mr. T. A. Joyce for being the cause of my joining the 
expedition, and to Mr. Hardy for the care he has taken to 
produce coloured pictures for this book. Lastly, let me 
express my gratitude to Mr. Torday for allowing me to 
accompany him, for the assistance he has given me in com- 
piling my manuscript, and for his pleasant companionship 
during two eventful years, in the whole course of which we 
never had the semblance of a dispute. 

M. W. HILTON-SIMPSON. 



CONTENTS 



I. From the Coast to the Sankuru 
II. In the Batetela Country . 

III. In a Bushongo Village 

IV. With the Bankutu Cannibals . 
V. The Peoples of the Great Forest 

VI. At the Court of an African King 
VII. Up the Kwilu River , 
VIII. Into the Unknown Country 
IX. Among the Bashilele . 

Index 



32 

70 

115 
153 

229 

275 
329 
347 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



COLOURED PLATES 




The Old Bilumba relating the Legends of his Tribe 


Frontispiece 


Wissmann Pool ...... 


To face page. 20 


Sounding the Signalling Gong .... 


68 


Misumba 


91 


Embroidering the Raphia Cloth 


93 


The Equatorial Forest 


150 


Bushongo Elders Dancing .... 


„ 201 


An Incident at Pana 


,, 246 



HALF-TONES 

The Congo at Matadi 
A Street in Matadi 
The Congo Railway 
A Stop at a Wayside Station 
Bateke Village, Kinshasa 
Fishermen on the Congo 
Open Country beside the Kasai 
Mangay 



The Leader of the Basonge Orchestra 

xvii 



5 
5 

lO 

10 

14 
14 
29 
29 
36 



xviii ILLUSTRATIONS 

The Sankuru near Batempa 

A Batetela Drummer .... 

Batetela Wall Pictures .... 

An Old-fashioned Batetela Hut 

Jadi and some of his Wives 

Batwa Dwarfs 

A Street in Misumba .... 

The Hunting Fetish, Misumba 

A Bushongo of Misumba 

The Bilumbu taking Pills under a Blanket 

The Eilumbu dismissing an Inquisitive Child 

A Ceremonial Dance by an Elder . 

A Dance at Misumba 

A Basongo-Meno Warrior 

Our Camp at Gandu 

A Bankutu Cannibal 

A Bankutu Village 

Bankutu Bark Huts 

A Village in the Equatorial Forest 

Our Loads in a Forest Village 

The Dogs with which the Olemba buy their Wives 

A Vungi Mother .... 

An Akela Beauty .... 

A Primitive Signalling Gong . 

A Grave-hut in the Equatorial Forest 

An Akela cutting up his Food . 

Akela Warriors .... 



To face page 36 




52 




52 




62 




62 




84 




84 




lOI 




lOI 




105 




105 




III 




III 




n8 




118 




132 




132 




142 




142 




162 




162 




173 




173 




176 




176 


'» 


181 


i> 


i8i 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

A Belle of the Mushenge .... 

A Bushongo Elder 

The Nyimi in his Ghost-dance 

An Elder displaying a Statue .... 

The Statue of Shamba Bolongongo (now in the British 
Museum) 

Children at the Mushenge imitating a Bearded White 
Man 

The Nyimi's Sons playing with our Firearms 

Mikope and Mingi Bengela 

A Bushongo Village near the Mushenge . 

A Child from the Mission at Pana . 

Bos Cafifer Simpsoni : a cow . 

Bos Cafifer Simpsoni : our best bull . 

Cutting up a Bufifalo at Pana . 

A Hippopotamus from the Kwilu 

A Bambala Girl playing a Nose Flute 

A Bambala Boy playing an Ordinary Flute 

The Friction Drum 

Bambala Gambling 

A Babunda Hut 

Babunda Porters entering Athenes 

The Kwilu Valley at Bondo . 

A View from the Factory of Athenes 

Crossing the Lubue 

A Bapende Dance at Dumba . 

Kangala .... 

Bapende Boys wearing Masks 



XIX 

To face page 194 
194 
204 
204 

209 

222 
222 
226 
226 

244 
244 
248 
250 

250 

255 
255 
257 
257 
262 
262 
269 
269 
276 
276 
283 
283 



XX ILLUSTRATIONS 

A Bakongo Village, photographed from the top of its 



Stockade 

A View of the Unknown Country from Kangala 

Carving a Wooden Cup at Insashi . 

The Chief of Insashi calling for Canoes 

Gandu, Son of the Chief of Kanenenke 

Removing a Lady's Eyelashes 

Bakongo of Kenge looking at our Doll 

The Clock-work Elephant 

A Badjok Camp at Makasu 

Bashilele Hunters . 

Our Porters from the Kwilu 

Interior of a Bashilele Village 



To face page 290 
290 
29s 
295 
308 
308 
321 
321 
330 
330 
338 
338 



LAND AND PEOPLES OF 
THE KASAI 

CHAPTER I 

^ FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 

We left England on October i, 1907, and proceeded to 
Matadi by a vessel belonging to the Compagnie Beige 
Maritime du Congo. A journey to the mouth of the Congo 
by one of the three-weekly mail steamers from Antwerp 
is not one that would be undertaken solely for amusement ; 
a few hours at La Palice (the port of La Rochelle in the Bay 
of Biscay), Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, Dakar in Senegal, 
Sierra Leone, and sometimes at Grand Bassam on the French 
Ivory Coast, are the only breaks in the monotony of a 
twenty-one days' voyage, which in itself cannot be expected 
to be particularly cheerful when one remembers that the 
majority of the passengers are going out to spend three 
years' service as officials or employees of trading companies 
in one of the most unhealthy climates of the world. As a 
rule, I believe, the voyage to the Congo is not marked by 
any particular incident, while the monotony of the journey 
home is only broken by the temporary gloom cast by the all 
too frequent burials at sea. Our own journey to Matadi 



:2'' : LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

was devoid of any kind of interest, and the days dragged 
on with painful slowness until, long before any land had 
appeared in sight, the muddy appearance of our bath water 
informed us that we were approaching the mouth of the 
Congo. The great volume of water issuing from the river 
discolours the sea for many miles, and I am told that the 
water is quite drinkable at a very considerable distance from 
land. 

There are four ports at which the steamers call in the 
estuary of the Congo — Banana Point, Boma, Noki, and 
Matadi. At the first of these our vessel stopped to unload 
a quantity of cargo for the Dutch House, the oldest of the 
Congo trading firms, and we spent an hour or two ashore, 
mainly with the object of exercising the two fox terriers we 
had brought with us from Europe, exploring the narrow 
strip of land projecting southwards from the right bank of 
the river in the form of the fruit from which it takes its 
name, washed on the one side by the waters of the Congo 
and on the other by Atlantic surf. There is little to see at 
Banana, the place consisting solely of the residences of 
one or two officials, the establishment of the Dutch House, 
and a sanatorium, whither patients are sent from Boma and 
Matadi to be braced up by sea air after severe attacks of 
fever, though the number of mangrove swamps which inter- 
sect the narrow promontory do not give it exactly the 
appearance of a health resort. 

At Boma, situated about fifty-five miles further up the 
river on the right bank, there is more to be seen, but our 
time was too much occupied in visiting various officials 
upon business connected with our journey to allow us to 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 3 

take more than a cursory glance at the capital of the Inde- 
pendent State of the Congo, with its shops, its bungalows, 
and its little steam tramway, emblems of civilisation that we 
were soon to leave far behind us. 

There were formalities to be gone through before we 
could land our baggage and stores in the country and 
proceed upon our journey. We had to visit the offices of 
the Etat Civile, where we filled up "matriculation" forms 
dealing with our ages, occupations, and dates of our parents' 
birth, and other such matters of great interest to the 
authorities, and this done we called upon the Vice Governor- 
General, Monsieur Fuchs, acting in place of the Baron 
Wahis, who was in Europe. Monsieur Fuchs received us 
most kindly ; he had already been requested from Brussels 
to do all in his power to help forward our plans, and he 
readily consented to allow us to introduce into the country 
sundry prohibited articles, such as arms for an escort, and 
promised to do his best for us in the matter of granting us 
permission to shoot game all the year round, to hunt in the 
reserves, and to shoot elephants. He also told us that, 
should the necessity arise, we should be provided with an 
escort of troops, and he informed us that he would issue an 
order to all the officials in the district of Lualaba-Kasai 
requesting them to render us all the assistance in their 
power. The result of our interview with Monsieur Fuchs 
was that we obtained facilities for collecting natural history 
specimens which the game laws would otherwise have 
closed to us, and also our mission was officially recognised 
by the Government, and we were thus saved endless an- 
noying delays which might have arisen later on if any 



4 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

up-country official had chosen to have doubts as to our 
bona fides. 

Having paid our visits to the officials, we partook of tea 
with Mrs. Underwood, the wife of Messrs. Hatton and 
Cookson's agent at Boma. Mr. Underwood, who has 
recently died upon his return to Europe, had, 1 think, 
resided on the Congo longer than any other white man. 
He was there before the Congo State was founded, and, 
except for brief periods of leave in Europe, remained there 
until just before his death in 1910. This gentleman was 
to arrange for the shipment to England of the many pack- 
ages for the Museum which we hoped to send down to the 
coast, and his firm had kindly consented to act as our 
bankers (for banks did not then exist in the Congo, though 
I understand one is now to be established), so we had a 
good deal of business to transact with him before going on 
board the Bruxellesville for the night. 

Our ship left Boma at dawn on the following day, so 
we had little or no time to inspect the town. Shortly after 
leaving the mouth of the Congo, the woods which had 
clothed the banks, particularly on the south or Portuguese 
shore, gave place to open, grassy plains, sparsely studded 
with trees, and low hills began to appear, which, as one 
draws near to Noki, rise to a considerable height and extend 
eastwards to the vicinity of Stanley Pool. Noki is a small 
Portuguese post on the left bank of the river, from which 
runs a road to San Salvador, an important town in the 
interior of Angola, and all the mail steamers call there, but 
as landing has to be effected in boats, and the place possesses 
nothing of interest, passengers usually remain on board 




The Congo at Matadi 




A sTKKKT IN Mai 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 5 

while cargo is discharged. Between Noki and Matadi, the 
first Congolese post on the left bank of the river, the 
scenery is extremely fine. The Congo makes a sharp turn 
to the left at this point, and the stream, flowing through a 
deep ravine between ranges of rocky hills, is so strong that 
the bend in the river is known as the Devil's Cauldron. 
Foam-crested waves break the surface of the waters, and 
only by hugging the southern shore can small steamers 
make headway against the current. The port of Matadi, 
or " The Stones," is built, as its name implies, among the 
rocks on the left bank of the river. It lies just below the 
cataracts which render the lower Congo impossible for 
navigation, and just above the frontier between Angola and 
the Belgian Congo. At Matadi commences the railway to 
Stanley Pool, so all the merchandise intended for the interior 
is unloaded there, and there all the produce of the Congo 
State is shipped. It is a most unprepossessing place. In- 
tensely hot, owing to its rocky surroundings, it is too much 
enclosed by hills to receive any cooling breezes from the 
sea, and there are few trees about the place to afford shelter 
from the scorching rays of the tropical sun. We were com- 
pelled to spend three days at Matadi in order to see to the 
registration of our guns and rifles, all of which have to be 
stamped with a Government mark by which they could be 
identified should we, in defiance of the law, sell them to the 
natives, and to pass our stores through the customs. We 
had brought with us several cases of whisky and brandy, 
sufficient to last us as medical comforts for the whole of our 
two years' journey. We had had to obtain at Boma special 
permission to bring this quantity of alcohol into Congolese 



6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

territory, for the importation of spirits is very strictly 
limited, each white man being allowed to receive but three 
litres of alcohol per month, with the double object of 
checking excessive drinking among the white residents of the 
interior, and of preventing strong drink from becoming an 
article of exchange in trading with the natives. At Matadi 
these regulations do not hold good, and the natives can 
purchase wine, &c., at the various stores, for in such close 
proximity to Portuguese territory, where no such regulations 
exist, it would be quite impossible to prevent the native 
from obtaining liquor if he required it. 

At Matadi we engaged the only "boy," or personal 
servant, whom we intended to take with us from the coast, 
for Torday had determined to recruit our servants from 
among the uncivilised and simple-minded natives whose 
country we were to visit, and to have only one or two 
experienced *' boys," who could turn this raw material into 
useful servants. We found a native of Loango, by name 
Balo, who was willing to accompany us. For some reason 
or other, we gave this man the name of Jones, and Jones he 
remained until he left us in January 1909. He spoke a 
little French and a word or two of English in addition to 
the Chikongo dialect, which is the lingua franca of the Lower 
Congo, and we found him an invaluable servant during the 
early part of our journey. 

At last all our preparations had been completed and 
we were free to depart by the next train for Leopoldville. 
We were only able to take with us a comparatively small 
amount of personal baggage owing to the high rate of 
charges for excess baggage on the railway, fifty centimes 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 7 

being charged for every kilogramme over the thirty kilos 
allowed to each first-class passenger ; we therefore arranged 
for our stores and other heavy baggage to be sent on to 
us as early as possible by goods train, for we should not 
need either food-stuffs or camp equipment during the ten 
days or so we intended to stay on the shores of Stanley 
Pool. These charges for freight as well as the first-class 
fare of £S may sound exorbitant for a journey of only 
about two hundred and forty miles, but it must be re- 
membered that the railway was enormously expensive to 
build owing to the mountainous character of the country 
through which it passes, and travelling at the present 
rates, high as they are, is far cheaper than was the case 
before the line was completed, when everything had to be 
carried up from Matadi by native porters. The cost in 
life when making the railway was enormous — it is said 
that every kilometre cost one white man's life and every 
metre the life of a native-f-but the existence of the line 
has prevented many a death. In the old days the journey 
on foot to Stanley Pool took a heavy toll of the white 
men destined for the far interior. The newly appointed 
State agent or trader's employee had to march for three 
weary weeks across a rough and hilly country just after 
his arrival in Africa, before he had learned to take care 
of his health in the treacherous Congo climate. He 
would toil breathless and perspiring to the summit of a 
hill, and there, in his ignorance, sit down to rest and 
enjoy the freshness of the breeze, with the result that in 
many cases he never reached the Pool. Had these hills 
been situated in the far interior they would have been 



8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

much less deadly, but lying at the very commencement 
of the up-country journey they were a veritable death-trap 
to the inexperienced traveller. The cataracts of the Congo, 
which render the existence of a railway necessary, are, I pre- 
sume, too extensive and the volume of water which pours 
down them far too great to admit of the possibility of 
engineering skill being able ever to open the whole river 
to navigation. What a change could be wrought in the 
opening up of the country if only steamers could ply 
between Matadi and the Pool ! At present every vessel 
intended for use on the Upper Congo and its mighty 
tributaries has to be conveyed in small sections at great 
expense up the railway and fitted together at Leopoldville 
or Kinshasa, the result being that the cost of even a very 
small steamer has become enormous by the time it is 
ready to be used ; and at present the possession of a 
steamer is a necessity to any individual or company 
desiring to trade in the vicinity of the great waterways, 
for transport upon State vessels is very costly ; accordingly, 
so much capital is required to start a commercial enter- 
prise in the interior as to put such undertakings quite 
beyond the reach of the small company or individual 
trader. But it is not the object of this book to discuss 
questions relating to the trade in the Congo, so I will 
return to the narrative of our journey. 

The travelling on the Congo railway is by no means 
luxurious, the train consisting of one first-class carriage 
capable of seating twelve persons in chairs, placed six on 
each side of the vehicle, one second-class carriage with 
open sides suggestive of a cattle truck and filled to 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 9 

overflowing with natives attired in every caricature of 
European dress, and a baggage van. But any one who 
has not previously taken the journey can soon forget 
the discomfort and stuffy heat of the railway carriage as 
he gazes upon the fine scenery through which he passes 
or marvels at the triumphs of engineering which the line 
represents. Shortly after leaving Matadi the train ascends 
a steep gradient and runs along a narrow ledge, cut out 
of the hill-side, overhanging the precipitous valley of the 
Congo, through which the mighty river rushes, turbulent 
and foam-flecked, from the cataracts to the sea. But 
one sees little of the Congo from the train, for soon the 
line leaves the river-side, keeping to the south of the 
valley, and winds in and out among rocky hills or 
passes through mile upon mile of dense woodland, a 
foretaste of the impenetrable fastnesses of the equatorial 
forest ; and only when one reaches the shores of Stanley 
Pool does one return to the banks of the Congo. The 
night is spent at Thysville, named after Colonel Thys, 
the engineer who built the railway. There, there is a very 
decent hotel, maintained by the railway company, where 
passengers dine and sleep in comfort. But when once 
Thysville is passed the traveller has left hotels behind 
him, for he will find none at Leopoldville or beyond. 
Thysville lies high, and the night air there is chilly ; in 
fact it strikes one as intensely cold when returning home 
after a long stay in the great heat of the interior, and 
in the early mornings as a rule the surrounding hills are 
obscured by a damp mist which gives the place a dis- 
tinctly unhealthy appearance. The climate, however. 



lo LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

cannot be so bad as one might think, for I believe that 
the State is about to build a sanatorium there, whither 
officials who have broken down in health may be sent 
for a spell of sick leave. Up to Thysville the line rises, 
but beyond this point it descends to the Pool. Our 
journey was not marked by any incident worthy of note, 
excepting that just before arriving at a wayside station 
our engine refused to face a particularly steep gradient, 
and we were left waiting on the line for an hour or so 
while a fresh locomotive was summoned from Thysville, 
which was, fortunately, not far away. At the numerous 
little stations natives would come to the train to sell 
pine-apples and bananas, but these people all belonged to 
the semi-civilised class of negro who possesses but little 
interest to any one who wishes to study the African apart 
from the influence of European manners and customs. 

At about three in the afternoon of the second day 
the train drew up at Kinshasa, on the banks of Stanley 
Pool, and we alighted. We had arranged to be conveyed 
from Stanley Pool to Dima, the headquarters of the 
Kasai Company, in one of the company's steamers, which 
vessels alv/ays stop at Kinshasa to unload their cargo and 
take up merchandise from the railway, so we did not 
proceed direct to the rail-head at Leopoldville, but spent 
a couple of nights in Kinshasa in the house of a Portu- 
guese trader, who lodges such travellers as belong to no 
company, and therefore have no house to go to, for, as 
I have said, hotels do not exist in Kinshasa ; all the big 
up-river companies, however, have their forvvarding-agents 
resident there, and these provide lodgings for their other 




The Congo railway. 




A STOP AT A WAYSIDE STATION. 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU ii 

employees journeying to or from the coast. Kinshasa is 
but a shadow of its former self. At one time a con- 
siderable garrison of native troops was kept there, but 
these were moved on to Leopoldville after an out- 
break of sleeping sickness ; then extensive plantations of 
coffee, &c., were made, but for some reason or other 
they failed to pay and were abandoned, with the result 
that the once flourishing settlement of Kinshasa has de- 
generated into a simple post for the despatch by train of 
rubber and ivory brought from the interior by steamer, 
with a white population consisting only of one or two 
officials connected v/ith the customs, who inspect the 
exports, a missionary, and the above-mentioned forward- 
ing-agents of companies. Its beautiful shady avenues 
are deserted, most of its neat brick-built bungalows have 
fallen into decay, and the many acres of plantations are 
hardly distinguishable from the surrounding bush. The 
general air of decadence, combined with the clouds of 
mosquitoes which infest the place, do not make Kinshasa 
a particularly desirable place to stay in, so we were not 
sorry to move on to Leopoldville, where we were to make 
some anthropological measurements while waiting the 
arrival of our stores from the coast. At Kinshasa we 
visited the first really native village we had seen in the 
Congo, a settlement of the Bateke tribe, situated close 
to the European residents' houses. These people have 
been (and I believe still are) most enthusiastic traders, 
but were not particularly friendly to the white man when 
Stanley first established the Congo State upon the shores 
of the Pool. Their village at Kinshasa is extremely 



12 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

pretty, the quaint grass huts scattered about beneath the 
shade of the palm and baobab trees forming a picture 
far more pleasing to the eye, if less suggestive of pro- 
gress, than the groups of mud dwellings built in imitation 
of Europeans' bungalows which are to be seen near the 
wayside stations on the line. 

Leopoldville lies upon the shores of Stanley Pool, a few 
miles to the west of Kinshasa. There are here no hotels, 
and as the quarters occupied by the agents of Messrs. 
Hatton & Cookson, who own a considerable trading 
establishment here, were full up with three Europeans, 
we were obliged to call upon the Commissioner of the 
district of Stanley Pool to ask if there was a vacant 
bungalow in which we could sleep. This gentleman 
kindly allowed us to occupy two rooms in the buildings 
used by a company which is building the railway through 
the Upper Congo to the Great Lakes, situated close to the 
water's edge. We took our meals with Messrs. Hatton and 
Cookson's agents. Although Leopoldville is so important 
a place and is surrounded by an enormous native popula- 
tion, the cost of living there is very great, and fresh meat 
is so difficult to obtain, owing, I believe, to the ravages of 
the tsetse fly among the cattle which are kept in the neigh- 
bourhood, that the white residents are more dependent upon 
tinned foods imported from Europe than the traders and 
officials of most of the remote districts of the interior. In 
addition to the white officers of the garrison and the 
numerous Government officials resident at Leopoldville, 
there are a large number of European engineers in the 
employ of the Government, whose occupation it is to put 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 13 

together the steamers brought up the railway in sections 
and to repair those which have become damaged in their 
voyages on the Congo and its tributary streams. The 
Great Lakes Railway Company has several European 
employees at Leopoldville, and a number of independent 
traders (for the most part Portuguese) bring up the number 
of Europeans in Leopoldville to somewhere about 300. The 
natives, who inhabit numberless villages in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the settlement, consist for the most part 
of retired soldiers, or people who have worked in some 
other capacity for the white man and who have become, in 
their own opinion at any rate, too civilised to care to 
return to their primitive homes in the interior. It would 
almost appear that Leopoldville is situated too close to the 
cataracts of the Congo, which commence a mile or two to 
the west of the town at the point where the river flows 
out of the Pool, and the long-drawn roar of which is 
continually in one's ears in all parts of the settlement ; and 
in order to prevent vessels approaching the quays of Leo- 
poldville, which have taken a course rather too near to 
the rapids, from being swept by the stream to certain 
destruction, it is necessary to keep a small but exceedingly 
powerful steamer always ready to go to the assistance of 
a vessel which may seem to be unable to make the shore. 
I will not weary my readers with an account of the work 
upon which we were engaged during the fortnight or so 
that we spent at Leopoldville. It consisted almost entirely 
in making a large number of anthropological measurements, 
and in photographing types of natives of the many tribes 
of which representatives are to be found in this great centre 



14 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of European influence. A large number of the people 
whom we measured were soldiers. The officer com- 
manding the garrison used to daily send down detachments, 
which were drawn up in line outside the bungalow in which 
we lived, and one after another the men came up to have 
the caliper applied to their heads, and to have their photo- 
graphs taken. I do not think any of them enjoyed it very 
much, but small rewards in the shape of tobacco usually 
sent them away smiling. Although this work has, I 
believe, proved useful, it was not very interesting to do, 
and when a telegram arrived from Kinshasa informing us 
that the Kasai Company's steamer had arrived and was in 
readiness to convey us to Dima, we quickly packed our 
baggage and started off to go on board her, eager to 
commence our wanderings in the Kasai. 

The Fumu N'Tangu, "The Chief of the Sun," an old 
Chikongo name for the late Herr Greshoff, the Director of 
the Dutch House, is a stern-wheel steamer, capable of 
carrying about fifty tons. Upon her upper deck she carries 
four very small cabins and one rather larger one, in addition 
to the captain's cabin at the forward end of the deck. 
On the lower deck, which, when the steamer is loaded, is but 
a very few inches above the water, are the engines and a 
cabin for the engineer. Above the upper deck is a good 
roof of planks, rendering the use of a topee unnecessary 
even in the heat of the day. The Fumu N'Tangu draws 
very little water, as parts of the Kasai abound in shallows 
during the dry season. We left Kinshasa at six o'clock on 
a glorious November morning, and headed northwards 
across the Pool, the course for steamers lying close along 




^L.^£±:t^^ 




FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 15 

the French shore. Owing to the large wooded island 
known as Bomu, and to the presence of numerous grassy 
islets and sandbanks, one could get no real view of Stanley 
Pool from the deck of the steamer ; indeed it is only as one 
approaches the point where the Congo enters it that one 
gets any idea of the width of the Pool, and even here, as 
one looks to the southward, one does not see this beautiful 
stretch of water at its greatest width. From north to south 
the greatest width is about sixteen miles, and the length of 
the Pool from east to west about seventeen. In the old 
days the island of Bomu was a noted haunt of buffaloes, 
elephants, and numerous herds of hippopotami, but the 
guns of the Bateke, who shot these animals as food for the 
white men and the garrison, have long since exterminated 
them, and save for some crocodiles, and I believe an 
occasional hippopotamus, the only inhabitants of the island 
and the sandbanks around it are numerous eagles and water- 
fowl. On a calm day the waters of Stanley Pool are 
extremely glassy, notwithstanding the strong stream which 
flows through it towards the cataracts to the west ; but the 
sudden storms, locally dignified with the name of tornado, 
which are so frequent in the rainy season, completely 
change the aspect of the Pool, and not infrequently canoes 
which are overtaken by them some distance from the 
shelter of land have the greatest difficulty in reaching a 
place of safety. The width of the Congo where it flows 
into Stanley Pool, through a break in a chain of hills some 
700 feet high, is about one mile, and as one approaches 
this point the north shore of the Pool rises abruptly from 
the water's edge in the form of white cliffs tinged with 



1 6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

red ; these are still known as Dover Cliffs, the name given 
to them by Stanley upon his first descent of the Congo. 
From Stanley Pool to the mouth of the Kasai the Congo 
is known as the Channel. In this part of the river there 
are practically no islands or sandbanks, for the stream runs 
in a comparatively narrow valley, and is deep ; in fact many 
captains of river steamers will continue their run at night 
in the channel, a thing which would be impossible among 
the shallows and sandbanks of the Kasai. The average 
width of the Congo channel is, I believe, something just 
under a mile. At first, as one proceeds up the river, its 
course is bordered on either hand by wooded hills rising 
abruptly from the water's edge. These hills are rarely, if 
ever, more than six or seven hundred feet high, and upon 
the summits of them the forest gives way to open meadow 
land or tree-studded bush ; but as one nears the mouth of 
the Kasai, the hills upon the left bank of the Congo 
gradually decrease in height until just before arriving at 
Kwamouth, the post at the confluence of the Kasai and 
the Congo, the river is running through grassy plains 
dotted here and there with stunted trees. With the 
exception of a fair number of white-headed eagles, we did 
not see much of bird life in this part of the river, the 
absence of sandbanks and islands accounting for the absence 
of the great masses of wild-fowl which we were to see 
later in the Kasai. The captain of our ship upon his last 
voyage had seen some elephants upon the shores of the 
channel, and one evening when we were moored against the 
French shore, a native from the coast who was in charge of 
the fuel supply there told us tales of a wonderful lake 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 17 

some distance to the northward where elephants are still to 
be seen in countless herds. We also met a Frenchman who 
had gone to the expense of purchasing a rifle especially for 
elephant shooting, so we took it that these animals must be 
fairly common within easy reach of the right bank of the 
channel. 

Along the left bank of the Congo runs the telegraph 
line, and it spans the mouth of the Kasai raised upon two 
iron structures, one on each side of the Kasai, somewhat 
suggestive of the Eiffel Tower, about ninety feet in height. 
At the post of Kwamouth there are now two white officials 
connected with the telegraph line, and it is to Kwamouth 
that one must send if one wishes to despatch a cable to 
Europe when travelling in the district of the Kasai. 
Formerly there was a Roman Catholic mission at Kwamouth, 
but this has been abandoned owing to the ravages of the 
sleeping sickness. 

Though the channel had been in its way beautiful, 
especially when the various greens of the forest gave place 
to the purple hues of evening, the journey up the lower 
Kasai was, to my mind, far more enjoyable. As I have said, 
the Congo up to Kwamouth had but little to show in the 
way of animal life, but the Kasai, a little above its mouth, 
is simply teeming with hippopotami, crocodiles, and 
innumerable varieties of aquatic and other birds. At the 
confluence with the Congo the Kasai is only some 500 yards 
in width, but as one ascends it the river becomes broader, 
and numerous islands, some covered with forest, others 
merely clothed in coarse dry grass or reeds, begin to appear. 
There are some rocks in the bed of the lower Kasai, which 



1 8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

cause the captains some little uneasiness in the dry season 
when the waters are low ; in fact our vessel touched lightly 
upon some of them, when our captain took us hastily to 
the shore to avoid a tornado. These storms come up very 
quickly in the rainy season. One sees dark masses of cloud 
overhanging the river valley in the distance, and one hears 
a far-off rumble of thunder ; in an incredibly short space of 
time the storm draws near, and one sees a grey mist sweep- 
ing down the river towards one, the thunder increasing 
momentarily in violence until its peals are so frequent as to 
be almost indistinguishable one from another and to pro- 
duce one long-drawn roar. Just before the mist reaches 
one a violent gust of wind strikes the vessel, often suffi- 
cient to capsize her should she not have been made fast to 
the bank, and then the rain, which has appeared like mist in 
the distance, comes down with a violence seldom, if ever, 
seen outside the tropics. Fortunately, these storms are 
usually of brief duration, and pass away as quickly as they 
come ; accidents, however, are sometimes caused by them to 
the steamers, and our captain had knowingly put his vessel 
over the rocks, preferring the possibility of sinking close to 
the shore to the probability of being capsized in mid-stream 
when the wind struck the vessel. 

On the Congo we had seen but few natives ; in the Kasai 
their canoes were far more frequently visible rowing fisher- 
men to and from the sandbanks, where they set their nets 
and fish-traps. Often they would approach us holding up 
fish for sale, and occasionally we stopped to purchase it. 
The purchase of fish by our native crew caused us no little 
amusement. Money has not yet found its way to the natives 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 19 

of the Kasal, so that everything had to be purchased by 
exchange. The hard bargaining which an ancient piece of 
dried fish can produce must be seen to be believed. Cloth, 
salt, mitakos {i.e. brass rods), torn shirts, hats, empty bottles, 
&c., were all exchanged for the fish, and on one occasion a 
member of the crew took off the trousers he was wearing 
and handed them over in exchange for a particularly choice 
morsel ! 

In the evenings we would make fast to a grassy island 
or a sandbank, and all of the crew would go ashore to spend 
the night. As the vessel slowly approaches to within a yard 
or two of the shore a man springs overboard from the bows, 
carrying a light anchor if there are no trees at hand, or a 
wire rope if there is anything on the shore to attach it to, 
and in a very short time the vessel is securely moored to 
the bank ; the crew then hasten ashore, carrying with them 
their bedding, and firebrands from the furnaces (for wood 
fuel only is used) with which to cook their evening meal. 
As darkness falls, the scene on shore is very picturesque. In 
the background the tall rank grass stands motionless in the 
still air of the African night, while the flickering light of 
the numerous fires plays upon the small cotton shelters of 
all colours of the rainbow erected by the crew as a pro- 
tection against mosquitoes. Meantime pots are on the fire, 
and the men grouped round them are talking in subdued 
voices, while a gurgling sound is to be heard as many tobacco 
pipes, in which the smoke is drawn through water in a cala- 
bash under the bow, are passed from man to man, and in 
the distance one hears the weird grunt of the hippopotamus, 
mildly indignant at the invasion of his feeding-ground by 



20 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

man. But if the evenings are delightful on a river steamer, 
the days are no less so, particularly when passing through 
such stretches of river as that known as Wissman Pool just 
below the spot where the Kasai receives on its left bank the 
waters of the Kwango. In Wissman Pool the naturalist, 
sportsman, or photographer can scarcely allow himself time 
for meals, so much life is there to be seen, so many chances 
of a shot, and always the possibility of a sufficiently near 
approach to a hippo to admit of a snapshot being taken. 
To any one like myself, whose previous wanderings have 
mainly been in desert lands, the journey through Wissman 
Pool must be particularly delightful. The pool is wide, 
that is to say the course of the river is broken up into in- 
numerable channels between sandbanks and islands, the 
latter covered with bushes, rank grass, or reeds. The land 
on either side of the river is flat. On all sides numerous 
herds of hippopotami were in sight, varying in numbers from 
three or four to about fifteen. Early in the morning and 
again in the evening they were to be seen upon the islands, 
and sometimes even at midday they would be moving 
about amid the grass or on the sandbanks, while many times 
we passed close by them as they lay in the water, their ears, 
eyes, and nostrils only exposed, scarcely heeding the 
approach of the steamer. Wissman remarks upon the 
enormous quantity of these great animals in this part 
of the river, and it is difficult to believe that they can have 
decreased materially in numbers since his day. Sometimes 
as the vessel drew near, one of the monsters would slowly 
rise to his feet in the shallow water in which he had been 
basking, showing for a moment all his great body as he 



^^^- 





WlSSMANN I'OOT.. 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 21 

quietly moved off into deeper water, in which he would dis- 
appear, to rise again in a few seconds and gaze at the re- 
ceding form of the steamer with an air of mild surprise. 
Crocodiles, too, were very numerous, and whenever we 
were within reach of the shore I was always momentarily 
expecting to get a shot at one as he lay asleep with his 
mouth open beside the water. Torday, too, was at these 
times ever ready with his shot-gun to bring down a duck 
or a spur-winged goose for the table, or to shoot a speci- 
men for skinning of one of the many kind of birds with 
which the islands swarm. Hardy, who does not shoot, 
found plenty of exercise for his pencil in making hasty 
sketches, to be worked up later, of the inhabitants, human 
and otherwise, of the Pool. During our ascent of the Kasai 
towards Dima we saw no elephants, but these animals are 
numerous in that country, and upon our return journey in 
1909 we got a magnificent view of a herd of six as they 
slowly retreated from the water's edge into the long grass 
at the approach of the steamer. 

The country continues to consist of open grass land 
studded with trees until the mouth of the Kwango is left 
behind, when the banks become thickly wooded. The 
Kwango flows into the Kasai between swamps covered with 
papyrus and reeds, a favourite wallowing-place for buffalo 
during the fierce heat of the midday sun. Dima lies but 
eight or nine miles above the confluence, upon the left 
bank of the Kasai. As the headquarters of the Kasai 
Company it contains the residence of the director and the 
general stores, to which all trade goods are brought upon 
their arrival from Europe, and where they are sorted before 



22 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

being distributed among the factories, each factory receiving 
such goods as are most saleable in its locality. Here, too, 
are the workshops wherein the steamers of the company 
are repaired. There is, therefore, always a fair number 
of European residents in Dima. The director has a couple 
of secretaries, the accountant's office occupies several clerks, 
the transport of the trade goods requires the services of two 
or three white men, while the workshops are looked after 
by quite a staff of European engineers. In addition to this, 
there are nearly always several people staying temporarily 
in Dima, for every new agent of the company goes to 
headquarters on his arrival in Africa to be appointed to a 
factory, and every agent calls at Dima on his way home. 
The situation of Dima does not at first sight strike one as 
being particularly desirable, for the post is built in a clear- 
ing of the dense forest, and the banks of the river are by 
no means high ; but it would be difficult to find an equally 
convenient spot for the transport of trade goods and the 
reception of the rubber and ivory collected in the district. 
A great deal of produce comes from the basin of the Kwilu 
River, a tributary of the Kwango, of which I shall have 
more to say later on, so that it would take a considerable 
time to get this produce far up the Kasai, where the current 
is very strong and the speed of the steamer low, should the 
headquarters of the company be moved higher up the river 
to a more healthy locality, such, for instance, as Pangu, near 
the mouth of the Lubue River, where the Kasai Company 
has recently founded a hospital. Dima itself, as we saw 
it in 1909, was a far more agreeable post than when we 
stayed there in November 1907. Upon our arrival only 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 23 

the houses of the director and the chief engineer, the two 
mess-rooms, the accountant's office, and the stores were of 
brick, but upon our return we found that all the old plaster 
houses, with their thatched roofs, had given way to neat 
structures, roofed with tiles, and built of locally made 
bricks. The clearing, too, in which the post is situated 
had been considerably extended, and this has had the effect 
of rendering the place far more airy, and lessening the 
oppressive heat ; and better drainage of the swampy ground 
in the neighbouring forest has led to a great reduction in 
the numbers of the mosquitoes, which were quite as numer- 
ous as we cared about when we arrived in Dima, The 
varied kinds of work, from the mending of machinery to 
the wheeling of small barrow-loads of bricks, naturally 
necessitates the employment of natives of many grades of 
civilisation. All the native clerks and most of the 
mechanics and carpenters come from the coast, the 
majority of them from Sierra Leone, Lagos, or Accra. 
These gentlemen are very far up in the social scale, and 
their costumes on Sunday are, as a rule, neat and in good 
taste. Next in magnificence to them come the civilised 
Congo natives, not infrequently retired soldiers who have 
attained the rank of sergeant or corporal ; the costumes of 
these, though very spotless on the Sabbath, will sometimes 
be marred by the presence of some incongruous article, such, 
for example, as a long drooping feather in the side of a 
straw hat. These people are usually employed as head- 
men in charge of a certain number of labourers. Then 
come the " boys," or white men's personal servants, and 
the " civilised " workmen who have received some teaching 



24 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

at a mission. The appearance of such people when attired 
in their best is strongly suggestive of a rainbow, and the 
various garments which compose their costumes are just 
those which would not be worn at the same time by any 
but an African negro whose " civilisation " has just brought 
him to the wearing of trousers and whose wage will allow 
him to indulge the savage's craving for brilliant colours. 
The fourth class of native employee at Dima is composed 
of the man who has recently joined the company's services 
and adheres to the loin-cloth, and the little boy who, by 
no means overdressed, is commencing his career by wheeling 
small barrow-loads of earth to the brick-makers. Nearly, 
if not quite all of the inhabitants of the workmen's village 
in Dima profess some form of Christianity. The majority 
of the Kasai district natives working there come from the 
Sankuru or upper Kasai, originating from the country 
around the Lusambo and Luebo. When an agent from 
up the river is told to enlist a certain number of men for 
service at Dima, he naturally does not suggest to his best 
and most willing workmen that they should go; he tries 
to get rid of the worst men he has got, therefore one finds 
at Dima representatives of many different tribes, often men 
who have made their villages too hot to hold them, and have 
thus been obliged to earn a livelihood as workmen in one of 
the company's factories, from which they have been drafted 
as undesirable. Thus the vices of many tribes are to be 
found among the native inhabitants of Dima and the virtues 
of but few. This it appears is specially the case among the 
•' boys " who offer themselves for service to the new-comer 
from Europe. Some of these have very likely been dis- 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 25 

missed for theft, idleness, or general incompetence, and are 
working at Dima until they can get another job ; others, 
good enough boys in the bush, have been left at Dima when 
their masters have gone home, and have preferred to stay 
there in the hope of finding another employer to returning 
to their native villages, for which they have often conceived 
a feeling of contempt. These latter have usually suffered 
by contact with the low-class workman referred to above, 
and it is a very risky thing to engage one of them as a 
servant for the journey up country. We took no servants 
from Dima, though many such offered themselves, but were 
content with two boys who had come with us until we 
could get some absolutely uncivilised and unspoilt youths 
whom we could train ourselves. At the time of our arrival 
in Dima the workmen from the coast received their pay in 
Congolese coin, but the natives were paid in trade goods, 
money being as yet without value in the district. An 
attempt to introduce coin is being made now in two or three 
of the larger centres of the Kasai district, such as Lusambo 
and, I believe, Luebo, and the Kasai Company now pays all 
its people in Dima in money ; the company's stores being 
open daily to supply the workmen with such articles for 
exchange with the local natives as they may wish to buy. 
The large number of people permanently resident in Dima 
necessitates the importation of a considerable quantity ot 
food-stuffs from a distance, the local Baboma not producing 
sujfficient to supply the post ; every ten days, therefore, a 
steamer ascends the Kwilu as far as the post of Kikwit with 
trade goods for the factories on that river, and returns 
laden with manioc flour, maize, plantains, live chickens, and 



26 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

goats from that land of plenty, the country near Luano. 
There is a farm a mile or two east of Dima which produces 
some vegetables, and where a few cows and a small flock of 
sheep are kept under the superintendence of a European 
farmer ; as yet, however, it is rather an experiment to 
ascertain what can be grown and reared in the neighbour- 
hood than an attempt to supply Dima with the necessaries 
of life. Should it ever be able to provide all that Dima 
wants, the agricultural people of the Kwilu will lose a very 
considerable trade. 

A certain amount of sport is to be obtained near Dima ; 
in 1907 I shot a harnessed bush-buck in a small clearing in 
the forest less than half-an-hour's walk from the post, while 
in January 1 909 I saw an elephant's spoor very little further 
away, and spent a day hunting buffalo without success in 
the papyrus swamps towards the mouth of the Kwango. 
The animals were in the swamps right enough, but I made 
too much noise wading and slipping about upon the 
papyrus trampled down by the buflfalo to get a shot. 
These swamps were alive with mosquitoes, and altogether 
were by no means an ideal hunting-ground. At one time 
a native hunter was employed to shoot buffalo for the 
white men's mess, but this seems to have caused very little 
reduction in their numbers. 

Of our doings at Dima there is little to tell ; we were 
anxious to get to work on the Sankuru River, but were 
compelled to await the arrival of our provisions from the 
coast. In the meantime Torday put in a little ethno- 
graphical work among the Baboma, purchased a number of 
articles of their manufacture, and, making as many inquiries 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 27 

as possible among the white men as to the conditions pre- 
vailing in the country we proposed to visit, he formed his 
plans definitely for the first six months or so of our journey. 
We were to proceed up the Kasai and Sankuru rivers as far 
as Batempa, a little above Lusambo, whence we were to go 
further inland to the Lubefu River, there to study a portion 
of the Batetela tribe. After this we were to descend the 
Sankuru and visit the Bushongo people, commonly but 
erroneously termed the Bakuba, who bade fair to prove of 
exceptional interest, to judge by several magnificent pieces 
of their wood-carving which we saw in Dima. 

This work, we anticipated, would occupy us about six 
months, at the end of which time Hardy was to leave us for 
England. As a matter of fact, the study of the Batetela on 
the Lubefu led us to continue our work among the sub- 
tribes of that people in the equatorial forest after Hardy 
had departed, and the success which attended Torday's 
work among the eastern Bushongo induced him to visit the 
capital of their king, so that our stay in the region of the 
Sankuru was extended to fourteen months instead of the six 
in which we had expected to complete our work. 

We heard in Dima that there lived near the Kasai 
Company's factory of Mokunji, close to the Lubefu River, 
a deposed Batetela chief, who was a remarkably intelligent 
native and very well disposed towards the European. In the 
hope of obtaining some valuable information from this man, 
Torday decided to proceed to Mokunji as directly as possible. 

We left Dima early in the morning of December 2, 
1907, on board the Kasai Company's steamer Velde. This 
little vessel contained accommodation for no one excepting 



28 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

her captain and European engineer, so that we were obliged 
to pitch our tents every evening upon the river bank or 
upon an island. This necessitated the captain terminating 
his day's run sufficiently early to enable us to encamp by 
daylight, and also considerably delayed the steamer's start 
in the mornings. The voyage, therefore, occupied more 
time than is usually taken over the journey to Batempa,and 
it was only upon the twenty-third day after our start from 
Dima that we reached the end of our voyage. The upper 
deck of the Velde was very small, there being only just 
sufficient room for the five of us to sit around a table for 
meals, so that our journey cannot be said to have been a 
very luxurious one, but the glorious river scenery and the 
numberless interesting sights which nature had to offer in 
the way of birds and beasts combined to make the voyage 
pleasant. Just above Dima the Kasai is only about half a 
mile in width and very deep, with a strong current. Further 
on, however, between the factory of Eolo and the Govern- 
ment post of Basongo, near the confluence of the Kasai and 
the Sankuru, the river often attains a width of fully three 
miles, and its course is much broken by sandbanks and 
islands, its depth being reduced in proportion to the greater 
width of its bed. Although the shores of the river are 
usually clothed in forest, undulating grassy downs are to be 
seen behind the belt of woodland that borders the stream, 
and only after entering the Sankuru does one reach a real 
forest country. Upon its right bank the Kasai receives no 
tributaries of any importance, for the Lukenye River flows 
parallel to it into Lac Leopold II., about fifty miles to the 
north; but upon its left or southern bank it receives the waters 




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FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 29 

of the Kancha, Lubue,and Loange rivers, rising in the uplands 
of the Congo-Angola frontier, as well as numerous small 
streams. There is a Kasai Company's factory at Eolo, and 
some plantations of rubber belonging to the Societe Anonyme 
Beige at a spot called Mangay, about fifty miles farther up 
the river, also on its left bank. At the mouth of the Lubue 
there is a factory of the Kasai Company, v^^hence communi- 
cation is kept open by means of a whale-boat with the 
company's post of Dumba on the Lubue, which we visited 
during the last part of our journey. The company has re- 
cently founded a hospital for its white and native employees 
on the high bank of the Kasai near the mouth of the Lubue, 
but the building of this post had not been commenced at 
the end of 1907. The only Government station on the 
Kasai is the post of Basongo. We spent one night here, 
and were told by Lieutenant Le Grand that the Bashilele 
people who inhabited the country to the south ot his post 
were a most warlike and hostile people ; indeed he gave us 
a number of arrows which had been shot at him and his 
soldiers during a few days' journey he had just undertaken 
in the interior. We were to make acquaintance ourselves 
later on with the Bashilele, as my narrative will show. 

During our journey up the Kasai the captain of the Fe/^e 
told us that about the year 1904 or 1905 a very deadly 
epidemic had broken out among the hippopotami of that 
river and the Sankuru. So great had been the mortality 
among the animals (which even now exist in the middle 
Kasai in almost as great numbers as in Wissman Pool) that 
the factories on the bank had been obliged to employ men 
with canoes to push out into the current the carcases which 



30 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

had lodged on the shore close at hand, the stench from 
which, as they began to decay, had been appalling. I could 
gather no information as to the nature of this disease. 

When we entered the Sankuru the river banks became 
more densely wooded, and the patches of open grass land 
visible in the background rarer and more rare. The river 
is narrower than the Kasai, seldom exceeding about a mile 
in width, and the foliage on the banks rises abruptly from 
the water's edge, forming solid walls of luxuriant vegetation. 
This kind of scenery, although undoubtedly beautiful, is very 
apt to become monotonous, so that we were always glad 
when a call at one of the factories, of which there are about 
eight below Lusambo, broke the dulness of a voyage through 
the forest. Of course there was always plenty to look at ; 
for, in addition to animal life, canoes of native fishermen 
were ever to be seen darting in and out of the almost 
invisible openings in the vegetation, making the entrance 
to the little harbours where are kept the canoes of the 
villages, v/hich as a rule are situated some little way inland. 
But we were eager to begin our work in earnest, and natur- 
ally chafed at our enforced inactivity upon the steamer. In 
addition to the delay of which the pitching and striking of 
our camp was the cause, our progress was retarded by the 
lack of prepared fuel on the banks. Wood only is burned 
on the steamers, and the Kasai Company has established 
posts all along the river, at each of which about half-a-dozen 
natives are employed in felling trees and cutting the wood 
into suitable lengths for the furnaces of the vessels. As 
these men are under no supervision they by no means 
overwork themselves, with the result that one often finds 



FROM THE COAST TO THE SANKURU 31 

very little wood ready when the steamer calls ; consequently 
the voyage has frequently to be interrupted while the crew 
cut wood in the forest or on the shore. We were, I believe, 
exceptionally unlucky in finding so little wood prepared, and 
our stoppages were therefore more frequent than is usual. 
We paid a brief visit to the English mission at Inkongu, 
a few miles below Lusambo, where Mr. Westcott is doing 
a very good work, strictly undenominational, among the 
natives, and at Lusambo itself, the centre of government of 
the district of Lualaba-Kasai. We found that Commandant 
Gustin, the commissioner, was absent upon a tour of 
inspection, but we were received by the deputy-commis- 
sioner, Commandant Saut. On hearing that our destination 
was the Lubefu River, this gentleman informed us that he 
was expecting a caravan to arrive with rubber from that 
river, and that he had no doubt the men would be glad to 
earn an additional wage instead of returning without loads 
to their homes. He therefore promised to send them on 
to us at Batempa, where we agreed to await their arrival. 

Just as our steamer was leaving we received a message 
from the magistrate who resides at Lusambo, strongly 
advising us to abandon our journey to Mokunji, for he had 
heard that there was considerable unrest and anti-European 
feeling among the Batetela villages that lay upon the road, 
and he was of the opinion that we should not reach the 
Lubefu without being attacked. We thanked the magis- 
trate for his friendly warning, but we had come too far to 
abandon our journey at the first rumour of trouble, and we 
continued our voyage to Ikoka, a factory between Lusambo 
and Batempa, fully determined to try our best to reach our 
destination, Mokunji. 



CHAPTER II 

IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 

Our ill-fortune in the matter of fuel followed us to the end 
of the voyage, for we were compelled to stop and cut wood 
in the forest during the run from Ikoka to Batempa, which 
under ordinary circumstances should occupy about four 
hours. The scenery between Ikoka and Batempa is excep- 
tionally fine. The left bank of the Sankuru is flat and 
swampy, clothed with the impenetrable forest which is so 
prominent a feature in African river scenery, whose tangled 
masses of luxuriant vegetation overhang the swiftly rushing 
stream ; but on the right bank red rocky cliffs rise sheer 
from the water's edge to a height of some 300 feet, the 
nesting-place of innumerable grey parrots, the ruddy colour- 
ing of the rocks providing a striking contrast to the varied 
greens of the forest which clothe their summits. The Kasai 
Company's factory at Batempa is situated on the right bank 
a few hundred yards up-stream from the commencement 
of these cliffs, and the view down-river from the post is one 
of the finest on the Sankuru. We arrived at Batempa on 
the morning of December 24th. We had just got our baggage 
conveyed from the Velde to the shore, and the company's 
agent was showing us a suitable position for our camp, when 
a tornado, which had been threatening all the morning, 
suddenly broke with characteristic violence and soaked our 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 23 

various loads long before there was time to remove them 
to the shelter of a rubber drying-house, the water rushing 
down from the rising ground to the west of the factory in 
streams several inches deep, completely inundating the 
ground whereon our baggage had been deposited. Like 
most of these tropical storms, however, the tornado was of 
brief duration, and excepting that we had to sleep that night 
in wet tents pitched in a puddle little harm was done. 
Since our visit to Batempa the factory has been removed to 
higher ground, where the rains can work less havoc, and 
whence an even finer view of the river is obtainable. The 
day following our arrival was Christmas Day, which we 
celebrated as well as circumstances would permit with the 
company's agent. A sheep, purchased at Ikoka (which, by 
the way, is considered a rare luxury in most parts of the 
Kasai), some chickens, a plum-pudding from the Army and 
Navy Stores, and a chocolate cake, in the art of making 
which Torday is a past master, accompanied by a bottle of 
champagne from our limited supply of medical comforts, 
constituted the feast to which our appetites, as yet un- 
impaired by contact with the Congo climate, did ample 
justice ; and in place of the old-time ghost stories in the 
evening we first heard of the existence of what promised to 
be a truly remarkable animal. As we sat smoking after 
dinner on the verandah of the agent's bungalow, admiring 
the wonderful effects of the moonlight over the Sankuru 
and listening to the music of Torday 's phonograph, a weird 
cry echoed through the forest close behind the factory. We 
were all attention in a moment ; neither of us had heard the 
like before. 

c 



34 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

The noise was quite distinctive, ** Ow-wa," repeated 
three or four times, and then silence. We questioned the 
agent, and he informed us that the cry proceeded from a 
small animal which was fairly common in the neighbour- 
hood, but which he himself had never seen. He told us 
that it was held in considerable awe by the natives, and that 
a former director of the Kasai Company had offered a very 
large price for a living specimen without being able to 
induce the people to attempt its capture. 

We at once summoned a member of the local Basonge 
tribe who was employed in the factory, and from him we 
elicited the following astounding information. The animal 
is known to the Basonge as the bembe, and to the Batetela as 
the yuka ; it is grey in colour, and is about the size of a 
fox-terrier dog ; it lives in holes in the trees, and although 
its movements on the ground are slow, it moves in the 
tree-tops with great agility, always climbing with its back to 
the branch ! Its hindquarters are hairless, its legs long, and 
it walks upon its wrists ! It is a dangerous beast to inter- 
fere with, although our informant could not tell us exactly 
what it would do to any one who was rash enough to 
interfere with it. Obviously we had come across a truly 
remarkable creature ! Needless to say, we were most 
anxious to secure a specimen, living or dead, of this won- 
derful animal, so Torday promised a large reward of trade 
goods to any one who would capture one, and I took many 
a ramble with my gun in the forest by night in the hope 
that I might see the form of the "yuka" silhouetted 
against the sky as he emerged from his resting-place to 
feed. The creature, it is said, always emits its strange cry 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 35 

when starting out in search of food, and again when return- 
ing after its meal, but if disturbed it at once becomes silent, 
and resting absolutely motionless among the branches (after 
the manner of monkeys when hunted), it is almost indis- 
tinguishable even by daylight. Needless to say, my nightly 
peregrinations in search of the animal resulted in nothing 
but scratches and discomfort to myself, and when we left 
Batempa the yuka remained as much a mystery as the 
night when we first heard its voice. We were, however, so 
thoroughly interested in it that we were determined to leave 
no stone unturned during our stay in the district to obtain 
a specimen for the Zoo or for the Museum. 

Before our porters arrived, and thus enabled us to start 
for the Lubefu River, we witnessed a very picturesque dance 
in the factory of Batempa. The local Basonge chief, having 
heard of our presence and of our desire to purchase articles 
of native manufacture, came in one morning bringing a large 
number of interesting objects for sale, and accompanied by 
his professional dancers and orchestra. During our wander- 
ings in the Kasai we never heard better native music than 
that produced by this Basonge band. The Bambala of the 
Kwilu River and the Babunda of the Kancha (peoples 
of whom I shall have something to say later on) are 
undoubtedly superior as singers to the Basonge, but as 
instrumental musicians the latter are unrivalled in the dis- 
tricts we visited. The orchestra was composed of a number 
of drums, wooden gongs, flutes, and a xylophone. The 
first two of these might well have been left out, but they 
are so common in Africa that one's ears become quite 
hardened to their deafening and monotonous din. The 



Z6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

remarkable point about the orchestra was the flute-playing. 

Each instrument is capable of producing one note only, but 

a large number of performers played upon them, and so 

exactly did they keep time and come in at the right moment 

that the melody produced was extremely pleasing to the 

European ear, and quite difl^erent to the hubbub with which 

African dances are usually accompanied. The leader of the 

orchestra, no small personage in the village, played a large 

xylophone in v/hich wooden keys of different thicknesses 

placed above calabashes, varying in size to produce the 

different notes, were struck with wooden hammers. The 

dancers performed to the strains of the band. A peculiarity 

of the Basonge people is the existence of a regularly trained 

and paid corps of dancers. These consist for the most part 

of small girls, aged from about eight to ten years, attired in 

spotless loin-cloths of European cotton-stuiF, and covered 

with many strings of coloured beads. These little ladies 

move slowly in Indian file, making S-like curves in their 

course around the band in the mazes of a dance which, if 

not graceful in itself, presents a very picturesque spectacle 

as performed by the children. A large number of the men 

who accompanied the chief also took part in the dance, but 

the performance of the little girls was undoubtedly the 

principal feature. Music and dancing are the arts in which 

the Basonge chiefly excel, and we were unable to find any 

traces of the carver's art to compare with the specimens we 

were later to secure among the Bushongo. The Basonge, 

however, manufacture some very neat and ornamental 

basket-work. 

It may seem rather extraordinary that a tribe which is 




Thk leader of^the Bason(;e orchestra. 




The SANK.URU near Batemi-a. 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY ^7 

so far ahead of its neighbours in the gentle arts referred to 
above should be strongly addicted to cannibalism ; yet such 
is the case. At the present day, when the European is 
firmly established in their country and the centre of govern- 
ment of the district lies on their frontier, the practice of 
eating human flesh has practically died out, but a few years 
ago it was very prevalent, and doubtless many instances of 
it occur to-day unbeknown to any one save the inhabitants 
of the villages in which they take place. 

The Basonge exhibit many other signs of their contact 
with the white man besides the decline of their cannibalistic 
habits. Native-made cloth is no longer worn among them, 
its place having been entirely taken by the cheap cotton 
goods from Europe which form the present currency in the 
country, and which have quite superseded the former com- 
modities used in exchange by the natives. In years gone by 
hoe-blades were largely used for bartering purposes, and 
even now hoe-blades imported from Europe are readily 
accepted in exchange for food-stuffs and other local produce, 
although their value has fallen considerably since the time 
when a man used to pay from ten to thirty blades for a wife, 
when four of these useful articles would buy a goat, and 
when the price of a male slave would not usually exceed 
twenty. The old-time hard wooden spears and bows and 
arrows have largely given place to cheap trade guns, and in 
many other ways the Basonge are exhibiting signs of that 
change which must assuredly come over native life when 
once the European has firmly set foot in the country. 

At Batempa we engaged a cook and three " boys." My 
henchman, engaged on Stanley Pool, had returned down 



38 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the river in the Velde on his way back to Leopoldville, 
where he could indulge his propensities for idling to the 
fullest extent, so we were left with Jones as the sole 
native member of our party. We decided to employ as 
personal servants quite young boys who had never pre- 
viously been in the service of a European, and allow Jones 
to teach them their duties. I think it is far more satis- 
factory as a rule, when a long stay is to be made in Africa, 
for the European to engage as his " boy " a young, intelli- 
gent savage, and " break him in " himself than to take 
over some one else's servant. The negro when a child is 
extremely quick at learning anything which interests him, 
and the newly acquired dignity of becoming a white man's 
"boy" is quite sufficient to give the lad an interest in his 
work. If one has another European's cast-off "boy" one 
finds that he has usually learned bad habits from long 
intercourse with the semi-civilised natives of the factory 
or Government post, and also it will take him a long time 
to unlearn the ways to which his late master has accustomed 
him and become used to those of his new employer. On 
the whole, therefore, I think it is best for the white man, 
whenever possible, to train his own boy, and the result 
will almost surely be that he will get exactly the servant 
that he deserves. Treat your boy well and he will repay 
you with faithful service ; keep him in his place or he 
will presume upon your good nature and become careless 
and idle ; be absolutely just in all your dealings with him, 
as you would be with the porters who carry your loads 
from one place to another, and never allow him to imagine 
that the fact that he is your confidential servant will save 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 39 

him from punishment should he provoke disputes by his 
arrogance in the villages at which you stay. My " boy," 
Sam, whom we engaged at Batempa, was in my employ 
for close upon two years, during the whole of which time 
he carried the keys of my boxes and was responsible for 
their contents ; I never had a single article stolen from 
them. This should prove that the much-abused African 
servant can, at any rate, be honest. While on the subject 
of " boys " let me say a word as to their payment. In the 
Congo one is obliged when in a Government post to make 
a written contract with one's " boy," duly signed by a 
magistrate, but in the bush one cannot, of course, observe 
this regulation, and one accordingly writes out a contract 
oneself and explains to the " boy " what it contains. The 
wages paid to uncivilised natives engaged up-country are 
very low, and I think it is as well to arrange as low a 
rate of pay as possible with one's " boy," afterwards 
delighting him with occasional presents. " Boys " are 
usually hired by the month, but I consider it a great 
mistake to actually pay the boy monthly, especially when 
travelling about. Let him know, of course, exactly how 
much he is entitled to, and explain to him that he can 
draw his pay as it becomes due, but offer to keep it for 
him and let him draw from you goods as he actually 
requires them. It is no trouble to write down the 
amounts he drav/s on the back of his contract, and you 
will do the "boy" a kindness by restricting his natural 
inclination to squander his earnings ; in addition to this 
you will have to carry about with you rather less trade 
goods than if you always had to pay your servants at 



40 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the end of each month. " Boys " waste their pay in 
most ridiculous ways. It is very common indeed for a 
lad fresh from the " bush " to be kindly received by older 
servants in some Government post which you happen to 
visit. These "sharks" suggest that on his departure he 
should seal a friendship with them by an interchange of 
gifts, by which means they extract a good sum in trade 
goods from the boy, giving him some useless article in 
return. It is astonishing how prevalent this custom is, 
and it is incredible how often the same boy can be caught 
by the trick. If he has to come to you to draw the goods 
he will think twice about spending them, or very likely 
tell you why he wants them, in which case you can show 
him that he is being made a fool of. I am sure that the 
very little trouble caused by this method of banking for 
your boy is more than repaid by the greater honesty with 
which he will serve you. Once let him have the entire 
management of his earnings and he will squander them 
in a very short time, after which, being penniless, he will 
very likely steal. If he has to come to you when he wants 
his goods he will also be less likely to gamble, and gambling 
among the servants must be put down with a firm hand or 
wholesale robbery will result. It is illegal to hit one's boy, 
but gambling, hemp-smoking, and drunkenness can only be 
met by immediate chastisement, which, however, need not 
be resorted to for anything else ; for theft, of course, must 
result in dismissal. These remarks only apply to '* boys " 
engaged for expeditions such as ours or for service in 
remote up-country stations. On the coast, where money 
is the currency and the innumerable temptations to spend 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 41 

it inseparable from big settlements are everywhere to be 
found, it is hopeless to try and look after one's " boy's " 
financial affairs ; but in civilised places older and more 
experienced servants are employed, and these are, or should 
be, able to take care of themselves. During our journey 
we always employed the system of banking described above 
and never once regretted it. When we paid off" " Sam " 
just before our return to Europe he was a rich man ; had 
he been paid monthly he would not have had a penny to 
his name. In his case we paid over his earnings to a 
missionary near his home to obviate the risk of his being 
robbed of them on his way back from the coast. Sam, 
who was only about twelve years of age, commenced his 
service for a fixed wage of eight yards of cotton material 
per month ! Our cook, Luchima, a member of the Bate- 
tela tribe, received double this amount. He turned out 
to be a fair cook, as cooks go in Central Africa, and a 
faithful servant, whom only ill - health prevented from 
accompanying us to the end of our journey. The other 
servants engaged consisted of a "boy" for Hardy, also 
very young, and another lad whose name, being interpreted, 
signified " Onions," and who was to do odd jobs about the 
camp, help the other boys, and carry a few of the small 
objects, such as camera, water-bottle, &c., which we should 
need upon the march. 

After a few days spent at Batempa the porters who 
were on their way home to the Lubefu arrived, and we 
could start upon our journey. Sixty-five men under two 
"capitas" or headmen appeared, so we were able to take 
most of our impedimenta with us, leaving a few " chop- 



42 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

boxes," or cases of provisions, at Batempa, to be sent for 
as required. The porters on the whole were a fine sturdy 
lot of men, for the Batetela as a rule are powerful people ; 
all were attired in loin-cloths of imported cotton, and many 
wore suspended from their belts the skins of small wild- 
cats which are so commonly worn in this district as to 
form part of the national dress of the Batetela. The 
distribution of loads to a new lot of porters is very often 
a very troublesome business. One naturally tries to give 
the heaviest objects to the bigger men, but unless one 
keeps a sharp look-out the strong ones will frequently 
pass on their burdens to others, physically less fit, who 
are unable to resent this treatment. Porters will usually 
try to secure the smallest loads, quite regardless of the 
weight, preferring a very heavy but compact box of cart- 
ridges to an almost empty wooden crate. This is not so 
ridiculous as it may at first sight appear, for all over the 
Kasai district double loads are carried attached to a pole 
borne upon the shoulders of the porters, so that a small 
and heavy package is less fatiguing to carry along the 
narrow, tortuous forest paths than a large but lighter one, 
which would need careful steering to prevent it continually 
catching in the branches which overhang the road. When 
once a load has been handed over to its porters they are 
responsible for it until they reach their destination. The 
usual rule is to pay the carriers their wages at the end of 
the journey, and to serve out to every man each day a 
quantity of the rough salt which takes the place of small 
change in most parts of the Kasai, and with which the 
porters can buy food in the villages where the caravan 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 43 

halts for the night. Upon leaving the shores of the 
Sankuru our way lay for a few miles through the dense 
belt of forest which borders the river, in the course of 
which we had to scale some steep ascents that caused our 
porters some trouble in carrying their loads, for the track 
near the factory was none of the best and much overhung 
by trees and bushes ; but once we had left the river forest 
behind us our path lay in great undulating grassy plains in 
which very few trees were visible, except in the valleys 
v/here little streams meandered through strips of woodland. 
The weather was intensely hot, and our twenty-three days 
of inactivity on board the Velde had by no means fitted us 
for much exertion, so we felt the effects of our first day's 
march rather severely. Torday experienced one of his rare 
attacks of fever about an hour before reaching the village 
at which we were to spend the night, and collapsed upon 
the road, but we sent back the portable hammock in which 
Hardy was travelling to bring him in, and a little treatment 
and some sleep brought his temperature down, so that he 
was able to march next day. We camped at the little 
village of Okitulonga, the first of the Batetela settlements 
that we entered. There was very little of interest in the 
place save that here we first saw the Batetela hut, which is 
nowadays being gradually superseded in many villages by 
rectangular dwellings built of plaster, modelled upon the 
plan of the European's bungalow. The native Batetela 
hut is circular, with very low walls — only some two feet 
high — covered with a high conical roof of thatched grass. 
The interiors of these huts are dark and stuffy in the 
extreme. The men in the village, like our porters, were 



44 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAl 

all dressed in material imported from Europe, but the 
women's costume was remarkable, if scanty. It consisted 
solely of a girdle, from the front of which was suspended a 
minute piece of cloth, the lower end of which was held in 
between the legs ; at the back a few strings of beads, about 
eighteen inches in length, hung like a tail from the belt. 
This completed the dress. The primitive Batetela ladies 
are nowhere extravagant in the matter of costumes, as I 
shall show when I describe our visit to those portions of 
the tribe which inhabit the equatorial forest, but it struck 
me as rather remarkable that so near the Sankuru, where 
the men have discarded their native-made loin-cloths in 
favour of European cotton-stufFs, and where any man will 
wear any European garment that he can lay hands on, that 
the women should be so conservative in their loyalty to 
their scanty national dress. There is plenty of European 
material to be earned in the district, so one can only 
imagine that the natives prefer their women to dress in 
the fashions of their grandmothers. A few of the more 
important Batetela, particularly those who have served 
under the white man, will dress their wives in cotton cloth, 
but this has not yet become the custom with the ordinary 
inhabitants of the villages. 

Our second stage brought us to Kasongo-Batetela, the 
village of one of the two most important chiefs of this 
part of the Batetela country ; the second one being the 
chief of Mokunji, whom we were on our way to visit. 
These men are the overlords of many villages, each of 
which has its own petty chief. The country at this 
point is hilly, consisting of about equal portions of forest 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 45 

and tree-studded grass land. Upon our arrival at 
Kasongo's village we encamped at the rest-house be- 
longing to the Kasai Company, where the agent from 
Batempa stays when he visits the place to purchase 
rubber. We were received by a Sierra Leone clerk in 
the employ of the Kasai Company, who informed us 
that Kasongo, whose residence was situated on a hill 
about a mile from the rest-house, would visit us with 
his band in the evening. We here broke through our 
rule of always, where possible, pitching our tents actually 
in the native village, for we were on our way to study 
the Batetela nearer the Lubefu, and we knew that we should 
find ample opportunities later on of observing the daily 
life of the people, while little could be expected to result 
from merely sleeping a night in Kasongo's village ; there- 
fore we encamped at the rest-house. Just before sundown 
the chief came to visit us in state. Attired in a white 
slouch hat, a white jacket, knickerbockers and stockings, 
he did not present a very dignified appearance, but if 
one may estimate his importance by the amount of noise 
produced by his orchestra he must have been a very great 
personage indeed. Doubtless he had heard that the 
Basonge chief at Batempa had impressed us by the 
quality of his music, and he was not to be outdone by 
his neighbour. His drummers beat their drums and 
gongs and yelled themselves hoarse, while others added 
to the din by means of iron bells, and little girls manipu- 
lated curiously shaped rattles of basket-work. Except that 
many of the men wore large tufts of chicken or plantain- 
eater feathers on their heads, there was nothing striking 



46 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

about the appearance of Kasongo's followers, and alto- 
gether we were not sorry when his visit was at an end. 
We made a few phonographic records of his music before 
his departure, and created a great deal of surprise by 
playing them over to him, together with some records of 
the Basonge orchestra taken at Batempa. Kasongo was 
accompanied by his wives, the chief of whom was attired 
in a great deal of white and blue cloth and carried a 
bead-covered wand. This lady began to make obvious 
advances to Hardy ; she insisted in sitting as near to 
him as she could get, and favouring him with glances of 
the tenderest description. Poor Hardy's discomfiture was 
great, for he could not speak a word of the woman's 
language, and was at loss to know how to snub her 
effectually without giving offence ; her lord and master, 
however, did not honour us with his company very long, 
but soon left us to our dinner, taking his noisy musicians 
and forward spouse with him. After leaving Kasongo- 
Batetela we began to approach the villages in which we 
had been told by the magistrate at Lusambo we should 
in all probability be attacked. We had determined to 
proceed from the Sankuru to the Lubefu unattended by 
an armed escort despite this friendly warning, for we 
were convinced that the presence of armed men in our 
caravan could not fail to arouse the suspicion of the 
natives and ruin our chances of gaining their confidence, 
without which we might just as well have stayed at home 
for all the amount of information as to their habits and 
customs which we should be able to extract from them. 
When once a native whom you are questioning becomes 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 47 

suspicious of your motives he can be as obstinate as a 
mule, and not one atom of information will you get 
out of him even if you are possessed of the patience of 
Job. I have often seen a half-suspicious, half-idiotic 
expression come over a native's face when we have been 
discussing with him a point relating to his beliefs, or 
some other delicate subject, and I learned to know that 
further interrogation of that particular individual would 
be merely a waste of time ; he does not quite know why 
you are asking questions, and nothing will induce him to 
answer them. This obstinacy can be exceedingly annoying. 
I have heard Torday talking by the hour to an intelligent 
native, from whom he has got quite a fund of information, 
trying gradually to work up to some important question 
regarding religion, but as soon as this question has been 
mooted the man has closed up his brain like a book and 
become as stupid as he was intelligent before he realised 
what turn the conversation was taking. It is worse than 
useless to lose one's temper under circumstances like these ; 
one can only wait and try to elicit the information from 
some one else. In order to obtain a real knowledge of the 
negro, then, it is quite essential that one should enjoy his 
confidence, and the surest way to prevent doing so is to 
arrive in his village with an armed escort. In the first 
place, the mere fact of one's being accompanied by men 
equipped for war leads him to suppose that one antici- 
pates trouble ; and, secondly, the men who comprise the 
escort are very likely to bully or insult the villagers un- 
beknown to the white man, who, of course, gets the credit 
for their aggressions. We could not afford to run the 



48 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

risk of becoming unpopular at the very outset of our 
journey, for one's reputation among the natives spreads 
far in advance in Africa, so we preferred to attempt a 
perfectly peaceful march to the Lubefu, relying upon 
tact to save us should any unpleasantness arise. Of 
course we carried with us our shot-guns and sporting 
rifles, for these we should need in shooting for the pot 
or collecting natural history specimens. I arrived in the 
first of the " doubtful " villages in the pouring rain 
carried in Hardy's hammock, for I had a sharp attack 
of fever on the marsh, and my reception, if not cordial, 
was certainly not hostile, and, as far as my drowsy con- 
dition would allow me to observe, no one paid any 
particular attention to me. We camped in the village, 
and except that Torday heard some one making a rather 
anti-European speech during the night there was nothing 
to lead one to suppose that the natives were not on the 
best of terms with the white man. But it was at the 
next village, Osodu, one day's journey from the Lubefu, 
where trouble was said to be the most likely to arise. 
We were not a little surprised, therefore, to find on the 
morrow that several stalwart natives of Osodu had 
arrived saying that they heard that a white man was ill 
upon the road and that they had come to carry him on 
to their village. This did not look much like the 
hostility against which we had been cautioned, and when 
we reached Osodu our reception was of the best. We 
then learned what had given rise to the magistrate's fears 
for our safety. The chief of Osodu is subordinate to 
the more important chief of Mokunji, to whose village 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 49 

we were travelling. As I have already pointed out, a 
former chief of Mokunji, by name Okito, had been de- 
posed by the Government, and Jadi, an ex-soldier who 
had served in the Arab wars, had been appointed by the 
authorities to take his place as being likely, having fought 
under the white man, to be friendly in all his dealings 
with the European. One or two of the petty chiefs of 
the country had, quite naturally I think, resented this 
interference on the part of the Government in the matter 
of the succession to the overlordship of the district and 
had declined to recognise Jadi as their paramount chief. 
The authorities having once set Jadi upon his throne, 
were of course bound to support him, and had therefore 
threatened the petty chiefs with imprisonment if they 
persisted in their refusal to acknowledge his suzerainty 
over them. The chief of Osodu had been obdurate and 
had accordingly been sentenced to a few months of im- 
prisonment at the Government post of Lubefu. His 
people were very indignant at this treatment and had 
been loud in their protests against it ; but they realised no 
doubt that an attack upon white men would not be likely 
to regain their chief his liberty, so they decided to receive 
us with open arms and endeavour to enlist our influence 
on behalf of the prisoner. Their indignation at the treat- 
ment of their chief had been the cause of the magistrate's 
fears for our safety should we enter their village. We 
had let it be generally known that we belonged to a 
different' "tribe" of white men to the Government 
officials and to all other European residents in the 
country, and that we were simply travelling in order to 

D 



50 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

see the people. We always in future circulated this 
information about ourselves, and by its means we were 
able to pick up a lot of information concerning various 
illegal practices, such as the poison ordeal and cannibal- 
ism, which the natives would undoubtedly have withheld 
from an official. 

The village of Osodu is provided with a rest-house for 
the use of European travellers passing from the Sankuru 
to the Lubefu, and to this we were conducted by a crowd 
of villagers accompanied by drummers and bell players. 
Here we were received by the imprisoned chief's four little 
sons, aged from about five to ten years, and by the prime 
minister. The children did the honours at the reception 
themselves. Dressed in old waistcoats and straw hats and 
obviously very much got up for the occasion these little 
fellows presented us with the usual gift of chickens for our 
evening meal, and, in addition to this, produced a liberal 
supply of manioc porridge and meat as rations for our men. 
Torday decided that it would be wise for us to be lavish in 
our presents to the people of Osodu, so he gave our baby 
hosts a generous amount of trade goods, drawing from one 
of the villagers the quaint remark, *' These white men are 
like children, they are so good." The interchange of pre- 
sents having been accomplished the prime minister proceeded 
to try to obtain from us a promise to intercede with the 
Government on behalf of the father of the four little boys 
who sat gravely staring at us while he spoke. He related 
to us the circumstances of the chief's imprisonment, and 
begged us to use the influence, which he was convinced 
great men such as ourselves must possess, to obtain his 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 51 

release. We replied that we had no authority whatsoever 
to meddle in such matters, but Torday promised if occasion 
arose to put in a word with the authorities on behalf of the 
village of Osodu. 

During the two days we spent there we became quite 
attached to our little hosts. Their delight with any trifle 
with which we presented them was so real and so different 
to the grasping manner with which presents to the negro 
are often received that it was a real pleasure to give them 
presents. I remember one of the little fellows beating the 
ground with his fists in his joy at receiving two or three 
empty Mannlicher cartridges to hang around his neck ! As 
usual our phonograph created a great impression. After 
we had given a concert, at which the entire village attended, 
some one asked us, " What do you call that ? Witchcraft ?" 
■" Oh, no," modestly replied Torday, " it is only our clever- 
ness." " That is witchcraft," said the native ; " cleverness 
stops short of that." As I was sitting on the edge of the 
crowd which was listening intently to the phonograph, 
■smoking my pipe and amusing myself by studying the ex- 
pressions of the natives as the instrument played the record 
■of a laughing song, I noticed that a man squatting on his 
haunches at the side of my chair was periodically waving 
his hand with a peculiar sweeping movement towards his 
face. I was at first quite at a loss to know what he was 
about, until it suddenly dawned upon me that he was 
endeavouring to direct into his own mouth the clouds of 
tobacco smoke that I expelled from my lips ! Evidently he 
had left his pouch at home. The Batetela are great 
smokers and cultivate tobacco themselves, which they con- 



52 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

sume in pipes in which the smoke is drawn through water 
contained in a calabash under the bowl. They take 
enormous mouthfuls of smoke, so enormous, in fact, that 
they frequently produce attacks of coughing violent enough 
to end in a fainting fit, the unfortunate smoker then 
becoming the object of much mirth and rough chaff from 
his neighbours. 

At Osodu we first saw specimens of the curious pictures 
in red, black and white, with which the modern Batetela love 
to decorate the mud wall of their new houses built upon the 
plan of a bungalow. These represent wild animals, natives 
armed with bows and arrows attacking others equipped 
with guns, white men travelling in hammocks accom- 
panied by an escort, and, in one instance, a white man 
sitting in a chair drinking out of an enormous bottle 1 
Some of the pictures include horses, which the artist must 
have seen at Lusambo, where three or four of these animals 
are kept. The drawings are crude in the extreme, but they 
are none the less curious, especially as the art of drawing 
is very little practised among the peoples of the Kasai, 
although, as I shall show later on, wood-carving and the 
ornamentation of textiles has reached a high pitch of 
excellence in some parts of the districts. At Osodu, too, we 
also first saw an object whose very existence many people 
might be inclined to doubt, namely a basket strainer used 
in the manufacture of soap. The soap is made of burnt 
banana roots and is of quite useable quality. As a matter 
of fact most African natives are by no means uncleanly as 
regards their persons. When on the march carriers will 
rarely miss an opportunity to bathe in a stream, and many 




A Batetela drummer. 




Batetela wall pictures 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 53 

of those peoples who daub themselves with clay apply fresh 
earth with such regularity as to cause the practice to be by 
no means so dirty as it sounds ; of course some tribes that 
we visited were filthy in the extreme, but these were the ex- 
ception rather than the rule. Upon leaving Osodu, which 
we did accompanied by the local band and with every sign 
of goodwill on the part of the inhabitants, we entered a 
tract of country strongly resembling the downs of Sussex, 
except that the hollows were as a rule filled with woodland 
and contained brooks, and the grass was, of course, longer 
and coarser. The march to the village of Mokunji occupied 
about three hours. As we came within sight of the village 
we could see a large crowd waiting to receive us, and we 
were met by a man bringing us a complimentary present of 
pine apples and bananas who informed us that the Jadi him- 
self was awating our arrival a little farther on. Nearer to 
the village we met the chief. He was a tall, very power- 
fully built man, with a heavy unintelligent countenance, 
dressed in garments from Europe. With him came a 
number of his wives, his drummers, and a good following 
of slaves and other inhabitants of Mokunji, while behind 
him strode an attendant bearing the sole weapon noticeable 
among the crowd, an old flint-lock pistol, the stock of which 
was studded with many brass nails, and which was evidently 
regarded as a state weapon corresponding to the mace of 
the Lord Mayor's show. We all three shook hands with 
Jadi, who then preceded us to the rest-house in his village, 
the drummers accompanying us, and vieing with each other 
who should get the most noise out of his instrument. The 
rest-house lay upon the edge of the village on the side nearer 



54 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to the Lubefu River, and, in addition to a plaster building 
useable as a bedroom, there was a thatched shed without 
walls under the shade of which the white traveller could 
take his meals sheltered from the sun or rain. It was 
beneath this shed that we interviewed Jadi and explained 
to him the object of our visit. A large crowd collected 
round us in a moment, so that we were able to gather some 
impression of the people among whom we were to work. 
Excepting that here and there one could notice a man wear- 
ing a scarlet feather, usually drawn from the tail of a grey 
parrot while the bird is still alive, stuck into the hair on the 
crown of nis head to denote that he had at some time slain a 
powerful enemy on the field of battle, there was little of in- 
terest in the appearance of the male portion of the population, 
who were all clothed in the imported cotton material which, to 
my mind, robs the native of any picturesqueness he may pos- 
sess, though, doubtless, its adoption is a step towards civilisa- 
tion. The women, however, were more worthy of attention. 
Their bodies and thighs, which were quite unclothed by the 
national costume I have already described, were covered 
with innumerable scars so placed as to form patterns upon 
their bodies. These cuts had been rubbed with charcoal 
when first made, with the result that the scars left by them 
were black and stood out in bold relief from the skins. Some 
of them must have projected quite half an inch from the ordi- 
nary level of the skin. All Batetela women are more or less 
scarred, this form of ornamentation (if so it can be described) 
being one of their national characteristics. Most of the 
peoples of the Congo with whom we came in contact indulge 
in scarring to some extent, but few cover their bodies so com- 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 55 

pletely with such marks as do the Batetela women ; curiously 
enough the men of the tribe are rarely scarred. Among 
the Tofoke tribe of the Lomami River the men cover their 
faces, even their lips, with cuts, leaving little round lumps 
all over their countenances, and we were informed by one 
of them that the process was not so painful as might be 
imagined, though, as he remarked, the lips were a bit sore 
until they had completely healed up ! Jadi was evidently 
disposed to be very friendly towards us, Torday explained 
to him that we should wish to purchase a large number of 
locally made objects, and that we hoped the chief would let 
it be generally known that we would pay fair prices for 
almost any kind of articles used by the natives, and also 
that we should be glad if Jadi himself would tell us a little 
about his land and his people when we came over to visit 
him, as we intended to do pretty frequently. No sooner 
had Torday expressed a wish to purchase curios than we 
were simply overwhelmed by offers to sell every conceivable 
thing. The crowd thronged round the shed in which we 
sat, and implored us to buy knives, arrows, spears, charms, 
head-dresses, masks, stools, musical instruments — in fact 
everything that the Batetela possess, including a few empty 
meat tins left behind by a white man ! Evidently it was 
not going to be difficult to lay the foundations of a fairly 
extensive collection. During the bargaining, in which he 
himself participated, selling us quite a number of objects, 
Jadi sneezed ; in a moment every one present was clapping 
his hands, and saying "Ah, Ah." It is, we discovered, a 
custom among these people always to applaud the chief 
when he sneezes ! 



S6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

In the cool of the evening, when we had purchased all 
the articles which seemed at first sight to be worth collect- 
ing, we took a stroll round the village. We at once noticed 
that the place is (or rather was, early in 1908) in a state of 
transition from a primitive Batetela village to a small town 
designed after the manner of European settlements in 
Africa. This change offers an instance of the tendency of 
the Batetela to embrace any new ideas introduced among 
them by the white man. The old circular huts were rapidly 
giving place to buildings of plaster, and these latter were 
neatly arranged in wide streets radiating from the residence 
of the chief. The regularity of the way in which the place 
was planned was a great contrast to the jumble of huts which 
constitutes the usual African village. Of the number of 
inhabitants of Mokunji I cannot speak with any certainty ; 
it is a large village as Batetela villages go, but it seems to 
me to be almost impossible to arrive at the numbers of the 
male population of any Congo village, unless, of course, one 
could hold a roll call of the warriors. Among the Batetela 
every wife has a house of her own, but as most men have 
more than one wife, and many of them have a good number 
(it being considered correct for a man of good position to 
keep up as many establishments as he can afford), the 
number of huts in a village offers no clue to the number of 
the male population. I have often marvelled at the 
statistics so often published of the number of native inhabi- 
tants of the Belgian Congo. How are these figures arrived 
at } And how can they pretend to be even approximately 
correct ? An official census is, I believe, periodically made 
by the chefs de poste, but in most parts of the country the 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 57 

very whereabouts of many villages is often unknown to the 
white resident, and even if he could personally visit every 
hamlet in his district, it would, I should think, be quite 
impossible for him to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion as 
to the num.ber of people they contained. If a list of natives 
is required for purposes of taxation, it is hardly likely that 
every man will come forward to be enrolled ; counting the 
huts is often, as I have shown, a very uncertain way of 
getting at the true numbers of the population, and chiefs 
by no means always tell the truth, especially to an official. 
Under the circumstances, therefore, I am sure that guess- 
work must be to a great extent the means by which the 
figures referred to are arrived at. Torday and I have often 
hazarded guesses at the number of people inhabiting various 
villages in which we have stayed some time ; our guesses 
frequently differed from one another to an extraordinary 
degree. It is, therefore, to be presumed that the opinion of 
an official who attempts to give an estimate of his popula- 
tion may very likely differ considerably from the opinion of 
his predecessor in the district. Under these circumstances, 
I cannot understand how it is possible to form any reliable 
conclusion as to the increase or decrease of the population. 
Any one travelling along a Congolese highway may come 
across ruined or deserted villages, and may thus be led to 
believe that the numbers of the natives are diminishing. But 
the people will move their homes to another site for very 
trifling reasons — one of the forest tribes we visited will abandon 
a village on the death of any important inhabitant — so the 
existence of deserted villages cannot, in many cases, be taken 
into consideration in calculating the number of the natives. 



58 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

I shall, in the course of my narrative, avoid expressing 
any opinion as to the numerical strength of the tribes we 
visited, for I feel that such opinions must be worthless. 

We did not, upon this first visit to Jadi, inspect his own 
residence, but on several subsequent occasions we found 
opportunities for doing so. There is nothing really remark- 
able about the dwelling ; it consists of a large audience hall 
with a dais at one end, upon which stands the royal throne — 
a deck chair decorated with brass-headed nails. At the 
back of this hall, in an enclosed courtyard, are the huts of 
the chiefs wives. Everything about the dwelling was neat 
and tidy, but there was nothing really remarkable about the 
place ; even the " fetishes," to which Jadi attaches much 
importance, and which are situated in the courtyard, con- 
sisting only of bowls placed upon stakes driven into the 
ground. As is usually the case among the peoples of the 
Kasai, the Batetela do not worship their fetishes, but merely 
regard them as charms which have been endowed by the 
" medicine-man " with powers to ward off some evil or to 
produce some good effect. Small fetishes are worn on the 
person everywhere in the Congo, and Jadi wears some in his 
hair, which are supposed to warn his head against any plot 
which may be hatched against it. 

Around the village of Mokunji are extensive plantations, 
for the inhabitants are born agriculturists, and are ready to 
plant any useful crops which may be introduced among 
them. As they have come in contact with the influence of 
both the European and the Arab, and as many of them have 
served in the army, and thus been able to observe cultivation 
in widely scattered districts of the Congo, the Batetela have 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 59 

learned to grow a greater variety of crops than any of the 
other peoples we visited, so that, the soil of their country 
being very productive, foodstuffs are readily and cheaply 
procurable among them ; millet, manioc, maize, sweet 
potatoes, rice, ground-nuts, onions, beans, plantains, and 
bananas all being cultivated, while a certain amount of quite 
smokeable tobacco is also grown. As I shall show later on, 
when describing our wanderings in the equatorial forest, the 
traveller can always be sure of obtaining a plentiful supply of 
food for his porters whenever he reaches a village occupied 
by one of the more advanced sub-tribes of the Batetela 
nation. We left Jadi after one night spent at his capital town, 
promising to return to continue our purchase of curios, and 
proceeded to our destination near the Lubefu, the Kasai 
Company's factory of Mokunji, which lies about one and a 
half hour's march to the east of Jadi's village. The factory 
is built upon the crest of one of the grassy downs which, as 
I have said, are a feature of this part of the country, and, 
owing to its exposed position, it is swept by every wind, and 
is accordingly comparatively cool and healthy. Upon our 
arrival we were cordially received by the Company's agent, 
who placed a house at our disposal, wherein we could do our 
work with the deposed chief whom we had come to visit, 
and where we could store the objects we collected. We 
pitched our camp on the edge of the post. Next morning 
Okitu, the ex-chief of the local Batetela, the predecessor of 
Jadi, came to call upon us. At the time of our visit he was 
simply a private individual, devoid of any recognised 
authority, who had taken up his residence near the factory 
at the invitation of the agent, who had been struck with his 



6o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

intelligence and friendly bearing, but, nevertheless, we could 
see that he really exercised a considerable influence upon a 
good many of the natives, who, like the people of Osodu, 
had no great afli^ection for Jadi. Okitu, modest and un- 
assuming though he was, had far more the manner of a 
chief than the blunt, soldierly, but unintelligent looking 
man whom we had just visited. He was a thorough native 
gentleman according to his lights, and had been, so we were 
informed, a just ruler of his people. Fortunately he took 
a fancy to Torday, so that he readily consented to assist us 
in our work of obtaining information about his tribe, with 
the result that Torday was able to collect a large amount of 
notes upon a great variety of subjects. For the following 
five or six weeks Okitu visited us almost daily, and we talked 
by the hour of the history of his nation, of the Arab wars, 
of his religion, of the daily life of the people, and other such 
subjects interesting to the student of ethnology. He told 
us how his ancestors had come from the north out of the 
great forest ; how, when they reached the Lubefu River, a 
difliculty as to the leadership had arisen, and a fetish-man 
had said that he who would command them must lay his 
right hand upon a stone, and, at one blow, cut off his fore- 
finger with an axe ; how the first Mokunji had done this, 
and had led his tribe over the river to the land of the 
Basonge, and had, by force of arms, driven the latter to the 
Sankuru, wresting from them the country in which we then 
were. He told us how the influence of the Arab slave 
dealers had gradually crept in from the north-east, dominat- 
ing even the northern portions of the Batetela tribe, until it 
reached the Lubefu ; how a weak ruler of Mokunji had 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 6i 

allowed himself to be persuaded to acknowledge the Arabs' 
sway, but how his successor had called his warriors round 
him, and appealing in 1891 for aid to the white man, newly 
arrived at Lusambo, had risen against the oppressor and 
freed his people from the curse of Arab suzerainty with the 
horrors of its slave trade. 

All this, and much more, of the history of his people 
Okitu told us as Torday plied him with questions, while 
I noted down the facts as he narrated them, Hardy being 
busily employed the while with his brushes, depicting 
types of natives and landscapes, or making accurate dia- 
grams of the patterns of the women's scars. But it was 
not only with the history of the Batetela that we were con- 
cerned, and Okitu soon learned to trust us sufficiently to 
confide in us many things about the habits of his people 
which he would never have told to any one connected with 
the Government. We freely discussed the question of can- 
nibalism. It appears that among the Batetela, as among 
the Basonge, the practice of eating human flesh is rapidly 
dying out, but a few years ago it was extremely prevalent. 
Prisoners of war and enemies slain on the battlefield were 
invariably eaten, and numbers of the Batetela tribe who 
had been convicted of murder were often handed over to 
some village other than their own to expiate their crimes 
by serving as a meal to their fellow-tribesmen. Even to 
this day certain loathsome practices, survivals of cannibalism, 
obtain at Mokunji which are too revolting to European 
ears to be described here. In the old days it was the privi- 
lege of the chief to maim and mutilate his subjects accord- 
ing to the dictates of his own sweet will, but happily this 



62 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

custom has given way before the advance of civilisation. 
We discussed with Okitu every possible subject from the 
gruesome practices I have mentioned to such simple domestic 
matters as to who is the actual owner of the crops and what 
are the laws of inheritance. It appears that the foodstuffs 
grown on the soil cultivated by the women belong actually 
to the wives, but they must feed their husbands, for, as 
Okitu naively remarked, " A man does not love his wife 
nearly so much when there is no food in the house." 
As regards inheritance we learned that among the Bate- 
tela, as among many African peoples, widows are inherited 
according to the same law as the dead man's other house- 
hold goods ! During our stay at the factory we several 
times visited Jadi's village, and also interviewed many promi- 
nent natives, taking every opportunity of checking Okitu's 
statements and assuring ourselves of their veracity. One 
of the men we questioned was quite a remarkable personage. 
His name was Umbi Enungu, and he boasted that he was 
the oldest living member of the Batetela tribe. What right 
he had to make this statement it is, of course, quite impos- 
possible to ascertain, but it is certain that he was very old 
indeed, so old that he 'COuld only walk for a very short 
distance without resting, and required assistance when 
rising from a sitting position. This latter infirmity turned 
out to be rather a good thing for us. We one day played 
over to the old man some phonograph records, including 
a newly made record in which Jadi had made a few re- 
marks concerning the history of his people. Umbi Enungu 
was deeply interested in the songs to which we treated him, 
but when he heard the record of Jadi's speech his interest 




x^N OLD-FASHIONED BaTETELA HUJ 




Jadi and some of his wives. 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 63 

changed in a moment to fury. Apparently Jadi had made 
some slight mistake with regard to an incident which, 
though it had occurred in the dark ages, was still fresh 
in the memory of old Enungu. This error filled the old 
man with indignation. Seizing a spear which lay at hand, 
and hurling insults at the head of Jadi and at the phono- 
graph, he strove frantically to rise, expressing his intention 
of smashing up a machine which could tell such lies. For- 
tunately his age prevented his getting to his feet to carry 
out his threats, and we quickly put a stop to the playing 
of the offending record. The old fellow was then con- 
ducted to a shady spot where he could sit down quietly 
and recover his composure. For some time he sat in 
silence, making signs about his person with some magic 
seeds produced from the cat's-skin bag containing his 
" medicine," without which he never moved, and finally 
he departed evidently still much disturbed in mind. He 
did condescend to visit us frequently after this incident, 
however, and he contrived to extort from us a good 
number of presents, on the receipt of which he would 
express his pleasure by feebly endeavouring to dance, and 
by spitting freely in the direction of our feet. 

At the time of our visit to Mokunji the height of 
the grass, which is not burnt off until about May, pre- 
vented our indulging in hunting, and accordingly we 
brought back very little in the way of natural history 
specimens from this country. As a matter of fact the 
list of big game animals of the district is extraordinarily 
meagre. The antelope family is represented by bush- 
bucks, duikers, and another beast smaller than the bush- 



64 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

buck, a skin of which I was never able to see, so I cannot 
say to what species it belongs ; the red river hog is common 
round Mokunji, and leopards are very numerous. Buffalo 
and elephant are conspicuous by their absence, though a 
solitary buffalo bull was killed near the Lubefu in 1907; 
it belonged to one of the small brown species of forest 
buffalo. Owing to the scarcity of other prey leopards 
have taken to man-eating with disastrous results to the 
villages between the Lubefu River and Jadi's capital. As 
many as five people — all of them women — were killed 
in one day within 'a radius of ten miles from the Kasai 
Company's factory, and shortly before our visit a leopard 
had attacked a chief on the road at sundown as he was 
returning home after a visit to the Company's agent. The 
animal had sprung upon the chief from the high grass by 
the roadside, but upon becoming aware that he was attended 
by a considerable following, it had left its victim on the 
ground little the worse for his adventure. At Mokunji 
we were lucky enough to secure a living specimen of the 
mysterious "Yuka," which had so roused our curiosity 
at Batempa. Tempted by the high price which Torday 
offered, the entire population of a hamlet turned out one 
night and surrounded a tree in which the animal had been 
heard to give vent to its weird cry ; then two young war- 
riors, evidently anxious to display their courage, had climbed 
the tree and captured the beast. It turned out to be a 
species of hyrax, which, though not unknown to science, 
was represented in the Natural History Museum by one 
skin only, sent home years ago by Emin Pasha. Its ferocity 
was just as much a myth as its habit of climbing with its 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 65 

back to the tree ! In less than half-an-hour after its release 
from the basket in which it was brought to us it was eating 
out of our hands. We obtained later on a second living 
specimen of this hyrax, but both of them died before 
Hardy could take them with him to Europe. In the 
Lubefu River crocodiles are said to exist, but hippo- 
potami are only to be found in it at its confluence with 
the Sankuru, for the current of the Lubefu is too strong 
for these animals ; so strong indeed is the stream, and so 
narrow and winding its course, that a whaleboat, well- 
manned with experienced paddlers, takes nineteen days to 
ascend the river from Bena Dibele to the Government 
station of Lubefu, a distance of only about one hundred 
miles. In places the stream is so overhung by trees that 
it flows as through a tunnel beneath their intertwining 
branches. The road from Mokunji to the station of 
Lubefu crosses the river by one of those suspension bridges 
made of creepers (known to the Belgians as " monkey 
bridges") which the Batetela are so skilful in building. 
The creepers are attached to trees on either bank, and 
high railings on each side of the tight-rope-like bridge 
prevent one from being hurled into the river when the 
structure sways beneath one's weight. 

During our stay at Mokunji we not only made extensive 
collections for the ethnographical department of the British 
Museum, but we were able to procure a number of human 
skulls for the Royal College of Surgeons. We experienced 
no difficulty in obtaining these, for the inhabitants did not 
hesitate to collect for us the skulls of those who had perished 
in the bush from the deadly sleeping sickness. When a 



66 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

person is known to have this terrible disease the Batetela 
expel him from the village, placing food at a certain spot 
each day until the fact that the food is not called for shows 
that the poor wretch's sufferings are at an end. We have 
met several of these unfortunates when on the march, one 
of them a little girl in the last stage of the complaint, who 
presented a most pitiful spectacle, and filled us with horror 
at the thought of her terrible fate. But is not this primitive 
isolation, cruel as it may seem, the only possible way by 
which savages can combat the spread of sleeping sickness ? 
The patient's end must be horrible, that lonely death in 
the bush, but it may be the means of saving the lives of 
hundreds in the villages. The collecting of the skulls 
was the last piece of work that we did at Mokunji, for we 
were afraid that to mention such an idea as to purchase the 
bones of their dead might so offend the Batetela as to 
prevent them from imparting to us a lot of the information 
with regard to their manners and customs which we were so 
anxious to obtain. This, however, did not turn out to be 
the case ; in fact the prices we paid for the skulls — after a 
large reward had been offered for the first one or two — 
were lower than those asked for many of the other things 
we purchased, so that we were enabled to send home quite 
a valuable series of them to the Museum of the Royal Col- 
lege of Surgeons. Our ethnographical work having been 
completed as far as possible and our collections made, we 
packed up the specimens (now amounting to several hundred) 
and despatched them to the Sankuru on their way to Europe. 
We then prepared to follow them, intending to proceed to 
Batempa and thence descend the Sankuru to Lusambo. 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 67 

During our stay at Mokunji, Commandant Gustin, the 
Commissioner of the District of Luabala-Kasai, had passed 
by on his way to his residence at Lusambo after an extended 
tour through the eastern portion of his district, and Torday 
was anxious to discuss with him one or two ethnographical 
subjects in which he was greatly interested. We therefore 
determined to stay for a few days at Lusambo. When we 
met the Commandant we laid before him the grievance of 
the natives of Osodu, and we had the satisfaction of being 
instrumental in the release of the father of our baby hosts, 
for the Commissioner considered that the chief of Osodu 
could be safely set at liberty upon the understanding that 
he must acknowledge the suzerainty of Jadi, which he was 
now ready to do. 

Once again our march was to be rendered interesting by 
rumours of wars, although, luckily for us, the trouble never 
reached the stage of actual hostilities. Jadi and Kasongo 
Batetela fell out over the suzerainty of two or three small 
villages situated upon their mutual frontier ; and, as neither 
chief would give way nor appeal to the Government for arbi- 
tration, a breach of the peace seemed certain. Jadi beat his big 
war drum at Mokunji and sent messages by gong, signalling 
to the oulying villages to bid their warriors hold themselves 
in readiness to take the field. This signalling was especially 
interesting to us, in that it enabled us to see how perfectly 
a chief keeps in communication with his army by means of 
the signalling gong. This instrument, of which I give an 
illustration and of which specimens are now in the British 
Museum, is made from a solid block of wood, hollowed 
out with a primitive form of adze. It is hung round the 



68 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

drummer's shoulder by a leather strap, and is thus easily port- 
able, and can be used in directing military operations or for 
sending the chief's orders while he is travelling. The words 
are transmitted by a series of beats, or rather sharp " taps," 
of a couple of rubber-headed sticks. The sounds thus pro- 
duced, though not very loud, are very penetrating, so that 
messages can be easily distinguished at a distance of several 
miles, and when passed on from one village to another 
(there are always plenty of people able to use the gong) can 
be sent all over the countryside in an incredibly short space 
of time. The perfection to which this system of signalling 
has been brought by the Batetela astonished us very much, 
and we put it to every test that we could think of. We 
gonged messages from the Kasai Company's factory to Jadi's 
village, always receiving a reply which indicated that our 
message had been correctly sent, and Torday and I, each 
accompanied by a signaller, on several occasions carried on 
conversations at a distance of over a quarter of a mile apart 
— far enough to test the efficacy of the system. Altogether 
the Batetela gong is one of the most remarkable instruments 
in Central Africa, and, where villages are fairly close together 
and so facilitate the transmission of messages, it could 
easily be made use of as a substitute to the telegraph lines, 
which, of course, have not yet made their appearance so far 
in the interior. But although Jadi (and for that matter 
Kasongo Batetela) had such perfect means of summoning 
their warriors and of directing the movements of the 
various contingents from outlying villages, their dispute 
came to an end without bloodshed. Jadi, the ex-soldier, 
the veteran of the Arab wars, the leader of so many warriors 




SorxDiNi 



ji';-\ALLi.\u gom; 



IN THE BATETELA COUNTRY 69 

armed with guns — Jadi, the more powerful chief of the 
two, gave way. Why ? Simply because his people, though 
in superior numbers, felt that they with their muzzle- 
loaders would be no match for Kasongo's old warriors, who 
were renowned for their accuracy of aim with the poisoned 
arrow. The young Batetela loves to take the road with his 
gun (usually carried by his wife or child), and he uses the 
weapon too in hunting ; but he realises the superiority of 
the veteran archer when it comes to the serious business of 
the battlefield. A good bow used by a man who has been 
brought up to its use since childhood is always better than 
an inferior muzzle-loader in the hands of a native whose 
ideas of shooting are usually extremely rudimentary. 
Accordingly, the more primitive tribes are by no means 
necessarily so easy to tackle as their neighbours who have 
attained that state of " civilisation " which includes a gun 
as one of its outward signs. Our journey to the Sankuru, 
therefore, passed off without incident, and we reached 
Batampa well pleased with the result of our researches 
among the Batetela and with the collections we had made 
for the British Museum. We spent only a few days in the 
Kasai Company's factory by the riverside, and as soon as 
our old friend the Fe/^e appeared, bringing stores and a 
European mail from Dima, we embarked in her and de- 
parted for Lusambo at noon one day in the end of February 
1908. 



CHAPTER III 

IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 

The run from Batempa to Lusambo, aided by the strong 
stream of the Sankuru, occupied but a few hours, and we 
reached the capital of the district of Lualaba-Kasai well 
before sundown. We immediately landed our baggage and 
called upon the Commissioner of the District to inquire 
where we could sleep. Commandant Gustin courteously 
placed a house at our disposal, with a small yard or garden 
at the back where we could pitch our tents, using the 
building as a store for the rest of our baggage. That 
evening, as it was too late to prepare a meal of our own, 
we were invited to dinner with the Government officials at 
their mess. The Commissioner of the District, the officer 
commanding the troops, and the magistrate and his assist- 
ants each take their meals in their own houses, but all the 
other officials dine in the mess-room, where Commandant 
Saut, the Deputy-Commissioner, takes the head of the 
table. This gentleman introduced us to his subordinates 
in a lengthy and rather flattering speech, after which we 
sat down to a good square meal, which included the rare 
luxury of beef, for Lusambo is one of the very few places 
in the Kasai district where cattle are kept. Next morning 
we wandered round the Government station. All the 
bungalows are built of brick and are commodious and 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 71 

weatherproof; they are laid out in streets, each house 
having its small garden, the trees of which afford a certain 
amount of shade to the highway. The house of the 
Commissioner of the District, which stands just to the west 
of the other buildings upon an eminence overlooking the 
river, is the only one which boasts of an upper storey. 
With the exception of one or two Roman Catholic mission- 
aries the whole population of Lusambo is made up entirely 
of Government officials, including the Commissioner and 
his Deputy, the judge and his subordinates, a lieutenant 
and an N.C.O., transport officials, armourers, secretaries, &c., 
to the total number of about fifteen. There are no ladies 
at Lusambo. For the use of the Commissioner two or 
three ponies are kept. These come, I believe, from the 
Welle district, and a couple of colts have been bred at 
Lusambo, but, owing to the numerous swamps and streams 
necessitating log bridges in the country round, the use of 
the horses when travelling is seldom if ever resorted to, 
and they appear to be kept rather as an experiment in horse- 
breeding than for actual work, though of course they are 
used for " hacking " round the station. In the course of 
our wanderings round Lusambo we visited the quarters of 
the native troops, of whom about one hundred and fifty are 
kept at the headquarters of the district, together with a 
couple of very light field guns, which are carried in sections 
by porters when on service. The men are very well housed, 
their buildings being of brick, and very comfortable com- 
pared with the straw or plaster huts occupied by soldiers 
in remote stations, which, in turn, are superior to the 
dwellings the men were used to in their villages before they 



72 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

enlisted. Some of the older men have furnished their 
quarters quite neatly with substantial beds, upon which 
spotless blankets and sheets of cotton material are spread, 
and in many instances crucifixes are to be found upon the 
walls. One hut that I went into unexpectedly to change 
a camera film was a perfect model of cleanliness and order. 
The black population of Lusambo must be enormous, but 
consisting as it does of natives of several different tribes it 
does not inhabit one large town, but a number of separate 
villages scattered around the Europeans' settlement. Where 
the people of so many tribes are brought into daily contact 
with one another it is certain that many tribal customs are 
exchanged among them or, under the influence of the 
*' civilisation " introduced by the presence of the white 
officials and the missionaries, many customs totally disappear. 
A residence, therefore, in a big centre like Lusambo can 
be of little value to any one desiring to study the primitive 
life of the natives, but for the artist in search of models 
the place offers a wonderful selection of various negro types. 
We therefore spent some days at Lusambo giving Hardy 
an opportunity of making some portrait studies before 
going on to the eastern part of the Bushongo country. 

Around Lusambo are to be found villages inhabited 
by Batetela, Basonge, Babinji, Baluba, and Bushongo, the 
latter being the real inhabitants of the district. In addition 
to these, there is a very large mixed population of natives 
belonging to no particular village, who are generally termed 
Baluba by the white men of the Kasai, but who in reality 
belong to that tribe no more than to any other. These 
people are the " undesirable aliens " who frequent nearly 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE j^ 

every big centre. Their existence is a curse to the Kasai 
district. When the Arab slave raiders were finally put 
down their slaves had to find homes somewhere, and 
accordingly settled in places such as Lusambo ; many of 
them who had been born in slavery or who had been 
captured as infants did not even know to what country 
they originally belonged ; they had no villages ; they owed 
allegiance to no chiefs. They were, mentally, far below 
the average free man of a primitive tribe. These unfor- 
tunates have settled in places like Lusambo and Luebo, 
and have there produced children of a type as debased as 
themselves. Add to this population the riff-raff of the 
district — men who had to leave their village for the village 
good and have fled to the centre of Government to avoid 
the vengeance of their chiefs, " domestic " slaves whose 
idleness has induced their masters to ill-treat them, thieves, 
murderers, runaway workmen from factories, and loose 
women — add these to the number of freed slaves and you 
have the " undesirable alien " population of places like 
Lusambo. 

These miserable creatures for some reason or other, 
probably because in their chequered careers they have seen 
more of the world than the ordinary native of the villages, 
consider themselves superior to the simple tribesmen, and 
lose no opportunity of sneering at him and his ways. 
They despise him and he hates and despises them. Un- 
fortunately a very large percentage of workmen employed 
in Government stations and factories are drawn from this 
lowest caste of native. It is often quite impossible to 
obtain workmen from the local tribe, so the agent who 



74 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

requires labour has to recruit it in some big centre where 
any number of these so-called Baluba are always to be found 
ready to work when their resources are at an end. Unless 
very carefully watched these gentry will probably cause 
trouble with the natives in the district in which they are 
employed. In the cases of factories being attacked, white 
men murdered or molested, or some other " outrage " on 
the part of the local natives, which are by no means so 
infrequent as might be supposed, the cause can nearly 
always be traced to the white man's followers, his Baluba. 
They are overbearing until real trouble arises, and then 
they desert their master and run. A sure way for the 
traveller to find difficulties is to employ a large number of 
such men and not to keep them perfectly under control. 
They swagger into the villages, call the inhabitants " bush- 
men " (Basenshi), and threaten to turn the anger of their 
master upon the people if they do not supply them with 
everything they ask for. With such men, too, endless 
disputes about women are certain to arise. These so-called 
Baluba must not be confused with the real Baluba, a fine 
warrior race inhabiting the south-eastern part of the Belgian 
Congo. I have used for them the name by which they are 
generally known to the white men of the district, and as 
our work did not take us into the country of the real 
Baluba, and I shall therefore have little or nothing to say 
about these people, I have not tried to invent a special 
term for the riff-raff of the big towns. The Arabs called 
them " Ruga-Ruga." 

What the future of these people is to be is extremely 
difficult to imagine. It is one thing for the white man to 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 75 

introduce his civilisation and his religion into a community 
such as an ordinary native tribe, which has its own laws 
and customs often convertible to those of a European, 
but it is quite a different task to attempt the reformation 
of a heterogeneous mass of scoundrels to whom law and 
order are utterly distasteful. If taken when quite young 
the children of these Baluba could doubtless be made to 
grow into useful members of society, but I am afraid that 
until the present generation has died out it will continue 
to be a curse to the country. 

I have mentioned the " freed " slaves of the Arabs and 
the " domestic " slaves of the natives. It may not be out 
of place to say here a few words upon the great difference 
between the old-time slave trade and the system of domestic 
slavery which obtains to-day all over the Kasai district, and 
which will, I think, continue to exist for a long time to 
come. The horrors of the slave trade, with its burned 
villages, its massacres, and the terrible sufferings of the 
victims on the road, are well known to most people, but 
many are apt to confuse the capture and sale of slaves with 
the state of '* domestic slavery," which is, not infrequently, 
a condition by no means more terrible than that of domestic 
service in Europe. Of course the life of the slave in one 
tribe differs considerably from his lot in another. Among 
the Bankutu of the great forest, as I shall show later on, 
slaves are invariably eaten, and in many districts it has been 
customary to bury slaves alive at the funeral of some im- 
portant personage ; but, on the other hand, in the case of 
most tribes, the master is obliged to provide his slave with 
a house and even with a wife ; and at the court of the King 



'](i LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of the Bushongo, as my narrative will show, some of the 
highest positions are held by slaves, and cases are not rare 
nowadays of a slave being allowed to marry a free woman. 
The work done by the slave of an ordinary native of a 
primitive tribe appears to consist solely of hunting, build- 
ing, or cultivating for his master, and the amount of it they 
have to do is by no means great. In fact in most instances, 
I think, the lot of a domestic slave compares favourably 
with that of the " maid-of-all-work " of a London suburb. 
Among people with whom gambling is the besetting sin it 
is quite common for a man who has risked and lost his all 
to finally stake his family and even his own liberty upon the 
game and thus become the slave of the winner ; this occurs 
frequently among the Bambala of the Kwilu. There is, 
however, another side to the question of domestic slavery 
which has been brought into existence by the low class 
Baluba referred to above. Such of these people as possess 
sufficient means will often purchase a slave and then 
compel him to enter the employ of the white man. At 
the end of his term of service the slave has to hand over 
to his master all the goods that he has earned. Of course 
in theory all the slave has to do is to call upon a Govern- 
ment official — a magistrate, if there is one within reach, or, 
failing him, any chef de poste — who will at once tell him that 
his earnings are his own, as slavery no longer exists, and 
therefore his master has no right to any of his possessions ; 
but in practice this does not work out as well as it might 
if the country were more effectually occupied by greater 
numbers of Government officials. The slave very rarely 
appeals to the official, for he knows that he would be ill- 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE ']-] 

treated and robbed as soon as he returned to the village of 
his master, and that the white man would be powerless to 
prevent this. One would imagine that no slave, unless he 
were an absolute fool, would ever return within reach of his 
master when he has earned a good sum in the white man's 
employ, but as a rule he does so, and therefore it is largely 
his own fault if he is robbed. My own " boy " Sam is 
a case in point. We discovered that he was a slave of a 
Bushongo of Lusambo, and we frequently advised him not 
to return to Lusambo when he left our service. He was 
fully determined, however, to do so ; he had a sister and 
many friends in the neighbourhood. We pointed out care- 
fully to him that if any attempt was made to rob him of 
his pay he must at once call upon the authorities, and, 
before sailing for Europe, we handed over the considerable 
sum which he had earned to Mr. Westcott, the missionary 
at Inkongu, who kindly consented to act as the lad's banker, 
as we had done for the last two years. In this way he 
could scarcely be robbed, but in the case of the ordinary 
workman returning from a factory such precautions are 
well-nigh impossible. In addition to this, the slave often 
has a great dislike to appealing to the white man for pro- 
tection against his master. Sam expressed his intention of 
voluntarily paying to his master the usual price of a slave 
(not a large sum), and in this we encouraged him, for 
though it was legally quite unnecessary we considered the 
idea a very fair one, as domestic slavery, repugnant as it is 
to our ideas of liberty, is one of the accepted principles of 
negro life, and we felt that by thus redeeming himself the 
boy would be acting honourably to his master. The idea 



78 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

originated from Sam himself, and, I think, does him credit. 
The large centres, such as Lusambo and Luebo, are hotbeds 
of this kind of slavery, and it is very difficult, if not quite 
impossible, to prevent it. When we remember that even in 
civilised capitals blackguards are to be found living upon 
the illgotten gains of their fellow-creatures, and the best 
efforts of modern police systems have been powerless to 
stamp out the evil, it is perhaps not surprising that a very 
similar state of affairs should exist in the heart of Africa, 
where the Government is, in my opinion at any rate, con- 
siderably undermanned. 

Even to this day " razzias," or raids for the capture of 
slaves, occasionally take place in the south-western part 
of the Congo. Usually the offenders belong to the Badjok 
tribe, occupying part of the frontier between Angola and 
the Belgian Congo, with whom we came into contact at 
the end of our journey. We met an officer who had 
surprised and defeated a caravan of these scoundrels ; but 
the old-time slave-trade is practically dead in the country 
of which I am writing. 

I have tried to point out that slavery in the Southern 
Congo can be divided into three kinds — the slave trade as 
introduced by the Arabs ; the pernicious system of letting 
out slaves existing among the riff-raff of the big centres ; 
and the often innocuous and very prevalent system of 
domestic slavery which obtains in the primitive villages. 
Detailed discussions of the status of the domestic slave in 
the various tribes among whom Torday has worked will be 
found in the scientific record of this journey which he and 
Mr. Joyce are publishing, and also in various papers by 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 79 

them which have appeared in the Journal of the Royal 
Anthropological Institute ; it will therefore be unnecessary for 
me to deal at greater length with this question in my narra- 
tive of our wanderings in the Kasai. 

The market of Lusambo is held every Sunday in a large 
open space just to the north of the European quarter. The 
crowd is enormous, and, as is usual with negro crowds, 
rather unpleasant to the white man's olfactory organ ; but 
it is interesting in the extreme. Foodstuffs preponderate 
among the articles offered for sale, and these were of suffi- 
cient variety to tempt the appetite of any negro gourmet ; 
manioc, maize, millet, dried locusts, caterpillars, young 
rats (in the pink stage and held together on wooden 
skewers), and a host of other delicacies were laid out upon 
leaves on the ground, and around them eager crowds of 
natives (male and female) added their voices to the general 
hum as they loudly bargained for their week's supply of 
stores. The haggling over prices was keen, but we saw no 
sign of any disturbance, and we were told that trouble in 
the market is extremely rare. The buyers and sellers them- 
selves varied in appearance as much as did the goods over 
which they were arguing. One noticed a tall sergeant from 
the Welle, with an almost Arab type of countenance, elbow- 
ing his way between red-painted, scantily clothed women of 
the real Baluba people from across the Sankuru, upon the 
head of one of whom a tall plume of feathers denoted that 
she had recently given birth to a child ; here and there a 
stately elder of the local Bushongo tribe could be seen, 
easily distinguishable by his dignified manner and refined 
features from the crowd of riff-raff slaves by which he was 



8o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

surrounded. Sometimes one sees in the market of Lusambo 
one of the most frightful members of the human family, an 
albino negro. We noticed two of these freaks. One, a 
small boy with a deathly white skin and white woolly hair, 
was not so ugly as a grown-up man, whose face seemed to 
possess every characteristic which exists in the negro coun- 
tenance horribly accentuated by the pallor of his complexion. 
His face was almost inhuman and, once seen, is likely 
never to be forgotten. 

There are no booths or shelters of any kind in the 
market-place, all the dealing being carried on in the open, 
the wares being displayed on the ground. We found little 
to interest us in those of the villages constituting the native 
quarters of Lusambo, which we found time to explore ; they 
were all modern in design, with plaster huts, and bore no 
resemblance to the national form of village of the tribes 
which inhabited them. But we were able to do some ethno- 
graphical work among the local branch of the Bushongo tribe, 
whose kinsmen of Misumba we were shortly to visit. A large 
number of these people came to see us at our residence, and 
Torday lost no opportunity of interrogating them. One of 
them turned out to be a very old and important personage — 
the prime minister of the Bushongo of Lusambo. This old 
fellow, now very decrepit and nearly blind, remembered 
perfectly the arrival of the first white man upon the San- 
kuru. One day the natives of Lusambo had been terrified 
by the apparition on the river of a huge canoe, breathing 
fire as it advanced ; they fled from the banks of the stream, 
believing that some devil had descended upon them. Then 
they noticed that one of the white men, of whose existence 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 8i 

they had heard, was standing in the bow of the vessel 
waving cloth to them, so a few of the bolder spirits remained 
by the riverside to await his arrival. When the white man 
landed, they discovered that he was not only flesh and 
blood, but agreeable as well, as our aged informant quaintly 
put it. 

Among the Bushongo of Lusambo the use of a red dye 
made from a wood locally called " tukula " is very prevalent. 
Although, as is only natural in a large place where imported 
goods are so easily obtainable, loin-cloths of European 
cotton-stuffs are to some extent replacing the old-time 
material made of the fibre of the raphia leaf, but this im- 
ported cotton is almost invariably dyed red with the 
" tukula," which is also plentifully applied to the bodies 
and hair of the Bushongo. It gives them a very picturesque 
appearance. Several little girls, about five or six years old, 
used to come to visit us at meal-times, when we regaled 
them with lumps of sugar and other delicacies, and really 
very pretty they were with white cowrie shells plaited into 
the front of their " tukula " dyed hair, ropes of blue glass 
beads hanging around their necks, and their little bodies 
freshly covered with the red dye. We made great friends 
with these children, as indeed we always endeavoured to do 
with the little ones of every village we visited, and Hardy 
painted one or two charming portraits of them. The 
tukula is so commonly used by all the Bushongo people, 
about whom I shall have a good deal to say later on, that 
I must give my reader some idea of what it is and where 
it comes from. The tree is a large one, growing in many 
parts of the equatorial forest north of the Sankuru ; its 



82 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

wood is hard and very heavy. In colour it is about maroon. 
When rotten the wood is rubbed into powder on a stone 
and then, mixed with oil, is applied to the hair, body, or 
clothes. We brought home several small logs of this wood, 
after our journey in the forest, and it appears to be cam- 
wood. I have had a little of it made up into small articles 
of furniture, and it is certainly very ornamental, but its 
great weight prevents large pieces of it being brought to 
the river, where only human portage is available. The 
Bushongo to the south of the Sankuru import large quanti- 
ties of their wood from the tribes of the great forest. 
While at Lusambo we made friends with a very intelligent 
lad belonging to the Bushongo tribe, and we were anxious 
to engage him as an additional "boy," with a view to 
obtaining further information from him about the manners 
and customs of his people. One of our servants noticed, 
however, that the glands behind his ears were slightly 
swollen, an early symptom of sleeping sickness, so we could 
not imperil the rest of our party by taking him with us. 
None of the Bushongo, as I was presently able to discover, 
are famous for their skill in hunting, and therefore they, in 
common with other peoples who live around Lusambo, 
employ a race of dwarfs, known as the Batwa, to kill game 
for them in the forest. These people are extremely 
interesting, and we were fortunate enough to meet with 
a party of them while staying at Lusambo. They very 
rarely visit the centre of government, but one of the chiefs 
who employs them had been requested to bring a few to 
see us. This he did with some difficulty, for the Batwa are 
true children of the forest, and hate the crowds and bustle 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 83 

of Lusambo, but he could not induce them to stay more 
than one day, and the most extravagant offers on our part 
failed to persuade one of them to accompany us in the 
capacity of hunter. Six Batwa, all full-grown men, came 
to see us. They appeared to vary from about four feet 
eight inches to five feet in height, and looked extremely 
wiry. Their costumes consisted of a couple of monkey 
skins suspended from their belts, one in front and one 
behind, so that the tails dragged upon the ground, and 
they wore tiny antelope horns as charms around their necks. 
Each carried a bow and a bundle of poisoned arrows 
*' feathered " with simple leaves. They were very reticent 
in talking to us, but when we suggested a little archery 
practice in the back garden they brightened up considerably. 
We put up a small lemon (some two inches in diameter) 
to serve as a mark, and the shooting was conducted at 
a range of about fifteen yards. The accuracy of their aim 
was astonishing, and they appeared to thoroughly enjoy 
the proceedings, chaffing the man whose arrow flew a few 
inches wide of the lemon, and applauding with grunts 
the successful shot. These people have no settled villages, 
living a nomad's life in the forest, sleeping under temporary 
shelters built of leaves, and moving their camp according 
to the movements of game. They supply their overlord 
with meat. Their success in hunting is largely due to the 
extraordinary skill with which they can creep up to within 
a few yards of a sleeping animal and then carefully place 
a poisoned arrow, to the deadly effects of which the beast 
shortly succumbs, I noticed that the knees of some of the 
Batwa who visited us were worn as if by much crawling. 



84 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

In addition to larger game they kill great numbers of 
monkeys and birds with their arrows. 

Near Misumba we came across other settlements of 
these Batwa, but south of the Sankuru they attain to a 
greater stature than those who inhabit the great forest, and 
Torday, at his lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, 
has pointed out that this may very probably be due to the 
more open, and therefore more airy and sunny, nature of 
their surroundings. The Bushongo are firm in the belief 
that the forest trees opened and gave birth to the original 
Batwa ; one of the quaint legends which make the folk-lore 
of the Bushongo so interesting. About this time, when we 
were desirous of moving on from Lusambo to the country 
of the eastern Bushongo, a small Government steamer was 
about to go down the Sankuru to take an official to Luebo. 
Commandant Gustin kindly gave us permission to travel in 
this vessel, thus saving us the extra time which a canoe 
journey would have entailed. We therefore, after only 
a brief stay at the chief town of the Kasai district, con- 
tinued our journey, glad to move on to a spot more suitable 
for our work, but remembering with gratitude the hospi- 
tality which had been accorded to us by the Commissioner 
of the District and his subordinates. The Schlagerstrom 
(the vessel in which we travelled) was in reality nothing 
but a launch in which there was only sufficient sleeping 
accommodation for the captain and the Government official 
who was going to Luebo. We therefore encamped by the 
riverside when the vessel was moored for the night, a 
proceeding to which our weary voyage from Dima to 
Batempa had well accustomed us. We stopped at a little 




LJATWA UWARl 




A STREET IX MiSUMKA. 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 85 

fuel-station called Gandu (or '* crocodile "), on the left 
bank of the river a few miles below the now disused trading 
post of Isaka (which is marked upon the map accompany- 
ing this volume), and here Hardy disembarked with most 
of our baggage, leaving Torday and me to proceed a little 
farther in the steamer to search for the burial-place of an 
Englishman who had perished in the Sankuru some years 
before. Commandant Gustin had requested us to try and 
find the exact locaUty of the grave amid the ruins of the 
factory, to clear it of grass, and to secure photos of the 
spot to be sent to the dead man's family. Upon reaching 
the site of the factory, however, we were unable in the 
time at our disposal to find out exactly where the grave 
was situated, and we could see no local native fisherman, 
who would doubtless have been able to take us straight to 
the place ; we therefore had to return to Hardy, unsuccess- 
ful in our search. 

The voyage on the Schlagerstrom was by no means un- 
pleasant, and we struck up quite a friendship with the 
captain, a German who had served in the Kaiser's navy on 
board, I believe, the royal yacht. This man was extremely 
fond of animals, and his pet at the time we knew him was 
an ordinary and very skinny domestic chicken ! The bird 
used to perch upon his boot as he sat with his knees crossed 
directing his helmsman from his easy chair, and took all its 
food from his hand. A few months later the Schlagerstrom^ 
her captain, and all her crew (with the exception of one 
man) were hurled to eternity down the falls of the Congo 
just below Stanley Pool. A terrible end for a man whose 
kindly nature and unassuming manners made him univer- 



86 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

sally popular among the Europeans with whom he came in 
contact, and who was deservedly liked by his native crew. 
When Hardy landed at Gandu, we had despatched a 
messenger to the Kasai Company's agent at Misumba 
requesting him to ask the local Bushongo chief to send 
porters to carry our loads to the village, so we had not long 
to wait at the fuel-station before the men arrived. We had 
heard that buffalo and elephant existed in fair numbers 
around Misumba, so we were in high hopes of obtaining 
some shooting, hopes which were still further raised when 
the porters told us that an elephant had been killed by 
means of a trap in the neighbourhood not long before, and 
when, in the village at which we broke our journey to 
Misumba, we were shown the tomb of a man who had held 
a great reputation as an elephant hunter. Marching at a 
fair pace a European can reach Misumba from Gandu in 
one long day ; but we preferred to halt for the night at the 
village of Zappo-Lubumba, a Basongo-Meno settlement about 
seven or eight miles south of the river on the edge of the 
great grassy plains that lie behind the belt of woodland which 
clothes the banks of the Sankuru. The track through the 
forest is considerably broken by swamps, some of them of 
sufficient width to necessitate the use of a dug-out. For 
a time no canoe could be obtained, for the people of Zappo- 
Lubumba were evidently not disposed to be very friendly, 
but at last, after sending several messengers to him, we pre- 
vailed upon the chief to cause his subjects to ferry us over 
the water, and we pitched our tents that night in the broad, 
picturesque street of his village. These Basongo-Meno of 
the left bank of the Sankuru belong to the great tribe of 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 87 

that name who inhabit the right bank of the Kasai and 
Sankuru. They have adopted Bushongo dress and ways, 
and to outward appearance differ in no respect from the 
Bushongo inhabitants of Misumba, but between the two 
villages there is a good deal of ill-feeling and their inhabi- 
tants rarely exchange visits. At Misumba we heard dark 
tales of border warfare between them : how in the dead of 
the night, usually during a tornado, the Basongo-Meno 
would creep into outlying Bushongo villages and murder 
the people as they slept, the noise of their coming passing 
unnoticed in the roar of the storm, and the rain removing 
all traces of the direction of their flight should pursuit be 
attempted in the morning. The Basongo-Meno, even here 
to the south of the river, are by no means friendly to the 
European, but they are not sufficiently numerous to oppose 
him as effectually as have their brethren on the right bank, 
whose ferocity has caused their country to be a terra 
incognita to the white man even to this day. 

Next morning we proceeded to march the sixteen or 
seventeen miles through the plains that lay between Zappo- 
Lubumba and Misumba. The day was extremely hot and 
the road for the most part entirely devoid of shade, so our 
faces soon began to wear that peculiar sneering grin which 
intense heat produces by contracting the skin on the cheeks. 
We were not without music on the way, for one of the 
porters had made a horn of the stem of a pawpaw tree upon 
which he attempted some ghastly imitations of bugle calls, 
learned, doubtless, at Lusambo. This pawpaw stem was 
capable of producing quite a clear note like that of a coach 
horn. The track through the plains was of the ordinary 



88 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

native kind ; that is to say, it was only a few inches wide and 
very tortuous, for the negro will always walk round a stick 
dropped on the path rather than kick it out of his way, and 
accordingly everything dropped on the road causes a fresh 
bend to appear in the way. About midway between Zappo's 
village and Misumba, a mile or so to the west of the road, 
we noticed for the first time one of the volcanic crevices 
which are quite a feature of this country. Seen from the 
track the earth upon the side of a grassy slope appears to 
have been cut away as if with a gigantic shovel, leaving c 
quarry-like excavation about two hundred feet deep, and a 
little over a quarter of a mile in length. The earth in this 
hole was red in colour, and at the base of it was an extensive 
patch of woodland containing, as I learned later when ex- 
ploring the place, a lake. There is a queer legend concern- 
ing the origin of this crevice. About seventy years ago a 
chief of Misumba was proceeding to Zappo-Lubumba to 
attend some important ceremony, and on the way he en- 
countered two dwarfs, who instead of saluting him with that 
respect which a chief of the aristocratic Bushongo people con- 
sidered his due, passed him by without so much as a word. 
The chief, in anger, had them stopped and brought before 
him. On being asked why they had failed to salute so 
important a personage they gave some impertinent answer 
which so angered the chief's escort that they killed the 
dwarfs forthwith. No sooner were they slain than the 
chief fell down dead. The dwarfs had been wizards. The 
Bushongo who were accompanying the chief were naturally 
infuriated at their master's death, and, imagining that the 
Basongo-Meno people had sent the wizards to kill him. 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 89 

they hastened on to Zappo's village, and there took 
vengeance by stealing goats. On their way home they were 
startled to find that the chiefs body had vanished, and that 
a mountain had arisen where it had lain by the roadside ! 
Not very long afterwards a second Bushongo chief passed 
along the same track. When he reached the newly made 
hill he paused and poured out the vials of his wrath upon it, 
cursing it with a fine flow of Bushongo rhetoric ; a peal of 
supernatural laughter interrupted him, and in a moment 
the hill had disappeared, swallowing up the second chief and 
leaving in its place the crevice and lake which now exist on 
the spot. Such is the legend of the earthquake as told 
to-day at Misumba. During our stay in this country we 
felt one slight shock on April i, 1908, and this same 
shock was felt in the great forest as far north as the Lomela 
River within a few hours of the same time. Crevices such 
as the one I have described are quite common in this country, 
usually marking the sources of small streams. After search- 
ing for about fourteen miles we passed, but did not enter, a 
small village inhabited by the Batwa who hunt for the chief 
of Misumba, and then entered a patch of woodland which 
was very swampy, and had to be crossed on a roughly 
made log bridge. Immediately upon regaining the open 
country we entered the village of Misumba. We found 
that the factory of the Kasai Company lay between two 
portions of the village adjoining both, so we pitched our 
tents opposite to the agent's bungalow and accepted his 
offer of a room wherein to work, for we felt that we could 
not possibly be more in the village if we actually camped in 
the street. Almost as soon as we arrived two important 



90 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

personages called upon us — Pongo-Pongo, recognised by 
Government as chief of Misumba, and Isambula N'Genga, 
viceroy of the Bangongo sub-tribe of the Bushongo (of which 
Misumba is the capital), under the great paramount chief of 
the nation who resides at the Mushenge or capital, five days' 
march to the west. It struck us as being a little remarkable 
that these two men should appear to be on such excellent 
terms with one another, and more remarkable still that the 
" chief," who wore around his neck the Government badge 
of authority (a white metal disc on a chain), should treat 
Isambula N'Genga with obvious deference, but the matter 
soon explained itself. 

The ruler of the great Bushongo nation is Kwete Peshanga 
Kena, the Nyimi, or king, who resides at the Mushenge. 
To facilitate the government of his people he (or rather one 
of his ancestors) has appointed viceroys of the outlying 
sub-tribes, who possess practically unlimited powers and 
who pay tribute to the Nyimi. Isambula N'Genga is the 
viceroy and real ruler of the Bangongo sub-tribe. In order 
to save himself trouble the viceroy has appointed one of 
his elders (Pongo-Pongo) to act as his representative in 
dealing with the Belgian Government. When an officer 
went round the country to meet and officially " recognise " 
the local chiefs he met Pongo-Pongo, Isambula N'Genga 
keeping in the background. Pongo-Pongo represented 
himself as the chief, and received the official medallion, but 
in reality he is no more the chief of Misumba than any of 
the other dignitaries who are subordinate to the viceroy. 
He is merely a sort of minister for foreign affairs, and acts 
as a buffer between the chief and the State. Should the 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 91 

Bangongo incur the displeasure of the Government, Pongo- 
Pongo would have to bear the brunt of it ; should the re- 
presentative of the State give him any presents, I believe 
that he hands them over to the viceroy. Pongo-Pongo, 
therefore, has a somewhat thankless task, for he v/ould have 
absolutely no power to prevent Isambula N'Genga doing 
anything for which he himself would be punished. 

This system of appointing some ordinary person to 
pose as chief before Government officials is very common 
in the Belgian Congo (as doubtless in other parts of 
Africa as well), and arises from the too hasty recognition 
of chiefs by officials who have had no opportunity of 
learning much about the peoples whose country they are 
supposed to administer. Pongo-Pongo was evidently 
told off by the viceroy to attend to our business during 
our stay at Misumba, and although we saw a good deal 
of the real chief and became very friendly with him, we 
owe most of the information we obtained to the readiness 
with which Pongo-Pongo answered the questions Torday 
put to him about his tribe. Isambula N'Genga was a 
real dandy. We nicknamed him " Beau Brummell." 
When sauntering about his village accompanied by one 
or two slaves he was the very personification of super- 
cilious vanity. All the " elders " of Misumba carry, as 
a sort of wand of office, a walking-stick around which 
some creeper has left a special mark. These sticks add 
considerably to the grand air with which these gentlemen 
strut about the village. When used as walking-sticks 
they are held at arm's length in an attitude very sug- 
gestive of the English dandies of a century ago ; at other 



92 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

times they are carried across the shoulders, the hands 
hanging idly over the ends of the sticks. The sticks 
themselves are regarded with some respect, doubtless 
reflected from the grandeur of their owners, by the 
common people of the village, for if an elder leaves his 
wand across the doorway of a hut which he has entered 
no one dares to cross the threshold till the stick has 
been removed. Of all the dandies of Misumba, Isam- 
bula N'Genga was the most exquisite. He was always 
faultlessly '* tukulaed," his hair evidently gave his wives 
infinite trouble every morning, he was scrupulously 
shaved, and his dress, a long loin-cloth of raphia fibre 
arranged carefully in many folds, was invariably clean and 
neat. He appeared almost too bored to live, and was 
much too indolent to be of any great service to Torday 
when he desired to obtain information about the Bushongo. 
At the same time Isambula N'Genga was as civil to us 
as he could summon up energy to be, and doubtless if 
he had not been friendly we should not have got on 
half so well with his people as we did. 

We took an early opportunity of exploring the village 
of Misumba. Two points struck us as remarkable directly 
we entered the village streets — firstly, the fact that every 
one was busy ; and secondly, the entire absence of any out- 
ward sign of the presence of the white man in the country. 
Usually upon arriving in an African village one finds that, 
although the women are busy enough working in the 
fields, pounding manioc into flour or looking after the 
children, the men are sleeping or idling away their time 
beneath the shade of the palms. At Misumba things 




l.\ii;kiiiiiKKi\(. nil. KxriiiA i iniii. 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 93 

are very different. In the midst of the long wide streets 
are situated many sheds under which work of all sorts is 
going on. In one of them the blacksmith — a much re- 
spected member of the community — may be seen at all 
hours busily engaged in the manufacture of the broad- 
bladed Bushongo knives, arrows, and spear-heads, iron 
bracelets, &c., while around him are clustered many 
bright-eyed smiling children, clothed in nature's garb, 
who love to catch the sparks that fly and eagerly await 
a turn at manipulating the primitive hand-bellows with 
which the small fire is fanned. Around the sides of the 
shed old men squat, gravely smoking green tobacco in 
their long curved pipes of neatly carved wood, talking 
over local politics with the smith, whose opinion is, 
apparently, worth taking on any subject. 

Beneath the shade of other similar structures men are 
always engaged in the manufacture of cloth from the 
fibre of the raphia leaf, and continuous " thud-thud " of 
the hand-looms tells that work is in progress from early 
morning till dark. Basket-makers and men working at 
the manufacture of hunting nets are to be found in every 
patch of shade, while here and there a man is to be seen 
decorating wooden cups or boxes with those elaborate and 
really artistic carvings of which many specimens are nov/ in 
the British Museum. So much for the men. The women, 
in addition to their ordinary agricultural and household 
duties, spend a good deal of time in embroidering with 
coloured patterns the raphia cloth woven by the men. 
This embroidery is of a very high order, some old pieces 
which we collected later being extraordinarily fine ; they 



94 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

are now to be seen in the British Museum. The children 
attend to the goats and chickens, the only live stock 
(with the exception of dogs) kept at Misumba. Any one 
who has travelled in Africa and has been struck with 
the indolence of the negro, would be considerably sur- 
prised were he to visit Misumba. Except the very aged, 
every one appeared to have something to do. We could 
not help feeling at the time of our visit what a pity it 
is that up to now no suitable industry has been intro- 
duced among a people so skilful with their hands as the 
Bushongo. I am sure that if once some useful and 
congenial manufacture were introduced at Misumba the 
people would show themselves to be remarkably clever 
workmen. It is difficult to suggest a suitable industry, 
but I should think that the manufacture of wooden 
articles would appeal to the native if tactfully intro- 
duced. The Bushongo are, however, extremely conser- 
vative, and would probably be slow to adopt any new 
enterprise. Their conservatism is manifested by their 
complete disregard of the ways of the white man and 
his '* Baluba " employees, although the Kasai Company's 
factory is situated actually within their village (or rather 
was so situated in 1908, but I believe there was some 
talk of its removal to the banks of the Lubudi River 
about six miles to the west). 

Among the Batetela people of the Lubefu, as I have 
shown, European cotton-stuff has practically taken the 
place of the old-time raphia cloth, and plaster buildings 
are fast replacing the original native huts ; among the 
eastern Bushongo, however, no such change is taking 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 95 

place. One very rarely sees trade cloth worn at Misumba, 
the people preferring to manufacture their own material, 
which is much more durable and very little rougher in 
texture. All the dwellings in the village consist of the 
picturesque Bushongo huts which add so much to the 
neatness and beauty of the place. They are rectangular 
buildings about ten feet by nine feet in size, made of 
sticks cut from the stem of the palm leaf, and upon 
their walls neat patterns are interwoven in black fibre 
representing some form of what is known as the 
"lozenge" pattern. They are usually very neat and 
in good repair. Upon several occasions when shooting 
at some distance from Misumba I have slept in these 
huts, and I found them completely weatherproof even 
during the heavy storms of the rainy season. Before 
sleeping in one of them it is necessary to be sure that 
the owner has not prepared for your arrival by brushing 
out the hut, for, should he have done so, he will pro- 
bably have disturbed a number of inhabitants, other than 
human, who may cause you to regret having left your 
tent behind ; but it is only fair to say that the Bushongo 
are a very cleanly race on the whole. The houses are 
as similar to one another in their internal arrangement as 
in their outward appearance. The doors are very small, 
and the bed, consisting of a mat laid over a rough 
frame of logs, is always situated on the left-hand side 
of the entrance as you go in. A fire of logs usually 
occupies the middle of the house, and a large square 
box, acting as a larder, is suspended in one corner to 
keep the food supply out of the reach of rats and mice. 



96 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Sticks are thrust into the walls from which to suspend 
baskets, cooking pots, and other utensils, while the 
corners are filled with hunting nets, bows and arrows, 
and spears. Most of the huts have some small charm 
such as a little curved figure stuck in the wall under 
the eaves outside the door. The huts are laid out in 
fine straight streets, about thirty yards wide ; and built 
as it is upon the edge of a wood and containing a fair 
number of palm trees, Misumba must rank as one of 
the neatest and prettiest villages we visited. We were 
soon hard at work among the natives. One of the first 
things that Torday did was to examine the Batwa, who 
hunt for the chief of Misumba. These people, although 
smaller than the stalwart Bushongo, are considerably 
larger than those we had seen at Lusambo, and they 
appear to have largely adopted the manners and customs 
of the Bushongo. I went out with them upon several 
occasions in the hopes of obtaining a shot at some buffalo 
which used to feed in the plains between Misumba and 
Zappo-Lubumba, but I did not get a chance of testing 
their nerve when tackling dangerous game, for we were 
unable to come up with the beasts ; from what I saw of 
their tracking, however, I consider them the inferiors 
of many natives I have hunted with, and I have no 
doubt that they cannot compare with the Batwa of the 
great forest in the matter of stalking and shooting game. 
Torday was at great pains to obtain a vocabulary from 
these people, and one of the men he interrogated caused 
us some amusement. He had been requested to answer 
clearly the words that Torday put to him (using as a 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 97 

medium the Chituba language), and so he sat opposite to 
him on the other side of a small camp table and roared 
out his replies at the top of a remarkably powerful voice. 
Frequently he would pause and exchange pleasantries with 
a number of natives who were present, and this caused 
such an interruption of work that we were obliged to 
drive the spectators away by threatening them with the 
contents of a glass of water. The prospect of having 
the water thrown over them caused them to run out 
into the pouring rain (a real tornado) to avoid it ! The 
vocabulary proceeded well until we came to the numerals. 
Here a real difficulty arose. Our informant was no 
mathematician. He insisted upon counting i, 2, 5, 3, 
8, 10, 7, &c. &c., and we could not induce him to 
count consecutively ; I firmly believe that he was quite 
unable to do so. It is, as a matter of fact, by no 
means so uncommon to find the primitive negro unable 
to count beyond the number " five," up to which 
numeral his fingers and thumb act as a guide to his 
calculations. 

Although the Batwa are the real hunters of Misumba, 
the Bushongo themselves very frequently indulge in a little 
sport (if so their hunting can be termed), for Pongo-Pongo 
possesses two muzzle-loaders, and dearly loves an oppor- 
tunity of displaying them. I accompanied him upon one of 
his shooting excursions near the village. The day was very 
hot, and a start was not made until nearly noon. This 
should have shown me that I was not likely to get many 
shots myself, as, of course, all game would long since have 
sought the shade of the dense woodlands, in which one's 

G 



98 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

chance of bagging it with the rifle is very small ; but I was 
anxious to watch the Batwa and Bushongo hunting in their 
own way, so I was glad of the opportunity of accompanying 
them. We left the village amid considerable noise, several 
members of the party performing a sort of " A-hunting we 
will go " upon horns made from the points of young elephant 
tusks, and others giving vent to the Bushongo war-cry, a 
sound suggestive of both a " view holloa " and the neighing 
of a horse. We numbered about fifty altogether (including 
some sportsmen of very tender years), and were accompanied 
by some twenty of the tan-and-white prick-eared dogs which 
are to be found in every Congo village. Pongo-Pongo 
carried one of his muzzle-loaders, while the second one was 
entrusted to a slave who walked behind him. The rest of 
the party were armed only with bows and arrows and spears, 
while several of them carried the long nets into which the 
game was to be driven. About three-quarters of an hour's 
walk brought us to the side of the wood in which we were 
to commence operations. Here a consultation was held as 
to the arrangements for the " beat." This was conducted 
with all possible noise, and should have been sufficient to 
warn any animal within a radius of a mile or two that some- 
thing very desperate in the way of hunting parties was about 
to be held. One man who, as we subsequently discovered, 
held an official position as chief hunter in the village, at last 
succeeded in shouting down the others and obtaining a 
hearing, whereupon he delivered a lengthy speech at the top 
of his voice, evidently pointing out to the various people 
the parts they were to take in the afternoon's work. His 
remarks were received with universal hand-clapping. The 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 99 

men who had charge of the nets then departed into the 
wood. The nets are very long and only about three feet 
high. They are placed in a line, and the game is driven 
towards them, so that, when entangled in their meshes, it 
may be speared or shot by men concealed behind them. 
Pongo-Pongo now loaded his guns. His bullet-box was a 
real curio. It contained scraps of metal of all kinds, and of 
all sizes and shapes, none of which, of course, properly fitted 
the bore of his guns, so that any accuracy of shooting was 
entirely out of the question ; all the same, I would rather be 
hit and mercifully despatched by any expanding bullet from 
a modern rifle than receive in my person a few of those 
jagged lumps of copper with which Pongo-Pongo (after 
much careful examination of his stock of projectiles) pro- 
ceeded to charge his guns. While he was so engaged, the 
owners of the dogs were busy tying rattles round these 
animals. Each dog had a spherical rattle hollowed from a 
solid piece of wood strapped tightly round its loins, their 
object being to make a noise as the line of dogs and beaters 
advances, and so frighten the game into the nets, for the 
dogs themselves do not as a rule give tongue unless they 
actually get a view of their quarry. Everything being at 
last ready, we moved off into the wood. I noticed carefully 
what Pongo-Pongo's movements would be, and upon finding 
that he intended accompanying the beaters, I suggested 
taking up a stand near the nets, for I knew that my life 
would not be worth a moment's purchase if I happened to 
be within range of my host or his slave when they happened 
to see a pig, and I had no desire to perish of copper poison- 
ing as a result of a shot in the leg from his gun. I was 



lOo LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

accordingly conducted to a position near the line of nets to 
await the arrival of game as it retired before the advancing 
line of dogs and men. For some time everything was still. 
At length a little movement among the countless inhabitants 
of the forest trees showed that the birds had become aware 
that something unusual was going on, and a few minutes 
later a hornbill and some plantain-eaters hurriedly left their 
perches and departed farther into the wood, the latter 
emitting that deep rolling cry which is one of the most 
beautiful of all the sounds that break the stillness of the 
African forest. A little later a crashing of branches in the 
tree-tops, growing rapidly nearer, indicated the approach of 
a troop of monkeys, and I had an opportunity of bagging 
specimens of both a coal-black colobus and a cercopithecus 
monkey ; an opportunity which, to the disgust of my 
Bushongo companions, I did not embrace, as I was not desirous 
of turning back with the noise of a shot any more important 
beast which might be approaching. Soon the beaters could 
be heard drawing nearer and nearer, and the rattles of the 
dogs could be distinguished as these animals darted hither 
and thither in the dense undergrowth, occasionally (though 
very rarely) giving vent to a short, sharp yelp. Suddenly 
some shouting in the distance caused my companions to 
quiver with excitement as they told me that a pig (a red 
river hog) had been seen by the beaters, and directed me to 
keep a keen look-out for the animal, which, if all had gone 
well, might be expected to come in our direction. Unfor- 
tunately, however, all had not gone well. The line of 
beaters converged upon the nets, driving nothing before 
them at all, for two pigs (the only animals seen) had broken 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE loi 

back through the line without so much as an arrow in their 
hides. I have no doubt that the noisy discussion at the 
woodside before commencing the beat had driven all the 
small antelopes which inhabit the forest far away into the 
depths of the wood, and pigs are notoriously alert and 
difficult to surprise. Pongo-Pongo, upon rejoining me, 
suggested a return home, and we reached Misumba at dusk, 
very hot, very scratched, and very thirsty, without bringing 
with us a single trophy. This by no means infrequently 
occurs. 

The Bushongo are a most interesting people ; I believe 
Torday's work among them has shown them to be quite one 
of the most interesting tribes of Central Africa ; they are 
easy to get on with, and in every way desirable ; but I am 
afraid their dearest friend could not truthfully make out 
for them any claim whatever to be considered sportsmen. 
They are quite the worst hunters we met during our journey 
in the Kasai. Occasionally large animals are killed by 
them, but usually this is done by means of traps. The 
elephant which I have already mentioned as having been 
killed near Misumba was trapped by means of a large 
harpoon, heavily weighted with a log, falling upon the nape 
of his neck from a tree-top, a very common means of killing 
elephant and hippopotami. When a large animal is bagged, 
a sacrifice is always made to the hunting fetish in Misumba. 
We were present at that which took place after the death of 
the elephant alluded to above. The fetish, which is supposed 
to influence the fortunes of the chase, consists of a wooden 
image of a man (nearly all head, the body being of micro- 
scopic proportions and covered with cloth). It is very 



I02 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

poorly carved in comparison with the beautifully worked 
cups and boxes for which the Bushongo are famous, and in 
place of the usual tukula dye, its face is stained with soot. 
At the ceremony which I am about to describe, it was placed 
in the village street, and was surrounded by a large crowd, 
including several drummers, who contributed to the sacrifice 
quite their fair share of the uproar without which no negro 
festival is complete. In front of the image the fetish-man 
— quite a young man, by the way — executed a pas seuU 
advancing to the pedestal on which the fetish stood and then 
retiring backwards to the edge of the crowd. His dance at 
an end (and he displayed considerable endurance before he 
ceased his antics), the fetish-man solemnly poured water 
into the ear of the figure, while another man, with equal 
solemnity, blew some tobacco smoke in its face from his 
long wooden pipe. An unfortunate (and very skinny) chicken 
was then produced, and its throat was cut, the poor bird 
being allowed to die slowly on the ground before the 
image, while the fetish-man continued his dance and the 
drummers furiously beat their tom-toms. The sacrifice was 
then at an end. Very often similar ceremonies precede a 
day's hunting, and these are sometimes held beneath a 
sacred tree in the grounds of the Kasai Company's factory. 
The social organisation of Misumba is almost exactly 
identical with that of the court of the great Bushongo king at 
the Mushenge, although, of course, Isambula N'Genga being 
only a viceroy, it is on a smaller scale. We enjoyed ample 
opportunities for gaining insight into the intricate organisa- 
tion of this miniature court owing to the friendliness of the 
chief and Pongo-Pongo ; indeed, so friendly did they 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 103 

become that they suggested to Torday that he should be 
formally made an *' elder" of Misumba, a suggestion which, 
after due consideration, he tactfully declined. 

He felt that when we visited the king (which, after 
what we had seen of the eastern Bushongo, we were now 
firmly determined to do) it might not add much to his 
dignity if he had become an elder at the court of a viceroy ; 
and as there appeared to be nothing to be gained by going 
through the ceremony, all particulars of which we had 
already learned, he contrived to put off the question in- 
definitely until the idea had left the minds of the people of 
Misumba. I will not give my reader any detailed account 
of the composition of Isambula N'Genga's court, as I shall 
describe more fully the organisation of the great court at 
the Mushenge. There is one dignitary, however, who must 
be mentioned here, the old Bilumbu, or "instructor of the 
young." We became friendly with him under circumstances 
worthy of a boy's book of adventure. He was ill, very ill, 
with an attack of fever which he could not shake off, and 
the continued strain of which seemed likely to wear him 
out, for he was very old indeed. Having tried various 
native remedies without success, he at last decided to ask 
the white man for medicine. He appealed to Torday. Now, 
Torday is a very fair doctor, and upon this occasion he 
surpassed himself in his treatment of the case. In a few 
days the old man had recovered. The administration of 
quinine tabloids was attended with no small amount of cere- 
mony. Torday, of course, had impressed upon the Bilumbu 
the almost magic power of Messrs. Burroughs & Wellcome's 
drugs, and the old man came to regard them with a good 



I04 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

deal of superstitious awe, so that he would never allow any 
one to see him actually swallow the tabloids. When we 
arrived with his dose he used to insist upon being com- 
pletely covered up in a blanket, from the folds of which he 
would extend one bony hand, into which the pills were 
placed ; he then swallowed the drugs, concealed from view 
by the blanket. He made such a mystery over the taking 
of the pills that we had the greatest difficulty in prevent- 
ing ourselves from laughing, but, of course, any unseemly 
levity on our part would have materially hindered the cure. 
In return for Torday's medical attendance the old man 
imparted to him many of the strange legends of the 
Bushongo, which, as " instructor of the young," it was 
his duty to teach to the rising generation. Day after day 
Torday would go down to the Bilumbu's hut, and seated 
in the shade in some secluded spot he would listen by the 
hour to the old man's tales, and, as a result, he was able to 
gain an extensive knowledge of Bushongo folk-lore. These 
legends are preserved only in the brain of the Bilumbu, 
for, of course, the art of writing is quite unknown to the 
Bushongo, and they are sacred ; it was therefore entirely 
due to Torday's good fortune in being able to cure the old 
man of his fever that he obtained this splendid opportunity 
of learning the stories from the man who knew them best. 
The old Bilumbu evidently considered that the dignity of 
his office required that he should surround himself with as 
much mystery as possible — hence no doubt his habit of 
taking pills under a blanket ; and accordingly the relating 
of his legends was not without its ceremony, in the course 
of which the old fellow generally succeeded in making 




Thk HiiiMiir iakim; I'Iii.s under a bi.ankkt. 




TlU: IJll.D.MlU hlSMlSSINi; AN I M. H' ISIll VI-. (.1111 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 105 

something out of somebody. This is the sort of thing that 
used to occur. We would go and call upon the Bilumbu, 
accompanied by a youth of the name of Masolo (a great 
friend of ours who usually accompanied us wherever we 
went, and who had temporarily attached himself to the 
expedition in the capacity of guide to Misumba, interpreter, 
extra boy, and gun-bearer). Masolo spoke Chituba well, 
and as the old " instructor of the young " spoke no lan- 
guage but his own, the lad used to act as interpreter between 
us. The Bilumbu, with as mysterious an air as possible, 
would conduct us to a yard between two huts, or to some 
other quiet place, and then seat himself on the ground. 
For a few minutes he would say nothing, or merely make 
conversation upon general subjects. Then he would think 
of some particular legend which he wished to impart to us, 
and he would turn furiously upon the crowd of youths and 
children, who always tried to be present at these interviews, 
and drive them away with a flow of language ill befitting an 
instructor of the young. Every one but Masolo having 
departed, he would turn to our youthful interpreter and 
inquire what he meant by remaining (he always did this, 
although he knew perfectly well that the lad was going to 
act as interpreter). Masolo would then explain that his 
presence was a necessity, and the old man would say, " The 
things that I am about to relate are too strong for the ears 
of children, but if you must hear them give me your knife." 
Masolo would then always hand over his knife, or whatever 
object the Bilumbu asked for, without demur, and the old 
man, having secured something for himself, would then 
proceed to relate his story. This occurred practically every 



io6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

time we visited him, and as, of course, we had to return to 
Masolo the value of the things thus extorted from him, the 
process of studying folk-lore became rather expensive. The 
old man had, no doubt, many similar ways of increasing 
his income, for an incident occurred during our stay at 
Misumba which clearly demonstrated his readiness to turn 
anything to account. There was a violent tornado one 
night, in the course of which the lightning struck a tree 
quite close to the old Bilumbu's hut. Now this would have 
terrified nine natives out of ten, and led them to procure 
for themselves a number of charms against lightning, but 
the " instructor of the young " realised at once that there 
was money in the occurrence. He concealed his fears (if 
he had any), and at once proclaimed to his neighbours how 
fortunate it was for them that such a person as himself 
resided in their midst who could thus induce the lightning 
to expend its wrath upon a tree instead of destroying life in 
the village. He was then good enough to accept a few 
tokens of gratitude from those whose lives he had saved by 
his magic control of the storm. Truly the old fellow was 
a shrewd business man ! The tales themselves which we 
gleaned from our aged friend were many of them of a 
nature only to be printed in a strictly scientific work, and 
even then some of them would benefit by translation into 
Latin ; others, however, were merely stories indicating the 
origin of quite harmless proverbs. To give my reader some 
idea of Bushongo folk-tales, I will narrate one story as told 
to us by the Bilumbu ; it has reference to the " yuka," 
the animal whose weird cry had attracted our attention at 
Batempa, and of which we had secured two living specimens. 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 107 

Once upon a time a man met a personal enemy in the 
road between two villages, to neither of which he nor his 
enemy belonged. He took the opportunity of administer- 
ing a good thrashing to the man who had incurred his 
anger. The screams of his victim were so loud as to be 
heard in both villages, and the warriors of each turned out 
equipped for war. Arriving upon the scene, they found the 
thrashing in progress, and immediately took, sides in the 
affair, with the result that a general melee ensued, in the 
course of which several people were killed. After the battle 
it occurred to the warriors to wonder what they had been 
fighting about, and they discovered that all the bloodshed had 
been caused by a quarrel between two men, in whom none 
of them had the slightest interest. So it is when a man has 
climbed a palm tree to obtain " malafu " (palm wine), he 
hears the cry of the yuka, and, miistaking it for the shriek 
of a human being in distress, he hurriedly climbs down to 
go to the rescue. In his descent he slips and breaks his leg. 
Nowadays when a young man shows his intention of doing 
anything without due consideration or of meddling in other 
people's affairs, the other men will say to him, " Remember 
the yuka's cry," and he will then perhaps reconsider his 
plans. I have told this tale exactly as told to us, and it 
appears to point a similar moral to our proverb, " Look 
before you leap." Bushongo folk-lore is full of such stories, 
but some of them are even more far-fetched than this one, 
and some are practically unintelligible. 

On the whole our life at Misumba was very quiet. We 
were busy at our work from morning until night, and the 
place was too peaceful for any particularly exciting incident 



io8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to be likely to occur. At Misumba, too, we heard none of 
those rumours of wars which are ever in the atmosphere of 
the Congo, and which, true or untrue, dogged our foot- 
steps almost wherever we went. When one is in hourly 
contact with interesting and hitherto unspoilt natives 
amusing things are continually brought to one's notice, and 
one of the quaintest divorce cases I have ever heard of came 
to our ears at Misumba. A resident in the village whose 
name I have forgotten, but whom we will term " A," 
accused a bachelor, also a native of Misumba, whom we 
may call " B," of undue familiarity with his wife. B 
emphatically denied the accusation, and brought a charge 
of slander against A. The case was taken before the chief, 
and pending his decision, B proceeded to steal a chicken 
belonging to the chief. He openly confessed to having done 
so, and told the chief that he must repay himself for the 
loss of his bird by purloining something belonging to the 
slanderer, A ! The case was altogether too complicated for 
the chief, who invited Torday to give an opinion upon it. 
The parties were therefore brought to us one morning, B 
appearing armed with a spear. It is most unorthodox to 
carry arms at meetings of this kind, so Torday inquired why 
he had come to a palaver with a weapon in his hand. " Oh, 
it's all right," replied the fellow ; " I am not going to hurt 
you." He, however, laid aside the spear. We then went 
on to examine the facts of the case, and finally inquired of 
B why he should steal one of the chief's chickens when he 
felt himself aggrieved at A's accusations. His answer was 
rather unexpected : " I knew I should never get justice from 
the chief unless he was personally concerned in the matter, 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 109 

so I took his chicken to draw him into it. Now he can get 
it out of A ! " This truly remarkable way of currying 
favour with his judge was not entirely successful, for he 
was at once found guilty of an intrigue with A's wife, and 
sentenced to pay a large fine in cowrie shells (the small 
change of the district) to the chief, as well as damages to 
the petitioner, and was removed in custody until he could 
hand over the amount required. A few days later we met 
him, at liberty and quite cheerful, having paid his fine and 
having married the lady who had been at the bottom of the 
trouble. Had the petitioner stolen the chicken I think it 
is very unlikely that the decree would have been granted, 
for justice among the African natives is by no means un- 
tempered with corruption. 

As time went on we amassed a very extensive collection 
of articles for the ethnographical department of the British 
Museum, of which specimens of wood-carving constituted 
a great proportion. The Bakuba decorate with elaborate 
carvings even the simplest of wooden household utensils ; 
the bellows used by the blacksmith are carved, the long 
tobacco-pipes, the mugs from which palm wine is drunk, 
the boxes (all hewn out of solid blocks of wood, for the 
Bushongo do not yet join wood together) in which the red 
tukula dye is kept are all ornamented with raised patterns, 
and many of them show a high degree of artistic talent. 
These carvings have received unstinted praise from several 
prominent anthropologists since our return from the Congo, 
for very little had previously been known about them. 
People very often imagine that such things are picked up 
for next to nothing in Africa, and, of course, sometimes 



no LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

this is true, but among the Bushongo it is by no means the 
case. The native of Misumba is a very good hand at a 
bargain, and is also by no means so anxious to sell his 
possessions as are the Batetela. We came across an instance 
of Bushongo business dealing which rivals, if it does not 
excel, the greed of the old Bilumbu alluded to above. We 
met one day the deformed boy who had charge of the 
chickens belonging to the Kasai Company's factory going 
towards the village with a bundle of native cloth under 
his arm. We casually inquired what he was going to buy 
with so much money, and he informed us that he was not 
going to make any purchases at all, but was about to lend 
the cloth to a friend who had got into debt. Torday 
thought at the time that this generosity sounded a little 
too good to be strictly true, so he made a few inquiries into 
the case, and discovered that the boy was going to lend the 
cloth to a man for a couple of months at a rate of interest 
of 200 per cent. ; at the expiration of the two months, if 
the full amount was not paid back, the debtor would be- 
come the slave of the chicken-keeper ! It may well be 
imagined therefore that in bargaining for curios with a 
people who are as grasping as this we had to dip into our 
pockets rather more deeply than we cared about. 

All the Bushongo are extremely fond of dancing ; the 
great chief at the iViushenge, as we subsequently discovered, 
dearly loves a dance, and is only too glad of any excuse to 
organise one, while at Misumba dances on a large scale are 
very frequently held. One portion of the village will often 
invite the inhabitants of the other to come over in the 
afternoon for a dance to be held in the wide street, and 




A CKKEMONIAl. DANCK liY AN KI.DER. 




A DANCE AT MlSl'MBA. 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE iii 

upon such occasions the people turn out en masse bent upon 
enjoyment. The band (that is to say, a number of the 
ubiquitous tom-toms), performs in the midst of the street, 
while the people, attired in their best loin-cloths and care- 
fully tukulaed, dance around it in single file, the dresses of 
the women, some spotlessly white and some red, gleaming 
in the sun as the wearers move stiffly in a by no means 
graceful variety of danse du ventre. We have seen as many 
as three hundred women taking part in one of these dances, 
varying in age from tiny girls to matrons whose dancing 
days, one would have thought, had long since passed away. 
They were arranged in the line according to the colour of 
their dresses — a batch of red, then some wearing white, then 
more red, and so on. As not infrequently occurs among 
peoples more advanced in civilisation than the Bushongo, a 
great many of the young men of Misumba are far too hlase 
to take any part in the proceedings other than honouring 
them with their presence and lounging in the shade of the 
huts as they cast critical glances at the ladies. A few, 
however, do dance, and these are usually very smartly 
attired in loin-cloths bordered with innumerable tassels 
and brightly coloured feathers in their hair. The viceroy 
is always present at the large dances, sitting beneath a shed 
surrounded by his elders. 

During our stay at Misumba both Torday and I found 
time to make excursions into the surrounding country. 
Torday undertook a journey of some days' duration to the 
country of the Bangendi, sub-tribe of the Bushongo, who live 
on the western side of the Lubudi River, while I on several 
occasions went out to neighbouring villages in search of 



112 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

sport, staying away from one to four nights at a time. 
During my wanderings to the east of Misumba I came 
across several of the quarry-like crevices, such as I have 
described on the way from the Sankuru, and we found out 
that formerly the Bushongo used to extract a good deal of 
iron from them, but nowadays the metal used in the manu- 
facture of knives, arrow-heads, &c., is nearly all obtained 
from the Kasai Company. Game is by no means abundant 
near Misumba. I have seen a few small duikers and a 
bush-buck, and I have come across the tracks of small herds 
of buffalo, though I was never able to get a glimpse of these 
latter animals. To judge by the size of their tracks they 
are probably members of the same species of dwarf buffalo 
as those which I shot later near the Mushenge, namely Bos 
caffer manus. The herds are small, containing as a rule from 
three to half-a-dozen animals. A kind of sitatunga ante- 
lope is said to exist in the swamps near the Lubudi, but of 
this beast I never saw so much as a track. With the 
addition of an occasional leopard and some elephants (the 
the latter, I think, merely pass through the district and are 
not permanently resident there), the above beasts constitute 
the game list of Misumba. 

The patches of woodland which are to be found in all 
the hollows of the undulating grass land abound with 
monkeys, and a number of interesting small mammals can 
be collected in the neighbourhood, of which we were lucky 
enough to discover a new species of petrodomus, which has 
been named after Torday. The tsetse-fly does not exist in 
the plains around Misumba, but as this insect is so very local 
I am not prepared to say that it is not to be found in the 



IN A BUSHONGO VILLAGE 113 

swampy woodlands of the district. On the whole Misumba 
is fairly healthy, but the climate is considerably hotter than 
that of Mokunji ; with the exception of one very mild attack 
of fever, which laid me up for a few hours, none of us 
suffered from malaria. 

In the middle of April the time arrived for Hardy to 
return to Europe, so Torday decided to interrupt his work 
among the Bushongo, and, after seeing Hardy off to the 
coast, to visit the primitive Batetela tribes which inhabit the 
great forest to the north of the Sankuru before going on 
to the capital of the Bushongo king. Had we proceeded 
from Misumba direct to the court of the king, which lies 
to the west near the confluence of the Kasai and the San- 
kuru, we should have had to undertake a long journey in 
order to reach the forest peoples, so it seemed wiser to visit 
them at once and to postpone for a few months the com- 
pletion of our work among the Bushongo. 

But we discovered that it was one thing to decide to 
leave Misumba and quite a different matter to procure 
carriers to transport our loads across the river. Cloth is 
the currency of the district, and, as I have shown, very large 
quantities of cloth is woven at Misumba. It is not surpris- 
ing, therefore, that when a man wants " money " he should 
prefer to manufacture it quietly at his own loom in the 
village instead of undertaking some irksome work such as 
load-carrying in order to earn it. We found that no one 
was in the least desirous of carrying our baggage to the 
Sankuru. In our difficulty the ethnographical information 
which Torday had obtained demonstrated its practical value. 
We had heard from some of our Bushongo friends of a power- 



114 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

ful secret society which existed to maintain the authority 
and dignity of the chief in case of any attempt to dispute 
his rights. Nearly all the men in the village belonged to 
this society, and Torday, who had learned all about its 
organisation, knew that if he could persuade its '* grand 
master " to use his influence on our behalf we should most 
probably be able to get as many porters as we wanted. The 
evening before we wished to depart he accordingly visited 
this dignitary, and returned having left him a good sum in 
trade goods, but having received a promise of assistance. 
Next morning a couple of hundred men turned up at day- 
break to carry our loads ! The study of native manners 
and customs can certainly be of practical service to the 
traveller. 



CHAPTER IV 

WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 

Although we had been able to obtain porters for our 
journey with the help of the head of the secret society, 
the march to the Sankuru was not without its difficulties. 
It was full of the little annoyances inseparable from travel 
in out-of-the-way places. To begin with, the day was 
intensely hot, and the hours of marching through the 
plains proved rather trying ; in addition to fatigue we 
were soon inconvenienced by thirst, for the porter who 
was carrying our reserve of water had placed it in a 
large bottle which contained some dirty oil, thereby 
rendering it quite undrinkable, a fact which we did not 
discover in time to husband the small supply we were 
able to carry in our own water-bottles. Then on arriving 
at the village of Zappo-Lubumba, where we camped for 
the night, there arose a good deal of disputing between our 
Bushongo porters and the Basongo-Meno of the village, 
for the latter flatly declined to sell our men any food or 
to show them where clear drinking water could be obtained. 
This led to our having rather a stormy interview with 
Zappo. We told him that we knew perfectly well there 
was plenty of food in the place, and that we were ready 
to pay a good price for it ; he replied that he had told 
his people to trade with ours, but they had refused to do 



ii6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

so, and he suggested that we should take the food by 
force. This, of course, we could not do, for v/e should 
at once have ruined our reputation as peaceful travellers 
and should very likely have got the worst of a " brush-up " 
with the warlike Basongo-Meno, so we had to be content 
with Zappo's promise that he would do his best to arrange 
matters. Meantime we told our Bushongo to be careful 
to avoid any breach of the peace. Shortly after we had 
turned in, Jones aroused us with the pleasing intelligence 
that every one of our porters had bolted, leaving us 
without a single man to convey our loads the remaining 
few miles to the river, entirely dependent upon the good- 
will of the Basongo-Meno, whose attitude towards us was 
anything but friendly. Nothing was to be gained by mak- 
ing a fuss in the middle of the night, so we slept on till 
morning, and then once more had a stormy interview with 
Zappo. We put the matter straight to him. His people 
had treated our porters so badly that they had been obliged 
to run away, and therefore the people of Zappo-Lubumba 
had practically prevented our passage through their country; 
this amounted to an act of hostility which would arouse the 
ire of the Government; the garrison of Bena Dibele was not 
far off, and the soldiers there could easily come to our 
assistance ; we did not want to get any one into trouble, but 
we must proceed at once to the river ; what was Zappo 
pr^ared to do ^ Now Zappo himself had never been in 
the least unfriendly to us, and I am sure he genuinely 
regretted the turn affairs had taken, for he at once pro- 
mised to do his best, and then explained to us the difficulty 
of his own position. As at Misumba so at Lubumba, the 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 117 

real chief and the chief recognised by the Government 
were two different individuals. Zappo was merely an elder 
who, like Pongo-Pongo, posed as chief before any white 
man who might pass through the village, and possessed no 
authority over the people whatsoever. He told us that 
his position was an impossible one, and begged of us to set 
matters right if we met any Government official, for he was 
sick of always risking trouble to himself which might at 
any moment be brought about by an act of violence on the 
part of people over whom he had no control. We told 
him that he had our fullest sympathy, but that the matter 
that really concerned us was how our loads were to get to 
the river; when they had been safely carried there we 
might think more about Zappo's troubles than we had 
time to do at the moment. Zappo then left us, and after 
a good deal of talking he induced the people of the village 
to carry our baggage on to Gandu, or rather to a point on 
the river a little above the fuel-station, whence it was con- 
veyed to its destination in canoes. With the exception 
of two straps nothing whatever was stolen, so we considered 
that we had come well out of a situation which might have 
ended in unpleasantness. The village of Zappo-Lubumba 
is too easily reached from the Government post of Bena 
Dibele for us to have anticipated any actual attack upon 
our persons, but the attitude of the Basongo-Meno clearly 
showed that only the proximity of troops prevented them 
from plundering us and incidentally cutting our throats. 
We knew that we might have to wait several days at 
Gandu for the arrival of the Kasai Company's steamer, 
which was to carry Hardy down-stream to Dima on his way 



ii8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to the coast, so we settled down to make ourselves as com- 
fortable as circumstances would permit. The first thing 
we did was to rig up a large " dining-room " of mosquito 
netting, for our previous visit to the fuel-station had shown 
us that some such protection was absolutely necessary. I have 
never stayed in a place where mosquitoes are so numerous 
or so aggressive as at Gandu. To sit out of doors after 
sundown would have been quite impossible. Our tents 
were pitched close up to the edge of the river bank, which 
in the rainy season is about twelve feet high above the 
water's edge, and in the mornings the inside of the ends 
of the tents which faced the water were simply covered 
with swarms of mosquitoes, to avoid disturbing which it was 
necessary to dress with caution. We used literally to run 
from the shelter of our big net to our tents when we went 
to bed, and then used to turn in without lighting a candle 
for fear that a light might attract still more of the fever- 
spreading insects, which must breed in countless millions 
in the forest swamps which lie close to the fuel-station. 
So bad are the mosquitoes at Gandu that natives staying 
for a night there who are unprovided with cotton shelters 
under which to sleep, often prefer to find some compara- 
tively dry spot in the forest and lie down out of doors at the 
risk of being killed by leopards to being eaten alive by the 
mosquitoes in the wood-cutters' huts by the river. Gandu, 
therefore, is by no means pleasant by night, and by day 
it is scarcely more desirable, for the tsetse-fly, the bearer 
of the deadly sleeping sickness, is very prevalent, and one 
can hardly avoid being frequently bitten by it if one does 
not take advantage of the protection of mosquito nets. 




A BASONGO-MK-Nu UAkKloR. 




Our camp at Gan uu, 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 119 

Our net was a large rectangular one, under which several 
people could dine, so we spent most of our time beneath 
it, but the heat at Gandu is usually very great, and at 
midday in our mosquito-proof shelter it was well-nigh 
unbearable. Our stay at the fuel-station was not a par- 
ticularly pleasant one ; but although we had no work to 
prevent us from brooding over our discomforts, our time 
was fully occupied in providing fresh meat for the table, 
the people of Zappo-Lubumba having declined to sell us 
any poultry. We depended entirely upon our guns for 
our food. The fuel-station lies in a little clearing about 
sixty yards square on the left or south bank of the river, 
and is surrounded by very dense forest, in which, as I have 
said, are a number of swamps. The river is here about 
half a mile wide, and in mid-stream there lies an island, 
half of which is covered with impenetrable forest for the 
most part under water, while the other half consists of a 
sandbank. Immediately upon our arrival we inquired of 
the wood-choppers if any wild-duck frequented this island, 
and we were rather unpleasantly surprised to learn that 
they were only to be found there at rare intervals although 
a few could daily be seen flying up and down the river. 
We therefore decided to place a wooden decoy-duck which 
we had brought with us at the end of the sandbank in 
the hope of attracting the birds to the island. We found 
only one canoe at Gandu, and that was a small one which 
leaked badly, while the only wood-chopper who showed any 
desire to help us in our shooting was quite the worst paddler 
and least intelligent native I have ever had the misfortune 
to meet. He contrived to make the canoe roll about to 



120 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

an incredible extent whenever one wanted to attempt a long 
shot with a rifle at a crane or some similar wader, and used 
to give us advice at the top of his voice just as we were 
endeavouring to approach within shot of a particularly wary 
bird. We found our decoy-duck a very useful asset. 
With its aid we managed to attract quite a number of 
wild-duck to the island, and we soon came to the con- 
clusion that the fact that one's food supply depends upon 
one's shooting considerably increases one's percentage of 
kills. But we were not able to secure duck every day. 
Often we had to be content with cranes. The meat from 
the breasts of these birds is really not bad, and " crane 
steaks" became quite a favourite dish with us. Neither 
Torday nor I are great anglers, but Luchima, our Batetela 
cook, used occasionally to catch some fish, though he com- 
plained bitterly of my tackle, saying that he would much 
prefer a primitive native hook to those which had been 
supplied by a well-known London shop. His method of 
fishing was to tie his line to a stout stick and attempt to 
jerk the fish on to the bank directly he felt a "bite"; 
another way of catching the larger varieties of fish is to 
fix the end of the line (a stout one) to a strong but pliable 
sapling growing at the water's edge; the hook is then 
thrown out into the stream baited with the entrails of a 
bird. When the fish takes the hook the bendable tree 
gives sufficiently to his pull to prevent the line being 
broken by the jerk, and in this way onq man can look 
after several lines. 

There is no lack of animal and bird life at Gandu. 
Elephants are said to visit the Sankuru at this point 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 121 

during the dry season, when the swamps inland are prac- 
tically dried up, and hippopotami are to be found at no 
great distance from the wood post. Curiously enough 
we did not see a single crocodile in the neighbourhood, 
although the word " Gandu " means crocodile in the 
Chituba trade-language. Pigs are very frequently to be 
heard by night splashing through the swamps close to the 
fuel-stations, but owing to the density of the forest it is 
almost impossible to approach these animals ; leopards 
exist in the forest, but are not very numerous. Upon the 
island opposite to our camp we saw a number of tracks of 
the sitatunga antelope, but we never succeeded in getting 
a shot at this somewhat rare beast. The natives assured 
us that the animals were in the habit of swimming over 
from the right bank of the river to the island, where it 
is possible that they may have found a certain herb with 
a salt taste, in search of which I have known buffaloes to 
swim the Sankuru. Monkeys of several varieties are, of 
course, very plentiful in the woods, and we used to shoot 
specimens of them, both for the sake of collecting their 
skins and in order to supply our boys with their meat, of 
which most natives are very fond ; but Gandu is richer in 
birds than in beasts. Most of the varieties of aquatic birds 
that frequent the Sankuru are to be seen in a day at Gandu. 
Cranes, storks, herons, marabouts, egrets, spur-winged 
plovers, duck, moor-fowl, ibis, and brilliantly coloured 
kingfishers are only a few of the many species that are to 
be found on the island or along the river banks, while the 
woods are swarming with countless feathered inhabitants. 
We therefore spent our time, when not actually shooting 



122 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

for the pot, in preparing the skins of birds to be sent 
home. After a few days' stay at Gandu our old friend the 
Velde appeared on her way down-stream, and Hardy left 
us to begin his journey home. He had seen a good deal 
of native life, and took with him a great number of 
sketches and notes of people and scenery to be worked up 
into finished pictures in Europe. He much regretted, I 
think, that circumstances would not permit him to stay on 
and undertake with us a journey in the equatorial forest ; 
but he had not been in particularly good health, and, on 
the whole, perhaps it is a good thing for him that he was 
unable to remain and have to endure the effects of bad 
climate and shortage of food which we were to go through 
before the end of the year. Several days elapsed before a 
steamer going up-river arrived to take Torday and me to 
Bena Dibele. During these days we managed to induce 
one or two Basongo-Meno fishermen to visit our camp, and 
even to take us out shooting in their canoes. Zappo him- 
self came several times to see us, and upon one occasion 
took us out to shoot a hippopotamus. His paddling was 
of a very different kind to that of the Baluba wood- 
chopper who usually acted as our ferryman. Zappo was 
absolutely at home in his canoe. The craft was a small 
one, and when Torday and I both accompanied Zappo her 
gunwale was very little above the water ; but with such a 
paddler we had no fear of a ducking. In common with 
all the natives of the Sankuru, Zappo propelled his canoe 
in a standing position, keeping her level with the pres- 
sure of his feet. As he approached the hippo he kept his 
boat absolutely steady, sending her forward swiftly yet so 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 123 

smoothly that one could scarcely distinguish the strokes 
of the paddle that moved her. In addition to this Zappo 
was as cool as one could possibly wish, and one v/as never 
worried with the thought that he would spoil one's chances 
by talking or moving just as one was about to take a shot. 
I have never been out shooting with a better paddler than 
Zappo. Fortunately we were able to reward him, for we 
killed a hippo about two miles above our camp ; but as we 
shot the animal in the evening we were unable to find it 
when it rose to the surface of the water, and the steamer 
arriving next morning to take us up the river, we saw no 
more of the beast, which, we subsequently learned, was 
found later in the day by the Basongo-Meno. 

The voyage to Bena Dibele passed off without any 
incident, and we reached the Government post on the 
right bank of the Sankuru in the afternoon of the third 
day after our start from Gandu. The place is built in a 
clearing in the forest on the bank of the river, and is a 
typical example of a Congolese military station. It was 
under the command of a sous-qfficier of a Belgian cavalry 
regiment, who had already served for several years in the 
Congo, assisted by a young civilian. The chef de poste had 
about forty native soldiers and a similar number of work- 
men, who cut up and packed the rubber brought in by the 
local natives in payment of taxes ; he was in charge of 
a large district along the shores of the Sankuru, which 
extended some distance to the north and south of the 
river. The civilian's duties consisted largely in managing 
the transport of stores and rubber to and from the five 
other Government posts which lie to the north in the 



124 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

great forest, in the domaine privie of the King of the 
Belgians. 

The buildings at Bena Dibele consisted of the bungalows 
of the chef de poste and his assistant, two spare bungalows 
for officials staying at the post on their way to stations in 
the forest, two large rubber-drying houses, a store- house 
for trade goods, a guard-room, and villages for the soldiers 
and the workmen. The place was, like nearly all Congolese 
stations, very neatly kept, and lying on the shores of a fine 
open reach of the Sankuru it is quite picturesque. Its 
importance arises from the fact that it is the base whence 
supplies are sent into the southern part of the domaine 
privee. The Lukenye River flows parallel with the Sankuru 
about five days' march to the north, and upon this river are 
situated the Government posts of Kole, Lodja, and Katako 
Kombe; still further to the north are two more posts, 
Loto and Lomela. A small steamer plies upon the 
Lukenye and takes some of the rubber from Kole and 
Lodja down to Lac Leopold II. ; but all stores are landed 
at Dibele and sent up to these places from there, as the 
steamer service upon the Sankuru is far safer and more 
regular than that on the swift and narrow Lukenye. 
About three miles above Bena Dibele, also on the right 
bank of the river, are situated very extensive rubber planta- 
tions belonging to the Government, and under the control 
of a white official with an expert knowledge of rubber 
planting. For every ton of wild rubber exported from the 
domaine a certain number of rubber vines are planted at 
Dibele, the object being to compensate for the amount 
taken out of the country. The plantations are in the 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 125 

forest, in which long lines of plants are laid out, the place 
being cleaned of undergrowth for the purpose. The 
number of vines already planted must be enormous, but 
about twenty years must elapse, we were told, before any 
extensive output of rubber can be expected from them. 
We were very courteously received by Monsieur Lardot, 
the chef de poste at the time of our visit, and although we 
had been unable to inform him of our arrival in advance, 
he was quite prepared to welcome us and to give us any 
help that lay in his power. We therefore soon began to 
question him about the forest, and to form plans for our 
projected journey. We desired to see something of the 
Basongo-Meno who inhabit the right bank of the Sankuru, 
and also of the Bankutu, a cannibal people of whose 
ferocity we had heard a great deal, and who resided in 
the heart of the forest to the north-west of Dibele ; in 
addition to this, we wanted to study the primitive Batetela 
tribes of the country to the north of the Lubefu River, 
and thus connect our work with that already done in the 
neighbourhood of Mokunji. Monsieur Lardot informed 
us that we could make the acquaintance of a Basongo- 
Meno chief quite close to Dibele, in fact we could ask 
him to come and see us in the station, but that we should 
have to proceed to the neighbourhood of Kole in order to 
find the Bankutu. The road from Bena Dibele to Kole 
lay through the country of these cannibals, and although 
they were quiet at the time, Monsieur Lardot advised us 
to be very cautious in our dealings with them, for they 
were treacherous in the extreme. He had heard that 
around Kole they were worse than to the south of the 



126 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Lukenye, but of that part of the country he had no 
personal knowledge. During our stay at Bena Dibele we 
met a young Norwegian artillery officer who had entered 
the service of the Congo State, and who was proceeding 
from Lomela, where he had been chef de poste^ to take up 
an appointment at Lusambo. This gentleman was able to 
give us a good deal of information as to the whereabouts 
of the Batetela tribes, and he advised us to go on from 
Kole to Lodja and there make a tour to the northward in 
the direction of Lomela. He told us that we should find 
near the latter place a tribe known as the Akela, of whose 
very existence nothing appears to have been previously 
heard among scientists in Europe, so we were naturally 
anxious to follow out the suggestion of a trip into their 
country. 

Meantime we had to stay for a week or two at Bena 
Dibele to await the arrival of some things we were expecting 
to reach us from Europe, and which included a fresh supply 
of photographic materials without which we could not 
well proceed. Torday occupied his time with the Basongo- 
Meno chief mentioned to us by the chef de poste^ but found 
him a rather unsatisfactory person, who was usually in a 
state of intoxication produced by drinking fermented palm 
wine. At this time I suffered a great deal from fever. 
The climate of the equatorial forest, of which we were 
now upon the southern edge, is extremely unhealthy, 
malaria being very prevalent. I experienced a very bad 
attack at Dibele, and I think that Torday and the chef de 
poste really believed that they would have to arrange a 
funeral, but I managed to shake off the fever, although 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 127 

during the whole of our wanderings in the forest I was 
constantly worried by returns of it. The civilian in charge 
of the transport at Bena Dibele was also very ill during 
our visit, and we heard that one of the two white men 
at Kole was at death's door with black-water fever, but 
this turned out to be an exaggeration. Owing to my ill- 
ness I was unable to get about much in the neighbourhood, 
while Torday was engaged upon his study of the Basongo- 
Meno, and upon the compilation of some vocabularies of 
various tribes which he obtained from the soldiers, most 
of whom belonged to distant parts of the Congo territory, 
for the Government usually employs its soldiers at some 
distance from their homes, so that a man may not be called 
upon to serve against his own people, in which case he 
would most probably desert. Although duiker and other 
small antelope and pigs are common in the forest, I was too 
weak to undertake any shooting excursions, and had to con- 
tent myself with collecting one or two monkeys, which I 
obtained without going outside the station. Life therefore 
at Bena Dibele was not very interesting, and quite devoid 
of any incident worth recording. We were able before 
starting upon our wanderings in the forest to see matters 
adjusted with regard to the chieftainship of Misumba and 
Zappo-Lubumba. We told the chef de paste that at present 
he never dealt directly with the real chief at either of these 
villages, and he agreed with us that the arrangement of 
transacting Government business with only a simple elder or 
councillor was unsatisfactory to all concerned ; he therefore 
summoned the real chiefs and the pseudo-chiefs of both vil- 
lages to a meeting at Bena Dibele. They came, accompanied 



128 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

by a few retainers. The chef de poste addressed them, point- 
ing out the absurdity of the existing situation, and suggest- 
ing that now the real chiefs should assume their proper 
responsibility to the Government for the conduct of their 
people, and should take over the emblem of recognised 
authority — namely, the metal disc worn on a chain around 
the neck. No one had the slightest objection to raise to 
this proposal ; in fact, the delight of Pongo-Pongo and 
Zappo at thus getting out of a position which could 
scarcely fail sooner or later to become impossible, was very 
genuine. After the medallions had been handed over to 
their rightful owners, the chefde poste began to give a warn- 
ing to the people of Zappo-Lubumba to be very careful in 
their treatment of the porters of white men who passed 
through their village ; inadvertently he commenced to 
address his remarks to Zappo, but the latter stopped him 
at once. *'Do not caution me," he said; "there is your 
recognised chief; deal with him. I am well out of all 
these discussions now ; I am a nobody." The only person 
who did not seem pleased at the arrangement was the real 
chief of Lubumba, who doubtless had enjoyed the oppor- 
tunity of making himself disagreeable with no fear of the 
consequences ; Isambula N'Genga appeared rather gratified 
than otherwise at receiving the medallion, which he prob- 
ably thought would enhance his dignity a little, but, as 
usual, he was too bored to take a very lively interest in the 
proceedings. 

Despite the hospitable welcome we had received at Bena 
Dibele, we were by no means sorry when the arrival of our 
goods by steamer set us free to commence our journey into 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 129 

the forest and put an end to the period of inactivity which 
we had spent in the Government station. We engaged 
only about fifty porters to carry our loads to Kole, 
and as these loads consisted to a great extent of trade 
goods wherewith to purchase specimens en route^ we had 
to reduce our personal baggage to the smallest amount 
possible. We left the remainder of our belongings at 
Bena Dibele. Knowing that we were about to enter a 
country where extreme caution would be necessary in order 
to avoid hostility on the part of the natives, we considered 
it wise to take as small a caravan as possible, in order that 
we might be able the more easily to keep our eyes on our 
porters and prevent them causing any trouble in the Ban- 
kutu villages. As usual, too, we determined not to be 
accompanied by any armed followers, whose presence might 
easily be taken as a declaration of war by the suspicious 
people of the forest ; our ten Albini rifles therefore re- 
mained at Bena Dibele, still packed as they had been sent 
from Europe, and we took with us no arms other than 
our shot guns and sporting rifles. We were determined 
to endeavour always to spend the nights in the Bankutu 
villages, however inhospitably we might be received, for 
we hoped in this way to be able to gather a little informa- 
tion about the people, which we could not hope to obtain 
by simply passing through their villages and camping in 
the forest, although the latter course might possibly be 
rather the safer one. We despatched our carriers over- 
land to Pakoba, a Basongo-Meno village near the Sankuru, 
about ten miles to the west of Bena Dibele, while we our- 
selves proceeded down the river in a large dug-out, dis- 

I 



130 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

embarking on the right bank to walk on to Pakoba, which 
lies a mile from the water. The bank, although the dry 
season had really commenced, for the month of May was now 
well advanced, was extremely swampy, but we were met 
by the chief of Pakoba, who showed us the least muddy 
way to the village, and we arrived shortly before sundown, 
before several of our loads had come from Dibele. The 
Basongo-Meno of Pakoba were about as enthusiastic in 
their welcome to us as their kinsmen of Zappo-Lubumba 
had been. They made excuses to avoid either giving or 
selling us any chickens, and took very little interest in 
our arrival. The lack of fresh food, however, did not 
inconvenience us, for we had brought a crate full of live 
fowls from Dibele, and our men were all supplied with 
a store of provisions, so the surliness of the Basongo-Meno 
only resulted in loss of trade to the village, and the night 
passed without any unpleasantness or discomfort. 

Next day we marched for six hours to the Bankutu 
village of Twipolo. The way lay in a northerly direction 
through forest, with scarcely a clearing to break the mono- 
tony of walking hour after hour in the gloom of the woods, 
unable to see ten yards on either hand. The ground was 
rather uneven, the road (or rather narrow track) crossing 
as many as ten little streams, each being at the bottom 
of a steep-sided ravine, the climbing in and out of which 
was rather trying in the oppressive heat of the forest, par- 
ticularly for any one who, like myself, had only partially 
recovered from the effects of a very sharp go of fever. 
On the way we passed a deserted camp built by Batetela 
rubber collectors. These people evidently believe in 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 131 

making themselves at home when out in the forest in 
search of rubber. The huts constituting this camp (and 
several other similar camps we subsequently passed through) 
were, of course, only of a temporary nature, but they must 
have been quite as weather-proof, before they had been 
allowed to fall in, as the houses occupied by the Batetela 
in their villages. Each hut had a bed-frame raised several 
inches from the ground, upon which mats had been placed 
to sleep on ; and we saw outside the houses, placed in 
circles around the spots where fires had evidently been, 
stakes driven into the ground and lashed together in an 
ingenious imitation of European deck chairs, the seats 
being made of roughly plaited vines. But the most re- 
markable thing about the camp was a scaffold or tower, 
about ten or twelve feet in height, situated in the centre 
of the group of huts. We soon learned the reason for 
the existence of this tower, the like of which we had not 
previously seen. The Batetela who used the camps had 
left their own country, and in their search for the rubber 
vine had entered the territory of the Bankutu. 

Between the Batetela and the Bankutu a sort of 
desultory border warfare is continually taking place, 
accordingly the Bankutu would be only too glad of 
an opportunity to plunder a Batetela camp, killing any 
defenceless people they might find therein, and carrying 
off their bodies to be eaten in the village. While the 
Batetela are absent collecting rubber, a guard is always 
left in camp, one of whom acts as a sentry on the top of the 
scaffold, from which elevated position he can look down 
upon the tangle of undergrowth surrounding the camp 



132 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

and, by detecting the slightest movement of the bushes, 
apprise his comrades of the stealthy approach of the Ban- 
kutu, which would not be noticed by sentries standing on the 
ground before the enemy had come so near as to be able to 
use his deadly poisoned arrows from behind the cover of 
the underwood. Directly the sentry gives the alarm, the 
signalling drum, already mentioned as being used around 
Mokunji, is beaten, sending the alarm far away into the 
forest, and summoning the rubber collectors, who hasten 
back to defend their camp. As a rule the Bankutu then 
make off, for, as I shall show later on, their method of 
warfare inclines them more to sniping and surprising 
unsuspecting enemies than to risking loss to themselves 
in a pitched battle. Obviously the look-out on the tower 
would be of little use in the case of a night attack, but, 
like many negroes, the Bankutu do not like to move about 
at night, and, consequently, their raids on the Batetela are 
far less serious than they might be. At Twipolo we 
entered the first Bankutu village we had seen. These 
villages lie in the heart of the forest, so closely surrounded 
by the woods that the one street, bordered on each side by 
huts, of which they consist, is rather a mere widening of 
the track than a clearing in the forest. One comes upon 
the villages quite suddenly, and unless one has heard the 
crowing of a cock or the whistling of the emerald cuckoo 
(a bird which is seldom to be found unless there be a 
clearing of some sort close at hand), one steps out of the 
forest into the village before one has realised that there is 
a human habitation within miles. The villages themselves 
though small and, usually on the approach of strangers, 




/• A Bankutu cannibal. 




A Bankutu village. 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 133 

practically deserted, are neat and very picturesque. The 
houses are rectangular, and are built of the bark of trees 
neatly fastened to a framework of stakes and thatched with 
leaves ; next to the pretty decorated houses of the Bushongo 
of Misumba, the bark huts of the Bankutu are the neatest 
we saw during our wanderings in the Kasai. But the 
people themselves are by no means so prepossessing. What 
a contrast they form to the tall dignified Bushongo of the 
plains to the south of the Sankuru ! Small and very dirty 
in appearance, superstitious, timid, and treacherous, they 
appear to have been influenced by the oppressive atmosphere 
and almost ghostly gloom of their native forest. As some 
plants require the rays of the sun and the fresh air to 
develop them, so it appears to be with the negro. The 
Bushongo of the plains are a fine race of men with a dignity 
and certain grace of manner which cannot fail to attract the 
attention of the European who visits them ; they have 
evolved for themselves a high state of civilisation before 
the white man ever set foot in their country ; they have 
developed to a greater degree than most, if not all, the 
natives of equatorial Africa such civilised arts as weaving, 
embroidery, and wood carving. The Bankutu, on the 
other hand, are undersized and ugly, sullen and dis- 
agreeable in their manner, and, with the exception of the 
building of huts, the only art that has been developed to 
any extent among them is the art of killing their fellow- 
men by stealth. 

When a white man first commences a stay among 
negroes he usually considers them all to be ugly, and finds 
a great difficulty in distinguishing individuals from one 



134 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

another or in recognising natives whom he has previously 
met. As time goes on, however, he becomes so used to 
the negro type of countenance that his ideas as to its 
ugliness undergo a change, and he soon comes to regard 
many individuals as quite handsome ; for he begins to 
judge more by a bright and ready smile or an open honest 
countenance than by a European standard of regularity 
of feature. I do not think, however, that any one could 
find much to admire in the appearance of the Bankutu. 
They have a "shifty" look about them — a manner which 
displays no inclination to trust or to be trusted. One can 
readily understand that the people of the plains may regard 
the inhabitants of the equatorial forest as of supernatural 
origin, as the Bushongo regard the Batwa dwarfs. These 
dwarfs, whom I have mentioned in the pages dealing with 
our stay at Lusambo, must be very similar in character to 
the Bankutu, but, having long since been subjugated by 
neighbouring tribes, they are split up, and therefore do 
not constitute such a menace to the peace of the district 
as do the people whose country we were now passing 
through. The Bankutu do not exactly increase their 
beauty by the scars with which both sexes ornament their 
faces, the women in particular rendering their counten- 
ances more repulsive than nature has made them by rows 
of raised scars reaching from the temples across the cheeks 
to the jaw-bone. More debased types of the human family 
than these women it would be difficult to imagine. The 
men allow their hair to grow long, and the care they bestow 
upon twisting it into innumerable little tails hanging back 
from the forehead, saturated with palm oil, is about all the 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 135 

attention they pay to their toilet, for, unlike most negroes, 
the Bankutu never wash; when crossing a river they 
incidentally remove a little of the filth from their lower 
limbs, and, I believe, when their condition has become too 
awful for words, they will sometimes scrape themselves with 
a knife ; but washing in the streams is an unknown habit 
with them. At Twipolo we were most ungraciously 
received. We saw very few people about the village 
and no one who could possibly have been a man of 
importance; no act of violence, however, was attempted 
against our carriers, and no objection was raised to our 
pitching our tents in the village. Shortly after our arrival 
we heard some angry discussion taking place at the entrance 
to the village, and, fearing that our porters might have 
caused trouble with the Bankutu, we hastened to discover 
what was the matter. We found that some Batetela 
porters who had carried loads from Bena Dibele to Kole 
were complaining that, upon their return journey, the 
Bankutu had placed poisoned spikes in the track, concealed 
by leaves, doubtless in order to kill them to serve as food 
at a cannibal feast. This sort of occurrence is, I believe, 
by no means rare, although the Bankutu living on the way 
from Dibele to Kole as a rule allow caravans conveying 
Government property to pass unmolested. In defence of 
their action the Bankutu stated that the Batetela had stolen 
some poultry belonging to the village. We were by no 
means pleased at the possibility of a breach of the peace, 
which would almost certainly have led to our being attacked 
ourselves, so Torday called the Batetela aside and advised 
them to do nothing in the matter on their own account, but 



136 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to complain to the chef de poste at Bena Dibele ; this they 
agreed to do, still bitterly complaining at the treacherous 
and, according to themselves, unprovoked attempt which 
had been made upon them. Early next morning they 
departed for Bena Dibele and we commenced a four 
and a half hours' march to the village of Gamba. As a 
rule, when travelling in the Congo one allows one's porters 
to take their own time over the journey, provided, of 
course, that they turn up with their loads in reasonable 
time at the village where the night is to be spent. This 
is far more convenient for the men, who can rest for a few 
minutes when they feel inclined, than for them to march 
in a body, halting only when the white man, who is not 
carrying a load, thinks that he would like to sit down by 
the wayside and enjoy a pipe. The porters often prefer to 
travel much faster than the white man and then rest for 
some time, and, very often, bathe in a stream before con- 
tinuing the journey. By allowing the men to do this one 
certainly contributes to their comfort, and the loads are 
almost always brought punctually to their destination. 
Our men were marching this way through the Bankutu 
country, for we knew that Government loads were allowed 
by the Bankutu to pass unmolested, and we considered 
that our men would be just as safe travelling in this way 
as if they marched in close attendance upon ourselves. 

As we entered Gamba most of our men had already 
reached the village, and one of them was leisurely walking 
up the street when I noticed a local native, concealed from 
the view of our porters by a hut, tentatively drawing at his 
bowstring, upon which an arrow was placed, and staring 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 137 

so longingly at the back of our carrier that he had not 
heard our approach. Upon our demanding sharply what 
he was doing the little man vanished into the forest behind 
the houses. He may not have intended to shoot ; but our 
carrier was a big fleshy man who might well tempt the 
arrow of such an insatiable cannibal as the Bankutu. We 
paid no further attention to the incident, and no active 
hostility was shown to us at Gamba. Our reception 
was of the kind to which we soon grew accustomed in 
the Bankutu country. We found but few people about the 
village, and were met by an ill-conditioned youth, who 
appeared to be in charge of the place. We inquired if we 
could see the chief, whereupon the youth informed us that 
he was that dignitary. This was so obviously false that we 
said that we did not believe it. " The chief is dead," replied 
the boy. Wf inquired for the elders ; they too were dead. 
We asked if food would be sold to our porters, but were 
told that the manioc had all been destroyed by wild pigs 
and no food existed in the village. Could we buy any 
chickens } No poultry was kept here (and this despite the 
fact that we could see many fowls about the place). " Very 
well," we said, " we have sufficient for our men and our- 
selves to eat ; will you show us where to obtain drinking 
water." " We have no water except when it rains," was 
the answer. This reception is typical of the way in which 
the Bankutu treat visitors to their country. Needless to say, 
a clear stream was found by our men in a very few minutes 
(one way of finding water being to follow the village dogs at 
sundown), and it cannot be imagined that the natives hoped 
we could believe such a tale about scarcity of water in so 



138 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

damp a place as the forest. We were careful never to dis- 
play annoyance at the treatment we received, although it is 
rather trying to one's temper, never very good in the 
terrible forest climate, to be greeted with this sort of thing 
when arriving in a village tired after a march, and later on 
we managed to induce the youth who posed as chief to come 
and talk to us. We began through him to try and buy a 
few things in the village. We selected an arrow and offered 
a high price for it ; the offer was refused. We then steadily 
raised our offer until it reached quite ridiculous proportions, 
but all to no purpose ; the Bankutu were evidently deter- 
mined not to trade with us. Nor could we obtain any 
great amount of information at Gamba, for we had to rely 
mainly upon our own observation, and therefore could glean 
nothing of the social organisation, &c., of the tribe. In the 
course of conversation, however, we learned that all the other 
Bankutu villages were in the habit of frequently eating human 
flesh, but were assured that the people of Gamba were far 
too virtuous to do anything so horrible. Curiously enough 
we heard a similar tale in other villages, the inhabitants of 
the place we happened to be in always claiming to be the 
only Bankutu who were not cannibals ! Later on we found 
out a good deal more about these savages, and were able to 
realise how difficult it is for the white man to enter into any 
negotiations with them. I have stated that we never saw 
any one whom we really believed to be the chief or even an 
elder of a village. It appears that every man of the 
Bankutu has two huts, one in the villages such as we have 
seen, and another some distance off in the forest ; he keeps 
all his valuables at his forest hut, and near to it are his 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 139 

plantations. Upon the approach of strangers the people 
make off into the woods, and take up their residence in 
their forest dwellings which are scattered about, not grouped 
together in hamlets, and therefore are extremely difficult 
to find. The villages, which contain nothing of, value, are 
left in charge of a few slaves, or of such of the Bankutu as 
may care to remain and catch a glimpse of the strangers. 
The Bankutu would lose practically nothing were the in- 
truders to burn their villages to the ground ; for the 
erection of a new settlement would occupy but little time, 
and, in the meanwhile, the natives could reside in their 
" country houses " in the depth of the forest. Not long 
before our visit to this country a Government official had 
determined by hook or by crook to become acquainted with 
the dignitaries of a certain Bankutu village. Upon arriving 
at the place accompanied by an escort of troops, he found 
not a soul in the village. Having plenty of provisions and 
any amount of time to spare, he decided to quietly settle 
down and await the return of the people. Day after day 
went by and still the Bankutu failed to put in an appear- 
ance, and at last the official, called away by other duties, 
was obliged to leave without so much as setting eyes 
on a native, although doubtless his own movements and 
those of his men were closely watched by Bankutu 
concealed in the forest. The white man probably 
knew nothing of the existence of other huts in the 
woods, or he would not have wasted his time. As I 
have said one sees no plantations when marching along the 
roads, but this is not only the case in the Bankutu 
country ; in many districts where the natives grow food- 



140 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

stuffs in large quantities the fields are situated in out-of-the- 
way places so as to escape the notice of the passer-by, 
whereas in other places, which really produce no more, acre 
after acre of plantations are to be seen. The best way to 
gain an idea of the amount of land under cultivation is to 
get some local native to accompany you in search of guinea 
fowl, for these birds are always to be found near the fields. 
The white man who merely passes through a district and 
stays only in the villages cannot hope to form any accurate 
opinion of the extent to which the natives cultivate their 
land. After leaving Gamba we marched through an open 
space about nine miles long, but quite narrow, the first piece 
of really open country we had met with since leaving the San- 
kuru, and arrived at a village where we met with a better 
reception, although I think it highly improbable that even 
here, at Chenjo, we came in contact with the real chief. 
The Bankutu clearly could not make us out. We could not 
be Government officials, as we were unescorted by troops, 
and therefore had presumably not come to inquire into any 
of the acts of violence towards their neighbours, of which, 
no doubt, every hamlet we passed through had been guilty ; 
traders and missionaries had not, at the time of our visit, 
entered the country, so the Bankutu could not have mis- 
taken us for either of the two other kinds of white men known 
in the Congo ; we bore a good reputation as peaceful 
travellers, who appeared to want nothing except to purchase 
articles which the natives had never previously had a chance 
to sell, and we were prepared to pay exorbitant prices for 
them. Altogether the reason of our visit was a mystery to 
the Bankutu ; and very likely the fact that we aroused their 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 141 

curiosity contributed largely to the safety of our passage 
through their territory. At the village of Asenge, only 
one hour's march from the Lukenye River, which we 
reached after eight hours' trying walk through the forest, 
we were also fairly well received, but we arrived too late to 
observe much of our surroundings. One curious thing, 
however, we did notice, and that was the presence of a 
couple of lads, who continually nodded their heads until it 
seemed as if they must inevitably fall from their bodies. 
Upon inquiring the reason for this extraordinary proceed- 
ing we were told that it was part of a cure for stomach-ache ! 
We subsequently learned, however, that the lads were 
apprenticed to the local witch-doctor, and the necessity for 
ceaselessly nodding the head was part of the mystic cere- 
mony connected with their initiation into his magic art. 

The next day we hurried on to Kole, on the shore of 
the Lukenye River. The Government station lies upon the 
right bank, about forty feet above the water's edge, and is 
built in a space cleared of trees, in the midst of the densest 
forest, which is just large enough to allow room for the 
houses of the two white officials, the rubber houses, stores, 
and quarters of the fifty soldiers and the workmen, and a 
fairly large parade ground. The bungalows are built of 
the stems of palm leaves, through which sufficient air can 
pass to relieve the oppressive heat in the day time, but 
which admit a good deal of damp at night. Upon our 
arrival we were welcomed by Lieutenant Peffer, the chef de 
poste^ and by his assistant, the white N.C.O., who had re- 
cently been ill with what he imagined was blackwater fever, 
but which in reality had turned out to be a severe attack of 



142 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

bilious fever. The chef de poste at once remarked that he 
considered we had run a great risk in passing through the 
Bankutu villages unattended by an armed force ; upon 
hearing our reasons for so doing he agreed that we had 
chosen the wisest course, in fact the only one open to 
travellers who wanted to see the Bankutu. Conversation 
then turned upon these charming cannibals, and we learned 
from Monsieur Peffer something of the difficulties with 
which a Government official is surrounded in this district. 
The people around Kole are so hostile to the white man 
that the place is really never free from the possibility of 
attack ; indeed, so possible is a rising of the natives at any 
moment that cassava is planted between the buildings 
actually within the station to avoid the loss of men which 
would ensue were it necessary to go out into the woods 
to fetch provisions from plantations situated at even a little 
distance from the post, in addition to which women work- 
ing in isolated fields would never be safe from the arrows 
of any Bankutu who might happen to pass by even in times 
of so-called peace. The following incident may give some 
idea of the treatment white men and their native employes 
may expect at the hands of the Bankutu. A few days 
march from Kole there exists a section of the Bankutu 
tribe known as the Tono. These people had never in any 
way been subjugated by the white man's Government, and 
had plundered and murdered their neighbours at their own 
sweet will. The chef de poste at Kole determined to try 
and win their confidence by kindness. He accordingly 
sent two messengers to them requesting their chief to call 
upon him and to make friends with him, saying that on no 



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WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 143 

account would he demand any taxes, and guaranteeing the 
absolute safety of any of the Tono who cared to visit him ; 
he furthermore promised the chief a good present in trade 
goods if he cared to come and fetch it. A few days later 
the two muzzle-loaders with which the messengers had 
been armed were returned to the chef de poste by a chief 
who was friendly both with him and with the Bankutu, the 
Tono having eaten the envoys and having sent back the 
guns with a message to the effect that the firearms would 
be useless to them, but that the white man could forward 
them a fresh supply of messengers as soon as he liked ! 

The chef de -poste knew that any attempt at reprisals on 
his part could only end in his finding a few deserted villages, 
and probably in his losing a number of men in the process, 
so he could do nothing but ignore the incident. Time 
went by, and one day the officer was amazed to learn 
from the friendly chief that the Tono were anxious to make 
his acquaintance, and if he would agree to let bygones be 
bygones, they would call upon him at Kole. He was 
delighted. He imagined that his patience with them had 
touched the heart of the Bankutu, and, no doubt, indulged 
in many wild dreams of turning his district into a happy 
peaceful country, where murder and cannibalism would be 
unknown. 

Having pledged his word that no harm should befal 
the Tono chief and his followers, he appointed a day for a 
meeting at the Government station. The natives duly 
appeared, and, before entering the post, laid down their 
bows and arrows beside a little stream, coming unarmed 
into the presence of the white man, who, on his side, was 



144 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 
careful to avoid any display of armed force by letting his 
soldiers be too much in evidence. The interview was of a 
highly satisfactory nature; gifts were exchanged, and the 
official preached a nice little homily to the Bankutu upon 
the desirability of peace, the foolishness of eating mes- 
sengers, and the pleasant conditions which would prevail 
if the natives would only trust him and come often to visit 
him. The Tono expressed their regret at having incon- 
venienced the white man by dining off his servants, and 
promised that they would never transgress again. 

Then they departed, leaving the chef de poste very 
pleased with his day's work. On arriving at the brook 
beside which they had left their arms the Tono found two 
or three of the soldiers' wives washing clothes ; in a moment 
they had shot them, and, carrying off their bodies, dis- 
appeared into the forest ! So much for the good faith of 
the Bankutu. Obviously such incorrigible rogues require 
a severe lesson, and it would appear that after an outrage 
such as I have described a strong force should be sent into 
their country to administer to them the punishment that 
they undoubtedly deserve. But the Bankutu method of 
making war in their native forest is such that a military 
expedition would have but little chance of dealing a blow at 
them. The roads leading from village to village are the 
merest tracks, so narrow that one's elbows brush against 
the bushes on either hand as one walks along them, while 
the forest is so dense that one can scarcely distinguish any- 
thing even a few feet from the wayside. In such a country 
where any shooting must take place at the shortest of 
ranges, the bows of the Bankutu are at least equal to the 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 145 

rifles of the soldiers, and their poisoned arrows are certain 
to kill where a bullet might only effect the slightest of 
wounds. It would be perfectly easy for the Bankutu to 
wait by the side of the track concealed in the undergrowth 
and quietly pick off the troops as they passed in single 
file, for flanking parties, if thrown out on either side of the 
road, would literally have to cut their way through the 
tangle of bushes, and would thus render the advance of 
the whole column so slow as to destroy any faint hope that 
might exist of its coming unexpectedly upon a village and 
surprising its inhabitants. The forest, which is almost 
impassable to troops attired in blouses and breeches, and 
encumbered by their accoutrements, scarcely hinders the 
movements of the scantily clad Bankutu. But the natives 
have other methods of warfare, hardly less eff^ective than 
ambushing the advancing column, and absolutely unattended 
by danger to themselves. In addition to placing little 
spikes, steeped in deadly poison, beneath the fallen leaves 
on the road to wound the naked feet of the soldiers, one 
prick from which will often prove fatal in less than half-an- 
hour, they dig pits in the track, carefully concealed with a 
covering of leaves, at the bottom of which poisoned stakes 
are in readiness to impale any one who slips into them. 
This is a very common form of trap used in most parts of 
Africa for the capture of game, and the existence of which 
makes it necessary to walk with great caution when shoot- 
ing in parts of the forest where such devices are employed. 
The Bankutu often dig such pits in their villages before 
deserting them at the approach of the troops, and place 
chickens upon them in the hope that the soldiers will be 



146 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 
entrapped when they attempt to take the fowls. Another 
and far more ingenious trap used in war is one which con- 
sists of a bow with a poisoned arrow set, after the manner of 
a spring gun, in such a way that the removal of a branch 
across the roadway or some similar obstacle will launch 
forth the arrow upon its errand of death from beneath the 
shelter of the underwood. These automatic bow traps are 
often set in the deserted huts, so that the pushing aside of 
the doors when the soldiers search the village will release 
the arrows. Upon one occasion the chef de poste of Kole 
entered a Bankutu village accompanied by his troops; as 
usual, the place was deserted, but the sound of a child 
crying attracted the officer's attention to the edge of the 
forest behind the huts, where he saw a tiny baby evidently 
abandoned by its mother in her hasty flight into the woods. 
Filled with pity he hurried to the spot, and, calling to a 
soldier to take charge of the baby, he was about to pick it 
up when the soldier pulled him forcibly backwards. The 
man had noticed a string round the baby's body which was 
connected with the bushes behind it. Examination of the 
bushes disclosed a spring-bow trap to which the child had 
been attached as bait ! 

These are but a few of the stratagems to which the 
Bankutu resort not only in time of actual war, but at 
any time when dealing with the white man or his servants. 
The chef de poste at Kole finds it unwise to go even the 
two hours' march inland to the spot where the Govern- 
ment station until recently had been situated without ten 
soldiers to whom ball cartridges have been served out. 
It is scarcely astonishing that warfare in the forest, where 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 147 

the soldiers perish without so much as setting eyes on an 
enemy, is extremely trying to the nerves of the troops. 
The greatest success which a military expedition could 
achieve would be merely the burning of a few villages, 
which would be rebuilt in no time without even incon- 
veniencing the natives ; and the authorities strictly prohibit 
the burning of villages in v;ar. The chef de -poste at Kole, 
therefore, has about as thankless a task as could fall to the 
lot of man. In addition to the difficulty of his work and 
the risks he runs in the execution of his duty, his life is 
rendered miserable, and constantly threatened by the terrible 
nature of the climate. 

Closely surrounded by the impenetrable forest, there is 
a lack of air at Kole which renders the great heat of noon- 
r;ay oppressive in the extreme, while at dusk a light grey 
miist descends upon the station, so damp that one's clothes 
become wringing wet if one sits out of doors after sundown, 
and the woods emit a foetid stench of decaying vegetation 
which is often nearly sufficient to make one sick if one is out 
in the forest as darkness comes on. The grey mist which 
is, I believe, common to most parts of the Congo forest, 
rises again very late in the morning at Kole, for the steamers 
which occasionally come up the Lukenye can rarely get 
underway before nine or ten o'clock, and I have known the 
mist over the parade ground to be so thick as to prevent 
the soldiers from drilling before eleven in the morning. 
Some idea of the amount of moisture in the air of the forest 
may be obtained when I say that a gun left uncovered in 
one's tent becomes red with rust in twenty-four hours. In 
the day-time the atmosphere of the woods resembles that of 



148 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

a hot-house ; at night that of a well. With a climate like 
this and swarms of mosquitos it is not to be wondered at 
that the white man is continually down with fever, and the 
presence of the innumerable tsetse-flies on the Lukenye 
adds yet another risk — that of sleeping sickness — to the 
already sufficient number that exist owing to the natives 
and the climate around Kole. 

We succeeded during our stay at this salubrious post in 
becoming more or less friendly with one or two individuals 
of the Bankutu, and from them we contrived to learn a 
little about the manners and customs of that delightful 
people, in addition to their methods of war which I have 
just described. I have said that they are cannibals ; but 
the term " cannibal," which is, of course, applicable to 
people who only partake of human flesh at the rarest 
intervals in accordance with some ceremonial custom, is 
hardly strong enough to describe the man-eating tendencies 
of the Bankutu. They actually stalk and shoot men for 
food as other natives hunt animals, and this despite the fact 
that their country teems with game. But the most re- 
markable thing about them is that they never bury their 
slaves; no matter of what complaint he may have died, a 
slave is invariably eaten. The reason for this disgusting 
practice is the fear that the ghost of a slave might return 
to haunt a master who had ill-treated him, whereas if the 
body is eaten the Bankutu believe that the soul cannot 
return. The habit of eating slaves is carried to such an 
extent that a lazy slave is often sold as food, and in a 
quarrel between two Bankutu the aggrieved party will 
frequently kill a slave belonging to the ofi^ender and dine 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 149 

off his body in company with his friends. It might possibly 
be imagined that people so debased as the Bankutu would 
fall upon a human body like hyenas upon the carcase of an 
animal and tear it limb from limb, eating the flesh raw as 
they rent it from the bones, yet such is not the case. Great 
care is exercised upon the cooking of human meat, and it is 
even served up in quite a civilised manner, in little rolls like 
bacon. I have not given by any means all the information 
at my disposal with regard to the cannibalistic habits of the 
Bankutu, but I have said enough to show that even to this 
day there exists in Central Africa, in the heart of the great 
equatorial forest, a people whose daily lives are as wild and 
whose customs are as disgusting as those of any savages who 
figure in a boys' book of adventure. To many people in 
England it may seem incredible that tribes can exist in such 
a state of barbarity at the beginning of the twentieth cen- 
tury, but, despite the opening up of Africa, the mines, the 
railways, the hundred and one ways in which European 
influence has begun to make itself felt over enormous areas 
of the dark continent, there are yet a great many out-of-the- 
way places where the savage is as much a savage to-day as 
he was, say, five hundred years ago. Some day, no doubt, 
the forest around Kole may be as peaceful a district as any 
in Africa, but until the Bankutu have been completely 
brought into subjection there can never be peace in the 
land. How to deal with such people is one of the hardest 
problems the Government has to face. It is, of course, 
possible that a given white man, who, possessed of infinite 
patience and tact, might by his own personal magnetism 
influence the Bankutu for good ; but the process would 



I50 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

take quite an ordinary lifetime, and lifetimes are very short 
in the forest. The only course appears to me to be to 
encourage the establishment of settlements in the Bankutu 
country by some such friendly and progressive peoples as the 
Batetela, the excellent results of whose occupation of the north 
of the Lodja I shall describe in due course. I hear that some 
of the Batetela who mutinied several years ago when serving 
in the army, and who, after being a scourge to the southern 
part of the Congo, have only recently been captured, are to 
be allowed to establish themselves in the district around 
Kole. The Bankutu are far too suspicious to combine with 
the mutineers in any future rising against the Government, 
and one may hope that the ex-soldiers may soon be able to 
render their villages as prosperous as have their kinsmen 
farther to the east. 

If to no one else, the forest should prove attractive to the 
naturalist, although its impenetrable character renders the 
stalking of game by a white man almost a waste of time. 
The woods abound in animal life, very much of which must 
be quite unknown to zoologists in Europe, and which will, 
in all probability, remain unknown for many years to come 
owing to the inhospitable nature of the land and the people. 
Monkeys are represented by many species, several of them 
doubtless undescribed, while pigs and small antelopes abound. 
We were lucky enough to obtain specimens of both male 
and female of a very small duiker which had not previously 
been brought to Europe, and which Mr. Oldfield Thomas 
has done me the honour of naming after myself, cephalophos 
simpsoni. This little antelope is of a Vandyke brown colour 
on the back, passing through various shades to a light brown 




The eijuatoriai. fork< 



WITH THE BANKUTU CANNIBALS 151 

on the chest ; its horns are very small. It must exist in 
considerable numbers around Kole, but one's chances of 
obtaining a shot at the wary little beast are extremely remote. 
The antelope family is also represented in this neighbour- 
hood by a bushbuck, a sitatunga, and at least one other 
duiker. Elephant and buffalo are not to be found near 
Kole, and the Lukenye is too rapid to form a haunt of 
hippopotami ; large game is therefore conspicuous by its 
absence. I may here mention that during our wanderings 
in the Kasai we never heard of the existence of any animal 
which could possibly have been the okapi ; but I should not 
like to say that it may not exist in the forest to the north of 
the Sankuru. Our stay at Kole was not marked by any act 
of aggression on the part of the Bankutu, and passed off 
without any serious discomfort to ourselves, with the 
exception of sundry attacks of malaria, to which I was now 
very frequently subject. During our sojourn there the 
chef de poste received a visit from another official who really 
belonged to the administration of the district of Lac Leo- 
pold II., but who, finding himself with his steamer on the 
Lukenye river within easy reach of Kole, had continued 
his voyage to pay a visit to the chef de poste. Upon his 
return he narrowly escaped drowning, for his vessel was 
swept by the force of the stream on to some rocks near 
Dikese, and sank in a few moments, the European captain 
saving himself by swimming, while the Government official 
was rescued by one of the native crew. No lives were lost, 
but the white men and crew who were thus forced to take 
shelter in the forest were lucky to escape being eaten, a fate 
which overtook the passengers on the Ville de Bruxelles when 



152 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

that vessel foundered on the Upper Congo in 1909. We 
had wished to visit the Tono, whom I have already men- 
tioned as living a few days' march from Kole, for this sub- 
tribe of the Bankutu were said to manufacture a certain 
kind of strange currency of which we were anxious to obtain 
specimens, but such a journey was impossible. Lieutenant 
PefFer told us that we could certainly go if we wished to do 
so, but that he himself should insist upon accompanying us 
with at least thirty of the fifty soldiers which constituted 
the garrison of Kole. To go with the troops meant that 
we should never behold a native and would probably be 
ambushed on the way, so we ^abandoned all idea of carrying 
out an extended tour in the country of the Bankutu, from 
whom we could really hope to glean very little information 
beyond what we had been able to pick up from a few friendly 
individuals. We accordingly, after a little over three weeks 
spent at Kole, took the opportunity afforded by the arrival 
of a small steam tug to proceed up the Lukenye to Lodja, 
by no means sorry to leave behind us such treacherous 
natives as the Bankutu. 



CHAPTER V 

THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 

The voyage up the river was exciting, if not particularly 
comfortable. The Lukenye is narrow and very tortuous, 
with an extremely violent current, which renders naviga- 
tion very dangerous. Just at the Government station at 
Kole its width is nearly two hundred yards, but here the 
banks have been considerably worn away by a whirlpool 
which exists just below some rocks, between which the 
stream rushes with great force. This whirlpool has its 
uses, for by pushing a large canoe from the slack water by 
the bank into the course of the whirlpool the vessel is 
set in motion and carried in a semi-circular course towards 
the opposite shore, upon approaching which a few strokes 
of the paddles will drive it out of the current into the still 
water under the bank ; in this way one paddler can take 
across the river a canoe which it would necessitate, under 
ordinary circumstances, three or four men to move. I 
once shot a duck in the evening, which fell into this 
whirlpool ; next day we retrieved the bird, which had been 
floating round in a circle all night. 

Above Kole the Lukenye soon becomes much narrower, 
until at Lodja its width is not more than about thirty 
yards. The vessel which occasionally makes the journey 
is a stout little tug, driven by a propeller instead of the 



154 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

usual stern wheel, to either side of which iron lighters are 
attached to carry cargo. The boat was commanded by a 
native mechanic, who hailed from Sierra Leone. In addi- 
tion to the numerous sharp bends, often considerably 
exceeding a right angle, with which the course of the 
Lukenye abounds, many submerged rocks and " snags " 
formed by fallen trees add greatly to the danger of naviga- 
tion. As the steamer slowly forces her way against the 
stream, often progressing but a few yards to the minute, 
the crew sit in the lighters waiting, with knives in their 
hands, to cut them adrift should either the steamer or one 
of the lighters themselves strike a " snag " and commence 
to founder ; for if any one of the three vessels were to fill 
with water she must inevitably drag the others down with 
her. The striking of a snag is no uncommon occurrence, 
but the boats are stoutly built, and, while advancing slowly 
against the stream, collisions with a sunken tree are less 
dangerous than in descending the river, when they are 
swept onward at a great pace by the current. Any one 
who allows himself to think of unpleasant subjects will 
find plenty of food for reflection during a six days' voyage 
from Kole to Lodja. If he looks at the course of the 
river he can scarcely fail to begin to calculate his chances 
of coming out of it alive if the steamer should chance to 
strike the next snag rather more forcibly than the last 
one ; he will soon satisfy himself that these chances are 
not worth much consideration, and will, perhaps, turn his 
attention to the native crew. He will find the men busily 
occupied in catching tsetse-flies upon one another's backs — 
for never have I seen so many of these pests as upon the 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 155 

Lukenye — and his thoughts will turn to sleeping sickness. 
Having pondered sufficiently upon the curse of the Dark 
Continent he may turn his attention to the machinery, but 
a glance at the pressure gauge will only serve to remind 
him that a boiler explosion is another of the little acci- 
dents which appear likely to occur at any moment, for 
enormous pressures have to be maintained in order to make 
any headway against the stream. On the whole, it is 
better for one's peace of mind to take one's gun and keep 
a sharp look-out for duck, or for some strange monkey 
which swarm in the forests on the shores, until a bump 
reminds one of the snags, the prick of a tsetse fly re- 
calls the sleeping sickness, or some weird noise in the 
machinery produces an outburst of English swearing from 
the mechanic and causes one to think once again of the 
boiler. The tug was so small that we had to sit on one 
little bench in front of the engines all day long, unable to 
move a step, there being only just sufficient room to enable 
us to occasionally stand up to stretch our limbs ; imme- 
diately in front of us was the helmsman, upon whose back 
we amused ourselves by killing tsetses with a little whisk 
made of thin strips of palm leaf, to his great satisfaction, 
for whether or not the natives connect the fly with the 
sleeping sickness, they have a great horror of the insect. 
Certainly upon the Lukenye one sees forest scenery at its 
best. The swiftly rushing river winding in and out be- 
tween banks clothed with impenetrable forest, the vegeta- 
tion often rising in solid walls from the water's edge ; the 
varying greens of the foliage, broken here and there by 
patches of white or red of some flowering shrub ; the 



156 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

graceful creeper palms, all combine to" make up a picture 
very pleasing to the eye, but conveying, I think, an im- 
pression of the forest which closer acquaintance, in the 
form of marching through the woods, very soon dispels. 
Owing to the strength of the stream we saw very few 
canoes upon the Lukenye, but about midway between 
Kole and Lodja we came across some very primitive craft. 
These consisted solely of three parallel logs lashed together 
at the ends with vines, which were paddled in a sitting 
position by almost naked men. Of course the water swept 
freely all over these little rafts. At night we camped 
upon the shores, which were usually low lying and swampy, 
for the dry season (or what passes for a dry season in 
the forest) was now in full swing, and the river had 
receded considerably, leaving muddy spaces beneath the 
trees where stagnant water had been a few months before. 
It was in such spots as this that we had to pitch our tents, 
so it may well be imagined that the mosquitos, the damp, 
and the evil smells of the woods were not conducive to late 
hours ; we used to turn in as soon as we had partaken of a 
hastily prepared supper. Once or twice we encamped in the 
neighbourhood of villages which lay a little way inland, and 
here the natives, primitive Batetela of the forest, used to come 
and sell us eggs, poultry, and plantains, receiving us in a 
very different manner from the inhospitable Bankutu. 

Upon the sixth day after leaving Kole we arrived 
at the Government station at Lodja, We found there 
a civilian as chef de poste^ and a European N.C.O. in 
command of the forty or fifty soldiers that constituted 
the garrison of the place. The first thing we did was 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 157 

to inquire of the chef de paste if carriers were easily ob- 
tainable in the neighbourhood, for we had dismissed 
those who had brought our loads from Bena Dibele 
immediately upon arriving at Kole, and we learned that 
among the more civilised Batetela, who occupy the country 
to the north of Lodja, porters were always to be found ; 
so we sent off a small caravan to the Kasai Company's post 
of Idanga, on the Sankuru, to purchase a fresh supply of 
trade goods, for the articles we had bought among the 
Bankutu had cost us much more than we had expected, 
and our store of goods was already at a very low ebb. 
Meantime we pitched our tents at Lodja and awaited the 
return of these porters. Lodja lies on the right bank of 
the Lukenye in a small clearing in the forest, and it is, I 
think, a less unhealthy post than Kole, for it is scarcely 
so damp, and the mists at night are neither so dense nor 
so slow in rising in the mornings. It was now the so-called 
dry season, but in the forest at such a short distance from 
the equator — a little more than three degrees to the south 
of the line — rain falls pretty frequently, even during the 
driest months, and the country never presents the parched 
appearance of the southern plains during the summer. We 
spent our time at Lodja in studying the natives that lived 
quite near to the station on the southern side of the river, 
and in collecting specimens of the numerous small and 
beautifully coloured birds that existed in great numbers 
in the plantation of Lodja. We also assisted in the 
organisation of some sports, wherewith to celebrate the 
anniversary of the foundation of the Independent State of 
the Congo. The State was still in existence so far as we 



158 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

in the forest could know, but we knew that the annexa- 
tion by Belgium was being considered in Europe. These 
sports afforded us quite a lot of amusement, and for a 
day diverted our thoughts from the sterner and more 
unpleasant side of life, of which we had seen quite sufficient 
at Kole. The two white officials and ourselves turned 
over our personal property and selected such articles of 
clothing, &c., as we could spare to be offered as prizes 
for the various competitions, and in this we got a certain 
amount of amusement out of our hosts. The civilian 
chef de poste called us secretly aside and extolled the virtues 
of his military colleague, than whom, he declared, a nicer 
companion could not be desired, but at the same time he 
was, perhaps, a little inclined to show undue partiality 
to his soldiers whenever there was anything to be given 
away; it had been decided to keep the events in the 
sports for the soldiers and the workmen quite distinct, 
and would we, therefore, in offering our prizes remember 
that the workmen were always busy, whereas the soldiers 
at Lodja had a very easy life, and would we be sure to 
allot the greater share of our prizes to the events restricted 
to non-combatants. A few minutes later the military 
officer found an opportunity of having a private talk to 
us. No one, he assured us, could wish to serve in the 
same place with a more delightful companion than the 
chef de poste, but he had one little failing — he could never 
realise how much more important were the soldiers, upon 
whose presence the safety of the station depended, than 
the mere workmen who cut up and packed rubber for 
despatch to the river ; would wc, therefore, be sure to 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 159 

insist that the major portion of our prizes should be given 
for events open only to the soldiers. Needless to say, v^^e 
divided our goods equally between the two sections of the 
community, and the games passed off without any friction 
whatever. The sports were an unqualified success ; every 
one in the place, white man and black, soldier and civilian, 
all worked their hardest to make things go. We erected 
a greasy pole, and measured off a course for foot races ; 
the shooting range was cleared of grass to allow a good 
view of the butts, and new targets were improvised. 

A start was made after the midday meal, the natives 
having devoted the morning to their ablutions and to 
attiring themselves in all the finery in the way of coloured 
European cottons that they could lay their hands on. 
Firstly, we all marched behind the bugler to the range, where 
the soldiers shot for prizes with their Albinis, and we 
attempted to give an exhibition of markmanship with our 
Mannlichers and express rifle ; after this we returned to the 
station (still marching behind the bugler), and the sports 
began. The greasy pole competition resulted in a victory 
for the village blacksmith, whose repeated attempts to scale 
the pole at length wore off most of the palm oil with which 
it had been greased, and rendered the ascent less difficult 
than it had been at first, when frequent failures had in- 
duced the other competitors to abandon the task. Foot 
races were of three kinds, namely, ordinary 200 yard 
sprints, " pig-a-back " races, and a race for teams of three 
natives who ran side by side, the middle man having each of 
his legs tied to a leg of his companions. These events 
produced a lot of merriment among the spectators, for falls 



i6o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

were numerous and disputes arose between members of the 
various teams when failure to " keep step " carried the 
middle man off his feet, but the distribution of prizes for 
the races caused some little heart-burning as some of the 
losers claimed a reward for having, as they said, run just as 
far as the winners. In addition to these events, various 
foolish games were indulged in, such as blindfolded men 
endeavouring to feed each other with spoonsful of cassava 
porridge, all of which caused the greatest delight to the 
crowd, some of the spectators rolling upon the ground in 
paroxysms of mirth, while I must say that we, the white 
men of the party, enjoyed ourselves as thoroughly as 
children at a school treat. Little things please little minds, 
and one's mind becomes very small in the forest. 

Before describing our journey northwards in the great 
forest, and the peoples we met with there, I had better give 
my reader a general idea of the natives whom we met. One 
of the objects of our tour from Lodja was to see the Akela 
people, of whose existence we had heard at Bena Dibele, and 
concerning whose life and origin nothing was known in 
Europe, but before reaching the country of the Akela we 
learned that we should have to pass through the villages of 
several other peoples. All these peoples are Batetela, 
related more or less closely to the Batetela whom we had 
visited at Mokunji. These latter, as I have shown in an 
earlier chapter, have already begun to display marked 
changes in their customs, &c., owing to the influence of the 
" civilisation " which first the Arab and then the white man 
have introduced into Central Africa, but the Batetela of the 
forest are still for the most part in a very primitive state of 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST i6i 

culture. But, at the same time, changes are coming over 
them, rapidly spreading from the east, and therefore one 
finds villages of the more advanced type, planned after the 
manner of an Arab or a European settlement, in the heart 
of the forest surrounded by the primitive hamlets of those 
sections of the Batetela who have not yet learned to imitate 
foreign ideas of house construction and dress. After the 
Arab wars several chiefs migrated into the forest from 
districts as far off as the Lomami River, and these more 
civilised people may now be found dwelling among their less 
progressive kinsmen, upon whom they are beginning to 
exercise an influence which will soon break down the con- 
servative spirit in which most negroes view the introduction 
of new ideas and ways. Of course, each of the sub-tribes 
through whose territory we passed possesses a name ; but 
what I wish to point out is that whether they call themselves 
Olemba, Vungi, Okale, or Lohinde Jofu ; whether they are 
primitive or already influenced by foreigners, all the people 
I am about to describe are in reality members of the great 
Batetela tribe. The Akela belong to a difi^erent part of the 
Congo altogether, and I shall give a brief outline of their 
history when I describe our wanderings in their country. 
The Batetela occupying the left bank of the Lukenye River 
opposite to the post of Lodja are called the Olemba. They, 
owing to the proximity of the white man's settlement, are 
fast becoming more like the people of Mokunji than the simple 
folk of the forest, but in many respects they are still very primi- 
tive. We paid several visits to their principal village, Oyumba, 
and received calls from their real chief, not the elder who, 
as in the other places I have mentioned, poses as chief before 

L 



1 62 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the officials. Oyumba lies in a large natural clearing of the 
forest, and is a neat, prosperous-looking village surrounded 
by extensive cultivation and by groves of plantains, which 
are very numerous in all the villages of the forest of Batetela. 
During one of our visits to the place we saw a woman whose 
cheeks were covered with soot and a man who had applied 
soot freely to his stomach ; this we discovered was a sign of 
mourning. Many negro peoples make such outward display 
of their sorrow at the death of a relative. We also noticed 
the curious habit of bumping noses when an Olemba meets 
an acquaintance upon the road. From the chief we learned 
a good deal about the customs of the people, some of which 
are rather curious. For example, they have a way of 
dealing with murderers which should certainly act as a 
deterrent to homicide : a murderer is compelled to publicly 
hang himself from a tree ! I do not quite know what is 
done to him if he declines to voluntarily carry out the 
sentence passed upon him, but I should say his wisest 
course would certainly be to hang himself at once when told 
to do so and not to let the crowd save him the trouble by 
despatching him in any other way. The purchase of brides, 
too, is remarkable. The usual price paid by the bridegroom 
to the lady's father is about eight copper crosses (a currency 
imported from Katanga), thirty-five chickens, and four dogs. 
But there is no delicacy whatever displayed in arranging the 
sum by the young man and the parent of his charmer. The 
former often begins by eloping with the girl, after which the 
price to be paid is settled at a meeting or scries of meetings 
with her father. The old man points out the charms of his 
daughter, and the advantages which the younger man would 




Our loads in a fukest village. 




The dogs with which the Olemba huy their wives. 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 163 

derive from an alliance with so distinguished a family as his 
own, and demands an exorbitant sum for the hand of his 
daughter. The bridegroom then, in a most ungallant 
manner, proceeds to call attention to all the demerits of his 
loved one and to offer as niggardly a price as possible. As 
the discussion proceeds, however, the offer is increased cross 
by cross, fowl by fowl, and dog by dog, until at last about 
the amount mentioned has been reached, when the deal is 
concluded. During our subsequent journey in the forest we 
noticed that some of our Olemba porters were always trying 
to buy dogs in the villages we passed through, and a few of 
them came back to Lodja leading two or three of these 
animals by strings ; these gentlemen were contemplating 
matrimony. We became acquainted with the principal 
fetish-man of Oyumba, and we saw him perform a conjuring 
trick which would be quite sufficient to endow him with 
supernatural powers in the simple minds of his fellow- 
countrymen. He called upon us at Lodja one day just as I 
was about to start upon a ramble in the woods with my gun. 
Torday inquired of the wizard if he could supply me with 
some charm or fetish which would ensure me success in my 
search for game. The man thereupon, without any pre- 
liminary preparations whatsoever, held his hand below his 
nose and, sneezing, discharged into it from his nostril a very 
large seed ; so large that it could not possibly have ever 
been got into his nose, and yet 1 am prepared to swear that 
I saw it come out of his nostril. The performance re- 
minded me of the Egyptian Hall, and doubtless is as capable 
of explanation as the tricks of Messrs. Maskelyne and Devant. 
But tricks of this sort go a very long way towards making a 



1 64 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

fetish-man a power in the village, a power which can easily 
cause a whole tribe to rise against the white man. Having 
rolled the seed up in the leaf of some particular shrub, which 
he obtained in the forest close at hand, the wizard handed 
me the " medicine," informing me that I should now be 
sure of obtaining sport. I will not spoil the story by giving 
any account whatever of the luck that attended me during 
my evening ramble ; perhaps lack of faith on my part may 
have impaired the potence of the charm. 

As soon as our supply of trade goods arrived from 
Idanga the chef de poste engaged about fifty carriers for 
us, and we started upon our tour in the north. The first 
day's march led us through numerous hamlets which had 
sprung up in the neighbourhood of the Government post, 
probably with the object of finding a good market for their 
produce, to the site of the old station of Lodja ; for like 
Kole, Lodja had only recently been moved to the banks 
of the Lukenye from a more open yet less accessible situa- 
tion a few hours' march inland. We passed by the important 
" civilised " Batetela village which is under the chieftain- 
ship of a small boy, some twelve years of age, by name 
Boo. This precocious youth already possessed five wives, 
most of them old enough to be his mother, and was an 
extremely civilised person as regards his dress. If there 
were in the district any white man with suflScient time on 
his hands to undertake the education of this young chief, 
I think that he could easily be trained to become a really 
useful and progressive leader of a people whose natural 
inclination to accept European ideas makes them one of the 
most promising tribes with whom we came in contact ; but 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 165 

unfortunately the training of young chiefs had not, at the 
time of our visit to the forest, received much, if any, 
attention on the part of the Government. Many of the 
primitive peoples of the Congo may not yet be ready to 
benefit fully by the advice which a tactful white " resident " 
would be able to give to their chiefs ; but the more civilised 
portions of the Batetela tribe certainly are ready, and would, 
I am convinced, amply repay, by developing their country, 
the cost of maintaining white residents in their midst 
whose mission would be the introduction of European 
methods of agriculture and crafts. We did not spend a 
night with Boo, but marched on through an extensive 
patch of grass land, with the forest forming the horizon 
on either hand, to the village of Lumbuli, the site of the 
former Government station of Lodja. Upon arriving at 
the village we were met by Lumbuli's drummers and a 
vast crowd of natives and were conducted to the chief's 
house, and then in and out through the neat, tidy streets 
between crowds of natives who had assembled to look at 
us. Suddenly it occurred to us we were being shown off 
by the headman of our caravan, so we ordered this worthy 
to lead us at once to the old Government buildings near 
which we were to camp ; we found that they were situated 
close to the point at which we had entered the village. 
It is not by any means pleasing to be walked round and 
round a large village like a circus procession at the con- 
clusion of a hard day's march close to the Equator, and 
we were considerably annoyed with our headman for thus 
dragging our weary steps a mile or two further than 
necessary ; but we preferred being regarded as a popular 



1 66 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAl 

side-show than as a nuisance (as among the Bankutu), so 
our wrath v.a^ not very terrible. 

Next day we marched on, still through a strip of open 
country surrounded by forest, to the village of an important 
chief named Kandolo. On the way we passed through 
several villages inhabited by civilised Batctela, at each of 
which people hurried out to meet us in the hope of being 
able to trade, offering us all manner of commodities, from 
food-stufFs to parrots, in exchange for our goods. We 
could not purchase much while on the march, as of course 
our supply of cloth, &c. was packed up in bales and being 
carried by the porters, but we were able to select a few 
curios for the Museum, which were kept for us by their 
owners until we passed by again on our return journey. 
Kandolo's village forms a striking example of the prosperity 
which the more civilised Batetela are introducing into the 
forest. One walks for two or three miles through planta- 
tions of millet and cassava before arriving at the place itself, 
and as one draws near to the huts one enters a regular 
forest of plantains and bananas. Then one proceeds along 
a street fully twenty yards wide, bordered on either hand 
by neat plaster houses between which plantain trees cast 
an agreeable shade in the little yards or gardens with which 
every house is provided. The street is perfectly straight, 
and not one ruined nor untidy hut mars the neatness of its 
appearance. In the centre of the village stands the residence 
of Kandolo, a long plaster house situated at one side of 
an open space where dances and other ceremonial pro- 
ceedings take place ; from this centre other streets, as 
wide and neat as that by which one enters the village, 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 167 

radiate through the groves of plantains. Upon nearing the 
village we were met by Kandolo's drummers, who played 
us up the street to the spot opposite to his residence where 
the chief awaited our arrival. Kandolo has been a soldier, 
and as soon as we appeared in sight he stood stiffly at 
attention by the wayside attired in an old English infantry 
tunic, a fine, tall, commanding figure. When we had reached 
him he laid aside the soldier and became the chief, stepping 
up to us and shaking hands before leading us to the house 
which he keeps for any official who may pass by. While 
we were resting in this clean and tidy bungalow, while our 
tents were being pitched outside, Kandolo learned the 
reason of our coming and proceeded to make us welcome. 
Firstly, he inquired if we wanted chickens, and if so how 
many. In a few moments the exact number we named 
was presented to us. This was a far more practical way 
of receiving an honoured guest than we had yet come 
across in our wanderings. As a rule a chief who means 
to receive you well gives you a far larger present of 
chickens than you require, in the hope, of course, of 
obtaining a correspondingly large gift of trade goods. 
Kandolo, however, had seen enough of the white man when 
on the march to know that too many chickens are an 
encumbrance, and he therefore very wisely asked us to 
say exactly what we wanted. We named one or two things 
such as palm-oil and native tobacco, all of which were at 
once forthcoming. The chief then inquired what he could 
do for us, and we replied that, as we intended to visit him 
after our journey to the Akela country, we would not 
ask him for any information at the moment with regard 



1 68 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to his people, but we said that we should be glad if he 
could let one of his men accompany us to the plantations, 
where we could try to obtain a shot at guinea-fowl. 
Kandolo issued an order, quite after the manner of a 
sergeant drilling recruits, and half-a-dozen men started 
out at once to look for birds. In an hour one of them 
returned and led us straight to a field where we found and 
shot a few for our supper, breakfast, and supper on the 
morrow. Kandolo was evidently master in his own village, 
and was just as friendly as he could possibly be. He 
presented our carriers with a more than liberal supply of 
food, and he instructed his people to bring for our in- 
spection any objects they might desire to sell. The result 
was that we did a roaring trade in curios. The currency 
most in demand was leather belts, of which we fortunately 
had received a good supply from Idanga, but among the 
civilised Batetela almost anything emanating from Europe 
is greedily accepted as money. The idea of these people 
appears to be to sell their produce no matter at what price 
nor for what commodity, but to sell. We never met people 
so anxious to trade in the whole course of our journey. 
They are pre-eminently an agricultural people, and their 
fields, situated in the open land in the forest, are extremely 
fertile ; they are ready and eager to plant anything of 
value that will grow. It appears, therefore, that much, 
very much, could be done to develop the resources of the 
country if a European were appointed to give these Batetela 
a little practical instruction in farming and to introduce 
new and useful crops for them to grow. I am sure that 
the creation of a post of instructor in agriculture would 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 169 

be immediately followed by most striking results in the 
district just north of Lodja. Even without any direct 
encouragement from the Government the people have intro- 
duced many new crops, often obtaining the seeds from the 
garden of some white official, and everything planted seems 
to grow well in the rich soil of their country. In many 
other ways the natives of this district display possibilities 
which ought to be developed ; for example, Kandolo em- 
ploys a carpenter who turns out quite useful work, with the 
limited number of European tools at his disposal. 

In addition to being prepared to accept the innova- 
tions introduced by the European, the Batetela evidently 
likes the white man himself; that is evident from their 
cheery, genial manner and from the eagerness with which 
they crowd round to watch or take part in anything that 
he may be doing. Any native will always be only too 
pleased to accompany the traveller when he takes a stroll 
with his gun, whereas among some peoples it is quite 
difficult to obtain a companion for an evening's shooting. 
It always appeared to me that when a crowd of Batetela 
are watching a white man doing anything, they are look- 
ing on with a view to learning something which may be 
of use to themselves, and not merely to gratify an 
idle curiosity as do many of the more primitive tribes. 
Kandolo himself is somewhat of a dandy with regard to 
his dress. He always wears European apparel to some 
extent ; and upon the occasion of our visit to him he 
changed his garments no less than eight times in one 
day ! Up to Kandolo's village our way had lain along 
the route usually followed by caravans going to and from 



lyo LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the Government station of Lomela from the Lukenye 
River, and the country through vi^hich we had passed 
had consisted of little plains bordered by the forest. 
These plains may very possibly have originally been 
artificial clearings in the vi^oodland made by the natives 
for their crops, for the Batetela cultivate so extensively 
that their clearings, if the forest should not encroach 
upon them, would in a very short time assume the di- 
mensions of a plain ; and it appears quite possible that 
the forest would not readily spring up again upon a 
soil from which much of the goodness has been removed 
by the cultivation of cassava, a crop which so impoverishes 
the ground that it cannot be grown in the same field for 
two crops in succession. After Kandolo's village we 
branched off the main track, taking a road to the west 
of that used by caravans, and we entered once more a 
country resembling in all respects, except the character 
of its inhabitants, the dense forest around Kole. March- 
ing in the forest is, in my opinion, far more fatiguing 
than in the plains. It is true that one is more or less 
sheltered from the scorching rays of the equatorial sun 
(although it would be courting sunstroke to dispense with 
adequate head-gear even in the densest parts of the wood- 
lands), but one is constantly forced to break the evenness 
of one's stride in order to step over roots or fallen trees, 
one has frequently to clamber over logs laid down in 
some swampy spot to form a sort of bridge, and often one 
is obliged to run as hard as one can lay one's legs to the 
ground to avoid a colony of driver ants, which swarm 
over one's legs in a moment and take hold so firmly of 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 171 

the skin that their heads are often left embedded in it 
when one endeavours to pull them off. In addition to 
this there is an oppressive sensation caused by the lack 
of air, for except during a tornado no breeze penetrates 
the forest. After even a very brief sojourn in this dis- 
trict one becomes so run down by frequent fevers that 
marching under the most pleasant conditions would be 
trying, and one wearily drags on mile after mile with 
leaden feet and aching head, longing for a breath of the 
wind that sweeps the plains. 

The monotony of forest marching is depressing in the 
extreme. One cannot see more than a few feet into 
the woods on either hand of the narrow track, and the 
frequent bends and turns in the way limit one's view to 
a few yards ahead. One plods on hour after hour, day 
after day, without coming across any real break in the 
monotonous gloom of one's surroundings. Villages are 
numerous, but, like those of the Bankutu, they are 
situated in clearings so small as to be little else than 
a mere widening of the track, and plantations are rarely 
to be seen by the wayside. We marched for five days 
without coming to any break in the woods other than 
those afforded by the villages. One rises in the morning, 
after a long night's repose, with a swimming head and 
a feeling of lassitude which, if it passes off at all, only 
leaves one when the day is well advanced. One is always 
tired in the forest. When one commences the day's 
march the bushes are so wet that one becomes soaked 
to the skin as one brushes them aside where they over- 
hang the track ; later in the day one's clothes dry on one, 



172 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

only to become wringing with moisture again when the 
grey mist descends in the evening, and the huts and 
people loom gaunt and ghostlike in the fog. Most 
Europeans in the Kasai district are carried in hammocks 
when on the march, and accordingly prefer to travel in 
the shade of the forest ; but we invariably walked all the 
way during our journey, believing that exercise is a 
necessity to health, and both of us are convinced that 
a march in the forest is more fatiguing than a stage of 
similar length in the plains even under the hottest sun. 
Of course we always carried with us a hammock for use 
in an emergency, but only on one or two occasions were 
we carried in it, and then merely because fever or a 
damaged foot prevented us from walking. The forest, 
despite its terrible climate and damp oppressive heat, 
can be very attractive so long as one does not spend 
sufficient time in it to become depressed by its monotony. 
Parts of it are extremely beautiful. The little swamps 
and pools around the courses of the brooks are often 
really lovely to look upon, for the sun shines down upon 
the still waters covered with light green weeds and white 
lilies, forming a brilliant contrast to the gloom of the 
surrounding woods. There is much to attract one's notice 
even in the restricted area visible from the road — troops 
of monkeys of many varieties crash through the tree-tops 
at the approach of the caravan ; strange and beautiful 
birds flit among the branches, giving one but a glimpse 
of their brilliant plumage as they go ; butterflies of gor- 
geous colour are to be seen in countless numbers. All 
these are interesting or beautiful, and serve to some ex- 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 173 

tent to relieve the monotony of a forest journey. If 
one could only feel fresh and vigorous, a stay in the 
forest might therefore prove enjoyable ; but, worn out by 
fever and fatigue, one fails to appreciate the wonders of 
the woods and longs for the open landscape and pure 
air of the plains. 

The forest north of Lodja is so densely populated 
that we were too much occupied in observing the life of 
the natives whom we met to give way to the feeling 
of slackness which the climate produced. The first of 
the primitive Batetela tribes with whom we came in 
contact were the Vungi. These people were more 
scantily attired than any whom we had yet encountered. 
The women wore nothing but two bundles, or large 
tassels, of vegetable fibre suspended, one in front and one 
behind, from a girdle of rope, while the men wore small 
pieces of native-made cloth or the skins of tiny antelopes, 
put on in the same way, leaving the thighs naked. Their 
houses were small, and were very remarkable in that a 
continuation of their pent-shaped roof formed a verandah 
at one end of the building, beneath which the women 
cooked the meals and the family spent the day until 
driven indoors by the damp mist in the evenings. The 
houses themselves were constructed of the bark of trees 
and thatched with leaves. Most of the men we saw 
carried smaller bows and arrows than those we had been 
accustomed to see in the plains, for the tangle of under- 
growth would render a large bow unwieldy in the forest. 
In the first few villages we passed through we came across 
one or two plaster houses, and occasionally saw a man 



174 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

wearing some European garment, but as we advanced 
northwards these signs of the advance of a change from 
their primitive state grew rarer and more rare until, as 
we neared the Akela country, they completely disappeared. 
Among the peoples of this portion of the forest which I 
am now describing plantains take the place, to a great 
extent, of cassava, millet, or maize in the manufacture of 
dough, which constitutes the greater part of a native 
meal. The insides of the plantains are pounded into a 
sort of flour and then steamed or boiled, and eaten either 
warm or cold. Although meat is obtainable very easily in 
the forest, small antelopes, pigs, and monkeys being very 
abundant, the people of the district, in common with most 
Congo natives, eat very little of it ; a small piece, some- 
times eaten in an advanced state of putrefaction, being 
considered sufficient to lend a little taste to the some- 
what insipid dough. In all of the numerous villages we 
passed through we met with a cordial reception. As we 
habitually marched by easy stages our approach was ex- 
pected by the natives, and at almost every village a supply 
of food was laid out upon leaves in the street in readiness 
for our men. This pleased us very much at first, for if 
our carriers found a meal , ready for them on their arrival 
they would not be likely to get into any dispute over 
bargains with the natives ; but when we found as many 
as three or four villages upon our route, each of which 
had provided an enormous quantity of food for the men 
and whose chiefs naturally expected a correspondingly 
large present, we came to the conclusion that travelling 
in the forest was rather expensive. At one place, where 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 175 

the chief was rather more civilised than most of his neigh- 
bours and consequently was determined not to be outdone 
by them in the cordiality of his welcome to the white man, 
no less than five hundred liberal portions of dough and 
meat were prepared for our sixty followers ! The food, 
laid out on plantain leaves in two long lines, reached from 
one end of the village to the other. When the last por- 
tion had been put in its place in the line, a bell was rung 
and two men emerged from the compound behind the 
chiefs hut carrying on a pole a freshly killed antelope 
for Torday and myself. Of course this kind of reception 
is extravagantly lavish, but it shows the spirit in which 
the Batetela of the forest are prepared to meet the 
white man. 

When passing through a thickly populated part of 
this country one can scarcely fail to offend many chiefs by 
being obliged to refuse their food, for one's men soon 
receive so much that they not only have more than they 
can eat, but more than they can conveniently carry with 
them. The Okale occupy the country joining the Vungi 
territory on the north. These people are in many respects 
similar to the Vungi ; but their women wear small fringes 
around their waists in place of the tassels I have described. 
Among the Okale we noticed a similar system of signalling 
by means of a gong to that in vogue among the Batetela of 
Mokunji. In the forest, however, the gong is usually a fixture 
in the village, consisting of a huge log, hollowed out, which 
is beaten with wooden mallets. We came across one ex- 
tremely primitive signal gong ; it consisted simply of two 
flat pieces of wood, laid across a hole in the ground, upon 



176 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

which different tones could be produced wherewith to 
transmit a message. Cannibalism, once as prevalent among 
the forest Batetela as among their neighbours around Kole, 
appears to be fast dying out even in the most primitive vil- 
lages, although no doubt many instances of it still occur which 
are kept secret by those concerned in them. A very notice- 
able feature in the villages of the Okale are the neat models 
of houses which are erected over their tombs. The dead 
are usually buried in the village, and the graves are sur- 
rounded by a fence to keep off the dogs and goats. Over 
the graves are built little houses, often of better construc- 
tion than those lived in by the people, in and around which 
are hung baskets, cooking pots, and other articles once the 
property of the man who rests below. Among people so 
primitive as the dwellers in the forest it was not to be ex- 
pected that we should be able to find any manufactures to 
equal in artistic beauty the wood carvings and embroidery of 
Misumba, but we procured a fairly large and representative 
collection of objects in daily use to be sent to the British 
Museum. The people, as a rule, were perfectly willing to 
sell their belongings (at their own price !), and only upon one 
occasion did we meet with a Batetela chief who declined to 
sell us curios. This worthy (who was very likely suffering 
from an attack of liver, and accordingly not inclined to be 
amiable) stated that he would prefer not to sell us anything, 
but that he would allow his drummer to perform for us 
while we sat at dinner in the evening ! This honour we 
declined ; we had all the native music we required when 
in the forest without accepting it as a favour from the 
chiefs. Very often upon our arrival in a village the local 




A PKIMim-K SHIXALI IM; GdNC. 




A (IKAVE-HUT IX THE E(^)UATOKIAL FOREST. 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 177 

natives would organise a dance, in which our porters, who, 
one would have imagined, would be too tired to indulge 
in this form of amusement, used to take part, keeping it 
up sometimes until far into the night. Upon one occa- 
sion, when the women were dancing, Torday playfully 
snapped his fingers near the nose of some dusky beauty, 
whereupon the chief solemnly requested him to do the 
same for all the ladies of the village in order that jealousies 
might not arise ! The old man evidently believed the 
gesture to be some magic sign which would have some 
good effect upon any one to whom it was shown. Sugar- 
cane is very extensively eaten in the forest, but the natives, 
of course, do not know ordinary " lump " sugar by sight, 
and we used to get quite a lot of amusement out of them by 
offering them pieces of that delicacy from our table. They 
invariably believed that we were giving them salt, with 
which they were well acquainted, and their grimaces and 
expressions of disgust on tasting the sugar were ludicrous 
to see ; although in reality they dearly love sweet things, 
the unexpected taste of sugar when they thought they were 
eating salt appeared to nearly make them sick. The lump 
of sugar would be quickly (and not very delicately) ejected 
from the mouth, but when the native had had time to 
realise what he was eating he would try it again, and then 
pass the lump around to the assembled populace, each of 
whom licked it until it disappeared. 

On the way to the Akela country we found few oppor- 
tunities for sport. Stalking is almost impossible in forest 
so dense as that through which we were travelling, so that 
to go out in search of buffalo, antelope, or pig would really 

M 



178 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

have been a waste of time. Upon two occasions, however, 
I did try for a shot at buffalo, which are fairly numerous 
wherever there are patches of grass land in this part of 
the forest. Although I approached very near indeed to 
both of the herds I attempted to stalk, the ferns in which 
they were concealed were so thick that I could not obtain 
a glimpse of the animals before they got my wind, or were 
alarmed by the slight noise which I could not avoid making 
as I progressed. I cannot help thinking, however, that 
had I succeeded in bagging one of these beasts, we should 
have added a third species of buffalo to the two of which 
we obtained specimens later on, and quite possibly the 
buffalo from the forest might have turned out to be un- 
known to science, as did the animals we shot later on the 
the Kwilu River. Judging by the size of their tracks, the 
small impression they made when moving fast upon soft 
ground, and the low cover which sufficed to hide them, 
leads me to believe that these buffalo are of a smaller 
and lighter variety than either the Congo buffalo {Bos 
caffer nanus) which I killed when we were staying at the 
Mushenge at the end of the year, or the Kwilu buffalo 
{Bos caffer simpsoni) which wc discovered on the banks of 
the Kwilu. One or two single horns which I saw during 
our journey in the forest would appear, by their small size, 
to support this theory. From a few strips of skin which 
I found upon drums, &c., I think they must have been 
of the same reddish colour as the Congo buffalo, of which 
male and female specimens are to be found, stuffed, in the 
Natural History Museum at South Kensington. Bush- 
buck and duikers are very numerous north of Lodja, as 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 179 

is the ubiquitous red pig ; and elephants are to be found in 
herds of about a dozen head in the country near the Lomela 
River. The whole of this country must be practically a 
ierra incognita to naturalists, and a visit to it should amply 
repay the collector who cares to face the hardships which 
the bad climate renders unavoidable. 

After passing through the country occupied by the 
primitive Batetela and their more civilised kinsmen, we 
came at last, about one hundred miles, as the crow flies, 
north of Lodja, to the territory of the Akela, a people 
whom we were particularly desirous of visiting, as nothing 
appears to have been known about them in Europe pre- 
vious to our visit. We found them to be a typical forest 
people, very primitive in their culture, who had only arrived 
in their present territory quite lately, having migrated from 
beyond the main stream of the Congo within the memory 
of the older men. They are a fine, tall people, whose 
women enjoy a great reputation for beauty among the 
neighbouring tribes. How far this reputation is justi- 
fied I should be very sorry to say, for I have long since 
given up attempting to judge of the personal appearance 
of African ladies ; but one thing is clear — if the Akela 
women are really admired it is for their own charm, and 
not for any beauty which their costumes can lend them. 
They are more scantily attired than any of the people 
which we came across, even in the forest, where costumes 
are usually sketchy, for they wear no other garment than 
a very minute piece of cloth between their legs, which is 
supported by strings around their waists. Not only are 
the garments so small as to be scarcely visible, but they 



i8o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

are extremely rare ; in fact, we could only find one woman 
in the several villages we visited who possessed a second 
" dress " when we were endeavouring to purchase an ex- 
ample of Akela fashions for the Museum ! The men 
are similarly attired to the women, but their pieces of 
cloth are somewhat larger. The men, too, frequently 
wear neat caps, made of the skins of monkeys, to pre- 
vent the branches of the trees from disarranging their 
carefully " frizzed-out " hair. But the most remarkable 
thing about the Akela, male and female, is their lack of 
teeth. Many, in fact most of the tribes of the southern 
Congo knock out one or two teeth when the boy or girl 
grows up, or else they file away portions of the front teeth 
so as to form some definite tribal design, but the Akela, 
as soon as they reach marriageable years, knock out all 
their incisor teeth, in both upper and lower jaws ! The 
reason for this strange practice appears to be merely the 
fact that it is fashionable. The absence of front teeth 
causes the lips, usually protruding in the negro race, to 
recede, so that many Akela have quite a European type 
of countenance. The usual means of removing teeth is 
quite in accordance with the barbarity of the custom. 
The village blacksmith places an iron wedge against the 
tooth, and hits it with a block of wood ! The tooth 
is thus broken off short at the gum. A result of 
the absence of front teeth is a strange method of 
eating meat which we found among the Akela. They 
cannot, of course, bite off a morsel from a piece of meat 
held in the hand, as do most natives when dining, so 
they hold their knives, point upwards, between their toes. 




An Akei.a cuttim; it his food. 




AKKI.A WAKKIOkS 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST i8i 

and cut off mouthfuls of meat by drawing it along the 
edges. 

Their villages are built in just sufficient cleared ground 
to contain the number of huts required, and are often very 
picturesque, for they frequently contain palm-trees. The 
huts are made of leaves, and many of them are so primitive 
as to lack walls, resembling the sheds under v^hich the 
Bangongo work in the daytime at Misumba. But if their 
dwellings are of a primitive nature, the houses which, in 
common with their Batetela neighbours, they erect over 
the tombs of their dead are well built, neat, and tidy. 
Respect for the graves of the departed is more noticeable 
among the peoples of the forest than among any of the 
other natives we visited. One often passes deserted villages 
in this part of the country whose inhabitants have left them 
and built another settlement upon the death of a chief or 
some other important member of the community. In this 
the primitive Batetela differ considerably from their more 
advanced cousins of Mokunji, who, the reader will re- 
member, were only too pleased to sell us the skulls of 
their dead. We did not collect any skulls in the forest ; 
to have suggested that any should be brought to us would 
have grievously wounded the feelings of the natives. The 
Akela provide little houses for their chickens, a luxury to 
which most Congo fowls are unaccustomed. In their 
methods of warfare these immigrants from the north 
display a difference from their neighbours, for shields are 
still in use among them. These are hewn out of solid 
wood, but are remarkably light, and are large enough to 
afford ample shelter to a man crouching behind them. We 



1 82 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

were not so hospitably received by the Akela as by their 
neighbours, and even had great difficulty in persuading 
them to lead us from one village to another, but no violence 
was attempted towards us, and the people appeared to be 
quite peaceful if not provoked by any act of aggression on 
the part of the traveller or his men. On the whole, we 
were not sorry when, turning southwards from a point 
about five-and -twenty miles south of the Government 
station of Lomela, and, marching along the well-worn 
caravan track which is usually followed from Lodja to 
Lomela, we at last reached that land of plenty and hospit- 
able natives, Kandolo's territory, and thence retraced our 
steps to the Lukenye. Our wanderings among the Batetela 
had shown us what an extraordinary difference can exist 
in manners and customs and in general character in peoples 
occupying similar country ; for as my narrative, I hope, has 
shown, no two tribes could be less alike than the Bankutu 
and their Batetela neighbours. I have already stated that 
when we were leaving the forest an idea was mooted of 
colonising the Bankutu country with the captured Batetela 
mutineers, and this plan appears to me to be an admirable 
one. The .villages near Lodja, such as Kandolo, show what 
Batetela energy can get out of the rich forest soil, and the 
rapid spread of civilised ideas, emanating from the more 
advanced Batetela, can influence their neighbours. It seems 
quite reasonable to hope, therefore, that the colonisation of 
the Bankutu country by civilised Batetela will lead to the 
cannibals around Kole gradually absorbing the ideas of the 
new-comers, and thus step by step advancing from their 
degraded condition. The Bankutu is too much of a savage 



THE PEOPLES OF THE GREAT FOREST 183 

to understand or appreciate any innovations introduced 
directly by the European, but he may be able to receive 
the seed of civilisation sown by other natives, and soon be 
ready to receive and even welcome the changes in his mode 
of life which the arrival of the white man must inevitably 
introduce among the native races over whom he rules. A 
scheme for the civilisation of the peoples of the southern 
portion of the great equatorial forest would be to introduce 
any useful innovations that may be acceptable to the pro- 
gressive Batetela and allow them to pass them on to their 
neighbours ; for the primitive peoples of the forest would 
be more likely to copy the ways of another native tribe 
than those of the white man himself. 

We spent some days in Lodja after our journey in the 
forest, to rest after the fatigue of almost daily marching, 
and here our fox-terrier bitch, which together with a young 
dog we had brought out with us from England, presented 
us with a litter of puppies. With the exception of one, 
which died in a few weeks' time, all the puppies lived and 
thrived, an indication that hardy European dogs, such as 
fox-terriers, can exist and reproduce even in the bad climate 
of the forest. We gave away the father of the litter and 
all the puppies excepting one to various white men whom 
we met, but Sanga, the mother, and Lubudi, the puppy we 
kept, stayed with us until our wanderings were at an end, 
and never were sick nor sorry for a single day. At the end 
of our journey, Lubudi was given to some nuns who were 
proceeding to a mission station, but Sanga returned with us 
to Europe, only to succumb to an abscess on the brain, 
after enduring the captivity enforced by the quarantine 



1 84 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

regulations and the rigours of one English winter. Poor 
little Sanga ! She was a faithful companion, and I think 
that the shooting of her after our return was far the most 
unpleasant task I was called upon to perform in connection 
with our journey. She is buried in a Kentish garden, quite 
close to the cottage where she was born, and a little tomb- 
stone marks the last resting-place of a bitch who travelled 
far and endured many hardships and privations. She never 
loved the natives except our own " boys," but all the 
natives who saw her were most anxious to possess her, and 
used to offer us high prices for her. It used to be quite 
amusing to place her on a table and promise to give her to 
any one who would lift her from it. Several people have 
approached the table, but no one has dared to touch her ! 

Upon leaving Lodja we marched to Idanga, the Kasai 
Company's factory, on the left bank of the Sankuru at the 
confluence of that river with the Lubefu. The way lay 
through several outlying villages of the Bankutu, but these 
people were far less disagreeable than their kinsmen around 
Kole, and our progress through their country was un- 
eventful. We were delighted to leave the forest, and, 
weary and footsore as we were, to reach a place by the 
riverside where travelling is done in canoes, and where we 
could work up at our leisure the results of our wanderings 
in the equatorial forest. 



CHAPTER VI 

AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 

We spent a few days at Idanga awaiting the arrival of a 
steamer going down-river to carry us to Bolombo, whence 
we were to start upon our march to the capital of the 
Bushongo nation. During the greater part of our stay 
the Kasai Company's agent was absent, visiting the villages 
in the interior behind the forest which borders the Sankuru, 
and which at Idanga is a comparatively narrow strip of 
woodland on the left bank of the river; we therefore 
encamped in his factory garden, and occupied our time 
in labelling and packing curios, writing up notes upon 
the forest tribes, and resting after our weary marches in 
the forest. Idanga has its drawbacks, for there is little 
to be done there either by the naturalist or the ethnologist, 
and the mosquitos and tsetse-flies are more numerous than 
is pleasant ; but after a stay in the forest one can sit all 
day and gaze with enjoyment at the view, extensive com- 
pared with any obtainable in the woods, over the fine broad 
reach of the Sankuru, at the time of our visit much broken 
by sandbanks, for the dry season was now fast drawing 
to its close and the water was at its lowest. Upon the 
sandbanks numberless temporary huts had been erected by 
the local Bushongo, who could be seen from the factory 
busily employed all day long at making and setting fish- 

i8s 



1 86 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

traps, by means of which they caught a lot of large fish, 
always bringing the best of them for sale to us. One 
day we hired a canoe from the fishermen and went down- 
stream to Bena Dibele to call upon the Italian cavalry 
officer who had recently taken over the command of the 
post, and to bring away the baggage we had left there 
upon setting out into the forest. We found Lieutenant 
Morretti's civilian assistant in a very bad state of health. 
There was, I think, little really the matter with him, but 
he had allowed the gloom of the surrounding forest to get 
upon his nerves to such an extent that he could talk of 
nothing but death, and mistook a small piece of metal 
lying on the ground for the number-plate of his coffin ! 
He was eventually moved to rather more cheerful sur- 
roundings, and, I believe, quite recovered his mental equi- 
librium. In the forest it is absolutely necessary to force 
oneself to look at the bright side of everything ; if once 
one allows oneself to become pessimistic one is pretty sure 
to break down in health ; and the bright side of life in the 
forest is not always easy to find. 

While we were calling at Dibele a Government steamer 
came down the river having on board Captain the Hon. W. 
G. Thesiger, D.S.O., then his Majesty's consul at Boma. 
This gentleman had just completed a tour of some few 
months' duration over a large area of the southern Congo, 
in the course of which he had paid a brief visit to the 
capital of the Bushongo people and made the acquaintance 
of their king. Captain Thesiger informed us that he had 
seen many beautiful wood-carvings, chief among which were 
the portrait statues of the two old-time national heroes, 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 187 
which were apparently regarded with the greatest reverence 
by the king and the people. We had heard of the existence 
of these statues during our stay at Misumba, but up to now 
had been doubtful if we should be allowed to see them. 
Captain Thesiger reassured us on this point, but seemed 
to think that there would be no chance of our being able 
to purchase one for the Museum ; we dared not hope 
so much ourselves ; but I shall have more to say about 
these statues later. Captain Thesiger gave us another 
interesting piece of information : he had recently visited 
Kanda Kanda, a Government station about one hundred and 
sixty miles to the south-east of Luebo, and had there found 
that lions had just appeared in the neighbourhood. From 
what we are able to gather, lions are unknown north of this 
district ; although I have seen it stated that the Sankuru 
was their northern limit, I was not able to obtain any evi- 
dence to show that they have been found so far north as the 
middle course of that river. It has been rumoured that a 
lion was killed near the confluence of the Kwango and the 
Kasai some few years back, but I believe the rumour is 
generally discredited. Around Kanda Kanda the country 
is better supplied with game than the districts we visited, 
but even there the newly arrived lions had taken to man- 
eating to such an extent as to cause a panic in the villages. 
As soon as we had packed our curios at Idanga we were 
ready to start for the Mushenge, so the Kasai Company's 
steamer found us waiting to go on board with as little delay 
as possible when it descended the river on its way from 
Batempa to Dima. The voyage passed off without incident, 
excepting that one night during a tornado, our camp on the 



i88 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

shore was very nearly set on fire by sparks driven by the 
wind from the fires of the crew ; only the dampness saved 
our tents from catching fire. In the matter of fires one's 
*• boys " are usually extremely careless, making them in the 
most dangerous places, and one has to be constantly on the 
look-out for accidents arising from the placing of a candle 
too close to the sloping roof of one's tent, or some other 
equally foolish and avoidable cause. It seems remarkable 
that natives whose habitations are very inflammable should 
be so careless, but it is a fact. 

At Bolombo we stayed for a few days awaiting the 
arrival of an answer from the king of the Bushongo, to 
whom we sent a message informing him of our desire to 
visit his capital, and inquiring if he would send porters to 
carry our loads from the river. In due course a number of 
men arrived, under the leadership of one of the Nyimi's 
(this is the title of the king) courtiers, who told us that his 
master had heard of our visit to the eastern part of his 
territory, and had expected to see us earlier at his capital ; 
now that we were coming he would be pleased to welcome 
us. We noticed one or two differences, even among the 
porters who came to carry our baggage, between the Ban- 
gongo of the Lubudi River and the natives from the 
country around the Mushenge. Whereas at Misumba only 
the elders wore little conical caps of plaited grass upon 
their top-knots, this headgear seemed to be quite commonly 
worn by the people of Mushenge, and we looked in vain 
for signs of the lavish application of tukula dye to the per- 
son and loin-cloths which is so noticeable at Misumba ; 
moreover, most of the men who came to carry for us wore 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 189 

European cotton around their waists. We crossed the San- 
kuru in a large dug-out as soon as all our baggage had been 
transported over the river. We had not very much with 
us, for our stock of provisions was well-nigh at an end, and 
we were relying upon receiving from Luebo many cases of 
stores which should have been there since the beginning of 
the year awaiting our arrival. Also we carried with us very 
little in the way of trade goods, for we knew that there was 
a factory near the Mushenge where we could purchase such 
articles as would be most readily accepted by the natives. 
The country between the Sankuru and the Mushenge is 
hilly. The belt of forest that borders the river is only 
about six miles wide, and gives place to grass land, fairly 
thickly studded with small trees in which extensive patches 
of woodland are very numerous. Near to the angle formed 
by the confluence of the Sankuru and the Kasai the forest 
belts of both these rivers meet, and the country is therefore 
densely wooded. As one goes on southward towards the 
Mushenge the plains become more extensive and less 
studded with trees until one reaches a high grassy plateau 
about twenty miles south of the Sankuru which forms the 
watershed between that river and the Luchwadi (marked 
Lotjadi on the accompanying map), a stream that flows 
westwards into the Kasai. The distance from Bolombo to 
the Mushenge is only about thirty miles, in a direct line, 
but we marched by easy stages in order to see something of 
the villages we passed through, and did not arrive at the 
capital until the fifth day after our start from the Sankuru. 
The villages in this part of the country disappointed us very 
much after becoming accustomed to associate the Bushongo 



190 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

with such beautiful villages as Misumba. In place of the 
neatly decorated houses which we had admired so much 
among the Bangongo we found dwellings of a similar design, 
but built simply of palm leaves, with no attempt at orna- 
mentation, and little or none of the regularity with which 
the villages of the eastern Bushongo are laid out. The 
places were often very pretty, with their huts dotted about 
under the shade of fine old raphia or elais palms, but the 
beauty was the beauty of nature, and showed little of the 
artistic tendencies which we knew the natives must possess. 
We subsequently learned that the people of the eastern part 
of the Bushongo territory are famous for the skill with 
which they build and decorate their houses, and that we 
must not set up Misumba as a standard whereby to judge 
all the Bushongo villages. At the entrance to one hamlet 
we came across a quaint '* charm " overhanging the road. 
This consisted of a square piece of wickerwork, suspended 
from a pole, which had been literally riddled with arrows, 
many of which were still sticking in it. At another place 
we found a very old elephant's tusk, of considerable size, 
firmly planted point downwards in the ground under a 
shelter in the village street. We learned that it was 
formerly the custom when the great king paid a State 
visit to the villages to plant an elephant's tusk in such a 
/ manner that he could lean back upon it when sitting upon 

his throne ; the tusks so placed were never removed, but 
were left sticking in the ground as a souvenir to the 
villagers of the visit of their king. The tusk we saw was 
so weather-worn that a small piece of it which I brought 
away has not been recognised as ivory by any one to whom I 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 191 

have shown it. I ought, perhaps, to say that this souvenir 
of a former king is not regarded with respect by the villagers 
or I should, of course, not have touched it, much less re- 
moved a piece from inside its cavity ; we were always most 
careful to avoid hurting the natives' feelings by treating 
with contempt anything they might possibly consider sacred, 
for had we done so we could not have expected to gain 
their confidence and learn anything of their customs and 
beliefs. A negro is very unlikely to tell you any legend or 
piece of tribal history if he thinks there is any chance of 
your disbelieving or laughing at it. 

Buffaloes are to be found in the country between the 
Mushenge and the Sankuru, and we came across the fresh 
tracks of one or two small herds, but we did not make any 
serious attempt to hunt them, as I intended to take a short 
trip in search of sport after we had settled down at the 
capital. Upon the fifth day we were ferried in small canoes 
across the lagoons around the stream of the Luchwadi, the 
boats winding in and out amidst a tangle of the most 
glorious vegetation, and thence walked the remaining five 
miles or so to the Mushenge. Leaving the mission station 
of the Peres de Scheut about half a mile to the left of the 
main road, we ascended the steep slope to the crest of the 
hill on which the capital stands and found ourselves almost 
unexpectedly in the village, which we had not seen until we 
entered it. There were no signs of any extensive cultivation 
by the roadside which would have indicated that we were 
approaching a large native settlement. 

Upon our arrival we were conducted at once towards 
the dwelling of the great chief, but on reaching the gates 



192 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of his " palace " yard the king came out to meet us accom- 
panied by one of the Belgian priests from the mission, who 
were preparing to leave the Mushenge in a few days, the 
mission station having been abandoned. The priest, after 
exchanging greetings with us, left us to make the acquaint- 
ance of our host, and we looked with no little curiosity 
upon the man who ruled over so remarkable a people as the 
Bushongo. Of medium height (short by comparison with 
many of his stalwart subjects) but remarkably well-built, 
Kwete Peshanga Kena looked every inch a chief. He was 
dressed in native costume ; a very long pink loin-cloth, 
gathered into many folds around his waist, was held in place 
by a girdle in which was stuck a broad-bladed knife, similar 
to that carried by the meanest of his subjects, except that 
its blade was neatly inlaid with a design in brass resembling 
a crocodile ; he wore a small conical cap upon his head, held 
in place by a copper hatpin, the sign of an elder, for only 
court dignitaries may wear hatpins made of copper. The 
only ornaments he displayed were two bracelets on each arm, 
of iron and of copper, an iron ring on each of his big toes, 
and a thin strip of zebra skin, imported from the far south, 
worn like a bandolier over one shoulder. But perhaps the 
most remarkable thing about the Nyimi's appearance is his 
face. I have seldom seen so strong a face in a negro ; he 
has steady, unflinching eyes, a high forehead, a nose and lips 
which are quite fine for a negro, and a very well-shaped, 
determined jaw. He greeted us quite simply, and when he 
spoke it was in such a quiet, almost musical voice that one 
might almost have imagined, were it not for the Chituba 
language in which we conversed, that one was listening to a 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 193 

refined, well-educated European. The Nyimi was attended 
by a few old men, evidently dignitaries of his court, and a 
score or so of younger ones, most of them probably slaves. 
He conducted us to a spot in the middle of the principal 
street of the Mushenge where we could conveniently pitch 
our tents, and then we all sat down under a shelter formed 
by the pent-shaped roof of a hut, which was waiting to be 
placed bodily in position when walls had been built to 
support it, while the king inquired our business in the village. 
Torday had heard that the Nyimi was an exceptionally 
intelligent native, and had determined to take him fully into 
our confidence. He therefore laid before him the objects 
of our journey. He asked if the chief had not noticed that, 
as the influence of the white man advances, the natives 
change their tribal customs ; it was to write down and so 
preserve these customs together with the religious beliefs of 
the people that we had come. He pointed out how many 
native arts were dying out, and he said that we desired to 
purchase objects of native manufacture in order to place 
them for all the world to see in a large house in the capital 
town of our country, where were kept specimens of the 
manufactures of all the peoples in the world. Thus any one 
visiting the house would see the carvings, the pile-cloth, 
and the ironwork of the Bushongo, and would realise what 
wonderful workmen these people are. " Often," said Tor- 
day, *' you give away some keepsake to a white man, but 
what becomes of it ? It is lost, or in years to come no one 
will know what it is or whence it came. Everything that 
you or your people will sell to me will go to the big house I 
have mentioned, and there remain for all time as evidence 



194 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of the skill and greatness of your race," Thus he ex- 
plained to the chief the uses of the British Museum. 

Kwete at once grasped the situation, and remarked that 
the greatness of his people as manufacturers of objects of 
art was fast passing away ; he would be glad, therefore, to 
think that their handiwork was being kept and exhibited, 
and he would give orders that any one who wished to 
dispose of any carvings, &c., should offer them for sale to us. 
With regard to the history and customs of his tribe, he 
said that he would himself furnish us with all the particu- 
lars he could, and that he would summon various old men 
from his country to supply any information which he him- 
self might not possess ; he wished it to be written down. 
Several times in the months which followed the king 
remarked to us, " Writing : that is the strength of the 
white man." Of course the Nyimi had heard of our stay 
at Misumba, and no doubt had been told that we were 
popular there, and had done no harm to any one, so he 
was probably predisposed towards us before we arrived at 
his capital, and he subsequently became our firm friend. 
Having welcomed us to his village, Kwete returned to his 
own dwelling, accompanied by his courtiers, and left us 
to walk over to the Kasai Company's factory to order 
a supply of trade goods, and inquire if our provisions had 
arrived from Luebo. The factory lies about three-quarters 
of an hour's walk to the south of the village, on the 
opposite side of a ravine in which there flows a little brook ; 
the mission station is a similar distance to the east of the 
capital. We found the company's agent at home, and fell 
to discussing with him what goods to offer in exchange for 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 195 
curios. He informed us that cotton materials sold well, 
and that cowrie shells were very acceptable as small change, 
in addition to the salt which is so commonly used as 
currency in the Kasai. We accordingly purchased a good 
amount of commodities, and then asked if any boxes had 
come for us from Luebo. Nothing had arrived. This 
was very annoying, for we had expected that our stores 
would have been waiting for us, and we had practically 
nothing left in the way of tea, flour, sugar, and the other 
necessities of life which one brings out from Europe ; so 
we despatched a messenger at once to Luebo, asking for 
the things to be sent on without delay, and meanwhile 
settled down to exist on short commons and commence 
our work in the Mushenge. 

The first thing to be done was to explore the village. 
The Mushenge is by no means so imposing a village as 
one might expect to find as the capital of the greatest 
tribe of the Kasai. The Bushongo are far too conservative 
in their ideas to have taken to building houses of plaster 
modelled upon a white man's dwelling, and, as I have 
remarked, the neatly decorated huts seen at Misumba are 
peculiar to the eastern sub-tribes of the Bushongo ; the 
dwellings at the Mushenge are simple rectangular huts 
built of palm leaves, such as the natives have inhabited 
for many generations. Each of their huts stands in its 
own little courtyard, which is surrounded by a wall of 
palm leaves, about six or seven feet in height, so that in 
passing through the village one sees very few of the build- 
ings themselves, the roadway being bordered by the walls 
of the courtyards. Between these yards is a regular 



196 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

labryinth of narrow tortuous passages, which constitute the 
by-roads of the place, there being two wide streets, in one 
of which our camp was pitched, running through the 
village. As the Mushenge has no other inhabitants than 
those attached to the court of the king, the place is not 
a large one ; I should doubt if it contains two thousand 
people. To the west of the village, just outside the 
cluster of huts, is an open space, cleared of scrub and high 
grass, where dances and public meetings are very frequently 
held. In the midst of his capital is situated the dwelling 
of the king. It is surrounded by a higher wall than any 
other houses in the place, and inside this palisade are 
innumerable courtyards connected by small doorways, in 
which are built store-houses, treasure-houses, accommoda- 
tion for the king's wives and for his personal slaves, and 
a guard-room. The guard-room is situated at the entrance 
to the courtyard through which one must pass if one 
would visit the royal sleeping-house, and there are always 
a few slaves waiting in it to carry messages for the king, 
and to keep out intruders. These sentries are unarmed. 
At the entrance to the small enclosure in which the king's 
private house stands is a shed, beneath which the Nyimi 
sits when in council with his elders or when trying a case, 
for he acts as judge himself in all important cases ; and 
here it was that we used to visit the king during the early 
part of our stay at the Mushenge, before we became so 
friendly with him that he would receive us anywhere and 
without any attendants. The private house of the king 
consists of a very large replica of a Misumba hut, with 
the black patterns worked on its walls which are so 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 197 

noticeable a feature in the villages of the eastern Bushongo ; 
it is divided into two spacious rooms, in one of which is 
situated another rectangular house, exactly resembling in 
shape, ornamentation, and size a hut of Misumba ; in this 
inner house the king sleeps. The roof of the palace is 
supported by massive wooden pillars, elaborately carved, 
and in the centre of the little doorway is a beautifully 
carved door-post dividing the entrance into two. Door- 
posts such as this, some of them of great age, are common 
at the Mushenge, and one often sees specimens of wood- 
carving of an artistic quality, worthy of place in any 
European mansion, supporting the doorway of the most 
dilapidated leaf huts. The other buildings in the pre- 
cincts of the palace are mostly of the ordinary pattern used 
in the village, but of rather larger size. 

I have mentioned the fact that one sees no plantations 
around the Mushenge when entering the village from the 
north. In days gone by it was not customary for the 
Nyimi or his courtiers to cultivate any land for themselves, ; 
their wants being supplied by the other villages in the 1 
neighbourhood. It is therefore only quite recently that j 
any plantations at all have been made near the dwelling 
of the king. Acting on the advice of a Government official, 
the Nyimi has now ordered plantations to be made around 
his capital, and has thus removed a considerable burden 
from his subjects, who had previously to cultivate sufficient . 
land to supply him and his court with food as well as j' 
themselves. As a result many acres are now planted with 
ground nuts, cassava, and maize, especially on the western 
side of the village. These plantations are concealed from 



198 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

view by woodlands, so that any one who does not wander 
much around the outskirts of the place might easily visit 
the Mushenge and come away with the impression that 
its plantations are extremely meagre, very few of them 
being visible from the paths leading to the mission or to 
the factory. During our stay of nearly four months at 
the capital we took our exercise in the form of rambles 
with the gun, and it was when out in search of guinea-fowl 
that we were able to form some estimate of the extent of 
the plantations. Many of the fields had only recently been 
cleared of forest or grass in 1908, but by the time these 
lines are in print the output of food-stuffs from them 
should be very considerable. In following the advice of 
the Government official with regard to the formation of 
these plantations, the Nyimi has displayed an inclination 
to introduce useful innovations suggested by the white 
man, which is characteristic of him, but which is not shared 
by his extremely conservative councillors. In days gone 
by the Bushongo have been a very mighty people ; fifty or 
sixty years ago it was sufficient for a man to be able to 
say, "I am a subject of the Nyimi," to ensure his being 
received with honour in the villages of the neighbouring 
tribes. The more primitive peoples who dwell around 
them used to respect the Bushongo ; they admired their 
skill in carving, weaving, and embroidering ; they admired 
the glamour of the court of their king ; they respected the 
ruler who held sway over such extensive dominions. But 
when the white man appeared in Central Africa, their 
neighbours realised that there are peoples more advanced, 
more powerful, and more clever than the Bushongo, and 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 199 

the fact that nowadays the Nyimi would be prevented by 
the European from calling his people to arms and annihi- 
lating one of his weaker neighbours, has helped to lessen 
the respect in which he and his people are held. But the 
Bushongo, particularly the older people, are just as proud 
as ever they were. The inhabitants of the Mushenge 
despise not only all foreigners, but even members of their 
own tribe who do not happen to be attached to the court 
of the king. They have in their language the " bokono," 
which corresponds to our " yokel " or " country cousin," 
and is applied to the Bushongo who live in villages other 
than the Mushenge ; these people are considered by the 
courtiers to be less educated and refined than themselves. 
In the capital are to be found many descendants of former 
kings, so its people are really the cream of Bushongo 
aristocracy. These people, particularly the old councillors 
of the king, are much opposed to the presence of the 
European in their country, and to the introduction of any 
of his ways. As a rule most of the high dignitaries of 
his court are not officially present when the king interviews 
a white man, but any one who knows them personally may 
find them in the background of many a group photo- 
graphed by travellers, just mingling with the throng, but 
always at hand to hear what their ruler may be saying 
to the European. Most of the white men who have visited 1 
the Nyimi are probably in ignorance of the existence of 1 
elders of especial importance, but in reality the king can 1 
do practically nothing without the consent of his council. \ 

In 1904 the Bushongo took up arms against the white 
man, but the king himself was much opposed to the rising, 



200 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

which was practically forced upon him, so he informed us, 
when we became better acquainted with him, by his elders. 
The insurrection, it appears, was of a very tame character, 
partly because the Nyimi entered into it in a very half- 
hearted spirit, which doubtless soon spread through the 
ranks of his warriors, and partly because the Bushongo, 
having for centuries been considered invincible by their 
neighbours, had no opportunity of maintaining the military 
qualities which they must once have possessed, and had 
become more accustomed to the arts of peace than to the 
stern business of war. The Bangongo did not, I believe, 
take any part whatever in the rising of 1904, and their 
absence from the field deprived the Nyimi of some of 
his best fighting men. The present-day youth of the 
Mushenge is certainly no warrior ; he is a typical " young 
man about town." He loves to idle away his days loung- 
ing about the streets or around the precincts of the royal 
dwelling in no official capacity whatever, but merely as a 
hanger-on to the court, and to sit up far into the night 
talking and joking with his friends, a habit which soon 
lowers him in the estimation of the European traveller 
whose tent happens to be pitched in the middle of the 
local "Piccadilly" and who desires to sleep after a hard 
day's work. The natives of the Mushenge sit up much 
later than do the natives of any other place we visited, 
and in order to recover from the strain of the gay life in 
the capital the children of the courtiers are frequently sent 
out into the neighbouring hamlets to visit their country 
relations. 

Life at the Mushenge is certainly gay. A certain 




llii\(;i) Kl DKKS DANCINi 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 201 

amount of work is got through owing to the plantations, 
but the clearing of the ground is done mainly by slaves 
and the cultivation by the women, so that it does not fall 
upon the young men of the Bushongo ; and as every third 
day is kept as a " bank-holiday," no one is overburdened 
with toil. The men can very often find employment 
whereby to earn some European cloth by carrying loads 
to and from the Kasai Company's factory, and the cloth 
thus earned is rapidly replacing the palm fibre material 
formerly always worn around the waist. The gaieties of 
the Mushenge usually take the form of dances ; the Nyimi 
is a most enthusiastic dancer, and likes nothing better than 
to hold State dances in the open space to the east of the 
village, in which he himself takes part. The first dance we 
saw was a large one which was held shortly after our arrival 
in the village to celebrate the conclusion of a period of 
mourning through which the nation had just passed owing 
to the death of the king's sister. 

As the sun was beginning to sink a little and the great 
heat of the afternoon became rather less oppressive, the 
elders assembled in the dancing-ground attired in all their 
ceremonial finery. This consisted of voluminous loin-cloths 
of raphia fibre bordered by strips of the same material ela- 
borately embroidered in patterns, and in some cases orna- 
mented by fringes of innumerable small tassels; around 
their waists they wore belts covered with beads or cowrie 
shells, and upon their heads nodded plumes of gaily coloured 
feathers. They carried in their hands large iron knives, the 
hilts of which were of carefully carved wood. A throng 
of ordinary natives and slaves sat upon the ground to watch 



202 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the proceedings, forming three sides of a square, the fourth 
side being left for members of the royal household. The 
king walked the hundred yards or so from his palace gates 
to the dancing-ground in a procession formed by dignitaries 
attached to his person, preceded by an elder blowing dis- 
cordant notes upon a horn made of the hollowed tusk 
of a young elephant, and followed by his wives and their 
attendant women. The Nyimi has about five-and-twenty 
wives, but the number of women of the royal household 
present at the dance must have been close upon a hundred. 
The Nyimi, dressed in a scarlet loin-cloth covered with 
cowries, huge armlets and leg coverings of cloth decorated 
with beads, and wearing a large plume of crested eagles' 
feathers, sat cross-legged upon a dais under a canopy of 
mats, leaning his back upon an elephant's tusk planted 
point downwards in the ground. As soon as the king 
was seated the ceremonies commenced. Only a few of 
the people took part in the actual dancing, which to begin 
with consisted in single individuals executing a few steps 
and then sitting down, but later on groups of elders danced, 
leaping round in a circle and brandishing their knives, the 
brilliant colours of their feathers and costumes making up a 
brilliant picture in the light of the setting sun. Lastly, the 
king himself left his dais and strutted with a peculiar stiff 
gait around the ground, amid the enthusiastic cheering of 
his people, preceded by an elder who carefully removed any 
sticks or other small obstacles from his path. The elder 
who performs this duty possesses a title and occupies a high 
position in the court. We had been given places close to 
the dais on which the king had sat, so we had been able to 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 203 
obtain a splendid view of the proceedings, and had found 
out from natives sitting near us who were the numerous 
officials taking part in the dance. We witnessed several 
dances similar to the one I have described, and were much 
struck with the manner of the king when he talked to the 
dignitaries who performed in them. He would walk about 
among the elders nodding to one, speaking earnestly to 
another, cracking a joke with a third, evidently taking care 
to avoid giving offence by talking to one more than to 
another or by omitting to greet any particular councillor 
who might be present. The countenances of the old aristo- 
crats to whom he spoke showed clearly in what respect 
they hold their king, and how a word from him is held 
to be an honour to the man to whom it is addressed. 
But if the big ceremonial dances are interesting and even 
beautiful to look at, there is another ceremony, in which 
only one man takes part in, that is much more interesting. 
It is a ghost dance. Many years ago a henpecked chief 
devised a plan for frightening his wives into obedience by 
disguising himself as a fearsome ghost. 

That is the origin of the ceremony which is still gone 
through periodically by the present king of the Bushongo. 
He tells his wives that he is going to visit a neighbouring 
village and will be absent all day. He then secretly retires 
into a hut near the royal dwelling and dresses himself in 
garments made of raphia fibre covered with cowrie shells ; 
no part of his person is exposed to view when he is arrayed 
in this dress, and he even wears on his head a carved 
wooden mask rendered hideous by the application of red 
dye, to the top of which is affixed a huge fan-shaped plume 



^ 



v/ 



204 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of eagles' feathers. Thus attired he walks around the 
village accompanied by yelling crowds and preceded by 
drummers. Every now and then he pauses in his prome- 
nade and indulges in a wild dance, leaping furiously up and 
down and violently shaking himself. Overcome by these 
exertions, which, overpowered as he is by a mass of heavy 
clothing, must be most exhausting during the heat of a 
tropical afternoon, he breathlessly sinks on to a stool and 
is fanned by his attendant courtiers while he takes a few 
moments' repose. At the conclusion of his tour of the 
village, he is placed (often together with one or more of 
his little sons) in a large wooden box fitted with carrying 
poles, in which he is borne shoulder high about the village 
by the populace, even grave-faced old warriors fighting for 
the honour of carrying the royal burden. The fact that 
the king's feet are covered during the dance and that he is 
carried in the box are interesting survivals of a custom now 
no longer observed. In former times (even until quite 
recent years) the king of the Bushongo was never allowed 
to touch the ground ! Whenever he wished to move he 
was carried, and whenever he desired to sit down he sat 
upon a slave ! Even nowadays should the Nyimi wish to 
sit, a slave will throw himself upon his hands and knees to 
form a chair for his master ; and if when sitting upon an 
ordinary chair or stool the king stretches out his leg, a 
slave will usually interpose his own foot between his 
master's foot and the ground. There is exhibited in the 
Ethnographical Gallery of the British Museum an enlarged 
photograph of Kwete sitting upon a slave in the manner 
I have described. The person of the Nyimi is considered 




M 








M 





AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 205 

sacred, for he is believed to be the direct descendant of God. 
As a matter of fact the present king is the one hundred and 
twenty-first ruler of his dynasty to occupy the Bushongo 
throne. The succession to the kingship is in the female 
line. Torday was able to obtain precise information as to 
the names of all the Bushongo kings, for the king himself 
is obliged to know the names of all his predecessors, and 
there is, too, a court dignitary whose duty it is to carry the 
history of the people in his head, and many of the elders of 
the Mushenge pride themselves upon their historical know- 
ledge. Torday checked the statements of all these infor- 
mants in every way that he could think of and found no 
discrepancy in them. The work of compiling the history 
of the people, and of writing down and considering the 
various legends which bear upon it, constituted the greater 
part of his labours at the Mushenge. 

From the legends, as well as from certain evidence in 
the culture of the people, Torday has been able to deter- 
mine that, many centuries ago, the Bushongo migrated from 
the north, possibly from the Shari River. It is not my 
purpose here to discuss the history of this remarkable tribe, 
nor to relate their legends ; it would take a whole volume 
to do justice to the subject, and Torday has, in collaboration 
with Mr. T. A. Joyce of the British Museum, already pub- 
lished the scientific results of our visit to their country; 
but I mention these matters to show how extraordinarily 
complete are the traditions of the Bushongo, a people to 
whom writing, of course, is unknown, and who possess no 
record of their history other than that handed down from 
generation to generation, and retained in the memories of 



2o6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the elders. One figure looms large in Bushongo history — 
that of the King Shamba Bolongongo, the greatest of their 
national heroes. This chief ruled at the time when his tribe 
was at the zenith of its power, and he appears to have been 
a remarkably enlightened king. In his young days he 
travelled widely to the west, even reaching as far as the 
Kancha River ; and in thinking of this journey one must 
remember that before the arrival of the European in Africa 
the natives practically never left the territory of their own 
tribes, and rarely knew more of the country around them 
than could be visited in a day's march. Shamba's journey, 
therefore, was a very extraordinary one. Furthermore, he 
travelled with his eyes open, and introduced among the 
Bushongo on his return many innovations which had struck 
him as useful during his wanderings. At the commence- 
ment of the seventeenth century this negro chief had ideas 
so advanced that he issued an order forbidding his troops 
to take more life in war than was absolutely necessary, 
and instructing them to, where possible, gain their victories 
by temporarily disabling their enemies. Until one has 
visited Central Africa, and to some extent studied the 
various tribes with whom one comes in contact, it is hard to 
believe that such humane and civilised ideas could have 
emanated from the brain of a negro despot. One is too 
apt to imagine that all African natives were, before the 
arrival of the European, as savage and as degraded as are 
the Bankutu of the great forest. The Bushongo offer a 
striking proof to the contrary. Another curious custom 
introduced by Shamba is that of never carrying a knife 
when there is no moon ; it is forbidden by the tribal law to 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 207 

do so. This rule was no doubt found necessary to keep 
down treacherous murders in the darkness, and it has given 
rise to the habit of wearing a wooden imitation of a knife 
stuck into the girdle when the moon is not shining, for the 
youth of the Mushenge would not consider his costume 
complete without something in his belt. When confronted 
with a long list of chiefs it is very difficult to fix with any 
certainty the dates at which any one of them sat upon the 
throne. It is quite possible, for instance, that two or three 
kings may, in troublous times, have succeeded one another 
in the course of a single year. In the case of Shamba, how- 
ever, Torday was able to fix his date at the commencement 
of the seventeenth century with certainty, as during the 
reign of his successor there occurred a total eclipse of the 
sun, a phenomenon which is duly remembered as an inci- 
dent in Bushongo history. Shamba's words are still quoted 
upon many occasions by the people of his tribe, and he 
appears to have made many trite remarks which have 
become proverbs. "To every man his wife, to every dog 
his bone, and you will have peace in the village," is an 
example of one of these sayings. 

At the time of Shamba, Bushongo art had reached a very 
high standard. The Nyimi one day showed to us the 
statues of former kings about which Captain Thesiger had 
spoken, and among which was a portrait of Shamba. This 
was a wonderful piece of wood-carving, one of the finest 
examples of Bushongo work that we came across, and it is 
no exaggeration to say that the figure bears quite a re- 
semblance in the face to the descendant to Shamba who 
occupies the throne to-day. The statue is in the British 



v' 



208 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Museum, so is the photograph of the present Nyimi — my 
readers can observe the likeness for themselves. The pur- 
chase of this statue was one of the most difficult things that 
Torday accomplished during his journey in the Kasai. It 
not only belonged to the nation, and so was not the personal 
property of the king, but it was regarded with the greatest 
reverence by the natives. Some objects are held very sacred 
by the Bushongo. For example, there exists an ivory 
trumpet which led to a serious war because a visitor from 
another village made a scratch upon it with his finger when 
examining it. The statues, four in number, of the heroes 
which the Nyimi showed to us were regarded with a respect 
similar to that accorded to the trumpet. We were, of 
course, most anxious to secure these wonderful specimens 
of carving for the National Museum, but at first it seemed 
highly improbable that we should succeed in doing so. 
Torday commenced by tactfully sounding the Nyimi as to 
whether he would be much opposed to the sale of these 
treasures, and rather to our surprise we learned that he 
would not. He had fully understood what Torday had 
told him about the uses of the Museum as a treasure-house 
for such objects, and he was content that the statues of his 
ancestors should find a permanent home in it. " I would 
sell them to you if they were mine," he said, *' but if I 
suggest such a thing to my councillors they will immedi- 
ately oppose the idea. You must talk to the elders your- 
self, and tell them that I do not wish to let the statues go ; 
then, in their usual spirit of contrariness, they may desire to 
sell them." Torday thereupon proceeded to win over the 
elders. This necessitated a good deal of expenditure of 




THK SlAI 
(N. 



)!■ Sii.\mi;a HOIOMIOM 
1 iiii Iii<i iisii Ml sia M). 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 209 

trade goods in presents to the various dignitaries who would 
have a voice in the matter of the sale, and occupied a con- 
siderable time, for each councillor had to be interviewed 
separately and in secret when Torday discussed this all- 
important question. Eventually, owing to Torday's per- 
suasive powers, and to the fact that our interest in their 
customs had caused the elders to take a liking to us, all the 
dignitaries concerned agreed to use their influence with the 
king to induce him to sell us the statues. 

At a solemn gathering of the elders the matter was 
discussed. The Nyimi told us afterwards that he had let 
it appear that he was not desirous of parting with the 
treasures, but when the council had urged him to do so in 
order that all the world might see and marvel at them in 
the museum he had agreed to let them go too, and the 
question of price was then raised. The price demanded for 
the first statue was a very high one, to be paid mainly in a 
kind of dark red cloth which we could purchase from the 
Kasai Company, but we could not let such an opportunity 
go by of securing so important an object, and were, there- 
fore, obliged to pay what was asked. As time went on 
Torday managed, by the same means, to secure all the four 
statues that we had seen, three of which are now on view at 
the museum. They are, I believe, considered by scientists 
to be some of the most remarkable objects of native manu- 
facture that have been brought out of Central Africa. 

It may seem rather like vandalism to deprive the 
Bushongo people of the statues to which such importance 
is attached — it seemed so to us at the time — but when one 
remembers that the respect with which they are regarded 



21 o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

will, as the inevitable change in native customs and beliefs 
following upon the introduction of European ideas gradually 
spreads over the dark continent, slowly, perhaps, but surely 
fade away until the statues, if left at the Mushenge, would 
have come to be looked upon as valueless, one cannot help 
thinking that it is better that such objects should be per- 
manently preserved in a place where they are appreciated, 
and where they run the smallest risk of damage or destruc- 
tion. If left in the care of the Nyimi such things are 
constantly exposed to the danger of loss by fire or damage 
by white ants ; in years to come they would very likely 
have been given away to any casual traveller when the 
Bushongo had ceased to care about them, and thus perhaps 
be lost for ever. As it is they are safe ; and I do not 
think that we can reproach ourselves for putting them in a 
place of safety. We collected in the Mushenge a large 
number of other objects illustrative of Bushongo art, in- 
cluding some very fine specimens of the velvet-like pile 
cloth made of raphia fibre and embroidered with many 
curious patterns, each of which has its meaning and its 
name. 

Among the many pieces of elaborate wood-carving that 
we purchased were some very curious " divining " instru- 
ments, by means of which crimes are brought home to their 
perpetrators by a fetish-man. These instruments consisted 
of models of crocodiles, rather conventional in shape, about 
a foot in length, hewn from solid wood and ornamented 
with carefully carved patterns upon the sides ; the backs of 
the creatures are flat. The method of using the diviner is 
as follows : — When a man has lost something which he 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 211 

thinks may have been stolen, he goes to the fetish-man and, 
after paying him a fee, for the services of the magician are 
never given for nothing, requests him to find out the name 
of the thief. The divining instrument is then produced, 
and the fetish-man commences to rub its flat back with a 
small wooden disc, repeating, as he does so, the names of 
every one who might possibly be the guilty party. When 
the name of the culprit is mentioned, the disc refuses to be 
moved along the crocodile's back, thereby indicating the 
person to whom the poison test is to be applied. If after 
swallowing the poison the suspect does not die, he is paid 
heavy damages by the man who has caused him to undergo 
the ordeal by suggesting his name to the wizard as the 
possible thief. If he dies — well, he was guilty, and there is 
one thief less among the Bushongo. 

We secured a number of carved pieces of tukula, the 
meaning of which we were for some time at a loss to under- 
stand. We discovered that when a man dies it is usual for 
his widows to distribute these objects among his relations 
and intimate friends as souvenirs of the deceased, a custom 
which resembles very closely the old English habit of giving 
away mourning rings. The death of a Court dignitary and 
the investiture of his successor gives occasion for a lot of 
ceremonial. During our stay at the capital an important 
functionary, whose duties resemble those of a herald, died, 
and the king ordered a mourning dance to be held in honour 
of his memory. This dance, which was not in the least 
mournful, was similar to the dances so frequently held at the 
Mushenge, and consisted of a number of gorgeously arrayed 
elders dancing round in a circle, brandishing their great 



212 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

ceremonial knives. The body of the dead herald was in the 
meantime lying in state in a shed specially erected for the 
purpose in the bush, a hundred yards or so outside the 
village. It was encased in a coffin made of mats, and was 
guarded by the dead man's female relatives. Eventually his 
lying-in-state became almost intolerable to any one living 
close at hand, for many days elapsed before the corpse was 
buried, but it gave us an opportunity of observing the 
funeral rites of the Bushongo. 

I have alluded so often to the courtiers of the Nyimi 
and to his council that I ought to give my readers some idea 
of the composition of the king's household. The full 
number of dignitaries amounts to about one hundred and 
forty, but there is an upper chamber of a very few of the 
highest dignitaries, such as the prime minister and the com- 
mander-in-chief of the warriors. All sorts of officials make 
up the one hundred and forty. Heralds, military officers, 
magistrates, representatives of outlying districts, a number of 
female officials, the man who picks up obstacles in the 
king's path, the keeper of the records, and representatives of 
the various arts and crafts of the Bushongo, are but a few of 
the persons who hold positions at Court. The representatives 
of the arts and crafts are the heads of bodies closely 
resembling the Guilds of London. For instance, there 
exists at the Mushenge the weavers, cordwainers, and fish- 
mongers ; carvers, builders, and hunters are also represented, 
although the Bushongo are by no means famous for their 
skill in the chase. It is noteworthy that certain positions at 
Court are held always by slaves. Slaves are, as a rule, well 
treated by the Bushongo, but are considered very much 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 213 

lower in the social scale than their aristocratic masters. We 
were kept very hard at work gleaning information about the 
matters to which I have briefly alluded in the foregoing 
pages and in collecting legends and other items of interest 
to scientists, but our life, although full of interest, was 
rendered very trying by a foolish mistake about the for- 
warding of our stores. As I have said, we arrived at the 
Mushenge with practically nothing in the way of European 
comestibles, relying upon receiving a depot of " chop- 
boxes," as one's cases of provisions are termed in the Congo, 
which should have been waiting for us at Luebo, but the 
days grew into weeks and the weeks into months before 
they reached us, having been left at Dima by mistake. The 
Kasai Company's agent very kindly sent us such things as 
he could spare, but he himself was living on very short 
commons, pending the arrival of his own stores, and the 
missionaries departed very soon after our coming to form a 
new station near the Kasai Company's new hospital at the 
mouth of the Lubue River, we were therefore obliged to 
exist almost entirely upon native fare. 

"Palm oil chop," a dish consisting of cassava dough and 
a chicken cooked in palm oil flavoured with red pepper, is 
by no means a bad breakfast dish taken occasionally, but to 
live on the stuff is to learn to dislike it. In addition to 
this, poultry is very difficult to obtain in the Mushenge, so 
that we had quite frequently to partake of a meal of the 
manioc dough without the chicken, washed down with 
water, for we soon came to an end of our tea and coffee, and 
we carried no wines with us. It appears that during the 
rising of 1904, when the Bushongo deserted their villages. 



214 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the chickens died in great numbers, and very few have since 
been reared, accordingly the fowls one can sometimes obtain 
are very expensive and very skinny. Although we tried to 
make the best of things, and to keep up appearances by 
dining off manioc dough at a table faultlessly appointed (I 
defy any one who is not in the best of health to attack such 
a meal if it is badly served up), the starvation soon began to 
tell upon us. When we left the forest we were feeling the 
strain of our journey in its terrible climate, and we really 
needed " feeding up," so that we were more affected by the 
lack of supplies than we should have been earlier in our 
stay in Africa. Torday suffered more than I did ; I escaped 
with neuralgia and loss of strength ; but one night Torday 
was taken very seriously ill, his heart had begun to feel the 
strain. With nothing whatever in the way of comforts at 
hand, I think he is remarkably fortunate to have survived 
the attack ; for a night and a day I feared that he might 
succumb. I suppose that his will power had a good deal to 
do with his recovery, which was certainly not due to the 
nourishment that could be found for him. Our clothes, 
too, had practically come to an end, for we had intended 
only to spend six months in the basin of the Sankuru, but 
our visit had extended to over a year, and what with wear 
and tear, and having to part with garments in exchange for 
curios, our wardrobes were reduced to very scanty propor- 
tions. I had no boots. The ones I brought up country 
with me, cracked by constant wettings, followed by ex- 
posure to the scorching sun, were quite worn out, I was 
therefore obliged to wear an old pair of canvas shoes, the 
rubber soles of which quickly wore into holes, letting my 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 215 

feet through on to the ground. It is remarkable how one 
unconsciously avoids treading upon things that will hurt one 
when walking in the rough grass of the plains or in the 
woodlands ; although I marched a good deal when wearing 
these old shoes, for I used to go out every day in a usually 
unsuccessful search for guinea-fowls, and I made a journey 
of over a fortnight's duration to the north-west of the 
Mushenge, I do not remember once seriously cutting my 
feet. 

We were unlucky in being at the Mushenge when our 
stores were delayed, for the local tobacco is scarcely smokable, 
and we are both of us inveterate smokers. In many places 
the natives grow tobacco which, dried in the native manner, 
is really not bad, but the Bushongo cook a green leaf over a 
fire and tear it up and put it in their pipes ; this was the 
only tobacco we could get to smoke, and as it crumbles 
when dried into a fine powder, it is almost useless in a pipe, 
and even when carefully rolled in fragments of the weekly 
edition of the Times, it makes a truly disgusting cigarette. 
The Bushongo themselves, however, appear to thoroughly 
enjoy it. Concerning the introduction of smoking among 
them, the Bushongo have a curious legend. Many years 
ago one of them returned from a long journey, and he was 
describing to his compatriots the many strange sights that 
he had seen, when he produced a pipe and some tobacco and 
commenced to smoke. His companions were astounded — 
" Look at the man," they cried, " he is drinking smoke ! " The 
traveller then explained to them wherein the charm of smoking 
lay, and induced them to try it. When they said that they 
found it agreeable, he said, " When you have a quarrel with 



2i6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

your brother, in your fury you may wish to slay him ; sit down 
and smoke a pipe. When the pipe is finished you will think 
that perhaps death is too great a punishment for your brother's 
offences, and you will decide to let him off with a thrashing. 
Relight your pipe and smoke on. As the smoke curls 
upward you will come to the conclusion that a few hard 
words might take the place of blows. Light up your pipe 
once more, and when it is smoked through, you will go to 
your brother and ask him to forget the past." Living in 
their very midst, we soon became friendly with all the 
natives of the Mushenge. For the first week or so of our 
stay the king used to call upon us and receive our visits, 
attended by a number of his courtiers, but as he became 
better acquainted with us, he would visit us unattended, or 
accompanied only by one or two intimate friends, and would 
often sit with us until far into the night discussing his king- 
dom or listening eagerly to everything we told him about 
Europe. We were astonished to find the ruler of so con- 
servative a people as the Bushongo so progressive in his 
ideas. 

He bitterly regretted the departure of the Roman 
Catholic missionaries from his village. The priests had 
received orders to abandon their mission near the Mushenge, 
and to found a new station at Pangu, near the spot where 
the waters of the Lubue flow into the Kasai, in order that 
their medical knowledge might be turned to account in 
assisting to nurse the sick who would be sent there to a 
new hospital which the Kasai Company was building. No 
doubt their work at Pangu has been most useful, and very 
likely several Europeans by this time owe their lives to 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 217 

their care, but I cannot help thinking that it is a thousand 
pities that they ever left the Mushenge. One of the two 
priests was a man who had spent a dozen years in Africa, 
and who was a great favourite with the Nyimi ; with his 
experience, and the goodwill ot the king, his work among 
the Bushongo might have been wonderful. It may seem 
strange to say so, but I do not think a missionary could 
wish for a better field than that offered by the ultra- 
conservative Bushongo, so long as the missionary knows 
their history and their religion thoroughly before he 
attempts to introduce his own faith among them. It is 
not my purpose here to describe in detail the religious 
beliefs of the Bushongo — Torday has dealt at length with 
them elsewhere ; but when I say that they contain one 
God, the creator, and a set of moral laws of an extra- 
ordinarily high character, which take the place among the 
Bushongo occupied in Christendom by the Ten Com- 
mandments and the Sermon on the Mount, my readers 
may begin to think that there is quite a possibility that 
by tactful management a missionary might be able to 
convert the legends and precepts of the Bushongo into 
those of Christianity. But such a work requires a thorough 
knowledge of the local beliefs, a keen insight into the 
native character, and great tact combined with patience. 
I have never been a missionary, and therefore cannot pre- 
tend to be able to teach others how to carry on their most 
difficult work, but I do venture to think that more could 
be accomplished by becoming intimate with the Nyimi and 
very gradually bringing to his notice, and to the notice of 
his elders, points of similarity beween the Christian religion 



2i8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

and the Bushongo belief, and thus slowly letting the natives 
regard the former as an amplification of the latter, than 
by inducing a number of children, too young to have yet 
learned anything of their tribal religion, to attend Christian 
services in a mission chapel. The Nyimi is most anxious 
that all the children of his tribe should learn to read and 
write, and also that his people should learn such useful 
crafts as carpentering, &c. For this reason he is anxious 
that the mission should be re-established near the Mushenge, 
and the man upon whom the task of re-establishing it 
devolves will find that the king is predisposed in his favour. 
When once he has succeeded, by tact and by the example 
of a strictly fair and honourable life, in winning the affec- 
tion of the elders and the people, then, I think, he may 
reasonably hope to be able to slowly introduce his real 
mission, and to attempt the conversion of the king. But 
let the missionary understand the native religion as 
thoroughly as he possibly can before he tries to supplant 
it with his own, and I am sure that he will find many of 
the Bushongo beliefs helpful rather than otherwise in his 
work. If it is the duty of the traveller who, like Torday, 
goes out to Africa in the interests of ethnographical science 
to learn what he can of native religions, surely it is the 
duty of the missionaries to turn the information thus gained 
to good account. 

There is an American Presbyterian Mission at Ibanshe, 
a few days' journey to the south of the Mushenge, and 
another at Luebo ; the mission at the capital itself was 
Roman Catholic; Bushongo children have attended both. 
It seems to me that the very greatest care must be neces- 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 219 

sary to avoid the work done by these two branches of the 
Christian religion injuring one another's utility. The 
native children notice difference in their teaching. I know 
that from remarks made to me by lads who had received 
instruction at both, and the youthful Bushongo would 
very likely not be at all averse to discovering what might 
appear to them contradictory ideas in their doctrines ; 
this would act as a severe check upon the progress of 
Christianity in the country. I think that not only might 
the missionary turn to account the intelligence of the 
Nyimi, but I believe that a resident advisor could easily 
guide the king into the path of a very enlightened ruler. 
I have shown that he is progressive in his ideas, and that 
his tribal laws are far in advance of any one would expect 
to in an African tribe ; I can also say that in character 
Kwete is remarkably just. We came across several in- 
stances of the fairness with which he presides over trials 
of his subjects, one of which I may quote here. We were 
sitting one evening endeavouring to make ourselves believe 
that we were enjoying a remarkably scanty meal of cassava 
dough and one skinny chicken about as big as an English 
wood-pigeon, when we were startled by the shrieks of a 
woman arising from a hut close at hand. We hurried to 
the spot, and discovered that a man had been practising 
the brutal habit (very common in Africa) of putting red 
pepper into his wife's eyes because she had in some way 
annoyed him ; the pain produced by this diabolical punish- 
ment must be terrible. Naturally we were infuriated, and 
found it very hard to resist the temptation to give the 
barbarous husband the thrashing he so thoroughly deserved. 



220 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Instead of touching the man, however, we decided to take 
him before his chief. Torday remained to prevent him 
escaping while I went round to see the Nyimi. I found 
him at his dwelling, and informing him of what had 
occurred, I requested him to at once put the scoundrel 
in chains and keep him there for a good long time. " I 
will have him put in the guard-room by the gates of my 
courtyard," replied the chief, " but I cannot put him in 
chains until I have heard his case in the morning." In my 
anger I had asked him to condemn a man unheard, and 
I had been rightly snubbed for it. Next day the man was 
brought up before the king and a number of the elders, 
Torday appearing as counsel for the prosecution, and was 
sentenced to three weeks in chains. "In chains" simply 
meant the ignominy of having to sleep in the guard-room, 
and to walk about in the daytime with a rope tied loosely 
round his neck, so the culprit got off rather more easily 
than he deserved ; but one must remember that an act of 
cruelty such as he had committed is not looked upon with 
so much horror by natives as by ourselves, and to judge by 
the number of women who came to Torday after this 
incident to beg for a supply of boracic acid wherewith to 
bathe their own eyes when their husbands administered red 
pepper to them, such acts must be far from uncommon. 
A resident advisor could do more to stamp out such prac- 
tices as this and the trial by poison ordeal by setting the 
Nyimi against them, than can be effected by any number 
of decrees forbidding such things issued from Boma or 
Brussels. Such an official might, I think, do a lot towards 
restoring and remodelling according to modern ideas the 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 221 

greatness of the Bushongo nation, which is but a shadow 
of what it was, say, a hundred years ago. The pre- 
decessors of Kwete upon the Bushongo throne were by 
no means all so enlightened as the great Shamba, or as 
Kwete himself; numerous cruel tyrants ruled the tribe, 
men who, in fits of savage passion at some delay in the 
payment of tribute, have massacred hundreds of their sub- 
jects, and who did much to shake the allegiance of many 
of the remoter districts to the chief. 

Now that the white man can prevent the Nyimi from 
taking summary vengeance on his subjects, even if he de- 
sired to do so, some of the sub-tribes of the Bushongo, 
mindful of the deeds of former days, are by no means so 
loyal as are the inhabitants of the Mushenge. During our 
stay at the capital some of the Bangendi, a portion of the 
tribe living near the Lubudi River, rose against their king. 
The Nyimi himself set out for the scene of the disturb- 
ance, accompanied by a number of his troops (Baluba and 
Batetela slaves for the most part), who were many of them 
armed with old muzzle-loading guns. During his absence 
messengers were constantly arriving at the Mushenge from 
the scene of the disorder, and reports of severe fighting 
were quickly circulated. *' So-and-so has killed three of 
the Bangendi with his own hand " — " The king has sent for 
every man to join him, as the Bangendi are too strong for 
his force " ; such rumours kept the village in a great state 
of excitement. At last a wounded man was carried home, 
and we were requested to give him what medical attend- 
ance we could. The man had been shot by a gun in the 
stomach, and after a day or two he succumbed to his 



222 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

injuries, for which we could do little or nothing except 
endeavour to keep his strength up by administering to him 
the last remaining item of our European provisions — 
namely, a bottle of Bovril. When the Nyimi and his 
men returned we found out that the whole affair had really 
been remarkably tame. The man who had died was the 
only one of the king's followers to be wounded, and the 
Government troops had appeared upon the scene before 
serious hostilities could commence ; on their arrival the 
Bangendi had dispersed. I do not know if the insurgents 
had sustained any losses, but if they did, they could only 
have been very slight. This affair, insignificant in itself, 
serves to show that the unity of the Bushongo is not so 
firm as it was, and with its unity the race has lost much of 
its former greatness. 

We became friendly not only with the Nyimi and the 
great dignitaries of his Court, but with all classes of natives 
during our stay at the Mushenge, and particularly with the 
children ; two or three of the king's little sons, all under 
seven years of age, and some of their playmates became our 
constant companions. When we got up in the mornings we 
would find the children waiting outside the tents eager to 
be allowed to perform some service for us, such as holding 
a mirror while we shaved. All day long they would sit 
beside us in the shed in which we worked, or accompany us 
upon our rambles round the village, and at meal-times they 
dearly loved to take the place of a " boy " and hand us our 
food. We used to spend most of our spare time playing 
with these youngsters, and. I remember once, just after the 
death of the herald alluded to above, I returned from a 




Children at the Ml-shf.m.e imitating a bearded Eukopeax. 




The NyimTs sons rLAViNO with our firearms 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 223 

search after guinea-fowl to find the children playing the 
parts of dignitaries at a funeral ceremony, in which Torday, 
reclining in his deck-chair, was acting as the corpse ! The 
children were very good as a rule, and remarkably fair in 
all their games and disputes. Two of them, by name Mikope 
and Mingi Bengela, who were bosom friends really, would 
fight just after we had partaken of our midday meal. These 
conflicts were often most amusing, the blows delivered 
(which, by the way, never landed upon the person of the 
adversary) were so terrific that their impetus frequently 
caused the champion who dealt them to sprawl upon the 
ground, and tears of rage would spring into the hero's eyes 
as, time after time, they beat the air. But should another 
child attempt to do anything so unfair as to touch either 
combatant during the fray both Mikope and Mingi Bengela, 
forgetting their own differences, would turn upon the in- 
truder and belabour him as hard as they could. As soon 
as one of these fights was over (that is to say, when the 
combatants were weary or when anything else more exciting 
attracted their attention) it was forgotten, and the two 
gladiators became as friendly as before their dispute. During 
the time that food was very scarce I undertook a trip to 
the north-west of the Mushenge, towards the confluence of 
the Kasai and Sankuru, in the hope of being able to shoot 
some game and send the meat back to Torday, for at this 
time several European travellers were expected at the 
capital, including a Belgian journalist, a military officer, 
and Colonel Chaltin, famous in the Arab wars, who had 
recently become director of the Kasai Company. I stayed 
in several small villages in a thickly-wooded country, where 



2 24 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

I tried to obtain an elephant. The natives told me that 
the forest on the left bank of the Sankuru is rapidly spread- 
ing southwards towards the Mushenge, and I was shown 
several places now clothed thickly with young woods which 
had been open country in the memory even of natives 
of about twenty-five years of age. Elephants are fairly 
numerous in this country, but I was never able to obtain 
one. They pass their time in the low-lying part of the 
woodlands, which is mostly submerged and in which the 
undergrowth is so dense as to render a very near approach 
necessary before even so large a beast as an elephant can be 
seen, and when one is continually slipping about on roots 
concealed from view by the water one can scarcely hope to 
get very near to a beast without attracting his attention. 
Upon the only occasion when I did really believe that I 
should succeed in bagging an elephant the native that 
accompanied me got such a bad attack of nerves that he 
bolted, making off in one direction while the elephant retired 
hurriedly in another, and leaving me to follow him as best 
I could through a forest swamp with darkness rapidly 
coming on. I had no choice but to follow the man, for the 
whole country was under water, often as deep as one's 
waist, and I knew that I should have very little chance of 
getting out of the woods at all if I allowed my companion 
to get out of sight or earshot. After several unsuccessful 
attempts to get an elephant I realised that I was wasting 
time and sending Torday nothing to eat, so I turned my 
attention to some buffalo which I heard were to be found 
m a clearing near a tiny village called Ikwembe. Ikwembe 
was a miserable place, consisting of only about ten extremely 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 225 

dilapidated huts, and the natives, who had probably never 
received a white man to stay in their village before, did not 
seem particularly pleased to see me. They were not in the 
least hostile, of course, for they knew that I travelled under 
the protection of the king, but I received a very poor 
welcome. Upon my explaining that I wished to shoot a 
buffalo, the chief, a very old man with a deformed leg, 
in which the knee would seem to have been dislocated in 
early youth and never put into place again, with the result 
that the limb had not grown properly, informed me that a 
herd of these animals habitually fed close to the village, 
and that his people would show me where to search for 
them. Just as the sun was nearing the horizon, and I was 
endeavouring to secure a guinea-fowl for my supper, a 
native came hurrying to call me, having seen five buffalo in 
the clearing. When I returned, bringing with me the head 
of one of the beasts, I began to be regarded as a welcome 
guest, for the Bushongo are not keen enough hunters to 
often succeed in killing buffaloes themselves. At dawn I 
sent off my six men (all the porters I had, for I was travel- 
ling with practically no baggage) to carry the meat to the 
Mushenge, of course presenting the inhabitants of Ikwembe 
with their share, and in the evening I again found the 
buffaloes and bagged another. On my return to Ikwembe 
the old chief formally requested me never to leave his 
village ! After a few days, however, in the course of which 
I added nothing but a duiker to my bag, my popularity 
began to wane. Unfortunately much of the meat that I 
sent back to Torday was bad before it reached him, for I 
had had to wander some distance from the capital to find 



226 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

any game at all. The buffaloes I shot at Ikwcmbc appear 
to be *' Congo buffaloes," the bos caffer nanus of naturalists, 
and I should think they were larger than the animals whose 
tracks I had seen in the great forest. The bulls are rather 
darker in colour than the mounted specimen of a " Congo 
buffalo " from Nigeria in the Natural History Museum, 
Cromwell Road. Of other game there are very few species, 
bush-buck and duiker representing the antelope family here 
as in most of the districts we visited, while the ubiquitous 
red pig is to be found in the forests. On the whole my 
shooting trip, though very enjoyable and affording me an 
opportunity of seeing something of the country and the 
Bushongo other than the courtiers of the king, was not very 
profitable as regards the amount of meat sent back to the 
Mushenge. 

In the course of his investigations into the history of 
the Bushongo, Torday elicited some information which 
enabled him to form a theory as to the origin of the 
Bashilele, a people whom I have mentioned in an earlier 
chapter as attacking the official in charge of Basongo, near 
the confluence of the Kasai and the Sankuru. From what 
the Nyimi told him he came to the conclusion that these 
people and their western neighbours, hitherto known to us 
as the Tukongo, must be really a branch of the Bushongo 
stock. Before leaving Europe Torday had conceived a 
great desire to visit the hitherto unexplored country between 
Kasai and its tributary the Loange where dwell these two 
tribes, and now it seemed to him that, in order to complete 
his study of the Bushongo, it was imperative that we should 
make a determined effort to get into touch with the peoples 




a 



AT THE COURT OF AN AFRICAN KING 227 

whom he believed to be their kinsmen. We learned that 
the word " Tukongo," which figures on many maps, is 
really'a misnomer, like the word *' Bakuba," and that the 
natives of the Loange region call themselves Bakongo, by 
which name in future I shall refer to them. They are not, 
however, to be confused with the other Bakongo who inhabit 
the lower Congo near the coast, with whom they are in no 
way connected. 

The Bashilele and Bakongo bore a bad reputation. 
They had burnt a factory belonging to the Kasai Company 
on the banks of the Upper Kasai ; they had repulsed with 
considerable losses two military expeditions directed across 
their country from the East ; and in the North they con- 
tinually snipe at the soldiers and porters whenever the white 
officer commanding at Basongo endeavours to penetrate 
inland from the river bank. This much is true : the Bashi- 
lele and Bakongo must plead guilty to this ; but with these 
facts to go upon imaginative persons had endowed the tribes 
with a truly terrible reputation. They were cannibals of 
the most debased type, treacherous and warlike ; their 
country consisted of dense forest, in which even a strong 
escort would be at the mercy of the natives. All the white 
men to whom we had mentioned our desire to visit the 
country between the Loange and the Kasai had been fully 
convinced that if we once succeeded in entering the un- 
known tract we should never be seen again ; but the king of 
the Bushongo, whose opinion we regarded as of more value 
than those of Europeans, considered it quite possible that if 
once we could establish friendly relations with outlying 
villages of either the Bakongo or Bashilele tribes, we might 



228 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

reasonably hope to be able to cross their territory. Torday 
therefore decided to proceed to the Kwilu River, where he 
had previously carried on a great deal of research work 
among the natives, and to attempt to march overland from 
the Kwilu River to the Upper Kasai, thereby connecting the 
work he had done on the Kwilu with that which he had 
now accomplished in the region of the Sankuru. It was, 
therefore, with this somewhat ambitious plan in our mind 
that we left the Mushenge at Christmas 1908, after nearly 
four months of interesting work at the court of the Nyimi, 
and returning to the Sankuru at Bolombo, descended the 
river by steamer to the Kasai Company's headquarters at 
Dima. 



CHAPTER VII 

UP THE KWILU RIVER 

A STAY of about ten days in Dima, coupled with the luxury 
of regular meals and a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables, 
soon put us upon the highroad to recovery from the feeling 
of lassitude naturally resulting from the period of semi- 
starvation through which we had passed at the Mushenge, 
and the return to strength, together with the knowledge 
that we were about to embark upon an interesting and pos- 
sibly exciting journey, soon filled us with eagerness to be up 
and doing. We accordingly hurried forward the packing 
and despatch of a goodly number of cases for the British 
Museum, and rearranged the provisions which had been 
waiting for us in Dima, and were still in perfect condition, 
ready for a start to the Kwilu. This time we included in 
our baggage a box of toys which had recently arrived from 
Europe. Among these were " Zulu " dolls with movable 
arms and legs, golliwog dolls, china animals, and last, but not 
least, two clockwork elephants which would walk and move 
their trunks ; one of these two latter was destined to play 
an important part in our passage from the Kwilu to the 
Kasai. Dima itself, as I have already mentioned, had con- 
siderably improved since our arrival in November 1907. 
The Government had recently come to the conclusion that 
the place was sufficiently important to render the establish- 



230 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

ment of a post-office desirable, and the official in charge of 
it, a native of Lagos, arrived during our stay there. This 
was of considerable convenience to us, as we were able, with 
some frequency, to replenish our stock of stamps and also 
to despatch registered letters, containing the ethnographical 
information collected, far more easily than was the case when 
we had to send all such to Leopoldville for registration. 
During this visit to Dima we saw a great deal of Colonel 
Chaltin, who showed us great hospitality. With his wide 
experience of life in almost every part of the Congo State, 
he had naturally much information to impart concerning 
the opening up of many districts, of the earlier days of the 
State, and particularly of the Arab wars, in which he had 
served with much distinction, and in which he had been 
seriously wounded. The Colonel, however, was by no means 
ready to tell stories of the past or to relate his own expe- 
riences upon his expedition to the Nile at the time of 
the Mahdist rising, when directly asked to do so ; often, 
however, the mention of some place or of some man's name 
would recall old memories to him and lead him to recount 
some of his adventures. He has a splendid way of telling 
his stories, simply yet clearly, and with so much feeling that 
one can almost imagine oneself taking part in the stirring 
incidents which he describes. It is far from my purpose to 
relate any of his stories here ; we suggested to him that he 
should some day publish an account of what he has done 
and seen Should he not do so the history of the advance 
of European influence in Central Africa will lose a most 
important chapter, for few men have travelled so widely in 
the Congo as Colonel Chaltin, and very few men are now 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 231 

living who have personally known, as he has, so many of 
the early pioneers. Having been quartered upon the Nile, 
the Colonel has met many British officers, travellers, and 
officials, of whose exploits he has much to tell, and among 
whom he has many friends. The men who served in the 
Congo in the early nineties have many of them succumbed 
to the climatic conditions and the privations which their 
work entailed ; in fact, when, in recalling his adventures 
in the past, the Colonel mentioned names of Europeans 
quite eight times out often, he would remark parenthetically, 
" he is dead now." In the old days the death-rate among 
the Europeans must have been far greater than it is now, 
for they had none of the advantages of regular steamship 
service nor the many little luxuries and conveniences in the 
way of stores and equipment which now render the life of 
an African traveller a comparatively easy one. One import- 
ant point I noticed when Colonel Chaltin was relating his 
experiences, upon almost every occasion, and they were 
many, when he mentioned a deed performed by some native 
soldier, he gave not only the rank, but also the name and 
tribe of the man ; it seems to me that to be served well by 
African natives, were one to be an officer in command of 
troops or merely a traveller, it is essential that one should 
personally know and be known by one's men. The import- 
ance of this is, I have thought, often overlooked. 

Our plans for the remainder of our journey now began 
to take a definite shape. Before recommencing our ethno- 
graphical work we decided to take a three weeks' rest cure 
in the form of shooting on the lower Kwilu ; after this we 
should ascend that river as far as Kikwit. At Dima we met 



232 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

an agent of the Kasai Company named M. Gentil, who had 
recently founded a factory called Kandale upon the upper 
Kwilu, about six days south-east of Kikwit. He had travelled 
a good distance to the south of his post, and had produced 
some excellent plane-table maps of his region. In the course 
of his wanderings in the south he had come into contact 
with a number of Badjok traders from near the Angola 
frontier with whom he had established most friendly rela- 
tions. Some of these people had informed him that they 
were in the habit of proceeding to the upper Kasai to Mai 
Monene, and also further north in the direction of Bena 
Makima and Luebo, the point at which we hoped to end 
our overland journey ; and he was of the opinion that 
should we succeed in meeting with a party of these people 
travelling eastwards we should have little difficulty in per- 
suading them to take us across the country of the Bakongo 
and Bashilele ; and as he knew it always suited the purpose 
of the Badjok to remain on friendly terms with the tribes 
whose country they passed through, he considered that there 
would be little risk in such an undertaking. He assured us 
that he had found the natives around Kandale quite peaceful, 
and that he had much enjoyed his life among them. The 
country, he said, was healthy, consisting of great open plains, 
and he had no difficulty at all in supplying his factory 
with food. In short, he believed that we should reach the 
Kasai with few difficulties, and little if any danger. 

These opinions, however, were not shared by one or 
two men of considerable experience ; they asserted that it 
would be madness to attempt the passage of the unknown 
country between the Loange and the Kasai without an 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 233 

armed escort consisting of natives well used to the service 
of the white man, and a very considerable number of porters 
to be recruited preferably from among the people from 
the upper Kasai or Sankuru. Such men, they said, could 
easily be found, many of them would be accustomed to the 
use of muzzle-loading guns, and therefore would be able to 
handle our Albini rifles, in case of attack, more effectually 
than the primitive people of the Kwilu ; and finally, as 
they would be working at a great distance from their homes, 
they would be unlikely to desert for fear of the surrounding 
tribes with whom they would have nothing in common. 
The men who put forward these arguments had some of 
them resided upon the upper Kasai in the country of the 
warlike Zappo Zap or of the Bena Lulua, who though 
under-sized, weakly-looking people, are noted for their 
courage. Good men selected from one of these two tribes 
might very likely have formed a useful escort in the event 
of any hostilities, but it is more than probable that their 
domineering ways would have caused us considerable diffi- 
culty when travelling among the people of the Kwilu ; and 
of course it was most important for us to gain the friend- 
ship of the local natives wherever we went. Besides this, 
it would have been impossible to get such picked men 
together, and had we decided to take with us an escort and 
porters of the people of the Kasai, we should have had 
to be content with the sweepings of the Baluba workmen 
whose demerits I have discussed before. 

Torday, from his previous wanderings among them, 
knew well the people of Kwilu ; he liked them, and, which 
is more important, those he had met liked him. He was, 



234 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

therefore, sure of being able to get as many men as he 
wanted from villages which he had previously known. In 
reply to the statement that the Kwilu country was dangerous, 
more white men having been killed there than in any other 
part of the Kasai district, he pointed out that as often as 
not the cause of the trouble had been the white man's 
Baluba followers, and that in such fighting as had occurred 
in the Kwilu the Baluba had almost invariably run away, 
leaving their master to be defended by the local natives. 
In one instance a factory had been attacked and the Baluba 
had bolted, when a number of local Bayanzi workmen 
employed in the post had repulsed the attack, armed with 
nothing but their machettes or long knives. No one, I 
think, casts a slur upon the courage of the natives of the 
Kwilu. In addition to being brave, Torday knew them to 
be just as quiet and friendly when staying in the villages 
of another tribe as the Baluba are domineering and offensive, 
therefore he decided to be accompanied only by natives of 
the Kwilu. We did not succeed, at this time, in con- 
vincing the supporters of the Baluba. " You will never 
get across without an escort from the Kasai," they said. 
" We shall certainly have trouble if we take any Baluba," 
was the reply. Another of our plans was regarded as 
foolish in the extreme by the pessimists. Our ten Albini 
rifles, which up to this moment had remained in the 
packing in which they had come from Europe, and which 
had never accompanied us upon our journeys, were packed 
with the ninety rounds of ammunition, which was all we 
had, in two stout wooden cases, each forming a load for 
two men. It was considered that the weapons would not 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 235 

be sufficiently get-at-able in case of need, but we were con- 
vinced that the need for them would be far less likely to 
arise if the natives did not know that we were travelling 
through their country more or less equipped for war, and 
until almost the end of our journey even our own men, 
who daily carried the boxes, had no idea what they con- 
tained. The plans we ultimately formed for our journey 
were briefly as follows : We were to ascend the Kwilu River 
as far as a village named M'Bei on the right bank, not far 
from the spot where the Inzia flows into the Kwilu ; from 
here we were to proceed up the Kwilu to Kikwit, leaving 
a message at the Kasai Company's factory of Luano (about 
half-way to Kikwit) that Torday would be requiring a few 
men to accompany him upon our journey. Torday knew 
well the natives in the vicinity of Luano, and he was con- 
vinced that should they become aware that we were waiting 
at Kikwit for porters, a large number of them (many more 
than we should require) would immediately volunteer for 
service, and go up to Kikwit to join us next time the 
Company's steamer passed. 

At Kikwit Torday would be able to renew his acquaint- 
ance with the southern Bambala people, among whom he 
had previously spent a considerable time, and, as soon as the 
men from Luano joined us, we were to go on to the factory 
of Athenes to the south-south-east, near the head waters 
of the Kancha River. In the country round Athenes we 
should have an opportunity of studying the Babunda tribe 
and the neighbouring Bapinji, and we might get some 
information about the Hungarian explorer, Magyar, who 
lost his life about fifty years ago in the country of the 



236 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Babunda, and possibly recover some of his records. From 
Athenes we were to proceed either to Kandale, as had been 
suggested by M. Gentil, or to the factory of Dumba upon 
the Lubue River, from either of which places we could 
commence our final journey towards the Kasai. With this 
end in view we sent on a good supply of provisions to 
Dumba, where we could pick them up, or whence they 
could readily be sent to Kandale. The number of per- 
manent porters who were to be recruited at Luano was not 
to exceed twenty-five. Considering that we had a large 
number of provisions and a good deal of impedimenta in 
the way of camp equipment, trade goods, &c., to carry with 
us, this number may seem ridiculously small, but as we 
knew we were attempting to enter a country of very sus- 
picious and probably hostile people, we knew that it would 
be useless to try to penetrate that country with a large 
following of men, as any such attempt would only be 
regarded by the natives as a warlike invasion of their 
territory ; therefore we decided to take just sufficient men 
to carry the bare necessities of life in case we were forced 
to retreat hurriedly from the country, and to rely entirely 
upon establishing such friendly relations with the natives 
as to enable us to obtain local porters to carry us from 
village to village. Of personal servants we had but two, 
our cook Luchima, who was at this time in a very poor 
state of health, and my boy Sam. Among the Bambala 
people we intended to obtain another boy or two, of whom 
or of whose parents Torday had known something in the 
past. 

We were to start from Dima on the 24th January on 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 237 

board the Company's steamer Si. AntoinCy and had slept the 
night of the 23rd on board. On the afternoon of the 23rd, 
however, a Government steamer descending the Kasai had 
landed a passenger suffering from a bad attack of black- 
water fever, to be looked after by the Company's doctor 
resident at Dima. In the night he died, and early next 
morning the St. Antoine was sent to fetch the Jesuit mis- 
sionary from Wombali to perform the burial service. The 
funeral took place at two o'clock in the afternoon ; the 
coffin, carried by a number of retired soldiers now working 
at Dima and preceded by a bugler, was borne to the little 
cemetery just outside the post. The priest was accompanied 
by diminutive black acolytes clothed in red, their ebony 
faces gleaming as the result of an unwonted application of 
soap. The service was short, and at the conclusion of it 
Colonel Chaltin, who acted as chief mourner, made a brief 
speech. The unfortunate officer had been landed at Dima 
in an absolutely hopeless condition, and had died without 
any one he knew beside him. Next morning, however, 
when viewing the body, one of the Company's agents 
resident in Dima recognised the face of a schoolfellow. 
As soon as possible after the ceremony we boarded the 
steamer, accompanied by the priest, and started off for 
Wombali. At its mouth, where it is some five hundred 
yards wide, the Kwango flows through low lying country, 
its right bank bordered by papyrus swamps and marshes 
which stretch away eastwards to the forest. The left bank 
is slightly less swampy than the right, and upon this shore, 
some two miles from the mouth, is situated the Jesuit mis- 
sion of Wombali. As it was already late the steamer was 



238 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

to stop for the night at the mission, and the priest in 
charge, Father Van Tilborg, asked the captain and ourselves 
to dine with him on shore. As soon as the ship was made 
fast Torday and I went ashore with the priest, taking with 
us our shot guns in the hope of coming across some duck, 
which are numerous in the neighbourhood. Accompanied 
by one of the lay brothers, a farmer who superintended the 
plantations at Wombali and instructed the natives of the 
mission in agriculture, we proceeded about a mile inland to 
some damp low-lying fields whither the duck return every 
evening from the sandbanks of the river. We saw a fair 
number of ducks, but they, perceiving us, did not give us a 
chance to shoot, and having secured a francolin or two we 
returned to the mission just as the sun was setting. The 
house in which the missionaries lived at the time of our visit 
was an old one made of plaster, but a new house of brick 
was in course of construction under the guidance of the 
other lay brother, who had been educated as a builder. A 
neat brick chapel has already been erected. As the native 
population of Wombali is by no means dense, the mission- 
aries have extended the field of their labours some distance 
up the Kwilu and Inzia rivers, at various places on the 
shores of which they have established fermes c/iapei/es, each 
one looked after by a Christian native who has been educated 
by the Jesuit missionaries. In these Vermes chapelles the 
younger children receive their earliest instructions at the 
hands of the catechist, and when they have learnt as much 
as he can teach them they are passed on to Wombali to 
complete their education. The missionaries possess a small 
steamer, by means of which Father Van Tilborg and his two 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 239 

subordinates frequently visit these detached posts. The 
whole of the Jesuit missionary enterprise in this region is, 
I understand, under the control of the Jesuit headquarters 
of Kisantu, on the railway between Stanley Pool and the 
coast. After an excellent dinner the conversation turned 
upon our proposed shooting trip, and after admiring one 
or two fine buffalo skulls hanging up on the verandah, we 
asked the missionaries for any information they could give 
us with regard to the haunts of the buffalo, elephants, and 
other animals that we should be likely to meet with. 
Upon hearing that we intended to stay at M'Bei, the farmer 
informed us that he had heard that game was plentiful 
there, but that he knew from personal experience that 
buffalo were to be met with in large numbers near the 
ferme chapelle of Pana, some few miles higher up the 
Kwilu ; here, too, he informed us, elephants are frequently 
to be seen, and such small antelopes as exist in this part 
of Africa are also to be found in fair numbers. Father 
Von Tilborg kindly asked us to make what use we liked 
of the ferme chapelle, and to request the catechist and the 
children there to show us the haunts of the game, which 
he was confident they would be well able to do. We 
determined, therefore, to stop at M'Bei on the morrow and 
try our luck, and to proceed to Pana by the next steamer 
should we not be enjoying sufficient sport at M'Bei. 

The Kwango, up to the point where it is joined by its 
tributary the Kwilu, maintains a width of about six 
hundred yards, flowing through level plains, often swampy 
in the immediate vicinity of the river. The trade upon 
the Kwango River itself, which does not fall within the 



240 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

concession of the Kasai Company, is carried on by the 
Credit Commercial Company, which has one factory on 
the right bank but a short distance above Wombali. Up 
to its confluence with the Inzia the Kwilu is but little 
narrower than the Kwango. It flows through a country 
consisting of great grassy plains, interspersed with a fair 
amount of woodland, very much resembling, in the dis- 
tance, a view over an English woodland country, the woods 
in no case being sufficiently continuous to be dignified with 
the name of forest. For many miles up the river from its 
mouth the banks are not even fringed with trees, and 
higher up still, even near to its tributary the Kwengo, 
frequent gaps in the narrow forest belt enable one to see 
from the deck of a steamer the real open nature of the 
country. A recent traveller has described the basin of 
the Kwilu as one great virgin forest. A greater mistake 
could not possibly be made. In no case does the forest 
belt exceed a width of about twenty-five miles, and it is 
rarely more than a mile or two from the water's edge to 
the plains. In many maps this river is marked " Kwilu," 
or " Djuma " ; but although Torday during his previous 
journeys in this district has constantly inquired of the 
natives what they call the river, and during our sojourn 
there we many times repeated the question, no native with 
whom we came into contact had ever heard of the second 
name. Many people, however, called it " Kilu." 

We left Wombali early in the morning, and turning up 
the mouth of the Kwilu we proceeded on our way to 
M'Bei. There are a considerable number of sandbanks, 
with their usual complement of crocodiles and aquatic 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 241 

birds, and wooded islands in this part of the river, and in 
the stiller water among these small herds of hippopotami 
were to be seen lying almost submerged, waiting till the 
cool of the evening should tempt them to their feeding 
grounds upon the banks. Although we rarely saw a village 
there were plenty of signs of human life, groups of canoes 
moored by the bank, fish traps and spear traps for hippo- 
potami were numerous, and here and there small quantities 
of wood chopped up into lengths suitable for burning on 
the steamer stood in conspicuous places where they would 
catch the captain's eye. As a rule there would be no 
natives watching over these ; the people in this part of the 
world are quite content to cut wood and leave it there for 
the captain of the passing steamer to take, trusting him to 
leave the payment for it upon the spot. In this way the 
Kwilu steamers have often habitually taken fuel at certain 
spots without ever seeing the people who supply it. The 
captains, of course, must have been scrupulously honest in 
paying for what they took or the natives would discontinue 
the supply. As a rule, wood is obtained at the fermes 
chapelle of the Jesuit mission. I believe that the Company 
has made an agreement with the missionaries to take their 
wood in preference to any other, for the priests realise that 
the children in their outposts have very little to do to keep 
their plantations in order, and are accordingly glad for 
them to have the occupation of felling and chopping up 
the wood. 

Our captain did not know exactly where the village 
of M'Bei was situated, but one of the helmsmen, who was 
a native of the country, undertook to find the spot. On 

Q 



242 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

our arrival, however, we found that the right bank of 
the river, upon which the village was situated, was un- 
approachable owing to the shallow water ; we therefore 
took the advice given us at Wombali and continued our 
journey, stopping next day at Pana. We passed the night 
alongside a low-lying plain on the right bank, in the midst 
of which was situated a small village of the Bayanzi ; 
this we visited, and made inquiries as to the game in the 
country. Buffalo, we were told, were very numerous here, 
and elephants frequently visited the plain in which the 
village stood ; indeed, we ourselves saw their tracks. The 
natives here were confident that we could not do better 
than proceed to Pana, where they said we should find 
abundance of game. The following afternoon we passed 
the mouth of the Inzia. Upon this river are situated 
several factories belonging to the Kasai Company, and 
a good deal of rubber and ivory is exported from it. 
Although the stream is narrow, only some one hundred 
and fifty yards wide at the mouth, there is at all times 
of the year a sufficient depth of water to admit of the 
passage of a small steamer. The banks of the Kwilu 
just above the Inzia rise abruptly from the water to a 
height of some fifty feet, and a few miles above the con- 
fluence, on the right shore of the Kwilu, stands the Govern- 
ment post of Pana. Until quite recently no troops had 
been stationed in this district, but several of its agents 
having been murdered, the Kasai Company prevailed upon 
the Government to establish a garrison there, paying, I 
understand, a large amount yearly for this protection, 
which one would have thought it was the duty of the 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 243 

Government to supply, especially when one considers the 
vast amount paid annually by the Company in taxes, export 
duties, &c. At the time we passed both the commandant 
in command of the station and his subordinate, a white 
N.C.O., were absent upon a long journey to the south, 
so we did not go ashore, but continued our journey for 
about a mile to the ferme chapelle of Pana, which lies on 
the opposite shore. The place consists of a group of 
plaster huts forming three sides of a square situated upon 
the bank, which here rises to a height of some twenty- 
five feet above the water. At the sound of the steamer's 
whistle all the inhabitants, from the catechist and his wife 
down to the youngest child, aged probably about three, 
hurried down to the water's edge. Visitors are rare at 
Pana ; in fact, I very much doubt if any one except the 
missionaries have ever slept there before : accordingly 
the removal of our belongings from the steamer occasioned 
no little excitement among the children. The catechist 
hastened forward to greet us ; he was attired in a pair of 
white duck trousers, a frock coat, and a grey felt hat ; 
he was polite, rather too polite, and, although his appear- 
ance suggested the utmost respectability, we did not an- 
ticipate that we should obtain much sport through any 
assistance of his. He had a smugness of manner which 
led us to imagine at once that here was one of those 
natives who, in becoming a Christian, had forgotten that 
he was primarily a man, and we felt that this was the 
last person in the world with whom one could wish to 
hunt dangerous game. Subsequent events, however, proved 
to us how false the hastily-formed opinion was. 



244 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

The ferme chapelle at Pana consists of a plaster building 
used both as a schoolroom and a chapel, and, with one or 
two small huts, forms one side of the post. Opposite to 
this is situated the house of the catechist, while between 
the two, lying some fifty yards back from the bank, is 
a row of huts inhabited by the children resident at the 
mission ; there are one or two other houses for the children 
lying just outside the three sides of a rectangle thus formed. 
The catechist, who rejoices in the name of Louis, and his 
wife Marie are in command of the post, sharing the labours 
of teaching, and superintending the cultivation of crops 
and instructing the very small children, some of whom 
cannot exceed three years of age, in the rudiments of cook- 
ing and other household duties. There are not many 
children actually resident in the mission — at the outside 
they cannot exceed twenty — but there are a fair number 
of Bayanzi villages scattered about in the neighbourhood, 
from which the children arrive early in the morning, re- 
turning home at sunset. Short services are held two or 
three times a day, the congregation being summoned by 
the beating of an old tin, for the ferme chapelle of Pana 
cannot yet boast of a bell. After the early morning service 
the children receive instruction in the principles of the 
Roman Catholic faith, while a few of the elder ones, who 
have commenced learning to read and write, spend some 
time sitting about with pencil and paper copying down 
the alphabet and short sentences from a very elementary 
" reader," their work being overlooked by Louis when 
his class teaching is at an end. In the afternoon all the 
children work in the fields, or, if a steamer is expected. 




A CHILI) FROM THE MISSION AT I'ANA. 




Bos CAFI-EK SIMI'SOM ; A COW. 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 245 

fell and cut up timber ready for fuel. Louis appeared 
to us to fulfil his task remarkably well. I do not know 
exactly what his qualifications as a teacher were, but he 
certainly kept his post neat and tidy and maintained per- 
fect order amongst his pupils, to whom I think he was 
greatly attached, and who certainly seemed devoted to him. 
We had brought with us from Dima a native, who 
had been employed there as a buffalo hunter, to act as 
tracker and gun-bearer. With this man, and a child or 
two from the mission, I went out on the evening of our 
arrival to have a look round for tracks of buffalo, which 
were said to come close up to the post after nightfall, and, 
sure enough, within five hundred yards of the houses we 
came upon the spoor of a herd of some half-dozen of these 
beasts which clearly showed that they had been feeding 
upon the borders of the plantation. Indeed, Louis had 
found it necessary to have a rough fence erected beside 
his fields to keep the animals out. Next morning, accom- 
panied by the tracker and two boys of about twelve and 
fourteen years of age, I attempted to work up to this herd 
as they wallowed in the forest swamp close by the river 
bank, half a mile or so below the post. The amount of 
water in the swamp, and frequent slipping about upon 
submerged sticks as we followed the path by which the 
buffaloes had gone, caused us to make so much noise as 
to disturb the animals before I could get a shot, and I 
returned to Pana unsuccessful. One thing, however, about 
this preliminary effort was satisfactory. I had found out 
that, although the tracker from Dima was undoubtedly 
good at his job, the two mission children were in no way 



246 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

his inferiors at finding out and following up tracks, and 
that, despite their youth, they had not the slightest hesi- 
tation in entering the thick cover where the beasts were 
known to be, in addition to which, of course, they pos- 
sessed an excellent knowledge of the country round, and 
were evidently as keen as I was upon the business. When 
I returned I found that Louis had suggested to Torday 
that that evening we might try for a shot near the post 
by moonlight, for the moon was now full. This we de- 
cided to do, and one or two children were posted in the 
plantations to listen for the approach of the beasts. Just 
as we had finished dinner, the catechist came to say that 
the animals had been heard. When we turned to look 
at him our surprise Was great. The white trousers, frock 
coat and grey felt hat had disappeared ; the smug school- 
master, to whom we had taken an instinctive dislike on 
the previous day, was transformed into a native hunter, 
who, clad only in a very scanty loin cloth and grasping a 
light spear, was eagerly beckoning us to follow him. We 
started off at once, but although we were able to get quite 
close to the animals we could never see them. The cate- 
chist proved himself to be an excellent stalker, as were 
also the one or two children who accompanied him. We 
learned subsequently that this man would frequently chase 
the buffaloes out of the plantations at night, and that on one 
occasion during the dry season when some elephants had 
threatened his crops he and a few of his elder pupils had 
succeeded in driving them away. On one or two occasions 
he accompanied us to look for buffalo by night, and I am 
sure that he would have taken part in our shooting expedi- 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 247 

tions by daylight to the detriment of his children's studies, 
had he not been laid up with a bad attack of fever during 
the greater part of our stay at Pana. These evenings spent 
with him in the bush completely altered the opinion we had 
at first formed of the man. We never succeeded in obtain- 
ing a beast from the herd which fed so close to the mission'; 
the passage of the children to and from the villages at sun- 
rise and sunset prevented their leaving the forest during the 
hours of daylight, but with the buffaloes further to the 
west we were more fortunate. 

The country between the Kwilu and the Inzia at this 
point consists of gently undulating grassy plains, entirely 
devoid of bushes, in which are situated many pools and 
swamps where buffalo drink and linger long after sunrise 
to crop the sweet grass. There is also a good deal of 
woodland such as I have described before, consisting rather 
of small dense covers than of continuous forest, parts of 
which are usually swampy, and here the beasts wallow in 
the shade during the fierce midday heat. The soil of the 
plains is sandy and the grass is rarely very thick, resembling 
a thin English crop of hay about five feet high. We 
usually had to go some distance towards the Inzia before 
we found our buffalo, the likely spots being shown to us 
by children from the mission. There is another ferme 
chapelle on the Inzia, about five hours' march from Pana, 
and as the children from Pana frequently visit it, they had 
often seen buffalo on the way and were consequently able 
to take us to their favourite feeding grounds. I do not 
think that we ever went out with these children without 
finding a beast of some sort. We saw buffaloes in herds 



248 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

numbering from three to fifteen heads, and have counted 
as many as twenty-seven in one day. To find them, how- 
ever, one must leave Pana long before daylight, or the 
increasing heat of the sun will have driven them into the 
forest swamps before one reaches the pastures. I think 
that the buffalo in this part of the world are larger than 
those I had come into contact with near the Mushenge and 
those whose tracks I saw in the equatorial forest. They 
also seem to me to be considerably darker than those around 
the Mushenge. This applies not only to the aged bulls, 
some of which are almost black, but also to the adult cows, 
which are of a dark chocolate-brown colour all over. Quite 
half the animals in any given herd on the Kwilu would be 
as dark or darker than the bull I have seen east of the 
Kasai. The horns, too, of both bulls and cows appear to 
be larger, as a rule, than the specimens I had previously 
seen. We secured some really fine specimens of both male 
and female of the buffaloes around Pana, and Mr. 
Lyddekker, to whom we submitted them, has found that 
they represent a species of small buffalo hitherto unknown 
to science, which he has described under the name of bos 
caffer simpsoni. A mounted head of a female, the sex which 
displays the most marked difference in colouring from the 
buffaloes around the Mushenge, is now exhibited in the 
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road. As I have 
already remarked in Chapter V., I cannot help thinking 
that there must at least be three species of buffalo in the 
parts of the Kasai district we visited : the buffalo of the 
Kwilu, that of the Mushenge, and the small animals of the 
southern portion of the equatorial forest. Whether or not 




Bos 



:MrsoM ; cuk KEyr 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 249 

the buffaloes I shot during my trip from the Mushenge are 
really of the bos caffer nanus variety I am not in a position 
to state, for their head skins were unfortunately spoilt by 
the climate, but I know that the males of that district are 
darker in colour than the mounted specimen of nanus from 
Nigeria exhibited in the Natural History Museum, whereas 
the females appear to be of about the same colour but 
rather larger than the female there shown. Possibly, there- 
fore, the buffaloes from the country around the Mushenge 
may constitute a different species, as may those of the great 
forest. I have no right to advance any theory with regard 
to these latter for, as I have said, I never set eyes on one 
of them ; but to judge by their tracks they appear to be 
smaller than either of the buffaloes I shot. I was told by 
a Belgian gentleman who has done a good deal of shoot- 
ing that two kinds of buffalo exist near Kanda-Kanda, 
where, I suppose, the dwarf buffalo may be merging into 
the well-known " Cape " species, but I saw no horns from 
this part of Africa. Although the buffalo from the Kwilu 
lacks the enormous strength of his cousin the Cape buffalo, 
he is nevertheless very tenacious of life, and when wounded 
is capable of making a most vicious and determined charge. 
Although I used a powerful rifle I, on one occasion, only 
just managed to stop the rush of an animal which had 
previously received two bullets so placed that the wounds 
'fhat they inflicted must have proved fatal in a few moments. 
Torday also had an experience with one which might have 
ended in an accident. We had been trying to secure a 
couple of animals for the steamer, which was expected that 
evening, to carry on to Dima. We came across a herd, and 



250 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

singling out the biggest beast I fired at him with my Ex- 
press ; on being struck, the animal turned off into a very 
small but dense cover, the rest of the herd making off 
across the plain. When we reached the edge of the little 
wood in which the wounded animal was, we could hear the 
beast giving vent to those moaning sounds which a buffalo 
frequently makes when at the point of death, and which, 
I think, must always make the sportsman half regret that 
he had not stayed his hand. Concluding that it would be 
only a few minutes before the end came, Torday whispered 
to me to hurry on after the herd with one child from the 
mission in the hope of securing a second beast, while he 
waited with another child until the animal was dead. 
Accordingly I followed the animals across the plain, but 
being unable to come up with them I returned to Torday, 
who had waited outside the wood until the moaning had 
ceased, and then, concluding that the animal was dead, he 
had gone round to the other side of the cover to take a 
look at it. He was armed with his 256 Mannlicher, for 
which he had but two cartridges left. Now if one attempts 
to load a Mannlicher with a clip containing but two car- 
tridges there is often a chance that the action of the rifle 
will jam after the first shot has been fired when endeavour- 
ing to insert the second cartridge into the chamber, there- 
fore Torday loaded one cartridge by hand and gave the 
second one to the small boy who accompanied him, telling 
him to follow closely on his heels, and thrust the cartridge 
into his hand should he have to fire a shot and reach back 
for it. All was silent as he entered the wood. Going on 
a few yards he made out the form of the buffalo lying 




Clotting up a isuffalo at Tana. 




A HU'POI'OTAMUS FKO.M THE KwiLU, 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 251 

down ; he was not sure if it was dead, so he fired at it in 
the hope of finishing it off; on being struck the animal 
slowly rose to its feet and turned to face him. It was but 
a very few yards distant ; Torday put his hand back for the 
spare cartridge, and the little Bayanzi handed it to him as 
coolly as if there were no dangerous beasts within twenty 
miles of him. With this shot Torday finished off the 
buffalo. This is but one example out of many that came 
to our notice of the great courage and coolness which the 
mission children displayed in hunting the buffalo with us. 
If it requires nerve to follow the wounded animals into the 
dense forest when armed with a good rifle, I always think 
that it must require at least twice as much to go in armed 
with nothing at all, relying solely on another man's accuracy 
of aim. I will not weary the reader with the details of our 
daily hunting experiences ; suffice it to say that we kept 
ourselves and the mission children supplied with fresh 
meat, and secured some excellent heads of buffalo. We 
were also able to add duiker and a reed buck (which are 
by no means common here) to our bag, while in the even- 
ings, if we cared to take a stroll for an hour or so round 
the post, we could provide for our supper with francolins 
or guinea-fowls. We were at Pana during the rainy 
season, and, as at this time there is a great deal of water 
in the woods inland, elephants do not, as a rule, find it 
necessary to come down to the Kwilu to drink ; in the dry 
season, however, when their favourite swamps have dried 
up, the animals are often to be seen quite close to the ferme 
chapelle. We stayed nearly three weeks at Pana, spending 
the whole of our time in hunting, and then prepared to 



252 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

go on up river when the steamer should pass our camp on 
its way to Kikwit. 

Upon the arrival of the St. Antoine we left the little 
mission after spending there perhaps the pleasantest time 
we enjoyed during the whole of our journey, and pro- 
ceeded up the Kwilu to Luano, among the natives from 
which neighbourhood Torday intended to recruit our 
porters. The northern Bambala from the country around 
Luano are born farmers, and it is mainly from their ex- 
tensive plantations that the large quantity of food-stufFs 
required at Dima is brought down the river every ten days 
on board the St. Antoine. They are cannibals, but unlike 
the fierce and treacherous Bankutu of the great forest, 
whose terrible man-eating propensities I have already de- 
scribed, they only partake of human flesh at rare intervals 
upon the occasion of some ceremony, and they never de- 
liberately hunt men to serve as food. As my narrative 
of our wanderings in the unknown country will show, 
these Bambala are as quiet and peaceable a people as one 
could wish for to accompany one upon a journey in the 
course of which it is absolutely necessary to maintain 
friendly relations with the natives through whose villages 
one passes. A youth came up to Torday as soon as we 
landed at Luano and inquired if it was true that he was 
undertaking a journey and would be requiring porters, 
and upon Torday replying in the affirmative he at once 
announced his intention of accompanying us. Torday 
refused his services, for he considered that the lad was 
not sufficiently strong for the work which lay before us, 
and we saw no more of him that evening. Next morn- 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 253 

ing, however, after our steamer had started we found him 
seated with the crew, having firmly determined to ac- 
company us whether we liked it or not. After this we 
could not very well send him back, so we enlisted this 
lad, Moamba, as a member of our expedition. We had 
left a message for the people around Luano that we 
should require about twenty men to accompany us, and 
we had requested the Kasai Company's agent to tell any 
one who should volunteer for such service that they 
might come on by the next steamer and join us at 
Kikwit, where we intended staying a few days amongst 
their kinsmen the southern Bambala. Upon the third day 
after leaving Luano we arrived at Kikwit ; and here I was 
immediately struck by the personal appearance of the 
natives, who are quite unlike any I have previously seen. 
They cover themselves — hair, body and loin-cloth, — with 
a reddish-coloured clay which, although it may seem dis- 
gusting to European ideas of cleanliness, is so neatly and 
so regularly applied that one soon ceases to regard the 
custom as dirty. They are particularly careful about the 
dressing of their hair, which is rolled up into plaits caked 
with clay running backwards from the forehead, in which 
they often fix little brass-headed nails purchased from the 
white man. These plaits hang like tails behind the neck, 
and it is by no means uncommon to see a man wearing 
a skewer in one of them, so that it sticks out behind him 
at right angles to his neck. These southern Bambala are 
extraordinarily vain people, and upon several occasions 
Torday has had two of them come to him to settle a 
dispute as to which of them was the better looking, a 



254 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

rather difficult question to decide, for, had he shown any 
preference, the man whose appearance had been thus in- 
sulted would have been mortally offended. 

We did not do any serious ethnographical work among 
the Bambala, for Torday had already made a detailed 
study of their manners and customs, but we paid several 
visits to their beautiful villages, with their rectangular 
grass-built huts dotted about under the shade of the palm- 
trees, and I had ample opportunity of making the ac- 
quaintance of many natives who came in to Kikwit to 
see Torday, who during his previous stay in the country 
had evidently made himself extremely popular. Literally 
hundreds of men turned up to talk to him, and I am in 
no way exaggerating when I say that two or three whole 
villages offered to escort us to the Kasai. This struck 
Torday as rather remarkable, for the Bambala had always 
been averse to travelling, and it is perhaps a sign that the 
arrival of the European has given the natives a desire to 
see more of the world than they cared to do when in a 
more primitive state. 

The Bambala are really good singers, and it is very 
striking to hear a number of them singing, in harmony, a 
chant composed in honour of the white man to whom it 
is sung. Whenever a party of porters arrives to carry 
loads they always sing in this way, and their well-groomed 
persons, their smiling countenances and their songs com- 
bine to make one think that the Bambala must be a 
singularly happy and contented race. There are two 
rather curious musical instruments in use among these 
people. One is a nose flute. Ordinary wooden flutes 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 255 

played with the mouth are used by the boys, but the 
girls perform upon a flute which is played by the nose. 
Needless to say this latter flute does not produce much 
melody. The other curious instrument, and one which is 
found among several of the peoples visited, is the friction 
drum. This consists of a cylinder of wood covered at 
one end with leather; through this leather is passed a 
stick running through the wooden cylinder, so fastened 
that it can be moved an inch or two, to and fro through 
the leather. Having heated the membrane of the drum 
to draw it tight, the stick is vigorously rubbed with wet 
leaves and it produces a weird growling noise which can 
be heard at a great distance, and which has earned for 
the friction drum among some tribes the title of the 
"village leopard." Torday has placed specimens of this 
instrument, collected in various localities, and also of the 
nose flute in the British Museum. 

Like their cousins from Luano the Bambala around 
Kikwit are very peaceable and are chivalrous even in their 
methods of war. They have a curious habit of holding a 
sort of tournament, a different affair to serious warfare. 
Should two villages have a dispute a day and place is 
appointed for a battle. The bush is cleared to give a 
fair and open field, and the warriors of each side turn out 
to settle the matter in the lists. Torday has witnessed 
some of these encounters. The proceedings commence 
with a good deal of bombastic speech, and the champions 
of either village hurl insults at the heads of their op- 
ponents. "Ah, you, there, with the ugly face, I'll give 
you something in a minute," and other similar remarks 



256 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

are bandied about. Then the arrows begin to fly (at very 
long ranges) and the battle is in full swing. Very little 
damage is done in these encounters. Occasionally one or 
more of the warriors receive scratches, but it is very rare 
for any one to be seriously hurt, and at the conclusion of 
the engagement, that is to say when the combatants are 
weary, there is no ill-feeling between the opposing sides. 
If a man should happen to be killed the affair becomes 
much more serious and will perhaps develop into a 
serious war, in which the conflicting armies will attack 
one another whenever they meet, and which will certainly 
be stubbornly fought out with considerable losses on 
either side. 

The gentle, cheery, happy-go-lucky Bambala are the 
only people we met with among whom such feats of arms 
as these tournaments take place. Although a more friendly 
and pleasant people to deal with than the Bambala it 
would be difficult to imagine, they have a besetting sin — 
that of gambling. At all hours of the day groups of men 
may be seen squatting on the ground in the village street 
playing a game more or less closely resembling dice, in 
which small pieces of ivory are shaken up in a cup and 
thrown. The stakes are often high, so high that a man 
will sometimes lose not only the whole of his property and 
his wives but even his own liberty, becoming the slave 
of the winner. It is a pity that this vice should have such 
a hold upon the Bambala, who are in every other respect 
a delightful, and, furthermore, a promising people ; but 
gambling is their curse, as hemp smoking is the curse of 
the Batetela. During the few days we spent at Kikwit we 





IJAMItAI A CAMlll.INt;. 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 257 

engaged a few servants locally, and enlisted some of the 
northern Bambala who came on by the steamer from Luano 
to volunteer for service with us. As I shall have to say 
something of our men and their behaviour during our 
journey from the Loange to the Kasai, I may here give 
some description of the people who constituted our 
party. 

My little Baluba boy, Sam, had now become the major- 
domo of our servants, and since the departure of Jones 
he had been the only native regularly in our employ with 
the exception of our cook. Our cook, Luchima, who had 
served us faithfully and well during the whole of our 
journey up to this time, was taken so ill at Kikwit that 
it became apparent that he would be quite unfit for the 
hard work of marching by day and attending to his other 
duties in the evenings for many months to come. We 
therefore determined that he should return by steamer to 
Dima, and thence be conveyed to his home at Batempa, 
and arranged for another cook to be sent on to us from 
Dima, where there are always large numbers of servants 
of all kinds waiting to obtain employment. This man, 
Mabruki, was really an Akela, but in his early youth 
he had been sold as a slave to the Batetela, and to all 
intents and purposes belonged to this latter tribe. He 
was by no means an ideal cook, and, unfortunately, his 
health broke down just when we most needed every man 
that we could obtain. Torday engaged as " boy " a very 
small member of the Bayanzi tribe, who could not have 
been more than eight years old at the most. This child, 
Buya, was to learn his duties from Sam, and he displayed an 

R 



258 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

enthusiasm for his work and an intelligence which showed 
that in time he would become a most valuable servant ; 
but at the time when he entered our employ he was 
absolutely ignorant of the white man and his ways, and 
thereby caused us sometimes no little amusement. He 
used to linger much longer than was necessary in Torday's 
tent every morning when making the bed, and we discovered 
he used to spend many happy minutes in admiring his 
countenance in Torday's shaving-glass, an object the like 
of which he had never seen before. I remember, too, that 
he was always getting lost during our stay in Kikwit, for 
frequently when we sent him upon an errand he would 
find something going on in the factory which amused or 
interested him, and he would forget to come back after 
delivering his message. All the same he was extremely 
useful and absolutely honest, the only thing that we ever 
found him to steal being the dog's dinner; for although 
he had plenty to eat himself, being a Bayanzi, and there- 
fore gluttonous, he could not resist the temptation to 
purloin a piece of meat. We also engaged another youth 
of about twelve years of age, named Benga. This lad was 
rather a useless person, but he used to amuse us by his 
frequent disputes with Buya. The Bayanzi tribe are 
cannibals; the Bapende, to which Benga belonged, are 
not ; and we once overheard the following conversation on 
the subject of cannibalism. '* You Bapende," scornfully 
remarked Buya, " you kill dogs to eat them." " Well," 
replied Benga, *' you Bayanzi can't talk ; you eat men." 
This remark caused an outburst of indignation on the part 
of the little cannibal. " It is all very well to eat your 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 259 

enemies when you have killed them in battle — is not that 
quite a natural thing to do ? — but no decent person would 
think of eating his friend. You Bapende think nothing 
of eating dogs, the greatest friend of man." Buya, I am 
afraid, was so disgusted at the idea of eating dogs, that 
he flavoured his remarks about the Bapende tribe with 
a good many expressions such as a European lad of his 
age might well be expected not to know the use of. We 
engaged four of the southern Bambala from the neighbour- 
hood of Kikwit to accompany us as body-servants to carry 
our guns when out shooting, and our cameras, water- 
bottles, &c. when on the march. Torday had the greatest 
difficulty in preventing large numbers of these people from 
joining our expedition, for, as I have said, whole villages 
of them desired to go with us to the Kasai, so that when 
we left Kikwit we had to start some few days earlier than 
the date upon which we had told the local natives we 
should commence our journey. The four men whom we 
took with us were extremely useful followers during the 
months they were in our employ, and as I shall have 
occasion frequently to refer to them, I must give their 
names. Mayuyu, a fine tall young man of about twenty- 
two years old, habitually carried Torday's gun. This man 
was perhaps the most intelligent of our servants, and, as 
my narrative will show, his popularity with the people in 
whose country we passed through contributed largely to 
the success of our journey. Mokenye, my own gun-bearer, 
though not so tall as Mayuyu, was a splendid specimen 
of a man. Very powerfully built and possessed of great 
endurance, he never seemed to feel fatigue, and his obliging 



26o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

and cheerful disposition made him one of our most valuable 
servants. The other two were named Molele and Moame. 
From among the northern Bambala of Luana we selected 
eighteen men, all of whom Torday had previously known. 
These eighteen we hoped would be just sufficient to carry 
the absolute necessities of life and some of the objects we 
were going to collect for the Museum in case we should be 
obliged to retreat hurriedly from the unknown country of 
the Bakongo and Bashilele. We appointed one of these 
men, by name Kimbangala, to act as headman or capita. 
The factory of Kikwit made an excellent starting-point for 
a journey eastwards towards the Kasai. A steamer comes 
up the Kwilu every ten days from Dima, and deposits 
at Kikwit the stores and merchandise required for several 
other factories within a radius of about five or six days' 
journey. Between the Kwilu and the Loange rivers are 
situated three factories belonging to the Kasai Company : 
Athenes (or Alela, as it is called by the natives) lies in the 
country of the Babunda tribe, near to the upper waters 
of the Kancha River ; Dumba and Bienge are factories 
situated upon the Lubue. Caravans are frequently sent 
from Kikwit to each of these three factories. Our plan 
was to proceed to Alela, where Torday could carry on the 
study of the Babunda people, commenced years ago by his 
compatriot, the Hungarian Ladislaus Magyar, and from 
thence we intended to proceed to Dumba, where we should 
find the stores sent on from Dima, and where we hoped 
to obtain some information concerning the Bakongo people 
which would enable us to definitely fix upon some plan for 
crossing the Loange and entering their territory. Both at 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 261 

Alela and at Dumba we could keep in touch with the 
outside world by sending messengers to Kikwit. Before 
leaving the Kwilu we gave an exhibition to a large number 
of Bambala of one of the clock-work elephants which we 
had recently received from London. Torday had ordered 
these toys partly in the hope that some chief would covet 
them so much as to exchange curios for them which other- 
wise we should not be able to obtain, and partly because 
he thought it quite likely that the natives, who, of course, 
had never seen an automatic toy before, might attribute 
magical powers to the elephants, which they would most 
probably regard as the charm or fetish which watched over 
and protected us. The reception which the elephant met 
with at Kikwit certainly showed us that we had done well to 
have it sent out. The people were simply amazed at it. 
As the little toy, only some eight inches in height, having 
secretly been wound up in the seclusion of the tent, walked 
along the smooth top of a provision-box .waving its trunk, 
the natives shrank away from it, holding their hands over 
their mouths and gasping with astonishment. Immediately 
after seeing it several people desired to purchase it, but 
there was not one man in the crowd who could be induced 
to touch it. Evidently the Bambala believed that it was 
the most potent fetish they had ever seen. We did not 
display the elephant to every one who came to see us in 
the hope of getting a glimpse of it, for we were afraid 
that the awe which it inspired might be lessened if we 
allowed it to become too common a spectacle. We there- 
fore showed it only upon one or two occasions, and made 
a great favour of letting it walk at all. We were now 



262 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

confident that we had a powerful ally in the elephant, 
which might very likely prove more useful in the event 
of trouble with the natives than the ten military rifles 
which had not been unpacked during the earlier part 
of our journey, and which we now left at Kikwit to be 
forwarded to us at Dumba should we send for them. 

When we crossed the Kwilu and started off towards 
Aiela our way lay for some miles in a southerly direction 
almost parallel to the river, and accordingly we marched for 
a considerable distance through the forest which borders the 
stream, but which is really only about ten miles in width 
opposite to Kikwit, and gives place to a very hilly grass 
country, plentifully studded with trees. We passed through 
several villages occupied by Bambala, in one or two of which 
we exhibited the " elephant," always producing the greatest 
astonishment among the natives ; but the territory of the 
Babunda begins at no great distance from the Kwilu, and 
after two very easy stages we arrived in their country. 
There we found villages very different from any that we had 
yet visited. Instead of building their huts in a group, the 
Babunda live in the midst of their plantations, and accord- 
ingly the villages cover a great many acres of ground, some 
even extending to a couple of miles in length. They are 
usually situated in a valley, and seen from a distance nestling 
at the foot of grassy slopes, which are here quite devoid of 
trees, they almost remind one of a village of the Sussex 
Downs. The huts themselves, dotted about with their fowl- 
houses and granaries in the millet fields, are square, and they 
have their doors so high above the ground that a little plat- 
form is built outside the entrance, by means of which the 




A IlAKlNDA II 




Babunda porters entering Athenes. 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 263 

occupants can climb into the hut, and upon which the 
people sit and smoke their pipes in the evenings. The 
Babunda have enormous plantations, so that food is easily 
and cheaply obtainable in the country. We were welcomed 
cordially in every village, crowds of people meeting us on 
the road and accompanying us to our camping ground, 
singing in low and quite musical voices, for, like the neigh- 
bouring Bambala, the Babunda sing very well indeed. On 
our way we passed through two villages, between which a 
state of war existed, and we spent a night in one of them. 
One might have expected that one would find excitement 
raging in these villages, and to find some evidence of recent 
fighting. As a matter of fact, we noticed very little out of 
the common taking place in either village; all the men 
carried bows, but that is usual with the Babunda, so that it 
need not indicate that any hostilities were contemplated. 
When we arrived at the second of the two villages the chief 
welcomed us and conducted us to a shed beneath which we 
could rest, and then asked us to excuse him from entertain- 
ing us, as he was extremely busy making arrangements for a 
war ! The last thing that he appeared to be preparing for was 
a breach of the peace. He seemed to be going round collect- 
ing quantities of the salt, neatly wrapped up in banana 
leaves, which is used so largely as currency in this district, 
and handing them over to a woman. We discovered, upon 
questioning the natives, that a man of this place had been 
killed in quarrel by a native from the neighbouring village 
through which we had passed. As is usual in such cases, 
no immediate attempt at reprisals had been made, but the 
chief of the murdered man's village had demanded the pay- 



264 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

ment of a heavy indemnity for the slaying of his subject, 
threatening, in case the damage should not be forthcoming, 
to declare war. The sum demanded had not been paid, and 
accordingly the chief in whose village we were staying was 
obliged himself to pay damages to the relatives of the 
murdered man, and had told his warriors to hold themselves 
in readiness to commence hostilities with the offending 
village. At the time of our arrival the dead man had not 
been buried, and a number of women were singing a funeral 
dirge around the hut in which the body was laid. During 
the evening and the night which followed we observed no 
posting of sentries or any other similar indication that a 
state of war existed, and we subsequently learned that the 
affair had been settled by the ultimate payment of the in- 
demnity by the village of the murderer. Little inter-village 
disputes such as these are of frequent occurrence, but they 
rarely lead to serious fighting, and any casual traveller 
passing through the belligerent villages might usually fail to 
notice that anything extraordinary was going on. White men 
or their servants are, as a rule, allowed to travel through 
districts where a state of war exists without any molestation 
whatever, for the natives are quite content to keep their 
differences to themselves, and strictly respect the neutrality 
of the white man. Some days after we had passed through 
this district, a new European agent of the Kasai Company 
followed in our footsteps to commence his work at Alela. 
This young man had not been long enough in Africa to 
learn anything of a native language, and when his boy at- 
tempted to explain to him that there was trouble between 
the two villages which I have mentioned, he failed to under- 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 265 

stand what he was told. The boy thereupon resorted to 
signs, and, taking a bow, he tried to explain to the white 
man that fighting was likely to take place ; the young man, 
however, imagined from his gesticulations that some attack 
might be contemplated upon himself and his caravan. He 
therefore passed an anxious and, I believe, a sleepless night, 
and fully believed when we met him some days later that he 
had had a very fortunate escape from a dangerous situation. 
We arrived at Alela, which lies about seventy miles to 
the south-south-east of Kikwit, upon the fifth day after 
crossing the Kwilu. The country around the village is 
entirely devoid of trees, except for a number of palms in 
the Babunda villages, and consists of a plateau between the 
hilly country which we passed through after crossing the 
Kwilu, and the even more hilly district to the eastwards 
through which the river Lubue flows. In this part of the 
world there is practically no game whatsoever ; the elephants 
which are to be found near the Kwilu do not forsake the 
woodlands which surround that river ; buffaloes do not 
exist between the Loange and the Kwilu, and antelopes, even 
the almost ubiquitous duiker, are very rarely seen. The 
country therefore around Alela is by no means a sports- 
man's paradise. The Kasai Company's factory, Athenes, is 
situated only two or three hundred yards from the Babunda 
village of Alela, and, the European agent having allowed us 
the use of an empty building in which we could develop 
photographs, &c., we pitched our camp in the factory, going 
over daily to the native village to carry on our work among 
the people. The Babunda are a fine stalwart race of men ; 
they are the blackest of any of the negroes with whom we 



266 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

have come in contact, and they do not cover their persons 
with any kind of dye. The most remarkable thing about 
their appearance is the quantity of hair which the men 
possess (the women cut their hair short), and the great 
variety of ways in which they dress it. Sometimes it hangs 
in a great plaited mass down the back of their necks, at 
others it is arranged in tufts running backwards from the 
forehead suggestive of the comb of a cock, but always it is 
dressed and oiled with the greatest care ; many of the young 
Babunda dandies make caps of palm cloth to fit their head- 
dress in order that their hair may not become ruffled by 
the wind. Although we were very well received by the 
Babunda, we found them extremely reticent upon all matters 
connected with their tribal customs or beliefs, and they were 
by no means so anxious to sell us objects for the Museum as 
we could wish. Many of them offered to sell us rubber, 
and one man remarked that if we would not buy rubber we 
were no friends of the people. The rubber trade is carried 
on in this district in rather a peculiar manner. In most 
other places the native, when he requires any of the com- 
modities that the white man sells, collects some rubber and 
takes it to a factory ; but among the Babunda, however, and 
their neighbours the Bapindji, rubber is used as a currency, 
and a weekly market is held out in the open plains to the 
west of Alela, where the natives exchange rubber for other 
goods or food-stuffs among themselves. The rubber therefore 
is not, as a rule, brought to the white man by the native who 
has collected it, and the greatest care is taken by the people 
that the European should not be allowed to attend one of these 
markets and so ascertain the price at which it there changes 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 267 

hands. It would be extremely dangerous for a white man 
to attempt to intrude at one of these gatherings, for the 
Babunda are a warlike race, and they would be very likely to 
attack the trader if they thought he was spying upon them 
in order to find out how cheaply they sold the rubber among 
themselves. During a journey of a week's duration which 
we made to the west of Alela, we passed by one of these 
markets. The crowds of people were scattered about in 
little groups over an extensive area of the plain, but when 
we attempted to approach them we were peremptorily told 
that we were not wanted. We were anxious, of course, to 
avoid any dispute with the Babunda, with whom we were 
endeavouring to become friendly, and we accordingly passed 
on without appearing to take any notice of the market. 
We subsequently learned that fighting between the members 
of the various villages is by no means rare at these 
gatherings. 

During our week's journey to the west we visited a 
number of Babunda villages, one of which, a very large one, 
had been the scene some few years before of some trouble 
between the natives and a European. Owing to some 
misunderstanding, which arose, I believe, from the fact that 
the white man was accompanied by a large number of 
followers, the people of this village, Mokulu, were under 
the impression that the traveller intended to attack them, 
and accordingly they had commenced hostilities by attack- 
ing him. The white man, although he had a number of 
rifles with him, had to give way before the warlike Babunda ; 
and although, I believe, there were few, if any, casualties on 
either side, the Babunda were certainly under the impres- 



268 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

sion that they gained a glorious victory. The chief, 
Mokulu, therefore possesses a very high idea of his own im- 
portance and military strength. We visited this man in the 
hope that he would use his influence, which was undoubtedly 
great, to induce the natives to sell us a number of objects 
for the British Museum. When we arrived in the village 
he welcomed us cordially, but very quickly broached the 
subject of an exchange of presents, mentioning the fact 
that he was a very important personage, and that he hoped 
we would remember this in selecting the present we should 
give him in exchange for the goat and chickens which he 
offered us. We gave him a pretty substantial present, and 
then began to discuss the purchase of curios. Mokulu 
assured us that there were many of the objects we required, 
such as carved wooden cups, embroidered cloth, weapons, 
&c., in the village, and that if we would give him a further 
present he would certainly be able to secure us a great many 
of them. We therefore promised him a present, and he 
departed into the village ostensibly with the purpose of re- 
questing his subjects to deal with us. Shortly afterwards he 
returned, but no one brought us any curios for sale, and 
upon our inquiring if he had been unable to find any, he 
simply laughed and said, " O yes ; the objects are coming 
now," and left us. After this had happened three or four 
times he asked us to give him a present in advance, and hav- 
ing received it he again returned to the village, but came back 
empty-handed. Whenever we mentioned the subject of 
curios to him, he simply laughed and looked at us with a 
twinkle in his eye, and not one object could we buy in his 
village. The fact is he had not the slightest intention of 





I 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 269 

helping us in any way, and he had certainly swindled us of the 
goods we had given him. As a rule, of course, it is far wiser 
never to give a present to a chief until one is quite certain 
what one will get in exchange for it, but in this case we 
knew that if we did not treat Mokulu handsomely we 
should stand no chance whatever of obtaining anything 
from him. We therefore speculated, and lost ; and I 
think that Mokulu was far more pleased at the knowledge 
that he had cheated us than he was with the goods we had 
given him. 

After leaving Mokulu's village we came once more to 
the banks of the Kwilu where dwell the Bapindji tribe, and 
stayed at a village called Bondo. The scenery here is remark- 
ably fine ; the Kwilu, which is at this point not more than 
one hundred yards wide, rushes swiftly through a cleft or 
ravine in the plateau about nine hundred feet in depth and 
a mile and a half to two miles at the summit. The sur- 
rounding country consists of grass land thickly studded 
with stunted trees, and only upon the very banks of the 
river is there any woodland. Here, however, there is a 
mass of luxuriant vegetation, and the stream rushes violently 
over a rocky bed beneath the shade of numbers of palm- 
trees. Just at Bondo the rocks practically put the course of 
the river into a series of rapids or falls, the roar of which can 
be heard at some miles' distance in the calm of the tropical 
evening. We strolled down from the village to photograph 
some of these falls in the company of one or two native lads. 
When we reached the water's edge these boys stepped into the 
river with, as we thought, the object of washing their feet. 
Suddenly one of them sprang into the stream with a cry, was 



270 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

caught by the rush of water, and swept downwards towards 
some rocks at a terrific pace. The whole thing happened in 
a moment, and we thought that the boy was drowned before 
either of us had time to do anything ; but when he neared the 
rocks the current turned him towards the slack water near 
the banks, and with a few powerful strokes he swam out of 
the stream into the still waters, and thence calmly walked 
ashore. Seeing our look of astonishment at his safe return, 
the lad merely laughed and remarked that if one knew the 
currents one could always allow oneself to be swept down- 
wards in the rapids with a certainty of regaining the still 
waters a little lower down, and he told us that the practice 
of this swimming feat was one of the pastimes of the boys 
of Bondo. To show us that he was not exaggerating he 
went through the performance two or three times, and 
I have never seen any feat which it appeared must 
so certainly end in destruction, and yet which, the native 
informed us, is in reality remarkably easy. Whether or 
not it is easy the Bapindji must be distinctly fine swimmers 
to attempt it. The chief of Bondo, which, by the way, is 
an extremely beautiful village with its picturesque grass 
huts and their little granaries suspended upon poles to keep 
the food-stuffs safe from the attacks of mice, was an old 
and very decrepit man with a remarkably suspicious nature. 
He was much impressed with the exhibition that we gave 
him of our fetish, the walking elephant, and in the evening 
he came privately to us and offered to buy it. He told us 
that owing to his infirmities he was unable to go about his 
village as much as he should wish, and he had no doubt 
that many things were said about him behind his back which 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 271 

he would like to overhear, and which would not be said if 
he were able to go about more among his subjects. If he 
possessed the elephant he could send it out in the evenings 
to walk around the village, where it could spy upon his 
people, and upon its return could report to him any plots 
against his authority which might be hatched. As we 
possessed two of these elephants, Torday thought it just 
possible there might at Bondo be some strange fetish or other 
object which we had not yet seen, and which we should like 
to secure for the British Museum. He therefore told the 
chief that he might possibly be induced to part with the 
elephant if anything that he specially desired was offered in 
exchange for it. The chief thereupon commenced to offer 
us all manner of objects, none of which were of sufficient 
interest to induce us to part with the toy, and finally he 
said he would give us quite a large quantity of ivory or one 
or two slaves in exchange for it. No doubt we should have 
been commercially the gainers had we accepted the offer of 
the tusks, but we had not come to Africa to trade in ivory, 
and we did not wish to compete with the Kasai Company in 
this matter ; so we decided not to sell the elephant at Bondo, 
and it turned out lucky for us that we retained both the 
toys until we reached the unknown country. The Bapindji, 
who in appearance closely resemble the clay-covered Bam- 
bala, are, as a rule, a very peaceful people, but not long 
before our visit they had played a joke upon a trader who 
had, it appears, shown some nervousness in visiting them. 
They had crowded round him in the village, and had com- 
menced to touch and examine his baggage, thinking that he 
was afraid of them because he did not object to their doing so. 



272 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

They quickly passed on from touching his clothing, and finally 
when the five armed men who accompanied him had thrown 
down their rifles and fled, the natives proceeded to remove 
his hat and pull his hair ! After this they stole all his belong- 
ings and ordered him out of the village. Two or three days 
later they returned to him everything that they had stolen in 
perfect safety, for they had only purloined the goods to 
frighten him, and had doubtless thoroughlyenjoyed what they 
regarded as an excellent joke. The natives of this part of 
Africa are rather partial to practical jokes, sometimes of rather 
a grim character. I have heard a story of a certain powerful 
chief, Yongo, threatening two white men, whose followers 
had deserted them, with instant death if they did not retire 
into a hut in his village and remain there as his prisoners. All 
day long this hut was closely guarded by armed warriors, 
but in the night when the travellers cautiously peered from 
the doorway they discovered that all the guards had been 
removed, leaving them free to escape, but that over the door- 
way was suspended a human ham, left there, doubtless, to 
give them one more unpleasant surprise before they made 
the escape which no one hindered them from attempting. 

Upon our return to Alela after our trip in the Bapindji 
country, we had to wait for several days for the arrival of 
stores which we had left at Kikwit, and during this time 
we did all the work we could among the local Babunda, 
but owing to their extraordinary reticence, the results of 
Torday's researches among them are meagre compared with 
those obtained among the Bushongo. Although almost 
every evening singing in the village told us that some cere- 
mony was in progress, we could see very little of what was 
going on, and the only event of any particular interest 



UP THE KWILU RIVER 273 

which we witnessed was a funeral. The body, wrapped 
from head to foot in palm cloth, was laid out in a hut, 
around which the mourners were wailing and playing small 
rattles, the men covered with a red dye and the women 
with ashes. After some hours of weeping, in which a great 
number of persons took part, the corpse was carried out of 
the village and buried in the plains, where nothing but an 
old cooking-pot was left to mark the last resting-place of 
the dead. While waiting at Alela we were able to form 
some estimate of the skill which our followers possessed 
in the use of bows and arrows. We invited a few 
Babunda who happened to be passing to take part in a 
shooting contest, and the rivalry between the various tribes 
of which our caravan contained representatives and the 
local marksmen became extremely keen. We found that 
all our people, including little Buya, were remarkably good 
shots, and the rapidity with which they could loose off their 
arrows was extraordinary. We noticed that some of the 
Babunda shot in a kneeling position, and that our four 
southern Bambala possessed a curious method of defence, 
in which they used their bows as shields. Torday had 
previously noticed this custom, and, taking a blunt arrow, 
we put it to the test. My gun-bearer, Mokenye, gave us 
a demonstration of it. We threw the arrow at him, and, 
as it approached, with a sharp turn of the wrist he struck 
it aside with his bow, and so skilful was he in warding off 
the missile that only once did we succeed in getting an 
arrow through his guard. Of course this method of 
defence would be by no means certain against an arrow 
which, having been shot at a short range, was travelling at 

s 



274 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

a great pace ; but the Bambala assured us that they could 
really be sure of defending themselves from arrows which 
were moving less swiftly at the end of a long flight. The 
result of our shooting competition was that we learned we 
could depend upon our followers to at least hold their own 
with their national weapons should we have the misfortune 
to be attacked by the Bakongo or Bashilele. Alela, like 
the whole of the Kwilu region, is a comparatively healthy 
spot. In this district there are few mosquitos (upon the 
shores of the Kwilu there are practically none), and the 
tsetse fly appears to be so rare that we often wondered 
whether the great plains around Alela could not be turned 
into a pasturage for domestic cattle if the beasts could be 
brought into the country without bringing the fly with 
them. In the whole of the country we visited during our 
two years' journey domestic cattle are not to be found, with 
the exception of a few head imported by the white man at 
Lusambo and Dima. Further to the south, however, near 
the Portuguese frontier, the natives breed a certain number 
of these animals, and also sheep. At the present moment 
the only domestic creatures which the natives keep in those 
parts of the Kasai which we visited are chickens and goats, 
although a few sheep, which have been imported from the 
south, are here and there to be found. Although, owing 
to the lack of shade, the sun at Alela can be very trying, 
there is often a cooling breeze sweeping over the plateau which 
serves to temper the fierce heat, and at the time we left Alela 
— that is to say, at the end of April 1909 — rainstorms and 
tornadoes were of frequent occurrence, the rainy season having 
continued, so we were informed, rather later than usual. 



CHAPTER VIII 

INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 

As soon as our loads and a European mail — the last which 
we should see for some time to come — had arrived from 
Kikwit, we engaged a number of Babunda porters and 
started off to the Kasai Company's factory of Dumba upon 
the banks of the Lubue, a journey which we accomplished 
in two long stages. Upon the morning of the second day 
we crossed the Lubue, and then turned northwards, follow- 
ing its right bank to the factory. The river where we 
crossed it is only about thirty yards wide, and is broken up 
into rapids by great masses of rock in its bed, over which 
a rough bridge of poles has been erected. When we 
reached the valley of the Lubue we left the high plateau 
which exists between that river and the Kwilu and entered 
a very hilly country. At Dumba the Lubue is about forty 
yards in width, and there is no strip of forest upon its 
banks. The hills rise sheer from the water's edge to a 
height of three or four hundred feet above the river, and 
behind them the steep undulations attain a height of fully 
twelve hundred feet above the stream. The country here 
consists of grass land studded with large numbers of those 
stunted trees which around Alela are conspicuous by their 
absence. Between Dumba and the point where the Lubue 
falls into the Kasai the river is unbroken by rapids, so that 



276 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

a canoe or iron whale boat can ply between Dumba and the 
factory called Lubue upon the Kasai, but the stream is so 
strong that it takes a well-manned boat eight days to reach 
Dumba from the main river, and the journey is by no 
means a pleasant one, for the Badinga, who inhabit the 
country near to the Kasai, are very hostile to the white 
man, and will not sell any food to a traveller ascending or 
descending the Lubue ; in addition to this there is always 
quite a possibility that they might attack him. The factory 
of Dumba lies upon the bank of the river closely sur- 
rounded by hills, and owing to this enclosed situation the 
heat there is far more oppressive than upon the wind-swept 
uplands of Alela, and although the Kasai Company have 
been installed there only four years, two little crosses in a 
neatly kept space just outside the factory indicate that the 
place is unhealthy for the white man. But excepting for 
the climate the post of Dumba appeared to us to be just 
what a Congolese factory should be ; this is owing to the 
untiring energy of the agent who was in charge of it at the 
time of our visit. Monsieur Bombeecke is one of those 
happily constituted people who can make himself comfort- 
able and contented under any circumstances, and he has 
rendered Dumba quite the neatest and most comfortable 
factory that we visited. He always has one or two 
European agents living with him. One of these, who had 
just left previous to our arrival, had been by trade a 
carpenter, and Monsieur Bombeecke had caused him to 
instruct several natives in this craft, with the result that in 
the workshop which he has built all manner of useful 
articles are manufactured. Monsieur Bombeecke and his 




Crossing tiik Lubue. 




A Bai'ende dance at Dumba, 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 277 

native carpenter had turned out a very neat and ingenious 
wooden letter-press to replace the iron one belonging to 
the Company, which had been broken, and the chairs, 
tables, and other furniture at Dumba, although of course 
of a somewhat rough and ready nature, were of a far 
better quality than one would expect in so remote a 
district, and the woodwork of his bungalow was all of 
exceptional solidity and neatness ; the doors closed pro- 
perly, the sashes fitted the windows, and there was a strong 
and well made flight of steps leading from the ground to 
the door. 

But perhaps Dumba is most remarkable for its vegetable 
gardens. Monsieur Bombeecke thoroughly understands the 
cultivation of vegetables, and he had established two gardens 
at his factory, one for use in the dry season and the other 
during the rains, with the result that all the year round he 
has so abundant a supply of vegetables that he can send 
most welcome presents of them to both his neighbours at 
Alela and Bienge. Upon arriving in Africa this enterpris- 
ing trader had commenced the study of cookery with the 
aid of a cookery book, and as a result he had been able to 
teach his cook to serve up a dinner which would do credit 
to any small country hotel with nothing but the plain stores 
which the Company issues to its agents to compose it. Mon- 
sieur Bombeecke rightly believes that in order to maintain 
one's strength in Central Africa it is absolutely necessary to 
study as much as possible one's personal comfort, and his 
own robust condition testifies to the value of his methods. 
But it was not only by the creature comforts of good living 
that our stay at Dumba was rendered enjoyable, for we now 



278 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

began to learn something more of the Bakongo people, and 
our hope of being able to enter their territory began to rise 
by leaps and bounds, for we discovered that Monsieur 
Bombeecke, whose popularity among the natives surround- 
ing his factory is very great, had come into friendly contact 
with one or two outlying Bakongo villages. From him we 
learned that although the main portion of the Bakongo tribe 
resides in the unexplored country to the east of the Loange 
River, there are a certain number of their villages upon its 
left or western shore, dotted about among settlements of 
the Bapende, with which latter people Monsieur Bombeecke 
was on very friendly terms. He suggested to us that he 
should accompany us to one of these Bapende villages near 
the Loange whose chief he knew to be friendly with the 
Bakongo, and that having associated ourselves with this 
chief we should endeavour to obtain through him an intro- 
duction to the Bakongo. As, thanks to Sam, the only 
member of our party who had been with us at Pana, we 
enjoyed a tremendous reputation as hunters (I discovered 
that I myself had shot twenty buffaloes in a week !), we 
decided to attempt to enter the unknown country in the 
capacity of sportsmen, and to give out that we would be 
willing to shoot buffaloes or any other game and supply the 
villages with meat if the natives would allow us to stay with 
them and to slowly make our way eastwards towards the 
Kasai. We knew that we should be misunderstood and 
almost certainly arouse suspicion if we told the Bakongo, as 
we had told the people of the Mushenge, that we had come 
among them in order to learn something of their ways ; we 
therefore considered it wiser to keep the real object of our 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 279 

coming a secret. We could hardly expect to enter the un- 
known country as traders, for the Bakongo have never yet 
traded with the white man ; missionaries have never even 
been heard of by the natives of this district, so that we could 
not appear to pose as such ; and indeed it seemed probable 
that the capacity of hunters was the only one in which we 
could reasonably hope to effect an entry into the Bakongo 
country. Monsieur Bombeecke informed us that although 
he knew next to nothing about the Bakongo he believed 
there existed somewhere on the eastern side of the Loange 
one great paramount chief of the whole tribe, whose name 
he had heard was Goman Vula, a piece of information which 
seemed to coincide with what we had heard at the Mushenge 
of a big chief among the Bashilele people. We were con- 
fident that if once we could visit this ruler of the Bakongo 
and establish anything like friendly relations with him we 
should be able to make a real study of his tribe, so to find 
and make the acquaintance of this man became the object 
of the early part of our journey to the Kasai. But although 
we had now learned that we could easily get into touch with 
natives who were friends and neighbours of the Bakongo, we 
fully expected to have to spend many weeks in hunting near 
the Loange River before we could get to know the Bakongo 
sufficiently well for them to allow us to cross the stream 
and enter the unknov/n land. 

In the immediate neighbourhood of Dumba there are 
settlements of both the Bapende and Babunda peoples, so 
that the days we spent at the factory were by no means idle, 
for large numbers of both tribes came to see us, and upon 
one occasion the Bapende held a dance in our honour in 



2 8o LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

which nearly three hundred people took part. The Babunda 
were not quite so reticent as those who dwelt around Alela, 
and Torday was able to amplify his notes upon that tribe, 
while I occupied a good deal of my time in talcing and 
developing photographs of various native types. The 
Bapende are much given to the use of the tukula dye, 
which is so common among the Bushongo. They wear 
their hair in little tassels resembling a mop on the tops of 
their heads, and it is by no means uncommon to find those 
whose hair is not of sufficient length to admit of its being 
dressed in this fashion wearing wigs. The Bapende ladies 
adorn their legs with such a weight of brass in the shape of 
anklets, sometimes as many as eight on each leg, the total 
weight of which would be about i6 lbs., that walking is 
extremely difficult, and they are often to be seen standing 
upon one leg and supporting their other foot in their hand, 
or pausing and kneeling down or sitting to rest even during 
quite a short walk. The most ornamental objects which 
the Bapende manufacture are small models of human faces 
carved out of ivory and worn suspended from a string 
around the neck. These little masks are purchased from the 
medicine-man, and are considered as infallible charms against 
various diseases. Our way from Dumba to the Loange lay 
entirely through Bapende territory. The day before we set 
out on our journey all our Bambala porters came to us in a 
body and inquired if it was really true that we still intended 
to enter the country of the Bakongo. Upon Torday reply- 
ing in the affirmative, our men said that the Baluba 
employes of the factory had told them that we should all 
most certainly be massacred if we made the attempt, and 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 281 

they requested us to allow them to return to their homes. 
Torday immediately acceded to their request, and told them 
to return to him at midday to receive their wages and their 
rations for the journey. We were now in a most awkward 
predicament, for we did not know the local Bapende suffi- 
ciently well to be able to induce them to accompany us 
upon the journey which they could not but regard as highly 
dangerous, and we certainly could not hope to succeed in 
reaching the Kasai if we were accompanied by any of the 
low-class Baluba from the factory, even if these cowardly 
people could have been persuaded to go with us. Our out- 
look, therefore, was not very bright. Long before midday, 
however, our Bambala returned and inquired whether, if 
they returned to their homes, we should persist in going on 
towards the Kasai. Torday assured them that we should. 
" Then of course we will go with you," said the Bambala, 
and from that moment not one of our men showed the 
slightest desire to turn back. When we left Dumba we 
marched over a ridge, about 1000 feet above the level of 
the river, which ran north and south beside the banks of the 
Lubue, forming a barrier between that river and the valley 
of the Luana, a stream some fifty yards in width which flows 
parallel to the Lubue midway to the Loange and falls into 
the Lubue a short distance above the confluence with that 
river to the Kasai. The Luana flows through a valley 
about eight miles wide, and to the east of this valley there 
lies another high ridge separating the basin of the Luana 
from that of the Loange. A greater portion of this country 
consists of grass land, but there is a good deal of wood 
around the Luana. Monsieur Bombeecke, as he had 



2 82 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

promised, accompanied us upon our journey, and, marching 
by easy stages, we reached upon the sixth day Kangala, the 
village of the Bapende chief who we hoped would introduce 
us to the Bakongo. The day before reaching Kangala we 
caught our first glimpse of a Bakongo village. This lay in 
a small clearing in the woods, and was surrounded by a 
stout stockade consisting of posts about eight or nine feet 
high driven firmly into the ground. Monsieur Bombeecke 
had passed by this village before, but had never been invited 
to enter it, and, knowing the hostility of the Bakongo to the 
white man, he had never risked arousing their indignation 
by attempting to pass the narrow entrance to the village 
without a special invitation from the chief. It had been his 
custom, however, to halt for a few minutes under a shed 
situated outside the walls, and there have a friendly chat 
with such of the natives as would come and talk to him. 
Upon our arrival a good number of the villagers came out 
to see us, and the chief offered us some palm wine in 
quaintly-carved black wooden cups, in the manufacture of 
which the Bakongo are remarkably skilful. Torday noticed 
at once a similarity in the patterns with which these cups 
were ornamented and those which we had found among the 
Bushongo, another piece of evidence to support his theory 
that these two peoples are nearly related. We offered a 
good price for one or two of the cups, and in a few minutes 
had succeeded in purchasing several. We then continued 
our march. In every village we passed through we took all 
the opportunities we could of purchasing curios, among 
which we secured specimens of the curious wooden masks 
and palm cloth dresses in which the Bapende boys array 











b.M'KNDK Hoys \\l,\l:l\(, M\^l^ 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 283 

themselves for the ceremony of initiation when they enter 
man's estate. During this ceremony, which lasts several 
days, the lads have to spend all their time in the forest or 
in the bush, and are obliged to keep out of sight of other 
people. The purchase of one of the masks might easily have 
led us into trouble, for one of our boys who belonged to 
another tribe and was quite unversed in Bapende customs, 
carried the thing about the villages exposed to the public 
gaze, a proceeding which caused a good deal of indignation 
on the part of the Bapende, who firmly believe that if a 
woman sets eyes on one of these masks she will die. Luckily 
no women happened to be passing at the time, so we were 
soon able to sooth the ruffled feelings of the natives. 

The village of Kangala, whose chief was to put us in 
communication with the Bakongo, lies in open country upon 
the ridge which forms the western or left-hand side of the 
Loange River. Except that the country around it consists 
of grass land, the place is somewhat suggestive of a Saharan 
oasis. The huts are dotted about in a veritable forest of 
palm-trees, and few if any other kind of trees are to be 
found within the village. Everywhere you go you walk in 
the shade of the palms, and the little square grass-thatched 
houses look extremely pretty in so picturesque an environ- 
ment. The place is a large one, and crowds of natives can 
be seen at all hours of the day manufacturing cloth at looms 
placed under the trees, making baskets, or pounding cassava 
into flour. The chief, Dilonda, had erected quite a com- 
modious hut for the use of Monsieur Bombeecke, whom he 
evidently held in very high esteem, and it was outside this 
hut, accompanied by one or two chiefs of lesser importance, 



2 84 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

that we found Dilonda waiting for us upon our arrival in 
the village. He wore around his neck a great number 
of charms, such as the little ivory masks to which I have 
alluded, similar masks made in metal, leopards' teeth, 
whistles, and other objects. He was a big and powerfully- 
built man, save that one of his legs appeared to be shrivelled, 
so that he was obliged to walk with the aid of a stick. 
Dilonda received us well, Monsieur Bombeecke's intro- 
duction evidently being a sufficient guarantee as to our 
respectability, and after an interchange of presents (chickens 
and a goat on his side, trade cloth, &c., upon ours), we 
proceeded to impress the crowd which was assembled by 
playing a few pieces upon the phonograph. This, as usual, 
astonished and delighted the audience, and we could see 
that the people were quite prepared to regard us as some- 
thing in the way of wizards. Monsieur Bombeecke informed 
Dilonda that we were mighty hunters on our way home, 
that in order to reach our country it was necessary for us 
to proceed across the territory of the Bakongo and Bashilele 
to the upper waters of the Kasai, and that on our way we 
were ready to shoot buffaloes, elephants, hippopotami — in 
short, any kind of animal, and give the meat to the natives 
whose villages we passed through. He also explained that 
we wished to purchase all manner of objects such as the 
natives had never previously had an opportunity of selling, 
and that we had not come in search of rubber, a commodity 
with which he well knew the Bakongo would have nothing 
to do. He then asked Dilonda if he knew anything of the 
country around the Loange. We were considerably sur- 
prised when the chief clearly showed us that he knew how 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 285 

the Kasai took a turn to the westward at its confluence with 
the Sankuru, for it is very rare indeed to find a native who 
knows anything of the geography of a district so far from 
his own village. Finding Dilonda very agreeable we very 
soon came to the point, and asked him directly whether he 
would be prepared, if we gave him a substantial present, to 
establish friendly relations between us and the Bakongo. 
We said that we had heard that there was a place upon the 
Loange some few days' march to the northward where 
buffaloes abounded, and we inquired if he would be willing to 
accompany us there and to help us to induce the Bakongo 
to allow us to hunt in their country. 

Now Dilonda was a greedy person, and I am sure 
that the offer of a substantial present would lead him to 
attempt almost anything, but at the same time Monsieur 
Bombeecke told us that we could rely upon the man, and 
that if he consented to help us we could be assured that he 
would use his best endeavours to do so. Dilonda at once 
showed himself much against our scheme of going to the 
north. He told us that although the Bakongo in his own 
immediate neighbourhood were sufficiently hostile to the 
European to desire to have nothing whatever to do with 
him, those further to the north were far more hostile still, 
and, although it was just possible he might in time be able 
to induce them to receive us, it was quite likely that we 
should be attacked if we entered their territory. He him- 
self and his tribe did not desire to enter into any quarrel 
with the Bashongo, of whom, I think, they stand in con- 
siderable awe, and we had insufficient men with us to be 
able to defend ourselves successfully in the event of trouble 



2 86 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

breaking out. He therefore considered that our best plan 
would be to remain for a day or two in his village while he 
proceeded to a small Balcongo settlement called Insashi, 
which lay upon the left bank of the Loange only a few miles 
from Kangala. He explained to us that the chief of this 
village was his personal friend, and he had no doubt that 
we would be peacefully received there. We therefore 
decided to take his advice and to remain for a few days at 
Kangala. During this time we showed Dilonda our clock- 
work elephant, and nothing would satisfy him but that we 
should present him with one if he could establish friendly 
relations with the Bakongo. The less inclined we were to 
part with the elephant the more anxious was he to possess 
it, and after a time we became certain that there was very 
little that he would not do for us in order to obtain so 
powerful a fetish. We knew, however, sufficient of the 
negro not to part with the coveted toy before Dilonda had 
fully earned it, so we agreed with him that should we 
succeed in reaching the Kasai we should send the elephant 
to Monsieur Bombeecke, who undertook to give it to 
Dilonda. In the meantime, as an earnest of our good 
intentions, we gave him a substantial present of iron and 
trade cloth. Dilonda told us that the two commodities 
which would prove the most saleable in the country beyond 
the Loange were machettes and bars of iron. Now those 
two commodities are about the most awkward to carry of 
any of the trade goods used in the Kasai. The machettes 
are not so bad as the iron, for a considerable number of 
these knives can be made up into a load to be carried on a 
pole by two men, but the square or round bars of iron, cut 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 287 

into lengths of about one foot each, are extremely heavy, 
and at the rate at which they are sold it practically means 
that one has to employ one man to carry every eight 
shillings' worth of this " money " that one takes. With 
our very small number of porters the difficulty presented 
by this was a considerable one, for it meant that in the 
unknown country our own men would have to undertake 
each stage of the journey at least twice until the iron was 
used up, for even if we could persuade the Bakongo to carry 
our loads for us, we should certainly not be able to trust 
them with a commodity which they covet so strongly. 
From Kangala we sent a small caravan back to Dumba, 
where we purchased from Monsieur Bombeecke's assistant 
a further supply of iron and knives. As we stood upon 
the high ground outside Dilonda's village we could look 
across the valley of the Loange, which is here about seven 
or eight miles wide, and catch a glimpse of the unknown 
country which lay before us. We had heard from other 
white men that the Bakongo and Bashilele are cannibals of 
the most terrible character inhabiting a densely wooded 
country, and yet as we gazed across the river, we could see 
to the eastwards, beyond a comparatively narrow strip of 
forest which borders the Loange, great rolling grassy downs 
on which scarcely a tree was visible. Evidently the descrip- 
tion of the country which had been given to us was com- 
pletely false, and we asked ourselves why should not the 
ferocity of the inhabitants also have been much exaggerated ^ 
We thought that while we were at Kangala it would be just 
as well to shoot a little game, if any existed, in order to 
show the natives that we really were hunters, and to give 



2 88 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

them some idea of the power of our sporting rifles, but 
although there were a few buffaloes in the neighbourhood, 
we were not able to obtain a shot at them owing to the 
anxiety on the part of the Bapende to obtain a present for 
discovering where the animals were feeding. 

Upon one occasion two or three of Dilonda's people, 
who had gone out to look for game, came upon some 
buffaloes lying down in a cassava field, but the men made 
such a noise in their dispute as to who should go and in- 
form us that the animals were there, and so obtain a 
present, that the beasts were frightened and took to the 
forest in the direction of a Bakongo village, whither it was 
impossible for us to follow them, for here, as in most parts 
of Central Africa, each village has its own hunting ground, 
and any attempt at poaching might easily lead to war. 
Dilonda himself caused us quite a lot of amusement. Al- 
though he considered himself no small personage, and was 
evidently the greatest of all the Bapende chiefs in the 
neighbourhood, it used to delight him to sit upon a little 
stool beside our table and beg for spoonfuls of mustard. For 
a time we could not understand his craving for this delicacy, 
but Monsieur Bombeecke, who knew him well, explained to 
us that he ate the stuff solely with the object of causing a 
thirst, for Dilonda was much addicted to palm wine. Not 
only was he fond of the mustard, but he was extremely 
anxious to possess the little earthenware pot that contained 
it. It appears that he was in the habit of boasting to his 
cronies of the enormous number of cups of palm wine 
which he could consume at a sitting, and he thought that 
if he drank the beverage out of so small a vessel as a 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 289 

mustard-pot the number of drinks he could get through 
would be enormously increased. No doubt he would not 
have allowed his boon companions to know the trick he 
was playing upon them by using this small cup, and I 
tremble to think of the results which might ensue if his 
friends, using the ordinary sized wooden cup which would 
contain about three-quarters of a pint, should attempt to 
imbibe a greater number of drinks than Dilonda. Dilonda 
was for ever attempting to get something out of us, and 
with this object he was always pointing out all the services 
he was going to render us, and the accuracy of the in- 
formation which he imparted to us. He usually ended 
up every sentence with the remark, " O, he is no liar is 
Dilonda." But although he was quite ready to accept 
anything that we offered him, Dilonda was by no means 
generous in the presents he offered to us. He possessed 
a few of the black and white sheep which are bred by the 
Badjok near the Portuguese frontier. The Badjok frequently 
sent caravans up into this district and into the country be- 
tween the Loange and the Kasai in search of rubber and 
ivory ; in fact we had high hopes of meeting with a caravan 
of these people, who are friendly to the European, during 
the course of our journey eastwards, for we believed it was 
quite possible they might help us to reach our destination. 
Dilonda had doubtless purchased his sheep from these 
traders, but he kept them more as an ornament to his 
village than as animals to be killed and eaten. We several 
times cast favourable glances upon these animals. With 
the exception of a few meals at Dima, four months before, 
we had not tasted mutton since the Christmas of 1907, and 

T 



290 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

I think that life in Central Africa tends to make one 
greedy, particularly if one is living in districts where game 
is so scarce that one has little or no break in the monotony 
of meals off skinny chickens and insipid goats' meat. We 
therefore hoped that Dilonda, in exchange for the numer- 
ous presents that we made him, might feel himself bound to 
offer us a sheep. One day when we made some remark 
about his flock, the crafty old chief called us aside and said, 
" I think your boys are thieves. When I saw you looking 
at the sheep, and I remembered that I had only given you 
one small goat, shame seized me, and I said to myself, 
* Dilonda, give the white man one of your sheep ' ; so I called 
your boys and gave them a fine fat animal and told them 
to take it to you, but I do not think you have received it. 
Your boys must have stolen it and eaten it themselves." 
We did not believe this story, of course, but we made in- 
quiries and discovered that no sheep had ever been handed 
over to our servants. When we told Dilonda of this the 
old ruffian merely laughed, amused rather than annoyed 
that his falsehood had been discovered and his meanness 
found out. In a few days old Dilonda informed us that 
the Bakongo of Insashi would be willing to allow us to 
visit their village, and we accordingly started out, accom- 
panied by Monsieur Bombeecke, Dilonda, anda couple of lesser 
chiefs, to cover the five or six miles in the valley of the 
Loange between Kangala and Insashi. As we drew near to 
the Bakongo village, the Bapende warned us to tell our men 
to make as little noise as possible so that the Bakongo 
might not at the last moment take fright at our approach 
and either desert their village or attack us. As we stepped 



I 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 291 

out of the woods into the clearing in which Insashi stood, 
we fully expected to find a crowd of curious, if not hostile 
people waiting to look at us. To our surprise, however, 
the few people whom we saw outside the stockade were all 
engaged upon their ordinary daily occupations, such as 
weaving or wood-carving, and paid little or no attention 
to us as we walked to the shed outside the stockade, which 
the Bapende informed us had been placed at our disposal. 
As we were seated beneath the shade of this structure, the 
Bakongo chief came to welcome us. Torday, through the 
medium of a Bapende interpreter, explained to this man the 
object of our visit, laying stress upon the fact that we 
only required to go to the Kasai and to spend our time in 
hunting upon the journey. He gave the chief a very 
substantial present, and asked him if he would allow his 
people to ferry us across the river in their canoes. We 
were a little surprised to learn that there were no canoes 
upon the left bank of the river. This is a precaution 
against invasion, for the Loange is fully half a mile in 
width, and its current is so strong as to preclude the pos- 
sibility of an enemy crossing it by swimming ; the Bakongo, 
therefore, by keeping their canoes on the right, or eastern 
shore, cause the river to become an insurmountable barrier 
to any would-be invader. Should the Bakongo on the left 
bank desire to visit their countrymen they have to go down 
to the water's edge and shout until a canoe is sent to them 
from a village which lies just opposite on the eastern shore. 
The chief of Insashi, well pleased with his present, informed 
us that he and Dilonda would ask the people of the further 
bank to ferry them over on the morrow, and that they 



292 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

would then use their best endeavours to persuade them to 
send sufficient canoes to carry us and our loads. While we 
were talking to the chief a considerable number of natives, 
including many women, crowded round to look at us, and 
we purchased several articles from them, always paying very 
high prices with the object of inducing them to bring us 
other things for sale. In the evening Torday and I thought 
that it would be as well to shoot a few monkeys in the 
forest close at hand in order that we might present their 
carcases to the chief as food. We therefore went out and 
bagged a colobus and one or two cercopithecus monkeys, 
with which the chief of Insashi was greatly pleased. But 
on the morrow we repented bitterly of having shot them, 
for the report of the 12-bore and the crack of the Mann- 
licher had been heard across the river, and the chief of 
Insashi, when he returned the following evening from his 
trip to the other bank, informed us that the Bakongo 
there had come to the conclusion that we were attacking 
Insashi, and that he had had the greatest difficulty in per- 
suading them to send canoes for us. At last, however, 
attracted by hearing of the presents we had given to the 
chief of Insashi, they had agreed to do so, but he, the chief, 
told us that we must not be surprised if at the last moment 
they changed their minds. We had not been many hours 
in Insashi before we were invited to pass through the 
entrance of the stockade and inspect the interior of the 
village. The houses there resembled those of the Bush- 
ongo, and, each having its own little courtyard, they 
reminded us of the huts of the Mushenge. There were 
certain other evidences as well, in the character of the 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 293 

weapons used and the various utensils that we saw about 
the place, that the Bakongo were in reality related to the 
subjects of the Nyimi, In the centre of the village there 
was an open space where meetings and dances are held, the 
huts being built around this in close proximity to the 
stockade. Between the buildings and the wall, however, 
there was a passage admitting of the defenders hurrying to 
and fro in case the village was attacked. The stockade 
was strongly built of palm-leaf stems, attaining a height of 
about ten feet. These stems are placed so close together 
as to form a very efficient defence against an enemy armed 
only with bows and arrows or spears, and any attempt to 
rush these defences across the open space which had been 
cleared around them without first breeching the stockade 
could only result in very heavy loss to the attacking side if 
the garrison put up a determined defence. A modern rifle 
bullet would, of course, pass through the stockade as 
through so much paper, but it would be extremely difficult 
to observe the position of the defenders through the fence 
so as to be able to inflict any great loss upon them. The 
gates in the stockade, of which there are several, are so 
small as to admit of only one person entering at a time. 

For a space of about fifty yards all round the defences, 
outside the village, the ground was cleared, and here stood 
a number of granaries in which the crops are stored. These 
granaries are built as neatly as the dwelling-houses, and 
stand upon piles in order to keep away mice and other 
vermin. It struck us as remarkable that the supply of food 
should be kept outside the village, but they are situated well 
within arrow-range of the defences, and I think that the reason 



294 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

for building them apart from the dwelling-houses must be 
to prevent the food -stuffs from attracting a large amount 
of vermin into the village. Also outside the walls we found 
a number of sheds, used as shelters from the sun, in which 
the Bakongo weave their cloth and pass their time in smok- 
ing and discussing the local gossip, as do the natives of 
Misumba. We soon fell to discussing with the chief of 
Insashi the route we should have to follow in order to reach 
the Kasai. We discovered that he knew very little about 
it, he never having been so far as the great river himself, 
but we did learn from him that, as Monsieur Bombeecke had 
told us, there is in reality one great chief of all the Bakongo 
people. He would say very little about this great man, and 
even went so far as to state that he did not know where his 
village lay, but by putting together scraps of information 
we gathered that it must be situated nearer to the Loange 
than to the Kasai, somewhere to the north-east of the point 
where we should cross the former river. We told the chief 
of Insashi that we would handsomely reward any one who 
would put us into communication with the great chief, and 
that we had some valuable presents for that important per- 
sonage if he would deign to receive us. The chief of 
Insashi promised us that he would ask his compatriots to 
help us in this respect, but the name Goman Vula was 
always mentioned with bated breath, and we could clearly 
see that it would be difficult to obtain access to his village 
or, if we failed in this, any precise information about him 
or his court. During the couple of days that we spent at 
Insashi we employed our followers in the construction of a 
rough bridge over the extremely swampy ground which lies 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 295 

in the forest between the village and the river bank. No- 
body in the least objected to our doing this, and we found 
ourselves free to do practically what we liked and to wander 
about the village without causing any annoyance to anybody ; 
and as the natives upon the eastern shore had promised to 
fetch us in their canoes, we began to think that our journey 
to the Kasai would after all present few difficulties, and I 
remember that we wrote very cheerful letters home, to be 
taken back to Dumba by Monsieur Bombeecke when he re- 
turned after seeing us across the Loange. On the 21st of 
May we bade adieu to this gentleman, whose popularity 
with the natives had contributed so much to the cordiality 
of the reception we had met with among the Bapende, and 
also to our introduction to the Bakongo, and conveyed all 
our loads from the village to the waterside. Some canoes 
appeared under the bushes of the farther shore and ap- 
proached us, but the sight of so many packages led the 
boatmen to believe that our party must be a very much 
larger one than it had been represented to be, and they 
returned to their own side of the river in doubt as to our 
peaceful intentions. The chief of Insashi thereupon com- 
menced to shout for them to return. As the Loange is, at 
this point,- fully eight hundred yards wide, and as it took 
quite two hours continuous shouting to produce any signs 
of life on the opposite bank, the chiefs voice must have 
come in for a pretty considerable strain, but eventually three 
canoes of moderate size appeared, and the work of embark- 
ing our baggage was begun. Torday crossed in the first 
canoe. He was accompanied by a couple of the Bambala, 
who habitually acted as gun-bearers to us when out shooting, 



296 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

but he took no arms with him of any kind, realising that 
the Bakongo were still highly suspicious of us, and that the 
sight of arms might provoke an attack or cause the boat- 
men to maroon him upon a sandbank in mid-stream, from 
which escape would be quite impossible unless the natives 
could be persuaded to return for him with a canoe. As I 
have said, the Loange at this point is about eight hundred 
yards wide. For the greater part of this distance the water 
is extremely shallow, so shallow indeed that paddles are 
never employed by the boatmen, the canoes being propelled 
by means of poles. There is, however, one portion of the 
river — about fifty yards in width — where the water is con- 
siderably deeper, and here the stream is so rapid that a canoe 
upon entering it from the more sluggish water is swept 
downwards with most alarming rapidity. For this reason 
any attempt to cross the Loange by means of swimming 
could only end in disaster, and as the width of the river 
rendered any kind of bridge impossible, we were entirely 
dependent upon the goodwill of the Bakongo boatmen. I 
watched Torday's canoe disappear between the bushes upon 
the eastern shore with my field-glasses, and I must confess 
that the minutes seemed like hours before I saw the canoe 
reappear and commence to cross the stream with the evident 
intention of ferrying over the remainder of our loads. The 
boatmen brought me a note from Torday informing me that 
everything had gone well and that all the loads which ac- 
companied him had safely arrived in the forest on the far 
shore. This news came as a considerable relief to my feel- 
ings, for had any attempt been made to attack him we 
should have been quite unable to render any assistance. 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 297 

The work of transporting all our goods across the river 
occupied several hours, but after a short time one of the 
canoes brought me over a second note from Torday saying 
that he had encountered two or three Bakongo women who 
had come down to fetch water, and that these had readily 
consented to carry some of our packages up to the village 
for a liberal wage, to be paid in salt. This was a highly 
satisfactory commencement to our journey, and when I 
myself came over the river with the last loads at about 
5 P.M., I was delighted and not a little surprised to find 
that these worthy ladies had not only carried up the loads 
given to them, but had returned for more and brought 
other people with them, so that all our baggage had been 
removed to the village. We ourselves followed just as the 
sun was going down. The village in which we spent the 
night is called Insashi, like its neighbour on the left bank 
of the river ; it lies on the edge of the forest belt at a 
distance of about a mile and a half from the water. It 
is quite a small place, and although, like all Bakongo vil- 
lages, it is surrounded by a stockade, its defences were in a 
tumble-down condition, and except that it is the home of 
the boatmen who keep up communication with the outlying 
villages of the Bakongo on the western side of the river, 
the place appears to be of very little importance. We were 
well received by the aged chief. This man was an acquaint- 
ance of Dilonda, and evidently had accepted his statements 
as regards the inoffensive nature of our visit, for not only 
did he produce the present of chickens which is usually 
offered to the white man upon his arrival in a Congo vil- 
lage, but he assured us that his people would be willing to 



298 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

convey our belongings to another village next day, and dis- 
cussed quite freely with us the easiest route to the Kasai. 

We found that here, as in the village upon the western 
shore, the natives in reality knew very little about their 
country beyond the radius of a few miles from their homes ; 
in fact there was not one man in the whole village who had 
ever been as far as the Kasai. Here, too, the people spoke 
of Goman Vula as little as they could, and it was very clear 
to us that we should experience great difficulty in making 
acquaintance with this great chief. 

The Loange River, however, lay behind us, and we had 
been so far very well received by the Bakongo, so that we 
really began to think that, even if we could not find Goman 
Vula, our journey across the unknown tract was likely to 
present fewer difficulties and dangers than we had expected. 
After spending one night at this second village of Insashi 
we proceeded about five or six miles in a south-south-easterly 
direction to Bwabwa, the people of Insashi eagerly offering 
their services as porters for the liberal wage of iron and 
knives which we agreed to pay them. As the whole of the 
country between the Loange and the Kasai was represented 
by a blank upon even the best maps of the Congo State, we 
had determined to do our best to make some sort of a rough 
survey of our route with the aid of a prismatic compass, and 
this work, commenced at Dumba, we now carried on as 
carefully as we possibly could. As we were unable to retrace 
our steps over any portion of the journey, we had to content 
ourselves with taking such bearings as we could while on 
the march from village to village. The map therefore 
which has resulted from our survey is by no means so 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 299 

accurate or so complete as it would have been had we been 
able to devote some days to going out from each village to 
map the country round. It serves to show our route, how- 
ever, and it is the best we could do under the circumstances, 
which were sometimes very trying. 

The village of Bwabwa is a new one, and it lies in 
open country on the edge of the forest belt which borders 
the Loange River. As we approached the village we 
noticed two peculiar fetishes or charms. The first of 
these consisted in a miniature harpoon, a model of those 
used for trapping elephants and hippopotami, suspended 
over the path close to the entrance to the village. The 
second one consisted of a high post placed in the centre 
of the village, from the top of which hung creepers extended 
to each of the four corners of the stockade. This latter 
charm, I believe, was considered particularly efficacious against 
lightning. Dilonda accompanied us to Bwabwa, with the 
chief of which village he was very friendly, and upon his 
recommendation the natives received us well. We pitched 
our camp in the cleared ground outside the stockade and 
settled down to make ourselves agreeable. Upon hearing 
that we were hunters, the Bakongo at once suggested that 
we should on the morrow accompany them to the river and 
endeavour to shoot some of the buffalo which come down 
in the early morning to drink. Next day, therefore, we 
started before daybreak together with two or three of our 
Bambala and a few of the Bakongo, and having been ferried 
in a couple of very small canoes across the Loange, we spent 
several hours in a search for game. Although we were not 
successful in obtaining a shot, we found fresh tracks of 



300 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

buffalo, elephant, hippopotami, bush-buck, and sitatunga 
in large quantities, so that this part of the Loange River 
must be considerably richer in game than most of the 
districts we passed through. We visited several grassy 
islands near to the w^estern shore, and while doing so we 
came to the conclusion that we had been rather foolish in 
allowing the Bakongo to take us there, for should they 
have suddenly taken into their heads to get rid of us, 
nothing would have been easier than for them to depart 
in their canoes and thus maroon us upon the islands, 
from which, owing to the strength of the stream, escape 
would have been quite impossible. When we returned in 
safety to Bwabwa, therefore, we determined never again to 
place ourselves so completely at the mercy of a people who, 
although they were friendly at present, we certainly did 
not know sufficiently well to trust. Dilonda stayed a 
couple of nights at Bwabwa and then returned to his 
home across the river. He had certainly been most 
useful to us, for without his introduction I have no 
doubt that it would have taken many weeks for us to 
become friendly with the Bakongo upon either bank of 
the Loange, and in addition to this he had evidently 
talked a good deal about our clock - work elephant, 
for the natives of Bwabwa were very anxious to see it. 
We displayed it once to the chief, but we were very 
careful not to allow it to become "cheap" by showing 
it to any passing native who might express a desire to 
look at it. We first noticed at Bwabwa rather a curious 
thing about the Bakongo methods of hunting. Like the 
Bushongo they employ a number of dogs with rattles 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 301 

strapped around them to drive small game into nets in 
the forest, but among the Bakongo the dogs, although 
belonging to various individuals, are all under the care 
of one man who occupies a position somewhat similar to 
that of the "kennel-huntsman" of an English fox-hound 
pack, and he daily feeds all the dogs used for hunting. 
Most of the Bakongo carry little wooden whistles sus- 
pended from a string around the neck, but the dogs 
appear to easily distinguish the note of the kennel-man's 
whistle, for they come round him as soon as he sounds 
it to partake of the cassava dough with which he feeds 
them. As a rule the dogs of the Bakongo appear to be 
very well kept. 

In discussing our route with the people of Bwabwa it 
appeared that our next stage would be to a village named 
Bishwambura which lay about six miles to the eastwards, 
but the people of Bwabwa declined to carry our loads 
there, and insisted upon taking us to a small hamlet called 
Bwao, situated about three miles to the north. We were 
not in a position to insist upon going where we liked, so 
we had to be content with moving on to this place, 
although by going there we were moving very little, if 
any, further from the Loange than we were at present, 
and consequently were making practically no progress 
towards the Kasai, and were having to pay very high 
wages to the natives for carrying our loads these short 
and useless stages. From Bwao, however, we did manage 
to get on to Bompe, about four miles to the eastwards, 
having been warned by the people of Bwao to be very 
careful how we treated the Bakongo of Bompe, for we 



302 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

were assured that the slightest carelessness on our part 
would probably lead to our being attacked. 

We were, however, received in a most friendly spirit, 
our iron and knives evidently being most welcome to the 
natives. After the village of Bompe matters became more 
complicated, for there began to arise a difficulty as to the 
form which the payment of the Bakongo who carried for 
us should take. Living as they do exactly the same lives 
which the natives all over Africa used to live before the 
white man invaded the Dark Continent, the Bakongo have 
no real need for any article imported from Europe, with the 
exception of knives or the iron bars from which their smiths 
can forge arrow heads, and therefore every porter required 
to be paid either with a knife or a 4 lb. bar of iron for 
carrying a load even the shortest of stages. It will be 
understood, therefore, that our expenses were very heavy 
and that our limited stock of knives and iron should begin 
to dwindle to small proportions, it being quite impossible, 
now that the Loange lay behind us, to send a caravan back 
to Dumba for a further supply. Even at first when we 
were able to pay every one in the commodity he or she 
required, the work of getting the loads transported was no 
light task. As a rule the women were more eager to carry 
than the men; in fact I have often given a load to a stalwart 
Bakongo warrior only to see him transfer it immediately 
afterwards to the shoulders of his wife. But the Bakongo 
ladies were very trying to deal with when we distributed 
the packages in the morning preparatory to starting from 
a village ; they all preferred a small heavy load to a bulky 
light one, and whenever a package could be divided between 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 303 

several people the shrewd matrons would call in the services 
of all their children, often arriving at their destination with 
four or five individuals carrying portions of one load, and 
every one of these people expected to be paid the wage 
agreed upon for a full burden. I have known very small 
children to accompany us carrying a discarded empty bottle 
and demand payment at the end of the stage. Of course 
it was essential for us to keep our tempers and to humour 
the people as much as possible, otherwise we should doubt- 
less have been unable to move at all, but I can assure my 
readers that it is by no means easy to remain unruffled when 
endeavouring to persuade a Bakongo lady to carry a certain 
package when she has determined in her own mind to carry 
another one. 

One's most pleasant manner and most inviting smile (a 
sort of " do-take-this-one-it's-quite-light-really " grin) are 
quite thrown away on the Bakongo women. However, we 
tried our best to be agreeable, and the number of dirty 
infants whom we daily chucked under the chin with a view 
to ultimately securing their fond mothers' services as porters 
must have been very considerable. The fact that we could 
at first hardly speak a word of the local language did not 
make matters much easier, and altogether we were having a 
by no means enjoyable time during the early part of our 
journey from the Loange to the Kasai. The people of 
Bompe, in their anxiety to obtain iron, expressed their 
willingness to carry our loads on to Bishwambura ; and 
realising that the natives would, in all probability, divide 
their loads up into small portions in the hope of obtaining 
full payment for each, Torday decided to go on to Bishwam- 



304 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

bura in advance, with most of our Bambala porters carrying 
the iron and knives, there to await the arrival of our other 
baggage, while I was to remain at Bompe to superintend the 
departure of the loads, and to give to each porter who pre- 
sented himself for service a slip of paper bearing my initials ; 
upon handing this to Torday at Bishwambura he would 
receive the wage agreed upon. We thought that in this 
way we should be able to prevent the endless splitting up of 
loads, but it only served to give the Bakongo an opportunity 
of displaying a cunning that I should never have imagined 
that they possessed. It so happened that a green canvas sack, 
which contained a number of odds and ends left over from 
other packages, was torn at the corner, revealing inside a 
broken packet of Reckitt's blue (a dye which was very 
popular with the natives for ornamenting their faces). 
Now although they had never seen writing in any form 
before our arrival, the Bakongo conceived the idea of 
attempting to manufacture the vouchers for payment which 
I distributed to the porters. They picked up scraps of 
paper which had been left lying about our camping ground, 
and with the aid of a stick and Reckitt's blue they made 
marks upon them, fondly imagining that these marks would 
deceive Torday into paying them for carrying loads which 
existed really only in their imagination. Of course the 
trick was obvious at once, but Torday's refusal to pay for 
the forgeries caused the natives to mistrust the real vouchers 
which I had given them, with the result that many of them 
threw down their loads by the wayside and declined to carry 
them to Bishwambura. Torday sent back the Bambala 
porters to assist me to bring on the remainder of the 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 305 

baggage, and wrote me a note requesting me to come on as 
soon as possible, and to have my rifle handy on the way, for 
he considered it highly probable that we should have trouble 
with the disappointed Bakongo. Our Bambala porters had 
always behaved in an exemplary manner during the time 
they had been with us, and their quiet, inoffensive manners 
had caused them to become popular in every village through 
which we had passed, but we had never before had such an 
opportunity of really testing them as during the march from 
Bompe to Bishwambura. When they left Bompe with me 
they were carrying heavy loads hung upon a pole between 
two men, but when we came to some packages abandoned 
by the wayside, they cut the loads away from the pole, and, 
one man taking what was really a burden for two, they 
picked up the boxes discarded by the Bakongo, and proceeded 
to stagger on with them towards Bishwambura before I had 
time even to hint to them that I wished this to be done. 
Our Bambala were always ready to voluntarily undertake 
any extra work, and to undergo any hardship which was 
necessary for the success of our journey, and it is owing to 
the fact that we were accompanied by such gallant and 
devoted followers that we were able to go through the 
trying times which were to follow. 

When I arrived at Bishwambura I found Torday under 
a shed outside the stockade surrounded by an angry crowd 
of Bakongo all demanding payment for carrying loads, and 
it appeared very much as if a breach of the peace would 
follow his refusal to give everybody present a wage. He 
was adamant, however, and finally the people of Bompe 
returned home in the evening, grumbling and discontented, 

u 



3o6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

leaving us to get on as best we could with the people of 
Bishwambura, whose acquaintance we had thus made under 
by no means favourable circumstances. It was not to be 
expected that they would be very friendly towards us, for 
they shared the dislike which all the other Bakongo felt 
towards the white man, and our dispute with the people of 
Bompe, although unavoidable, was hardly likely to make 
them particularly friendly towards us, so that we were not 
surprised to find ourselves treated once more in the same 
way as among the Bankutu of the equatorial forest. The 
people would sell us no chickens, and for some time declined 
to show us where to obtain good drinking water. Our 
men, however, soon found a clear stream, and we had pur- 
chased at Bompe a sufficient supply of living fowls to meet 
our immediate requirements, and as the Bakongo were not 
averse to selling food to the Bambala, our predicament was 
not a serious one. The chief difficulty lay in persuading 
the natives to carry us on to the next village. They flatly 
refused to take us over the rolling grassy plains which lay to 
the eastward, for they told us that a party of Badjok traders 
were encamped in a village in that direction, and that these 
Badjok, with whom the Bakongo were friendly, would not 
allow the white man to be brought anywhere near them. 
This struck us as rather remarkable, for we knew that the 
Badjok were enthusiastic traders, who like nothing better 
than to purchase goods imported from Europe and to sell 
ivory and rubber to the white man ; we came to the con- 
clusion, therefore, that this particular party of Badjok must 
be engaged in buying slaves from the Bakongo, for in the 
old days, before the arrival of the European Government, 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 307 

these people were noted slave traders, and this unexplored 
country between the Loange and the Kasai would be one of 
the very few remaining places where they might be able to 
carry on this trade unpunished. After a good deal of dis- 
cussion, the people of Bishwambura agreed to carry our 
loads on to Kanenenke, some three miles to the south, 
having previously ascertained that the natives of that village 
would be willing to allow us to visit them. Torday went 
on to Kanenenke in advance, leaving me to despatch our 
baggage with the local Bakongo. This stage of our journey 
passed off without any untoward incident, but when I joined 
Torday in the evening I found that he had had rather an 
amusing experience in the village on his arrival. Upon 
approaching the stockade he had found two elderly men 
sitting smoking their pipes beneath a shed ; as soon as they 
set eyes upon him they had jumped up with a squeal, and, 
carefully keeping the shed between him and themselves, they 
had anxiously inquired whether he was a human being or a 
ghost. Torday had assured them, in as much of the 
Bakongo language as he had been able to learn during our 
stay in the country, that he was not only human, but really 
very inoffensive, and that he had brought with him a good 
supply of things which the Bakongo would like to have, and 
which he was quite prepared to give them in exchange for 
food and for their services as porters when we moved on. 
In the meantime, a number of other natives had assembled 
to look at him, but it took some little time to persuade 
them that he really belonged to this world, for I think that 
the Bakongo had imagined that a " white " man ought to 
resemble in colour the white earth, something like chalk, 



3o8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

which exists in small quantities in this district, so that Tor- 
day's tanned visage by no means came up to their expecta- 
tions of a European. At last one man, more courageous 
than the rest, had touched him, and, having satisfied himself 
that Torday was nothing more than ordinary flesh and 
blood, had persuaded the others to lay aside their fears, so 
that when I arrived Torday had settled down and was 
making himself agreeable to the chief of the village. We 
stayed some days in Kanenenke, and got on remarkably well 
with the people there ; we were able to take a great number 
of photographs, and, by dint of giving a few pinches of salt 
as a reward to those who posed for us, we had no diflficulty 
in obtaining pictures, not only of native types, but of the 
people performing their various daily occupations. We took 
several photographs of ladies having their eyelashes pulled 
out, for no Bakongo lady of fashion would think of appear- 
ing with any hair upon her eyelids. The eyelashes are 
pulled out by another woman so quickly and so neatly that 
the process does not so much as bring water to their eyes. 
It was at first somewhat disquieting to observe that after 
sundown there was scarcely a sober man to be found at 
Kanenenke, for the Bakongo are extremely fond of palm 
wine, in connection with the drinking of which there is a 
curious custom among them. Several times, when entering 
Bakongo villages, we noticed, at some little distance from 
the villages themselves, two or three logs placed as if to 
form scats by the wayside, and we were considerably 
astonished to find that these marked the meeting-places of 
clubs. In the evening the Bakongo men come out to bring 
in the wine extracted from the Elais palm, and they carry it 




Gandu, son of the chief of Kanexenke. 



w^^ 


^n 




^^ 


?-^ ^Sk 




^^'^-iC 




SP^-^ 


"^ 



Removing a lady's eyelashes. 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 309 

in calabashes to these meeting-places, where groups of 
friends, to the number of half-a-dozen or a dozen, sit down, 
smoke their pipes, and drink while discussing the local 
gossip. 

The habits of the Bakongo at their clubs are certainly 
not so temperate as they might be, but we soon found that 
as a rule they were, when drunk, more agreeable and more 
anxious to please us than when sober, so that although for 
the first few days we were rather uncertain as to what their 
demeanour towards us might be when the liquor got into 
them, we soon came to regard the existence of these clubs as 
rather a help than a hindrance to our progress. At Kanen- 
enke our men were often invited to partake of refreshment 
by the natives, and on one or two occasions we ourselves 
were offered a drink by some convivial spirit when we passed 
the clubs on our way back from shooting guinea-fowls in 
the evening. Although palm wine is generally drunk out 
of quaintly carved wooden cups, in the manufacture of 
which the Bakongo are quite the equal of the Bushongo, it 
is very often imbibed from leaves neatly twisted up so as to 
contain the liquid, the same leaf never being used for two 
drinks. The natives in most parts of the Kasai district are 
in the habit of thus drinking water from leaves when they 
cross a stream upon the march. During our stay at Kanen- 
enke, although the fact that the little children displayed no 
timidity in visiting our camp and playing with us clearly 
showed that we were becoming even popular with the 
natives, our chances of reaching the Kasai began to appear 
remarkably small. It seemed that nothing save iron and 
knives would induce the Bakongo to carry for us, and our 



3IO LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

stock of these commodities was almost at an end. We 
possessed a fair amount of salt, which the natives would 
accept in payment for small services, and also a quantity of 
European cotton material, but this latter proved merely an 
encumbrance to us, for we learned that Goman Vula had 
issued a decree announcing that any one of his subjects found 
wearing material of European manufacture would be in- 
stantly put to death. We could hardly expect, therefore, 
that the Bakongo would carry for us for a wage to be paid 
in cloth. 

In addition to this, the people of Kanenenke informed 
us that they and the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages 
had had a difference of opinion with Goman Vula, which, if 
it had not grown to an open revolt, had at least put a stop 
to any intercourse between the natives of the district in 
which we now were and the Bakongo who inhabited the 
immediate neighbourhood of Goman Vula's village. The 
people of Kanenenke plainly told us that, for this reason, 
they could not themselves transport our baggage to the 
village of the great chief. This story may very likely have 
been a lie invented for the purpose of keeping us away from 
Goman Vula, for the natives were as mysterious as ever 
when discussing him, and we could not find any one who 
would say that he knew him personally ; but, whether true 
or false, it seemed highly improbable that we should either 
be able to meet Goman Vula or to make our way towards 
the Kasai. We were bitterly disappointed, for we had gone 
to considerable expense in making our way as far as Kanen- 
enke, and at Kanenenke itself we were getting on with the 
natives better than we had any right to expect that we 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 311 

should, so that Torday was collecting quite an amount of 
valuable information concerning the manners and customs 
of the tribe. In addition to this, we were particularly anxious 
to cross this unknown track, a feat which had been attempted 
unsuccessfully so often before. We were convinced that the 
whole matter was now merely a question of money. Had 
we possessed unlimited iron and knives we could doubtless 
have bribed the Bakongo to take us anywhere we liked, but 
such heavy material in large quantities would have neces- 
sitated our bringing with us a very large number of porters, 
for it would be quite impossible to trust the Bakongo them- 
selves to transport loads consisting of the objects which they 
covet so much ; and had we been followed by a large 
number of natives from the Kwilu, the Bakongo of the 
river bank would certainly have been so suspicious of us 
that they would never have ferried us over the Loange. 
Had it been possible to employ some other means of trans- 
port, such as, for instance, donkeys, I am convinced that we 
should have been able to bring in sufficient iron and knives 
to bribe the natives into taking us to Goman Vula's village, 
and probably to succeed in establishing friendly relations 
with the great chief himself. Although our chances of 
being able to reach the Kasai certainly seemed very remote, 
we could not bear to turn back and recross the Loange, so 
that when the people of Kanenenke began to talk about 
carrying our loads on for one more stage, we decided to 
risk finding ourselves at an end of our supply of currency, 
and to proceed as far in an easterly direction as we possibly 
could. We made great friends with the chief of Kanenenke, 
a fine, stalwart old native, who was in the habit of smoking 



312 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

a pipe, the stem of which was so long that he required a 
slave to light it for him, and with his son Gandu, another 
fine specimen of a negro, with whom we used to take short 
shooting excursions in search of guinea-fowl. During 
these excursions we came across many of the hidden planta- 
tions of the Bakongo, for on the march in their country 
one sees little or no land under cultivation, the fields 
generally lying some distance from any main track, hidden 
in patches of woodland. The chief and his son were very 
greatly impressed by our clock-work elephant. 

During our stay in the village Gandu's wife presented 
him with a son, whereupon the young warrior at once came 
round to see us, and, calling Torday aside, asked him if he 
would allow our elephant to predict the future of the child. 
This Torday agreed to do, and, having previously ascer- 
tained by his researches among the people that Gandu's son 
would be heir to the chieftainship, and seeing that the baby 
was a healthy one, he told the proud father that the elephant 
foresaw that the child would grow up into a strong man and 
become the chief of a village. This was a fairly safe pro- 
phecy, for if the child lived he would certainly become chief, 
and there appeared to be no prospect of its dying, at any 
rate for the next few days, after which we hoped we should 
be many miles away from Kanenenke. At any rate the pre- 
diction thoroughly delighted Gandu, and he oflTered himself 
to act as an envoy from us to the people of Kenge, the next 
village to the eastwards, if we would send with him one of 
our men, Mayuyu, with whom he had struck up a great 
friendship. Mayuyu at once expressed his willingness to 
go, so he and Gandu started off one morning to assure the 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 313 

people of Kenge of our peaceful intentions, and to ask them 
if they had any objection to our visiting them. During 
their absence we had little to do, for Gandu was our chief 
informant upon all matters connected with his tribe in 
which we were interested, so we spent a good deal of our 
time in playing with the children. While thus employed 
Torday one day showed the little ones how to blow an egg. 
This was regarded by all the assembled natives as a truly 
wonderful performance, so we threaded a piece of cotton 
through the empty shell and hung it up to a tree close to 
our tents, where it was evidently regarded as a fetish, and 
accordingly avoided by all passing natives. In an empty 
granary just beside the entrance to my tent a Bakongo 
fetish of a very different kind was hanging ; it was a human 
thigh-bone ; but although this was rather gruesome, and 
was no doubt believed to possess considerable magical 
powers, I think that our clockwork elephant and our egg- 
shell were regarded as something far more uncanny than 
any charm which the natives themselves possessed, so that 
we felt quite safe in leaving our goods about in the shed, 
where we passed the greater part of our time, and in going 
to rest at night without troubling to post sentries over our 
belongings. 

After a couple of days' absence Gandu and Mayuyu 
returned and informed us that the people of Kenge had 
expressed their willingness to receive our visit, and, in fact, 
had appeared quite anxious to see us. Kenge, Gandu told 
us, lay at no great distance from Goman Vula's village, so 
he thought that it was quite possible we might be able to 
persuade its inhabitants to take us on to see the great chief. 



314 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

Knowing the state of our finances as regards iron and 
knives, however, we ourselves were very doubtful upon this 
point. Early in the morniiig, after the return of our envoys, 
Torday proceeded to Kenge, all the inhabitants of Kanen- 
enke and of one or two neighbouring hamlets turning out 
to carry our loads, but although every one appeared anxious 
to act as porters, we were unable to secure sufficient people 
to remove all our baggage from the village in one day. 
Accordingly I stayed behind with the remainder of the bag- 
gage to await the return of our Bambala, whom Torday 
promised to send back as soon as they were refreshed after 
their journey. The way to Kenge occupied about seven 
hours, so that I had to spend two nights at Kanenenke 
before our porters had had time to rest and to return for 
me. They brought with them a note from Torday inform- 
ing me that he had been received in a friendly fashion by 
two chiefs who held equal sway at Kenge, and that these 
worthies had given him a present of fowls. He said that he 
had told the natives that our stock of iron was practically 
at an end, but that this fact did not appear to prejudice them 
against us. I was somewhat relieved to get this information, 
for the night before I left Kanenenke the Bakongo, who had 
returned from carrying our loads with Torday, had appeared 
much less friendly in their manner towards me ; and I 
gathered from what I could pick up from the remarks J 
heard made at a mass meeting held after nightfall within 
the village that they were dissatisfied with their pay, evi- 
dently expecting to be able to extort from Torday quite 
twice the amount that had been agreed upon as their wages. 
Just as I was leaving the village, the chief came to 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 315 

me and formally requested me to remove the eggshell 
which I had inadvertently left hanging upon its tree. 
The people evidently imagined that this charm could 
have some effect upon them even after our departure if 
left in their village. I therefore carefully removed it and 
started upon my journey. The way to Kenge lay, after 
passing through a narrow strip of woodland close to 
Kanenenke, over great rolling, grassy downs, almost devoid 
of trees, and it was only after covering about eighteen 
miles of a winding road that we came upon any woodland, 
and then only a narrow strip bordering a brook a mile or 
so from Kenge. At Kenge we were only about twenty 
miles as the crow flies from the Loange River, and the 
country had consisted almost entirely of undulating plains, 
although to the north of Kenge very extensive woodlands 
could be seen, and, of course, near to the Loange patches 
of forest are to be found in the numerous hollows, 
through which flow little streams. On the whole the 
country here must be said to consist of plains, and in no 
way resembles the impenetrable forest which we had been 
told we should find between the Loange and the Kasai. 
Upon reaching Kenge I found Torday installed under a 
shed about forty yards from the stockade which sur- 
rounded the village. His tent was pitched a few yards 
away, and mine was quickly erected close beside it. 
Between the shed and the village the ground had been 
cleared of grass, and was covered with cassava bushes about 
four or five feet in height. A few yards away from our 
tents lay the rough grass of the plains. Torday was 
talking to several natives, including the two chiefs, when I 



3i6 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

arrived, and all these came forward to welcome me. We 
noticed, however, that they looked in some surprise on 
the loads which our Bambala were carrying, which con- 
sisted merely of a few odd and ends. A short time after 
I had joined Torday and we were sitting down to a meal, 
one of the chiefs, an evil-looking ruffian with a squint, 
came to speak to us, and it was evident that his friendly 
attitude towards us had changed to one of insolence. He 
and his people had previously told Torday that they 
would not expect to be paid in iron for carrying us on to 
the next village, for they had been assured that our stock 
of iron and knives was nearly at an end, but now he came 
and informed us that his people would not carry our loads 
until they had received a high wage in iron ; nothing else 
would satisfy them. Torday once more informed them 
that it was quite impossible for us to accede to these de- 
mands, whereupon the chief remarked, " Very well, you can 
go ; if you have no iron, we do not want you here." 
Torday then told him that we asked nothing better than 
to go, and that if his people would carry our loads for us 
at daybreak on the morrow, we should be delighted to 
leave his village and continue our journey towards the 
Kasai. The chief again assured us that his people would 
not carry without iron ; and when we remarked that we 
could not move until they carried for us, he said, " You 
must go as best you can yourselves ; we will have iron, or 
we will have war." With that he left us. 

We learned later on that this, the elder of the two 
chiefs, rather fancied himself as a wizard, and doubtless 
intended to show off his magical powers before his people 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 317 

by frightening us out of his village. After a time he 
returned and told us that as a declaration of war he in- 
tended to steal the chickens which he had just presented 
to us. We showed him where they lay, and he thereupon 
took them, our people, acting under our order, making 
no effort to prevent him, for we did not wish to force 
on hostilities by any act of violence on our part. For 
the rest of the evening no one came near us, and it was 
noticeable that the women and children kept within the 
stockade, while the warriors, who had previously been 
walking about unarmed, most of them now carried their 
bows and arrows when they passed our camp. Our posi- 
tion was by no means a comfortable one. I have men- 
tioned that the shed in which our belongings lay and 
our tents were closely surrounded by cassava bushes, 
under cover of which it would be very easy for a native 
to creep up unobserved and shoot us as we sat in our 
chairs; obviously any attempt on our part to clear the 
ground by cutting down their crops could only result in 
the Bakongo immediately attacking us. Our camp was 
situated well within arrow-range of the stockade, and 
although the shed beneath which we were sitting would 
doubtless keep out any arrows shot from the village, 
which at a distance of forty yards would already be 
beginning to drop, we and our men would certainly be 
very much exposed at any time that we left its shelter. 
Any attempt at removing our camp to the plains, a little 
farther away from the village, would only have been mis- 
taken for flight, and would have induced the Bakongo to 
attack us immediately. The only thing to do was to stay 



3i8 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

where we were, to avoid any act of aggression, and to 
appear as unconcerned as possible. We summoned our 
Bambala porters and now informed them for the first time 
that the two long cases which we carried with us con- 
tained ten rifles ; for up to this moment we had kept our 
people in ignorance of the fact that we possessed any arms 
except our own sporting guns. Upon seeing the rifles, our 
trusty Bambala suggested that, instead of issuing these 
arms to them, we ourselves should endeavour to shoot 
such of the Bakongo as carried most arrows directly hos- 
tilities began, so that our people, covered by our firing, 
might rush up and take the weapons of the slain, and so 
be provided with arms in the use of which they were 
practised, instead of the rifles with which they had never 
learned to shoot. This we decided to attempt as soon as 
any hostile move was made by the enemy. Our Bambala 
porters then proceeded to dress their hair with oil, and 
to smear their countenances with Reckitt's blue, and, thus 
beautified, waited calmly for the trouble to begin. At 
this crisis, as always, our men behaved in a most exemplary 
manner, never causing us a moment's anxiety as to their 
loyalty, and never complicating affairs by an aggressive 
act or word to the Bakongo. That night we loaded all 
our guns before we put them by our bedsides, and we 
placed in readiness two boxes of rockets usable in a 
i2-bore shot-gun, which, although they were incapable of 
inflicting any damage, we thought might possibly strike 
terror into the hearts of the Bakongo. After we had 
turned in we heard a meeting being held within the 
village, at which several speakers held forth at great 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 319 

length, but although we could just make out that war 
was the subject of discussion, we could not hear suf- 
ficiently well to gather any information as to what the 
natives intended to do. We fully expected to be attacked 
that night, but, as a matter of fact, the Bakongo never left 
their village until morning, and then no one approached 
our camp. The women and children still kept out of 
sight, and we noticed that all of the men carried arms, 
and many of them were busily occupied in putting new 
tips or feathers upon their arrows, in manufacturing new 
bows, or in paring down stout creepers with which to 
make bow-strings. Our porters had purchased a good 
deal of food upon arriving at Kenge when the natives 
were friendly, so we told them on no account to accept 
any eatables from the Bagongo should they offer any for 
sale, for we feared that some attempt might be made to 
poison them ; for ourselves we had plenty of European 
stores, so that for the time being we had no need to 
bother about our food supply. But the outlook was not 
a particularly bright one, for it was evident that the 
Bakongo, if they did not attack us, would certainly at- 
tempt to starve us out, and we should therefore be eventually 
compelled to retreat towards the Loange, in which case 
it was practically certain that we should find that the 
people of Kenge had caused the inhabitants of the villages 
through which we had passed previously to rise against 
us upon our return journey, and we should therefore be 
compelled to fight our way to the Loange with only 
twenty-four men, many of whom would be occupied in 
transporting the objects which we had already bought 



320 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

for the Museum ; for we were firmly determined that, 
even if we had to abandon the rest of our baggage, we 
would do our best to bring away the things which we 
had procured at a cost of so much trouble and expense. 
Even if we could succeed in reaching the Loange River, 
we were sure that the natives would have concealed all 
the canoes, so that our plight by the riverside would 
hardly be better than it was at Kenge. During the day, 
possibly as a result of advice given by some speaker at 
the over-night assembly in the village, the Bakongo pro- 
ceeded to clear away the cassava hushes around our camp. 
A worse piece of strategy could hardly be imagined, for 
whereas the bushes had offered perfect cover for any one 
who wished to creep up and shoot at us as we sat at 
meals or writing in our shed, now that they had been re- 
moved we had an open space around us, in which we 
should be able to do some damage with our sporting 
rifles. Their removal appeared to us to render our danger 
far less imminent. Another night passed and we were not 
molested. Upon the following morning Torday con- 
sidered that the time had arrived for putting our clock- 
work elephant to the test, and to exhibit some little black 
dolls which we had received from London during our last 
stay at Dima. 

He accordingly tied one of the dolls in a prominent 
position upon the ridge pole of his tent, and we soon 
observed that its presence had been noticed by the Bakongo. 
As a rule, when a native is really impressed by anything that 
he thinks may be of a supernatural character, he disguises 
his feelings, and does not exhibit the great curiosity with 




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INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 321 

which he usually views any strange thing the white man 
may show him, and we saw that the Bakongo were extremely 
shy of our little " medicine," as we called our doll, for no 
crowd collected round it, but nearly every one in the place 
must have had a look at it from a distance, each one soon 
passing on silently and with a puzzled expression on his face. 
Later on we saw the second chief of the village loitering 
near our camp. This man had always appeared to us to 
be less inclined for war than his colleague, the old wizard, 
so Torday called out to him to come and talk matters over 
with us. After a little hesitation he came. Torday ex- 
plained to him that although we did not want war, we were 
by no means afraid of it, and showed the chief our guns. 
We also related a few shooting stories, not all of them, 
perhaps, strictly true, in which we dwelt upon the enormous 
number of buffalo, &c., that daily fell to our rifles when 
we took the trouble to go out shooting ; and Torday gave 
the man to understand that the presence of a great fetish 
was responsible for our success in the use of our guns. 
The chief could not suppress his curiosity as to the nature 
of this "fetish," and Torday, after pretending that he 
scarcely dared to worry it by introducing strangers, finally 
agreed to show it to him. He entered his tent, and 
wound up the clock-work elephant, while I remained out- 
side with the chief. At a word from Torday I drew back 
the flap and gently pushed the native in. The elephant 
began to move. One glance at the little toy walk- 
ing along the top of a gun-case, waving its trunk 
in the semi-darkness of the tent, was suflicient for the 
chief; with a gasp of fear he sprang backward through 



322 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the tent door and attempted to bolt. We insisted upon his 
having another look, but it was a very brief one, and crying, 
*' I will bring you back those chickens we have stolen," the 
old man rushed off to the village as hard as his legs would 
carry him. A stir was immediately noticeable among the 
Bakongo, and after some delay a party of them came over 
to us, bringing with them the stolen fowls. Torday then 
gave a discourse upon the might of our " elephant," but 
declined to disturb it again to satisfy their curiosity ; he 
informed the people, however, that it never slept, so that 
any attempt to surprise us could only result in rousing it 
to anger, with horrible consequences to the offenders. He 
then proceeded to set fire to a little whisky, which, in the 
darkness, the natives of course mistook for water, and 
remarked that the local rivers would blaze up finely if once 
we took it into our heads to burn them. 

The effect of our game of bluff upon the people of 
Kenge was greater than we could ever have hoped it would 
be. The attitude of the Bakongo towards us immediately 
changed. I do not mean to say that their hostility changed 
to friendliness, but their desire to attack us, or to starve us 
out, gave way to a wish to get rid of us as soon as possible 
without arousing the anger of our " fetish." Upon the day 
following the exhibition of our elephant we found the 
people quite ready to discuss with us the possibility of our 
moving on to another village, and the once truculent chief 
now informed us that his people would be perfectly willing to 
carry our loads on to the village of Makasu, some eight miles 
as the crow flies to the north-east, but, bearing in mind the 
fact that news travels quickly in Africa, we were anxious to 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 323 

ascertain whether or not the inhabitants of this latter place 
would be willing to receive us, after having heard, as doubt- 
less they already had, of the magical powers which we were 
believed to possess. The chief of Kenge offered to send 
one of his men as an envoy to them, and Mayuyu, who had 
performed the same office for us before our journey from 
Kanenenke, suggested that he should accompany him. 
These two accordingly set out for Makasu, and returned in 
the evening with the information that the people there, who 
we now learned for the first time were Bashilele, were quite 
willing to receive our visit. 

We stayed on two or three more days at Kenge, however, 
employing our time in taking photographs, for the natives 
were much too frightened of our elephant to object to our 
wandering freely about, and using our cameras as much as 
we liked. We learned now that the reason for the hostility 
of the Bakongo was that, although they knew that Torday 
had brought little or no iron with him, they had always 
hoped that upon my arrival a further supply of that com- 
modity would appear, and it was their disappointment, 
when they found that I had nothing with me that they 
wanted, which caused their friendly attitude to change to one 
of insolent aggression. During the period of strained relation- 
ship with the natives which I have just described, Torday and 
I were both of us confident that, in the event of hostilities, 
we should be able to retrace our steps to the Loange, even if 
considerably harassed on the way ; but when I look back 
upon the incident, I do not think that, had the Bakongo 
decided to attack us, and to raise the western villages 
against us, we should any of us have had the slightest 



324 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

chance of reaching the river alive. I think, therefore, that 
it is not too much to claim for the clock-work toy that it 
prevented a massacre. It is possible that some of my readers 
may have imagined that we contemplated swindling the 
natives when I stated that we were prepared to sell one of 
our elephants for some very valuable curio, but I think the 
events at Kenge should prove that the toy possessed a very 
real value for the native, and my readers can easily imagine 
how much the possession of it would increase the prestige 
of any chief to whom we sold one. By our use of the 
elephant we were certainly taking advantage of the negro's 
ignorance and superstition, but as this course assuredly pre- 
vented bloodshed, I think that we were fully justified in 
adopting it. Our envoys having been welcomed at Makasu, 
we despatched all but three or four of our Bambala porters 
in the very early hours of one morning to carry some of 
our loads on to that village, ordering them to return as soon 
as possible, leaving two or three of their number on guard 
over the baggage. From what Mayuyu had told us of the 
distance to Makasu, we concluded that our men should have 
returned to Kenge by about 1 1 o'clock in the morning, but 
it was not until sundown that they turned up. During these 
long hours of waiting we endured an agony of suspense. 
I have already mentioned that we had been informed of the 
presence in the neighbourhood of a party of Badjok traders, 
and that we had considered it highly probable that these people 
were engaged in the purchase of slaves. Knowing them to 
be well armed and warlike, we began to fear that our porters 
had encountered them and had been captured, to be hurried 
off southwards, and sold in the neighbourhood of the 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 325 

Angola frontier. Such a possibility filled us with horror, 
for we had a very real affection for our gallant followers 
from the Kwilu, and we realised that, had they been taken 
prisoners, we should be absolutely powerless to rescue them, 
although we were fully determined to start off in pursuit of 
the Badjok should we learn that our men had been taken. 
Such a pursuit should have been futile, for we could not 
expect any assistance from the Bakongo, and the Badjok 
would certainly march faster than we could follow. Our 
feelings, however, were so strong upon the subject that I 
have no doubt we should have attempted it. Our relief 
when our men turned up safe and sound knew no bounds. 
It appears that, having started in the darkness of the early 
morning under the guidance of Mayuyu, who had only 
once traversed the road to Makasu, the Bambala had lost 
their way in some woodland, and had taken many hours to 
reach Makasu, proceeding by a very circuitous route. Upon 
their arrival, however, the Bashilele had received them 
kindly, and had offered them food and water, expressing 
their desire to see us in their village as soon as we could 
come along. Next day, therefore, we turned our backs on 
Kenge, and proceeded into the country of the Bashilele. I 
went on in advance, while Torday remained at Kenge until 
all the loads had been despatched. Shortly after leaving the 
village I came upon quite a considerable river, known to the 
natives as the Lumbunji, which is here about sixty yards in 
width, with a very strong stream. From what we could 
gather from the natives, this river must rise somewhere near 
to, or just to the south of, the Angola boundary, and it 
flows parallel to the Loange, entering the Kasai a little to 



326 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

the eastward of that river. For a few miles from its con- 
fluence with the Kasai it is navigable for canoes, but at 
Kenge the stream is too strong and the river much too 
littered up with fallen trees to render the use of boats 
possible. A rough bridge of logs had existed across it on 
the way from Kenge to Makasu, but this had recently been 
destroyed by the Bakongo, evidently with the intention of 
cutting off our retreat to the eastwards, so that I had to waste 
some time on the march while our Bambala felled saplings 
and reconstructed the bridge. 

Upon arriving at Makasu I found all the inhabitants 
squatting in the shed beneath the ramparts of the village 
awaiting my arrival. Not one man was armed, and I, of 
course, carefully avoided arousing any suspicion by appear- 
ing in the village with a rifle in my hands or with a gun- 
bearer close beside me. The chief greeted me, and took 
me to a shed outside the walls where the loads we had 
despatched the day before had been deposited. Here I 
awaited the arrival of the Bakongo, who were bringing on 
our belongings from Kenge. They had agreed to accept 
wages in salt for this service, but I fully anticipated that 
some trouble might arise over their payment. To my 
astonishment, however, they accepted the amount of salt 
agreed upon without a murmur, and by dint of throwing 
in a tew additional handfuls of that useful commodity to 
the portions of one or two women who had volunteered to 
carry loads, and by giving a little here and there as presents 
to children who accompanied their mothers, I managed to 
send the majority of the Bakongo back to their homes 
smiling and contented. One of our boxes had been broken 



INTO THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY 327 

open on the way. That box contained the clock-work 
elephant ! The two Bakongo who were carrying it had 
turned over some cloth which they found upon opening the 
lid, in the hope that there might be some iron or knives 
concealed beneath it, and what their feelings were when they 
discovered that they had disturbed the dreaded elephant I 
cannot imagine. At any rate they deposited it at Makasu 
and started off for home at a run, without waiting a moment 
to receive the payment which I should have been perfectly 
willing to give them. Torday came on just before sun- 
down, accompanied by the Bambala, who had that day 
accomplished the journey from Kenge twice. An incident 
occurred during this march which serves to show the lack 
of forethought of the negro. Realising that our men had 
a hard day's work before them, Torday had in the morning 
issued orders that they should partake of a hearty meal 
before starting upon their first journey, and that they 
should carry a little food with them on the way. When 
he arrived in Makasu all the Bambala excepting one 
(Moamba, the youth who had joined us at Luano), accom- 
panied him, and, imagining that he had stopped to wash 
himself at some stream, the lad's absence at first caused us no 
anxiety, but when three or four hours later he had not put in 
an appearance, we feared that he must have been molested 
by the Bakongo, or that some accident might have happened 
to him. Several of his companions at once volunteered to 
return along the road in search of him, and, taking one of 
our camp lanterns, they set out. After some time they 
returned, bringing with them Moamba, who was in a very 
exhausted condition. We gave him a good dose of whisky 



328 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

and water, which we had some difficulty in making him 
drink, and some food, and then inquired what had happened 
to him. " Hunger seized me," replied the boy, " so I lay 
down in the forest." When asked what he thought was 
going to happen to him there, he said that he did not know. 
He then informed us that he had forgotten to eat anything 
before starting out in the morning, despite our orders that 
the men were to partake of a hearty breakfast, and apparently 
had thrown away the food he had brought with him for the 
journey. When he began to feel weak from the effects of 
hunger he had ceased to care in the least what happened to 
him. A day or two's rest at Makasu, however, soon set 
him on his feet again, and he was quite strong by the time 
we were ready to move on to the next village. 



CHAPTER IX 

AMONG THE BASHILELE 

Upon quitting Kenge we left the country of the Bakongo, 
leaving behind us all serious difficulties in our journey from 
the Loange to the Kasai. The Bashilele of Makasu were 
remarkably friendly ; they were dignified in their manner 
towards us, and although, when we showed them the clock- 
work elephant, they were evidently much impressed by it, 
we could clearly see that the natives were by no means 
afraid of us. They had expressed their willingness to receive 
us and to treat us well, and so long as we refrained from 
any sort of aggression towards them, it was evidently their 
intention to let us pass freely through their country. While 
staying in this village we gathered a certain amount of 
information about the Bashilele and the Bakongo. These 
peoples are in reality two divisions of the same tribe, both 
of them owing allegiance to the same great chief, Goman 
Vula. From various unmistakable pieces of evidence to be 
found in their culture, Torday has been able to definitely 
establish the fact that the inhabitants of the country between 
the Loange and the Kasai are an offshoot of the great 
Bushongo nation, as he had so strongly suspected after his 
researches at the Mushenge. He found that many of the 
mythical heroes of the Bushongo were well known to the 
Bashilele, and the use of a divining instrument in the shape 



330 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

of a crocodile, exactly similar to that in use among the 
Bushongo, as well as similarity in the shape of their houses, 
are examples of some of the points which indicate the close 
relationship between these peoples. With regard to Goman 
Vula, we learned that his village lies two days' march to the 
north of Makasu. It is, of course, difficult to estimate 
how many miles this represents, for the only means that the 
native possesses of indicating the length of a journey is to 
show the point in the heavens at which the sun would be 
when the traveller arrived at his destination were he to start 
at dawn. We roughly calculated the probable distance 
from Makasu to Goman Vula's capital at about fifty miles 
by the track, but as the crow flies the distance would most 
likely be considerably shorter. In displaying our elephant 
at Makasu we v/ere careful to explain that by nature our 
" fetish " was peaceful, and that only when any violence was 
offered to us or to our followers would it cause harm to befall 
the natives through whose country we were travelling, and 
this explanation seemed to set the minds of the natives 
completely at rest with regard to the peaceful nature of our 
visit. During the two or three days that we spent in this 
village resting after the excitements of Kenge, we were 
several times taken out in search of guinea-fowl by the 
Bashilele, who seemed quite ready to do anything that we 
asked them, and who were very much astonished at seeing 
birds shot on the wing. We discovered that the rumours 
we had heard of the presence of the Badjok traders in the 
district had been quite true, for we found outside Makasu 
a group of the temporary grass shelters which these people 
erect when travelling, for it appears that they do not as a 




A B\D_|OK CAMP AT M AKASU, 




]>ASHILELE lU'.MEK; 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 331 

rule reside in the villages which they visit. This encamp- 
ment had been only recently deserted, and we learned that 
its inhabitants had been engaged solely in collecting rubber, 
to be subsequently sold to the white traders on the Kasai, 
so that our fears for the safety of our porters had in reality 
been quite unfounded. We could not learn much from the 
Bashilele of Makasu with regard to the number of stages 
which we should have to march before reaching the Kasai, 
but they agreed to carry our loads to another village, also 
called Makasu, about ten miles to the south-east, where 
they said we should be able to obtain more precise infor- 
mation. Our way lay beside the course of a brook named 
the Miloa, a tributary of the Lumbunji, in the swamps 
around the course of which we found many fresh tracks of 
elephants. 

Our reception at the second village of Makasu was as 
friendly as at the first. Torday explained to the natives that 
our only desire was to reach our homes, and in order to do 
this it was necessary for us to proceed to one of the factories 
of the Kasai Company upon the shores of the Kasai, of the 
existence of which the people of this village had heard. 
But the chief of the second village of Makasu appeared 
by no means anxious for us to leave at once, so we willingly 
settled down to spend a few days in his village, where we 
could enjoy a splendid opportunity of studying the daily 
life of a people among whom European influence has not 
yet begun to be felt. Every village between the Loange 
and the Kasai appears to be entirely self-supporting ; every 
man manufactures his own garments, weaving the cloth 
from palm fibre in the same way as do the Bushongo ; 



332 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

accompanied by his dogs, he participates in hunting expedi- 
tions, supplying his family with meat from his share of the 
game, and the Bashilele as hunters are far superior to their 
kinsmen around the Mushenge ; he makes his own bows, 
bow-strings, and the shafts of his arrows, while he forms 
and decorates with carving the wooden cups from which he 
drinks his palm wine ; his wives cultivate sufficient land to 
supply the family needs with cassava ; his children tend his 
chickens and goats. In fact, the only things which a man 
must buy, being unable to make them for himself, are iron 
objects, such as arrow and spear-heads, knives, and bracelets, 
all of which are the work of the village blacksmith, who is 
paid for them in meat, fowls, food stuffs, or palm cloth. 

When not engaged in hunting, clearing the ground for 
plantations, or in the manufacture of cloth, the Bashilele 
men lead a life of complete idleness, smoking green tobacco 
in carved wooden pipes in the sheds or beneath the shade 
of the palm-trees outside the village walls. Early in the 
morning a little cassava dough is eaten, and the women go 
forth to work in the fields, returning in the evening to 
pound the cassava root into flour, and to cook the evening 
meal. Such is the daily life of a people upon whom 
European civilisation has as yet made not the slightest 
impression. So little do the Bashilele wander beyond the 
immediate surroundings of their own homes, that very few 
of the inhabitants of any village are acquainted with the 
track even to the next settlement of their own tribe ; and 
we found in travelling through their country that often, 
even when carrying our loads to another Bashilele village, 
the men would arm as if for war — that is to say, they 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 333 

would take with them from twenty to thirty arrows with 
their bows, instead of the two or three habitually carried. 
The Bashilele, like the Bakongo, are a fine, stalwart race 
of men. They use a good deal of tukula in the orna- 
mentation of their persons, and their hair is usually care- 
fully dressed in a high topknot — a point in which they 
differ from the Bakongo, who usually plait their hair 
closely upon their heads. By nature they are peaceful, and 
by no means live up to the terrible reputation with which 
they have been endowed by white men who have never 
visited their country ; but at the same time the Bashilele 
are born warriors, and any act of aggression on the part of 
the traveller would be instantly and energetically resented. 
During our stay at the second village of Makasu, an incident 
occurred which showed us that the Bashilele are always 
ready to defend their homes. We were sitting one after- 
noon in a shed amusing ourselves, and considerably astonish- 
ing the natives, with the intellectual pastime of blowing 
soap bubbles through a straw, when a woman ran up from 
the fields to the village, shouting and gesticulating wildly 
as she ran. In a moment the men, who had been occupied 
at their looms, or sitting smoking in the shade of the 
palm-trees, had sprung to their feet and rushed inside the 
stockade, to reappear in a moment or two armed to the 
teeth, some thrusting bundles of arrows into their girdles, 
others twisting spare bowstrings round their heads, and all 
shouting at the top of their voices, many of them giving 
utterance to the Bashilele war-cry. All the women then 
began to hurry in from their work in the plantations and 
sought shelter within the walls, at the same time shouting 



334 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 
to the men, and evidently inciting them to attack some 
enemy whom we had not yet seen. One of our men then 
came and informed us that a party of Badjok traders were 
approaching the village, and that the Bashilele had decided 
to attack them. Hearing an increased commotion upon 
the farther side of the village, Torday and I hurried round 
to see what was going on, and, upon turning the corner 
of the stockade, a truly remarkable sight presented itself. 
The Bashilele, yelling at the tops of their voices and 
dancing up and down in a frenzy of excitement, were 
surrounding three or four of the Badjok, stretching their 
bows at them, and threatening them with instant death. 
The Badjok, who consisted of one man, armed with a 
flintlock gun, and two or three small boys carrying baskets, 
stood in the midst of their enemies without making the 
smallest attempt to defend themselves, and without dis- 
playing the slightest trace of fear ; they did not even 
appear to be in the very least excited, but stood there, 
while the Bashilele aimed at them at a distance of only a 
few feet, as calmly as if they had been in their own village. 
One small boy had already been seized by the Bashilele 
and carried off as a prisoner within the stockade. Torday 
began to inquire what was the cause of this sudden out- 
burst on the part of the people of Makasu, but all that 
the Bashilele would reply was, " They will set fire to the 
grass and frighten away the game from our country, so we 
are going to shoot the whole lot of them." Torday there- 
upon attempted to calm down the excitement, and one or 
two of the older Bashilele who were present cried out 
to their friends to listen to what he had to say. He 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 335 

remarked that we were very averse to bloodshed, and that 
he hoped, out of friendship for us, the Bashilele would 
refrain from any breach of the peace ; he told the villagers 
that should the Badjok attempt to set fire to the grass we 
ourselves would punish them ; and finally, he chaffed the 
Bashilele warriors for turning out in such force to attack the 
few small children whom we saw before us. While he was 
speaking, the Bashilele assumed a less threatening attitude 
towards the intruders, and when he had finished they 
accompanied us and the Badjok to our shed to discuss 
what should be done ; but the arrival of another party of 
Badjok gave rise to a further demonstration on the part 
of the villagers, and it seemed probable that all our efforts 
to prevent a massacre would be of no avail. During the 
whole of these proceedings the Bashilele women never ceased 
to scream from inside the stockade, and cry out to their 
warriors to immediately commence hostilities, while one or 
two of the older women came out of the gates armed with 
large knives, with the evident intention of despatching any 
of the Badjok who might not be killed outright. When 
matters seemed at their worst the chief of Makasu appeared 
upon the scene for the first time, and, remarking that he 
alone was chief and intended to be obeyed, he requested his 
subjects to keep quiet, and to listen to what Torday had to 
say. Then began a long discussion. The chief pointed 
out that the Badjok had come into the country uninvited, 
and would in all probability completely ruin the hunting of 
the district by carelessly or intentionally setting fire to the 
grass in the plains, and that this would mean a serious loss 
of meat to the Bashilele. The leader of the Badjok party 



336 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

(most of which consisted of small boys accompanied by 
some half-dozen men armed with flintlock guns) then 
informed us that they came from far away to the south- 
ward from Angola, and were engaged in collecting rubber 
and ivory for sale at the white man's factories on the upper 
Kasai, and that, having made their fortunes at this occupa- 
tion, they would return to their homes. He pointed out 
that the Bashilele themselves had no use for the rubber 
(they never sold it to the white man), and that he and his 
party invariably paid liberal prices for any food-stuffs which 
they obtained from the local natives ; he assured us that 
all the Badjok were friends of the white man, and that 
they had no intention of causing any harm to any one. 
After a good deal of talk on both sides it was finally 
agreed that the Badjok should be allowed to depart peace- 
fully upon payment of tribute to the chief, and the 
Bashilele warriors thereupon dispersed to their various 
occupations as if nothing at all unusual had occurred. 
Torday remained in the village to make sure that no 
attempt to follow the strangers should be made, while I 
escorted the Badjok off the premises, impressing upon them 
the necessity for extreme care in avoiding an accidental 
conflagration in the plains, and telling them that should the 
Bashilele again decide to attack them, we should be power- 
less to prevent it. Torday expressed his thanks to the 
Bashilele chief and people for the courteous way in which 
they had deferred to his wishes when he asked them to 
abstain from an attack, and he handed them over a sack 
of salt to be distributed among the people as a present to 
mark his appreciation of their behaviour. During the 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 337 

whole of that night the Bashilele held a dance of triumph, 
yelling and singing at the top of their voices, and a couple 
of hours after sunrise on the following morning this dance 
was still in progress, although many of the dancers could 
hardly lift their feet and were streaming with perspiration. 
Several of our acquaintances in the village completely lost 
their voices for some days as a result of their singing in 
celebration of the bloodless victory. And so the incident 
ended satisfactorily for all concerned — the Badjok had had 
a very lucky escape ; the Bashilele had been prevented 
from bringing down upon themselves an invasion in such 
force as would certainly have overwhelmed them had they 
murdered this small party of Badjok ; and we had been 
able to witness a real war scare among the Bashilele, and to 
observe how courteous these primitive people are to guests 
for whom they have conceived a liking. At the first alarm 
all the male members of the population of over six or seven 
years old had taken arms, quite small children of about 
eight being as eager for battle as the grown-up warriors ; 
the women, except for a few who came out to kill the 
wounded, had all remained behind the stockade, and in 
their hurried flight from the plantations had hastily con- 
cealed in the bush their hoes, baskets, and other belongings 
which might hinder them in their retreat. As usual our 
own men behaved with exemplary coolness, and took 
neither one side nor the other in the dispute when any 
interference on their part might easily have caused the 
Bashilele to turn their attentions from the Badjok to our- 
selves. We had been very much impressed by the coolness 
of the Badjok during the incident related above, but we 

y 



338 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

were scarcely prepared for the display of audacity which 
a few of them gave us next morning by calmly turning up 
at the village of Makasu merely, as they expressed it, 
to wish us good-day. They absolutely disregarded the 
presence of the Bashilele, and the latter took no notice 
of them. 

After leaving the second village of Makasu, which we 
did a few days after the incident alluded to above, no event 
of any importance occurred during our passage to the 
Kasai. Up to Makasu we had been able to find very few 
natives who had ever been so far eastwards as the Black 
River (as the Bashilele term the Kasai), but now that we 
were about half-way from the Loange we came across quite 
a number of people who had been there, and we began to 
hear of the whereabouts of the Kasai Company's factories, 
one of which we hoped to reach when we got to the river 
bank. As is often the case in the Congo, these factories 
possessed one name by which the white men and their 
employees call them, and a totally different one by which 
they are known to the local natives. It was very difficult, 
therefore, to ascertain which post it would be best for us to 
make for of the three which existed. We eventually decided 
to try to reach Bena Luidi, which lies upon the left bank 
of the Kasai at its confluence with the Lulua. From 
Makasu we proceeded to a village named Kitambi, where 
we met with the same friendly reception that had been 
accorded us at both the Bashilele villages in which we had 
stayed. We were particularly struck v/ith the gentlemanly 
bearing of all the Bashilele chiefs with whom we came in 
contact. They were just as dignified as their kinsmen the 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 339 

Bushongo, but they appeared to be more manly and lack the 
blase swaggering manner of such men as Isambula N'Genga, 
the chief of Mlsumba. The old chief of Kitambi showed 
us every possible consideration. One evening Torday and 
I had been out to shoot some guinea-fowl, and upon re- 
turning to the village we were met by the chief, who 
inquired if we had heard any shouting in the village during 
our absence, and said that he would like to assure us that 
the disturbances which had arisen were entirely between his 
own subjects, and did not in any way concern our men. He 
told us this that we might not imagine that our people had 
disobeyed our instructions to behave peacefully in the 
village, and also that we, his guests, should not be in any 
way put out by the trouble, which was of a purely domestic 
nature (in fact, divorce proceedings of a somewhat stormy 
character). 

We spent several days in Kitambi, and by dint of dosing 
the natives for various minor complaints we contrived to 
make ourselves so popular that they were quite unwilling 
to let us proceed upon our way, and it was not until Torday 
had resorted to the device of playing upon the feelings of 
the women, saying that he was most anxious to reach his 
home in order to see his family, from whom he had been 
separated for many years, that we were able- to persuade the 
people to carry our loads, and thus permit us to depart 
from their midst. Just before leaving Kitambi a small 
party of Badjok appeared in the village, having been sent 
to visit us by their chief, who Uved some two days' journey 
to the south, to request us to stay in his village, and to say 
that if we decided to pass that way his people would convey 



340 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

our loads to the Kasai. We therefore started off to the 
village of this chief Mayila, passing one night in a Bashilele 
hamlet on the way. Upon arriving at Mayila's village we 
discovered that it was more or less of a temporary one, 
being the most northerly settlement of the Badjok, who 
have in considerable numbers moved out of Angola into 
Congo territory, in order to collect rubber in districts like 
the Bashilele country, where the local natives do not trade 
in that commodity, and hunt elephants and sell the ivory 
and rubber thus obtained to the neighbouring factories of 
the Kasai Company. Having spent 'a few years in thus 
amassing a fortune, the Badjok return to Angola where 
spirituous liquors are permitted to be sold to the natives, 
and waste their substance in riotous living. So keen are 
these people to trade with the white man that I do not 
believe they possess one single article which they would not 
sell, but the prices they demand are so extremely high that 
during our stay with them we were not able to make very 
extensive purchases for the Museum. As an instance of 
their enthusiasm to trade, I may mention that one of these 
people suggested to us in all seriousness that he should 
accompany us to Europe, bringing with him his rubber and 
ivory, and thus save the middleman's profit, which he was 
astute enough to know must be made by the trading com- 
panies in Africa. The Badjok are a truly remarkable 
people. Undersized and dirty, there is nothing picturesque 
about them, but being born warriors and possessing ab- 
solutely no sense of fear, they have in the past migrated from 
the south, conquering tribe after tribe with which they came 
in contact ; in fact, only one race of the south-western 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 341 

Congo, the Babunda, has fairly defeated them on the field 
of battle. Nowadays the presence of European authority 
had stemmed the tide of the Badjok invasion, and although 
these people, had they decided to take up arms against the 
white man, could have rendered the occupation of the 
upper Kasai extremely difficult, their enthusiasm for trade 
has led them to realise that fortunes were to be made in 
commerce with the white man, and they accordingly be- 
came his friends. They are the only tribe with whom we 
came into contact who habitually hunt elephants for their 
ivory. Their method for doing so is as follows : Armed 
with flintlock guns (it is curious that although they are 
wealthy the Badjok prefer to use the cheapest variety of 
" gaspipe " that is sold in the Kasai), a party of half-a- 
dozen hunters proceed to the various swamps in search of 
elephants. Upon finding an animal carrying a good pair of 
tusks, two of the Badjok fire together at his head, usually 
bringing him to his knees. These two then run away and 
hastily reload their guns, while two more shoot simultane- 
ously at the animal's head and also retire to reload, leaving 
the remaining two to take their shots and then run away. 
By the time the third pair of Badjok have discharged their 
guns the first pair have reloaded and are ready to shoot 
again, and in this way a continuous fusillade is kept up 
until the unfortunate elephant is dead. Although the 
Badjok were very friendly to us, our stay in their village 
was not particularly comfortable. We were neither of us 
in very good health, Torday having suffered from toothache 
for some weeks, and I having broken a bone in my hand 
some months before at the Mushenge, which I had never 



342 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

been able to have set, and which was a constant cause of 
worry to me. We were therefore in need of as much rest 
as the conditions of our life would allow, but in the Badjok 
village sleep was almost out of the question, for all through 
the night the people would keep up an animated conversa- 
tion at the top of their voices, each one remaining in his 
house and shouting to his friends at the other side of the 
village. Dances, too, with their inevitable accompaniment of 
tom-toms, were very frequently held, and always appeared to 
take place as near as possible to our tents just as we were 
hoping to get to sleep. Old Mayila, their chief, must have 
been nearly eighty years of age ; in his younger days he had 
travelled (possibly as a slave raider) very extensively, and 
knew practically the whole of the country between Lake 
Tanganyika and St. Paul de Loanda on the west coast. Tor- 
day was able to check his veracity when he told us this, for 
he himself knows the country about Tanganyika, and also 
round the Portuguese frontier by the upper waters of the 
Kwilu, and he told me that the old chief knew the name of 
every stream and village which he mentioned to him. The 
old man was quite an amusing character. He induced his 
warriors to hold a dance in our honour, in the course of 
which a good deal of powder was squibbed off from the old 
flintlock guns, and at the conclusion of the dance Torday 
produced a present of gunpowder and requested the chief 
to distribute it among the performers. " I will keep it for 
them," replied the old fellow, hastily carrying it off to his 
hut, and, despite the angry protestations of those for whom 
the present was intended, not one of them got so much as 
a single load from those canisters. Old Mayila was ex- 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 343 

tremely fond of liquid refreshment, and he would always 
contrive to be present when I took my daily drink of 
whisky before supper. He did not hesitate to ask for 
some, and at last grew so importunate that I was compelled 
to take my grog in the privacy of my tent, pretending that 
our supply was finished. Although Mayila had promised 
that his people should carry our loads to the Kasai, we soon 
discovered that he had in reality induced us to visit him in 
the hope of being able to sell us rubber, and when he found 
that we would not purchase any of that commodity he 
declined to use his influence to persuade his subjects to 
carry for us. No one was in the least anxious to act as a 
carrier, for the Badjok told us plainly that they could make 
a better profit by spending their time in collecting rubber 
and in hunting elephants than in accompanying us to the 
Kasai. Although this delayed us some days it did not 
seriously inconvenience us, for we persuaded a native to 
convey a letter to the white man's factory of Bena Luidi, 
and the Kasai Company's agent there sent his own work- 
men to bring on our loads to his post. Two very long 
days' marching sufficed to take us to the river after spend- 
ing about two months in the unknown country. 

Although the distance, as the crow flies, from the 
Loange to the Kasai is only about eighty miles, we were 
pleased at having performed a journey which we had been 
assured was quite impossible. By discovering that the country 
consists, for the most part, of grassy uplands and not of 
impenetrable forest, we had cleared up the doubts which 
had existed as to its nature ; Torday had been able to con- 
firm his theories as to the relationship between its inhabi- 



344 LAND AND PEOPLES OF THE KASAI 

tants and the Bushongo, thus adding very considerably to 
the value of his researches among the latter people, and 
we had shown that, with careful handling, the Bakongo and 
Bashilele are by no means so hostile to the white man as 
we had been led to believe. We were particularly pleased 
that, contrary to the predictions of Europeans, we had been 
able to carry out our project without employing an armed 
force and without having to fire a single shot in anger. It is 
true that we have never been able to see the great chief 
Goman Vula, but, as I have shown, the means at our disposal 
were not sufficient to enable us to bribe the Bakongo into 
leading us to his village. As an instance of how false 
reports gain credence in this part of Africa, I may mention 
that our safe arrival on the banks of the Kasai occasioned 
no little surprise among the traders and the captains of the 
steamers which plied upon that river, for a rumour had 
been circulated that the whole of our party had been 
massacred, and we ourselves had been eaten by the 
Bakongo ! 

I do not know how this story originated, especially as 
the Bakongo are not, and never have been, cannibals, but I 
imagine that the white men who considered that we were 
running a great risk in going into the unexplored country 
must, in the absence of news from us, have begun to fear that 
we had been murdered, and no doubt each time these fears 
were expressed something was added to them, and in this 
way what was considered a possibility rapidly grew into a 
fact. However it may have arisen, we found that the 
rumour had actually reached the coast, and furthermore, that 
a Belgian trader, on his way home to Europe, had informed 



AMONG THE BASHILELE 345 

Messrs. Hatton and Cookson's agent at Boma that he 
should proceed to England to break the news of my death 
to my parents ! It was fortunate that he did not do so, for 
I have no doubt that by the time he had reached my home 
he would have imagined that he himself had been an eye- 
witness of the massacre which he might have described, 
together with details of the cannibal feast which followed. 
With our arrival at Bena Luidi our wanderings in the Kasai 
came practically to an end, for we descended the river to 
Dima as soon as a steamer arrived on its way down stream 
from Luebo, and thence hastened on to the coast to catch 
a vessel which should bear us homeward after an absence of 
two years. 

Although we had experienced some few hardships, and 
the climate of the forest has probably left its mark per- 
manently upon our constitutions, we were not displeased 
with our work, for we had been able to amass a great 
number of objects for the British Museum, and we had 
tried our best to turn to good advantage the opportunities 
we had enjoyed of studying the primitive African negro 
before he has been materially changed by contact with the 
European — opportunities which, as the white man's influence 
spreads over the heart of the Dark Continent, must become 
rarer and more rare until the not far distant day arrives 
when the African native in his savage state exists no more. 



FO 



INDEX 



AkeLA tribe, 126, 160, 161 

Aspect, clothing, dental and other 

customs, dwellings, &c., 

179-81 
Albinos, negro, at Lusambo, 80 
Alcohol, sale of, restrictions on, 5, 6 
Alela, see Athenes 
Animal Sacrifices, Bushongo, 101-2 
Arab influence on Batetela tribes, 

160, 161 
Arrows, poisoned, of the Batwa, 83 
Athenes (Alela) factory, 260, 264, 274 
Country round, stay and work at 

and near, 265 et seq. 
Tribes near, 235 

Babunda tribe — 

Aspect of, 265 

Bowmanship of, 273 

Characteristics of, 267, 272, 280 

Death and burial customs, 264, 273 

Dress and ornaments of, 266 

Dwellings, 262 

Location of, 235 

Rubber trade of, 266 

Singing of, 35, 263 
Baboma tribe, 26 
Baby as war-trap, 146 
Badinga tribe, Kasai river, hostility 

of, 276 
Badjok tribe — 

Characteristics of, 337-8, 340-1 

Chief, visit to, 339 

Dances of, 342 

Elephant-hunting by, 341 

Grass shelters of, 330 

Slave raids by, 78, 306-7, 324 

Trade and methods of, 340 

Traders, 232, 330-1 

near Makasu, 334 et seq. 
Sheep bred by, 289 



Bangendi sub-tribe, rising of, 221-2 

Visited by Torday, 1 1 1 
Bakongo {see also Bashilele) tribe — 
Bad repute of, 227 
Bombeecke on, 278-9 
Cannibalism ascribed to, 287, 

falsely, 344 
Characteristics, 304, 306, 308-9 

et seq. 
Chief of, 294 
Cups made by, 282, 309 
Dress and ornaments, 308 

Head-dress, 330 
Dwellings (at Insashi), 292-3 
Fetish of, 313 
Hunting methods of, 300-1 
Porters, 298, difficulties with, 301 
et seq. 
Women as, 297, 302-3 
Subdivision of the Bushongo, 329 
Village and stockade (Insashi), 293 
Bakuba {see also Bushongo) tribe, 80 
" Baluba," so-called, origin of, and 
problem of, 72 et seq., 233, 
281 
Baluba tribe (true) — 
Birth customs of, 79 
Dress of women of, 79 
Location of, 74 
Bambala tribe — 

Bowmanship of, 273 
Cannibalism of, 252 
Characteristics of, 76, 254-6 
Dwellings of, 254 
Singing of (Kwilu river), 35, 263 
Slavery among, 76, 256 
Tournaments of, 255-6 
Northern, Agriculture of, 252 
Southern, Porters from, 253, 259 
et seq., excellence of, 304-5 
Torday's acquaintance with, 235 



348 



INDEX 



Banana Point, 2 

Bangongo, sub-tribe, of Bushongo, 
90 

Dwellings of, 190 

Head-dresses of, 188 
Bankutu tribe — 

Appearance and physique of, 133, 
134 

Cannibalism among, 75, 125, 138, 
148-9, 252 

Characteristics of, 133-7, 142 etseq. 

Dwellings, 133 

"Country houses" of, 138-9 

Keloids used by, 134 

Location of, 125 

Problem of, 149-50 

Slavery among, 75 

Slaves eaten by, on death, 75, 148-9 

Warfare of, 144-7 

Women of, 1 34 
Bapende tribe, 278 

Dance of, 279 

Dress and ornaments of, &c., 280 

Dwellings, 283 

Non-cannibal, 258 
Dog-eaters, 258-9 
Bapindji tribe — 

Characteristics, 271-2 

Location of, 235 269 
Bashilele {see also Bakongo) tribe — 

Arts and crafts, 330-1 

Aspect and physique, 333 

Bad repute of, 227 

Cannibalism of, 287 

Chief of, 279, bearing of, 338-9 

Courtesy of, to guests, 337, 339 

Daily life of, 331-2 

Head-dress of, 330 

Hostility of, 29 

Location of, 29 

at Makasu, 323, 325 et seq. 

Origin of, 226 

Subdivision of the Bushongo, 329 

Warlike qualities of, 333 et seq. 
Basonge tribe — 

Arts and crafts of, 35-7 

Cannibalism of, 37, 61 

Dance and music of, 35-6 

Weapons of, 37 
Basongo, post at, 28, 29 



Basongo-Meno tribe, unfriendliness 

of, 86-7, 1 1 5-6, 130 
Bateke tribe, village of, Kinshasa, 

11-12 
Batempa, journey to, 27, 28 et seq. 
Christmas Day at, 33 
View from, 33, 33 
Yuka (animal) at, 33-5. 
Batetela country, journey in, 2)2) etseq. 

Sleeping-sickness in, 64-5 
Batetela tribe, 27 

Agriculture of, 58-9, 62 
Arts and crafts of, 52, 55, 65 
Cannibalism among, 61 
Dress of, 42, 43-4, 54 
Dwellings of, 43 

Rubber collectors' huts, 131 
European and Arab influence mani- 
fest among, 56, 94, 160, 161 
Fetish customs of, 58 
Foods of, 79 
Friendliness of, to Europeans, 150, 

160-1, 169, 174, 175 
Head-ornaments, male, 45 
History of, Okitu on, 60-1 
Local politics of, 49, 67 
Marriage customs of, 56 
Physique, 42, 43-4 
Signalling gong of, and its uses, 

67-8 
Sub-tribes — 

Forest dwelling, 156, 160 et seq. 
Tobacco grown and smoked by, 
51-2 
Batetela-Bankutu tribes, mternecme 

border warfare of, 131 
Batwa dwarfs, Bushongo region, 
clothing and hunting skill 
of, 82-4, 89, 96-7, 134 
Origin of, legend of, 84 
Vocabulary of, secured, 96-7 
Bayanzi tribe, 243 

Cannibalism of, 258-9 
Courage of, 234 
Location of, 242, 244 
Bembe, see Yu/ca 
Bena Dibele, post, 123-4, 186 
Animal life near, 127 
Climate at, 126-7 
Rubber plantations near, 124-5 



INDEX 



349 



Bena Luidi, factory, 338, 343, 345 
Bena Lulua tribe, courage of, 233 
Benga, a Bapende "boy," 258-9 
Bienge factory, location of, 260 
Bilumbu, the, at Misumba, 103 et seq. 
Birds seen at Gandu, 121 
Birth customs, Baluba tribe, 79 
Bishwambura, 301, 304 
Bolombo, journey to, 185 
Boma, 2 
Bombeecke, M., of Dumba, 277, 278 

et seq. 
Bompe, 301, 3P5 
Bomu Island, Congo river, 15 
Bondo, Kwilu cataracts at, 269-70 
Boo, a boy chief, 164, 165 
Bos caffer simpsoni^ n.sp., discovered 

by the expedition, 178, 248 
Bow versus muzzle-loader, 69 
Bows and arrows of Batwa dwarf 

hunters, 83 
" Boys," hints on handling, 38 et seq. 
Bridges, Native, &c. — 

Creeper, 65 

Log, 89, 326 

Pole, 275 
British Museum, 345 ; uses of ex- 
plained to the Nyimi, 193-4 
British West Africa, natives of, at 

Dima, 23 
Buffalo-hunting, Dima, 26 
Buffaloes, love of salt of, 12 

Where found, 191, 242 et seq., 278 
Bush-buck, 63 
Bushongo district — 

Volcanic crevices in, 88 
Iron from, 112 

Legend of that near Misumba, 
88-9 
Bushongo people, 27, 80 

Appearance and physique of, 133 

Arts and crafts of {see also Carv- 
ings), 93-4, 207, 309 

Batwa huntsmen of, 82 et seq. 

Carvings by, 27, 36, 102, 109 
Portrait statues, 186-7, 207-10 

Characteristics, 93-4, 219 

Children (girls), ornaments of, 81 

Dances of, 102, iio-ii, 201 et seq. 

Disunion among, 198-9, 221-2 



Bushongo people {continued}— 

Divination among, 21 1-2, 329-30 

Dress of, ceremonial, at dances, 
III, 201 

Dwellings of, 95-6, 133, 190, 195-6, 
330 

Fishing methods of, 185-6 

Folk-tales of. 106 
of the Vuka, 106 

Foods of, 213 

Funeral customs of, 21 1-2 

History of, compiled by Torday, 
205 et seq. 

Hunting of, 82 et seq., loi, 225 

Origin of, 205 

Punishments among, 219-20 

Religious ideas of, 217 

Rising of (1904), 199-200, 213-4 

Ruler of, and Viceroys, 90-1 

Sacred objects of, 208 

Secret society among, strength of, 
114 

Slaves of, position of, 76 

Sub-tribes of, 90 

Tobacco grown by, 2 1 5 

Trading keenness of, 1 10 

Tukula dye used by, 81 

Weapons, 93 
Buya, Bayanzi "boy," a child, 257-8 
Bwabwa village, visit to, 298-9 
Bwao, 301 

Cam-wood, see Tukula 
Cannibalism, past and present, 37, 

61, 7S> 138, 142 et seq., i-jb, 

227, 258-9 
Carvings of the Bushongo, 27, 36, 93, 

109, 207-10 
Cephalophos simpsoni,n.s-p. of Duiker, 

found near Kole, 150-1 
Chaltin, Colonel, 223, 230-1, 237 
Charms of the Bapende, 280, 284 

at Entrances to villages, 190-1,299 
Chenjo, 140 
Chiefs, appointment of, errors in, 

90-1, 117, 127-8 
Chikongo dialect, where used, 6 
Chituba language, 192 
Clay applications, Southern Bam- 

bala, 253 



350 



INDEX 



Climate and health, i, 2, 7, 9-10 et 

passim 
Cloth, remarkable, made by the Bus- 

hongo, 210 
Cloth-weaving, Bushongo, 93 
Congo Railway, 5 et seq. 
Congo Region, Fetishes worn 
throughout, 58 
Sleeping-sickness in, 17, see that 

head 
Southern, slavery in, classes of, 78 
Congo River, cataracts on, 8, 13, 85 
Estuary of, ports at, 2 
Scenery on, 2, 4-5, 9, 15 et seq. 
Upper, vessels on, 8 
Crocodiles, where found, 17, 21, 241 
Carved, in Bushongo divination, 
21 1-2, 329-30 
Cuckoo, Emerald, 132 

Dance space, Bakongo village, 293 
Dances, various tribes — 
; Badjok, 342 
' Bapende tribe, 279 

Basonge, 35-6 

Batetela tribes, forest-dwelling, 17 

Bushongo, 102, iio-ii, 201-2, 
203-4, 21 1-2 
Death and Burial Customs — 

Akela tribe, 181 

Babunda, 264, 273 

Bankutu (slaves), 75, 148-9 

Bushongo tribe, 201-3, 211-2 

Kasai region, 75 

Okale tribe, 176 

Olemba tribe, 162 
Decoy-duck, use of, 119-20 
Dilonda, Bapende chief, 283, deal- 
ings with, 284 et seq. 
Dima, 10, 345 

Animal life near, 26 

Importance of, 21 et seq. 

Improvements at, 229-30 

Journey from, to the Sankuru, 27 
et seq. 

Natives at, 23-5 
Religion of, 24 
Divining instruments, Bushongo, 

210-11, 329-30 
Divorce case, at Misumba, 108-9 



Dogs, Cannibal horror of eating,258-9 
European, able to live in Congo- 
land, 183 
Hunting, of Native tribes, 300-1, 
332 
Doviaine privde, Congo district, 123, 

124 
Domestic animals, Kasai region, 274 
Doorposts, carved, at the Mushenge, 

197 
Dover Cliffs, Congo, 16 
Drawings, coloured, of the Batetela, 

52 
Dress of various tribes — 
Akela, 179-80 
Bakongo, 308 
Baluba, 79 

Bambala, Southern, 253 
Bapende (boys', for initiation), 

282-3 
Batetela, 43-4 
Batwa dwarf hunters, 83 
Bushongo, ceremonial, at dances, 
III, 201-4 
King's, 192 
Okale, 175 
Vungi, 173 
Drums — 
Friction, 255 

Signalling (or gong), 67-8, 132, 
175-6 
Duiker, 63-4, n.sp., Kole, 150-1 
Dumba factory, 29, 236, 260 
Journey to and beyond, 275 et seq. 
River at, country round, and ame- 
nities of, 275 et seq. 
Dutch House, trading firm, 2 
Dwellings of various tribes — 
Akela, 181 
Babunda, 262-3 
Bakongo (of Insashi), 292-3 
Bambala, 254 

Bangongo (at Misumba), 190 
Bankutu, 133 
Bapende, 283 
Bateke, 12 
Batetela, 43 

Bushongo, 330, (at Misumba) 95-6, 
133, (near the Mushenge) 
190, 195-6 



INDEX 



3S 



Dwellings {continued) — 
Lusambo, 80 
Vungi, 173 

Earthquakes, Misumba, legend 

on, 88-9 
Egg-blowing, native surprise at, 313, 

315 
Elephant-hunting of the Badjok, 341 
Elephants, where found, 21, 224, 331 
Elephants, clockwork, effect of, on 

natives, 228-9, 261-2, 270-1,' 

286, 300, 31 1-2, 313, 320-2, 

324, 327, 329 
Elephant's tusk, as royal chair-back, 

190, 202 
Embroidery, Bushongo, 93-4 
Emin Pasha, 64 

Eolo factory, Kasai river, 28, 29 
Escorts, pros and cons of, 233-4 
Eyelash extraction, of Bakongo 

women, 308 

Female line, succession to Bushongo 

kingship, 205 
Fermes chapelles of Jesuit missions, 

238 ^/ seq. 
Fetish-man, Oyumba, skill of, 163-4 
Fetishes of the 
Bakongo, 313 
Bushongo, Hunting, at Misumba, 

lOI 

Sacrifices to, 101-2 

Kasai natives, how considered, 58 
Fire, native carelessness as to, 188 
Fishing, primitive methods, 120 
Flute, played by the Nose, 254-5 
Folk-tales of the Bushongo, 106 
Food of the 

Batetela, 79 

Vungi, 174 
Forest life, depression caused by, 186 
Forest marching, 170-3, 177-8, 214 
Forest region, Animal life in, wealth 

of, 1 50-1, 178-9 
Forest tribes, 138 ei seq. 

Warfare of, 144-7 
Forests — 

near Kole, mists and other draw- 
backs in, 147-8 

along the Kwilu, 240 



Friction Drum, 255 

Fuchs, M., 3 

Fuel for Kwilu steamers, 241 

Fumu A'' / angu^ s.w.s., journey on, 14 

Gamba, incident at, 136-7 
Gandu — 

Animal and bird life at, 120-3 
jMosquitoes at, 11 8-9 
Tsetse-fiy at, 118 
Gandu, of Kanenenke, 312 ^/ seq. 
Gentil, M., 232, 236 
Ghost dance, of the Bushongo, 203-4 
Ghosts, Bankutu precaution against, 

148 
Girl-dancers of the Basonge, 36 
Goman Vula, chief, 279, 294, 298, 
344 
Decree of against European goods, 

310 
Tribes ruled by, 329 
Village of, 313, 330 
Gong or Drum, Signalling, Batetela 

tribes, 67-8, 133, 175-6 
Great Lakes Railway Co., 13 
Greeting, nasal, Olemba tribe, 162 
Gustin, Commandant, 31, 67, 70, 84, 
85 

Hair and head-dressing of various 
tribes — 

Babunda, 266 

Bangongo, 188 

Bankutu, 134 

Southern Bambala, 253 

Bashilele, 330 
Hardy, N., sketches by, 21 et alibi 
Harnessed bush-buck, 26 
Hatton & Cookson, Messrs., 4, 12, 

345 
Hemp-smoking of the Batetela, 256 
Hippopotami — 

Kasai river, 17, 19, 20 

Kasai and Sankuru rivers, epidemic 
among, 29 

Kwilu river, 241 

Sankuru river, hunt, with Zappo, 
122-3 

Wissman Pool, 20 
Human Sacrifice, 75, and see 148-9 



352 INDEX 



Hunting methods, various tribes — 
Bakongo, 300-1 
Batwa, 82-4, 89, 96-7, 134 
Bushongo, 93, 96, 99-100 

Hyrax, see Ytika 

Ibanshe, American mission at, 218 

Idanga factory, 164, 184 

Mosquitoes and Tsetse at, 185 
Stay at, and excursions round, 185 
et seq. 

Ikoka factory, 31 
Journey from, to Batempa, 32, 33 

Ikwembe, buffaloes near, 224-6 

Initiation ceremonies, Bapende, ap- 
purtenances of, 282-3 

Inkongu, English missionary at, 31, 

Insashi, Bakongo villages, 286, visit 

to, 290-1, 297 
Inzia river, 235 
Affluent of the Kwilu, 240 
Factories on, 242 
Iron, Bakongo liking for, 286-7, 298 
et seq., 309 et seq., 316 
from Volcanic crevices, 112 
Iron-working, of the Bushongo, 93 
Isaka, post, disused, 83 
Isambula N'Genga, chief, 90, and 
dandy, 91-2, 128 

Jadi, chief, Mokunji, 59, 68, 69 

Difficulties, official, concerning, 49 

Dwelling of, 58 

Fetishes of, 58 

Intercourse with, 53 et seq. 
Jesuit missions, Kwango river region, 

237-9 
Jokes, practical, native love of, 271-2 
" Jones," Loango " boy," 6 et alibi 
Joyce, T. A., 205 

Kancha river, 29 

Factory near, 260 
Kanda Kanda, Buffaloes near, 249 

Lions near, 187 
Kandale factory, 232 

Country and natives near, 232 
Kandolo and his village, 166-70 
Kanenenke, 307-9 



Kangala village, and its chief, 282 

et seq. 
Kasai Company, factories of, names 
of, difficulty concerning, 338 
Headquarters of, 21 et seq. 
Kasai district {see also Lualaba- 
Kasai), 345 
Coin introduced into, 25 
Domestic slavery in, 75 et seq. 
Kasai river, Bashilele name for, 338 
Affluents of, 21,28-9,275, 281,325, 

338 
Animal life on, 17-21 
Hippopotami of, disease among, 29 
Journey up, 17 et seq., 27 et seq. 
Native chief's knowledge of, 285 
Natives of. Fetish-notions of, 58 
Fishing and bargaining of, 18, 
19 
Scenery along, 28, 30 
Storms on, 18 
Upper, journey to, 227 
Kasongo-Batetela village, 44, and its 

chief, 45-6, music at, 45 
Keloids, tribes using, 54, 55, 134 
Kenge village, 312-3 
Chief at, 314 et seq. 
Difficulties at, 316 et seq. 
Route to, and country near, 315 
Kikwit, post, Kwilu river, 25 
Bambala tribe around, 253 et seq. 
Journey to, 231 et seq. 
Kinshasa, 10-12, Bateke village at, i 
Kisantu, Jesuit mission headquarters, 

239 
Kitambi, stay at, 338-9 
Kole, Bankutu cannibals near, 125 
Visit to, and meeting with Ban- 
kutu at, 141 et seq. 
Kwamouth, 16-17 
Kwango river, 21 
Affluent of, 239 

Journey up, scenery on, 237 et seq. 
Trade on, 239-40 
Kwete Peshanga Kena, Nyimi or 
King of the Bushongo, 227 
Appearance of, 192 
Attitude of to R.C. missionaries, 

216-8 
Children of, 222-3 



INDEX 



353 



Kwete Peshanga Kena {continued) — 

Councillors of, 198, 199 

Dress of, 192 

Ceremonial, 202, 203 

Dwelling of, 196-7 

Friendliness of, 196, 216 

Household of, 212 

Justice of, 219-20 

Progressiveness of, 198, 216 

Torday's interview with, 193-4 

Viceroys of, 90-1 

Welcome from, 188 
Kwilu Buffalo, discovered by the 

expedition, 178, 248 
Kwilu country, alleged dangers of, 

234 
Kwilu river, affluents of, 235, 240 

Cataracts on, 269-70 

Journey up, 229 et seq., 240 et seq. 

Outfall of, 239 

Scenery along, 240 et seq., 269 

Tribes beside, 269 

Torday's popularity with, 233 

Variant names of, 240 
Kwilu river basin, produce from, 22, 
26 

Lac Leopold IL, 28 

Lardot, M., 125 

Le Grand, Lieutenant, 29 

Leaf-cups, of the Bakongo, 309 

Leopards, man-eating, near Mokunji, 

64 
Leopoldville, 12, 13 
Anthropological work at, 13, 14 
Journey to, 6-12 
Loange region. Natives of, name used 

by, 227 
Loange river, 29, 281 

Crossing of, in canoes, 295 et seq. 
Loange and Kasai rivers, country be- 
tween, 315, 343-4, mapped, 
298 
Tribes between, origin of, 329 
Lodja, station, 164 

Forest north of, dense population 

of, 173 
Journey to, 152-6 
Life at, 157 et seq. 
Sports at, 157-60 



Lohinde Jofu, sub-tribe of Batetela 

161 
Lomela, tribes near, 126 
Louis, catechist and sportsman, 243, 

244 et seq. 
Lualaba-Kasai district, 3 

Administrative centre of, 31 
Luana stream, course and outfall of, 

281 
Luano factory. Natives near known 
to Torday, 235 

Porters from, 252, 253 
Lubefu river, features of, 65 

Journey up, 27 

Primitive Batetela tribes north 
of, 125 
Lubefu station, 65 
Lubue river, 22, 29 

Affluent of, 281 

at Dumba, 275-6 

Factories on, 280 

Hills near, 265 

Hospital on, 29 
Luchima, cook, 257 et alibi 
Luchwadi river (Lotjadi), 189 

Lagoons of, 191 
Luebo, 24, 25, 345 ; slavery at, 78 
Lukenye river, posts on, 124 

Navigation and scenery of, 153 
et seq. 

Outfall of, 28 

Rafts on, 156 

Shores of, dangers of, 151 

Whirlpool on, 153 
Lulua river, affluent of the Kasai, 

338 
Lumbuli, village of, 165 
Lumbunji river, 325-6 

Affluent of, 331 
Lusambo administrative centre, 24, 

25,27,31 
Lusambo, " Baluba " of, problem of, 
72 ^/ seq. 

Batwa dwarfs met at, 82-4 

Bushongo of, 80, 81 

Horses at, 71 

Market at, features of, 79-80 

Slavery at, 78 

Visit to, and excursions around, 70 
et seq. 



354 



INDEX 



Mabruki, cook, 257 

Magyar, Ladislaus, explorer, 235-6, 

260 
Makasu villages, visit to, 322 et seg., 

33i,332r/jr^. 
Mangay, Rubber plantations at, 29 
Marriage customs of various tribes — 
Batetela, 56 
Olemba, 162-3 
Mask-charms of the Bapende, 280 
Masks, initiation, of Bapende boys, 

282-3 
Masolo, an interpreter, 105, 106 
Matadi, described, 5 ; iourney to, 

1-5 
Mayila, Badjok chief, visit to, 339-40 

Information from, 342-3 
Mayuyu (Bambala), gun-bearer, 259, 

312-3, 323-4 
M'Bei, village, game at, 239, journey 

to, 235, 240 
Mikope, 223 
Miloa river. Elephant spoor near, 

331 
Mingi Bengela, 223 
Misumba, Animal life near, 112 
Batwa dwarfs near, 84 
Country round, 86-9 
Local government at, 90 et seq. 
Native dwellings at, 94-6, 190, 

195-6 
Native life and work at, 92 et seq. 
Stay at, and excursions around, 89 

et seq. 
Volcanic crevices near, 88, 112 
Missionary methods, a suggestion on, 

217-9 
Moamba, Bambala porter, 252-3 

Adventure of, 327-8 
Mokenye (Bambala), gun-bearer, 

259 
Mokulu, Babunda village, and its 

chief, 267-9 
Mokunji, Animal life near, 63-4 
Building changes in, 56 
Chief of, welcome by, 53 
Visit to, 27 et seq. 
Morretti, Lieutenant, 186 
Mosquitoes, where prevalent, 11, 19, 
23, 26, 1 18-9, 148, 185 



Murderers, Olemba, punishment 

of, 162 
Mushenge, the, capital of the Bus- 
hongo, 90 

Animal life near, 224-6 

Arrival at, and stay at, 191 et seq. 

Country near, 189 

Cultivation near, 197-8 

Dwellings at, 195 

Kwete's palace, 196-7 

Gilded youth of, 200 

Journey to, 187 et seq. 

Life at, 200 et seq. 
Musical instruments of various 
tribes — 

Bambala, 254-5 

Basonge, 35-6 

Bushongo, 87, 202 
Mustard, a liking for ! 288 
Mutton, craving for, 289-90 

Native characteristics {see also 
under Names of Tribes), 46, 
328 
Troops, at Lusambo, 71-2 
Natives, Clothing of, at Dima, 23-4 
Hints on handling, 38 et seq., 46 et 
seq. ,12,6, 191, 231, 234-5, 282 
344 
Negroes, Albino, at Lusambo, 80 
Arithmetical limitations of, 97 
Facial aspects, European ideas on 
133-4 
Noki, post, 2, 4, 5 

Okale, Batetela sub-tribe. Dress, 
customs, &c., of, 175 et seq. 

Okitu, ex-chief of Mokunji, 49, 59, 
friendliness of, 60 et seq. 

Okitolonga, Batetela village, 43 

Olemba (Batetela) tribe- 
Forest dwellers, 161 
Customs of, 162-4 

Osodu village, hospitable natives at, 
48 ct seq. 

Osodu, chief of, recalcitrance of, 49 ; 
hospitality of his children, 
50-1 ; release of, 67 

Oyumba village, 161-2 



INDEX 



355 



Pakoba, Basongo - Meno village, 

Sankuru river, 129-30 
Palm wine, a mighty drinker of, 288-9 
Bakongo customs connected with, 

308-9 
Pana, Jesuit fernie chapelle., animal 

life at, 239-40, 245 et seq., 

278 
Described, 243-4 
Pangu, hospital at, 22, 216 
Peffer, Lieutenant, at Kole, 141, 142, 

Peres de Scheut, mission house of, at 

the Mushenge, 191 
Peirodoinus, n.sp. found near Mis- 

umba, 112 
Poison ordeal, Bushongo tribe, 50, 

211 
Polygamy, tribes practising, 56, 202 
Pongo-Pongo, chief of Misumba, 90, 

128 ; information from, 91 ; 

sporting trip with, 97-101 
Population statistics, problems of, 56, 

57,58 
Porters {see also Natives), hints on 

managing, 136 
Women as, 297, 302-3 
Punishments, Bushongo, 219, 220 

Rafts, native, Lukenye river, 156 

Railways, 5 et seq. 

Rattles- 
Funeral, 273 
Hunting, 99, 100, 300 
Musical, 45 

Reckitt's blue, native use of, 304, 318 

Red river hog, near Mokunji, 64 

Religion of the Bushongo, 217-8 

Roman Catholic missionaries to the 
Bushongo, 216-18 

Rubber as currency, 266 

Rubber-collecting, Badjok tribe, 331 

Rubber plantations — 
Bena Dibele, 124-5 
Mangay, 29 

Rubber trade of the Babunda, 266-7 

Sacrifices, j^<? Animal, «;>?(^ Human 
St. Antoine s.s., journey by, 237, 252 
et seq. 



Salt as currency, 42, 195, 263, 297, 

308, 310, 326 
Salt-tasting plant beloved of 

Buffaloes, 121 
" Sam," an honest " boy," 39, 41, 77-8, 

81,236, 257,278 
San Salvador, Angola, 4 
Sankuru river, country near, 86 
Hippopotami of, disease among, 

29 
Journey to, 113, 115 et seq. 
Journey up, ■},-^ 
Natives from, 24 
Scenery along, 30, 32, 33 
Tribes near, 86 
Saut, Commandant, 31, 70 
Schlagerstrom, launch, journey on, 84 
et seq. ; its captain and his 
fate, 85-6 
Shamba Bolongongo, King of the 
Bushongo, history of, 206-7 
Carved portrait of, 186-7, 207-10 
Sheep, where found, 33, 274, 289 
Shields of the Akela tribe, 181 
Signalling Drum or Gong, 67-8, 132, 

175-6 
Sitatunga antelope, 151 
Skulls, collection of, 65-6 
Slave-raids still carried on, 78 
Slave trade and Domestic Slavery, 
73, 75 et seq.., 78, 256, 306-7 
Slaves, Buried alive at funerals of the 
great, 75 
Bushongo, position of, 75-6, 212 
Eaten by Bankutu, 75, 148-9 
" Freed," see " Baluba" 
Sleeping-sickness, 11, 17, 155 
Early symptoms of, 82 
Isolation methods, Batetela, 65 
Smoking of the 

Bakongo, 309, 311-2 
Bashilele, 332 

Bushongo, legend of its introduc- 
tion, 215-6 
Sneezing, Batetela custom as to, 55 
Soap, Batetela make of, 52 
Stanley Pool, Railway to, 5 et seq. 
Sticks of office of Bushongo elders, 

91-2 
Stomach-ache, odd cure for, 141 



356 



INDEX 



Teeth, Akela custom of destroying, 

1 80 
Thesiger, Capt. the Hon. W. G., infor- 
mation from, 186-7, 207-10 
Thysville, 9, 10 
Tobacco, tribes growing and using, 

51-2,59,215,309,311-2,332 
Tofoke people, Facial Keloids of, 55 
Tono people, near Kole, Cannibalism 

and other habits of, 142 et 

seq., 152 
Tournaments, of the Bambala, 255-6 
Toys, see Elephants 
Trade goods for the Loange district, 

286-7 
Traps — 

Hunting, 145 
War, Bankutu, 145-6 
Tsetse-fly, 12, 118, 148, 154, 155, 185 
" Tukongo," branch of the Bakongo, 

226-7 
Tukula wood, 81-2 

Carved, as mourning gifts, 211 
Dye from, uses of, 81-2, 188, 280 
Twipolo, Bankutu village, 130, 132, 135 

Umbi Enungu, information gathered 

from, 62 et seq. 
Underwood, Mr. and Mrs., 4 

Van Tilborg, Father, S.J., 238-9 
Velde, s. ■,}OVirntysm,2y et seq. ,6% 122 
Vtlle de Bruxelles, fate of wrecked 

passengers of, 15 1-2 
Volcanic crevices, 88 

Iron from, 112 
Vungi, Batetela sub-tribe. Dress, 
customs, &c., of, 173-5 

Wahis, Baron, 3 

Wall decorations, of the Bushongo, 
52, 196-7 



Warfare of various tribes — 

Babunda, 263-4 

Bankutu, 144-7 

Bashilele, 133 et seq. 
Watch "towers" of Batetela rubber 

collectors, 131-2 
Weapons of various tribes— 

Akela, 181 

Babunda, 273 

Basonge, 37 

Batetela,Bow versus muzzle-loader 
69 

Batwa, 83 

Bushongo, 93 

Vungi, 173 
Westcott, Mr., 31, 77 
White man, Native notion on, 307-8 
White "residents," suggestions on, 

164-5, 219, 220 
Wigs of the Bapende, 280 
Wissman Pool, Kasai river, animal 

life at, 20 
"Witchcraft" {see also Divining) at 
Oyumba, 163-4 

Initiation ceremonies, Bankutu, 141 
Wombali, Jesuit mission at, 237 
Women of various tribes — 

Bakongo, as Porters, 297, 302-3 

Bankutu, 134 

Batetela tribe, Keloids of, 54 

YONGO'S practical joke, 272 
Yuka, the, mysterious animal, 33-5 

Specimen secured, 64-5 

Story about, 107 

Zappo, " chief," at Zappo-Lubumba, 
1 15-7, 128 

Sport with, 122-3 
Zappo-Lubumba village, 86 

Difficulties at, 115-7 
Zappo Zap, warlike tribe, 233 



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