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Full text of "Twilight tales of the black Baganda"




^ 



TWILIGHT TALES OF THE 
BIACK BAGANPA 



WiLiGriT Tales 

OF TriE 

BIACK BAQANPA 



BY 

MRS. A. B. FISHER 

{nee Ruth Hurditch) 

AUTHOR OF "ON THK BORDERS OF PIGMY LAKD" 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 






i^' '*J\\'^' 



MARSHALL BROTHERS, LTD, 

PUBLISHERS 
LONDON, EDINBURGH 6- NEW YORK 



H. W. SIMPSON AND CO.. 1 ID., 
PRINTERS, 
RICHMOND, LONKON. 



f ^ y 

INTRODUCTION M^thi 

IN recent years so many books have been published 
on the country of Uganda, that it indeed requires 
courage, and almost demands an apology from one, 
attempting to add to that list. 
The excuse now offered to the reader, is, that this is not 
a record of travel or personal impressions entirely, but 
is the result of an insistent endeavour to make the country 
beyond Uganda yield up its own secrets, and to reveal 
the story of its peoples and their beliefs, before the white 
man trespassed on their domains. 

During many years spent in Toro and Bunyoro, I 
prevailed on the respective kings, Daudi Kasagama and 
Andereya Duhaga, to undertake to write the history of 
their country. This was no light task for them, as they 
had no very clear idea of the subject themselves, and 
were only just learning to wield the pen. However, they 
readily took up with the suggestion, and called in from 
distant villages, and from the solitude of the mountains, 
some of the old witch-doctors, who perforce had been 
obliged to forsake their old means of livelihood, or prac- 
tice it in those regions where the onflowing tide of 
Christianity had not yet reached. 

As Toro and Bunyoro were one kingdom, and its 
people one race until recent years, their history is 

V 

274827 



Introduction 

synonymous. Thus comparing these two independent 
accounts, it has been possible to arrive at a fairly 
accurate story of their ancient habits and beliefs. 

The chapters dealing with these records of the two 
rulers (vi.-xiii.) are merely a translation from their own 
writings ; and I have tried as far as possible to translate the 
text literally. Heaps of non-essential details have had to 
be cleared away, and in many cases modifications been 
made, or passages entirely discarded, to purify the story 
and render it suitable reading to the general public. 

The work was a novel and laborious task to these two 
dusky potentates, who, day after day, sat in their crude 
studies, writing as rapidly as they could, while the 
quaint, withered up, skin-clad ancients squatted on the 
floor, and related the legends that had been handed down 
by the generations of sages before them. 

Writing is quite a newly-acquired art introduced by 
the missionaries ; no traces of caligraphy or inscriptions 
being found among these peoples, unless is excepted the 
carving of stars, lines and spots on the ivory war-horns 
of the more inland savage tribes, signifying the clan to 
which the horn belonged. It is, therefore, all the more 
remarkable that this race should be found in the heart of 
Africa, surrounded by fierce and migratory tribes, posses- 
sing and preserving, in spite of abject ignorance, a record 
of consecutive rulers who were preceded by supposed 
demi-gods and gods — a history remarkably analagous in 
form to that of the ancient Egyptians. 

The people generally are strangely ignorant of their 
past, and evince very little curiosity with regard to it. 
Careless about everything, they have been perfectly 

vi 



Introduction 

willing to leave it, and all questions dealing with the 
spirit-world, in the hands of their witch-doctors, whom 
they implicitly believed and obeyed whenever trouble or 
sickness visited them. 

To-day the whole condition of Central Africa is being 
metamorphosed. The country has been parcelled out 
among the European Powers, and in their wake, civilisa- 
tion is rapidly driving out barbarism and ignorance, while 
Christianity is infusing new life into the people, and 
inspiring them with noble and forceful ideas. 

Fetishism is quickly dying out, and thus one by one 
the links with the past, are being severed and forgotten. 

Within the last ten years Toro and Bunyoro have 
practically swept away all outward belief in their old 
creeds, by gathering out from the homes of the people 
the charms and fetishes which were their oracle, and 
have publicly burned them. 

This book is a feeble attempt to gather from the ashes 
of the past, some record of the dark ages when Africa was 
yet unpenetrated and unknown. 

Looking through these pages, questions may arise in 
the mind, as one catches occasional glimmers of Truth — 
the existence of a primary Cause — God the Creator — 
death entering the world as the result of sin — the per- 
sonality of evil that sought to destroy the work of the 
Creator — the shedding of blood for sacrifice — etc. ; and 
one asks if this is not a child-race whose instincts, God 
implanted, have become corrupt, because hitherto they 
have had no guide or instructor other than the Power of 
Darkness. 

In conclusion, I should like to express my deep grati- 

vii 



Introduction 

tude for the excellent portrait of Andereya Duhaga, king 
of Bunyoro, so graciously presented for publication by 
Her Royal Highness the Duchess D'Aosta, who paid a 
memorable visit to Andereya in his house while touring 
through the country in 1908. 

Also my warmest thanks are due to F. A. Knowles, 
Esq., Chief Secretary to the Government ; Dr. Rendle, 
Medical Officer of Bunyoro ; and the Rev. A. B. Lloyd, 
for other illustrations used in this book. 



Vlll 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. The Country : Its Exploration . . . i 

II. The Country : Its Awakening . . .12 

III. The People . . . . . .28 

IV. Domestic Life . . . . . .41 

V. The Religion . . . . . -53 

VI. The Reign of the Gods . . . -69 

VII. The Reign of the Bacwezi or Demigods : 

Isaza-Ndahura . . . . .84 

VIII. The Reign of the Bacwezi or Demigods : 

Wamara ...... 99 

IX. The Dynasty OF THE Babito . . . .111 

X. The Kings of the Babito : Ocaki-Duhaga . 128 

XI. The Reign of the Babito : Kasomi-Kamurasi . 145 

XII. The Reign of the Babito : Kabarega . . 160 

XIII. The Reign OF THE Babito : Kabarega . . 172 

XIV. The Conquest OF Christianity over Fetishism . 179 



XI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGE 

Andereya Duhaga of Bunyoro: In Regal Attire Frontispiece 
Villagers Bringing in Gifts on the Arrival of a 

Visitor ....... 13 

Anticipating a Feast : Bari Natives Cutting up an 

Elephant ....... 24 

King's Band : "Music HATH Charms" . . -36 

DoDOi, Son of Kavalli . . . . . .52 

A Dangerous Opponent. . . . . -63 

People of Madi ....... 91 

A Munvoro Profile . . . . . .101 

The Regalia or Bunyoro . . . . .109 

Gentlemen of Fashion among the Baganyi . .114 

The Favoured Wife Serving the King with Milk . 124 

Masai Woman : A Fellow Passenger on the Uganda 

Railway . . . . . . .132 

Omukikuvu : As Seen from the Train on the Uganda 

Railway ......... 134 

Native War Dance ...... 137 

A MuKiDi Bachelor's Quarters .... 143 

A Ferry Boat on the Nile . . . . .165 

A Study in Black and White : A Mukidi Chief with the 

Author's Little Boy, George .... 169 
The Call Bell of "The Khedive " : Now used as School 

Bell . 
Daudi Kasagama of Toro 



A Disputant of the Land 

An Inhabitant of the Scrub 

HoiMA Church in Building 

Unskilled Labourers . 

Paulo Byabaavezi brooks no Interference 



179 
182 

183 
185 
188 
190 

195 



ix 



CHAPTER I 

The Country : Its Exploration 

«< T T GANDiV " is a term used a little indiscriminately 
I I at the present day to denote any district from the 
^^-^ Port of Mombasa on the East coast of Africa to 

the boundary of the Congjo Free State. 
To the natives of the country it applies exclusively to 
the small strip of land marked on the maps as the 
Uganda Province — the home of the Baganda, ruled over 
by the young King Daudi Chwa. 

The British Government give it a more elastic meaning, 
and to them the Uganda Protectorate includes, besides 
the Province, the independent Kingdoms of Ankole on 
the west, Toro on the north-west, Bunyoro as far north 
as Gondokoro, and the separate states of Bukidi and 
Busoga on the east. 

To the missionary it has a wider boundary still, for the 
Uganda Diocese has overstepped the limits of the Pro- 
tectorate, and extends far back into the Kisumu and 
Naivasha Provinces of British East x\frica. 

Lastly, the Uganda railway does not enter the country 
at all. It carries its passengers nearly 566 miles inland, 
and takes leave of them 180 miles away from Uganda, on 
the eastern shore of the Victoria Lake. Here a regular 
service of steamers, now comprising a flotilla of four, 
cheerfully makes up for the short-coming of the rail-road. 
One of the first natives of Uganda who travelled down 
the line regarded himself as a sort of pioneer hero, as he 
set off from his own shores in one of the Company's 

B 

/ 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

steamers across the Lake ; he hardly dared hope to ever 
again set eyes on his native land ; but to his unspeak- 
able relief he saw the word " Uganda " on various parts 
of the ship, and concluded he must still be in his own 
country. As he entered the train at Kisumu the words 
" Uganda Railway " confronted him on engine and 
carriages. It was also written up at various points all 
along the line, and even in Mombasa itself, so his country 
in his eyes, like Sam Weller, " swelled visibly," and he 
wrote back to his friends saying, he had never imagined 
their land of Uganda was so large, it spread on and on 
until the sea prevented it reaching any further. 

Official Uganda is practically an Island lying at the very 
heart of Africa. Its boundaries are the mighty Lakes 
Victoria, Edward, Albert and Kioga, which are almost 
linked up by broad fast-flowing rivers. Probably on account 
of its unique geographical position, its peoples have retained 
an exclusivism against the barbarous races all round. 
Approach it from whatever direction you will, tribes of 
abject savages, including pigmies and cannibals, will be 
found in the territories all around Uganda. From the 
Europeanised East, naked folk with painted faces and 
limbs wander about the railway stations, unaffected and 
unenlightened, although for ten years trains have been 
panting, screeching, and bringing through their land the 
Government official, the missionary, the Indian trader, 
the big-game hunter and European Royalties. And dur- 
ing that time Union Jacks have been flying over strongly 
built forts throughout their country, manned by the 
British official who has his pigeon-holes filled with , 
scheduled and red-taped despatches, reports, laws, rules i 
and regulations pertaining to the well-being of the same 
unimpressed and lawless savage. 

It is remarkable that a people like the Baganda, 
characterised by a spirit of insularism and racial pride, j 
should exist in the midst of such disintegrated tribes, 



The Country : Its Exploration 

whose history is one long record of warfare, hatred and 
butchery. While others have been almost or entirely 
swept away by disease, tribal feuds and physical deterior- 
ation entrenched behind their waterways, the people of 
Uganda have remained the conquering and predominant 
race — the survival of the fittest. 

But the same unique position also marked it for inevit- 
able conquest by an outside and undreamt-of foe — the 
civilised world. Following up the track of the Nile the 
ancient Egyptians penetrated far inland in search of 
ivory, slaves, and wild animals. Traces of their influence 
upon Uganda can still be found, and doubtless they 
instructed the natives in the working of iron which is very 
plentiful throughout the country, especially in the 
northern district of Bunyoro. The designs introduced 
into their pottery, basket work and painted on their 
wooden quivers and bark-cloths very closely resemble the 
cruder forms of ancient Egyptian art. Many of the 
cultivated plants and domestic animals are thought to 
have been brought from the north at this period, as they 
do not resemble the species of more recent American and 
Indian importation. The simple knowledge of surgery 
possessed by the Banyoro was evidently acquired through 
the Egyptians. Vaccination for small-pox was known 
long before European influence reached them, as people 
were inoculated with the lymph taken from the arm of an 
affected person. Possessing no surgical implements, 
they operated clumsily but often successfully, with their 
ordinary septic belt knives. In cases of comminuted 
fractures, which are frequent (as the people live in such 
close contact with wild animals), the custom has been to 
cut out the shattered pieces of bone and insert a piece 
freshly taken from an ox or goat, then bind the limb 
up with a banana-leaf rendered pliable by passing it 
through the fire, and tied round with banana fibre. When 
it was necessary to keep wounds open to clear them 

3 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

of pus or poison, long neck gourds were used as drain 

tubes. 

It seems humiliating to find that some of our boasted 
modern methods of surgery were known and practised by 
these half-savage tribes in the back ages. 

When Egypt came under Persian and Grecian rule, 
remarkable interest was evinced in African research, and 
many attempts were made to trace the source of its 
sacred river " Hapi " — the Nile. But the hostility of the 
races inhabiting the Eastern Soudan, and the difficulties 
of navigation on account of the cataracts and solid 
barriers of sud carried down by the stream, deterred those 
who ventured on these hazardous expeditions. 

In the 5th century B.C. the historian Herodotus 
himself travelled some distance up the Nile, and suc- 
ceeded in gathering information from traders about a 
country with three mighty lakes (now known as the 
Victoria, Edward and Albert), where there were mountains 
which they assured him reached to Heaven and were the 
source of the Nile ; thus proving to them that their river 
was of divine origin. The range was afterwards called 
" The Mountains of the Moon " because of the glittering 
ice and snow that covered it. 

Nearly one hundred years later, Aristotle wrote of the 
pigmies, the quaint miniature folk that in recent years 
have been found inhabiting the vast forest to the west of 
Toro. These facts show that some kind of communica- 
tion existed between Egypt and Uganda hundreds of 
years ago. 

But it was left to an Englishman to confirm these 
vague and unauthenticated rumours by entering Uganda 
in 1862 from the east coast. 

Not merely did Speke prove the existence of the 
Victoria Lake and the source of the Nile, but he unlocked 
a country of profound strategic importance, and brought 
the outside world in touch with a people that is the 

4 



The Country : Its Exploration 

dominating power of inland Africa ; and from the results 
of missions we might hope is destined to become the 
centre of a strong Spiritual Church that will stretch out 
and embrace the many tribes around. 

Uganda is the point that unites up Christian Societies 
working in from the North, South, East and West, 
backed up by Christian Governments, so that now an 
almost complete Cross of Missions is writ across the face 
of the once dark Continent. 

All down the ages this country has been unconsciously 
lavishing upon Egypt its inexhaustible wealth, for the 
Nile is an off-spring of Uganda. The perpetual snows 
and glaciers of Ruwenzori — the Mountains of the Moon — 
send down icy streams that fall in roaring cataracts into 
the burning plain beneath ; falling into the Edward and 
Albert lakes the turbulent rivers are quieted and dis- 
ciplined, and issuing thence are met by a confluent river 
that flows out from the Victoria lake at the Ripon Falls. 
The united waters are then dismissed from Uganda and 
take their 3,000 miles journey as the life of Egypt. The 
rich red loam carried down is like a crimson artery flow- 
ing through the centre of its course, and in the rainy 
season, when the low-lying land of Upper Egypt is inun- 
dated, the loam fertilises the soil, over which it remains 
spread out like a sheet. 

The first European lady to enter this country was the 
plucky wife of Sir Samuel Baker. She came out with her 
husband in 1864 to discover the Albert Lake. They 
entered Bunyoro from Egypt. By the natives she was 
known and is still talked of as Kanyunyuzi — the '* little 
star " ; for they marvelled at the beauty of the white 
woman. Sir Samuel Baker was called Muleju — the 
*' Beard." He had evidently adopted the habit which is 
rather common now among Europeans out here, of dis- 
pensing with his razor, and the natives who had never 
seen an unshaven chin were a little terrified at the 

5 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

prodigious growth. Their custom is to shave every scrap 
of hair off their faces and heads ; the vi^omen and children 
are treated in the same way. It is a clean habit, but very 
unbecoming, especially when they try to make themselves 
irresistibly attractive by smearing the bald pate with 
rancid butter. I am sure it would be difficult to find 
more extraordinary curves, bulges and depressions than 
the heads of these people present when there is nothing 
left to disguise the shape of their craniums. 

Kamirasi, King of Bunyoro, regarded these two 
Europeans with the deepest suspicion and fear, for no 
native could believe that any man would come so far merely 
to see water. Was there none in his own country? His 
object must be to plunder or seize the kingdom from him. 
I well remember the crowds of curious Batoro who 
swarmed round us as we returned from our climb of 
Ruvvenzori's glacier. We heard them whispering together 
and looking half fearfully and wholly wonderingly at our 
baggage. When we recited to them our adventures they 
asked, "And what else?" So we added a few more 
incidents, and still they asked, "What else?" We 
rummaged our brains to think of some more hair-breadth 
escapes, but they seemed insatiable. We had at last to 
own that there was nothing else, to which they crushingly 
replied, " The white man must be mad." To go through 
all that, to endure such cold, to risk one's very life for 
nothing. They had imagined that we had gone to extract 
some hidden wealth that was buried under that " white 
stuff on the top." 

Sir Samuel and Lady Baker were practically held 
prisoners for some months, as Kamurasi stoutly refused 
to provide them with porters or to give them any assist- 
ance in fitting out their caravan for the expedition to the 
lake. He believed that if they were allowed to leave the 
capital they would immediately inflame his people to 
rebellion, so he formulated a plan of slowly starving them 

6 



The Country : Its Exploration 

to death. His vigilance over them however relaxed through 
sheer fright when he saw Lady Baker practising one day 
with firearms. He and his people had never before seen a 
gun, and they shook with fear. As the shot fired upwards, 
they looked anxiously expecting to see the heavens fall upon 
them. When nothing dreadful happened, they exclaimed 
with relief, "The star speared the heavens, but they fell 
not." The result, however, was, that the two travellers 
were allowed to escape from Kamurasi's court, and after 
facing immense difficulties they reached the lake, but both 
were nearly dead with fever and fatigue. 

Ten years afterwards the late Sir Henry Stanley made 
his first exploration tour through Uganda. During the 
time he was collecting together a native escort in the 
capital for journeying inland he conversed with King 
Mtesa very freely on every conceivable subject. Mtesa 
showed the deepest interest in the Bible stories. Sir 
Henry Stanley wrote: "These themes were so captivating 
to the intelligent pagan, that little public business was 
transacted, and the seat of justice was converted into an 
alcove where only the religious law was discussed." The 
king earnestly entreated for Christian teachers to be sent 
to him, and Stanley promised to forward his plea to 
England, and meanwhile left his interpreter, Darlington, 
with Mtesa to continue the instruction until the arrival of 
the missionaries. He left him also the Creed, the Lord's 
Prayer, and the Ten Commandments written on Arabic 
wooden tablets. The letter was written to the Daily 
Telegraph, and was entrusted to a Belgian who had been 
sent down by Gordon to prospect Uganda, and was 
returning to him in Egypt. This messenger was, how- 
ever, murdered on the banks of the Nile by the Bari 
people, but his body was recovered by the expedition 
despatched by the Government, and in one of his boots 
was found the blood-stained letter. This ultimately 
reached England, and appeared in the daily paper, with 

7 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

the result that funds poured in, and in the following 
year a party of missionaries was sent out by the Church 
Missionary Society to Uganda. 

While Speke had opened Uganda to the civilised world, 
Stanley prepared the way for Christianity. It remained 
for him also to penetrate Africa from west to east by his 
remarkable expedition in i88g. 

Some 3'ears previously Emin Pasha had been appointed 
by General Gordon Governor-General of Equatoria, the 
district between Fashoda and the Albert Lake. Then 
occurred the terrible Mahdi rebellion, which resulted in 
the massacre at Khartoum of that heroic defender of the 
city. General Gordon, and his Egyptian garrison, in 1885. 

The vast Soudan was then submerged by barbarism, 
and the only Egyptian force which escaped from the 
disaster was that led by Emin Pasha, which was, how- 
ever, in the perilous position of being completely cut off 
by hostile and semi-barbarous tribes. 

He had written to the Egyptian Government, to Mr. 
Mackay, the missionary in Uganda, and to various 
societies in England, imploring that assistance might be 
sent to him, the result of which was an appeal issued 
by the British public, and supported by the Egyptian 
Government, for someone to go out and effect the relief 
of this sorely-pressed general. Stanley immediately 
responded, and when it was known that he was setting 
out on this adventurous task, he was deluged with appeals 
from young and old to accompany him in the campaign. 
He wrote : " Had our means- only been equal to our 
opportunities, we might have emptied the barracks, the 
colleges, the public schools — I might almost say the 
nurseries — so great was the number of applications to 
join me in the adventurous quest." 

The expedition started out in January, 1887, and in the 
following month commenced the long journey inland 
from the west coast. It was not until December of that 

8 



The Country : Its Exploration 

year that Stanley emerged from the dense pigmy forest 
and was the first European to look up at the glorious 
stretch of equatorial snows of Ruwenzori. He had 
expected to find Emin Pasha in the vicinity of the Albert 
Lake, with his two little steamships, the " Khedive" and 
the " Nyanza," which had been put on the lake so as to 
control the country round its shores. 

Great, therefore, was his disappointment to find no 
trace of him, and to be assured by the natives that they 
knew nothing of a white man or smoke boats. Stanley 
decided, however, to strike camp and wait for his rear- 
guard to come up and join him. 

For over four months he was encamped in Bulega on 
the escarpment of the western shore of the lake. The 
chief, Kavalli, treated him with the greatest kindness, and 
provided his caravan with food, although this was a real 
difficulty in a rocky and unfertile country. During that 
time Stanley put together the sections of a steel boat he 
had brought with him, and at last had it ready for 
launching on the lake to search for the lost general. 

In April, 1888, on the weary watch, Stanley espied a 
tiny cloud travelling towards him on the waters of the 
lake, and to his intense relief in a short time he stood face 
to face with the man for whom he had endured such 
extremes of hardship. 

The two boats, the "Khedive" and "Nyanza," were 
sunk after all movable effects had been taken on shore. 
Years after some of these things were discovered by 
Captain (now General) Sir F. Lugard, buried on the lake 
shore. Among them was the Khedive's call bell, which 
was carried into Toro, and afterwards presented to my 
husband by Sir Henry Colville for the assistance he 
rendered during the occupation of Bunyoro. So the 
historical bell that had often called the great Pashas 
Gordon and Emin to frugal meals, and witnessed so many 
tragic events ashore and afloat, has for many years called 

9 



Twilight Tales o{ the Black Baganda 

these same rebellious and unruly folk to prayer and 
Christian instruction. 

All the district west of the lake has since the new 
boundary treaty, been handed over by the British to the 
Belgian Government. Old Kavalli, the tried friend of 
Stanley, has long since passed away, but his son Dodoi, 
who succeeded him, has responded to the Christian 
teaching of native workers sent out from Bunyoro, and 
was baptised by my husband in 1907. 

When Stanley and Emin Pasha turned their faces 
toward the Indian Ocean homeward, the Nile shook off 
the last remnants of British authority for a while. After 
reaching Zanzibar, Emin threw up his commission under 
the British Government and joined himself to the 
Germans, under whom he returned to Central Africa. 
But ultimately he left their service and travelled west- 
ward, intending to come out at the west coast; but just 
as he had penetrated Stanley's great pigmy forest, he was 
attacked by a party of Arabs and killed, and his body 
seized by the cannibal inhabitants of the district. 

While the Nile district had thus temporarily passed 
from under the British, Uganda had come within the 
sphere of its rule. For three years the British East 
Africa Company had carried on the work of administra- 
tion, having gradually extended inland from the coast. 
But in 1891 they felt no longer able to undertake this. 
If a sum of ^^15,000 could be guaranteed them inde- 
pendently, they agreed to hold on for one more year, when 
the British Government would take it over from them. 

Bishop Tucker was then in England, and realising the 
disastrous results their evacuation would have on the 
Mission work, he made a strong effort to save the situa- 
tion ; probably on account of the very progress that had 
attended the work after it had endured the fires of 
persecution from the vacillating King Mwanga. 

If British authority was withdrawn the Europeans in 

10 



The Country : Its Exploration 

the country would be in a most precarious position. The 
result of the Bishop's stirring appeal to the Church in 
England to save the young Church in Uganda was, that 
immediately ^^16,000 were collected and remitted to the 
Company. By this means Uganda was preserved to the 
British Empire, without whose strong governing hand the 
country must ever have remained rent by factions that 
had for all time plunged it into internecine warfare. 

The more influential Baganda welcomed the new 
foreign rule, realising the benefits that would accrue to 
them, but the king Mwanga saw with resentment that 
henceforth his monarchy would be a limited one, and his 
power for evil restricted. When, therefore, the chance 
came, he fled north, and joined his old rival and bitter 
foe, Kabarega, king of Bunyoro, in a final and desperate 
stand against their common enemy, the British. While 
the people of Toro and Uganda had submitted to the 
Government, Kabarega had stubbornly refused to sur- 
render one iota of his power. For six years he held out, 
carrying on a kind of guerilla warfare. But in 1899 
Colonel Evatt succeeded in capturing these two kings, 
and they were both deported to Seychelles Island. 

The district of Bunyoro, which sweeps the eastern shores 
of Lake Albert and stretches inland, was thus the last 
link in Central Africa to unite British territory which 
now extends from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. 
And so soon were the effects of its able administration 
felt, that only twelve years after the meeting of Stanley 
and Emin Pasha, I, with my companion. Miss Pike, 
stood on probably the same spot at the south end 
of the lake. We were travelling with only a few raw 
native porters and one gun, and on the lake shore we 
tried to tell for the first time to the simple savages the 
same old, old story, that some years previously Stanley 
had told to Mtesa, king of Uganda, and which had already 
brought about such mighty changes in that kingdom. 

11 



CHAPTER II 

The Country : Its Awakening 

AND now what a change is taking place ! Uganda is 
unmistakably in the grip of progress, and the old 
order is rapidly giving place to the new. Geometri- 
cally planned townships are springing up, in place 
of the batches of huts which straggled up the hill sides, 
terminating in the chief's somewhat more pretentious hut 
on the top. Indian bazaars with their display of tin-ware, 
calico prints of every conceivable colour, compete briskly 
for customers with the native markets, which only cater 
for the inner man. Here shelves and tables are dis- 
pensed with ; bunches of bananas, baskets of yams, sticks 
of sugar-cane, little heaps of tobacco or salt are all spread 
out on the ground, while the strips or indistinguishable 
joints of goat, sheep or ox are slung from cross poles 
under a fly-infested shed. 

Brick houses, with corrugated iron roofs glittering under 
the rays of the tropical sun, and low clipped hedges have 
superseded the bee-hive huts and tall plaited reed fences 
which used to enclose the chief's household. 

What a busy little metropolis Uganda now possesses ! 
Along the streets, continual streams of people pass to and 
fro, all intent on business of some sort. Bullock waggons 
and hand drays lumber along towards the snorting ginny 
factory or the export offices, with bales of cotton, fibre, 
chillies or hides. 

The chiefs can no longer go out with hundreds of their 
followers to welcome the European arrival with a hot 

12 




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The Country : Its Awakening 

embrace aud warm greeting, they are now busy in their 
offices with secretary and typewriter, or attending to 
affairs of state in the Council Hall, while their messengers 
may be seen free-wheeling down the hills on cycles at 
reckless pace, conveying despatches for their masters. 

Can this be the dear sleepy Uganda of yesterday, that 
had nothing heavier to think of than its next meal, whose 
women dreamed of no whimsical fashions, but swathed 
themselves in the fibrous bark of the wild fig-tree ; and 
whose chiefs paraded the streets in their long white 
garments, while a stream of idle retainers hung on behind, 
and the tom-toms, horns, reeds, flutes, and jesters, 
imitating monkeys or jackals, went before to clear the 
road ! ! ! 

Now among the elite of Uganda's ladies may be seen 
violet plush coats, over emerald green satin skirts, and, 
coyly tilted on their cropped pates is a boy's jack-tar hat, 
or a sparkling toque of silver tinsel which resembles a 
shimmering spider's web tipped with morning dew. The 
sandals of painted hippo hide, with straps of fur formally 
used by the upper classes, have been discarded for the 
English tan and heavy black leather boots, to which the 
owners impart a chronic squeak by the application of 
lemon juice. When I commiserated with one man on the 
misfortune of possessing such assertive boots, he looked 
in blank astonishment, and when he had sufficiently 
recovered to find words, he answered, " What is the use 
of boots that do not speak? No one would know that 
you were wearing them." Sometimes as the men come 
in or go out of church there is a regular orchestra of boot 
leather. 

When visiting a chief in the old days, it was the custom 
to spread a mat for the guest, and when seated, water was 
brought for hand ablutions, then an open basket of steam- 
ing plantains and a chicken boiled in a banana leaf, were 
placed before the visitor and his host. They were not 

13 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

inconvenienced with a knife, fork, spoon, chop-sticks, or 
any other implement for manipulating^ the food, but deftly 
broke it up into lumps, moulded it into balls, and kind of 
flipped it into the mouth. But in these days an upholstered 
chair is brought out, and the guest is offered " tea, lime 
juicy, sparkletty, biscuity or caky." One day I had the 
honour of being invited, with other Europeans, to a chief's 
house to dinner on some special occasion. The table was 
spread with an immaculately clean damask cloth ; the 
floral decorations consisted of zinnias of all shades, 
stripped of their leaves and uniforml}^ and tightly squeezed 
into tin tumblers. Strips of calico, torn into the size of 
serviettes, were placed before each visitor, and a pile of 
plates which nearly reached to the chin, when seated, 
prepared the guest for the number of courses he might 
expect. One wondered if they would ever melt away. 
Goat soup was followed by goat rissoles, goat stewy, goat 
boily, goat fryey, goat roasty, goat curry — until one felt 
it would need courage to look a goat in the face again. 
The chef iV ceuvre completed the menu — this was a porten- 
tous cornflour shape, garnished with tinned apricots, 
stewed onions and tomatoes. 

Even the youngsters are moving with the times. Their 
old employments as goat herdsmen, stool and mat 
carriers to their chief, have been crowded out of life in the 
capital. They have thrown aside their old coverings of 
sheep-skins or bark-cloth, and don shirts or waistcoats. 
They are all keenly bent on "the larnin'," and covet beyond 
everything the crested fez cap and other privileges of the 
High School boy. The street urchin used to grin half 
round his head if the European honoured him with a 
grunt of acknowledgment, as he knelt in the dust to 
salute him with the customary greeting, "Are you there, 
master, are you quite there ? " But to-day he will point 
to a wee model of the white-man's house, moulded out of 
mud by the roadside, or a miniature bicycle formed of 

14 



The Country : Its Awakening 

sticks and banana fibre, and demand "Bakshish, bakshish." 
But all this is only veneer, the real and radical changes 
that have revolutionised the country lie beyond the ken 
of the passing traveller, and affect the inner life of the 
people. Sooner or later the inflowing tide of civilisation 
must engulf the past, and altogether change the configur- 
ation of things. As yet there are wide districts of the 
Uganda Protectorate that have not felt the force, and 
remain unchanged. Conventionality is still an unknown 
term to them. It is in this atmosphere, when the traveller 
abandons himself to his surroundings, and draws in the 
breezes of the uplands and the vast sweeping plains 
where the prehistoric elephant still gambols about, that 
the spirit of Africa possesses him, and he will not find it 
easy hereafter to entirely throw off the spell of this 
strange land. 

It is with the North-West Kingdoms of the Uganda 
Protectorate — Bunyoro and Toro — that this book deals, 
and at present no railway or vehicle unite them to the 
moving world of Uganda, that lies 200 and 130 miles 
away. But already shovels and hoes are busy cutting 
roads of gradual gradient, and a motor transport car has 
ventured on the first 100 miles of the distance to Toro ; 
and in Bunyoro the pickaxe and roller are laying a 
macadamised highway to reach the new and luxurious 
steamship on the waters of the Albert Lake, with cabins, 
and a savoury bill of fare, waiting to convey passengers 
to the Congo territory or the Nile. This sounds suspiciously 
like the first shrill blow of the whistle that will bring the 
rush of life into a country that is only just beginning to 
wake up and rub its eyes after the long sleep of centuries. 
It will be with a sigh of regret that one will exchange the 
present Bedouin method of travel throughout Uganda for 
the more rapid and comfortable civilised methods. 

A delicious buoyancy and spirit of lawlessness grip 
you as you travel through these districts. Marching 

15 



Twilight Tales of the Black: Baganda 

orders are given, and the key is turned in the lock of the 
little bungalow house, and for awhile the cares of the 
housewife are exchanged for the gipsy life. Home, 
furniture, larder, pots, pans and wardrobe are put into 
sacks and boxes, hoisted on to the stolid fuzzy heads of 
shouting, excited porters, who, heavily laden, but light 
hearted, start off at a frisk trot. Lowing of cattle in the 
rear reminds you that the butter and milk supply need 
not run short, and as the butcher's shop runs along with 
the cows, there will be no lack of soup at least, for the 
goats and scraggy tan sheep have only cost 3s. or 4s. 
each, but seem dear at that when you try one of their 
joints. Once off the main roads engineered by the 
European, you meet with the regulation native paths, that 
never avoid a hill under any consideration, but toil over 
all the tops, and dip down again into the unbridged 
swamp or river, like the ridges in a sheet of corrugated 
iron. It needs the eye of a connoisseur to detect the 
difference between a river and a swamp in many parts, 
for, with very few exceptions, the river beds are completely 
choked with papyrus grass growing 12 to 15 feet high. If 
the water is too deep to be waded, the native will either 
never visit the world on the other side, or he will clear a 
narrow passage and construct a clumsy raft of papyrus 
stalks, bound together with grass — very insecure, ill- 
balanced, and moist. Evidently from time immemorial 
no more satisfactory method of crossing has occurred to 
the native mind, for some of the punters have grown old 
and crinkly in their vocation, and now two generations of 
offspring follow them down to their daily occupation — to 
the life lived on that narrow strip of water completely 
shut out from the world by papyrus grass. As you watch 
their countenances you wonder if one single idea has ever 
passed through their minds, they look so blank and un- 
impressionable, as automatically they throw the long pole 
into the muddy river bed, and strike circles and angles, 

16 



The Country : Its Awakening 

anything but a straight course, through the stream. On 
the clear swift rivers, rough and leaky dug-out canoes 
ferry passengers across. 

These little obstructions make travelling very slow^. 
Sometimes two miles an hour is considered good going, 
and when the average 15 miles are covered you are glad 
to throw yourself on the fresh-cut grass strewn under the 
cover of the tent, and talk to no one. At evening, when 
the sun sets and sudden darkness falls like a shroud over 
the land, you gather round the camp fire, and watch the 
half-bare figures roasting their plantains outside their tiny 
grass booths, which they have erected for the night. The 
fitful glare of the fires through the trees lends an air of 
enchantment to the scene, and when at last the jargon of 
voices dies out, and silence falls on the little encamp- 
ment, you seem to stand alone in a wide, black, silent 
world. Not one light relieves the dense darkness all 
round, and not one familiar sound breaks the silence, 
nothing but the croaking of the frogs or the distant roar 
of some wild beast seeking its prey. To one just out from 
the clang, rush and glamour of city life the sudden 
contrast is appalling. 

When the sun does not shine in Africa you may expect 
no half measures, and then perhaps the fascination of the 
tramp wanes. Sometimes you have fairly started on the 
daj^'s march, and are congratulating yourself on having 
got the porters well on ahead, when the sky is suddenly 
shut out by ominous clouds, and with terrific peals of 
thunder the rain comes dovm in torrents. It is useless to 
take refuge, as the lightning is too untrustworthy to 
approach trees, and the native huts are infested with 
ticks, which in one tiny bite may bequeath to you three 
months of spirellum fever, with an afterthought of 
ophthalmia, facial paralysis, or lockjaw. The only thing 
is to push on. In a very short time clothing, as well as 
macintosh, become saturated through, and stick like a 

17 c 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

plaster — at that stage walking becomes a real art. 
Hungry and dead beat you reach camping ground, to 
find it submerged : you climb to the next hill, and decide 
that the clammy mud is preferable to the tank below. 
Chairs, luncheon basket, and everything you most need 
are far behind with the poor, spiritless porters, who come 
in and drop exhausted. The cook boy, taking pity on 
the rather sorrowful appearance of his master and 
mistress, bravely gathers together a few sticks for boiling 
up the kettle. It is hard work, for the firewood is drip- 
ping, but kneeling down with his chin nearly in the mud, 
he blows and blows, until you wonder at the capacity of 
his lungs, and the callousness of the wood in merely 
responding with clouds of smoke that choke the noble 
little chef, and make the tears stream down his grimy 
cheeks. But he succeeds in getting the water to boil, 
and finding it thicker than usual on account of the rain 
having washed into the stream all the surface soil, 
he throws in an extra spoonful of tea to disguise the 
colour. ^ 

Some travellers who have rapidly passed through the 
country, and had the roads cleared, rivers bridged, and 
camp-sheds erected for them all along the route, have 
described the country as Paradise. I have never found 
anyone quite thinking this who has lived there. 

It is in fact a little distressful to those whose work it is 
to apply law and order. A neat mud-house is erected, and 
in spite of every precaution the white ants bore in under- 
ground, eat through the grass mats or rugs in the sitting- 
room, and build hills eight or ten inches high in one 
night. They attack the poles in the walls until they 
have eaten up the foundations of the house ; they climb 
up inside the walls and bore little holes through the mud 
plaster, so that when the season arrives for them to take 
wings and fly, the rooms suddenly swarm with insects 
having wings nearly one inch long, which very soon drop 

18 



The Country : Its Awakening 

off and leave their astonished owners wriggling about 
helplessly on the floors. 

Houses thatched with grass stand the inevitable chance 
of being burnt down without a moment's warning by 
lightning. Therefore iron roofs have been introduced. 
The first government official to possess one in Bunyoro 
was the envy of the country round. When the hailstones 
fell, and made a deafening noise on the iron, he tried to 
feel comfortable as well as safe, when suddenly the whole 
roof — iron, timber, and all — was completely lifted off, and 
ignominiously thrown to the ground by the "slight 
breeze " that had sprung up. 

After eight years of experience of grass-thatched and 
mud houses, one day we found ourselves the proud 
owners of a self-built brick and iron-roofed domicile. We 
imagined it impervious to all ills. Straight walls, brick 
floors, airy wired-in windows, proper fitting doors : no 
ants, no rats, no leaky roof. But, alas, a family of snakes 
had escaped the vigilance of the builder, and ensconced 
themselves in the ceilings, so within the first month nine 
of them had descended, and were found in the bedrooms, 
nursery, and on the verandah. 

The white man must, of course, have a garden. The 
conventional paths are cut, flower-beds laid out, and a 
small plot marked off for vegetables. No sooner are the 
seeds in the ground than they spring up, and from that 
day a breathless combat ensues between the plants and 
their master, the weeds cheerfully joining in the contest. 
With pruning knife, spade and trowel he incessantly 
snips, fells, digs and transplants anything and everything 
to keep back and disciplme the rapid growth. Soon the 
garden is a massed confusion of glorious but unruly 
blossoms ; and as there is only one season all the year round, 
and that midsummer, some of the English plants have to 
adapt themselves to their altered circumstances. Few of 
them can resist responding to Africa's rich soil, plentiful 

19 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

rains and forceful sun, and so violets, roses and chrysan- 
themums may be seen blooming profusely side by side. 

The kitchen garden keeps one busy too, for the radishes, 
mustard and cress are in their prime for one day, and the 
next — the radishes resemble mangel-worsels, and the 
cress is a flowering shrub. Cauliflowers grow so tall that 
they have small chance of ever developing a heart, unless 
transplanted three or four times, and few people have so 
much surplus energy to expend on a vegetable. 

The soil is in its pristine state, no scythe has ever 
mowed down the scrub and grass, and no plough has 
ever passed through its sod. Nature has known no rest 
as in sub-tropical countries, where during winter's frost 
the soil and vegetation can store up energy for the 
summer months. Every day of the 365, from January to 
December, the sun shines. This results in abnormal 
vegetation, which, being so busy growing, has no time to 
consider its personal appearance, consequently perfection 
is rarely met with, and there is not much that one can 
admire in the colouring of the flowers or the foliage of 
the trees. Plants grow to extraordinary heights, and give 
the impression that they have all hopelessly outgrown 
their strength. Up the sides of Ruwenzori two species 
of lobelia are seen reaching a height of 15 to 20 feet; 
groundsel also measures the same, and moss grows to the 
depth of eight and nine inches round the branches and 
barks of heather trees that are 30 and 40 feet high. 

The wild gladiola, so common in Bunyoro, often 
reaches a height of live and six feet. When the bulbs 
have been sent to England the plant becomes dwarfed, 
but what it loses in height it gains in form and colouring. 
The entire country is covered with coarse grass varying 
from four to twelve feet high. In the dry season this is 
set fire to, so with the equatorial sun above, and the 
burning grass all round, Toro and Bunyoro can be at 
certain seasons just as warm as one could wish. 

20 



The Country : Its Awakening 

The time of the grass fires is certainly not the 
pleasantest time of the year for the housewife. She has 
just got her house decorated with freshly-starched 
curtains, cretonnes and cushion covers, when the air 
becomes charged with smuts and ashes that blow in 
through every window and doorway, covering everything 
with a surface of grime. If one risks paying an afternoon 
call at that season, the guest arrives at the house of her 
hostess a study in local colouring. 

The natives are accustomed to the fires, and generally 
have a good-sized plot of green potatoes planted all round 
their huts at that time of the year, or they burn down a 
circle of grass and clear a wide space, so as to isolate 
their huts, in the event of the fires sweeping in their 
direction. 

My own recent experience of grass fires will not soon 
be forgotten. It was Christmas time, when most people 
should be tingling with the frosty breezes, but we in 
Bunyoro were being fairly roasted. Often during Africa's 
" winter " months I have been forcibly reminded of my 
first experience of a Turkish bath, when the door closed 
and I found myself shut up in a room where it was the 
evident idea of everyone to try and dissolve, for all 
occupying the chairs were in a more or less advanced 
state of dissolution. 

I had, in anticipation of the heat, suggested to King 
Andereya Duhaga that it would greatly add to the fame 
of his country, if he built a health resort for Europeans on 
the highest hill that shut in his capital on one side. And 
as he is always ready to act on a sensible suggestion, 
orders were immediately issued, and by Christmas a most 
delightful little " settlement " stood ready for occupation. 
It consisted of two substantial sheds, under which tents 
could be erected, a cookhouse, and a line of boys' huts 
built round in a semi-circle. 

Andereya had given strict orders that no grass fires 

21 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

were to be started near the hills, so that they should 
remain pleasant and green for our week's house-warming. 

After three days my husband had to return to the 
station work, but I and baby were to finish out the week, 
as we had so benefited from the cooler temperature there. 
The following afternoon our boys came to me with 
consternation on their faces, saying that all the distant 
hills at the back were ablaze, and the strong wind was 
bearing the flames in our direction. I hurried out to 
look, and saw a belt of angry fire hurrying toward us. 
Our only hope la}' in the possibility that a forest, stretch- 
ing some distance beneath us, might arrest the fire. 
Darkness was setting in, and with the greatest trepidation 
we watched the fight between the forest and its relentless 
foe. But the strong wind was in league with the flames, 
and leaping across the tree tops, they madly rushed 
toward us. 

It was useless to attempt to burn down the grass 
around our little settlement, for the wind was blowing a 
hurricane, and we were only one white woman, one native 
woman and three young boys. We felt our only safety 
was in flight, but the fire had crept round and cut off our 
path, and the only way of escape was down a stony per- 
pendicular incline of about i,oooft. 

Just one silent heart prayer, and nearly stumbling 
under the weight of my little girl, I scrambled down 
that hill side in the darkness, for night had settled in, and 
there was no light save the lurid glare from the blazing 
fires gradually closing in around us. 

Half-way down my strength gave in, and I could not 
move, as we were wedged against a rock. Then we 
raised the native alarm with hand and lips, and although 
the people in the valley could not see us, they heard the 
cry, and suddenly aware of our danger, over lOO men 
hurried up to our rescue. While six were left to take us 
to the foot of the hill, the others stumbled up and were 

22 



The Country : Its Awakening 

just in time to save our belongings and the buildings 
after a desperate fight with the flames. 

At some remote period, however, the country must have 
been hotter still, for in certain districts, especially in the 
vicinity of Ruwenzori, broken lines of extinct volcanoes 
extend. As many as six can be visited in one hour in one 
district. Beneath the surface soil of Uganda generally, 
there is said to he a deep incrustation of lava, which 
renders all work of mineral prospecting an exceedingly 
difficult task. Deep down in some of these craters lie 
silent, unfathomable lakes. As you descend, the air strikes 
chill and stagnant, and an eerie sensation passes through 
you. It is not surprising that strange tales are associated 
with these dark waters in the minds of the natives, who 
say the spirits of the dead and devils live there, and these 
have been known to carry away men, children and cattle, 
who have been swallowed up entirely. This may refer to 
a time when some of them were active and wrought deso- 
lation in the land. Until quite recent times all the old 
women who were suspected of witchcraft, were bound and 
thrown head first into the yawning mouths of these 
craters. 

In the mountainous district of Toro, where the rainfall 
is heavy and the land is well irrigated by mountain 
streams, the perpetual scrub and elephant grass are inter- 
cepted by strips of forest. These are impenetrable to the 
traveller, excepting where the tangled rubber vines and 
dense undergrowth have been partially cleared for an 
opening. But they are the favourite haunts and play- 
grounds of elephants that regard Toro and Bunyoro as 
their own special reserves. These mighty animals herd 
together in large companies, sometimes numbering hun- 
dreds, and absolutely disregard any claim or boundary 
that mere man may peg out for himself. When on the 
march they trundle along in single file, the baby gambols 
along by the side ot its mother. Each company appoints 

23 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

a general that heads the march, and gives due warning to 
its followers, by powerful trumpetings when it scents 
danger. Elephant hunting is one of the most risky sports, 
and full of imminent peril. We have met quite a num- 
ber of hunters who have visited Bunyoro for this object, 
but not one has indulged in it for the sake of pleasure. It 
seems the right thing to do, to add at least one elephant 
to one's bag as a trophy. Others living in the country 
find the possibility of making even ^£"400 by one shot 
accurately fired, too strong a temptation to resist. In 
February, igii, the record elephant for this Protectorate 
was shot within two miles of our Mission Station at 
Hoima ; the tusks weighed 365lbs. The chief difficulty 
is, that the herd has to be approached through the long 
grass that often obscures them from the huntsman until 
he finds himself among them. Probably only one male 
among the herd possesses tusks above the minimum size 
allowed by the game laws of the country, and it is nearly 
always impossible to isolate that one from the others, so 
the shot has to be fired into the ranks. This causes the 
elephants to stampede, and throwing up their trunks in 
the air to scent their enemy, they will furiously charge in 
his direction. It is hard to beat a retreat amid such long 
grass, and trees form no safe place in which to take refuge, 
for twisting the trunk round the bark the elephant can 
splinter it into matchwood. 

Sometimes the ordinary traveller, having no malicious 
intentions towards them, may find himself in closer 
quarters than he may like. After a long day's march 
over rough roads, no roads, through rivers or swamps, 
he pitches his tent for the night, while his porters 
follow his example, and curl themselves round inside 
their hastily-erected grass hut. The usual salaams, 
with the local chief, have been exchanged, the curious 
crowd of gaping men, women and children move off, hav- 
ing seen as much, or probably more than they could 

24 



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The Country : Its Awakening 

possibly take in with one visit to the white man ; the 
buzz of the mosquito warns the traveller to seek refuge 
behind his net, when suddenly he espies a party of 
unwieldly visitors close to his camp. The elephants are 
evidently trying to make up their minds where they shall 
pass the night. We were once in this predicament our- 
selves, and were contemplating the possible alternative of 
flight, when our friends decided in our favour and moved 
off, and we were left to breathe freely once more. Certainly 
neither the Bunyoro nor Batoro are huntsmen by nature, 
their only weapons, the spear and bow, being hardly 
effectual, except in face-to-face encounter, which few 
natives have the courage to engage in, and they generally 
employ traps in preference to a hunt. The animals that 
did not provide them with meat were allowed to wander 
about unmolested, as the people were not generously 
enough disposed toward each to unite together in aveng- 
ing their neighbour whose child or goat had been dragged 
off in the night by a wild beast. These districts offer 
plenty of scope and variety to the keen huntsmen ; buffa- 
loes, rhinoceros', lions, leopards, antelopes of many 
sorts and kinds, from the large hartebeestes to the small 
graceful water buck, hyenas, jackals, servals, cheetahs, 
monkeys large and monkeys small, hippopotami and 
crocodiles ; while ostriches and giraffes are also found 
in the north of Bunyoro. 

Leopards are more feared by the natives than lions, as 
the former will always make for their assailant immediately, 
even although they are riddled with spears, but lions in 
this district generally act on the defensive. Soon after our 
arrival in Bunyoro, a baby lion and a baby leopard were 
brought to our own liitle boy as playmates. The leopard 
was only three days old ; it had been dropped by its 
mother when fired at, just as she was falling on a goat, 
and she made off, leaving her infant son to the mercy of 
her enemy. It was wonderful to see how the small 

25 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

animal immediately took to the feeding bottle. For some 
time it behaved itself in a truly exemplary manner ; it 
would waddle about the house with its clumsy legs and 
long tail sweeping the ground, searching diligently for 
that bottle when it suspected feeding time was due ; but 
it was not able to endure the trials of captivity, and died 
on its way to England where it was going to stay with its 
friends at the Zoo. Leopards are the most determined 
foes of the African household, lions generally confining 
themselves to pigs, antelopes and buffaloes, but leopards 
plunder preferably the household flocks and herds. Our 
little fox terrier was cruelly attacked on three different 
occasions by a leopard. We carefully bandaged up its 
wounds and nursed it back to convalescence ; but one 
evening as the boys were clearing the table in our little 
dining room, and the poor dog was wistfully contemplating 
its chance of sharing with the black boj^s the frugal remains 
of the meal, the leopard sprang into the room suddenly, 
and made off with Jack before the astonished boys had 
time to raise the alarm. Lions, however, have ventured 
into the capital in broad daylight, but they beat a hasty 
retreat into long grass as soon as they saw the stir that 
their appearance created; for men armed with spears 
immediately responded to the loud beat of the war drum 
which boomed out from the King's Hill. They swarmed 
along the paths like locusts, the little African town of 
scattered huts that a few moments previously had seemed 
asleep in the mid-day heat, was suddenly alive with 
excited, screaming figures, dancing and exercising their 
arms with their spears poised in the air. The half-scared 
animals were tracked to their lair by the King's expert 
hunter, where they were surrounded by a circle of men 
who gradually drew closer and closer as they slashed down 
the long grass in which the animals were hiding. Feel- 
ing themselves entrapped, with one great spring the lions 
plunged forward, only to meet the rifles of the Europeans, 

26 



The Country : Its Awakening 

who, however, were not allowed to take all the credit to 
themselves, for as the lion and lioness rolled over with a 
mighty roar, spears fell like rain from every direction. 

Hyenas and jackals are constant visitors round the 
house at night. One of the latter, a most undesirable 
nocturnal visitor, took advantage of my bedroom window, 
which had been left open to let in a stray breath of 
air during the oppressive hot season. Fortunately the 
animal contented itself with a candle that was on a 
table beside my little boy's bed. 

Hyenas are not so easily satisfied. On one occasion I 
had been given an enormous elephant foot, which I was 
fondly hoping to have converted into an umbrella stand ; 
ashes had been kept in it for nearly three months to 
clean and sweeten it ; but at the end of the time it was 
as offensive as ever, and one night, in a fit of despair, I put 
it out on the verandah to sleep. I never got my umbrella 
stand, for a hyena came and ran off with the savoury 
morsel, finishing every bit except one toe nail that was 
left in the garden. I have ever since envied hyenas their 
power of digestion, for that foot was as tough as iron, 
and about as palatable. 



\ 



27 



CHAPTER III 

The People 

THE kingdoms of Bunyoro, Uganda, and Toro were 
at one time ruled over by one king, whose centre of 
Government was in Bunyoro. Elder sons of the 
Mukidi ruler, Lukidi, were invested with the 
suzerainty of Uganda and Toro, but these two countries 
soon asserted their own independence. Rivalry and 
ceaseless feuds ever existed between the Baganda and 
Banyoro. The former, a more powerful race physically, 
gradually gained the advantage, and pushed their land- 
marks further and further into Bunyoro territory. Their 
country was a more or less enclosed land. The Victoria 
Lake shut them in on one side ; the strong, separate state 
of Busoga on the east, and the warlike Banyoro on the 
north and west ; being thus closed in all round, the 
people developed a concentrated force, which their foes 
were to feel the strength of hereafter ; but Bunyoro, on 
the other hand, had a free outlet, except on the south. 
All the districts surrounding its boundaries were inhabited 
by a number of small and weak tribes, that afforded a 
magnificent sports' ground for the Banyoro marauders. 
They lived in open hostility to each other, and therefore 
fell a ready prey to their powerful neighbour. 

They were plundered, subdued, and finally incorporated 
in the kmgdom of Bunyoro, which was thus composed of 
a heterogeneous people, many of whom were wild savages 
and cannibals, each tribe speaking a different language. 
The Banyoro themselves were absolutely lacking in 

28 



The People 

national cohesion, so were quite unable to cement 
together the outside fractious elements, and whilst they 
were absorbed in party and family quarrels, the tribes 
around gradually broke away from under their rule, until 
the once-powerful kingdom was reduced to its present 
restricted area — the district abutting on to the western 
shores of the Albert Lake. 

In spite however of the diversity of peoples that com- 
prised this kingdom, each retained its own separate indi- 
viduality, as intermarriage between tribes is repugnant to 
the African. Hence the union of these different peoples 
did not result in the deterioration of the Banyoro, but only 
increased the racial pride and inherent thirst for power 
that are such leading characteristics among them. They 
are divided up into clans, and the clans into families. In i^£-i~ 
the case of marriage a man most frequently seeks for his 
wives amongst those of his own clan or another of equal 
status ; relationship is no barrier, and it is not impossible, 
especially among the royal family, for a sister, stepmother 
and aunt to be included among a man's wives. 

It would have been impossible to find a greater diversity 
of dialects and tribes in a corresponding area, as the king- 
dom of Bunyoro presented in those days. A journey 
through these districts affords a most interesting study in 
human nature, and provides as many quick changes as a 
cinematograph. For instance, the Bakidi ladies adopt 
the fashion of wearing tails suspended from their waist as 
their sole garment, while a unique custom pertains to all 
bachelors. No unmarried man is allowed to sleep in the 
family hut, but at night he must retire to his lonely 
diggings, built up on high stakes from the ground ; the 
inside space just allows for one man to lie curled round 
like a centipede, while a diving attitude has to be assumed 
in order to clear the funnel-shaped aperture. 

Their near neighbours, the Baganyi, go in for more 
elaborate personal decoration. On fete days they present 

29 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

a truly regal appearance, with their limbs fantastically 
tattooed in white chalk, and their millinery of curled and 
uncurled ostrich feathers would do credit to any produc- 
tion of the Louvre at the present time. 

Round the lake shore some quaint fashions prevail. 
As the canoe draws up on the western beach, a crowd of 
men and women of the Babira tribe will be there en 
masse to inspect the new arrival. All their personal 
embellishment lies in the upper lip, in which slabs of 
wood are inserted, some measuring twelve inches in cir- 
cumference. To look at them one might imagine that it 
would be impossible to do anything for a people so lacking 
in ordinary intelligence, and yet our native teachers 
working in the neighbourhood say, that they are evincing 
a keen desire for instruction. 

Perhaps the most interesting folk are those working at 
the salt mines at Kibero, on the east shore of the lake. 
Here an extensive industry has been carried on from time 
immemorial, and still there seems no sign of the salt 
supply giving out. It is worked entirely by women, who 
are able to earn a comfortable livelihood, and thus supply 
their husbands and family with all the necessities of life. 
^ 'J Each woman has her own little allotted space, which 

is divided from that of her neighbour by low clay 
ridgings. A hot stream of water flows along the soil, 
which is impregnated with salt ; this keeps the ground 
constantly moist. The worker sprinkles dry earth over 
the flattened surface of her plot, and leaves it to be acted 
upon by the sun, which draws the salt up through the 
earth, where it lies like hoar-frost. This is collected and 
placed in earthern sieves, which are fixed over large pots. 
Water is then poured over it, and the salt gets carried 
down with it to the jar beneath ; this water is then 
placed over a fire and boiled until only the salt remains. 

These women are probably the only wives who are not 
ill-treated by their husbands, for it would go ill with them 

30 



The People 



if the men did not assume a chronic craven attitude 
toward them, for they are entirely dependent on their 
wives for home, food and clothing. The women are of 
powerful build and most quarrelsome nature, and so 
avaricious that they work from early morning to night, 
while they keep a constant look-out on their neighbour's 
plot of salt and appropriate it whenever there is the 
chance)' 

A similar form of native government existed in Uganda 
and Bunyoro, and does so to the present day, for the 
British Government decided that as a basis, it was well 
suited to the condition of the country, and only needed 
modifications in some respects, and a strong hand to con- 
trol its operations. 

Each kingdom is divided into six or eight shires, 
which are placed under county or " Saza " chiefs, who 
appoint semi-chiefs to districts in their shires, and these 
again choose out demi-semi chiefs for villages in their 
district. This system of chieftainships has reached an 
absurdity in Bunyoro, where every youth aspires to the 
title. A master does not pay his servants wages, he feeds 
and clothes them, and then after some years of services 
the man will be rewarded with a small chieftainship. It 
may be a district containing two or three minute villages, 
but however limited the sphere, the man considers him- 
self unlimited in power, raised to a position of such 
immense importance that he is placed beyond the servi- 
tude of work. He immediately sets up a miniature court, 
and surrounds himself with as many retainers as he can 
gather round him. One is appointed his deputy, another 
magistrate (Katikiro), another tax-collector, while each 
tiny village, or separate batch of huts, has a subordinate 
chief placed over it, who, being exalted to the dizzy posi- 
tion of officialism, feels it infra dig. to do the work him- 
self, and so nominates his own deputy, magistrate, 
collector, and sub-sub-chiefs to do it for him. Thus 

31 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

chieftainships go on multiplying in ever increasing magni- 
tude, until it often happens that a man who visits you in 
a coat and boots is lord of three or four decrepit little 
huts, the inmates of which supply him with these external 
evidences of his greatness, by the fines and taxes which 
he has legally, or illegally, extorted from them. So 
generally is this the practice in Bunyoro that it is almost 
impossible to train boys in any useful industry or craft. 
After some months' apprenticeship in carpentering, a youth 
will go to his master and present him with a shelf, crooked 
door, or shakey table, and thus so impresses him with 
his superior intelligence that he is immediately raised to 
the dignity of a chief. A boy that can put trees to such 
wonderful uses, what may he not do with the softer 
material of mankind ! 

A conclave is held once a week by the king, when the 
Saza chiefs are expected to attend, and bring into this 
national assembly any matter from his shire, that is 
beyond his jurisdiction. The king's throne is on a raised 
dais, spread with leopard and lion skins. He, and his 
county chiefs, dress in long black cloth Arab gowns, 
heavily embroidered with gold thread and tassels. The 
chiefs are seated in single lines below the dais, and 
behind them the minor chiefs and others squeeze together 
on the ground. The royal band, consisting of drums, 
horns, and reed flutes, bang, grunt and squeak outside 
while the people are assembling, and in the intervals in 
these native parliaments there are, sometimes, very 
breezy altercations, specially, in Bunyoro, where the 
chiefs are jealous and suspicious, and heartily dislike 
each other. The " Opposition Bench " is always in 
evidence ; sometimes each chair is in opposition to its 
neighbour, and the distracted king in vain calls, " Order, 
order " from the throne, as his ministers engage in fist to 
fist scuffles, and, on one occasion, ended by throwing each 
other out of the windows, and their chairs after them. 

32 



The People 



Taxation has not yet reached very complicated dimen- 
sions, but still it has its difficulties even in these parts. 
The native custom had been that each man should work 
for his master when called upon, and supply him with a 
certain proportion of food grown upon his shamba. This 
was equivalent to land-tax ; but as things developed in 
the country, the masters' requirements considerably 
increased ; mud, or brick houses, decent roads, and culti- 
vation of cotton and rubber made constant and heavy 
demands on their dependents' time ; so that at last it 
was found necessary to introduce a change, to protect 
the rights of the peasants. Now, instead of labour, each 
man brings to his chief two rupees a year, and thus dis- 
charges all obligations towards him. 

Ten years ago the British Government levied a hut-tax 
of three rupees on the people, and although it was such a 
mild demand (four shillings) the natives exercised all 
kinds of cunning to avoid payment. When the tax- 
gatherer was expected, the owner of the hut would go off 
and pay his long-lost brother a protracted visit, leaving 
his wife to face the wrath of the baffled " Publican," or 
to be taken as hostage. Others packed up wife and 
family, leaving kith and country, and fled to the wilds, 
sooner than put in a few days' work each year to enable 
them to meet the tax. But a worse evil that resulted 
was the overcrowding in the homes of the people. In 
one small beehive hut, having no partitions, there would 
be originally a man with his wife and children, one or 
two goats and several fowls. On the introduction of the 
tax, the father-in-law and mother-in-law came and took 
up their quarters there, and so halved the payment. To 
these would be added a newly-married brother and his 
bride, who now had an excuse for not troubling to build a 
separate hut : thus the tax was reduced by mutual 
arrangement to one rupee each man. Of course there were 
a few stray boys to do odd jobs, and all these people were 

33 D 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

packed in the hut at night, to say nothing of the rat and 
insect Hfe that was legion. 

Now the government has vetoed this state of things, 
and instead of a hut-tax, has introduced a head-tax for 
every male over sixteen years of age, so each able-bodied 
youth is now bound to work at least one month out of the 
twelve. Three and-a-half rupees a month is the regula- 
tion wage for the ordinary labourer that has specialised 
in nothing, and nearly the whole country may be classed 
under this heading. 

This very moderate taxation induces industry and pro- 
vides native labour, which, in a country like Bunyoro, 
would be almost impossible to procure under any other 
circumstances. Work is repugnant to the Banyoro, and 
nothing proves an irresistible attraction to him save 
indolence and ease. 

One day I wanted my garden weeded, and meeting an 
oldish man in deplorable need of garments, I offered him 
the contract. He, however, stoutly refused, telling me that, 
as he wanted nothing, he intended doing nothing. I tried 
to allure him by visions of the dignity that a garment 
would add to his person, but he grinned widely at the 
very suggestion. He had never worn anything but a goat 
skin all his life, and he was not going to adopt any follies 
now. At the same time the Bishop of New Guinea 
strikes a sympathetic chord in me, when he writes of his 
people : — " A native snug and warm under the equator, 
with nature bountifully yielding her fruit to his hand, 
cannot be expected to work -like one who is shivering in 
the bleak regions of the poles. The chief fault in the 
native, from a white man's point of view, is really his 
greatest excellence. He is so simple in his habits and 
mode of life, that he does not care to toil and moil for 
those things which other people value. He is content, 
and cannot see why, at a stranger's bidding, he should face 
hardship, loss of liberty and work often too severe for 

34 



The People 

his constitution." It is rather pathetic to see a crowd of 
men drawn up in front of your house asking for tax work. 
They have mostly denied themselves food for at least a 
day or even more, so as to present as pitiable an appear- 
ance as possible. And it is extraordinary the difference 
one day's fasting makes to their outline, for their bodies 
resemble concertina bellows, they are either extended to 
bursting pitch or in a state of total collapse. The native 
custom generally is to have one solid meal a day, and 
that after sunset, so that he has the whole night to sleep 
off the effects. 

Their capacity for food is incredible. When cooking a 
native feast, it is well to reckon 5 to y\hs. of meat per head, 
besides plantains, potatoes and vegetables in similar pro- 
portion. 

Apart from the general outline to arouse one's sym- 
pathy, scarcely one man among the party seeking work 
is not maimed or disfigured. Disease and neglect have 
weakened the constitution, and deep scars are seen on 
every face or chest, where the medicine-man's drastic 
kill-or-cure methods of bleeding and branding for even 
the smallest pain, have left their mark on every man, 
woman, and heathen child in the country. Some of the 
men are also lame, victims of the jigger — an infinitesimal 
insect that bores into the toes, and unless extracted 
immediately sets up violent irritation, which is followed 
by inflammation and mortification. It is not an infre- 
quent sight to see a man or boy lacking a toe, or left with 
only a foot stump, as they have been too indolent, or 
careless, to search for a thorn and extract the jigger 
before it has worked such havoc. 

It seems hopeless to get work out of such people, and 
it is a problem to find out what they can do. They 
assure you they have not strength to carry loads, they do 
not know how to dig, for that is women's work ; nor to 
smelt iron, that is blacksmith's work ; nor to mould water 

35 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

and cooking pots, that is the potter's work. These crafts 
cannot be learned— a man must be born of the potter or 
blacksmith's clan — and as there is always a scarcity of 
these household essentials in the country, one can only 
conclude that these particular clans must be among the 
most unprolific. 

Under the old regime there was no need for the men 
to work. A man's wives provided him with food, and 
whenever he wanted to replenish his harem or his herds, 
he had only to join one of the king's raiding parties and 
plunder from a neighbour as many women, goats or 
cattle as he could carry away^ 

At the sound of the war-drum the man underwent a 
complete change, all the lawlessness and savage instincts 
of his nature were roused— throwing off every vestige of 
idleness and sloth, he would seize his spear, and as he 
felt the weapon quivering in his grip, gave himself up 
to the fiercest passions. Inflammable as is the nature of 
the African, the drum thrills him, and no man can resist 
its war call. Clad in the skins of wild animals, of whose 
nature they seemed temporarily to partake, the men 
followed their captain, working themselves into a state 
of semi-madness by the war dance and song. Arriving 
at the enemy's village, they relentlessly burnt down the 
houses, killed the men, and laden with spoil of cattle, 
women and children, left the place in ashes, and returned 
to crown their victories by human sacrifices and drunken- 
ness. The drum, or tom-tom, like all other instruments 
of sound, appeals to the lowest instinct in the negro. It 
is indeed a country absolutely void of music. The only 
instrument that gives forth a note or something that is 
not a roar or squeak, is the harp. The crudest is made 
out of a piece of cow horn, with a finger board of rough 
twig and one string of fibre; the other kind is formed out 
of a slit gourd, tied on to a thin shaped board and possess- 
ing two strands of cow gut. 

36 



jj J J J •> 
, J J J J J 



3 , > , ^ , ., > > ' ' 




Clt 









Q 
Z 

< 

b 

2 



The People 

The musician being limited to one or two notes repre- 
sented by the strings, has not .much scope for displaying 
his talent, but he tries to ring the changes on these. As 
the sounds twang out in ceaseless monotony, the man 
accompanies them with sepulchral sentences, or stanzas, 
which he composes on the spot to suit the occasion. 
Gradually his body sways to the rythm of the music, and 
after a time the noise leads the people on to a point of 
inanity. This, accompanied with dancing and a bountiful 
supply of native spirit, brewed out of grain and banana 
juice, was the ordinary occupation of the men each night, 
and having no lamps or lights, they were shut up in their 
huts, or in their courtyards, carrying on their revelries 
by the flicker of the fires. 

Each new moon was the excuse for extra indulgence. 
In the afternoon all the drums in the place were beaten 
and everybody shouted, as no one dared keep silent for fear 
of offending the moon. The king posted men at the 
cross-roads and seized everyone who passed along. These 
unfortunate folk were brought in to him and offered up as 
a propitiatory sacrifice for the whole country to the evil 
spirits. The hair of the victims was put into cow horns 
and their blood was poured on to it, the horns being then 
kept by different people as charms against sickness and 
trouble. 

After this the king appeared swathed in barkcloths, 
taking up his position in his council hall, his subjects 
coming to do obeisance to him. A dead silence prevailed, 
for no one was allowed to even cough in his presence. 
First came the herdsmen in procession, as they always 
held first rank; then the king's children, followed by the 
princes, princesses, chiefs, and lastly, the ordinary people; 
these all came in single file, and after prostrating them- 
selves before the king, stood on one side till the hall was 
full. Then all the people broke silence by shouting 
together " Live the King." As the full moon rose the 

37 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

feasting began, and the drinking and dancing continued 
till dawn. The king's chief wife had to sit by her intoxi- 
cated spouse and pinch his arm or bite his finger, to pre- 
vent sleep, for a man to slumber during full moon brought 
disaster to the household. 

The moon is regarded with great reverence by the 
Banyoro, who believe that it takes away sickness and 
hunger, and brings milk, food and health. A legend 
common among them describes how, in the time of the 
gods, there lived a man named Ibamba, who had two sons 
— Sun and Moon. As they grew up their father gave 
them each an inheritance. One day Ibamba became ill, 
and realising that he was about to die, sent to his 
sonS; that they might come and bury him. When the 
messenger came to the Moon, he immediately rose up, 
although it w'as night, and came to his father ; but the 
Sun, on receiving the message, replied, " I will wait until 
the morning, dare I travel in the dark ? " When Ibamba 
saw that his child, the Sun, delayed coming, he was 
wrath, and cried out, "Till the end of time he shall not 
cease to wander about, all day and every day he shall 
travel, he will bring great trouble on his country, the 
grass will wither, the water shall dry up, and he shall 
cause a fire to burn within man and beast, and many 
shall die because of it.* Ibamba then appointed his son, 
the Moon, as his heir, and bequeathed everything to him, 
saying, " To you, my child, I leave all, for you are a man 
of pity and grace. Your goings shall be by night, and 
whenever you appear, kings shall greatly fear and offer 
you gifts. They shall adorn themselves in their best 
apparel when they come to stand before you, and every- 
thing that shall be born shall date from you ; you shall 
govern the time for the sowing of every seed." 

After these words, Ibamba died, and they buried him. 

*The natives believe that malarial fever, so prevalent in the country 
is the fulfilment of this curse. 

38 



The People 

In the morning the Sun arrived, and finding that his 
father was dead, and that the Moon had been appointed 
his successor, he was exceedingly angry, and cried, " Am 
I not the elder son, my brother has supplanted me." 
Whereupon he seized a stick, and beat the Moon, and 
they fought together, cutting each other about on the 
head. The Moon's bruises can be seen to this day, but 
the Sun never recovered from his wounds ; when a man 
looks at the Sun he cannot see the cuts, for tears of pity 
blind his eyes, but if he turns his eyes away, and shuts 
them, the dark red bark-cloth bandages that bind up the 
wounds can be seen to this day. The Moon thenceforth 
ruled all the stars, which are his subjects, his wives being 
the stars that travel closest to him. 

Like all uncivilised races, the history of this people 
dates back to comparatively recent times. It covers a 
dynasty of kings for about twenty generations — then 
an era of rule under the Bacwezi or semi-mythical 
governors, which was preceded by an indefinitely pro- 
longed period under the reign of the gods. 

These Bacwezi were evidently a migratory tribe that 
swept down from the north, and completely subjugated 
the original inhabitants of the country, at the same time 
adopting the native dialect. 

An example of this is seen in Ankole at the present 
time, where there are two distinct races forming one 
people, and speaking one language. The peasants are 
the Bairu tribe, the original people of the soil, while the 
ruling class is the Bahuma or herdsmen tribe, of Nilotic 
origin, who probably settled in the ranch-like country 
years ago, as it afforded such excellent pasture land for 
their cattle. 

These Bacwezi evidently taught the Banyoro to work 
the iron that is abundant in certain districts, and it may 
be that they instructed them in the rudiments of their 



religion. 



?9 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

When the Bacwezi again migrated and pushed further 
south, the country must have been left very desolate and 
depopulated, until the Bakidi chiefs came in from the 
east, and once again built up the kingdom. 

During that interregnum much of the early history 
must have faded from the memory of the people, for on 
their departure, the Banyoro attributed to these Bacwezi 
supernatural power, and gradually the ages before their 
advent receded further in the background, and they 
ceased to think of that time when they were not under 
their authority. Very soon the Bacwezi were as dreaded, 
and therefore worshipped as the evil spirits. The people 
had a fearful reverence for these rulers, who still held an 
extraordinary power over the natives' imagination. 

They affirm that they were the direct descendants of a 
line of gods who were engulfed in hell. The legends 
describe how the Bacwezi were wearied by the constant 
strife between men, and left the country never again to 
be seen by mankind; but their connection with humanity 
did not cease ; in order to be revenged, they visited the 
people with disease and misfortune, therefore was it 
necessary to propitiate them with sacrifices and offerings. 



40 



CHAPTER IV 

Domestic Life 

THE word "home" can never be applied to the 
dwelHngs of the Banyoro and Batoro. The httle 
beehive hut affords to them a shelter and a sleeping 
place, apart from any association of family life. 
^ The women are the slaves of the household. At sun- 
rise they shoulder their hoes and go out into the fields, 
which are heavily laden with moisture, to wrestle with 
the giant weeds whose stubborn roots are implanted 
some feet in the soil. Often the cultivation is most per- 
functory and superficial, for the strength of the women is 
not sufficient for the terribly severe labour that the land 
demands. When the plot is digged, it is sown with three 
or even four different crops all mixed up together — 
potatoes, linseed, beans and Indian corn. Within six 
weeks the beans are ready for picking, and form the daily 
meal until the Indian corn is ripe ; the potatoes are the 
last crop to mature, and are gathered in daily as the need 
arises. Favourite dishes among the Banyoro are white 
ants, grasshoppers, and tiny mushrooms, the spore of 
which is laid by the ants. A discreet housewife will 
generally have a small reserve of these delectable tit-bits 
tied up in banana fibre hanging to a peg in the hut. 
These are produced as a salve to her lord and master 
when his wrath is aggravated and she is threatened with 
a beating. It is an unfailing remedy, for the severest 
temper must melt before such irresistible dishes. 

Besides providing the household with food, the women 

41 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

have to fetch the water and firewood, cultivate the roads, 
and cook the food. A cooking pot costs 250 cowrie shells 
(4d,), and this, with a water pot of the same value, are 
the only utensils of an ordinary household. The husband 
grumbles interminably at having to provide these 
essentials, and very often will have the potatoes and 
Indian corn poked among the ashes and roasted, rather 
than supply his wife with a pot. 

When the woman wishes to serve up a surprise feast, 
consisting of three or four items, she prepares banana 
leaves by passing them through the fire, and so rendering 
them plastic and waterproof; in these she ties up the 
vegetables separately, and steams them together in the 
one family cooking pot. 

The men have by far the easier time of it, and only 
within the last few years have they done any work at all. 
Their creed was that women were made for work, and 
men — well, they had to rule their wives, eat the food 
served up to them, smoke, and think of nothing. 

Once in every few years there was the hut to build, 
and the only share the women could take in this, was to 
level the site and bring the grass for its thatching. It 
meant at least two solid weeks' work for the husband ! 
And when it was completed, he would mop his streaming 
brow, declare he had pains in every part of his body, and 
tie a strand of grass tightly round his head to prevent it 
dropping to pieces entirely, and he must never be 
expected to give another moment's consideration or time 
to the home. The storms rnay whisk off patches of 
thatch, and the rain pour in, the grass may rot, the white 
ants eat the poles until the hut lops over on one side, but 
if there is a dry spot left for himself to lie upon, the man 
is content, and not until it is actually falling down upon 
him and his family, will the master of the household stir 
himself in the matter. 

He had three sources of revenue — goats, wives, and 

42 



Domestic Life 

children ; neither of them he regarded with deep feelings 
of affection, unless we except the goats, which on rare 
occasions would die, and then provide him with a feast 
of meat. But all three were necessary for his comfort. 
The hides supplied him with clothing, the wives with 
food, and the children provided both goats and women. 
A man had as many wives as he could barter for. The 
ex-king Kabarega had over 400, some of whom he 
inherited from his father and brothers. It is estimated 
that he possessed over 1,000 children, many of whom 
were killed in the wars, the others were scattered about 
the country; in fact, in Bunyoro, princes and princesses 
are almost as plentiful as mosquitoes. Several of them 
have no inheritance, and have married peasants. 

Children are a great asset to their parents, and men 
are very anxious to have large families, for they represent 
his greatness in this life, and assure to him an abundant 
following in the spirit world, where the thought of 
remaining alone is torture to them. 

Monogamy, which often implies no offspring, will 
therefore for many years be a severe problem in Christian 
households. 

The birth of a girl is hailed with almost as much joy as 
that of a boy. It often happens that before birth she has 
been sold by the father as a wife to some old crony, on 
the chance that the child will be a girl. She is reared in 
her parent's home until her husband claims her to take 
over the duties of one of his other wives now beyond 
work. Girls of heathen families are not allowed a voice 
in the choice of a husband. The father transacts the 
bargain ; he does not inquire after the character of the 
man, nor does he attempt to find out if he has a hut to 
offer her, nor how his daughter is likely to be treated. 
She is given to the wooer who will offer the highest price. 
The fees levied are quite disproportionate to a man's 
means ; as almost without exception, the would-be bride- 

43 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

groom has to part with all his goats, which represent hi^ 
sole property, and he borrows from every available friend 
at an exorbitant rate of interest, in order to meet the 
marriage fees ; and as the couple begin life burdened 
with debt, they are often obliged to squeeze into a corner 
of a hut offered by a friend, as no one but a peasant will 
build for himself, and the man has nothing left with 
which to employ labour. 

An effort was made by the Government to fix a bride's 
price at Rs. 15 (;^i), but the regulation was met with 
general disapprobation. A man refused to part with his 
daughter for so small a sum, declaring she was worth 
more to him as labour. The bridegroom felt he was 
wooing a worthless wife, while the more he is fleeced, the 
better is the girl pleased, as valued at Rs. 15 she felt 
herself insulted and bemeaned. 

The following is a young chief's marriage bill which 
was shown to me : — 



To one wife ... 


• • • 


One cow. 


Necklace for the aforesaid cow 


• • • 


200 cowrie shells. 


Offering placed on the spot \vl 


lere 




he first saw the bride ... 


■ •• 


1,500 shells. 


Gift to bride 


• • • 


One sleeping mat = 250 shells 


,, 


• • • 


One barkcloth = 800 shells. 


» 


• • • 


Beads = 750 shells. 


>> ••• ••• 


• .. 


Wire bracelets = 300 shells. 


Gift to grandmother of bride 


• • a 


1,000 shells. 


„ aunt „ 


• • ■ 


One goat. 


„ father „ 


• • ■ 


One shaving knife and salt. 


„ mother „ 


• • • 


400 shells. 


„ best man „ 


• • • 


400 shells. 


„ „ of bridegroom 


• • • 


1,500 shells. 


„ cook of wedding feast 


• . • 


One goat. 


Wedding feast 


■ • • 


One ox. 


To man who shaved bride's head... 


200 shells. 


To the chief of the district 


.•• 


One ox. 


Offering at the doorway of 


the 




bridal home 


44 


100 shells. 



Domestic Life 

The market value of the above items at that time 
were : — 

Cow ... ... ... ... ... ... Rs. 60. 

vyX ... ... ... ... ... •". Xxb. — 3* 

Goat ... ... ... ... ... ... K-S. 2*. 

Cowrie shells 1,000 = Re. i. 

Thus the bill came out at nearly £g. 

After a marriage contract has been made between a 
girl's father and the most eligible wooer, a period of six 
months or one year elapse, during which time the man 
seeks the wedding fees, and the bride-elect undergoes a 
process of fattening in her father's home. When the 
man comes to claim his wife, the father meets him with 
the set response, "Let me look for a dowry for my child." 
A bride's trousseau formally consisted of the following : — 

Two barkcloths as wedding dress. 
Two calves' skins as reception gown. 
One knife for shaving of head. 
One gourd as drinking cup. 
Two strings of loin beads. 
Two zebra tail necklaces. 
Two wire bracelets. 

After a few weeks a messenger is despatched by the 
poor impatient bridegroom, but he is sent back with 
orders for his master to come in person when four days 
have elapsed. 

Then all the relations and friends are called to prepare 
the bride for her nuptials. An uncle shaves her head, 
until it as bald as an egg, another cuts and manicures 
her finger-nails, while the grandmother acts as chiro- 
podist. The night before the wedding the bride is made 
to sleep in the dust, and black ashes are rubbed over her 
body. At cock-crow the aunts take her down to a swamp, 
and scrape her down with sand from head to foot ; she is 
then led to a clear, flowing stream and washed. They 

45 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

hastily return to the house, bearing a jar of water, into 
which have been thrown wild, fragrant flowers. 

Meanwhile, the courtyard of the hut has been spread 
with fresh-cut grass, and here the final act of purification 
takes place. The girl lies on the grass, and with a bunch 
of vetch the scented water is sprinkled over her. 

She then retires to rest on her mother's bed. The 
dust of her footprints is most carefully collected and 
buried out of sight, so as to prevent any malicious person 
carrying it away for the purpose of bewitching her. 

At the time appointed, the guests arrive, and all the 
women set up loud and dismal wailings — can there 
possibly be any joy when a girl is leaving her own people 
to become the working wife of a man who may abuse, 
beat and ill-use her without let or hindrance ? Thus they 
reason. But the wailing soon gives place to revelry, for 
there is very little sincere sympathy ever shown for 
another's misfortune. An infirmity, a deformity and 
suffering generally provoke laughter and amusement. So 
on the wedding day, when the last guest has arrived, 
milk and coffee beans are given round, then pipes and 
beer to every one, and they all break out into song, while 
the bride sits alone weeping. 

A speech is then made by the bridegroom ; as a pre- 
liminary, he tells his guests that his heart is full of joy, 
because he has drunk freely and smoked his pipe ; but 
then he alters his tone, and says that his spirit quakes, 
his body trembles, and words fail him, because of the 
great fear he has of his father-in-law. Whereupon the 
old man rises and replies, " Cheer up my son, have you 
not a wife to comfort you ; dismiss your fears and be 
merry." 

Then a stir is made and the wedding party prepare for 
departure to the home of the bridegroom. The bride 
heads the procession, closely veiled, and hemmed in by 
women attendants. They move along at less than a 

46 



Domestic Life 

snail's pace, for a bride must show reluctance and grief on 
her wedding day, even though she may not feel it. After 
three hours, during which time they have travelled about 
100 yards, the bride evinces signs of exhaustion, so a 
hammock is brought, and at sunset the party arrives at 
the home, where the man's parents sit crouching to receive 
the guests. The man and wife both approach them 
reverently and sit on their knees as salutation. The 
father-in-law straightaway administers sound advice to 
the bride. " A wife shall not leave her house to be over- 
run by fowls, a woman's place is in the kitchen, or in the 
field digging and gathering firewood, or at the well fetch- 
ing water for her household, not visiting in the huts of 
her neighbours. If she does evil she will see evil, but if 
she does well, good will come to her." The husband 
then thanks his father for counselling his wife, and adds 
this rider of his own — " What is evil ? If my wife sees 
me and my friends hungry and does not cook for us, that 
is sin. And what is virtue ? If she will work for me, 
that is well, and I shall be satisfied." 

. The bride's trousseau is then brought and displayed 
before the wondering guests, after which everyone hastily 
retires to rest, so as to be asleep before the hyenas shriek, 
otherwise disaster will befall the married couple. 

All is left in darkness save for the flickering light of a 
fire in the courtyard which is tended by an old man. After 
about the space of one hour, it is his duty to crow loudly 
like a cock to awake the household, and pretend to them 
that day has dawned. 

Immediately the guests arise, and the bridegroom joins 
them at the feasting, drinking, dancing and revelry that 
go on all night. In the morning the visitors depart and 
send to the bride gifts of tobacco, pipes, spices, grass 
woven belts, knives, needles, and gut for sewing her 
hides. 

Should the bride be a chief's wife she will not be 

47 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

expected to do much cultivating, but she is initiated by 
the old women into her duties, which are : — 

1. To fear and respect her father and mother-in-law. 

2. To remain faithful to her husband. 

3. To be industrious. 

4. To show hospitahty to strangers. 

The daily tasks begin with sweeping out the courtyard, 
then she has to cut fresh grass for strewing the hut. She 
must relieve visitors of all appurtenances on their arrival, 
and have milk and pipes always ready to offer them. 
Every evening she collects the milk-pots, cleans them 
by boiling them over the fire smoke, and when her hus- 
band has finished his evening meal she makes most 
elaborate preparations for serving him with milk. The 
milk-bowl is placed in a mop of evenly cut and spotlessly 
white fibre which fits into a highly polished wooden 
stand ; as she hands the bowl to her lord she waves a fly- 
flick before him with one hand, while with the other she 
screens her eyes from him. 

Under no circumstances whatever was a wife allowed 
to eat with her husband — the men have their food brought 
to them in the house, while the women partake of their 
meal in the very dirty porous shed, or dilapidated hut, 
that serves as a kitchen.) 

Girls are obliged to marry very young, and soon lose all 
their youth and vivacity. To show any joy or content- 
ment after marriage is to be sadly lacking in modesty 
and refinement. Christian women are very slowly learn- 
ing to fit themselves for the new position that Christianity 
and civilisation demand for them ; but few take any pride 
in cleanliness, and even in some of the better class mud 
and brick houses that the chiefs are now building, there 
is a most stifling atmosphere, for the rooms are tightly 
closed all day and night, and the tidying of them is left 
entirely to the ragamuffin house boys, who receive occa* 

48 



Domestic Life 

sional oversight from their masters. The wife will emerge 
from some dark corner to receive her husband or guests, 
swathed in a very much soiled house garment ; she invari- 
ably answers the greeting with a description of some 
ache or pain that she now has, or suffered from in the 
past., 

But the same axiom applies to Bunyoro as elsewhere, 
" Women are what men make them." A man by his 
neglect, or rough treatment, soon extinguishes any spark 
of respect and desire that his wife may once have 
possessed for him, and the Banyoro women are very 
liable to be easily conquered by their circumstances and 
make no attempt to rise above them. Rarely will a man 
consider his wife at all, and still less frequently will he 
exercise any self-sacrifice for her. Many women must 
most carefully preserve their one only decent cloth for 
visiting, while their husbands have a reserved stock of 
linen garments, coats and polished boots for every 
occasion. 

When a boy reaches the age of 7 or 8 he prefers to 
leave his home and attach himself to some chief who 
allots to him various little duties. The parents never for- 
bid this, but on the other hand encourage it, for by that 
time their hopeful young offspring is absolutely out of 
hand and refuses to obey his parents. From infancy he 
has been allowed his own way in every respect, for he has 
never been reproved or checked. No parent will chastise 
his child, and when his insubordination has become a 
habit, the inevitable retort of the father or mother is, 
" Will a child ever obey its parent ? " One of the very 
saddest features of native life is the condition of the 
children. Indeed, it is a land without child-life, if by 
that we understand innocency, frolic, merriment and 
laughter. Nothing is concealed from a child; as soon as 
the understanding is awakened it listens to the sordid 
and degraded conversation that is spoken in their homes 

49 B 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

and public places. The sacred mysteries of life are ruth- 
lessly flaunted before mere infants, so that they are men 
and women in knowledge, and often, alas, in vice, before 
they have left behind their childhood. It is revolting to 
listen sometimes to the conversation of mere babies. 

In the Mission Schools the children are being literally 
taught to play, so that their energies may have a healthy 
outlet. 
. / The mortality among children is reputed by the natives 

^^ themselves to be 80 to go per cent. This is due largely 
to the gross immorality that has existed in the past. 
During the prolonged wars of Kabarega, the ex-king, m-.n 
were killed by hundreds, and during the famine that 
followed, girls and women were left to roam about the 
country selling their honour for a mere handful of grain. 

A people cannot recover from such a condition in one 
generation. It is no exaggeration to say that not one 
child is born without the seeds of disease, which sooner 
or later manifests itself, and only now are the parents 
beginning to attribute it to other causes than witchcraft 
or devil-possession. For every ache the very septic knife 
or branding iron was freely applied to the already frail 
body of the infant, and only a few could survive these 
drastic measures. Children are instilled with a dread of 
water from infancy. When the sun sets and the chilliness 
of night strikes the air, piercing cries may be heard 
outside the hut that owns a baby, for the mother is 
performing its evening ablutions by throwing over it cold 
water, and then leaving the -child to drip and dry on a 
banana leaf. When it is deemed old enough to perform 
its own toilet, it is not surprising that the child tries to 
banish from its mind the very thought of water, and 
when the rain threatens it with a bath, he will ingeniously 
convert a big banana leaf into an umbrella to protect his 
little naked body. A mother continues nursing her child 
until it is two or even four years of age, and it is not 

50 



Domestic Life 

unusual for another woman to oblige her friend by impart- LrS-i 
ing the mid-day meal should the mother be otherwise 
occupied. 

The morning after a child is born, the parent's saliva is 
mixed with the juice of herbs and administered to the 
infant as a charm against sickness. 

When the first tooth appears the mother does not ) 

proudly announce the fact to all her friends, but she 
carefully conceals it for fear a jealous neighbour should 
bewitch the child. 

The king did not set eyes on his children until they had 
reached the age of four or five. They were at that age 
presented to him, and he immediately gave orders for them 
to be sent away to chiefs who would be responsible for 
their up-bringing. The mother was strictly forbidden to 
again set eyes on her child unless she could manage it by 
stealth or bribery. 

The birth of twins was hailed with general conster- 
nation, and was regarded as a visitation of the evil-one. 
A witch-priest was immediately sent for, while all the 
people of the household danced and sang outside in the 
courtyard to entice out of the house the spirit. Nothing 
was done to keep the life in the children, and if they died 
the priest put them into a cooking pot, which he closed in 
with clay to imprison the spirit, and cooked them to a 
cinder, just leaving two tiny holes in the pot which he 
called the eyes of the evil-one. But if the children were 
lusty, and decidedly showed signs of living, a spear shaft 
for a boy and a knife for a girl twin, with beans and 
millet were tied up in the mother's bed mat and given to 
a very swift runner, who hastened off on his secret 
mission. He deposited the bundle in the courtyard of a 
far neighbour, and as he hurriedly made his escape he 
cried aloud : " Two dogs are born to you this day." This 
bundle of charms was believed to have the power of 
removing the curse from one house to another. 

51 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

The mother and twins were not allowed to go beyond 
the precints of the yard nor to see visitors until one year 
had expired. During that time the priest remained with 
them, and a fire had been kept burning without inter- 
mission day and night. When the year had run out an 
elaborate service of exorcism was performed, the house 
and all utensils used by the mother and twins were 
burned, and the mother was forcibly driven away to be 
set apart for the service of witch-craft.) 

The life of the people and of the individual from the 
cradle to the grave is haunted with the fear of malicious 
spirits. A man will never own up to a good harvest, or 
to prosperity, or health, lest the spite of the spirits should 
deprive him of them. He always speaks of hunger in the 
home, of his herds dying, or of his wife and children 
ailing — and by these lies he hopes to deceive the spirits. 
"Whenever a death occurs the corpse is buried immediately 
so as to prevent the spirit haunting the house. When 
old women showed signs of decay, they were sometimes 
buried before the breath had left their bodies, lest they 
might die at night, in which case they would have to 
remain in the house until daylight. 

If one can imagine a people that has never possessed a 
literature in any form however crude ; that has never 
produced a song, except the war cry and the shout of 
savage exaltation ; that has known no music, save the din 
of the tom-tom with its sensual accompaniments ; if one 
can picture a land without any recognised code of moral 
laws ; that provides no restraint to the exercise of the 
most evil passions ; if one can think of a land from which, 
all through the ages, there has never arisen one prayer to 
God or any deity save devils, one can faintly see these 
districts of Africa before the Light broke in upon its 
darkness — that true Light that lighteth every man. 



82 






' ' > ' J •• » j^ 




DODOI, SON OF KAVALLI. 



CHAPTER V 
The Religion 

ALTHOUGH a knowledge of God underlies the belief 
of these African tribes, it has no place in the system 
of their religion. 

They suppose that God left the world because of its 
insubordination, and from thenceforth all contact with 
mankind ceased. 

A vague idea, however, still exists in their mind that as 
Creator, He has the power to benefit man if He will, but 
is above being influenced by propitiatory offerings or 
sacrifices, and is beyond altogether the sphere of human 
supplication. 

God, being good, accepts no bribes, therefore no offerings 
are necessary ; He will act as He wishes, apart from any 
human consideration. 

In the most irrelevant manner the heathen bring the 
name Ruhanga — God — into their conversation. A sick 
cow will recover if God wills — a man will escape just 
punishment if God wills — God can find a man his hut tax — 
if God wills, a man will succeed in litigation, even though 
his defence is one sheet of lies. This does not indicate 
trust in God, but in a fatalism that exempts them from 
all responsibility. 

When visiting among them one evening I entered a 
hut, where I found a young girl on the point of death. 
There were several women lying about inside, but not 
one would help the poor sufferer, and I learned that for 
three days no nourishment had been given her. When 

53 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

I remonstrated with them on their neglect, they calmly 
answered, "If God wills she will recover, and if God wills 
she will die." The girl was carried to a little house in 
our compound, and, after a hard fight, she was brought 
back to life. 

But it is very difficult to trace these remnants of their 
earlier and purer faith, for the native has gradually sur- 
rounded himself by a world of evil spirits and Bacwezi, 
or demi-gods, who are ever seeking to reek vengeance on 
mankind. 

They believe very firmly in the immortality of the 
soul. Unlike other heathen tribes that suppose the spirit 
ceases to exist when the family or clan dies out, these 
people aver that the spirit of man is immortal, and at 
death it is released to be avenged on all those who have 
ill-treated them in life. 

Priests, however, possessed means of entrapping evil 
spirits of the dead and of cremating them. Those who 
have died a natural death can be propitiated by sacrifice, 
but those who died by violence can never be appeased. 

A most elaborate form of fetish ritual was gradually 
evolved. Men and women were set apart, and dedicated 
to the service of the Bacwezi ; these were called 
" Embandwa," who had grades of priests and high-priests 
set over them. Children were dedicated to the order of 
Embandwa when any misfortune threatened the house- 
hold. At its initiation scores of priests and priestesses 
gathered together in a wide open space, the child was 
brought into their midst, and placed on the lap of the 
oldest member present, who forced the child to swallow a 
large round stone in the name of the Bacwezi and High 
Priest. The child was then sworn to secrecy by the 
words: " If you divulge the hidden things of wisdom at 
night, you will die in the night ; if you do so at noon, 
you will die at noon." 

At that moment a rumbling noise was heard issuing 

54 



The Religion 



from a mound of grass, under which a priest had been 
concealed ; the child screamed with fear, but he was 
assured that it was the voice of the Bacwezi registering 
his vow. When night fell, all the Embandwa and the 
young novitiate entered a large and rudely-constructed 
hut, and here the child was instructed in the most 
degrading forms of vice, incantations were made over its 
body in a language known only to that particular order, 
and the child firmly believed that by this time he was 
transformed into another being. 

In the morning a crown of flowers was placed on his or 
her head, and the whole company returned to their homes 
with the child. 

The witch-doctors are a distinct class, held in great 
veneration and fear by all the people. They are believed 
to have the power of intercourse with the dead, and inter- 
pret their mind to the inquirer ; and on every matter of 
importance they are interviewed. 

The man who wishes to consult the witch-doctor brings 
a chicken to him for dissection. The priest first com- 
mands him to allow his saliva to pass into the fowl, after 
which very exacting ablutions take place. The priest 
most carefully washes the bird, uttering over it these 
words ; " Are you not the bird that has perfect know- 
ledge; your actions, unlike those of the cow and goat, are 
beyond comprehension. When you drink, do you not 
turn your face toward Heaven ? You have legs like iron 
and claws like a knife ; you open out your inward parts 
to be read of men. Come now, and reveal to me evil and 
good, and make known to us our enemies." The witch- 
doctor thereupon enfolds it in his clothing until prepara- 
tions are complete for its dissection. 

Fine fresh grass is strewn in the courtyard, and when 
the fowl has been cut open, all its intestines are carefully 
spread out and minutely inspected. If the entrails 
are pure and healthy, and the blood flows freely, 

55 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

the bird is tied up in grass and hung near the fire 
to dry. 

After leaving the carcase and entrails thus suspended 
round the fire, the witch-doctor and his servant- enter the 
house where the inquirer has been most anxiously 
awaiting results ; he alone is allowed to remain in the 
house while the revelation is being communicated to him. 
The witch-doctor takes up his wand and strikes the 
ground with its point, then he raises it to his left shoulder 
and curses all false prophets and such as practice decep- 
tion. He then places the wand on the left shoulder of 
the man, and says, " Sickness be gone," to which the 
inquirer replies, " So be it." " Sorrow be gone, barren- 
ness be gone, let all evil depart," and to each clause the 
man replies, " So be it." The priest then passes the 
wand on to the right shoulder, exclaiming, " Come wealth, 
come children, come long life, that I might behold my 
great grand-children, come all goodness and desire." 

The house is then hastily spread with wild blossoms, 
which are also heaped up into a mound in the centre of 
the hut. Here the witch-doctor is seated, and the fowl 
is brought to him. This he breaks up — bone, flesh, and 
entrails — into infinitesimal pieces, and sews them up into 
tiny strands of barkcloth, which are given to the man and 
his wife to be worn as charms at each new moon. 

Sometimes when the fowl is killed the blood only 
trickles forth slowly, and this is called " The tears of 
sorrow," and on examination the entrails are found to be 
defective. When the priest sees this, he mutters to him- 
self, " 'Tis the evil-spirit," and then must take place the 
ritual of exorcism, and for every flaw detected a human 
being must be sacrificed, and their bodies thrown out 
into the scrub to be devoured by hyenas. Men, women 
and children are seized ; no one dares plead for mercy, 
for they recognise it as the decree of the gods against 
them. 

56 



The Religioil 

At midnight, the man who is supposed to be possessed 
with the evil spirit, is dressed in a barkcloth that has 
been dipped in mud, and, taking a black goat and a black 
fowl, he goes with the priest to the cross-roads, where 
they construct a grass booth. While the man kindles a 
fire within, the priest outside walks round the hut twice, 
dragging the goat and fowl with him, and cursing God, 
the Bacwezi, and all evil-spirits. Then the animal and 
bird are killed, and the man is smeared from head to foot 
with the blood ; the intestines are put in a cooking pot, 
covered with dried leaves, and placed over the fire. 

It is believed that the evil-spirit will be enticed out of 
the man when it smells the odour of the roasted meat. 

Sitting over the pot the witch-doctor drones out incan- 
tations, while the man crouches in the dark, hungry and 
with the dread of spirits gripping him ; his nerves are 
strung to the highest pitch, as he watches the swaying 
movements of the priest and listens to the weird utter- 
ances that fall from him. The old witch-doctor seems to 
him as if invested with superhuman power, and as his 
eyes glitter through the darkness, he exercises a mesmeric 
influence over his unfortunate victim. 

Suddenly the priest bends over the pot, and cautiously 
blowing with his lips, causes the leaves to flutter about 
inside. " Ah ! that is the Spirit ; do you not hear it 
moving among the leaves in search of food? " And the 
man is exhausted enough to believe anything, so he 
hastily brings to the priest a handful of moist clay, and 
the witch-doctor closes down the pot to imprison the 
spirit. He then demands a heavy fee of goats or oxen, 
and on promise of payment undertakes to burn the 
spirit and roast it to death. When this is done, the 
priest washes the man down in a muddy swamp, then in 
a clear, flowing stream, dresses him in a new barkcloth, 
and sends him home to collect the fee for exorcism. 

Many other forms of divination are employed by the 

57 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

witch-craft priests. A certain tree is supposed to be the 
bones which the Bacwezi threw away after their feasts, 
and these are very carefully guarded in the time of grass- 
fires, and no one but the priests are allowed to put hands 
upon them. Small twigs are cut into cubes or discs, and 
given round as charms on payment of a good fee. They 
are used by the priests for divination. There is always a 
reserve stock of ground charcoal from its burnt timber 
kept in a cow's horn in every priest's house ; when he is 
called out to visit a household he may take this with him, 
in case there is not a white fowl obtainable there. On 
arriving in the yard of the house, he digs nine little pits, 
which represent the number of their Bacwezi rulers. A 
wall of clay is made round each pit, and water is then 
poured in ; from his bag of charms and mysteries he 
produces some butter, which he holds against his body to 
melt ; this oil is poured on the puddles to still the water. 
When all the preparations have been made, the priest 
walks round and round the tiny pools, spitting on his 
hands, and calling on the Bacwezi to make known to him 
if the inquirer will meet with misfortune, if he will die 
without warning, be struck dead by lightning, poisoned 
by a snake, speared to death, or be poisoned by a foe. 

Taking a wooden knife he scrapes shavings off the 
twigs of the sacred tree and lays them on the water in 
each puddle. Should the piece float evenly and straight, 
he screams with joy, and all the people gather round and 
shout and dance. But if the water becomes ruffled, and 
the splinters move uneasily alofig its surface, the omen is 
ominous, so the priest takes the charcoal from his horn 
and rubs it on the man in question, in every wrinkle and 
joint the ashes are sprinkled — in the armpits, the knee-pit, 
throat, chest, between the fingers and toes, in the eyes 
and ears, and over the head. All night he remains out- 
side alone with this outward and visible curse of the 
Bacwezi upon him. Early in the morning he chooses out 

58 



The Religion 



two white or piebald goats from his flock (nothing black 
must ever be offered to the Bacwezi) and presents them 
to the priest. 

All the male members of the family are called out to 
partake in the ceremonial of exorcism. After walking 
round the house in procession, invoking the help of the 
Bacwezi, they sit in a circle in the courtyard, while the 
unfortunate man, wearing a wreath of convolvulus stands 
in their midst with a sacrificial goat. 

Before the animal is slain the man cuts off its ears and 
smears the blood on his chest and head. Every male 
present is sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, also 
the house and all its contents. The bones of the animal 
are hung over the doorway, and the flesh laid at the 
threshold, so that every member of the household must 
pass over and under the offering. The meat is afterwards 
eaten by the priest and people, after which the anger of 
the Bacwezi is said to be mitigated. 

The Euphobia tree was regarded as possessing rain- 
making properties. The rain-maker prepared nine little 
dishes of clay in which he stacked twigs of the tree, 
which he had rolled in a solution of rubber and gum 
juices ; live ashes were then taken from a fire and 
sprinkled over the sticks. If smoke rose from all the 
nine dishes simultaneously, and ascended in one compact 
cloud, it was believed to draw down the rain. 

All sickness is considered a visitation of the gods or 
spirits, and the witch-doctor is immediately called in to 
say if it proceeds from the Bacwezi or evil-spirits. If he 
believes it to be from the former, he orders the sick man 
to send for an Embandwa priest of that particular 
Mucwezi who is causing the trouble. A wealthy man 
will send a cow, others send gifts of goats or cowrie-shells 
in multiples of nine with the messenger who is des- 
patched. 

On receiving the summons, the high priest puts together 

59 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

in a basket a handful of the finest of the grain, some 
mushrooms, strips of dried meat and hide parings. This 
represents the food of the gods, and is taken as a bribe 
for the Mucwezi. He dons a crown composed of human 
flesh covered over with barkcloth and adorned with 
cowrie shells. Calling for his ministers, pipers and 
drummers, they set off towards the sick man ; when 
they are yet a long distance away, the witch-doctor, who 
has been craning his neck in their direction, breaks out 
into song. Immediately all the relations who have been 
called in for the ceremony, go out to meet the priests, 
extolling the god who has brought this trouble on the 
household. (This false toadying is very characteristic of 
the Banyoro). 

As the priests enter they find the house has been strewn 
with fresh grass and flowers, and outside a cow stands 
waiting to be milked by an eunuch, while a young virgin 
stands by with a new milk pot to offer the warm milk to 
the high- priest. 

The chief priest then sits on a dais of flowers, while his 
ministers stand in two lines beside him, and the sick man 
is compelled forward, holding in each hand a burning 
torch. With all the remaining strength that he possesses 
he explains in detail his symptoms. The torches are then 
taken from him and he is commanded to huddle himself 
up on the floor and completely cover his face with his 
barkcloths. The tom-toms are brought in, and for hours 
the noise continues, while all the priests accompany the 
sounds with motion and song', and this music has a 
curious effect on all present ; gradually they seem to lose 
consciousness, their bodies sway to and fro automatically 
and they are like those under a spell. Then the Mucwezi 
god is said to appear and talks to the high priest, who 
never divulges what he has heard ; but he orders the 
singing to cease, and the sick man is allowed to return to 
the bed. All the next day rattles are shaken by the sick 

60 



The Religion 

couch, and for three days and nights the same operations 
are gone through. 

Should the man not recover, the priest declares that he 
was so evil that the Mucwezi refused to be appeased, 
and all the relations break out into song and praise 
to the god who has removed from them such a sinful 
creature. 

Only external ailments are regarded as disease, and 
these do not arise from internal derangement, but from 
exterior causes. A native will look with withering scorn 
upon the European dispenser who administers pills for 
skin trouble; he will repeat more vehemently what his 
ailment is, and will finally infer that the white man does 
not understand his language, and takes away the pills to 
hang up in his house as a charm. 

There are certain drugs known to the medicine men, or 
witch-doctor, but so drastic in character, that they more 
frequently kill than effect the slightest cure. Berries and 
roots of plants are boiled down, and supposed to cure 
cough and " snakes in the chest." 

Frogs, lizards, and worms are chopped into fragments 
and administered in cases of poisoning. 

Headache is cured by inserting a cold knife in the 
temples as far as the bone, and then applying a hot knife 
to stop the bleeding. Of course when the trouble arises 
from the possession of an evil-spirit, drugs are useless, 
and much more stringent means have to be adopted. 
Deep incisions must be made at the seat of pain, and cow 
horns filled with human hair and flesh must be applied, 
so that the spirit can flow out with the blood and be cap- 
tured in the horn, where it stays to feast on the human 
flesh, and is sealed up before it can make its escape. This 
horn of an entombed spirit is a great asset to the sick-man 
henceforth, for it is an unfailing weapon of witchcraft to 
use against an unfriendly neighbour. When he has a 
grudge against a man he has only to bury the horn at the 

61 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

threshold of his house, and misfortune or death follows. 
It is difficult to believe that there is nothing more than 
credulity in the ineradicable belief that these people have 
in bewitchment. Of course, in many instances, the 
absurdity of it appears on the surface. For instance, one 
day the herdsman of a lady missionary in Hoima gaily 
announced that he had driven away his wife, as, since her 
arrival at the kraal, cows had given birth to male calves 
only ; now he could hope for better fortune — the wife 
could bewitch them no longer. 

But another case was brought to my observation that 
is certainly more difficult to explain away. A workman 
left our house one evening, a muscular and hale man. The 
following morning he was brought to us, led by two 
people, quite blind and emaciated in body. It was almost 
impossible to recognise in him the same man that had 
left but a few hours previously. He assured us that at 
night he was eating and drinking with his friends from 
the same pot, when he was seized with sudden pains which 
destroyed his eyesight and weakened his entire system. 
Inquiries were made, and his friends corroborated his 
story, that one of his people had a grudge against him, 
and had bewitched the food, which only had the power of 
affecting the man for whom it was intended. The man 
has never recovered to this day. Of course, one must 
take into account the fact that deception is such an 
accomplished art among them, and the people have such 
implicit faith in the power of evil, that it is not difficult 
to work on their feelings. 

The word of the witch-priest is law, and no one dares 
to question his veracity or hjs edicts. When their pre- 
dictions or their remedies fail, the fault lies with the man 
and not with the priest. His fee had been inadequate, or 
he had not revealed to the witch-doctor all that was in 
his heart, or a black hair had been detected in the tail of 
the goat when a animal had been demanded. Any of 

62 



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The Religion 

these reasons were sufficient cause for the misfortune that 
had befallen the man. 

Human sacrifices were until quite recently very 
common. Evil spirits do not haunt only those who 
afflict them during life, but when they feel lonely in the 
spirit world they wander about among the living for 
victims who they can kill and drag down to be their 
companions. They start off on these quests when the 
moon is full, so that they should not lose their way in 
the dark; festive occasions when the people gathered 
together for revelry were very opportune times, lor the 
spirit could make a wise choice of those he would wish for 
companions. 

Thus it was that each month, and at the time of birth, 
death, in time of war, in time of peace, in sickness or 
famine, the king and chiefs killed as many men, women, 
and children as the priest should command so as to satiate 
the spirits of the dead. 

On one occasion during the war with Baganda, Kaba- 
rega ordered a deep hole to be dug, and people were 
killed over it until their blood filled it to the brim. Those 
who stood by at the time, affirm that many thousands of 
victims were required to satisfy that yawning pit. 

Herds of cattle and goats were dedicated by the kings 
to their heathen deities, and sometimes the favourite wife 
was sent away to an uninhabited land as a wife to the 
gods. A little temple house was built, and slaves were 
set apart to minister to her. 

Buried in the banana groves, or in the long elephant 
grass, or in the glades of the forest, the heathen people 
build their tiny spirit temples, quite hidden from the pry- 
ing eyes of man ; and at sunset, in the cool of the day, 
when the spirits are believed to set out on their wander- 
ings, the people creep out of their huts and place little 
offerings therein, a few shells or a portion of their own 
food. If this remains till the morning, they know for a 

63 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

certainty that the spirit did not pass that way in the 
night, but should some wild beast have made a meal off 
the sacred food, the man firmly believes that the spirit 
passed the night in the temple, and he chuckles at his 
sagacity at thus warding off a most unwelcome guest, who 
otherwise would have visited his home. 

Oh, the pathos of these little temples in dark Africa ! 
They at least speak of a real faith in the unseen and 
supernatural. Are they not the symbol of that religion 
inherent in every man — temples raised to the Unknown 
God? 

Under the legends and fiction of these central African 
people — under the thick refuse of it all, there underlie 
fragments of a primeval revelation that have not entirely 
been lost even after all the ages. If one questions very 
closely the old witch-priests they will speak of a First 
Cause — a Creator who was plurality in one person ; 
before any offering was sacrificed the priest always threw 
dust in the air and exclaimed, " Ruhanga — Nkya — 
Kankya," which meant " God — His brother — One person 
indivisible " ! 

No one can read the order of their sacrificial services, 
without being struck with the similarity that exists in 
many points with our own Old Testament history — the 
goat without blemish : the identification of the offerer 
with his offering: the sprinkling with blood of people and 
house. Alas, in their case, this gradually demoralised 
into human sacrifices, and no trace is left whatever of 
them being offered to expiate sin or to make an 
atonement for it. The idea of sin is entirely lacking, 
their one and only object being, to propitiate the evil 
spirits, and so prevent misfortune. 

In a following chapter it will be seen that their legends 
infer that man was at the beginning of the human race 
immortal, but death was the vengeance of Ruhanga — God — 
on a disobedient and wicked people. These facts have 

64 



The Religion 

been obtained from old heathen men who have had no 
opportunity whatever of coming into contact with 
Christian teaching or civiHsation, and one can only infer 
that if the legendary Bacwezi rulers were a strong race of 
people that swept down from the North, they instilled 
into the Banyoro some tenets of their own faith. 

One of the most difficult things for a European to 
understand in his dealing with these people, is, that they 
possess absolutely no knowledge of sin — they do not 
recognise its existence. Professor Warneck might have 
been writing of the Banyoro when he described the 
Battak heathen as " having the idea of what is permitted 
and forbidden, but not that of good and evil." Theft, 
fornication and adultery are not regarded by them as sin 
which in itself is to be condemned ; but if detection or 
publicity results, shame and probably punishment may 
follow. It is most necessary to thoroughly grasp this 
fact when attempting to judge the native ; as long as a 
person can shield him or herself, no sin exists nor shame, 
but should they be detected, and their stock of falsehood 
(which is a most highly developed art among them) 
fail to exonerate them, they are disgraced in their own 
eyes and in the eyes of their friends. 

A man who is not an accomplished liar is despised by 
his neighbour ; to confess a fault is most despicable 
cowardice, and that man is a traitor to himself. Death 
is preferable to self-betrayal. 

One living close to us was an inveterate thief, and in 
consequence had a large circle of friends who were 
always ready to champion him, as they shared the 
hospitality which followed his escapades. 

Under cover of night he used to steal out and poach in 
the adjoining shambas. A neighbour who had for a long 
time suffered the loss of all his bananas just as they were 
ripening on the trees, determined to lay in wait for the 
culprit and run him to earth. At midnight, while hiding 

65 F 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

in a little pit, he heard the unmistakable sound of foot- 
steps among the dried leaves of the banana grove, and 
raising a spear he thrust it just as an arm was raised to 
cut down the heavy bunch of fruit on a tree close by. 
The shaft was aimed surely, and the arm fell to the man's 
side; but not a sound was uttered, and the figure 
noiselessly withdrew. Slowly finding his way home, he 
entered his hut with the bleeding wound carefully 
concealed by his barkcloth. Without saying a word to 
his wife, he laid down and allowed himself to bleed to 
death without calling for any assistance, which would 
have meant confession. 

Heaven and Hell are regarded as contemporary 
kingdoms of this world, and are not connected with any 
idea of an after-life. Heaven does not present any 
attraction to the heathen ; it is only another country, such 
as England might be, inhabited by a strange tribe of 
people who have tails and bodies covered with feathers. 
The same conditions of life exist there as here, and 
Ruhanga — God — does not reign as a person, but exercises 
the same power as the Bacwezi do in Bunyoro. It has 
its kings, chiefs, community and home life, people are 
born, marry, and die there ; in fact, in no respect does it 
vary from this country. Hell suggests something 
repulsive and abominable, although in physical features 
and in the conditions of life it is similar to this world. 

The spirits of the departed go neither to Heaven nor 
Hell, but remain in the ether or upper air that separates 
Hell from the world. It is Said that once upon a time 
men were working in some iron pits of Bunyoro — they 
were let down one by one in a net slung to work the iron, 
which was very far beneath under seams of clay and rock. 
As they digged deeper and deeper, one day a man struck 
a large stone, which after a long effort he succeeded in 
dislodging. Immediatelv a strong light radiated from the 
crevice, and bending down to see this great wonder, he 

66 



The Religion 

heard shouts of revelry, of laughter, the voice of weeping, 
the groans of suffering, and the angry tones of quarrelling. 
And then he knew this to be Hell, and so fearful was he 
that he hastily withdrew, stumbling in the dark, and 
implored his friends to pull him up out of sound and sight 
of such dread things. 

From that time no man has dared to descend the mine, 
so the iron remains unworked to this day. 

Possessing no moral law, no standard of righteousness 
or justice, no thought of retribution or punishment here- 
after, there is nothing to check these people from giving 
full reign to their unbridled instincts. Present comfort 
and prosperity are the only considerations of their life. 
This has made the African a savage, and almost crushed 
in him any God-given instinct with which he must at one 
time have been endowed. 

If one would rightly understand them, it is useless to 
study them in their present setting, for the conditions of 
life have so suddenly and radically changed, that what 
might be regarded as duplicity or cunning in them, may 
only be a failure to adapt themselves and live up to the 
new standard put before them. Their character, their 
mode of thought, of expressing that thought, their sense 
of right and wrong, their idea of virtue and failing, are 
diametrically opposed to those of the white man, and to 
judge them from the standpoint that we ourselves would 
fain reach, after centuries of opportunities and advantages, 
is not just, nor is it the most effectual way of helping them 
in their keen endeavour to rise to higher things. 

I believe we can only truly influence and raise the 
African, by divesting ourselves of all prejudice and pre- 
conceived ideas, and stepping back into their past, travel 
with them through their history, realise their environ- 
ments, study their creed, and even recognise that there 
lies buried something of the barbarian in each one of us. 
Let us not be jealous of meeting him on some common 

87 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

platform, for the white man may only fear of losing the 
black man's respect when he denies him all right to a 
common humanity. The late Archbishop Benson wrote, 
** We ought to do our utmost to understand the people 
we are to deal with. ... It is not true that they are 
ordinarily wicked, except by contrast." 

Language is comparatively the very easiest of the 
studies awaiting the missionary in Africa. When the 
first and second examinations have been successfully 
passed, one is not completely equipped for the work ; 
language is but the alphabet of that other branch of study 
which one can never fully master — the soul of the people. 
The following pages, the work of two of these African 
rulers, may not be devoid of interest to those who are 
curious to know what this part of Central Africa was like 
before it came under the justice of British rule and under 
the transforming pov/er of the Gospel of Christ. 



68 



CHAPTER VI 

The Reign of the Gods 

HE who created the world was God — Ruhanga. At 
first he inhabited space, for there was no Heaven 
and earth. Ruhanga had a brother named Nkya, 
who came to him one day, saying, '* Things are 
very dull, we possess nothing, we are surrrounded by 
nothing, and there is nothing in existence. Did you not 
promise to create ? But you have accomplished nothing 
that I can see." Thereupon Ruhanga stretched forth 
his hands ; with the right he pointed upward and said 
" That is Heaven," and with the left he pointed down, say- 
ing " This is earth." Then taking a stone in his hand he 
flung it far into the air, and it became a ball of fire. 
Nkya feared and cried out " It will burn us both," but 
Ruhanga replied " Nay it cannot do that, but it will 
lighten us, henceforth darkness is over — that shall be 
called the sun." But Nkya was not at all re-assured, for 
the heat of the sun was very great ; he tried to escape 
from it but could not, for there was neither shade nor 
shelter. When Ruhanga saw this, he put out his hand 
and withdrew the sun, and threw it towards the west 
and covered it with a cloud ; then darkness returned. So 
Ruhanga picked up another stone and threw it upwards, 
and it became a cold white light, for he and Nkya no 
longer wanted to dwell in darkness where they could not 
see each other. And Nkya said " I have seen the sun 
and the moon that you have called into existence, they 
are excellent, but bring other things into being, for 

69 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

possessing but these two, what can we do with ourselves 
always." Ruhanga answered " As the sun lies down 
and covers itself up in a cloud, so shall man with his 
eyelids shut out the day, and sleep till the darkness is 
over." So Nkya did as Ruhanga commanded, he laid 
down and slept until Ruhanga shook and awoke him, 
saying '* Wake up, for thus shall men sleep and rise each 
day, and behold I give you a fowl that shall crow when 
the night has passed, and make known to men the time 
appointed for sleep." 

One day Nkya came to Ruhanga and said " That thing 
you created and called the sun is going to melt me, all 
my body is dissolving." So Ruhanga considered these 
words and created tall grasses and trees, which he planted 
to afford shade from the sun. 

In those days Heaven was quite close to earth, it was 
propped up with a fig-tree, a kirikiti (Erythrina) pole, 
and a bar of iron. When it had been made quite secure 
Ruhanga commanded Nkya to remain on earth, while he 
would go to Heaven to see how things were going on there. 
On arriving, he saw that his hands were soiled, so taking 
water he washed himself, and afterwards threw it out 
upon the earth. Nkya was quite unprepared for this and 
it drenched him ; so in his astonishment he called out and 
asked what his brother was doing up there. Ruhanga 
replied " That is rain, which on falling to earth will cool 
the sun." "Aye, verily," answered Nkya, "it not only 
cools the sun, but myself also, my flesh is wet and my 
bones are shaking ; if you are going to do that again, I 
pray you, give me a shelter." So Ruhanga told him to 
break off the branches of trees, and he would show him 
how to provide himself with a house. Nkya struggled 
with the branches, but they were too powerful for him. 
So he returned and told his brother that what he had 
ordered him to do was quite beyond him, the trees would 
not yield to him. 

70 



The Reign of the Gods 

Then Ruhanga seized a stone, and striking it ^with 
force broke it into three pieces; one became a knife, 
another an axe, and the third a mallet. These he gave to 
Nkya, and instructed him to cut down saplings and 
grass, and to form them into a hut, that would be a refuge 
from the sun and rain. 

After these things Nkya called to his brother and asked 
that he would provide him with something to look at, for 
the world was almost void. So Ruhanga created shrubs, 
flowers, birds, insects and wild beasts ; thus the outside 
world teamed with life and interest ; but Nkya felt very 
lonely, for Ruhanga had departed into Heaven, and in 
his hut he had nothing with which to occupy himself. 
So his brother created goats and sheep to be his house 
companions. 

While the two brothers were talking one day, Nkya 
asked why Ruhanga had formed their bodies and 
stomachs, as they seemed quite useless. Whereupon 
Ruhanga made cows, and, felling a tree, carved out a 
bowl into which they could be milked. Nkya was 
delighted, but at the same time suggested that he would 
not feel very comfortable with a bag of liquid inside him ; 
could not Ruhanga think of somethmg a little more solid. 

So Ruhanga took up a creeper and planted it in the 
ground, and m a very short time it brought forth gourds 
in abundance. Ruhanga ordained that the fruit and 
leaves should be for food. He commanded Nkya to cut 
off the young shoots so that the fruit would grow close 
at hand, and so prevent the plant from spreading all over 
the ground, to be trampled upon by the cattle. Ruhanga 
then formed a pot out of clay ; this he placed upon three 
little ant-hills; putting the food inside and laying wood 
under the pot. He then struck with a stone a rock 
where the sun had shone, and forthwith came out hre 
from the stone and ignited the wood ; the heat was so 
great that the gourds would have burned had not Ruhanga 

71 



Twilight Tales ot the Black Baganda 

poured water over them. He then told Nkya to take 
a stick and probe the gourds, and if they were soft he 
was to take them out and eat them. Nkya was so eager 
to eat, that he seized the boihng food in his hands and 
burnt himself. Whereupon Ruhanga rebuked him, and 
explained how he ought to lay leaves on the ground and 
turn the food out on to them. When Nkya had tasted 
the food he pronounced it very good ; but his brother 
answered " Now I have supplied all your requirements, 
your eyes, mouth and body are satisfied, but it would have 
been better for mankind had you not heeded the stomach ; 
for it will be your master, it will cause pain, labour and 
theft." But Nkya replied " Nay my brother, but it is 
only hunger that has ears ; apart from it, there would be 
no submission among men, for man will only obey him 
who provides him with food." So Ruhanga agreed 
to leave in the world the desire for food ; and he took in 
his hand two bags which had but one mouth ; one bag he 
called Hunger, and the other Mercy. He emptied out the 
contents upon the world, saying " Wherever man is, there 
shall hunger dwell, and mercy ; sorrow and love shall go 
together, no one shall perish of hunger, for mercy shall 
feed him. The rich shall hearken to the voice of the poor 
and provide for him." 

Now Nkya had four sons. One was called Kantu (little 
thing), but no names were found for the other three, and 
this became a great difficulty. When the father called one, 
they all came, and when he gave one child a present, the 
others all quarelled for it, declaring it was intended for 
them. So Nkya explained matters to Ruhanga, who said 
that he could find names for them, if they came to him 
the following afternoon at his dwelling on the opposite 
hill; for at that time Ruhanga lived in Heaven and upon 
earth, and had made valleys as boundaries between men's 
territories. 

So the boys set out on their journey, and on arriving 

72 



The Reign of the Gods 

at their uncle's house were told to be seated until he 
should come to them. Meanwhile he entered into his 
back house, had an ox killed, and took strips of the hide 
and head, together with cooked millet and potatoes, 
and placed them in the centre of the cross-roads. On his 
return he called the lads, and gave to each a present of a 
milk-pot, and when the day waned he bade them depart. 
On reaching the meeting of the paths, they saw the things 
lying that Ruhanga had secretly placed there. The 
eldest boy immediately seized the basket of food and 
began eating it, but his brothers remonstrated with him 
for taking food that was not rightly his ; so he picked up 
the axe, knife and basket of millet and took them home 
with him. The second boy chose out the strap, thinking it 
might be useful for tying up the cows at milking time, 
and the youngest carried home the ox head. When they 
reached their father's house, they laid the things before 
him and explained everything to him. Then was he wrath 
with his eldest son for having eaten of the food that was 
not his. Immediately Ruhanga came in and stood among 
them, and it was evening, the time when the cows are 
milked. When the lads had laid down to sleep, Ruhanga 
came to them with three milk pots in his hand, which he 
commanded them to guard for him until the morning, 
strictly warning them not to drink his milk as they had 
eaten of his millet. At midnight the youngest grew 
heavy with sleep, and some of his milk got spilled as he 
dozed : then he greatly feared, and, turning to his brothers, 
begged them to give him of their milk that his bowl might 
be full ; and they did so ; but at the cock-crow the 
eldest upset all his, and when he asked the others to pour 
from their bowls into his, they refused, saying that he 
would need so much to fill up the empty bowl. At dawn 
Ruhanga came and told each to uncover his milk-pot. 
When he looked into the first he found it empty; passing on 
to the second he saw that a little had gone out of it, and 

73 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

he asked the boy if he had drunk it. He answered '*No, 
Oh God, I drank it not, but I filled up my little brother's 
pot for he spilled some of his." Then Ruhanga called 
his brother and told him that names had been found for 
his three children. The eldest boy he cursed and named 
Kairo (little servant), for he had eaten food on the public 
road with unwashen hands, and had proved himself faith- 
less in his watch ; henceforth he would be the servant of 
man, to gather firewood, to build houses, and to be sub- 
servient in all things to his master. 

The second he named Kahuma (little herdsman), for 
he should minister as herdsman to him to whom he had 
given milk. To the youngest he said, " Your name is 
* Kakama Twale ' (Ruler, little king), you shall reign over 
all men, for you took from the road the ox head ; all shall 
fear and worship you, and your word shall be law unto 
them." 

Thus Ruhanga divided mankind into three classes — the 
chiefs, the herdsmen, and the peasants. 

Now when Kantu heard that his brothers had received 
names, he went to his father and said, " Why has 
Ruhanga treated me like this ? To the others he has given 
titles of distinction — one is king, another herdsman, and 
the third servant — but me he has overlooked altogether, 
and given no place in the world. Therefore shall I go 
from hence to spoil and destroy all things that he has 
created, I will bring sin into the world, hatred, strife and 
murder." 

Ruhanga hearing these words, and seeing that wicked- 
ness had entered the world, took counsel with Nkya that 
they should leave the earth, saying " Let us depart into 
Heaven, for the world is corrupt, and man has become 
altogether evil. When we order him to do a thing, he 
only performs evil, and he speaks blasphemously of us, his 
creators. If we stay here shall we not kill him ; therefore 
let us go to our home in Heaven that we may not bring 

74 



The Reign of the Gods 

death into the world." So Ruhanga and Nkya left the 
earth, and in order to prevent any intercourse between 
themselves and mankind, they loosened the props that 
held Heaven to earth, so that it departed upwards, and 
the iron bar fell ; breaking into pieces, it was scattered 
all over the world, and provided man with tools and 
bracelets. 

The god, Kakama Twale, was left to rule the world ; but 
he did much evil, for Kantu entered into him and prompted 
him to wickedness ; and when he saw how sin increased 
under him, he gave the kingdom to his son Baba, and he 
disappeared. 

During the rule of Baba, the people increased exceed- 
ingly, and became rich in goats and cattle. And when 
Kantu saw the world was prospering he was filled with 
envy, and considered how he might destroy happiness. So 
he went to Ruhanga and asked him to take from man and 
beast the desire for food; and Ruhanga did so — he fastened 
the mouth of all things living. Then was the King Baba 
greatly troubled — everything languished, strength had 
departed from man so that he could neither visit or 
commune with his neighbour, and the animals went not 
out to graze. And he wondered within himself because 
of this that had befallen his kingdom, and thought that 
it must be sent from Ruhanga. Now Kantu read the 
thoughts of the king, so with a malicious spirit he went to 
Ruhanga and said that Baba was cursing him in his heart. 
Then was Ruhanga very angry, and exclaimed " Are not 
all things mine to create or to kill, shall I not do what I 
like with the work of my hands ! " And taking two bags 
which had but one opening, he emptied out from them 
upon the world their contents, hunger and disease. Im- 
mediately the mouths of all things living were unstopped ; 
but as they ate, disease took hold upon man and beast, 
and it seized the king's little child so that he died. Now 
death had not hitherto entered the world, and the people 

75 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

knew it not. So when they found that the child did not 
wake out of sleep, Baba sent to Ruhanga, saying ** My 
child laid down to sleep, andwe cannot waken him ; what 
can we do to rouse him ? " Then Ruhanga knew that death 
had fallen on man, and he was grieved. He called Nkya 
and conferred with him as to whether, when man died, he 
should not resurrect on the fourth day. But Nkya replied 
*' Nay, but let him die for ever, for he is very sinful." So 
Ruhanga ordered Baba to dig a hole and bury his child. 
But the king could not understand death, and as he satin 
his house and beheld not his son, he called aloud for the 
child to be brought in to him ; but the men answered, 
" Ruhanga told you that the child's life was ended, and 
you would never see him again." Then Baba was greatly 
troubled, and lifting up his hands he cried aloud for his son, 
and went to the place where they had buried him, and 
falling across the grave, he wept bitterly. His people 
heard his lamentations and they all wept, and there was 
great mourning. 

And Baba cursed, saying " Let Ruhanga empty out the 
bags of his wrath, famine, disease, death — I care not : 
now that my son is dead, let the grass and trees perish and 
let man and beast die." 

Then Kantu came into the heart of Baba, so he left 
the world and was seen no more. His son, the god 
Mukonko, ruled, and after him Ngonzaki and Isaza; but 
the gods died not, they merely passed away from the 
world when they ceased to reign, and departed into an un- 
known land. 

Isaza was quite j^oung when he began to rule, and he 
drove away all the old counsellors of his forefather, and 
surrounded himself with youths only. He was a great 
sportsman, and one day while out hunting, he killed a 
zebra, and when he saw the skin, he was much struck 
with its beautiful markings, so that his friends advised 
him to have it sewn over his own body. This pleased 

76 



The Reign of the Gods 

the king, so they prepared a thong and gut, and stitched 
it most carefully all over the body and limbs of the king. 
Then he called all his people together and paraded up 
and down before them in his new attire, and they lauded 
him for his great beauty. The following day he went 
out again to hunt, and as the sun was shining fiercely, the 
hide gradually dried upon the king's body, and it con- 
tracted, so that he cried out, " Whatever shall I do, for this 
zebra skin is pinching terribly ? " but his friends replied, 
" Do not mind that, wealth and renown always caused 
some discomfort, a king's throne is it not a tight place ; 
endure for the admiration you evoke." So Isaza tried 
hard to suffer in silence, but at last he became so squeezed 
up inside the skin, that he was paralysed, and fell down 
gasping for breath. Then his friends were greatly alarmed 
and knew not how to save their king, for they could not 
cut away the hide without ripping his flesh. Now there 
had remained in the country two old men who had 
escaped banishment with the others, so Isaza sent to 
them and asked what he should do ; but they returned 
the answer " How should we know, have old people any 
wisdom ? Consult with your young ministers." But 
when the messenger had departed, one of the old men 
spake "For the sake of our late master let us save 
the son, though he despised our counsel, let us not forsake 
the gods, our rulers, when they need us : did we not stay on 
waiting for the opportunity to save the king ? " So they 
commanded the young men to carry Isaza in to them, 
and when he reached their house, they took him and 
threw him into the pond, and would not allow him 
to come out. Isaza thought they sought to kill him, and 
cried out, " Will you seek to destroy the gods ? " And 
immediately Isaza felt the skin loosening on him, for the 
hide gradually became pliable. Then the old men drew 
him out, and cut the expanded gut and released him. The 
next morning the king called together both old and young 

77 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

and gave out wine to them ; and as they all sat wondering 
and fearing what Isaza would do to them, he stood up in 
their midst, and with a loud voice declared *' From this 
day no property can be held by any person except those 
advanced m years and wisdom. When I refused to have 
old men around me, was I not a dead man ? It is they 
who have saved me, and it is they only who have power 
and ability to rule aright." Thus all the old men were 
recalled, and restored to their position as counsellors to 
the king and rulers of the land. 

Now, Nyamiyongo, the king of hell, was planning how 
he might win the world for himself, so he decided to try 
and inveigle the king into making an alliance with him. 
One day, therefore, he sent messages to Isaza to greet him, 
and to offer gifts if he received the deputation graciously. 

When they arrived they were ushered into the king's 
presence, and kneeling before him, said, " Our King, 
Nyamiyongo, sends greetings, and desires you to accept 
the offerings he is sending you. The first is that which 
proclaims the dawn, the second is that which falls short 
of the mark, the third is a bar that binds water, the fourth 
causes kings to turn, the fifth is that which hath no 
understanding, and the last is a door that shuts out 
sorrow." When the messengers had left off speaking, the 
king called together his chiefs and asked them privately 
the meaning of this riddle. But they knew not the 
interpretation, so Isaza sent for the wise men out of all 
the tribes, and they came with their rulers, but no one 
was able to explain to him the 'words of the man of hell. 

The queen had each day been called to the council 
chamber, and on one occasion as she came forth with 
troubled countenance, her little maid Kazana met her and 
asked, " My mistress, why do you go each day to confer 
with the king ? Fear not to tell me, for how should I 
gossip about it outside ?" Then her mistress made known 
to her the words of Nyamiyongo. And the maid replied 

78 



The Reign of the Gods 

" Take me to our lord the king, and I will interpret to him 
the meaning of these things. Should I fail to do so, let 
Isaza the god kill me." So the queen clothed the maid 
in two new barkcloths, and brought her unto the king's 
presence. Then spake the queen, " Let my master be 
gracious unto us and receive us, for this maid Kazana 
will make known to him the meaning of the words of 
hell. And if she fails kill her not, as she says, but take, 
O king, this knife and calf, and accept it as her atone- 
ment." 

Isaza rejoiced greatly at the words, and declared that 
the maid should have an inheritance in the land, if she 
was able to explain to him the words. So Kazana 
ordered that everybody should be driven away, and she 
asked that a little slave should be brought and placed on 
the king's leopard's skin. Immediately the child crawled 
about, and brought mud on to the skin and broke the 
king's calabash. Then the maid exclaimed " Behold that 
which is void of understanding." And the king answered 
that it was so. Afterwards Kanaza requested that a dog 
should be brought and a pipe be given it to light. The 
dog came, and also the pipe, but it was able neither to 
grip or light it. That, declared Kazana, was the thing 
that fell short of the mark. Then Kazana asked that a 
cooking pot should be brought full of water and some 
millet. Placing it on three cooking-stones, she boiled the 
water and dropped into it the grain, which swelled and 
absorbed all the water. Taking it off the fire, she 
showed the king a handful of the millet, which she said 
was the bar that bound water. When she had finished 
speaking a cow lowed outside in the courtyard, and as 
Isaza turned to look at it, Kanaza said " Behold that 
which causes the king to turn, and that which proclaims 
the dawn, is it not a cock ? Now send for Nyamiyongo's 
messengers, and tell them to give these things — a slave 
child, a dog, some millet, an ox, a fowl, and also the little 

79 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

door that shuts out sorrow." And the men came in with 
the gifts and gave the king a small calabash, in which were 
two coffee beans ; one was smeared with blood, and the 
other was wrapped up with a knife in fibre. Kazana 
said " This is blood-brotherhood, a friendship sealed 
with blood, a security against trouble ; the king must 
swallow the bean dipped in blood, and must make an 
incision in his own body, and in the blood that flows, the 
other bean must be soaked and returned to him who has 
desired your alliance, and so an indissoluble union shall 
exist between you." 

Isaza then called in his chiefs and asked their advice on 
the matter ; but they warned him that it was a fearful 
thing for the king to make blood-brotherhood with a man 
of hell, and urged him to choose out a man to act as his 
proxy. So Isaza called his servant Kwezi and ordered 
him to do as he commanded. The bean dipped in 
Kwezi's blood, was then placed in the calabash and given 
to the messengers of Nyamiyongo, who straightway 
departed ; and when the king of hell received it, he 
was very glad, and, swallowing the bean, congratulated 
himself that a compact was made between earth and 
hell. 

But there was a little lad who had accompanied the 
messengers, and he had seen how Isaza had given the 
beans to Kwezi ; so he told the king, who was thereupon 
filled with indignation because Isaza had led him into 
union with a peasant. So he considered how he might 
bring Isaza under his power. He argued thus within 
himself, " If woman is the destruction of man, shall she 
not exercise her power also over the gods ?" So he called 
for his wife and daughters, to choose out from among 
them one who was the most beautiful and wily. He and 
all his people agreed that Nyamata surpassed them all, 
so clothing her in a soft clinging barkcloth garment, he 
bade her go forth and win the heart of Isaza, and bring 

80 



The Reign of the Gods 

him to hell, without letting him know whence she came 
and whither slie was leading hirn. 

Very reluctantly iNydinaLa sec forth on her errand, out 
she feared to retuse Nyamiyongo's order, so journeyed 
and came to Isaza's, and found at the entrance of the 
courtyard the gatekeeper Bukuku. He asked where she 
came from, and she answered " From yonder." He then 
went to Isaza, saying, " A woman has come to see you 
of the clan and country of Macwa, and among all your 
people there is none to compare with her for beauty." 
On hearing these words Isaza sent his herdsman to report 
on her, and he returned saying the same; likewise his 
sister came, telling him there was no one like her through- 
out the land. Then Isaza commanded her to be brought 
to him, and when he saw her, he loved her above all his 
wives, and she was exalted to the first place in the king's 
household. Isaza was constantly asking where she had 
come from, and she always answered, that if he would 
come and journey with her she would show him her 
people and her beautiful sisters ; but when he suggested 
sending his representatives with her to fetch her friends, 
she refused, saying, "Nay, but I cannot leave you, come 
with me." One day they were standing together in the 
doorway watching the cattle being brought in, for the 
time of milking had come, and as the cows went into the 
shed, Isaza followed them, whereupon Nyamata called 
out to him, " Do not leave me alone." But he rephed, 
"I want to see my cows." That evening, when he sat 
down to eat, Nyamata sulked, and refused to bring in his 
food and minister to him ; the king therefore sent a 
messenger to her saying, " You are foolish to be jealous, 
for it profits nothing, although I love you beyond all my 
wives, I cannot give up my cows for you, for I love them 
better." When Nyamata heard this she was piqued, for 
she did not like to share the king's affection with cattle ; 
so she left him that night and returned home.J Soon 

81 G 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

after she gave birth to a son, and called his name 
Isimbwa. 

When Nyamiyongo saw what a beautiful child it was, 

he was more than ever determined to procure the father, 

Isaza. And seeing that Nyamata, with all her charms, had 

failed to beguile him because of his infatuation for cattle, 

he collected together his herds, and chose from them two 

of the choicest, a male and a female, and sent them to 

Isaza. At the time they arrived, Isaza was out inspecting 

his cattle, and as these two far surpassed any he had ever 

seen, he seized them, asking no questions as to their 

ownership. He loved them so much that he would not 

allow them out of his sight day or night — each evening 

they were brought into his house to sleep. One day they 

were sick, and he tended them himself, refusing to sleep; 

but at midnight he was so weary that he slumbered, and 

the cows wandered off into the courtyard and returned to 

their home. When the king awoke and found the cows 

had gone, he wrapped his blanket round him and followed 

them ; his servants hastened after him with clothing, 

but he sent them back to mind the house while he 

continued to search the country for the cattle. At last 

he came to a deep pit from which he saw the horns of the 

cows protruding, so he went down to help them up, but 

the earth opened its mouth and swallowed him up. As it 

closed again over him, Isaza looked around and found 

himself in a wide enclosure, in which were gathered a 

large number of people. He asked who their chief was, 

for he had stolen his cows, and he had come to reclaim 

them. One of the men went and told their master that a 

visitor had come, and on being asked his name, answered, 

" Isaza of tiie world above, who is your blood-brother." 

When the chief heard these words he was very pleased, 

for the man was Nyamiyongo, and his country was hell. 

Isaza was ushered into a guest room, which was strewn 

with singed grass and charcoal ; over this were spread 

82 



The Rexgn of the Gods 

black hides, and the couch and feeding utensils were all 
covered with soot. The food given him was smoked, and 
the milk of a black cow was offered him. Nyamiyongo 
begged Isaza not to refuse these things, as he had nothing 
else to offer ; everything he possessed was black, he had 
nothing white or pure like other people. In the morning 
Isaza was brought into Nyamiyongo's presence; all around 
him were signs of kingship, and Nyamiyongo was seated 
on a black throne covered with blackened leopard and 
lion skins; his wives and daughters were placed in lines 
on either side of the king, and they were dressed in 
smoked barkcloths. 

As Isaza entered, the cattle passed in front of the 
aperture, and Isaza looked after them. Then said 
Nyamiyongo, " Look not behind or around, at man or 
beast, am I not the king of darkness and of hell, have I 
not power to destroy you who dared to betray me into an 
alliance with a peasant?" Then Isaza trembled, and 
seeing his wife and child, he learned how he had been 
drawn into intercourse with the powers of evil. Nyami- 
yongo told him to arise and take his wife, child and cattle 
and return to his country ; but this he said to mock him, 
for when Isaza set out to return, he could find no gateway 
and no road. All day he wandered about in search of 
them, but at night he found himself back at the same 
spot ; each day he tried to escape, but there was no 
exit, so he remained a captive in hell. 



83 



CHAPTER VII 

The Reign of the Bacwezi or 
Demigodsj: Isaza-'Ndahura* 

50 the reign of the gods was ended. 
Isaza had no male child except Isimbwa who 
was in Hell with his mother, so when the king 
failed to return to his people, his doorkeeper, 
Bukuku, proclaimed himself king in his stead; but the 
chiefs absolutely refused to recognise him, so each man 
became head of his district, and thus the kingdom was 
divided up. The people of Toro, Bunyoro, Uganda, 
Ankole, Bulega and Chopi appointed men from among 
themselves to be their chief, and Bukuku was driven out 
to a small district lying to the south-west of Bunyoro. 

He had one daughter named Nyinamuiri, who was 
born with only one eye and one ear. Her father con- 
sulted the witch-priests about these infirmities, and they 
warned him to guard her very carefully to prevent her 
marrying, for if ever she should give birth to a son he 
would rise up and kill Bukuku. They came each day 
and repeated their warning to him, so at last he was 
thoroughly alarmed, and determined to shut his daughter 
away from the world, so that she should have no 
intercourse with it; he therefore built her a hut and 
surrounded it with a high fence that had no gateway and 
no exit whatever except through Bukuku's house, and 
he appointed an old man and his wife as her servants. 

Now, Isimbwa, the child of Isaza and Nyamata, grew 
up, and Nyamiyongo, the king of Hell, married him to a 

84 



\ 



Isaza^Ndahura 

woman in Hell, who bore him a son, whom they called 
Kyomya. When the child was old enough his father 
took him to hunt in the world above. Isimbwa used to 
travel near and far in search of everv kind of game. 
One day he left Kyomya in Bukudi while he journeyed 
on, and at last came to the country ruled over by Bukuku, 
and when he saw that it was a goodly land and that 
the chief was evidently rich in people and herds, he 
greatly desired to possess it for himself; and, seeing a 
maid coming towards him carrying a pitcher to the well 
to draw water, he inquired of her whose country it was, 
and she told him that it was ruled over by Bukuku. He 
then asked her who was her mistress, and she replied, 
" I am the serving maid of Nvinamniri, the only 
daughter of Bukuku." Then Isimbwa determined to wo<^ 
the girl, and, gathering some wild flowers, he handed 
them to the maid saving, "Tell your mistress that vou 
met a man with hair flowinsr over his shoulders, and he 
has sent her this love-offering of flowers, and in four 
days he will return to marrv her." 

So the maid returned with haste to Nyinamuiri and 
told her all that had happened. When her mistress 
heard the words, she wondered much how anv man could 
have seen her to love her, and her heart went out in 
longing to meet the stranger. Each day she sent her 
maid to watch for him, fearing that he would return 
and forget his promise to marrv her. On the fourth 
day Isimbwa arrived, and, meeting the maid outside, 
returned with her toward the house. She then explained 
to him the difficulty of reaching her mistress, as the only 
entrance was through Bukuku's house, and he would kill 
any man passing in to see his daughter; but Isimbwa 
would not be daunted, and, making a ladder, he climbed 
up over the fence, he and his people and his hunting 
dogs. 

When he eame into Nyinamuiri he confessed his deep 

85 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

love for her, and thereupon married her. He remained 
with his wife for five months, but at the end of that time 
he wearied of her and rose up to depart. When Nyina- 
muiri heard of it she wept bitterly and implored him to 
stay, as she was going to give birth to a child ; but he 
insisted on leaving, promising to come back to her very 
soon. 

Now Bukuku had heard nothing about the stranger's 
visit nor of his daughter's marriage, so when they came 
and told him that she had borne a son, he was astonished 
beyond measure, and, stopping up his ears, refused to 
listen to the words, but when he heard the child crying, 
he knew that the messenger had spoken the truth, and 
he exclaimed, "What kind of thing is a woman; her 
cunning is greater than the wisdom of man ; no one can 
get the better of her." Then he called his servant, and 
in a rage ordered him to cast the babe into the river; so 
the man took the child from its mother and threw it into 
the swift-flowing stream. The little bodv was quickly 
swept away and disappeared from sight ; but in a bend 
of the river, there were growing tall rushes, and as the 
babe was borne along on the water, it was caught by the 
grasses and swept on to the sud. In the morning a 
peasant named Dubumbi came down to the river's edge 
to dig out clay for pottery, and seeing the child Iving 
there, thought within himself that it was the child of his 
mistress Nyinamuiri that had been taken from her ; so 
he took it away and brought it to his wife, who had just 
given birth to a little girl, and she nursed the child with 
her own. Dubumbi then went and told Nvinamuiri 
that he had found her child, and that it was alive. When 
she heard these words she rejoiced greatly, and urged 
him to keep the matter secret. He asked her to give him 
a milk cow for her baby, as his wife was not able to 
nourish two children ; but Xyinamuiri feared that people 
would suspect if she gave her potter a cow, so she 

86 



Isaza^Ndahura 

advised him to go to her father, Bul<ukii, with a story 
that might awaken his pity. Dubumbi therefore took a 
long pole and suspended from it a number of milk pots, 
and came thus heavily burdened into the presence of 
Bukuku while he was conferring with his chiefs and 
people. He fell on his knees and sai~d, "My master, all 
these years have I not served you faithfully? I Have 
not failed to provide your household with cooking pots, 
pitchers, and milk bowls. When will you reward me 
with payment? jNIy wife has given birth to twins, but 
in the home, sorrow is killing us, for can one woman 
nourish two children ? I pray you give me a milk cow." 
But Bukuku answered that he was the servant of Nyina- 
muiri and he should take his request to her. Then 
Nyinamuiri feared not to send her child gifts by 
Dubumbi, for everyone had heard the words of Bukuku 
in public. She gave him two cows, a sleeping mat, two 
barkcloths as bed coverings, a little maid to wait on her 
child, and a male and femald goat to be tied up as five 
offerings according to the custom of the people. 

The child was named Karabumbi, and as he grew up, 
he minded the sheep of his foster father, Dubumbi ; but 
he was a very wilful and impertinent boy. He used to 
dig holes on the road for people to fall into, and he would 
chuckle with delight when those carrying water from the 
well, fell and broke their pitchers. Whenever he saw 
beer being carried along the road for Bukuku, he would 
seize the men and drink or spill it out, and when 
Dubumbi 's herdsmen took the cows down to the cattle 
trough to salt them, Karabumbi drove down his cows in 
front, and they drank up all the salted water. If the 
herdsmen remonstrated with him he fought them, so t"hat 
they were afraid of him. At last they came to Bukuku 
and complained of this peasant child, and said that dis- 
ease ought to kill a boy of such impudence. Bukuku 
promised to whip him soundly when he had the chance, 

a? 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

One day he accompanied his herdsmen as they went to 
salt the cattle; he sat on a stool under a thatch shade, 
while his men digged and mortared in the trough ; when 
they had finished it, they filled it with water from the 
well, then threw in salt, and everything was ready; so 
they went to choose out the milk cows which were to 
drink first, and as the herdsmen were driving them down 
Karabumbi saw them, and he hastily collected together 
all his sheep and cattle and rushed them down to the 
trough. But Bukuku's head herdsman tried to prevent 
him, whereupon he struck him with a fanged spear. 
Then Bukuku called out, "Seize him and bring him to 
me." As they brought him round towards the back of 
the stool, Bukuku rose and Karabumbi speared him in 
the chest, and he fell forward into the trough of salt and 
died. 

Thereupon Karabumbi broke away from his captors 
and, seating himself on Bukuku's stool, proclaimed him- 
self the king of mankind. On hearing the alarm and 
shouting, all the people gathered themselves together, 
and as they looked at Karabumbi they detected the 
strong likeness he bore to their god, king Isaza, so they 
feared to molest him or to interfere, and returned to their 
homes to discuss the matter and to watch developments. 
Immediately messengers were despatched to Nyinamuiri, 
that she should come and revenge her father's death ; 
but when the men were come into her presence and she 
listened to their words, she was greatly troubled and 
knew not what to do, for she said, "'My ears cause me 
to hear both evil and good, for is it not my son who has 
killed Bukuku? My father is dead, but my son reigns; 
thus I have sorrow on one arm, but joy on the other." 
Then she ordered her servants to pull down and destroy 
her fence, so that she might go forth into the world and 
see her son, who had been banished from her since his 
birth, She called for the fluters and drummers to accom- 

88 



Isaza^Ndahura 

pany her, but they ran off on hearingf of their master's 
death ; so from that day bandsmen have never been 
allowed to enter the king's house ; thev remain outside 
in the courtyard, because they failed to appear when the 
offspring of the gods, the first Mucwezi ruler, began to 
reign. Nyinamuiri set out on her journev, and when 
she came to the house of Karabumbi and beheld her son, 
she fell on his neck and embraced him. Then she pro- 
duced a charm which she fastened round his neck as a 
talisman against sickness and trouble, according to the 
custom of mothers. 

Karabumbi called together all his people, men, women 
and children, and Nyinamuiri explained to them how he 
was the son of Isimbwa, the grandson of Isaza. On 
hearing these words everybodv shouted with jov, for the 
world was no longer left without a king, but the gods 
had returned to rule over them. 

Now Karabumbi was a man of great strength and 
arrogance; he was not content with reigning over the 
restricted area allotted to Bukuku, but was determined 
to win back the kingdom of his grandfather, Isaza, and 
to unite up under himself all men and tribes. So he 
despatched messengers to all the chiefs who had asserted 
their own independence, demanding them to come in 
and do allegiance to him ; but his messengers were re- 
ceived with scorn, and they returned to him with these 
words : "You are either the son of Bukuku or the potter, 
Dubumbi, and as both of them were common peasants, 
will we, the rulers of the land ahci the descendants of 
lords, do homage to you ?" Wh'en Karabumbi heard 
these insolent words he was very wrath, and declared 
war against mankind ; thus bloodshed and fighting 
entered the world. 

He first attacked Ankole and made the chief Ntale sur- 
render to him ; then he plundered and subdued Toro, 
and passed over to Bugoma on the eastern shore of Lake 

89 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

Albert. When the chief Nsinga heard that Karabumbi 
had come out against him, he donned his crown of beads 
surmounted with red parrot tails, and sought to kill him 
with witchcraft, as he did not know how to fight; iTLit 
Karabumbi heard of the plot and seized Nsinga. He 
took off his crown and placed a wreath of wild Virginia 
on his head and mocked him thus : " Is this how you 
bewitch ? See how I honour such wisdom and such cun- 
ning." He then ordered him to be cast down the escarp- 
ment into the lake, where he was drowned. 

Now when Isimbwa heard that his son had been pro- 
claimed king, he decided to go to him and acknowledge 
himself as his father ; so he called his servants and 
started on the journey. After travelling for some days 
he came near to Nyinamuiri's house, and, meeting a man 
as he was wading through a swamp, asked him who 
lived on the opposite bank. When he heard that it was 
his wife's home, he sent a servant on in advance to 
announce him as the man who years ago sent to her an 
offering of flowers through her little maid. On hearing 
the words, Nyinamuiri hastened to spread down mats in 
the house, and dressed herself elaborately in bark- 
cloths, necklaces and bracelets, and sat in readiness 
to receive him. As Isimbwa entered, the drums were 
beaten and a great feast was given in his honour ; very 
many oxen were killed, and wine was given round to 
every man and woman. Isimbwa remained there two 
months, after which he rose up with Nyinamuiri to visit 
their son. 

As they drew near, the royal drums were sounded, and 
the musicians played with all their might, for the king 
Karabumbi, who was believed by many to be a sham, 
was now able to establish his claim to the kingdom a-; 
the rightful descendant of Isaza. He called all his 
people together for a feast, and when they were satiated 
with food and wine, he brought forward his father and 

90 



' ^ * r « r • r 







Isaza^Ndahura 

introduced him to the assembled people, who imme- 
diately broke forth into loud acclamations of loyalty and 
rejoicing. 

After these things Karabumbi gave to his father 
and mother a large district as their own property, so 
Isimbwa fetched his son Kyomya and settled down there 
with him. 

Then Karabumbi called his step-brother, Kyomya, 
and asked him to join in an expedition for subduing the 
remaining outlying districts that still stoutly held oi;t 
against him. This Kyomya agreed to do, and the king 
gathering together a large army, set out towards Uganda. 
The paramount chief, Ntege, they found at Kyagwe, 
where they killed him, and Karabumbi gave the district 
to Kyomya, who wished no longer to fight, but to settle 
down quietly on his land, and rule the people around 
him. So the king sent for his son Kiro to take command 
of the army, and ordered him to proceed in an eastern 
direction. He therefore divided his forces up, one de- 
tachment he gave to Kiro, while he marched out with 
the other towards Bulega. Kiro carried on continual 
skirmishes throughout the districts of Busoga, Bukidi 
and Madi. The chiefs who refused to surrender he in- 
stantly killed, then plundered the country and reduced 
the people to a state of vassalage. According to the 
instructions he had received he crossed the Nile, and 
keeping to the lake shore fell upon his father's tracks; 
so he decided to follow him, join up forces, and thus 
complete the entire subjugation of the land. One day 
he arrived at the fringe of a small forest in Bulega, 
and as they halted, thev heard a drum beating in the 
distance, and Kiro said, "Hark, is that not my father's 
drum, the voice of the king?" So he commanded his 
drummer to reply, and when Karabumbi heard the notes 
he exclaimed, "That is the voice of my lion-hearted son." 
Then Kiro drew his cutlass from its scabbard, and cut- 

91 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

tinq: a path throuo-h the forest in the direction of the 
drum's call, suddenly came upon a force of Bulesfa, 
who had surrounded the kin^ and were on the point 
of killinsf him. Comine ud h<=^hind. he fell UDon them 
with a mio-hty slausi'hter; a few saved themselves bv 
flisfht, but the ground was strewn with dead bodies. 
Thus the kin? was rescued, and Buleo-a was conquered. 

Kiro knelt before his father, the kinsf. to do homage, 
and oflFered him the richest of the spoils he had taken 
in warfare — women and children, cattle and gfoats. 
Amon,?" the children vvas a little maid named Nvank- 
wang-a, who had hair hang^insf to her shoulders, and was 
verv comely. Kiro's armv had suddenly attacked the 
villasfe in which she lived, and while the people were 
sleepinsr had set fire to their huts. As they fled in terror 
to escape the anory flames, the soldiers had hacked down 
every livingf soul. Nvankwang-a, seeing- her parents and 
brother cut to pieces, had flunsf herself at the feet of Kiro 
saying-, "Great and strong- master, spare me, spare me: 
if you grant me life I will be your slave to bring your 
water, your pipe, and your war-clothes." So Kyomva 
saved the little girl and presented her to his father for a 
wife. 

That night in camp there were great revellings; the 
drums were beaten till the morning, and when the wine 
was handed round the king sang out in exultation : "Is 
there any limit to the children that shall be born to me, 
children of strength and of honour; but behold Kiro, the 
mightiest of them all, the strongest bull in his father's 
herd, whose roar is terrible." 

At dawn Karabumbi and his son arose and swore 
that they would not rest till the earth acknowledged the 
rule of the Bacwezi god-kings; but before they started 
two witch-priests came to them in secret, and warned 
them, saying, "We have sought for signs and an omen 
on your journey, but the grasshoppers and the fowls 

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Isaxa^Ndahura 

have all augured evil." The king, however, was offended 
with them and answered, " Grasshoppers are but insects, 
fowls are vile, tor they peck among the dust and dirt tor 
their food. Shall the Mucwezi king listen to them when 
they prophesy evil or good 'i " The king and his son Kiro 
thereupon set out to right, ana, going in the Ankole 
direction, raided and burnt all the villages along their 
route and killed every man that refused to recognise the 
king. 

On arriving at the village ruled over by the chief 
Lukerege, they met a man whom the diviners had com- 
manded to kill Karabumbi. So the man was lying in 
wait with his poisoned bpear, but teared to carry out 
the instructions of his master when he saw the might 
and courage of Karabumbi, for he seized Lukerege, pull- 
ing him out by the nose, and butted him with the horns 
which he wore on his head, so that he died. In the dis- 
trict of Ntanzi they found prosperity and plenty, for the 
country had never been attacked by foe or sickness; but 
when the people heard of the approach of Karabumbi 
they fled, hiding themselves in the hills and in the 
swamps ; and on returning they found their homes burnt 
down and their villages ransacked. 

When the king came to the country of Bugaba they 
found it abounding in bees, so gourds and cooking pots 
were placed in the trees, and into these the bees swarmed. 
The king took these away with him, and in consequence 
there followed him swarms of brown and black ants and 
insects of various kinds which scented the honey. In 
another village a number of prisoners were taken, and 
among them were two men ill with syphilis, which 
infected the whole army. Thus the disease spread 
throughout the length and breadth of the land. 

While they passed through the country of Jujura, 
swarms of flies attached themselves to the army, and in 
the neighbouring village numbers of the men fell ill wit> 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

sinall-pox, for among the things they pilfered, was a 
pot of small-pox scabs; the custom of these villagers 
being to collect in a jar the scabs from their sick and 
empty them out in their enemies' village. 

Passing on through Hungara and Hwehwe they con- 
tracted cancer and falsehood from the inhabitants; thus 
pests, disease and trouble spread over all the land. 

After they had conquered the whole country, the king 
and his son Kiro arrived back again in Bulega. When 
he saw the bows and arrows of the Bulega he requested 
them to instruct his people to make them; so they cut 
down saplings, sharpened and trimmed the arrows, and 
bent the sticks for the bow. Then they seized the oldest 
man in the king's army, and cutting the sinews from 
his body, rolled them out and strung the bow. After this 
the king turned towards his home. One day as they 
journeyed they saw working in the field a very beautiful 
woman named Alugizi, with her three younger sisters. 
When the king approached, they bowed low, and in a 
modest voice Mugizi explained, in answer to his en- 
quiries, that she belonged to the jMusita clan, and was 
the wife of two men, Rubani and Busereko. Then the 
king called his warriors, and ordered them to enter the 
house and kill one husband and take the other prisoner. 
The king then presented Mugizi with a barkcloth and 
beads, and the woman, seeing that she had found favour 
in the eyes of the king, rejoiced greatly, and she became 
his wife; from that day royalty has always inter- 
married with the Musita clan.- 

On arriving at the capital, all the people came together 
to welcome back their king, who had thus subdued the 
whole country, and won back for himself the entire king- 
dom of his grandfather, the god Isaza. He had brought 
with him an enormous amount of spoil which he 
ordered to be exhibited before the eyes of all men. 
There were cattle and goats ; men, women and children ; 

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Isaza^Ndahura 

bees, ants, flies and all kinds of insects ; cooking pots, 
calabashes, a stool with eight legs, and an antelope hide 
with seven tails, bows, arrows and spears. 

As the people beheld these new and wonderful things 
and the great wealth of their king, they stood speechless, 
and Isimbwa, the king's father, stood up, and in a loud 
voice broke out into praise and exaltation of his son, say- 
ing : " You have been called Karabumbi, but I say you 
shall from henceforth be known as NHahura (I will store 
up). You are the invincible; your roar is terrible; you 
are the mightiest ox in the herd of mankind." Then in 
the eyes of all men the king gave to his father a royal 
portion of the spoils, namely, 9 handmaidens, 9 slaves, 
9 wives, 9 sheep, 9 cows, and 9 spears, for this was the 
number relating to the gods. He also sent gifts to his 
mother Nyinamuiri, and afterwards every man returned 
to his own home. 

Ndahura, the king, then made a rule that periodically 
his sons should go out with an army to abstract cattle 
and slaves from the people as tribute and an assurance 
of their loyalty to him, or to enforce obedience and 
homage where this was withheld. On one occasion, as 
his son Wamara was expected back from one of these 
expeditions, Ndahura evinced great impatience, as he 
was very doubtful of the loyalty of the people among 
whom he had been sent. The king continued walking 
up and down outside his fence watching for him, when 
suddenly the earth opened and swallowed him and his 
servant. When the king did not return home, all the 
people of his household made search for him, but they 
found him not. So they sent messengers to his mother, 
saying, "The king is lost, the kingdom totters, what 
shall we do?" Then Isimbwa, his father, and all the 
people came together and lifted up their voices and 
wailed. In the evening Wamara and his army returned, 
and as they reached the place where the king had been 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

swallowed up, messengers met them from Isimbwa and 
Nyinamuiri, saying, " Remain where you are, enter not 
into the house of sorrow, the house bereft of its master. 
To whom will you now present your plunder and offer- 
ings, for the king is lost?" 

When Wamara heard the words, he started off with a 
band of men to search for Ndahura, but when they found 
him not, the drum of the kingdom was turned upside 
down, for he whose right it was to rule and beat the 
drum had departed from among men. 

Now the king and his servant had remained two days 
in Hell, but at the end of that time the latter managed to 
scramble up and reach earth once more. He then turned 
over in his mind how he could save his master, so 
called loudly to the king, " Give me something with 
which I can procure food lor you and me," but INdahura 
answered, "My man, when servants travel with their 
masters, do they eat them ? If so, eat me, for we were 
swallowed up together in Hell, where there is no food 
and nothing to satisfy ; does Hell produce anything with 
which to purchase food and comforts?" Nyamutale then 
asked for his master's spear, and when it was handed 
to him, he wanted to kiss the king's hand to express 
his gratitude, but Ndahura drew back exclaiming, 
"Never will 1 offer my hand for homage in Hell." Then 
the servant cut footholds in the earth with the spear, and 
planting it in the ground, he held on to it firmly, and 
requested the king to grasp the end of the goat hide with 
which he was girded; and thus he managed to pull the 
king out of Hell. 

When he reached the top, the servant ran and fetched 
water to wash down his master, so that the defilements 
of Hell should not remain upon him, and he took off the 
soiled barkcloths which he wore, and dressed him in two 
new ones, which he had fetched from his own home. 
So they returned together towards the house. On seeing 

96 



Isaza'-Ndahura 

the royal drum reversed the king set it up again, and 
after beating it vigorously seated himself on the 
throne; whereupon all the people came together won- 
dering among themselves who it was who had usurped 
the prerogative of kings. They chose out one man 
named Kagoro to go and inquire, and as he drew near 
cautiously and beheld Ndahura, their king, sitting there, 
he fell down and worshipped him. The king spoke to 
him these words : " Go home and be comforted, for I have 
returned ; in the morning you shall all come that I may 
speak with you." 

The next morning at dawn, Isimbwa, Nyinamuri, 
Wamara and all the warriors came with their plunder, 
and the people gathered themselves together, from the 
eldest to the youngest, to hear of that strange thing that 
had happened to their king. When they had all 
assembled, Ndahura stood up and commanded that a suc- 
cessor should be found to rule over them, as he could no 
longer be their king, for Hell had opened its mouth 
against him and held him ; but the people with one 
voice pleaded with him to remain their ruler. He, how- 
ever, refused steadfastly, saying "He over whom Hell 
has exercised its power cannot reign on earth, but who 
shall be your king? Wamara is my eldest son, but he 
is selfish. Behold, I see the kingdom tottering, for he 
must reign. I cannot overlook priority, but because 
Wamara shall possess the kingdom it will be destroyed." 

Thus Wamara sat on the throne of his father and 
reigned. Ndahura took all the plunder that had been 
brought in, and went away with his mother ; and for some 
time wandered about together in Toro, looking out 
for a suitable place where they could settle down. One 
day, on reaching the Semliki plain, where the heat was 
exceeding great, he plunged into a spring to cool him- 
self, but as his body was very hot, gradually the water 
boiled, and the boiling springs of Bulange remain to 

97 H 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

this day, where people come and get cured of their ail- 
ments.* 

He then had wells sunk in the centre of two of the 
highest hills there, so that the water should remain 
always cold and uncontaminated. These are the crater 
lakes, where people say the Bacwezi now dwell. 

Ndahura and his mother then moved on, and came to a 
place called Butara, where he laid a bridge which still 
remains, and is called "The Bridge of Ages." 
His footmarks may also still be seen on a great rock in 
that neighbourhood, so that people avoid passing it even 
now. He ultimately settled on the shores of the 
Edward Lake, and his mother Nyinamuiri built for her- 
self an island on the lake, and Isimbwa and Wamara 
used to exchange greetings with them from time to time. 



*These boiling springs are at the north-west base of RuwenEori 
Mountains, the water contains a large proportion of sulphur, its 
medicinal properties have been known to the natives for a long time ; 
they direct the water ofif into little pools where it cools sufficiently 
for bathing. 

98 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Reign of the Bacwezi or 
Demi'gods : Wamara. 

THE King Wamara set up his kingdom at Bwera 
in Uganda, and divided the land among his 
brethren. 
Now these are the names of the Bacwezi — 
Isimbwa (son of Isaza was not reckoned among them, as 
he had been born in Hell of the daughter of Hell) had 
five sons — Kyomya, who had a son named Kagoro, 
Ndahura, who had three children, Wamara, Ibona and 
Kiro; Mugenyi, Mulindwa and Mugasa. These nine 
Bacwezi were not like other men, but were gods, 
for although they were born of women they had un- 
ending life, and knew neither sickness nor death. 

The two brothers, Mulindwa and Mugenyi, loved each 
other much, and had all things in common ; neither 
undertook any enterprise or journey without his brother. 

On a certain day the Bacwezi all went out to hunt 
together; they were dressed in royal apparel, each wore 
a barkcloth of the finest fibre and two leopard skins. On 
hearing a commotion in the courtyard, their wives peeped 
out of their houses, and concealing themselves behind 
the fence, they looked through the gaps that they might 
behold the grandeur of their lords as they departed. 
When Mugenyi started out, all the women remarked on 
his beauty and strength, but afterwards Mulindwa ap- 
peared, and they held their breath in admiration of him, 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

and said among themselves, "Mulindwa has quite 
eclipsed Mugenyi; he excels all men." Now Mugenyi's 
mother, Nyangoro, heard these words, and her heart was 
filled with anger and jealousy, and she determined to kill 
Mulindwa. 

In the evening the men returned from the hunt, an'd, 
as the custom was, each brought an offering of flowers 
to his sweetheart. Mulindwa gave his gift to Nyangoro, 
the mother of Mugenyi, whom he loved dearly, yet could 
he not marry her as she was the wife of his father; but 
he used to wait his opportunity, when he would call on 
her, bring presents of bracelets and goats, and make 
love to her. One day the two brothers had decided to 
visit their cattle, to watch them being salted, but when 
the hour arrived for them to set out, Mulindwa feigned 
sickness, so Mugenyi started forth alone. Nyangoro 
had listened to their conversation in the courtyard, and 
surmised that Mulindwa was only seeking for a chance 
to come to her, so she hastily planned his destruction, to 
be carried out under the guise of love. She digged a 
very deep pit inside her house, filled it with boiling water, 
and covered it over with thin twigs and grass. Mean- 
while, Mulindwa dressed himself in his best barkcloth, 
smeared his face and chest with butter, and went to visit 
Nyangoro. As he entered the hut, she rose to greet him 
very effusively, and he placed on her head a wreath of 
grasses and flowers. Then she spread out a skin mat 
over the grass, and begged him to be seated ; but imme- 
diately he put his feet down oh the skin, the twigs gave 
way and he fell into the boiling water. Nyangoro then 
arose and quickly covered over the pit with mats to 
suffocate him. A herdsman, however, had accompanied 
his master to the hut, and when he heard Mulindwa's cry 
of distress, he ran quickly out to Mugenyi, and falling on 
his knees before him said, "My lord, the words I bring 
are terrible, yet how can I withhold them? Our beloved 

100 



e c c • 
« <^ * 

, <• f 



• c . , 

< e c^ ( 



, « ' • , c 



p < o t. 




A MIINYORO PROFILE. 



Wamara 

master is dead ; these ears listened to his moans and 
heard him throw out his arms in death. Hasten, hasten." 
Immediately Mugenyi rose up and came quickly to his 
mother's house, where he found Mulindwa's dogs whin- 
ing and wrestling with those who tried to keep them out 
of the hut. Led by the dogs' instincts, he approached 
the spot, and feeling an intense heat rising from the 
ground he tore away the covering and discovered his 
brother in the pit burnt and blistered beyond recognition. 
He lifted the body out of the boiling water, poured milk 
over him, and by degrees consciousness returned, 
although the fingers and toes were completely withered 
up. 

Mugenyi then dragged his mother out of the house 
to kill her, but Mulindwa pleaded for her, saying, " No, 
no, a man must not kill his mother ; if you do not avenge 
me, Wamara will, and if he will not, my nephew Kagoro 
will, but should he refuse, the gods will have their re- 
venge." So Mugenyi forgave his mother, but her 
daughters and other members of the clan he seized, and 
many of them he killed, the others were cursed by 
Mulindwa, who said, "You women of the Basingo clan 
shall die without bearing one child, and shall never see 
old age, because I have been robbed of my beauty, and 
struck down in my youth, while my cows are yet young, 
my wives have not reached maturity, and my children 
are wearing rattles still." From that day princes have 
never married into the Basingo clan. 

Under the rule of Wamara evil increased exceedingly. 
The Bacwezi were no longer held in veneration, nor their 
persons regarded as invulnerable. When it had got 
noised about that a woman had acted with violence toward 
Mulindwa, many unruly persons arose and determined 
to plunder and rob the gods; for Kantu had entered 
into the hearts of men, and was determined on destroying 
the whole work of Ruhanga. 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

Very soon the Bacwezi began to quarrel among them- 
selves, and Mugasa, the uncle of Wamara, rebelled 
against him, and sought to wrest the kingdom from him^ 
But Wamara successfully quashed the rising and took 
the six children of Mugasa prisoners. After many futile 
attempts their father, however, managed to reclaim them, 
and took them away to Heaven with him, so as to remove 
them from any further danger. 

Now on a certain day the Bacwezi were sitting round 
their fire talking together, when a storm gathered, the 
thunder roared and the rain fell in rivers. Kagoro turned 
to his uncle, Mugenyi, and asked him what thunder and 
lightning were. Mugenyi answered that they were fowls 
from Heaven that lick up the water that is on the earth, 
and spit it out again as rain. When they have givert 
out very much saliva in this way, the fowls become ex- 
hausted and fall to earth with a crash. He said how 
these fowls are of an enormous size when they leave 
Heaven, but on falling to earth as thunder, they shrivel 
up with the cold and damp. Kagoro asked if anyone 
had ever seen the fowls, and Mugenyi assured him that 
one day after a loud crash of thunder, a strange fowl was 
found lying in the courtyard of a house. The bird was 
taken inside and placed near the fire to dry, but as the 
heat acted upon it, enormous wings unfolded themselves, 
and the fowl flew upwards, burning the house as it passed 
through. The bird, after falling, remains hidden in the 
ground until the succeeding peal, when it rises to join its 
companions. 

And this theory is believed to this day. People hide 
their faces during thunder for fear of the fowl casting its 
eye upon them. Lightning is said to be caused by the 
fowls playing together. When a house is struck by 
lightning, the people fear to stay one moment to rescue 
their goods, for they say the glory-light of the fowl is so 
great that they will be struck blind by its radiance. If a 

102 



Wamara 

man is killed by it, they believe that a fowl has plucked 
him by the neck, drawn out his heart, and taken it to the 
Bacwezi gods.* 

Kagoro answered his uncle by telling him he would go 
to Heaven and kill the birds that made such a distracting 
noise, but his father rebuked him for abusing the things 
of Heaven, and told him that Heaven was sacred to them, 
for therein dwelt some of their relations who had been 
taken there by Mugasa. When Kagoro heard this, he 
determined in his heart that he would ascend to Heaven 
and rescue his kin from such misfortune. He went away 
into the bush and called to Thunder to carry him hence, 
and a fowl descended and bore him thither. Now, 
Mugasa had made himself king of Heaven, and one day 
when he was out hunting with his servants, they found 
Kagoro sitting alone in a field, on the spot where the fowl 
had dropped him. So Mugasa took him back to his 
home, and gave him to his daughter as a slave. But 
they were greatly perplexed at his behaviour, and ques- 
tioned among themselves what kind of man he was, for 
he refused to drink milk out of a peasant's gourd, and 
to do the work of a slave : in all things he acted as their 
equal. On one occasion they took him with them as they 
visited the capital of Heaven, and as they went along the 
road everybody did obeisance to Kagoro. So they 
turned and asked him of his parentage, and when he said 
he was the son of Mugenyi, they embraced him and 
wept for joy. But Mugasa refused to believe his words, 
for he feared that he might become his rival in Heaven. 

♦During the building of the present church in Hoima, it was struck 
by lightning, without setting fire to it, however. The lightning 
travelled down one of the inside support poles, splintering and 
singeing it. A large crowd of interested spectators came together m 
the morning to see the effects of the storm, and it was not a httle 
edifying to see one and another excitedly point out to his companion, 
the footprints of the legendary fowl, as it had run down the pole and 
disturbed the ground beneath. 

103 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

The king one day went out to hunt, and ordered Kagoro 
to attend him ; but they tramped about all day, and 
met with no success, so Mugasa was weary, and rested 
under the shade of a tree. While he slumbered, Kagoro 
cautiously came toward him with his spear quivering, 
and thrust it at his knee. The king immediately woke 
up with a start, and cried out, "Do not kill me; do I 
not know who you are ; ask what you will, and I will give 
it you." Kagoro then demanded that he should give 
him all his children that he had taken out of the world. 
So Kagoro saved them from Heaven, and brought them 
down again to earth, and left Mugasa ruling there. 

Now, there was a certain man named Misango, who 
conceived a plot for stealing all the cattle of the Bacwezi, 
which were herded together and placed under the care 
of Kagoro. But the man feared Kagoro, the Mucwezi, 
for he was powerful and fearless. One day, however, 
Kagoro went away to visit the home of his mother-in- 
law; then Misango, seizing his opportunity, plundered 
the cattle, also the barkcloths and coronets of the 
Bacwezi. Immediately an alarrh was raised by an old 
servant who had been left in the kraal. Standing on a 
very high hill, the old man cried aloud. Kagoro was at 
that moment sitting and playing with his sisters-in-law, 
and when he heard the alarm he stopped in the game and 
listened. "That is like the voice of our old confidential 
servant," said he, but the women declared that it was 
only a bird chirping. When the sound reached him the 
second time, he was angry with them for detaining him, 
and exclaimed, "Let me go; women were made for 
perfume and pleasure, not for counselling men." Then 
he turned and fled with such violence that he knocked 
down the door-post of the house. 

When he reached the servant, he enquired of him the 
cause for alarm. "Alas," answered the old man, "the 
cattle of the gods have been taken; Mugenyi has been 

104 



Wamara 

speared in attempting to rescue his goods, and your 
Uncle Alulindwa reclaimed his cows, but killed and ate 
them all, fearing they would be again stolen." On 
hearing these words, Kagoro armed Rimself with a spear 
and hastened ofif towards Ankole, where ]\Iisango had 
taken refuge. When he encountered the man, he chal- 
lenged him thus, " If you do not want me to kill you, kill 
me" ; whereupon Misango ran towards him and flung two 
spears, which only, however, grazed his knee. Then 
Kagoro raised his spear, and, with a straight aim, flung 
it at Misango, so that it entered into his shoulder, and 
he died. Then Kagoro broke forth into song : " Do you 
see me, Kagoro, the vindicator of the gods ? The sinews 
of my body are iron ; am I not a descendant of Isimbwa, 
of Isaza, of the gods, whose life is imperishable, whose 
might is irresistible?" After killing many people, he 
got back all the cattle that had been stolen, and returned 
home to his father, Mugenvi. 

Now, among his father's herds there was an ox named 
Bihogo, which was of rare value, for it imparted frag- 
rance to the water when drinking.* When Kagoro 
brought it back with the other cattle, his father 
fell on its neck and embraced it, and swore that, what- 
ever evil should henceforth afflict it, should afflict him 
also; if water was the cause of its death, he would never 
again drink a drop ; if salt, none of his cattle should 
ever again be salted ; if it should die naturally, he would 
on that day kill himself. One day, when Mugenyi was 
sitting in the house with his friends, a lad came in run- 
ning, and breathlessly announced that the ox Bihogo 
had been seized with a fit, and was on the point of death ; 
without a moment's hesitation, Mugenyi gripped his 

♦There are said to be certain cows in the country that possess this 
quality, after drinking they leave a deposit on the surface of the water 
which is then drawn off, and the deposit incrustates ; it is then taken 
and ground to a powder, and used for scenting bark- cloths. 

105 



Twilight Tales ot the Black Baganda 

spear to kill himself, but his brothers restrained him by 
force.* They sought to turn him from his purpose 
by offering him gifts. The king Wamara gave him 
100 buffaloes; Ndahura, the ex-king, sent him 200 
heifers; his brothers, Ibona and Kiro, gave 100 white 
and 200 grey cattle ; Isimbvva, his father, brought to him 
a herd of 400 red cows ; and his mother, 200 oxen. Every- 
one sympathised with him, but JMugenyi was inconsol- 
able ; his brothers stayed night and day to cheer him, 
but he refused to be comforted. 

The king Wamara sent for the witch-doctors and 
ordered them to dissect the dead ox, and to divulge toTiim 
the future, as portrayed in its entrails. In the morning 
the ox was brought, and all the witch-priests came 
together to examine it, and to read its buried secrets; 
but when they cut open the body, they found it quite 
empty; not one organ remained. This greatly perplexed 
the witch-doctors ; they were quite at a loss to understand 
its meaning. They came into the king's presence and 
told him of this great wonder, but they assured him that 
the carcase of the ox was perfectly clean inside, which 
indicated that he should possess great wealth, and have 
many children born to him. As they were speaking, 
a stranger crossed the courtyard and stood at the entrance 
of the house. He was dressed in the skins of wild 
animals; his neck, head, and arms were laden with 
strange charms. As the king and witch-doctor looked 
up, he spoke to them thus, " I am Nyakoko, the wise man 
of Bukidi; I hold intercourse with the gods, man, and 
devils. I know no limitations; Heaven, the world, and 
hell are open to me. If you would understand the 
mystery of the ox Bihogo, take me to it. But first give 

*This consideration for the life of their cattle is characteristic of the 
liakuma race at the present day. Although human life is regarded sa 
lightly by them, a man will readily kill himself at the death of a 
favourite cow. 

106 



Wamara 

me a token of blood, a seal of brotherhood between yoir 
and me, O king, that no prophecy of mine, either of evif 
or good, shall jeopardise my life." Wamara then called" 
for Mugenyi and commanded him to make blood- 
brotherhood with the stranger, who readily consented. 
When their compact was completed, and the life of the- 
priest was thus secured, Nyakoko stood forth in the- 
middle of the courtyard, surrounded by the Bacwezi and" 
chiefs of the people, and the dead ox was brought to him. 
He took up the head and hoofs, and, placing them on 
the carcase, split them open with a hatchet. Immediately 
ail the internal organs of the body fell out from the skull 
and hoofs, and as they did so, a smut flew out of the fire- 
and settled on the intestines. Nyakoko took a knife and 
tried to scrape it off ; he washed the part, but the smear 
remained. The witch-doctor then ordered every man tO' 
withdraw, excepting the Bacwezi, and, approaching 
Wamara, held out his wand for him to touch, and spoke- 
thus : " My master, I foresee evil only. The body of the 
ox being empty, signifies that the rule of the Bacwezi is- 
over, and the land is void ; the entrails found in the head 
tell me that you will still, however, exercise power over 
mankind; the others found in the hoofs mean that you 
will wander continually over the earth. The smut is a 
black man, a barbarian, who will come and usurp the 
kingdom ; he will recognise no caste, will enforce na 
obedience ; in his time a servant will not respond, woman 
will be ungovernable, cattle will not heed the voice of 
the herdsman, dogs w-ill not answer to the call of their 
masters. The drum of the gods will be beaten by a 
savage, and others of his kin will possess it after him." 

After hearing these words, the Bacwezi went into their 
house, and at night they conferred together, and decided 
to kill Nyakoko, for he had penetrated into the secret, 
councils of the gods, and nothing was hid from him. 
But at night, when all men slept, one of the king's wives. 

107 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

dreamed a dream, and in the morning she hastened 
into his presence and warned him, saying, " My master 
and king, in my dream I saw the Bacwezi taking a long 
journey, and they got lost; they reached a land where 
they were unknown and unrecognised. And this happened 
to them because they killed a man named Nyakoko." 
Meanwhile, Mugenyi went to Nyakoko and warned him 
to depart. "Arise," said he, "you are my blood-brother 
with whom I made a covenant which I cannot break ; 
we, the Bacwezi, have agreed to kill you ; therefore, 
return quickly to your own land and people." Mugenyi 
gave him two pieces of meat for the journey, and the 
witch-doctor went back to Bukidi. 

Meanwhile, Wamara, the king, had commanded his 
brothers and uncles to remain with Mugenyi to guard 
him against self-destruction, and until he should recover 
from the death of his ox Bihogo. One evening they 
prepared a feast and wine in abundance, and called him 
to join them !n their feastings. They drank very freely, 
danced, sang, and became very excited; in their songs 
they sang of iheir greatness and their might, but scoffed 
at Mugenyi for wishing to cast away his life — the life of 
a god — for that of an ox. Their jibeings at last prevailed, 
and, casting off his mourn-ng, Mugenyi joined them in 
their retellings. So in the morning the Bacwezi departed 
to their own homes, for they saw that Mugenyi had 
recovered from his grief. But when they had left him, 
Mugenyi laid on his bed and thought over the doings of 
the previous night; and as he cogifated, his old aunt 
came in and mocked him, saying, "Did you not swear 
that of Bihogo, the faultless, the beloved ox, died, you 
would kill yourself? This night, however, you have 
been merry, you have feasted and drunk while it lies 
dead!" And the words pierced Mugenyi like a spear, 
and he swore by Isimbwa these words, " I am despised 
and jeered at by a woman ; therefore will I leave the 

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Wamara 

world; it is corrupt, and no place for the gods." So he 
tied up his things, and sent to wish his brethren farewell. 
But when Wamara heard that his uncle was determined 
to depart, he called together all the Bacwezi — his father, 
Ndahura ; his grandfather, Isimbwa ; his mother, 
Nyinamuiru ; his uncles and all his brethren, and said to 
them, " Let us leave the kingdom of this world, for it is 
defiled ; when women despise us, who will fear us ? " So 
they collected their herds, and their wives, and their 
goods, and departed. As they journeyed along the lake 
shore they called to the people and ordered them to guard 
the regalia of the kingdom — the large and small drums, 
three spears, two shields, two bows bound with brass 
wire, arrows, brass bracelets and anklets, two stools, 
also forty heifers, eight bulls, a herdsman, a slave girl, 
and two women of the household. 

When they reached Bukidi, they saw people sitting 
under a Mubito tree, and they called out to them, " You 
people of Bukidi, go and rule the kingdom that we have 
left vacant. You shall be called Babito (princes), for the 
gods called you from the Mubito tree. After travelling 
for some days, Wamara remembered that he had left 
behind the bowl of love, so he sent Kagoro back with all 
speed to fetch it. As he returned with it running, some 
of the contents got spilled, and when Wamara heard of it 
he was troubled, and said, " Our love now can never be 
complete; only a very little, however, has been spilled; 
it is not sufficient for people to love each other. If one 
person will love, the other will hate. A man who loves 
his wife will be hated bv her, and should a woman love 
her husband, he will hate her." 

So the Bacwezi departed and were never seen again. 
Their footsteps were traced to the Victoria Lake, but 
others say they disappeared down the crater lakes. Twice 
only have they been seen again by man ; on one occasion 
they appeared to one named Nyamusuma of Mwenge (a 

109 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

"district of Toro), and they spoke thus to him, " Our land 
is a good land that no man knows ; our road is invisible 
and unknowable." They gave him a bowl of milk which 
never came to an end ; in the morning they had dis- 
appeared, but they left him a present of a cow tied up to a 
post by a snake, and the cow bore 390 calves. Their 
second appearance was to a young herdsman of Toro 
named Kazoba. One day in the early morning he saw a 
cow grazing alone in the bush ; as he could not catch it, 
lie called to his brothers to assist him, but when they 
■came up to it, the cow was caught away into Heaven, and 
in its place sat three women, who called to the boys; but 
they feared to approach, for they were unlike other people 
— their hair was white like calico, and on their heads were 
crowns of flowers. The boys ran from them and called 
their friends, but when thev returned, the women had 
•entirely disappeared ; and although the Bacwezi ceased 
to reign over the earth, they continued to sway the lives 
of men and to determine their destiny. 



110 



CHAPTER IX 

The Dynasty of the Babito* 

THE people seen by the Bacwezi under a mubito tree 
were two huntsmen and their servants. The men's 
names were Mpuga Rukidi and Kato ; they were 
illegitimate sons of the Mucwezi Isimbwa. When 
they heard the words of the Bacwezi they did not under- 
stand their meaning, and as they discussed together the 
matter, a man came towards them. He was Nyakoko, 
the witch doctor who had fled from Bunyoro after fore- 
telling the Bacwezi their fate. Mpuga, seeing who it 
was, ran and embraced him, for they were great friends. 
Nyakoko asked what fortune they had met with in the 
hunt, and showed them a curious animal which he him- 
self had shot on the lake shore. Part of it resembled a 
colobus monkey and the other part a lion, and when they 
skinned it the animal still lived and ran about. They 
returned together to the house, and that night made a 
^reat feast to commemorate Nyakoko's home-coming. 
When the night was advanced, and people had gone to 
their beds, Mpuga remained talking with Nyakoko, and 
told him of the mysterious words spoken to them by the 
strangers who had passed through their country in large 
numbers, and carrying great possessions. Then Nya- 
koko explained to him who the people were, and divulged 
all that had occurred to him in their country — he expa- 
tiated on the vastness of their kingdom, its wealth, its 
beauty, its dignity and might. He told of its people, of 
their herds, their rich clothing and their refined habits. 

Ill 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

Then Mpuga longed to possess this land and rule over 
its people, but he withdrew his heart from dwelling on 
it, for he saw himself to be ignorant and savage. But 
Nvakoko would not allow him to be faint-hearted, for he 
saw the chance for his own ambitious desires to be 
realised, so he promised to guide him to Bunyoro and 
to initiate him into the customs of the country, if he would 
promise to make him joint king with himself. This 
Mpuga willingly agreed to, and in the morning he 
ordered his mother, brethren and servants to prepare for 
a journey. They all got ready in a very short time, for 
they had few possessions — nothing beyond gourds, 
cooking pots and chickens. 

The warriors went before, armed with spears, bows, 
arrows and daggers; then followed the musicians who 
played on the horn ; Nyakoko, Mpuga and his family, and 
an interpreter came next; while the servants, carriers 
and women brought up the rear. Thus the warriors of 
Bukidi set forth to seek the kingdom of Bunyoro, and to 
found a dynasty of kings that should reign over it to the 
present day. 

It was not until the evening of the first day of travel- 
ling that the people understood the purport of the 
journey, for they had feared to ask their master the 
reason of his order for them to depart. But as they were 
all gathered round their camp fires that night, Nyakoko 
suddenly turned to Mpuga and said, "In the country of 
Bunyoro to which we go, there is treachery and false- 
hood, the women are faithless and unchaste; whom will 
you marry ?" Mpuga replied, " If that "is so we can marry 
our sisters." So the people then knew that their master 
was going to settle in a new land; and they were afraid 
of meeting strong and unknown foes. Nyakoko saw the 
dismay on their countenances and put fresh spirit into 
the men, by telling them that those who fought for king- 
doms must be courageous and strong, and with a leader 

112 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

like Mpuga and a priest like himself they had nothing to 
fear. 

So in the morning they continued their journey, and 
at mid-day reached the River Nile. The usual ferry was 
not there, and after waiting till evening and it failed to 
appear, Mpuga and his people greatly feared, for they 
imagined that this misfortune portended evil to their 
enterprise. Nyakoko then commanded a little girl to be 
brought, whose mother had been healthv, pure and loved 
without dissimulation, and that she should be offered to 
the Spirit of the Waters. The witch-doctor laid his 
wand on the face of the river and the waters separated 
into two, leaving a dry path in the midst. The little 
girl was placed in the middle of the river-bed, then 
Nyakoko caused the waters to unite again, and they 
immediately swallowed up the child and bore her away 
to the land of spirits. 

Instantly the boat appeared the people were all 
comforted, for they knew that their propitiatory offering 
had been accepted. Henceforth it became the custom 
for all travellers to sacrifice children to the Nile at that 
crossing. 

Now among the Babito there was one named Nyarwa, 
a man of strength and handsome bearing, and he was 
much more popular among the people than Mpuga him- 
self. And this incensed Mpuga against him, for he 
feared that Nyarwa would be preferred by the Banyoro 
and be elected as their king. So he formed a plan for 
getting rid of him. On the evening of the fifth day 
Mpuga feigned sickness, and calling for Nyarwa said, 
" I am sick unto death, let them carry me back that I 
may die in my own land ; but you take the huntsmen and 
return home at your leisure." So Nyarwa had a stretcher 
made, and when he had seen the whole caravan turning 
back, he called for his huntsmen and started off in an 
opposite direction with his dogs and bow. 

113 I 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

Then when Mpuga knew him to be at a safe distance 
away, he turned round and hastily continued his journey 
into Bunyoro. But, alas! when they reached the river 
Kafu they found it in flood and impassable. The 
warriors called for a halt until the waters should go down, 
but Mpuga was determined at all cost to cross the stream. 
Men were sent in to test the depth of the water, but when 
it reached their armpits the flood swept them away and 
they were drowned. 

Then Mpuga chose out a little girl, also two black 
beads and two black fowls, and threw them into the 
swollen stream, and immediately as they were lost io 
sight, two men were espied punting a raft towards them, 
and they ferried all the people across. And from that 
day children were cast into the Kafu River during flood 
time by everyone crossing at that point. 

When they were within one day of the capital of Bun- 
yoro, Nyakoko commanded the interpreter to go before, 
crying out aloud, " Be comforted, O land, be comforted, 
O people; for a king has come to reign over you." As 
he passed through the villages, the men came out in 
large numbers and followed him to the capital ; the 
place buzzed with excitement, and an eager look-out was 
kept all day for the new king to arrive. Early in the 
morning the people heard a sound of horns, and descried 
spears flashing in the distance ; then appeared a large 
company of men, yet kept they silent, for they knew not 
whether to receive the newcomer or not. As Mpuga 
reached the demesne of the Bacwezi the men of Bunyoro 
all drew back, for they considered it sacrilege for a 
stranger to enter the home of the gods, and the visitor 
they regarded with contempt, for half of his body was 
white and the other part was black, and he was dressed 
in a sheepskin, while his head was unshaven, his hair 
reached, in greased and matted twists, to his shoulders. 
But Mpuga did not notice their scornful glances, nor 

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The Dynasty of the Babito 

did he hear their remarks, for he understood not their 
language; so he entered Wamara's house and sat down 
to rest on the throne. He ordered huts to be erected in 
the outer courtyard for himself and his people, for he 
refused to take possession of the royal houses until he 
was assured of his position, and had learned the use of 
the different buildings. 

After he had rested, he felt very homesick and fearful 
of his new surroundings; he wondered if he was being 
ensnared by a plot : so he called to Nyakoko and asked 
him to send for a local witch-doctor that he might question 
him. Kasoira was brought in to him, and Mpuga asked 
him, "Where are the kings of this country? " Kasoira 
answered, " I am a man of truth, and dissemble nothing; 
you ask me about my late masters, and I tell you that 
they went away in the direction of B Uganda to the lake, 
but where they have gone I know not. They abdicated, 
and told me that their rule had reached finality." 
" Do kings leave their land and people unless they are 
driven out by rebellion? " said Mpuga. 

" Nyakoko saw other reasons which induced them to 
go," answered Kasoira. But Mpuga interjected, ""Do 
not drag in Nyakoko's name ; you yourself tell me every- 
thing, and I will give you a large reward." "Give me, 
then, some tobacco, and I will tell you," said Kasoira. 
So Mpuga sent a servant to his grandmother to beg for 
a plug of tobacco, and when he returned with a pipe and 
had lit it, he handed it to the witch-doctor. 

"Ah, that is good," said he. 

"What, are you satisfied with a small thing like that? 
Tell me all you know, and I will give you greater 
gifts." 

"Well," continued Kasoira, "into my master's life 
there entered Kantu, and he was the cause of their depar- 
ture." 

"Who is Kantu? " asked Mpuga. 

115 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

"He is the spirit of evil, who, from the beginning, led 
mankind astray." 

" If you speak truly, tell me, will the kings never 
return ? ** 

" I swear by my life, they will never come back to this 
land. If you want to settle here and portion out the 
country, do so, for there is no ruler; our kings have 
departed for ever," said Kasoira. Then Mpuga dismissed 
him, but he was still suspicious, and no sleep came to 
him that night. Early in the morning Nyakoko came 
and found him tossing on his bed, and when he had 
learned the cause of his uneasiness, he suggested calling 
in the two old women whom they had found minding the 
house, and who had been left there by the Bacwezi. So 
Bunono and Iremera were brought in to Mpuga's pres- 
ence ; they trembled and were sorely affrighted when they 
saw him, and all his servants armed. But Mpuga spoke 
kindly to them and told them to be seated ; then he turned 
and said, "Old ladies, who are of the herdsman clan, 
the clan that speaks truth and acts righteously, tell me 
where your husbands, the Bacwezi, have gone, and what 
has driven them from the kingdom." 

The women were afraid to answer ; each looked to tlie 
other to reply, but at last Bunono jerked out, "Kantu 
and contempt drove them from the land, and our lords 
the gods will not return — at least not until the reign of 
ten or more kings is completed." 

When the women had left, Nyakoko came to Mpuga 
and said, "When will you rise- up and beat the drum?* 
We have been here for eight days, and you have not yet 
assumed the right of reigning. If you will not rule, we 
will make your brother king." 

This roused Mpuga, and he answered, " I am perfecdy 
willing to reign, but how shall I do it; who will instruct 
me in court etiquette?" The witch-doctor thereupon 
*The action of a king on his accession. 

116 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

called in the two old women to groom Mpuga and get 
him trimmed up for his accession. 

They cut his finger-nails, shaved off his long tufts of 
hair, smeared him down with butter, and clothed him 
in two bark-cloths. They then commanded that the 
royal drum should be brought, but when a search was 
made for it, it was not forthcoming. One declared that 
it had been swallowed up by rocks, another that it had 
been taken up into Heaven, but Bunono told them to 
send to the Basita clan, who were the guardians of the 
drums. So a messenger was despatched, and, after 
travelling all day and night, he arrived at their district, 
and entered into the house of a man named Mulimba. 
Immediately he espied two drums hanging up on the 
wall, and he asked the man whom they belonged to. 
"Leave me alone," answered Mulimba, "can I discuss 
trifles with you, when my wife has been confined, and 
for two days has eaten no food, because there is none 
in the house ? If you w-ill give me a few grains of millet, 
you can take away both the drums, for their rightful 
owners have left the country." The messenger straight- 
way took some millet from his cobus-cob hide bag, and 
filled up two baskets. So Mulimba gave him one of the 
drums named Nyalebe, with the words, " May you pos- 
sess wealth and many children." 

When the messenger rose up to return, Mulimba 
accompanied him to the capital, hoping to obtain further 
supplies of food. 

The other drum that had been left behind was called 
Kajumba, and, finding itself alone, it came down from 
the wall, and rolled itself along the road until it reached 
the capital, and, entering the house where Mulimba was 
staying, it sat down by its companion Nyalebe. When 
Nyakoko saw the drum coming along by itself, he ran 
to Mpuga, and they rejoiced together that all the omens 
indicated success and prosperity. 

117 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

A further search was made for the regalia, and these 
are the things that were found : — Two steel spears (which 
remain to this day), one brass ditto, one dirk, one basket 
containing a brass bracelet, a sparkling bead, which w-as 
said to have come down from Heaven at the time of 
human sacrifices ; also other beads, bracelets, and anklets. 

These were all brought to Mpuga, who was deligh'ted 
at possessing such priceless treasures, and he ordered 
that all the royal buildings and apartments should 
immediately be repaired or rebuilt for his accession ; to 
every family was allotted a portion of the work in the 
restoration of the household. 

The royal apartments were approached by a succession 
of reeded-in courtyards, in w^hich were erected one or 
more circular houses of reeds and thatch, each having 
its own specific use. In the outer courtyard, or Court 
of Assembly, there was a large roofed-in stand, called the 
Kamurweya, under which the king and his suite sat on 
fete days. Here also was built a pinnacle of beaten 
earth, at the top of which the drummer stood to call the 
people together on important occasions. 

The first inner court contained the Kasenda or temple, 
wherein the witch-priests alone were allowed to enter, 
and hold communion with the Spirits, while the king 
and his people stood without. Human sacrifices from 
time to time were brought inside for divination ; the 
skulls were hung round on the wall, but the bodies, after 
examination, were taken out for burial. The duty of the 
princesses was to keep the floor of this temple smeared 
with dung, for no grass w-as allow^ed to be spread down. 
In the second court there was the visitors' waiting- 
room ; the next one held the guard's house ; this led to 
the fourth enclosure, where stood the princesses' house 
of worship, guarded carefully by a sentry. The last 
courtyard led to the royal apartments, and this was 
regarded as sacred ; anyone who laughed, coughed, or 

118 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

blew his nose within the precincts was immediately put 
to dekth. 

At the entrance there was erected a round house, with 
three outside doors — one was called the ivory entrance, 
for a long ivory tusk was laid at the doorway, across 
which only the king could step. The king's cows were 
milked morning and evening before this doorway. The 
second entrance led to the dining house, whilst the third 
opened out on to the sleeping room, called the Karuzika 
house. This private enclosure contained also two other 
houses, Dwengo house, which was the king's harem, and 
the Kapanapa house, wherein the beer was brewed. 

Thus all the work was completed, and the king's 
accession was announced to take place at the next full 
moon. 

When the day arrived, verv early in the morning the 
capital was thronged with people who had come out of 
all the countries around. The outer courtyard was 
crowded with men eager and excited to see their new 
king. The procession was headed bv the high priest 
Nyakoko, holding in his hand his wand and knife for 
sacrifice. He was followed by the priests leading a white 
ox and a white fowl. Then came the bodyguard armed 
with bows and barbed arrows. The king, looking most 
majestic, walked alone, accompanied by the princes 
carrying the regalia. He was dressed in two flawless 
bark-cloths, round his neck he wore heaven's white bead, 
which sparkled like the sun, his bracelets and anklets 
were also of white beads, while on his head he wore a 
crown of bead-work and red parrot tails, with a chin 
strap of long white colobus monkey fur. 

At the entrance of the Temple Kasenda, the procession 
stood still. The High Priest then advanced towards 
the white ox, and slew it before the eyes of all the 
people. When the blood flowed forth, Nvakoko entered 
the temple, and all the priests standing without wor- 

119 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

shipped aloud, saying, •'This is the kingdom of my fore- 
fathers, of many generations. Thou Ruhanga-Nkya- 
Kankya,* begat the rulers of mankind, thou art god of 
heaven, hell, and earth. If I, Mpuga, lie, and this is 
not the kingdom of my ancestors, let me die now in the 
sight of all men." Then torches were lit, and the cock 
crowed, whereupon all the people stood and worshipped 
with their faces toward heaven. When they had made 
an end of worshipping, a priest came forward with 
Mulimba carrying the drum Nyalebe, and as he stood 
before the king he said, " Hereby shall man know if this 
Mpuga is an impostor. If he be not the true son of the 
Bacwezi, let the drum be silent and burst when he shall 
strike it." 

So Mulimba advanced and handed to Mpuga the two 
sticks, while every onlooker held his breath anxiously. 
Grasping the sticks, Mpuga flung out his arms and 
brought them down forcibly on the drum, that roared 
forth with a mighty sound. This he did nine times, and 
the other drum, Kajumba, came rolling itself along on 
the ground, booming all the time. Then the people 
shouted with a loud voice, "Hail to our king." The 
priest thereupon approached the king, and, laying his 
hands upon him, said, "Your name shall henceforth be 
Winyi, and your title Okali ; men shall no longer call 
you a Mukidi (Person of Bukidi), for you are the son of 
our late rulers the gods." 

That evening there was great feasting. Many oxen 
were killed; nine were slaughtered for the guests, who 
dined in the entrance hall; three others were served 
to the king and his brothers; two were given to the 
chiefs, who dined with the king; and four more were 
distributed among the attendants and household. 

The revelry and the drum beating continued for two 

♦The two gods Ruhanga and Nkya are regarded as one-indivisibic 
and their united names form the title Kankya. 

120 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

days and two nights, at the end of which all the people 
were called for a solemn conclave. As the king was 
preparing for it, Nyakoko came in and said, " When a 
king portions out the land, does not the High Priest get 
the choicest bit ? " 

" Tell me what you want, and I will give it you straight 
away," answered the king. 

"No, no," replied Nyakoko, "but you shall invest 
me publicly, so that all men may hear how the king 
honours his Priest." 

So they went together into the outer courtyard, where 
all the people were assembled. The chiefs were seated 
on stools in two lines, which led up to a large woven 
grass awning, under which was placed the throne,* while 
the ground was strewn with grass, covered over with 
calf, leopard, and lion skins. As the king seated himself 
on the throne, the vast concourse of people broke forth 
into worship, saying, "Okali, king Winyi, is great; he 
is high and very exalted, having pity on the needy, 
clothing the naked, and uniting all men under him." 
Then the king stood up and spoke thus, " Hear all ye 
people of Ankole, of Busoga, of Buganada, of Chopi and 
Bulega, all tribes gathered before me, behold me, your 
ruler. Every man overcome with trouble, let him appeal 
to me; he who is evilly treated, let him come to me." 
The princes were then called one by one, and districts 
were given them to administer. 

Buganda was given to the king's brother, Kato. All 
the Baganda present were brought and presented to him, 
and they were ordered to accompany him to their country 
and to recognise him as their leader. 

Kiza, the King's brother, had Busoga given to him. 

Toro, Ankole, Bulega and Chopi were divided out 
between his half-brothers. Then Winyi turned to the 

*The throne consisted of a large stool covered over with numbers of 
leopard and lion skins. 

121 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

High Priest, Nyakoko, and said, "Would you like the 
country that was formerly ruled over by Isaza as your 
inheritance? " But he answered, "None of these things 
do I want, but rather let you and me reign together over 
these people — wherever you hold sway, there will I also." 
.._But Winyi, the king, would not listen to this proposal 
now that his position was assured, but appointed him 
to a district of Bunyoro, called Bugahya. 

When the king had made an end of choosing out his 
ministers and chief, every man departed to his own home, 
and there was peace, for they all feared the king, and 
each chief paid yearly tribute to him. 

Meanwhile the news had reached Nyarwa that his kins- 
man had deceived him, and that he had been acclaimed 
King of Bunyoro by all the people; and he knew that, 
for fear and jealousy of him, Mpuga had carried out this 
ruse. So he left off hunting, and remained for eight 
days in one place, planning out what he should do. " If 
he outwitted me when he was but a chief of Bukidi, will 
he not kill me as king of the whole land ? " said he to 
himself. Then he climbed to the top of a high rock, 
and, throwing out his arms, exclaimed, " I may as well 
be swallowed up by Heaven as earth," and immediately 
a strong whirlwind enclosed him in its grip, and lifted 
him up to Heaven — he and all his belongings. So 
Nyarwa, the beloved of men, became their intercessor in 
Heaven, and to this day he is the only god loved and not 
feared. 

When Kato reached Uganda, he found that the women 
(/were cultivators of the soil, so he sent Winyi twenty 
/maidens, who should dig for him. Kato settled down 
among the people of that country, and as he increased 
in power, the tithes that he sent up to Bunvoro gradually 
became less, until they ceased altogether, and Kato 
proclaimed himself independent and Uganda a separate 
kingdom. He changed his name to Kimera (that which 

122 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

takes root), for, said he, " I have taken root here, and' 
will not move hence, and no man shall transplant me."* 

The two old women, Bunono and Iremera, remained 
on in the royal household of Bunyoro to instruct the 
king in court ceremonials. Some of his wives were 
taught to cook according to the custom of the country. 
Each day they had to provide a huge bowl of vegetables, 
and another of meat. The king was not allowed to feed 
himself, but a servant conveyed the food to his mouth 
very slowly with brass chop-sticks ; the man had to 
handle them very deftly, for should they perchance touch 
a tooth, he was immediately put to death. 

The two women could not persuade the king to drink 
milk, for he did not know what it was. This was a dis- 
grace in the eyes of the Banyoro, so Bunono determined 
to resort to strategy. One day when he was very ill 
with fever, she carefully washed out a milk-pot, flavoured 
it with smoke from the fire, filled it with milk, and when 
night fell she came and handed it to the king, telling Him 
to drink this medicine through a spill. As it was dark, 
he could not see the contents of the bowl, and he drank 
it all off and had the bowl refilled four times. When he 
was well again, she showed him that milk was the medi- 
cine she had administered, so he straightway called all 
his people of Bukidi and advised them henceforth to 
cease eating food and to drink milk only. So milk 
became the national food, and the women grew very 
beautiful to behold, for they were so fat that many could 
not move from their houses, and the king's children all 
stuttered because of the fat that affected their speech. 
Each evening the cows were brought to the entrance of 
the king's house, and he watched them being milked. 
At sunset a child of the Mukungu clan, who was free 
from physical blemish, was sent out along the road, clap- 

*It will be seen that formerly all the present four separate king- 
doms of the Uganda Protectorate were incorporated in Bunyoro. 

123 



Twilight Talcs of the Black Baganda 

ping his lips and sounding an alarm to clear the track, 
and to warn all people off the path of the cows, for if 
any man set eyes on the king's cattle as they were coming 
in to be milked, he was put to death. Should the little 
herald ever be taken ill, his head was chopped off by an 
axe so as to prevent death from falling on the sacred 
office. On arriving at the doorway, the milking man 
came forward, dressed in a clean bark-cloth, with his 
head and shoulders whitewashed. The king's aunt then 
brought to him cow dung for smearing on his hands and 
on the udders of the cows. Two princesses, with the 
upper part of their body whitewashed, stood by, one 
holding the milk bowl and a fly flick, while to the other 
was allotted the onerous duty of holding the cow's tail 
during milking operations. In order to qualify for these 
honoured posts, it was necessary to be absolutely healthy 
and sound in body, and these specifications had also to 
be proved in all their antecedents. The king's cows were 
always milked into one bowl, as an indication that the 
kingdom was not divided. 

One of the king's wives, a woman of Ankole, was 
appointed butter churner to his majesty, and her other 
duty was to keep his body well smeared with fat. 

After Winyi had reigned for nine years, he fell sick 
unto death, and the people feared greatly, for hitherto 
their kings, the gods, had never known death ; they had 
resigned their position one by one, and departed else- 
where. When the king saw that he could not recover, 
he killed a number of oxen and made a feast for his 
people, after which he bade farewell to the kingdom. His 
servants then administered poison, so that he might not 
die of disease, and immediately he fell down dead. When 
the news got whispered abroad that the king was dead, 
the greatest consternation prevailed. Young and old 
hastened to the royal dwelling to see if the gossips had 
lied to them, but on entering the outer court they beheld 

124 



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The Dynasty of the Babito 

the drum of State turned upside down, and they knew 
that the land had no king. 

Meanwhile, the eldest son had been called, and he was 
commanded to bring with him a cow without blemish, of 
good pedigree, and whose calves had never died. This 
was tied to the door-post of the death chamber, and the 
son was told to milk it himself into a sooty pot, and to 
pour the milk into the mouth of his dead father, so as to- 
feed the spirit. The favourite wife attended to the corpse 
— she shaved off the hair, cut the finger and toe nails, 
and placed flowers in his clasped hands. When this was 
done, all the relations and people were allowed in to view 
the body. 

At sunset the corpse was carried into an outside shed. 
Here it was cut open and all the internal organs were 
tied up in a calf's skin and cast into the lake. The jaw- 
was kept apart for ceremonial burial, and the body was 
placed on a wooden platform erected in the centre of the 
shed. On an undershelf stood bowls to receive the blood 
as it dripped, and a fire was kindled underneath to slowly 
roast the flesh. 

The next morning all the sons of the late king were 
called, and the chiefs chose out one whom they wished 
to be their ruler; and to him was entrusted the duty of 
completing the royal obsequies. The son who adminis- 
tered milk to the corpse was never allowed to reign ; he 
was sent away into a far district, so that he might never 
set eyes on the living king. After the new ruler had 
been chosen, oxen were slain, and the meat was carried 
to the outer courtyard, where the people were assembled, 
and placed on the downturned drum. Then the bowls 
of blood from the late king's body were brought and 
poured out over the meat, and the people all sat down and 
feasted on it law. 

For four months the body was left to roast over the 
fire, which was tended night and day, and at the end of 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

that time the newly-appointed king, dressed in a sooty 
bark-cloth, climbed to the pinnacle of the royal house, 
holding in his hand a bowl of milk. With a loud voice 
he cried out, "The milk is defiled, the king has been 
taken away. Heaven has fallen." Then he broke the 
bowl in his hand, and the contents were scattered over 
the house and courtyard. Whereupon all the people 
wept and wailed for four days. 

On the morning of the fifth day, everything was 
washed and purified, and the cinders of the corpse were 
tied up in a new bark-cloth and taken away for burial in 
the scrub. Eight wives of the late king, including his 
favourite one, were chosen out to be buried alive with 
the ashes. This w-as to complete the sacred number nine, 
and to give the spirit of the departed a retinue of wives in 
the other world. 

A very deep pit had been prepared, and into it the 
favourite wife was placed in a sitting posture ; then into 
her lap was deposited the bark-cloth containing the 
cinders of the royal corpse. 

No earth was ever allowed to be thrown in over the 
body of a king, but the grave was filled up with live 
human beings — the seven remaining w'ives, and the per- 
sonal attendants of the dead man. These were covered 
over by a large ox skin, which was pegged down firmly 
in the ground and smeared with cow-dung periodically. 
After death and decay had set in, and the skin was seen 
to sag in the centre, more bodies were laid in the grave, 
and this operation continued tor six months, after which 
time the grave was left and its location forgotten. 

But the king's jaw had been kept apart by itself, and 
been most jealously guarded against the other sons, who 
tried every cunning and strategy to secure it, for the son 
who buried his father's jaw was acknowledged and 
crowned king. 

This was buried with much pomp and ceremony in a 

126 



The Dynasty of the Babito 

place very carefully chosen. A house was built over it, 
and in this were placed trophies of the deceased. An old 
princess was set apart as priestess of the royal tomb, and 
she did not leave it by day or night. 

These same burial rites were always carried out on the 
death of a king of Bunyoro. 



127 



CHAPTER X 

The Kings of the Babito : 
Ocakl^Duhaga. 

npHE months of mourning for the king had plunged 
the whole country into a state of despair ; for 



1 



during that time the national drum had remained 
with its face downwards — not once had it uttered 
its voice, and silence had covered the country like a 
shroud. In the homes of the people the rattles had been 
put aside, and all music of the tom-toms had ceased ; 
the instruments of raiding were sheathed ; everyone 
donned their oldest and dirtiest garments, and they 
fasted day after day with sorrowful countenances. For 
death had never hitherto fallen on the throne, and it was 
regarded as the curse of the gods, and a prognostication 
of the overthrow of the kingdom. 

When, therefore, the decree went forth that a new 
king had been found, the nation breathed fresh hope, 
and, throwing aside its garments of mourning, the 
people hastened to the Capital to do homage to their 
king. When they were all' met together in the royal 
courtyard, Ocaki was presented to them by the Hieh 
Priest, who placed on his head the ancient crown of the 
Bacwezi. 

Offerings of cattle, slaves, spears, etc., were then given 
to the king by both chiefs and peasants, and deputies 
from Uganda, Toro, Ankole, Busoga, and Ganyi pre- 
sented their gifts, as a sign of allegiance. 

128 



Ocaki-Duhaga 

When Ocaki had thus received the homage of his 
people, he chmbed to the top of the drum-stand and 
reversed the drum; then, taking the two sticks in his 
hand, he exercised the royal prerogative of beating it on 
his accession day, as a proof of his sovereignty ; and 
as the booming resounded from hill to hill, the people 
broke out into a deafening shout of " Okali, hail to 
our king," and all the drums in the country were 
awakened at the sound, and responded back in a roar of 
rejoicing. 

Thus Ocaki reigned over the kingdom of Bunyoro; -« 
he was a peaceable man, and in his days the country 
enjoyed rest. Kimera of Uganda, and Kiza of Busoga, ^* 
remained on friendly relations with him, and exchanged 
greetings and gifts. But Ocaki had no children, and 
this was such a sore grief to him that he sickened and 
died after reigning nine years. 

He was succeeded by his brother Oyo. On the day 
that Oyo was proclaimed king, he called for a witch- 
doctor to offer up an ox and to mak^e known by it the 
future to~ him. Karongo, the priest, after consulting 
with the spirits, and most carefully inspecting the entrails 
of the animal, assured the king that everything augured 
well ; he should live to an old age and have many 
children. And so it was, for Oyo was one of the greatest 
kings that ever ruled. He had many wives who bore 
him over 4,000 children, so that he was called "He who 
peoples Heaven and earth." 

He made one big tour throughout the length and j 
breadth of his kingdom, including Uganda, Busoga,0 
Ankole, Toro, and Bulega, and everywhere he received ♦-^ 
abject homage from his subjects. Whatever place he ^^ 
passed through, his paths were blocked with offerings '^ 
of every description — herds of cattle — humped and 
horned, goats, sheep, and fowls; food of every kind, 
including millet, plantains, potatoes, and vegetables; 

129 K 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

spears, bows and arrows; firewood, etc., etc. Such stuflF 
as he could carry away with him, he collected together, 
but a quantity of food was everywhere left scattered about 
on the roads and abandoned. 

As the king returned, his following resembled a nation 
emigrating, and as he beheld it, he determined that 
henceforth during his reign there should be no more 
marauding, raiding, or fighting allowed. 

When he reached his house, he, therefore, ordered his 
servants to call all his people that they might go with him 
to Epyemi — the Hill of Covenant "* — and there perform 
the customary function for the ratifying of his vow. 
Thirty thousand cattle, tons of beads, and 200 princes 
were chosen out for sacrifice, and these were taken to 
the foot of the mountain. When they reached the 
appointed place, the king ascended the hill with his 
servant; there they prepared a big furnace and cast into 
it the 200 princes as offerings to the gods and the Bacwezi. 
The bones were afterwards collected and ground down 
into powder, and strewn upon a newly-cultivated road, 
which became dazzling white. 

The cattle were slain at the foot of the mountain, their 
carcases were piled one upon another so that they 
reached to the top of the hill. The ashes of the dead 
men were brought to the king, and he sprinkled them 
on his head and shoulders. Thus ended the propitiatory 
part of the ceremonials. Water was then brought to 
the king from a running stream, and he washed himself 
as a sign of purification, and dressed in two perfectly 
new barkcloths. Calling two priests and his servant 
Nyamajuga, who had identified himself with Ifls master 
during all the operations, the king again climbed the hill, 
while all the people stood below. When they reached 
the top, the tons of beads were poured forth as an offering 
to the spirits, and upon this heap the king and Nyama- 

•This hill is in Bugangaizi. 

130 



Ocaki-Duhaga 

juga stood together. Here Oyo lifted up his voice and 
extolled himself as king of mankind, and all the people 
replied by praising him and his ancestors as the great 
men of the earth. When every voice had died away into 
silence, Oyo approached Nyamajuga, and, taking a 
knife, offered him up for sacrifice in his own stead. Step- 
ping over the dead body, the king descended the hill 
with his priests; the drums, big and small, were beaten; 
the flutes and horns sounded, and, shouting with juy, 
everyone returned to the Capital.* 

As Oyo entered his courtyard, he found his old mother 
waiting to caress him at the entrance to his house. She 
wept with joy at seeing her son, for he had been a long 
time absent, and she was fearful lest he might have been 
killed during his journey into other countries. 

When Oyo greeted her, he ordered his herdsmen to 
loose a cow and bring it into the courtyard that he 
might milk it and minister to his mother. "Shall any 
other man milk for my mother; she who bore me? " sa'd 
he. " Nay," answered the old woman, " let my on'y son, 
the child of my womb, mv brave, lion-hearted son, minis- 
ter to me and thus fill my heart with joy." 

But Oyo had prepared a little packet of poison, for 
the king who enters into a covenant of peace wiih his 
people and the gods, must kill his mother on returning 
from the Hill Epyemi. When, therefore, he had dropped 
it into the bowl of milk, he gave it to his mother, and the 
old woman, not suspecting her son of anv treachery, 
drank the mixture, and immediately fell down dead. 

Then the king Oyo commanded his servants to bring 
before him all the spoil he had collected on his journey, 
and he made a distribution of it among his herdsmen and 
servants, and did not fear that there would be any 

*This ceremony was always carried out when the king entered into 
a covenant of peace with his people. He generally postponed it 
until he became too old for plunder or warfare. 

131 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

dissatisfaction among them, because, when a king has 
made a peace covenant, no man dare find fault or quarrel 
with him. 

And when he gave his herdsman a few fowls only, the 
man could neither refuse the gift nor ask for more ; but, 
fallings on his knees before his master, said, "That 
which the Great One bestows shall a man despise — if he 
withhold a county chieftainship, shall not he who protests 
have his eyes put out ? " 

To the son of Nyamajuga, who had been sacrificed by 
the king's own hand in his stead, were given lOO cows 
as compensation, also a brass bell to be hung round the 
neck of the head bull, which was to be called "The fibre 
that binds the axehead gets loosened in the felling " 
(Comp. Prov. vi. i : If thou be surety for thy friend . . . 
thou art snared). 

So Oyo settled down quietly, and all the land was 
subject unto him ; all tribes sent men to confer with the 
king, and to seek his judgment, and to appoint a suc- 
cessor when their paramount chief died. Oyo lived to a 
great age, and was succeeded by his son Cwa. 

In his reign a murrain broke out among the cattle of 
Bunyoro; the king ordered all the infected animals to be 
destroyed, so as to arrest the disease, and to prevent it 
spreading into other districts. The cows that were killed 
were so numerous that they could not be counted, and 
when the servants had finished carrying out the king's 
command, they came to him-, saying they had killed and 
eaten all the sick animals until not one cow remained, 
and they asked what he would do henceforth for milk 
and butter. The king did not wait to consider, but, 
turning to his servants, said, " Let him who has a shield 
smear on butter; he who possesses a spear, let him 
sharpen it and prepare for plunder, so that my flocks and 
herds may be replenished." 

132 




MASAI WOMAN : A fellow passenger on the Uganda Railway. 



Ocaki^Duhaga 

So the war-drum was beaten, and the men rallied 
round their king, for they were wearied of the last peace- 
ful days of their late ruler, and they rose up as one man 
at the sound of the drum. After invoking the spirits, 
the king started off with a vast army ; they raided every 
province, district, and village — all the cattle that they 
saw were seized; no man could withstand them, for the 
warriors were possessed of superhuman strength, as they 
feasted on meat every day, for all the oxen and the cows 
that died on the journey were divided out among the 
soldiers. When they reached Ankole, the chief and 
people made a strong resistance, but they were defeated 
and slaughtered like ants. The king ordered that the 
county drum should be cut into pieces as a curse on the 
tribe, and to signify that Ankole should cease to exist 
as a separate State. Therefore was the king called Cwa 
—"He who cuts." 

When they were returning from Ankole, they hafted 
at the fringe of a forest, and the soldiers showed a strong 
disinclination to proceed, but the king jeered at them and 
said, " Have the trees of the forest spears that you should 
fear; if not, why do you not go forward?" But the 
men answered that the forest was very dense, and night 
would overtake them before they could penetrate it; so 
it was decided to wait until morning before proceeding. 
When the following day dawned, each man arose and 
did as he was commanded; they passed along, slashing 
down the undergrowth and cutting a path. Suddenly 
they heard the lowing of cattle in the near distance, and 
the king ordered his men to turn off in that direction, for 
his greed for cattle was insatiable. But after working 
all day, they had not reached the cows, and they were 
still wandering about in the depth of the forest when 
night fell. The men who were in the rear turned back, 
but the others went forward with their king, and were 
enveloped in darkness. After four days, when nothing 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

had been heard of them, a search party was organised, 
but ^^ben they failed to find the king, messengers were 
despatched to the Capital, and an army of men came out, 
but all their efforts to find Cwa and his servants were 
futile; nothing was ever again seen or heard of them. 
So men knew that the Bacwezi had lured him on to 
destruction by lowing like cattle, thus causing him to be 
overcome by his own merciless greed. 

When tidings reached the people of Ankole of the 

king's disappearance, they came out and recaptured all 

t])eir properly that had been plundered by him. They 

seized also some slaves and one of King Cwa's wives, 

named Iremera. 

X Cv*a had no sons, so the chiefs of Bunyoro gathered 

■: together to confer about the succession ; some suggested 

/ putting a prince of Uganda or Busoga on the throne, 

7 but they finally decided to appoint a sister of Cwa, named 

L Dunego. So she became their ruler ; she attended to all 

the a flairs of State, and controlled things as well as an\- 

of the kings who had preceded her. 

She had a lover named Igurwa, who was a prince, but 
not a royal prince, and she loved him very much. Shortly 
after her accession she called her rulers together, and said 
to them, "As I am only a woman, can I rule over the 
kingdom alone? Grant me that Prince Igurwa, my 
husband, may reign conjointly with me." But on such 
an important matter the chiefs could give no immediate 
answer, so they agreed to hold the question over, until 
they had conferred and discuS'sed the matter privately. 

Now, there was a man of Bunyoro named Kyamatebe, 
who used to travel into Ankole with coffee-beans to 
exchange them for butter.* One day he was going from 

♦Ankole was at first called Karo karungi— the beautiful little place 
— but it was changed into Ankole because of the bloodshed and 
murder that was so prevalent there. 

134 



C-, 






\r' 







OMUKIKUYU; As seen from the train on the Uganda Railway. 



Ocaki-Duhaga 

house to house, and came across Iremera, the wife of 
King Cwa. After greeting her, he asked if she was not 
the lost wife of their late king. She then told him how 
the people of Ankole had stolen her when she was with 
child, and she had since born a son in captivity. The 
baby was shown to Kyamatebe, who, seeing the likeness 
to his father, Cwa, was overcome with emotion and wept. 

Kyamatebe then hastened back to Bunyoro, and told 
his chief how he had found the heir to the throne. Twenty 
people were immediately despatched to test the truth of 
the man's words, and to bring the child and his mother, 
if he had not deceived them. When the men saw the 
boy, they unanimously agreed that there was no question 
as to his identity ; so they conveved him in secret to the 
Capital, to the house of the chief Mwanga, where he was 
brought up and nurtured. 

Meanwhile, the chiefs made excuses continually for 
holding over their decision about Igurwa's accession ; 
they feared to refuse the queen, but they wanted to defer 
matters until the little boy was old enough to rule. But 
some among the chiefs dealt treacherously, and, hoping 
to obtain favour and promotion from Dunego, they 
planned how they could reveal to her the State secret, 
and have the child committed into her hands. They 
went to her one day and said, " What will you give, O 
Ruler, to the man who picks up something and restores 
it to you ? " " If he returns to me a valuable thing, he 
shall be richly rewarded with estates, and wives, and 
cattle," answered she. Then they related to her the story 
of Cwa's son, and told her that the people were already 
regarding him as their king. Dunego was much troubled 
when she heard the words, and commanded the child to 
be brought. As she looked upon him, she wept, and, 
taking him upon her knee, according to the custom of the 
princesses, she caressed him and gave presents of cattle. 
She then expressed the wish that the boy should sleep in 

135 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

her room that night, but the chiefs refused, because they 
were suspicious of Dune^o. When, therefore, she saw 
that her plot to l^ill him had failed, she formed another 
plan. Without waiting any longer for the chiefs* 
decision in regard to her husband, she determined to 
take matters in her own hands, and, to ensure her 
position, announced that his accession was to take place 
at the approaching dry season. When Mwanga heard 
the announcement, he arranged with the chiefs to crown 
the little son of Cwa, instead of Igurwa, on the appointed 
day. The time drew near, and Dunego made elaborate 
arrangements for the function ; she ordered three detach- 
ments of soldiers to be on duty, one to be posted in the 
outer courtyard, another at the entrance to her house, 
and the third to patrol outside the Council Hall. She 
also commanded four men to be armed with ropes, and 
they received instruction to seize and bind the little boy if 
any attempt was made to proclaim him king. 

When the day arrived, all the people and representa- 
tives of the surrounding tribes were assembled in the 
Council Hall, and Dunego was seated on the throne. 
She called upon Mwanga to explain to the men 
present that Igurwa was this day to be installed as joint- 
ruler with herself, and everybody was to recognise him 
as their king, and to do obeisance to him. Then Mwanga 
stood forth, and all eyes were fixed upon him, for rumours 
had been circulated that there was a cleavage of opinion 
among the chiefs. Turning to Igurwa, he said, in a 
distinct and penetrating voice, " Igurwa, are you to 
succeed to the glorious throne of Bunyoro, the kingdom 
of the gods and of the Bacwczi ? You have for many 
moons ruled over princes of the royal house, chiefs, and 
people ; we have all done homage to you as monarch of 
a kingdom that did not belong either to your fathers or 
ancestors? " 

On hearing these words, the men with the ropes got 

136 







w 
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2 

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Q 

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2 



Ocaki-Duhaga 

ready to seize the child. But a piper, who was standing- 
by, whistled in his ear the warning words, " If a man is 
prepared to flee, should he delay ? If a man had under- 
standing, will he not comprehend ? " And as the boy 
looked up, he saw the eyes of the piper fixed upon him ; 
so he fled from the hall, but, jumping over the fence to- 
avoid the guard, he found himself in the outer courtyard, 
which was ambushed with soldiers. Instead of seizing 
him, however, they fell down before him and offered him 
protection. Meanwhile, in the Council Hall, there was 
a great commotion, for the chiefs had seized Igurwa and 
killed him before the eyes of Dunego; whereupon the 
detachment of soldiers patrolling outside, had rushed in 
to lay hold of the miscreants, but Mwanga fearlessly 
came forward and explained to all present that a lawful 
son of Cwa was in their midst to reign over them. When 
he uttered the words, there fell a deep silence, and as the 
people wondered at the words which they heard, the little 
boy was brought in and placed on the throne of his father^ 
and everyone shouted, "Hail to the king." 

To him was given the name of Winyi. Dunego 
received the district of Butiti in Toro, where she went 
and lived happily. 

Winyi reigned for very many years; 400 children were 
born to him, and he died of old age. 

He was succeeded by his son Olimi, who immediately, 
set out plundering and ravaging all the countries that 
were in open rebellion against Bunyoro, and had followed 
the example of Uganda by declaring themselves indepen- 
dent. 

He first journeyed into Uganda, and laid waste the 
whole country, raiding cattle, women, and children. The 
ruling chief, Maganda, fled to an island on the Victoria 
Lake; but Olimi sent messengers aft^r him, calling for 
an armistice, that they might arrange terms of peace. So 
Maganda came back, and they decided that the boundary 

137 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

between Uganda and Bunyoro should lie at the Miyanji 

r River; all the territory and tribes to the North should 

\be ruled over by Olimi, while the district lying to the 

\ South should be independent of Bunyoro, and under the 

control of Maganda. 

Passing then into the cattle country of Ankole, the 
king forced the people into submission ; thence he crossed 
the lake and reached the village of Bugeneke in Tore. 
But his servants came and implored him not to travel 
along that road, as the Mucwezi Ndahura and his mother 
had passed along it when they left the kingdom, and only 
misfortune would attend him who followed their tracks. 
Olimi called for his priest and ordered him to sacrifice 
an ox for an omen. After doing so, the priest came into 
his presence in great consternation, saying that every- 
thing augured evil, and begged him not to carry out his 
plan of campaign ; so Olimi commanded his men to 
retreat, and a tree was planted in the road to warn people 
from henceforth travelling along that way. He then 
went into Toro and declared the people were traitors to 
their king ; so he deported them to Chopi, and transferred 
the men of Chopi to Toro. He left one chief in charge 
of the district, and then went across to Bukidi. His 
people reasoned with him against ravaging the land of 
his forefathers, but no man could restrain him. He seized 
nearly 2,000 cattle, decapitated men and women, and took 
the children away as slaves. 

He received the nickname of the Vulture, for he killed 
people for no other purpose than to satisfy his own lust. 
Whenever he pitched camp, he sent his soldiers into 
the nearest village to lay hands on women and children. 
When they were brought to him, he ordered the children 
to be rubbed all over with salt, and tied to stakes, and he 
'Compelled the mothers to stand by and watch as the 
vultures swept down and feasted off the live bodies of their 
babies. The screams from the little ones only provoked 

138 



Ocaki'-Duhaga 

the king's laughter, and, when the suffering was silenced 
by death, he had the women tortured and killed in the 
same way. 

Durinof his reign the national drums were smeared 
«ach day with human blood, and beaten with men's 
shinbones, which were replaced by new ones daily. 

There remained no cohesion nor patriotism in the 
kingdom, for many of the people fled into the countries 
over the border, and all the tribes around that had been 
subject to Bunyoro broke out into open rebellion, and 
refused to tolerate the king. Among his own children, 
constant friction existed, and they were frequently 
making plots against the life of their father; and when 
he died there was no mourning, but his sons fought one 
against the other for the supremacy. 

His son Isansa, in the North, gathered a large follow- 
ing around him. Before setting up his claim to the 
throne, he sent friendly messages to his brothers, the 
other claimants, and asked them to come and confer with 
him. As they arrived one by one, he had them surrep- 
titiously seized and buried alive. In this way he cleared 
the way considerably for himself, and, after collectmg 
an army, marched upon the Capital. His mother 
goaded him forward, saying, " If you will cease to 
con<^end for the mastery, I shall cut myself asunder," 
and she hung a charm round her neck that would bring 
luck to her son. Isansa sent a messenger to her with 
the following words, " I swear by my children that a 
man's hand shall not kill me. Do you not know that I 
was born at the time of the full moon, when all the 
attendant stars were bright? I have extracted the teeth 
of lions, I have reversed evil predictions, and I shall 
cut in pieces my adversaries." 

A great battle was fought at the Titi sw^amp, and Isansa 
prevailed, after terrible carnage. 

So he reigned over Bunyoro in Olimi's stead. 

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Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

He had very many wives, for besides those he married, 
he inherited those of his father and brothers, whom he 
had killed. But he sent delegates out into all the 
surrounding districts to bring in to him all the beautiful 
women in the country to be his wives. 

On a certain day one man entered into the house of a 
widow, who had an only daughter, who digged and 
cooked, fetched water and firewood for her infirm old 
mother. The woman loved her child, and when the man 
demanded her as a wife for the king, she was sorely 
troubled, for everyone feared to give a daughter to the 
king, as he killed his wives under the slightest provoca* 
tion of infidelity, or if he ceased to love them. The girl's 
mother asked what kind of man Isansa was. "Vener- 
able lady," answered the man, "you ask me what manner 
of man is the king ? I tell you, should he visit you when 
your cows come in to be milked, your children will go 
hungry to bed. Strong spirits burn the intestines; the 
elephant destroys and eats up the forest as it journeys ; 
the hammer beats out the barkcloth ; your daughter will 
see that a brand burns out nations." When the woman 
heard these terrifying words, she pleaded for her 
daughter, and offered a heavy bribe, but as the girl was 
exceptionally beautiful, the man would not listen to the 
old mother, but ruthlessly carried her off, expecting a 
large reward from the king. Then the woman sought to 
win the king's favour for her daughter, by sending him 
an offering of the finest heifer from her herd ; but when 
Isansa, the king, saw what a fine young cow it was, he 
sent out a party of armed men to seize the whole of the 
widow's herd of cattle. So she was bereft of daughter 
and all her property. 

After a life of rapine and cruelty Isansa died, and fns 
son, Duhaga, succeeded him. Under him the kingdom 
prospered and the people became wealthy, for each man 
was able to have his land cultivated without fear of being 

140 



Ocaki-Duhaga 

plundered, or of having his flocks and herds depleted. 
But when the people of Uganda saw the prosperity of 
Bunyoro, they were filled with envy, and they poured 
raiding hordes into the country. Tidings of their doings 
reached the king, and he called together all his sorcerers 
to inquire of them if he should go out and fight the 
Baganda. And with one voice they said, " Go." But a 
certain priest named Olimi came to the king, and pro- 
phesied defeat, unless he waited for them to attack him 
in his own country. Duhaga, however, refused to listen 
to him, choosing rather to act on the advice of his sor- 
cerers, which was more to his inclinations ; so he sent 
out an army to Uganda, and it put to flight the enemy, 
after killing many. The generals in command then sent 
to Duhaga for reinforcements to enable them to complete 
the conquest of Uganda. 

When the king received the message he called for the 
priest, and cursed him for prophesying falsely. He was 
so elated with the success of his troops, that he determined 
to lead forth in person the fresh detachment. Seeing his 
master depart, Olimi, the priest, hastened into his house, 
and, clothing himself in two smoked barkcloths (signi- 
fying sorrow), and fastening two dark berries round his 
head as a charm, he followed after the king with 
drummers and pipers. 

At sunset he reached the place where the king was 
•encamped, and, standing before him, said, "You have 
refused to believe my prophecy, let us therefore go forth 
together and face death, but the son whom you wish to 
.succeed to the throne, let him return to offer sacrifice." 
This he said to save the young man from being killed 
in battle, because he knew that sacrifice w'ould not pre- 
vent the defeat of the Banyoro. On the following day 
Duhaga pitched camp opposite the Baganda forces, and 
prepared for battle on the morrow. ^ 

But that night the Baganda planned a ruse. They > 

141 y 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

went into a banana plantation, and, lopping off the tops 
of all the trees, dressed the stumps round in the bark- 
cloths which they wore, while they themselves were 
entrenched behind the thick, short scrub. 

Before the dawn Duhaga and his soldiers arose, and, 
looking across toward the enemies' camp, saw the 
manikins, and supposing them to be the Baganda, set 
in array for action ; they prepared for the attack imme- 
diately. The king ordered his men to divide up into 
two columns, so as to attack each side and surround the 
enemy; he himself remained at the base with a body- 
guard of twenty. When the Baganda, who were under 
covert, saw the whole of the Bunyoro army depart, and 
the king left with only a few men, they advanced to- 
kill him ; then all those who were with him fled, excepting 
the old priest Olimi, who, seeing the danger that his 
master was in, hastily threw him down in the thick under- 
growth, and, without observation, divested him of his 
leopard skin coverings, and besought him to creep away 
to a place of safety on his knees and hands. 

Then the old priest quickly disguised himself in the 
king's apparel, and, with the royal spear and shield, he 
fled in the opposite direction to that which the king had 
taken. 

Immediately the Baganda set off' in pursuit of him, but 
with all the strength of his heart the old priest led them 
further and further away; and he did not give up the 
flight until he knew that his king was safe. The arrows 
fell thick upon him, and at last he dropped pinned to 
the ground. 

After having, as they thought, killed the king, the 
Baganda returned, and pursued the Bunyoro army, and 
completely routed it. Meanwhile, the king had managed 
to escape to a swamp, where he remained in hiding until 
darkness fell. He was scratched and cut about the face 

142 



,» » « »> 



* t t « 







A MUKIDI BACHELOR'S QUARTERS. 



ana Doay irom plunging neeaiessiy tnrougn tne tnickets^ 
and stumbling into pits and over tree stumps. 

But when he joined the remnant of his men at night, 
bleeding and bedraggled, all the people shouted for joy, 
but he immediately called for his chiefs, and, pointing 
to his scars, told them that he could no longer be their 
king, as his subjects would despise a marred and maimed 
ruler. But they would not listen, and answered him, " If 
an ox is scratched, does its master kill it ? " 

So they returned to their homes, and the king ordered 
all the sorcerers to be killed for having led him into a 
battle in which twenty of his sons had been killed and 
men without number. So the servants seized 200 of 
the lying seers, and cast them from a steep rock into the 
valley, where they died. Only one, named Kabandwa, 
was saved, and they clothed him in two black barkcloths,. 
and, giving him two black reeds, sent him out from 
among men to remain in an uninhabited land. 

One day, as the king was sitting in his house, he heard 
his wives gossiping together outside ; they were jeering 
at him, and one woman said, "That old stupid went 
away with all his sons and ate them up." The words 
stung the king, and, stepping out on to his porch, he 
called for his chiefs and relations, and said to them, " If 
the kingdom is disgraced by my defeat and my scars, tell 
me, for I would rather kill myself than be despised by 



man." 



But they answered, "O, master, refrain from destroy- 
ing yourself; if an ox fights, people recognise the scars 
of warfare — they do not mistake them for disease." 

These words comforted the king, and he called for 
wine and meat, and feasted his loyal ministers and 
friends. But when his wives saw what he had done, they 
jeered all the more, saying, " Do you see what that thing 
has done ? It has sought to justify its impotence by the 
flattery of friends; was there ever such a craven crea- 

143 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

ture ! " and Duhaga heard the words which they spoke. 
Then he arose, and, going into their midst, exclaimed, 
** Farewell, you have spoken the final word." And he 
went out and poisoned himself. 

i 



144 



CHAPTER XI 

The Reign of the Babito : 
Kasomi-'Kamurasi. 

As soon as King Duhaga died, his son, Kasomi, 
hastened to seize the corpse before either of his 
brothers could secure it for burial. He would 
not allow the usual period of mourning, but gave 
orders for the body to be cremated with all speed, and 
the jawbone he hid away in his own house. But when 
the other sons heard what he had done, they were filled 
with indignation, and the eldest, whose name was 
Dubongoza, fought with him for his father's jawbone. 
But Kasomi overcame him by gathering around him a 
crowd of mighty warriors, so that Dubongoza was 
obliged to flee. He escaped with his shield-bearer, and 
they took refuge in a banana grove ; at mid-day, while 
he was resting under the cool shade of the trees, a little 
peasant boy came to him, and brought water to bathe his 
wounds, and a small bundle of cooked potatoes for him 
and his shield-bearer. The lad offered to give him all 
the assistance in his power, and begged Dubongoza to 
take him into his service, and he would remain his faith- 
ful servant until his master had become like a fruitful ox, 
and his teeth dropped out with age. Dubongoza told 
the boy that he was a man of great misfortune : jealousy 
and hatred sought his life, and he could only promise his 
servants danger and privation ; but the lad continued 
to urge his plea, and when Dubongoza at last consented 

145 L 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

to take him, the little fellow ran away to the chief of the 
village, and said to him, " I have found a son of the gods 
in great distress; come, my master, and give him your 
assistance." So the chief collected all his fighting men 
together, and went out into the grove to parley with the 
prince. After discussing the situation with him, he 
despatched messengers to all the neighbouring chiefs, 
asking them to gather their forces and fight for the heir 
of their late king. They were obliged to act very expedi- 
tiously, for tidings reached them that Kasomi had made 
all arrangements for burying the jawbone of his father, 
and their only chance of making Dubongoza king was 
to prevent that operation. When all the fighting men 
had gathered together for action, Dubongoza stood up 
in their midst, and addressed them thus: "You go forth 
to fight for a crown, and your reward shall be promotion 
in the land; I, your king and leader, have escaped the 
sword of the traitor, and now let the sword that I have 
evaded, slay him who thrust it. The man among us who 
shall cast the death spear at Kasomi shall be the shoulder 
when I am head of the kingdom." 

vSo they all cautiously sei out on their expedition, and i 
when they reached the capital, they found that no pre- 
parations had been made to withstand them, for no one 
had heard of their approach. Then the chiefs and their 
soldiers fell upon the princes and men who had allied 
themselves to Kasomi, and Dubongoza rushed into the 
house, killed his brother, and seized the late king's jaw- 
bone, which he carried straight away for burial. 

So Dubongoza was proclaimed king, yet was he not 
beloved of his people, and in tliose days the country was 
rent with discord and disloyalty from within, while the 
Baganda made constant inroads upon their lands. One 
day a priest came in unto the king, and told him that all 
this trouble jiad befallen him because he had failed to 
dedicate one of his many children to the priesthood. 

146 



Kasomi-Kamurasi 

When Dubongoza heard these words, he called all his 
sons around him, that he might choose out the one he 
loved least. But they all refused to be banished from 
the court, and to be set apart to an office that involved 
separation from their friends, and the life of freedom, 
which they coveted above all things. The king, there- 
fore, had his daughters brought to him, and he chose 
out his eldest, Nyinamuiri. The priest brought in ropes 
and bound her so that she should offer no resistance, and 
she was dragged away by him to the home of the 
Embandwa priests. 

Now, the king loved his sons, and especially Kaboyo 
(Kaboyo was the grandfather of the present ruler of 
Toro — Daudi-Kasagama), whom he endowed with wives, 
handmaidens, cattle, and the richest district in the whole 
country ; he gave him also a charm to keep away sickness 
and misfortune. The eldest son, Kacope, was of a very 
scheming and cunning nature; he was always planning 
in secret how he could secure the kingdom for himself on 
his father's death, and decided that the only way to 
do this was to remove all his other brothers out of the 
way. So he sought to sow hatred in their hearts that 
they may kill each other. He went to his brother, 
Karasuma, whom he found sorrowing over the infidelity 
of his favourite wife, and when he had listened to his 
words, he advised him to kill the woman as a warning 
to his other wives. But when Karasuma had acted on 
his advice, he frightened him by saying that their father, 
the king, would assuredly demand his death for having 
poisoned a woman of royal blood. Then Karasuma 
arose, and, calling his people around him, declared war 
against his father, saying, " If I am to die, let me die for 
much rather than for little. I will ravage the land, lay 
it waste, and destroy both man and beast, that I may die 
nobly, and not ignominiously, because of a woman." 
He went round into Uganda and allied himself with tTie 

147 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

king of that country against his own father; and when 
Dubongoza heard what his son had done, he sent mes- 
sengers secretly to the king of Uganda, w^ith the words : 
" If a man is a traitor to his father, will he deal honestly 
to a stranger? " On three days in succession was this 
message delivered, and by that time the words had 
accomplished their object ; and calling for Karasuma, the 
king ordered him to be speared in his presence. 

Now, when Kacope saw that he had successfully 
removed his brother, Karasuma, from his path, he went 
up to the capital to visit his brothers, Mugenyi, Kaboyo 
and Isagara. The king rejoiced greatly to see all his 
children together, and made a feast for them and all iheir 
friends. That night they all got very drunk, except 
Kacope, who was watching for a chance of plotting for 
the destruction of his brethren. He waited for them to 
fall soundly asleep, and, creeping up to Mugenyi wdth a 
knife, he cut off a thick tuft of his hair. In the morning, 
when they had all recovered from their debauchery, 
Mugenyi was greatly distressed at his own appearance, 
and inquired who it was that had taken advantage of him 
while he was sleeping. Everybody denied having done 
it, but Kacope came to Mugenyi privately, and said, 
" Last evening, when we w^ere drinking together, I saw 
Kaboyo cut off a piece of your hair in order to bewitch 
you. Will you live with such a malicious person ?" But 
Mugenyi had no desire to quarrel with his brother, and 
answered, "What will it avail him to bewitch me; I 
shall never put in a claim for the throne of my father." 

Then Kacope went to Kaboyo and said to him, "You 
live on here and endure the commands and forbiddings 
of your father, in order that you may inherit the throne; 
but I know that neither you nor your children will ever 
reign, for the king is plotting against your life. I see 
he has a spirit of madness, and I am going to get back 
to my home before it shows itself against me." 

148 



Kasomi^Kamurasi 

Now, when the king heard how his son, Kacope, had 
been stirring up suspicion and strife among his brothers, 
he called for him, and said, " My son, what is this that 
you have done, setting children against their father, and 
brother against brother? Do you hope by these means 
to inherit the kingdom ? But I tell you that this throne 
of my ancestors and the gods shall never be occupied by 
a man with crooked feet and wrinkled hands, so know 
for a surety that your plots are futile." 

Kaboyo had, however, believed the words of his 
brother, and sought for some excuse for leaving his 
father's house, that he might get together an army to 
defend himself. 

Coming into the king's presence, he asked permission 
to go to his country estate, which he heard was being 
raided by the Baganda ; but his father answered, " That 
must be a false alarm, for if it were true, would not the 
king be the first to receive the tidings? Stay here, my 
son, and comfort me in my declining years." 

Again he came in, saying, " I hear that one of my 
wives in the country has given birth to twins; what shall 
I do?" And the unsuspecting old king answered, "Go 
quickly, my son, and offer the sacrifices, and fulfil the 
ceremonies demanded by the gods." 

So Kaboyo left the king, and immediately got together 
an army, and declared war against his father. Dubon- 
goza sent out his soldiers, with strict injunctions not to 
lay violent hands on his son, but to speak with him and 
seek to win him back into submission. 

Kaboyo, however, fell upon them with such might 
that they were all killed; not one remained to carry 
the news of their defeat to the king. Their bodies were 
all heaped up one upon another, and when Kaboyo 
beheld the mountain of corpses he was inflated with his 
success, and ordered his men to march into Toro and 
there set up an independent kingdom. 

149 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

As soon as Kacope heard how his brother had com- 
pletely broken with his father, he sent messengers into 
Uganda, saying: "Come over and kill the old, infirm 
king, for his power is at an end; all his sons are fighting 
against him." 

So the Baganda swept into the country, laying waste 
the whole land, and seizing all the territory up to 
the Kafu River. The king, Dubongoza, fled to Bugoma, 
but when he saw the hordes of Baganda pursuing him, 
he descended the escarpment, and crossed in a boat to 
an island of the Lake Albert. For four days he had 
nothing to eat or drink, for the island was very small and 
rocky, so that no one could live on it. At great personal 
risk one of his servants managed to ferry across a milk 
cow, but as it was black, the men feared to give the milk 
to the king; but when they saw that he would die of 
hunger, they showed great wisdom by painting the cow 
with red earth, and rubbing chalk on its horns. When, 
therefore, the evil spirits saw that the cow was no longer 
black, they left it, so the milk was given to the king, and 
his life was saved. 

Now, when Mugenyi had heard of his father's distress, 
he came out with twenty white cows, and rowed 
out to the island to speak w^th the king. He strongly 
advised him to sue for peace with Kaboyo, and thus 
together make a stand against the Baganda. This 
Dubongoza agreed to do, and, under the terms'arranged, 
South Toro was henceforth to be independent of Bun- 
joro, and Kaboyo was to have the right of nominating 
his own successor. 

Unitedly they managed to push back the Baganda, 
but did not succeed in winning any of the terri- 
tory beyond the Kafu River. By this time Dubongoza 
was very old, and when Mugenyi saw that he was not 
able to rule without help, he left his own home and went 
to live with his father. 

150 



Kasomi-'Kamurasi 

One day two of Mugenyi's children stole a sheep from 
a peasant man, who was so angry that he prepared poison, 
and blowing it in the air, calling upon the spirits to 
avenge him. Immediately lightning fell from heaven, 
and killed the two boys. 

When Mugenyi saw that his children were dead, he 
seized the owner of the sheep and killed him ; he also 
sent to his father, the king, and begged him to exter- 
minate the man's entire family and clan, but Dubongoza 
refused, saying that his sons had met with the just 
punishment for theft. Whereupon, Mugenyi wanted to 
kill himself, but his father told him that if he did so, he 
ought also to kill off all his children, for people would 
only scornfully call them the remnants of thieves whom 
the spirits killed. So Mugenyi did not destroy himself, 
but he cursed sheep, and from that day no prince of 
Bunyoro has ever eaten of the flesh of sheep, and no 
woman will eat thereof, for fear of the curse falling on 
her children. 

Now, when the king's wives saw that he was bent and 
infirm, but showed no signs of dying, they placed needles 
in his path and in his bed to kill him, and these made 
the king so ill that he very soon died. Mugenyi 
despatched messages to all his brothers, telling them to 
come in for the mourning, but they all refused. He 
then sent for Kacope to succeed his father, but he 
answered, "Look out from among the king's infants one 
to succeed him. You have taken possession of the best 
land, Kaboyo has seized Toro, the Baganda have en- 
croached to the capital itself ; shall I leave my land of 
Chopi to reign over fragments?" 

Kaboyo likewise refused to rule over a country where 
hatred and dissension alone existed, but he suggested 
that Mugenyi should be made king. Mugenyi, how- 
ever, replied, " Why do you tempt me ; do you want all 
of my children to perish by the sword ? I am a peaceable 

151 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

man, and prefer to remain with my cows and goats. Seek 
out another man to be your king." 

But the chiefs and people would accept no refusal, so 
Mugenyi buried his father, and on his accession day he 
killed off all the chiefs who did not give him their whole- 
hearted allegiance. 

In the days of Mugenyi, the Baganda were at peace 

with the Banyoro, for Mugenyi's mother was twin sister 

Tto the mother of King Suna, of Uganda. The two 

Qiations made a truce, and in those days trade was estab- 

('lished between the two countries : Bunyoro sent in salt 

and dripping in exchange for barkcloths and other 

merchandise. 

On a certain day the king sent to his son, Kalyebara, 
chief of Bugahaya, and ordered him to come and bring 
the tribute from his district, because for a long time he 
had neither come in person nor had he sent in ambassa- 
dors; but Kalyebara returned insulting messages to his 
father, and informed him that he recognised no authority 
but his own. 

When Mugenyi received the message, he was filled 
with anger, and exclaimed, "Shall a pimple like that 
irritate me ! Shall that infant upset my home, and cause 
me to send my wives, children, and cattle' to a place of 
safety, while I go and fight him !" Thereupon the king 
sent a servant to collect some ashes from Kalyebara's 
fire, and when they were brought, he blew them into the 
air and bewitched his son, so that he was seized with 
spasms and died. 

Then the king ordered the drums to be beaten to speak 
of victory, and to announce to mankind that a child 
cannot trample on its elder with impunity, and a man 
that seeks to trip up a king is himself overthrown. 

Kalyebara was buried at the entrance to his house, 
with one wife and his pipe. His brother, Lwasa, was 
with him when he died, and he swore within himself that 

152 



Kasomi-Kamurasi 

he would avenge his brother's death ; so he fought 
against his father, Mugenyi, but suddenly was seized 
with small-pox, and he died. When his father the king, 
heard of his death, he rejoiced exceedingly, and ordered 
the drums to be beaten, and to proclaim to mankind that 
a child cannot kick its elder without being crushed. 

But these words incensed the third son, Mugamba, so 
that he sought to kill the king, but he was speared in the 
attempt. Mugenyi then commanded that a mighty drum 
beating should proclaim to the country around that he 
had put down all rebellion and the machinations of his 
adversaries. 

When Mugenyi had reigned for nine years, he called 
for his sons, and told them that he wished to appoint 
his successor, as he was going to abdicate, for he was 
now stricken in years, and an old man wanted nothing 
more than food, beer, and a pipe. 

That night, however, he sickened with small-pox and 
died, and his son, Kamurasi, thereupon performed the 
burial of the jawbone before it was day, so that no one 
should dispute his right to reign ; but when the news of 
the king's death got noised abroad, the whole country 
rose up, and every man fought with his neighbour, pil- 
fering houses, stealing cattle, slaughtering women and 
children, for now that the king was dead, there was no 
one to ensure or exercise order and law. 

The people stoutly refused to recognise Kamurasi's 
claim, for they declared that he had acted contrary to 
the custom of the country and to the law of the gods, in 
burying his father before four moons had elapsed. But 
Kamurasi seized all his father's possessions and removed 
them from the scene of warfare, together with all his own 
property — wives, children and cattle. Five chiefs were 
appointed to superintend the transport of the goods, 
while Kamurasi followed in the rear with an armed body 
of men. They travelled all day and night eastward, 

153 



/ 

Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

halting not even for food. On reaching the bank of the 
Nile, Kamurasi ordered his people to pitch camp, for he 
feared to send across his goods until he had ascertained 
if the tribes were friendly on the other side. 

He sent out spies, who in the morning returned with an 
offering of six white cows, which the people had sent as 
a sign of their fealty ; then the whole company crossed 
over the river, and journeyed on until they reached 
Muruli, where Kamurasi decided to build his capital and 
set up his kingdom. 

In Bunyoro he had left behind spies, who should keep 
him acquainted with the state of things there. 

Now, when Lwakabale, one of the princes, saw that 
Kamurasi had left Bunyoro, he rose up and proclaimed 
himself king, and all the country rallied round him and 
refused to recognise Kamurasi's claim. Likewise, the 
priestess, Nyinamuiri, espoused his cause, and sent a 
magician named Butonya to remain at court, and give 
Lwakabale the benefit of his great wisdom ; for this 
Butonya was a man of mighty influence; his reputation 
for wonder-working and superhuman power had reached 
to the uttermost ends of the kingdom, and people wished 
to make him king, thinking he was a Mucwezi ruler who 
had come back to reign over them; for about this time 
there was a great expectation among the people that the 
Bacwezi would return ; the words that had been spoken at 
their departure by the woman Bunono were regarded 
as prophetic: "Our lords, the gods will not return until 
ten or more kings have reigned." 

When, therefore, Butonya, the magician, took up 
Lwakabale's cause, there was not one dissentient among 
the people, but every man came in willingly and swore 
allegiance. 

The spies left Bunyoro, and, hastening into Muruli, 
told Kamurasi how the whole of the country had gone 
over to Lwakabale. 

154 



Kasomi-Kamurasi 

When the chiefs heard the words, they were sorely 
troubled, and went in to Kamurasi, saying, " Did we not 
tell you that you were making a mistake in leaving things 
at that critical time ; if you do not rouse yourself, the 
kingdom will pass into the hands of a peasant, while we 
sit here drinking vsint through spills. Let us be up and 
doing." 

So Kamurasi called the people of Bukidi -to come to 
his aid, and thus, with a very large army, he entered 
Bunyoro. They overtook L'wakabale on the road with a 
small following, so they killed him without any difficulty. 
There still remained, however, the magician, Butonya, 
and he was like a king, for the honour that people showed 
him. He knew his life to be secure, for not even a prince 
would wittingly slay a magician ; therefore he withstood 
Kamurasi very steadiiy and successfully, but seeing that 
Kamurasi must conquer in a pitched battle, on account 
of his superiority in numbers, Butonya harassed him by 
continual petty skirmishes during the whole of his life. 

Kamurasi, after several attempi^s, drove Butonya from 
the royal enclosure, and called all the people together 
for a parley. lie soufidly abused those who had refused 
to stand by him, and declared that they had acted 
treacherously toward the ancestors of the throne, by sup- 
porting a prince who had not performed the office of 
burial to the decear.ed king. He levied fines on all those 
who had resisted him : one was fined 4,000 cattle, another 
3,000, another foo women and slaves; all the minor 
chiefs were turned cut of office, and ignominious duties 
were allotted to them. To the general of Lwakabale's 
army was given the task of caring for the king's forty 
dogs; he had instructions given to him that his house 
was to be given over to the dogs, and every day he was 
to kill a cow, so that they would not be hungry, and the 
milk of his whole herd was to be given to them. He 
then ordered all the chiefs to accompany him and his 

155 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

army through the country, that they might see how he 
rewarded disloyalty and punished offenders. They 
travelled day and night, and rested not, for Kamurasi, in 
anger, was like a man intoxicated — fire burned within 
him, and there was no satisfying him. Everywhere he 
went, he killed and plundered; he spared neither man, 
woman nor child. If the people of a village did not 
meet him with hostages of cattle and wives, he burned 
down the houses, and slaughtered all who sought to 
make their escape. He instilled dread into his sub- 
jects by his acts of cruelty, yet no king had ever been 
more reverenced, for everyone spoke of the power and 
might of the king of Bunyoro, and feared him more than 
the very gods. 

y The Baganda made many unsuccessful raids into the 

(^country, and on one occasion Kamurasi was forced to 

v^flee to the island of the lake. They followed him down 

t, to the shore, but Kamurasi had secured all the 

canoes, and as they stood looking across the waters, 

the king set his bowmen in array, while he himself 

stood at the forefront of the attack. Their arrows fell 

like rain upon the Baganda; scores of them were killed, 

and the others fled back to their own country. 

When he had thus managed to rid his land of the 
Baganda, he went north to Chopi, where he found two 
Europeans.* Now, the Bunyoro had never seen a white 
man, and when they saw their dazzling skin, their pierc- 
ing eyes, and all the wonderful things they possessed, 
they asked among themselves if the strangers were from 
heaven or hell. 

Kamurasi called a secret council, and inquired of it 
what reason these visitors gave for coming to his country. 
They answered with one voice : " They are the Bacwezi, 
for they know this country ; they ask no man to direct 

■*Mr., afterwards Sir Samuel Baker and his wife, who arrived is 
1864. 

156 



Kasomi-Kamurasi 

them, and they do not wander about like strangers, but 
go steadily forward and know no fear, and show no 
respect, not even to our greatest chiefs. And at night 
no man dares to approach them, for they carry stars in 
their hands, yet are they not burned. They carry sacks 
of terrible charms, and their priest is always sitting round 
a fire, making poison to bewitch the people.* The "day 
after Kamurasi's arrival, the strange visitors called on 
him; he commanded his servants to spread down leopard 
skins, and to bring two small stools for them. When 
they were seated, the king cast furtive glances, and con- 
cluded in his mind that they were father and son ; tlie 
elder man with the fierce beard he called "The Beard," 
while the young man he called "The Little Star." 

But the Beard explained to him that his companion 
was not a man, but his wife, and they had taken this very 
long journey out from England to look for a large lake 
which his friends had heard lay somewhere near to Bun- 
yoro, and he wanted the king to give him sufficient 
porters to take him there. Then Kamurasi knew that 
the stranger was speaking lies, for no man would leave 
his own country and people, and face danger and fatigue, 
merely to look at water. He saw at once that the white 
man had come to wrest from him his kingdom. Had he 
not brought fearful implements that spat out fire and 
killed birds and beasts ; was he not asking for men with 

*For a long time this was the belief of the natives, and the report 
spread through the country that the Bacwezi had returned. And each 
district added its own proof to the identity of the white man. To a 
people who had been content with their fire of twigs at night, the 
camp lamp of the travellers appeared like a star, while cook at work 
four times a day with such mysterious things as kettles and pot?, 
could be none other than a witch doctor mixing up decoctions. The 
villagers of Toro, still find it difficult to believe that the European is 
any other than the Bacwezi, for every visitor who comes to their 
country climbs to the crater lakes hidden deep down in the heart of 
the hills, and those craters have always been associated with weird 
and terrible doings of their ancient rulers. 

157 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

whom he could form the nucleus of an army ; had he not 
brought with him a wife, who should bare him sons to 
succeed him? So Kamurasi determined within himself 
that he would not allow these strangers out of his sight, 
to wander about his country sowing rebellion in the 
hearts of his subjects ; he would make them prisoners 
and try to kill them with hunger. 

So Beard and the Little Star were not allowed to leave 
the place. Every day the king sent a chief with some 
excuse for the delay in finding porters, and gradually the 
food supplies stopped. 

Then Beard was angry, and he came to Kamurasi, 
and, speaking through his interpreter, said, "When I 
ask for food for my men, do I not pay for it in beads 
and wire; v^hy, then, do you not send it? Do you not 
understand that a white man will not be mocked; his 
word is a command. You have not so much sense as 
my boot, for how do you know that you and your chil- 
dren will not be killed, even though you are a king, if 
you do not heed the words of the white man." Now 
Beard had in his hand a pipe, and he shook out the ashes 
from it on the head of Kabarrga, the king's son, w-ho 
was sitting on the ground, and some of the ashes fell into 
a milk bowl that the lad was holding; then was the 
king very wroth, for he saw that the stranger had 
bewitched his son, and he swore in his hen it that he 
would kill the white man. 

But when the visitor had departed, Kamiirasi's ser- 
vants came to him and said, "Can you kill a n^nn that 
has forty soldiers armed with fire? We beseech you 
save us and our children by sending these people out 
of your country." So the following morning a number 
of trembling men were sent to the lunopean with orders 
that they must depart immediately. 'I'he stronger gave 
the king, as a parting present, a pistol, nnd they left the 
country. When they had gone, Kamurasi began prac- 

158 



Kasomi-Kamurasi 

tising with the pistol, but with the first shot he blew off 
his forefinger. Then the chiefs gathered round him and 
said, " Now that you are maimed you must kill yourself, 
for no man who is disfigured can reign ;" but others said, 
" Nay, but we will call in the surgeons and see if they 
cannot cure him." So they fetched in a surgeon, who 
cut out the shattered bone, and inserted a piece from a 
goat that had been without blemish, and in a few weeks 
the king had completely recovered, so he continued to 
reign over his people. 

Now, Kamurasi had heard that the women of Ankole 
were very beautiful, so he sent a man to the king of that 
country with 200 herds of cattle, asking him to send 
him in exchange the fairest woman in the land. But 
while the woman was yet within three days of arriving, 
Kamurasi fell ill, and no one gave him any medicine or 
nourishment, for they said, " Let the old man die ; he 
who has always cursed others with sickness is now him- 
self cursed; and he who wished the death of his 
blood-brother, let him first die." 



159 



CHAPTER XII 

The Reign of the Babito : Kabarega. 

BEFORE Kamurasi died, he called together two of 
his brothers, and appointed them his executors, 
and expressed to them his wish that Kabarega 
should succeed to the throne after his death. 
When the time came for him to be appointed, his 
sisters declared that he was a headstrong and uncon- 
trollable youth, and the chiefs swore that they would 
not have a son of the devil to reign over them. When 
Kabarega heard that his family were objecting to make 
him king, he consulted a witch-priest as to whether or 
not he would stand any chance if he withstood them. 
The priest cut up a fowl, and, after most carefully 
inspecting it, he came and spoke thus to Kabarega : 
"The bird is sound and clean, but I see one spot on the 
gizzard — this tells me that your enterprise will meet with 
success — you will be rich and bear many children, but 
you will be afflicted with an infirmity — probably cataract 
— and this will remain with you to your death.* On 
hearing these words, Kabarega called upon his sub- 
ordinate chiefs and his followers to arm and go with him 
to fight for his father's corpse. A's they journeyed to 
the capital they set fire to every house they passed, and 
when his relations and adversaries saw the country in 
flames, they knew that Kabarega was on the warpath. 

*Kabarega's arm was afterwards amputated, having been shot 
when fighting against the British troops. The Banyoro declare that 
this was a fulfilment of the priest's prophecy. 

160 



Kabarega 

So they sent out an army to oppose him, while his 
brothers fled into Bugangaizi with the body of Kamurasi. 
But Kabarega followed hard after them, and a big fight 
took place, in which the princes w-ere routed and fled in 
dismay. Their father's jawbone they threw away in a 
swamp, so as to prevent Kabarega from seizing it, but 
one of the deserters from the princes divulged the spot 
where it had been cast, and, after a diligent search had 
been made, the bone was found and buried with great 
pomp. 

The brothers had taken refuge in Ankole, and they 
persuaded the king of that country to help them with a 
strong force of fighting men ; but they were hopelessly 
defeated by Kabarega, whose warriors killed from ten 
to twenty men -each. 

The prince, Kabugumire, fled to Uganda, and pro- 
mised that if the king of that country, Mtesa, would help 
him to drive out Kabarega and place him on the throne, 
he would pay him yearly tributes of salt, iron and cows. 
But the king of Buganda refused to be mixed up in the 
quarrels of Bunyoro, and ordered Kabugumire out of 
his country ; so he returned and settled down in Chopi. 

When the king had thus crushed all opposition, he 
removed the capital to Bulyasaija. He had only just 
finished building, when he was greatly perturbed by the 
return of "The Beard " and his wife, "The Little Star."* 

Kabarega had never forgotten how he had tried to 
bewitch him with his tobacco ash, so he determined that 
he would not allow the European inside his house under 

*Sir Samuel and Lady Baker on their first trip only succeeded in 
viewing the Lake from the Escarpment, and much over-estimated its 
size. They described it " with a boundless sea-horizon to the south- 
ward." This statement created some criticism, and after being made 
Governor-General of the Egyptian Sudan, Sir Samuel Baker again 
visited Bunyoro in 1869 to verify his first impressions, and to explore 
south towards Buganda, but was prevented through the extreme 
unfriendliness of Kabarega. 

161 M 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

any consideration. When the Beard sent a messenger 
to say he was going to call on him, Kabarega hastily 
returned word to prevent him. 

One day the Beard asked the messenger of the king if 
his master was suffering from measles or small-pox that 
caused him to refuse an interview. The man replied, 
"Yes, in his house there are measles, small-pox and 
many other evils." 

"Why do you dissemble thus?" asked the white man. 

And Kabarega sent back the answer, " My servant 
speaks the truth. But why do you want to enter my 
house? A visitor stays where his host puts him, and 
does not seek to pry into his house." 

These words made the European very angry, and the 
following afternoon he came down to Kabarega's house 
with some soldiers, without first sending to be 
announced. The king immediately summoned his 
chiefs, and plotted with them to kill the stranger. He 
said to them, " Let us go and meet him in flie open court- 
yard, and the moment I raise my spear, all of you fall 
upon him and spear him to death. Are we not an army 
against a few?" 

So Kabarega went forth to meet the white man 
followed by all his chiefs, armed with spears. The 
European greeted him, and said, " I have brought my 
soldiers to show you how we teach them to drill." 

Kabarega answered, " I will also show you how I can 
drill my men." 

Then the Beard made all .his men to pass before him 
twice with their arms shouldered, and, as he was com- 
manding them, Kabarega raised his spear and sent it 
quivering toward the European, but it missed its mark 
and fell to the ground after having grazed his arm. 

The white man then picked it up, and, handing it back 
to Kabarega, said, " If you have anything against me 
say so ; I have only come on a friendly visit." 

162 



Kabarega 

Kabarega was speechless when he saw the fear- 
lessness of the man he had tried to kill, and he turned 
and went into his house, while the European returned 
to his fort. 

Then the king called his chiefs and said, "You cowards 
and traitors to your king ; did we not make a compact 
that when I thrust my spear you would all fall on him 
and kill him ? You have failed me, and jeopardised my 
life, for I know that the white man will seek to slay me." 

But on the following morning the Beard sent friendly 
greetings to Kabarega, and invited him and his chiefs 
to visit him that evening. When they arrived they were 
shown many fearful and marvellous things. The Beard 
brought out some little bullets, and, after setting fire to 
them, he threw them high up in the air, and immediately 
the whole country became light as day, although it was 
nearly midnight, and sun, moon and stars appeared in 
the sky, but disappeared again just as they were falling 
to earth. 

Kabarega was now quite sure that this stranger must 
be one of the Bacwezi, for no man could play with the 
things of heaven and be so immune from death. 

So the king was determined that he would do as his 
father had done before him, and hold the white man 
as a prisoner, and he would never be persuaded by his 
people to let him escape again. He sent men into all 
the shambas, forbidding the peasants to take food to the 
stranger for barter under punishment of death, so the 
Beard sent his soldiers into the villages to take food by 
force. When Kabarega heard of it, he despatched mes- 
sengers to him, ordering him to desist from plundering 
his people, and threatening him with the same treatment 
if he continued doing so. 

He assured the Beard that if he disobeyed him, he 
would be treated as a felon. 

These words so incensed the European that he com- 

163 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

manded his soldiers to take the two messengers prisoners 
for uttering such words of insult. 

That night the interpreter of the Beard dealt treacher- 
ously, for he came stealthily in unto the king, and said, 
" My master intends to fight you ; he has doled out 
ammunition to his soldiers, and seized your two men. 
Send away your cows, your goods, your wives and chil- 
dren to a place of safety, for in the morning he will attack 
you." 

Kabarega was very affrighted at the words, and 
answered, " If I send them away now, the lowing of the 
cattle will betray us, and if they come out against us by 
night, what resistance can we offer, and who will be able 
to withstand their fires?" 

The interpreter replied, " Look out a large tusk of 
ivory, and send it to the European as a pretence of friend- 
ship ; perhaps that will mollify his wrath, and then in the 
morning you can fall upon him unawares." 

Long before dawn Kabarega cautiously went to call 
his herdsmen, to order them to depart with the cattle to a 
place of safety, but he found that they had all fled in the 
night ; so he rallied his servants together, and sent away 
his herds, women and children under an escort. 

Meanwhile the two messengers who had been taken 
prisoners by the Beard managed to escape, and when the 
people saw them fleeing, they took fright, for everyone 
had heard that war was pending between the European 
and the king. So they rushed from their houses, clap- 
ping their lips, and raising an alarm. 

This precipitated matters, for the European, hearing 
the shouting, imagined that the natives were actually 
marching upon him, so he drew up his men in line and 
(ordered them to advance. 

Outside the courtyard of the king's house they found 
a solid mass of men, all armed with spears, and at their 
left flank stood tl^ king and his chiefs. The soldiers of 

164 






* - 




Kabarega 

the Beard marched forward so deliberately that before 
the native forces could understand this new mode of war- 
fare, shots were fired into them like hail, and four men 
dropped dead. The chiefs begged Kabarega to retire to 
a place of shelter, and, as he stubbornly refused, they 
took him away by force. Immediately the king had left, 
the hearts of his men failed them, and, seeing that the 
people offered no defence, the European ceased firing and 
withdrew his troops. - 

That afternoon rain fell heavily, so that all the people 
shut themselves up in their houses, but the European 
was busy making preparations to escape, and, under 
cover of night, he and his men left the fort, and travelled 
hastily northward. 

The next morning, when the natives arose, they looked 
towards the fort and found it deserted, and they ran 
breathlessly to Kabarega, and acquainted him with the 
news. He ordered the war-drum to be beaten, and the 
men responded like ants in number, and they all pursued 
after the white man. They overtook the little company 
just before sunset, but the Beard showed great wisdom, 
for he and his men scattered beads and cowrie shells (the 
currency of the country) broadcast along the muddy 
path, and among the tall grass and scrub on the roadside. 
Then their pursuers gave up the chase and scrambled 
for the booty until darkness closed in upon them. They 
agreed among themselves to wait there until daylight, so 
that nothing should be lost, for the men cared more for 
the beads and shells than for the commands of their king. 

Meanwhile, the European had reached the banks of the 
River Nile, where he commandeered all the available 
dug-outs to ferry him and his soldiers across. On reach- 
ing the opposite bank, thev hid the canoes, and the 
paddlers were compelled to travel along with the soldiers 
for some days. 

When therefore, Kabarega's army arrived at the 

165 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

river, they found no canoes to take them across, so they 
returned from pursuing the white man, and went back 
to the capital. 

During this time affairs were in a very troubled state 
in Toro. Kaboyo had settled to the south, in Buson- 
gora, but the northern and eastern districts were still 
included in Bunyoro. Kaboyo made continual attempts 
to widen his boundary, but met with the stoutest opposi- 
tion from both the people and the rulers. 

When Kaboyo heard of the death of his father, he 
had shown great remorse, for he remembered how 
viciously he had treated him, and he felt sure that the 
spirit would now be avenged on him. For nine days he 
mourned, and refused to allow any man to intrude upon 
him in his grief. Ashes were sprinkled about the house 
and courtyard, and he ordered that no beads or orna- 
ments should be worn by any man or woman, but black 
banana fibre was to be twisted into strands, and worn as 
necklaces and bracelets. 

On the death of Kaboyo, his son Nyaika, was 
appointed in his stead as ruler of South Toro, and during 
Kamurasi's reign he was left in undisputed possession; 
but Kabarega absolutely refused to recognise Nyaika 
as independent of Bunyoro, and sent arrogant messages, 
ordering him to come and pay homage to him as king. 

Nyaika replied : " Did my father pay tribute to Kamu- 
rasi, was not all connection between Toro and Bunyoro 
severed in the reign of Duhaga Nyamatukura, and shall 
I, his grandson, come again under the yoke? " 

So from that day hostilities were opened : petty raiding 
and quarrels constantly took place on the borders, yet 
was there found no real cause for an open rupture. 

But on one occasion, some of Kabarega 's cattle were 
stolen by the Batoro, so the king sent to Nyaika, 
peremptorily demanding their return, but he refused to 
do so until two of his cows, stolen by Kabarega, were 

166 



Kabarega 

restored. Then was Kabarega very wroth, and sent 
out an army against Nyaika. The Banyoro poured into 
the country like locusts, and stripped the land bare. 
After capturing tens of thousands of cattle, they returned 
to Kabarega, who again sent a message to Nyaika, 
ordering him to come and pay tribute to him. 

But the answer came back: "When the children of 
Bakuhya (the most prolific clan of the herdsmen) shall 
cease from off the land, then will I bend the knee to 
you." 

Soon afterwards Nyaika died, and Kabarega sent to 
the chiefs, telling them to bring all his children into 
Bunyoro, that they may be nurtured on milk in his 
household. But they said among themselves: "Did not 
Kabarega bewitch our ruler, Nyaika, that he died; and 
now shall we send his children to be poisoned by 
him ? " 

When, therefore, Kabarega saw that the Toro chiefs 
heeded not his injunctions, he called his general, Kiku- 
kule, to take out an army and enforce submission. For 
four months they remained in Toro, plundering, burning 
and killing. Most of the inhabitants fled to the moun- 
tains (Ruwenzori), where they subsisted on berries and 
roots of plants; but the chiefs repented when they 
beheld the havoc that had been wrought, so they made a 
truce with Kikukule, who agreed to leave the country if 
the young princes were handed over to him. 

Thus the children of Nyaika were carried away 
prisoners into Bunyoro, but the eldest son, Kasagama 
and his mother were smuggled away into Ankole, where 
they remained in hiding under the protection of Ntale, 
the ruler of that country. 

When the army returned to Kabarega, the two Batoro 
chiefs, Dwomire and Kalikura, were tried; the former 
in his defence declared that no blame rested on him, as 
he and his fathers before him had always been peaceable 

167 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

and unoffending men; not one had died from violence; 
the fault entirely lay with the other chief, Kalikura. 

Kabarega then turned to Kalikura, and said, "Have 
you, a Mukonjo, with sharpened teeth and blistered 
countenance, assayed to make yourself king, and defied 
me, the descendant of princes and gods? "* Then men 
from Bugungu were called, who were the tribe of execu- 
tioners, and they beat Kalikura to death. 

The following years were marked by continual trouble 
and warfare, for while Kabarega had his mind set on 
subjugating Toro, the Baganda were bent on seizing the 
large district of Bugangaizi, that extended between Torc> 
and Bunyoro to the Albert Lake; thinking that 
if only they could thus get in like a s'Avamp between the 
two countries, they would soon be able to overflow into 
both. 

So absorbed was Kabarega in Toro affairs, that the 
Baganda succeeded in annexing Bugangaizi with little 
opposition, and so elated were they with their victory 
that they stepped across into Bugahya to effect the con- 
quest of Bunyoro. When they were within a day's 
journey of the capital, they encamped at the base of a 
high hill that stands as a garrison of the country. (It 
is a conical-shaped hill, rising abruptly from the flat land 
to a height of 1,500 feet. It is called "Omusaija 
Mukuru " — the head man — its perpendicular sides and 
wide crest stand out like a landmark for miles around.) 

Unbeknown to the Baganda, hundreds of Banyoro had 
stumbled up its precipitous paths and taken refuge there. 
The enormous ant-hills that adorn its crest were dug 
out, and formed shelter for the women and children, 
while the men slept under the shade of the trees. The 
top of the hill is thickly strewn with massive boulders, 

*The Bakonjo ai'e the mountain tribe who give themselves a very 
savage appearance by blistering the face and shoulders in fantastic 
patterns, and filing down their teeth into sharp points. 

168 



• • • (, 



• •' -' - ' . - ', , ' . 




A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE : 

A Mukidl Chief, with the Author's little boy> George. 



Kabarega 

and when the Baganda were all peacefully sleeping at 
night, the Banyoro dislodged these rocks and hurled 
them down the mountain side; falling with enormous 
rapidity into the camp of the Baganda, they crushed 
scores of them to death, and caused so much surprise and 
discomfiture, that the Baganda hastily retreated in the 
morning.* 

But, although Kabarega was rid for a time of his 
troublesome neighbours, the Baganda, he was greatly 
perturbed by a succession of ominous signs that appeared 
in Heaven and in the earth. For nearly three months a 
ball of fire was seen suspended in the air, and, on depart- 
ing, it struck with disease all the cattle, so that thousands 
died; indeed, hardly any of them escaped from the 
scourge; thus the country was miich impoverished, its 
wealth gone, and starvation threatened to kill off as 
many people, for as their diet had been milk almost exclu- 
sively, and they did not know how to cultivate effectually, 
they had almost forgotten how to eat. 

Afterwards a star appeared as a long torch, and shone 
every evening at sunset ; and when it disappeared, many 

*It is more than probable that no one visited that spot again, unti 
a few years afterwards, we climbed this same hill, trying to escape 
from the burning heat of the plain with our little boy George, who 
had for weeks been prostrate with fever and haemorrhage. After 
the never-to-be-forgotten climb up its precipitous side, we reached 
the top, but the life of our child seemed ebbing away, as a steady 
stream of blood flowed from his mouth. After applying restoratives, 
he rallied as night fell, and looking up with a glance of recognition 
he whispered, " Mother, I have not sung my evening prayer." Sa 
lying in his tiny crib the little lad faltered out : — 

Tesus, tender Shepherd, hear me. 

Bless Thy little lamb to-night ; 
Through the darkness be Thou near me, 

Keep me safe till morning light. 

Thus the Banyoro battle-field was a Httle white child's altar, and to 
both it proved the place of victory. (The author apologises to the 
reader for this personal reference). 

169 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

of the princes and chiefs died. Now, Kabarega's mother 
had not seen her son since he became king, and she 
feared to show herself to him, for, according to the 
custom of the country, and the order that had been given 
in regard to her, she ought to have been buried alive 
with her husband, Kamurasi ; but she had fled and 
hidden herself, and thus escaped death. So one day she 
ventured into his presence, disguising her identity, and 
as she left again a tree grew up on the spot where she 
had stood, and the witch-priest interpreted this as a warn- 
ing that Kabarega would be supplanted. This saying 
greatly disturbed him, and he commanded the princes 
and chiefs to bring offerings, and to present them to the 
tree. He himself sacrificed a human being there eve'-y 
day, and had a little grass temple erected near, where 
offerings were placed each evening. 

After the whole country of Bunyoro had been depleted 
•of its cattle, Kabarega sent a raiding party into Ankole, 
the great cattle district, to seize all the cows with humps 
and long horns. When Kasagama, the fugitive prince 
of Toro, heard that the Banyoro were coming into 
Ankole, he fled with his mother into Uganda. He dared 
not venture into Toro territory, for ever since the death 
of Nyaika, the country had known no peace or security. 
All the princes were at variance with each other, fighting 
for the supremacy. Kabarega was not able to deal with 
the affairs there, for the Baganda were making another 
big effort to conquer Bunyoro. Mwanga, the king, 
determined lo lead his army out in person, so as to instil 
his people with courage; but before setting out he burnt 
down his own house, so that no M Uganda should dese- 
crate it in his absence, and, in case of his defeat, no king 
of another nation should appropriate it. 

When the news reached Kabarega, he had spies posted 
along the road to warn him of their approach, and he 
busied himself with mighty preparations for battle. 

170 



Kabarega 

On hearing that the enemy was close to the border 
at the Kafu River, the war drums were beaten, and the 
bugles sounded, to rally together his forces. As the 
two armies advanced, the whole country resounded 
with the roar of the drums and the song of battle, and 
every man turned out of his house to fight. The army 
sent by the queen-mother of Bunyoro made the first 
attack upon the right flank of the Baganda troops. Her 
people fought with hoes; they rushed in among the 
enemy, hacking them down. The Baganda split up 
into two columns, and surrounded Kabarega's force, 
attacking them at the rear. The king called back to his 
men to make a strong resistance while he engaged the 
fore column; but his men all fled, and left him, his 
uncle, and one man alone. They had two spears and 
one rifle between them, and with these they managed to 
hold out until relief came. The remainder of the army 
made a stubborn fight, and mid-day found the troops 
thoroughly exhausted, so a brief armistice was agreed 
upon, in order to rest the men. 

During this interval, the Baganda general went in and 
out among his soldiers, cheering and urging them on, 
and the Banvoro leaders did the same. The next morn- 
ing the fight was renewed. Kabarega shot the Baganda 
general — the Kangawo — and, lifting the body high in 
the air, so that all might look upon it, he shouted " Vic- 
tory " ; ana when the Baganda saw that their leader 
was dead, they hastened to the camp to tell their king, 
Mwanga, and he ordered them to retreat. 

On searching among the dead, the Banyoro found 
that only two men of their own had been killed, whereas 
the Baganda casualties amounted to scores, and as they 
retreated, the road was strewn with the dead, who suc- 
cumbed to their wounds on the journey back.* 

*This must be taken with a grain of salt ; as it must be remem- 
bered that this is the Banyoro's account of their fight. 

171 



CHAPTER XIII 

The Reign of the Babito : Kabarega. 

THE Baganda made many more attempts to conquer 
Bunyoro, but, under Kabarega, the people had 
become more consolidated, and they made a united 
effort to retain this last fragment of their kingdom. 
Piece after piece had broken awa)^ — first, Buganda and 
Busoga, then Ankole, Bukidi, Chopi, Bulega and Toro; 
large tracts of Bunyoro itself had been appropriated by 
the insatiable Baganda, and now the ancient kingdom of 
Isaza was limited to a very restricted area. To a race 
who had once been the predominating power of the whole 
country, and who could trace their origin back to the 
gods themselves, the avaricious attacks of these infant 
tribes on their parent kingdom were regarded as sacri- 
lege, and Kabarega infused into his people an overpower- 
ing desire to fight desperately to retain their liberty, and 
unite once more the kingdom of their ancestors. 

He made overtures to the Bakidi, whose territory 
adjoined Uganda and Bunyoro, in order to secure their 
allegiance before the Baganda could step in and obtain 
their co-operation. 

Then occurred a cleavage in the Baganda ranks, for 
the Mohammedan faction were desirous of driving the 
king, Mwanga, away, and placing the Mohammedan 
prince, Kalema, on the throne. This they succeeded in 
doing, and Mwanga fled to an island on Lake Victoria; 
but after a short time he returned at the head of 

172 



Kabarega 

a large army, and drove out Kalema, who escaped into 
Bunyoro. 

Then Kabarega saw a chance of shattering his old 
-enemy, and, placing a considerable force at the disposal 
of the two Baganda princes, Kalema and Mbogo, 
marched with them against Uganda. 

They found tHat things were in a bad condition there, 
for the Mohammedan conflict had reduced the country to 
a state of famine, and women were being sold for a 
chicken or a few sweet potatoes. 

The Banyoro troops, however, suffered defeat, and were 
obliged to precipitately flee back to their own land ; 
travelling all day and night, they covered the distance 
{130 miles) in 24 hours. 

After arriving in Bunyoro, Kalema the Muganda pre- 
tender, fell sick with small-pox, and died. 

Meanwhile, a European, named Captain Lugard, had 
reached Uganda, where he found Kasagama hiding. 
After securing from him a promise of fealty to the British 
Government, he took him back to Toro, and presented 
him to the people as their ruler. From that day the 
chief? gradually came in, one after another, and did 
homage to him, for the European had filled them with 
awe, and they feared to reject one who was under the 
protection of the white man. 

Captain (now Sir Frederick) Lugard arrived in 1890 
as the representative of the British East African Com- 
pany, which had taken over the control of Uganda. He 
proceeded north to the Albert Lake, and brought away 
with him the 400-500 Sudanese soldiers, and their 5,000- 
6,000 wives, children and retainers, who had been left 
there by Emin Pasha. He built a line of forts extending 
through Toro into Uganda, in which he placed them 
under the charge of Kasagama. 

When Kabarega heard these things, he sent out expe- 
ditions against the Batoro, for he hoped to incense the 

173 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

Sudanese against Kasagama, and to win their 
sympathies. 

A European was then sent from Uganda to crush 
Kabarega, but the policy of the Banyoro was to divide 
up their forces into several small detachments that could 
harass the enemy in many places at one time, and avoid 
being annihilated by defeat.* 

After two years of this desultory fighting, runners 
came to Kabarega, saying that a white man was march- 
ing upon Bunyoro with a large army of Nubians and 
Baganda ; they were travelling with torches, so as to 
halt not by day or night. 

Kabarega decided to go out to meet them, and attack 
when they would be tired from marching, and this he did 
so successfully that the Baganda fled in all directions. 
But the European, whose name was Captain (Colonel) 
Colville, blew his whistle, which brought his men 
together, and they repulsed Kabarega. This European 
was a man of great strength, and troubled the country 
so much that the chiefs came to Kabarega and begged 
him to surrender, as the Baganda had done. 

The king being so wearied and distressed that he 
agreed to their suggestion, and sent to the European 
general a peace offering of a tusk of ivory. 

But no sooner had he sent the messenger than he 
repented of his action, and, calling his chiefs around 
him, said, " Why did you advise me to become the puppet 
of the white man ? If I surrender to him, he will worry 
and dictate to me, as they have done to Mwanga. Has 
Mwanga any rest, liberty or power? I will never be 
ruled by any man, nor will I hand over the kingdom of 
Isaza, the Bacwezi, and my ancestors to a foreign race. 

*Probably this European was Captain Roddy Owen, who was 
attached in 1893 to a Mission under Sir Gerald Portal, sent out by 
the British Government to report on the country before they took 
it over from the B.E.A. Company. 

174 



Kabarega 

What a man is born to, so will he die. I was born a 
king, and I will not die a captive." 

So Kabarega fled with all his soldiers, and went 
towards Bukidi, and the European returned to 'Uganda; 
but they very soon sent another white general to quell 
Kabarega. He did not bring his soldiers overland, but 
came in canoes down the Nile; his men cut down all 
the papyrus and scrub, so as to get a good view of the 
country on both sides of the river. 

Kabarega deemed it safer to attack them before they 
could land and concentrate, but this was not easy, as 
there was no covert under which they could draw near; 
but at night he commanded his men to dig deep 
trenches along the shores, in which they could hide. So 
the next morning, as the canoes slowly advanced in 
single file, the Banyoro suddenly rose from their trenches 
and rained spears into the canoes. The European was 
killed and his boat sank, and all the Baganda turned 
back and fled to their own country. (This was Captain 
Dunning, who lost his life so tragically ; his body has 
since been brought into the little churchyard in Hoima, 
where there are six graves — four Government staff and 
two missionaries.) 

Now, some years previously, messengers had come to 
Kabarega from the Mahdi, offering him his assistance, 
assuring him that he had successfully driven the white 
men out from his land, and would help Kabarega to- 
do the same. Kabarega had jeered at the suggestion at 
the time, but now that his fortunes were so precarious, he 
determined to ask for his aid. He chose out, therefore, 
for this mission, chiefs of impressive stature, and gave 
them a large retinue of followers; they travelled for 
very many days, for the land of the Mahdi was far north, 
and when at last they reached the country, they found 
that the Europeans were back again there, harassing the 
Mahdi, who had no time to give to the consideration of 

175 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

another man's misfortunes, so he laid hands on Kaba- 
rega's messengers and made them slaves. Only two 
■escaped and returned to Bunyoro; the others were never 
seen again. 

In the year 1897 fortune favoured the king, because 
the Nubian soldiers in Uganda rebelled against their own 
rulers, the Europeans, and Mwanga the king, joined 
them and came to his old enemy, Kabarega, and entered 
into an alliance with him against the British Govern- 
ment; for the white man's rule had become irksome to 
him, and he was longing to break from it, and drive the 
European out of his country; but the Banyoro, Baganda 
and Nubians could not agree to join forces and make 
a united attack; the Nubians refused to work under the 
•command of the native kings, and they, on the other 
hand, declared they had a better knowledge of the 
•country, and knew its most strategic point for operation. 
Kabarega and Mwanga went in the direction of Bukidi, 
and the Nubians, with a small force of Baganda, marched 
to the border of Uganda, where they were completely 
'Cut up. 

The two kings did not meet with much better success, 
for they rowed out in a flotilla of canoes up the Nile to 
prevent a European from landing, who was bringing up 
a strong contingent of soldiers. They met in mid-stream, 
and the Banyoro were put to flight, and the same night, 
when they were encamped, the luiropean troops again 
attacked them. They fled into Bukidi, but the people 
there saw that the spirits we-re warring against the king, 
so they greatly added to his distress by stealing cattle 
and such food supplies as they carried with them. 

Kabarega sent all his wives, chikircm and cattle that 
remained, to a distant village of Bukidi, for the European 
troops were hemming him in on every side. Mwanga 
•suggested that they should capitulate, but Kabarega 
answered : " Everything has its time appointed ; a woman 

176 



Kabarega 

travailing with child reaches the time of her deliverance; 
so also does a cow ; the banana is planted and takes root, 
but when it arrives at fruition it must fall ; and how we 
have reached the hour of our fate ; and, if so be that 
our appointed time to die has come, let us not be faint- 
hearted." Kabarega sent to Mwanga two fat oxen to be 
slaughtered, that the flesh and blood might fortify him. 

That same night the European, whose name was 
Colonel Ewart, called two Bakidi into His tent, and bribed 
them with beads and barkcloth to disclose to him Kaba- 
rega's hiding place. 

The two men then went to one of their chiefs named 
Kuturu, in whose house the king was concealed, and 
they discussed the matter together ; the chief accepted 
part of the bribe, and allowed the two men to return and 
betray Kabarega, his master. 

Kuturu was very fearful lest the king should escape 
before the European arrived, in which case he knew the 
white man would kill him, so he came to Kabarega and 
urged him to rest there for a few days, as the European 
had returned to Uganda, and there was, therefore, no 
immediate danger. 

This the king decided to do, but at the same time he 
sent his sons out to reconnoitre, and ordered them to fire 
their rifles if they saw. any signs of the white man and 
his soldiers. 

Very soon after they had started, the report of their 
guns was heard; immediately Kabarega aroused his 
men, but they had not gathered together when the 
European and his troops bore down upon them. 

To avoid the firing, Kabarega ordered his men to lie 
flat on the ground and fling their spears. Mwanga 
immediately fled and hid in a swamp, but the Banyoro 
all rallied round their leader ; but they were soon sur- 
rounded by a force of men, who emptied out all their fire 
upon them. When Kabarega looked around and saw 

177 H 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

all his men lying dead at his feet, he called on his two 
sons, who alone remained, and told them to die like men 
worthy of their ancestors. 

Seizing the spears that were lying about at his feet, he 
flung them desperately into the enemy's line, and only 
when his right arm was shot through, and he could no 
longer raise a spear, was Kabarega taken prisoner, and 
the kingdom of his forefathers came under the rule of the 
white man. 




THE CALL BELL OF "THE 
Now used as School Bell. 



KHEDIVE 



CHAPTER XIV 

The Conquest of Christianity 
over Fetishism. 

THESE preceding chapters form the background to 
the history of Christianity and of British rule 
beyond Uganda; and through the operation of 
these two mighty forces wording together, this 
storm centre of the fiercest African passions has become 
so tranquil, that Englishwomen have proved that they 
can fearlessly travel through the country with no guard 
or firearms, but merely with a string of cheery natives, 
who show her every respect and consideration. 

And yet there are some few travellers who pass through 
Central Africa, probably to beat record for speed, reaping 
all the advantages that the pioneer missionary or Govern- 
ment official have made possible after years of toil, or, it 
may be w-ith their life, who return and tickle the ear of 
the superficial thinker by saying, "that the native is Best 
left to himself." Best left to himself ! Would the thou- 
sands of victims sacrificed to witchcraft in Bunyoro say 
so? Would the plundered, half-exterminated tribes 
around say so ? Would the entire adult population, witli 
their bodies scarred and maimed through a tyrant's whim 
or the fetish priest's demand say so? Would the 
bleached bones that strewed the trail of the slave raider 
say so? Would the wrecked child-life of Bunyoro say 
that they were best left to themselves? Did Mtesa, king 
of Uganda, think so, when satiated with the blood of his 
enemies and his friends, he listened for the first time, to 
the words of a God of love, as they fell from the lips of 

179 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

the late Sir Henry Stanley ? The charm of that strange 
new word, "Love," just arrested the heart of the ofd 
pagan despot, and, feeling its force, while as yet but 
dimly comprehending its power, he pleaded for the white 
man to stay and teach him of his God. 

When one considers the miraculous spread of Chris- 
tianity throughout this country, one naturally desires to 
know what has been the predominating factor that has 
so mightily influenced the people, and effected so great 
a change in their lives. 

It might easily be supposed that the advent of the 
missionary, like that of the explorer, would have been 
regarded by them with the strongest suspicion, for they 
had always been exploited by the strong. Especially 
might this impression force itself upon them, when the 
missionary was succeeded by the British Government 
hoisting the Union Jack, and proclaiming their country 
a British Protectorate. Then again, Christianity did 
not offer any temporal blessings, the only thing that 
would naturally appeal to them, but it promised spiritual 
and future blessings, which they could not appreciate. 
It made heavy and uncompromising demands on their 
lives : a chief, from his scores of wives, must make the 
choice of one, who neither physically nor socially could 
make him a true helpmeet ; he must break away entirely 
from all those heathen practices of fetishism to which he 
had always pinned absolute trust for prosperity and 
deliverance from adversity, and he must settle down to 
a life of abstinence and of industry, for no longer could 
the household larder be replenished at the cost of his 
neighbour; and, instead of that spontaneous and ecstatic 
response to the war-drum, he must daily gird himself for 
a grim fight against all the influences of evil within and 
without — evil deep-rooted, the heritage from generations 
of heathenism. 

To no human agency or power can one attribute this 

180 



Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

mighty change, but the countries of Uganda to-day are 
an eloquent testimony to the living force of the Gospel 
of Christ. What was unto the Jews a stumbHng block, 
and unto the Greeks foolishness, has been abundantly 
manifested in the weak and ignorant African — Christ the 
Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 

It is because fetishism had buried the only grain of 
truth it had ever possessed, and erected over it an edifice 
of corruption and falsehood, that it tottered and crumbled 
away on the approach of Christianity. 

In spite of the almost unthinkable difficulties of those 
years, when the Uganda Mission was started — the 
months of toil, of nearly i,ooo miles marching from the 
coast through unopened country, fever-haunted districts 
and antagonistic tribes; in spite of the fact that one after 
another of the strongest and noblest of the first mis- 
sionary parties succumbed to the hardships of the road, 
and never reached Uganda, it was no mistaken policy of 
the Society that led them to pass by for a time the many 
peoples inhabiting that stretch of country from the coast 
inland, and to make Uganda its base. 

The Baganda are undoubtedly the dominating tribe 
of Central Africa ; patriotism and cohesion have 
characterised them as a race, whereas its neighbour 
nation of Bunyoro has become shattered by its spirit of 
disintegration. The Banyoro and Batoro are suspicious 
and sensitive to a degree, and their racial pride will be 
the greatest hindrance to their progress. The Baganda 
are made of harder stuff ; they are an aggressive people, 
and fearless to step out — almost impudent in the cool 
way they make themselves instantly master of any situa- 
tion : possessing keen business instincts, a Muganda will 
turn his hand to anything that promises reward, whether 
it is caligraphy, languages, money sums, building, 
tailoring, cotton growing — nothing comes amiss to him. 

When these traits are directed aright, they become real 

181 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

virtues, and thus the warring and conquering Baganda 
have proved most effectual missionaries. There is not 
a district round Uganda where its Christian teachers are 
not found to-day. 

In 1894 they went out to Toro with the message of 
peace and goodwill toward men, where they were most 
enthusiastically received. The year following, Kasa- 
gama, king of Toro, was baptised during a prolonged 
stay in Uganda, and returned to his country to be a true 
missionary to his people. His duties as ruler and teacher 
became so arduous, that in 1896 it was decided to assist 
him in his noble endeavours to help his people by estab- 
lishing there a European station. 

Bishop Tucker accompanied Mr. Fisher, who was 
appointed to the work ; the journey was a most toilsome 
task, for at that time there was nothing in the shape of 
a road ; their path lay for nearly 200 miles through 
elephant grass that grew to extraordinary height, and 
through swamps that sometimes plunged them neck deep 
in mud. 

The reception they met with will ever be remembered 
by them. All along the road, the natives, clad in goat- 
skins, had fled in terror at the sight of the white men, 
but on reaching the crudely-built capital, the effect of 
Christianity was already seen in the excited and fearless 
crowd of men, women and children that came out to 
welcome them. A large building composed of poles and 
reeds had been erected as a church, and here gathered 
together daily, old and young. The little paper reading 
sheets on which were printed the alphabet, syllables, the 
Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments, and a few texts, 
awakened extraordinary interest. Everybody seemed 
anxious to understand the curious twisted hieroglyphics 
which they called, " A voice that can be heard," and day 
by day hoary-headed old chiefs squatted down with mere 
infants to master the white man's learning. 

182 




DAUDI KASAGAMA OF TORO. 







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Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

The large hill on which the visitors pitched their tent 
was given to the Bishop by Kasagama for church build- 
ings. It was covered for the most part with long grass, 
that was the favourite of wild animals. Fires had to be 
kept burning all night to keep off the leopards and lions, 
and for this purpose a good supply of firewood was 
necessary. This was thought to be a useful means of 
employing the scores of folk who clamoured for reading 
sheets, but had not the few cowrie shells with which to 
purchase them. 

Such an army of people, however, set to work, tliat 
after only a few hours of issuing the order, a Ruwenzori 
of firewood stood stacked outside their tents. Eggs were 
then suggested as an alternative, and the following morn* 
ing as many were brought in, as must have taken all the 
fowls in the capital at least four montlis to lay. 

Early in 1900, Miss Pike and myself were sent to Toro 
in answer to Kasagama's touching appeal to the Church 
at home, in which he begged for ladies to come out and 
help his women and children. "Women will learn from 
women; therefore, I beseech you, help my country." 
Such was his message, and although it was a very 
isolated life for two young girls who had just left the 
shelter of home and large family circles, and in spite of 
the great waves of home-sickness that came over us at 
times, we regarded it as a peculiar honour to be chosen 
for the work. From the very first, the whole population 
seemed bent on shielding and loving us for coming 
out to them, and they were most wonderfully patient and 
long-suffering, w-hen they found that even the European 
could not learn their language in one day. Some of the 
experiences we passed through I have tried to tell in my 
little book, "On the Borders of Pigmy-land." 

Meanwhile, in the adjoining province of Bunyoro, 
pioneer work was being carried on, despite the political 
unrest caused by the protracted opposition of Kabarega 

183 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

to the British occupation of his country. In the year 
1895, before being appointed to Toro, Mr. Fisher had 
crossed the River Kafu, which was then the boundary to 
his mission station in Uganda. xA.t the time Kabarega 
had fled from the capital, and had collected his forces 
round him in the eastern district. The most influential 
county chief, Byabacwezi, had capitulated to the British, 
and he, with all those who had joined him, remained in 
Hoima under the protection of a fort that had been 
erected by the late Sir Henry Colville. 

To this chief, Mr. Fisher sent messengers, telling him 
of his arrival at the Kafu, and expressing a wish to come 
and confer with him; an escort w'as immediately sent 
to bring him in to the capital. 

On hearing of his intended visit, the English officer in 
charge wrote, advising him not to venture, as Captain 
Dunning had just been killed by Kabarega, and only a 
few days previously another officer had been fired at in 
Hoima, and his donkey shot from under him; but tliis 
letter did not arrive until the missionary had actually 
reached the fort. As they had journeyed from the Kafu, 
natives were hiding in the scrub, with the intention of 
killing the European, but seeing that he carried no fire- 
arms and had no foreign bodyguard, and hearing him 
talk their own language, they made no attack upon him. 
Here let me say that firearms are not needed in Africa 
as a protection against the natives. We have journeyed 
and stayed among the wildest, and even cannibal tribes, 
but have only met with friendly curiosity and crude 
courtesy. I will not say that one has always felt quite 
comfortable at heart, but that was the fault of our sus- 
picions, and not of their behaviour. Firearms at once 
create suspicion and alarm, and the most trivial incident 
is likely to fan their fearfulness info open hostility. 
Sometimes one's tent may be surrounded by a crowd of 
men armed with spears, but this may only be precaution 

184 









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Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

on their part, or a desire to show respect to the stranger 
by appearing thus in full dress. 

After arriving in Hoima, the missionary put up at the 
fort, and every day crowds of eager folk gathered round 
as he taught them. The reed house previously occupied 
by Sir Henry Colville, but since vacated, was trans- 
formed into a little synagogue, and from that fort house, 
in the time of great national stress, the Banvoro were first 
taught to pray — simple pravers, but the first that had 
ever arisen from that dark land throughout all the ages. 

At the earnest request of the people, two Baganda 
teachers were left with them. The chief, Byabacwezi, 
built them a little house in his own enclosure, and gave 
them every assistance, and he himself became one of 
their most persevering pupils. 

When ]\Ir. Fisher went to Toro, an ordained Muganda 
clergyman, two more teachers were sent to Bunyoro to 
carry on the work, while they received occasional visits 
from other missionaries. 

But, on returning from leave in 1899, Mr. Fisher was 
located to Bunyoro, as the work had reached that point 
when European supervision was necessary. 

Bishop Tucker again travelled out with him, and bap- 
tised the first Banyoro converts at Masindi. These 
included the little prince Kitaimba, who had been put 
in temporary charge of the province by the British 
Government, while his father was still wandering about 
the country. The whole district was then in an inde- 
scribably wretched condition. The invading British and 
Baganda troops had made heavy demands on the food 
supply of the country, and things were too stormy and 
unsettled for people to think of cultivating anything 
beyond their daily needs ; and when a long drought 
followed upon these other misfortunes, despair fell on 
the people. 

On the roadside were seen poor, emaciated folk, who 

185 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

had crawled out of their huts to crave for a morsel, but 
had died in the effort, and their corpses were left un- 
buried, and hawks and vultures swept down to feed on 
the carrion. 

Mr. Fisher and his two Baganda helpers were reduced 
to ground nuts; a yam was regarded as a veritable 
luxury. When even these supplies threatened to fail, he 
called to him his two teachers, and suggested to them 
that they should return to their own country until the 
famine was over, as it was impossible to do anything 
but care for the sick and dying. They consulted together 
over his words, but soon came back, saying, " My master, 
if we leave the people in their distress, they will think 
we came merely for what we could get; but if we stay 
on and suffer with them, they will learn to love us, and 
they will listen to our message afterwards." 

So these two splendid fellows remained, and did all 
they could to help and sympathise with the Banyoro in 
their sore distress. When the Christians in Uganda 
heard of the famine, they collected together all the food 
they could possibly spare, although they were also feel- 
ing the effects of the drought, and sent it in regular 
supplies to their "father " for distribution. 

This food was most jealously guarded in the little 
rnission house, and given out each day to the starving 
crowed that gathered at the door; but while hungry folk 
besieged the house from without, rats were driven by 
the grass fires to take refuge within, and they literally 
fought with the occupants for the food. These were soon 
followed by snakes, so, altogether, the position of the 
missionary as general provider was scarcely an enviable 
ane. 

But when the famine was over, on the return of the 
rains, it was found that those weeks of suffering with 
the natives had won their confidence as nothing else 
could, and when there was no longer need to come to 

186 



Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

the mission house for food, the visits of the people did 
not cease. At the same time, Kabarega wds captured, 
and warfare ceased, and the country that had passed 
through years of fighting was at last to know what peace 
meant. 

The message of faith, love and life was just what the 
people needed, to infuse into them new desires and new 
hopes, and, in spite of the warnings and prognostications 
of the witch-priests, men and women publicly burned 
their charms, or exchanged them for the little reading 
sheets which would teach them of the white man's 
God. 

In 1899, Mr, Farthing joined the mission, and, besides 
the station at Masindi, a second one was opened at 
Hoima, consisting of a reed church and house. This, in 
the following year, was occupied by Mr. and Mrs A. B. 
Lloyd. During the three and a-half years they were 
there, the work was considerably strengthened and built 
up. The reed church gave place to a substantial mud 
building, and a house was erected for ladies, who were 
sent out to develop the work among the women and chil- 
dren. A dispensary was opened, a school built, and in 
the surrounding villages teachers were being sent out 
after receiving some special training. But Bunyoro soon 
made a heavy claim on its little mission staff. After 
three years of most devoTed service, Mr. Farthing laid 
dowa his life — a life that had been spent whole-heartedly 
in the Master's service. 

From those days the work has gone steadily forward. 
The little prince, Yosiya Kiatimba, had proved himself 
incapable of dealing with the onerous task of ruling and 
developing his country at that most trying time, so the 
British Government appointed his elder brother, 
Andereya Duhaga, in his place, and he has wisely and 
cautiously led his people forward, doing all in his power 
to be an example to them. He has always been the 

187 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

greatest help in all church and school work, to which he 
contributes very generously. 

In 1904, Mr. Fisher was located again to his old work 
in Bunyoro, and here we have been labouring since. Like 
the neighbouring kingdom of Uganda, Toro and Bun- 
yoro are active centres of missionary enterprise. In the 
respective capitals stand to-day handsome solid brick 
churches, erected entirely at the cost of the native Chris- 
tians : the brickmaking, bricklaying, plaster work, 
roofing had been carried out by mission boys under 
direction, while in the Hoima church, the beautiful furni- 
ture, including table, lectern, font and prayer desks, 
have been made by lads in the little industrial department 
under an Indian instructor. 

The opening of the church was a truly memorable 
occasion. The Provincial Commissioner, F. A. Knowles, 
Esq., brought down the full Government staff of officials, 
civil and military, while half the native population 
seemed gathered in the large space round the church. 
The enormous drums, used in lieu of church-bells, stood 
on the verandah awaiting the King Andereya to break 
the silence, and thus proclaim the building open. At 
the entrance doors stood churchwardens, with rows of 
baskets, into which the people cast their offerings. Mr. 
Knowles, in a most effective and influential speech, which 
he addressed to the huge crowd assembled, explained 
how it was the aim of the Government to work hand in 
hand with the mission in the uplift of Bunyoro and its 
people. There was a debt of ^80 still remaining on the 
church, and the native Christians had been asked to do 
what they could, to free their House of Prayer on its 
opening day. The counting of the collection afterwards 
was a most pathetic experience, for the contributions had 
been rolled up in paper, and they ranged from a shirt 
button to Andereya's kingly gift of ;^2o, and included 
needles, calico, eggs, fowls, goats, oxen, all kinds of 

188 





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Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

vegetable produce, cowrie shells and rupees. After all 
this stuff had been sold in the market, it was found that 
the collection had amounted to ;^i09, and constituted 
the largest offering ever taken up in the whole history 
of the Uganda Mission. 

The entire work of education is in the hands of the mis- 
sionary. Toro has its schools of women, girls and little 
boys, besides a spinning and weaving industry for girls. 

Bunyoro has still its two European centres at Hoima 
and Masindi, where there are schoofs for women, girls 
and little boys, besides normal and boarding schools, and 
industrial department, where carpentering and simple 
tailoring are taught. The importance of educational 
work cannot be over-estimated. In the Uganda Mission, 
the greatest results have occurred among the ruling 
classes. The fact is, that among the peasants, especially 
in the villages, the mind is in such a state of torpor, that 
they seem almost lacking a spiritual capacity, and 
incapable of absorbing a new idea. It is true, however, 
that very many of these people have embraced Chris- 
tianity, because its glorious truths can be adapted to the 
simplest, but if they are to grow stalwart Christians, it 
is necessary to set their mental faculties free, so that 
their faith may not be implanted but indigenous. Then, 
again, lessons set in the morning school provide occupa- 
tion for the chief, as well as his serving lad, when the 
lamps or fires are kindled in the hut at night. Chris- 
tianity has tabooed their old occupations of drinking, 
dancing and sensuality, which sunset heralded in each 
night ; but prohibition can only prove practical if it 
provides an antidote, and this is how the school can 
supply a need of the church. At nightfall, after the 
household drum has called together the members for 
family prayer, the master can sit down with his son, or 
even his wife, and work out a perplexing little sum which 
would be self-evident to an English child, but seriously 

189 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

addles his brain. If a man has 12 goats and 5 die, how 
many will be left ? Such a problem ! Should he add, 
multiply, divide or subtract the figures? How can he 
possibly solve such a question when he has never owned 
even six goats? But he finally arrives at some answer, 
and retires for the night, wondering at his own wisdom, 
and very eager for morning school to find out if the 
wisdom of the European and his agree on the point in 
question. 

The natives also see for themselves that only a 
"scholar" is capable now of controlling a chieftainship, 
and of putting into operation the rules and regulations 
of the British Government. 

Talk about the stir the census caused in the British 
Isles, it was absolutely nothing compared to the con- 
sternation it caused in Bunyoro. "Children under 12," 
when they only count by moons! "Bachelors and spin- 
sters," when people marry at 14 or 15. But these were 
but the beginning of troubles; the census paper then 
contained space for religious persuasion ; those afflicted 
with infirmities, and a long list of professions, beginning 
with the law, passing down through labyrinths of trades 
until a most accommodating space was left for " unskilled 
labour," where most of the population breathlessly took 
shelter. Another column was allotted for the number of 
cattle owned by the householder, and this caused grave 
questionings. " Did the Governor want to know where 
he could procure beef for himself and his caravan when 
he should pass this way? " So many subterfuges were 
invented, and one man gave as a substitute, the number 
of dogs and fowls he possessed, and the number of eggs 
waiting to be hatched. 

In 1908, when a redistribution of chieftainships was 
made in Bunyoro, out of the 58 men appointed, no less 
than 52 were Christian pupils of the senior school at 
Hoima. 

190 



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Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

The chiefs do not regard it as an indignity to come to 
school and learn side by side with a peasant. One of 
the most strenuous pupils at Hoima was Byabacwezi, the 
most influential chief in the whole of Bunyoro. Nothing 
but the most pressing business would deter him from 
attending; one morning he arrived panting, streaming 
and looking decidedly damaged. For some days he had 
been slowly assimilating a lesson in oxen-ploughing, and 
had determined to secretly try the experiment. With a 
roughly-constructed yoke, he went with his herdsman 
to a quiet, secluded spot to break in two powerful oxen, 
but they had "refused to hear," shattered the yoke, 
kicked out at their masters, and made their escape. 
Bruised and bleeding, Byabacwezi left the herdsman to 
pursue the truculent beasts, while he hurried in to school 
for another dose of "wisdom." I felt that he was 
decidedly entitled to the position of Senior Wrangler 
that term. 

The pioneer missionary must needs be a compendium 
of crafts and an encyclopedia of knowledge. An aero- 
plane does not create so much astonishment to a native 
as a white man to say, " I do not know." He laughs 
with incredulity, and, nodding sagaciously to himself, 
says, "The European wants his tea,'* and he goes away 
to repeat his inquiry at another opportune occasion. 

He must at least know something about medicine, not 
only for his own sake, but because the African would fail 
to understand a cure for the soul that could not cure a 
pain in the body. The witch-p)iest and medicine man 
were synonymous terms to them. All suffering came 
from the spirit world, so anyone who could teach* them 
about the gods could, of course, tell them how to turn 
away the wrath w'hich caused the sickness. Dire ignor- 
ance, dirt and immorality, will have robbed these people 
of all constitutional vigour for generations yet to come. 
The dread sleeping sickness of Uganda has not yet 

191 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

reached Toro or Bunyoro, and the people have been 
forcibly withdrawn from the tsetse fly areas, but small- 
pox and a form of beri-beri have depopulated large dis- 
tricts, while it is no exaggeration to say that there is 
scarcely one family unaffected with syphilis in one or 
more of its deadly forms. 

In the early days, when it took any time from one to 
five years to get an order out from England, the mis- 
sionary's medical stores often got tragically on the verge 
of giving out. For some weeks the undaunted Batoro 
patients were treated with Yorkshire relish for all internal 
pains, and carbolic tooth powder, adulterated with chalk, 
for external applications. But all such amateur treat- 
ment has receded in the far past, and now the quack 
dispensary has given place in Toro to a most imposing 
brick hospital, holding about loo beds, which is under 
the proficient charge of Dr. and Mrs. Bond and a trained 
nurse, while it has thrown out a well-equipped dispensary 
at Hoima. Now, the work of pioneering has been lifted 
from off the European, and is being undertaken by the 
African Christians themselves. Those years of tedious 
toil, living down suspicion of the natives, overcoming 
persistent opposition, and slowly winning the confidence 
of the people are spared to the missionary ; the native 
evangelist goes forth to the heathen villages and distant 
tribes, with only his sleeping mat and little bag of books, 
and, living like the people among whom he is sent, he 
is able to win their attention from the first. 

In this way, the whole country has become networked 
with little mission stations. In Toro there is a staff of 
nearly loo, and in Bunyoro 120 of these trained native 
teachers, besides a large staff of voluntary workers, 
are labouring in the villages around, or among neigh- 
bouring tribes as "foreign missionaries," each country 
having now two ordained native clergymen. These men 
are the backbone of the native church. To those who 

192 



Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

have given up chieftainships, a life of real sacrifice is 
involved, for they must isolate themselves from all their 
friends and Christian surroundings, and go forth" alone 
to wage a continual battle against the deadening forces of 
heathenism around, and, as one man described, "the 
heritage of generations of heathenism within." They 
represent the most educated class in the country, for they 
receive a solid groundwork of training, and after periods 
of service, return to the central station for further instruc- 
tion. They receive a mere nominal wage of los. 6d. to 
32s. a year, according to the standard they have reached, 
and this sum is just sufficient to provide them and their 
wives with clothing. They are dependent for food on 
the people to whom they are sent, who willingly do their 
part in this respect, and also build their own little church. 
These crude little buildings are church, synagogue and 
school combined; probably the European travelling 
through the country would conclude that they were sheds 
only, for they are composed of poles, reeds and thatch, 
and many of them have no windows. The light enters 
through the doorway, until the people stand up to sing, 
when both light and air are completely shut out. But, 
when compared with the chief's house in the village, it 
is a most imposing structure, for it is square, and a man 
can stand upright inside it, and it also boasts of a pulpit ! 
For no native would consider his church complete with- 
out a pulpit, and this sometimes takes up a quarter of the 
entire seating space. On one occasion, my husband 
entered one of these village pulpits during an itineration, 
that was distinctly lopsided, for it was erected on tree 
stumps, which had taken root one side. And a fowl had 
evidently not reckoned on an Irishman occupying the 
pulpit that day, for it had deposited a nest of eggs inside. 
After the service the eggs were ceremoniously presented 
to him as his rightful perquisite. 

So eager are the heathen to be tauglit that the demand 

193 o 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

for teachers is always greater than the supply. Some- 
times when a teacher is not forthcoming, a Christian man 
in the village will allow his house to become the mission 
room, where the people can gather daily, while he will 
teach the elementary truths of Christianity and give them 
instruction in the reading sheets, so that thev can learn 
to read the Gospels for themselves. In some cases the 
villagers have erected a little church in anticipation, 
hoping that this would constrain the white man to send 
them a messenger of his God, and when he has failed to 
arrive, they have chosen out the sharpest-witted boy 
among them, to go into the capital and learn all he can, 
so that he may return and pass on to them what he has 
been taught. And what a change takes place in that 
little village, which has never been visited by a messenger 
of Christ ! As these poor simple folk gaze at the letters 
in the reading sheet which he has brought to them, their 
minds are a perfect blank, but by daily endeavour they 
gradually learn to attach a sound to the figures, and at 
last the meaning of it all breaks in upon their minds, and 
as they read the beautiful story of that Perfect Man who 
was without sin, the sad and savage expression passes 
away from their countenances, and they become trans- 
formed. On one occasion we had a serving lad, who for 
months had been struggling with his letters, and could 
make nothing of them at all, but suddenly he seemed to 
grip their purpose, and, rushing into our room, he 
exclaimed, " My master, what can I do to show my joy ? 
Give me your gun that I may fire it off, else my heart 
will burst for joy, for now I have caught the book 
reading, it is mine." 

No haste or pressure is brought to bear upon the 
inquirer and catechumen. They must first pass a reading 
examination (old people excepted), so as to prove that 
they are able to study for themselves the Bible, and 
understand it. Then they bring two Church Communi- 

194 




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Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

cants as witnesses, who vouch for the consistency of their 
lives, and promise to help them ; they then enter the 
catechumenate for six months or more, which consists of 
a daily course of Bible and other religious instruction. 
The object the native teacher is taught to keep in mind 
is to impart to them a simple, clear and intelligent know- 
ledge of what Christianity is, and what it demands. If, 
at the end of the course, they present themselves for 
baptism, the two witnesses must again come forward, 
and the candidates' names are then read out in church 
two Sundays in succession, and the Christians are asked 
to bring any reasons they may have for preventing them 
from receiving the ordinance of baptism. 

The reality of the faith of the Banyoro is seen in their 
honest desire to carry the Gospel to those tribes whom 
they plundered and oppressed in former years. Banyoro 
teachers are now at work among the Balega and Babira 
tribes in the Belgian Congo, and they are receiving every 
encouragement and assurance from the officers in charge 
there. Northwards they have been sent to the peoples 
of Chopi, Madi and Ganyi, near neighbours of the Ban- 
yoro, and who were in the past all, more or" less, ruled 
over by these kings. 

The Government have recently opened a new admini- 
strative centre in this district, and they wrote, asking tTie 
mission if it could not send teachers, as they would prove 
the greatest help to them in their endeavours to help and 
control the natives. Two of the Government officials 
stationed there, sent in private contributions to enable 
mission work to be started; and the Banyoro have not 
forgotten their old king in exile in the far-away Sey- 
chelles ; they longed that he should share with them the 
joy and peace that Christianity brought to them. 
Andereya Duhaga consulted with the mission, and 
obtained the permission of the Government to send a 
missionary to him ; from those who immediately offered 

195 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

to go, was chosen a senior Church worker, who had stood 
by the old king, Kabarega, during his chequered for- 
tunes, and this man bravely set out with his wife to face 
the long journey that lay before him, and an unknown 
foreign land. He had never stepped beyond the 
boundaries of his own country before, and only knew his 
own limited language; his sole experience of travelling 
on water, was paddling across the Nile in a dug-out, but 
he fearlessly started forth to face the terrors of the rail- 
road to Mombasa, the rolling and pitching and novel 
life on an ocean liner, the confusion of tongues, and the 
bustle of changing boats at Port Said, and at last the 
civilised conditions of life in the Seychelles. He had no 
one to travel with him who could steer him through the 
difficulties, but he and his wife faced them alone, with a 
label tied round their necks. 

For months Kabarega showed the same obstinacy that 
had characterised him in the old days, but by earnest 
and unceasing prayer, Abimileka prevailed with God 
and with man, and after nearly two years' work he had 
the great joy of seeing his old king and master, who had 
always so steadfastly refused to yield to any earthly 
authority, surrender his heart to Christ. The old man 
is constantly visited by the English chaplain there, who 
writes of the definite change that has taken place in 
Kabarega's life. He himself often corresponds with his 
son, Andereya, and his letters always speak of his faith' 
and joy in Christ. 

A very striking demonstration of the results of British 
rule and Christianity in the country was given in 
November, igo8, when an international exhibition was 
organised in Uganda by H.E. the Governor. For the 
first time in the history of the land, the four kings of 
Uganda, Bunyoro, Ankole and Toro met, and all the 
national hatred that had always existed between them 
was forgotten. On Sunday morning, in the cathedral, 

196 



Conquest of Christianity over Fetishism 

which has, alas ! since been destroyed by fire, these four 
Christian kings knelt together, and not one present, 
whose mind could travel back over the past years of 
bitterness and bloodshed, could fail to marvel at the 
mighty change that had taken place, and to attribute all 
praise to Him Who died to reconcile all things unto Him- 
self. 

A new age has dawned for these peoples. The deep 
scars from the medicine-man's knife and branding irons 
that have destroyed the features of every adult in the 
countries of Toro and Bunyoro, are not seen on the 
children of the present generations; tfie haunting fear of 
devils that possessed every man, woman and child is 
being driven out by belief in an all-loving and beneficent 
God ; polygamy and slavery have received their death- 
blow ; woman is learning to take her rightful place as 
helpmeet, and not drudge, in the family life ; instead of 
drunken debaucheries and the sinuous accompaniments 
of the tom-tom in the homes of the people, family prayer 
ascends, and many wee tots can unite with their parents 
in the hymns that are so dear to the native. These are 
the changes that have taken place on the surface; the 
other results can only be appreciated by those who have 
dipped a little deeper, and realised what fetishism was, 
how it seemed woven into their very nature, and seen 
what it must have meant for these people to break from it. 

When we stand in that attitude, we can dimly under- 
stand what mighty changes have been wrought. The 
ignorant and weak fetish worshipper has been suddenly 
brought right about face, to the loftv standard of the 
Christianity of the modern civilised world. The history 
of the moral and spiritual training of mankind from 
Genesis 3 to the Acts of the Apostles must necessarily 
be omitted in his case, for there must be no relaxation 
of the law to accommodate the African of to-day; but 
we must be patient with him, and not disappointed, if he 

197 



Twilight Tales of the Black Baganda 

cannot grow from infancy to manhood in a day; for 
it must rrot be forgotten that the convert has not only to 
learn what we so inadequately practise ourselves — the 
Fruits of the Spirit — but he has also to learn that there 
are works of the flesh which must be mortified. "Now 
the works of the flesh are these : adultery, fornication, 
uncleanness, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, strife, murders, 
drunkenness, revellings and such like." 

And against these he has no natural weapons to 
wield — no self-respect, self-control, public opinion, 
healthful instincts, and inherent virtue, but a heritage of 
corruption, a weak physique, and an inertia born of the 
tropics to handicap him in his daily warfare. It is no 
discouragement to me to find one and another overcome 
in the conflict, but that there should be such a strong 
army of those who have conquered, is to me the greatest 
witness to the Divine power of our Faith. 

God grant that in the words of Kasagama, king of 
Toro : "This land may ever be a high lamp of God, that 
shall not be extinguished, but shall illuminate the peoples 
and tribes living in darkness around." 



198 



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