David Livingstone.

Livingstone's travels and researches in South Africa : including a sketch of sixteen years' residence in the interior of Africa, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the west coast, thence across the continent, down the river Zambesi to the eastern ocean online

. (page 19 of 36)
Online LibraryDavid LivingstoneLivingstone's travels and researches in South Africa : including a sketch of sixteen years' residence in the interior of Africa, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the west coast, thence across the continent, down the river Zambesi to the eastern ocean → online text (page 19 of 36)
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secure the ^ood-will of the rulers. The independent chiefs,
not knowing why their favor is so eagerly sought, become
excessively proud and supercilious in their demands, and
look upon white men with the greatest contempt. To such
lengths did the Bangala, a tribe near to which we had now
approached, proceed a few years ago, that they compelled
the Portuguese traders to pay for water, wood, and even
grass, and every possible pretext was invented for levying
fines; and these were patiently submitted to so long as the
slave-trade continued to flourish. We had unconsciously
come in contact with a system which w^as quite unknown
in the country from which my men had set out. An
English trader may there hear a demand for payment of
guides, but never, so far as I am aware, is he asked to pay
for leave to traverse a country. The idea does not seem
to have entered the native mind, except through slave-
traders; for the aborigines all acknowledge that the un-
tilled land, not needed for pasturage, belongs to God alone,
and that no harm is done by people passing through it. I
rather believe that, wherever the slave-trade has not pene-
trated, the visits of strangers are esteemed a real privilege

The village of old longa Panza (lat. 10° 25' S., long. 20^
15' E.) is small, and embowered in lofty evergreen trees,
which were hung around with fine festoons of creepers.
He sent us food immediately, and soon afterward a goat,
which was considered a handsome gift, there being but few
domestic animals, though the country is well adapted for
them. I suspect this, like the country of Shinte and Ka-
tema, must have been a tsetse district, and only recently
rendered capable of supporting other domestic animals be-
sides the goat by the destruction of the game through the
extensive introduction of fire-arms. AVe might all have
been as ignorant of the existence of this insect-plague as
the Portuguese, had it not been for the numerous migra-
tions of pastoral tribes which took place in the south Id
3on sequence of Zulu irruptions.

During these exciting scenes I always forgot my feverj



but a terrible sense of sinking came back with the feeling
of safety. The same demand of payment for leave to pass
was made on the 20th by old longa Panza as by the other
Chiboque. I offered the shell presented by Shinte, but
longa Panza said he was too old for ornaments. \Ye might
have succeeded very well with him, for he was by no
means unreasonable, and had but a very small village of
supporters; but our two guides from Kangenke compli-
cated our difiiculties by sending for a body of Bangala
traders, with a view to force us to sell the tusks of Seke-
letu and pay them with the price. We offered to pay
them handsomely if they would perform their promise of
guiding us to Cassange, but they knew no more of the
paths than we did; and my men had paid them repeatedly
and tried to get rid of them, but could not. They now
joined with our enemies, and so did the traders. Two
guns and some beads belonging to the latter were standing
in our encampment, and the guides seized them and ran
off. As my men knew that we should be called upon to
replace them, they gave chase, and when the guides saw
that they* would be caught they threw down the guns,
directed their flight to the village, and rushed into a hut.
The doorway is not much higher than that of a dog's ken-
nel. One of the guides was reached by one of my men as
he was in the act of stooping to get in, and a cut was
inflicted on a projecting part of the body which would have
made any one in that posture wince. The guns were
restored, but the beads were lost in the flight. All I had
remaining of my stock of beads could not replace those
lost ; and, though we explained that we had no part in the
guilt of the act, the traders replied that we had brought
the thieves into the country ; these were of the Bangala,
who had been accustomed to plague the Portuguese in the
most vexatious way. We were striving to get a passage
through the country, and, feeling anxious that no crime
whatever should be laid to our charge, tried the concilia


toiy plan hero, though we were not, as in the other in-
stances, likely to be overpowered by numbers.

My men offered all their ornaments, and I offered all my
beads and shirts; but, though we had come to the village
against our will, and the guides had also followed us con-
trary to our desire, and had even sent for the Bangala
traders without our knowledge or consent, yet matters
could not be arranged without our giving an ox and one
of the tusks. We were all becoming disheartened, and
could not wonder that native exj)edition8 from the interior
to the coast had generally failed to reach their destinations.
My people were now so much discouraged that some pro-
sed to return home : the prospect of being obliged to
return when just on the threshold of the Portuguese set-
tlements distressed me exceedingly. After using all my
powers of persuasion, I declared to them that if they re-
turned I would go on alone, and went into my little tent
with the mind directed to Him who hears the sighing of
the soul, and was soon followed by the head of Mohorisi,
saying, " We will never leave you. Do not be disheartened.
Wherever you lead we will follow. Our remarks were
made only on account of the injustice of these people."
Others followed, and with the most artless simplicity of
manner told me to be comforted: "they were all my chil-
dren; they knew no one but Sekeletu and me, and they
would die for me; they had not fought, because I did not
wish it; they had just spoken in the bitterness of their
spirit, and when feeling that they could do nothing; but
if these enemies begin you will see what we can do." One
of the oxen we offered to the Chiboque had been rejected
because he had lost part of his tail, as they thought that it
had been cut off and witchcraft-medicine inserted; and
some mirth was excited by my proposing to raise a similar
objection to all the oxen we still had in our possession.
The remaining four soon presented a singular shortness of
their caudal extremities, and, though no one ever asked
whether they had medicine in the stumps or no, we were


no raore troubled by the demand for an ox ! We no'w
slaughtered another ox, that the spectacle might not bo
Been of the owners of the cattle fasting while the Chiboque
were feasting.



24fA. — Tonga Panza's sons agreed to act as guides into
\^e territory of the Portuguese if I would give them the
Kjell given by Shinte. I was strongly averse to this, and
especially to give it beforehand, but yielded to the entreaty
cf my people to appear as if showing confidence in these hope-
fal youths. They urged that they wished to leave the shell
with their wives as a sort of payment to them for enduring
their husbands' absence so long. Having delivered the pre-
cious shelly we went west-by-north to the river Chikapa,
which here (lat. 10° 22' S.) is forty or fifty yards wide,
and at present was deep; it was seen flowing over a rocky,
broken cataract with great noise about half a mile above
our ford. We were ferried over in a canoe made out of a
single piece of bark sewed together at the ends, and having
sticks placed in it at different* parts to act as ribs.

Next morning our guides went only about a mile, and
then told us -they would return home. I expected this
when paying them beforehand, in accordance w^ith the en-
treaties of the Makololo, who are rather ignorant of the
world. Yery energetic remonstrances were addressed to
the guides, but they slipped off one by one in the thick
forest through which we were passing, and I was glad to
hear my comp&.nions coming to the conclusion that, as we
were now in parts visited by traders, we did not require
the guides, whose chief use had been to prevent misappre-
hension of our objects in the minds of the villagei-s.


2(ylh. — We spent Sunday on the banks of the Qu'lo or
Kweelo, here a stream of about ten yards wide. It runs
>n a deep glen, the sides of which are almost five hundred
yards of slope, and rocky, the rocks being hardened cal-
careous tufa lying on clay shale and sandstone below, with
a capping of ferruginous conglomerate. The scenery wonid
have been very pleasing, but fever took away much of the
joy of life, and severe daily intermittents rendered me very
weak and always glad to recline.

In continuing our W.N.W. course, we met many parties
of native traders, each carrying some pieces of cloth and
salt, with a few beads to barter for bees' -wax. They are
all armed with Portuguese guns, and have cartridges with
iron balls. "When We meet, we usually stand a few minutes
They present a little salt, and we give a bit of ox-hide, or
some other trifle, and then part with mutual good wishes.
The hide of the oxen we slaughtered had been a valuable
addition to our resources, for we found it in so great repute
for girdles all through Loanda that we cut up every skin
into strips about two inches broad, and sold them for meal
and manioc as we went along. As we came nearer Angola
we found them of less value, as the people there possess
cattle themselves.

The village on the Kweelo, at which we spent Sunday,

was that of a civil, lively old man, called Sakandala, whc

offered no objections to our progress. We found we should

soon enter on the territory of the Bashinje, (Chinge of the

Portuguese,) who are mixed with another tribe, named

Pane:ala, which have been at war with the Babindele or

Portuguese. Eains and fever, as usual, helped to impede

v^ir progress until we were put on the path which eads

from Cassange and Bihe to Matiamvo by a head-man

named Kamboela. This was a well-beaten footpath, and

soon after entering upon it we met a party of half-caste

tradei^ from Bihe, who confirmed the information we had

nlready got of this path leading straight to Cassange,

through which they had come on their way from Bihe to


C'abango They kindly presented my men with soma
tobacco, and marvelled greatly when thej^ found that I
had never been able to teach myself to smoke.

As we were now alone, and sure of being on the way to
the abodes of civilization, we went on briskly.

On the 30th we came to a sudden descent from the hi^h
land, indented by deep, narrow valleys, over which we had
lately been travelling. It is generally so steep that it can
only be descended at particular points, and even there I
was obliged to dismount, though so weak that I had to be
led by my companions to prevent my toppling over in
walking down. It was annoying to feel myself so helpless,
for I never liked to see a man, either sick or well, give in
eflFeminately. Below us lay the valley of the Quango. If
you sit on the spot where Mary Queen of Scots viewed the
battle of Langside, and look down on the vale of Clyde,
3'ou may see in miniature the glorious sight which a much
greater and richer valley presented to our view. It ia
about a hundred miles broad, clothed with dark forest,
except where the light-green grass covers meadow-lands on
the Quango, which here and there glances out in the sun
as it wends its way to the north. The opposite side of this
great valley appears like a range of lofty mountains, and
the descent into it about a mile, which, measured perpen-
dicularly, may be from a thousand to twelve hundred feet.
Emerging from the gloomy forests of Londa, this magnifi-
cent prospect made us all feel as if a weight had been lifted
otf our eyelids. A cloud was passing across the middle of
the valley, from which rolling thunder pealed, while above
all was glorious sunlight ; and when we went down to the
part where we saw it passmg we found that a very heavy
thunder-shower had fallen under the path of the cloud,
and the bottom of the valley, which from above seemed
quite smooth, we discovered to be intersected by great
numbers of deep-cut streams. Looking back from below,
the descent appears as the edge of a table-land, with
numerous indented dells and spurs jutting out uii aiongi


giving it a serrated appearance. Eoth the top and Ridea
of the sierra are covered with trees; hut large patches
of the more perpendicular parts are bare, and exhibit the
red soil which is general over the region we have now

The hollow affords a section of this part of the country;
and we find that the uppermost stratum is the ferruginous
conglomerate already mentioned. The matrix is rust of
iron, (or hydrous peroxide of iron and hematite,) and in it
are embedded water-worn pebbles of sandstone and quartz.
As this is the rock underlying the soil of a large part of Londa,
its formation must have preceded the work of denudation by
an arm of the sea which washed away the enormous mass
of matter required before the vallej^ of Cassange could as-
sume its present form. The strata under the conglomerate
are all of red clay shale of different degrees of hardness,
the most indurated being at the bottom. This red clay
shale is named " keele'^ in Scotland, and has always been
considered as an indication of gold ; but the only thing we
discovered was that it had given rise to a very slippery
clay soil, so different from that which we had just left that
Mashauana, who always prided himself on being an adept
at balancing himself in the canoe on water, and so sure of
foot on land that he could afford to express contempt for
any one less gifted, came down in a very sudden and un-
dignified manner, to the delight of all whom he had pre-
viously scolded for falling.

Sunday, April 2. — We rested beside a small stream, and
our hunger being now very severe, from having lived on
manioc alone since leaving longa Pauza's, we slaughtered
one of our four remaining oxen. We could get neither
meal nor manioc, but should have been comfortable had not
the Bashinje chief Sansawe pestered us for the customary
present. The native traders informed us that a display of
force was often necessary before they could pass this man.

Sansawe, the chief of a portion of the Basliinje, having
Bent the usual formal demand for a man, an ox, or a tusk,


Bpoke very contemptuously of the poor things we offered
him instead. We told his messengers that the tusks wer©
bekeletu's : every thing was gone except my instruments,
which could be of no use to them whatever. One of them
begged some meat, and, when it was refused, said to my
men, "You may as well give it, for we shall take all after
we have killed you to-morrow.^' The more humbly we
spoke, the more insolent the Bashinje became, till at last
we were all feeling savage and sulky, but continued to
speak as civilly as we could. They are fond of argument,
and, when I denied their right to demand tribute from a
white man who did not trade in slaves, an old white-
headed negro put rather a posing question : — "You know
that God has placed chiefs among us whom we ought to
support. How is it that you, who have a book that tells
you about him, do not come forward at once to pay this
chief tribute like every one else ?" I replied by asking,
^' How could I know that this was a chief, who had allowed
me to remain a day and a half near him without giving me
any thing to eat ?" This, which to the uninitiated may
seem sophistry, was to the Central Africans quite a rational
question; for he at once admitted that food ought to have
been sent, and added that probably his chief was only
making it ready for me, and that it would come sooii.

After being wearied by talking all day to different par-
ties sent by Sansawe, we were honored by a visit from
himself: he is quite a young man, and of rather a pleasing
countenance. There cannot have been much intercourse
between real Portuguese and these people even here, so
close to the Quango, for Sansawe asked me to show him
my hair, on the ground that, though he had heard of it,
and some white men had even passed through his country,
he had never seen straight hair before. This is quite pos-
sible, as most of the slave-traders are not Portuguese, but
half-castes. The difference between their wool and our hair
caused him to burst into a laugh, and the contrast between
the exposed and unexposed parts of my skin, when exhibited


m evidence of our all being made of one stock orip!;inally,
and the children of one Maker, seemed to strike him with
wonder. I then showed him my watch, and wished to
win my way into his confidence by conversation; but, when
about to exhibit my pocket-compass, he desired me to do^
sist, as he was afraid of my wonderful things. 1 told him^
if he knew my aims as the tribes in the interior did, and
as I hoped he would yet know them and me, he would be
glad to stay, and see also the pictures of the magic lan-
tern ; but, as it was now getting dark, he had evidently got
enough of my witchery, and began to use some charms to
dispel any kindly feelings he might have found stealing
round his heart. He asked leave to go, and when his party
moved off a little way he sent for my spokesman, and
told him that, "if we did not add a red jacket and a man
to our gift of a few copper rings and a few pounds of meat,
we must return by the way we had come." I said, in
reply, 'Hhat we should certainly go forward next day, and
if he commenced hostilities the blame before God would
be that of Sansawe ;" and my man added, of his own ac-
cord, " How many white men have you killed in this path ?"
which might be interpreted into, " You have never killed
any white man; and you will find ours more difficult to
manage than you imagine." It expressed a determination,
which we had often repeated to each other, to die rather
than yield one of our party to be a slave.

Hunger has a powerful effect on the temper. When we
had got a good meal of meat, we could all bear the petty
annoyances of these borderers on the more civilized region
in front with equanimity; but, having suffered considerably
of late, we were all rather soured in our feelings, and not
unfrequently I overheard my companions remark in their
own tongue, in answer to threats of attack, ^^ That's what
we want : only begin, then ;" or with clenched teeth they
would exclaim to each other, "These things have never
travelled, and do not know what men are." The worrying,
of which I give only a slight sketch, had considerable in«



flueiice on my mind, and more as it was iTijpofl-
sible to make any allowance for the Bashinje such as 1
was willing to award to the Chiboque. They saw that we
had nothing to give, nor would they be benefited in the
least by enforcing the impudent order to return whence
we had come. They were adding insult to injury, and this
put us all into a fighting spirit, and, as nearly as we could
judge, we expected to be obliged to cut our way through
the Bashinje next morning.

Sd April. — As soon as day dawned we were astir, and,
setting off in a drizzling rain, passed close to the village.
This rain probably damped the ardor of the robbers.
We, however, expected to be fired upon from every clump
of tree», or from some of the rocky hillocks among which
we weie passing; and it was only after two hours' march
that we began to breathe freely, and my men remarked,
in thankfulness, '^We are children of Jesus.'' We con-
tinued our course, notwithstanding the rain, across the
bottom of the Quango valley, which we found broken by
clay shale rocks jutting out, though lying nearly horizon-
tally. We passed many villages during this drenching,
one of which possessed a flock of sheep; and after six
hours we came to a stand near the river Quango, (lat. 9°
53' S., long. 18° 37' E.,) which may be called the boundary
of the Portuguese claims to territory on the west. As I
had now no change of clothing, I was glad to cower under
the shelter of my blanket, thankful to God for his good-
ness in bringing us so far without losing one of the

4th April. — We were now on the banks of the Quango, a
liver one hundred and fifty yards wide, and very deep. The
water was discolored, — a circumstance which we had ob-
served in no other river in Londa or in the Makololo
country. This fine river flows among extensive meadows
clothed with gigantic grass and reeds, and in a direction
nearly north.

We were advised not to sleep near it; but, as we were



anxioup to cross to the western side, we tried to induce
some of the Bashinje to lend us canoes for the purpose.
This brought out the chief of these parts, who informed u«
that all the canoe-men were his children, and nothing
could be done without his authority. He then made tlie
usual demand for a man, an ox, or a gun, adding that
otherwise we must return to the country from which we
had come. As I did not believe that this man had any
power over the canoes of the other side, and suspected that


if I gave him my blanket — the only thing I now had in
reserve — he might leave us in the lurch after all, I tried to
persuade my men to go at once to the bank, about two
miles off, and obtain possession of the canoes before wo
gave up the blanket 3 but they thought that this chief
might attack us in the act of crossing, should we do so.
The chief came himself to our encampment and made hi8
demand again. My men stripped off the last of their cop-^
per rings and gave them ; but he was still intent on a man.


fle thought, as others did, that my men were slaves. He
was a young man, with woolly hair elaborately dressed :
thai; behind was made up into a cone, about eight inches
in diameter at the base, carefully swathed round with red
and black thread. As I resisted the proposal to deliver up
my blanket until they had placed us on the western bank,
this chief continued to worry us with his demands till 1
was tired. My little tent was now in tatters, and, having
a wider hole behind than the door in front, I tried in vain
to lie down out of sight of our persecutors. We were on a
reedy flat, and could not follow our usual plan of a small
stockade in which we had time to think over and concoct
our plans. As I was trying to persuade my men to move
on to the bank in spite of these people, a young half-caste
Portuguese sergeant of militia, Cypriano di Abreu, made
his appearance and gave the same advice. He had come
across the Quango in search of bees'-wax. When we
moved off from the chief who had been plaguing us, his
people opened a fire from our sheds, and continued to blaze
away some time in the direction we were going ; but none
of the bullets reached us. It is probable that they ex-
pected a demonstration of the abundance of ammunition
they possessed would make us run; but, when we con-
tinued to move quietly to the ford, they proceeded no
farther than our sleeping-place. Cypriano assisted us in
making a more satisfactory arrangement with the ferry-
man than parting with my blanket; and as soon as wo
reached the opposite bank we were in the territory of the
Bangala, who are subjects of the Portuguese, and often
spoken of as the Cassanges or Cassantse ; and happily ail
our difficulties with the border-tribes were at an end.

Passing with light hearts through the high grass by i>
narrow footpath about three miles west of the river, we canit
to several neat square houses, with many cleanly-looking
half-caste Portuguese standing in front of them to salute
us They are all enrolled in the militia, and our friend
Oypriajio is the commander of a division established here


We came to the dwelling of Cypriano after dark, and 1
pitched my little tent in front of it for the night. "We had
the company of mosquitos here. We never found them
troublesome on the banks of the pure streams of Londa-
On the morning of the 5th, Cypriano generously supplied
my men with pumpkins and maize, and then invited me to
breakfast, which consisted of groundnuts and roasted
maize, then boiled manioc-roots and groundnuts, v.ith
guavas and honey as a dessert. I felt sincerely grateful
for this mao;nificent breakfast.

At dinner Cypriano was equally bountiful, and several
of his friends joined us in doing justice to his hospitality
Before eating, all had water poured on the hands by a
female slave to wash them. One of the guests cut up a
fowl with a knife and fork. JS^either forks nor sj^oons were

Online LibraryDavid LivingstoneLivingstone's travels and researches in South Africa : including a sketch of sixteen years' residence in the interior of Africa, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the west coast, thence across the continent, down the river Zambesi to the eastern ocean → online text (page 19 of 36)