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 25 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 25 of 36)
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is essentially cowardly, except when influenced by success.
A partial triumph over any body of men would induce the
whole country to rise in arms ; and this is the chief danger
to be feared. These petty chiefs have individually but
little power, and with my men, now armed with guns, I
could have easily beaten them ofl' singly; but, being of
the same family, they would readily unite in vast numbers
if incited by prospects of successful plunder. They are by
no means equal to the Cape Caffres in any respect what-

In the evening we came to Moena Kikanje, and found
him a sensible man. He is the last of the Chiboque chiefs
in this direction, and is in alliance with Matiamvo, whose
territory commences a short distance beyond. His village
is placed on the east bank of the Quilo, which is here
twenty yards wide and breast deep.

The country was generally' covered with forest, and we
slept every night at some village. I was so weak, and had
become so deaf from the effects of the fever, that I was
glad to avail myself of the company of Senhor Pascoal and
the other native traders. Our rate of travelling was only
two geographical miles per hour, and the average number of
hours three and a half per day, or seven miles. Two-thirds
of the month was spent in stoppages, there being only ten
travelling-days in each month. The stoppages were caused
by sickness, and the necessity of remaining in different
parts to purchase food; and also because when one carrier
was sick the rest refused to carry his load.

We crossed the Loange, a deep but narrow stream, by a
bridge. It becomes much larger, and contains hippopo-
tami, lower down. It is the boundary of Londa on the west.
We slept also on the banks of the Peyo, now flooded, and



could not but admire their capabilities for easy irrigation.
On roacnmg the river Chikapa, (lat. 10° 10' S., long. lO**
42' E.,) the 25th of March, we found it fifty or sixty yards
wide, and flowing E.N.E. into the Kasai. The adjacent
coun^.ry is of the same level nature as that part of Londa
formerly described ; but, having come farther to the east-
ward than our previous course, we found that all the rivers
had worn for themselves much deeper valleys than at the
points we had formerly crossed them.

Surrounded on all sides by large gloomy forests, the
people of these parts have a much more indistinct idea of
the geography of their country than those who live in hilly
regions. It was only after long and patient inquiry that I
became fully persuaded that the Quilo runs into the Chi-
kapa. As we now crossed them both considerably farther
down, and were greatly to the eastward of our first route,
there can be no doubt that these rivers take the same
course as the others, into the Kasai, and that I had been
led into a mistake in saying that any of them flowed to
the westward. Indeed, it was only at this time that T
began to perceive that all the western feeders of the Kasai,
except the Quango, flow first from the western side toward
the centre of the country, then gradually turn, with the
Kasai itself, to the north, and, after the confluence of the
Kasai with the Quango, an immense body of water, col-
lected from all these branches, finds its way out of the
country by means of the river Congo or Zaire, on the west

The people living along the path we are now following
were quite accustomed to the visits of native traders, and
did not feel in any way bound to make presents of food
except for the purpose of cheating : thus, a man gave me
a fowl and some meal, and after a short time returned.
I oftered him a handsome present of beads ; but these he
declined, and demanded a cloth instead, which was far
more than the value of his gift. They did the same with
my men, until \se had to refuse presents altogether. Others



made high demands because I slept in a ^^ house of cloth"
and must be rich. They seemed to think that they had a
perfect right to payment for simply passing through the

Beyond the Chikapa we crossed the Kamaue, a small,
deep stream proceeding from the S.S.W. and flowing into

the Chikapa.

On the 80th of April we reached the Loajima, where wo
had to form a bridge to effect our passage. This was not
so difficult an operation as some might imag ne; for a tree


was growing in a borizontal position across part of the
stream, and, there being no want of the tough climbing
plants which admit of being knitted like ropes, Senhor P.
soon constructed a bridge. The Loajima was here about
twenty-five yards wide, but very much deeper than where
I had crossed before on the shoulders of Mashauana. Th«



last rain of this season had fallen on the 28th, and had
suddenly been followed by a great decrease of the tempera-
ture. The people in these parts seemed more slender in
form, and their color a lighter olive, than any we had
hitherto met. The mode of dressing the great masses of
woolly hair which lay upon their shoulders, together with
their general features, again reminded me of the ancient
Egyptians. Several were seen with the upward inclination
of the outer angles of the eye; but this was not general.


A few of the ladies adopt a curious custom of attaching
the hair to a hoop which encircles the head, giving it some-
what the appearance of the glory round the head of the
Virgin, as shown on p. 295. Some have a small hoop behind
that represented in the wood-cut. Others wear an orna-
ment of woven hair and hide adorned with beads. Tho
hair of the tails of buffaloes, which are to be found larthor



east, 18 sometimes added; while others weave their own
hair on pieces of hide into the form of buifalo-horns, oi
make a single horn in front. Many tattoo their bodies by
inserting some black substance beneath the skin, which
leaves an elevated cicatrix about half an inch long : these
are made in the form of stars and other figures of no pai>
ticular beauty.





We made a little detour to the southward, in order to
get provisions in a cheaper market. This led ns along the
rivulet called Tamba, where we found the people, who had
not been visited so frequently by the slave-traders as the
rest, rather timid and yery civil.

We reached the river Moamba (lat. 9° 38' S., long. 20^
13' 34" E.) on the 7th May. This is a stream of thirty
yards wide, and, like the Quilo, Loange, Chikapa, and
Loajima, contains both alligators and hippopotami. We
crossed it by means of canoes.

We crossed two small streams, the Kanesi and Fombeji,
before reaching Cabango, a village situated on the banks
of the CL'.hombo. The country was becoming more
densely peopled as we proceeded, but it bears no popula-
tion compared to what it might easily sustain.

Cabango (lat. 9° 31' S., long. 20° 31' or 32' E.) is the
dwelling-place of Muanzanza, one of Matiamvo's subor-
dinate chiefs. His village consists of about two hundred
huts and ten or twelve square houses, constructed of
poles with grass interwoven. The latter are occupied
by half-caste Portuguese from Ambaca, agents for the
Cassange traders. The cold in the mornings was now
severe to the feelings, the thermometer ranging from 58°
to 60°, though, when protected, sometimeo standing as
high as 64° at six a.m. When the sun is well up, the
thermometer in the shade rises to 80°, and in the even
ings it is about 78°.

Having met with an accident to one of my eyes by a
blow from a branch in passing through a forest, I remained
uome days here, endeavoring, though with much pain, to
draw a sketch of the country thus far, to be sent back to


Mr. Gabriel at Loanda. I was always anxious to transmit
an account of my discoveries on every possible occasion,
lest, any thing happening in the country to which 1 was
going, the}^ should be entirely lost. I also fondly expected
a packet of letters and papers which my good angel at
Loanda would be sure to send if they came to hand ; but 1
afterward found that, though he had offered a large sum
to any one who would return with an assurance of having
delivered the last packet he sent, no one followed me with
it to Cabango. The unwearied attentions of this good
Englishman, from his first welcome to me, when, a weary,
dejected, and worn-down stranger, I arrived at his resi-
dence, and his whole subsequent conduct, will be held in
lively remembrance by me to my dying day

As we thought it best to strike away to the S.E. from
Cabango to our old friend Katema, I asked a guide from
Muanzanza. He agreed to furnish one, and also accepted
a smaller present from me than usual, when it was r^
presented to him by Pascoal and Faria that I was not a

"We were fbrced to prepay our guide and his father too;
and he went but one day, although he promised to go with
us to Katema.

The reason why we needed a guide at all was to secure
the convenience of a path, which, though generally no
better than a sheep-walk, is much easier than going
straight in one direction through tangled forests > and
tropical vegetation. We knew the general direction we
ought to follow, and also if any deviation occurred from
our proper route ; but, to avoid impassable forests and
untreadable bogs, and to get to the proper fords of the
rivers, we always tried to procure a guide, and he always
followed the common path from one village to another
when that lay in the direction we were going.

After leaving Cabango, on the 21st, we crossed several
little streams running into the Chihombo on our left.

On the 28th we reached the village of the chief Bango,


(lat. 12° 22' 53" S., long. 20° 58' E.,) who brought ns a
handsome present of meal and the meat of an entiie
pallah. We here slaughtered the last of the cows pre-
sented to us by Mr. Schut, which I had kept milked until
it gave only a teasj)Oonful at a time. My men enjoyed a
hearty laugh when they found that I had given up all hope
of more, for they had been talking among themselves about
my perseverance.

May 30. — We left Bango, and proceeded to the river
Loembwe, which flows to the N.N.E. and abounds in
hippopotami. It is about sixty yards wide and four feet
deep, but usually contains much less water than this, for
there are fishing-weirs placed right across it. Like all the
African rivers in this quarter, it has morasses on each
bank ; yet the valley in which it w^inds, when seen from
the high lands above, is extremely beautiful.

Having passed the Loembwe, we were in a more open
country, with every few hours a small valley, through
which ran a little rill in the middle of a bog. These were
always difiicult to pass, and, being numerous, kept the
lower part of the person constantly wet.

On the evening of the 2d of June we reached the village
of Kawawa, — rather an important personage in these parts.
This village consists of forty or fifty huts, and is surrounded
by forest. Drums were beating over the body of a man
who had died the preceding day, and some women were
making a clamorous wail at the door of his hut, and
addressing the deceased as if alive.

In the morning we had agreeable intercourse with Ka-
wawa: he visited US', and we sat and talked nearly the
whole day with him and his people. When we visited
him in return, we found him in his large court-house,
which, though of a bee-hive shape, was remarkably well
built. As I had shown him a number of curiosities, ho
now produced a jug, of English ware, shaped like an old
man holding a can of beer in his hand, as the greatest
ouriosity he had to exhibit.


"Wo exhibited the pictures of the magic lantern in the
evening, and all were delighted except Kawawa himself
Ho showed symptoms of dread, and several times started
ap as if to run away, out was prevented by the crowd
behind. Some of the more inteUigent understood the ex-
planations well, and expatiated eloquently on them to tne
more obtuse. Nothing could exceed the civilities which
had passed between us during this day ; but Kawawa had
heard that the Chiboque had forced us to pay an ox, and
now thought he might do the same. When, therefore, I
sent next morning to let him know that we were ready to
start, he replied, in his figurative way, "If an ox come in
the way of a man, ought he not to eat it ? I had given
one to the Chiboque, and must give him the same, together
with a gun, gunpowder, and a black robe, like that he had
Been spread out to dry the day before ; that, if I refused an
ox, I must give one of my men, and a book by which he
might see the state of Matiamvo's heart toward him, and
which would forewarn him should Matiamvo ever resolve
to cut off his head." Kawawa came in the coolest manner
possible to our encampment after sending this message,
and told me he had seen all our goods and must have all
he asked, as he had command of the Kasai in our front,
and would prevent us from passing it unless we paid this
tribute. I replied that the goods were my property and
not his ; that I would never have it said that a white man
had paid tribute to a black, and that I should cross the
Kasai in spite of him. He ordered his people to arm them-
selves, and when some of my men saw them rushing for
their bows, arrows, and spears, they became somewhat
panic-stricken. I ordered them to move away, and not to
fire unless Kawawa's people struck the first blow. I took
the lead, and expected them all to follow, as they usually
had done; but many of my men remained behind. When
I knew this, I jum2)ed off the ox and made a rush to them
Tvith the revolver in my hand. Kawawa ran away among
his people, and they turned their backs too. I shouted to



my men to take up their luggage and march : some did ho
with alacrity, feeling that they had disobeyed orders by
remaining ; but one of them refused, and was preparing to
f re at Kawawa, until I gave him a punch on the head
with the pistol and made him go too. I felt here, as else-
where, that subordination must be maintained at all risks.
We all moved into the forest, the people of Kawawa stand-
ing about a hundred yards off, gazing, but not firing a shot
or an arrow. It is extremely unpleasant to part with these
chieftains thus, after spending a day or two in the most
amicable intercourse, and in a part where the people are
generally civil. This Kawawa, however, is not a good
specimen of the Balonda chiefs, and is rather notorious in
the neighborhood for his folly. We were told that he has
good reason to believe that Matiamvo will some day cut
off his head for his disregard of the rights of strangers.

Kawawa was not to be balked of his supposed rights by
the unceremonious way in which we had left him; for,
when we had reached the ford of the Kasai, about ten
miles distant, we found that he had sent four of his men
with orders to the ferrymen to refuse us passage. We
were here duly informed that we must deliver up all the
articles mentioned, and or.e of our men besides. This de-
mand for one of our number always nettled every heart
The canoes were taken away before our eyes, and we were
supposed to be quite helpless without them, at a river a
good hundred yards broad, and very deep. Pitsane stood
on the bank, gazing with apparent indifference on the
stream, and made an accurate observation of where the
canoes were hidden among the reeds. The ferrymen
casually asked one of my Batoka if they had rivers in his
country, and he answered, with truth, "No; we have
none." Kawawa's people then felt sure we could not cross.
I thought of swimming when they were gone ; but, after
it was dark, by the unasked loan of one of the hidden
canoes, we soon were snug in our bivouac on the southern
bank of the Kasai. I left some beads as payment for some


meal which had been presented by the ferrymen ; and, the
canoe having been left on their own side of the river,
Pitsane and his companions laughed uproariously at tho
disgust our enemies would feel, and their perplexity as
to who had been our paddler across They were quite
sure that Kawawa would imagine that we had been ferried
over by his own people and would be divining to find out
who had done the deed. AVhen ready to depart in the
morning, Kawawa's people appeared on the opposite
Iieights, and could scarcely believe their eyes when they
saw us prepared to start away to the south. At last one
of them called out, "Ah! ye are bad;'' to which Pitsane
and his companions retorted, "Ah! ye are good, and we
thank you for the loan of your canoe." We were careful
to explain the whole of the circumstances to Katema and
the other chiefs, and they all agreed that we were per-
fectly justifiable under the circumstances, and that Ma-
tiamvo would approve our conduct. When any thing that
might bear an unfavorable construction happens among
themselves, they send explanations to each other. The
mere fact of doing so prevents them from losing their
character, for there is public opinion even among them.




After leaving the Kasai, we entered upon the extersiv©
level plains which we had formerly found in a flooded con-
dition. The water on them was not yet dried up, as it
Btill remained in certain hollow spots. Vultures were seen
floating in the air, showing that carrion was to be found ;
and, indeed, we saw several of the large game, but so
exceedingly wild as to be unapproachable.


During our second day on this extensive plain I suffered
from my twenty-seventh attack of fever, at a part where
no surface-water was to be found. We never thought it
necessary to carry water with us in this region; and now,
when I was quite mable to move on, my men soon found
water to allay my burning thirst by digging with sticks a
few feet beneath the surface. We had thus an opportunity
of observing the state of these remarkable plains at differ-
ent seasons of the year. Next day we pursued our way,
and on the 8th of June we forded the Lotembwa to the
N.W. of Dilolo, and regained our former path.

After crossing the Northern Lotembwa, we met a party
of the people of Kangenke, who had treated us kindly on
our way to the north, and sent him a robe of striped calico^
with an explanation of the reason for not returning through
his village. We then went on to the Lake Dilolo. It is a
fine sheet of water, six or eight miles long and one or two
broad, and somewhat of a triangular shape. A branch
proceeds from one of the angles and flows into the Southern

We found Moene Dilolo (Lord of the Lake) a fat, jolly
fellow, who lamented that when they had no strangers
they had plenty of beer, and always none when they came.
He gave us a handsome present of meal and putrid buffalo's
flesh. Meat cannot be too far gone for them, as it is used
only in small quantities, as a sauce to their tasteless manioc

June 14. — We reached the collection of straggling vil-
lages over which Katema rules, and were thankful to see
old familiar faces again. Shakatwala performed the part
of a chief by bringing forth abundant supplies of food in
nis master's name. He informed us that Katema, too, was
out hunting skins for Matiamvo.

On the 15th Katema came home from his hunting, having
heard of our arrival. He desired me to rest myself and
cat abundantly, for, being a great man, I must feel tired,
and took good care to give the mearffe of doing so. All the
people in these parts are exceedingly kind and liberal with


their food, and Katema was not behindhand. "V^'hen ho
virfitcd our encampment, I presented him with a cloak of
red baize, ornamented with gold tinsel, which cost thirty
shillings, according to the promise I had made in going to
Londa ; also a cotton robe, both large and small beads, an
iron spoon, and a tin pannikin containing a quarter of a
pound of powder. He seemed greatly pleased with the
liberality shown, and assured me that the way was mine,
and th^t no one should molest me in it if he could help it.

Leaving Katema's town on the 19th, and proceeding
four miles to the eastward, we forded the southern branch
of Lake Dilolo. We found it a mile and a quarter broad;
and, as it flows into the Lotembwa, the lake would seem
to be a drain of the surrounding flats, and to partake of
the character of a fountain. The ford was waist deep, and
very difficult, from the masses of arum and rushes through
which we waded. Going to the eastward about three
miles, we came to the Southern Lotembwa itself, running
in a valley two m)4es broad. It is here eighty or ninety
yards wide, and contains numerous islands covered with
dense sylvan vegetation.

We traversed the extended plain on the north bank of
the Leeba, and crossed this river a little farther on at Kan-
yonke's village, which is about twenty miles west of the
Peri Hills, our former ford. The first stage beyond the
Leeba was at the rivulet Loamba, by the village of Che-
bende, nephew of Shinte; and next day we met Chebende
himself returning from the funeral of Samoana, his father.
He was thin and haggard-looking compared to what ho
had beon before, — the probable effect of the orgies in which
he had been engaged.

We reached our friend Shinte, and received a hearty
welcome from this friendly old man, and abundant pro-
visions of the best he had. On hearing a report of the
journey given by my companions, and receiving a piece
uf cotton cloth about*two yards square, he said, " Thes©
ifambari cheat us by bringing little piecej only; but the
U 26*


next time yon pass I shall send men with you to trade foi
me m Loanda." When I explained the use made of tha
,'=ilaves he sold^ and that he was just destroying his own
tribe by selling his people, and enlarging that of the Mam-
bari for the sake of these small pieces of cloth, it seemed to
him quite a new idea.

We parted on the best possible terms with our friend
Shinte, and proceeded by our former path to the village of
his sister Kyamoana, who is now a widow. She received us
with much apparent feeling, and said, ^*We had removed
from our former abode to the place where you found us,
and had no idea then that it was the spot where my hus-
band was to die/' She had come to the river Lofuje, as
they never remain in a place where death has once visited
them. We received the loan of five small canoes from her,
and also one of those we had left here before, to proceed
down the Leeba.

Having despatched a message to our old friend Manenko,
we waited a day opposite her village, which was about
fifteen miles from the river. Her husband was instantly
despatched to meet us with liberal presents of food, she
being unable to travel in consequence of a burn on the
foot. Sambanza gave us a detailed account of the political
affairs of the country, and of Kolimbota's evil doings.

A short distance below the confluence of the Leeba and
Leeambye we met a number of hunters belonging to the
tribe called Mambowe, who live under Masiko. They had
dried flesh of hippopotami, buffaloes, and alligators. This
party had been sent by Masiko to the Makololo for aid to
repel their enemy, but, afraid to go thither, had spent the
time in hunting. They have a dread of the Makololo, and
hence the joy they expressed when peace was proclaimed.*

* The Masiko were terrible warriors, but the atrocities committed by
them in war will hardly bear comparison with those committed even in
time of peace by the Zulus (Zooloos) under Chaka. Here is a specimen
given by Captain Harris: — " Umnante, the queen-mother, died, and
©very subject in the realm was expected to proceed, according to esta-


The Mambowe hunters were much alarmed until my name
was mentioned. They then joined our party, and on the
following day discovered a hippopotamus dead, which they
had prenously wounded. This was the first feast of flesh
my men had enjoyed, for, though the game was wonder-
fully abundant, I had quite got out of the way of shooting,
afid missed perpetually. Once 1 went with the determina-
tion of getting so close that I should not miss a zebra.
"We went along one of the branches that stretch out from the
river in a small canoe, and two men, stooping down as low

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 25 of 36)