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 31 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 31 of 36)
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whom I was administering the drugs. I thought they at-
tributed supernatural power to them, for, like all Africans,
they have unbounded faith in the efficacy of charms;
but I took pains to let them know that they must pray
and trust to another power than mine for aid. We nevei
saw Mburuma himself, and the conduct of his people indi
( ated very strong suspicions, though he gave us presents
of meal, maize, and native corn. His people never came
near us ex,cept in large bodies and fully armed. "We had
to order them to place their bows, arrows, and spears at
a distance before entering our encampment. We did not;
however, care much for a little trouble now, as we hoped
that, if wo could pass this time without much molestation


we might yet be able to return with ease, and without
meeting sour, suspicious looks.

Mburuma sent two men as guides to the Loangwa. These
men tried to bring us to a stand, at a distance of about six
miles from tht village, by the notice, '' Mburuma says you
are to sleej: under that tree." On declining to do this, we
were told that we must wait at a certain village for a sup-
ply of corn. As none appeared in an hour, I proceeded on
the march. It is not quite certain that their intentions
were hostile; but this seemed to disarrange their plans, and
one of them was soon observed running back to Mburuma.
They had first of all tried to separate our party by volun-
teering the loan of a canoe to convey Sekwebu and me,
together with our luggage, by way of the river, and, as it
was pressed upon us, I thought that this was their design.
The next attempt was to detain us in the pass ; but, be-
traying no suspicion, we civilly declined to place ourselvety
in their power in an unfavorable position. We afterward
heard that a party of Babisa traders, who came from tho
northeast, bringing English goods from Mozambique, had
been plundered by this same people. ♦

At the village of Ma Mburuma, (mother of Mburuma,) th€
guides, who had again joined us, gave a favorable report
and the women and children did not flee. Ma Mburuma
promised us canoes to cross the Loangwa in our front. It
was pleasant to see great numbers of men, women, and
boys come, without suspicion, to look at the books, watch,
looking-glass, revolver, &c. They are a strong, muacular
race, and both men and women are seen cultivating tho

We were obliged to hurry along, for the oxen were bitten
daily by the tsetse, which, as I have before remarked, now
inhabits extensive tracts which once supported herds of
cattle that were swept off by Mpakane and other marau-
ders, whose devastations were well known to Sekwebu, for
he himself had been an actor in the scenes. When he told
me of them he always lowered his voice, in order that the


guides might not hear that he had been one of their ene-
mies. But that we were looked upon with suspicion, on
accouni. of having come in the footsteps of invaders, was
evident from our guides remarking to men in the gardens
through which we passed, '' They have words of peace —
all very fine; but lies only, as the Bazunga are great liars."
They thought we did not understand them ; but Sekwebu
knew every word perfectly; and, without paying any
ostensible attention to these complimentary remarks, we
always took care to explain ever afterward that we were
not Bazunga, but Makoa, (English.)



14:th. — "We reached the confluence of the Loangwa and
the Zambesi, most thankful to God for his great mercies in
helping us thus far. Mburuma's people had behaved so
suspiciously, that, though we had guides from him, we
were by no means sure that we should not be attacked
in crossing the Loangwa. We saw them here collecting
in large numbers, and, though professing friendship, they
kept at a distance from our camp. They refused to lend
us more canoes than two, though they have many. They
have no intercourse with Europeans except through the
Babisa. They tell us that this was formerly the residence
of the Bazunga, and maintain silence as to the cause of
their leaving it. I walked about some ruins I discovered,
built of stone, and found the remains of a church, and on
one side lay a broken bell, with the letters I. H. S. and a
cross, but no date. There were no inscriptions on stone,
and the people could not tell what tbo Bazunga called
their place. We found afterward tl vvuh. Zumbo.


I felt some turmoil of spirit in the evening at the pros-
pect of having all my eiforts for the welfare of this great
region and its teeming population knocked on the head by
savages to-morrow, who might be said to " know not what
they do." It seemed such a pity that the important fact
of the existence of the two healthy ridges which I had dis-
covered should not become known in Christendom, for a
confirmation would thereby have been given to the idea
that Africa is not open to the gospel. But I read that
Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and on
earth: go ye, therefore, and teach all nations; . . . and lo,
I am with you alioay, even unto the end of the world" I took
this as His word of honor, and went out to take observa-
tions for latitude and longitude, which, I think, were very
successful. (The church: lat. 15° 37' 22" S., long. 30°
82' E.)

Ibth. — The natives of the surrounding country collected
around us this morning, all armed. The women and chil-
dren were sent away, and one of Mburuma's wives, who
lives in the vicinity, was not allowed to approach, though
Bhe had come from hej village to pay me a visit. Only one
canoe was lent to us, though we saw two others tied to the
Dank. The part we crossed was about a mile from the
confluence, and, as it was now flooded, it seemea upward
of half a mile in breadth. We passed all our goods first on
to an island in the middle, then the remaining cattle and
men ; occupying the post of honor, I, as usual, was the
last to enter the canoe. A number of the inhabitants
fitood armed all the time we were embarking. I showed
them my watch, lens, and other things to keep them
amused, until there only remained those who were to enter
the canoe with me. I thanked them for their kindness,
and wished them peace. After all, they may have been
influenced only by the intention to be ready in case I
should play them some false trick, for they have reason to
be distrustful of the whites. The guides came over to bid

Qs adieu, and we sat under a mango-tree fifteen feet 'n cir



cumference. W© found them more communicative now
They said that the land on both sides belonged to tho
Bazunga, and that they had left of old, on the approach of
Changamera, Ngaba, and Mpakane. Sekwebu was with
the last-named, but he maintained that they never came to
the confluence, though they carried oif all the cattle of
Mburuma. The guides confirmed this by saying that the
Bazunga were not attacked, but fled in alarm on the
approach of the enemy. This mango-tree he knew by ita
proper name, and we found seven others and several tama-
rinds, and were informed that the chief Mburuma sends
men annually to gather the fruit, but, like many Africans
whom I have known, has not had patience to propagate
more trees. I gave them some little presents for them-
Belves, a handkerchief and a few beads; and they wer(^
highly pleasecr with a cloth of red baize for Mburuma,
which Sekeletu had given me to purchase a canoe. Wo
were thankful to part good friends.

The situation of Zumbo was admirably well chosen as a
site for commerce. Looking backward, we see a mass of
high, dark mountains covered with trees ; behind us rises
the fine high hill Mazanzwe, which stretches away north-
ward along the left bank of the Loangwa ; to the S.E. lies
an open country, with a small round hill in the distance
called Tofulo The merchants, as they sat beneath the
verandahs in front of their houses, had a magnificent view
of the two rivers at their confluence, of their church at
the angle, and of all the gardens which they had on both
sides of the rivers. In these they cultivated wheat with-
out irrigation, and, as the Portuguese assert, of a grain
twice the size of that at Tcte. From the guides we learned
that the inhabitants had not imbibed much idea of Chris-
tianity, for they used the same term for the church-bell
which they did for a diviner's drum. From this point the
merchants had water-communication in three directions
beyond, namely, from the Loangwa to the N.N.W., by iho
Kafuo to the W., ard by the Zambesi to the S W. Thob

laoerda's visit to oazembb. 375

attention, however, was chiefly attracted to the N., or
Londa ; and the principal articles of trade were ivory
and slaves. Private enterprise was always restrained, for,
the colonies of the Portuguese being strictly military, and
the pay of the commandants being very small, the officers
have always been obliged to engage in trade j and had they
not employed their power to draw the trade to themselves
by preventing private traders from making bargains be-
yond the villages, and only at regulated prices, they would
have had no trade, as they themselves were obliged to
remain always at their posts.

Several expeditions went to the north as far as to Ca-
eembe, and Dr. Lacerda, himself commandant of Tete,
went to that chief's residence. Unfortunately, he was cut
off while there, and his papers, taken possession of by a
Jesuit who accompanied him, were lost to the world. This
Jesuit probably intended to act fairly and have them pub-
lished; but soon after his return he was called away by
death himself, and the papers were lost sight of. Dr. La-
cerda had a strong desire to open up communication with
Angola, which would have been of importance then, as
affording a speedier mode of communication with Portugal
than by the way of the Cape; but since the opening of the
overland passage to India a quicker transit is effected from
Eastern Africa to Lisbon by way of the Eed Sea. Besides
Lacerda, Cazembe was visited by Pereira, who gave a
glowing account of that chiefs power, which none of my
inquiries have confirmed. The people of Matiamvo stated
to me that Cazembe was a vassal of their chief; and, from
all the native visitors whom I have seen, he appears to be
exactly like Shinte and Katema, only a little more power-
ful. The term " Emperor," which has been applied to him,
seems totally inappropriate. The statement of Pereira
that twenty negroes were slaughtered in a day was not
confirmed by any one else, though numbers may have been
killed on some particular occasion during the time of hi?
visit, for we find throughout all the country north of 20®


which I consider to be real negro, the custom of slaughter^
mg victims to accompany the departed soul of a chief; ap,4
human sacrifices are occasionally offered, and certain parts
of tne bodies are used as charms. It is on account of the
existence of such rites, with the similarity of the language,
and the fact that the names of rivers are repeated again
and again from north to south through all that region, tha:
1 consider them to have been originally one family. The
last expedition to Cazembe was somewhat of the sam»
nature as the others, and failed in establishing a commerce
because the people of Cazembe, who had come to Tete to
invite the Portuguese to visit them, had not been allowed
to trade with whom they might. As it had not been free
trade there, Cazembe did not see why it should be free
trade at his town ; he accordingly would not allow hia
people to furnish the party with food except at his price;
and the expedition, being half starved in consequence,
came away voting unanimously that Cazembe was a great

When we left the Loangwa, we thought we had got rid of
the hills; but there are some behind Mazanzwe, though five
or six miles off from the river. Tsetse and the hills had de-
stroyed two riding-oxen, and, when the little one that I now
rode knocked up, I was forced to march on foot. The bush
being very dense and high, we were going along among the
trees, when three buffaloes, which we had unconsciously
passed above the wind, thought that they were surrounded
by men, and dashed through our line. My ox set off at a
gallop, and when I could manage to glance back I saw one
of the men up in the air about five feet above a buffalo,
which was tearing along with a stream of blood running
down his flank. When I got back to the poor fellow, I
found that he had lighted on his face, and, though he had
been carried on the horns of the buffalo about twenty yards
before getting the final toss, the skin was not pierced, nor
was a bone broken. When the beasts appeared, he bad
thrown down his load and stabbed one in the side. It

I ;/. ••*'•>•




CAPFRE W2-R. 379

turned suddenly upon him, and, before ho cciuld use a tre«
for defence, carried him off. We shampooed him well, and
then went on, and in about a week he was able to engage
in the hunt again.

On the morning of the 17th we were pleased to see a
person coming from the island of Shibanga with jacket and
hat on. He was quite black, but had come from the Portu-
guese settlement at Tete or Nyungwe ; and now, for the
first time, we understood that the Portuguese settlement
was on the other bank of the river, and that they had been
fighting with the natives for the last two years. We had
thus got into the midst of a Caffre war, without any par-
ticular wish to be on either side. He advised us to cross
the river at once, as Mpende lived on this side. We had
been warned by the guides of Mburuma against him, for
they said that if we could get past Mpende we might reach
the white men, but that he was determined that no white
man should pass him. Wishing to follow this man's advice,
we proposed to borrow his canoes; but, being afraid to
offend the lords of the river, he declined. The consequence
was, we were obliged to remain on the enemy's side. The
next island belonged to a man named Zungo, a fine, frank
fellow, who brought us at once a present of corn, bound in
a peculiar way in grass. He freely accepted our apology
for having no present to give in return, as he knew
that there were no goods in the interior, and, besides,
sent forward a recommendation to his brother-in-law

18^A. — ^Pangola visited us and presented us with food.
In few other countries would one hundred and fourteen
sturdy vagabonds be supported by the generosity of the
head-men and villagers and whatever they gave be pre-
sented with politeness. My men got pretty well supplied
individually, for they went into the villages and com-
menced dancing. The young women were especially
pleased with the new steps they had to show, though I
suspect many of them were invented for the occasion, and


would say, " Dance for me, and I will grind com for you/'
At every fresh, instance of liberality, Sekwebu said, " Did
not I tell you that these people had hearts, while we were
still at Linyanti ?" All agreed that the character he had
given was true, and some remarked, ^' Look ! although we
have been so long away from home, not one of us has
become lean/^ It was a fact that we had been all well
supplied either with meat by my gun or their own spears,
or food from the great generosity of the inhabitants.
Pangola promised to ferry us across the Zambesi, but
failed to fulfil his promise. He seemed to wish to avoid
offending his neighbor Mpende by aiding us to escape from
his hands ; so we proceeded along the bank. Although we
were in doubt as to our reception by Mpende, I could not
help admiring the beautiful country as we passed along.
Finding no one willing to aid us in crossing the river, we
proceeded to the village of the chief Mpende. When we
came to Mpende's village, he immediately sent to inquire
who we were, and then ordered the guides who had come
with us from the last village to go back and call their
masters. He sent no message to us whatever. We had
travelled very slowly up to this point, the tsetse-stricken
oxen being now unable to go two miles an hour. We
were also delayed by being obliged to stop at every village
and send notice of our approach to the head-man, who ^
came and received a little information and gave some fooc'
If we had passed on without taking any notice of them,
they would have considered it impolite, and we should
have appeared more as enemies than friends. I consoled
myself for the loss of time by the thought that these con-
versations tended to the opening of our future path.

236?. — This morning, at sunrise, a party of Mpende's
people came close to our encampment, uttering strange cries
and waving some bright-red substance toward us. They
than lighted a fire with charms in it, and departed, utter
ing the same hideous screams as before. This was intended
to render us powerless, and probably also to frighten ua



Ever since dawn, parties of armed men have been seen
collecting from all quarters^ and numbers pa-ssed us while
it was yet dark. Had we moved down the river at once,
it would have been considered an indication of fear or
defiance, and so would a retreat. I therefore resolved to
wait, trusting to Him who has the hearts of all men in
his hands. They evidently intended to attack us, for no
friendly message was sent; and, when three of the Batoka
the night before entered the village to beg food, a man
went round about each of them, making a noise like a lion
The villagers then called upon them to do homage, and,
when they complied, the chief ordered some chaff to bo
given them, as if it had been food. Othei things also
showed unmistakable hostility. As we were now pretty
certain of a skirmish, I ordered an ox to be slaughtered,
as this is a means which Sebituane employed for inspiring
courage. I have no doubt that we should have been vic-
torious : indeed, my men, who were far better acquainted
with fighting than any of the people on the Zambesi, were
rejoicing in the prospect of securing captives to carry the
tusks for them. " We shall now,'' said they, '' get both
corn and clothes in .plenty.'' They were in a sad state,
poor fellows ; for the rains we had encountered had mad^
their skin-clothing drop off piecemeal, and they were
looked upon with disgust by the well-fed and well-clothed
Zambesians. They were, however, veterans in maraud
ing; and the head-men, instead of being depressed by fear,
as the people of Mpende intended should be the case in
using their charms, hinted broadly to me that I ought to
allow them to keep Mpende's wives. The roasting of meat
went on fast and f\irious, and some of the young men said
to me, "You have seen us with elephants, but you don't
know yet what we can do with men." I believe that,
had Mpende struck the first blow, he would soon have
found out that he never made a greater mistake in hia
His wholo tribe was assembled at about the distance of

^2 mpende's friendship.

half a mile As the country is covered with trees, we did
not see them ; but every now and then a few came about
us as spies, and would answer no questions. I handed a
leg of the ox to two of these, and desired them to take it
to Mpende. After waiting a considerable time in suspense,
two old men made their appearance and said they had
come to inquire who I was. I replied, ^' I am a Lekoa,"
(an Englishman.) They said, " We don't know that tribe.
We suppose you are a Mozunga, the tribe with which we
have been fighting." As I was not yet aware that the
term Mozunga was applied to a Portuguese, and thought
they meant half-castes, I showed them my hair and tbfe
skin of my bosom, and asked if the Bazunga had hair and
skin like mine. As the Portuguese have the custom of
cutting the hair close, and are also somewhat darker than
we are, they answered, " No ; we never saw skin so white
as that," and added, *'Ah! you must be one of that tribe
that loves [literally, has heart to'] the black men." I, of
course, gladly responded in the affirmative. They re-
turned to the village, and we afterward heard that there
had been a long discussion between Mpende and his coun-
cillors, and that one of the men with whom we had re-
mained to talk the day before had been our advoeate. He
was named Sindese Galea. When we were passing his
village, after some conversation, he said to his people, ^' la
that the man whom they wish to stop after he has passed
so many tribes ? What can Mpende say to refusing him a
passage ?" It was owing to this man, and the fact that I
belonged to tke " friendly white tribe," that Mpende was
persuaded to allow us to pass. When we knew the favor-
able decision of the council, I sent Sekwebu to speak about
the purchase of a canoe, as one of my men had become
very ill, and I wished to relieve his companions by taking
him in a canoe. Before Sekwebu could finish his stoiy,
Mpende remarked, ^^That white man is truly one of our
friends. See how he lets me know his afflictions !" Sek-
webu adroitly took advantage of this turn in the convcrsa


tion, and said, "Ah I if you only knew him as well as we
do who have lived with him, you would understand that
he highly values your friendship and that of Mburuma,
and, as he is a stranger, he trusts in you to direct him."
He replied, "Well, he ought to cross to the other side
of the river, for this bank is hilly and rough, and the way
to Tete is longer on this than on the opposite bank.'*
" But who will take us across if you do not V " Truly,"
repUed Mpende, " I only wish you had come sooner to tell
me about him ; but you shall cross " Mpende said fre-
quently he was sorry he had not known me sooner, but
that he had been prevented by his enchanter from coming
near me ; and he lamented that the same person had kept
him from eating the meat which I had presented. He did
every thing he could afterward to aid us on our course,
and our departure was as different as possible from our
approach to his village. I was very much pleased to find
the English name spoken of with such great respect so
far from tlie coast, and most thankful that no collision
occurred to damage its influence.

24:th. — Mpende sent two of his principal men to order the
people of a large island below to ferry us across. The river
is very broad, and, though my men were well acquaint**d
with the management of canoes, we could not all cross over
before dark. It is 1200 yards from bank to bank, and be-
tween 700 and 800 of deep water, flowing at the rate of
8 1 miles per hour. " We landed first on an island, then, to
prevent our friends playing false with us, hauled the
canoes up to our bivouac and slept in them. The next
morning we all reached the opposite bank in safety.

29th. — I was most sincerely thankful to find myself an
the south bank of the Zambesi ; and, having nothing else, I
Bent back one of my two spoons and a shirt as a thank-
offering to Mpende. The different head-men along thia
river act very much in concert, and if one refuses passage
they all do, uttering the sage remark, " If so-and-so did not
lend his canoes, he must have had some good reason." The


next island we came to was that of a man named Mozlnkwa.
Here we were detained some days by continuous rains.

We were detained here so long that my tent became
again quite rotten. One of my men, after long sickness,
which I did not understand, died here. He was one of the
Batoka, and when unable to walk I had some difficulty in
making his companions carry him. They wished to leave
him to die when his case became hopeless. Another of
them deserted to Mozinkwa. He said that his motive for
doing so was that the Makololo had killed both his father
and mother, and, as he had neither wife nor child, there
was no reason why he should continue longer with them.
I did not object to his statements, but said if he should
change his mind he would be welcome to rejoin us, and
intimated to Mozinkwa that he must not be sold as a slave.

February 1. — We met some native traders; and, as many
of my men were now in a state of nudity, I bought some
American calico, marked ^^ Lawrence Mills, Lowell,^' witl
two small tusks, and distributed it among the most needy.
After leaving Mozinkwa's, we came to the Zingesi, a sand-
rivulet in flood, (lat. 15° 38' 34" S., long. 31° 1' E.) It was
sixty or seventy yards wide, and waist deep. Like all these

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 31 of 36)