Ham Mukasa.

Uganda's Katikiro in England; being the official account of his visit to the coronation of His Majesty King Edward VII online

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carriages to ride in, and begged us to get in, but we
preferred to walk, because we had been a long time on
the boat, where we could not walk about ; but the Somalis
followed us, begging us to get into their carriages.

On reaching the landing-place we got into a boat,
and went back on board covered with perspiration ;
all the Katikiro's clothes were soaking wet. At night
all the Europeans slept in their chairs on account of the
great heat of Aden, and the Katikiro slept in his chair ;
but I slept in my cabin, and poured water over the floor,
and opened the port-hole and put out the windsail,
and so I got cool and slept well. We had some lemonade
on shore and on the boat, and it was as sweet to us as
its mother's milk is to an infant.

Aden and the islands in the middle of the Red Sea
are like a door of iron, because the Gulf of Aden is like
the main gate of all Europe. I think that if there is a
great war in Europe between the different European
powers, when the English who are in the fort of Aden
close the door no other European will get through.
The commander of Aden is like the king of the earth,
for he is the door-keeper of all Europe, and when

228 THoai^a'0 fcatthiro in

he closes the door many will cry out, because the road
past Aden is blocked, and that is the reason I say he
is like a king.

We left Aden at eight o'clock on August 25th, the
band playing all the time we were in the harbour, and
entered the Sea of Guardafui the cape at the corner
of Somaliland ; and at night it was very windy and
extremely hot, so that none of the passengers could
sleep in their cabins, but all came on deck. I brought
up the Katikiro's bedding and arranged it for him,
and left him asleep, and then went to my cabin ; and
soon after the sea became quiet by the kindness of

At night I noticed the poverty of the Somalis ; they
all slept in their clothes just as they were, both old and
young, and had nothing to cover themselves with.

On the morning of August 26th we reached Cape
Guardafui at eleven o'clock, and in the afternoon the
sea became very rough, and the waves came on board,
and I was very frightened at the size of them, and their
power, which enabled them to get on board a ship as
large as an island, and to toss it about just as our canoes
are tossed about on our lake.

A great sea requires large boats, and a small sea small
boats. I saw that a great many people could not eat
anything, and were constantly sea-sick through the
motion of the boat. I myself looked for some place to
sit in, but could not find one ; they brought me food,

IRougb Meatber 229

but I refused to eat it, as I was afraid of being ill, and I
hoped to be able to eat something the next morning.
This continued till night.

The next morning, August 27th, found us still in the
Indian Ocean, and the bad weather continued all day
and all night, and a great many of the passengers were
sea-sick, and were just like people who were very ill
indeed. After breakfast I went to see the Katikiro,
who told me how he had slept and how ill he had been,
and that he could not eat anything. The storm was
very severe and some of the supports of the awning were
broken, and a great many of the passengers did not
leave their cabins ; at last all the awnings were taken
down, and this showed us how bad the storm was. I
was very glad that I was not always sea-sick myself,
when I saw how ill most of the passengers were.

The next morning, August 28th, at nine o'clock,
they brought me a little food, and some meat that smelt
very strong, and two soft-boiled eggs, and I forced myself
to eat a little, but soon afterwards the sea conquered me
and I was sea-sick ; and this was the only time I was
sea-sick during the whole journey. When I told the
Katikiro that I had been ill, he said that he was glad
that I had been sick, because now he had a companion
in misery. He himself was ill three times and could not
keep anything down, and many of the passengers could
not eat anything ; Mr. Millar himself was very nearly
sick, but he is a very good sailor.

230 THoanfca'0 Itatifciro in

There were many good sailors on board, who played
at games, and ran races, and had pillow-fights. They
took a pole and tied it up crossways, and two men
sat on it as one would on a cow ; each man had a pillow
with which he struck at his friend, and these pillows
were very soft so that they did not hurt one another.
The man who could keep his balance and knock his friend
over was the conqueror.

On this day all the pipes on the steamer were ex-
amined, and water was pumped into it (fire drill), and
we saw how the sailors, who do not fear the sea, prepare
for any great danger. We saw too how they get all
the boats ready.

We watched the waves breaking over the ship, and
were afraid that they would break it, and called upon
God continually to take care of us.

The following day, August 2Qth, the sea was rougher
than ever, and we were continually eating a little food ;
but the food of the Germans is very bad indeed some
of it smells very nasty ; all their meat smells, and is not
at all nice to eat. One should never go by a German
boat if he can get an English one ; they are to be
avoided. At five o'clock they had some sports. They
put up some nets in two places, and ran and climbed
over them, and then ran round all the houses in the
centre of the boat, and came to a tank which had
in it water up to the waist, and all ran through this,
and the first man to arrive at the winning-post was the

(Serman " IRufffanism " 231

conqueror. The sailors raced first, and then the Somalis
and some Europeans.

They next tied some people up so that their hands
and feet came together; they tied them to sticks and
then they fought with their feet while their hands were
tied (cock-fighting), and the one who turned the other
over was the winner. Mr. Millar entered for this, but
was beaten, and we were very sorry.

In these sports we saw the ruffianism of the Germans ;
they played just like children, and quarrelled with one
another all the time. Some of them abused the English
in the games, and I was amazed to see the abusiveness
of the Germans ; the men were abusive, and the women
were abusive, and no one rebuked another. We were
very much surprised to see that no one tried to stop this
abuse, but that they were all like children ; we were
afraid of them, because they were quarrelling every
day among themselves. We ourselves were just like
prisoners in our fear of being struck by them : we saw
one German who three times wanted to strike the Katikiro
for no reason whatever; he found me standing to one
side, and pushed me out of the way, though I was a
long way away from him, and altogether showed himself
to be like a ruffian.

We were afraid of telling Mr. Millar all these things,
for we did not want to trouble him daily and hourly ;
as while he was in England he had worked very hard
indeed in making everything nice for us with every one.

'0 luitthtro in

The rain came down very heavily during the day,
and we hoped that it would quiet the sea a little. The
Katikiro was continually asking me how many more
days we had on the sea, and I told him, as the sailors
had told us when we would arrive.

On August 30th the rain came down very heavily
at eleven o'clock, and the sea became calm, and we got
some peace. They went on with the games, having
races round the houses in the centre of the boat, and
taking oranges out of the hands of ladies, and running
back to the starting-point, the one who got back first
being the winner. At six o'clock they gave out that
at seven there would be a gathering for pleasure, and
we saw that it was going to be a great one, because they
hung up numbers of flags and electric lamps, and got
out a great many seats, and all dressed themselves
very well.

After dinner the band began to call together those
who wanted to amuse themselves, and a great many
people collected about three hundred in all and they
began their amusement, the men and women taking hold
of one another in pairs, a man and a woman, and going
round together, jumping up and down, a most strange
thing. I saw a man who had got himself up in every
way like a woman, both in the way he talked and in the
way he was dressed, and he had on flaxen hair which
looked just like a woman's hair, and thus they amused
themselves. I thought it was very wrong for a man

Ganga 233

and woman to hold on to one another and dance together ;
these dances are like the bait which is on a fish-hook.
However, each nation has its own customs, but I do not
think every one approves of this custom.

After this they read out the names of those who had
won prizes in the games. The prizes were as follows :
knives, cups, ostrich feathers, nice sticks, looking glasses,
spoons, pens, and things of all kinds ; every one gave
what he had as his tribute to the games.

The next morning, August 3ist, I went to see the Kati-
kiro at 8 a.m., but found him still asleep, and so I did
not wake him, as he is usually a bad sleeper. I myself
had a slight attack of fever. We were very glad to hear
that they hoped to arrive the next morning at Tanga, a
city of the Germans on the coast, like Entebbe is in our
country. I asked how far it was from Aden to Zanzibar,
and they told me it was 1,770 miles. It was rather
chilly, and so the Katikiro moved his chair to the
other side of the deck ; but I was afraid to go there,
because it was not our usual place, and I was afraid of
the Germans, who are not kind to any one who has not
yet learned their customs, and do not tell them their
mistakes quietly like the English, who, when they find
any one in the wrong, tell him his mistake quietly.
The Germans are very savage.

On September ist we reached Tanga at about eight
o'clock in the morning, and saw what it was like. An
arm of the sea goes a long way inland, and the heavy

's fcntifciro in

seas cannot come there, since the channel is narrow, and
not deep like the-sea. When we got into the harbour we
saw the houses of the Europeans, which were very fine
and were dose to the sea. They had planted a great
many mango-trees, which from a distance looked like
our cherry-trees, owing to their dark leaves ; there were
also many cocoanut-trees, which looked like a forest
of palms. When the ship had anchored, they brought
a number of small boats alongside, and we went ashore
to see what their town was like. We landed at a
wooden pier which is at the end of the railway which
the Germans began (to the Victoria Nyanza) but could
not finish ; they have only done about forty miles of it.

We passed the custom-house and went straight on,
looking at the rows of houses which had been built
and the nice trees which had been planted along the
sides of the road. The native houses are very bad ;
the Europeans and Indians have nice houses, but the
Arabs and Swahilis have very bad ones. We saw what
the market was like ; they sell in it all kinds of meat
beef and goat mutton, and fish, and fowls and all kinds
of vegetables plantains and sweet potatoes, bananas,
Indian com, oranges, mangoes, and cocoanuts, and
many other things for which we have no name in our
language. There was a very deep well there, from
which the water was drawn with a rope, which was
wound up by a windlass.

We then went back on board to go to Zanzibar, but

pemba 235

the ship was late in starting, owing to the numbers of
Europeans who had come on board to see their friends.
We started off at one o'clock, and looked at the various
islands which we passed Pemba, which is a smaller
island than Zanzibar, and other small islands near it,
one of which was called Marukubi, and had on it some
houses which used to belong to the Arabs, but Said
Barghash had plundered them of all their goods for
some reason which I was not told.


Zanzibar The Consul- Swahili huts " Mnari moja " Mbweni Kioagnl
school Lunch with (General Rogers Characteristics of the English-
Dinner with Captain Agnew Visit to the Sultan The Cathedral

WE reached Zanzibar in the evening a journey of six
hours from Tanga and saw the lights of the town,
like stars in number ; and all the electric lights in the
palace of Said Ali, the Sultan, which were very brilliant.
We were just about to have dinner when Mr. Kestell-
Cornish, who had been sent for us by the Consul, came
to tell us that we would have dinner on shore ; so we
collected our things and got into a boat, and were
taken to the Consul's landing-stage, as the sea reaches
right up to the Consulate.

When we reached the Consul's house we found he had
gone out, and so we went to our hotel, which was called
the Africa Hotel, and were shown our rooms. When
we were ready they summoned us to dinner, and we were
given a table to ourselves Apolo Katikiro, Mr. Millar,
and Ham Mukasa ; there were a good many other Euro-
peans at another table by themselves.

The next morning, September 2nd, after breakfast,
we went to see the Consul, Mr. Basil Cave the repre-



sentative of the Consul-General, who was away. Mr.
Cave is a very kind man indeed, and asked us about
our visit to England, and how we saw the King ; and we
told him about all that we saw, because he was a very
nice man, like all the English, and a true-born English-
man in his nature, and not one to be disowned, and
his ways and his words were those of a true gentleman ;
a very clever man, who speaks slowly and asks questions
worth asking. He spoke to us in Swahili, because he
knows it very well indeed, and will know it still better.
We asked him a great deal about Zanzibar, and he
answered all our questions very nicely and kindly ; and
we then went home, after he had promised to lend us
a carriage to take us over the island of Zanzibar.

The carriage came round at three o'clock, and we
got into it with Mr. Venables, who had been asked by
Mr. Cave to show us round the island ; the horses were
very fine ones and very strong, and the driver had
on the Sultan's livery, which was very fine ; we drove
out about six miles, and saw the way the Swahilis culti-
vated, and the kind of food they ate, and what their
houses and roads were like. The people are very poverty-
stricken and live in wretched houses, which they thatch
with palm-leaves, and have not much food, as many
of them do not know how to cultivate. Their culti-
vation is like that of the people of the Sese Islands,
in our country of Uganda, and the various kinds of
trees which they have take the place of their fields (in

238 T&Gairta'e 1<atifciro in

providing them with food) ; but this is not the case with
all the people. The fruit of the greater number of
trees has already been pledged and sold to the Indians,
for an Indian in a country of foolish people soon finishes
it up and gets possession of it all, buying it slowly bit
by bit.

The houses of the Zanzibar peasants are like the
houses of the Uganda goats ; and that is the reason
I pity them so much, for they long ago saw the
cleverness of the Europeans, but could not learn
it for themselves, because they trusted in their own
wisdom, though it was of no profit to them, since they
never applied themselves to cultivation of the land
and the building of houses, but were like strangers to
the country ; and that is the reason I pity them, as
their houses and their streets all smell very badly.

Well, if Europeans have been so many years in their
country, and they have not yet learned any better,
when will they learn to build and cultivate their land
properly ? They will be a very long time indeed in
learning, because in their foolishness they think that their
own wisdom is profitable to them, and despise that of
the Europeans, which would be of real use. The streets
in the town itself are very narrow and smell very
badly, and are just like ours were nine years ago, though
now our streets are clean and wide. I think that in about
fifteen years we shall have in Uganda a town which will
be larger and finer in every way than Zanzibar, because

a 3Dirt\> ftown 239

I think the Baganda want to leave behind the old things,
and go after the new in everything which they learn,
and they can pick out what will be useful. I myself
am a Muganda, and I speak about what I know will
take place. At Zanzibar, when one is on the water
and looks at the town, it appears very fine indeed ; but
when you get into it, the streets and the inside of all
the Arabs' houses smell abominably, and the only houses
that are nice inside and out are those of the Europeans
and of the Sultan. The Sultan's palace is very fine
indeed, just like an English country-house, and is the
finest house in Zanzibar ; there is no other that nearly
comes up to it, not even the house of the Consul-General,
for that was originally only an Arab house.

On our way home we went to see a lion and a tiger
in cages, in a place called Victoria Gardens.

Alidina Vissramu (the chief Indian trader in Uganda)
paid us a visit in the morning, and offered to lend us
his carriage to drive about in ; but we told him that the
Sultan was going to lend us one of his royal carriages.

On September 3rd, at noon, we went to lunch with the
Consul ; we walked to his house, and found him waiting
for us. He made us sit down in a room which looked out
over the sea, and which had in it many beautiful things
from all parts of the world, and also a large and very
nice piano. The floor was covered with English mats,
of the kind which we in our language call mattresses
(carpets), and on the verandah which looked out over

2 4 o Uoaitoa'a Itntifctro in

the sea there was a screen of palm-leaves, beautifully

We met there Mrs. Cave, the wife of the Consul, and
also another important European, General Rogers,
who is Regent to Said Ali, the Sultan. The Consul
introduced them to us as is the custom in Europe, and
they greeted us very warmly. Another man, Dr. Mackin-
non, also came with his wife, and after we had greeted
them we waited a short while, and then they told the
ladies to go to the dining-table. We followed, and sat
down to lunch, and as we ate we talked to them in Sw.ihili
and English. I talked to Mrs. Mackinnon, who did not
know Swahili ; she asked me all about England, and
what we saw and what most astonished us. If you know
a little of their language, the English ladies are very
pleased indeed if you will talk with them.

After lunch the Consul told the ladies to go away,
and we men only remained and talked a little, and
then the Consul said he would send us a carriage to take
us out to Mbweni and Kiungani, and we went home to
our hotel.

At four o'clock our carriage arrived, and we drove
out along the road called " Mnazi moja," which is praised
very much as the finest road in the town, though it is
not nearly as good as our road in Uganda, which goes
to Munyonyo from the back of the King's palace, and
which is very much finer. We reached Mbweni, and
found there a lady called Miss Ward, who had come

Cburcb Scboois at Zansibar 241

from Hampstead, the place where Mr. Millar and Drs.
A. R. and J. H. Cook were born, and the place which
we chose as our resting-place from the noise and rush of
England. It is a very pretty place, and the people who
are born there are very kind indeed, and many mis-
sionaries have gone out from there, and I praise it
because its sons are so kind, and very clever indeed at

This lady, Miss Ward, showed us the church and the
schools, and we met some ladies and English children
in the courtyard amongst them the wife of the Gabunga
(chief of the canoes, i.e. port officer) of Zanzibar.

We next went to Kiungani, where our friend the Rev.
Henry Wright Duta (chief native pastor in Uganda,
and co-translator of the Luganda Bible) was trained.
We found there a very kind European, who showed us
the church, and schools and dormitories for the boys,
and the dining-room. We also saw a number of the boys
who had come there to be taught ; they came up to look
at us, though they did not greet us perhaps it is not
their custom. We were told that there were in all
about sixty boys who had come there to be trained as

The next morning we went out shopping, and then
went to the judge to accuse a Swahili who had cheated
the Katikiro (a year or more previously) of a thousand
rupees. The judge asked us to describe the man, and
we did so, and he said he would search for him, and we


242 1Il{jant>a'0 itntilnro in

left Alidina Vissramu, our friend the Indian trader, to be
the Katikiro's repres-ntati\v in tin-

After a short rest we went out to lunch with General
Rogers, whose house was only about three minutes*
walk from our hotel. We there met Major and Mrs.
Raikes and Mr. Childe, and they all welcomed us, and
after we had sat for a short time dinner was announced,
and we went in, and had dinner, talking to one another
in Swahili and English. General Rogers had dressed
up his servants in very fine liveries, coats all covered
with gold and beautifully white clothes, and we thought
he was very kind indeed to dress his servants up thus
in our honour. He is a very nice man, and knows
Swahili very well, having come to Zanzibar in 1890 ;
he has travelled a great deal up and down the coast,
and knows it all well ; just now he is acting as
guardian to the Sultan of Zanzibar. His house is so full
of beautiful things from all lands, spears and horns and
old swords and guns, that one cannot keep one's eyes
away from looking at them. I was very sorry for him
because he could not speak in comfort, as his arm was
very painful, and he had to wear it in a sling, and the
pain prevented him from speaking properly; but his
joy for our sakes was like a second arm to him, so that
he was not in such pain as usual.

We were amazed at seeing how all the English every-
where were alike in their habits, and I therefore think
when I see any one of them who is not kind that he

Ibigb praise for tbe Englfsb 243

is not a true-born Englishman in his nature. There
are two marks of the English nation, and when I
see any one who has not these, I am in doubt whether
or not he is a true Englishman ; these two things
are kindness and bravery, and when I see any one who
has not both these, I consider him one who would be
disowned in England. Kindness is the mother and
bravery is the father of their nation, and between these
two is great wisdom, worthy of being sought after. If
all nations were like the English, all the world would be
at peace. I speak what is absolutely true, there is no
particle of untruth in what I say ; I have no doubt
at all of what I say about that nation.

A short time after we had got home our carriage came
round ; it had two horses in it, like those in which we
travelled in England, and we went along the Sultan's
road to the palace of Said Barghash at Chueni. It is
a very fine building, and is built beyond an arm of the
sea which is crossed by a bridge guarded by policemen.
After we had seen all over it we returned home, looking
about as we drove to see what the place was like,
and what sort of houses there were, and how the people
cultivated, and how they dressed and everything else.
We went home by a different road from the one along
which we had come.

The inhabitants of Zanzibar praise it too much, and
say it is the finest place on earth.

In the evening we went to dinner with Captain Agnew,

244 Uoanfra'3 Itntihiro in

R.N.R., the Gabunga (port officer) of all the ships. We
passed on the way the Sultan's palace, the electric lights
in \vhu h were like suns, and on our arrival we were met
by Captain Agnew and his wife and two children. Mrs.
Agnew played to us on the piano, and the children sang
and danced, and then both went to bed, and shortly
afterwards we went in to dinner. The party consisted
of Captain and Mrs. Agnew, Mr. J. A. Bailey, Rev. E.
Millar, Apolo Katikiro, and Ham Mukasa, and after
dinner Mrs. Agnew showed us some photographs, amongst
others one of her brother who was drowned at sea with
about four hundred others.

After we had talked together for some time we went
home, and on the way we examined the machinery that
made the electric light in the Sultan's palace. Mr.
Bailey very kindly went with us as far as the hotel ;
he is a kind man, and very pleasant to talk to.

At nine o'clock the next morning, September 5th,
the Consul came to take us to see the Sultan, Said Ali,
and we all drove to the palace, although it was raining
very heavily indeed. When we arrived in front of the

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Online LibraryHam MukasaUganda's Katikiro in England; being the official account of his visit to the coronation of His Majesty King Edward VII → online text (page 15 of 17)