Copyright
Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

. (page 12 of 51)
Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 12 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


water ; and whenever the men can feel the bottom, they use
the paddles, which are about eight feet long, as poles to punt
with. Our fleet consisted of thirty -three canoes, and about
one hundred and sixty men. We proceeded rapidly up the
river, and I felt the pleasure of looking on lands which had
never been seen by a European before.



184: LIVINGSTONE'S LIFE AND TRAVELS.

" This visit was the first Sekeletu had made to these parts
since he attained the chieftainship. Those who had taken
part with Mpepe were consequently in great terror. When
we came to the town of Mpepe's father, as he and another
man had counseled Mamochisane to put Sekeletu to death
and marry Mpepe, the two were led forth and tossed into the
river. Nokuany was again one of the executioners. When
I remonstrated against human blood being shed in the off-hand
way in which they were proceeding, the counselors justified
their acts by the evidence given by Mamochisane, and calmly
added, ' You see we are still Boers ; we are not yet taught.'

"Before reaching the Loeti we came to a number of people
from the Lobale region, hunting hippopotami. They fled
precipitately as soon as they saw the Makololo, leaving their
utensils and clothing. My own Makalaka, who were accus-
tomed to plunder w r herever they went, rushed after them
like furies, totally regardless of my shouting. As this pro-
ceeding would have destroyed my character entirely at Lobale,
I took my stand on a commanding position as they returned,
and forced them to lay down all the plunder on a sand-bank,
and leave it there for its lawful owners.

" An incident, which occurred at the confluence of the
Leeba and Leeambye, may be mentioned here, as showing a
more vivid perception of the existence of spiritual beings,
and greater proneness to worship than among the Bechuanas.
Having taken lunar observations in the morning, I was wait-
ing for a meridian altitude of the sun for the latitude ; my
chief boatman was sitting by, in order to pack up the instru-
ments as soon as I had finished ; there was a large halo, about
20 in diameter, round the sun ; thinking that the humidity
of the atmosphere, which this indicated, might betoken rain,
I asked him if his experience did not lead him to the same
view.

" ' Oh no,' replied he ; 'it is the Barimo (gods or departed
spirits), who have called a picho ; don't you see they have the
Lord (sun) in the centre ?'

" It was now quite evident that no healthy location could




SPEAIUNO THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.



A NINE WEEKS' TOUK. 187

be obtained in which the Makololo would be allowed to live
in peace. I had thus a fair excuse, if I had chosen to avail
myself of it, of coming home and saying that the " door was
shut," because the Lord's time had not yet come. But believ-
ing that it was my duty to devote some portion of my life to
these (to me at least) very confiding and affectionate Makololo,
I resolved to follow out the second part of my plan, though
I had failed in accomplishing the first."

The party then proceeded to the town of Ma-Sekeletu,
(mother of Sekeluta) opposite the island of Loyela where they
were received with great rejoicings; soon afterwards they
returned to Linyanti. Of this trip Livingstone says :

" I had been, during a nine weeks' tour, in closer contact
with heathenism than I had ever been before ; and though all,
including the chief, were as kind and attentive to me as pos-
sible, and there was no want of food (oxen being slaughtered
daily, sometimes ten at a time, more than sufficient for the
wants of all), yet to endure the dancing, roaring, and singing,
the jesting, anecdotes, grumbling, quarreling, and murdering
of these children of nature, seemed more like a severe pen-
ance than anything I had before met with in the course of
my missionary duties. I took thence a more intense disgust
at heathenism than I had before, and formed a greatly ele-
vated opinion of the latent' effects of missions in the south,
among tribes which are reported to have been as savage as
the Makololo.

" The longitude and latitude of Linyanti (lat. 18 17' 20"
S., long. 23 50' 9" E.) showed that St. Philip de Benguela
was much nearer to us than Loanda ; and I might have easily
made arrangements with the Mambari to allow me to accom-
pany them as far as Bihe, which is on the road to that port ;
but it is so undesirable to travel in a path once trodden by
slave-traders that I preferred to find out another line of
march.

" Accordingly, men were sent at my suggestion to examine
all the country to the west, to see if any belt of country free
from tsetse could be found to afford us an outlet. The search



188 LIVINGSTONE'S LIFE AND TRAVELS.

was fruitless. The town and district of Linyanti are sur-
rounded by forests infested by this poisonous insect, except
at a few points, as that by which we entered at Sanshureh and
another at Sesheke. But the lands both east and west of the
Barotse valley are free from this insect plague. There, how-
ever, the slave-trade had defiled the path, and no one ought
to follow in its wake unless well-armed. The Mambari had
informed me that many English lived at Loanda, so I pre-
pared to go hither. The prospect of meeting with country-
men seemed to overbalance the toils of the longer march.

" A ' picho ' was called to deliberate on the steps proposed.
In these assemblies great freedom of speech is allowed ; and
on this occasion one of the old diviners said :

" ' Where is he taking you to ? This white man is throw-
ing you away. Your garments already smell of blood.'

" This man was a noted croaker. He always dreamed
something dreadful in every expedition, and was certain that
an eclipse or comet betokened the propriety of flight. But
Sebituane formerly set his visions down to cowardice, and
Sekeletu only laughed at him now. The general voice was
in my favor ; so a band of twenty-seven were appointed to
accompany me to the west. These men were not hired, but
sent to enable me to accomplish an object as much desired by
the chief and most of his people as by me. They were eager
to obtain free and profitable trade with white men. The
desire of the Makololo for direct trade with the sea-coast coin-
cided exactly with my own conviction that no permanent ele-
vation of a people can be effected without commerce.

" The three men whom I had brought from Kuruman had
frequent relapses of the fever ; so, finding that instead of
serving me I had to wait on them, I decided that they should
return to the south with Fleming as soon as he had finished
his trading. I was then entirely dependent on my twenty-
seven men, whom I might name Zambesians, for there were
two Mokololo only, while the rest consisted of Barotse.
Batoka, Bashubia, and two of the Ambonda.

" The fever had caused, considerable wakeness in my own



TRIP TO LOANDA DECIDED OK 189

frame, and a strange giddiness when I looked np suddenly
to any celestial object, for every tiling seemed to rush to the
left, and if I did not catch hold of some object, I fell heavily
on the ground. The Makololo now put the question, 'In
the event of your death, will not the white people blame us
for having allowed you to go away into an unhealthy,
unknown country of enemies ?'

"I replied that none of my friends would blame them,
because I would leave a book with Sekeletu, to be sent to
Mr. Moffat in case I did not return, which would explain to
him all that had happened until the time of my departure.
The book was a volume of my Journal; and, as I was
detained longer than I expected at Loanda, this book, with a
letter, was delivered by Sekeletu to a trader, and I have been
unable to trace it. I regret this now, as it contained valuable
notes on the habits of wild animals, and the request was made
in the letter to convey the volume to my family.

" The prospect of passing away from this fair and beautiful
world thus came before me in a plain, matter-of-fact form,
and it did seem a serious thing to leave wife and children
to break up all connection with earth, and enter on an untried
state of existence ; and I find myself in my journal pondering
over that fearful migration which lands us in eternity, won-
dering whether an angel will soothe the fluttering soul, sadly
flurried as it must be on entering the spirit world, and hoping
that Jesus might speak but one word of peace, for that would
establish in the bosom an everlasting calm. But as I had
always believed that, if we serve God at all, it ought to be
done in a manly way, I wrote to my brother, commending
our little girl to his care, as I was determined to " succeed or
perish " in the attempt to open up this part of Africa. The
Boers, by taking possession of all my goods, had saved me
the trouble of making a will; and considering the light
heart now left in my bosom, and some faint efforts to perform
the duty of Christian forgiveness, I felt that it was better to
be the plundered party than one of the plunderers."



CHAPTER XT.

LIVINGSTONE'S LIFE AND TRAVELS.
(JOURNEY FROM LIKYANTI TO BHINTE.)

ON the llth of November, 1853, we left the town of Lin-
yanti, accompanied by Sekeletu and his principal men, to
embark on the Chobe. The chief came to the river in order
to see that all was right at parting. The chief lent me his
own canoe, and, as it was broader than usual, I could turn,
about in it with ease.

" The Chobe is much infested by hippopotami, and, as cer-
tain elderly males are expelled the herd, they become soured
in their temper, and so misanthropic as to attack every canoe
that passes near them. The herd is never dangerous, except
when a canoe passes into the midst of it when all are asleep,
and some of them may strike the canoe in terror. To avoid
this, it is generally recommended to travel by day near the
bank, and by night in the middle of the stream.

"After spending one night at the Makololo village on
Mparia, we left the Chobe, and, turning round, began to
ascend the Leeambye ; on the 19th of November, we again
reached the town of Sesheke.

" 1 gave many public addresses to the people of Sesheke
under the outspreading camel-thorn-tree, which serves as a
shade to the kotla on the high bank of the river. It was
pleasant to see the long lines of men, women, and children
winding along from different quarters of the town, each party
following behind their respective head-men. They often
amounted to between five and six hundred, and required an

190



UP THE LEEAMBYE. 191

exertion of voice which brought back the complaint for which
I had got the uvula excised at the Cape. They were always
very attentive and Moriantsane, in order, as he thought, to
please me, on one occasion rose up in the middle of the dis-
course, and hurled his staff at the heads of some young fellows
whom he saw working with a skin instead of listening.

" The rapids in the part of the river between Katima-molelo
and !N"ameta are relieved by several reaches of still, deep water,
fifteen, or twenty miles long. Jn these, very large herds of
hippopotami are seen, and the deep furrows they make, in
ascending the banks to graze during the nights, are every
where apparent. They are guided back to water by the
scent, but a long continued pouring rain makes it impossible
for them to perceive, by that means, in which direction the
river lies, and they are found bewildered on the land. The
hunters take advantage of their helplessness on these occa-
sions to kill them."

Dr. Livingstone describes the every day life of their voy-
age up the river as follows :

" We get up a little before five in the morning ; it is then
beginning to dawn. While I am dressing coffee is made ;
and, having filled my pannikin, the remainder is handed to
my companions, who eagerly partake of the refreshing bev-
erage. The servants are busy loading the canoes, while the
principal men are sipping the coffee, and, that being soon
over, we embark. The next two hours are the most pleasant
part of the day's sail. The men paddle away most vigorously ;
the Barotse, being a tribe of boatmen, have large, deeply-
developed chests and shoulders, with indifferent lower extrem-
ities. They often engage in loud scolding of each other in
order to relieve the tedium of their work. About eleven we
land, and eat any meat which may have remained from the
previous evening meal, or a biscuit with honey, and drink
water.

" After an hour's rest we again embark and cower under
an umbrella. The heat is oppressive, and, being weak from
the last attack of fever, I cannot land and keep the camp



194 LTVIXGSTONTl'S LITE AND TRAVELS,

supplied with flesh. The men, being quite uncovered in the
sun, perspire profusely, and in the afternoon begin to stop, as
if waiting for the canoes which have been left behind.
Sometimes we reach a sleeping-place two hours before sunset,
and, all being troubled with languor, we gladly remain for
the night. Coffee again, and a biscuit, or a piece of coarse
bread made of maize meal, or that of the native corn, make
up the bill of fare for the evening, unless we have been fort-
unate enough to kill something, when we boil a potful of
flesh. This is done by cutting it up into long strips and
pouring in water till it is covered. When that is boiled dry,
the meat is considered ready.

" Part of our company marched along the banks with the
oxen, and part went in the canoes, but our pace was regulated
by the speed of the men on shore. The number of alligators
is prodigious, and in this river they are more savage than in
some others. Many children are carried off annually at
Sesheke and other towns ; for, notwithstanding the danger,
when they go down for water they almost always must play
a while. I never could avoid shuddering on seeing my men
swimming across these branches, after one of them had been
caught by the thigh and taken below. He, however, retained,
as nearly all of them in the most trying circumstances do,
his full presence of mind, and, having a small, square, ragged-
edged javelin with him, when dragged to the bottom gave
the alligator a stab behind the shoulder. The alligator, writh-
ing in pain, left him, and he came out with the deep marks
of the reptile's teeth on his thigh.

" On the 27th of December, we were at the confluence of
the Leeba and Leeambye. Masiko, the Barotse chief, for
whom we had some captives, lived nearly due east of this
point. They were two little boys, a little girl, a young man,
and two middle-aged women. One of these was a member
of a Babimpe tribe, who knock out both upper and lower
front teeth as a distinction. As we had been informed by
the captives on the previous Sunday, that Masiko was in the
habit of seizing all orphans and those who have no powerful



CAPTIVES RETURNED TO THEIR HOMES 195

friend in the tribe, and selling them for clothing to the
Mambari, We thought the objection of the women to go first
to his town before seeing their friends quite reasonable, and
resolved to send a party of our own people to see them safely
among their relatives. We sent Mosantu, a Batoka man,
and his companions, with the captives.

The party now began to ascend the Leeba, which wound
slowly through the most charming meadows. The trees were
covered with a profusion of the freshest foliage, and the
grass, which had been burned off was starting up luxuriantly.

" The forests became more dense as we went north. We
travel much more in the deep gloom of the forest than in
open sunlight. No passage existed on either side of the nar-
row path made by the axe. Large climbing plants entwined
themselves around the trunks and branches of gigantic trees
like boa constrictors, and they often do constrict the trees by
which they rise, and, killing them, stand erect themselves.

" There was a considerable pleasure, in spite of rain and
fever, in this new scenery. The deep gloom contrasted
strongly with the shadeless glare of the Kalahari, which had
left an indelible impression on my memory. Though
drenched day by day at this time, and for months afterward,,
it was long before I could believe that we were getting too-
much of a good thing. Nor could I look at water being
thrown away without a slight, quick impression flitting across,
the mind that we were guilty of wasting it."

On arriving at a part of the river opposite the village of
Manenko, the first female chief whom the party encountered,
two of the people called Balonda, visited them in a small
canoe, and then went away to report to Manenko. They
were also visited by a number of the people of an Ambonda
chief named Sekelenke, who lived far to the northwest.

" On the 6th of January we reached the village of another
female chief, named Nyamoana, who is said to be the mother
of Manenko, and sister of Shinte or Kabompo, the greatest
Balonda chief in this part of the country. Her people had
but recently come to the present locality, and had erected
10



196 LIVINGSTONE'S LIFE AND TRAVELS.

only twenty huts. Her husband, Samoana, was clothed in a
kilt of green and red baize, and was armed with a spear, and
a broadsword of antique form about eighteen inches long
and three broad. The chief and her husband were sitting on
skins placed in the middle of a circle thirty paces in diameter,
a little raised above the ordinary level of the ground, and
having a trench round it. Outside the trench sat about a
hundred persons of all ages and both sexes.

" The men were well armed with bows, arrows, spears, and
broadswords. Beside the husband sat a rather aged woman,
having a bad outward squint in the left eye. We put down
our arms about forty yards off, and I walked up to the centre
of the circular bench, and saluted him in the usual way by
.clapping the hands together in their fashion. He pointed to
his wife, as much as to say, the honor belongs to her. I
saluted her in the same way, and a mat having been brought,
I squatted down in front of them.

"The talker was then called, and I was asked who was my
spokesman. Having pointed to Kolimbota, who knew their
dialect best, the palaver began in due form. I explained the
real objects I had in view. Kolimbota repeated to Nyamoa-
na's talker what I had said to him. He delivered it all ver-
batim to her husband, who repeated it again to her. It was
thus rehearsed four times over, in a tone loud enough to be
heard 'by the whole party of auditors. The response came
back by the same roundabout route, beginning at the lady to
her husband, etc.

" As the Leeba seemed still to come from the direction in
which we wished to go, I was desirous of proceeding farther
up with the canoes; but Nyamoana was anxious that we
should allow her people to conduct us to her brother Shinte ;
and when I explained the advantage of water-carriage, she
represented that her brother did not live near the river, and,
moreover, there was a cataract in front, over which it would
be difficult to convey the canoes. She was afraid, too, that
the Balobale, whose country lies to the west of the river, not
knowing the objects for which we had come, would kill us.



INTERVIEW WITH FEMALE CHIEFS. 197

" This produced considerable effect on. my companions, and
inclined them to the plan of Nyamoana, of going to the town
of her brother rather than ascending the Leeba. The arrival
of Manenko herself on the scene threw so much weight into
the scale on their side that I was forced to yield the point.

" Manenko was a tall, strapping woman about twenty, dis-
tinguished by a profusion of ornaments and medicines hung
round her person ; the latter are supposed to act as charms.
Her body was smeared all over with a mixture of fat and red
ochre, as a protection against the weather ; a necessary pre-
caution, for like most of the Balonda ladies, she was otherwise
in a state of frightful nudity. This was not from want of
clothing, for, being a chief, she might have been as well clad
as any of her subjects, but from her peculiar ideas of elegance
in dress.

" When she arrived with her husband, Sambanza, they lis-
tened for sometime to the statements I was making to the
people of Nyamoana, after which the husband, acting as
spokesman, commenced an oration, stating the reasons for
their coming, and during every two or three seconds of the
delivery, he picked up a little sand, and rubbed it on the
upper part of his arms and chest. This is a common mode
of salutation in Londa.

"On the evening of the day in which Manenko arrived, we
were delighted by the appearance of Mosantu and an impos-
ing embassy from Masiko. It consisted of all his under-chiefs,
and they brought a fine elephant's tusk, two calabashes of
honey, and a large piece of blue baize, as a present. The last
was intended perhaps to show me that he was a truly great
chief, who had such stores of white men's goods at hand that
he could afford to give presents of them. Masiko expressed
delight, by his principal men, at the return of the captives,
and at the proposal of peace and alliance with the Makololo.

" Manenko gave us some manioc roots in the morning, and
had determined to carry our baggage to her uncle's, Kabompo
or Shinte. We had heard a sample of what she could do
with her tongue; and as neither my men nor myself had



198 LIVINGSTONE'S LIFE AXD TRAVELS.

much inclination to encounter a scolding from this black Mrs.
Caudle, we made ready the packages ; but she came and said
the men whom she had ordered for the service had not yet
come ; they would arrive to-morrow. Being on low and dis-
agreeable diet, I felt annoyed at this further delay, and
ordered the packages to be put into the canoes to proceed up
the river without her servants*; but Manenko was not; to be
circumvented in this way ; she said her uncle would be very
angry if she did not carry forward the tusks and goods of
Sekeletu, seized the luggage, and declared she would carry it
in spite of me. My men succumbed to this petticoat govern-
ment sooner than I felt inclined to do, and left me no power ;
and, being unwilling to encounter her tongue, I was moving off
to the canoes, when she gave me a kind explanation, and, with
her hand on my shoulder, put on a motherly look, saying,
" Now, my little man, just do as the rest have done." My
feelings of annoyance of course vanished, and I went out to
try to get some meat."

A visit to Shinte being finally decided on, the party started
' on the llth of January, 1854.

"We had to cross, in a canoe, a stream which flows past the
village of Nyamoana. Manenko's doctor waved some charms
over her, and she took some in her hand and on her body
before she ventured upon the water. One of my men spoke
rather loudly when near the doctor's basket of medicines.
The doctor reproved him, and always spoke in a whisper him-
self, glancing back to the basket as if afraid of being heard by
something therein.

"Manenko was accompanied by her husband and her drum-
mer ; the latter continued to thump most vigorously until a
heavy, drizzling mist set in and compelled him to desist.
Her husband used various incantations and vociferations to
drive away the rain, but down it poured incessantly, and on
our Amazon went, in the very lightest marching order, and at
a pace that few of the men could keep up with. Being on
ox-back, I kept pretty close to our leader, and asked her why
she did not clothe herself during the rain, and learned that it



MANEXKO ON THE MARCH. 201

is not considered proper for a chief to appear effeminate. He
or she must always wear the appearance of robust youth, and
bear vicissitudes without wincing. My men, in admiration
of her pedestrian powers, every now and then remarked,
' Manenko is a soldier ;' and thoroughly wet and cold, we
were all glad when she proposed a halt to prepare our night's
lodging on the banks of a stream.

" We found that every village had its idols near it. This
is the case all through the country of the Balonda, so that
when we came to an idol in the woods, we always knew that
we were within a quarter of an hour of human habitations.

"One night we were all awakened by a terrible shriek from
one of Manenko's ladies. She piped out so loud and long
that we all imagined she had been seized by a lion, and my
men snatched up their arms, which they always place so as to
be ready at a moment's notice, and ran to the rescue ; but we
found the alarm had been caused by one of the oxen thrust-
ing his head into her hut and smelling her : she had put her
hand on his cold, wet nose, and thought it was all over with
her.

" On Sunday afternoon messengers arrived from Shinte,
expressing his approbation, of the objects we had in view in
our journey through the country, and that he was glad of the



Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 12 of 51)