Monze Education Fund
and Guide to Monze
|Dr David Livingstone - Journal entry
Chapter 27 of his journal "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa"
The Village of Monze
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We spent Sunday, the 10th, at Monze's village, who is considered the chief of all the Batoka we have seen. He lives near the hill Kisekise, whence we have a view of at least thirty miles of open undulating country, covered with short grass, and having but few trees. These open lawns would in any other land, as well as this, be termed pastoral, but the people have now no cattle, and only a few goats and fowls. They are located all over the country in small villages, and cultivate large gardens. They are said to have adopted this wide-spread mode of habitation in order to give alarm should any enemy appear. In former times they lived in large towns.
In the distance (southeast) we see ranges of dark mountains along the banks of the Zambesi, and are told of the existence there of the rapid named Kansala, which is said to impede the navigation. The river is reported to be placid above that as far as the territory of Sinamane, a Batoka chief, who is said to command it after it emerges smooth again below the falls. Kansala is the only rapid reported in the river until we come to Kebrabasa, twenty or thirty miles above Tete. On the north we have mountains appearing above the horizon, which are said to be on the banks of the Kafue.
The chief Monze came to us on Sunday morning, wrapped in a large cloth, and rolled himself about in the dust, screaming "Kina bomba," as they all do. The sight of great naked men wallowing on the ground, though intended to do me honor, was always very painful; it made me feel thankful that my lot had been cast in such different circumstances from that of so many of my fellow-men. One of his wives accompanied him; she would have been comely if her teeth had been spared; she had a little battle-axe in her hand, and helped her husband to scream. She was much excited, for she had never seen a white man before. We rather liked Monze, for he soon felt at home among us, and kept up conversation during much of the day.
One head man of a village after another arrived, and each of them supplied us liberally with maize, ground-nuts, and corn. Monze gave us a goat and a fowl, and appeared highly satisfied with a present of some handkerchiefs I had got in my supplies left at the island. Being of printed cotton, they excited great admiration; and when I put a gaudy-colored one as a shawl about his child, he said that he would send for all his people to make a dance about it.
In telling them that my object was to open up a path whereby they might, by getting merchandise for ivory, avoid the guilt of selling their children, I asked Monze, with about 150 of his men, if they would like a white man to live among them and teach them. All expressed high satisfaction at the prospect of the white man and his path: they would protect both him and his property. I asked the question, because it would be of great importance to have stations in this healthy region, whither agents oppressed by sickness might retire, and which would serve, moreover, as part of a chain of communication between the interior and the coast. The answer does not mean much more than what I know, by other means, to be the case - that a white man OF GOOD SENSE would be welcome and safe in all these parts. By uprightness, and laying himself out for the good of the people, he would be known all over the country as a BENEFACTOR of the race. None desire Christian instruction, for of it they have no idea. But the people are now humbled by the scourgings they have received, and seem to be in a favorable state for the reception of the Gospel. The gradual restoration of their former prosperity in cattle, simultaneously with instruction, would operate beneficially upon their minds. The language is a dialect of the other negro languages in the great valley; and as many of the Batoka living under the Makololo understand both it and the Sichuana, missionaries could soon acquire it through that medium.
Monze had never been visited by any white man, but had seen black native traders, who, he said, came for ivory, not for slaves. He had heard of white men passing far to the east of him to Cazembe, referring, no doubt, to Pereira, Lacerda, and others, who have visited that chief.
The streams in this part are not perennial; I did not observe one suitable for the purpose of irrigation. There is but little wood; here and there you see large single trees, or small clumps of evergreens, but the abundance of maize and ground-nuts we met with shows that more rain falls than in the Bechuana country, for there they never attempt to raise maize except in damp hollows on the banks of rivers. The pasturage is very fine for both cattle and sheep. My own men, who know the land thoroughly, declare that it is all garden-ground together, and that the more tender grains, which require richer soil than the native corn, need no care here. It is seldom stony.
The men of a village came to our encampment, and, as they followed the Bashukulompo mode of dressing their hair, we had an opportunity of examining it for the first time. A circle of hair at the top of the head, eight inches or more in diameter, is woven into a cone eight or ten inches high, with an obtuse apex, bent, in some cases, a little forward, giving it somewhat the appearance of a helmet. Some have only a cone, four or five inches in diameter at the base. It is said that the hair of animals is added; but the sides of the cone are woven something like basket-work. The head man of this village, instead of having his brought to a point, had it prolonged into a wand, which extended a full yard from the crown of his head. The hair on the forehead, above the ears, and behind, is all shaven off, so they appear somewhat as if a cap of liberty were cocked upon the top of the head. After the weaving is performed it is said to be painful, as the scalp is drawn tightly up; but they become used to it. Monze informed me that all his people were formerly ornamented in this way, but he discouraged it. I wished him to discourage the practice of knocking out the teeth too, but he smiled, as if in that case the fashion would be too strong for him, as it was for Sebituane.
Monze came on Monday morning, and, on parting, presented us with a piece of a buffalo which had been killed the day before by lions. We crossed the rivulet Makoe, which runs westward into the Kafue, and went northward in order to visit Semalembue, an influential chief there. We slept at the village of Monze's sister, who also passes by the same name. Both he and his sister are feminine in their appearance, but disfigured by the foolish custom of knocking out the upper front teeth.
It is not often that jail-birds turn out well, but the first person who appeared to welcome us at the village of Monze's sister was the prisoner we had released in the way. He came with a handsome present of corn and meal, and, after praising our kindness to the villagers who had assembled around us, asked them, "What do you stand gazing at? Don't you know that they have mouths like other people?" He then set off and brought large bundles of grass and wood for our comfort, and a pot to cook our food in.
DECEMBER 12TH. The morning presented the appearance of a continuous rain from the north, the first time we had seen it set in from that quarter in such a southern latitude. In the Bechuana country, continuous rains are always from the northeast or east, while in Londa and Angola they are from the north. At Pungo Andongo, for instance, the whitewash is all removed from the north side of the houses. It cleared up, however, about midday, and Monze's sister conducted us a mile or two upon the road. On parting, she said that she had forwarded orders to a distant village to send food to the point where we should sleep. In expressing her joy at the prospect of living in peace, she said it would be so pleasant "to sleep without dreaming of any one pursuing them with a spear."
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