Chapter VI. Uzinza

The Politics of Uzinza - The Wahuma - "The Pig's" Trick - First Taste of Usui Taxation - Pillaged by Mfumbi - Pillaged by Makaka - Pillaged by Lumeresi - Grant Stripped by M'Yonga - Stripped Again by Ruhe - Terrors and Defections in the Camp - Driven back to Kaze with new Tribulations and Impediments.

Uzinza, which we now entered, is ruled by two Wahuma chieftains of foreign blood, descended from the Abyssinian stock, of whom we saw specimens scattered all over Unyamuezi, and who extended even down south as far as Fipa. Travellers see very little, however, of these Wahuma, because, being pastorals, they roam about with their flocks and build huts as far away as they can from cultivation. Most of the small district chiefs, too, are the descendants of those who ruled in the same places before the country was invaded, and with them travellers put up and have their dealings. The dress of the Wahuma is very simple, composed chiefly of cow-hide tanned black - a few magic ornaments and charms, brass or copper bracelets, and immense number of sambo for stockings, which looked very awkward on their long legs. They smear themselves with rancid butter instead of macassar, and are, in consequence, very offensive to all but the negro, who seems, rather than otherwise, to enjoy a good sharp nose tickler. For arms they carry both bow and spear; more generally the latter. The Wazinza in the southern parts are so much like the Wanyamuezi, as not to require any especial notice; but in the north, where the country is more hilly, they are much more energetic and actively built. All alike live in grass-hut villages, fenced round by bomas in the south, but open in the north. Their country rises in high rolls, increasing in altitude as it approaches the Mountains of the Moon, and is generally well cultivated, being subjected to more of the periodical rains than the regions we have left, though springs are not so abundant, I believe, as they are in the Land of the Moon, where they ooze out by the flanks of the little granitic hills.

After tracking through several miles of low bush-jungle, we came to the sites of some old bomas that had been destroyed by the Watuta not long since. Farther on, as we wished to enter a newly- constructed boma, the chief of which was Mafumbu Wantu (a Mr Balls), we felt the effects of those ruthless marauders; for the villagers, thinking us Watuta in disguise, would not let us in; for those savages, they said, had once tricked them by entering their village, pretending to be traders carrying ivory and merchandise, whilst they were actually spies. This was fortunate for me, however, as Mr Balls, like M'yonga, was noted for his extortions on travellers. We then went on and put up in the first village of Bogue, where I wished to get porters and return for Grant, as the place seemed to be populous. Finding, however, that I could not get a sufficient number for that purpose, I directed those who wished for employment to go off at once and take service with Grant.

I found many people assembled here from all parts of the district, for the purpose of fighting M'yonga; but the chief Ruhe, having heard of my arrival, called me to his palace, which, he said, was on my way, that he might see me, for he never in all his life had a white man for his guest, and was so glad to hear of my arrival that he would give orders for the dispersing of his forces. I wished to push past him, as I might be subjected to such calls every day; but Ungurue, in the most piggish manner - for he was related to Ruhe - insisted that neither himself nor any of his children would advance one step farther with me unless I complied with their wish, which was a simple conformity with the laws of their country, and therefore absolute. At length giving in, I entered Ruhe's boma, the poles of which were decked with the skulls of his enemies stuck upon them. Instead, however, of seeing him myself, as he feared my evil eye, I conducted the arrangements for the hongo through Baraka, in the same way as I did at M'yonga's, directing that it should be limited to the small sum of one barsati and four yards kiniki.