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the Waterberg stretches about N.E.; and under its southern side is a warm-bath or spring, where the Dutch assemble to hear service, on the periodical visits of their minister. From the N.W. side of the mountain flow the Baclapatre or Maclapatre, the Tlalla, the Palilalia or Rhoebok river, and the Magaliquaine.
On the eastern side of the Waterberg, as before mentioned, and on the southern face of the Zoutpan's-berg, lie the fort and village of the old commandant, Hendrik Potgieter. Between the latter mountain and the Blue-berg is the residence of a tribe of Kafirs, said to retain many of the customs of the Mahometan religion, and on that account called by the Dutch, Zl&mzie (Islam's) Kafirs; and to the N. of this is the drift by which the boer's commando crossed the Limpopo for the purpose of attacking Moselikatse, who occupies the regions to the northward, and who, threatened with the vengeance of the surrounding tribes, is checked in his progress rforthward by a large river, over which the natives refuse to ferry him.
Returning again to the Mag&lie's-berg, we take the northeastern road, and crossing the Eland and Elephant rivers, both running to the N., cross the Magniet's-hoogte, the rocks of which possess so powerful a magnetic property that particles of dust and small stones adhere to. the tires of the waggon-wheels. Mr. Coqui gave me a piece, weighing about 2 lbs., capable of lifting a nail or knife-blade, and possessing in addition, a decided polarity.
A few miles beyond, Origstadt appears in a deep valley, and a wilderness of rugged mountain scenery. To the northward the • Elephant river, having received the waters of the Eland river, flows to the N.E., under the name of the Pellulah or Lipalula, and is supposed to join the Limpopo, after passing through the Drakensberg.
From Origstadt the road continues to the eastward till it reaches the Drakensberg, a mountain-range, which, rising near Natal, 8tretches_parallel with the coast to an unknown distance northward. The descent of this mountain — for it only shows a steep face towards the sea—occupies an entire day; and after crossing the Manice, the Omquinie, and the Tamati rivers (all of which rise in the Drakensberg, and can therefore have no connection with the Limpopo) a broad open country, thinly sprinkled with bush, and covered with all kinds of wild animals, presents itself; a spring of clear water and a forest are also found here. The Mattol, a broad, marshy, sluggish river, has next to be crossed near the point where it joins the Bay of Delagoa. The usual outspanning-place is on the beach, in front of a tongue of sand, on which stands the fort and village, containing about twenty miserable huts, of Lorenzo Marques. To the eastward of the fort the Manice falls into the bay, having 8 fathoms at its mouth, and 2 at about 40 miles up, to which distance some of the smaller slave schooners proceed for the purpose of receiving their cargoes from the great dealer in human beings in those regions, the Kafir chief, Manekos, who holds the country to the eastward of the river. A nearer route than that last mentioned leads from Delagoa Bay to Origstadt, across the Tamatie, the Omquinie, and the Manice, near their junction, where they form a large and sluggish sheet of water, most probably that seen by Louis Triechardt some twenty years ago. Canoes are used by the natives there; and the boers think of settling the country under the Drakensberg, where it is proposed, in consequence of the unhealthy situation of the old town, to build another, to be called Liebenburg, or New Origstadt.
XIX.—Explorations into the Interior of Africa.
Extracted from Communications received from Lieut. - Col. Steele, F.r.g.s.;
Bead June 12, 1854.
Mv Dear Colonel,—As soon as I could procure people willing to risk a journey through the country lately the scene of the gallant deeds of the Boers, I left Kuruman; and my companions being aware of certain wrathful fulminations uttered by General Piet Scboltz to deter me from again visiting the little strip of country which the Republicans fancy lies between Magaliesberg and Jerusalem, our progress was pretty quick till we entered lat. 19°, at a place that I have marked on my map as the Fever Ponds. Here the whole party, except a Bakwain lad and myself, was laid prostrate by fever. He managed the oxen and I the hospital, until, through the goodness of God, the state of the invalids permitted us again to move northwards. I did not follow our old path, but from Kamakama travelled on the magnetic meridian (N.N.W.), in order to avoid the tsetze (fly). This new path brought us into a densely wooded country, where the grass was from 8 to 10 feet high. The greater leafiness of the trees showed we were in a moist climate, and we were most agreeably surprised by the presence of vines growing luxuriantly, and yielding clusters of dark purple grapes. The seeds, as large as split peas and very astringent, leave but little room for pulp, though the grape itself is of good size. The Bakwain lad now became ill; but, by the aid of two Bushmen, we continued to make some progress. I was both driver and road-maker, having either the axe or whip in hand all day long till we came to lat. 18° 4'. Here we discovered that the country adjacent to the Chobe was flooded: valleys looked like rivers, and after crossing several we came to one, the Sanshureh, which presented a complete barrier to further travelling with waggons. It was deep, £ a mile broad, and contained hippopotami. After searching in vain for a ford, our two Bushmen decamped. Being very anxious to reach the Makololo, I took one of the strongest of our invalids, crossed the Sanshureh in a small pontoon, kindly presented by Messrs. Webb and Codrington, and went N.N.W. across the flooded country in search of the Chobe. After splashing through about 20 miles of an inundated plain, we came to a mass of reed, which towards the N.E. seemed interminable. We then turned for a short distance in the direction of our former waggonstand, and from a high tree were gratified by a sight of the Chobe; but such a mass of vegetation grew between the bank and the flowing river, that our utmost efforts failed in procuring a passage into it. The water among the reeds either became too deep, or we were unable to bend down the barrier of papyrus and reed bound together by a kind of convolvulus. You will understand the nature of our struggles, when I mention that a horrid sort of grass, about 6 feet high, and having serrated edges which cut the hands most cruelly, wore my strong moleskin " unmentionables" quite through at the knees, and my shoes (nearly new) at the toes. My handkerchief protected the former; but in subsequent travelling through the dense grass of the plains the feet fared badly. Though constantly wet up to the middle during the day, we slept soundly by night during the three days we spent among this mass of reeds, and only effected a passage into the open water of the Chobe river on the fourth day. After paddling along the river in the pontoon about 20 miles, we discovered a village of Makololo. We were unexpected visitors, and the more so since they believed that no one could cross the Chobe from the S. bank without their knowledge.
In their figurative language they said, "I had fallen on them as if from a cloud, yet came riding on a hippopotamus" (pontoon). A vague report of our approach had previously reached the chief, and two parties were out in search of us; but they had gone along the old paths. In returning to the waggons, which we did in canoes and in a straight line, we found the distance not more than 10 miles. Our difficulties were now ended, for a great number of canoes and about 140 people were soon dispatched from the town. They transported our goods and waggons across the country and river, and when we had been landed on the other side of the Chobe, we travelled northward till within about one day from Sesheke, in order to avoid the flooded lands adjacent to the river. We there struck upon the path which Mr. Oswell and I travelled on horseback in 1850, and turning into it proceeded S.W. until we came to Sekeletu's town Linyanti. Our reception here was as warm as could have been expected. The chief" Sekeletu, not yet 19 years of age, said he had got another father instead of Sebituane ; he was not quite sure, however, about learning to read: "he feared it might change his heart and make him content with one wife only, as in the case of Sechele." It is pleasant to hear objections frankly stated.
About the end of July we embarked on our journey to the N., embarking at Sekhose's village on the Zambese, or, as the aborigines universally name it, the Leeambye, viz., the river. This village is about 25 miles W. of the town of Sesheke. When I proposed to Sekeletu to examine his country and ascertain if there were any suitable locality for a mission, he consented frankly ; but he had not yet seen me enough. Then he would not allow me to go alone; some evil might befal me, and he would be accountable. This and fever caused some delay, so that we did not get off till about the end of July. In the mean time I learned particulars of what had taken place here since my last visit in 1852.
The daughter of Sebituane had resigned the chieftainship into (Sekeletu's) her brother's hands. From all I can learn she did it gracefully and sincerely. Influential men advised her to put Sekeletu to death, lest he should become troublesome when he became older. She turned from their proposals in disgust, called a meeting, and, with a womanly gush of tears, said she had been induced to rule by her father, but her own inclination had always been to lead a domestic life. She therefore requested Sekeletu to take the chieftainship, and allow her to marry.
He was equally sincere in a continued refusal during several days, for he was afraid of being cut off by a pretender, who had the audacity to utter some threatening words in the assembly. I do not now wonder at the resolution of Sebituane's daughter, who had just come from a nine weeks' tour, in company with a crowd who would have been her courtiers: there was no want of food, oxen were slaughtered almost every day in numbers more than sufficient for the wants of all. They were all as kind and attentive to me as they could have been to her, yet to endure their dancing, roaring, and singing, their jesting, anecdotes, grumbling, quarrelling, murdering, and meanness, equalled a pretty stiff penance. These children of nature gave me a more intense disgust to heathenism, and a much higher opinion of the effects of missions among tribes in the S. which are reported to have been as savage as they, than I ever had before.
The pretender above referred to, after Sekeletu's accession, and at the time of my arrival, believing that he could effect his object by means of a Portuguese slave-merchant and a number of armed Mambari, encouraged them to the utmost. The selling of children had been positively forbidden by the lawful chief Sekeletu, but his rival transported the slave-trading party across the Leeambye river, and gave them full permission to deal in all the Batoka and Bashukulompo villages to the E. of it. A stockade was erected at Katongo, and a flag-staff for the Portuguese banner planted, and in return for numerous presents of ivory and cattle, that really belonged to Sekeletu, the pretender received a small cannon. Elated with what he considered success, he came down here with the intention of murdering Sekeletu himself, having no doubt but that, after effecting this, he should, by the aid of his allies, easily reduce the whole tribe. We met him on our way to Sesheke, as we travelled there from Linyanti, and a very slight circumstance served to derange the whole conspiracy. The pretender carried a. battle-axe, with which he had arranged with his confederates to hamstring Sekeletu, as a signal, when he rose up from their first interview. I happened to sit down between him and the pretender, and soon feeling disposed to retire for the evening, said to Sekeletu, " Where do we sleep to-night?" He replied, " Come, I will show you." We rose together, and my body covering that of Sekeletu, the attempt was not made. The accomplices came and revealed the whole in the evening. "If what you say you know to be true," answered Sekeletu, "take him off:' he was instantly led forth and executed in a hut close by. I knew nothing of it till the following day. Others, deeply implicated, were afterwards put to death in the same off-hand way; and when I remonstrated against shedding human blood, the counsellors calmly replied, "You see we are still Boers—we are not yet taught" Another Portuguese slave-merchant came also from the W. He remained here only three days, and finding no market, departed. A large party of Mambari was encamped by Katongo, about the time of our arrival at Linyanti. No slaves were sold to them; and when they heard that I had actually crossed the Chobe, they fled precipitately. The Makololo remonstrated, saying I would do them no harm, but the Mambari asserted that 1 would take all their goods from them because they bought children. The merchant I first spoke of had probably no idea of the risk he ran in listening to the tale of a disaffected under chief. He was now in his stockade at Katongo, and influential men proposed to expel both him and the Mambari from the country. Dreading the results which might follow a commencement of hostilities, I mentioned the difficulty of attacking a stockade, which could be defended by perhaps forty muskets. "Hunger is strong enough," said an under chief—" a very great fellow is he." As the chief sufferers in the event of an attack would be the poor slaves chained in