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relations, past, present, and future, and prayed that their graves might be defiled by pigs if he broke the brotherhood in word, thought, or deed. The same form having been gone through with, [with] respect to Syde, the sponsors changing duties, the brothermaking was complete.”1

Concerning the origin of this rite, in this region, Cameron says: "This custom of 'making brothers,' I believe to be really of Semitic origin, and to have been introduced into Africa by the heathen Arabs before the days of Mohammed; and this idea is strengthened by the fact that when the first traders from Zanzibar crossed the Tanganyika, the ceremony was unknown [so far as those traders knew] to the westward of that lake."2 Cameron was, of course, unaware of the world-wide prevalence of this rite; but his suggestion that its particular form just here had a Semitic origin, receives support in a peculiar difference noted between the Asiatic and the African ceremonies.

It will be remembered, that, among the Syrians, the blood of the covenant is taken into the mouth, and the record of the covenant is bound upon the arm. The Africans, not fully appreciating the force of a written record, are in the habit of reversing this order, according to Cameron's account. Describing the rite

1 Cameron's Across Africa, I., 333.

2 Ibid., I., 333 f.

as observed between his men and the natives, on the Luama River, he says: "The brotherhood business having been completed [by putting the blood from one party on to the arm of the other], some pen and ink marks were made on a piece of paper, which, together with a charge of powder, was put into a kettleful of water. All hands then drank of the decoction, the natives being told that it was a very great medicine."1 That was "drinking the covenant” with a vengeance; nor is it difficult to see how this idea originated.


The gallant and adventurous Henry M. Stanley also reports this rite of "blood-brotherhood," or of "strong friendship," in the story of his romantic experiences in the wilds of Africa. On numerous occasions the observance of this rite was a means of protection and relief to Stanley. One of its more notable illustrations was in his compact with "Mirambo, the warrior chief of Western Unyamwezi ;"" whose leadership in warfare Stanley compares to that of both Frederick the Great and Napoleon.5

It was during his first journey in pursuit of Livingstone, in 1871, that Stanley first encountered the forces of Mirambo, and was worsted in the conflict. Writing 1 Across Africa, I., 369. 2 See page 9, supra.

3 Through the Dark Continent, I., 107, 130 f.

5 Ibid., I., 52, 492.

4 Ibid., I., 492.

How I found Livingstone, pp. 267-304.



of him, after his second expedition, Stanley describes Mirambo, as "the Mars of Africa,' who since 1871 has made his name feared by both native and foreigner from Usui to Urori, and from Uvinza to Ugogo, a country embracing 90,000 square miles; who, from the village chieftainship over Uyoweh, has made for himself a name as well known as that of Mtesa throughout the eastern half of Equatorial Africa; a household word from Nyangwé to Zanzibar, and the theme of many a song of the bards of Unyamwezi, Ukimbu, Ukonongo, Uzinja, and Uvinza.”1 For a time, during his second exploring expedition, Stanley was inclined to avoid Mirambo, but becoming “impressed with his ubiquitous powers," he decided to meet him, and if possible make "strong friendship" with him. They came together, first, at Serombo, April 22, 1876. Mirambo "quite captivated" Stanley. "He was a thorough African gentleman in appearance.

A handsome, regular-featured, mild-voiced, soft-spoken man, with what one might call a 'meek' demeanor; very generous and open-handed;" his eyes having "the steady, calm gaze of a master.'

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The African hero and the heroic American agreed to "make strong friendship" with each other. Stanley thus describes the ceremony: "Manwa Sera [Stanley's 1 Thro. Dark Cont., I., 489 f. 2 Ibid., I., 130.

3 Ibid., I., 487-492.

'chief captain'] was requested to seal our friendship by performing the ceremony of blood-brotherhood between Mirambo and myself. Having caused us to sit fronting each other on a straw-carpet, he made an incision in each of our right legs, from which he extracted blood, and inter-changing it, he exclaimed aloud: ‘If either of you break this brotherhood now established between you, may the lion devour him, the serpent poison him, bitterness be in his food, his friends desert him, his gun burst in his hands and wound him, and everything that is bad do wrong to him until death.'” 1 The same blood now flowed in the veins of both Stanley and Mirambo. They were friends and brothers in a sacred covenant; life for life. At the conclusion of the covenant, they exchanged gifts; as the customary ratification, or accompaniment, of the compact. They even vied with each other in proofs of their unselfish fidelity, in this new covenant of friendship.2

Again and again, before and after this incident, Stanley entered into the covenant of blood-brotherhood with representative Africans; in some instances by the opening of his own veins; at other times by allowing one of his personal escort to bleed for him. In January, 1875, a “great magic doctor of Vinyata" came to Stanley's tent to pay a friendly visit, “bringing with him a fine, fat ox as a peace offering." After 1 Thro. Dark Cont., I., 493. 2 Ibid., I., 493 f.



an exchange of gifts, says Stanley, "he entreated me to go through the process of blood-brotherhood, which I underwent with all the ceremonious gravity of a pagan."1

Three months later, in April, 1875, when Stanley found himself and his party in the treacherous toils of Shekka, the King of Bumbireh, he made several vain attempts to "induce Shekka, with gifts, to go through the process of blood-brotherhood." Stanley's second captain, Safeni, was the adroit, but unsuccessful, agent in the negotiations. "Go frankly and smilingly, Safeni, up to Shekka, on the top of that hill," said Stanley, "and offer him these three fundo of beads, and ask him to exchange blood with you." But the wily king was not to be dissuaded from his warlike purposes in that way. "Safeni returned. Shekka had refused the pledge of peace. 2 His desire was to take blood, if at all, without any exchange.

After still another three months, in July, 1875, Stanley, at Refuge Island, reports better success in securing peace and friendship through blood-giving and blood-receiving. "Through the influence of young Lukanjah-the cousin of the King of Ukerewé "-he says, "the natives of the mainland had been induced to exchange their churlish disposition for one of cordial welcome; and the process of blood-brotherhood had 1 Thro. Dark Cont., I., 123. 2 Ibid., I., 227-237.

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