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ing the ground with short clubs, and utter sentences by way of ratifying the treaty. The men belonging to each [principal's party], then finish the beer. The principals in the performance of 'Kasendi' are henceforth considered blood-relations, and are bound to disclose to each other any impending evil. If Sekeletu [chief of Pitsane's tribe-the Makololo-] should resolve to attack the Balonda [Sambanza's-or, more properly, Manenko's-people], Pitsane would be under obligation to give Sambanza warning to escape; and so on the other side. [The ceremony concluded in this case] they now presented each other with the most valuable presents they had to bestow. Sambanza walked off with Pitsane's suit of green baize faced with red, which had been made in Loanda; and Pitsane, besides abundant supplies of food, obtained two shells [of as great value, in regions far from the sea, 'as the Lord Mayor's badge is in London,'] similar to that [one, which] I had received from Shinte [the uncle of Manenko]."1
Of the binding force of this covenant, Livingstone says farther: "On one occasion I became blood-relation to a young woman by accident. She had a large cartilaginous tumor between the bones of the forearm, which, as it gradually enlarged, so distended the muscles as to render her unable to work. She ap
1 See Livingstone's Travels and Res. in So. Africa, p. 324 f.
AN UNCHANGING PEOPLE.
plied to me to excise it. I requested her to bring her husband, if he were willing to have the operation performed; and while removing the tumor, one of the small arteries squirted some blood into my eye. She remarked, when I was wiping the blood out of it, 'You were a friend before; now you are a blood-relation; and when you pass this way always send me word, that I may cook food for you.'” 1
Of the influence of these inter-tribal blood-friendships, in Central Africa, Dr. Livingstone speaks most favorably. Their primitive character is made the more probable, in view of the fact that he first found them existing in a region where, in his opinion, the dress and household utensils of the people are identical with those which are represented on the monuments of ancient Egypt.2 Although it is within our own generation that this mode of covenanting in the region referred to has been made familiar to us, the rite itself is of old, elsewhere if not, indeed, there; as other travelers following in the track of Livingstone have noted and reported.
Commander Cameron, who, while in charge of the Livingstone Search Expedition, was the first European traveler to cross the whole breadth of the African continent in its central latitudes, gives several illustra
1 See Livingstone's Travels and Res. in So. Africa, p. 526.
2 Ibid., p. 213.
tions of the observance of this rite. In June, 1874, at the westward of Lake Tanganyika, Syde, a guide of Cameron, entered into this covenant of blood with Pakwanya, a local chief.
"After a certain amount of palaver," says Cameron, "Syde and Pakwanya exchanged presents, much to the advantage of the former [for, in the East, the person of higher rank is supposed to give the more costly gifts in any such exchange]; more especially [in this case] as he [Syde] borrowed the beads of me and afterward forgot to repay me. Pakwanya then performed a tune on his harmonium, or whatever the instrument [which he had] might be called, and the business of fraternizing was proceeded with. Pakwanya's head man acted as his sponsor, and one of my askari assumed the like office for Syde.
"The first operation consisted of making an incision. on each of their right wrists, just sufficient to draw blood; a little of which was scraped off and smeared on the other's cut; after which gunpowder was rubbed in [thereby securing a permanent token on the arm]. The concluding part of the ceremony was performed by Pakwanya's sponsor holding a sword resting on his shoulder, while he who acted [as sponsor] for Syde went through the motions of sharpening a knife upon it. Both sponsors meanwhile made a speech, calling down imprecations on Pakwanya and all his
DRINKING THE COVENANT.
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." 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 ;"3 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.
1 Across Africa, I., 369.
3 Through the Dark Continent, I., 107, 130 f.
2 See page 9, supra.
4 Ibid., I., 492.
5 Ibid., I., 52, 492.
6 How I found Livingstone, pp. 267–304.