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THE MARS OF AFRICA.
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."3
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
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.
been formally gone through [with], between Manwa Sera, on my part, and Kijaju, King of Komeh, and the King of Itawagumba, on the other part."
It was at "Kampunzu, in the district of Uvinza, where dwell the true aborigines of the forest country," -a people whom Stanley afterwards found to be cannibals-that this rite was once more observed between the explorers and the natives. "Blood-brotherhood being considered as a pledge of good-will and peace," says Stanley, "Frank Pocock [a young Englishman who was an attendant of Stanley] and the chief [of Kampunzu] went through the ordeal; and we interchanged presents "—as is the custom in the observance of this rite. 2
At the island of Mpika, on the Livingstone River, in December, 1876, there was another bright episode in Stanley's course of travel, through this mode of sealing friendship. Disease had been making sad havoc in Stanley's party. He had been compelled to fight his way along through a region of cannibals. While he was halting for a breakfast on the river bank over against Mpika, an attack on him was preparing by the excited inhabitants of the island. Just then his scouts captured a native trading party of men and women who were returning to Mpika, from inland; and to them his interpreters made clear his pacific 1 Thro. Dark Cont., I., 268. 2 Ibid., II., 144–146.
PEACE SEALED BY BLOOD.
intentions. "By means of these people," he says, "we succeeded in checking the warlike demonstrations of the islanders, and in finally persuading them to make blood-brotherhood; after which we invited canoes to come and receive [these hostages] their friends. As they hesitated to do so, we embarked them in our own boat, and conveyed them across to the island. The news then spread quickly along the whole length of the island that we were friends, and as we resumed our journey, crowds from the shore cried out to us, 'Mwende Ki-vuké-vuke' (Go in peace!')"1
Once more it was at the conclusion of a bloody conflict, in the district of Vinya-Njara, just below Mpika Island, that peace was sealed by blood. When practical victory was on Stanley's side, at the cost of four of his men killed, and thirteen more of them wounded, then he sought this means of amity. "With the aid of our interpreters," he says, "we communicated our terms, viz., that we would occupy VinyaNjara, and retain all the canoes unless they made peace. We also informed them that we had one prisoner, who would be surrendered to them if they availed themselves of our offer of peace: that we had suffered heavily, and they had also suffered; that war was an evil which wise men avoided; that if they came with two canoes with their chiefs, two canoes
1 Thro. Dark Cont., II., 177 f.