Emil Holub 1885

Toka (Tonga).  Ila.  Totela.  Lozi.

Emil Holub returned to Prague after his first trip to the Zambezi River in 1875.  He had taken with him many items from the trip which he had hoped to use in a new museum devoted to Africana.  This never happened and his collection was spread around many museums.  He wrote articles for magazines, gave lectures and wrote his first book about his travels. 

On his return to Africa he came with 6 other aspiring African travellers, 3 of whom died very early on before even reaching the Zambezi River.  He had married Rosa Hof, 18 years his junior, who also joined the party.

At the time, Loziland was in turmoil.  Sepopo had been killed in 1876, the kingship being taken over by Mwanawina II.  Mwanawina II’s reign only lasted for two years when he too was ousted in a coup by Lubosi (Lewanika) in 1878.  In 1884, Lubosi was ousted and replaced by Akafuna Tatila.  Finally, in 1885 Lubosi regained his throne but began many revenge attacks on anyone suspected of supporting Akafuna Tatila. 

The whole empire under Lozi control was unpredictable and in a state of turmoil as Lubosi consolidated his position as king.  All the people who lived under Lozi rule had become fearful and often unfriendly.    The Lozi empire, at this time included much of the land from their capital at Lealui up to the Kafue River.  It is no surprise, therefore, that Emil Holub’s last trip into our region was often fraught with danger and ended in failure.

Because of the unsettled state of the nation, Emil Holub was forced to hire porters from one village to the next as few people were willing to accompany him for the whole journey.  He needed 90 porters at the start to carry all the items for barter – mostly cloth and beads.  Payment for porters was usually a ‘sitsiba’, which is 2 metres of cloth.  This was enough, usually, for 2-3 day journey from one village to the next. 

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/emil-holub-1885/

Emil Holub 1875

Marutse (Lozi), Subiya, Mbunda, Mambari, Makishi, Mashi, Aluyi

Emil Holub was a Czech from Bohemia.  He was a ‘doctor, a zoologist, a botanist, a hunter, a taxidermist, an artist and cartographer, an avid collector of specimens and, above all, a keen observer’. 

He visited the Zambezi River in 1875 when he was 28 years old with the intention of travelling by makora upstream.  He was following the footsteps of David Livingstone. 

The king of the Lozi people was Sipopo. He had taken over the position after the Kololo people had been thrown out of the country in 1864. The Kololo had ruled Loziland for about 26 years. From their headquarters at Bulawayo, the Matabele had been in charge for about 30 years, raiding all the neighbouring tribes, destroying everything. Most of the people had fled north, crossing the Zambezi River.

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/emil-holub-1875/

Thomas Morgan Thomas 1867

Tonga.  Yeye (Nyai?).  Makololo.  Matabele.  Abahunti (Nambya?).  Abazungu (Chikunda?).

Thomas Morgan Thomas set up a mission station in Matabeleland. In 1867 he trekked to the Zambezi River with the intention of visiting the Victoria Falls.

He mentions a few interesting bits about the people he meets along the way. I am still trying to work out exactly who they were as he uses different names … but I have made a few guesses!

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/thomas-morgan-thomas-1867/

David Livingstone 1858 – 1860

Kololo.  Undi (Chewa).  Nyai.  Mburuma (Nsenga).  Zezuru.  Bakoa.  Sidima.  Bapimpe.  Batoka (Tonga).  We.  Soli.  Lenje.  Matabele

David Livingstone returned to Quelimane as Consul of the Eastern Coast of Africa in 1858.

He continues to explore, this time by boat, up the Zambezi.  He is defeated by the Cahora Bassa rapids – now below the dam.  So he turns his attention to the Shire River, a tributary of the Zambezi from the north.  The Shire River drains from Lake Malawi, then called Nyasa.  David Livingstone explores Lake Malawi and this is where he comes face to face with the real slave trade. 

The chief of the village near the confluence of the lake and the Shire, hearing that we were sitting under a tree, came and invited us to his village.  He told us that a large slave party led by Arabs was encamped close by.  Soon after, their leaders came to see us.  They were armed with muskets and looked a villainous lot.  They evidently thought the same of us, for they offered us several little children for sale, but when told that we were English, decamped during the night.

During 1860 he goes back to Kolololand to take back the men who had accompanied him in 1856 to Tete. He meets many interesting folk along the way. To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/david-livingstone-1858-1860/

David Livingstone 1855 – 1856

David Livingstone is now on his journey to the east coast.  He leaves Linyanti, accompanied by Sekeletu, king of the Kololo and they walk along the river to the Zambezi. 

The Barotse believe that at a certain part of the river a tremendous monster lies hid, that will catch a canoe and hold it motionless in spite of the efforts of the paddlers.  They believe that some of them possess the knowledge of the proper prayer to lay the monster. 

As they neared the Victoria Falls:

The next evening we slept opposite the island of Chondo, and, then crossing the Lekone or Lekwine, early the following morning, were at the island of Sekote, called Kalai.  This Sekote was the last of the Batoka chiefs whom Sebituane rooted out.  This island is surrounded by a rocky shore and deep channels, through which the river rushes with great force.  Sekote, feeling secure in his island home, ventured­­­ to ferry over the Matabele enemies of Sebituane.  When they had retired, Sebituane made one of those rapid marches which he always adopted in every enterprise.  He came down the Leeambye from Naliele, sailing by day along the banks, and during the night in the middle of the stream, to avoid the hippopotami.  When he reached Kalai Sekote took advantage of the larger canoes they employ in the rapids, and fled during the night to the opposite bank.  Most of his people were slain or taken captive, and the island has ever since been under the Makololo. It is large enough to contain a considerable town.  On the northern side I found the kotla of the elder Sekote, garnished with numbers of human skulls mounted on poles: a large heap of the crania of hippopotami, the tusks untouched except by time, stood on one side.  At a short distance, under some trees, we saw the grave of Sekote, ornamented with seventy large elephants’ tusks planted round it with the points turned inward, and there were thirty more placed over the resting-places of his relatives.  … The Batoka believe that Sekote had a pot of medicine buried here, which, when opened, would cause an epidemic in the country. 

Chondo is Chundu Island.  The Lekone, I assume is Sinde River.  Sekote is Chief Sekute.

During this part of his journey he mentions:

Kololo.  Barotse (Lozi).  Tonga.  Bashukalumpo (Ila).  Bisa.  Bapimpe.  Nyai.  Chief Mburuma (Nsenga)

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/david-livingstone-1855-1856/

William Baldwin 1860

William Baldwin was a hunter who travelled by horseback around 1860.  His travels took him up to the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls.  While near, I estimate, Pandamatenga, he states:

In my ramblings yesterday, I came across another nation, calling themselves Batokas.  … It is their custom to knock out their four front teeth, and to file a small space between each of the under ones, …

When he reached the Falls, he met the Kololo people.  This was the time when the Lozi Empire was being run by the Kololo people from the south.  Sekeletu was the chief who based himself at Sesheke, then near present-day Mwandi.  Because of the continual conflict between the Kololo and the Matabele, the Kololo had set up sentry points along the Zambezi River to guard against a Matabele impi crossing the Zambezi.  There were various crossing points, one of which was over the rapids by the Victoria Falls.

I have punted for three days in all directions in the Makololo canoes, and could spend half my life on the waters.

I had the honour, yesterday of cutting my initials on a tree on the island above the Falls, just below Dr Livingstone’s, as being the second European who has reached the Falls, …

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/william-baldwin-1860/

David Livingstone 1853 – 1855

David Livingstone has visited Zambesia and met the Kololo king.  He knows that he cannot travel further north taking his wife and children with him so he sends his wife and children to England.  He has a plan to find a better route to the interior of Africa rather than the present one through the Kalahari.  He returns to Linyanti where he finds that Sekeletu is now the chief. 

Sekeletu was eighteen years of age, of the dark yellow, of which the Makololo are so proud.

Next day we returned in canoes across the flooded land.  A few days later a party of the Barotse came down from Linyanti to take us across the river.  This they did in fine style, swimming and diving among the oxen, more like alligators than men, and taking the wagons to pieces, carried them across on a number of canoes lashed together.  Now we were among friends.

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/david-livingstone-1853-1855/

Edward Mohr 1870

Edward Mohr was a German botanist, an entomologist, and a zoologist, and engaged in a certain amount of mapping, being equipped with fine instruments lent by the German Government.

Edward Mohr reached the Zambezi River in June 1870 opposite Wankie’s Town when he was 42 years old. 

We had a most luxurious meal considering our circumstances, and in the afternoon I made a grand toilet and set out to pay Wanki a formal visit, in a boat sent by him for my use.  It was … stipulated that as many shots should be fired as possible on our way across the river.  These conditions were fulfilled to the best of our ability, and when we landed on the northern bank we found about sixty people awaiting us, but Wanki himself had not yet appeared.  Soon afterwards a long procession of men moved out of the village, amongst whom Wanki was easily recognisable a long way off, for he wore a high woolen nightcap, of which he seemed not a little proud; behind him marched musicians with drums and flutes. 

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/edward-mohr-1870/

David Livingstone 1851

David Livingstone spent many years exploring present-day Zambia.  His first trip was in 1851 when he reached Linyanti (on the border of present-day Namibia and Botswana).  From there he travelled north and reached the Zambezi River.  He was with his wife and four young children. 

At Linyanti he met Sebitwane, Chief of the Kololo people:

He was upon an island with all his principle men around him engaged in singing. … He signified his joy and added ‘Your cattle are all bitten by tsetse and will definitely die; but never mind, I have oxen and will give you as many as you need.’  He presented us with an ox and a jar of honey. … Prepared skins as soft as cloth were given as a covering for the night.

Sebitwane dies while David Livingstone is at Linyanti.  He comments:

He was decidedly the best specimen of a native chief I ever met.

To read more (just a little bit), go to: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/david-livingstone-1851/

Frederick Selous 1877

Frederick Selous was a hunter who travelled widely in south-central Africa.  In 1877, at the age of 26, he crossed the Zambezi River in the hopes of reaching Katanga (home then of the Yeke people of Chief Msidi) where Frederick Arnot, the missionary, was stationed.  Frederick Arnot had written to Frederick Selous telling him of the large number of elephants around his station.  Frederick Selous thought the area would prove to be a good hunting destination.

Frederick Selous did not reach Katanga but he left us with an account of his trip along the Zambezi River then up past present-day Lusaka. He tells us of the people he met on the way.

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/frederick-selous-1877/