William Baldwin 1860

Tonga. Kololo.

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, …

William Baldwin managed to get his horses through the tsetse fly belt around the Zambezi River by riding in the night.

When he reached the Falls, he met the Kololo people.  This was the time when the Loziland 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, …

A day or so later:

Masipootana, the captain (under Sekeletu) of the Makololo nation, was exceedingly savage that I had seen the Falls without any assistance from him or his people, and sent several messengers to say that I must pay him handsomely.  On the third day I went to see him, and made him a small present, but he was quite on the high horse, and said, that now I had come across he would take care I did not go back again; I must stay there till I had paid him for the water I drank and washed in, the wood that I burned, the grass that my horses ate; and it was a great offence that I had taken a plunge into the river on coming out of one of his punts; if I had been drowned, or devoured by a crocodile or sea-cow, Sekeletu would have blamed him, and had I lost my footing and fallen down the Falls, my nation would have said the Makololos had killed me; and, altogether, I had given him great uneasiness.  As he put the matter in this light, I paid him about 6lbs of beads and was released.  These beads were sent by Masipootana to Sekeletu, who afterwards returned them to me. 

Sekeletu had become a despotic chief; his people afraid of him.  He had contracted leprosy.  In those days all illnesses were considered to come from witchcraft, so Sekeletu was ever watchful of people who came near him, thinking that they may be the cause of his illness.  His kingdom became weaker and, as a result, the Kololo people were overthrown by the Aluyi (Lozi) four years later in 1864.

William Baldwin had a big problem with pit-falls.  The local people dug huge holes in the ground, covering them in branches, in which the wildlife could fall and therefore be easily killed.  Two of William Baldwin’s horses fell into them and he had a very difficult time getting them out. 

While at the Falls, William Baldwin met David Livingstone and his party as they were walking from the east coast back to Sesheke.

I consider myself very fortunate in meeting with Dr. Livingstone and his party.  I spent the evening with him, and gained great information about his recent discoveries. …