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Matabele and Mashona Lands 1891

  • Thursday, October 27, 2011
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  • Here is another interesting article on the Shona and Ndebele of Zimbabwe life in early 19th century.

    Author(s): E. A. MaundSource: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography,New Monthly Series, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Jan., 1891), pp. 1-21Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute ofBritish Geographers)

    PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY AND MONTHLY EECOED OF GEOGRAPHY. On Matabele and Mashona Lands. By E. A. Maund. (Read at the Evening Meeting, November 24th, 1890.) Map, p. 64. Afrioa, with its many fascinations, bas monopolised much of the world's attention in 1890. Enterprise has been stimulated into fresh activity. Pioneers as intrepid as those of the sixteenth century have proved the commercial value of the " interior," which has been little better than a dream for the past three centuries. European Powers have carved up the sunny continent and painted its map with their own colours. A library of information has been compiled, and yet I would still draw your overtaxed attention to a region so long fabled as the seat of an ancient splendour and magnificence: the site from which " They fetched gold four hundred talents to King Solomon," which Milton " thought Ophir," where Moorish tradition supposed Sheba's queen ruled in luxury. The secret of this intensely interesting country, with its numerous pre-historic remains, now bids fair soon to be unlocked. Archaeologists are to have a rare treat in solving the oft-disputed problem as to the origin of these extensive ruins. Though stone-lore may prove this ancient and mythical civilisation to have been Phoenician, yet we know that the mediaeval Monomotapa or Benamatapa, the modern Matabele and Mashona Lands, was an empire rich in gold when Henry VIII. ascended our throne; whose " Great Lord" ruled many kings from his capital Zimbaoch (probably the ruined Zimbabye). Experts may now soon piece up a history by excavation, but at best it will be to show us a sad decadence from an ancient civilisation to a modern savagedom. This glorious country of Zambezia?so long speculated on, now speculated in, so oft traversed by our explorers and hunters, the scene of heart-breaking labours by our missionaries?is now being sys- tematically opened up, not by armed intervention, but by the vigorous epirit of commercial enterprise. With the last decade of this century will begin a new history of civiiisation in this famous forgotten land. The British South Africa Company, empowered by Royal charter, will there find employment, homes and riches for thousands of our over-teeming population, and the place of ruins will again become the support of a mighty empire.

    Only five years ago Sir Charles Warren's expedition opened up Bechuana-land as a new field for emigration. This has rapidly grown into a thriving Crown colony, supporting an increasing English and Dutch population, and raising large herds of cattle; thus proving how absolutely unreliable previous reports about this country had been.

    It has now two fast-growing towns, Vryburg and Mafeking, and a railway quickly constructing, already complete to Vryburg, which will be the trunk line from Capetown to the northern goldfields, having connections eastward, via Malmani and Johannesburg, with Delagoa Bay and Natal, and westward, via Shoshong, with the rich cattle country of Ngami-land, and passing on via the Victoria Falls to the Barotse, who now ask for our protection.

    The telegraph has now passed through and beyond Bechuana-land, linking us with many of our adventurous countrymen already settled in the country dominated by the Matabele, so long deemed dangerous of approach.

    Those of us who have been into that desirable country have always looked upon Bechuana-land as only a stepping-stone to the fairer land beyond; and we must remember that it is no further from our present base than was Kimberley from Capetown when the first diamond was found. This unknown " interior " was long erroneously thought to be fever-stricken and uncolonisable, a delusion which better acquaintance has dispelled, and the discovery of vast gold deposits will sooner or later develop a " rush " that will make light of distance, and that no climatic difficulty will deter. The cost of transport for this new northern gold- field, by the southern trunk line with its narrow gauge, would enor- mously reduce the profits. We are soon, however, to tap our new colony from the east coast. Beira, at the mouth of the Pungwe river, the route to which has already been prospected, is scarcely more than 250 miles from the mines, 70 miles of which can be done by water. The rest will not take long to connect up by railway. It is needless to demonstrate the advantages of this route over that to Capetown, which is at least 1800 miles. In America, the railway went first, and the development of the country quickly followed. Let us take a leaf from their book.

    The principal physical feature noticeable in Bechuana-land and extending to tbe high veldt plateau of the Matopo range, is a series of vast sand-belts running east and west, varying in breadth from a few thousand yards to 50 miles, and in elevation, the crest above the trough, from a few feet to several hundred. These belts carry good grass and bush with camel-thorn trees, the bush being invariably thickest on the crest, but necessarily lack a surface water-supply. This marked feature extends, with a few accidental variations caused by the outcropping of granite, limestone, and basaltic hills, probably from Namaqua-land and Damara-land on the west to theBasuto Transvaal and Mashona Mountains on the east, and beyond the Zambezi northwards.

    The cause of these mysterious sand-belts suggest a problem in physical geography which must be left to geology to decide. They must have been raised in their present wave-like formation either by the aid of water or by a constant and powerful wind. The theory that this part of Africa was an elevated basin, which has gradually drained Zambeziward, is the most acceptable, as in the greatest depression about Lake Ngami and along the fertile valley of the Chobe there is still abundance of water. The continual washing backward and forward of the water has disintegrated the old red sandstone upper crust, and left the red sand in this formation like, on a small scale, the sand-ridges left on our sea-shore by the receding tide; while the kopjes of granite, which all have one form, stand out like rocks at low water.

    These kopjes are rocky hills, with the summits apparently denuded, leaving a flat table-top with short cliff-like edge, the debris having fallen in slopes at an angle of 45 degrees, as though crumbled off as the tide fell. Beneath the sand formation is generally to be found a lime? stone sedimentary crust, which in the Kalahari undoubtedly preserves the water underneath from evaporation. Thus at a fountain near Yryburg, between Motito and Takoon, 20 feet beneath the surface there is a running stream 57 feet deep, doing no good to the soil, simply because it wants man, aided by science, to prevent its thus running to waste. The sandstone conglomerates at Kanje and Molopololi, and the banket formation in Matabele-land, were possibly formed by infiltration during this water age. The results of its energetic action is seen in the Matopo range, where you find hills formed of a single block of granite, looking in the distance like our Downs, but on closer inspection this gentle slope is rounded off and polished by the action of the sand- laden water. Detrition has made it as smooth as the shingle-pebbles on our shores. These hills are a favourite haunt of baboons, as immediately they are disturbed they seam per over the steepest and roundest hills, where you cannot follow them. There is apparently no glacial actions, but moulins I have frequently found of all sizes in the smooth surface, often with the rounded boulder in situ. Indeed, for a long time, until I found them large and the boulder there, I had taken them for old Mashona mills, either for crushing corn or quartz, and subsequently I found these people do utilise the smaller for the former purpose. Geologists now by a closer examination will doubtless come across fossils in the limestone crust and sand, which will decide the question as to there having been a large lake since dried up, or one gradually run off, owing to a breach having been made through the



    outer rim by some convulsion where the Zambezi now flows out. This lake theory was a favourite speculation of Livingstone.

    With regard to the vegetation being thickest on the crest of the belts, I can only suggest that whatever moisture falls, quickly finds its way to the valleys ; consequently the grass grows more luxuriantly there. The grass in these valleys, after good rains, is often 4 to 6 feet high, and, as the natives yearly burn the grass when it is driest, it naturaliy follows that the fire is fiercer in the bottoms than over the crest, where grass is sparse from lack of moisture. Bush and trees perish in the dells, but live through the ordeal above, and often ulti- mately become so thick as to be impenetrable.

    It is on the high veldt among the Mashona hills that the rich reefs lie, once so well worth working in pre-historic times, as is evidenced by the old workings to be found all over the country; while the rich watered valleys, from whose streams the natives now wash their quills- full of gold, are capable of raising crops. and feeding cattle for the support of a large European population.

    Before going into details I would draw your attention to the map of Matabele-land and Mashona-land. It practically lies between the parallels of 16? and 22? S. lat. and the meridians of 27? to 33? E. long., and is certainly the most promising country for colonisation in South Africa. Compared with the country south of it, Matabele-land is like Canaan after the wilderness. Lying high, generally healthy, and very rich in minerals?gold, copper, and iron having been extensively worked by the ancients with their rude appliances. Its numerous rivers are either run? ning, or have plenty of water in them. The soil is rich and admirably adapted for corn; cattle thrive, and there is an abundance of grass and wood. White children can be reared in the country, which is a sine qua non if it is to be successfully colonised by white men; and, above all, it is sparsely populated.

    The country dominated by the Matabele is nearly as large as Germany, while the territory actually occupied by them is very small, and would compare about as Bavaria does to the German Empire. Their kraals occupy the plateau forming the water-parting between the Zam? bezi and the Crocodile rivers. They are a Zulu military organisation, occupying a rich country which they have depopulated, and live under a despotism of the worst kind. The population may be estimated at about 150,000, and has, from the incorporation of conquered elements, become a mixed people of Zulus, Bechuanas, Mashonas, and Makalakas. Their fighting strength is probably not over 14,000 to 15,000 men.

    It is unnecessary here to dwell upon the history of the Matabele nation, which has been one of bloodshed since their exodus from Zulu-land under 'Mzilikazi about 1822; it was sixteen years later that they occupied Matabele-land. The terror of their assegais reaches beyond the Zambezi, while witchcraft claims many a victim amongst their kraals. Of their government little can be said, except that everything centres in the King. The secret of his power is on Louis XIV.'s principle, " L'etat, c'est moi." Everything is reported to him, from the death of a calf to the defeat of an impi. Their laws principally relate to witchcraft. One, however, relating to marriage, I am informed, many a married man in England would envy, namely, that mothers-in-law may not enter their son-in-law's house, and, should they meet in the street, they must avert their gaze.

    The Matabele, however, have very much improved of late years, and I attribute it to their greater intercourse with white men, through their seeking work at the diamond and gold mines. There has been less raiding, though this will never cease until their organization is destroyed.

    King Lo Bengula is by no means so black as he is painted (I mean in character). I must differ from those who say he is " deadly cruel." We must not judge him by our standard. He has to rule a turbulent people, who do not know the value of life. He is shrewd, possesses a wonderful memory, and has sufficient intuitive knowledge to despise many of the superstitions, of which, as rain-maker, he is the chief exponent. Speaking one day to me of killing, he said, " You see, you white men have prisons, and can lock a man up safely. I have not. What am I to do ? When a man would not listen to orders, I used to have his ears cut off as being useless; but whatever their punishment, they frequently repeated the offence. Now I warn them?and then a knobkerried man never repeats his offence." This, for a savage, was fairly logical. It may appear to us cruel; but remember how short a time it is since we hanged for sheep-stealing, and certainly the savage execution with the knobkerrie is not so revolting, and is less painful, than a civilised execution refined with electricity. A blow on the back of the head, and all is over. Lo Bengula is very hospitable to white men, and likes them always about him. He is, in my opinion, much more adapted to a farmer's life?being very fond of his cattle?than to ruling the crew he does. As a young man, he was a keen sportsman, but is now too grossly fat to get on a horse. Though his head kraal has the sinister name of " Gubulawayo," or the " place of killing," yet all that sort of thing has much toned down, and one sees little of such horrors. Lo Bengula is far too refined to ornament the approach to his kraal with human heads, as chiefs do further removed from civilisation. Notwithstanding all the malicious reports to the contrary, the king and people have kept to their promises of friendship to the English, and acted up to their engagements.

    I first made Lo Bengula's acquaintance in 1885, when I was sent by Sir Charles Warren with Lieut. Haynes to advise him to keep on friendly terms with Khama, our ally, the chief of the Bechuana. In the next few years, after the craze in South Africa on the discovery of gold at the Randt, poor Lo Bengula was overwhelmed with concession- seekers. When I revisited him at Gubulawayo in 1888 in a private capacity, he sent for me one morning, and after confiding to me his fears of the Boers and Portuguese, and the doubts his people entertained of the power of England after the defeat at Majuba, asked me if I would take a letter from him and accompany two of his head men to England, to see if the White Queen still lived. These envoys, he said, would be " his eyes, ears, and mouth." Though I hesitated at first, I accepted the mission, and next day we started down country?Mr. Colenbrander (the interpreter), two naked old coloured men, that is the envoys, and myself. We gradually dressed the ambassadors on the road. I took them through the Transvaal, partly that they should be able afterwards to compare Boer power with our own, and partly owing to scarcity of water on the other route. By the time we arrived at Capetown, the two envoys apparently became devoted to clothes and delighted with civiiisation. What struck them most at Cape Town was the houses, reared story above story, and the juvenile wax figures in a clothier's window, which they refused to look at, and could not be induced to believe were other than dead children on show before buriaL On the passage to England they were never either sea-sick or home-sick, and enjoyed the voyage in what they called the floating kraal immensely. Soon after landing, through the kind efforts of Lady Frederick Cavendish and Lord Lothian, we went down to Windsor, and they saw the White Queen, who thoroughly won their hearts by her gracious reception. After a month spent in England, during which time they had ample opportunities of seeing England's greatness (for the authorities did all they could to impress them) we returned to the Cape.

    On landing, one of these old men (their ages were 65 and 70, or older) showed signs of failing, and I feared I should not get him back to his home. However, in July last year, we arrived safely with the letters and presents in Matabele-land, being received on the frontier with mystic witchcraft rites to impress the nation. For months afterwards long palavers went on, and these old fellows gave the most minute descriptions of all they had seen, and very clever were many of their illustrations. Thus, describing the sea to the Indunas, they said it was like the blue vault of heaven at noon, and the floating kraal was as the sun in the centre ; the water was mostly thus calmly blue, the kraal being pushed through it by its steamer (engine) from behind. The sapient remark of Lo Bengula was, " How could such a vast iron kraal be sustained by tbe water, unless it had supports from the bottom, by which it was pushed along ? Truly these ' Makeeweh ' (white men) are the sons of the sea." Sometimes, the old men added, the sea was " full," i.e., like their boisterous rivers in the rainy season ; then, the floors and roofs of the kraal rocked till the white men danced. This rough sea was soon after passing the Portuguese gate (Lisbon), and refers to a gale in the Bay of Biscay ; but they could not understand how the Queen allowed the Portuguese to have a gate on her water leading to Capetown. London they described as the place all white men must come from; people, people everywhere, all in a hurry, serious of face, and always busy like the white ants. There was not room for every one above ground in this great kraal, for they could see men and horses moving in a stage below, just as they live in houses built one above the other (this referring to Holborn Viaduct). The fire-carriages, too (train), like those between Kimberley and Capetown, have to burrow in the earth under the streets for fear of being stopped by the crowd. The sham fight at Aldershot they described very minutely, and, in my hearing, old Babiaan, turning round to about thirty Indunas, said," Never talk of fighting the white man again. Aough ! They rise up line after line, always firing. Their little boys, the sons of head men, all learn to figbt like men (referring to Eton boys). Their generals corrected all faults; they won't pass a man who is out of time as they dance by in line coming from the fight (the march past)." Many a laugh we had over curious but always intelli? gent descriptions of their recollections. Above all, the interview at Windsor most impressed them, and the sight of Cetewayo's assegais in the corridors of arms there.

    They told us they could see that all the kings and queens at Madame Tussaud's were those whom our present Queen had conquered, because last, and downstairs, came Cetewayo?and was not his assegai at the end of the corridor ? This idea we did not think it necessary to correct.

    Much more could I tell you of their sayings, but the great result of their visit is what we should appreciate. I have no hesitation in saying that the recent peaceable occupation of Mashona-land by our party of pioneers is the direct outcome of the clever way in which these two old men told their tale, and the King disseminated it among his people.

    The Queen did more good for the Empire by that kindly interview at Windsor, than could have been done by thousands of her soldiers. Had the same policy been followed in Zulu-land, how much trouble, how many brave lives, and what vast expenditure, might have been saved ! For the Zulu is our natural ally in South Africa-he admires us for our athletic tastes, manliness, and pluck.

    Before I left Matabele-land this year, Lo Bengula had sanctioned the construction of a road by the Chartered Company to Mount Hampden, at the sources of the Mazoe, and had permitted two parties of prospec- tors to work between Bulawayo and Tati, thereby showing his faith in the power of the English, and his determination to act up to his engagements with them.

    Let me now state why this country isso well adapted to colonisation. Unfortunately the few Europeans who have lived in what used to be the far " interior," have given us but meagre ideas of its capabilities; and some few, on coming down country, have loved to pose as heroes by accounts of the dangers and difficulties they have gone through. This has undoubtedly retarded the development of what we now know to be so profitable a land, capable of relieving our congested home population, and yielding us the much-needed increase of gold to push forward our commercial enterprises.

    The country about to be opened up, for colonisation is, as you see, an extensive plateau, on the water-parting between the Zambezi and the Crocodile rivers. There are no great mountain peaks. To the east the slope of the land is abrupt and the country broken, many of the hills isolated and very conspicuous, while to the north-west it falls in gentle undulations. The plateau is furrowed by many considerable rivers, and their numerous tributaries. The climate in these highlands, which vary from 3000 to 5000 feet above sea-level, is far more healthy than the now well-colonised seaboard of South Africa. The seasons are well marked, and the rainfall good. For eight months, from April to November, the air is particularly dry and salubrious, and compares well with the Free State. During, and just after the rains one must be careful, as in all tropical climates. But with proper precautions dwellings placed high and above exhalations from the marshes left by the subsiding rivers, and above all a judicious abstinence from alcoholic drinks, the new mining and farming communities will be as healthy as are the missionaries who have lived so long there with their families.

    Here let me pay a tribute to these silent workers, whose genial hospitality and kindly attention in case of sickness is bestowed on travellers throughout Africa. In Matabele-land as elsewhere they have been the pioneers of civilisation. A heartbreaking up-hill work has theirs been for the past thirty years among the truculent Matabele, and though their converts are few, their example is beneficial to whites and blacks alike. They have built comfortable brick houses, laid on water from brooks and springs, and irrigated gardens which show the capabilities of the soil. The King, it is true, is the only one at present who dares copy them; he has a large commodious brick house put up by their builder, he has too an irrigated garden after their pattern. Now, let us hope, their harvest will come, for with the advent of a white population the old order of things will quickly change in Matabele-land. The example of their health will also be an incentive to our countrymen to house themselves as quickly as possible, or we shall have direful stories of fever, simply resulting from a lack of those com- forts to which they have been used, and which up here will be a necessity.

    During the last rainy season in the months of November, December, January and February, the rainfall in the neighbourhood of Buluwayo amounted to upwards of forty inches. Like all tropical rains they are not continuous, but come in terrifically heavy thunderstorms with hot sunshine between. At this time the King is very busy with his witch- doctors, rain-making; often painted with medicine charms in bands like a tiger, or making a dreadful concoction called by the traders " hell broth," to please his credulous people, who come to beg rain for their gardens.

    The months of September and October, before the rains, are the hottest in the year. All vegetation appears dried up, and the grass lands are burned off by the natives. Cattle grow thin, and are sent off low down the rivers to find grass and water. The natives have, of course, no knowledge of how to store their generous rainfall. In September I have registered a maximum in the shade ranging between 105? and 111? F., but the atmosphere is so dry that it is more easily supported than 85? near the sea coast, where the air is saturated with moisture. The evenings and mornings are delightful, and on this high ground the heat is never enervating. During the winter months, May, June, and July, it is very cold at night in these highlands. Even on the Macloutsie river, at an elevation of 2500 feet, I have registered 15? of frost at night, with the thermometer ranging up to 80? in the day (observed with instruments registered at Kew). Mealies?that is, Indian corn?put in soak for the horses over night, have been frozen hard in the morning.

    Notwithstanding this great variation in temperature, the dry season is particularly healthy. What, however, braces the white man withers up the unclothed native. Trek oxen suffer too from this cold, and the dryness of the grass. By these remarks I wish to convey the fact that with ordinary care this country is admirably adapted to colonisation by us Anglo-Saxons. Englishmen have lived up there for the last twenty-five years, and, what is more essential, traders and missionaries have reared large families. There is not the necessity for sending them home as with Indian children. Neither need men, as on the west coast, return home periodically, in order to recruit. Here they may make a permanent home.

    The soil all along the rich valleys is very fertile, and large crops of mealies and Kaffir corn, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and even potatoes and tomatoes are grown by the natives, the two latter by the Makalakas. Sowing goes on in October and November, and after the first rains it is marvellous to note the rapidity with which the grass and corn grow. The country changes its russet-burnt garb as if by magic to one of emerald green, and grass land and forest are ablaze with flowers. Harvest time is in May and June, and much of the corn is soon turned into Kaffir beer?the national drink. There is a great future in the corn, as also in the cattle trade, for this country. Kaffir corn was traded last year for 5s. worth of goods per sack. As before stated, the rains are so heavy that they run off quickly into the lower reaches of the rivers, and in beds too deep to lead off the water, except at great expense; but by judicious storage of this rain supply, vast tracts might be irrigated. Springs are numerous, and only want opening up.

    As an illustration of what can be done with this deep alluvial soil, I will instance a garden at Shiloh where Mr. Thomas, a missionary, now dead, led on the water from a spring. From it last year I reaped and threshed several sacks of English wheat, and got a very good crop of potatoes. Cabbages, carrots, onions, marrows, beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce also throve well. In fact, all English vegetables, as well as sweet potatoes and mealies, grew very quickly in this irrigated ground. Almost any fruit seems to flourish. From the same garden we enjoyed large crops of oranges, lemons, figs, bananas (or rather plantains), peaches, apricots, pomegranates, mulberries, and Cape goose- berries. The date palm and apple trees, though growing well, were too young to bear. The orange, lemon, and fig trees grow luxuriantly, and fruit well. There were beautiful groves of them in this missionary's garden. The vines, grown over trellised alleys, bore a great many and very heavy bunches of luscious grapes. The white ant is the gardener's enemy, but, luckily, he seems to prefer the sandy soils to the rich loams.

    Great quantities of excellent tobacco are grown by the Mashonas and Makalakas, that coming as tribute from Inyoka being considered the best. It is principally converted into snuff. I bring for exhibition some which I brought home last year, together with Mashona pipes. The outside glaze is nicotine squeezed out in preparing the cones. It is very strong, but, faute de mieux, is not bad smoking; we, however, used to wash it in two waters and carefully dry it before smoking Lo Bengula smokes huge pipes of it all day long. The rice grown in Mashona? land is excellent, and cost last year about ISs. worth of goods per sack, while in Mashona-land it is now less than 12s. a bag, i. e. 230 lbs. We used to buy it from the natives in small bags like this, made out of bark; unfortunately, weevils have got into this sample. Cotton and indiarubber we know grow in the north, for the Mashonas weave blankets of the former and make candles of the latter. Indigo grows as a weed, and is used by the natives for dyeing purposes. The grass, corn, rice, tobacco, and gardening capabilities of this country are sufficient allurements for farming colonists, while undoubtedly it would produce cotton, sugar, and coffee.

    Three scourges farmers have to combat: lung-sickness among cattle, horse-sickness, and the tsetse fly. The first is successfully treated by inoculation. Natives of course do not understand closing infected districts; but under the white man's laws this disease will undoubtedly be stamped out. For horse-sickness a specific has still to be found, and in the presence of the loss to South Africa arising from it, it would assuredly pay to enlist the services of European scientists. The tsetse fly, whose bite is so deadly to domestic cattle, will disappear with the game. The Transvaal, since the game has been so shot out, is now nearly free from this pest. The Mashonas dry and pound the fly, and give it to their dogs, a fly a day, as a safeguard against the effects of it.

    Matabele-land is well wooded, though the timber is not large except along the rivers. The mopani, of which there are vast forests, is a hard wood, capable of withstanding white ants, and is useful for building and firewood, wbile its bark tans excellent leather. I have brought for the inspection of the meeting the skin of a koodoo and pieces of buffalo hide, tanned with it by a native. It is an excellent leather for veldt schoens, as the Boers'understandings are called. Until coal is found nearer than the Zambezi valley, there is a good and sufficient wood supply.

    It is to the mineral riches, however, that we must look for the quick development of this country. The gold in Mashonaland, will, I believe, create a rush, only to be paralleled in the development of California and the western states of America. During the seven months I remained with the King after the return of his Indunas, I mapped, and as far as possible prospected, the immediate neighbourhood of his chief kraals. In some of the numerous reefs we found free gold, and old workings were frequently visible. There is, too, in this district a banket formation similar to that in the Transvaal; while north of the Bamaquoban river the Charter prospectors found a body of reef running as much as two ounces to the ton. It is not in this district, however, the Company has begun work ; but it is the Mazoe and Hanyani fields which are being carefully explored by a well-organized pioneering expedition. These northern gold-fields have been talked about for twenty years. From these rivers it is that the natives bring gold-dust in quills for sale to the white men. Mount Hampden tberefore was made the first objective point of the Company. The King sanctioned the making of a road, which is [now open to traffic; while from Fort Salisbury, six miles south of that mountain, the administration of Zambezia has begun, and a township is springing up. The journey thither, under the able command of Col. Pennefather and Sir John Willoughby, gives us some new geographical facts, which I am able to communicate to you to-night. It is far more satisfactory to be able to fill in a map with known physical features than simply to paint it with a proprietary colour.

    Passing out of Khama's country, the British South Africa Company's expedition found a fair agricultural country, rising only 500 feet in the 150 miles between the Tuli and Lundi. The former river is 400 yards wide at the drift. Half a dozen new rivers, whose euphonious names I need not trouble you with, are reported as running south-east to the Crocodile. At first the road led through a bush and mopani feldt, while the latter 90 miles consists of grazing flats interspersed with granite and sandstone kopjes. It is sparsely populated by Makalakas and jjanyai who are tributary to LoBengula.

    After the Lundi, the elevation gets sharper and the country more difficult; there is a rise of 1500 feet in less than 65 miles to the top of the Providential Pass, the only apparent pass (and that 8 miles long) leading from the low to the high veldt. At the Inkwe (? Tokwe) the height above sea-level is 2700 feet. This is a rapid river with water 50 yards wide and 3 feet deep, even in the dry season. The formation here changes from granite to slate, and the gold indications are very good. We are now among the ancient workings of Benamatapa, Monomotapa, or Quitave. Twelve miles east in the mountains are the grand ruins of its ancient capital, Zimbabye, or Zimbaoe. The many and vast remains of ancient buildings all point, from their propinquity to old workings, to an extensive gold industry, when the means of extraction were crude as compared with modern appliances. The country gra? dually rises into an undulating plateau ranging from 4500 to 5100 feet above sea-level, with park-like scenery, the eastern edge breaking away into rocky gorges, supply ing many tributaries to the Sabi. The water? parting between this river and the Zambezi's tributaries is often very narrow, 100 yards would sometimes only separate the streams running to the two basins. There are apparently no inhabitants on this plateau south of the Hanyani, so cruelly have Matabele assegais done their work.

    The bush is thick and the land boggy at the head waters of these rivers, but beyond the Umfuli there are plains from which Mount Hampden rises, stretching away to the head waters of the Mazoe. The neighbourhood of Fort Salisbury is well wooded, and the petty tribal chiefs welcomed the English force, as promising them security. Prospectors are reporting favourably from all directions, and find old workings wherever they go.

    There will be no lack of labour, for numbers of natives, who yearly go south to work will gladly save themselves the 800 miles' tramp, and work in the mines nearer home. The Makalakas and Mashonas, the earlier inhabitants of the country, though physically much inferior to their masters, the Matabele, are clever and willing workers. They fashion the iron, in which mineral the country is particularly rich, into a variety of objects, axes, knives, hoes, beads-principally, however, at present into assegais. When once the Matabele learn the benefits and freedom to accrue from the white man's rule, they will soon, I believe, work as well as their kinsmen, the Zulus of Natal. If, however, they will not change the assegai for the pick and the plough, then gradually they will disappear beyond the Zambezi before the inevitable march of civiiisation, and from the down-trodden Mashonas and Makalakas we shall find plenty of labour for both mines and fields.

    It is strange that this country, so long fabled as the land of Opbir, and of which Baines and Mauch gave such accurate reports more than twenty years ago, should so long have baffled our colonising instincts.

    With regard to these extensive ruins-not only at Zimbabwe, but all over the country- which have so long puzzled the curious from their inaccessibility, the mystery surrounding their origin is now soon to be cleared up by competent archaeologists, who are going out to investigate them. There can be little doubt that they were built for the smelting, and possibly the protection and storage of gold, copper, and other metals; but by whom ? I hear one competent authority say they are probably, from the style of building, Phoenician, another that they are Persian. Some Portuguese manuscripts and maps attribute them to the Moors, and they are certainly similar in style to old Moorish work in the northern hemisphere. There is, however, a Spanish manuscript account of a voyage to Malabar and the coast of Africa by Barbosa, cousin of Magellan, composed by himself in 1514 (translated and published by the Hakluyt Sooiety) in which he says:?" On entering this country of Sofala there is the country of Benamatapa, which is very large and peopled by Gentiles whom the Moors call Cafers. These are brown men. . . ? They carry swords in scabbards of wood bound with gold or other metals. They are men of war, and some of them are merchants. Leaving Sofala for the interior of the country, fourteen days' journey from it, there is a large town of the Gentiles which is called Zimbaoch, in which the King of Benamatapa frequently dwells, and from there to the city of Benamatapa there are six days'journey, and the road goes from Sofala inland towards the Cape of Good Hope. And in the said Benamatapa, which is a very large town, the King is used to make his longest residence; and it is thence the merchants bring to Sofala the gold which they sell to the Moors, without weighing it, for coloured stuffs and beads of Cambay, which are much used and valued amongst them, and the people of the city of Benamatapa say this gold comes from farther off towards the Cape of Good Hope."

    This old evidence conclusively proves that the Portuguese had nothing to do with the erection of these buildings. It shows too that the Moors had not then occupied the country. Why should not these brown Gentiles, with their partial civilisation and splendour, have been a decayed remnant of some old Phoenician State ? Let the experts tell us. As I have said, these ruins are always found near gold workings. The buildings are all similar, though some are more substantial than others. I have carefully examined those at Tati and on the Impakwe river. They are built in the same way, of granite hewn into small blocks, somewhat bigger than a brick, and put together without mortar. In the base of both of these there is the same herring-bone course as at Zimbabye, though nearer the base of the wall. On remov- ing the rubbish inside we came upon what were evidently three large circular roasting floors, some five feet in diameter, formed of a kind of hard burnt fireclay, and slightly concave. There were also remains of slag about. The remains on the Impakwe are similar in construction, and are within fifty yards of the river. It was evidently an octagonal

    Zimbabwe Ruins

    tower. On the ground was a similar roasting floor, and there is much slag about, though I failed to find any quartz. The place was evidently divided up by party-walls. Mr. George Phillips, who was with Mauch when he discovered Zimbabwe told me this morning, that when he examined this ruin at Impakwe more than twenty years ago, the walls were then much higher; but it is a regular outspanning place, and is getting destroyed. On searching it then, he found beneath the debris a fire-clay pipe, about 18 inches long, with a thin bar of much oxidised copper in it.

    Zimbabwe was discovered by Mauch in 1871. The ruins then were about 30 feet high, and the walls from 10 feet thick at the base to 7 feet on the summit. There were, too, stone beams projecting 10 feet from the wall, which were ornamented with a pattern of lozenge-shaped figures, separated by horizontal zigzag lines. You have recently read accounts of their great extent, and in the photographic slide I now show you see the walls with the herring-bone course near the summit. The ruins on the Lundi river may be those of Benamatapa, spoken of by Barbosa.

    The description of these ruins given by Mauch, and now confirmed by the Charter's pioneers, agrees in many particulars with those given to the English public in Shakespeare's day. Purchas, in his ' Pilgrimage/ printed in London 1614, describing Benamotapa, says:?

    "But to returne (and who will not returne) to the mines: There are other mines in the provinces of Boro and Quitieni, in which and in the Rivers is found Gold not so pure. The people are carelesse and negligent to get, and the Moores which traded with them, were faine to give wares in trust, with promise by such a time to pay them in Gold, and the people would not guile in their word " Other mines are in Toroa, wherein are those buildings which Barrius attributeth to some forren Prince, and I, for the reasons before alledged, to Salomon. It is a square fortresse of stone; the stones of marueilous greatnesse, without anie signe of morter or other matter to ioyne them. The wall fiue and twentie spannes thicke, the height not holding proportion. Over the gate are letters, which the learned Moores could neyther reade nor know what letters they were. There are other buildings besides of like fashion. The people call them, the Court, for an Officer keepes it for the Benomotapa, and hath charge of some of his women that are there kept. They esteeme them beyond humane power to build, and, therefore, account them the workes of Deuils; and the Moores which saw them said the Portugais Castles were no way to bee compared to them. They are fiue hundred and tenne miles from Sofala, Westward, in one-and-twentie degrees of Southerly Latitude, in all which space is not found one building Ancient or later; the people are rude, and build cottages of Timber."

    Heylin, in his ' Cosmography,' published in 1656, gives a similar description, adding, they were "perhaps the work of some of the ^Ethiopian or Abassine Emperours when their power and Empire was at the highest." While Purchas suggests the "hieroglyphics" were "the old Hebrew Letters, which the Phoenicians of olde, and Samaritans to this day observe."

    Millar, in his 'System of Geography,' published in 1782, also gives a  graphic account of the ruins, and speaks of the characters written over the gate. These, let us hope, our archeologists will soon be able to unearth and decipher, for they would probably be tbe key to a long lost history. For three hundred years, then, we have had very accurate descriptions of these ruins. And so far from the Portuguese having had anything to do with them, we are distinctly told " the Portugals Castles were no way to bee compared to them."

    It is also evident that these buildings were connected with the mining of a people whose history we have lost. It is beside the question whether they were the famed mines of King Solomon, or whether the Queen of Sheba reigned here over a mighty and industrious population. Suffice it for us, that we, with our engines and batteries, are about to make this rich country again disgorge the gold which has so long lain hidden around these pre-historic remains. The work has now begun under the most favourable auspices. The administration of Zambezia is already organised. The gold laws just promulgated give the most liberal terms. Confidence will reign wherever the Chartered Company penetrates. The horrors brought about by liquor saloons among a lawless community will there have no place. Baiding and slavery will cease when once we find paid occupation for the native. Chris? tianity will spread, and peace with prosperity will reign over a region where the most inhuman cruelties have been perpetrated for years.* *

    Note on the Map -I would call attention to the great difference in longitude shown on the route from the Macloukie river, an affluent of the Limpopo, to Fort Salisbury to the north. According to Selous, the position of Mount Hampden is about 31? 18' E., but according to the route map of the expedition of the British South African Co. (which is made the basis of our map), Fort Salisbury is 31? 2', and being 8? miles to the S.E. of Mount Hampden, would make the latter about 30? 58J', or about 20' to the west of Selous' position. A curious confirmation of the above westerly alteration is given by Mr. Erskine in his journey to Umzila's, 1871-72 (E.G.S. 'Journal,' vol. xiv.), in dis- cussing the position of Zimbabye (the hill with the celebrated ruins). He says, on p. 45;?" Mr. Mauch's researches place these ruins within 42 miles of my calculated position when at Umzila's kraal, which was determined by several celestial observations by the stars and sun, to be in lat. 20? 23' S. and long. 32? 30' E. by dead reckoning ; about 25 miles to the east of the Sabi river. I neither heard anything of the ruins after repeated inquiries, nor of Mr. Mauch himself. I am therefore surprised to read in his account that he supposed himself only six days' walk from Sofala; whereas the natives informed me that I was at least eight days' walk distant from Sofala, Mr. Mauch being still to the westward of my position by his own account, i.e. west of the Sabi." On p. 46, Mr. Erskine continues:?" It is my opinion that Zimbabye is placed by Mr. Mauch at least 30 or 40 miles too far to the east; and that instead of being 164 miles from Sofala, it is distant about 200 nautical miles, as stated by the old geographers." Now the officers of the expedition place Zimbabye in 31? 6' E., while on Mr. Erskine's map it is given as 31? 40', a difference of 34 minutes, which is fairly approximate to the above-mentioned opinion of Mr. Erskine, viz. 30 or 40miles too far to the east;" and though none of these positions are strictly accurate, yet Mr. Erskine's remarks strikingly confirm the observations of the expedition. Neither Mr. Mauch nor Mr. Selous took any observations for longitude, I believe-[William Shawe, compiler of the map.]

    Before the paper,

    The Peesident said: In introducing to you Mr. Maund, the reader of the paper to which we are about to listen, I may mention that he was on the staff of Sir Charles Warren in 1885, and by Sir Charles Warren he was sent, with Lieut. Haynes, e.e., to the kraal of Lobengula for the purpose of conferring with that chief and getting him to respect the British protectorate over the chief Khama. In that object he entirely succeeded and obtained eventually great and deserved influence over the mind of Lobengula. From South Africa Mr. Maund transferred himself to North Africa, and there remained for two years. He returned from North Africa and went again into Lobengula's country. By that time, partly in consequence of the reports of Mr. Maund and his colleague, which were published in a Blue-book, there had been a rush of gold-seekers to Lobengula's country, and when Mr. Maund returned he found Lobengula not a little troubled by the many persons who wanted to get concessions out of him. Lobengula then had the happy idea of proposing to Mr. Maund that he should take charge of two of his principal chiefs, take them to England, and present them to the Queen. After some hesitation Mr. Maund accepted this proposal, took the chiefs to England, and did present them to the Queen. They returned and spread in their own country good reports of all that they had seen, and one result of Mr. Maund's efforts, and of those of his companion, has been that Lobengula has thus far been acting not only with the most perfect good faith, but in the most friendly manner towards the British.

    After the paper,

    Mr. Theodobe Bent : I am afraid I cannot give you very much information on the small data I have to go upon, because the photographs we have seen to-night do not give us very many architectural features. At the same time, I am sure I can join with everybody in feeling excessively grateful toMr. Maund for introducing to us a new feature in African exploration, i.e. that the archasologist has something to do with the South of Africa; and the photographs we have seen are extremely interestiDg, and if only we can find out the origin of these ruins, I am sure we shall contribute a great addition to arehseological lore. In the first place Mr. Maund has spoken of them as possibly Phoenician. Now of course it is a great temptation to talk of Phoenician ruins when there is anything like gold to be found in connection with them, but from my own personai experience of Phoenician ruins, I cannot say that they bear the slightest resemblance whatsoever. In the first place the earliest Phoenicians always built with large stones, and I have seen in the Persian Gulf mounds of blocks of stone of enormous size; passing on into the Mediterranean basin we there get in the earlier Phoenician remains stones of exceeding magnitude and similar masonry; but the Phcenicians, as they progressed in the arts of civiiisa? tion, invariably adopted the art of the people with whom they carried on their trade: Greek influence, Egyptian influence, Assyrian influence, and Roman influence so exercised themselves upon Phcenician art, that in the end their art was almost indis- tinguishable from that of the races with which they carried on trade. They were like ourselves, imitative, fond of trade, carried on commerce, but do not seem to have had the power of originating any artistic devices. Of course it is a speculation, but if it is the Land of Ophir it would be very nice indeed. I like speculations myself immensely, but I think it is the best thing to look upon them with caution. Nine speculations out of ten are wrong, but for the sake of the tenth it is best always to have speculations, and now that Mr. Maund has suggested one or two, I will bring forward my own speculation with regard to these ruins in Mashonaland. He alluded to the fact that somebody said they were Persian. I believe I am the originator of that idea. In the neighbourhood of Zanzibar, some little time ago, Sir John Kirk  found some very interesting ruins, which on comparison turned out to be distinctly of Persian origin. In these buildings he found tiles and fragments of pottery, which correspond exactly with the tiles and pottery which are found in the rains of Eai and other Persian towns of the Sassanian dynasty in the neighbourhood of Teheran. Of course it is very curious, at any rate, to track the Persians to Africa at all. It seems a very long way to go for your origin, but if you have them in Africa, there is no reason why you should not bring them into Mashonaland ; but now before doing this it is necessary to turn to the pages of Persian history. The Sassanian dynasty came to its greatest zenith at the time of Kosroes II., usually called the Conqueror. This man carried his armies all through the then known world. He brought terror into the hearts of the Koman emperors in Byzantium. He turned, as we have it distinctly stated, the Eomans out of Arabia and Africa. Furthermore he collected an enormous amount of wealth. His empire was quite the largest the Persians ever had, therefore I think it is not going too far to say that the ruins in Africa, at Zanzibar and the neighbourhood, were probably of the time of the dynasty to which Kosroes II. belonged, and that Kosroes II. was the founder of a Persian empire in Africa.

    We will now pass on to consider the photographs that Mr. Maund has placed before us this evening. Architecturally the only point that we could easily dis? tinguish was that geometrical pattern, the course of zigzag round the fort; I have examined one or two other photographs, and these also have geometrical patterns in courses, and of two of these I have photographs of my own, which gives you the exact parallel to those at Eai, near Teheran, in the old ruins which were built in the Sassanian dynasty; hence we seem now rather to have got a clue. This is my theory, and I can only give it for what it is worth, but it really does seem to me that we can reduce ourselves to very narrow limits. Almost immediately after the death of Kosroes II. the Persian empire split up. Before the Sassanian dynasty the Persian empire attempted nothing in the way of exploration in Africa; it was entireiy occupied with its own affairs, so that if they are at all Persian, it must be of that dynasty. But of course this theory is open to doubt, and I am perfectly certain that nothing definite will ever be found out about these forts until they are thoroughly dug out and investigated, when perhaps some inscription will be found that will prove that both Mr. Maund and I are quite wrong.

    Mr. G. Phillips : I have lived in the country for the last six and twenty years and outlived all the Englishmen who went with me into that district. I consider the paper that Mr. Maund has read this evening perfectly true and accurate; the only thing that I am afraid of is the salubrity of the low part between the Manyami and Umfuli rivers. Next February and March will determine whether Englishmen can live there. Never an Engiishman has lived there yet. A few natives entered in 1868, and are still there, and a few in March 1870, the year Lobengula was made king of the Matabele, and are still thereabouts; but since then people have been careful to come out in November and go in again in April and May. When I was at the ruins in October 1871 I heard there were two white men close to the ruins of Zimbabye in a destitute condition. One of them was Mauch, with an American named Adam Kinders. Mauch told me they had found some ruins like those I had seen. I asked an old man at the ruins when they were built, and he replied they were built when the stones were soft, or so long ago that no one knew anything at all about it. From there to the westward there is a line of these ruins. A few miles distant is another tremendous ruin, with three gateways and walls, I suppose 30 feet thick at the base, and outside are great heaps of ashes, and a few potsherds. One ironwood tree, that wonld take hundreds of years to grow, had risen through the wall and split it. The most perfect ruin of all, however, is north-west of Tati; it  is a little larger than this hall; the walls are 12 to 15 feet thick, and it is entered by a^passage so arranged as to be commanded by arches from the interior, and it only adrnits of the passage of one at a time. I came here just to speak, as Mr. Maund had particularly asked me to do so to-night,

    The President: We have listened to a very interesting and valuable paper, and I am afraid that as Mr. Maund is still suffering a good deal from the results of his exploration, he has come here at no inconsiderable inconvenience to himself. I shall then, I am sure, take you all with me, if in your name I return to him our snost sincere thanks.

    Mr. Maund thanked the meeting for listening so patiently to his paper, and the proceedings terminated.

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