Owing to the strength of the wind, and the cranky state of the canoes, it was late in the afternoon of the 11th before our party was ferried over the Kafue. After crossing, we were in the Bawe country. Fishhooks here, of native workmanship, were observed to have barbs like the European hooks: elsewhere the point of the hook is merely bent in towards the shank, to have the same effect in keeping on the fish as the barb. We slept near a village a short distance above the ford. The people here are of Batoka origin, the same as many of our men, and call themselves Batonga (independents), or Balengi, and their language only differs slightly from that of the Bakoa, who live between the two rivers Kafue and Loangwa. The paramount chief of the district lives to the west of this place, and is called Nchomokela-- an hereditary title: the family burying-place is on a small hill near this village. The women salute us by clapping their hands and lullilooing as we enter and leave a village, and the men, as they think, respectfully clap their hands on their hips. Immense crops of mapira (holcus sorghum) are raised; one species of it forms a natural bend on the seed-stalk, so that the massive ear hangs down. The grain was heaped up on wooden stages, and so was a variety of other products. The men are skilful hunters, and kill elephants and buffaloes with long heavy spears. We halted a few minutes on the morning of the 12th July, opposite the narrow island of Sikakoa, which has a village on its lower end. We were here told that Moselekatse's chief town is a month's distance from this place. They had heard, moreover, that the English had come to Moselekatse, and told him it was wrong to kill men; and he had replied that he was born to kill people, but would drop the habit; and, since the English came, he had sent out his men, not to kill as of yore, but to collect tribute of cloth and ivory. This report referred to the arrival of the Rev. R. Moffat, of Kuruman, who, we afterwards found, had established a mission. The statement is interesting as showing that, though imperfectly expressed, the purport of the missionaries' teaching had travelled, in a short time, over 300 miles, and we know not how far the knowledge of the English operations on the coast spread inland.
When abreast of the high wooded island Kalabi we came in contact with one of the game-laws of the country, which has come down from the most ancient times. An old buffalo crossed the path a few yards in front of us; our guide threw his small spear at its hip, and it was going off scarcely hurt, when three rifle balls knocked it over. "It is mine," said the guide. He had wounded it first, and the established native game-law is that the animal belongs to the man who first draws blood; the two legs on one side, by the same law, belonged to us for killing it. This beast was very old, blind of one eye, and scabby; the horns, mere stumps, not a foot long, must have atrophied, when by age he lost the strength distinctive of his sex; some eighteen or twenty inches of horn could not well be worn down by mere rubbing against the trees. We saw many buffaloes next day, standing quietly amidst a thick thorn-jungle, through which we were passing. They often stood until we were within fifty or a hundred yards of them.
On the 14th July we left the river at the mountain-range, which, lying north-east and south-west across the river, forms the Kariba gorge. Near the upper end of the Kariba rapids, the stream Sanyati enters from the south, and is reported to have Moselekatse's principal cattle-posts at its sources; our route went round the end of the mountains, and we encamped beside the village of the generous chief Moloi, who brought us three immense baskets of fine mapira meal, ten fowls, and two pots of beer. On receiving a present in return, he rose, and, with a few dancing gestures, said or sang, "Motota, Motota, Motota," which our men translated into "thanks." He had visited Moselekatse a few months before our arrival, and saw the English missionaries, living in their wagons. "They told Moselekatse," said he, "they were of his family, or friends, and would plough the land and live at their own expense;" and he had replied, "The land is before you, and I shall come and see you plough." This again was substantially what took place, when Mr. Moffat introduced the missionaries to his old friend, and shows still further that the notion of losing their country by admitting foreigners does not come as the first idea to the native mind. One might imagine that, as mechanical powers are unknown to the heathen, the almost magic operations of machinery, the discoveries of modern science and art, or the presence of the prodigious force which, for instance, is associated with the sight of a man-of-war, would have the effect which miracles once had of arresting the attention and inspiring awe. But, though we have heard the natives exclaim in admiration at the sight of even small illustrations of what science enables us to do--"Ye are gods, and not men"--the heart is unaffected. In attempting their moral elevation, it is always more conducive to the end desired, that the teacher should come unaccompanied by any power to cause either jealousy or fear. The heathen, who have not become aware of the greed and hate which too often characterize the advancing tide of emigration, listen with most attention to the message of Divine love when delivered by men who evidently possess the same human sympathies with themselves. A chief is rather envied his good fortune in first securing foreigners in his town. Jealousy of strangers belongs more to the Arab than to the African character; and if the women are let alone by the traveller, no danger need be apprehended from any save the slave-trading tribes, and not often even from them.
We passed through a fertile country, covered with open forest, accompanied by the friendly Bawe. They are very hospitable; many of them were named, among themselves, "the Baenda pezi," or "Go-nakeds," their only clothing being a coat of red ochre. Occasionally stopping at their villages we were duly lullilooed, and regaled with sweet new-made beer, which, being yet unfermented, was not intoxicating. It is in this state called Liting or Makonde. Some of the men carry large shields of buffalo-hide, and all are well supplied with heavy spears. The vicinity of the villages is usually cleared and cultivated in large patches; but nowhere can the country be said to be stocked with people. At every village stands were erected, and piles of the native corn, still unthrashed, placed upon them; some had been beaten out, put into oblong parcels made of grass, and stacked in wooden frames.
We crossed several rivulets in our course, as the Mandora, the Lofia, the Manzaia (with brackish water), the Rimbe, the Chibue, the Chezia, the Chilola (containing fragments of coal), which did little more than mark our progress. The island and rapid of Nakansalo, of which we had formerly heard, were of no importance, the rapid being but half a mile long, and only on one side of the island. The island Kaluzi marks one of the numerous places where astronomical observations were made; Mozia, a station where a volunteer poet left us; the island Mochenya, and Mpande island, at the mouth of the Zungwe rivulet, where we left the Zambesi.
When favoured with the hospitality and company of the "Go-nakeds," we tried to discover if nudity were the badge of a particular order among the Bawe, but they could only refer to custom. Some among them had always liked it for no reason in particular: shame seemed to lie dormant, and the sense could not be aroused by our laughing and joking them on their appearance. They evidently felt no less decent than we did with our clothes on; but, whatever may be said in favour of nude statues, it struck us that man, in a state of nature, is a most ungainly animal. Could we see a number of the degraded of our own lower classes in like guise, it is probable that, without the black colour which acts somehow as a dress, they would look worse still.
In domestic contentions the Bawe are careful not to kill each other; but, when one village goes to war with another, they are not so particular. The victorious party are said to quarter one of the bodies of the enemies they may have killed, and to perform certain ceremonies over the fragments. The vanquished call upon their conquerors to give them a portion also; and, when this request is complied with, they too perform the same ceremonies, and lament over their dead comrade, after which the late combatants may visit each other in peace. Sometimes the head of the slain is taken and buried in an ant-hill, till all the flesh is gone; and the lower jaw is then worn as a trophy by the slayer; but this we never saw, and the foregoing information was obtained only through an interpreter.
We left the Zambesi at the mouth of the Zungwe or Mozama or Dela rivulet, up which we proceeded, first in a westerly and then in a north-westerly direction. The Zungwe at this time had no water in its sandy channel for the first eight or ten miles. Willows, however, grow on the banks, and water soon began to appear in the hollows; and a few miles further up it was a fine flowing stream deliciously cold. As in many other streams from Chicova to near Sinamane shale and coal crop out in the bank; and here the large roots of stigmaria or its allied plants were found. We followed the course of the Zungwe to the foot of the Batoka highlands, up whose steep and rugged sides of red and white quartz we climbed till we attained an altitude of upwards of 3000 feet. Here, on the cool and bracing heights, the exhilaration of mind and body was delightful, as we looked back at the hollow beneath covered with a hot sultry glare, not unpleasant now that we were in the mild radiance above. We had a noble view of the great valley in which the Zambesi flows. The cultivated portions are so small in comparison to the rest of the landscape that the valley appears nearly all forest, with a few grassy glades. We spent the night of the 28th July high above the level of the sea, by the rivulet Tyotyo, near Tabacheu or Chirebuechina, names both signifying white mountain; in the morning hoar frost covered the ground, and thin ice was on the pools. Skirting the southern flank of Tabacheu, we soon passed from the hills on to the portion of the vast table-land called Mataba, and looking back saw all the way across the Zambesi valley to the lofty ridge some thirty miles off, which, coming from the Mashona, a country in the S.E., runs to the N.W. to join the ridge at the angle of which are the Victoria Falls, and then bends far to the N.E. from the same point. Only a few years since these extensive highlands were peopled by the Batoka; numerous herds of cattle furnished abundance of milk, and the rich soil amply repaid the labour of the husbandman; now large herds of buffaloes, zebras, and antelopes fatten on the excellent pasture; and on that land, which formerly supported multitudes, not a man is to been seen. In travelling from Monday morning till late on Saturday afternoon, all the way from Tabacheu to Moachemba, which is only twenty-one miles of latitude from the Victoria Falls, and constantly passing the ruined sites of utterly deserted Botoka villages, we did not fall in with a single person. The Batoka were driven out of their noble country by the invasions of Moselekatse and Sebetuane. Several tribes of Bechuana and Basutu, fleeing from the Zulu or Matebele chief Moselekatse reached the Zambesi above the Falls. Coming from a land without rivers, none of them knew how to swim; and one tribe, called the Bamangwato, wishing to cross the Zambesi, was ferried over, men and women separately, to different islands, by one of the Batoka chiefs; the men were then left to starve and the women appropriated by the ferryman and his people. Sekomi, the present chief of the Bamangwato, then an infant in his mother's arms, was enabled, through the kindness of a private Batoka, to escape. This act seems to have made an indelible impression on Sekomi's heart, for though otherwise callous, he still never fails to inquire after the welfare of his benefactor.