Translation by Chaos Production Unlimited 1992.
Introduction by Alan Nothnagle added 1st September 1998
Translation of Preface by Alan Nothnagle added 3rd September 1998
Although a public figure during his lifetime, the writer, pacifist, social reformer, and African explorer Hans Paasche is largely forgotten today and is virtually unknown outside of his native Germany. Hans Paasche was born to a wealthy family in the German Baltic port of Rostock in 1881. He later moved to Berlin when his father, an economics professor, became vice-president of the German Reichstag. In 1899 he joined the German Navy and served for several years as a navigation officer. Between 1905 and 1906 he did a tour of duty in German East Africa (modern-day Tanzania), where, after being placed in charge of a German combat unit, he helped crush a brief but bloody colonial uprising. His experiences in East Africa and his guilt feelings over his own actions in the fighting ended a promising military career and changed his life forever. Soon after his return to Germany he resigned his commission and embarked on a "wedding trip to the sources of the Nile" with his young wife, an eleven month voyage of exploration which took the couple from the Kilimanjaro region all the way to the then still largely uncharted hinterland of modern-day Rwanda, known as Kitara in "The Journey of Lukanga Mukara".
Back in Germany, Paasche became an active member of the "Lebensreform" or "life reform movement". Life reform, an ancestor of today's "green" or "Robin Wood" sensibility, was a potent brew of clean living, loose clothing, land reform, and environmentalism, whose proponents sought to change society by reforming lifestyles and attitudes. Together with other activists he founded a life reform journal called the "Vortrupp" or "Vanguard", in which he published articles on topics ranging from vegetarianism, feminism, environmental protection in the German colonies in Africa, all the way to the moral lessons of the Titanic disaster. One of the most colourful and charismatic personalities of the Wilhelmine era, Paasche played a brief but memorable role in the German youth movement and took part in the celebrated Hohe Meissner Meeting of 1913, an event described in the final "Letter of Lukanga Mukara". Paasche briefly returned to active duty during World War I, but immediately clashed with his superiors over his pacifistic views and his utter disregard for class distinctions. Disappointed and deeply depressed over the catastrophic death toll of the war, he left the navy in 1916 and plunged himself into the growing anti-war movement. After his arrest for treason in 1917, he pleaded insanity and was confined to a Berlin sanatorium, only to be liberated by rebelling soldiers and sailors in the German November Revolution of 1918. Paasche served a brief term in the Berlin Workers' and Soldiers' Council before being forced out by more moderate forces in late December. But Paasche remained politically active until, as "a known pacifist and antimilitarist", he was anonymously denounced to the authorities as a threat to German society. During a search for weapons he was finally shot to death under mysterious circumstances on his country estate in May of 1920.
While Paasche wrote several books and dozens of articles on Africa, health, natural protection, and pacifism, he is best known for his satirical "Lukanga Mukara", the purest expression of the life reform ethic and the only one of his books still in print today. He published the "letters" in instalments between 1912 and 1913 in the "Vortrupp", where they gained immediate popularity. Because of wartime censorship and paper shortages, they only appeared in book form after Paasche's death in 1921 and have enjoyed a cult following ever since. Here, for the first time in English, we can view Wilhelmine society through Lukanga's eyes - a society which, by the way, with its eating and drinking habits, its air pollution, its consumerism, and its infamous "stink sticks", may not be so very different from our own today. This electronic version was translated and published in 1992 by Chaos Production Unlimited, World-wide and distributed as Freeware by everybody.
On my last trip to inner Africa I visited an unexplored country with a unique and ancient culture far different from that of Europe. In its wondrous inaccessibility this country has to this day preserved conditions and customs which cry out to be compared with our own way of thinking, our own "culture". Until now I could not decide whether or not to publish something about this country. It always seemed to me that a journey of scarcely five months' duration to this country was not long enough to form an unbiased opinion. I returned home with the impression that unexplored countries and primal peoples are a blessing for us since through them - who do not know the triumphs of our culture and so do not miss them, who do not have our advantages, and yet who are free from our faults and habits - we can learn to understand ourselves better. This has been my point of view ever since. It never would have occurred to me to press such observations upon others or to criticise our own conditions. Then an unusual event occurred and now it looks as if this task has been taken out of my hands.
A black, whom I met at the court of King Ruoma, followed a suggestion of mine and arranged for the ruler of the land of Kitara to send him on a voyage to Germany. Lukanga Mukara is, as his name suggests, a man who comes from the island of Ukara in Lake Victoria. Early on he migrated from that overpopulated island to the neighbouring island of Ukerewe and was there taught reading and writing by the "White Fathers". Then while travelling he ran away from the friar he was accompanying and settled at the court of Ruoma, the king of Kitara, where as an interpreter, story teller, and legal adviser he made good use of his rich knowledge. That is where I came to know him.
The letters of Lukanga have a special value. This foreigner laid his own measure to the conditions in Germany. What seems normal to us attracts his notice. His powers of observation and the bluntness of his judgement make it possible for him to speak with authority about things which we ourselves cannot even look at without taking sides.
-- Hans Paasche (1912)
Hutu: Farmer Matama: Millet Pombe: Alcoholic Drink Sungu: European Wahutu: Kitara citizen Watinku: The race of the Africans Wasungu: The race of the Europeans
Berlin, 1 May 1912
I write to you as your faithful servant, whom you sent out to see if there is a King who is equal to you, and if there is a Country that offers more to the people who live there than does your Country, Kitara, the Country of the Long Horned Cattle.
Let me answer you: there is no such Country; there is no such King.
healthy, I can tell you myself, so that you hear it more exactly than if Ibrahim, the Man from the Coast, is reading my letters to you.
When you ordered me to travel and gave me twelve hundred cattle and two thousand goats, so that I could pay whatever my journey into the strange country might cost, nobody knew that already, after only two moons, I would not have one of your cattle with me any more but, that thanks to your Might and Wealth, I should not suffer poverty.
I exchanged your cattle for metal pieces as soon as I came to the Sea of Wasukuma. These "coins" I then exchanged for paper with writing. With only this I continued to travel, and wherever I show the paper, I get the coins that I need to buy food.
So mighty is your name.
Hear: the Country in which I am travelling is called Wasunga. The natives do not pay with cattle and goats, nor with cotton or cowry shells; little metal pieces and coloured paper is their currency, and the paper is more precious than the metal. There is a paper that is brown which is worth more than a good number of your cattle. It is as if one could buy four carrying cows for a plaited grass bracelet. Every Hutu knows that one wouldn't get enough firewood for a cold rainy night even for twenty grass bracelets. I can imagine your face as you hear this and how you laugh at this utter nonsense that I report from Wasunga, but, Mighty King, I must tell you: the natives take this, and even bigger nonsense, as something normal. When I tell them (I already speak the native tongue quite well)that we in Kitara pay in different currency, they say that what they have is much better, and ask if they should come and give you a better system?
They call everything they would like to bring us by one word -- "Culture".
But because nobody can bring a better thing than their best and because I do not like their best, I always thank them warmly and say that I will think about it.
This is their way of saying what means in our language, "No, I don't want to!"
Master of the Mountains, maybe you are angry that I left the hundred messengers and their hundred guards behind at the border. I had to desist from the plan to send a messenger and a guard with every letter I send to you. The meaning of a letter here is entirely different.
You have a law that everyone knows: only one letter a day is allowed to arrive in your town. This letter is brought by a messenger who is accompanied by a letter guard because one man alone cannot be a messenger.
As soon as the two have crossed the River Ruhiga the news of their coming travels ahead of them and soon afterwards it is known in your residence. And when, after days, they finally come down over the Pass of Kibata, a crowd of young people and drummers come to meet them.
What is the meaning of a letter in this country? Nothing!!
And this is nothing strange, because in Wasunga there are so many letters, as many as there are blades of grass on the pastures of Mpororo. One single messenger carries a hundred letters at once; every single man is allowed to receive letters, and some get many letters in one day.
I seldom see that the letters make anyone more satisfied or sad, and if one letter makes the Wasungu sad, he just goes on to the next one, which makes him happy. And after he has read all the letters, he doesn't know whether he should be sad or happy, only that he is too tired and too weary to plough his field or to tend his cattle, if he has field or cattle.
You can already see that this Country is unhappy, but don't ask me yet for the reasons why.
In my next letters I will write only what I see and make conclusions later. There is much more that I have to write to you.
Riangombe, who dwells above the Fire Mountain and cools his feet with snow, Your Servant,
Birkenhain 20th May 1912
I am at a place that is lonely. Hills with bushes surround me. A lake lies between high trees and in the reeds of its shore, ducks are swimming. In the shallow water, two cranes are standing and high up in the air two storks are flying, who have just returned from Kitara, where they spend the time in which Wasunga is bitter cold and ice and snow are lying man high on the land, as you know it from the peak of the Karrisimbi. The wild bustle of the cities does not reach this place and I could think that I am in Kitara, at the shore of the Ruhiga, at the wide bay of the Urigi where the cry of the Crown crane echoes near and far as they fly on slow wings over the ripe wheat fields. It is the same cry that I can hear here, but the bird looks different: he misses the crown and the white chest, but the back of his head shimmers bronze red. I came here because I became confused about the new and contrary and because I wanted to have peace from the noise.
Shining Sovereign! When I walked amongst the many thousands of Wasungu or woke out of my dreams, I often felt as if I had drunk Pombe (like once, when Ibrahim hadn't told me yet of his teaching that deems the drunkenness of Man as unworthy.)
Above this country lies a something, something like a big swindle. One says in Kitara: Where smoke rises between the mountains, there should be the destiny of the wanderer, for there is warmth and food. A crafts man burns a hollow into the wood, the iron-melters sit in the open air at the bellows or a smith forges spearheads, hoes or needles. This is why there is bustling life and many people come and enjoy the art and power that lives within the nation. When a smith gets up from his work, one nearly praises their broad shoulders above they skilful hands.
In Wasunga is very much smoke. But it is no smoke that makes the heart of the wanderer beat or makes his steps faster. It is no smoke in fresh air; it is smoke in dust -- yes, smoke in smoke. It comes out of long stone tubes, that lead it into the sky. But the sky doesn't want the smoke and so it lies like a morning fog above the earth. And when it flows everywhere as a thick suffocating mass, how can you go anywhere and cherish your being?
On the contrary: those who don't want to have their lungs filled with smoke escape those places where many natives live close together and flee to the countryside where the air is still fresh and pure. Unbearable is the air that the Wasungu are accustomed to breathe. They love to be together in closed rooms for work, for fun, for education, even for God's service, for hours on end. Everybody breathes the air that someone else has already breathed. In it mixes smoke, dust and food smells. A lot of Wasungu must be ill. I don't know for sure, because I only see healthy people in the streets and I think that they move the sick ones to another place.
I followed the big smoke and got in amongst a group of people who all walked the same way.
Those men and women didn't look very happy. I asked a young Sungu where he is going in such a hurry and if there, where he is going, is something beautiful to see?
he would be scolded if he was late. And that hasty person did not have time to talk with me.
There is no Sungu existing who isn't in a hurry. Everybody always has plans and now I know why the Sungu who travelled in Kitara asked the men so often, "What is your work?" and why he became excited when he got the answer, "Tinkora mlimo mingihala. " -- "I do not work; I am existing. " That made him angry because there is no man in Wasunga who is allowed to be satisfied without having to work, unless he has a lot of money. They all work because they want money. And if they have money, they don't use it to have happiness, which would cost nothing; they let others who want to have their money talk them into buying all sorts of things, by saying that, if they want to be happy they must buy all those unnecessary things that are made where the smoke climbs into the sky.
I think that a man who gets by with very few things and doesn't buy anything isn't respected in Wasunga. But a man who surrounds himself with thousands of things which he must lock away, look after, clean and look at every day, such a man counts.
And such a man can hardly do anything useful, because he won't have the time. He will always have to sit on top of his belongings instead of being able to go out into this world and learn new songs. All that you need to do this in Kitara is a stick, a plaited bag with firewood, and a fiddle. One who takes these things with him can travel and when he comes back home after months he can tell of the dances and songs of other nations and how they are hunting elephants and how their women look.
This is the fallacy that lies above this country: even in Wasunga, once upon a time, smoke showed a place of happy creating, but these days are gone. The power that made the fire became a curse; wretched slaves are those natives who work with the power of the fire. This is what I saw when I followed the smoke: Amidst a terrible noise, louder than a thunderstorm in Spring, men and women are standing and moving their hands on machines. They stand there in bad air, in a closed room, and their bodies are fully dressed. They do work that is never ending; they do the same things for years. How much better it is in Kitara! There, every season has its special work, and nobody has to work the bellows or fetch water the whole year long. For the cultivation of the land, the hoes must be ready. The smith hammers and before he can forge, the iron has to be melted. The smoke vanishes again and the most delicate flowers grow around the furnace, and the lungs of the people become clean again.
I said the natives wear clothe even when they work. It's like that and I wonder about it again and again. All the natives walk about dressed and even when they bathe they wear a thin dress. Nobody has the right to walk nude. Nobody thinks it is revolting and offensive to wear clothes. Even the King of the Nation submits himself to the compulsory clothes. On his body he wears thick sewed material. He covers his head and he wraps his feet in sewed calfskin. How beautiful and elevated you are, O Mukama, compared to him. Your dress is straw string on which two carved horns of an antelope hang, and a striped goat skin covers the left side of your hip. Free breathes your breast, the sun shines upon your smooth skin, and your naked foot touches the fertile soil.
Now I am walking in the sand, undressed as well, where no natives can see me. If they could see me nude they would hunt me. I have to wear cloth all the time if I do not want to incite the people. It is a torture for your free servant, a pain and a danger, that he only takes upon him to advance the research and the science of Kitara.
I am sure you believe that the people of the country outside the big cities walk naked. No, they also cover themselves from head to foot and by no means will you ever see a man who does not wear a hat on his head. If someone should walk without a hat in a city, the natives would form a mob, follow him and make jokes about him. The hat is a sign of dignity; even if it is only a sweat-soaked, dirty bundle of material, it counts as distinguished to wear it. and air, it decays and their heads become bald. This is a big worry amongst the men and they spend lots of money on people who want to earn money by cleaning other people's hair. There, they let the shopkeepers recommend a variety of liquids and then buy them. The only thing that is free in Wasunga as well as in Kitara they do not do -- wear no hat.
The Wasungu say that one needs a hat to protect and warm the head, and to greet with. Their greeting is simple: they lift the hat off their head once and then they put it back on. To kneel and clap their hands is unknown as a greeting.
What kind of dress they wear is dictated by the craftsmen who sew the cloth, and the wealthy natives especially follow their ideas absolutely.
If you think a strong, beautiful and smooth body comes to be enhanced by such a dress, you are mistaken. The dresses of the men are made in such a way that every weak man looks the same as a strong man, so that no man has the wish to improve his body or to take care not to disfigure it, the dresses cover every weak point. Even the women do not look at the beauty and strengths of a man's body: they look at the design and value of the dress and the hat. These women don't know how a beautifully built body looks. They marry the suit and at the same time the man who is stuck in it. The immorality of wearing clothes also means that the men and women of the Wasungu marry without knowing how they look naked. Such a thing would be condemned in Kitara as a shame and low infamy, if it ever happened. It would be a crime against the future of the people. But in Wasunga it is taken to be decent.
You wish to know, Mighty King, what I wear on my body to walk the streets unmolested amongst the natives, and how I cope with the dirt of the clothes ?
In the morning after my bath, I oil my skin and put on the underwear, and the clothes that are worn on top. The underwear is held by strings tied over my shoulders. This is painful because the pressure of the strings compresses my torso. Many of the Wasungu are bent forward because of this and their backs stick out. Round my neck I lay a stiff ring made from plant fibre, a horrible invention that is even more mystifying as the Wasungu are masters in the art of making soft materials.
Over their feet the Wasungu pull a tight fabric made of sheep's wool, whereby they press their toes together so violently that it is made impossible to walk safely. I could not stand the pain when I tried them on, so I cut off the lower half of these things, and no-one can see it because the whole foot sticks into a leather shell that is closed tightly. These `shoes' play an important part in the whole affair of dressing. It sounds unbelievable: the form of these shoes changes at the whim of the craftsmen and the feet of the natives have to take on impossible shapes so that they can be pressed into the shoes. I myself have had made a pair of shoes that are big enough for my toes to move freely.
The Wasungu do not take their shoes off when they enter a house and they don't bathe their feet before they step in, but they make sure that the outside of those shoes is well polished and shiny. More effort is put into making liquids to clean those shoes and to make them shine than into inventions to keep their feet looking good and healthy.
After I have walked in my shoes for a while, I always feel like taking them off, finding a foot-bath in front of the door and a servant who washes my feet and oils them. There is none of this. There are places where there are special rooms to wait in, where you find books to read and one can buy many strange things that no wanderer needs and Kitara can still do without, but there is no possibility to take a foot-bath. There is no native who wishes to bathe his feet and so they walk from dawn to dusk in the same dress and shoes, with the same hat on their heads, and because they want to wear the same things the next day, they take care that they don't sweat too much. Because of that, and to spare the clothes, they must walk slowly. Only children are allowed to run. they drive.
Because of lack of movement, their bodies change so much that they could not let themselves be seen nude, even if it was the custom to walk without clothes, and many men look like fattened dogs or hippopotami from the river Ukonse.
You asked about the warriors and the women of this country? I shall tell you about them later.
These are enormous deprivations I take upon me to carry out your order to research into this country. The manners of this nation are threatening me and my health. What my body experiences from the outside, and what I am forced to take inside while I am here -- that harms me.
Only two things followed me here from home: the sun that warms my back with her rays and this big bird, who returns to Kitara earlier than I and who will bring greetings to my King from
This is the third time that I write to you and you may be already saying: Lukanga should come home and tell us, instead of sending messengers with written paper. Don't be impatient! If I come soon, then I haven't seen very much, but if I stay long, then you can expect me to know the country of the Wasungu very well and to have taken in so much that I can tell you about it for years and you can listen for ages.
As far as the craft of writing is concerned, it is unintelligible that I haven't yet met one Sungu who can't write. Even the children of the farmers know how to use colour juice and feather and can read the signs of others, and those who teach the craft of writing believe that the farmers reap bigger crops and own more cattle because of it.
It is certain that some Wasungu gain an advantage from reading and writing, but some of the people lose through this art and many sign experts aren't better off, then see, although there are laws in this country that order everybody to learn reading and writing, there is no law that forbids to read or write bad things. And so it comes that many bad things are written about a nation that can read and write. There can be no law that forbids to write bad things! Who can measure where the border of the good lies? And especially the bad which is hidden under the appearance of the good, is most dangerous to men. The Wasungu have written things, that are as good and pure as the air in the mountains of Bugoie in the monsoon season, but only a few breathe this clean air. The majority is trapped in the gloomy fog of the swamps and amongst those who write and sell the writings, there are far too many who do not write to tell their readers important things, but to make lots of money. That is why they charm and allure the readers and tell them of a world in which even the most stupid and idlest person is satisfied, so that the will to achieve improvement does not arise within them. How can anybody want something better if the bad is shown as the best! That's how it is with the writing that is circulated amongst the sign experts. But also in daily life writing represents a danger.
The hutu in Kitara can not read and is not allowed to learn it. He looks at the man who speaks, asks after his origin and past, and judges his speech farmer in Wasunga has difficulty in recognising the man he should trust behind the writing. I am sure you ask "How can the Wasungu farmer harvest fruit, despite his ability to read and write?" Mukama, how he can do it became clear to me whilst on a journey through the countryside. The Wasungu farmer knows how to arrange himself: he makes little use of reading and writing and soon forgets it. If he has something to tell to someone, he does not write, but like the Hutu, he walks five hours across the land. He then brings the answer, which is much better than a written one, back home immediately. That is why, although there are laws which order everybody to read and write, the Wasungu countryside billows in high wheat and the grass joins over the backs of the roebucks.
I already told you that the Wasungu call themselves human, and I know why they do it. They are inspired by Riangombe the Ever Awake to feel as if they are human. If you want to grasp this, O Ever Shining, then unroll the skin of an otter at the grove of your god-like ancestors, sit down quietly, and watch the termites who live in their earth house. What are you to those little creatures? Your shadow brushes them as the shadow of a large cloud brushes us. Nothing bigger under the sun do they know but themselves. "We are the humans," they say, "we are the thinking creatures for whom alone this world is made. The whole world revolves around us." The wandering ants and all other ants are "barbarians" in their view and about the caterpillars and beetles they drag into their den they say, those are inferior creatures without feelings, without intellect, and only gifted with instincts. They also say of themselves, that only they have the right Weltanschauung. This how Riangombe inspired every being to feel itself as the centre of the world and to look upon the earth as beneath their feet.
It is not any different with the Wasungu. They too, believe that the world is made for their sake and think of themselves as the best thing that ever happened to this world.
Shining Lord, did the Creator not arrange it wisely, that every being can be satisfied with its lot? Satisfied is the being which does the one thing: fulfil itself. Even the poor can be content, and only those who have to watch how others waste food are bitter with hunger. If someone is alone he can even endure hunger; where there is not the most unbearable hunger even the poorest and most miserable can be content; because if someone is rich and surrounds himself with more spectacle than the poor, then the poor man thinks that the rich is only there for him and that he entertains him with his glamour and the many colourful things he has to dress in, one after the other, and he feels sorry for the rich man who does not have the joy of watching, because no-one is richer than him, and the rich and powerful man forgets that he is only an actor who has to dress and paint himself on time, to appear from the left or the right so that the poor man has something to look at. He forgets this, and he even believes that the poor are only there for his sake, and feels sorry for them.
Here I would like to tell you about an experience I had. A famous general of the nation wanted to show himself off in front of the assembled warriors to incite their weapon lust in peacetime. He also wanted to show himself to the ordinary folk, who stood packed on a square and watched. I also was there to observe, mingling with the humble folk. It was a very hot day. The general arrived. He sat on a beautiful horse and had thick, heavy materials tied around his body, and was decorated all over with coloured metal pieces and chains. Like all the warriors, on his head he had an upturned vessel with the tail feathers of white chickens fastened to it. Wherever he passed, people screamed, and the general had to touch his head with his hand, whereby he became very hot. Many colourfully decorated nobles followed him on horses and everybody was very hot.
There I realised that even the lowest of the onlookers related this laborious entourage. Next to me a man said to his friend, "`ere mate, let's go for a pint and let this lot sweat it out on their own."
Out of those words, which also represent the dialect of a certain area, I became conscious of what I have written to you today: everyone sees the world and his position in it out of the centre of his own circle.
And this is also the reason how the Wasungu come to call themselves "human". They do it deliberately and consciously: they really do believe themselves to be human. Riangombe infused it into them to feel themselves as humans.
Surely, Mukama, the Wasungu are not humans, because they are heathens and do not know anything about Riangombe and the flower sacrifices. But still we should try to understand them and should not believe that only we are enlightened. Riangombe created a different picture of himself in each of his beings and wanted each of his beings to be great in its own way. Especially in this, I recognise his greatness and omnipotence. And even if I depict many aspects of their customs and thinking that seem nonsense to me, I already see, that we cannot change the Wasungu to the better, even if we try. Because if we would want to bring them something, our language, our dancers or even our customs and our thinking, we would bring them something alien, that did not develop within them. They would take it, but even if they then do have something that is seen as good for us, it would not be good for them. I mock them; but if there was nothing good in them at all, it would not lure me to examine them so long and thoroughly. At this place I remembered the words Rugaba, the wise man from the mountain Sabinjo spoke so often; "In every being is God and everything that is, is great. Only that which God did not grant you to understand, you see as small in nature. He wants you to see it as small; but you are not allowed to want to change it: it is as equally great as you." God gave the tribe of the Watinku the ability to see greatness in other beings. This is why the Watinku are humans; the wise man often told the story of the dog which has one more sense than a human being: you walk with the dog on a lead. Suddenly he darts forward and drags himself forcefully over a trail that your eye only discovers now. Like you can spot a white cow in a herd, the dog can smell the trail of the springbok, whom he follows. And while you cannot see further than three steps in the undergrowth, the wind tells the dog where the prey stands. Like the dog, which has the gift to recognise what you cannot see, there are beings who see things with a different view and intelligence other than ours and it is easier to say: "I cannot smell anything, so there is nothing," than to admit that our gifts do no allow us to see everything.
I already told you, Mukama, of the clothing of the Wasungu and now I will also tell you about the women. Here it becomes difficult for me to follow things to the heart of the matter. Only this one thing I already know for sure: the women of the Wasungu are artificially deformed and their crippled bodies are dressed in furs, woven material skins and feathers of wild creatures, so that a new figure is created which has nothing in common with the natural, beautiful woman-sculpture as we know it with the Watinku. Nude girls and women are nowhere to be seen, not on the streets, nor at the harvest work. Also, they do not all bathe, and those who do bathe, wear suits and it is not allowed to take a close look at them. Only in the evenings when the Wasungu eat and dance together, the girls are as good as nude and only a part of their body is covered with clothing. They do not dare to come completely without clothes because their body consists of two parts which are only loosely connected and are held together with a stiff outer construction. This construction, they cover up in the evening with a little clothing. But of course, not more than absolutely necessary. If the women did not have this construction they could not walk upright and would collapse. This construction is most likely to be an ancient invention of the men. They forced it onto the women in order to remain superior to them in health and stamina, in spite of their own laziness and bad habits. This frame is designed in such a way that the women cannot breathe expand, so that a part of the lung rots and dies. They lack the deep breath. Consequently, the women cannot run or move. So the flesh under the frame withers away and the body becomes grossly fat on the upper and lower parts, which is something the Wasungu find beautiful. Already in maidenhood, the body of the girl is cocooned because it is feared that they could remain healthy for too long. The intended success has not to be waited for long: most women are prematurely sickly and frail and then the men speak with a certain callous satisfaction of the "weaker sex".
The women move like upright walking tortoises in their cocoons. You cannot imagine how it looks when a woman walks down the street and slides her legs forwards under this stiff construction. And when she pushes her motionless mass onto a chair, when the limbs hang down and the head moves helplessly from side to side, then an educated Negro feels something close to compassion for such a mistreated creature. I often think of the supple figures of the girls of Kitara, like when they bend over the field fruit, like when they walk along with bulging clay pots on their heads and how their body balances the slopping water into their step. And also the dance at the last celebration of the King's Spear, I do frequently remember. The maidens stepped around the spear wall and held up white flower branches with their raised hands. The full moon coloured them into statues made out of silver and ebony. Like the supple stalks of the sweet corn in the wind, they bent themselves to the rhythm of the drums and the flutes. These pictures become alive within my soul when I hear the friendly sound of the flute in this country. This happens very often, then even if the Wasungu as creatures do rank deep below the Watinku, they are great in one sense: in their art to depict the world with sounds. They rub horsehair on twisted sheep intestines which are stretched over hollow wood; they blow on wood flutes which are far more beautiful than our bamboo sticks, and Kudu horns and shells which are copied in metal and yield many different sounds; they beat onto iron, wood and stretched skins and bring out a river of sounds which often arouses pain and happiness in my heart. Then I imagine to sit at a bay of Ukerewe and to see the sun go down beneath the Kurwi mountains. From Ukara the wind is blowing, the waves lap and the Ibises fly past screaming. Yes, just think, Mukuma, the sounds of the Wasungu are taken out of my youth! Who brought them to the Wasungu? Who inspired them to depict a country in sounds where Lukanga has loved and suffered? Lukanga speaks the language of the Wasungu but he remains a stranger to their thinking; in their sounds the Wasungu speak a language which he deeply understands. This third letter I send to you, Mighty Mukama, out of Wasungas big city, written by my own hand.
Berlin, 6th December 1912
You ask for what the Wasungu use cars and why they drive so aimlessly to and fro? Think of the way from Niansa to Rubengera.
At the moment a carrier walks four days, a messenger two. The Sungu would build a metal plank-way so that the messenger arrives there in one day. To build this way, thousands of people have to go there and work there and then go back. Others have to bring them food and firewood. The workers get wages. These they will want to spend. That is why an Indian with many loads of materials, caps, pearls and booze has to come. Then a Sungu who stands next to him and screams of the Sungu. Then a Sungu who counts and writes down these goods and collects a duty for them. For him too, a house must be built and a second one for the one who makes sure, that the money taker doesn't keep the money to himself. Now we are already in a "healthy" economical life or in a "healthy economical development". Then comes a Sungu who makes pictures of the goings on and writes a book about them. Then a house is built in which the cars of the railway are repaired. In this house people work, who have to be fetched with the cars. For this, coal and wood is needed and this is fetched with the cars and the coal powers the engine. The cars are built to fetch the coal and the coal is fetched to built the cars, businesses, traffic, smoke, noise and progress, ergo that, what the Wasungu call "culture" occurs.
Also merchants, booze sellers and prostitutes settle down, to take the money of the workers. Because the covetousness that is awakened in the workers and the booze are causing disorders, armed overseers have to be fetched by the cars, and other men who write down of which kind the disorder is, and how that is called what the workers did disorderly.
For those writers another house must be built, and to make sure that the workers who committed disorders do not go home, cages are be built in which the workers are locked, fed and guarded.
Again a car has to fetch coal and iron to make the bars of the cages. Then water must be led into the houses of the writers and guards, and artificial light, so that it is possible to write at night, when nature forbids it. Then a house must be built for the man who writes down which of the writers are called `SIR' and another one in which is thought out, how much money every house has to contribute, to pay for the guards and the writers. All this they then call `Government.
This way a big city arises, a metropolis as the Wasungu say, and all this happens only because a messenger had to make the way from Niansa to Rubengera quicker. This town grows and more and more cars have to drive. Then houses are needed in which the cars are put and again people who built these houses, guard and count them and write about them.
But because people go mad in such a city and with such occupations, big houses must be built outside town in which the lunatics are locked in. Through this, work and new economy life is created. Those who are not fully mad yet, have to, in order to avoid becoming completely crazy, drive very often outside town, to scream in the meadows, rip out flowers, and frighten or pierce animals. This is why many cars full of people drive to and fro. Also, houses must be built in the meadow or the jungle in which these half-crazies can buy booze and smoke-sticks, and boxes have to be put up with machines that make noise, which the Wasungu love. To all this they make lots of smoke, pour lots of liquids down their throats and yell at each other. Then they have pictures taken of themselves with drinking vessels in their hands. To make sure that one knows where those houses are in the jungle, signs are erected at the road on which the name of the next booze station is written and how far away it is. Those signs must be guarded, so that nobody takes them away. For this purpose, armed guards are employed. Again those need houses. Because the signs cost money, the way gets barricaded with a tree and is opened only when the wanderer pays money. Then a house next to the tree is built in which the man lives who collects the money and a second one in town in which the man lives who makes sure that the first one doesn't keep the money to himself. Also, guards have to watch that nobody goes around the tree without paying, and when many half crazies arrive, that they walk on one side of the way where the right hand is. So that the half crazies can read what is written on the signs and how far it is to the next booze station, houses have to be built in which a man beats the children until they can read and count. This takes eight years.
For him too a house must be built and one for the man who determines when this man has beaten enough to call himself `SIR'.
permission or wears little metal plates over the breast nipple before he reaches the befitting age. So that one knows when somebody is old enough to be allowed to wear little metal plates, the life years have to be counted and books are written in which one can read on which day each single citizen has come out of his mothers belly. That is why houses must be built and cars must drive to and fro, day and night.
So, this is why the Wasungu need cars, built ways with metal planks and drive non-stop to and fro. One thing I forgot to mention and it will either completely astonish or disgust you: the letter writing of the Wasungu. I can hardly find the words to describe this idiocy. In the whole of Usungu there is not one house where not daily a messenger arrives, who carries letters. But what do the Wasungu write? What everybody knows anyway :"I am here and drink.", "I come tomorrow.", "the car drives", "the food is tasty." Or they send pictures of themselves how they hold a drinking vessel and make a stupid face. Or they write because of money. I will put it like this: Everything that they do and everything that is moving, they write down. This is why messengers drive to and fro and houses must be built in which the letters are sorted and other ones in which those live who watch when those who sort the letters are to be called `SIR'. Finally the letters are counted, and how many people drive to and fro and how many years longer the Messengers live than those who sew clothes all day long. Through all those things the Wasungu believe to become cleverer and better, and when a new house is built, they meet, hold speeches and yell `RA! RA! RA! which is their expression of highest happiness. Afterwards they pour liquids into their throats.
The Wasungu also practise the following tomfoolery : If you ask in Kitara " Who is there?" The answer is: "Muntu, a human being!". But the Wasungu class people after what they are doing. They want that everyone only does a certain foolery, so that differences occur, so that they can count even more.
The Numberfred led me into a house in which many men were sharpening knives. They all looked very pale. I asked where those people have their fields whereupon I got the answer that they would never do anything else but sharpening knives; only so it could be determined with precision that people who sharpen knives every day die when they are 30 years old. And his eyes shone with happiness when he told me that the people, who did all day long nothing else but bring Pombe, Smokerolls and Carcass pieces to the swallowers in the stone caves died even younger. When I shook my head in horror, Fred said that I could not doubt it because it was proofed scientifically beyond doubt and it was anticipated to obtain even more accurate figures. When I asked for what such figures were necessary, he explained a Tomfoolery that no-one will believe.
Mukama, I am at loss to explain this to you. But listen: Every year they pay a certain sum of money which is collected, written down and paid to their relatives after they have died. They believe to be happier for it. A knife sharpener pays a different amount than a farmer because the numberfreds know how long they live. To make this calculation work, everybody has to stick with his work and is never allowed to do anything else. Because of this Idiocy, houses must be built again and more cars drive to and fro.
Do you understand it now ? So now you will know what the Wasungu really do and why it is that they always do something. I tell you: they are on the move non-stop, to disturb each others peace, to make sure that all the people have to run around and don't have time to think.
Now they busy themselves with bringing order into the turmoil of which they are proud. They forget that they first made turmoil that wasn't necessary and then talk about order.
No, dearest, you can not understand it. You will think of Kitara. Order, for what ? The mountains are there and in the valleys the streams flow. If the water is high, one waits till it trickles into the ground. "Amri ya Mungu." It gods commandment and his punishment inevitable follows. I will talk about this punishment later. This punishment is just; because these are unnecessary things and a self-chosen untidiness in which unuseful people bring order.
I live with a man who is the driver of a car which drives on metal planks. I accompanied him and got told what the individual Wasungu do, who drive in the car. One man who drove with us builds the metal parts for the cars. Next to him stood a man with a sword and a metal spike on his head. He has to watch that the cars on the street don't run a Sungu over and he writes down if someone gets killed. Then another spike head climbed onto the car, whose work it was that the other one looked at him and bangs his legs together and the arms onto the torso, which is a greeting. Then there sat a woman with a red cross on her arm. She bandages the people who get run over. Then a man who catches dogs that don't carry a coin around their neck. Next to him sat a man who has smoke rolls made in a house. Then another one who sells pills for an illness which comes about through smoke stinking. Then a numberfred who writes down, which people have paid money in case they get run over. For what this is I will write later. Then another one who sells the coal with which the cars are powered and one who makes books in which is written when the cars are going to drive. Every single one carries a time pointer on his belly and looks onto it as soon as the car stops and when it drives on. Then a man with glass pieces before his eyes sat there. His work was to talk about how it was in the past and how it is now. He told me that this ordered traffic is a sign of the high culture of the Wasungu. Once there were times when no metal planks laid on the way on which we drove. Then everybody said that it wasn't necessary that cars drive here and nobody would drive with them and now one could see, how much affluence the traffic had through the building of the cars.
But I found that all those fools were on the move, not to live and to work good things but only that cars could drive or that which could be mended what was destroyed by driving to and fro. If all those fools would stay on their fields and with their children, then no cars on metal planks would need to drive and if no cars drive everyone could have a field and be happy.
This is why, Kigeri, you have to protect your beautiful country from the order of the Wasungu, and from the cars and the metal planks and forbid that time pointers are brought into the country which through their sight bring people to commit tomfooleries. At dawn the cock crows. In the day it is light, at night it is dark. In the morning the sun rises, at noon she stands high and in the evening she sets. But life ends with death. A person only needs to know that.
But where cars drive, there have to be time pointers and again people who make these pointers and keep order and out of all this evolves all this foolish, totally unnecessary work from which all people become ill and joyless. I find that all these Time fools only run around so that cars drive and that they drive to run around and to hinder each other.
I have written about things that should stay alien to the Wise of Kitara if they want to remain main human beings.
Greetings from your loyal
Your Kingly Heart is angered because I haven't written to you yet what the Great and mighty Master! Order your people to be silent for two days so that the atrocity that I will tell you now finds a place in your mind: The Wasungu are souleaters, are cannibals.
They mix the food which the earth gives with the parts of various animals. Especially pigs, cattle and horses are killed, chopped and cut in many little pieces. Dogs are killed and eaten in a town called Halle. Cat meat is only mixed secretly into the food. Nobody would buy it if it was on offer, so it is cut into little pieces and collected into tons together with other carcass pieces, then it is put into the intestines of cattle and sold. In some villages, they mix it with flour and fat and eat it out of shells. Only people are not allowed to be slaughtered and eaten.
Some of this I know, not because I seen it myself, but because a man of the tribe of the Korongo told me about it.
Some of it I saw myself and that why I believe what the Korongo told me.
I saw a man, who took calf corpses that were still bleeding from a car onto his shoulders and hung them into a house so that everybody who passed had to see the corpses. And men and women walked passed and were cheerful although they could see this. The man also hung up internal parts of animals and wrote numbers onto them because he wanted money for them, when people bought it. The corpses are torn into pieces and the parts are sold singly as if they were fruit. The blood of the animals is also eaten.
I said: The Wasungu eat. This is not right: They swallow. And everything they put into their mouth is prepared so that it is swallowed and not eaten. There are some amongst the Wasungu who know how to eat food: but the majority are swallowers.
Their language knows two words for taking food: "eating" and "feeding". The swallowers say about themselves that they eat and that animals feed. When I showed a Wasungu how a Cow looks for herbs and told him he should "feed" like the animals, he became angry.
The Wasungu make pigs that they want to eat, artificially ill so that they become very fat. They force these animals to swallow hastily and then to lie down. That is how they force-feed the animals. And like the pigs they force-feed themselves.
They achieve this through many means. A Sungu does not wait with eating until he feels hunger, but he goes and sits down and sees if he can make something out that he would like to swallow. To make sure that he fattens himself, he sits down at a certain time, even without hunger, and starts to swallow. And not in a dark room and alone, but together with other Wasungu. His eyes are wide open while he swallows. Whilst he swallows one dish he looks onto a piece of paper on which the name of next dish is written. Through this he achieves faster swallowing. Because he doesn't eat out of hunger and doesn't taste his food, he eats with his eyes and he eats always the next dish and not the one he has got in his mouth. No food is written on the piece of paper, but stuff that is mixed and heated. So that it doesn't get chewed, the swallower pours drinks into his mouth. All Wasungu train hard to swallow drinks instead of sucking them.
A widely used means to enhance the fattening of the body is this: The Wasungu make a date to sit together in a group at a table to swallow the same dishes. Although they are not hungry they still manage to swallow a lot. Servants come, who try to entice the greed of the swallowers. They do this by holding the dish, which name the swallower has read previously on a piece of paper, from behind their back under their nose, one by one, until the swallower has taken something from it. Because all swallowers take from the same bowl, they give themselves the impression that they must take away from the others and take as much as possible for themselves.
When they start to take some of it into their mouth, they scream at each other and so force each other to faster swallowing. On top of this it is the duty of the dish lies are suddenly taken away and through this method even faster swallowing is achieved. To make sure that the swallowers have to scream very loud, twelve men are hired who blow on horns and make noise.
If I think about the verses of Rubega, then I feel as if I step out of the smoke into a breeze. Let me, Mukama, write down the words of the great priest so that I remember them accurately myself. Rubega says:
"Look, human being at a nut.
Why is it's kernel wrapped? So that one person unwraps it and the other one eats it? No! So that the one who should eat it, peels out the kernel and doesn't stuff his gob full.
When you eat you should still know the soil from which the fruit was taken. And even if you never have been there yourself, your thoughts should be there while you eat.
So go into the room that is made for your repast and stay there on you own until your desire is fulfilled.
You should lie down while you eat.
So you have the opening to the sky of the room above you on which is written when you are permitted to eat.
In the day you should eat, in the never-ending blue.
But at night stars are standing there and your thoughts are with them. Then you should fast."
Mukama, if I place the Wasungu next to the Watinku, then I know which nation has the better advisors.
Amongst the Wasungu are many who practice excessive fattening, and amongst every working community is a number of such fallings. But although they do their best to become unable to bear weapons and to go against the enemy, they do not lose their citizen rights, and when I tell such a fattened warrior that in Kitara only those who at a moments notice can fulfil certain things, are granted the full honour rights of a citizen, he only swallows more.
They all live in continuous fear that they don't get enough mixed and heated stuff into their body. Only about real food they're unconcerned, yes, they loathe food because they fear to become active and happy through it and not fat.
They make a lot of effort to destroy the things they throw into their pots and to take away their sun taste whereby a strong and continuous fire is their most important aid.
Afterwards they put salt on everything and then they say: "It is tasty." And of everything that tastes of salt they swallow so much until they can't put anymore in.
To prepare bad things that no-one would eat so that they can be swallowed and to destroy the good things that they become equal to the bad things: that is seen as a fine art and especially women busy themselves with what is called "cooking" or " frying" depending on if water or fat is heated.
I told you in my last letter about the body harness and said that the men invented it to make the women weak. I think that they invented cooking too, to take away the time to think from the women and to keep them into stupidity. And now everybody believes it to be vital for life. But maybe a higher force revenges the sacrilege of the men, because they must keep on swallowing cooked things so that the women don't stop to cook. And so they are damned to lethargy because they are force-fed.
Shining Lord! It isn't made easy here, for your servant, to eat as befitting for a human being. But do not fear: Even amongst the dog-eaters Lukanga feeds on sun power.
And when he lies by day amongst the stones of a hilltop and rests his eyes onto the never-ending azure, then the aroma of a fruit awakes his joy of life.
Alone on a hill in the land of the Wasungu: What a feeling it is to stand as the first Negro on top of a hill.
And especially as your envoy
The mountains and valleys of Kitara are connected through small ways on which cattle, sheep and people walk. There, where the ground is softened by the springs, the cattle step into their old marks and leave lumps of earth between their prints. Over the papyrus swamps of the valley your Wahutu lay bundles of reed and on the river waits a hollow tree trunk that serves as a ferry. At the hay huts under the rock, bananas are growing: the corn is stored in wicker baskets which stand on poles and a girl offers honey drink in a hollow marrow to the wanderer. The peaks of the volcanoes Karissimbi, Sabinjo and Niragongo greet your eye. The clouds that linger above them, pour their drops over the valleys and the water flows in lovely streams down to the plain of Kagara. And now turn your eyes away from this elevated peace and beauty, towards the land of the Wasungu. It is as if you saw a swarm of termites which are in fear of death because of a bush fire. Some carry here, some carry there, stones, eggs and leafs. You can't talk about wanderers, not even about footpaths and peace of the valley. The Wasungu rush to and fro through their country. They flatten the ways, put slippery metal planks onto them and let cars race along them in which they sit down. You could think that they have something important to do. I never heard this. They have like us, Parents, sisters, brothers and children, who fall ill or die, they have fears and sorrows. That is why, they say, they rush through the country, on occasions where we in Kitara stay at home. But even stranger is what they do with the things that they gather everywhere. These too are packed onto cars that they let drive totally pointlessly through the land, so fast that you can't run beside to them. Pointlessly I say: because I often saw it that two cars that were loaded with the same goods passed each other. Everywhere next to these metal plank-ways men are standing who guard, whistle and wave and look onto these time pointers that are posted everywhere or carry them on a chain. This Foolery they call traffic and think of this nonsense as so important that they don't sleep at night but light torches and wave coloured lights. They people who drive in these cars have books in which is written how fast they rush through the country. They keep on looking into these books and onto the time pointers in their clothes pockets. Even their Eldest are childishly happy about these Madnesses.
To learn about the joy of nonsense I followed a fool who made it his mission to write down how many people, animals, stones, marrows and trees are sent to and fro with these cars. He carried a book on him in which he showed me the it was more every year.
I asked him, when would it be enough ? He didn't know that. I have, mighty King, realised the foolishness of the Wasungu more clearly and I will share my wisdom with you, as little as it might be. The one thing I tell you : Beware your people of these murderers and robbers. My tears fall as I write this to you: because unfortunately you can protect neither your proud people nor your quiet country from beings that are mad and can't see that they want to bless the straw roofs of huts with flames. They
don't see that they are running round in circles, that they don't do anything else but throw everything into disarray that is on the Earth and destroy all the beauty and richness in the world. They have a sort of competition spirit nations compete whit each other who of them does the most nonsense, rushes to and fro the most. They call it life. I call it death. They call it healthy: I see it is disease. The fool I travelled with had the name Karl. He was very proud to show me his tomfoolery. So hear how he did it: His father left him a box with paper. Through the ownership of those papers he came own the master ship over a valley where farmers lived, because he had at the right place and the right time let a certain fool write something onto them. Here was a place to which Karl had to drive frequently, and when he didn't drive to there, he drove somewhere else because it was written so, looking into the number book, when the cars speed off and looking onto the Time pointer.
Karl's father came into possession of these papers that had such enormous power because he managed to take away the fields of a thousand people and also their corn, so that they were poor and had to perform tomfooleries for him in order not to die of hunger. This is how the papers came about that really have the power to make other fools believe that Karl is the master of a valley. In this valley Karl, had brought many people together that did something that he called work. They ran to and fro. Some improved the run of a river that God had misconstructed. It ran, like the Nyawarongo, in meanders through the plain. Now it was straightened. Others pulled down a mountain and threw it into a swamp in which up till now only herons lived. A big stream was running downhill too fast. Karl ordered that this couldn't be and had earth poured in front of it and behaved like a mad man out of happiness over the fact the water could not run over the earth and collected, and because wheels were moving on which the overflowing water was pouring onto; something that every child knows when it bathes underneath a waterfall. This movement Karl exploited to scratch something off the bread grain which he had brought together from everywhere. The bad part that was left was for the people. Karl made sure that the people could only buy the bad and had to give more money for it than for the corn.
To achieve this he drives to and fro with his car. He wants that the poor people become ill and weak from the bad quality corn, because he has papers which certify that he becomes richer when people buy a strengthening tonic that his brother makes. Another brother of him is a wonderman and gets money from the poor so that they can lament to him how weak they are and that he writes the name of the tonic onto a piece of paper. Apart from that, the people also bought a paper everyday into which Karl lets write how good the tonic is. I asked what the tonic contained: whereupon I received the answer that no-one is allowed to know.
I conclude the following :
Karl and his brothers drive around in cars a lot, to make sure that the people stay poor and stupid and so become their slaves out of free will. They make sure that the slaves cannot live without money but also that they never get too much money so they don't stop to work and that they buy things with their money which keep them in poverty and illness and make him rich. The children of these slaves learn to read. But that is their misfortune: because Karl makes sure that they only read what serves the purpose of making him richer and them poorer. If they couldn't read, they wouldn't know the name of the tonic and that what Karl lets write about it, but observe that, what every hutu knows, that those who eat roasted corn, stay healthy. But because the nation is so, that it doesn't observe anymore, but reads, and because it sees the difference between a few rich and many poor as something great and admirable, it calls itself a cultured nation.
But what, you ask if Karl and his brother become richer and richer, happens with the money ? With this they build unnecessary houses to keep the slaves busy. Or they donate money, so that the ill, the crippled, the beggars and the crazies are locked into beautiful houses so that they do not have to look at them. But because within time too many slaves lift themselves out of poverty and hunger, what is unavoidable, they make sure that big destruction tools land. So the rich get richer and the poor become poorer. The greatest happiness of the Wasungu is counting. You've already experienced this. They are really of the opinion that ten huts are ten huts and can not imagine that we consider it rude to count how many houses there are or how many baskets of matama are harvested. May I remind you of the conversation that you had with the Sungu who visited you? The Sungu wrote into his book and said :" Here are ten huts ." You replied deeply shocked :" No, Sir, some; actually many." There the Sungu stepped outside and pointed with his finger onto every hut and said aloud :"One, two, three............." When the crowd heard this they ran away, lamented and brought sacrifices in their huts. Luckily it stopped the fool from counting any further. He asked bewildered :" Aren't it ten then ?" You grew pale and asked him to take a seat on a stool that was carved out of wood and said:" A hut is for to live in, does one know from the outside if it is empty ? And it isn't really a hut, because the wahutu have brought poles out of the Kagebewood and dry grass from the mountains where no cattle graze, and you call that a hut when it is standing there. But if it burns down it is no more, or if the occupant is wounded whilst tending cattle on the hill and cannot return home, it is no hut to him. This is why it is a mistake to count the huts and the punishment of Riangombe will follow if you do this. The Sungu said while he smiled patronisingly: "You are uneducated and superstitious; I will send you some missionaries who will teach you the right faith and counting, so you become a useful `Culture nation' and take part in the world-market; watch it , soon it will look different here; the nude people will be able to buy clothes, everybody gets his house made out of concrete and a number on it and the whole thing gets a church and a prison. You will pay for the lot or you will be locked up. Then order and culture will come into this area and the nonsense will be driven out of your heads, if necessary by force.
So he spoke, but not everybody understood him.
I have to think about this conversation when I see now what happened to the Wasungu. It was a blessing for Kitara that this Sungu got killed by an elephant at the river Russissi, that he comes within the number that counts :
Killed whilst hunting 1910
A European B Natives a b c a b c cath. prot. athe. cath. prot. hereti cs 3 1 -- 8 10 13
How mad the counting is and that it evokes the anger of the Holy spirit, that, the Wasungu have discovered now. They counted the number of the ships that sail on the ocean, the people that were born, the clothes that were woven, the grain that was harvested and how much was driven to and fro with ships and cars. That's why a war came and took all their ships, killed the people, jeopardised that clothes were made and lessened the grain. You think now that would bring them to their senses ? No ! What do they do ? They count and write down how many ships sank, how long the war lasted, how many people got killed, how many became mad with fear, how many people were hurt, and how many of those believe in the other god. They write it all down into beautiful books, and those who order this to be done are called "Sir Boss" and their pictures are taken and it is said that they are famous. There is no real disaster for the Wasungu, then even disaster and death they know how to count and then they are happy.
The joy of counting also prevents them to see to that misery of the poor peopledelight in counting every year how many people were killed drunk, how many children of drunk parents are born without minds, how many crimes the pombe drink brings, and how many of the different drinks were necessary to bring out a certain amount of murder, poverty and callousness and how many people were locked into prisons as a result. It happens that they meet in big buildings and talk about it as if it was a celebration and everybody is happy about the beautiful books which contain the figures of murder, manslaughter, prostitution and illness. At the end, they celebrate the "Sir Boss" and praise each other. Then they go and pour themselves inebriating drinks down their throats and talk about the amount, colour, warmth of the drinks and how much one can take in.
The Wasungu feel especially funny when they can count how fast people will die, if their food is bad, if many are locked into one hut or forced to do the same thing over and over again. Karl showed me with the help of numbers out of a beautiful book that the erudite of the Wasungu had accomplished a big joke. Fifty years ago all Wasungu had beautiful teeth even in their old age. I saw this myself when the skull of an old man was removed from a grave that had to go because a way wasn't as straight as it has to be with the Wasungu. In the old times as today, roots with sweet juice were growing on the fields and the people cooked this juice. Then it looked brown and trickled as slow as honey. People of the kind like Karl changed this juice with machines that only they were allowed to own. They made white, tough grains that looked like shingle. Now a big noise was made because this was achieved, a few Karls were allowed to call themselves "Sir" and a shining piece of brass was fastened over their breast nipple so that the people were led to believe that this what they invented was something superior that would make them happier if they bought it. This is how the Karls managed to wean the people of eating what is free and to make them bring the roots into a big house where fire, steam, smoke and various noises and smells are made, where wheels turn and signs are hanging up that say `ENTRY FORBIDDEN'. This whole thing was lovingly lit in the evening and in a small room lots of paper was being written on. Many Karle got very fat, wore beautiful clothes and always had thick smoke-sticks in their mouth, many other people grew very pale and looked dirty. The white crystals were sold very expensively. Now new numberfreds were employed who had to write down how much more white crystals the stupid peasants ate , how many more teeth rot, how many teeth-pullers were employed and how much faster the people died now. When some people said: we don't want to make the white crystals made anymore, we want to eat root juice again, then the teeth repairer said: "For what are we here, we got to have something to do". And they showed how good their skills were to fill teeth with gold and to make whole dentures out of gold and stone. And the Karls who had the white crystals made and got richer for it, let write that the white stuff is healthy; because on the evidence of several experiments of a secret prime-boffin with several metal plates over his nipples, it goes from the belly of a person straight into the blood. All this was believed by the Wasungu who weren't allowed to call themselves Sir and to have something secret and to wear metal plates over their nipples. Like with the sweet roots, they do the same now to the grain. They make a very dusty, soft flour out of it and feed the nutrients that are scratched off, to the animals. This way they achieve that people become weak and ill and go to the wonderman . He writes down how many are coming, how many suffer from this or that disease and sends the figures to a numberfred is happy about them and counts them all together. So that they have even more to count, they also practise following superstition: The wonder priests take bloody puss from the stomach of diseased calves that are killed, make incisions in the flesh of little children with a sacred knife and smear the puss into it. This is a gods trial. They then count how many children become ill and how many die from it. This gods trial the priest practice as their sacred right on every stranger who crosses the boarder into Sungu land and I myself only escaped through a miracle.
came and changed everything. They say that corn cost a certain amount of coins. Their blasphemy even went as far as that they dared to trade a certain amount for a certain number. Then an angry power intervened and made that the corn vanished and the money had different value. Then even the bellies of the Numberfreds became smaller out of hunger but don't think that they stopped to count. All of this they then call a science. It is a science of the to and fro of unnecessary things with which the fools stupefy the nation and keep them in want.
In pain, sorrow and humbleness
Running Number 2 (Two) Name Mukara Arrival Day 4.4.1912 Religion Heathen Place/Date of Birth Not Known Nationality Kitara Vaccination Successful Criminal Record NoneLukanga
You are the greatest of the Kings. But the King of the Wasungu is also mighty and proud. Uncountable are his warriors, shining are their weapons and outstanding is their bravery. They love their King and honour him, because he is kindly disposed towards his people. Your servant Lukanga can tell you of glorious and beautiful occasions, when thousands of young men parade in strength and beauty and know how to carry weapons.
But this one thing your eye would see, even if it was clouded and its senses would know it, even if dust was to lie on them: the Wasungu honour their King in one way, the Watinku you in another way.
As mighty as the King of the Wasungu is , he can not hinder the lowly habits of his subjects. Knowest:
The Watinku celebrate the day of your birth by fasting; the Wasungu celebrate the birthday of their King by putting a lot into their into their bellies.
The Watinku make themselves cleaner and stronger because they are happy that you live; but the Wasungu try to increase the coarseness of their manners to the limits. They don't understand their King when he says: "Abstain from the pouring-in that makes you unable to serve the fatherland."
The Watinku are bound by the custom that exists since ancient times, that in the days which belong to you, everybody has to remain on his mountain as long as the sun is circling the sky and only at night he is allowed to enter his own hut in silence; the Wasungu come together in closed rooms for the celebration of their King and what they do in them, I will tell you as I perceived it.
It is a single day that they sacrifice to their King. They go and meet with many others to put many foods and liquids into their bodies.
On this day they sit on long tables and swallow in the same fashion I described their stomach and drink like people who walked a long way in the blazing sun and are thirsty. It is seen to be unworthy of a man to take liquid in small sips to mix it with saliva and the more a man can swallow, the higher he ranks in the respect of others
What they drink is pombe, a hallucinogenic drink of various colours. It is not permitted to drink juice that is free of hallucinogenic spirits , yes, it is the duty of everyone to drink as much intoxicating liquid as possible and the one who retains control over his mind on this day is looked upon as one who treacherously denies his King the due respect. They misunderstand their King so much that they honour him, he who demands the abstinence from intoxicating liquids, by pouring-in.
The drink is so important that it is not permitted to talk about anything else but the kind, colour, amount and warmth of the drink and in which way it is poured down the throat and how it is poured out again. Only once it is allowed to talk about the King, the fattest man gets up, calls the name of the King and everybody yells: "RA! RA! RA!". During this they stand up and hold a glass of pombe between their nipples and after the last RA! is screamed, they pour it's entire contents down their throats, breathe out deeply and sit down again.
Afterwards, everybody is quiet, until the glasses are filled up again and then they talk again about the kind, colour, amount and warmth of the drink and how it is poured in.
Especially men, who once lived at a river called Mosel, distinguish themselves. They are only allowed to drink out of specially formed glasses and move the vessel three times in a circle in front of their mouth before they pour in. They are not permitted to laugh whilst they do this, but must look very serious. They enjoy the highest status amongst the drinkers and strive to be recognised by everybody through blue veins on their nose and hard veins that come out like worms on their temples. The chief of the celebration is easy recognisable through his fat figure and the many beauty scars that he has in his face. On his nose he carries a golden metal wire with two glass pieces through which he must look. The finery of the beauty scars is not permitted for everyone, it is the privilege of such men who don't work but drink very much and don't get punished if they commit brutalities.
The Wasungu are very clumsy when they cut these scars or don't have a sense for beauty, because the cuts go to and fro the face and very often an ear or the nose is cut too. But they like the beauty scars, because they only wear them on exposed parts of their body and leave other parts free, although there is more flesh and skin area. The art of keeping cuts in the lips, nostrils and ears open is not known to them. Only women drill holes in their ears and hang metal or stones into them.
Whilst they sit and swallow mixed and heated stuff, they practice the following custom: One yells at the other one and holds a filled vessel towards him and says :"Good Health!". Then he pours in. The yelled at also grabs a filled glass, jumps up and pours into his throat. Then he holds the empty glass between his breast nipples and glares at the one who yelled at him, sits down again and breathes out deeply. Then he lets his drinking vessel be filled again and talks about the colour, amount and kind of the drinks and how much one can pour in.
When they eat fat from the abdomen of a murdered pig, the servants bring every swallower a very tiny vessel with strong pombe. Then everybody is quiet and lifts the vessel up. The fattest one whistles, then everybody whistles and pours the liquid fast down their throats.
Again they talk about the amount, colour and warmth of the drinks and how much can be poured in.
When they have swallowed a lot of mixed and heated stuff and drugs, they then let bring real food: servants bring bowls with fruits. But no-one takes from them. Then little basins are brought for the washing of the fingers.
else, forces him to get up and to hold his glass in front of him and says one of the three following sentences :
" I know your brother" or " How is your father " or " I saw your sister."
And then he says "Cheers", both clash their glasses together so that the rims on which their spittle sticks, touch each other, empty their glasses and hold it at nose height in front of them and look at each other sharply.
Then they return to their seats and again talk about the colour, warmth and kind of the drinks and how much one can take in, with the people they sit with.
Then the smoke making begins.
They let come rolled dried leaves of a rare plant, rub a fire and set the roll alight at one end. The other end they hold with their teeth, close their lips and suck, so that the smoke enters the mouth. Out of their mouth they blow the smoke in the air and soon the whole room is filled with the smoke they blown out.
From this moment on, they all talk about the kind of smoke-rolls, how many smokers each one burns every day, if they suck on small or big rolls and how much the single smoke-roll costs. Whilst talking, they all make serious faces. Now they let bring vessels with a brown, stinking fluid and talk very loudly about the white foam that floats on top of the fluid that they call the "head".
When the smoke making started, they go outside one by one and return after a short while.
Now there is a loud screaming through which the thanks for the party is expressed .
Especially the following is a big favourite : Two men scream at each other and say: "Come outside with me." They then get up, take their smokers with them and return after a while with flushed faces.
While they go outside and come inside all the others are quiet.
This custom is called the `Honour Game' and the room in which it is played is called the `Room of Honour'.
The game itself goes like this: One says to the other one: "You looked at me" the other one answers: "You swine."
Then they take their smokers in the left hand and hit each with the right hand into the face. Afterwards they stick the smokestacks back into their mouth, reach into their clothes pockets and give each other a little piece of white cardboard. This finishes the game and they go back inside to pour more drinks in.
This game has great significance with the Wasungu. They know that through their rough manners the good in them is killed. But they don't want to abstain from their manners and can't improve themselves. That is why they create a superstition and commit a visual action, which though it is rough, is still accepted by all the others because they don't know any better.
The superstition is the following : They think that there is a hostile power that besmirches the good in them. But because they don't want to acknowledge, that the good in them is seriously harmed, they assume that there is something between the good and the hostile power. And that they name with the word "Honour". They never say that they are bad, only that their honour is hurt and like all low standing nations with despicable manners, they find themselves an enemy and beat or slaughter them and believe that through this they themselves become good again.
Yes, Mukama, you have problems to imagine this, because you are surrounded by self-confident, educated people, but amongst the Wasungu are many, who continuously feel guilt about their bad deeds and want to hit other people because of it. They believe that a person can amend their mistakes through a vile attitude against others. Through this, a certain privilege has evolved, that those who are rich and powerful have monopolised. They say, that only they those, who only work with the power of their arms like nature commands, don't need `Honour' because they can be proud and satisfied anyway.
Because there are many amongst the Wasungu that do not work with their hands and never ate a fruit which they asked the earth for themselves, it is, that in every house a special room of the Honour must be. This room serves all those unlucky ones who are not allowed to be satisfied with themselves to restore their `Honour'. The room is covered with stone tiles, reflecting glass panels hang on the walls, beneath them water flows into beautiful basins. To ensure that there are always enough witnesses, the room also serves other purposes which I cannot depict to you.
So, this is the room in which the game is played that is called `Honour game'.
Apart from that, this is also very popular: The fat chief of the party orders everybody to bang the table with their drinking vessels. Then everybody has to pour the drink down their throat at once, all together. They call it the `Serpent game'. Never before has your servant witnessed anything as repulsive as this game.
After that, the spitting out of the poured-in liquids begins.
For this, there is a special, beautifully made, hollow sacrificial stone to which the votaries step one after the other.
They hold themselves on two handles that are fastened above the stone whilst they disgorge. With this, the celebration has reached its climax. Now everybody says about everybody else that they have poured in too much, and destroyed their mind more than it is usual, but they himself did it just right, because they know when they had enough. So another loud conversation ensues again and some also talk about the body form of women and horses.
The Chief still directs the party. His call is heard because he beats the table with a broken chair leg. Nobody can see through the smoke.
Now the chief lets all empty glasses be put up and everybody throws the ones that are not yet spilled, at the empty ones.
Then he has a holy book fetched and sits himself underneath the table and starts to cry aloud.
This is the sign that everybody starts to cry, whereby they put their arms around each other and press their lips onto the others. With their glowing smokers they burn holes into their clothes. This is the end of the celebration.
Now servants arrive, who carry those who play dead out of happiness, into cars that bring them to their huts.
In this way the Wasungu celebrate the day of their King. They mock the commandment of abstinence that he gave them. They make themselves unable to carry weapons and no day is more convenient for their enemies, no day weakens their strength more than this one. It's the same in every town. On this day no-one is permitted to keep the power of their senses. It would bring the animosity and persecution of his fellow citizens upon him.
Kind Lord, look, such things to see was given to
his mouth, with fiery sparks. Out of his nose comes smoke, as out of hot kettles and pots. His heart is hard as stone (calcified!)
I read in Ibrahim's letter that you asked about the custom of the smoke stinking. He writes: "The King ordered that the stink leaves you sent him, were to be taken into an empty hut and to be set alight. All the courtiers were assembled, all smelt the smoke and coughed. It is inconceivable how human beings can endure the smoke. But there was a man from Karagwe present who knew the leaves, he said, one has to crush them with the hands, breathe them in through the nose and seal the nostrils with a clamp. This custom he learned from a tribe called Kurigai."
This is what Ibrahim writes. But the custom of the Wasungu is different
They roll the dry stink leaves into sticks and do always carry a good supply in their clothes. They also carry little wood pieces for fire making. The Sungu who wants to smoke-stink, takes a stink stick out of his pocket, bites the top off and spits it out. Some increase the strength of their teeth by hitting themselves with their hand on top of the head while biting into the stink stick. Then the Sungu blows air through the stink stick and sticks one end of it into his mouth. He holds it with his lips. Then he rubs a fire and sets light to the end which hangs out of his mouth, whilst sucking air through the stink stick. This air mixes with the smoke and the smoke enters the throat of the Sungu. Then he blows it out, whereby he either opens his lips next to the stink stick a little bit or he takes the stink stick into his hand whilst the smoke streams out. But some suck the smoke into their lungs and blow it out through their nostrils.
By now you are probably laughing and you cannot believe what I am writing to you, because it is unbelievable that a human being blows smoke out of his mouth. I already got so used to this sight that I don't laugh about it any more. Those stink sticks do not burn with a flame, they just glow. The ash is put into little vessels that are placed everywhere in the houses where smoke stinkers live.
Not all Wasungu stink smoke. One distinguishes between stinkers and non-stinkers and among the stinkers, between strong stinkers and those who only stink from time to time. This distinction is very important as it gives the Wasungu the opportunity to start a conversation with a stranger and to count how many stink sticks each of them burns a day. They also talk about the size and colour of the stink sticks, where the leaves grew and how much money they cost. I listen very often to such conversations: one asks, "Would you like a stink stick?" the other one answers, "No, I don't stink smoke." Then the first one says his name and lifts his hat with his hand. Then the smoke stinker starts to explain, that it is a habit he cannot give up, everything else he can do without, only that he must stink smoke. He stinks already so-and-so many years and now the medicine man has forbidden it and that is why he is doing it secretly, he has a bad heart, petrified veins and sometimes he is giddy; there are stink sticks which are said to be less harmful but they do not taste as good, and that his father and his brothers stink too. A cousin of his is a non-stinker and that the price of stink sticks went up last week. If the other one is also a stinker, then they take out their stink sticks and exchange one. They then write down where the other one has bought them. These conversations happen mostly in those cars in which the Wasungu travel to get there, where they pursue their tomfooleries with other crazies. Those cars are divided into some for smoke stinkers and others for non-stinkers. It is written on the outside in big letters.
Only a few women stink smoke. If a woman is present, it is custom to ask her permission to stink and only then is it allowed to blow smoke into her face. the door.
Some say yes and others no. This way a conversation starts everywhere. Especially these questions occupy the Wasungu a lot: at which age children should be allowed to suck on stink sticks, if women do have a right to breathe through stink sticks and at which age adult men should stop stinking because it is endangering their lives. The Wasungu complain that their young people are starting to stink smoke much earlier than themselves and that because of this it is necessary to beat the children more and harder; that women never used to blow smoke but that now it has become a female custom to roll chopped stink leaves into envelope paper and to smoke-stink these.
The consequences of the smoke stinking are multiple. The stinkers die earlier than the non-stinkers, which makes those happy who make a living out of the differences in the statistics, the Numberfreds. Many smoke stinkers get tumours in their stomachs, their lungs rot prematurely, their veins become petrified, their head aches and the children of smoke stinkers are sickly. The bad habit of smoke stinking is part of what the Wasungu call "healthy economics". It is unintelligible, that such an unhealthy habit is called something healthy, isn't it? But that is the way it is and in their common idiocy they do not realise this: because many Wasungu want to shorten their lives by stinking smoke, many people, men, women and children have to go into the houses where stink sticks are made and work there. They get money for this, and, for the money, bread. But because the fields are used for the cultivation of stink plants, the fields for wheat become smaller and the bread dearer. To be able to eat enough, the workers have to spend more time making stink sticks so that they get enough money to buy bread. But if one day less stink sticks would be bought, so say the Numberfreds, the stink leaf workers would be unemployed and starve. The people who sell the stink sticks do not want the stinkers to stink less as, well as the fools who make the vessels for the ashes. And because from every sold stink stick money is paid to the government, the government does not want it either, because then they could not pay the Numberfreds and those fools who write about the noxiousness of smoke stinking. They are all afraid to be unemployed then.
There are also wondermen who tell the already ill smoke stinkers to stink less, they get money for doing that and buy bread with it. And others, who make medicines to cure the induration of the veins, and sell them expensively. That is, why there are not only warnings against smoke stinking, but why everywhere is written "MAKE SMOKE!" No-one realises that the bread would be cheaper and that the people who make stink sticks in those houses would go into the fields where now stink plants are growing and plant wheat there.
Yes, the Numberfreds fear, that these people grow themselves what they need and want, and that because of this no more cars will have to drive hither and yon, and that the people, because they have healthy work, live too long and eat more bread. This is why they call the making of stink sticks a flourishing business and talk about healthy economic development. But it seems that those, who are used to stinking smoke are addicted and have difficulties to stop. Be happy that this bad habit is unknown in Kitara.
This is what Lukanga has to report about the smoke stinking of the Wasungu.
Kind hearted Lord, beware Kitara of the smoke stinkers.
Birkhain, 15th October 1913
Mukama, Master of the Cattle !
Since three month I am again in solitude and I live on a mountain and in a forest. Here I met both: rain and sun; both: cold and warmth; both: sorrow and happiness, until the happiness grew and that was in the last days. There came those who taught me that there is a hope for the people of the Wasungu. About these people I want to tell you now.
When I moved into the mountain forest, it was the time of the wheat harvest and then the grass and herb cutting began, and when the moon returned, the farmers dug the roots out of the earth and picked the fruits. There it was one morning. I had listened to the wild horned animals that bellows in the forest because it was the time of their rutting and I acquired more wisdom, then also in this country, the animals are the only teachers of the people. Now I lied down to rest in my grass-hut at the mountain brook. There I could hear voices down on the path and amongst a group of young Wasungu I recognised the man from the Korongo tribe. I packed my sack and hurried after the wanderers. I took the hand of the Korongo. He was pleased to see me and everybody was nice to me, the girls and the boys. They could walk and jump; talk, laugh and sing. They didn't wear a body cocoon and no tight shoes. They didn't wear tail feathers of wild birds on their heads. Their own hair hung in golden plats across their back, rings of red berry adorned their heads. When Lukanga saw all this, he became happy and followed them where they went: down the mountain and up another one, where an ancient chieftain abode reaches into the sky.
Many boys and girls gathered together there. They sat down. One spoke and the others listened to what the speaker said.
Mukama, when I myself heard this, I knew news. I knew that there is evil from which this nation can free themselves. And I saw that the children of the Wasungu could achieve great things.
Then a sungu got up and said: "We want that every Sungu owns land and we hate it that so many live so close together. Only those who have land and a father-hut, have got a homeland and can fight for the peoples land.
And everybody called out loud, as a sign that they wanted this too, what he said.
There another says : "we want to rejoice over our people, what they can do, what they are and we want to stick together because we are children of one nation. We all speak the same language, we know the deeds of our fathers, so we do what we do as part of a nation: we are the Wasungu.
If you now thought, Mukama, that I didn't call out too, you are mistaken. I realised that it is God-given when every nation has it own greatness.
But there were also those speaking who wanted it to be different. They said: "We want to make a distinction between young and old: because the young are clever and the old are stupid. We don't want to obey anybody and laugh at anybody who does something for the nation. We only want to think about ourselves. Thinking and being young is sufficient."
There only a few called , the others said: "What you said you can want for yourself, but we don't want this, we want the other."
And this was good, because this is the old mistake of the Wasungu: All the time there have been some who saw the good. But because many ways lead there, they argued amongst themselves which way is the best. And that they did so thoroughly and in the process they poured so much into themselves, until they didn't feel like giving themselves to the good anymore and other nations took the good.
Then came an experienced man everybody knew because he thought a lot and wrote it down for the others whenever he'd found something. He said :"We want to be for that every Sungu says things as they are, and not what they aren't. We also everybody called loudly.
Then another said :"We have got our own songs that we sing and dances, we want to dance them and when we do this we, want to go from one mountain to another and be happy. But we want to pass by all places where swallowers sit and listen to noise, because there is everything that isn't the manner of real Wasungu: swallowing and pouring-in and smoke blowing and girls with the hairs of other people and with the tail feathers of wild birds.
There everybody called loud and one stepped up front and said: "Yes, that's it. We don't want to pour in and make anymore smoke. Our breath shouldn't stink and our swallowing shouldn't belch, then we will forever stay young and pristine, and our whole nation will be strong and intelligent, the whole world will see from the beauty of our deeds that we are the Wasungu."
Now the whole crowd screamed a loud call.
Mukama, I was witness to a magnificent fire that burned in the heart of noble people. These young people screamed with happiness because it was to be permitted that they could do a daily deed for their people and nation. I felt this: the Wasungu would grow big because the time of pouring in is over and the Press any key to return to index.w very small.
They talked for a long while and one after the other spoke. One was more beautiful than the other, every voice evoked thought after thoughts: Eighteen month I lived in Kitara and saw the new mountain grow from a white hot springs in the earth. This is how long I am in the land of the Wasungu and now I am watching the new nation grow, on a mountain, by the forests.
When it was night, they all went down the mountain and wandered till midnight. And I followed them. They walked and sang, one of them played on a stringwood. They sang about flowers and animals, girls and boys, from the battle and love and nation.
The next morning they climbed early onto another hill. It is a law of these young Wasungu that no-one is permitted to speak there where he has already spoken one day. They know that the thoughts of people are purified through a long way. This is why they move to another mountain before they continue to talk. The time of year was cold. But we warmed whilst walking and bathed in a mountain brook underneath high trees. Then we walked onto a big grass field and found people there, as many as grass stalks.
They talked in a circle and held their hands whilst they sang and danced. They danced with nude feet, as we do in Kitara. And although they were dressed, they were beautiful, because their dress was different to that of the other Wasungu. So I was happy together with them until the evening. A high fire burned and they sang. Then everybody was silent and one of them stood at the fire and spoke the language of the Wasungu. All around them was the night and the moonshine and the stars. I saw the silhouettes of young men and women. I saw their eyes and the fire-shine in them. I saw, as a stranger, the future of a nation of people.
There a thousand voices sang the song :"Great is the land of the Wasungu". But I bowed my head and cried...
Great King, You sent out