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with beads and copper wire. He has a very great influence, and the man on whom the tail falls is a lost man! Should there be no white rulers in the country he would be hanged. How is the mungoma disclosing the balo yi? The father of the bewitched, his parents, come to him, pay him £1, and ask him to find out the murderer of his son. He makes them sit down in a half-circle, and, facing them, begins to put to them some questions. They answer always by the word mamoo, which means yes, in the language of bungoma. But their mamoo is cool or warm, doubtful or convinced, and the clever diviner perceives easily every shade of meaning in that perpetual mamoo. . . . He is well aware of all the disputes and hatred between the people and, in his investigation, he draws nearer and nearer to the man of whom the parents are thinking. Their mamoo becomes bolder. The questions are more precise. . . At last, when he feels himself agreeing with the consultant, the mungoma pronounces the name and lets fall his tail. He is bathed in perspiration after the great strain, and he remains silent, as if he were invulnerables; he has triumphantly “ smelt out” the culprit. .

Next day, relatives of the patient go to the kraal of the noi, waving branches, dance before him, and say: Thus you are killing us! The accused one keeps silent. Then he says : All right. We shall come to-morrow and consult also our mungoma.

Both parties then go to another divinator. The scene of "

smelling out” is again gone through, and very likely the verdict of the second mungoma will confirm that of the first one. . . The augurs know that they must not contradict each other if they want to maintain their authority. As soon as the proof and counterproof have been obtained, the case becomes a judicial one. The plaintiff puts the matter before the chief, who will not condemn before the guilt of the pretended noi is confirmed by the ordeal, the trial by the famous philter called mondjo. The mondjo is a plant of the Solaneae family which possesses intoxicating properties. It is administered both to the plaintiff and to the accused by another doctor who knows how to prepare it. The noi who has drank from it is exposed to the sun, and after a little time shows symptoms of drunkenness. The whole scene is very characteristic. The explanation given to me by an old native is this. In the mondjo there is a little bit of human flesh reduced to powder, or a bit of bone taken from a leper. The noi who eats it in drinking the philter happens to do during the day what he is accustomed to do only at night; hence his loss of sense ! He has been revealed as noi. In fact, the man who administers the philter is clever enough to give a large dose to the accused and a small one to the plaintiff ! The first one, being already under the effect of a strong suggestion, is more apt to feel the stupifying effect of the drug, and his drunkenness is easily explained in this natural way. * In former times there was but one punishment for baloyi. They were hanged at once. The last one who was killed in that way amongst the Nkuna is Mudebana, hanged in 1892 or 1893 in Thabina by order of Mankhelu, * See for more details on the ordeal my book: “Les Ba-Ronga,” pp. 431-439. the regent of the young chief Mohlaba. The Boers having heard about it condemned Mankhelu to death. The whole tribe was terribly excited. The sentence was commuted into an imprisonment of one year, and since then the native tribunal does not dare to condemn anybody for the crime of buloyi, although they remain convinced as much as ever of the reality of those crimes.



It may seem inexplicable that millions of human beings who possess a fair amount of reason and of commonsense, entire tribes which are not among the least gifted in mankind can entertain such absurd, dreadful ideas, as those on which rest the bantu buloyi. But let us remember that three centuries ago European tribunals were condemning wholesale hundreds of poor people accused of witchcraft. There, however, was a capital difference. The white witches, our ancestors, who were burnt by thousands all over Europe, were supposed to have made a pact with Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. That sin was considered as essentially diabolical in its origin. The Bantu have no idea of Satan, and that aspect of witchcraft is entirely absent from their mind.

Let us consider the various elements of the balo yi theory and seek an explanation for them. Bantu witchcraft is a direct outcome of the dogmatics of the savages, of that conception of the world which is at the basis of all their superstitions and beliefs. Animism is the name of that dim, confused philosophy, and it consists in projecting into nature the state of things which we find in ourselves. Just as every act performed by man is the result of a determination of his will, so everything happening in the world is the result of an intelligent agent. There is very little or no notion of natural laws in the Bantu. For him a spiritual cause alone can explain the facts, especially those which hurt him and destroy his happiness in life. Apply these principles to this great source of sorrow and disappointment, death, and you will hear him say : Death is only natural when caused by old age.

But when a man in his prime, or a lad, a baby, a person still useful dies, he or she must have been killed by a special agent. There are but two explanations of the fact : Either he has injured one of his departed ancestors, one of the gods, and is punished for that offence, or he is the victim of a living man who hates him and bewitched him. That is why a chief of great fame in the Nkuna tribe, Shiluvane, had issued this decree : “I do not allow of anybody dying in my country except on account of old age. Let the balo yi at once cease their enchantments or I will kill them all."

The philosophical reason of bulo yi is then obvious, and that accounts for the fact that it is so widely spread and so deeply rooted amongst the Bantu. But the psychological conception of the native fosters also the belief in bulo yi. We have seen in two instances that the bulo yi supposes an unsheathing of the human personality. That idea

is very

common amongst primitive thinkers, and it has found wonderful development in the modern system of spiritism. Whatever is true in it, scientifically speaking, is another question. But we ought not to be astonished at the Bantu superstitions when we see so many philosophers of our time speak of astral bodies, subliminal existence, and so on. That idea of a double life has no doubt found some foundation in the fact of dreams. Dreams are a very important thing for the natives. They are fully convinced of their objective value, and no wonder if they explain a nightmare by the action of the balo yi ; or if their dreams make them think that they lead a second existence during the night.

When did cannibalism disappear from South Africa ? The answer to this question is impossible to give in the present state of our knowledge. But it is likely that the South African Bantu, as well as the tribes of the Equator, passed through that stage and were at a time cannibals. When the distasteful custom began to fade away, it must have left in the minds of the new generations a feeling of disgust, if not of horror. We find traces of it in the numerous tales about ogres of the Bantu folklore, and I guess that if the baloyi are accused of the crime of cannibalism it is for the same reason.

Finally, if some people dare to attribute to members of their tribe such awful acts as those of killing, and eating human flesh, it is sufficiently explained by the terrible power of hatred which the savages possess. They know that a native who hates would not shrink from anything to satisfy his desire for vengeance.

In conclusion, I would say : The origin of the theory of witchcraft, the power of that absurd superstition on the Bantu mind, is easily explained when we consider that it is but an application of the animistic system to the problem of death, that it is in accordance with the Bantu psychological conceptions of the duality of the human being and of the objective value of dreams, the remembrance of cannibalism, the intensity of hatred amongst savages; all these facts and principles correspond perfectly with the various elements of the superstitions which have been analysed now.

The only way of getting rid of that dreadful theory which can be really called the curse of the natives, is to replace in their minds that primitive and dangerous animism by the spiritual, highly moral, philosophical theism of Christianity. A Bantu when he becomes a Christian has given the deathblow to his old belief of witchcraft. However, that belief is slow to die! It is one of the superstitions of heathenism which sticks with the greatest obstinacy to his mind, and how often do we see the accusation of balo yi thrown in the face of a convert by another convert ! Every missionary understanding the natives will agree that any apparition of the balo yi superstition amongst those new congregations must be at once denounced as a sin of heathenism, and punished as such by those measures of ecclesiastical discipline which these young Churches cannot yet dispense with.

But there is another very efficient way of putting a check to the bulo yi superstition. Bulo yi is condemned as a crime, and the noi

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must be judged and punished by the chief. Now, since the white Government has taken in hand the direction of native affairs all over South Africa, the native chiefs have seen their power very much diminished. They only judge less important offences.

In doing so, they are acting in the name and with permission of their white masters. Accusations of buloyi are frequently brought before the native tribunal. The Christian chief generally refuses to accept them. But heathen ones do it, and therefore they uphold in their semi-official capacity that wretched and dangerous heathen superstition. Though we quite agree that the State is not called, as such, to interfere with the beliefs of its subjects, we must recognize that here a civilized Government has a duty to prevent any judicial act which supposes the reality of bulo yi. And I would suggest a few principles and a few rules which the Department of Native Affairs might inculcate on the subject to its subordinates, the native chiefs :-(1) That the crime of bulo yi be not recognized under the penal law. (2) That the native chiefs be prohibited from trying any balo yi case. These would be the two main principles. I might add the following ones :-(3) The plaintiff must be reprimanded as upsetting the peace of the country. (4) The mungoma who pretends to have “ smelt out a noi must be fined as employing his authority to deceive people and foster hatred amongst them. (5) No evidence based on the use of divination bones must be accepted.

In the course of time, if that policy is followed, and if a true Christianity and education spread amongst natives, the bulovi will have ended, and the grandsons of the actual natives will read with amazement what their forefathers could believe !




Modjadje has its derivation from the word ledjadje, i.e., day or sun; plural, madjadje. Mo is the personal prefix, so that the meaning of the name comes near to : The ruler of the day or the sun.

The original home of Modjadje and her tribe is the country beyond the Limpopo river, called by the natives, Bokgalaka. Even now-a-days the old men of the tribe greet each other by Ndau Mokgalaka, i.e., Lion, man of the country Bokgalaka. In their opinion the whole of the human race comes from there. The tradition of the tribe announces that it was removed to its present abode by a migration of the nations, and that the tribe chanced on a people, who were wild and ignorant of fire.

It is rain-production which brought this heathen race to a power and authority so immense. The rain production was accomplished in a most systematic way. ducing the small rains" to her

The queen pare the power of pro

so that they were co-regents and had their earnings, while she reserved the great rainproducing powers for herself. Generally the great rain was prepared out of the skin of a deceased chief, who was skinned after death. Part of his flesh, mixed with drugs and burned together with the brains of an owl on a coal-fire, effected the rain. Likewise, they prepared rain-medicine out of the material mentioned for reserve purposes, and poured it into oxen-horns.

They also placed pots, filled with water, on top of the highest Imountains, which were only stirred at fixed intervals by minor chiefs. Thesi the e said to produce the small morning-rains and the rains in the harv? app. a. Sprinkling of the rain-medicine was never done in the rainl, in acce, but only in the rainy season.

Y The number of those who sought for rain was always immense. All the major chiefs of the country appeared and paid their tribute to the queen in order to get the necessary rain. Gold and diamonds, cattle, and human beings, were paid for this precious moisture. Once 22 Zulus from Natal were at Modjadje's for six weeks to fetch rain, but no rain appeared ; so a rain doctor with a medicine horn accompanied them

on their way home, having strong hopes that it might rain the long trip to Natal. Once it did not rain for a couple of years, and even Modjadje in her head kraal was in bad want of drinking water ; but even then most of her people did not despair of her ability. It was said that certain causes had made Modjadje sad, and had influenced her to such a degree that it was impossible for her to produce the rain until they were removed. In 1884 it was stated that the Christians who had been converted out of her tribe were to be blamed for it, and had to be killed first. This was actually done. A force of about 10,000 men suddenly attacked my Christian village on Good Friday, and murdered the Christian chief, with 40 men, women and children. In 1892 it was said that the invasion of the white people into the Low

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