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In nearly all risings of the natives the witch-doctors have a great influence. They either make their people believe that the weapons of their enemies will not stand the test, the rifles pouring out water instead of bullets, or they promise to make them invulnerable.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
Polygamy still exists, but it is on the decrease since Rinderpest and Tick fever swept the cattle away, and since the Government adopted Law No. 3, regarding "the Regulation of Native Marriages." The legal marriage of a polygamist with one wife has also been conducive in checking this heathenish evil.
Circumcision is of a late date in Zoutpansberg, and it has been adopted to strengthen the chiefdom again; but last, not least, to make the most of it in money and cattle. The Bawenda and Maquamba have only adopted it a couple of years since. The performing of circumcision of the males, but especially that of the females—for even such a thing has been established—is an excuse for, and a stronghold of, all heathenish vice : drunkenness and fornication.
Infanticide still exists. In earlier days, twins, and those children who got the upper teeth first, were murdered, according to native law. This was not considered to be an injustice. But since the Government forbade it, it is only done secretly. Generally the old women, together with the mother, pour boiling water into the throat of the poor victim, and accelerate death by strangling. The corpse is thrown into an old pit, formerly used for burying mealies.
Abortion. The most horrible and widespread evil amongst natives is, as mentioned above, forced abortion by a purgative. Many women go to ruin or drag on their existence for months and even years before they recover, and in most cases remain childless.
Prostitution and Polyandry in their exact meaning do not exist among this tribe.
Birth. For days before the birth, the woman in labour is not allowed to eat anything. During the act itself all the old women of the kraal are assembled. As soon as the pains start the woman has to occupy now a half-standing, then again a half-kneeling posture. She has to embrace of the women present, who has to
the same posture, like two persons wrestling And thus the child, it were, is wrestled out. They do not think of giving the
in labour relief by a good couch, or of doing anything to prevent the rupture of the perineum. After birth the child is left unseparated until the after-birth appears, and only then the umbilical cord is cut. This is the reason why so many umbilical ruptures occur. The child is washed at once with cold water, and the mother is now allowed to retrieve the loss in food. At the birth the woman in labour has to undergo a sort of confession by the old women, who tell her that she has to die, or that the child will not live if she does not confess
whether the child is from her husband, or whether she has been on terms of intimacy with others. If the latter is the case is generally told. Shortly after birth the witch-doctor again has to show his art with the new-born child, and by his hocus pocus and medicines he makes the child strong and vigorous. The name the child receives in the meantime is given according to events happening at this time ; for instance, some
were named *
Mynheer,” when I entered the country; others"
Joubert,” at the time of war with the Boers. The Language is a mixture of several dialects of the Basuto tribes, as in early days many of the far-away living natives wanted to enjoy the blessings of Modjadje's rain-making. So people of all tribes and languages settled here: Balemba, Bawenda, Maquamba, Zulus, and Basutos. This tribe has mingled chiefly with the Bawenda, so that the Modjadje dialect has most coloration from the language of the latter tribe.
For example :
leshako. penga, to be mad.
peka. tshembela, to walk.
tshepela. Sickness. From December to May, fever with its complications rages. In some years open and fetid abcesses are found on the legs of individuals.
Phthisis appears proportionally often, very likely on account of the change from the High to the Low Country, for this illness is found with very few women. Syphilis is not well known. Of Leprosy I happened to see only one case in 25 years.
Taken as a whole, Modjadje's people live long; many reach a hundred years.
HER RELATION TO CHRISTIANITY.
In 1887 Modjadje permitted me to found a station in her country, and, as I was the only white person in the Low Country at that time, she handed over to me all sorts of things for repair for herself and her indunas : old knives, picks, watches, revolvers, etc. But when one of her headmen inclined to adopt Christianity, she caused him to be murdered. By 1884 a small congregation of converted natives had gathered about the Christian Chief Kashane, and he was murdered, with about 40 men, women and children. For about 10 years I then had to exist as a kind of under-chief, and paid my tribute to Modjadje, until in 1892 other occupants entered the country and also tried to settle in her territory. She opposed them and burnt down the dwelling-houses of the farmers, whereupon she was conquered and obtained a large location. Fear and difficulty in her advanced age caused by this war had distressed her to such an extent in mind and body that she died in 1895. In her last years she had a friendly mind to me and Christianity, for I was able to help her a great deal in the troubles caused by the war, and to assist in the matter of securing the location for her people. Her successor was
her sister, who had always represented her, but she also died soon after, in August, 1896; whereupon the present Queen Modjadje began to reign. She is about 30 years of age, and has a son. The former power and influence this tribe had has entirely disappeared, since they have been forbidden to murder promiscuously.
Out of this tribe I now have a congregation of about 1,300 members, eight out-stations with schools ; on the main station are two white missionaries, a registered school of 230 children, with two white and four coloured teachers. A large cruciform church is filled on feast-days by over 1000 attendants. A brass band introduces the Sunday, and a church choir assists at divine service. All the buildings, which are substantial and comely, were erected by the Christian natives themselves without any extra pay from the Missionary Society. The whole of the station is situated between beautiful green plantations, so that it relieves eye and heart.
I have the best hopes for the Low Country in the future, for it is rich in natural deposits, both on and under the surface, rich in water and wood, and populous.
BY COLONEL H. E. RAWSON, C.B., R.E., F.R.Met. Soc., &c.
Fellow of the Physical Society.
Experiments to ascertain whether there is any special growth at sunrise are lacking, and such a book as Osterhout's Experiments with Plants, 1905, does not suggest making any, either in connection with temperature or light effects upon plants. The following were carried out during February, March, and April, 1906, in a garden in Pretoria, Lat. 25° 45 S and Long. 28° 14 E, at a height of 4450 feet above the sea, and 270 miles from it. The mean temperature varied from 70° F in February to 62° F in April ; the mean maxima were 82° F and 79° F for the same months respectively, and the mean minima 59° F and 47° F. The rainfall was 4.27ins. during February, 3.05ins. during March, and 0.52in. on 2 days during April. Cloudy days were few, and during the important tests, from March 23rd to April 23rd, the sky was overcast at sunrise on only two, and on one of these there were occasional gleams of sun.
On 21 days the sky was cloudless as regards these experiments, on 5 it was overcast some time during the day, and on 6 there were detached clouds. A Rambler Rose grew 33 inches in 3 weeks and 19 inches in the two following weeks during the period of the experiments.
That some connection would be found between sunrise rays and growth was suggested by a wonderful cloud-phenomenon, which was seen at that hour on March 12th, 1905, from the deck of S.S. Gaika, when in Lat. 8° S and Long. 3° W, close to the Vagnetic Equator. As the sun rose out of the water due E at 6 a.m., the sky was suddenly covered with myriads of cirrus threads as fine as those of a cobweb, and each one stretching continuously from true north to true south parallel to one another, and without break or irregularity of any kind. •By the sun's action each particle of frozen moisture in the cirrus levels had been symmetrically brought into lines, so as to form a series of arches at right angles to the rays of light. At a higher level than the cirrus lines there were a few flecks of cirrus cloud drifting from north to south, but the lines had a movement of their own. As measurements with instruments proved, they swung slowly round as if endeavouring to keep themselves perpendicular to the sun. At noon the lines had thickened considerably, and half-an-hour before sunset there was a double set of them, one perpendicular, and the other parallel, to the incident rays. They were watched during the process of forming, and appeared to be evolved out of minute globules of cirrus haze. By no possibility could this have been the effect of wind, and it was the opinion of those who were taking the measurements that the arrangement of the globules into lines was directly due to the sun's rays.
This wonderful phenomenon was repeated on two consecutive days and was carefully studied in all its details, to see if it would throw any light on analogous cases in which a symmetrical arrangement of particles of matter takes place under the action of incident rays. In botany we have such a disposition of chlorophyllgranules on cell-walls which are perpendicular or parallel to the rays. and it is thoroughly recognised that the intensity of the illumination controls the arrangement of the granules. How it does so is still a question, but it is more or less an accepted theory that living protoplasm has a directive property owing to which it can distribute the granules in the way which is most beneficial for the growth of the plant. Protoplasm cannot live without water, and in the absence of a sufficient supply it loses much of its power. Moreover, the arrangement of the granules during darkness is not the same as during diffuse or direct sunlight. Further, there is the alteration in the shape of the granules under varied illumination which has to be explained, and which so far has not been traced to any action of protoplasm. Flat, angular, polygonal tablets, as in the leaflets of Funaria hygrometrica, become hemi-spherical or spherical bodies, when direct sunlight succeeds diffused light. Are we straining the analogy too far in tracing a connection between the change of shape in chlorophyll-granules by sunslight, and a similar change in the cirrus particles, owing to which the lines became perceptibly thicker about noon?
We already have the hypothesis advanced that the vital force of the sun regulates the processes of synthesis going on in the cells where chlorophyll-granules are at work. To the vibratory energy of the blue and violet rays the decomposition and transformation of the carbohydrates are ascribed, while the less refrangible rays assist their formation from the raw materials. Protoplasm is unable to accomplish this without the aid of the chlorophyll-granules, and it is in them that the processes are carried on. They retain or extinguish those rays which might hinder the formation of carbohydrates, transform rays with short wave-lengths into those of longer wave-length, that sugar and starch may be more effectually manufactured ; and, finally, effect the conversion of light into heat, and ultimately into latent heat. * It would only be a step further in the theory of synthesis under the action of sun's energy to ascribe to the same energy a directive influence upon chlorophyll-granules, similar to that which was seen at sunrise on March 12th controlling the distribution of the cirrus particles.
The following experiments were accordingly carried out to see whether any special influence was exerted upon chlorophyll-granules by sunrise rays, which could be detected during the growth of a plant. A strip of garden ground, which was practically virgin soil, was lightly manured with stable manure, and on Feb. 19th, 20th, 28th, and on March 6th, twenty-six rows, each 12ft. long, of Dwarf Stratagem peas, onions, beets, and lettuces were carefully planted. The rows ran north and south, and except for a low hedge of pomegranate and quinces 4ft. high and at a distance of not less than 3ft. from the rows, they may be described as unsheltered from the sun till about 4 p.m. Each plant was watched from the moment its leaves appeared above ground, and its position was entered on a large chart. By March 23rd considerable differences could be traced,
* Natural History of Plants, from the German of Anton Kerner, 1894, vol. I