SpanglefishGervas Clay | sitemap | log in

Miscellaneaous Snippets

The snippets below have been gleaned from various files left by Gervas.  He thought them worth recording, so they are placed here for the same reason, and so that Search Engines such as Google can find the texts, and produce the references when asked.  They are in no particular order.


given by Gervas Clay,
Her Majesty’s Resident Commissioner to Barotseland
to a Conference of Barotse Teachers
in about 1959.


I am very glad to have the opportunity of addressing this Conference because it gives me the chance of meeting you and to put before you some of my thoughts concerning this Protectorate.

When I was wondering the other night what I should talk to you about I found in a book the words that the late Chief Yeta said in 1916 on the occasion of his succession. These words will have been well known to your fathers and your predecessors as school teachers, and I want to remind you of them again today. Chief Yeta said - "Schools are a blessing to the country - send all your children to them. Education and the preaching of the Gospel - therein lies the salvation of the country. Our strength and are salvation are in God." I think that the people in Barotseland must have listened well to those wise words. I myself can look back on what Barotseland was like 25 years ago when I first came up here at the end of 1933. At that time it took 17 days to come up the river from Livingstone by barge and after a rest in Mongu I had to walk for 5 days to reach Mankoya. Today, as you all know aeroplanes constantly fly in from Livingstone or Lusaka in a few hours and it is now possible to travel from Lusaka to Mongu by road during much of the year. I am particularly interested in this road because it was during my time at Mankoya that all of it was made and I am hoping that within the next two years it will be a hard, fast, gravel road and that as a result we shall have many more visitors and much more trade with the line of rail. In 1934-1935 when you will remember some of the copper mines had to close down and there was very little work or money in the country, the people in the Mankoya district were wearing bark cloth for clothes and using bark cloth for blankets. I doubt if the people today would be able to make blankets outof bark cloth. At that time, in the early 30s, there were even then many highly; educated and intelligent Malozi who had been educated in the mission schools and the Barotse National School. That is still the case today and in the six years I spent in the Southern Province in Livingstone not only did I find that most of my best Boma Clerks were Malozi but wherever I went I found Malozi as Medical Orderlies, as Drivers, in the Agricultural, Veterinary and Game Departments, holding responsible positions. This is due to the hard work of you people and your predecessors. The future prosperity of this country is going to depend more than anything else on the wisdom, civilization and intelligence of the people in it, and that in turn depends on the way you teachers teach the younger generation in your schools. You have still got quite a long way to go, but I wonder if all of you appreciate how much progress the African in Northern Rhodesia has made? When I first came to Northern Rhodesia all the lorries in the territory were invariably driven by Europeans, now it is comparatively rare ever to see a European driving a lorry. That is just one small sign of the progress that has been made.

Recently a survey has been done of the African Mineworker working on the Copperbelt, and it has been found that fewer Africans leave their work than Europeans and that the turn-over of African labour is one of the lowest anywhere in the world for heavy industry. The average length of service of an African at the mine is 7 years and 600 men have received awards for completing 20 years’ service at either Luanshya or Mufulira. The average African doing a skilled job on these mines receives more than £40 a month which compares with the average skilled worker in Britain, who receives £56 a month. You will be interested to learn that there are more than three million men in Britain who earn less than the average advanced African mineworker - £480 a year. The survey has also found out that 4 out of 5 mineworkers say they intend to retire to their villages and that 9 out of 10 show concern about the proper education of their children and most are willing to pay cash to help their education. One out of every four has a car or a motor cycle, and the average advanced African has five complete outfits of clothing. Two-thirds of them go to Church. The survey contrasts the physically poor specimens of thirty years ago with their bark loin -cloths, who earned 15/- for thirty shifts, with the physically fit African Mineworker of today who earns at least £10.12.6. for thirty shifts.
Now this progress over the last thirty years is due to three things. First of all we have been lucky in Northern Rhodesia to have these immense deposits of copper which have brought great wealth into the country. Secondly, if you will allow me to say so you have had the devoted service of the Europeans to help you to make this progress, and thirdly you have had the devoted service of the teachers in Northern Rhodesia, who have sent out from their schools an ever increasingly more highly educated product who is able to take advantage of the conditions of the day and earns ever increasingly higher wages. I expect a few of you will feel jealous of the large amount of money being earned by skilled African mine-workers and I understand that the value of the benefits received by some of them totals more than £70 a month, but you will remember that teachers, like Civil Servants, never expect to make large fortunes but have the great privilege of working for the benefit of mankind and of receiving an adequate wage and a pension at the end of their service - and of course you all know that your salaries have increased over the years and that there is every likelihood that they will go on increasing in the future.

Now I want to say a special word or two about conditions in Barotseland. You have always had the great benefit in Barotseland, ever since Europeans first came to it, of wise Paramount Chiefs and of wise Councillors. The wisdom of your Paramount Chief Lewanika has become proverbial, and I myself who have worked with your Paramount Chiefs Yeta, Imwiko and Sir Mwanawina can testify to their wisdom and to the way in which they have always considered the welfare of their people. We are living in difficult times and you hear many exaggerations and lies told. Some of these concern the early Treaties that were made between your Government and that of the Queen of England through the British South Africa Company. While it is true that there were Europeans asking for prospecting rights in Barotseland, it is also true, and you must remember it, that it was your Paramount Chief Lewanika and his Council who first asked for a Treaty with the Queen's Government in England. This Treaty was asked for because the people in Barotseland were suffering from a constant series of internal wars. They had constantly to be on their guard against raids by the very strong Matabele tribe in the south, and they were becoming more and more perturbed by the encroachment of the Portuguese in the north and west, I believe myself that if any of you read all the papers concerning the Treaties and the Records of the Treaties, many of which are published in books, you would find that those Treaties had been scrupulously kept by the British South Africa Company and by the British Government and that you had benefitted enormously by them. These Concessions were in some degree contracts and both sides gained something by giving something else. The British South Africa Company gained mineral right and the disposal of certain lands to European farmers outside the present boundaries of Barotseland.. On the other hand, Barotseland gained the protection of the Crown and there have been no internal troubles in Barotseland in the last sixty years, nor have there been any further troubles with the Matabele nor, since the King of Italy's award, over-encroachment by the Portuguese.

It is difficult perhaps for you people here today to realise what immense benefit that has been to your country, but you will, I know, appreciate that within the bounds of the present Barotseland Protectorate there is no land which has been alienated to Europeans and you have repeatedly and very recently had your Treaty Rights confirmed by the Secretary of State. In these political times everyone is always anxious about the future, every where in the world, but I think you have less cause for anxiety than most people, and so long as you continue to have a wise Paramount Chief and wise Councillors I am certain that you can look forward to the future with the greatest confidence. It is very essential that you yourselves should know more than I think you do know about the Concessions and Treaties, and that the children in the upper classes of your schools should know about them too. It is also essential that all the children in Barotseland should be brought up to pay the old-fashioned Barotse respect to their elders and betters but particularly to the Barotse Native Government. They must appreciate that that Government is working extremely hard all the time with many and increasingly difficult problems and that they need and deserve the fullest possible support of all the peoples in this Protectorate.

Lastly, I want you to understand the position of the European Civil Servant in Barotseland. I myself as Resident Commissioner regard myself as the adviser to the Paramount Chief and his Government, and you will, no doubt, know that I visit the Paramount Chief at either Limulunga or at Lealui at least once a week for discussions. The Technical Officers in the Protectorate are here solely to do everything they can to help the people and they do this by working with the Kuta Induna. who is responsible for their particular subject. That is, the Provincial Agricultural Officer works hand in hand with the Protectorate Agricultural Induna, and so on with all departments. The sole aim and object of the Technical Advisers in the Protectorate is to bring you the best technical advice on the subject. We all of us know that if we try ourselves to put across to the ordinary villager the best way of managing his crops or his cattle the villager will take very little notice unless that advice is supported by the Paramount Chief and his Government. In the same way the Kuta Induna is able to put across the views of the Barotse Government to the people but he has not got the technical knowledge to be able to give the best advice.

We can only therefore get progress if we all work together, that is if the Protectorate Induna and the Provincial Officer work constantly together with the same object in view and with complete confidence in each other. I am glad to say that relations between the Barotse Native Government and the European Technical Officers are most cordial, and I hope that this may long continue. Please see that your pupils understand this position and are brought up with the determination to acquire higher scales of civilisation and to be proud of the Protectorate in which they live and determined to do all that they can for its future happiness and prosperity.

Finally, I would remind you again of the late Paramount Chief Yeta’s words:- " Education and the preaching of the Gospel - therein lies the salvation of the country."


Extracts from "Economy of the Central Barotse Plain" by Max Gluckman.
Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, 1941…/Economy_of_the_Central_Barotse…

Page 4. This King, is, by patrilineal descent, a member of the Lozi tribe which conquered outwards from its homeland to establish a great kingdom during the years from about 1600 to 1888.

P.6. Lozi say it (the Little River) has grown out of a canal dug by King Mulambwa (circa 1790-1825).

P. 12. (chart), Melland groups the Kaonde as a branch of the Luba though they have not the circumcision ceremonies which are characteristic of the Luba group.

P. 27. Great care was taken in selecting the men who would control it (land) and under Lozi law of inheritance there was no fixed rule of succession so that heirs could be selected solely on the basis of their characters. A man might select his heir before death or the heir .was chosen for his character by the members of the family in consultation with the political authorities. Though there was a patrilineal bias, brothers, cross-cousins; and "uterine nephews and grandchildren were quite frequently selected; even when the patrilineal line was followed, not only might the sons of the great wife; (musali yo muhulu, the first wife married) be passed over, but also among the sons of one wife the eldest might not be chosen. This heir in turn would be succeeded by an elected heir who took the same name and this might go back several generations; therefore Lozi said of a family heir, as they did of a new incumbent of an old office, u yolile libizo (he inherited the name). The Lozi said the heir must be a kind, generous, just and peaceable man, to hold the family together; if he were not he could be dismissed on application to the court: The immediate task of the heir on election was to distribute the inherited land; he had to divide fairly fishing-sites and garden-land. If his predecessor had owned many mounds, he had to allot these, but he kept ownership of the main family mound for himself. This should not be divided.

P. 36. I suspect an increasing tendency for men of other tribes to be Lozi-ised and settle in the Plain.

P. 37. While all the tribes of this region have small chiefs, with matrilineal descent, the Lozi have powerful chiefs and a bias for patrilineal descent. I shall argue that this is because Lozi chiefs acquired big lots of mound land and corresponding power, and mounds placed a premium on inheritance within the resident group.

P. 43. Wiko, with their original matrilineal bias, are more numerous in the Bush than at the Plain.

P. 84. The Lozi kinship system correspondingly worked in all lines of descent. This appears in the Lozi institution of mishiku (sing. mushiku) which were names of lines of descent. Everyone is commonly said to have four descent-names, one from each grandparent; others give eight, one from each great-grandparent; and it is admitted 'that the number of these names is in theory limited only by the number of descent-names which exist in Loziland.

I found that some people knew less than four of these names, perhaps only one, according to the relatives with whom they had contact. A man was called by the chief patrilineal descent-name of the relatives with whom he was living or visiting, and if asked would first give as his descent-name either that of the descent-name of relatives with whom he grew up, or from whom he was getting help, etc, irrespective of the line of descent, whether through father's father or mother, or mother's father or mother. There was however a tendency when people had grown up in the homestead of matrilineal kin for them to be assimilated into the patrilineal line by, e.g. after some time treating their mother's brother as their father in their genealogy, or their mother as a man. This was easy since the same names were given to men and women.

Correlated with these decent-names was a widely extended system of kinship nomenclature, associated with reciprocal duties and rights. In it all cousins were classed with brothers and sisters and marriage was not only not allowed between cross-cousins, as in the neighbouring tribes, but with no-one to whom the _Lozi could trace genealogical relationship, which they could do as far as three or four generations only, owing to the _small size of homestead groups, Beyond that marriage could take place between people with the same descent-names but between whom genealogical relationship could not be traced. Hospitality and help were expected from a person with any of the same descent-names. Under the system of land-exploitation described above it was important for a man to have many "homes", and this is associated with a ban on marriage into any of them.

Moreover, among the Lozi we do not find the common Bantu institutions of levirate and sorrorate. It was a good thing if a widow with children arranged to marry into her dead husband's family where her children were, if she found a willing relative of his, but there was no compulsion on her to do so, and bride-wealth had to be given again for her. Thus too the sister of a dead wife might marry the widower, bride-wealth passing.

However, and here again the Lozi were unusual among Bantu, it was rare for a man to marry the sister of his still-living wife: it was said that they would quarrel far more than unrelated women, and to marry them both would be to spoil their family-group (ku sinya mukowa wa bona). It is true that easy divorce laws might have made difficulties where a man married two sisters. But these Lozi marriage rules, different from those of most Bantu, in my opinion were associated with the idea that it was redundant to be related by two relation ships to one person or group of people and that it were better to create ties with other people through a fresh person. The Lozi saying "mwaboyu ta mwaboyu" (true Lozi: in Kalolo, "wa habo mutu kaewa habo") was often quoted to me: it states that "the relatives of a man's relatives are his relatives." They usually gave as an example: A's father, X, had two wives, a (A's mother) and b (B's mother). X divorced b and she married Y by whom she had C; C was brother to B through b and also to A with whom he had no blood-connection whatever because A was B's half-brother through a common father, X. So too a man was related to the husband of his wife's sister; the two men called each other mufubalume (the same term as used between X and Y above) and a child could find a home with his father's mufubalume.

The unusual marriage bans, and the absence of the levirate and sororate, together with the rule mwaboyu ta mwaboyu (the relatives of a man's relatives are his relatives), increased greatly the number of people with whom a man could trace present genealogical relationship and therefore the number of people with whom he co-operated, exchanged gifts and help, and could settle. Associated with the economic need for a wide system of personal reciprocities And yet the impossibility of there developing a large kinship grouping based on one line of descent, is a kinship system in which all lines of descent were pushed as far as possible and extended by the rules described above, Mounds were the basis of relationship, as of the rest of the social structure, and present relationship with mound-owners of any line, rather than any single line of descent, was one of the main principles of social integration.

Nevertheless the Lozi bias was in favour of the patrilineal line of descent, and I have explained in the introduction that this possibly developed in the Plain. Here too, I suggest that the determining factor was the mounds. Even if the Lozi came to the Plain as a matrilineal people, the importance of mound-ownership necessitated inheritance within the resident group in any line, and gave the sons of dead headmen a chance to succeed them. A mound-owner could favour his sons and keep them with him especially if his wife's parents had no mound, whereas in the Bush matrilineal tribes, ownership of land conferred little authority.

In fact, mound-ownership enabled a man to attract to himself both his sons and uterine relatives. Richards has shown that the Bemba matrilineal system is associated with a matrilineal clan and the gardening services rendered by sons-in-law; no unilateral group was possible among -the Lozi, nor could a man work for one group of relatives only. He had to co-operate with all, and mound-ownership gave headmen a dominant position which they could use to claim their sons.

P. 88. There are to-day also homesteads of Wiko who have emigrated in groups of matrilineally-related men and women with their spouses and children; in them patriliny is becoming more important because the Lozi courts follow patrilineal laws.

P. 89. Lozi mythology says that at first the Lozi had a woman chief, Mbuyamwambwa, whose rule was not strong. She was a daughter and wife of High-God Nyambe. One day her sons went hunting with dogs, and stopped to rest at a pan where Lozi and Imilangu (i.e. Ndundulu, not a Luyana tribe, see Chart 1) were having a stabbing fish-battle. One of the men who was maternal uncle to the princes (bana ba mulena) thought they should be given some fish for themselves and their dogs, and with an Ndundulu he took fish from each fisherman (ku binguta, the word used today when owners of pans claim their share of fish).

The princes had no men to carry the fish and men were chosen to do this. When the princes got home the people admired this and the big man of their mother's homestead - not the Ngambela (chief councillor) for there was then no Ngambela - called the people to confer and they decided to have a man as chief instead of a woman. Mbuyamwambwa heard of this by chance and was delighted; her son Mboo became the first chief and she became MaKoshi, mother of the chief, still a powerful position. The man who had proposed the male chieftainship became the first Ngambela (chief councillor). Mboo built a new capital; his mother's homestead, Makono, is where the king must spend a night before he can be crowned. Mboo was succeeded by his brother Inyambo, and since then the Lozi kings have been chosen from their patrilineal male descendants. Under Mboo the Lozi began to conquer outwards.

This tradition suggests several things. First, especially since Mboo was a son of God and not related to Kamumu, the first man, whose cleverness drove God from earth to the heavens, it suggests that the powerful Lozi chieftainship originated in the Plain and subsequently gave them the cohesion to become a conquering people. Second, it describes a change in the Plain from matriliny to patriliny. Third, the origin of male chieftainship is related to a particular form of economic activity in which property rights give rights to claim a share of other people's catch. Fourth, since Lozi chiefs were related to God by both lines of descent (and they still marry their classificatory sisters), while Kamunu the first man was not descended from God, the chieftainship is given a strong religious basis. Fifth, at the time the chieftainship developed, the Lozi were already co-operating with at least one another tribe, the Ndundulu.

It is chiefly relevant to this paper on Lozi economy that the myth reflects the position of the king in the economic organisation - his ownership of many rich land-sites and his tribute and labour rights, all of which arise from the oecological and economic pattern described above. The tradition that royal children are born with cattle horns may indicate that the chief owned most cattle. The problem: why was it the Lozi who became dominant in this region? is worth considering sociologically, though ultimately, for lack of data, it may prove to be non-empirical and incapable of scientific investigation as an historical process. However, in postulating the following argument, I analyse the structural functioning of the kingship, once established.

The economic factors making for the political dominance of the Lozi were of two types: first the internal cohesion they derived from residence in the Plain, and second, the relation of Loziland to the neighbouring regions.

Within the Plain, mounds varied in size and the resources exploited from different mounds varied in richness therefore individual ownership of mounds gave not only power over other people, but also varying degrees of this power to the owners of different mounds. The king and his family owned the most and the biggest mounds, and the richest of other resources, so that they had many immediate dependents. From these resources they got surpluses, which, traded for foreign goods, enabled them to distribute these to other Lozi. These Lozi themselves, in the conditions of varying production by individuals which characterised Plain economy, would get goods from the king and in return give him present i.e. tribute. Thus though the Lozi reached the Plain probably under a small female chief, with weak authority, the chiefly family's power could grow if it obtained possession of many and the largest mounds, since it could strengthen itself by the accretion of kinsmen and strangers who wanted land and goods.

P. 103. However, though more research into the Ila system is required, it Is clear that basically they were divided into hostile villages of up to 3,000 inhabitants, and that there were marked segmentary tendencies in villages, which were constituted by family units linked on a matrilineal clan system.


Federal Archives 101/2/79. 
British South Africa Company Executive Committee meeting. 
Minutes of 29th January, 1914.

Civil Service Mr. B. Ryan.

The Committee has, as an act of grace, and without admission of liability, granted Mr. Ryan of the Northern Rhodesia Civil Service, a sum of £23.10.0 towards the cost of his medical expenses in England
Mr. Ryan was injured whilst evicting a reedbuok which had taken refuge in his office for the night.


The uniform of the North-Eastern Rhodesian constabulary, 
Federal Archives H.C. 1/2/1. File 3552/02.
Extract from report by Mr. Codrington. 
Enclosure to letter to Foreign Office dated 15th May, 1902. 
Concerning Civil police of North Eastern Rhodesia, Totals are given by District Stations. Grand total 210.
'The uniform of these men, which is very smart and serviceable, has only recently been supplied to them. It consists of khaki tunics with green facings and khaki knickerbockers, and a green fez cap with tassle. The equipment consists of a snider rifle and bandolier.'



I. RANK . . . . . . . . CADET

2. LEFT LUWINGU . . . . . . . . MARCH 11TH 1931.

BY CARRIER . . . . . . . 200
BY CANOE . . . . . . . . . .46

CHILUI ISLAND. {2016, now called Chilubi Island) 

These were good on the whole. Several of the older villages were given permission to move to new sites.
One village – Malizawa – has recently come from the Fort Rosebery district, owing to the fact that a lion killed a child there. As these natives are away gathering their crops near their old village, it was not possible to census them. This, however, could be done at a later date, when the government camp at Muchinshi is next visited.

CHIEF MATIPA, on his own initiative, has had what might perhaps be termed a by-pass road made in order to connect villages on different sides of the island. These paths are at least 12 feet wide, and avoid the village gardens as far as is practicable. Though very rough at present, they could become excellent at a later date.
There are now over 200 native-owned bicycles on the island, so that the natives themselves are realising the value of good roads.

7. FOOD.
The great majority of the island is now under cassava cultivation. The crops appeared to be entirely satisfactory.

This appeared to be uniformly good.
Enough care is not taken by natives to avoid coming into contact with those suffering from leprosy. In one case a woman and two small children, none of whom were affected, were found living in a hut with a leper at some distance from the village. In a second case, two lepers were discovered sitting among the natives in the village while the census was being taken, the excuse given was that they had come in to see the official. The chief was told to deal severely with any natives found in leper’s huts, and to hold the headman responsible in cases where a leper had entered a village. As the island is a small one, it might perhaps be practicable to form a village out of the 27 lepers thereon, and to impose a heavy penalty on anyone found entering or leaving it.

9. Labour.
No. of taxable males at work in        this territory . . . . . . . 257

  “    “     “            “      “     “  outside    “        “ . . . . . . . . 22
  “    “     “            “    not at work, seen or visiting . . 1563
Total No: of taxable males in villages visited . . . . . . .1842
Many natives were given passes to Ndola to seek work.
The following were counted: –
Sheep . . . . 620
Goats . . . . 99
These statistics show a further reduction of over 200 in the number of sheep on the island since last year, said to be due to disease and the depredations of hyenas. There are no lion or leopards on the islands, so that there should be no difficulty in exterminating hyenas also, but the natives do not appear to possess enough initiative and organisation to EFFECT this. As there is a ready sale for sheep, it seems a pity that a really effective round-up is not held.

£33 – 3 – 6d was collected. There are still some 200 1930 taxes outstanding, but the natives in arrears are all said to be at work at the mines.

The following chiefs and divisional headmen visited me: – Chief Kalimankando, sub- chiefs Mulengro and Mwoshi, acting-sub- chiefs Baamba, Mushili, Chula , Mwanokasawe, and Kambule.
The centre Maria Mission was visited, and the Father Superior held a cinema show for the edification of the above chiefs.
I was informed that there are some 200 Christians on the island out of a total population of 8723 souls.

Gervas Clay
LUWINGU, 1931. [aged 24]


Leprosy is curable:-…

Here's a fascinating account of the 1958 "Chilubi Incident" (of which I had never heard) :-



Click for Map

site map | cookie policy | privacy policy