Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/166

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LANGUAGES potamus (-bugu), elephant (-jobo, -joko), leopard (ngwi), the nearly total absence of any historical records, the only (-juba), water means of building up Bantu history lies in linguistic house (-gumba and -dago), moon {-ezi), sun 3 research, in the study of existing dialects, of their relative {-ndiba, mandiba), lake or river (anza), drum (ngoma), (-ina or jina), wizard (-nganga.); adjectives like degree of purity, of their connexion one with the other, name -bi (bad), -eru (white); verbs like fwa (to die), ta (to and of the most widely spread roots common to the strike, kill), la or lia (to eat). The root-words cited are majority of the Bantu languages. The present writer, relying on linguistic evidence, fixed the approximate date not a hundredth part of the total number of root-words which are practically common to all the spoken dialects of at which the Bantu negroes left their primal home, some- Bantu Africa. Therefore the possession amongst its rootwhere in the very heart of Africa (between the northern basin of the Congo, the western basin of the Nile, and the words of a common name for “ fowl ” seems to the present southern basin of Lake Chad), at not much more than two writer to show conclusively that (1) the original Bantu thousand years ago; and the reason adduced seems un- tribe must have possessed the domestic fowl before their answerable. It lies in the root common to nearly all the dispersal to the southern half of Africa began, and that Bantu languages expressing the domestic fowl—huku (2) as it is historically certain that the fowl as a domestic (nkuku, ngoko, nchuchu, nsusu, nguku, nku). Now the bird did not reach Egypt before the Persian conquest in domestic fowl reached Africa first through Egypt, at the 525 b.c., and probably would not have been transmitted the heart of Africa for another couple of hundred years, time of the Persian occupation—not before 500 to 400 to the Bantu exodus may safely be placed at a date not much b.c. It would take at that time at least a couple of anterior to 2100 years'ago. It is also interesting to note hundred years before—from people to people and tribe to that the designs on the Zimbabwe and other neighbouring tribe up the Nile valley—the fowl, as a domestic bird, monuments supposed to be made by the Semitic gold reached the very heart of Africa. The Muscovy duck, workers of Southern Zambezia exhibit natives with distinct introduced by the Portuguese from Brazil at the beginning Hottentot physical peculiarities, as though at the period of the 17th century, is spreading itself over Negro Africa when these buildings were erected (about 2000 years ago) at just about the same rate. Yet the Bantu people must black Bantu negroes were not familiar to the pre-Islamite have had the domestic fowl well established amongst Arabians who mined for gold in what is now Rhodesia. themselves before they left their primeval home, because throughout Bantu Africa (with rare exceptions, and those Early Arab geographers, also, while alluding to the Zenj or modern Zanzibar negroes on the east coast of Africa not among the purest Bantu tribes) the root expressing opposite Zanzibar, described the regions farther south as the domestic fowl remounts to the one vocable of kuku. being inhabited by Wakwak, who from the accounts given Curiously enough this root kuku resembles to a marked seem to have been a savage people of Hottentot or Bushdegree several of the Persian words for “ fowl,” and is no man race. Indeed, the very name Wakwak may be only a doubt remotely derived from the cry of the bird. Among corruption and duplication of the Hottentot root kwa, those Negro races which do not speak Bantu languages, which means “men” and is a constant tribal suffix.4 though they may be living in the closest proximity to the Further, the legends and traditions of the Bantu peoples Bantu, the name for fowl is quite different.2 The fowl themselves invariably point to a northern origin, and a was only introduced into Madagascar, as far as researches period, not wholly removed from their racial remembrance, go, by the Arabs during the historical period, and is not when they were strangers in the land. It is not to be known by any name similar to the root kuku. Moreover, supposed that this argument about the relatively recent even if the fowl had been (and there is no record of this occurrence of the Negro exodus which has spread the Bantu fact) introduced from Madagascar on to the east coast of languages over a third of the Dark Continent implies that Africa, it would be indeed strange if it carried with it to Africa south of the Equator was uninhabited, or even very Cameroon, to the White Nile, and to Lake Ngami one inhabited, prior to the Bantu invasion. On the and the same name. It may, however, be argued that sparsely contrary, it would seem as if the southern half of Africa such a thing is possible, that the introduction of the fowl south of the equator need not be in any way coincident had been inhabited from a very early period in the history with the Bantu invasion, as its name in North Central of mankind. It is merely that the invasion of the Bantu Africa may have followed it everywhere among the Bantu and the expansion of their family of languages a,re events peoples. But all other cases of introduced plants or of very recent occurrence. No doubt before their coming animals do not support this idea in the least. The the eastern coast regions, down to about the Ruvuma Muscovy duck, for instance, is pretty well distributed river, were inhabited by a Nilotic type of Negro akin to throughout Bantu Africa, but it has no common widely- the Shiluk, Dinka, and Masai; and the west coast of Africa, down to about the Congo mouth, was inhabited spread name. Even tobacco (though the root “taba turns up unexpectedly in remote parts of Africa) assumes by negroes of the Guinea type, while the Congo forests totally different designations in different -Bantu tribes. and Angola were sparsely peopled by dwarf races, which The Bantu, moreover, remained faithful to a great number in the south and south-east developed or degenerated into Bushmen and Hottentots. Seemingly the Bantu someof roots like “fowl,” which referred to animals, plants, what early in their migration down the east coast took to implements, and abstract concepts known to them in their original home. Thus there are the root-words for ox the sea, and not merely occupied the islands of Pemba and (-buzi), pig {-gulu), pigeon (-jiba), dog (mbwa), hippo- Zanzibar, but travelled as far afield as the Comoro archipelago, and even the west coast of Madagascar. _ Their invasion of Madagascar must have been fairly considerable in 1 In Liwanda, the language of Buganda, Victoria Nyanza, and also numbers, and they seemingly gave rise to the race of black in Lunyoro on the White Nile, the word for “ fowl ” is nkoko. In Ki- people known traditionally to the Hovas as the a-zimba. Swahili of Zanzibar it is kuku. In Zulu it is inkuku. In some of the Cameroon languages it is lokoko, and on the Congo it is nkogo nsusu. The accompanying map will show pretty accurately the distribuOn the Zambezi it is nkuku; so also throughout the tribes oi Lakes tion of the Bantu-speaking Negroes at the present day. It will be Nyasa and Tanganyika. i •« j by a glance at this map that the areas in which Bantu lan2 From this statement are excepted those tongues classified as seen guages of archaic form and general purity from other elements are “semi-Bantu.” In some languages of the Lower Niger and of the 3 Gold Coast the word for “fowl” is generally traceable to a root kuba. Whence the many nyanza, nyanja, nyasa, mwanza, of African This form kuba also enters the Cameroon region, where it exists along- geography. 4 side of -koko. Kuba may have arisen independently, or have been As in Nama-kwa, Gn-kwa* &c. derived from th.e Bantu Jcuhu.