Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/132

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{Read at Meeting, 2^th March, 1903.)

It is to me a great pleasure, coming from the land of the primitive man, to meet with the members of the Folk-Lore Society, who take interest in the less advanced of the nations, and appreciate the charm of those children of nature who are still far away from civilised ideas. I speak of their charm ; it exists, without doubt, for the scientist who studies their sometimes queer conceptions of the world, but much more for the man who has lived amongst them, who knows their highly interesting language, and who has seen them laughing sometimes, and sometimes also weeping. If you do not content yourself with the external and often unjust impressions of the average colonist about the native, but study his soul and his habits, then you will be won by the better features of his character and of his kraal-life ; and such has been my case.

After having worked for seven years amongst the tribe of Delagoa Bay which calls itself the Ba-Ronga, I had to stay in the north of the Transvaal, where our Swiss Evangelical Mission has started its work amongst the Ma-Gwamba people, more precisely amongst the Nkuna tribe. Ba-Nkuna and Ba-Ronga are but branches of a very large native nation which we call Ama-Thonga, or rather Ba-Thonga, and which has five or six principal dialects, as I have explained in my introduction to the Grammaire Ronga} Both are of the

' Grammaire Konga, Lausanne, Geo. Bridel and Co. The introduction has been printed separately under the title, La Tribti Thonga, and contains the ethnolog}' of the tribe.