Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/440

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384 Bavili Notes.

call his name. The Nganga cuts down the tree, and blood is said to gush forth. A fowl is killed and its blood mingled with the blood that they say comes from the tree. The person named then dies, certainly within ten days. His life has been sacrificed for what the Zinganga consider the welfare of the people. They say that the named one never fails to die ; and they repudiate all idea of his being poisoned, or that his death is hurried on in any material way by the Nganga, who, they say, may be miles away. The difference between the spirit of Mpumbii brought by the East Wind, and the Nkulu of the known individual that is to preside over this fetish, is evident. And again, the nature of this fetish that is made by man and inspired by him is clearly different from the tree or grove that merely symbolizes some attribute of God or man.

People pass before these fetishes, Zinkici Mbowii, calling on the fetish to kill them if they do, or have done, such and such a thing. Others go to them and insist upon their killing so and so, who has done, or is about to do, them some fearful injury. And as they make their demand, a nail is driven into the fetish, and the palaver is settled so far as they are concerned. The Nkulu of the man whose life was sacrificed upon the cutting of the tree, sees to the rest.

These fetishes attended big palavers and were knocked ^ by the parties engaged, so that he who spoke falsely or bore false witness should die. These are the class of fetishes most in evidence, and as such are apparently the bitter enemies of European governments, who seem to take a delight in clearing the country of them. I wonder if they are right, at any rate before they have got the country properly in hand and can give the inhabitants that security they are so fond of talking about.

' See Notes on the Laws and Customs of the Bavili (Afr. Soc. Journal, 1902, p. 281).