Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/511

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Collectanea. 477

not a matter to be hurried over. The Governor or Supreme Chief had provided cattle to be slaughtered and cooked on the field for the food of the large concourse of natives. The running- down and slaughter of these cattle was proceeding when we left. It was a ceremony such as would have been performed in the old days, when the chief himself would have provided the animals.

In this connection I may mention that, two days earlier, we had witnessed at Mount Edgecombe Sugar Estate, near Durban, a native dance. As at Henley, the natives were for the most part in native costume. They came together in bands, each band from its kraal. A war-dance was first performed. It was of a most exciting description, for the men were gradually wrought up into what looked a perfect fury, dancing, leaping, and yelling. Had they had spears, as they would in their natural condition, instead of thin long sticks or wands which they actually carried, it would have required some amount of nerve to witness it unmoved. An interesting feature of the dance was the issuing forth from the ranks of first one and then another bragging, shouting, leaping, and imitating a real attack upon the foe, acting of course what he was boasting he would do. This is a well- known proceeding in Bantu war-dances; and it is not without

magical intent. The women of rank also, as at Henley, paraded singly before the bands of dancers and urged them on.

Many of the dancers were labourers on the Sugar Estate, and the owners had provided three oxen for their food on the occasion. They were brought on the field. It was intended to shoot them ; but unhappily at the last moment only small shot could be found to load the guns. Two of them were shot with this, but only dazed. They were then seized by the natives, as they staggered about the field, and killed by knifing them in the spinal column at the back of the head. The third ox broke away, and when wc left for lunch was being chased about the field, evidently showing sport. We did not see it killed, but it was doubtless slaughtered in the same way. When we returned to the field, fires of branches had been lighted in various spots. The chief was cutting up the carcases and distributing the meat. To cook it, all that was necessary was to lay it on the branches