Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/146

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1 20 Reviews.

the Bantu), from the seventh volume of his Records of South-Easter?i Africa. I do not complain of this, for the work is avowedly a reprint of material which has already appeared. But it is a reprint with so many additions " as to make this practically a new book." It is therefore to be regretted that the author seems quite unaware of recent research on customs and institutions, such as those found among the natives of South Africa. There can be no doubt, for example, that the reverence for animals among the Bantu is totemism. Other objects than animals are also rever- enced ; and what authority Dr. Theal may have for ascribing such objects of veneration as the wild vine, the sun, the sky, rain, and so forth, to a recent development among "tribes that have long since lost all knowledge of the belief of their remote ancestors " he does not inform us. That the veneration of the siboko (totem) has been influenced by the Bantu cult of ancestors is probable. But that it is no more than a branch or development of that cult by no means follows. As pointed out by Prof. Frazer in his criticisms of Dr. Theal 's theory, and in his general account of Bantu totemism {Totemism and Exogamy, vol. ii.), and by myself {Encyclopcedia of Religioti^ art. Bantu), the Bantu possess other customs connected with totemism. The influence of the cult of the dead has in fact hastened the decay and not the development of their totemic beliefs and practices.

Dr. Theal attributes the social position of the mother's brother (malume) among the Bantu to the delay in payment of the bride- price. " It very seldom happened," he says, " that the whole, or even the greater number, of the cattle [which constituted the bride-price] were transferred until many years after the marriage. It might almost be said it never happened." Until this payment took place the bride and her children were not fully transferred to the bridegroom's family and power. In the meantime her brother "had the right of control over" the children, "with the corresponding duty of giving protection and assistance if neces- sary ; " and he received a share of the cattle given for her daughters on their marriage. But, if the non-payment of the bride-price were the real ground of the position of the malume, the rights and duties referred to would vest in, and be imposed upon, the bride's father, not her brother. This, however, is not the case. The