Kibosho

Name ID 1733

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 063
Extract Date: 1900

The early Chagga have left their mark

More recently, the early Chagga have left their mark on the landscape. The trenches which were dug between the early kingdoms are difficult to discern but remains of the forts which some chiefs constructed can still be seen at Marangu and Kibosho (see an article H A. Fosbrooke "Chagga Forts and Boltholes," TNR No 37, p116; and also pictures facing pp. 72 and 92 in Sir Charles Dundas' Kilimajaro and its People).

A more interesting but less apparent relic of the days of inter tribal warfare is to be found in the bolt holes or underground shelters. (See Bishop Wynn Jones, "African Dugouts " TNR, No. 11; and article in No. 37 above.)

In the thickly populated and cultivated area of Marangu there are some engraved rocks which are associated with the Chagga initiation ceremonies. One of these rocks, at Longoro, is a large block of lava about 9 feet long, projecting six inches above ground-level; at its.broadest point it is 6 feet 9 inches wide. The rock is covered with long, meandering incised lines, evidently engraved with a pecking technique, and there are also two small kidney-shaped depressions which are clearly man-made. The rock also bears numerous pock-marks which look natural, but which, according to recent oral tradition, are man-made.

Chief Petro Marealle first drew attention to this engraved rock. In his book (1951) he describes how, until about 1900, Chagga youths used to be introduced to the mysteries of manhood. As part of his ceremony twelve youths, selected from the age set under instruction, were taught the meanings of the engravings on the rock and how to incise them. This was done, on completion of the lessons, by the instructor using a `small axe'; the length of the line cut depended on the number of youths in the age-set. The instructor also bored the pock-marks into which the youths had to spit to seal their oath not to reveal the secrets they had been taught.

Within twenty yards of the rock of Longoro, described here, there are two other engraved rocks; and there is another two miles to the north-west of the Longoro group. All these rocks have been described by Fosbrooke and Marealle in their two papers in Man, 1952, 244 and 263.

Extract ID: 4562
www.nTZ.info