Ujiji

Name ID 2297

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 148a
Extract Date: 1996

Into Kigoma

Burton's description of Speke's attitude here is also important. It is clear that the two men now had serious differences of opinion that would lead to later conflict. I could not help wondering whether Speke had already lost interest in Lake Tanganyika, knowing, from talking to people along the route, that it could not be the source of the Nile, as Burton still believed. Perhaps he was already on the alert for an opportunity to get away from Burton long enough to get up to Nyanza, the northern lake. His opportunity would come, but not before a gruelling assignment on Lake Tanganyika.

Descending from the hills, we drove into and right through the busy town of Kigoma, then six kilometres southeast to Ujiji. Ujiji is one of Africa's oldest market villages. It is a colourful, bustling, commercial centre. The majority of the population is from the Ha tribe, although Arab influence is seen in the architecture. Structures bear a strong resemblance to coastal homes, and this is especially evident in the carved wooden doors.

At Ujiji, Burton reflected on the economics of the slave trade, remarking that the town was "still the great slave-mart of these regions, the article being collected from all the adjoining tribes of Urundi, Uhha, Uvira, and Marungu.... [T]he trade realizes nearly 500 per cent, and will, therefore, with difficulty be put down."

Burton and Speke, the first Europeans to see Lake Tanganyika, arrived at Ujiji in February 1858, and immediately started exploring the waters of the lake. Twenty-three years later, in 1871, Livingstone also made his way to Ujiji, at that time the terminus for most caravans from the coast. It was here that the historic meeting between Stanley and Livingstone took place. Both the name of Livingstone Street and a 1927 plaque donated by the Royal Geographical Society commemorate the event. In Ujiji we headed straight to the Livingstone Memorial. It stands on the spot where Stanley met the famous explorer, but the beach and the lake front have receded considerably. After a look at the memorial, I went down to the beach: boys were swimming, girls bathing and washing, women tending their children, men selling wares, boats being built.

Extract ID: 5777

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 109
Extract Date: 14 Feb 1858

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Chapter 4

When we left Zungomero, we left what Burton called the First Region of his trip and entered the Second, or mountain, Region. Ahead of us, between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika, lay four more of his regions. Traversing the Second Region would take us from Zungomero over the Rubeho Mountains to the edge of a country Burton called Ugogo, which is near present-day Dodoma. The trek through the Rubeho Mountains was a difficult one for Burton because of the rugged terrain. For us it was also difficult, but mainly because we could not be sure what route Burton's expedition had taken to reach the mountain pass.

Beyond Dodoma, the explorers passed through the Third Region and part of the Fourth Region to reach Kazeh (present-day Tabora), where they rested for five weeks. From Tabora they proceeded to the Malagarasi River, which marked the beginning of Burton's Fifth Region; and from there they plodded laboriously on, reaching Lake Tanganyika at Ujiji on February 14, 1858, seven and a half months after leaving Bagamoyo. When I glanced at Burton's careful list, I counted ninety stations between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika.

Our own expedition telescoped Burton and Speke's seven and a half months of travel into eight days. We left Bagamoyo on October 25, and arrived at Lake Tanganyika on November 1. Swift though our progress was, however, when we set out from Zungomero I had hoped to cover the distance much more quickly than we actually did. The trip to Lake Tanganyika turned out to be a difficult slog as we detoured and backtracked ceaselessly, trying to identify some of the more elusive portions of Burton's trail.

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Extract ID: 5734

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 50
Extract Date: 1953

Section IV—Tabora to Kigoma

West of Tabora the journey leads through densely populated and well-cultivated country for about 40 miles until, at Usoke, the savannah woodland is once more entered. From Kaliva, a little farther on, a branch railway has been built to the richly mineralised country containing the Mpanda Mine. Still farther on, the line dips into the deeply eroded Malagarasi Valley, and runs for some distance along the river, with the Uvinza Salt Works visible on the opposite side. The excellent salt produced at this place was well known when Burton, the explorer, passed by on his way to Lake Tanganyika in 1857, and Africans still come from places hundreds of miles away to purchase it. The salt also finds a good market far into the Eastern Congo.

Once more the line leaves the main valley and climbs to a plateau, finally descending into the Central African Rift. Then come a few low hills, a few groves of oil palms, and the train pulls up on the shore of Kigoma Bay, a sheet of dark blue water, surrounded on three sides by pleasant hills, while through the fourth shines the surface of mighty Lake Tanganyika.

Although the development of Kigoma was severely checked by the war, the port now has a considerable trade from the shores of the lake, from the Belgian Congo and from Ruanda-Urundi. From Kigoma the traveller should not fail to visit the old Arab port of Ujiji, three miles across the hills on the open shores of the lake, where a monument marks the site of the old mango tree under which Stanley met Livingstone in 1871. There are many pleasant walks along the hilltops of Kigoma Peninsula, with splendid views of the lake and the distant Congo Mountains.

Extract ID: 5540

See also

Palin, Michael Pole to Pole
Page Number: 236
Extract Date: Oct 1991

DAY 105 KIGOMA

Another day to kill before the ferry leaves. Take a boat to Ujiji, a few miles down the coast. Once the centre of a thriving slave trade it's also the place where Livingstone and Stanley met in 1871.

The location of this historic meeting is now a small museum in a well-tended garden on a hill above the busy waterfront. A forbidding, lumpish grey monument, 'erected by the Government of Tanganyika Territory' in 1927, stands beneath two mango trees said to be descendants of the one under which Livingstone and Stanley met. On it is carved a map of Africa with a cross incised into it. It's a brutal and arrogant image. The only visitor besides ourselves is an Englishman from Leicester, looking very red and unprotected in the sun. He is in his fifties and had decided, after reading a book about Cecil Rhodes' plan for a railway from the Cape to Cairo, to do the journey himself. Today he had only one thing on his mind:

`All I'm looking for, Michael, is a cold beer.' I suggest he make for the Railway Hotel, Kigoma.

Things are more light-hearted inside the museum, despite its depressingly empty rooms and smell of disuse. Most of the work is by a local schoolteacher, A. Hamisi. There is a series of paintings of the great moments in the life of Livingstone – 'Dr Livingstone saving Chuma and Others from Slavery', 'Dr Livingstone Sitting Under the Mango Tree Thinking About Slavery in Ujiji'. Beside these are two life-size papier mache models of Livingstone, looking like Buster Keaton in dark blue three-piece suit, raising his peaked cap to a Stanley looking like Harold Macmillan in light blue safari suit and pink face. These are also the work of A. Hamisi of Kigoma Secondary School. There is nothing else in the museum.

We drive out of Ujiji, up Livingstone Street, then right at Lumumba Road, and back via Mwanga – home of 'Vatican Enterprises Hardware Supplies' and 'Super Volcano Tailoring' to the busy mango and acacia-lined main street of Kigoma – also named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the great heroes of African independence who was assassinated in 1961.

At the Railway Hotel, half an hour before sunset. This is a magic time as the sun sinks toward the lake and the mountains of Zaire, always grey in the haze, sharpen to a deep black. At the lakeside tonight Australians and New Zealanders, Dr Brandt, erect and smoking powerfully, two Dutch boys, the Japanese underwater cameraman, even my friend from Leicester gather to watch the sun go down, and for a few minutes every sound, even the cries of the naked children plunging into water nearby, seems to grow distant.

Extract ID: 5730
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