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The People of South Central Congoland1

Nature volume 88, pages 485486 (08 February 1912) | Download Citation



MR. HILTON-SIMPSON'S interesting book is a valuable supplement to the monumental work recently published by the Colonial Department of the Belgian Government on the “Ethnography of the Bushongo and Allied Peoples,” a work written in French by Mr. Emil Torday, the celebrated Hungarian explorer, and Mr. T. Athol Joyce, of the British Museum. The Torday-Joyce contribution to ethnology adopted necessarily a somewhat impersonal aspect, and the work of Mr. Hilton-Simpson now gives us a more popular and personal account of the expedition so ably organised by Mr. Emil Torday. At the same time, though the “Land and Peoples of the Kasai” railway and steamer to the Kasai. This river at once contrasted with the main Congo by “simply teeming with hippopotami, crocodiles, and innumerable varieties of aquatic and other birds “; for owing to some unexplained reason the destruction of animal life along its banks had been very little compared with the devastation which has fallen on the main Congo through the acquisition of guns by the natives and the thirst for killing which has so long animated all white pioneers, settlers, and steamer passengers in that region. An interesting description is given of the headquarters of the Kasai Company at Dima, near the confluence between the Kasai and the Kwango (the Kwango was the first of the great Congo tributaries which entered into history, and was reached by the Portuguese as early as the seventeenth may be described as “popular” in style, it is fraught ceentury, though its lower course remained unexplored with scientific interest. It contains many valuable illustrations, “prises sur le vif,” the untouched photographs of the author, besides the beautiful and accurate drawings in colour by Mr. Norman Hardy, who accompanied the expedition during the first half of its stay in Congoland. Amongst these last must be mentioned with special praise for their artistic charm as well as their absolute accuracy, “Wiss-mann Pool” and “An Incident at Pana” (a charging buffalo).

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