Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/681

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
663
THE AFRICAN PYGMIES.

humain soit la plus savoureuse."[1] The average height of some thirty individuals measured by the pasha was 1·36 metre. They are usually of a lighter brown than the Monbuttu, but the difference of coloring is rather in the tone than in the shade—in other words, the Akkas are of a red-brown, the Monbuttu of a yellowbrown.[2] Their hair is black-brown or quite black, growing in tufts, as already described, short and very woolly, and too scanty to be made into the ornamental coiffures so much in vogue among the Africans. There is an abundant growth of hair all over the body, and "it can not be denied that the mouth resembles that of certain apes." This is noteworthy when contrasted with Dr. Wolf's remark on the Batwa, "Irgend welche pithecoide Merkmale waren nicht vorhanden." The Monbuttu frequently intermarry with the Akkas, and half-breeds are far from uncommon. Two Akkas were sent to Italy by Signor Miani, one of whom, we believe, is still living at Verona.

The Wambatti, first made known to the world by Mr. Stanley's narrative, live farther west than the Akkas, from whom they do not appear to differ materially—unless it be in the "spiteful and venomous" disposition evinced by their unprovoked attacks on the expedition; whereas the Akkas, though dangerous on provocation, are tolerably peaceable when well treated.

Within the great horseshoe bend of the Congo, and apparently ranging over a vast extent of country, dwell the Watwa or Batwa. Mr. Stanley first heard of them in 1876, from Rumanika of Karragwé, and, later on, at Nyangwé, from Abed bin Jumah, who, in a singularly picturesque and graphic narrative, recounted the tragic history of Sheik Mtagamoyo, the cruel and dauntless—how he fitted out a strong caravan for the country of the dwarfs, expecting to make his fortune in ivory, and went back poorer than he came.[3] Stanley did not himself come in contact with these Watwa, except in the person of a single individual who was brought in by his men at Ikondu, on the upper Congo or Lualaba River.[4] He measured three feet six inches and a half in height, was "light chocolate" in complexion, and carried a bow and poisoned arrows.

Mr. H. H. Johnston,[5] in 1883, saw two slaves among the Bayansi, near the Kwà River, who probably belonged to this race.


  1. Thus differing from Winwood Reade's Fan acquaintance, who assured him that, considered as a dish, man was "all alike good."
  2. Through the Dark Continent, pp. 390-393.
  3. "Tandis que les Akkas appartiennent aux peuples nègres dont le fond du noir est rouge, les Mombouttous montrent un brun ou noir au fond jaune." This appears to contradict the general tenor of what has been said about the Pygmy races, but it is probable that no hard-and-fast rule can be laid down as to color.
  4. Ibid., pp., 435, 436.
  5. The River Congo, p. 215.