Okanda (a tributary of the Ogowé in 1874. He found that they were called "Babongo," and also "Vambuta" (Wambatti?), though their real name appeared to be Bari or Bali. As he did not penetrate farther than 12° east, he did not reach their actual dwelling-places, which were said to be a fortnight's journey beyond that point, though he saw and measured a considerable number of individuals. His measurements range between 1·32 and 1·42 metre, and he particularly notices the contrast between their round huts and the rectangular style of architecture prevailing in the district.
Somewhere to the north of these, perhaps, may be placed the Kenkob and Betsan, of whom Dr. Koelle, the learned author of the Polyglotta Africana (1854), heard at Sierra Leone. He obtained his information from two liberated slaves, one of whom, a man named Yon, was a native of a country called Bayon, supposed to lie about 5° north, and between 12° and 13° east. This man declared that four days' journey eastward from his home there was a great lake called Liba, on whose banks lived the Luf um tribe, "tall, strong, and warlike; clad in black monkey-skins, and fighting with spears and arrows. Near Luf um," the account continues, "and also on the shores of the Liba, is another people, called Kenkob, only three or four feet high, but very stout, and the most excellent marksmen. They are peaceful, live on the produce of the chase, and are so liberal that if, e. g., one has killed an elephant, he would give the whole of it away."
Another man, whose home was to the northwestward of Bayon, gave Dr. Koelle a very similar account of a tribe called "Betsan," living "on the river Riba, which comes from Bansa and goes to Bambongo." These, too, are successful hunters, and are also said to make bark cloth for themselves, whereas Du Chaillu's Obongo wore nothing but the cast-off grass cloths of the Ashangos. The Betsan sometimes exchange their venison for millet, etc., in the Rufum country. "They do not cultivate the ground, but are constantly on the move, changing their abode every six or twelve months. Their houses can be easily built, taken down, and even carried along with them, consisting as they do of the bark of a large tree. The Betsan hunt monkeys, baboons, wild hogs, deer, elephants, etc."
I can suggest no affinity for the names here given to the Pygmies, unless Kenkob contains a possible reminiscence of "KhoiKhoi," or "Koi-Koib," the tribal name used by the Hottentots among themselves. It is utterly unlike a Bantu word, and may be a relic of the language originally common to all the Pygmy tribes,
- See Petermann's Mittheilungen for 1877 (p. 108); also Dr. Lenz's paper in the Transactions of the Berlin Geographical Society.
- Evidently the same as Liba; as Rufum-Lufum.
- Polyglotta Africana, p. 12.