NOTE ON THE PHALABORWA AND THEIR MORULA COMPLEX

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [UQ Library]On: 16 November 2014, At: 15:37Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number:1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street,London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Bantu StudiesPublication details, including instructionsfor authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cast19</p><p>NOTE ON THEPHALABORWA AND THEIRMORULA COMPLEXEILEEN JENSEN KRIGEPublished online: 31 Mar 2011.</p><p>To cite this article: EILEEN JENSEN KRIGE (1937) NOTE ON THE PHALABORWAAND THEIR MORULA COMPLEX, Bantu Studies, 11:1, 357-366, DOI:10.1080/02561751.1937.9676060</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02561751.1937.9676060</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy ofall the information (the Content) contained in the publicationson our platform. 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Terms &amp; Conditions of accessand use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 15:</p><p>37 1</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>NOTE ON THE PHALABORWA AND THEIRMORULA COMPLEXl</p><p>By EILEEN JENSEN KRIGE</p><p>On the western borders of the Kruger National Park, near thejunction of the Selati with the Olifants river, live the Phalaborwa, a peoplenot very numerous but one of the most interesting in the north-easternTransvaal. Though long renowned among Bantu tribes of the Lowveldas workers in iron and copper, they are but little-known to the Europeanfrom whose unwelcome attentions they have been spared by the unhealthyand undeveloped nature of their country. The first missionary activitiesamong them began only some twelve years ago when a church and 'schoolwere established. The Phalaborwa comprise the people of the co-terminous Makhushane and Maseke Reserves on the Selati river and thoseof Selwana's Reserve on the Great Letaba to the north, (see Map) whoshare with two or three other, unrelated tribes of the Lowveld the dialecticpeculiarity of using the for prefix se of the Sotho Iaaguage.s</p><p>1 In June and July, 1937, my husband and I made a tour ofthe tribes of the NorthernTransvaal, with the primary object of understanding the general setting ofLobedu culture and studying the relations and contacts between theLobedu and neighbouring tribes. The Phalaborwa showed so manyinteresting features and are so little known, that I have been tempted to writethis note on the more salient aspects of their culture in spite of the inaccuraciesand lack of adequate checking of material that a visit of only one week makesinevitable. One of the difficulties confronting the anthropologist in S. Africais that too little is known of the range of variation to be found amongdifferent tribes or tribal clusters. There are many aspects of Bantu culture,such as certain initiation schools and spirit possession, that form, probably, asingle culture complex and cannot be fully understood until they have beenstudied in a number of different tribes in all their various manifestations.But until more is known about the general customs of various tribes, thestudent does not know where to go for such a study. Obviously it is ofadvantage to know where, e.g., the byale school still functions fully andwhere it is all but dead. and very often puzzling features of the special tribeone is studying can be cleared up by a visit to another tribe having similarinstitutions, if one knows where to find such a tribe. For these generalreasons I feel that short notes such as this one on special features of interestin different tribes might be of value in bringing to the notice of thoseinterested in various aspects of primitive sociology the nature of the vastamount of matei ial that still awaits investization.</p><p>I Van Warmelo in his Preliminary Survey of the Bantu Tribes of South Africacalls the Moxoboya people of the Thabina valley also Phalaborwa. but thisis incorrect. Both Moxoboya and Phalaborwa deny any relationship whatever,saying that even their common totem 110M does not refer to the sameanimal, being a hedgehog in the case of the Thabina, a porcupine in that ofthe Phalaborwa,</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 15:</p><p>37 1</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>358 EILEEN JENSEN kRIGt!-</p><p>Origin and Dioisions of the Phalaboruia</p><p>The Phalaborwa had their origin in the north (Bokxalaka or Rhodesia),according to three independent accounts given by representative oldmen, including the rangoane (father's younger brother) of Chief Makhu-shane. Travelling south in a direction east of their present location butconsiderably west of the Thonga, they came to rest at the junction of theLetaba and Olifants rivers on the eastern edge of what is to-day theKruger National Park, from where they gradually spread west to occupythe land.between the Letaba and Olifants rivers as far as the vicinity ofGravelotte. They found the. country occupied by the Salane, aprimitive people without a chief, who did not know the use of fire andwhom the Phalaborwa were able easily to scatter and dispossess by settingfire to the bush. Descendants of the Salane are still to be found amongthe Phalaborwa to-day. An alternative account which I believe to be farless reliable was given by the local teacher, who is the younger brother ofChief Makhushane, and an old man to whom he took us. According tothis the Phalaborwa came to their present abode from the south wheretheir relatives the Kxatla still live. Leaving their brothers, theMakau, near Pretoria they moved north, changing their totem fromkxabo (monkey) to noko (porcupine) on their way; and on their arrival attheir new home they called it Phalaborwa because it excelled (phala) thesouth (borwa). Several factors combine to make this theory improbable.The two accounts of a southern origin do not agree in detail; theMakau under Chief Alfred Motsepe, whom we visited to verify the story,deny all knowledge of the Phalaborwa ; while the two supporters of thistheory both have had intimate connections. with people in the south.The brother of the chief is a young man who was educated at Kilnerton,near Pretoria and it is possible that his version, although he states it to bethat of his father (who also had lived in Sekukuniland for some time),represents an attempt at linking up with the people in the south. Theold man who corroborated his story of a southern origin was found oninvestigation to have lived many years in Sekukuniland, where he marrieda Pedi woman, a fact which helped to explain a number of similarities toPedi tradition given it) his account of the Phalaborwa.</p><p>The present divisions of the Phalaborwa tribe date from the reign ofMakegela when the Maseke section hived off and becamed independent.On the death of Makegela his chief son Majaji quarrelled with a youngerson Lebatho, who moved a little way off and gave rise to Makushanc'ssection of the Phalaborwa. On the death of Majaji in the beginning ofthe present century, his sons Madume and Selwana quarrelled.Madume, the rightful heir, after considerable fighting took refuge with</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 15:</p><p>37 1</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>THE l'HAl.ABORWA AND MORU1.A COMI'LEX 359</p><p>the Tsubye or Shai of Mashishimali, their immediate neighbours to thesouth, who had trekked north from the Steelpoort river in Sekukunilandand were occupying the land between the Selati and Olifants rivers.Here Madume's descendants live to this day. Selwana, the rival claimant,moved north and established himself on the banks of the Letaba river.The people of Mashishimali, though unrelated to the Phalaborwa, areindistinguishable from them in material culture and so similar in socialorganisation that this account of Phalaborwa culture can be taken asapplying equally to the Tsubye.!</p><p>Effect of Environment on Phalabortoa Food Habits and Daily Life</p><p>Thol'cih related in social organisation to what one may call theLobedu complex of Sotho-ised peoples occupying the greater portionof the Lowveld of the N.E. Transvaal, the Phalaberwa exhibit a number ofcharacteristic features worthy of special study. Many of the moretypical of these are associated with their environment. The low-lying,unhealthy bushveld which they occupy is an area where the rainfall ismost uncertain, crops generally poor and starvation an eventuality towhich the people have grown accustomed. Mealies do not thrive, thechief crops being various varieties of kaffir-corn, and the chief greenrelishes are leaves of the pwnpkin and of the Native bean. Even thecommon Blackjack weed does not grow here. Constant shortage ofcrops has combined with the unhealthiness of this fever-ridden area tokeep the population sparce, for not only is there little incentive to strangersto trek into the country but numbers of the people move away after everydrought to seek food in better-watered parts such as Modjadji's country.Some of these return when prospects improve, but many never comeback. The great need for grain has led also to a good deal of trade withneighbouring tribes, most important among which are the Mapulanapeoples south of the Olifunts river who exchange mealies with the Phalabo-rwa for cattle and to whose influence can be traced the growing use inhut-building of interwoven, horizontal lathes between the perpendicularpoles which form the frame-work of all their huts. To-day Europeansalso come into this area to exchange mealies for cattle at the rate usuallyof four to five bags per head.</p><p>in the absence of sufficient corn crops and many of those plantswhich in other areas Can be used as green relishes with porridge, themorula nut has assumed very great importance. The morulas as a food</p><p>1 The material for this paper was collected in the area on the banks of the Selati,Selwana's location was not visited but we were told that their mode of lifewas identical.</p><p>aSclerocarya caffra,</p><p>o 5 1:</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 15:</p><p>37 1</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>360</p><p>and a -drink is used extensively all over the Northern Transvaal, but suchis its importance in the economic life of the Phalaborwa that theirs maywith justice be termed a morula culture. This tree, one of the commonestin the bushveld, provides yellow, plum-like fruits which ripen from theend of January to March just when the supply of com is running low.Consequently especially in lean years, mokhope, the drink made from thisfruit, comes as a welcome addition to the Native diet. This drink,consisting of the juice of the morula fruit to which some water is added,has when newly-made the taste of an ordinary fruit drink, but after a dayor two it ferments to form a cider, commonly known to Europeans asmorula beer, which has a very high anti-scorbutic value. An analysis ofthis drink, kindly undertaken by the S.A. Institute for Medical Researchshowed it to have a " very high vitamin C content, being twice as potentas average orange juice. A Native drinking this beer would only have toconsume one oz. per day to keep tree from scurvy." In winter thePhalaborwa subsist largely on the nuts found inside the morula pip whichmay be mixed with spinach, with meat or even, in summer, with greenmealies, and can be stamped to form a cake which is eaten alone. Thesenuts are very nutritious, containing high percentages of protein, fat andcarbohydrate'. The skins of the fruit are used for snuff, being burnt toashes and mixed with the ground tobacco.</p><p>The importance of the morula can be seen by special developments inconnection with it here, which are not to be found in other tribes. ThePhalaborwa have, far example, a special implement known as modukulofor extracting the morula nut from the pip after it has been cracked openbetween two stones. It consists of a flattened piece of iron or copper,about three inches long and one-third of an inch in width, pointed at oneend, bent over at the other to form a loop, which enables itto be worn roundthe neck, suspended from a piece of plaited string. Women spend dayscracking morula pips, just as, in other tribes, they stamp or grind comfor meals, and every woman wears her modukulo. After the nuts havebeen extracted, they are placed in fiat baskets and. winnowed to get rid ofthe dry inner covering of the nuts, after which they may be put in a closedcalabash where they will keep fresh for some days. Another peculiarfeature of Phalaborwa culture is the hammock-like receptacle made ofstrings of bark lined with grass and supported by four poles, in which themorula pips are stored. These are to be found in every kraal. Commonalso are net bags of Native string used for carrying marula fruits, but</p><p>1 An analysis of morula nut kindly given by Dr. Fox of the S. A. Institute for. Medical Research is as follows;-</p><p>Moillture 5.0 Fats 33.1 Mineralsslts 3.4 Magnesium 0.007 Protein 22.(Carbohydrate and Fibre 36.4 Calcium 0.14 Iron 0.008 Phosphorus 0.69.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 15:</p><p>37 1</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>TIlE PHALABORWA AND MORULA COMPLEX 361</p><p>these are also found in other areas. Reference to the morula is foundWen in tribal history. One of the old chiefs was wounded by the raidingMafote of Sekukuniland through the carelessness of a follower whogave away' hilt whereabouts by cracking morula pips when the enemy werenear, while on another occasion the Tsubye lost a considerable tractof country by delaying to eat morula nuts when they should have gone tomeet the Phalaborwa to decide on a boundary.</p><p>Niggardly in her supply of crops, nature has tried to make good notalone by a very plentiful supply of morula trees in the Phalaborwa areabut also by providing the modudu palm! which grows profusely along thebanks of the Lower Selati and forms a useful food. The inner portion ofthe fibrous stem of this palm is eaten either raw or cooked; in summer thefruits can be eaten, while in spring, when the sap is rising, wine is made...</p></li></ul>

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