The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Mafulu.
feet long and 20 feet above water at the lowest part, and as being made of lawyer vine (I do not know whether this would be right for Mafulu), with flooring of pieces of stick supported on strips of bark, and as presenting a crazy appearance, which made the Governor’s carriers afraid of crossing it, though it was in fact perfectly safe, and had very little movement, even in the middle.  I also give in Plate 65 a photograph taken by myself [63] of a bridge over the St. Joseph river, close to the Kuni village of Ido-ido, which, though a Kuni bridge, may, I think, be taken as fairly illustrative of a Mafulu bridge over a wide river. [64] Plate 66 is a photograph, taken in Mafulu, of another form of suspension bridge used by them, and adapted to narrower rivers, the river in this case being the Aduala. (4) The bamboo bridge.  This is a highly arched bridge of bamboo stems.  The people take two long stems, and splice them together at their narrow ends, the total length of the spliced pair being considerably greater than the width of the river to be bridged.  They then place the spliced pair of bamboos across the river, with one end against a strong backing and support on one side of the river and the other end at the other side, where it will extend for some little distance beyond the river bank.  This further end is then forcibly bent backward to the bank by a number of men working together, and is there fixed and backed.  The bamboo stems then form a high arch over the river.  They then fix another pair of stems in the same way, close to and parallel with the first one; and the double arch so formed is connected all the way across with short pieces of wood, tied firmly to the stems, so as to strengthen the bridge and form a footway, by which it can be crossed.  They then generally add a hand rail on one side.

One can hardly leave the question of physical communications without also referring to the marvellous system of verbal communication which exists amongst the Mafulu and Kuni and other mountain people.  Messages are shouted across the valleys from village to village in a way which to the unaccustomed traveller is amazing.  It never seemed to me that any attempt was made specially to articulate the words and syllables of the message, or to repeat them slowly, so as to make them more readily heard at a distance off, though the last syllable of each sentence is always prolonged into a continuous sort of wail.  This system of wireless telegraphy has, however, been before described by other writers, so I need say no more about it.

CHAPTER VII

Government, Property, and Inheritance

Government and Justice.

There is, as might be expected, no organised system of government among the Mafulu, nor is there any official administration of justice.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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