National Geographic : 1965 Feb
Magic-lantern slide pre serves the image of Kikuyu warriors before the Leakey home at Kabete, about 1903. Calico cloaks reddened with ocher clothe the youths, who carry long-bladed spears and sheathed swords. Work man behind them renews thatch on the veranda roof. Serengeti Plain in Tanganyika (map, pages 206-7).* Science-indeed, man's knowledge of his own beginnings-would be the poorer. To understand Louis S. B. Leakey, one must forget that he is British-as most Afri cans have long ago forgotten. "We call him the black man with a white face," the tribal chief Koinange once explained, "because he is more of an African than a European." Four Sisters Set Forth for Africa I came to appreciate this statement fully when my post as Vice Chairman of the Socie ty's Committee for Research and Exploration necessitated a trip to the dig at Olduvai Gorge. By Land-Rover, Olduvai lies a long day's journey from Kenya's bustling skyscraper studded capital, Nairobi. Louis himself was on hand to drive my wife Ethel and me to the Leakey camp; new short cuts had reduced the distance to 314 bone-jarring miles. En route, as we jounced across the clear and endless 198 savannas, I asked him how long his family had been in East Africa. "Well, my mother, Mary Bazett, decided to come here in 1892," he answered, swerving the Land-Rover to avoid a deep rut. "She was one of 13 children of a British Army colonel living in Reading, a quiet town not far from London. She and three of her sisters, Lou isa, Nellie, and Sybella all of them under 24 couldn't abide life in Vic torian England. They volunteered for mission ary work in Africa." Thus, barely 21 years after two men named Stanley and Livingstone met on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the Bazett sisters set out from London. Their ship voyaged under sail when the winds were favorable, under steam when they were not. Amenities? Passengers who wanted bedding simply brought their own. Days passed into weeks as the vessel, alter nately sailing and chugging, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and crept up the eastern coast of Africa. Finally, three exhausting, storm-tossed months out of London, the girls reached Mombasa. "To the best of my knowledge," Louis said, "they and one other passenger were the first unmarried white women to land there." Louisa continued on to Tanganyika, while Mary and Sybella remained in Mombasa. There they made the rounds of Moslem houses to teach cloistered women reading and writ ing-and, incidentally, to spread the gospel. *Tanganyika, which merged with Zanzibar in April, 1964, officially adopted a new national name, Tanzania, in October. The change appears on the new National Geographic World Map distributed with this issue.