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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Of the Province of the Sousos: single chapter,   pp. 1-8 ff.


Page 6

6.


They show great respect to their uncles and older relatives and do
not sit down in their presence. When they meet them on the road, they
greet them in the local way, which I shall explain, and with their
(salutations), -oarnace~We, that is, wishing them good-day, and onimarem,
wishuing them good-evening. They all have personal names. The King of
Bena is called Benacobe; this is his surname, deriving from his race and
family. The name of the King who was the predecessor of this Calamatamba,
his nephew, and who died, was LIassacander; (but in this case) the surname
was not significant, since only in the Sape language does it mean 'candle'.
The real reason for his name is this. As a youth he was called Massa, and
he worked for Simao Caldeira of Cape Verde Island, from whom he took the
name Caldeira; but since the Souso youth could not sav 'Caldeira', his
master called him 'Massacander', using an inuc'rect form of the surname.
This (contact with Portuguese) led to the king being a lascarim or man
of two worlds, and to his knowing as much about our customs as was known
here about the punctiliousness(e) with wihich he ran his household.
Everything was kept under look and key, and some things counted, which they
had to put up with. He would only trust a certain boy, or the wife who was
closest to hirm, so that in all respects he was a Portuguese, and even
sometimes dressed like one; but he did not know how to lay hands on the
vestments of faith, as will be explained later, nor how to profit from the
holy labours of Father Baltasar Barreira. Eagerness for conversion and
great zeal for the salvation of his soul drove the king to open for the first
time the forests and dense bush of his kingdom (to the Gospel). It would
have weighed well with him today if he had prevented the loss of past goodness
caused by (the intervention of) evil spirits; but since Massa Caldeira
belonged to their fraternity, at his death they all assembled, to produce
such great storms and raise such tempests at this time, that it seemed that
everything would be carried~by the winds.
(c) Punctiliousness in this is common; and cleanliness to all the Souso,
etc.


 


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