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The travel diary of Sir James Ashton-Hayes, one of the many incompetent Europeans seeking the source of the Nile, reveals the probability of a zombie attack, and an organized, culturally accepted response to it.
He came to the village early that morning, a young Negro with a wound in his arm. Obviously the little savage had missed his spear shot and the intended dinner had kissed him goodbye. As humorous as this was to behold, the events that followed struck me as utterly barbaric. . . . Both the village witch doctor and the tribal chief examined the wound, heard the young man’s story, and nodded some unspoken decision. The injured man, through tears, said goodbye to his wife and family . . . obviously in their custom, physical contact is not permitted, then knelt at the feet of the chief. . . . The old man took hold of a large, iron-tipped cudgel then brought it crashing down upon the doomed man’s head, stoving it in like a giant black egg. Almost immediately, ten of the tribe’s warriors flung down their spears, unsheathed their primitive cutlasses, and uttered a bizarre chant, “Nagamba ekwaga nah eereeah enge.” That said, they simply headed out across the Savanna. The body of the unfortunate savage was then, to my horror, dismembered and burned while the women of the tribe wailed to the pillar of smoke. When I asked our guide for some sort of explanation, he merely shrugged his diminutive frame and responded, “Do you want him to rise again, this night?” Queer sort of folk, these savages.
Hayes neglects to say exactly what tribe this was, and further study has revealed all his geographical data to be woefully inaccurate. (Small wonder he never found the Nile.) Fortunately, the battle cry was later identified as“Njamba egoaga na era enge,”a Gikuyu phrase meaning, “Together we fight, and together we win or die.” This gives historians a clue that he was at least in what is today modern Kenya.