The previous two sections have stressed the considerable differences in these two traditions. They appear mutually exclusive in content and narrative form, as well as in their distribution: those who know one tradition do not know the other. They therefore do not draw on a common stock of cliché or metaphor (though each shows a formidable arsenal in these domains), nor are they simply two distinct versions told by the same people with a common objective. In fact, given this presence among a relatively small island population forming a single political unit, the two traditions appear to be close to independent testimony. And yet these two clans relate traditions whose essential cores converge; they appear to agree on a common set of events, a single (very important) episode in Ijwi’s past. Thus, for the historian, these traditions are more than simply literary expressions of cultural values or of contemporary social factors, though their form of expression can be viewed in these terms.

Partial confirmation for the general corpus of clan histories of the Babambo and Baloho is available from the traditions of other clans. Although few people outside the Babambo and Baloho clans know of the genesis traditions discussed here, the patterns of conflict and alliance that the Babambo and Baloho have experienced with the royal family since their arrival on Ijwi are indeed known to others. Even the names of individuals involved in these interaction patterns (though not the names of the central nonroyal figures in the genesis traditions, Kamo and Lubambo) are known to some other informants, despite the fact thatthe names of historical members of other clans are generally not retained in local traditions on Ijwi. Still, where the Babambo and Baloho histories take place on Ijwi, other Bany’Iju today know enough of these histories to be able to serve as confirmation, though they do not know the genesis traditions in any precise manner.

This conclusion is important in considering the “social charter” hypothesis, whereby the traditions serve the unique function of justifying sociopolitical status (or refuting a relative lack of status) at a given moment in the flow of time. If the present genesis traditions do serve that function, then that moment does not seem to belong to the postcolonial or even the colonial “present.” But various traditions agree on the outlines of Babambo and Baloho relations with the royal family over the nineteenth century, and, as pointed out above, the genesis traditions discussed here provide a plausible explanation for these nineteenth-century interactions of the Babambo and Baloho with the royal family.It would therefore seem that the genesis traditions relate more directly to these nineteenth-century alliance and conflict patterns, partially known to others on Ijwi, than they do to more recent conditions. Consequently, if their primary function was originally etiological, then they seem to have been stopped in time, and if this is so, then it seems that their function is to justify these nineteenth-century pat-terns of interaction more than to attempt to refute present “status deflation.”

Moreover, if the genesis traditions were somehow generated in two different idioms to account for nineteenth-century events, then one can conclude that they have been handed down over that period of time at least. Therefore, they would show the essential characteristic of a historical tradition, that of trans-mission over time, and would in fact be no longer etiological but historical. Were they originally etiological explanations relating to nineteenth-century Ijwi relationships with the royal family, one would expect these traditions to refer directly to the events they are trying to explain. In fact, they do not: the lived histories discussed in the preceding section do not appear at all in the genesis traditions, which appear quite distinct.

Furthermore, the genre of etiological tradition, by its use as a popular ex-planation and its immersion in contemporary society, would seem to be highly sensitive to the evolving social norms. If these two traditions were originally primarily etiological, referring to nineteenth-century royal history, it is therefore probable that they would have been superseded by more recent traditions that explain their current status. In fact, traditions relating to the earlier events are retained, not simply forgotten; present events are explained by additional traditions.

Finally, etiological traditions usually relate to a single cultural item (e.g. the introduction of cattle, iron, or certain food crops) or a single complex of related royal rites (which are only implicitly dealt with in these traditions), rather than a whole series of discrete but interlocking sociological elements that are apparent in independent forms of data and in different domains of activities: etiologies are usually simplified and reductive rather than complex and potentially applicable to a wide range of patterns and sources. Therefore, the presence on Ijwi of continuing ritual roles (such as for the Babambo), present-day residential pat-terns historically validated through independent local traditions, and other his-torical and cultural indications (noted in the preceding section and including patterns of joking relations) all appear to confirm the historical traditions at an analytical level of convergent confirmations above that at which an etiological argument could be upheld.

Etiological tales, by their simplified nature and appeal to present concerns, are usually widespread in a culture. This characteristic does not conform at all to the distinctive and highly defined distribution patterns of the two genesis traditions discussed here. It is clear that they are not intended as general explanations whose function is to reinforce common values and provide social cohesion as well as entertainment. It would therefore seem that these traditions are not etio-logical in their function (that of explaining the present), their origin (that of ex-plaining events that were once “present” events, but doing so in etiological forms with reference to contemporary values alone), their present form (as simplified representations of a particular social element), or their distribution.

The possibility that the two genesis traditions are simply recent variants of what was originally a single tradition of origin legitimizing the royal line need also be considered. In that case, there is no assurance that the events happened as portrayed because there would be no independent confirmation of the differ-ent sources. Indeed, the relatively recent immigration of a social group from outside, but claiming royal status and associated with aspects of royalty foreign to the Ijwi experience, would seem to provide suitable conditions for the generation of a single tradition of origin legitimizing the royal line.But under such conditions it is more plausible that the resultant explanation would represent the Basibula ties to the kingdom as a whole and would be shared by many of the constituent groups of the kingdom. Certainly, one would expect a tradition of this sort to be found among the royal family—which it is not! And certainly also there would be some common ground in the form of the two traditions. But be-cause these two traditions differ in both thematic and narrative content, as wellas in form, they do not appear to be simply variants of a single generalized social charter of the Ijwi kingdom.

Nor does it appear that the tradition of Sibula arrival has been built up by a gradual process of convergence of several competing traditions focusing on royal ties with different independent clans. In such a process one would expect a synthesis or amalgamation to appear that would weld the variants into one “offi-cial tradition,” but there is no indication that this has taken place. Nor do other clans (some of whose sections may well have arrived contemporaneously with the Basibula) claim ties in the same form as do the Baloho and Babambo in their royal genesis traditions, despite whatever prestige the Babambo and Baloho may have derived from their historical claims. Certain clans on Ijwi can boast greater ritual importance to royalty than either the Babambo or Baloho, yet they do not attempt to validate their role though legitimizing traditions of the type narrated by the Babambo and Baloho.

All the indications are, therefore, that the two genesis traditions are not only independent in origin (as discussed above), but that they independently arrive at their general conclusions; there is no apparent cultural bias on Ijwi for clan identity to coalesce around concepts of ties with the royal family. Consequently, there appears neither interchange through direct interaction among the traditions nor indirect common influences acting on them from the wider cultural environment. Thus, while one can account for the differences between the pres-ent forms of the traditions as the previous section attempted to do, the similarities within such differences still need to be accounted for.

The traditions are not divergent from a single original tradition: how, then, does one reconcile the fact of their differences with the claim that they refer to a single historical episode? Since the differences in content are so great, they are not simply conflicting accounts of similar events resulting from different social perspectives. Instead they seem more complementary than contradictory, referring to different aspects within the same larger episode of royal advent to Ijwi. Thus, though the traditions are mutually exclusive in content and distribution, the validity of one need not exclude the validity of the other: in this case historians are not faced with an either/or choice, failing which they must choose neither.

The two traditions seem plausible as historical reconstructions when judged against independent historical data related either to the royal family or to the Babambo and Baloho alone. The same can be said when the two traditions are judged against each other. All traditions, as well as indirect evidence,indicate that Mwendanga arrived on Ijwi as a full adult. Prior to his arrival, he had hisown domain on the mainland (at Bujombo), which seems to have always been an area important to him: several of his sons and wives apparently remained there even after his arrival on Ijwi, and it was there that he eventually died and was buried. It is clear, therefore, that there was a certain lapse of time between the attack on Kamerogosa by the Babambo (possibly the cause of Mwendanga’s schism with the Babambo) and Mwendanga’s arrival on Ijwi. Consequently, it is likely that this tradition deals only with a very small and highly selective portion of Mwendanga’s life before his arrival on Ijwi; the same is clearly true for the Baloho tradition. In other words, it is likely that the two traditions are accounts of different periods in Mwendanga’s life, and there is no incompatibility in what some people may object to as their contradictory character.

The Babambo tradition concentrates particularly on the earlier phases of Mwendanga’s life: Kabwiika’s relationship with Lubambo’s family and his death, and the early Babambo attempts to regain the Havu drums for Mwendanga. The later aspects are downplayed, and in fact presented in a style very different from the bulk of the traditions—almost as an epilogue. Indeed, given the importance of Babambo claims to have sent Mwendanga to Ijwi, this particular part of the traditions can be seen as an epilogue, strongly influenced by the perceived need to establish the tie of the Babambo family on Ijwi (and royal presence on Ijwi) directly with the Babambo community on the mainland. At any rate, because this section of the tradition is so sparse, it is very difficult to compare it with other data or to provide a check on its historical probability, which therefore must remain less certain than the earlier part of the tradition that speaks to Mwendanga’s matrilateral ties to the Babambo.

Furthermore, there may have been more or less continuous tension be-tween the Babambo and the Basibula (the royal family) during the later part of Mwendanga’s life. Various traditions mention conflict (or at least tensions) be-tween Mwendanga and his maternal uncles and matrilateral cousins at the time of the attack on Kamerogosa, before the royal arrival on Ijwi. The succession dispute on Mwendanga’s death is also presented as a case of Babambo ambitions against Basibula status; even Babambo traditions imply that it was at least in part Babambo pretensions to power that provoked the split. It therefore seems likely that this tension between the two groups continued throughout the greater part of Mwendanga’s later life, and that where the Babambo claim to have sent Mwendanga to Ijwi, in fact they more likely only accompanied him.Finally, the Babambo seem never to have exercised political power on Ijwi itself; the later succession dispute indicates that their main area of strength was always on themainland. This, too, would lend a certain aura of disbelief to the Babambo claim to have been the primary influence in Mwendanga’s arrival. Thus the principal historical value of this tradition appears to be found in the earlier sections, de-scribing the Sibula succession dispute and Kabwiika’s refuge among the Babambo.

The Babambo tradition, therefore, seems most valid for the earlier periods of Mwendanga’s life: Kabwiika’s exile and death, Mwendanga’s birth to Nkobwa, and the early Babambo attempts to place Mwendanga on the Havu throne. Each of these segments is confirmed from other oral sources; and each conforms to several other types of supporting data. But the later part of the Babambo tradition lacks support of this kind. Furthermore, it seems likely that, more than other parts, the later section of the narrative has been influenced by the functional need to tie the Babambo community on Ijwi to the early history of Mwendanga’s royal claims, by linking royalty on Ijwi with Lubambo’s hospitality toward Kabwiika. In short, Mwendanga’s early dependence on the Babambo as a child seems carried over—without supporting evidence—to his later career and arrival on Ijwi.

It is this aspect of the tradition that most directly conflicts with the Baloho version, and in this case the Baloho version seems to carry more authority. The Babambo held no important political positions on Ijwi during the first two reigns (those of Mwendanga and Kabego); it is only during the early twentieth century, as clients and colleagues of Ndogosa’s eldest son, that they appear in positions of delegated, political authority, and none of the major military leaders from Ijwi’s past have been Babambo. Therefore, the evidence does not support Babambo claims as influential in Mwendanga’s establishment or early reign on Ijwi; the Babambo claim to having sent Mwendanga to Ijwi seems largely to serve as a post facto explanation to account for the Basibula move to Ijwi—and to connect that to the Babambo relation to Kabwiika (through Nkobwa).

Baloho traditions, however, deal with exactly those time periods where the Babambo appear weakest as historical sources. If the Babambo had little influence in the early Ijwi kingdom, it is clear that the Baloho had influence all out of proportion to their numbers—regionally defined, but no less real for that. They state that Kamo tutored Mwendanga, and it is clear, through marriage ties and their privileged position at the court, that Baloho at least had access to the king in an advisory capacity. Thus it is the Baloho tradition that provides the continuity from Mwendanga’s original status as mainland exile to his later status as king on Ijwi.

On the other hand, just as Babambo traditions are weak on Mwendanga’s later life, the Baloho variants omit all reference to Mwendanga’s ancestry, birth, and contacts with other groups—just the areas of strength (and external confirmation) in the Babambo tradition. The only reference to royal descent in the Baloho tradition is implicit: that Mwendanga was sought by his enemies (and hence the sack) “because he was [to be] a king.” Kabwiika does appear in some versions of the Baloho traditions, but all we know from these references is that Kabwiika died leaving behind the infant Mwendanga, who was cared for by Kabwiika’s friend Kamo. The Baloho accounts make no mention of the succession dispute at Nyabihunge, or of how Kabwiika died, or of royalty, or of the Babambo —as indeed, these are all secondary to the Baloho interest in Mwendanga’s arrival on Ijwi with Kamo.

In such ways, therefore, the two traditions appear to be consecutive commentaries on Mwendanga’s life, rather than contradictory statements; with few exceptions, the narrative elements of these two traditions complement each other well. While we can never know with absolute certainty the details of Mwendanga’s life, we can learn much about the Babambo and Baloho by the way they portray his life, and the way they see themselves relating to it. Through their common concern with Mwendanga, the two traditions can be used as a form of evaluation on each other, even when they are not directly interrelated.

This sectionhas tried to look at the potential use of these two traditions for historians. In the absence of acceptable data from historical sources other than oral tradition, the argument has necessarily been based on negative analysis: re-futing potential obstacles to viewing the traditions as proper historical guides. Having presented the differences of the two traditions within their essential convergence (their agreement on Mwendanga’s historicity and his arrival on Ijwi to found a new royal line), we have tried to account for all the possible alternative explanations for the presence of the traditions being studied. While this tech-nique may not establish the traditions as “straight history,” it will, by defining their limitations as historical sources, help to identify those aspects of the traditions that are more plausible historical data than others. In the process, I have tried to bring into account many of the historical and sociological aspects of Ijwi that may bear on this problem; though certainly a part of contemporary Ijwi society, they do not seem rooted in contemporary concepts and symbolism. There is therefore no obstacle, either in form or in content, to viewing these traditions as properly historical accounts, though they provide different data from each other. of kingsSocial & cultureThe previous two sections have stressed the considerable differences in these two traditions. They appear mutually exclusive in content and narrative form, as well as in their distribution: those who know one tradition do not know the other. They therefore do not draw on a common stock of cliché...AMATEKA