Linton in Pictures
A History of Linton
in Photographs
Available here
KALULU THE SLAVE BOY IN LINTON

Since this year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade I thought it might interest readers to hear the story of an ex-slave boy who came to Linton in 1873 on a visit to England with Henry Morton Stanley (1841 – 1904), the most successful explorer of his day.

Stanley was commissioned by the New York Herald to find Dr. David Livingstone. In November, 1871 he set out on his journey into darkest Africa and travelled 700 miles in 236 days before he located Dr. Livingstone on Ujiji island near Lake Tanganyika in 1872.

In the course of his travels Stanley clashed with a variety of arab slave traders and one presented him with an eight year old African boy who was said to have been a prince. Stanley named him Kalulu (Ndugu M’Hali) which means hare or rabbit mainly because he was quick to learn and prompt and swift in carrying out Stanley’s wishes. He was freed from slavery and chose to stay with Stanley as a servant and gun bearer. Stanley brought Kalulu back to England in 1873 after Livingstone had been found and toured the country advocating the suppression of slavery off the coast of East Africa.

A short article in the August 23rd, 1873 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle stated that on the previous Sunday Kalulu, the boy Stanley brought back from Africa was guest for the day with Mrs. Mortlock (of Abington Lodge) and went to Little Abington church twice. Can you image the impact of Kalulu’s visit on the local populace!

But there was more. Kalulu was staying with Mr. Mutimer of Linton and was said to be of fine growth, intelligent and hoping to become an earnest Christian. He intended to return with Stanley to Africa. Mr. Mutimer was the headteacher of the Linton Infant and Junior schools then housed in the present day Infants School. Imagine the excitement amongst the pupils to have the 8 year old boy rescued by Stanley and a witness to his meeting with David Livingstone, living with their headteacher’s family at the schoolhouse in Linton (this was demolished in 1957).

The story has a sad ending in 1877. Stanley set out on his second expedition to the Congo in 1874 and three long years later, on the Lualaba river tributary of the Congo in present day Zaire the canoe occupied by 11 year old Kalulu plunged over the fifth cataract at the Livingstone falls. Stanley was heartbroken and re-named them the Kalulu Falls to commemorate his favourite servant.

In 1874 the National Gallery acquired two portraits of Kalulu and the one printed above shows the 8 year old boy with Stanley. I cannot help but wonder if someone in Linton took a picture of Kalulu in 1873.