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 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
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.