Lords of the Fly: Colonial Visions and Revision of African Sleeping-Sickness Environments on Ugandan Lake Victoria, 1906-61

By Hoppe, Kirk A. | Africa, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Lords of the Fly: Colonial Visions and Revision of African Sleeping-Sickness Environments on Ugandan Lake Victoria, 1906-61


Hoppe, Kirk A., Africa


District Commissioner. I believe that their numbers have been much exaggerated, and that no fear need be entertained that the cost of buying flies will amount to a very large sum. We might begin by offering a shell apiece. At that rate ... an expenditure of 20 Pounds should ensure the destruction of 15,000 flies. I am inclined to doubt that there are that number in existence in our infected districts.

Dr Hodges. I am exceedingly sorry to differ from H.E. both on the efficacy and the utility of the plan here considered. In reality, the experiment has already been tried at Entebbe. During about two years from four to six fly-boys were employed by the Sleeping Sickness commissioner solely in catching flies, and they brought in, on the average, 100 to 150 flies each per day. I satisfied myself by personal observation, by going down with the boys to the place where they caught the flies, which, indeed, remained practically the same throughout, that no appreciable diminution of them had taken place.

District Commissioner. Were the four to six boys employed continously for 2 years? And may it be taken that they brought in about 2,500 flies a week, i.e 250,000 flies during the two years? Were all the flies got from one place--`the same throughout', and was there really `no appreciable diminution'? Where was this place?

[Uganda National Archives, 1906a]

In response to increasing sleeping sickness deaths in Uganda in late 1906, a British scientist and a colonial administrator debated conflicting British plans for Uganda. The Busogan district commissioner's primary concern lay with the financial cost of avoiding an epidemic in the region. A sleeping-sickness epidemic might threaten the availability of African labour before it could be put to British advantage. In the commissioner's view, a harmonious administrative and ideological solution to the problem would be to attach a profit motive to the collection of tsetse flies; such a plan might put an end to fly infestations and serve to organise African labour as well. To the contrary, Dr. Hodges, the medical officer in Busoga, suggested that the control of sleeping-sickness in Uganda lay beyond the power of economic incentives, and stressed the need for on-going scientific research and intervention. The district commissioner, though irritated, could not ignore the scientist's judgement. He recognised that new scientific methods and technologies could supply, or at least suggest, a precision integral to the institutionalisation of British sovereignty. But British scientists would never completely control sleeping-sickness, tsetse flies, or African research, more disruption of Ugandan lives, and on-going restructuring of African environments.

INTRODUCTION

In 1906 the colonial administration responded to large numbers of sleeping-sickness deaths among Ugandans by designating certain environments `Infected Areas' and making human occupation in those areas illegal. Simultaneously, for purposes of policing, communication, and commerce, they ordered that levied Ugandan labour should clear tsetse-harbouring bush from a limited number of authorised roads and landings to allow essential human access through tsetse fly-infested land. Colonial medical officials forcibly tested Ugandans for trypanosome infection, and incarcerated the infected in sleeping-sickness camps.(1) In this article I examine the relationship between colonially designated Infected Areas and fly-free areas both in terms of the production of ideology for British and Ugandans alike, and in terms of the production of new spatial arrangements in Uganda. By 1910 there were six declared `Infected Areas' in Uganda. My focus is on the Lake Victoria Infected Area, which was the first and reportedly most virulent infected sleeping-sickness area in Uganda. This was a Two-mile-wide strip running the entire southern length of Uganda, along the Lake Victoria shore, through the kingdoms of Buganda and Busoga, and including all Ugandan islands in the lake. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Lords of the Fly: Colonial Visions and Revision of African Sleeping-Sickness Environments on Ugandan Lake Victoria, 1906-61
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.