From Mary Elizabeth Barber [after February 1867]1
Answers to some of the queries about expression in the Native races of S. Africa2
No. 1. By the Kafir and Fingoe tribes3 astonishment is expressed by a serious look and by placing the right hand upon the mouth at the same time uttering the word Mawo! which means wonderful
No. 2. I have never observed a blush of any kind upon the dark colord skins of either Kafirs or Fingoes.
No. 3. I have never seen a Kafir or Fingoe clench his fists, they do not fight with their fists.
No. 11. Yes, in very much the same way as in Europeans. I have often heard it said of Kafirs and Fingoes that they were pale with rage or fear.
No. 12— Yes. they frequently laugh until the tears run down their cheeks, especially the women.
No. 13. I have never seen a Kafir or Fingoe shrug his shoulders or extend outwardly the palms of his hands.
No. 14. When Kafirs or Fingoes are sulky their lips are protruded and eyes cast down.
No. 15— Yes. their faces are very expressive and a guilty look can easily be detected.
No. 16— No. the sign used by Kafirs and Fingoes to keep silent is by gently waving the right hand backwards and forwards just below the face, on the right hand side, with the hand open and the palm turned slightly downwards, while the expression of the face is very serious.
No 19— I am not quite sure about the head being nodded vertically in affirmation but I have never seen it shaken lateraly in negative
My observations only apply to the Kafir and Fingoe tribes, with the other numerous races I have had no intercouse and know nothing of their manners and customs.
M. E. Barber
Replies to Queries on expression based on observations of the Kaffir and Fingoe tribes in South Africa.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5745,” accessed on 22 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5745