"Make rain and fine weather"
African 'God of Thunder' idol
Public DomainAfrican 'God of Thunder' idol - Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
'Tu-ku-linga mvula' ('We want rain') - an invocation by a Congo medicine man (1892)
Public Domain'Tu-ku-linga mvula' ('We want rain') - an invocation by a Congo medicine man (1892) - Credit: E. J. Glave

In ‘Frazer, Conrad and the “truth of primitive passion”’ (1990), Robert Hampson points to this line as one of a number that relate Kurtz to the type of man-god whom James Frazer called ‘weather king’. In The Golden Bough, Frazer notes that ‘Weather kings are common in Africa’ and cites the Banjars of West Africa as ascribing to their king ‘the power of causing rain or fine weather’. Another of his examples of a ‘rain-maker’ is ‘Namvulu Vumu, King of the Rain and Storm’, who lives ‘on a hill at Bomma (the mouth of the Congo)'.

 

W. Holman Bentley notes in Pioneering on the Congo: ‘These poor inland folk believe that we are gods, that we send the rain, and can withhold it at will'.