Sidi Mubarak Bombayalso known as Chuma (1820–1885) was an African guide who participated in numerous expeditions by 19th century British explorers toEast Africa.
He was awaYao, born in 1820 on the border ofTanzaniaandMozambiqueand as a young boy was captured byArabslavers. His captors made him march to the slave market inKilwa, where he was sold in exchange for some cloth, never again to see his family. Next he was sailed on a dhow to theGujaratarea ofIndia. His owner gave him the slave name of ‘Mubarak’. Bombay lived as a slave in India many years and learnedHindi. He was emancipated after his owner died, and returned to Africa.
In Africa, Bombay metJohn Hanning Speke,
who asked him to join his expedition to find the source of theNile River
and Speke communicated with each other in Hindi, as it was the only language both of them understood. Bombay was well-regarded by the British explorers; in the words of Burton, "The gem of the party, however, is one Sidi Mubarak, who has taken to himself the agnomen of 'Bombay.'" Between 1856 and 1876, Bombay participated in expeditions by Speke and other English explorers, includingRichard Francis Burton,
Henry Morton Stanley
andVerney Lovett Cameron. When Stanley went in search ofDavid Livingstone
when Stanley met Livingstone
Bombay was appointed chief of the caravan. In 1873 Bombay walked across the continent of Africa from the East coast to the West Coast.
His role in exploration was recognised by theRoyal Geographical Societyof London, which presented Bombay a silver medal 1876 for his assistance to Speke as they strived to find the source of the Nile River. However, Bombay was never invited to England. He died in Africa at the age of 65.