Mapping new views of Africa

first_img14 January 2004The Parliamentary Millennium Project brings together an astonishing collection of ancient maps and artefacts, contrasting Western representations with earlier Eastern ones, and with African forms of social and cultural mapping, to shed new light on the history of “the dark continent”.Post-apartheid South Africa remains divided when it comes to the perspectives people have of society. Based on the premise that our polarised views emanate from our very different experiences of history, the Parliamentary Millennium Project explores different historical perspectives of Africa, with the aim of building a common understanding among South Africans.“Parliament’s Millennium Project provides an opportunity to explore our different ideas and perspectives in order to enrich our society, rather than to allow them to divide us”, says Frene Ginwala, speaker of the National Assembly in Parliament, on the project’s impressive website.The project, comprising exhibitions in Parliament, the website, a lecture series and a schools project, uses ancient maps to illustrate different perspectives on Africa. Says Ginwala: “A rare map from the East, for example, shows Asia’s awareness of Africa years before Western explorers thought they had discovered the southern part of our continent.“Others show the Western experience of Africa – of slavery, colonial exploitation and European perceptions of Africans. This contrasts with what our people know of Africa – of, for example, gold mining, trade and a rich cultural heritage long before Europeans landed here.”Unknown Africa. Only the ports, peninsulas and a few cities in the north of the continent are marked on this map from 16th century Italy. Southern Africa is almost completely blank inside of the coast-line. The line of text in the centre reads: Hec Aphricae Antiquioribus Mansit Incognita (This part of Africa remained unknown to the ancients).Naledi Pandor, chair of the National Council of Provinces, says the project “will place the diversity of South Africa and Africa directly before our people, and will encourage them to begin discussions about South Africa and Africa from new and currently unexplored perspectives”.Asians encountered Africa firstOne such unexplored perspective on Africa is the Asian one. Contrary to popular belief, it was the Asians who first encountered Africa. A rare 15th Century map from the East, the Da Ming Hun Yi Tu, provides evidence of contact between Africa and China well before the European voyages of discovery.Many believe the Da Ming Hun Yi Tu – the Amalgamated Map of the Great Ming Empire – is the oldest in existence to show the correct shape of Africa. Painted on silk hundreds of years ago, the 3.86m x 4.56m map is stored in dry-room conditions in the First Historical Archive in Beijing. The Chinese government gave Parliament the go-ahead to reproduce the map, which has never been displayed in public before, for its exhibition.The defeat of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 blocked access for China’s new Ming rulers to the “silk route” from Asia to Europe, prompting an ambitious period of exploration of the “Western Sea” to find new trade routes. A shipyard and a school for foreign languages were established, and several maps were drawn to prepare for these voyages.China’s technological advances – including blast furnaces for casting iron, the water clock and sophisticated textile weaving equipment – allowed for the building of huge ships, some like floating farms, where vegetables were grown and livestock kept to feed the crew.Parliament’s exhibition includes pictures of these ships, and brings to life the travels of remarkable seafarer Admirial Zheng He, whose search for alternative trade routes for China took him to more than 30 countries in South East Asia, the Middle East and along the east coast of Africa.China’s great era of exploration finally came to an end when Emperor Hong Xi took power, destroying ships and maps and beginning China’s isolation from the rest of the world.Many rare maps from Parliament’s Mendelssohn’s collection, bequethed by the late Sydney Mendelssohn, are also on display at the exhibition – and reproduced on the project’s website – showing the Western experience of Africa as one dominated by slavery and colonisation.How Africans mapped their spaceContrasted with these outside views of the continent are Africans’ own social and cultural forms of mapping. While Western cartographers experimented with representing the outer shape of Africa – producing maps that were in the main about power, economic advantage and the claiming of territory – Africans defined their territory in fundamentally different ways.Consider the demarcation of geographic and social space using Lukasas, hand-sized memory boards made of wood and studded with beads and pins or covered with carved geometric designs. In Luba society, these memory devices were used in rituals to induct new rulers into office, teaching them about clan migrations, genealogies, codes of kingship, navigation routes and journeys of kings.While Western maps speak of the African interior as “the land of the unknown”, archeological finds such as the Lydenburg head, San pottery, the Golden rhino and trade beads – all part of the Millennium Project – reveal Africa’s rich cultural, social and economic life prior to the European conquests. While the seven ceramic heads found near Lydenburg in Limpopo Province remain mysterious – we still know little about the community that made them – they provide evidence that people have been making art, engaging in social activities and practising rituals for over 1 500 years in this part of the world.Similarly, the rhinoceros made from gold plating, found at Mapungubwe in 1932 and dating back 800 years, debunks the view that gold was first discovered and mined in South Africa in 1886, while Ming pottery and glass beads excavated from the same site provide proof of trade and diplomatic relations between Southern Africa and Asia well before Europeans rounded the Cape to trade in spices. Mapungubwe: SA’s lost city of gold Ginwala, introducing the project to Parliament at the time of its launch in 2002, quoted from a leading cataloguer of maps of Africa published in South Africa, explaining the absence of formal maps originating in Africa: “Perhaps we have not yet recognised among the surviving artefacts of past societies in Africa what are, in the broadest sense, maps.”Parliament’s Millennium Project, Ginwala said, aimed to illustrate “the degree to which different ways in which we experienced the past are still being reflected in the way we see and understand our current problems and policy options. It is about ways of seeing.“The exhibition as a whole will, we hope, develop a greater understanding of what makes us South African.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

LeBron James hurt but Lakers still rout Warriors

first_imgBREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Lakers: Zubac shot 9 for 10. … The Lakers had lost three of four, so this meant a lot. … Los Angeles improved to 5-6 on the road vs. the Western Conference. … Tyson Chandler, who had been questionable with back spasms after he missed Sunday’s game against Memphis, returned and played 15-plus minutes.Warriors: Iguodala reached double figures for the fourth time this season. … Curry and Draymond Green each picked up two early fouls, and Green fouled out with 5:36 left. He was limited to four points, five assists and five rebounds.UP NEXTLakers: At Sacramento on Thursday.Warriors: Host Portland on Thursday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OAKLAND, CA – DECEMBER 25: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball while being closely guarded by Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of their NBA Basketball game at ORACLE Arena on December 25, 2018 in Oakland, California. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFPOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — LeBron James prides himself in his durability, being available night after night, game after grueling game.That’s why the Lakers star is so mad he got hurt.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES MOST READ Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? He is scheduled for an MRI exam Wednesday and coach Luke Walton is preparing to be without James on Thursday night in Sacramento.James has played in 156 straight games overall and 116 in the regular season. And he’s not about to guess whether he will have to miss time.Stephen Curry made consecutive 3s shortly after James exited, and the Warriors got within 78-76 at the 2:48 mark of the third — but Kyle Kuzma and the persistent Lakers stayed at it every possession. Curry wound up with 15 points but the home fans had seen enough well before the final buzzer and headed out for the rest of Christmas.“They played like they had nothing to lose. They played like they had a free swing,” Curry said. “Everybody who touched the ball was aggressive. They just had a different look in their eye and we weren’t able to match that. They went out and won the game, that’s basically it.”Kuzma contributed 19 points with a pretty baseline 3 late, Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists off the bench as the Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak on the Warriors’ home floor since a 118-115 overtime win Dec. 22, 2012. Los Angeles also ended a seven-game skid overall in the rivalry with its first win in the series since March 6, 2016.ADVERTISEMENT James made it look easy early on shooting over Jonas Jerebko and Kevon Looney. James hit a turnaround jumper at the 4:39 mark of the second quarter to put the Lakers ahead 52-37 and L.A. led 65-50 at the break.It was James’ second straight Christmas game at Oracle Arena after playing here with the Cavaliers last year and losing 99-92.Walton — a former Warriors top assistant and dear friend of Steve Kerr — got some time with his Hall of Fame dad, Bill, before the game and a few moments to catch up with Curry and share holiday greetings in the hallway after the two-time MVP’s warmup routine.Kevin Durant, playing on a tender left ankle, had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Andre Iguodala came off the bench and made his initial five shots and 7 of 9 by halftime on the way to a season-high 23 points while also handling some of the load defending James.Golden State shot just 9 for 36 from deep, Curry going 2 of 8 and Durant 3 for 8.MCGEE’s RING DELAYEDLakers center JaVale McGee was still sick with a respiratory infection and missed his fifth straight game, didn’t travel and missed his scheduled moment to receive his championship ring. That will now happen Feb. 2 when the Lakers return to Oracle Arena.McGee was one of three big men who rotated in Steve Kerr’s rotation on the way to a repeat title.“I’m happy for JaVale. He’s getting more of a chance to play with the Lakers than he did with us,” Kerr said. “We had a lot of centers play a really important role for us the last couple of years. He was fantastic and we loved having him here. Wish he was here and that we could give him his ring today, but we’ll do it next time. Very happy for him and his success this year.”TIP-INS LeBron James leaves game vs Warriors with strained left groin Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James’ 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.“I take a lot of pride in it,” James said of always playing. “That’s why it (angered me) not to be able to go back into the game. It’s more than anything being available to my teammates, being available to my coaching staff. That’s something I take more personal than anything. Hopefully it’s not a long thing.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefJames grabbed at his left groin area with 7:51 left in the third after slipping under the Warriors’ basket while trying for a loose ball. He tried to stretch it out, awkwardly walked toward the Lakers bench trying to loosen up before leaving on his own though gingerly out the tunnel for the locker room.“I wasn’t able to go back into the game, obviously. I’ll get an MRI tomorrow and see what’s up,” James said. “With me with injuries, I’m never too concerned about them. I was able to walk off on my own power. I felt a pop, see if I could stretch it a few times, see if it would relieve but it didn’t. … I did a couple exercises to see if I could continue to go but I didn’t feel like it would benefit my team or me. So I came back and got a jump start on the rehab.” Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:25Raptors or Warriors? PBA players take their pick of NBA champ02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View commentslast_img read more