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African Eve

African Eve

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A Search for the Origins and Evolution of Humankind in Africa



What is past is prologue. - William Shakespeare

© Denis Montgomery 2003 41 Majors Close, Chedburgh, Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk, England

This book was produced with Corel WordPerfect v 11.0, the font was Arial 11pt. A typescript copy of the first draft text of Aquatic Ape and African Eve, the edition of 1995, was lodged in the library of The British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. Texts on CDROM have been lodged in that library and in The Royal Geographical Society. These deposits prove the provenance and the work is copyright. Publishing without authorisation is both illegal and immoral.

By the same author : The Reflected Face of Africa (1988) and Two Shores of the Ocean (1992)


AQUATIC APE AND AFRICAN EVE A Search for the Origin and Evolution of Humankind in Africa

Denis Montgomery ~~~~~~~~~
Unde etiam vulgare Gaeciae dictum ‘semper aliquid novi Africam adferre’. (Whence it is commonly said amongst the Greeks that ‘Africa always offers something new’.) - Gaius Plinius Secundus, [AD23-79] The sons of Africa must let the world know that we can well do without civilisation if this means that we have to throw our own culture, beliefs and way of life overboard. - Credo Mutwa, Zulu Chronicler You cannot force the development of the soul as if it were a hothouse flower; the process must be gentle and gradual. So the true progress of Africa, in our day, did not necessarily fit in with plans for urgent economic development. - Sir Shenton Thomas G.C.M.G., [1879-1962], British Colonial Governor. In this world of crowded houses, people crushed and crammed together, Hima could now believe the Dangi story, that men die only because there is no room for them all. - Hazel Mugot, Kenyan novelist. Glorious is this world, the world that sustains man like a maggot in a carcass. - Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali, South African poet.



AQUATIC APE AND AFRICAN EVE A Search for the Origins and Evolution of Humankind in Africa


Introduction Note on Stone Age designations 1 Cro-Magnon from Africa 2 The Great Culture Jump 3 The “Cygnus Event” 4 Africa's Late Stone Age Races 5 Kalahari, Last Home of the Bushmen 6 Pyramids, Grain, Milk and Blood 7 A Vortex in East Africa 8 The Khoi, once called the Hottentots 9 Cattle Point the Way 10 Indian Ocean Seatraders 11 The Swahili Coast 12 A Beautiful Ivory Bangle 13 Iron Age Convergence in Southern Africa 14 The ‘Golden Rhino’ and Zimbabwe 15 Terra da Boa Gente Afterword Bibliography and further reading General Index

4 7 9 19 35 40 55 66 79 99 116 122 133 152 166 180 193 207 214 220




This book is a follow-on from Book One, as the title implies. I have separated the original book into two distinct parts especially for the Internet, because two parts are less bulky, and they are more easily downloaded and handled than one very large file. In any case the time-scale of this book is rather different. But there is an interface and there will be inevitable references back to Book One. In that book, I expounded on the particulars of the Aquatic Hypothesis and subsequent events of the extraordinary jumps from forest ape to modern mankind. In this book, I tell some of the story of what happened after the great migration of modern mankind, Homo sapiens, ‘out of Africa’ into the rest of the planet. W hile the amazing evolution of modern mankind from neolithic huntergatherer to urban dweller was occurring in the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, it might be thought that south of the Sahara Desert Africa was stagnating. This is not so. Steadily, Africans continued to improve their social organisations and refine their cultures. They did so without the revolution of urban civilisation and one might speculate that their path was the true and proper roadway for human development. In Asia and along the Nile, and then in Europe, agriculture, urban civilisation, literacy, mathematically-based science, technical expertise and the industrialisation of society happened with relatively lightning-fast speed. This may be seen as an aberration in human evolution and the more gradual development of African society in the last ten thousand years as the natural way. W hile urban civilisation bounded away and has resulted in the ‘W estern’ world as we know it today, with a strange and uncertain future, subSaharan African peoples were honing and refining, adjusting their newlyexpanded consciousness to their environment. In Africa a different kind of civilisation evolved where complex political and social structures emerged without the massing together in huge static materialistic cities, the use of literacy and the invention of advanced engineering technologies. It happened without the harnessing of specialised industrial innovations resulting in the slaughter of many millions of people in territorial and dynastic wars. W hile people of the northern hemisphere were learning to dominate the planet, and thus gaining knowledge which endangers all life, Africans were learning to live with its majesty. It is no surprise to me that it is in Africa that ‘lesser’ species of all life forms survived without being extinguished by human intervention. Equally, it does not surprise me that while urbanised people invented a diverse range of dogmatic and stylised religions to explain life and the mysteries of existence, Africans retained a pure sense of holistic integration with the world and the universe beyond. Africans seldom met each other in conflict over religion or culture. W here there was conflict, it occurred over territory during periods of environmental pressure and usually that conflict was resolved quite swiftly with the minimum of bloodshed. The principle of clientship, where a weaker or refugee community accepted domination by a stronger or resident nation in the face of natural


disaster was developed. This could result in a permanent merging or a separation again as conditions dictated. Populations were naturally stable and when climate created instability and hardship, there was accumulated wisdom on how to cope. All people knew about nature and that knowledge accumulated over thousands of years. The change in sub-Sahara Africa began with the introduction of primary agriculture and metal technology from the outside from maybe 3,500 years ago. Much of this new expertise came overland from the north, from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and much came across the oceans carried by seatraders. These exotic innovations arriving at the periphery of sub-Sahara Africa began to cause unnatural population growth which produced territorial conflicts of greater severity, unusual migrations and abnormally fast mingling of peoples and their cultures. They were the first wafts of the ‘winds of change’ which blew ever faster. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people from urban industrial European nations began to penetrate sub-Saharan Africa to trade and the ‘civilising’ of ‘black’ Africa began. But, so alien were these later visitors that their effect was surprisingly limited. It was as if the very spirit of Africa was in revolt against the onslaught. Their ideas and dogmas were frequently rejected as inappropriate. The conversion, and subversion, of sub-Saharan African societies could not be started until their lands were physically conquered as recently as the last quarter of the 19th century and the early twentieth. Political control by European colonial powers was voluntarily relinquished with amazing rapididity mostly by the end of the 1960s, a unique event in world history, but the process of conversion has not ceased. The profound conflict between the descendants of African Eve who went ‘out of Africa’ 80,000 years ago and those who stayed behind continues today. The results of that conflict are seen every day and the most visible of them in newspapers and on TV is an endless portrayal of suffering. The terrible civil wars which seem to be endemic to Africa are not natural to the people of that continent ; they are the product of the turmoil caused by this abrupt and incisive conflict of culture. It has been estimated that the African share of world trade in the 1980s was 4%, a pathetically small portion ; twenty years later it had shrunk unbelievably to less than two per cent. At the beginning of the 21st century, Africa’s share of the world’s GNP was a miserable 1.75% while being home to 13.3% of the human population! It is not merely a poverty-gap that continues to increase, it is the underlying cause, the difficulty of natural adjustment through clientship, which is also increasing. Africans as a mass, continue unconsciously to apply the principles of clientship to assuage the strains of adjustment, but the gap between cultures still grows. Civil wars are seen to have become endemic in Africa. Perhaps 20,000,000 or more people have been slaughtered or died from the famines and disease resulting from these dreadful conflicts since Africans gained their ‘freedom’ from colonialism. The scourge of HIV-Aids, which has a grotesque correlation with the ‘type C baboon-marker’ virus which destroyed whole populations of primates in an ancient time in Africa (described in Book One), probably had its origin in African rainforests, and is killing 7,000 people every day in sub-Sahara Africa


as I write. Contemplation of these trends and events, by those who give them more than casual attention, is appalling. It is fashionable to apportion blame. Arabs, Indians, Europeans, ‘The W est’, the USA, white racism, ‘globalization’, capitalism, Marxism, technology, materialism - all of these are popular bogeys at the beginning of the 21st century. But how can blame be placed on the principle of Evolution? Is there any sense in blaming races, cultures or nations for the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest? W hat we can do is to try and understand and ameliorate the process. W e Europeans did not deliberately choose to be industrialised and urbanised, but we did consciously decide that Africans should join us. Africans trying to ‘catch up’ is one of the greater dramas in the birthplace of mankind. W e cannot stop our headlong progress, so what can we do to make it easier for Africa? Surely not by a flood of inappropriate ‘aid’ and the suffocating poison of instant and casual drafts of technical and social cultures, patronizingly tossed off to the so-called unfortunates of Africa. Is there any way to smooth the path of this inexorable steamroller of Evolution? Perhaps the best place to start is to understand what happened. This is what I try to explore. It is a subject needing another great tome, and many learned scholars and worthy commentators have written numerous books and articles. In the 1980s UNESCO promoted a General History of Africa in eight large volumes containing millions of words with contributions by dozens of academics and even that massive effort is not a complete story. So what follows here is a very personal overview of a few important matters which I believe to be significant. Of necessity, the treatment is a skimming on the surface. However, I hope that I am presenting a useful summary of those essential themes with latest knowledge and some intuitive observations resulting from much travel over many years.

Denis Montgomery Chedburgh, Suffolk. 21 October 2003.



This book is mostly about the people who remained in the heartland after the emigration ‘out-of-Africa’ of those who became the ancestors of the rest of humanity. All of the African people who are described are what are known as ‘modern’ people; genetically of the species Homo sapiens. W e are all of the same species, but we belong to different races and our cultures have been developed in different ways with different time-scales and time-lines. Stone Age, Neolithic, Iron Age and so forth refer to industrial culture and not to species or race. The designations of Middle and Late Stone Age, and Early and Late Iron Age as applied to sub-Sahara Africa are different to those conventionally used in Europe. As always there is some controversy as new knowledge is gained and new cultural attributes are discovered. W ithin professional and academic circles definitions get sharpened and the layperson is easily left behind. Henshilwood et al in a paper on the Blombos Cave archaeological site in South Africa wrote (2001) in their Introduction: The origins of “modern” human behaviour are a contentious issue and the subject of ongoing and extensive debate. ... Problems specific to “modern” behaviour paradigms are defining what is “modern”, establishing a time frame(s) and place(s) for the behavioural transition and whether the transition to modernity was of a linear or mosaic nature. In this book, I have assumed a rough guide for myself which I hope will be acceptable to the reader. I have defined the Middle Stone Age in sub-Sahara Africa to be from the emergence of Homo sapiens with the refining of tools and early embellishments, with the social changes that these illustrate, from about 170,000 years ago, with clear evidence before 80,000 years ago when the major migrations of modern people out-of-Africa into the rest of the world began. The Late Stone Age I see as beginning with the amazing jump to extensive rock-art, wide variations of fine manufacture of tools and jewellery and a general culture base which successfully prevailed without great change after the last ice age when the rise of urban civilisations and the use of metals began in the Middle East. My rough-and -ready designations applied to Africa and used hereafter are therefore: Early Stone Age : from the beginning of widespread tool-making to about 170,000 years ago. Middle Stone Age : from about 170,000 years ago to 35-40,000 years ago. Late Stone Age : from 35-40, 000 years ago to the recent present. W hat I term to be the Middle Stone Age and part of the Late Stone Age in Africa is nowadays usually described in European archaeology and anthropology as the Upper Palaeolithic, divided into Early, Middle and Late. European Mesolithic begins at the end of the last ice age and Neolithic starts


at 9,000 years ago, roughly coincident with agriculture. In sticking to using ‘Stone Age’, I hope it will be clear I am using the definitions I have described and not the current European delimitations. Inevitably, I may use the term, Neolithic, especially applied to agriculture, and when I do I shall be referring to the last 9,000 years when European Neolithic and ‘my’ African Late Stone Age cultures coincide. W herever the influence of metal industry and agriculture did not penetrate, right up to the 20th century, and a hunter-gatherer lifestyle was maintained, I consider that the Late Stone Age was still active. To confuse this generalisation, it is evident that Late Stone Age agriculture flourished before and in parallel with the Iron Age in Africa. The introduction of the Iron Age was often dependant on the availability of iron ore and not on knowledge of iron or its technology. There are many examples of people who are defined as of the Late Stone Age trading iron tools or weapons with others who were clearly of the Iron Age. Equally the change from a hunting-gathering lifestyle to organised agriculture was not dependant on hunter-gatherers ‘learning’ agriculture. Iron Age agriculturalists have had to revert to a Late Stone Age hunter-gathering culture in the face of territorial displacement or climatic change. Some African hunter-gatherers who were thoroughly familiar with agriculture preferred to maintain their lifestyle for hundreds of years until forced to change by modern, post-independence governments in the late 20th century. African anthropology is not simple. South of the Sahara there is no evidence of a native Bronze Age. SubSaharan Africans jumped from a Late Stone Age culture to the Early Iron Age when iron technology was introduced from Egypt, gradually from about 3,500 years ago. The Early Iron Age was many centuries in penetrating most of subSaharan Africa, only reaching the far south in the first millennium of the Christian era. The Late Iron Age is usually taken to define a general socio-political change or revolution in sub-Sahara African society, often applied to eastern Africa and beginning about 1,200 years ago. It is these issues with which this book is principally concerned. Read on!



000 years ago. Genetic trails were being drawn which supported the growing fossil and climatological story of modern mankind’s peopling from an African base. Later. Stringer made his name in the early 1990s by showing that the Neanderthals of Europe and western Asia were a diverging species.000 years ago. * * * 9 . Christopher Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London and Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University have done much to enlighten us on this subject. It is only recently. in 2003. driven by the giant climatic cycles of the Ice-ages and the refreshing magic of the Indian Ocean seemed sufficiently reasonable to be real. were moving forcefully into Europe. The next major migration occurred about 80. but by 50. but this migration faltered during a cold-dry time when the deserts of Syria and Palestine overcame them. honed by their experiences. driven by newest fossil and genetic evidence. an overall picture of pulsing surges and retreats of hominids from their core in tropical eastern Africa. They moved through the islands of Indonesia and crossed the narrow channel to Australia. but the central theme holds. Definitive fossils have been described in Ethiopia close to the Red Sea shores at about 160. Out of Eden.000 years ago on Sumatra created a hiatus. the Peopling of the World. Homo sapiens. Over the enormous period of hundreds of thousands of years being contemplated. By 40. there were many opportunities for sundry diversions and aberrations. African Exodus. An enormous quantity of research and information has gone into this study and many scientists of several disciplines at sundry institutions all over the world have contributed. Two scientists have provided us with books for the general reader which summarise the great volume of detailed data and engage us with their arguments and conclusions.000 years ago. following the same theme. that speculation and heated academic discussion over the peopling of the world by modern humanity and their divergence into the several races we know today has reached a consensus.000 years ago they were at the Atlantic edge.CHAPTER ONE : CRO-MAGNON FROM AFRICA In Book One I describe how Homo sapiens appeared in Africa with a dawn probably about 250. with Robin McKie. The Toba volcanic explosion of 74. Stephen Oppenheimer combined enormous detail of genetic research into the latest exposition of this diaspora from Africa in his book. Science has now confirmed that theme for modern humanity. descended from Homo erectus and proceeding on a separate evolutionary path to that of emerging Homo sapiens in Africa. As described in Book One. he published.000 years ago Homo sapiens. There is a proven migration of these early modern humans into the Middle East via the Suez land bridge before 100. in the last ten years. I used two scientific authors as my principal references in describing these later events. the Origins of Modern Humanity in 1996. proceeding along the shores of the Indian Ocean and penetrating the valleys of the great rivers of Asia which debouch into that primal sea.000 years ago.

There were extensive coniferous forests inland and the populations of large mammals which are illustrated in the paintings would have been thin. The Vézère. including Neanderthal people. have created the cliffs in which are the caves and shelters which different people found attractive between at least 125. Together with its major tributary. and its local tributaries. was often covered either by permanent glaciers or was marginal land where trees could not survive and large herbivores could only find nutrition in a short summer season. the Grande and Petite Beune. The Dordogne is a powerful river that rises in the Massif Central and flows generally west to join the Garonne below Bordeaux to form the Gironde estuary.000 years ago. including most of the British Isles. which flows through the village of Les Eyzies.35. if it was genetically viable. Northern Europe. the more specialised industry and more complex society of the Late Stone Age. The discovery of parts of a Homo erectus skeleton at Boxgrove in Sussex which. The valley bottoms of alluvial soil are today thoroughly cultivated farmlands relieved by poplars and willows.000 years ago. the climate and therefore the vegetation was probably similar to that of present-day Scandinavia. ancient cattle and reindeer migrated with the seasons. with long warmer intervals. it was announced in 1994. the Vézère. No doubt the ‘Boxgrove Man’ was there because of the universal dispersion of Homo erectus from Africa at that climatically 10 . sufficient for their rigorous lifestyle. The Neanderthal people who inhabited Europe. effective hunting techniques. it has carved its way through the limestone deposits of the Cretaceous period to sculpt cliff-begird valleys. ‘modern’ Homo sapiens.The spectacular rock-art of the Dordogne region of France is like a lens focussing attention on the fate of Neanderthal people living in Europe and the Middle East at the critical time of about 40 . They did not make the jump to the creative artwork. but the sides and shoulders of the valleys are densely covered by holm-oaks with pockets of chestnuts and pine.000 years ago. And they did not survive as a discernible distinct species beyond about 30. the making of protective clothing of fur and skin. The bones show that the Early Stone Age people living in Britain at that time were taller and possibly had a more ‘modern’ skeletal structure than Neanderthals. No doubt each migration mixed with pockets of Homo erectus from more ancient pulses. the Middle East and Asia at least as far as the Caspian Sea had a culture which included the making of a useful range of tools. Those which lived in large herds such as bisons. I visualise the Neanderthals being descended from Homo erectus with ancestry resulting from pulses out of Africa during warm interglacials. As the climate pulsed.000 and 10. The rigours of the winters kept their numbers down and restricted the population of their predators. They were at a stage not dissimilar to Middle Stone Age Africans of maybe 80. is dated to about 500. so did they. horses. who displaced those who had been inhabiting that region for many thousands of years.000 years ago during the rigours of several cold periods and warm intervals. the creation of simple decorative jewellery and they had evolved a complex social organisation which included ritual burial. and the inward migration of new people of Afro-Asiatic origin. During much of that time.000 years ago is interesting. The rock-art was produced by these new people.

stocky Neanderthals (averaging 5'3" in height) with heavy brows and low foreheads. ±320Kya. They are the often-lampooned troglodytes and trolls of European race-memory and mythology. Positive feedback from several coincidental developments were interacting on each other. In the Dordogne and far across Europe their other equally significant relics have been found. probably further north of long term successful penetration by earlier Homo erectus. significantly. incapable of competing and surviving after 30. nearly six feet. artwork can only survive in suitable shelters whereas stone artifacts are found 11 . The skeletal changes of Neanderthals in Europe is no mystery. It was the Cro-Magnons who painted and engraved on the walls of the caves and shelters. where five skeletons were discovered surrounded by jewellery in 1868. but they never passed through the gate to Homo sapiens.000 BP. I believe that along shorelines there was the ever-active seafood nutritional ‘driving force’ at work to add to random or externally sourced genetic change. ±450Kya. especially after the spread of ‘African Eve’ in the warm time from 250Kya to 180Kya. The first Neanderthal skeletons were discovered in a limestone cave near Düsseldorf in Germany in the valley of the Neander River. distinct from the short. I suspect that their genes were periodically refreshed by new infusions from Africa. This occurred at about 80.000 years ago as shown by genetic trail markers and Homo sapiens with advanced African Middle Stone Age technology and culture reached the western European homelands of the Neanderthals by 40. At that time. These stone tools and jewellery vary somewhat because of the local materials and the needs of particular environments. poised to expand their numbers and their occupied territory. But their widespread presence through the rigours of the ice ages proved their ability to survive. centred at : ± 600Kya. Since then. Their ancestors lived through the harsh and protein-deprived environments of several ice-ages. Further south. It is possible that these people were part of the ancestry of the Neanderthals. they have been found all around the Mediterranean and. across the strait from the Horn of Africa and over the Suez land bridge. They have been defined in several ‘industries’. and had high-domed modern skull shapes. Cultural evolution was also intense and there were continuing movements within the tropical core-lands. Africans were in the advanced cultural phase of the Middle Stone Age.advantageous time. in Palestine (at Qafza in Israel dated ± 92.000 years ago. The skeletons were clearly similar to today’s people and distinct from Neanderthals. behind the hotel named after it.000 years ago. Many caricatures of Neanderthals have presented them as dull and stupid offshoots of humanity. Population pressures would have promoted a new surge of migration northwards. ±150Kya and that of the Toba volcanic explosion at ±70Kya. As in Africa. Homo erectus fossils have been found which date to about 800. * * Also within the limits of the village of Les Eyzies in the Vézère Valley of the Dordogne is the Cro-Magnon shelter. They were tall. in Spain.000 years ago) on the natural land route between Africa and Eurasia. The site itself is not impressive: a low overhang protects a long shallow shelter with a plaque to distinguish it.

he concludes amongst other observations: Somewhere around 35.000 years ago and its dramatic acquisition 12 . human communities throughout the Old W orld entered upon the final phase of a hunting and gathering existence. especially. battling to survive in their sub-Arctic territory could not make this jump.000 years ago .relatively abundantly. the Kalemba rock shelter in Zambia and the Haua Fteah cave in Cyrenaica. Oliver examines evidence from the Klasies River Mouth cave on the Cape seashore.. Neanderthals. and established from a number of archaeological sites. as in Europe and Asia.000 years ago the Neanderthals gradually disappeared. They gradually pushed the Neanderthals aside into impossible territory or eliminated them by thoughtless and uncaring genocide. which was to end with the gradual adoption of farming and stockbreeding. all men now belonged to the single genus Homo sapiens sapiens.000 years ago. weapons and hunting technique in Africa during the progress of the Middle Stone Age. He suggests a period of transition to Late Stone Age technology from about 40. to expansion in the environment of southern Europe at that time. The Cro-Magnon immigrants had by then refined hunting techniques in the temperate forests of Europe and with better weapons and expertise they were more successful. (the genetic trails were not established when he wrote). provoked by climatic turbulence in the tropical environment. In the sub-Arctic conditions prevailing in the Dordogne... . In Eurasia. grinders and sewing-needles illuminate daily life.even before the Neanderthal period in Europe. Libya. for example. In the Cape Province of South Africa. Their craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal is equally striking. Neanderthals eked a precarious living where vegetable foods obtained from gathering were at a minimum and prey animals were scarce. In Africa. Hunting in the wintery forests became the key to success and the Cro-Magnons were better hunters with better weapons. This occurred before evidence of similar progress in Europe and although he does not describe or date the migration of AfroAsiatic people into Europe carrying advanced African expertise. Africans were able to achieve these changes because they were already on a suitably advanced Middle Stone Age platform. but the knives. Professor Roland Oliver in The African Experience (1991) describes the process of gaining improved tools. Roland Oliver was satisfied that hunting techniques and the necessary refined weapons and equipment were honed and developed in Africa during diverse climates and environmental changes. Neanderthal expertise was sufficient for survival only in scattered bands. The paintings of the Dordogne and Altamira may receive a more immediate response from us. scrapers. In the Dordogne region between 25-35. The conventional explanation for the demise of the Neanderthals and the flourishing of the Cro-Magnons is that the Cro-Magnons came with improved hunting technique which was essential to survival and. we have seen that Homo sapiens sapiens was present well over 100. arrowheads. The difference is that in Africa some at least of the Middle Stone Age populations had already long reached this stage.

have been found. The Blombos excavations in the late 1990s and the careful appraisal of them has shown that at the southern end of Africa there were environmental fluctuations which affected both fauna and flora over time. Game animals typical of the dry savannah were thus able to graze over much of the Sahara.000 years ago. There is the overwhelming evidence of mammoths and other supposedly warm-climate mammals dying instantly and being frozen in swampy areas of Siberia. stomach contents. Oliver could also not speculate on the supernova "Cygnus Event" [described in Chapter Three] because it had not been reported. it was continent-wide and occurring within widely-separated peoples. Anthony Hall-Martin wrote in Elephants of Africa. provides the greatest spatial freedom for the movement of people anywhere in the tropical zone. lesser species.throughout Africa by 20. the Cro-Magnons. The woolly rhinoceros and mammoths disappeared together with other. when these industries [Middle Stone Age] flourished. Dr. had the expertise. but it would have created genetic mutations to add to the climatic chaos he cites as the stimulus to the culture jump to the Late Stone Age in Africa where geography. Gradually over the next several thousand years the great herds of European cattle and bison became extinct. Deserts became grassland. The corpses of these many thousands of animals were so quickly frozen that their meat. woodland became rainforest. Oliver is firm about the effect of wet climate in Africa: It would seem that from about 125. frozen in the Siberian ice.000 to 30. and men naturally followed in their wake. (1986) that: The remains of entire mammoths. Hunting for meat and skins became the key to progress in southern Eurasia in the closing millennia of the last Ice-age and migrants descended from Africans. hides. Hunting technique had to change to tackle the smaller mammals and birds of forested zones and weapons and tools became finer and specialised. as always. by an increase in rainfall in the African tropics which had particular effect on the East African savannahs and the Sahara. W hen writing in 1991.000 years ago. some with flesh preserved so perfectly that it was edible. He suggests that this jump was promoted by climatic change. horns and tusks were perfectly preserved. but his generalisation holds true. by Paul Bosman & Anthony Hall-Martin. Oliver was not aware of more recent clarification of climatic changes or the spectacular results which have since been obtained from the Blombos Cave site at the Cape. This change to Late Stone Age industries did not coincide with the migration of people. Middle Stone Age Africans had a technical competence which could be promoted by environmental challenge through the jump to the Late Stone Age. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries mammoth ivory kept Russia in the forefront of the 13 . grassland became woodland. There is evidence that massive depletion of herbivorous mammals in the northern hemisphere also occurred because of remarkably sudden climatic shocks. the northern third of Africa was experiencing a moister climate than usual.

whether triggered by a short-lived local disaster such as massive continentwide seismic and volcanic activity or a brief but catastrophic cosmic event. anti-clockwise movement of particles with 14 . But attention can be given to some particular observations and it is the obvious difference between northwestern Europeans and tropical Africans. swinging up into the mass of the Eurasian supercontinent and learning harsh lessons of survival in its cold and dry inhospitality. This great swirl of people is like a giant tropical storm cloud seen from space. Ironically. This is yet another example of the effects of sudden. and then after labouriously changing their culture to that of urban civilisation. are the most different in physical appearance in every way to their African brothers and sisters. Cro-Magnons and their equivalents in Asia had survived where others failed. The Neanderthal people of Europe and parts of western Asia were becoming extinct. chaotic climate. they took to the oceans and explored the tropics to find the mystical lands of their farthest origins. which seems most relevant to the theme of this book.ivory trading nations and even today it is still a valuable source of ivory. also disappeared from the fossil record. directly descended from Homo erectus. maturing in different ways. at opposite ends of the human racial spectrum. It is as if there was a great wheel of migration turning.000 years ago. The jump to the Late Stone Age was occurring everywhere. A discussion of the differences between all the races of modern people and the story of their divergence over the last 80.000 years ago had successfully covered all parts of the world which was compatible with their technology. which people and other life had to combat for survival.000 years is beyond the scope of this book. but nutrition has many general effects apart from brain growth promoted by seafoods. The situation of Africa today is most often regarded in the light of its colonisation by the maritime nations of western Europe in the 19th century. a giant swirl of peopling moving out of Africa into the east 80. similarly handicapped by genes from an older era. Homo sapiens from Africa by 35. spewing out a circular. Europeans. they met their siblings whose ancestors had stayed behind. Other ‘primitive’ people in tropical eastern Asia. * * Nutritional ‘driving forces’ from prolonged dietary changes have been discussed at great length in Book One with reference to the evolution of humans from their ape ancestors. moving west to displace the ancient Neanderthals. One can wonder at how this happened in such a relatively short time. buffeted by natural disasters and surviving. and became determined to convert them to their manners and technical sophistication. The somatic evidence of the racial divergence of the descendants of so-called Cro-Magnon settlers or colonists of Afro-Asiatic origins in Europe away from modern Africans is glaringly obvious today. settling and moving on. especially northern-western Europeans. those people who colonised Africans so late in the period of their recent territorial expansion were descended from the people who were the last to colonise Europe to its far western edge. And when they did.

which is today so menaced by gales of change. the evolutionary cultural and social path taken by resultant disadvantaged people in marginal geography was a complex combination of these factors. tentacles emerged into the Atlantic Ocean and swirled and whirled over all. results in physical change and often to degradation. But there is more to the environment of western Europe than grey skies and cold winds . At about this time there came hunters armed with the new ‘flute-pointed’ spears.. the birthplace..streamers breaking off as many millennia passed. Agricultural and urban society did not ‘invent’ these desirable lifestyles. The jump to agriculture was maybe a mix of genetic divergence and different nutritional driving forces.000 years ago. taller and less disease prone. Hunter-gatherers did not fight territorial wars like those waged by civilised nations tied to land or cities. man exploited inland regions and plants and animals came under pressure. And finally. The reduction of prey animals during the ‘Pleistocene Overkill’. or a combination of the three. There came a time when a change in climate started to alter the flora. a smaller stream curled in tendrils over Australia.. Nutritional dependence on cultivated grains and fruits. gathering strength and speed. The dynamo for this engine of modern humanity was always the tropical heart of Africa. Much later. Crawford and Marsh wrote in The Driving Force (1989): As populations grew and weapons became more sophisticated that balance [between hunters and their prey in Eurasia] was destroyed. * * The physical difference between Europeans and Africans can be superficially understood. perhaps the most important. who in turn later sent a stream across and down the Americas. Early man then learned to domesticate plants and animals. W here was the advantage in converting to urban society for successful hunter-gathering societies? They had leisure and they had art and abstract thought from 30. a narrowing of the food spectrum often to complete dependence on one major crop. . This change in the method of getting food was of the greatest importance. so possibly the plants on which food animals lived began to die out. Climate is easily attributed for the obvious. theme of my books.. superior weapons and hunting techniques or demographic change. wisps crossed the oceans to the far islands of the Pacific and others circulated in the Indian Ocean. As human populations increased. pale eyes and hairiness can be seen as trends promoted by a great difference in the amount of sunshine received in the wet and cold maritime regions of higher latitudes. a streamer moving up the eastern side of Asia to form the Mongoloid peoples. ‘W hite’ skin. Hunter-gatherers in an abundant environment were physically superior to agriculturalists. W hether it was climatic change. the effect was what became known in the US as the Pleistocene Overkill. there is the effect of nutrition which is another important. 15 . The ‘Neolithic Revolution’ that produced agriculture was the basis of civilisations that followed .

inhibits reproduction and women often cease menstruating. Professor Phillip Tobias of the University of W itwatersrand showed that San-Bushmen of Botswana and Namibia significantly increased in median height over just a couple of generations during the first half of the 20th century when their protein intake increased considerably during absorption into ‘W estern’ society. males averaging 5'3". In Africa. 40 [4] (1975): . and contribute to poor immune systems limiting the power to combat viruses and bacteria. 16 . the palaeolithic economy. Journal of Medical Sciences.0 to 20. but a shortage of protein in a harsh environment. Deficiencies in trace elements following from mono-cultural diets increase non-invasive disease such as cancer and heart failures. nutrition closely controls population levels in a natural balance. The San have shown an increase in the past 20 years ranging from 10. but they did not die of cancer and heart disease.0 mm per decade. Tobias in S. Nutritional deficiency. There are many San-Bushmen in Namibia and Botswana and Khoi types in South Africa to-day who have become indistinguishable in stature from Bantu-speaking Negroes. Allied to poor nutrition is food poisoning.. whereas the Cro-Magnons averaged close to six feet. Both groups have been changing from the most borderline subsistence levels.A. it must also be remembered. the Pygmies of the central rainforests and the San-Bushmen of the south-western semi-deserts. All higher mammals experience these same physical inhibitions to reproduction. Thus. but in some respects there may be similarity. Congo Pygmies and Kalahari San-Bushmen lived on a diet which was protein deficient.. Their problem was not the lack of a varied diet. the Neanderthals were more heavily built which was the result of the cold climate. two populations of hunters and gatherers who are in the process of changing to a more settled mode of life and to a more secure basis of subsistence both show the positive trend [of median height]. These are the San and the aboriginal Australians. Crawford and Marsh pointed out that European Neanderthals. while the aboriginal Australians settled on a Commonwealth Government settlement at Yuendumu in the Northern Territory have shown an average increase of some 15. Prof Michael Crawford in a personal communication ruminated on the possibility that the 21st century will be dogged by increasing mental illness resulting partly from nutrition deficiencies. Congo Pygmies are also notoriously deficient in iodine because of leaching of rainforest soils and the lack of meat in their diets. San-Bushmen hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari Desert may have been physically inhibited in stature. There was growing concern in the 1990s at the decline in reproduction amongst humans in ‘first-world’ countries because of the effect of poisonous chemical additives in food inhibiting the production of sperm in many males. there have been short people in historical time.Neanderthal skeletons show that they were short ‘troglodytic’ people. to settlement and a food-producing economy.0 mm per decade between the thirties and the sixties. W e see the trends already. Did they have anything in common with Neanderthals? Physically.

Palestine and North Africa could have been the trigger for a suddenly and desperately deprived people to convert to husbandry. used new destructive and wasteful methods. Modern animal herders in eastern and northern Africa are universally tall and slim. Homo erectus people. Perhaps the Cro-Magnon males. wrote a review of the Cradle of Civilisation for Time-Life Books (1967). all for a mess of peasant’s potage. a foremost Mesopotamian scholar. over a million years ago. it seems curious and anomalous for a footloose hunter to surrender his heritage of free roving mobility and let himself be bound to earth and hearth. bisons and horses amongst other mammals including mastodons and rhinos. cultivation. so-called Cro-Magnons. Mesopotamia.Described in this and other papers. 17 . felt the lack of prey in the forests of winter-bound Europe to be agonizing. fixed territory and urbanisation. The effect he described on San-Bushmen was not repeated in most Negro peoples. The Cro-Magnons were learning a ruthlessness. The terrible forces of warlike Eurasian tribes which have dominated our planet until the present were forged in the harsh climate of the northern hemisphere during the last ice age 24 -12. Continuing climatic change and several millennia of a high red meat diet until the extinction of vast herds of plains animals in Anatolia. cattle and bisons over cliffs and into marshes to mass destruction in unnecessary ‘overkill’. suggesting to me that the San-Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert were rapidly recovering height previously lost through many generations of poor nutrition.000 years ago. The cave paintings of the Dordogne concentrate on ancient cattle. Maybe that is why these Afro-Asiatic colonists painted animals more than people. Their obsession with prey animals and the relative absence of people in their rock-art indicates a change in cultural bias. that sub-Saharan Africans did not exhibit for another several thousand years.and why? Psychologically. Aggressively innovative modern humans. living on a proteinrich environment in East Africa stood tall. reflected in later Eurasian histories of civilisations. I find his conclusion fascinating: How did this changeover from parasitic hunter to productive farmer occur . Ancestors of San-Bushmen who did not live in the harsh Kalahari Desert into which they were driven by advancing Bantu-speaking agriculturalists fifteen hundred years ago may have been tall. Tobias’ considerable research amongst San-Bushmen and Bantu-speaking Negroes in southern Africa shows that protein nutrition has a dramatic effect on size. They were obsessed with hunting for essential clothing and to provide the protein they were accustomed to. faced with a different environment in Europe and Asia during the closing millennia of the last Ice-age. returning to a stature imprinted in their genes. who were the artists. It certainly must have been a time of great turmoil which laid the foundations for terrible territorial wars and exponential advances in technology. Samuel Kramer. forcing whole herds of horses. This almost-desperate concept of hunting for meat and hides was quite radically different to methods used in the warm African environment.

it is too late for us to do anything about that. we must simply hold on tight and go wherever the ride takes us. or eccentric who have been the innovators. And where has that led us in the 21st century? J. wrote in Elizabeth Costello (2003) : .M.. forced when faced with final disasters to find a new path. If we of ‘the W est’ can hang on tight for this accelerating ride into the uncertain future. maybe it is always the lazy. it was not the confident.. Coetzee the prizewinning South African novelist..In all probability. Rather was it the dissatisfied.. There is some truth to be seen in this idea . what of the Africans who are not of ‘the W est’ but are being dragged along in the dust of this furious passage? 18 . however. the civilisation of the W est is based on belief in unlimited and illimitable endeavour. the weak and the despised who broke away from their more successful and oppressive fellows. self-sufficient and well-adapted among the nomads who let themselves be beguiled by the dubious promise of sedentary life.

mostly in mountainous regions: paintings in the Matopos of Zimbabwe. In 1996. decorated skins or cloth. The earliest occupation of Australia by people was 19 . who created rock-art.000 years ago) modern people were already decorating their artifacts and there are some speculative examples of the first abstract decoration on rocks. undoubtedly can proceed. older than elsewhere. Notably. depicting a complex society and that style is also mirrored in Namibia. equidistant from the great geographical barrier of the equatorial Congo rain forest. forty three degrees of latitude apart. Other dating technique put the age of a skeleton at Lake Mungo in southeast Australia also at about 60. In the Tassili. hence the similar rock art at both lines of the Tropics in what is now almost uninhabitable desert in southern Africa and the Sahara. Twyfelfontein lies about 20½º S latitude. In the Middle Stone Age (maybe 170. 23º N latitude. sculptures. an African mirror seems to assert itself constantly. the Hoggar is on the Tropic of Cancer. The most recent outsurge occurred in both directions during the warm-wet phase after the last ice age. the Erongo of Namibia. Are they ‘art’? Low sea levels at about 70. is that there was a common African Late Stone Age culture linking north and south via the core population of East Africa and the western corridor along the Atlantic coast from Cameroon to Angola.000 years ago. pottery. it is people who had Late Stone Age culture. My own view. reduced to simplicity. Similar rock-art from recent historical time can also be seen where the artists survived without cultural degradation. I have been struck by an affinity of subject and style between the Late Stone Age rock-art of northern and southern Africa. beadwork and metal castings or wrought wares. Iron Age people in Africa preferred to create art in the form of carvings. in Lesotho. massed engravings at Twyfelfontein in Namibia and examples of both paintings and engravings in many museums from Nairobi to Cape Town. when political turmoil permits. has puzzled and intrigued experts for decades. particularly in the ‘W hite Lady’ series of the Brandberg mountain. The Jinmium cupules have been reckoned to be 60.CHAPTER TWO : THE GREAT CULTURE JUMP There are many places where examples of prehistoric rock-art can be seen by casual tourists in Africa. in Malawi and Tanzania. as they are called. whether millennia ago or in the recent past. there are elaborate paintings.000 years ago to 40. about three hundred miles east of the Hoggar. As each Ice-age pulsed.000 years ago show when modern people first had an opportunity to migrate through the islands of Indonesia and cross the straits from Timor. the Hoggar and Tassili massifs of Algeria. This extraordinary coincidence of style. the Drakensberg of Natal. Australian scientists claimed that they had proof of rock-art in the form of concave circular shapes chipped or ground out of rock faces in north-west Australia at Jinmium. Speculation about these cupules. the Cedarberg of the Cape.000 years old by dating the silica in fragments of rock at their foot. people retreated back to and then advanced outwards from the harmonious tropics of Africa. I have compared particular paintings in the Hoggar of Algeria with engravings at Twyfelfontein in Namibia.

since those Middle Stone Age sites were occupied in Australia and South Africa. Homo sapiens armed with Middle Stone Age technology and culture was able to master all the benign warmer lands close to seas. It seems that they were marking and decorating their habitats and themselves. W ith the emergence of true homo sapiens. W hen the cold cycles came.therefore established and they were modern Middle Stone Age people. Anatomically. Our skulls have not changed.000 years ago it was a gradual process lasting centuries.000 years ago when peopling of the whole planet began. It seem clear to me from the evidence of the two sites. that the people who moved out of Africa and spread eastwards along the tropical belt of the world were already evolving culturally to what has been arbitrarily defined as ‘modern’ behaviour. In Book One. linked absolutely to abstract thinking and language.000 years ago something cataclysmic happened. They had the power of language and abstract thinking. During the warm millennia they could explore and settle territory which earlier Homo erectus had discovered. W hat more could they need? They were not dissimilar in culture to their close kinfolk. people have not changed.000 and 35. Between 40. lakes and rivers in vast Eurasia. as a species. they could retreat to the ideal of the tropics. Racial divergence has occurred as we are all well aware. but evolution of our species as a whole has been cultural. and were wearing simple jewellery. I have described the migration of modern people out of Africa and along the shorelines of southern Asia. There seems no obvious reason for mankind to have evolved beyond the level reached at about 80. living comfortably as far north as 45º latitude. They had social cohesion and could outwit any predator they were likely to meet. they had complete knowledge of their environment and gained nutrients from all the animals and vegetation to which they had access.000 years ago. Surely there was some trauma when the retreating had to take place as populations were compressed.000 years ago. Homo Neanderthalis. 20 . They knew how to hunt and fish and gather. it is our minds within our brains which have gone through a major jump. Jinmium and Blombos. and presumably their clothing. finely made tools and a spectacular simple engraving which have dates before 70. It was only a matter of time and opportunity when sea levels were low for the peopling of the Americas to begin. before 170. At the Blombos Cave site in South Africa. had appeared in Africa.000 years ago. the ancestors of the Aborigines. fell into the pit of extinction. the glimmerings of creative activity. These migrants began beachcombing their way to the Far East and Australia at about 80. the Neanderthals. they had refined their tools. but unless there was a sudden shock like the Toba volcanic explosion of K 74. They were producing artifacts which had aesthetic as well as practical value. who had in their own way mastered the temperate zones of Eurasia and with whom they shared a common ancestor of maybe a hundred thousand years previously. archaeologists have found an example of what is believed to be art in the widespread use of ochre. The apparently stable Middle Stone Age culture of Homo sapiens all over the world went over a giant jump. Their close relatives.

The footpath leads across and up a series of smooth rocky terraces. Beyond is a natural bowl.There is a variety of Late Stone Age rock-art all over the world. reaching 2300m [7550 feet]. it seems to have emerged first in Africa before 35. the Spitzkoppe is a rock massif several miles around its base and rises to a pointed summit. Dordogne and Altamira). Though the themes are eerily related. The mass of rock art in Africa defied dating for a long time because it was found in open shelters and caves which had been used off-and-on by various people over tens of thousands of years. and visitors having to pay entrance fees and record their details in a register. It appeared as far away as north-east Brazil and Australia at roughly the same time. probably five hundred feet above the plain. there are numerous examples of rock-art. lies beyond a rocky ridge and a wide. It is not unlike Ayers Rock in Australia where Aborigines practised their rock-art. sturdy succulents and tough bushes. protected on two-thirds of its circumference by weather-sculpted cliffs. Running through the centre of the bowl there is the course of a stream which proceeds from one pool to another. * * In Namibia. the paintings are not damaged. The two more important paintings are a fine white elephant and a group of people in a hunting party. W ithin the Erongo Mountains. The smooth rock has to be climbed with the aid of a chain and where the chain stops. 21 . Being on private property. There was much speculation about who painted the rocks of Africa. there is a more gently sloping platform with some huge rounded boulders.000 years ago (Apollo XI in Namibia) and almost coincidentally been practised in Europe (Grotte Chauvet. and when. there is a long slash in the living rock forming an overhanging shelter which is known as Phillip’s Cave. not far away. reaching 1759m [5771 feet] above sea level. This was a worldwide culture jump which seems to have happened outside of any migration of peoples or diffusion through propinquity or trade. Post-independence party-political graffiti have been paintsprayed on the walls. the styles of this universal art are often distinct and dictated by geography. surrounded by acacia scrub. Even in the middle of the winter dry season there is often a little water. A particular cave. powdered rock has turned to coarse soil and a few stunted trees and tussocks of grass grow. The cave provides excellent shelter and there is a panoramic view of the valley below. the pink and red masses of Hohenstein peak and the main range of the Erongo dominates the sky. On two sides. an amphitheatre in the side of the mountain. smoothed and beautifully curved by ages of wind and water erosion. Near the top. There is a variety of these few trees. some distance from the main roads. Beyond. open to visitors. but according to the certain dates available to us at present. There are several antelopes and figures of teams of dancers and hunters. W ho was to say which paintings on the walls were related to which stone tools or ostrich shell jewellery buried in the dust and ash of many layers on the floors beneath. but they are faded and smudged because so many visitors have splashed them with water and soda drinks to make them stand out for photographs. there are overhangs in the internal cliff walls where there are paintings. It stands on a wide and level plain of the verge of the Namib Desert. flat sandy valley scattered with acacias and succulents. In the bottom of the bowl.

together with various antelope fossils there were bones of the giant Cape horse (dated at 14. They discovered slabs of rock with paintings that had broken off the roof of the shelter and fallen face down on the detritus of an inhabited period.000 years.For instance. At Apollo XI. These finds raise questions about conventional notions of the achievement of civilisation. the ‘W hite Lady’ group in the Brandberg of Namibia was interpreted quite seriously for a while as portraits of some ancient colonists from the Mediterranean. B. and earlier) which became extinct about 10.P. Radiocarbon dates on associated charcoal indicate the slabs are at least 19.P. C. On top of the slabs. 22 .P. thus making it by far the oldest dated art known on the African continent [in 1975].000 years B.500 years B. Such an early date calls for some new thinking about human cultural development. The Apollo XI paintings are now reckoned to be maybe older than 40. Kathryn Cruz-Uribe and Richard Klein in the SW A Scientific Society Journal (1983) wrote: Apollo XI not only contains one of the longest archaeological sequences in southern Africa. In the early 1970s.500 years old. W endt and his assistants worked in a cave which he called Apollo XI because that space mission was proceeding when their work began there.500 and 25.H. This consists of schematic animal figures painted on rock slabs sealed in the deposits. there were dateable items of organic material and several separate tests were carried out in Pretoria and Cologne.000 years ago.000 B. In the layers above and below. W endt. The implications of highly developed art found in societies with extremely simple technology and at sites far removed from centres of ancient civilisation are considerable.Sandelowsky. Carbon-dating technique has improved and dates have often been pushed back when evidence is re-examined.000 B. can be assumed. Dr. W endt wrote in the South African Archaeological Bulletin (31: 5-11): The conclusion is reached that this ‘art mobilier’ was created between 30.000 and 25. working with the University of Cologne. [before present] and that with a probability close to certainty even an age between 27. had one of those remarkably lucky breaks that strangely happen to archaeologists from time to time. other detritus had fallen over a long time with successive periods of occupation and abandonment.E. it also has provided some of the oldest art in the world.000 and perhaps as much as 27. it can be assumed that rock art in southern Africa dates to the very beginning of the LSA [Late Stone Age]. 30. writing in the American Scientist (1983): Although W endt’s material remains to be corroborated by further work. Traded glass and copper beads from recent centuries add to the story of this remarkable cave site.P. W endt was exploring in the Hunsberge north of the Orange River and east of the dusty mining town of Rosh Pinah.

500 engravings on just one farm. Malawi and elsewhere. I suppose they are also more interesting to the layman. He believed that engravings may have had a purpose for the community as a whole. Orange Free State. Undoubtedly the numbers reach millions from the Cape to the Sahara. But engravings last for as long as the rock does not break up and crumble. “There are many thousands of paintings in Namibia let alone the rest of southern Africa: the Cape. I found him to be a charming man with a wry sense of humour who lived in a small apartment in the centre of W indhoek. many with elaborate geometric patterns. “As Dr. Drakensberg. Hundreds of thousands? W ho knows? Much of southern Africa is vast flat plains and the only places where you can see paintings are where they are protected by good shelter from the sun and the rain. Stone Age men decorated rocks in southern Africa for more than 30. in South Africa. W endt and I met him in 1989. W hen I met Dr.J. men on horseback. and 2. who had worked for years in Namibia. there are geological zones across the land where you can see engravings where there are suitable rock faces which the artists liked and which have not weathered away. I corresponded with Dr. “Paintings have had all the publicity. Sometimes paintings are found in extraordinary ‘secret’ places. for example.Suddenly. Fock. Kinderdam A. Paintings are more common in the Erongos. But there are probably many more engravings than there are paintings. One stretches from Namibia 23 . battles with Europeans firing guns or war parties of Bantu-speaking tribesmen with spears and shields are scattered from the south-west Cape of Good Hope to the Drakensberg.” he said. recorded some 4. Everybody has heard of the ‘W hite Lady’ of the Brandberg and the ‘W hite Elephant’ at the Phillip’s Cave and so on. filled with piles of books and papers and maps papering the walls.400 at another.” He continued. Mozambique. Engravings are found in exposed places and in horizontal sites. Geometric designs were generally confined to engravings. and D. Leon Jacobson. He told me that engravings predominate in the Twyfelfontein and Fish River Canyon areas and in a broad track across the country where the geology is suitable.000 years until the 20th century. Dr D. let alone how many individual pictures there were. Nobody knows how many sites there might be (or have been). At the other end of the time spectrum. Klipfontein. W endt told you. at the MacGregor Museum in Kimberley. engravings litter the veld of South Africa. “because they are more dramatic in their way. Apart from paintings which fade and are washed away. across Zimbabwe. difficult to find and difficult to paint in. the Brandberg and in the south of Namibia. there was a yardstick for African Stone Age paintings. South Africa. There might be older paintings. That’s obvious. paintings of sailing ships. Researchers G. but here was a solid anchor in time. Zimbabwe and Namibia. especially those which are multicoloured. whereas many paintings seemed to be ‘private’. whereas paintings are found in shelters where they have been protected. we spoke at length about rock-art. Fock has recorded vast numbers of engravings. across a swath in South Africa following the course of the Orange River.

” Dr. had fine tools together with decorated pottery and animal bones which might have been domestic. A mostly tropical climate with recurring wet and dry cycles has to be the problem of its survival. Really old pottery is rare in Africa .000 years ago.. probably bartered from people further in the interior. “Painting requires more skill. spirals. he told me that the pottery of these Late Stone Age people was finer with more delicate decoration than the coarser wares of the Iron Age. but the amazing similarity of style from the Sahara south is easily remarked. John Kinehan of the State Museum in W indhoek welcomed me in his downtown office. Children may have done many of the engravings. and the final phase at about 600 B. Japan was not covered by ice sheets during the last ice-age. The second. There is a greater variety of engravings than paintings in terms of aesthetic and technical quality.P. technology if you like. thinking of what W endt told me. south of the Kalahari sands. they painted or engraved anything and everything: every animal they knew. But it was connected to mainland Asia by land bridges during ice ages. Significantly.000 years ago have been identified. included some metal artifacts. People were in Japan after the previous ice-age of ± 50.. Dr Lyall W atson. “Yes. marginal land for people. There were three significant phases at Falls Rock.P. ramblers and mountaineers. As to subject.000 years before present. The oldest known pottery in the world has been found in Japan.000 and 10. It seemed to be a lucky site providing snapshots of the changing economy of similar Late Stone Age people over several thousand years. yielded microlithic stone implements. 1800-2100 years B.000 years ago and settlements of 30. sure there are. The Drakensberg art is believed to be mostly from recent millennia. Over 70 sites have been recorded with Jomon pottery. He may not have found amazing rock art at the Falls Rock but the importance of his remarks on the pottery was not lost on me. Anybody with a couple of hard stones can scrape or hammer out engravings on softer rock faces. The earliest. W ho knows how much more we still have to learn about the life of those people through their engravings?” “Are there any noticeable differences between engravings and paintings?” I asked.through the northern Karoo into the Free State. which is a description of its decoration. as I’ve said. It is generally known as Jomon which means ‘cord-marked’.. but it would have been tundra with glaciers from the mountains . They portrayed their own activities in detail. He and his wife had done meticulous research in the Namib and he told me of his recent work at the Falls Rock Shelter near the Brandberg massif. depending on where they lived and the environment of the time.” Jacobson replied. author of many books on life from Supernature (1973) to the recent Elephantoms (2002) wrote : 24 . That’s why they are so important . And more of them. grids. There is an amazing wealth of engravings still to be surveyed and recorded. And lots of geometric designs: circles. dated from around 4-3. The sites with Jomon pottery were settled after the last ice age and many are dated between 12. The rock art of the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal is prolific and well known to local residents. most is from the last three thousand years or so.

this remote massif in Algeria [the Tassili] is enlivened by some 4. but there are also some that are reminiscent of the Dordogne and Altamira in Europe: more ‘impressionistic’. and more are being discovered every year. It is not surprising that experts such as Abbé Henri Breuil as well as lay observers speculated that the ‘W hite Lady’ paintings in the Brandberg of Namibia were of the same race of people as those who painted on rock walls in Algeria. The existence of Late Stone Age African rock art was a normality of the land I knew as a boy.000 years ago. extraordinary mythical figures. caricatures and elaborate geometric designs. orange and yellow earth colours. There was much controversy about possible ancient colonial origins of Zimbabwe at the time 25 . particularly of their legs with strings of seed rattles and grass or fur fringes. The southern works also involve complex overlay and superimposition. line and composition. There is that matter of ‘style’.000 and 5. The general style seems to me to be remarkably similar to the art of southern and eastern Africa. but it is more than that: the illustrations show similar people. from before cultural transfers from the Middle East civilisations. they exceed anything to be found anywhere else. the way movement was depicted. I consider it the world’s greatest collection of prehistoric art. Strangely. Their jewellery and body decorations are similar. I was shown ‘Bushmans’ Paintings’ for the first time while on holiday in the Drakensberg in the 1940s when I was seven years old. All of which is exciting. I have enjoyed its purity and variety in many places since then. This was poo-poohed as being racist in suggesting that foreign invaders brought superior culture to southern Africa.000 years ago. I grew up within sight of those mountains and was privileged to be able to roam the veld and took shelter in caves where there was rock art and where the oldest people had sheltered and produced their art for hundreds and thousands of years before me... In form. .. The Rock Art Register at the South African Museum now lists nearly five thousand separate sites with over 100. did not mention southern African rock art in his article in National Geographic (August 1987) and stated: ..000 paintings and many more engravings. In number. Like the Saharan scenes. convinced me that there was quite remarkable similarity between pictures of people of the Sahara and southern Africa between maybe 10.. white lime and black charcoal . In the Tassili and Hoggar mountains of Algeria no very early dates for rock art have been determined but that is probably because Late Stone Age people were not living there in the cold-dry period between 20 -12.Southern Africa is the home of the largest open-air art gallery in the world. the weapons they carried. they astound. Studying photographs of the early Tassili paintings.. they include subtle portrayals of animal and human figures involving careful foreshortening. their dance postures. a skilful use of perspective in red ochre. but it is in intellectual content that this southern tradition excels.000 subjects. the expert Henri Lhote.

or colonisation of one by the other. are the deep cave sites of Font de Gaume and Combarelles. the use of several methods of painting. In 1994. mammoths. at the beginning of the so-called Magdalenian culture. I have marvelled at them. searching for their pet dog in 1940. and show that over the several thousand years during which people were decorating the caves and shelters of the region every art form had been produced with the available media and technology. engraving and sculpting and the discovery. represent what many believe was a particular peak in European Late Stone Age art. At both. horses. 26 . The irony is that I believe that they were indeed of the same race. a cave opening lies up a limestone cliff surrounded by holm-oaks and patches of willow scrub. and the lesser cave sites such as Combarelles. Late Stone Age men must have crawled through with sputtering tallow lamps to light their way. and dates of 20-10. At Lascaux the cave system has been closed to the general public since 1963. At Combarelles there is a particularly fine engraving of a horse’s head with ears perked forward brightly and intelligence shining from its eyes.000 years ago are variously applied to paintings in the Dordogne. reindeer. In Europe. together with those in the Altamira caves near Santander in Spain. broke in. of course the technical competence that has to be admired. the magnificent art of Lascaux and the other sites in the Vézère valley of the Dordogne. like caricatures. goats and rhinoceros. selection and refining of different naturally-occurring mineral pigments. bears. On the walls there are marvellous portraits of extinct bulls. It was named the Grotte Chauvet and has been dated between 34-30. not engravings. W hat has exercised investigators of Lascaux. There are some strange faces or ‘masks’ of people. Beyond that. but an exact replica of the most important section was created with care and opened in 1983. The real cave’s walls were covered with more than fifteen hundred paintings and engravings dated to about 17. merely that the artists were all descended from the same Africans who jumped the Late Stone Age barrier 35. At the Cap Blanc site the art takes the form of a great frieze of wild horses carved deeply into the rock. another cave was found near Avignon with pictures of lions. sketching. W ithin. rhinos. They are wall-sculptures. In the valleys of the River Beune before it flows into the Vézère. the paintings were in pristine condition and astonishingly clear and beautiful.with accusations of scholastic racism being thrown back and forth. is the sophistication of the art. sheep. Because some of the European art was in caves occupied by people of clearly defined culture for limited periods some time precision is possible.000 years ago. horses and deer.000 years ago. but the paintings did not prove a migration. The paranoia and excessive sensitivity of politicians and uninformed ‘liberals’ in the 20th century in Africa did not serve the cause of objective research and enquiry into their history. Being sealed up for all those thousands of years. There is.000 BP. An immediate response could be that they are some kind of effigies of mystical beings because of their contrast with the animal portraits which are real and executed with considerable sympathy and skill. somewhat grotesque. It has been determined that the cave was then open to the outside but a rock fall and deluge of mud sealed it until boys. there are twisted and uneven passages leading into the heart of the hillside.

These remarks apply to the paintings of animals only . there is the style that impresses with its ‘modernity’.. Engravings were made with incomparable sureness. on the 27 . like a modern kindergarten picture... they occur in groups. There are more of the mysterious dots.. .by means of a blank or uncolored area . W ilcox wrote in The Drakensberg Bushmen and Their Art (1984): The Bushman artist ..the legs that are the most distant from the spectator from the rest of the animal.R.. hares. states it clearly: The cave art of Europe is composed almost entirely of animals and abstract signs...almost always featureless. though often shown in groups. Observe the heads [of people] . In Africa. In general. whereas animals. There are no people except for crude stick-figures. drawings executed without erasures. Horses. boars and goats... The large pictures. lines.however. African rock-art tends to be subtly different in style to the ‘impressionistic’ art of Europe.. and they give a surprising volume to the paintings. Perspective is widely used to vitalise the pictures. Some animals were drawn on irregular surfaces so that it was impossible to see the head while drawing the tail. life-size. though he might slightly stress characteristics such as the length of an eland or the bulk of an elephant. extinct cattle and bisons constitute 80% of the figures and it is shown from associated fossil deposits that they were the most sort-after prey. not to the Bushmen’s paintings of human figures which are stylised . Jean-Philippe Rigaud.. ... to give a third dimension. are commonly shown singly and may be in quite static attitudes. in the Dordogne they are rare. Lyall W atson. comments: Study of the works themselves shows that Magdalenian artists had great experience.. subordinating detail to the whole.. often mere blobs. the artists have detached .. the human figures seldom appear singly. But there were also bears. His painting is a visual image recreated.. without ‘repentance’. squares and grids scattered about. writing in National Geographic (October 1988). Human figures are rare and descriptive scenes almost nonexistent. but it is interesting that in both Europe and Africa animals are painted with greater care and fidelity whereas people are depicted in stylised form.. people proliferate. are outlined with thick. cats. A.. Prehistoric African rock art. This implies a complete vision of the animal by the artist. .. in Lightning Bird (1982)....The use of undulations in the wall is frequent. Some animals are dotted with black spots. bold rough strokes. I suppose the most notable difference between the paintings I have seen in the Dordogne and those I am familiar with in Africa is the relative absence of human figures. almost always in some kind of individual action or group activity .. painted animals as he saw them.

But the variety of paintings preclude any one reason and. or it displays certain aspects of legend. sitting together. especially differentiates the earliest African from European art. circles. to me. as well as for the pure joy of creativity. and down the western side seaward of the Congo rainforest. and the similarities that do exist. spirals. particularly in the later Late Stone Age periods. teems with people and narrative scenes. tools. there has been opposing argument between those who think that the motive was a spiritual imperative and those who think it was creative impulse or drive. instruction and learning. or surround groups or particular animals or people. usually in symbolic form. or superimposed on. the very appearance of rock art. W atson quotes Credo Mutwa. 28 . from the Tassili. the explanation has been that it has been a religious activity symbolically binding the prey to the hunter. humans.000 years ago. ‘art for art’s sake’.” In Africa. Every one is either a record of a particular historical event. W hat is absolutely astonishing is that despite this. and ritual. It is alive with animals. These are the illustrations to our oral history. and mythological mixtures of the two. through eastern Africa down to the Cape of Good Hope. in the fashion of categorising that we often tend to. marching somewhere. Most often. totem poles. from the Amazon to Australia. The simplest explanation for the difference in style between European and African art is that the people were indeed different. whether religious or for recording. It seems almost miraculous. jewellery and. Everywhere in the world. pottery. In early African rock-art strings of dots. Indeed. patterns of dots.other hand. Much thought and speculation has been given to motives behind the appearance or ‘invention’ of rock-art and parallels of decorating tools. There had been divergence of culture between them and Africans for a very long time. Images of Power (1989). people are everywhere on rock walls: often dancing but also hunting. The artists who painted in the Dordogne and elsewhere were descended from those that had migrated out of Africa about 80. the two are not mutually exclusive and it must be that rock-art was executed for a number of practical reasons. custom. grids and cross-hatching to decorate walls. Professor David Lewis-W illiams and Thomas Dowson summarise these difficulties and the neglected importance of southern African rock-art in the Preface to their book. a renowned South African ‘diviner’ or holy man and oral historian: “Cave paintings are our [African] archives. All are involved with. This. jewellery and small artifacts. The African art seems to me to be influenced by the ‘whole’ of communal activity whereas European art seems to have concentrated on the hunting activities of the region. There is a clear common denominator amongst all Late Stone Age art and that is the variety of geometric designs and symbols. Late Stone Age people used zigzags. was almost contemporary. zigzags or lines connect different figures in a frieze. each other in meaningful ways. a visual prayer. ivory implements.

executed by artists on the instructions of medicine-men or for specific purposes of their own. have written or stated that the symbolic images seen in rock-art have meanings. Contrary to the received archaeological wisdom of decades. it is said. we are finding that important clues to the great enigmas of Upper Paleolithic art have been awaiting discovery in an entirely unexpected place: southern Africa. This is written language in its simplest form and has clear examples in our modern world in international road signs. W hether they were painted by diviners still in the throes of a trance experience. In any airport across the planet. we are returning to the dark caverns of western Europe. where I felt the sensation of claustrophobia and was reminded of Dr. I have seen many images that must have been created by the finest artists of the community next to some which must have been done by young children or an untrained mind. were done deliberately by medicine-men or shamans in a spiritual tradition of visual prayers for the hunt. or by initiates or even children practising and ‘doodling’. a running figure tells where an emergency exit can be found or a symbolic man or woman shows where we may defecate. were a simple means of communication. decorate a dinner plate. paint great religious masterpieces or record events. for all the reasons that the human mind can conceive. In Africa.. clearly.. This is especially applicable to the limestone caves of the Dordogne.000 years ago.. A few. .40. recognised from Chile to China. But as modern people doodle on a telephone pad. recovery from illness or famine. W endt’s remarks about particular ‘private’ paintings in places with difficult access in Namibia. we outline our new understanding of this art in the exciting knowledge that it points to the very origin of artistic activity and thence to some of humankind’s greatest triumphs. rain. like Credo Mutwa. and so on. there was a purpose. Armed with what we know about Bushman religious experience and the ways in which it is emblazoned on the rocks of southern Africa. Bushman rock art stands at the centre of research into the origins of religion and aesthetics. Sensory deprivation also induces trance and if a lamp was doused in the depths of caves with narrow. Each symbol had a common interpretation which was understood by people across cultural and language groups. so did people 30 .Today research is coming full circle. I believe Late Stone Age people painted and engraved for all the many reasons and impulses that people create today and the evidence is there. There is a vast variation of subject. These symbols. A hand imprint on a cave wall could simply mean: “This is my place. Could shamans or diviners have deliberately sought out such places to practice their art with personal religious symbolism because they were able to experience trance states in them? The universality of geometric designs which appear to have undoubted relationships to trance or ecstatic experience all over the world in the Late Stone Age indicates not only the universal experiences but a universal seeking for them A number of Africans. a system of icons seems to have been in use long 29 . and later in Europe. crawling tunnels deep in mountainsides the sensory deprivation would have been severe. please do not disturb!” A sunburst sign can be part of a rainmaking ritual.

I have listened to them sequentially and. 30 . made before tourists intruded on their activities. from native Americans to Papuan Aborigines. The singing and chanting of Central African Bantu-speaking people. Stone gongs were used in savannah country to carry territorial and other messages in the same way as wooden drums were used in the forests. precisely as illustrated in Stanley’s book Through the Dark Continent. Those particular influences did not penetrate the interior of central and southern Africa to any significant extent even after the 19th century surge in Swahili-Arab trading activity from the Indian Ocean coast. whilst having an ‘African’ style seems to have greater influence from the Middle East. they could be the same people. ‘un-modernised’ tribal music and dancing. of the Congo when he traversed it in 1876-77. all tropical tribal societies who chant and dance as an integral part of their culture developed similar style to Africans. I vividly remember watching an old film in the 1950s which showed Fijians demonstrating a war dance and being amazed at how similarly they performed to the great African warriors. The Pygmy and Bushman singing has. but the differences can be easily detected. The rhythm of African music has conquered the contemporary world in the guise of rock-and-roll. Modern computer programmes such as the one I am using as I write make great use of common symbols or icons. I saw them. for me. and listened to their booming language when I traversed it in 1985. while the Bantu-speaking people sang songs with more variation and technical sophistication. which is obviously because of the infiltration of people and culture across and along the Sahara. Lyall W atson in Lightning Bird (1982) describes rocks in South Africa where there are places which must have been struck repeatedly by clappers and which produce clear resonating notes of pure tone. W e may be returning to using a scheme of ‘written language’ invented by Late Stone Age Africans thirty thousand years ago. melody and tone. more emotional perhaps. That conquest is not only of present time. to my untrained ear. without modern western influence. a simpler ‘feel’ to it. pitch and tone of Pygmies of the Congo forests chanting and singing is precisely similar to that of San-Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert and being lucky enough to have recordings of both. In Africa there are places where great rocks show evidence of being used as gongs. has similar cadence. The particular cadence. W est African singing and music-making. * * I have often pondered the appearance of music in Africa. The fossil record cannot give much evidence of ancient musical instruments apart from possible stone ‘clappers’ and stone gongs. the Zulus. Henry Morton Stanley described how awesome were the great drums. I am impressed once again at the strange conformity with that of the Khoisan and other African music with ancient roots. He describes how archaeologist Adrian Boshier was shown such a rock gong and heard its melodious ringing by an old man in the Limpopo Province of South Africa in the 1950s. W henever I watch TV documentaries these days which show genuine.before the elaborate scripts of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations. Music and dancing is essential to the life of African people. especially during the last twelve hundred years. hollowed-out from giant trees.

because of their being forced into trance states by their particular affliction and it is reasonable to assume that most ordinary African people were unable to distinguish between an epileptic seizure and an autonomous trance-state. Drums come from forested regions and are particularly related to people of central and western Africa and those Bantu-speaking migrants who had most direct descent from W est Africa. But most modern percussion instruments have their origins in traditional African music. zigzags. The Zulu regiments in their war dances created terrifying rhythmic sound by beating their spears on their cowhide shields and stamping their feet. pods and artificial containers were used for shaking and rattling. All were used to assist long epic songs or repeated chanted mantras that accompanied dancing.000 years ago. was an epileptic and this enabled him to gain particular confidences of learned tribal elders. Various combinations of seeds and nuts in gourds. There is a link between trance-dancing and geometric rock-art proposed by David Lewis-W illiams which suggests the simultaneous flowering of music and visual art at the dawn of the Late Stone Age in Africa. Bantu-speaking people took it over from the San-Bushmen and it voyaged to Brazil with slaves from Angola. induces trance-dances which were part of the culture of all modern Late Stone Age peoples. Epileptics are universally revered in Africa. In Brazil it is a central pillar of samba music culture and is known as the birimbão. Monotonous chanting and fatigue-inducing postures and activities are 31 . dots. Holy trances and visions were frequently the reason for sanctifying people by the Roman Catholic Church and trances are used regularly in religious activity today in all societies. This is a function of the electro-chemical state within the brain and I do not suppose it matters how the trance is induced. Repetitive music. Professor David Lewis-W illiams presented a TV documentary by the BBC in April 1989.Other than reference to stone gongs and wooden drums probably of very ancient use as communications media. circles. Epilepsy causes a form of trance and my daughter who suffered from mild epilepsy as a teenager always knew when an attack was coming on: “W indmills are starting!” she would cry. Marimbas are perhaps the best known traditional African instruments. typical of the African style. whose depth of experience in explorations of African lore is described by Lyall W atson. around that magical 35. Lewis-W illiams examined research by neurologists which establish that when people enter a trance state they see geometric patterns: spirals. it may be that music preceded rock-art but I am sure the two flowered together anyway. apart from drums. Since chanting is linked to poetry and language. grids and so on. when he was able to expound his views widely. Adrian Boshier. any discussion about ancient music has to be speculative. The uses of music and dancing have been observed often enough amongst the San-Bushmen of the Kalahari when a medicine-man either wished to communicate with the spirits of ancestors or when he was carrying out a particular healing task for one of his community. Handclapping is used throughout Africa and was the common group dance percussion sound accompanying singing of the Kalahari San-Bushmen and Congo forest Pygmies. but there is the bow with attached gourd sound box whose string is lightly struck and presumably had roots with the Khoisan as ancient as the bow itself.

Africans especially so. Only some of us can compose orchestral symphonies and paint masterpieces on the roofs of chapels. After a while they gave up after shambling about hesitatingly. an instinct. A continuity of style over thousands of years was also illustrated. still more-or-less in a trance state. People of different tribal groups or cultures. but we can all respond to disco-music or military bands. who often sojourned with the Zulus of Natal in the 1820s. appeared together with painting. traditional music produced by all the people in a community is disappearing fast. Espionage agencies and the police use them as aids to force victims to reveal secrets or to brain-wash them. there are the same geometric symbols which have puzzled researchers. and doodle on scrap paper or in the dust at our feet. Even military and other uniforms can be said to have originated at the jump to the Late Stone Age. and dancing and enjoyment of repetitive music are part of being human. with the almost universal proliferation of electronic reproduction. Although there are almost no people in the paintings of the Dordogne. Lewis-W illiams saw the geometric symbols in rock-art as being the depictions of those entoptic (within the eyes) patterns which appear when entering a trance state. In the Drakensberg the animals are mainly eland antelopes. still living then outside the embrace of modern civilisation. shamefacedly saying that they had forgotten how. Teenagers at a ‘rave’ in the beginning of the 21st century are following a tradition which is thousands of years old. Maybe it is a genetically implanted behaviour. Many paintings in southern Africa and in Algeria. and proceeded to dance in universal disco-style to music from a radio station. It is sad that. beyond what is needed for simple covering. I watched Owambo village elders in Namibia trying to accurately reproduce a traditional rain dance as long ago as the 1970s. Criticism of modern disco-music and dancing displays ignorance of the ancient common heritage of mankind. who are the noblest of African antelopes and the height of desire and respect by hunters. All people are dancers. together with the need to scribble and draw. decorated themselves similarly whilst using variations to define their own group. show people linked to each other and to animals by ‘ropes’ of dots or enclosed by zigzags and other geometric figures. In the 1950s in Nigeria it was still possible for me to nightly hear the endless drumming and chanting of village celebration. described their endless dancing and singing all night long until people collapsed from total exhaustion. The pictures could be executed by medicine-men after a trance-dance when they were still emotionally excited by their experience.regularly used triggers to trance. separated by thousands of miles and years. Decorative clothing and adornment. Henry Francis Fynn. I was lucky to be able to observe !Kung and GiKwe groups. Those who have been lucky to have camped out in the remote African bush away from radios and music machines have heard singing that has not ceased until dawn. dancing all through the nights of the full moon on the banks of the Okavango River at Andara in 1975. and to swim in warm seas. and to talk. 32 . Rock-art pictures of people which abound in Africa illustrate the development of clothing.

Cameroon and Congo. twelve along the Atlantic corridor and four in northern Angola on the southern edge of the rainforest. The rainforest comes close to the ocean there and as climate has swung from wet to dry and back again. He was astonished at the perfection and detail of adornment. especially weapons and other ironware. Peter Robinson of the Bradshaw Foundation wrote on their web site after interviewing Dr. Dr Richard Oslisly of the Institut Paléontologie Humaine in Paris published a map of main rock art sites. The W estern Central Africa section is categorised by location rather than by style or age : Gabon. 33 . He was awed by the dancing and singing. those in conflict either conformed or left. Because Late Stone Age people lived a simple lifestyle compared to ours. or even non-existent in places. especially during severe ice ages. The possibility of a genetic influence becomes increasingly valid.Henry Morton Stanley. For many years the western side of tropical Africa was not thought to be important for rock art. clothing made from every naturally available material and in the skilled production of everyday utensils. Central African Republic. The ultimate solution. Oslisly in 2002: This region appears to have been a major conduit for migration over a long period of time and therefore important in understanding the overall picture of population migration and cultural influence in Africa. I believe that Stanley’s memoirs have been sadly neglected by anthropologists. seemingly spontaneously. This is often true of the Congo region as a whole. and the disciplined orderliness of the clans and communities he met. At other dry times. the pathway would have been wider and an easy route and a good settlement zone for people. no stress was left unresolved. we tend to assume that they were simple people. eight in Central African Republic scattered around the northern edge of the Congo rainforest. everywhere but which is most noticeable in Africa. All writers who have spent any length of time with Kalahari San-Bushmen groups have described how complicated their intimate relationships were. where no internal solution was possible. extraordinary hairstyles. Today it is drier than it was 2. This new information on rock art sites is important to later chapters in this book and will be referred to again. the forest has encroached and retreated within the narrow band of savannah which forms a corridor along the Atlantic seaboard. The map shows one site in Cameroon. was a sensitive and admiring recorder of African culture when it was still without any local influence from Asiatic or European civilisations.500 years ago at the height of an interglacial when the corridor was narrower. It is not surprising that rock art is now being recorded in this region by researchers looking for it. often derided as a brutal transgressor when making his epic exploration of central Africa from the Indian to Atlantic Oceans. was for individuals to move away. After exhausting efforts by the community. but efforts were always made. There seems to be no part of modern culture which cannot be related backwards to the culture-jump which occurred. As much time as was necessary was used to resolve conflict between individuals.

Ancestors of the Khoisan reached a level of intellectual integration with the environment about 35.000 years ago which I do not believe has been improved since. the typical San-Bushman band in the desert numbered twenty-five. Indeed. Perhaps they also achieved a level of social happiness that will never be seen again. 34 . Interestingly. which is the sort of number that many gregarious mammals such as hunting dogs have found to be the ideal in sparse environments. eccentrics were tolerated for their special talents and contributions and often revered. until we evolve through another great jump into a new sub-species. It is the number which many school-teachers say is the optimum for a class. The need to maintain the integrity of the group created social stability and great patience with the eccentric or aberrant personality.Unresolved conflict or stress was intolerable.

The flowering of creative aesthetics touching all of mankind’s activities began then. it seemed that some species had seized opportunities.000 71. The cause was the closest supernova explosion in known history .000 years. At that time.000 years ago. Increasingly I thought about some strange mutation or genetic imperative but could not imagine what it was.the disruption of a star 150 light-years away . exemplified in the rock-art. There had to be a particularly significant global event at about that time. said: “The explosion must have unleashed violent showers of cosmic rays which smashed into nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the atmosphere. I knew that something extraordinary happened about then. Prof Grant Kocharov.000 years ago kept cropping up as a kind of evolutionary watershed.000 to 40. I was astonished to read a report by Adrian Berry in the London Daily Telegraph and I quote it in full: The ozone layer was destroyed 35. For many years in my reading and thinking. 35.” He and colleagues at Arizona University found beryllium-10 in ice that formed about 35.000 to 35. ‘Out of Africa’ ancestors of CroMagnons had survived the Toba ash cloud and its volcanic winter of 74.000 years ago. That is also when the Neanderthals of Europe and the Middle East disappeared from the fossil record.which ripped away the ozone layer and bombarded Earth with violent shock waves of cosmic rays. Evidence comes from the discovery of the element beryllium-10 in the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps. So climate does not seem to have been a major factor. on 21st December 1991. jewellery and decorated tools they have left us. producing beryllium-10. By then. and it helped rather than slowed human evolution.000 years ago and spread through Asia and Europe during and after the next ice age of ± 55. lasting several thousand years perhaps. Other mammals had been affected and some sub-species disappeared but there was no enormous mass extinction.000 years ago.CHAPTER THREE : The “Cygnus Event” There is a magic that continually emerges around the period of about 40. people were nomadic hunters. Indeed. The universal culture jump to the Late Stone Age everywhere and the extinction of the Neanderthals could not have been coincidence. Dr Paul Damon of the University said: “From the density of the beryllium we have calculated that the supernova must have 35 . It is the usual order of time that I use to define the beginning of the Late Stone Age in which this artistic creativity was developed. And then. and listening to archaeologists talking.000 years ago in a disaster which lasted 2. vice-chairman of the Cosmic Ray Council of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Neanderthals had weathered many ice ages.

The demise of the Neanderthals could have been accelerated quite simply because they were pale-skinned. editor of the British journal Popular Astronomy. but descendants of the survivors would have developed immune defences.000 years ago when the ice age receded. It is reasonable to speculate on the effect of the supernova on the Sun. but those bursts of cosmic radiation must have caused random mutation in all lifeforms. There was chaos of climate within the ice-age cycle after 35.000 years ago when the northern hemisphere was gripped by the last ice-age.500 years ago with minor variations while the Sahara and Kalahari Deserts were green savannah lands.been within a distance of 150 light-years.” I spoke to Adrian Berry who told me that he had detailed conversations with the scientists concerned from which he had summarised his brief quotes. the exploding star would have been brighter than the full Moon. the Veil Nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. These relatively rapid fluctuations had dramatic effects on Late Stone Age population numbers and lifestyles. There would have been extinctions amongst marginal species throughout the range of life. Perhaps the cosmic ray bombardment upset the Sun’s own surface nuclear 36 . The Cro-Magnons had not yet become ‘white’ and they survived when Neanderthals succumbed. nomadic movements and the refining of culture. the Earth would have been bombarded both by cosmic rays and by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun as the ozone layer was ripped away. It would have been painful to the eye to look at.” The physical effects on our ancestors would have been cataclysmic. back to ‘dry’ about 22. Intense. “Those who were prone to cancer would have died prematurely. After the supernova explosion. director of the Royal Observatory at Edinburgh. the ones who were ‘white’. would have suffered most. The ‘wet’ lasted until about 2. said: “For several months. said: “It is possible that the surviving relics of the explosion may have formed what is now one of the most beautiful objects in the sky.” Mr Ian Ridpath. if not catastrophically. It would have cast shadows and turned night into day. Civilisation emerged.000 years ago. further stimulating human activity. a number in miles of only 900 million million. “In successive shock-waves that would have lasted for more than 100 human generations.” Dr Paul Murdin.” he said. tropical Asia and Australasia would have been least at risk from unrestrained ultraviolet radiation. Hairless humans would have suffered and those who lived outside the tropics. unobstructed ultra-violet light killed the Neanderthals. Africa became ‘wet’ again about 12. Dark-skinned races of Africa. Africa went from ‘dry’ to ‘wet’. An extraordinary cosmic event had occurred which could have precipitated major changes to life on Earth about that magical watershed of time. (in this book I shall call it the “Cygnus Event”). New strains of edible vegetation probably appeared and there were nutritional driving forces at work.

electro magnetism and gravitic balance. The last ice age came to an end about 12. Probable drastic climatic surges. of similar luminosity. The mutations had not changed the skeletons and general anatomy of humans. Inside their brains lurked a different kind of mind. inter-acting with the cosmic onslaught. creating a chaos of minor cycles which was sufficient to affect our climate and surface stability. It was a jolt. For a decade.. This period of change was not different to many another in the last two million years of the Pleistocene.000 years ago. of the Late Stone Age.S. I looked for some confirmation elsewhere of a close supernova in astronomically recent time and was pleased to find it from a study of radio waves. in our Milky W ay galaxy] deserves special attention. because Earth’s lifeforms were not catastrophically damaged and Gaia repaired the ravages of the supernova’s radiation. I. some very short-lived as the atmosphere sought stability. .. but it had affected their brains..Shklovskii and Carl Sagan in Intelligent Life in the Universe (1966) wrote: There is one other curious circumstance which may be related to supernovae. Ocean levels rose hundreds of feet. Following the apparently cyclical reoccurrence of disasters resulting 37 . A hypothesis of the English radio astronomer Hanbury Brown and his colleagues concerning the nature of this anomaly [a ‘tongue’ of isophotes. I have never really believed the conventional explanation that hunting alone caused their extinction. Possibly the flood myths that every old culture retained were stimulated by these comparatively recent disasters.000 years ago) and the widespread expiration of herd herbivores in Eurasia and the Americas may have been aided by these sharp geographical shocks to a greater extent than increased hunting by expanding Late Stone Age human populations. but its effects were being imposed on a different kind of mankind. an unexplained detail has remained in our picture of the distribution in the sky of cosmic radio noise. Many vague or controversial speculations about these millennia may be sharpened into focus. recently bombarded by cosmic radiation from the “Cygnus” supernova. No wonder the last 35.. no doubt resulted in the disturbance of many species. Robert Uhlig in late 1996 wrote an article based on interviews with Prof.reactions. but not as serious as the cosmic super-events which cause mass-extinctions like that of the dinosaurs.. of course. caused by extraordinary seismic activity from rapidly melting glaciers and ice-caps. The ozone layer gradually re-established itself. Aman Dar of the Space Research Institute of the Technikon University in Haifa and Dr. David Schramm of the University of Chicago.000 years have been the most eventful in the descent of mankind because mankind had become ‘modern’ by then. Massive flooding (and the advent of the ‘wet’) resulted from the melting of the vast glaciers and ice-caps.. The demise of larger variants of common species (such as the giant Cape horse 10. They believe that it may be the radio envelope of a supernova which exploded very close to our solar system several tens of thousands of years ago. The London Daily Telegraph gave me another piece of information which was relevant.

perhaps at the beginning of the Pleistocene. The merging of stars or supernovae explosions would not account for all the extinction events. that our small and insignificant planet is occasionally buffeted by extraneous radiant forces. Although I am discussing another context here altogether. Dar said this theory [meteor crash] did not explain the great leap in biodiversity following the mass extinctions. The lack of time definition is typical of the problems scientists still encounter in pinpointing past events of this kind. but it is obvious that an increase in biodiversity will result from accelerating mutations caused by external radiation. close to us may have been a cause of a number of extinctions. they had investigated probable local phenomena which could be the cause. but could be the cause of some. they think that supernovae. randomly. The “Cygnus Event” supernova was detected from Beryllium isotopes in Greenland ice cores and a report of a radio wave signature of forty years ago. Dr. I would say that the ‘great leap’ in biodiversity also happened as the natural result of nature abhorring a vacuum. It is a different phenomenon to the one detected from iron isotopes on the ocean floor. 2M years ago. * 38 . It has been pointed out that the cosmic ‘signature’ of supernovae fades fast. Latest reports are much concerned with the discovery of layers of iron isotopes on ocean floors which show evidence of there being a close supernova sometime in the last 5M years. that enhance or retard evolution of life. Two hundred light-years is thought to be the minimum distance for safety. Other estimates place the supernova which caused the iron isotope deposits to have been only 100 lightyears away which would have caused massive extinctions and mutations and suggest that if it occurred at 5M years ago it could explain the emergence and proliferation of early hominid species. He argued that the vast amount of radiation produced by a neutron star collision explained why the number of animal and plant species increased so quickly after mass extinctions. whatsoever. and their extinctions. it is notable that it is at the beginning of the Pleistocene that the Homo range of hominids first appeared and the Australopithecines began fading away to extinction. such as the one at Chicxulub in Mexico which ended the dinosaurs. Schramm said of Prof Dar’s theory on the probable effect of star explosions and their influence on Earth: “W e do know that there is at least one known pair of neutron stars [near Earth] which are spiralling closer together and will indeed collide. Rather than subscribe to the idea of a regular invasion of meteors.” Robert Uhlig went on to write: Prof.in mass extinctions. Ian Berry’s report quotes an estimate of the recent “Cygnus Event” occurring 150 light-years away which scientists reckon to be lifethreatening and capable of producing accelerated mutations. There is no doubt in my mind. or the collision of binary stars. Looking for more recent reports of supernova activity I have not found a reference to the supernova which I have called “The Cygnus Event”.

It is the evidence of flowering of culture. It is what goes on inside those skulls which is different. W hat is amazing is that evolution has resulted in ourselves. is an extraordinary and fascinating study. we and our planet will be quite different.Cotterell in The Mayan Chronicles (1995). homo sapiens sapiens. co-authored with Adrian G. as separate from homo sapiens as they were separate from homo erectus. and particularly on the delicate genetic activity occurring at the moment of fusion of a mammalian sperm and ovum. exemplified in rock art. 39 . Late Stone Age people are often referred to as the subspecies. explores unconventional realms of research into the effects of solar radiation and solar magnetic influences. which in turn create fluctuations in radiation into nearby space. Maurice M. terrible volcanic blast. Palaeontology and anatomical studies of skulls cannot provide proof of a mutation within our soft tissues.000 and 35.000 years ago and our skulls are the same. homo sapiens sapiens. The Earth’s magnetic polarity has reversed several times in the past and observations detect a weakening at the present time which is presumed to be leading towards a reversal. it is not yet known precisely what effects the Earth’s magnetism has on higher lifeforms. and we may be reasonably certain that we are not at the pinnacle of that evolutionary spiral on Earth. something like a mere twenty thousand years. Using Mayan mathematics and their complex calender.Other work continues on the effect of sunspot activity on mammal genetic mutations through the effect of changing electro-magnetic fields in the sun. Maybe there will be sufficient evidence in time to show that changes caused by the “Cygnus event” was sufficient to define us as a new species. temporary aberration or because of some major external force.Gilbert. which in turn create responses in the electro-magnetic structure of our planet. Cotterell explored research carried out by a number of authorities on the cyclical activities of the sun and Earth and their correlation to known climatic and population changes in the recent ten thousand years. we can be certain that in another relatively small segment of time. W hether the next Ice-age comes as the result of a regular cyclical event. Modern. or a combination of some or all of them. However. which is the potent signpost. The effect of electro-magnetic change and cyclical fluctuation of solar radiation on foetuses. Our skeletal structure did not change between 40.

or physical appearance of racial characteristics. the same principles were applied to plants with success. In several states of the USA. 40 . genetically imprinted traits in different human races are of lesser importance. Some characteristics are genetically imprinted and others are learned. but those differences are not sufficiently great to prevent reproduction with members of other groups. The most notable example in recent years is the apartheid dogma in South Africa. The problem with assimilation or acceptance of a group of people by another is that of dissonance between markedly divergent cultures. The discussion proceeds and it seems apparent that there are no black-and-white rules. A parallel argument has been important : whether character traits and personality are controlled by genes or by learning and example. merging to form another race. show how confusion about the nature of race has caused great distress to millions of people in the last few centuries. However. notably Jews and Gypsies. races can hybridise within a species and lose their identity. Late Stone Age people knew about this from the practical management of their herds of sheep. in similar geographical though widely separated environments.000 years we have mastered this natural process by artificially manipulating many hundreds of races of plants and animals for our convenience. determined by genes. This is very different from the somatic.000 years. These practices. a race can be said to have emerged when a group becomes isolated from others long enough for there to be significant genetic differences and environmentally adaptive changes common to all within the group. In the nineteenth and well into the twentieth century there was curiosity about the idea of human eugenics. Research was devoted to it and the maintenance of pure racial characteristics attempted by outlawing miscegenation. Most species of animals and plants have races. The particular ‘specialness’ of the human species is that because of mobility and nomadism. British Colonies and South Africa social barriers and political discrimination by law was practised into the 1960s. In the last 10. breeding for improved racial characteristics as in domestic livestock. It is learned characteristics that may become imprinted within a few generations. which are so abhorrent to most of us. which only started to be dismantled in the 1980s. which has greatly contributed to astonishing success. Within one species. political undesirables and those belonging to races considered to be inferior. This was carried to the worst excesses by the Nazi regime in Germany which exterminated millions of physically and mentally handicapped people. races have emerged with fascinating variations. Revulsion and reaction to these drives to maintain racial integrity by national or regional legal constraint created a powerful momentum to redress this perceived evil and has often resulted in another form of imbalance : excessive constitutional or other formal discrimination in favour of previously disadvantaged races or groups in the name of redressing the balance. After cultivation of cereals and fruits began.CHAPTER FOUR : AFRICA’S LATE STONE AGE PEOPLES NOTE on Race : A limitation of the word “race” is that it is impossible to define any group of people simply by their race over extended time. Deliberate control of breeding can erase or create racial differences more rapidly than natural separation can promote them. But since we are all of one species and the modern human races have emerged definitively only in the last 80. goats and cattle.

Racism and the evils which follow from racist mind-sets follow from the fact that in human beings race is so obvious. This is because it has also become fashionable in some circles to use the term ‘black’ to describe all people who are not obviously of European descent. including Arabs. I spent many years of my youth where Bushmen lived in olden time and was familiar with their territory and their art. It was an honest and honourable name for the fascinating and mysterious people who were the ancient inhabitants of the land and painted amazing pictures on the walls of caves. This is selfevidently inaccurate and grossly misleading in the context of this book. Racial stereotypes are a part of our learned culture and we apply these to people of different races immediately on meeting them. For fifteen hundred years in southern Africa. Chinese. the scientific term Negro has been used to define people of that particular race and the use of ‘black’ or ‘white’ to describe race has been avoided. It is necessary to be clear that when discussing race. mixtures of them. but I privately resist this because I grew up with that definition and neither I nor any of my contemporaries saw it as derogatory or racist. Indeed. native Americans. In pre-historic Africa. but not always! These definitions are kept clear in this writing wherever possible. language is a more obvious definition of culture. cultures are often distinguished by traditional design of artifacts. Polynesian. and indeed has been taught the same stereotypes! I have entered into this discussion for a reason. Skin colour is the most obvious trait. my like-minded friends and I had great admiration for the Bushmen because they had bravely resisted absorption by both Bantu-speaking Negro tribesmen and European settlers who often treated them with brutality and exploited them as clients or servants. We can identify people of a different race after one glance. and so on. wrongly or out of context. which perpetuates the confusion or misunderstandings it is hoped to avoid. As we come closer in time and there is literary evidence. most notably pottery. Descendants of those who kept to Late Stone Age hunter-gathering and its associated culture in southern Africa which evolved thirty thousand years ago. As I have stated elsewhere. no matter how wrong they are and no matter if the person of the different race belongs firmly in our own culture. Similarly. Culture and race are often intertwined but are not necessarily so. People of the same race may belong to several cultures. no matter how precisely they belong to the same culture as ourselves. as is obvious enough. and was modified to meet differing demands of climate and environment. are usually known as San or Khoisan today. but this can sometimes be misleading. Japanese. The people so distinguished are usually of the same race. the scientific definition is used which focuses on the genetic characteristics of people caused by geographical divergence and separation over time. cultures and sub-cultures. In some circles the term ‘Bushmen’ has become politically incorrect. so I sometimes refer to them as San-Bushmen. Hybridisation or miscegenation is considered as the genetic merging of people of two or more races which eventually may result in another race. The use of the adjective ‘ethnic’ has been avoided since it is now fashionably used to describe both culture and race indiscriminately. of which language or dialect and every kind of tradition are major components. Races and emerging hybrids are genetic traits . the matter of race becomes increasingly prominent. And culture coexists at different levels with several sub-cultures and sub-subcultures within an overall umbrella. some Bushmen managed to retain their ancient way of life and integrity of culture in the face of unrelenting pressure by the colonists from the centre of 41 . When considering the story of Africa in the last thirty thousand years. are learned traits. They used to be popularly called Bushmen.

Africans expanded again outwards after 125. They ran out of steam. dictated by climate and natural catastrophe thereafter. People still survived in the mountain zones and around oases in the 20th century before modern European penetration. Fossils from Chad prove this. Oppenheimer shows that the movement of people from Asia into Europe was prevented by the Toba explosion because the ash pall spread across India into the Middle East wiping out most large mammal life. however sparsely. These events are described in Book One. The signature of the Toba explosion is Lake Toba.000 years ago during a prolonged warm interglacial.000 years ago that the great migration ‘out of Africa’ began. There is the definitive evidence of modern African people shown by fossils in Israel. being stopped by the deserts of the Middle East to which they were insufficiently adapted. Certainly the Sahara was occupied.000 years ago. But genetic evidence quoted by Stephen Oppenheimer in his book Out of Africa (2003) suggests that they did not penetrate far into Eurasia. The Sahara was the giant portal dividing the tropical core-lands of eastern Africa from the vast spaces of Eurasia for long periods of thousands of years and this has global importance. Nevertheless. some people could usually survive amongst them. 42 . It was not until the next warm time about 80. If Australopithecus could spread to the proven South African highveld sites and the vicinity of Lake Chad when the climate suited. when it is assumed evolution proceeded to Homo sapiens. they must have at least penetrated all along the Nile and well across the Sahara. A particular dismal peak of inclement climate causing an ice-age followed and it is estimated that world populations of many mammals declined drastically. mankind included.Africa or from across the ocean.500 square kilometres. eighty kilometres long and covering 1. by hominids as far back as Australopithecus whenever it was watered savannah as opposed to desert. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mountains always get more rainfall than surrounding lowlands and even when most of the Sahara reverted to desert in dry cycles. Perhaps people first understood something of geography sometime around the close of the warm interglacial centred on about 250. Extinctions of several large mammals occurred including varieties of the mammoth and rhinoceros families. bravery and ingenuity in defying the authority of those with superior numbers and weapons. Springer and McKie in African Exodus (1996) cite the tremendous volcanic explosion of Mount Toba in Sumatra about 74. the Sahara has always been a great geographical boundary between tropical Africa and the rest of the world. The process of modern Africans peopling the world proceeded thereafter in convulsive leaps. In the way that teenage schoolboys often do. we admired them especially for their unconquerable spirit. Shifting sands during repeated desertification of the Ice-age cycles has long ago buried and scattered their bones.000 BP which caused the greatest expulsion of dust and gas into the atmosphere in 450 million years.

The 43 . sub-Saharan people were no longer in the dynamic mainstream.000 years ago onwards. The severe ice age of about 24. On this prehistoric evidence. it is possible that the Bushman skeletal type represents the ancestral form. * * Professor Phillip Tobias. It is accepted that the species jump to modern human was universal in Africa. Oppenheimer exhaustively follows these movements through genetic traces. the Negroid peoples have differentiated. On the other hand.000 years ago stifled advance from this new base. They were following their own paths. of African origin moved into Europe from Asia during the warm period about 50. the true nature of this exponential acceleration in cultural progress. all over the world. genetically modern. From about 10. but within the warm-wet periods which followed.000 to 35. South African anatomist. showed itself.000 years ago. My description of the “Cygnus Event” is the explanation I propose.000 years ago are an anchor in time showing that this jump had occurred by then. probably the earliest recognizable Negriform material is that excavated at Khartoum and dated to about 6000 years ago. there was only the modern species living in the African heartlands. disrupted the calm of the earlier stone ages. But then there was the enormous jump in culture which changed all human life at about 40. we should have to regard the Negro as an offshoot of the Khoisaniform racial stock rather than the other way around! Improved technical dating methods have since shown that the Negroid skeletons discovered in the southern Sahara lived there about 9-8. in this event. if not also northeast Africa. The Peoples of Africa South of the Sahara. The explosive flowering of creative art is the signal that something happened in the minds of all people. fixed towns and civilisation.000 to 12. and therefore of all modern people.000 yeas ago. By the time modern people. was inhabited in the earlier parts of the Holocene Period [since the last Ice-age] by people skeletally similar to the Bushmen. Fossils from Ethiopia dated to about 160. More recent evidence suggested that the Khoisan race does indeed have an older pedigree than other Africans. began penetrating Europe. And there has been no discernable anatomical evidence that there were an African equivalent of the Neanderthals of Europe or a similar remnant species or sub-species which are suspected in parts of tropical Asia. Perhaps from this form. There was the gathering of momentum to agriculture.000 years ago. however caused physically and in the genes of Homo sapiens. Not much is known about change or racial divergence in Africa during this long time. it is likely that a large part of Central and East Africa.000 years ago. with selective pressures and hybridization.Middle Stone Age people. reaching the far west in the following millennia. as long ago as 1966: Bushman-like [Khoisan-like] skeletons are known from a far wider area than the present restricted distribution of Bushmen. originating from Africa from 80. wrote in his wide-ranging paper. little is known of the skeletal ancestry of the Negro.

of hunter-gathering groups surviving in Kenya and Tanzania. had already lost most of their identity. and could be assumed to have been of that race.000 years ago.least hybridised descendants of the oldest line of homo sapiens. W ithin those vast quiet zones Middle Stone Age forest-dwellers specialised in woodland and forest-fringe living and acquired particular genetic markers and a distinctive anatomy. But from the Niger delta eastwards. Perhaps there was progress towards racial and then species divergence into a W est African equivalent of the Neanderthals? That there is no trace today of such an offshoot may be of significance in trying to imagine what event caused the jump to modern Homo sapiens somewhere around 200. have evolved into distinct sub-species and races. forests were perennial. was travelling in eastern Africa in the 1960s. migrated into W est Africa. It seems reasonable that a particular population accumulated over a long period in the constricted geographic pocket of W est Africa between desert and ocean. I was fascinated by his repeated reference to the existence. Peter Matthieson. It was probably the period when the last reasonably clear vestiges of tribal cultures. He describes the Tindiga who still maintained their independence from clientship and steady absorption by surrounding people under post-Independence political pressures and economic change. descended from the common ‘African Eve’. became distinct about 125. It is not along the length of W est Africa that forests were permanent for long enough to result in racial divergence. Perhaps these forest people’s ancestors. There was too great a flux enforcing movements of people to allow stagnation and hidden pockets of people. there are the conditions for races to mature in long periods of isolation. Early Stone Age people. Homo erectus or their offshoots. The Tindiga retained a ‘click’-language similar to the Khoisan of southern Africa.000 years ago. That seems about right for it was in the midst of a prolonged warm-wet interglacial when the 44 . the chimps and gorillas. as Tobias suggested in his 1966 paper. and could have been another pocket of Khoisan people. Then rain forest along the coast from the Niger River delta westwards lies in a fringe which is clearly vulnerable to prolonged dry periods and the savannah today reaches towards the sea in Ghana. the ‘African Eve’. The climate cycles that were so massively evident in Eurasia in the advance and retreat of ice-sheets no doubt caused the advance and retreat of the W est African forests which precluded sufficient isolation of people there to enable speciation. Here. He also read widely and observed keenly. examining the traditional tribal history and anthropology still visible. then. are the surviving Khoisans of southern Africa. The Dorobo who are famous in adventure and hunting fiction. but were still valued as trackers and gun-bearers on safari. Since 1966 the frontiers of archaeology have been constantly pressed backwards into time and our knowledge of what went on in the Sahara and W est Africa has increased. into Cameroon and then within the great Congo Basin. the majority of whose ancestors had their origins in the forests and savannah fringes of W est Africa. languages and lifestyle were unashamedly exhibited. an American professional writer and scholar. It is within these great African forests that our close relatives. From the dimmest mists of time. The popular conception of an African is the modern ‘black’ person of the Negro race.

they improved their skills and outside knowledge was gradually transferred to them from the diverging Negro peoples forced to learn how to cope with the pulsing of forest and savannah. with reciprocating beats of the forest. which is their distinguishing feature today. At 35.000 years ago when there was a warm-wet time. the turmoil which caused the birth of the culturally diverse Negro race was stilled and descendants of the first Homo sapiens survived without great change. the Toba explosion precipitated an ice age followed by fifteen thousand cool years and another ice age until a warm-wet time at about 50.000 years ago. The Negro race was born. I believe that this repeated cyclical climate. In the deepest heart of the Congo Basin. The ancestral W est African Negroes became a distinct people under these circumstances. Pygmies are smaller than their Negro brothers and sisters who have had millennia of forest fringe mixing. Here. ‘pulses’ as I call them. Their small size. they descended directly from them.000 years ago. 45 . But they became specialists. people differentiated into greater specialisation safe from the fluctuating rigours of the Sahara.000 years ago. these fluctuations. The Sahara has been an enormously dynamic influence on mankind in Africa: stimulating then chopping back. Rain forest living results in most mammals being reduced in size compared to their brothers and cousins who inhabit more varied habitats. creating population pressures. were hardly felt. that magical date again. There was a long period of expanded desert and declining forest until about 90.forests would have been at a maximum. As time went by. bonobo chimps of the deep Congo basin are smaller than the common chimps who live on the fringes. In the strip of land along the coast and within the heart of the Congo Basin. many perished and survivors had to retreat with the vegetation. These people were the ancestors of the Pygmies. churning and imprisoning. I speculate that the Negro race evolved there during that time. During those thousands of years. was restricted by their particular nutritional regime which is low in protein and short of some essential minerals. providing alternating wealth and poverty. when they can be found untouched by today’s world.000 years ago. W ithin those ‘dries’ and ‘wets’ there would have been numerous minor variations. creating freedom to travel then cutting off intercourse except for the skilled few. in moisture cycles several times since 125. the climate was similar to today’s and then came the last severe ice age which lasted until abruptly terminated 12. Before it became too well established. The Sahara has ‘pulsed’.500 years during which the Sahara has reached its present extent. During a ‘wet’ they could expand their range enormously and they became scattered and grew in numbers. The Pygmies did not diverge from the first modern African people. And then there has been the drying off in the last 2. It was mostly warm and wet after that with savannah spreading across the Sahara and the forests expanding. W hen the ‘dry’ came. people of W est Africa ‘pulsed’ into the Sahara and back following vegetation and prey animals as climate dictated. Forest elephants are smaller than the savannah race. experts in rainforest living. with the great tropical rainforest expanding and contracting and the central Sahara fluctuating between savannah with forest on the mountains and back to desert had a profound effect on the people of the region.

From the central core deep in the Congo to the fringe of the Sahel savannah the genetic and cultural difference was gradual. There are underground reservoirs and rivers relict from the last ice age and resultant oases. 46 . by professional hunter. and genes. the Hoggar rises to 2900m [9500ft] and there are peaks in the Tibesti which top 3200m [10500ft]. There are notable mountainous islands of old volcanoes like the Hoggar. Now. but planting some crops in small farapart clearings. His descriptions of the people living as hunter-gatherers. all of the forest dwellers were modern Homo sapiens and racial difference never proceeded to speciation. it is not a great uniform sandy or rocky plain. which had developed to the Late Stone Age and was spread over most of the continent. Gorillas Were my Neighbours. There were people still living that way in the forest of the Niger Delta in the 1950s when I was living and working there. Prof. I believe that there was a common savannah culture. Tibesti. There was no exact dividing line. must be precise snapshots of how it was for maybe ten thousand years or more within the Negro heartland. Fred G. Obviously there was mingling at the edge of the deep core of the African rainforest. were exchanged between the Pygmies at that edge and those of the diverging Negro race. Aïr and Ennedi. Today there may be only a few thousand Pygmies left who have unique genetics and live by a rough approximation of their ancient lifestyle. W hether the whole of the Sahara was habitable then is important.000 years ago. All reach at least 1500m [5000ft]. unstable and never had fixed boundaries. outside the W est and Central African forests. those forests have been despoiled and the petroleum industry has caused scandalous pollution. although most of it is like that. Roland Oliver in The African Experience (1991) concluded that there was a particular wet cycle between about 30-20. These collections of volcanic peaks and massifs are spectacular and amazing sights. rising from the endless sand and gravels. which is 4 feet 3 inches. 35. often preserved for the amusement of tourists. The similarities between rock-art of the Sahara and eastern-southern Africa confirms the obviousness of their common origins. although isolated parts always were and people with special skills could travel certain trails. Tassili.Genetic studies show that they are a discrete race with ancient roots separate to Negroes. Modern examples of forest specialisation can still be observed by tourists visiting the dwindling numbers of Pygmies in the Ituri Forest of the Congo.000 years ago which nicely coincides with a warm period and the aftermath of the possible supernova “Cygnus Event”. * W hether the Sahara was wet or dry since 35. All have collections of rock-art from the Late Stone Age.000 years ago. describes his experiences with gorillas and chimps and the habits of the people of the rainforests of French Cameroon before W W II when that wilderness had not been degraded and forests denuded. It was where information and culture. A delightful book. The Pygmy tribal group known for their particularly small stature are the Mbuti with an average height of 130 cms. Merfield.

.000 years ago and then became wet again in what is known as the ‘Holocene W et Phase’ which “had its main effect within the first twenty degrees of north latitude and as far west as the Niger bend. millennia ago. body decoration and style of rock-art to the Khoisan of eastern and southern Africa. Other models suggest that the Zambezi-Okavango-Limpopo river system in southern Africa became interconnected with a network of waterways and flood-plains covering immense territory including the Makgadikgadi salt pans which were a great shallow lake similar to Lake Chad. Henri Lhote. creating yet another source. a specialist in Saharan prehistory and an ethno-archaeologist. horse-drawn chariots from about 1200 BC and camels about 100 BC.” Oliver draws a picture of the geography of central Africa during the Holocene W et Phase. Cattle were brought in from the Middle-East and metals followed. These dates are most important. fishing and its associated sedentary lifestyle became predominant again amongst a wide spectrum of the savannah people in the central Sahara and the wettest parts of eastern and southern Africa. ‘proto-Negro’ people about 9-8.500 and 6.. His conclusions from Tassili art were that as the climate became wet again after about 12.Rock-art in the mountain fastnesses of the centre of the Sahara provides fascinating information about people in the Late Stone Age.500 years ago. Hunter-gatherers lived in the central Sahara when it was ‘wet’ 9.000 years ago.000 years ago. There must have been stability within the forests. As the Ice Age waned 12. Lake Chad stretched from the Chari river to the Tibesti Mountains and its waters breached the watershed to flow down the Benue and Niger Rivers to the Atlantic. Lakes in the Great Rift Valley merged as the valley was inundated. and formed the ancestors of the present Sahel people who never penetrated the woodlands 47 . The Sudd swamps of the upper Nile spread vastly as Lake Turkana was raised so that its waters flowed north into the Nile system. but they began to be displaced when migrants with sheep and cattle moved in from the northeast. peaking between 9.000 years ago and painted on rocks. commencing with portraits of ‘round head’.000 years ago.000 BC. wrote in National Geographic (August 1987): W hen the Sahara was green.000 years ago the area became peopled with dramatically changing culture and technology until it dried out in the centuries before Christ and the horse was replaced by the camel. man hunted buffalo and drove cattle over grasslands where giraffe browsed and hippo wallowed in lakes.. making it a far more hospitable place than it is today. as there was on the savannah. Cattle herding is depicted after 5. They seem related in lifestyle. But agriculture was developing in Egypt. a shift in weather patterns brought a moist climate to North Africa. They are confirmed in Roland Oliver’s time scale which concludes that the Sahara was dry between 20-10. its mirror in North Africa. From 12.000 years ago. Lhote described four phases of rock-art in the Tassili. They merged through clientship over time. Lhote described the next three phases reflecting cultural and technical advance influenced by events to the north and east and climatic change from about 7.

Their singing. By then they had become specialised to survive in desert and semi-desert country. whatever rigours changing climate imposed on people in eastern-southern Africa. ‘nutritional driving force’ and population explosion and mixing. the Hadza and Tindiga. the Khoisan have significant cultural similarities with the Pygmies of the rainforest. migration could always find a reasonably viable homeland for sparse populations within the greater geographical zone. in Tanzania. The Negro forest people of W est Africa began to spread east and south. W hen the Sahara dried again in the first millennium before Christ and desertification was speeded by overgrazing with herded cattle. the Khoisan line of descent remained clear. I conclude that this must have had an enormous interrelated effect of cultural evolution. The ancestors of the Khoisan were the rock-artists at the beginning of the Late Stone Age in southern Africa and it does not require too much imagination to accept that ancestors of modern southern African Khoisan people occupied most of the savannah lands of the continent. forced by increasing population pressures resulting from the arrival of new techniques and culture from the north and the drying of the Sahara. as climate changed. this assumption was nothing more than intuitive or reasoned speculation. social turmoil and migrations were precipitated. which has to be examined in greater detail as my search for Africa continues. * In contrast to W est Africa where cyclical changes in Saharan climate repeatedly compressed people into constricting geography. chanting and dancing.where tsetse flies killed their cattle and horses. Nilotic and Cushitic people of north-eastern Africa moved south. but genetic research has shed a sharp light on these descendants of our most ancient people. Until recently. Apart from their common small stature and huntergathering subsistence. affected to a greater or lesser extent by the pulsing Sahara. The savannahs of Africa were their range and whereas the Pygmies and the Negroes diverged racially within the tropical forests and their fringes. Over long time. The clearly-defined Khoisan race survived into historical time only in the southwestern corner of Africa which Bantu-speaking Negroes never colonised. the particular social mechanism of clientship was perfected. from the central Sahara to the Cape. the children of the ‘African Eve’. mankind was born and matured there. goats and sheep. The Khoisan race inhabited a widespread range. It could have begun earlier. with strong 48 . resulted in a remarkably peaceable trait. There were pockets of similar modern people. infrequently found elsewhere. The migration of Negro people from the forests into the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa seems to be most easily detected early in the first millennium before Christ. They were descended directly from the first modern Homo sapiens people. at whatever stage of evolution and technical development. Together with peaceableness. Eastern Africa is the core-land and its geography has always been the most suitable to the core-people. After all. the acceptance by nomadic people in eastern Africa of the necessity to accommodate each other.

has a most eerie similarity. Tobias summed up the genetic evidence: . W hen diet is improved. but they were still 49 . Many facts have accumulated to confirm what the somatic evidence formerly indicated. especially after the rise of urban civilisation and the expansion of trade.) Along the Nile and in the Horn of Africa there was increasing interaction with the Levant and Arabia. in general. Here are brief extracts: The bodily distinctness of Bushmen .social and religious significance. W here did Africa in the ethnographic sense begin and end? It is not sensible to see the border precisely at Suez. It is now known that Bushmen share a number of allelic frequency patterns with southern African Negroes and with other sub-Saharan Africans.. stature increases dramatically to a size dictated by their genes. (Elsewhere I have shown that the small stature of Khoisan people in historical time does not mean that their far ancestors were also small..... namely that in numerous characteristics Bushmen differ appreciably from southern African Negroes. genetic studies subsequently showed the general sub-Saharan African affinities of Khoisans. broad flat noses. Hybrid peoples then coalesced into nation states with distinct and sophisticated cultures as the classical urban civilisations evolved.. common occurrence of palpebral and epicanthic eyefolds.. Bushmen and Hottentots share a common sub-Saharan pool of genetic alleles: Khoisans have more in common genetically with Negroes than either group has with any non-African peoples.. ‘peppercorn’ hair.. In this part of the world the neat geographical boundaries which we apply became increasingly blurred in the last ten thousand years. small flattish faces [etc]. Pygmies and ‘Bushmen’ were small because of their diet over many generations. short stature .. [But] . Ancestral Arabs and Levantines mixed with ancient Saharan people and Negroes from W est Africa and created what have been called the modern Afro-Asiatic peoples.. People of different genetic origin and different cultures increasingly mixed.. * * Phillip Tobias recited the common difference and similarity between the Khoisan and modern southern African Negroes in considerable detail in an address to the Royal Society of South Africa on 17th March 1971... Tobias continues: . different to the Bantu-speaking people who surrounded them.... Undoubtedly there was racial separation between Negroes and Khoisans producing the genetic variation noted by Tobias.. is manifest in their light yellowish-brown skin. Homo erectus living in lush lacustrine country over a million years ago were as tall as late 20th century Europeans... very small ears with a high frequency of overrolled helix or rim and commonly lobeless...

can be traced to a common ancestry in Africa at about 190. He had analysed the Y chromosome of more than 1.. they are shown to have been a separate race from that very early time. at 190.000 years. He said : “One way of looking at this is that the Y chromosome traces back to people who lived in Africa. Out of Eden. At 138.000 years ago. The oldest branch of the [human family] tree that traces all the way back to Adam is represented today by the Khoisan people.000 years ago. They have the most ancient genetic line of descent of all people on Earth. Peopling of the World (2003).500 men selected from racial groups around the world. genetic science has made leaps.000 years ago. there was a divergence between what I might call the ancestral Khoisan of the savannahs and the ancestral Pygmies and related forest people. the diaspora of modern peoples ‘out of Africa’ began and the divergence into the Asiatic and European races proceeded. Regarding the ancestors of the Khoisan. the human tree began diverging and the ancestral line of the Khoisan and the Pygmies remained distinct from those who were the ancestors of the Negro and later Afro-Asiatic inhabitants of the continent. From about 160.000 years ago. A distinct Pygmy genetic inheritance emerges at 57.” In his book. His study echoed the mitochondrial Eve results.closer to each other than they were to the descendants of the people who migrated out of tropical Africa into Eurasia 80. He shows that according to the evidence now gathered together all modern people.000 years ago. which does not surprise me. At about 83. W e have evidence that the Y chromosome in all men today trace back to one African male at some time in the past .000 years ago.. Mediterranean coast of Africa is generally outside the scope of my narrative. 50 . all over the world. and coincides with the appearance of the rock-art of France and Spain and the possible “Cygnus Event”) * The peopling of the northern. Stephen Oppenheimer draws deeply on various genetic studies made during the last few years. coincident to mitochondrial African Eve.000 years ago.. but those who lived there were part of the ancestry of the Saharan people who painted on the rocks in the mountains. As he pointed out.000 years ago. and devise a preliminary genetic reconstruction of the racial evolution of modern people. Long after Tobias’ lecture in 1971. In 1997 Dr Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona was quoted in the London Sunday Times. it is only with the widespread use of computers that biologists have been able to analyse many thousands of mutations and piece together myriad changes in the DNA code. Oppenheimer published a fascinating diagram to illustrate his detailed description of the spread of races through genetic divergence in the last 200. (Divergence into a W estern European ancestry becomes defined at around 36.

000 years ago. which has become distinctly unfashionable. moved west through Mesopotamia and down onto the Levantine coastal plain.000 years ago. It was then that territory was marked out. Much space could be devoted to speculation about this evidence of ‘non-African’ or ‘European’ culture being established on the southern Mediterranean shores and I find it fascinating. founding the modern European races.Middle Stone Age sites have been explored in Morocco which have been attributed to Neanderthals.000 years ago. southern Arabia and the Levant. After the massive population growth created by agriculture and husbandry precipitating urban civilisations.000 years ago. since there appear to be dates before modern Homo sapiens may have reached there either across the Sahara or along the coast from the east.50.000 years ago into southern Asia and. they were extinguished by this migration since hybridisation was not possible. the eastern North African coast lands. If there were Neanderthals living on the North African coast then. Occupation patterns were established which we know from the beginning of historical time when civilisations had arisen and writing had developed 5. The main body moved along the Turkish shores into Europe. * * 51 . and if the earlier settlers were Africans from across the Sahara they were assimilated. They settled in the Nile valley and on the coast of North Africa. A particularly important cave site is Haua Fteah in the mountains of Cyrenaica in Libya. proto-Negro. or both) who had crossed the Sahara maybe during the warm-wet time of about 80.000 years ago. Mousterian tools with Neanderthal affinities were identified with a date about 65.000 years ago and similarly assimilated Mousterian culture? W ere they a mix of these African peoples from different trans-Sahara movements? Those speculations are overtaken by the arrival of new migrants at about 40 . after the rigours of the Toba volcanic explosion and subsequent ice age with impenetrable dry desert conditions in the Middle East. were they descendants of earlier African migrants who are known to have been active in crossing the Suez land bridge into the Levant about 135. whilst some crossed back into Africa. the Horn of Africa. According to genetic trails. These were people who were descended from the ‘out-of-Africa’ diaspora of 80. Evidence of their presence is shown by archaeology at Haua Fteah and the modern Berbers of Algeria have a genetic marker which diverged from the southern European immigrants from the Middle East at about 50. and now often known as the Afro-Asians.000 years ago and went no further north. W ere these people Neanderthals who had gradually spread around all of the Mediterranean (there are Neanderthal sites in Palestine from 90. People referred to as Hamites in the past. in the Late Stone Age inhabited the Nile valley. Here too. The stone tools have an affinity to Neanderthal culture in southern Europe. but may have spread along the North African coast and picked up Mousterian culture from Neanderthals they displaced? W ere they later native Africans (proto-Khoisan.000 years ago) . it is evident that people from the Levant moved back into Africa across the Suez bridge into the Nile valley and along the Mediterranean from about 50. Afro-Asiatic people grouped into clearly defined tribes and nations and the best land had a premium.

In the same way that dispersion and isolation promotes genetic diversion leading to racial separation. a pidgin develops rapidly to enable communication. Apart from some notable language characteristics (the prolific ‘click’ sounds in Zulu and Xhosa) there seems to be no relic of Khoisan culture today. Language is the most precise of the many cultural attributes of Homo sapiens. so languages change and evolve with mixing as races hybridise and miscegenate. A more current example might be the ‘township’ pidgin in urban areas of the W itwatersrand in the Gauteng Province of South Africa which is a rich mix of Nguni. It can only be a rough guide because people often change dominant aspects of their culture. and in South Africa where colonial domestic ‘kitchen kaffir’ developed into the semi-formal Fanagalo pidgin in the W itwatersrand gold mines where workers from a variety of Bantu-speaking origins were employed. In the same way that languages may evolve through divergence as do races and species. W hen two cultures speaking different languages mix either through clientship of one to the other or from another force of circumstances. Since 700AD when Arab and Persian trading considerably increased. and ultimately new species. the so-called Cape Coloureds emerged with a culture which is almost indistinguishable today from that of ‘white’ Afrikaners whose culture has been influenced by them in turn. families and individuals developing unique usage of words. the development of Swahili over maybe 1200 years is a definitive example of this process. Arabic and other Middle East and Indian languages were brought by traders and settlers to the East African coast from as early as the first millennium BC and a pidgin undoubtedly was seeded. after more than three centuries. In South Africa. Bantu-speaking Nguni who came from the north to the south-eastern seaboard maybe 800 years ago absorbed earlier Bantu-speaking emigrants and the native Khoisan. I see striking parallels between the evolution of new races or species and new dialects or languages. African people developed thousands of languages and dialects. Sotho. perhaps the most important in modern societies. In eastern Africa. English and Afrikaans. language diverges into dialects and then new languages. developing into a 52 . with remarkable facility by social mechanisms.Language is an important clue to peoples’ cultural grouping and affinity. jargon and pet-names. but there are clear Khoisan genetic markers including facial appearance and skin colour. grammatical constructions. the similarity diminishing with distance from common ancestors. a creole language may develop from the pidgin with a vocabulary derived from the root languages but with a grammatical structure of its own. exclusive sayings. particularly those of W est Africa and the Far East. Lacking other archaeological markers. a pidgin blossomed into a creole language and Swahili was born. historians use language as a guide to linkages and movements of people. Language has rules and is a system of codes common to a cultural group with clans. where Europeans traded with indigenous people. DNA determines the principle characteristics of races or species yet there are many genes which vary and result in the unique character of individuals and their particular relationship with their clan or family. including language. After time. There are many modern examples. and it is fascinating that it works in much the same way as genetics define the physical being. for it is after all a most important part of culture.

written language within a few centuries. W hen British settlers arrived in Kenya in the 20th century, a ‘settler pidgin’ developed. The official creole language of Papua-New Guinea is another particular example whose evolution can be traced during the 1920s and 30s. The uniformity of the general laws of nature constantly asserts itself. Jared Diamond, a physiologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, in his wide-ranging study of modern mankind and its origins, The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (1991), examines language in some detail. One of his propositions is that we have a genetic imperative to create language. He cites cases, including the evolution of creoles (frequently quoting that of Papua-New Guinea),where children appear to develop language structures according to a natural pattern in a deprived intellectual environment. The development of a ‘new’ language seems to be instinctive and a genetic imperative in mankind. I have agreement with this because I believe there are several human genetically-imprinted imperatives such as tool-making and using, nomadism, fondness of seashores, artistic expression, selection of dwelling sites, abstract belief and, most recently, animal domestication and plant cultivation. Having seen the amazing variety of ingenious ‘wire-car’ toys spontaneously made by African children from the Cape to the Sahara, I would suggest that engineering is an extension of the genetic imperative for tool-making even in so-called non-technical, ‘undeveloped’ societies: a hybrid of the instincts of tool-making and artistic expression. All of these inherited traits may be observed by any parent or schoolteacher in every child. W e do not have to teach children to learn language, we merely have to give them a proper blueprint and the right encouragement to exploit their natural drive. If children in various countries are not learning language ‘correctly’ today in school or at home, it can only be the fault of the teaching system or the changing culture of their communities; it has nothing to do with the children’s abilities or motives. If the system is lacking or their parents’ culture is weakened, they develop their own pidgin or creole, and linguist too can be observed. The ‘township’ pidgin of the South African W itwatersrand, where political forces severely damaged the school system from 1976 into the late 1990s, is a good example. Reaching back to the Late Stone Age, before the revolution of cultivation and domestic herding which stirred the African continent, the roots of great regional language-groups were planted in the soil of racial divergences. Roland Oliver defines the probable geographic distribution of language families 10-5,000 years ago. The Afro-Asiatic family encompassed Egypt and spread outwards along the Mediterranean and down the Red Sea coasts to the Horn of Africa and deep into the contiguous Middle-East. The Nilo-Saharan family was spoken by people inhabiting the Sahara savannahs and the upper Nile. The Niger-Congo language family was spoken by the forest-woodland branch of Negroes in W est Africa and the Congo basin. Elsewhere, on the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa, the Khoisan people lived, speaking with their distinctive and unique ‘click’ sounds for which they are famous. After 5,000 years ago, as civilisation evolved along the Nile and climate change affected the great forests, people began moving about into


the ranges they inhabited in earliest historical time. Racial and linguistic boundaries began to be blurred. W hereas modern eastern-southern African languages are roughly divided into five main groups: Khoisan (of the ancient stock), Bantu (of the Niger-Congo family), Nilotic (Nilo-Saharan), Cushitic (Afro-Asiatic) and modern European (English, Portuguese, Afrikaans and French), in western Africa there are distinct groups with many subdivisions and dialects which no longer belong to any great family. Following compression and movement over the last 5,000 years as the Sahara desertified, the diversity of W est African language today more-or-less has a logical spread. The Afro-Asiatic family (notably Arabic carried by diffusion and trade as well as by the great Islamic Jihad) is spoken in the Sahara and eastern Sahel. Niger-Congo types dominate the region of the Niger River eastward. But from western Mali at the edge of the Sahel in a broad swath to the sea in Sierra Leone and Liberia there is the Mande group of languages (Mandinka, Bambara, Soninke, Kasonke, Bozo, Susu, Mende, Dan, Bussa, Loko and so on) which experts cannot link to any of the main African families. In the Niger Delta region which has had a relatively undisturbed geography spanning this time of change there is another group of languages with no clear affinity, Ijaw (Ijo) probably being the best known. It can be speculated that the Mande and Ijaw language groups may represent traces of an ancient ancestral culture of the aboriginal Negro race which became specialised in rainforest living tens of thousands of years ago. The rest of the Niger-Congo language family probably represents the traces of another ancient language of the Negro people who lived a more nomadic lifestyle in the forest fringes and thus spread further. The Bantu group falls into this division and it was Bantu-speakers who covered the eastern-southern savannahs to the limits of geography practical for them by 500 AD, absorbing Khoisan as they migrated. Genetic researches show that the modern Khoisan were descended most directly from the core-people and thence all the way back to Homo erectus and the ‘aquatic ape’. The Khoisan have the clearest relationship with our roots in an ‘African Eve’ and beyond, however finely attenuated that strain has become. The southern branches of the Khoisan, surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, had nowhere further to go and no returning migrants to mix with, so they would have been subject to the least amount of hybridisation. There is no sure archaeological trace of any major infusion of different people to the far south since the jump to Late Stone Age culture (at least 35,000 years ago) until about 2,000 years ago. It is fascinating to think that in southern Africa there were still people at the end of the 20th century who could claim the most ancient lineage on Earth. It is sad to contemplate the probability that in less than a brief century it may be impossible to identify them.



The phrase, “winds of change”, used by British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan on 3rd February 1960 in his famous Cape Town speech, is fixed in contemporary British history to mark the ending of the modern European colonial era in Africa. Those ‘winds of change’ which brought arbitrarily-created African states under the rule of nationalist politicians for the first time in all history often blew with hurricane force and carried massive change to many people. But a more slow-moving, often capricious, ‘wind of change’ began blowing gently more than five thousand years before. It was then that urban civilisation, which had matured in the Middle East and along the Nile, began to have its impact on the continent as a whole, turning ancient society upside down. W hatever changes were wrought in the Late Stone Age, which may have been born in Africa in the aftermath of the supernova “Cygnus event” of ± 40,000 years ago, were nothing compared to the rippling impact of agriculture, fixed territory, metal working and organised nation states with disciplined armies, complex trading economies, ocean voyaging, dogmatic religions and the rigid order of civilisation. The ‘wind of change’ that began blowing down Africa from the great Egyptian and Mesopotamian Civilisations, from Red Sea and Persian Gulf states, from India and the Mediterranean civilisations of Greece and Rome, eventually reached southern Africa at the beginning of the Christian period when herded domestic sheep appeared there. * *

Like most major game reserves in Africa the Tsavo National Park, the Mara, Amboseli and the Serengeti are crisscrossed by roads and the tracks of tourist vehicles, elephant poachers’ trucks and the four-wheel drive safari cars of TV film crews and academic researchers. The pristine lands of East Africa have been scarred for ever. In the W estern Rift Valley, Uganda, the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel regions, vicious wars have destroyed the quiet and damaged the ancient land. There are few places in Africa where large areas of the primeval savannah wilderness can be experienced as it was before agriculture began to change the people and the land three or four thousand years ago. It is only in southern Africa that wilderness has been preserved to some extent, but virgin landscape is gradually becoming scarce there too. The constant pressures of ‘adventure tourism’ and the weakening of conservation controls by government agencies, either by acquiescing to the demands of the tourist industry or through indifference and poor management, is doing irrevocable damage. I have been lucky, and travelled in the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta, the Namib and the Kaokoveld from the early 1960s to the 1980s when there were scarce indigenous people still existing in ancient style and others of my ilk, travelling in motor vehicles, were often days of travel away from me and my few companions. W e were ourselves violating virgin lands then, of course, but we knew we were merely at the forefront of an irreversible


onslaught. W e treasured the opportunities given us and were sad at what we knew was beginning. I shall not go to those places from choice again. Travelling in the Kalahari from south to north there was only one slim and dangerous track through the Mabuasehube Reserve and the central zone. There was no surface water and it might be many days before you met another human. W hen I first visited Maun from Francistown, the journey was a long hard slog through thick sand and you carried camping gear, fuel, food and water with you. Today there are tarred highways and your BMW or Porsche Carrera will carry you across that ancient desert in a few hours. The Government of Botswana, in the guise of being humanitarian, has bullied the last of the huntergatherer San-Bushmen out of the Kalahari into cement-block settlements and food aid where they begin to die prematurely of poor nutrition, an excess of alcohol, HIV-Aids and ennui of the soul. There are vast diamond pipes and other valuable minerals in the Kalahari and the nomadic hunter-gatherers, harnessed by clever lawyers, might have somehow claimed ownership if they were left on their ancestral lands. * *

There are many definitions of a desert. The simplest is that common to dictionaries: a deserted place, uninhabited, a wasteland. Geographers see a desert as an area where the majority of the surface has no vegetation, and by that criterion the Kalahari is not a desert. It is mostly covered with a monotonous mat of coarse grasses and scrub, with patches of taller trees where there is water underground. But, in nature there are no sharp divisions and the Kalahari has always been thought of as a desert by travellers because there is no perennial surface water anywhere in its vast area. Like many great geographical zones, the Kalahari is unique. It is a huge bowl in the centre of southern Africa where the Earth’s crust was depressed and sediments of sand were washed in and blown by winds to fill the hollow. This depression may have occurred during the Carboniferous period [± 300M years ago] when southern Africa was close to the South Pole and covered by a thick ice-cap and glaciers, as Antarctica is today. It is claimed to be the largest area covered entirely by sand anywhere in the world, over a million square kilometres in extent. The sand is porous and the sparse and erratic rainfall soaks into it. The great bowl is mostly flat, so even when there is enough rain for run-off there can be few rivers. If there was sufficient rainfall, the Kalahari would be a great shallow inland sea, which is precisely what it was from time to time in the past. One of the more interesting parts of the Kalahari is the great Makgadikgadi salt pan which is usually dry but is infused in most rainy seasons and sometimes parts of it have a thin layer of surface water. It is exactly similar to the Etosha Pan in Namibia and has its equivalent in Lake Chad in northern Africa. The Okavango River, rising in central Angola, flows through its lush delta leading towards the Makgadikgadi before disappearing into the Kalahari sands. There are a few other seasonal rivers, like the Nata, which feeds the north-east end of the Makgadikgadi, which flow irregularly every year. There are traces of others which brought inflow to the Kalahari when there was more rain 5,000 years ago.


Koraans set up their distinctive staccato call. or flashlight. but often extending to several kilometres. carrying their long savage horns with dignity. They mate for life and live in nests in the ground during the 57 . At night. there was the occasional faint scuffling noise of antelope moving and jackals yelping to each other. At dawn. It is the ‘pan’. boreholes and fences and the vast herds of wildebeest and springbok have been broken. Thereafter. low scrub covered the dunes which gradually disappeared to be replaced by flat land which rose and fell over distances of several miles in a sequence of shallow swells. echoing each other. a circular or oval-shaped local depression sometimes not more than a hundred metres across. The resident gemsbok antelopes moved about slowly. In the last fifty years civilised men have encroached on this seemingly limitless wilderness with guns. Usually there was the whooping of hyenas and the distant.There is another geographical feature in the Kalahari. and San-Bushman bands. cattle. or Stone Age people for that matter. Lake Ngami and Nxai Pan are the largest of these and Ngami is sometimes covered by surface water throughout the year in mysterious cycles lasting for decades. had this knowledge and like the moving herds on the Serengeti. These ovals and circles are formations of clays in the sand cover where water gathers in the brief and erratic rainy season and they are the seasonal refreshment places which enable animal life to exist in relative abundance. eyes reflected back. Bat-eared foxes and black-backed jackals came out in the evening and patrolled at night. As soon as you left behind a few shacks and the footpaths to them that were on the outskirts. Five minutes out of Tshabong in Botswana on the southern rim of the Kalahari in the 1980s. The secret of mammal and bird survival in the Kalahari is the knowledge of how to use the water held within vegetation and how to migrate during the changing seasons: when to make use of the pans and where to go when the pans are dry. You may have found a small herd of springbok and some scattered wildebeest and gemsbok. W hen a torch. looking up and moving nervously away from your vehicle. tubers and roots. the South African oryx. one was deep into the wilderness. there was no evidence of people but the narrow ribbon of churned sand that led northwards. there were vast annual migrations of wildebeest and springbok across the Kalahari followed by their predators. was shone across the void. grunting roar of a lion. Apart from the great Makgadikgadi. Antelopes and their predators. out on the bare flat of the pan. The yellow sand track stretched ahead through monotonous. if the Kalahari was abandoned to them. For the first few miles you passed over undulating ridges of bright orange-red sand dunes and yellow clay had been laid to harden the surface of the track. I travelled in the Kalahari in 1962 and several times in the 1980s. The foxes are attractive animals and their diet is similar to baboons. rough olive-green scrub. and several species of birds of the dry bushveld played music. kites and kestrels wheeled about looking for their breakfasts. They could recover. Bosobogolo Pan was a good place to camp for some days and absorb the Kalahari wilderness. but the San-Bushmen will never return to a nomadic hunter-gathering life. consisting of small animals like lizards and whatever insects they can catch in season. a most unlikely event. chicks and birds’ eggs.

crouching down and shuffling. the absence of the San-Bushmen is the missing image from an ecological picture of the Mabuasehube Reserve. In 1961. playing together and the males practising the lines of dominance. an ecologist with the Botswana Department of W ildlife.... “the severest mortality in living memory.. gaining enough liquid from their food. in the south. W hen some springbok ran too close to a group of grazing gemsbok. government officer of the Ghanzi District in 1964. butterflies and spiders.000 wildebeest died in the area of the Kuki-Makalamabedi fence corner and between there and Lake Xau. Unlike baboons. as had a similar stretch of the Limpopo River. Their sojourn was long enough to take in cycles of good rainy seasons and prolonged drought which is normal for southern Africa.heat of the day. There were many ground-squirrels.000 to 12. But they do not live there any longer. Giant eagle owls had their territories and watched for prey from the branches of dead trees. Around the pan’s edge there were tiny veld-flowers: blue. Dr. Ostriches wandered onto the pan and found a favourite place where they had a vigorous sand bath. Considering that there is no surface water except for a few weeks after seasonal rains which often fail. To the north. waving and fluffing their wings and sending up a stream of dust into the breeze. and again in 1964. mongooses. The great Sahara Desert must have been exactly similar country 5. estimated that a tenth of the population of the Central Kalahari Reserve was dying every five days while trapped behind the Kuki fence during drought . Now. Mark and Delia Owens lived for seven years in the Kalahari studying brown hyenas and lions. In Cry of the Kalahari (1985) they described the effect of unchecked poaching and the veterinary control fences. At night moths came to camp lanterns and one could hear nightjars and see bats flitting by. but the study necessarily extended to their prey and the whole ecology. wrote that the 1970 die-off was. In the Mabuasehube Reserve. Graham Child.000 antelope who had come for water. nature was in balance. The fences had been devastating Botswana’s wildlife long before our study was under way. as many as 80. pronking Afrikaners call it. fence lines and settlements had funnelled a major portion of the entire Central Kalahari population into a tiny area. denying all but two or three miles of the riparian habitat to the 80.. George Silberbauer. . they can survive without water. In the cool of the approaching evening springbok were lively.. then racing about in a flurry of dust. at ease and flourishing: it was not difficult to imagine Stone Age hunter-gathering people living there in some comfort. springing with straight legs. more than 360 miles of river front and lake shores had once been available to the wildebeest during drought.000 years ago during the ‘Holocene W et Phase’. various beetles. pink and yellow. the Kalahari Desert abounded with life. termites and ants. the bigger antelopes also leaped off with a startled jump and spring.” 58 .

unlike any possible predecessors. the economy of the San-Bushmen was also destroyed.000 years and which was still viable fifty years ago has disappeared forever. a fibrous. in The Lost World of the Kalahari (1958) wrote: For me always the fact of urgent practical consequences was that the Bushman. . was a remembered and remembering and living link with human origin in my native land. and each is marked among the grass blades by an almost invisible dry thread of a vine. tubers and roots held water for months.Scientific observers have discovered how water moves up the food chain along with other nutrients in the desert. In these and similar ways.. but there was another way... watery root that is the mainstay of the Bushmen’s diet during the hot season when the melons are gone. water was stored by the vegetation. as resonators for musical instruments . because there was much liquid in their meat.. Sir Laurens van der Post. as urine-containers for curing hides. W hen the land dried after the short showers of summertime. suggested by word-of-mouth between scattered people. And there 59 .. and the scrapings are squeezed dry.. their rinds serve as mixing-bowls. vines and bushes were flushed with water in their roots and leaves and antelopes ate them.. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas in The Harmless People (1959): There are many kinds of wild roots which can be eaten in winter [the dry season]. A culture that endured for 30. as containers for small loose objects. But it could have been a gradual process. as cooking-pots with or without the pulp inside. The people drink the juice they squeeze. absorbing liquid. W e were going particularly to look for bi. the San-Bushmen survived.. The bi they find is brought back to the werf [group settlement] before the sun is hot: it is scraped. Grasses. [Tsama] Melons are eaten as both food and water. as children’s drums. It was through eating the animals they killed in the hunt. Not only did the herbivores know about them but so did the SanBushmen who could also gain enough water from them to survive. as targets for children’s [arrow and spear] shooting practice. hard-skinned fruits. Undoubtedly. their pulp is added to meat which needs liquid for boiling. stimulated by curiosity and slow integration. their seeds are roasted and eaten or ground into powder and used as flour. W hen the leaves dried. A sure way of getting instant liquid from a kill was to quickly cut into the stomach and gut and strain the contents to drink the liquid. and these were eaten. it was doomed though clientship to Bantu-speaking agriculturalists and W estern civilisation. . The South African author... W ith the catastrophic decline of the antelope populations through interruption of their migrations and severe poaching. The roots are swollen with liquid by which the plants preserve their life during the drought .

the special ability of San-Bushmen to survive socially in small extended family groups in wilderness through a thousand generations was lost forever. It is from my own memories and photographs of these people at Andara that I became convinced of the close genetic relationship between ancestral San-Bushmen and the central Sahara ‘round-head’ people at a ‘wet’ time nearly 10. It was probably the last organised scientific meeting with large numbers of San-Bushmen still living by hunter-gathering and in traditional style. moving deep into trance-dance states. Study of introverted tropical rainforest tribes with violent territorial customs. tension-relieving dances. they sang and danced. They resembled the ‘round-head’ people in rock-art pictures from the Tassili in Algeria. The first group. fine-boned slim bodies and wedge-shaped. In September 1975. flat faces with high cheek-bones and came from the Kalahari where it spreads into Namibia. almost black. erecting their grass shelters. One cannot talk about tribes of San-Bushmen. and had rounded faces and short thickset bodies. Their culture was attuned to the waterless desert. write more and learn more and add to our own understanding of the human psyche. They sang and danced all night long. Of great importance. A South African government liaison official explained where each group originated. but there must have been subtleties. 60 . who were !Kung. were settled in when we arrived and we were able to spend two days observing them. Both groups seemed to be singing and dancing in the same way. beliefs. apart from language. It was enough to be amongst those people. artistic creativity and integrated communal style was gone. because there is no such organisation. The !Kung had apricot-hued skins. so incredibly far away in technical culture. and yet they were of the same race and culture. At night.000 years ago. reflecting a substantially different nutrition regime. A unique ancient culture with its peaceful social mechanisms.000 years ago. W hilst scientists argued over fossil bones and anthropological hypotheses. while the GiKwe were from a mopane-forested riverine environment. under the moon. The latter were darker in colour. W e were at Andara on the Okavango River at the time of full moon and the two distinct groups of San-Bushmen came separately to a suitable place nearby beside the river where each camped for two or three days.may have been time and opportunity to study them more. but the central culture diverged in subtle ways in different geographic areas. born of those particular environments. They were forgetting the songs and the dances that were as old as the last ice-age. in Amazonia or Papua-New Guinea can never substitute for the lost opportunity of learning more about the San-Bushmen in a land similar to those occupied by forebears 30. The superficial somatic differences in appearance between the !Kung and GiKwe people I observed showed that even within several days’ march environment-prescribed nutrition can quite dramatically influence anatomy given sufficient time. I joined a field-study expedition organised by the South W est Africa Scientific Society to observe two large parties of San-Bushmen of the !Kung and GiKwe language groups. the actual evidence of Late Stone Age hunter-gathering culture in a balanced African savannah environment slipped away from them.

Namkwa. gives a long description of the people they met at the Cape of Good Hope. is the close similarity between them and the remnants of San-Bushmen in the Kalahari three centuries later. which are their chief food. For example. . Espérance and Hermitage from Honfleur in October 1619. he goes on to describe them in considerable detail. Not only did she describe in careful detail the daily rituals and activities of the Bushman extended-families she knew intimately. Another example is Thomas Herbert who was at the Cape of Good Hope in 1627 and whose descriptions parallel de Beaulieu. They were described by travellers.. and seem always to be dying of hunger. He had gained some notoriety through living with a ‘Bush-wife’ in the Tswaane area of the Kalahari intermittently over a period of many years. He told stories around the campfire and his book. sailing with a French fleet consisting of the Montmorency. especially the women. I believe. transcending obvious differences resulting from different environment. There is a small body of serious literature about the San before their final cultural disasters.Anthropologist Dr Hans-Joachim Heinz was there. Prof. [and so on] Despite the repugnance to him of these strandtlopers as the Dutch later called them.. nor anything of fishing . “W ild” Bushmen who have had little or no contact with European and other farmers are decreasing in numbers and dispersing. since they know nothing of sowing or of gear for ploughing or cultivating the soil. Augustin de Beaulieu. who studied the anatomy of San-Bushmen. W ith the typical arrogance of the period.. Of modern books Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ The Harmless People (1959) is one I find most valuable.. is an important contribution to the literature of Kalahari San-Bushmen. Perhaps the greatest importance of the early descriptions of Khoisan people at the Cape before they became corrupted by clientship to Dutch and French settlers. Phillip Tobias. thin. 61 . They have been the subject of a few academic papers and some important books researched in the 1950s and 60s before it was too late. wrote in 1962: More and more of the surviving Kalahari Bushmen are abandoning their pristine ways in favour of the assured foodand water-supply of the farms. After the Dutch colonised the Cape in 1652. After the Portuguese explored the African coast at the end of the 15th century.. but she gained a particular insight into the manners with which they resolved social and psychological problems.. the most miserable savages which have been discovered up to now. They are of very low stature. he was not impressed with their primitiveness: The inhabitants of the country towards the point of the Cape are. Her style and personality seems especially in harmony with the gentle and ‘harmless’ people she got to know so well. missionaries and in official journals in South Africa from the 17th to 19th centuries. the literature expands. They eat certain roots.. European commentators describe meeting San people. Life among the Bushmen (1978).

in the most profound way. Bushmen who work on farms are given an assured supply of cereals by the farmer. a family cannot trek if the women have to carry more than one child. I consider that this is the principal reason for population explosion in the Third W orld today where cultures are being changed with bewildering speed under the onslaught of technical civilisation. This ability is partly genetically imprinted from the evidence that women are less likely to conceive whilst still suckling. grassland highveld. the child would be allowed to die. But it is also imprinted in custom and SanBushmen women seldom allowed copulation until their youngest child was capable of long-distance walking. the rich riverine lands of the Okavango and Zambezi systems. Inuit-Eskimos and Australian Aborigines. That kind of destructive territorial conflict had been worked out millennia ago. Territorial disputes leading to violence did not happen whatever the environmental pressures. women may cease menstruating and cannot conceive. People tend to have more children than necessary for group survival when it is believed that they will die from expected disasters or move away forcibly or voluntarily. forced together for a while by adverse climate. transferred their 62 . in the last resort. If some members of different groups. This was controlled by a combination of abstinence or mutual sexual enjoyment without impregnation. and the need for all people to accommodate each other within both catastrophes and good times was unquestioned. Their acceptance of the dominance of the environment. its spiritual authority. but they had developed a mechanism to ensure no territorial conflicts. Each economic group understood. the Matopos. San-Bushmen. learned over many millennia. the high Drakensberg Mountains. nomads in harsh environments practised similar custom. San-Bushmen of the deserts did not migrate en masse to the Okavango Delta and overcome the incumbents. malarial savannah bushveld. If conception accidentally occurred. Assistance and sharing during cyclical climatic disaster was practised until the temporary circumstances were over. the pregnancy was terminated. the ecology of their ancestral territory. it is another of the tragedies of Africa that nomadic herding people have been converted to a sedentary life almost overnight without having the opportunity to change their lifestyles over several generations.. Everywhere. in a variety of environments in southern Africa: the Namib Desert fringes. San-Bushmen lived. deciduous mopane forests. Another reason for exponential population growth is insecurity. perhaps the most extraordinary and important trait of the San-Bushmen was their ability to live peacefully. was their ability to limit population. a barren relative cared for the child or. W hen there is severe hardship. valued a stress-free life and this was an important ingredient in cultural stability. Not only did they have an imperative to resolve all disputes within their bands or family groups. the Kalahari. stress or famine. the Karoo semi-desert.The changes in diet consequent upon the adoption of pastoral habit are both qualitative and quantitative. in common with hunter-gatherer people of open space elsewhere. in its turn an important ingredient of population stability. Another remarkable trait of the San-Bushmen. Shared with the other contemporary hunter-gatherers of wide spaces. in the last centuries.. Hence.. for the simplest reason.

allegiance. . A universal ‘sharing’ or egalitarian society with a common and easily defined structure was not applicable throughout the many different environmental or geographical zones in which San people lived for several thousand years from the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope. Sharing and the drive to harmony within these groups were survival imperatives and while they lived in a style which had no concept of private property or territory fixed for survival reasons. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ descriptions of life amongst Kalahari Bushmen in the 1950s can only be a snapshot of particular groups in a particular harsh environment. particularly by marriage. However. They range from sharing being restricted to hunted meat. this would be a naive view.. at intervals sometimes years apart. they were inevitably developed by intelligent Late Stone Age people over thousands of years. such as irrigated farmland near perennial water. although writing about early Khoi herders. It could be pointed out that this is also quite obvious and that variation of behaviour must occur with different geography. it can be ditched. A simplistic model of San society based on a few groups in the Kalahari in modern times is too naive or idealistic. Thus. At those times. The principle of clientship leading to absorption was developed in ancient time in the face of natural disaster or bad luck. in hunter-gather groups and particularly in the San of Africa remains sure. or egalitarianism. and joined together for days of feasting and endless dancing. and one can easily imagine the circumstances which gave rise to the variations. on mountain ranges and in dry savannah and semi-desert. 63 . In any case. that plant foods are shared or not shared and so on. neighbouring bands sought each other out. Those who have been closely observed in the 20th century have been within or close to the Kalahari because they existed nowhere else. Indeed. high well-watered plains. Late Stone Age people of the Khoisan race lived everywhere from forest fringes. Sharing is resorted to when it enhances the hunter-gatherers’ long-term success in obtaining food. by some mysterious psychic force.. they attached themselves to a welcoming stronger band as subservient clients until the natural hierarchy of individuals was gradually worked out and a new structure emerged. the general trait of ‘sharing’. W hen a series of disasters debilitated a group. a way of equalising different hunting skills. He quotes anthropologists who studied the San-Bushmen with greater breadth and rigour than Elizabeth Marshall Thomas or Laurens van der Post. establishing social relationships. lush riversides. summarised the several egalitarian aspects of San-Bushman society. this was normal and provided healthy mixing of genes. when a group’s particular ethos of sharing becomes non-adaptive for whatever reason. Sadr wrote: It seems that sharing can have very different causes and ramifications in different hunter-gatherer societies and in different periods. but is not blindly adhered to. young people made liaisons outside their own extended family groups and healthy mixing took place. Karim Sadr of the University of Botswana in his paper The First Herders at the Cape of Good Hope (1998).

social and economic system in the 20th century. may have often exaggerated his knowledge of the Bushmen and romanticised his special affinity to them. At the end of the 20th century we could no longer observe Late Stone Age hunter-gathering life on the African savannahs. white-dominated apartheid systems ended in South Africa. it is more than anything practised by the apprentices to the nationalism fathered by the political liberalism which is the international fashion and dominant hypocrisy of our day. Endless tribal-based warfare and disruption in tropical Africa from the 1960s to the present and the horrific Balkan wars of the 1990s prove these needs within our modern civilisations. we have almost lost the last vestiges. would not heed and had no ear for the voice of so tiny and powerless minority as it has had no ear for the hapless Indians of Central America. All we could do who had gone to the Kalahari to testify to the Bushman’s human and primordial right to a pursuit of life. After the racist. Ironically. Far from perfect as that recognition is. the United Nations. an attempt to preserve the culture of various African ethnic groups. probably genetically implanted in the same way that tool-making. In Britain. and other violated natural worlds. and we could still resuscitate them. the much condemned apartheid country of South Africa was alone inclined to listen and concede the Bushman a certain recognition of identity and rights of his own. in just one or two generations. This was obviously self-serving and had the clearest of political motives but there were also sincere intentions. was to persuade dying fragments of his culture to re-enact for us such memory as they had of what I ventured at the beginning to call a Stone-age civilisation. Brazil. it had slipped so easily out of the experience of mankind so quickly. Converted to increasingly unsatisfying membership of belligerently combative and amorphous political parties. liberty and happiness in his own way. Civilisation has degraded them and they have become altered in our antheap urban structures until they are almost unrecognisable. 64 . the problem of giving lip-service to preserving ‘ethnic’ cultures in a ‘non-racial’. Sir Laurens van der Post. artistic creativity and climatic adaptability is. But they are there in our inheritance. For the San-Bushmen it is too late. The violence in Northern Ireland defies solution after four centuries. The writer and naturalist.I believe these traits are descended from as far back as Homo erectus and the millennia of ice-age chaos. nomadism. ‘multi-cultural’ egalitarian state struggling for economic progress raises its head. lobby groups or trade unions. but he wrote with some accuracy in Testament to the Bushmen (1984 with Jane Taylor): The organisation that should have been the first to rush to his [the Bushman’s] aid. the W elsh and the Scots still stubbornly proclaim cultural integrity after centuries of political domination by the English. In the enormous flood of rhetoric as well as reasoned condemnation of South African racist apartheid as an evil political. like that white-sepulchre of the hopes which had sustained us in yet another W orld W ar in which the best of my generation died. one important merit has been obscured.

musical instruments and other equipment such as carry-bags. clothing.000 years. The geographical and navigational skills of the Kalahari people. Their tools. there is little more that can be done other than perfect it for one’s personal strength and agility and the quarry you wish to hit. smelted and wrought by them. San-Bushman equipment can be considered to be similar to what was in use all over savannah Africa for maybe 35. or spiritual. it has to be assumed that even crystalline rock for tools had also to have been bartered and handed on from band to band. was prodigious. In particular there is the construction of his back-pack and his plaited grass cloak. 65 . handed down with all other knowledge of their environment. It is the only complete archaeological reconstruction of a European Late Stone Age assemblage of everyday artifacts ever made. Previous collections have been from graves with necessary cultural and religious bias for the selection and inclusion. But the iron was not mined. The metal and wood used might vary with availability and the size of the parts must vary with the strength of the people and the kind of soils they are digging. is similar to the tens of thousands being toted about by lightly-equipped travellers at the beginning of the 21st century. The best hoe is the one that most farmers invented all over the world. a digging stick is a digging stick and so on. His back-pack. I have real examples in my own home. purses and weapons have been studied and there are luckily many examples of authentic artifacts from daily use or of recent production in museums and private collections. A knife is a knife. It is natural to speculate that. Since there is no stone at all in the Kalahari. Having invented it. the bow is the best tool. there is the fascinating matter of their industry and manufactured possessions. There is only one sure way of kindling fire in the bush and all people used it. with the substitution of metal and nylon for wood.* * Leaving aside the intellectual. activities of the San-Bushman’s mind. The astonishing discovery of the Ötzi ‘Ice-man’ in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991. bast and string. W e do know precisely what they were using in their natural environment prior to influences from other more technically developed cultures. birch bark and fur. provides substantiation for this assumption. W hat I found fascinating is that several of his possessions were more-or-less identical to those used commonly in the 19th century and often well into this century up to W orld W ar II. it had been bartered or bought from Iron Age or ‘civilised’ Tswana tribesmen or European-origin settlers. If one wished to project a light missile more efficiently than throwing it. following my argument that the San-Bushmen represent the clearest descent of man from the earlier homo species. that their equipment of various types represents modified but essentially similar examples of the original best-developed practical tool or weapon of the Late Stone Age. They found their way around the enormous featureless expanse of their vast wilderness as their far-distant Polynesian cousins wandered the Pacific Ocean. The only major difference between the equipment of that time and that used in the 19th or early 20th centuries is that stone and bone had been replaced by iron. together with a complete set of his clothing and everyday equipment. but basically a hoe is a hoe.

000 years. 66 .000 years ago before bronze alloying or iron smelting occurred in central Europe. his bow and arrows could have belonged to a San-Bushman and his ancestors in Africa at any time for 35. But for the kind of woods used.The Ötzi ‘Ice-man’ lived 5.

and there were more of them spread about this critical geographical zone.CHAPTER SIX : PYRAMIDS. died away naturally or were slaughtered by hunters.000 years ago. These people made a range of fine tools. the Nile valley and the Suez land bridge into the Middle East. W hen a ‘dry’ followed the wet. much of the Sahara was often savannah with scattered bush.000 and 12. including people. Surviving people did not move out of the Sahara in organised and directed tribal groups. some large varieties of species became extinct and others migrated in depleted numbers. created beautiful rock-art with all the extrapolations that can be divined from that evidence. W ithout any doubt. Plains antelope either migrated back to savannah heartlands. Many must have died during increasingly severe chaotic shocks of extended droughts. following the vegetation on which their life was based. GRAIN. The hunters themselves left the barren lands. a wet cycle began which lasted to about 2. There have been ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ cycles in Africa throughout the Pleistocene era while mankind progressed along the paths of evolution. there was constriction and hardship. After this ‘wet’ period. a dry cycle began. The intuitive or cleverer ones moved in the right directions which were either to the mountainous parts in the centre or on the Mediterranean coast. They were still living in scattered hunter-gathering bands. The difference this time was that the people concerned were modern Homo sapiens with brains as large as ours. Or southwards with the retreating forest fringes and woodlands. All large mammal populations. 67 . faced severe problems. No matter what disasters had to be borne by some communities. MILK AND BLOOD Between roughly thirty and twenty thousand years ago during warm periods. herbivores and their predators followed and omnivorous humans trickled along or expired. The drying of the Sahara between 20. But after 35. W hen a ‘wet’ was being experienced. Vegetation ‘migrated’. At about 12.500 years ago when a ‘dry’ began again. There were times when it was probably exactly like the Kalahari in the 21st century. they served as stimuli for continued evolution. mankind had jumped to the Late Stone Age and these cycles did not result in extinctions or retrogression.000 years ago. W ith the drying up of lakes and rivers. complex abstract reasoning abilities and had developed Late Stone Age culture and industries. similar climatic cycles with predictable effects on vegetation and animals had happened many times during the chaos of the Ice-ages.000 years ago placed enormous pressures on the people of northern Africa. and forests on the mountains and along the rivers. Similar people came under similar pressures in the deserts of the Middle East and Arabia. people who ate fish had to change their diet and lifestyle. the Sahara was green and the people and large mammals of the Middle East and northern Africa had vast surplus land and their populations expanded.

self-sufficient and well-adapted among the nomads who let themselves be beguiled by the dubious promise of sedentary life Maybe it was the weak or lazy who dropped out of the endless nomadic life chasing herds of prey. territory-based civilisation. Elsewhere. There were experiments such as the fermentation of beer from grains and wine from fruits. to experiments with selection. A nutritional driving force promoted by the concentrated and regular diet of selected grains worked. goats and sheep. As 68 . on the hilly plateau at the headwaters of the great Mesopotamian rivers. economic and social development took off. they burgeoned and made the colossal jump to civilisation. who wrote: it was not the confident. Before the exploitation of grasses and other vegetable foods and fibres began around 9. For the first time. and the most nutritious grasses and fruits. they learned to build defendable villages and towns like the famous halfunderground. And when the rains increased at roughly 12. or those with leaders who had a different slant of intelligence and recognised the possibilities of cultivation. Towns were built with walls like Jericho. hunters and herders learned that they could coerce the settlers and steal their surplus. these were the people who had already mastered the technique of herding rather than hunting and saw that plants could be ‘herded’ too instead of randomly gathered. animals had started to be domesticated. by positive feedback. Urban culture based on cultivation grew into fixed. Greater surpluses led to population explosion and cultural complexities based on land rights and extended villages and towns. The miraculous results of proper cultivation led quite rapidly. 6. instead of fading away in the dry period. They discovered that provided the harvest was kept dry and safe from rats and birds the surplus could be used to seed the next crop and to provide a store against lean years. The classical progression has been often enough described as starting in Anatolia. and the settlers learned to defend their habitations and their stores. I have already quoted Samuel Kramer. Old knowledge of spinning fibres into strings and threads led naturally to the cultivation of cotton. An upward spiral of industrial. brigandage and territorial warfare began. W hen desperate. people discovered that they had to mark and defend territory against others who coveted their good fortune and enterprise. people innovated. which has continued to the present.In the Middle East. In the beginning.000 years ago. Probably. oil seeds and nuts were exploited. when numbers in cultivator communities were small. they discovered that where patches were repeatedly harvested. Other early vortices of agriculture have since been defined: the Jordan valley in Palestine and the northern Nile. As people learned to harvest particular grasses with nutritious seeds. The route to civilisation was through the stages of domesticating the most tractable of the savannah herbivores.000 years ago. a more uniform growth with fewer weeds appeared in subsequent years.500 years old Catal H ãy ã k in modern Turkey where cereals. inventing efficient polished stone sickles for this purpose. It did not need long for these intelligent Late Stone Age people to try seeding extended fields where the soil was the same and to cultivate them with hoes to promote and protect the sown seeds and kill the weeds.

in a similar way to the genetic exploration of mankind’s past and the evolution of cattle. There was a precursor to this herding culture. two distinct agri-cultures evolved and became entrenched in mankind. A herding culture evolved. however spasmodically. It is not difficult to imagine how this happened. By following protein markers. Men substituted themselves for herd leaders. and later in Europe. It was another masterly survival system to combat the rigours of changing or cyclical climate. with all its implications leading to trading. Archaeological evidence has pointed to dogs being the first animals to be domesticated and genetic studies now suggest that this occurred as early as 100. a daily source of milk to be drunk or processed for keeping which would be better than slaughtering them into extinction. Hunters had first learned how to domesticate animals. A third culture followed naturally as a broad spectrum of degrees of mixing of these two systems developed wherever it was practical or necessary. deer and wild cattle. Probably this began haphazardly when it was discovered that trading and symbiosis was valuable and productive. I see the conversion to herding from hunting to be easier than from gathering to cultivation. Herders settled near cultivators for a time and reaped a seasonal crop. Hunters in Africa. during the Middle Stone Age. those who were masters of a mixed agricultural 69 . Cultivators traded their products with herders and kept a few animals. discovered that dogs could be tamed and used as aids and helpers to ferret out small prey and assist with the chasing and following up of larger mammals such as antelopes. Dogs are gregarious pack-animals and men learned to substitute themselves for the natural pack-leaders. Thus a nomadic.000 years ago. helped people to survive after particular disasters. The orphaned young of most mammals can be reared by human hunters who understand their natural diet and have accumulated knowledge of their species through a thousand generations. Additionally. In further developments of this trend. economic clientship. Dogs were the pioneers. hunters had followed their prey around as long as men had hunted. as success bred success. early mutations of several breeds of modern domestic dogs have been studied. pastoral culture evolved in lands suited to that style. horses. discipline and selectively breed them by rearing wild dogs as helpers and clients.000 years ago. They could acquire a walking larder and. After all. W hen the pressures and opportunities were combined.the savannah herbivores declined in the dry time after 20. herded animals could be husbanded by moving them on to fresh pastures or by following a cyclical migration back and forth between annual seasons. There was no single breed which was the earliest of ‘man’s best friend’. In this way. Shepherds and cattleherds did the same with flocks and herds. the more intelligent of the hunters realised that they could gain easy mastery over some species by taming and husbanding them. several varieties of archaic dogs were domesticated for different purposes in different environments. In harsher environments. The behaviour of different prey species was understood. it became universal amongst certain people in certain areas. husbanding began casually and occasionally and then. particularly. This third culture was a system of mixed agriculture which became the more general practice in much of Africa as later millennia rolled.

another mechanism was learned and used by those who would not join the violent way. Trading is dynamic and whilst feedback leading to fast evolution in nature is curbed by ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’.000. there has been no way of reining in the invention of new ideas. They learned to seize ‘clients’ too and slavery was born. If the concept of fixed communal property and urbanisation spawned selfishness and envy with the violence between groups of people which inevitably followed. Trading forces the spread of knowledge and the growth of technology and its effect is exponential. ideas proceed in advance of physical capability . or for ever. A deprived and desperate group could seek succour from a stronger or luckier band and submit themselves for a while. to their mastery in exchange for the umbrella of their aid. often from the result of pure random chance. mankind was lucky. Since the whole culture of trading and invention is intellectual. Mankind’s success was unconscious.000 households and small businesses in the United Kingdom in 2003 who have computers connected to the Internet. The evolution of political and theocratic organisation proceeded coincidentally to the agricultural and technical revolution. W hen a balance was reached between raiding and defending. W hereas the evolution of mankind had proceeded for millions of years under the stimulus of environmental challenge and fuelled by the particular and unique seafood nutrition during prolonged periods of sojourn on the Indian Ocean shores.regime could abandon either animals or crops and survive. Trading was learned. But trading was a learned behaviour. It had been imposed on hominids and then modern Homo sapiens by nature. Agriculturalists learned to be selfish and refuse to give assistance in the face of hardship and others learned to fight to seize food when they were in desperate need. a product of our intellect. Thus we find a few of our species walking on the Moon in the 1960s and there are 12. * * The movement and transfer of cultural innovation leading towards a general state of civilisation was engineered by this new dynamic mechanism of trading. exponential technical progress from the exchange of knowledge and invention through trading has no braking mechanism other than the physical capability of the people involved.000 years ago. and since the dawn of the Late Stone Age about 35. Trading was learned quickly and then burgeoned to become the most dynamic engine of the newly-evolved social system which became Civilisation. No other species trades. Nomadic hunter-gatherers had learned to practice peaceful clientship in the farthest mists of time. with mutations in our brains because of the “Cygnus Event”. part of the general mechanism of Evolution. Fixed territory and urban development resulting from cultivation destroyed this ancient gentle way of survival and mutual help. they could reengage when conditions improved or they moved to suitable country. All of these trends of emerging civilisation worked together 70 . trading was the peaceful relief valve which also grew from these first consequences of agriculture. and is a universal law of life. Trading employs the dynamic natural process of feed-back. But it also involved some movement of peoples. that evolution had been involuntary and gradual.

and stimulated each other in forcing innovation and change. They were also ready to adapt and modify fixed village cultures of square mudbrick houses. with contemporary stimulus from the Middle East from continuous communication and migration back and forth via the Suez land bridge. and this was another stimulus to inventiveness. 71 . such as peas. pottery industry for storage and cooking and the disciplined constraints of complex communal living. living a ‘natural’ life. However.000 people. were far in the past. and were harvesting cereals that showed signs of deliberate modification towards the domestic forms. sorghums and millets became the staple of the Nile. This does not imply that the Jordan Valley was the sole innovator of cultivation in the area. ready to receive the newly cultivated or selected breeds from the Middle-East. social cohesion and the idea of trading. they were not the founders of the first Nile valley communities.000 years ago had propelled people to the periphery and the Nile valley was a magnet. Roland Oliver (1991) wrote: By about 9. sheep and cattle. Migrants from the drying Sahara joined the settled communities and after the agricultural revolution. Egypt lay on the southern periphery of this area and it was only around 7. These cereals were better suited to tropical climates and their parasites and were later exploited by cultivating migrants as they moved southwards. Grains and cereals need good storage and have to be cooked in pottery vessels. industry. W hereas wheats and rye grasses were developed in the cooler regions such as Anatolia. The desertification of the Sahara 20 -12. Kings wanted to conquer other nations to acquire their wealth or territory and to enslave their people. and also domesticated species of goats and pigs. Tribal structures with hierarchies coalesced into city-states and nations with imperial dynasties.000 years ago that it received the benefits which by this time had been extended to include various legumes. Sedentary Late Stone Age fishermen and hunter-gatherers resided in Egypt for many millennia long before the evolutionary jump to a sustained agricultural economy and the intense revolutions of Civilisation. The new trait of brigandage and theft learned at the beginning of the agricultural revolution ballooned into a concept of empire building. There were also the ancient pathways along the seashores which hominids had used for a million years. In the Nile valley there was population pressure and movement outwards across the Sahara of savannah and up the great river road. Clientship mechanisms of the nomadic hunter-gatherers. beans and lentils.000 years ago the Natufians of the Jericho district [Jordan valley] were living in brick-built settlements that may have housed as many as 2. it is an illustration of the interchange of ideas and products. There was proliferation of agricultural know-how and the results of selection and experimentation were shared by trade and its mechanisms of communication. some Saharan people were already versed in systematic harvesting and managing sheep and goats. W hen continuous cultivation of cereals and new breeds of domesticated animals had become established in lower Egypt.

These areas were along the great rivers: Nile. legal systems. the two have to come together. Pottery for the storage and cooking of cereals were essential tools of the farmer. became an essential part of all cultivators’ lives. Otherwise there would have been social and political chaos. as the concept of property grew with the needs of establishing ownership of agricultural lands however temporarily. not restricted to urban society and the rising civilisations along the Nile. This was the extraordinary and complex period of technical and industrial innovation which saw the construction of large cities and some of mankind’s greatest physical monuments. Tigris. Pots can be made by anybody with simple skill and facility as long as there is clay and water available. 72 . Firing good clay resulted in waterproof and tough pots which could be used to store liquids and for cooking. organised religion and the arts: all had to keep pace with the natural population growth in urban structures. Suddenly. The design and construction of pyramids and temple complexes all over the northern subtropical zones of Earth. The precision of the layout and construction of the great pyramids of Giza in Egypt commands awe in any thoughtful modern architect or construction engineer. glass and concrete towers that climb into the skies in every modern city. movements and affinities of tribal groups and broader linguistic or economic communities. The particularity of square houses leading to rectangular town layouts is a clear signpost that the communities building in that way had direct cultural descent from the agricultural Nile Civilisation. is the perfection of their mathematics used in design and the accuracy of their execution. Euphrates and Indus. Pottery. pottery designs became formalised and the mark of communities and then whole societies. astronomy. Mudbrick villages became towns and as centuries passed by and wealth accumulated. Pottery moved everywhere with farming. W hat is perhaps the most fascinating and significant fact related to the early civilisations’ architecture and civil engineering industry.The use of coarse clays mixed with sand for house-building and finer qualities for pottery was another most significant jump in technology. cultivating has no purpose . weapons. based on surplus of food and the leisure that follows from wealth amongst the elite classes. W ithout pottery industry. household utilities and house constructions. together with all these developments in agriculture and the necessary adjuncts of industrial technology for the provision of tools. Having regard to the universal creative drives of Late Stone Age people. writing. there was a burgeoning of intellectual development. Many aspects of their construction still puzzle experts at the end of our 20th century. a complex web of invention and experiment. In time. accountancy. a particular culture within evolving civilisation emerged. seemed to explode in those areas where cultivation was most successful. a child of agriculture. it is not a surprise to know that the decoration of pots followed with distinctive designs dictated by communal culture. The megalithic monuments and buildings of the first civilisations have always fascinated modern travellers and scholars. This became so entrenched that archaeology today relies heavily on pottery designs to trace the ancestry. But where permanent and fixed towns were established. are awe-inspiring to us despite our ability to build rockets which reach the outer planets and steel. Mathematics.

The precise dating of the megalithic Nile civilisation will be resolved eventually. The particular genius and achievements of the megalithic designers and constructors of the great ancient civilisations were not carried into the interior of Africa away from the vicinity of the ribbon of the Nile. This was an enormous jump. erecting them and joining them without the aid of mortices or cements with a stability to last thousands of years and withstand many earthquakes is daunting. Many books and papers have been written by Egyptologists.Their orientation to astronomical signs in the heavens. Mesopotamia. It was a supreme luxury and a quite extraordinary exercise of intellectual achievement. W here there was no physical mixing. culture and technique was transferred by 73 . Seagoing ships was ritually buried. The complex of great pyramids of Giza. south-east Asia and the Americas. But it was a jump from the launch-pad of agriculture. is a challenge for any engineer without computer guided mechanical tools today. further and further from the Nile. their associated ancient temples and the Sphinx remain the greatest enigma. proving the development of high technology more than 5. There is another ancient temple built from enormous blocks of stone at Abydos further up the Nile which is equally enigmatic.000 years ago. their use of sophisticated mathematical symbolism and the extraordinary feats of megalithic construction prove that their designers and builders had an order of abilities not much bettered in 5. Megalithic monuments within advanced urban societies which changed little since then are exceptional. Transporting such enormous blocks over miles of rough terrain. Numerous experts have suggested ways of harnessing tens and hundreds of thousands of human ants to build the great pyramids. the high technology that built the pyramids was not necessary for survival. The simpler manifestations of agriculture were sufficient to create a huge jump in cultural evolution for the mass of Late Stone Age people living outside the Nile valley. public buildings. Millions of hieroglyphic writings were engraved in temples and on monuments. Monstrous statues were carved out of cliffs. ziggurats.000 years. They were neither relevant. archaeologists. * * The migration of people armed with agricultural and intellectual refinements spread outwards across the Sahara during the Holocene W et Phase and mixed with those already living there. canals. necessary nor possible. historians. Lifting numerous 200 ton immaculately quarried and carved single blocks from virgin rock. highways and temples of Egypt. geologists and experts of other relevant disciplines in the last two centuries since Napoleon Bonaparte took the best brains of France with him to map and study Giza. but in whatever millennium it began to be executed it is an absolute beacon proclaiming the genius of mankind and human evolution at the beginning of modern technical civilisation. Life away from the Nile was hard and it is still hard today. harbours. India. cut to tolerances of a few millimetres and less over several metres in length. However.

African savannah people consolidated the three principal agricultural economies. Blurring between these different economies and cultures has occurred throughout Africa ever since. increasingly backed by metallurgy. essential herbs and their labour as herders for metal artifacts and sustenance during prolonged droughts. I believe.000 years at least. Hunter-gatherer San-Bushmen lived in symbiosis or clientship with these modern Tswana. The logic of using the dairy products of their herds and flocks rather than slaughter them for everyday food developed naturally. described life before and after the intrusion of modern W estern Civilisation in the Tswana-speaking Kgatla tribe. and relied to a greater or lesser extent. And there were people who developed mixed agriculture in median climate zones where they cultivated gardens and kept some domestic pigs. it occurred in a ‘mosaic’ or matrix of both methods. By three thousand years ago. Though the book is primarily an anthropological study of social relationships. this activity was a spur for faster and more complete movement of knowledge. There were people who adopted a completely sedentary life. for the last 4. Married Life in an African Tribe (1940). ruled by dynastic leaders from aristocratic families. W here there was insufficient water for cultivation. news and ideas were exchanged. The modern Tswana of Botswana and South Africa are good 19th century examples. young people seeking mates found them in other groups. The lifestyle of the Kgatla was probably not very different from that of their ancestors at the dawn of the Iron Age in Africa 3. Most usually. Scattered bands met. Irrigation techniques were designed to ensure the stability of these farming areas. Professor I. The women tended the fields and the men looked after the cattle. examples were copied. The characteristic square house of the Middle-East and Egypt made its appearance around Lake Chad and 74 . it is an extensive portrait of a typical mixed-agriculture savannah community at the culmination of the indigenous African Iron Age. Specialists in trading travelled further seeking useful goods and to peddle their wares. on fishing and hunter-gathering. Milk and processed milk products became the staple produced by their animals. cattle. Later when the idea of trading was adopted. the southern Sudan and Ethiopia. The Tswana established large villages or towns in suitable locales with cultivated lands around them. They also had large herds of cattle and small stock which were moved about in the range surrounding the settlements.diffusion in the way that it has always been since homo sapiens emerged. birds. Schapera of the University of Cape Town in his classical study. trading hunted wild meat. had worked their way down to the Sahel region of W est Africa. Archaeology shows that herding was common to the Sahara and was followed by the use of horse-drawn chariots. based on locations which supported fishing and cultivation year in and year out. relying on gathering for additional subsistence and barter for artifacts. these new systems. goats or sheep. meat was a luxury attendant to ritual and celebration. and then camel caravans when horses could not survive the increasingly waterless journeys.500 years ago. W hile megalithic civilisation with its several dynastic political structures and technical eras flourished along the Nile. from season to season. there were nomadic pastoral herders who moved with their cattle or sheep as the rains dictated.

Plants that thrived in irrigated fields beside the Nile died from the ravages of armies of tropical insects and the insidious spread of fungi.000 years ago. The spread of civilisation southwards had to run out of steam in the tropics. that drove an age-long regulation of the seasons. Agricultural technique was applied to indigenous plants and where Middle Eastern wheats and barleys could not survive. up the Nile passed on through increasingly sophisticated outreaches of the Egyptian Civilisation into the Sudan. Africans learned 3. On the fringes of W est African and Congo rainforests. ruling dynasties and a growing sense of history and dynastic ancestry. W ith the beginning of trading. so there was never an African Bronze-age outside the Nile civilisation. W onder about origins of this Universe. was acquired. and Europeans had to re-learn this during the 19th and 20th centuries. Ideas and goods began entering the northern part of subSahara Africa by three routes : a general diffusion across the Sahara itself to the Sahel lands. The Sahara may have filtered the spread of urban civilisation and metallurgy but the Nile provided a highway to the Sudan and Ethiopia. The concepts of wealth and property combined and interrelated with the need for order and some form of law resulted in tribal systems. By 3. Aesthetic pottery designs developed until they could distinguish culture and tribe.000 years ago) and cattle breeds from the healthy seasonal northern grasslands could not survive diseases carried by flies. social and cultural traits and ideas travelled together with agricultural and other techniques. and in southern Africa in the Congo. sub-Saharan people had to continue to rely on bone. Zimbabwe and South Africa were not exploited until after the Iron Age commenced. Until the knowledge for iron smelting. Zambia. wood and stone tools.000 years ago that it is not easy and often disastrous to introduce new crops and exotic domestic animals into the tropics. From the fertile mountain region in southern Arabia other influences penetrated the Sudan and Ethiopia as regular navigation of the Red Sea commenced 5. but its power could not be stopped.500 years ago. 75 . the Middle East and India came late to Africa.progressed westwards. people increasingly turned to cultivation of root-crops and the regular harvesting of oil palms. Vast resources of copper in the far west in Mauritania. Awe of the night sky and study of it generated an awareness of a limitless Universe and some unimaginable power. ticks and other parasites in the tsetse-infested bush and forests of tropical Africa. which is more difficult because of the necessary higher temperatures and greater technical care. life and death interacting with the aesthetic imaginations of Late Stone Age minds were codified into religions supervised by a parallel priestly hierarchy usually combined with the chieftaincy. Trade in metals which sparked further explosions of civilisation in the Mediterranean. native millets and sorghums sufficed. Red Sea navigation and the inclusion of the Horn of Africa in regional trading was established. and across the Red Sea from the new states growing along the shores and the watered escarpments of south-west Arabia to Ethiopia. * * Copper is the bulk component of bronze and brass and apart from deposits in Egypt this metal was scarce north of the Equator in Africa. Exotic horses (in use in the Sahara 4. or God.

causing social trauma and unhappiness. Chimpanzees and gorillas have been quoted as waging planned aggression. especially in bad times. Indeed.Systems of delegating power through clan-heads developed and with them. In order to wage war. Africans were following the general order and system of civilisation which began emerging first in the Middle East. is a product of property-ownership and was not of such importance to hunter-gatherers. rules of inheritance and family structures became entrenched in tribal lore. which has caused death and genocide as prolifically as envy. personal disputes and family squabbles in a gregarious society often progressed beyond argument and to displays to violence. institutional violence is organised by the clan or tribal authority and complete strangers are set to kill and maim each other. however poor or primitive the economy might seem.000 years ago who were not civilised were the hunter-gathering Pygmies and Khoisan surviving in pockets beyond the reach of those eternally tethered to their herds of exotic domestic animals or caught by the tyranny of the hoe and sickle. it may be seen that the folly of pride. adopted and accepted by the various peoples engaging in the different economies in their different environments. extraordinary measures had to be taken to overcome the instinctive aversion to violence that all people had developed during the previous millions of years of evolution. W hen increasingly rigid tribal organisations formed progressively across Africa. chimps have been watched and filmed in organised hunting 76 . which suggests that it is endemic in all higher primates. The particular brutality that accompanies war is caused by this unnatural behaviour. The wind of change from northern civilisations brought warfare. his error was to attribute it to primitive hominids and not to the advent of fixed agriculture and urban civilisation. conflicting directly with our genetic inheritance. In war. In that he was perfectly correct. Leadership contests. in W est Africa. Recently. * * Severe territorial conflict leading to warfare began south of the Sahara where I believe it had never occurred before. Hunter-gatherer bands disputed territory. an entirely different order of violence. Does a chimpanzee or baboon suffer pangs of psychic pain when daily outfaced by a superior male or female in the hierarchy of the home band? I have watched a brash young male baboon repeatedly challenge an alpha male and be vanquished with equanimity. but millions of years of evolution had produced the necessary social mechanisms for resolution without resorting to self-destructive genocide. had to be reasoned through. the only people in Africa after 2. W hy should primitive mankind have been any different until there was property to defend or covet? Robert Ardrey cited the Territorial Imperative as the source of human violence and warfare. The real or apparent material and technical wealth or poverty of a people at any one time cannot determine their level of civilisation. Clientship was the method that long time had produced as the only proven method of survival when life was considered more valuable than pride. driven by the problems of administering wealth. All the complexities of a modern civilisation. but it was occasional and shocking. In my view.

It is in more recent years that properly observed pre-planned group belligerence leading to bloodshed or death has been recorded. During the Angolan W ar in the 1980s. Particularly. but organised group aggression was lacking. 1971) when she was surrounded by a group. Goodall described encounters between chimps and baboons when both sides were combative. Captives and the families of captives became property and servants under laws not much different to those governing cattle. But they backed down and left her alone. Organised religion had to develop further alongside chiefly power with spiritual and physical penalties for rebels and infractions of law to maintain order. the social scourge of slavery which developed from age-old mutual-help clientship was harnessed to provide cannon-fodder. The trance-dances which Late Stone Age hunter-gathers used for healing and the creation of harmony in a small group were extended to marshal the bloodlust in a thousand chanting warriors and their supporting ululating women.forays against monkeys for food. This practice continued in Africa into the 19th century 77 . W ar dances evolved and religious activities were invented to stir the martial spirit and instil the necessary disciplines for the cult of battle. people had now to defend their tribe’s real property in a world of expanding populations of both people and domestic animals. Perhaps researchers have been observing cultural changes in our nearest ape cousins which we endured 5. W hat is not often considered is that our ape cousins are now going through an almost insupportable trauma in increasingly restricted habitats in reserves and are being trapped and slaughtered into extinction by human hunters. they showed aggression towards her when she approached too close and there is one occasion which she relates in detail (In the Shadow of Man. part of the same Universe. it was necessary to motivate and sustain conscripted armies engaged in impersonal battles and controlled genocide against people with whom they had no personal conflict or even contact. W hen Jane Goodall first began studying chimps in the Gombe reserve on the shore of Lake Tanganyika.000 years ago and which were caused by similar pressures: increasingly restricted territory and disruption to traditional subsistence and social structures. Slaves were disciplined into expendable armies. acute and insoluble problems of territory and property arose. Dian Fossey had similar experiences with gorillas before they got to know her but was never harmed because she always showed submission to the powerful alpha males. W ith the burgeoning of civilisation in the wealthiest and most advanced nation states in Mesopotamia and along the Nile and the commencement of dynastic and territorial warfare. 2. conscious that all were pitted against the same enormity of nature and geography. There is nothing ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ about the environment in which those chimps and gorillas are being studied. as if they were creating self-imposed game reserves around themselves. Instead of hunter-gatherer bands sitting around a fire to argue away a problem. the South African Army successfully recruited and rigorously trained a regiment of peaceful San-Bushmen for active combat service proving that aggression can be quickly taught within a socially disrupted and confused group. The adoption of sedentary cultivation leading to civilisation created territorial pressures on people.500 years ago. W hen the Sahara began desertifying.

I have emphasised the fact that Africans have always been selective and careful hunters until the advent of guns and the degrading of hunting practice by immigrant Asians and Europeans.000. S. enslaved or nomadic people. aided a natural conservation of the environment. If Africa was an Eden 30. degradation of the environment and mass slaughter of wild animals. Africans did not consciously cause the mass extinction of any prey animals. population explosion.” Eaton had been conducting research into the ‘surprisingly’ low incidence of cancer amongst San women of the !Kung group in southern Africa.000 years ago. His statement is true and obvious enough. W ho was the serpent? Perhaps it was the “Cygnus Event” supernova of ± 35. The totem system which made the totem animal taboo. if not in such rigid and universal formality. In National Geographic of August 1993.000 years ago when art and abstract thought began to flourish with the Late Stone Age in balanced non-violent. all of which continually provoke mankind to expand populations beyond sustainable levels.where it was notoriously used by Nguni generals and chiefs from KwaZuluNatal and described in the historical record. As Lyall W atson in Lightning Bird (1982) has pointed out. the concept of a totem affiliation which transcends clan or tribal boundaries and which can be used to link ‘lost’. groups adopt a totem.000 years. easilytransmitted epidemic disease. In 4. it lasted only until 5. That totem then becomes taboo for that group and those with that totem have a religious or ‘spiritual’ kinship with all others with the same totem. usually an animal with whom the group or their teachers sense communion. periodic mass famine and the horrors of organised warfare and slavery. there would be recognition and understanding of each other’s status and background. The roots of these comforting practises lie deep in Africa and may have been born long before civilisation spread when huntergatherers roamed freely in a relatively empty continent. Boyd Eaton of Emory University is quoted as stating: “The life-style for which our genetic makeup was selected was actually that of Stone Age foragers. people ask each other what Zodiacal sign they were born under. Elsewhere. Another social mechanism evolved to formality in this period. 78 . scattered society. At initiation ceremonies. In W estern Civilisation this same practice is common. I believe that Adam and Eve’s apple was undoubtedly the mutated fruits of the Middle East which responded so well to cultivation and hybridisation. Civilisation brought enormous change and all kinds of intellectual flowering and benign cultural evolution. Africans meeting maybe thousands of miles away from their homeland would ask about a stranger’s totem and if it was the same. W e talk of the ‘old boy’ and other ‘networks’. what is interesting is that scientists and serious journals still found it newsworthy enough to announce it. there would be instant kinship. but it also brought the stresses of urban living. In any case. Dr. men of a totem could not kill ‘their’ animal and this helped to preserve that species.000 years ago.

It has been excavated several times since by others. Further archaeological exploration may provide more snapshots because there are several burial mounds and hut circles still to be excavated. overlooking the lake famous for its flamingoes and the game reserve in the surrounding wilderness scrub and patches of forest. Supported by financial contributions from local British settlers. Although no artifacts or remains from that far back have been found there. shaded by exotic jacaranda trees and brightened by red poinsettia. Associated with these Late Stone Age burials there were occupation sites with various artifacts: obsidian tools. jewellery. people cultivated cereals and buried their dead with care. and a thatched roof. Kariandusi near Lake Elementeita is one of these which tourists may visit. there is a rocky knoll called Hyrax Hill. The transitions to the African Middle and Late Stone Ages have been charted through archaeology in the area. Huts were alongside these byres with stone foundations and gate posts above which was a wooden superstructure. served as the site museum. pottery and bits of domestic animal bones and teeth. The importance of the earliest Hyrax Hill snapshot is that it shows that about 3. the general culture of northern Africa was pervasive into the heart of what is modern Kenya. the females accompanied by their personal stone pestles and grinding stones useful for the after-life. Homo erectus of the Early Stone Age occupied this part of the Great Rift Valley and there are sites nearby where deposits of hand-axes similar to Olorgasailie (described in Book One) have been found. the excavations at Hyrax Hill have provided detailed ‘snapshots’ of people living there at two important points of time in the last three millennia. An old European settler farmstead. more platters and grinding-stones. pottery. In the more recent snapshot. There were skeletons in graves. However primitive their economy and far from the sophisticated Nilotic society of that time. It is important as a site where both Late Stone Age and Late Iron Age farmers established homesteads. people sunk stone-lined byres for calves and small stock. Hyrax Hill was a pleasant place on which to live over many thousands of years. between 400 and 200 years ago. whether clad in clay or grass thatching.000 years Lakes Nakuru and Elementeita expanded massively. rough and simple with a verandah and corrugated-iron roof. Those people were mixed farmers with a pottery industry and a culture which included ritual burial. iron tools. Imported 79 . waste flakes and stone cores. Mary Leakey excavated it in 1937 and in later years. The graves were well-fashioned with stone lining and covered with flat cap-stones. During the wet cycles of the last 30. forming one large sheet of fresh water and Hyrax Hill became an island or promontory and was submerged from time to time. depending on the state of Lake Nakuru and the climate in general.500 years ago.CHAPTER SEVEN : A VORTEX IN EAST AFRICA A few miles outside Nakuru in Kenya. domestic and wild animal remains and smoking pipes for marijuana or other herbs.

Bau is the name given wherever Swahili penetrated from Somalia to Malawi. In W est Africa the name is usually a variation of warri or oware and a similar game has the same name as far away as Malaysia and Singapore. A study of board games helps to illustrate that quandary. Ugandans call it mweso.R. On the Comores Islands between Mozambique and Madagascar it is called mraha. Pachisi). They come from the Late Iron Age period. has been identified throughout the Near East and which was still being played in Cochin in western India by an isolated Jewish community in 1900AD. There is always doubt and controversy about the connection between similar culture without apparent direct ancestry or obvious physical contact between peoples. the Swazi call it intjuba.glass beads and Indian coins dated from 500 years ago proved occasional trade with the distant ocean. I have seen a similar game played by soldiers in a fort in the Indus Valley in Sindh. H. Bau gaming boards were cut out of the living rock on Hyrax Hill. In nearby South Africa.J. Other common examples of games with ancient roots are Ludo (derived from the Indian game. similar dress or adornment in widely disparate communities and so on. Murray’s other four categories are ‘alignment games’.Murray in History of Boardgames other than Chess (1952) identifies five categories of which the Afro-Asiatic group is one which he names Mankala. has local names but common basic rules and is played throughout sub-Saharan Africa and across the Indian Ocean. common irrigation and other agricultural techniques. There are a number of examples: the emergence of particular artifacts such as musical instruments and weapons. In African anthropology. ‘race games’ and ‘war games’. the Venda ndzichuva and the Tsonga chuva. there is dispute between the concepts of transfer of knowledge or culture by the migration or absorption of peoples and the diffusion of ideas through propinquity or trade. best described as a rapidly executed and complex blend of checkers and backgammon requiring considerable skill with mental arithmetic. Senet is a game known by Egyptologists from Pharaonic times and identified with Tab-es-Siga still played along the Nile as far south as Sudan 3. In the category of ‘race games’ there is the ‘Game of Twenty Squares’ which was played about 3300BC in Babylon. ‘hunt games’.000 years later. The bau game. 80 . In Zimbabwe it is called isafuba. modern Solitaire is an example of ancient derivation. Irving Finkel of the British Museum provided a broader picture of ancient games in an article in The Illustrated London News in 1990. This group includes the various games I have listed above such as warri or bau. backgammon and ‘war games’ such as chess. Amongst ‘hunt games’. the apparent coincidental invention of pottery or an artform. people from three different language groups have a similar name for the game. I have always assumed that both methods are common and very often coincidental : trying to tie down human activity to a black or white scenario is a useless and purposeless task. I have watched it being played from KwaZulu-Natal to the Niger River. Board games may be pivotal to an understanding of the emergence of common cultural activity across large portions of continents where there is no apparent cultural relationship.

An article in the journal. the floor of the Rift both widens and drops in altitude and the combination restricts the rainfall. There are two rainy seasons which is yet another reason why that part of Africa was always blessed for mankind and all life. There is the Oware Society in London which is devoted to the promotion of knowledge of the African game. through migration. Various local names for the game are quoted from Antigua to the Philippines and it is proposed that it is the world’s oldest game and that it originated in Africa. I have no argument with that. Between the two. forced movement of enslaved communities. in September 1996 gave a useful overview of the game. particularly over mountains and highlands. Longonot and Ol Doinya Opuru. the collecting of outstanding examples of playing boards and the organisation of contests and meetings of interested people. No wonder the Masai.000m and the Aberdares to the east have forest-clad peaks that climb to 4. have ragged heads above 2. the Great Rift Valley narrows and is borne up by ancient deep seismic pressure. The flat floor of the valley. It is probable that the warri game spread outwards from Africa. cloud-wrapped Mount Kenya. In the middle. fed by rivers from the heights. who presides over these privileged lands. the oval shape of freshwater Lake Baringo sprawls. It is evidence that no matter how isolated sub-Saharan Africa may seem to have been. nomadism. and north beyond Nakuru. It is spectacular scenery with equable temperatures all year round and enough rainfall to promote prosperous agriculture. * * In the surroundings of Hyrax Hill near Nakuru. is 1. Northwards of Nakuru. Kikuyu and other local tribes worshipped God residing in snow-topped. carried by the advent of trading and increased intercontinental travelling which followed the end of the last Ice-age and the beginning of civilisation. The East African monsoon provides a bonanza: where rain does fall. Only scrub bush survives without irrigation and natural cultivation is only possible on some flanks and on the heights behind the escarpments where rain is culled from the monsoon clouds in their seasons. especially in regard to industrial culture or the huge complexities of megalithic civilisations. and possibly the most important of all: cultural transfer by traders or tourists. conquest and clientship.000m. speculates on its origins and its worldwide spread in modern times.500m above sea level. smoothed and enriched by silt and flooding over those many millennia of climatic chaos. there are swamps filled with tall green reeds surrounded by yellow-boled fever trees 81 . The Mau Escarpment to the west is over 3.It would seem that board games have been passed on from generation to generation for millennia and jump across lands and continents for all the reasons that modern people have communicated in the last 30. the master of the rains.000 years. particular kinds of attractive ideas have always moved freely. it rains twice a year.750m. two well-known volcanoes. Immediately to the north. West Africa. where Olorgasailie lies. To the south. the Great Rift Valley descends as it spreads towards Lake Turkana and Ethiopia. The Laikipia Escarpment falls abruptly in gaunt cliffs to Lake Bogoria where the blue salty waters are painted by pink skeins of flamingoes.

The Kerio Valley is floored by the same carpet of thorn scrub that spreads from Nakuru to Lake Baringo.and a small tribe live there from scattered cultivation. The lake itself is one of the few which are presently fresh water.200 m above sea level and from them the land gently ascends to the mountains averaging 2. on the stony eroded floor of the valley. The immediate hinterland is covered by dry savannah bush and scrub.800 m . On the plateau above. The maize gardens would have been sorghum and millet. loom above Lake Baringo to the west and along the line of the escarpment there is a chaotic mix of natural bush and the endlessly differing ridges and peaked knolls of the underlying land. The fields were cultivated now by iron hoes rather than stone. Several habitats are there within a radius of a few miles and what suits various species of birds also suits baboons and people.199 m) and Kilimanjaro (5. one faces watered high country where farmers and herders had 82 . bananas and pawpaws grow richly. They are the Njemps people who used to farm this naturally-watered place with intensive methods and irrigation more than a hundred years ago. where the forest has been cleared. there is a patchwork of shambas where maize. where hominid fossils older than the Australopithecines were found. Nowadays. To the westward of Victoria are the Ruwenzories. The lake shore has both reedy and marshy habitats and the riverine-lacustrine trees are rich in fruits. vegetables. The shores of Victoria are 1. but within easy flying distance there is salty Lake Bogoria. scatterings of goats denude the thornbushes and croton scrub and on those jumbled flanks there are a few far-scattered homesteads.250 m on the rims of both arms of the Great Rift. The landscape may have been the same 3. The proliferation of birds around Baringo reflects the geographic variety of the Great Rift Valley. but none of those superficial changes has relevance to the appearance of what was a picture-story showing how the land may have been after the first Late Stone Age farmers pushed in.500 years ago. Beyond the modern town of Kabernet there is the deep. The Tugen Hills. W ithin the thick bush goats and a few stubby cattle move about. so birds that like both are there. the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ with glaciers and snow clad peaks rising to over 4. Close examination of the goats and cattle would have shown how the species had diverged over long centuries of breeding. stock-rearing and fishing. to the east there are Mounts Kenya (5. This must be so. but looking down from the top it would be easy for one’s imagination to ignore the detail of difference in the cultivated grains. narrow Kerio Valley. Volcanoes tower over the highlands of both arms. an arm of the Rift which there splits the highlands which begin their steady slope downwards into Uganda and the huge basin of Lake Victoria. a small goat kraal and a patch of maize and vegetables. as it has also promoted the development of the great variety of higher mammals and birds which proliferate in Africa. sugarcane. Looking over the valley into the west from 2. Each homestead has two or three simple huts. Richard Leakey has proposed that it is the wide variety of habitats and environments of the Great Rift that promoted the development and evolution of mankind.500 m.892 m). On the top there is rainforest. further off there are rocky cliffs with ledges and crags and still further there is the escarpment with more rainfall and a greater variety of vegetation.

ancient Egypt and modern colonialism was always missing. There are several modern states covered by it: north-western Tanzania. And then there is the giant gap until a vision of Arab and European adventurers appears. Burundi. the mothercontinent. Rwanda. Lacking anything better. It was easy to assume that Egypt had no real part to play in Africa. before European colonial powers drew arbitrary lines on the map. It is a huge area. This vast geographically integrated Eden is the size of France or the Iberian Peninsular. Stone Age ‘savages’ from the people first met by European or Arab travellers. striding onto the scene always with a rifle or embellished muzzle-loader crooked under their arms. The empires were there and there was technical innovation when necessary. But. It was not only Europeans that held this view as a reading of the Arab geographers shows. as if the ‘darkest continent’ was not only a geographical term but also an historical one. exploiting simple natives who are led. Late Stone Age society of 3. In this vast and luxurious land lying between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley and encompassing Lake Victoria. That is where the kernel of our evolution grew and that is how we should be living. Africa is the natural habitat of humanity. it is only in recent years that the outlines of a picture of the transformation of hunter-gathering. there was a great vortex of African history. Those pictures are placed on a background of the jungle along the Bight of Benin. There were always influences from the outside and change from within. but always there was the enveloping cocoon of Africa. scientists refer to it as the ‘interlacustrine zone’. rich and well watered and. or on the veld of eastern and southern Africa. in long safari columns carrying loads on their heads. ‘savage’ existence on the great savannah plains surrounded by a myriad of wild game. primitive mankind. In the centre of ‘darkest Africa’. W hat confuses a superficial view is that there do not seem to be pictures of great dynastic empires and astounding leaps in technical innovation. semi-naked. a superficial view of African history had a giant gap. being oriented to the Middle-East.met and consolidated for three thousand years. 83 . southern Uganda and western Kenya.500 years ago into the highly-organised tribal and national structures of the Late Iron Age have been drawn by archaeology. a large slice of the Congo. The connection between the three caricatures. and that nothing much separated the primitive. which generates its own weather system. Sub-Sahara Africa never slumbered in slothful apathy. great events occurred which fill in the gap of history. People have always been at home in Africa since their first evolutionary jumps from apes. It can be argued that the perfect lifestyle for Homo sapiens was that of the Late Stone Age hunter-gatherer on the African savannah plains. There were considerations of the emergence of mankind and a picture of Early Stone Age hunters living a primitive. * * Until recently. Africans developed and perfected a human lifestyle. The climate never ceased to stimulate. it had the unity of geographic integrity. There are the marvels of ancient Egypt and the stereotyped images culled from the Bible and stories of the pyramids and the empires of the Pharaohs.

associated with Bantu-speaking migrants from around the north side of the Congo basin and Early Iron Age industry. inventing complex metallurgy. Sahel sorghum cereals were hybridised and so were the fruits of the woodlands.500 years ago. Along this corridor there is Lake Chad fed by a river system which spreads like a fan over today’s Central African Republic. domesticating cattle and sheep and degrading their species. 84 . possibly with disastrous consequences. proves occupation by people with those cultures from at least 3. (Reference : MarieClaude van Grunderbeek in Azania XXVII. From the Cameroon. why consume energy inventing them? It is a concept which has become alien to us.500 years ago helps to bridge the historical gap. in warm weather if possible. 1992) In this ‘interlacustrine zone’ surrounding Lake Victoria. Sub-Sahara Africans did not churn about conquering each other. In the rainy season parts of this area are swampy. Outsiders brought those ideas to a society which did not need them. This has been a desire of civilised people expressed in romantic literature for as long as it has been written in colder lands. for it is our genetic inheritance calling.000 years ago. Radiocarbon dating of many sites in the lands around Lake Victoria show that Urewe tradition pottery. It was wetter at that seminal time of expansion which promoted the new agriculture learned from northern people and which provided surpluses which resulted in population growth of man and domestic beast. Iron technology filtered down from Egypt and mining and smelting specialist clans found ores and spread their magic. Bantu-speaking migrants from the Cameroon traversing the northern fringes of the Congo forests began meeting Nilotic-speakers who had moved directly south in the previous millennium and they both probably confronted bands of nomadic Cushitic-speaking herders from Ethiopia. there is a corridor of grassy savannah north of the Congo rainforests and south of the desert which naturally debouches onto these rich highlands between the Great Rift Valley arms and around Lake Victoria. I am constantly reminded that the choice for a holiday by tens of millions of civilised urban dwellers of the industrialised northern hemisphere is to ‘return to nature’ on beaches or in the semblance of a wilderness. the heartland of Bantu-speaking people at the eastern end of the W est African population compression zone. Here Bos taurus Saharan cattle met Bos indicus from the Horn of Africa and the sanga breeds resulted (See Chapter Nine). Before 3.Sub-Saharan Africans did not need the technology that other people invented to cope with different environments outside the African core-lands and if they were not needed. Across an almost indefinable watershed. * * A brief exploration of central Africa from around 3. another fan of rivers flows south into the Congo basin. Urban life is not ‘normal’ for our species and nor is the agricultural environment which civilisation has created. but by trial and error negotiable trails could be found for man and beast and passage during the healthy dry season was easily achieved. The migration routes are clear enough when one studies the geography. There are several dates from the 2nd millennium BC. raze forests for mono-culture and slaughter the antelope and elephant herds to near-extinction.

The hunter-gatherers who were living there were absorbed or pushed into areas where agriculture was not profitable. Tutsi. and their effects were later felt as far as the southern Indian Ocean shores. Kamba. 3. stimulated by the growing farming communities of the Ethiopian highlands and influences from across the Red Sea in Arabia. If the newly-learned strategy of warfare did not resolve the problem. It is noticeable and not coincidence that most of the worst excesses of modern 85 . complex villages developed into fortified towns and walled cities. Luyia. derived from the previous 5. The problem of refugees fleeing population pressures and territorial conflict emerged in Africa in rich lands like the ‘interlacustrine zone’ at that time. The most extensive earthen walls and ditch systems in the world have been traced in Nigeria. the ancient way to alleviation was to move. Lake Turkana was bigger and the deserts were savannah. the Kalenjin group. Trade and the movement of cattle along this route began at that time. Kikuyu. warfare or the threat of it had to result. with camels mostly. In the ‘interlacustrine zone’ around Lake Victoria. Hutu. there is still a clear difference between Bantu and Nilotic culture groups. Today there are several well-known culture groups with distinct languages of both Bantu and Nilotic origin: Ganda. W hen there was sustained population pressure. The availability of new land for cultivation was limited by the ability of the inhabitants to clear the forest.500 years ago. Luo.Similarly. and in bad times there was conflict for they had developed the instincts of property and the structures of organised larger society. There are remains of defensive villages with earthen walls and perimeter ditches in Uganda and western Kenya. producing many languages and dialects.000 years of social evolution in northern Africa and the Middle East. In the millennium after 3. The resolution of territory was never easy. Kenya politics are often bedevilled by tribal affinities which are blamed for many of that country’s ills. Samburu. These immigrants came with the technology and the trappings of property. Even in most recent time there have always been nomads. evidence of similar societies has been found. The Hadza people of Tanzania were typical of the indigenous hunter-gatherers of eastern Africa and I believe were related to the San-Bushmen of southern Africa who shared the same fate a thousand and more years later. In W est Africa where population compression was endemic with the extending Sahara. Embu. The trail from the Horn of Africa and the Ethiopian Highlands is clearer: the Rift valley provided a giant highway. Today. Nilotic-speaking people found their way around the great Sudd swamps of the upper W hite Nile into northern Uganda and Kenya. this Eden began to fill and tribal wars of varying degrees of severity had to begin. tribal organisation and culture of that time.500 years ago. insoluble from not chopping down trees fast enough or by negotiation and temporary clientship. who knew how to negotiate the deserts around Lake Turkana. the Masai and more. There are numerous tribal and sub-tribal divisions and in those three thousand years there has been some mixing and diverging. They resemble pre-Roman hill-forts that are scattered over England. Population pressures must have become acute from time to time in this Eden once all the easily utilised lands were occupied. Today.

Here they met those who had migrated southwards. * * Apart from building defensive villages. Some farmers had to move on. Between the highlands of both the ‘interlacustrine zone’ to the west and Ethiopia to the north and the monsoon-laved coast there is savannah which is parched and uninhabitable for much of the year away from those few rivers which provide the ancient highways. The new Iron Age agriculture began to filter into the vastness of southern Africa. Cushitic people together with the animals. Other Bantu-speakers began to trickle southwards along the Rift escarpments past Lake Tanganyika to yet another vortex in the highlands of southern Tanzania. They labouriously followed the rivers down to the ocean where they found hills eternally greened by the monsoon. I believe this example can be extrapolated in time and place. There is increasing evidence that they were in advance of the trickles down from the ‘interlacustrine zone’. wherever geography suited. W hen migration is not practical. 86 . The surge in agricultural technology by the Njemps in historical time was stimulated by Arab and Swahili ivory-collecting and slaving caravans which used that well-watered and pleasant place as a stop-over depot and trading centre. had their monopoly broken and were absorbed or driven to mountains and semi-desert. History describes the particular example of irrigation used by the Njemps between Lakes Baringo and Bogoria. another way out of the problem is innovation and Africans frequently used this technique. Good land was often at a premium when people were in surplus or climate inexorably brought change. At first there was probably no conflict because there were too few and they were all vulnerable in strange country. In W est Africa this was not always possible and urban society developed to highly sophisticated levels. agricultural technology and social culture they had obtained from both the Nile civilisations and from across the straits from Arabia moved south along the seashore of the Indian Ocean. The Khoisan. southern Congo and Zambia. There were fly-free connections and corridors which could be patiently explored for the movement of cattle and to lands suitable for cultivation. Their populations were also growing and they needed room which the coastlands moistened by the double monsoons provided. west of the Congo. This is always the cause of turmoil in agricultural society. But Arab accounts describe the natives to be in turmoil in medieval times and conflicts in the 15th . but the two movements were coincidental later on. but in Central Africa there were possible routes outwards. following the same routes which Australopithecus and the early Homos used back-and-forth between the seaside and the Great Rift Valley. people practised specialised intensive agriculture when climatic or population pressures required it. north-eastern Zambia and around Lake Malawi. From the Horn of Africa. whose ancestors had roamed without competition for millennia.16th centuries are in the historical record. In Ethiopia the gradual reduction in rainfall created pressures there too.post-independence civil wars in Africa have occurred in this particular area and in the W est Africa forested lands. and moved into the savannah lands of today’s northern Angola.

Sutton in an article in the special edition of Azania (Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa) in 1989 devoted to 87 . The traditional crops were sorghum and millet and these were understood from the mists of time. his suggestion took root because it was part of their culture in folk-memory.T. should go for irrigation.. the system declined. Grove and J.and perhaps at other irrigation sites also . The reason why a simple community of farmers. In a situation where additional labour could be found with relative ease. settled in a particular well-watered area surrounded by dry thornbush. but that the farmers did not pursue it. But Anderson points out that it was recorded in 1888 that Swahili traders suggested maize as a crop to the Njemps at Baringo and gave them seeds. It was an external stimulus that caused the extra effort and when the caravans ceased..E. during the last millennium.in contrast to the norm in much of nineteenth century Africa. It could be argued that Arab or Swahili caravan leaders suggested irrigation and organisation to them and that the intensive cultivation there was not indigenous. this [the operation and extension of irrigation by organised communal labour] was a less onerous proposition than it may have been elsewhere in East Africa. Both the rough terracing on the flanks of the Elgeyo Escarpment and the widespread Sirikwa Holes are from the Late Iron Age. untried crops was doubtless considered unnecessary. A.G. as this could be accomplished at the level of the household and without involving the consent and participation of the wider community. on the flanks of the Elgeyo Escarpment. experiment sharpened it up. firstly by individual innovation and then later by communal work organised by community leaders is simple. I do not think it was difficult for the Njemps people of Baringo to revive intensive cultivation under external stimulus. and I am persuaded that irrigation was also understood by long-gone generations. . land and not labour was the major constraint on production. there has been extensive agricultural terracing and in many places on the healthy highlands. They had plenty of people and limited land and to satisfy the needs of an underutilised population they decided to create a surplus to barter with trading caravans coming up from the coastal ports. but they are further clear evidence of two traditions of pre-historic African agriculture: intensive cultivation and mixed farming with its associated cattle-cult. But it is reasonable to suggest that farmers would first seek to increase production within the existing irrigated area by making modifications to their agricultural practices. Anderson in a paper published in Azania in 1989 wrote: It can be argued that at Lake Baringo .David M. stone-lined calf and goat byres like those at Hyrax Hill were built: the so-called Sirikwa Holes. If their knowledge was rusty. The agricultural technologies of the Nile 3. Increased harvests of their traditional grains proved the value of the extra labour and the risk of introducing new.500 years ago were carried southwards and maintained for many centuries. Somewhat further to the north up the Kerio Valley. And if a passing Arab suggested leading water in a canal from the river to flood a field.

It is sadly true that those who are most virulent in their condemnation of bias are often the most biassed and intolerant critics of all. vast arrays of terraces were built to hold moisture and conserve the soil. 88 . Those terraces are still in use today. The Origin of the Zimbabwean Civilisation (1972). southern Arabia. However diluted. Gayre drew much inspiration from G.P.500 years ago there were farmers spreading southwards along both limbs of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. but dismissing misguided and already obsolete ideas of Semitic empires in Africa should not erase proper consideration of trade and the exchange of knowledge between the Nile civilisations. People were moving south from the Ethiopian highlands. and in his book. Egyptians and Nilotic people in the Sudan built great stone temples and monuments as well as extensive cities of square mudbrick houses. a dam with sluice gates feeding irrigated lands was built.agricultural technology commented on the historical conclusions that may be drawn from terracing. the Middle East and India in frankincense and acting as carriers and middlemen of the Indian Ocean trading system. Although thoroughly discredited now. both arms of the central Great Rift Valley. Murdock. southern Sudan and the central Great Rift Valley system with its verdant ‘interlacustrine zone’. kingdoms of the upper Nile in the Sudan. this was becoming part of African culture and there seems no reason for Africans to find its permeation of eastern and southern Africa objectionable. sought to link kingdoms of the Yemen directly to Zimbabwe and proposed that stone building technique and intensive agriculture with irrigation was introduced by Sabaean and other Arab colonists and settlers. Grand theories were proposed and the politics of African historiography inflamed. has been written about often enough. They had intensive cultivation and irrigation technique organised and taxed by a vast bureaucracy. the Horn of Africa. Stone buildings and terraces were common in Ethiopia. Gayre and others have been often-unfairly dismissed as having a deliberate racist bias (students at Edinburgh University rioted when he tried to address them). On the southern Arabian highlands where the monsoon rains fell. it has been argued that agricultural terraces and stone building was evidence of colonisation of eastern Africa by various external megalithic ‘civilisations’ long before the appearance of Europeans. 3. Evidence of terracing and irrigation right across the Sahel of W est Africa. On the sea-facing escarpments. A strenuous argument was put forward by R. Gayre of Gayre in several publications. an influential anthropologist in the 1950s. southern Tanzania and eastern Zimbabwe. W ealth was created by trading directly with Egypt. in the hills of southern Sudan. By then. Kingdoms in the Yemen were powerful and prosperous. extensively in Ethiopia. that knowledge and culture spread over the Sahara and along the Sahel. Ethiopia and southern Arabia maintained a close economic relationship with an interchange of people and ideas until the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD. Frankincense was also grown in the Horn of Africa whose people were also part of that trading system and despite the occasional dynastic dispute and wars that raged for a while. A food surplus was needed to support the trading cities and ports.

there is a renewed interest in the value of comparisons. There can be no doubt that communities of hunter-gatherers were converted to agriculture by clientship or observation and emulation. not for theories of historical diffusion but simply for helping to understand the workings of those systems. gradually pushing aside or absorbing the hunter-gatherers of eastern and southern Africa in the last 3.G. Grove and J.T. mixed farmers or herders. commonly integrated with other specialised agricultural and socio-cultural features. or simply for economic advantage or convenience. and there is no question about that. If for whatever reason of pressures by climate or other people. The contrasting or interacting mechanisms of the transfer or geographical movement of culture by diffusion or migration has always been fascinating. and this is important to academic controversy about diffusion versus migration. developed over previous centuries. ousting hunting and gathering. clients and overlords as the centuries rolled. which spread across the Sahara and thence southwards. as at Great Zimbabwe.being not so much proved wrong as just considered irrelevant to modern social sciences including archaeological studies in Africa .500 years.A. but this is difficult. led by agriculture. However. have been in retreat for some time . they changed their roles as geography dictated and they exchanged ideas and products with itinerant traders. stone is an obvious material with which to build domestic structures and agricultural terraces. neighbours. albeit usually a locally evolved and a peculiar one. and if ecological change or 89 . I firmly believe that the spread of culture takes place in both ways and in a combination of them at different times with different people and circumstances. There can never be any doubt about the emergence of many advanced techniques and all the social complexities of civilisation. Sutton in Agricultural Terracing South of the Sahara (1989) wrote: Now that diffusionist theories. The new agricultural technology moved southwards. Those who found lands that suited the particular economy that had become traditional to them.500 years were agriculturalists. It is a complex issue and in my view is impossible to resolve in most African environments. All of the people who moved south. with associated stone-walled homesteads and cattle kraals. the concept of irrigation or terracing was revived from time to time in suitable places. They had the inherited knowledge. were within the repertoire of their cultural inheritance.E. along the Nile. with terracing coming to be recognised as a specialised technique. then this was the natural revival of a specialist traditional technique imprinted in them. W here the land was rocky. whether cultivators. all questions are not finally answered. My fascination lies in trying to understand when which culture moved and who was involved. Even where the most intense attention has been focussed. let alone notions of ‘higher’ cultures. Terracing and irrigation . It is easy to forget that we are considering 3. became specialists for greater or lesser time. Archaeologists and historical anthropologists increasingly seek evidence for the prominence of one or the other as archaeological exploration of Africa gradually progresses.the question of testing anew these old attempts to survey and map terracing continent-wide may barely seem worthwhile. and held on to them.

peppers.000 years. The Portuguese brought maize. In recent centuries. cassava-manioc. rice and bananas are particular examples from the tropical Far East. Bananas are indigenous to central and west African forests and there is evidence to support some selective domestication of native species. W hen early civilisation burgeoned. vines and legumes and accompanied by sheep. then they are part of communal memory and tribal tradition. hybridised yams. exotic foods came with the traders. poultry and mangoes from India were introduced by Arab and Indian seatraders. Maybe style and method changed with changed circumstances. W hen intercontinental trade expanded powerfully from about 5. pigs and cattle. but after the jump to agriculture the crops which have been most successful were developed elsewhere. But the bananas which became the dominating staple of the Lake Victoria region and an important supplement throughout the tropics are Indian. Domestic fowls came from northern India. sugar-cane. Different people in Africa lost their cattle for generations. goats. I believe that when behavioural evolutionary jumps in technique or organisation have been taken and there has been enough time for them to become imprinted. it was in Asia that many plants were domesticated. tomatoes and avocados from the Americas and spices from the East Indies. The ‘interlacustrine zone’ of the central Rift Valley system was particularly rich in people and the variety of healthy lands for this to occur. together with farming technique. Speke and Grant were the first Europeans to explore the western side of Lake Victoria and they were amazed by the high standard of 90 . especially between India. potatoes. The imported strains did well enough so Africans did not have the need to spend a thousand years hybridising indigenous plants. into sub-Saharan Africa. In the sub-tropical zones of the Middle East and India and tropical south-east Asia and Indonesia cultivators spent several thousand years developing hybrids which were later introduced. but no great revolution was necessary to begin keeping them again when it was possible. Climate or forced migration caused people to stop farming or herding from time to time and revert to the ancient ways of fishing. Many irrigation projects and associated terracing in Africa had been disused when European explorers discovered and wrote about them in the 19th century. the Middle East and the Mediterranean. or via India and Arabia.000 years ago. * * There is another important pillar of African agriculture: the exploitation of exotic crops. Malaysian and Indonesian species. roots and seeds. sub-Saharan Africans were satisfied with their own continent’s fruits. either directly from Indonesia by sea. starting with Middle East grains. but the concept cannot be expunged.migration later made terracing unnecessary or inappropriate for continued prosperity they abandoned it. As sparsely-spread gatherers. hunting and gathering in order to survive. Coconut palms. Detailed knowledge may be lost. Citrus fruits came down the Nile and by sea from the Mediterranean. Over the millennia they have been introduced to Africa. but the concept did not have to be re-invented: similarly with techniques of cultivation. via Arabia and north-east Africa. A number of exotic plants were introduced to Africa over the last 5.

W rigley sums up his view of the introduction of bananas to the ‘interlacustrine zone’: First. roasted. the fruit was eaten raw. increasing their activity in the first millennium AD. up the Rovuma River. and the magnificent sailing canoes of Indonesia. Indian sailors were trading with Arabia and African Red Sea ports before 2. The leaves were used for thatching. The ‘tooke corridor’ was used extensively as a road to the ocean by Zanzibari slave traders who led their coffles down from Nkhota-Nkhota in Malawi. one which reliably provided an adequate supply of food to a fairly dense population with modest inputs of land and labour. The property of wealthy lakeside tribes was their banana groves and fishing rights in the rivers and on the lakes.banana cultivation and the many uses to which the leaves and fruit were put. W rigley prepared a useful summary of this fruit in his paper. probably some time in the first millennium AD. where Indonesian immigrants and other seatraders had direct access. In the introduction he wrote: It is pleasant to write about an agricultural system in Africa that was as nearly as possible trouble-free .. Being somewhat better adapted to dry seasons than the pure acuminatas of the equatorial forest.C. Later. they were able to make their way inland to the Lakes region and beyond. Because the Indonesian presence on the eastern African coast is overshadowed by later events. acuminata forms entered the southern part of East Africa and followed the generally well-watered ‘tooke corridor’ to the Lakes region. but it is unsuitable for people with cattle because much of those lands is infested with tsetse-fly. 91 .000 years ago and Indonesians colonised Madagascar and the northern Mozambican coast at about the same time or not long after. but no cattle-cult. This corridor is the migration track of bananas (locally called tooke) from the ocean. dried. C. In historical times around Lake Victoria the banana was the staple food supplemented by beans and other vegetables and protein was supplied by domestic fowls and fish. their influence is often overlooked. . boiled. Fish was traded fresh by the shore and dried inland. causes. Asiatic bananas first came to Africa as portable food in ships from India. balbisiana hybrids were brought from India to the east coast of Africa.that is to say. It is one of the few migration and trading routes between the human vortex around the ‘interlacustrine zone’. Famine in the strict sense has never occurred in Buganda. and their principal colonies were on Madagascar which is a ‘forgotten’ land.. the central highlands and the Indian Ocean. powdered and fermented. not natural. through northern Malawi and western Tanzania to Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria. Bananas in Buganda (1989). either directly or via the coastal trading nations of Arabia. There were goats and some cattle. utensils and clothes.. disease-free country further afield. Beef was eaten as a luxury and raided or bartered from people who lived in drier. and rare occasions of widespread hunger have had political.

The spread of bananas. The Athi and Tsavo tributaries of the Galana run respectively from highlands around Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro to the sea at Malindi. Pottery also shows that two thousand years ago Bantu-speaking farmers with Urewe wares made their way down from the vortex of the ‘interlacustrine zone’ across the dry savannah using the ancient river routes. presumed to be Bantu-speaking. when temporary population or climatic pressures in the highlands persuaded adventurers to seek new pastures. about 200 AD. Cushitic agriculturalists. it is dry from September to April. in addition to Arabs. has sharpened recently. and the Rift Valley to the Kenya highlands. Kwale pottery has stylistic links with Urewe made in the ‘interlacustrine zone’. has been steadily increasing. and during the last 3.500 years were probably the only connections for Nilotic-origin herders or traders with vulnerable cattle. except January and February. The Tana rises in highlands north of Mount Kenya and reaches the sea in flat swampy country not far to the north of Malindi. in central Africa. made by farmers who must have migrated there from the interior. 92 . with a peak of about fifteen inches in May. It is not surprising. In the last few years the evidence for the occupation of central and eastern Africa by Late Stone Age farmers. Both these river roads have provided communication links far back into the mists of time. Prof. The Juba and Shebele provided a route to the Ethiopian highlands which are transversed by the Great Rift Valley. Mombasa has an average of more than two inches of rain every month of the year. There were ripples of movement. in Somalia. plantains). (and in earlier centuries. Archaeological discoveries in the ‘interlacustrine zone’ and along the Tanzanian coast show that Late Stone Age people were practising agriculture well in advance of the Iron Age migrations of people with Urewe pottery. The coastal strip is a paradise for cultivating farmers because the monsoons bring regular and almost continuous rainfall. whether accompanied by cattle or sheep. that the Kwale District adjoining the coast just south of Mombasa is famous for Early Iron Age pottery. Other connections were from the Somali coast (the classical ‘Strands of Azania’) and the Horn of Africa to interior highlands through the desert along the seasonal Uaso Nyiro which joins the Juba [Giuba] at Kisimayo. There may not have been many of these migrants at first. Healthy trading routes for cattle in the dry season ran along rivers further north passing through savannah grassland or desert. and the idea of a determined national movement is not sensible. their importance as a staple food and a stimulus to population growth and consequent development of agricultural societies is gained increasing recognition amongst anthropologists in the 1990s. therefore. Interest in the Indian ocean trading system and the activities of Indians and Indonesians. far apart. herders and traders moved southwards from Ethiopia using these rivers to the coast. On either side of the Kenya coast there are breaks in the rains: further south at Zanzibar there is a dry season from June to November and north at Mogadiscio. Felix Chami has published results of his pottery finds which show that Late Stone Age farmers were living along the Tanzanian coastal monsoon belt during the first millennium BC.

* I have never been able to cease my fascination with the bau game. pottery and food crops from the fringes of the Sahara? And why have anthropologists not spent more time on the universal African toy. bananas. I searched for that shamba in 1991. The only obvious evidence of the passage of two millennia was the printed kanga cloth drying on a thornbush and an enamelled metal bowl lying by the three-stone fireplace with its wisp of aromatic woodsmoke.There were people already there. There were a few round wattle-and-daub huts with grass thatch roofs. * * In 1987. a raised grain store. brought ever southwards as far as Negro people travelled together with their languages. as it is called in Swahili : the universal African game of backgammon-checkers. That shamba could have been duplicated anywhere from the Kenya coast to the distant mountain valleys of the Ciskei. Khoisan-related hunter-gatherers occupied all of the savannah lands. Negro Nilotic farmers and maybe Afro-Asiatic Cushitic-speaking herders from the north. Africa has never had vacuums. a paw-paw and a mango tree.000 years ago. the ‘wire-car’? 93 . These are important and fascinating themes which must be explored in later chapters. iron. knew the area. I observed a small shamba homestead in the Pemba valley behind Kwale where the famous pottery finds were made. cattle. pumpkins on their vines. and coastal fishermen. A bleating goat was tethered on a string. not since Homo erectus. but it had gone in the intervening four years. There were people living on the coast who had strong trading contacts with Arabia. Is it as ancient as Egypt of 5. A naked girl-child with beads strung about her belly ran out to wave. a patch of cereal.

Khoi. San. politically independent bands and are defined as San. and Khoi at Mossel Bay. southern Botswana. ONCE KNOWN AS HOTTENTOTS The Late Stone Age aboriginal people of southern Africa are today usually termed the San or Khoisan which is an artificial name of convenience. Botswana. Namibia and the southern Cape coastal belt which Bantu-speakers found to be unsuitable for settlement or colonisation. commonly called Bushmen. and it could have retained an honourable status. Some of these Khoi-Khoi called their hunter-gathering brothers. I have not used that term unless it is part of the context and use the accepted term. and when the Dutch set up their colony at Cape Town in 1652 they relied on the Khoi to supply them with cattle and sheep by barter. W hether the same jump occurred elsewhere amongst Khoisan people in central and eastern Africa and when that might have happened is not known and is also controversial. Pastoral herding was adopted by some Khoisan and those who took this jump began developing a significantly different culture about two thousand years ago in South Africa. The race as a whole therefore became defined by historians and anthropologists as the Khoisan.500 years ago. Khoi. There were no distinct Khoisan left outside South Africa. the sheep and cattle herders. The ancient ancestors of the Khoisan of southern Africa split and consolidated in two quite clearly defined socio-economic and language divisions. There were those who kept to hunter-gathering and lived in small. I like the traditional name.Helena Bay. and cattle later. They developed loose clan federations and territorial concepts. but this term has become politically incorrect because it was used in a pejorative racist way by some sections of white South African society when referring to the mixedrace ‘Cape Coloured’ peoples of South Africa. the first Europeans to penetrate the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic around the Cape of Good Hope. on the Atlantic side of the Cape. but it was misused and degenerated and there is nothing I can do about that. Angola.CHAPTER EIGHT : THE KHOI. Hottentot. Therefore. Some of these divergent people were known by themselves in historical times as the Khoi-Khoi: ‘men of men’. How they acquired the domestic sheep and cattle is controversial. Khoi were first met by Europeans in 1488 at Mossel Bay by Portuguese maritime explorers commanded by Bartolomeo Dias. Others adopted a pastoral herding life with exotic sheep possibly as early as 2. were defined separately as Hottentots in formal literature since 1677. Vasco da Gama’s expedition to India nearly ten years later met San at St. and a few pockets in Zimbabwe and Tanzania by the 19th century when European explorers wrote about those parts. many sailors had contact with both San and Khoi along the Cape coast. a trade that continued for a century or more. was absorbed or displaced by Bantu-speaking mixed agriculturalists everywhere except in the arid regions of western South Africa. Namibia. 94 . Thereafter. The pastoral branch of the Khoisan. The herding branch of the Khoisan.

. the Khoi were decimated by smallpox epidemics that swept the land. .. and some of them played high and others played low... and when we saw them we went ashore at once. and they put themselves in two places alongside the sea and played and danced as on Saturday. but they recovered their numbers. The structure of Khoi culture was irrevocably damaged in the 18th century. . translated by Eric Axelson: In this land [St. and so too did the Commander-in-Chief when he rejoined us. Helena Bay on the Atlantic coast] the men [San] are swarthy. On Sunday as many men as before arrived.Brief descriptions of these people at St. there arrived about ninety men [Khoi]. the San remained something of a curiosity for there was little contact except for small bands who subsisted by gathering and scavenging on the shore whom the Dutch named Strandtlopers [beachcombers]. while we were still in the said bay of São Bras [Mossel Bay on the Indian Ocean]. for the bees of that land place it at the foot of thickets... They wear sheaths on their genitals.. Helena and Mossel Bay in late 1497 are the earliest first-hand accounts still available. whom they determined later were clearly different to the Bantu-speaking Negroes who lived to the east and north. They have many dogs like those of Portugal and they bark the same as they do. The Commander-in-Chief ordered the trumpets to be played and we in the boats danced. He was small of body and looked like Sancho Mexia. In 1713 and 1755. and they brought with them their wives and small children. Through miscegenation 95 . large and small among them. firstly on the initiative of the settlers and the Cape government in order to barter cattle and sheep. harmonising together very well for negroes in whom music is not to be expected.. For a hundred years. Friday [1st December 1497].. On Saturday [2nd December] about two hundred negroes. .. and many oxen and cows. who remained on top of a hillock close to the sea. W e took him to the Commander-in-Chief’s [Vasco da Gama’s] ship who placed him at his table. It was the relatively numerous Khoi with whom the Dutch and French settlers had most contact. and some of them moved about on the beach. and they danced like negroes. arrived. They at once began to play on four or five flutes.. The Dutch colonists at the Cape in the 17th century recognised that there were two kinds of indigenous people of the same race. bringing with them about twelve head of cattle made up of oxen and cows and four or five sheep. Their arms are staffs of wild olive trees tipped with fire-treated horns. From the Diário da Viagem of Vasco da Gama’s flotilla. and then later when they began sharing the same pasturage and territorial conflict arose. Helena Bay. swarthy of appearance like those of St. He was going about gathering honey in the barren wastes. and others of them remained on the hills. . and he ate of everything that we ate. . They eat only sea-wolves [seals] and the flesh of gazelles and the roots of plants.

the San were still living in pockets all over southern Africa. History of a Continent (1972) has only this to say: Soon they [Dutch settlers] had turned the local Africans. The Story of Africa (1984). which was unrivalled in the San.with mixed-race slaves. At the time of the first European exploration of the Cape. Khoi-Hottentots. Leaving aside the purity of ancient genetic and cultural descent. could present no obstacle to Dutch and then British conquest. Davidson failed to make clear that though San and Khoi were of the same race and ancestry. In his later book. . Basil Davidson.known to the new settlers (Dutch) as “Bushmen” and “Hottentots” . or. Their way of life. but in the 20th century the further one travelled from the old colonial centres of Cape Town. Europeans and Bantu-speakers. thousands of years earlier. but had pottery and were at the peak of classical Late Stone Age industry. The two Khoi peoples had yet to enter a “metal age”. on the other hand. The Khoi. the western Cape and the Port Elizabeth metropolitan area.. reflecting their different economy. though marginally more accurate though his naming is wrong: Two Khoi peoples . he is similarly brief and vague. organised in small family groups without any military means or potential. Many contemporary populist historians have given these aboriginal Africans scant attention in general historiography. husbanding their precious livestock in marginal lands of the Cape of Good Hope where Bantu-speaking Negro mixed cultivators and herders would not live. for example. until the middle 19th century some remote clangroups of Khoi were unchanged living representatives of the Earth-shattering jump from hunter-gathering to agriculture which began in the Middle-East and the green Sahara. and those living nearest to the Cape were soon reduced to slavery by the early settlers. had organisational structures and a nomadic ‘horde’ of several clans with allegiance to a chief usually numbered several hundred and often several thousand acting in unison when moving about their seasonal range. and were content to live as hunters and food gatherers..000 years ago and through them we might have gained greater insights about events at that revolutionary time. in Africa. depending on the environment. the closer one came to meet people who were little different in appearance to those who first met Europeans five hundred years before at Mossel Bay. wherever they had not been absorbed by Bantu-speaking mixed agriculturalists who occupied the lands suitable for cattle and where sorghum grains could be grown. they were economically. They had no metallurgy. now and then. 96 . San-Bushmen had no chiefly hierarchy and lived in bands of from 25-100. who were Khoisans (Hottentots). The sheep and cattle they herded were similar to those in the Sahara of 5.had lived in South Africa since Stone Age times. culturally and politically quite different.. as masters of herds of cattle. into their slaves. their racial heritage was forever diluted. They did not cultivate which was the reason for their survival: they were able to exploit pastoral conditions to their limit.

.60 in the immediate vicinity of Cape Town there were skirmishes with Dutch settlers over pastureland and the Dutch settlement had to be fortified with a stone castle and a thorn fence with blockhouses around their territory as a defence against the Khoi. west of an approximate line at the Great Fish River. Koranna Hottentots during the 1880s under their chief. were competitors of the Bantu-speakers and the only parts of South Africa where they were able to retain their integrity were in the Cape. Nama chiefs behaved similarly to European medieval barons in Namibia for a large part of the 19th century. There is historical record of warfare with other Khoisan. Peaceable people became belligerent when territory became an issue under pressure from European colonists and general turmoil amongst the Nguni people of the eastern coastlands. many absconded. in 1672 the burghers [settlers] owned only 53 slaves. Anti-European racists who exploit the trans-Atlantic slave-trade ad nauseam would be pleased to pin this evil on white South Africans but are unable to do so. under the leadership of mixed-race runaway and freed slaves from the western Cape. but they were not able to prevail against the disciplined Bantu regiments or European firearms. Khoi when forced by external territorial pressures were capable of fighting fiercely. At random. M. Khoi Nama bands terrorised parts of Namibia in the 18th century and plunged Hererospeaking cattle-herding clans back into a hunter-gathering life as refugees. . As early as 1658 . Skirmishes and fully mobilised warfare erupted with their Herero neighbours from time to time. became a major bandit force. one can read of many battles and tribal skirmishes. It is one of the most important of South Africa’s historical inheritances that Europeans never operated the slavetrade in South Africa. raiding for cattle over a large area of the north-east Cape and Orange Free State in the 1820s and 30s. unsophisticated or passive about the Khoi of southern Africa. being wily in diplomacy and when necessary going to war. obtained mainly from Madagascar and 97 . There was nothing simple.. The British raised Hottentot military and paramilitary formations on the eastern borders of the Cape Colony. . Massouw.. battled with both white Afrikaners and Bantu-speaking Sotho neighbours in the western Transvaal and hired a Boer commando under Sarel Cilliers as mercenaries. the Company allowed importations to continue.F. There was a notable battle in 1775 between Koranna Khoi and San at the ford of Kokounop on the Vaal River near the colonial village of Douglas which the latter called “the place where no mercy was shown”.on the other hand.Katzen in the Oxford History of South Africa (1969): The first slaves in any numbers were two shipments from Angola and W est Africa [Guinea] in 1658 and 1659. The only slaves ever held by European settlers in South Africa were procured by government licence and imported from elsewhere by the Dutch East India Company. Dutch colonists and Bantu-speaking clans.. and eventually nearly all were returned to the Company [Dutch East India Company]. Khoi Griqua clans. Davidson’s extraordinarily over-simplified statements that the Khoisan were enslaved are incorrect. but they were intractable. Most Cape slaves were Africans.

the Khoisan ‘disappeared’ in lands occupied by Bantu-speaking tribes. Dr. they were concentrated in Cape Town and the western Cape.. 1812. The Khoi were too valuable as clients. including Delagoa Bay. Another generalisation that is common is that the Dutch and French settlers at the Cape tried to extinguish the Khoisan by deliberate genocide. Indonesia and other Asian areas until 1767. In historical time. where they were domestic servants. Neither San nor Khoi were ever herded into ‘reserves’ in the South African colonies as the aboriginal peoples were in North America and Australia. The San. in The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (1991) asserts that the Khoisan were subject to the same destruction as the Aborigines of Australia and the plains Indians of the American interior. or allowed them to earn their own living on payment of certain sums). where the Company maintained a slave depot from 1720 to 1730.East African slaving centres. the Khoi playing a key intermediary role in this trading network. 50 of 17 July 1828. 1819 and 1823. By contrast. livestock traders and general middle-men for the settlers to wish to eliminate them even if they felt they had the moral right. sporadic and clearly outside the law.. In earlier centuries. as Maylam states: 98 . Although slaves were used throughout the Cape. Paul Maylam in A History of the African Peoples of South Africa (1986) remarked in regard to the colonial eastern frontier in the 17th century: Xhosa-grown dagga [marijuana] would flow westwards and Dutch-imported metal and beads would move eastwards from Table Bay. 1809. And the settlers were too valuable to the Khoi as the source of manufactured goods and of employment. Land was given out when the Aboriginal occupiers were eliminated or rounded up for incarceration in camps or ‘reserves’. payment of wages and other conditions of employment. but there was no genocide by either side. for example. particularly labour contracts with them. The conflict between Khoisan and Bantu-speaking structures was more severe than it was with the few and far-scattered Boers. Some slaves also came from the Bay of Bengal. were hunted by Boer commandos after they raided settlers’ cattle. skilled tradesmen and petty retailers (whose masters often hired them out. confirmed the status of ‘Hottentots’ as a free people and defined their various rights and obligations. and farm labourers or herdsmen. Professor Jared Diamond. in Australia the slaughter of Aborigines was often organised and encouraged by local authority and bounties were paid to European colonial settlers for this purpose. . But this behaviour was usually retaliatory. The landmark Cape Government Ordinance No. and its predecessors in 1787. on the other hand. 1803. Perpetrators were sometimes prosecuted although attempts by landdrost magistrates to get independent evidence from a frontier community was usually impossible. Dutch and French settlers and Khoi fought for territory and both sides killed each other in raids on occasion.

however. Perhaps the clearest evidence of the differing fates of the Khoisan at the hands of European and Bantu-speaking colonists of South Africa is the descendants of the people themselves. that evolutionary ‘wind of change’ gently surged. i. changing the people of the continent.Many Khoi attached themselves to the Xhosa as clients. occurred between the Xhosa and the San. a language peculiar to hunters. many the product of mixed liaisons. the European settlers and slaves from East Africa and the Far East over a period of three hundred years. and there was no reason to suppose that fishing was either. In contrast.000 in 1996. It is for this reason that their neglect by historians and anthropologists in general surveys of Africa is most regrettable. Adaptation to the desert was not correlated with one type of language rather than another. as Peires has observed. the number of people claiming Aboriginal descent in Australia. wrote: The picture is a more complex one than when it was supposed that language. preferring to enter the service of white colonists.600. They were absorbed. there were no surviving Khoi. who tackled the Khoisan in some depth in the Oxford History of South Africa (1969). and physical type were inextricably linked. There 99 . others were adapted to the desert. are a significant proportion of the present South African population. There were small groups of hunters scattered throughout the country. were living in pastoral style well into the 19th century. numbering about 9% or 3. But in most of Africa the fascinating intermediate phase of Stone Age pastoral society can be viewed only from vague archaeological sources and indirect extrapolation. the descendants of the Khoi and the products of mixing between them. There are many surviving firsthand formal and informal documentary descriptions of Khoi and their culture from the South African colonial period. All the way down Africa. In areas settled by Bantu-speaking mixed agriculturalists between 250 AD and 1500 AD. Monica W ilson. however poorly it was often administered. Observers were still encountering isolated pockets of traditional Khoi herders in remote and arid parts of South Africa in the 1920s. some spoke a San language. They survived in increasing numbers to the present day only in the Cape and Namibia where Europeans settled and where they came under the protection of European colonial law. But. or pushed aside. was 1% or 190. violent and peaceful. * * * The conversion from hunting to Late Stone Age pastoral herding was a huge evolutionary jump. there was also long-standing contact. others KhoiKhoi.000 in 2000. Similarly diverse forms of interaction. offering labour or military service in return for protection and security. Some living on the sea-shore were particularly adapted to fishing. The‘Cape Coloured’ people. There is evidence of great Xhosa brutality towards the San. Others resisted any form of Xhosa domination. Many Khoi. economy.e.

were also groups of herders. Since their presence (like the Pygmies) was passive and benign until the last three centuries and their direct 100 . but their skin is naturally as white as ours. short and frizzled. and bows with poisoned arrows. Gona. Outeniqua. there were detailed contemporary private observations from the Cape colonial period. and here is a particular example. their noses flat and their lips thick. which when dry with the inside out look like so many sheep’s guts that most strangers have mistaken them for such. as appeared by a Hottentot child brought up by the Dutch in their fort here [kept out of the sun]. Chariguriqua. well proportioned. Apart from much which can be read in official reports. and causes them to stink so that one may smell ‘em at a considerable distance to windward. journals and court records. Attaqua. pieces of copper etc. but what they are envenomed with I could not learn. They go barefooted except that when they travel they wear a piece of skin fastened about their feet. and very nimble. Harris FRS in 1708: The Hottentots. I never saw a fat person among them. Dr. Their houses are hemispherical. which kill as I am informed upon drawing blood. The women wear skins cut in thongs about their legs to the length of a great many yards. natives of this place. Damaqua. are a race of men distinct from both negroes and European whites. Hessequa. spoke a Bantu language. Their stature is universally of a middle size. and the women cover theirs with a flap or apron made of skin. The men hang their privities in a bag. most of whom spoke KhoiKhoi. They are clean limbed. The problem for historiographers is that the Khoisan were the remnants of Late Stone Age aboriginal Africans occupying maybe half of the continent at one time. but who have had minuscule dynamic impact on the history of sub-Sahara Africa in the last 3. Both sexes are clad with skin commonly of a sheep. off which I have seen ‘em pick and eat the lice in the streets. Maxwell to the Rev. Their weapons are javelins with which they are very dexterous at hitting the mark. Ingua.. These they remove upon occasions as the ancient nomades did their tents. Monica W ilson compiled from earlier authorities the following main Khoi clan and language groups which were identified in European colonial times: Chochoqua. with shells. but some . Herero [the Damara]. which is always clotted with grease and nastiness like the thrumms of a mop. The women wear a cap of skin first dried and stitched together whereas the men commonly go bareheaded. Chainoqua. for their hair is woolly. Griqua.. so low that a tall man cannot stand upright in one of them. They adorn their hair.000 years. Kora and Nama. made of mats supported by stakes. which together with exposing their bodies to a warm sun. but sometimes such wild beasts as they happen to kill. They besmear their faces and bodies all over with suet and other oleaginous stuff. makes their skin of a tawny colour. part of a letter written by Mr J. Gouriqua. the hairy side outward in summer but inward in winter.

intermingling with the existing hunting and gathering communities. I reckon it was thin trickles following the best paths.that southern Cushitic speaking pastoralists moved onto northern rangelands from southern Ethiopia about four thousand years ago. it has been difficult for academic writers to engage the problem of the acquisition of exotic domestic livestock and pottery culture by the Khoi without speculation. Some of their romantic Victorian ideas...000 to 1..000 years ago. did not wage aggressive wars.. nomadic pastoralists 101 . There are some linguistic data which may encourage this notion. “Are we sure that there were great migrations?” he said. I met Richard in 1987 and we had a wide-ranging conversation about the movement of peoples in eastern Africa from say 3.influence on history seems confined to the cultural attributes of magnificent rock-art and the addition of words and ‘click’ sounds into the Bantu languages of the people who absorbed them. As any story-teller knows. were ridiculed in the light of new knowledge and therefore much of their sounder speculations may have been neglected. “And were they exclusively Bantu-speaking? Many people have taken for granted that there was some kind of wave advancing down Africa two millennia ago like the Asian Barbarians swamping Europe. These are used for hunting and gathering.. wrote in a substantial paper on East Africa. there were too few to make waves and Africa is not so hospitable that the geography welcomes tidal waves flowing over the landscape. others died out.. Two Shores of the Ocean (1992). farmers kept to farming country or starved. Dr. However. an archaeologist who spent much of his career working in and studying north-east Africa. Stone tools reminiscent of those from the Late Stone Age are still manufactured by Cushitic speakers in southern Ethiopia . They were not cannibals. The Shorefolk (1987): There may have been Cushitic speakers [from Ethiopia] in the plains behind the coast [of Kenya] before the end of the Late Stone Age.. migrate in tribes nor colonise others. and southeastern Ethiopia ... In the first place. I don’t see evidence for that. without conflict and violence there is no drama. they lack excitement. Earlier colonial historians such as George McCall Theal explored theories in great detail. . build stone towns. including the preparation of hides. recent research and scholarship on eastern Africa shines more light. Richard W ilding. some succeeded. such as the possibility of a migration directly from the Middle-East or even Persia. I roughly recorded part of that conversation in my diary and reproduced it in my book. Such tool connections with southern Ethiopia may be discernible as early as the sixth millennium BC. It was never coordinated.. * * Because the Bantu-speaking migrations absorbed the Khoisan peoples as they moved down Africa. Small groups wandered across Africa.

but modern ethnographic study might suggest a gradual diffusion of related peoples.. The linguistic 102 . in a symbiotic arrangement. And if there was a clash it would have been a minor skirmish with lots of sound and fury but little violence. They must usually have coexisted and there was no reason to clash.” Richard continued. Nomadic pastoralists needed grains. The movement appears to have originated in south eastern Ethiopia for reasons not yet entirely clear . where it was not necessary.. they stuck to their cultural heritage. firstly because they were facing a vast and often dangerous environment and secondly because they had things for each other. W e must remember that there is evidence of Cushitic-speaking pastoralists from Ethiopia in East Africa before the Bantu-speakers came. So. The mechanisms for the spread are not known. Recent examples suggest that culture was generally similar and the principles were universal but each group followed the one formed by the environment of their origins. ceremonial rituals and for barter or to buy brides. intermarrying the while. There is some evidence for the transference of elements of Sudanic languages to Africa south of the Congo. As time went by there were amendments and changes where necessary and. “They helped each other out.. metal and other artifacts. W e are sure that Cushitic-speakers were in Tanzania. and occasionally propelled short distances by war. The spread of Cushitic speakers over the rangelands behind the northern East African coast seems to have been fairly general. as they have been recently..” “And if there were no clashes or struggles for territory they were friendly to each other and traded?” I prompted.. probably the m ovement was not exclusively Bantu-speaking either. And those Cushitic-speaking pastoralists were probably also occasional Neolithic agriculturalists where it suited. Africa is very big. pressed by bad spells of drought or disease. or slipping through the interstices of hunting and gathering communities. “Pastoralists from Nubia had a rather different life-style to farmers from Lake Victoria and so on. Farmers needed animals for milk. but who knows how far south they trickled either before the movements of Bantu-speakers or together with them? Or later?” From Richard W ilding’s The Shorefolk (1987): Cushitic speaking groups [from north-east Africa] seem to have been as far south as the hinterland of the Tanzanian coast by the first millennium AD .followed good grass where it existed. like the wild game.. trickling in small groups into neighbouring communities. Metal-working clans attached themselves to one or another farming group where there were raw materials. “Customary cultures were carried with them as they moved.

. This has usually to mean that there were new people moving into the region. The Growth of Farming Communities in Africa from the Equator Southwards. Perhaps they were Khoi who had migrated there with livestock after acquiring them from Nilotic-speakers or Cushitic-speakers. Presumably. More likely. . Cattle and sheep seem to have been introduced from East African high grasslands to the lands of the upper Zambezi tributaries in Zambia several centuries before evidence of the movement of Bantu-speaking migrants further to the east. however.. . * * At the wide-ranging and unique conference. there was insufficient fresh archaeology or other data on which to base papers. The whole linguistic exercise presents serious historical problems of dating until the performance of glottochronological techniques appears more reliable: nevertheless the sequence of population overlays in the region [East Africa] is most interesting.. through which the earliest domestic animals were able to reach southern Africa in the hands of people who were not yet cultivators. they passed through the hands of early Bantu intermediaries. But lately I have been conscious of an increased interest in this problem of the first transformation of the Late Stone Age to agriculture in southern Africa. reaching the Khoi of northern Botswana and western Zimbabwe by about the first century BC.evidence suggests that there were imbrications of east Cushitic speakers over south Cushitic speakers during the first millennium. were Late Stone Age cultivators who kept livestock. stimulated by extended studies in South Africa and the 103 .. It would seem that the notion of small immigrant groups is the more likely explanation. further north... and who may have been one of several sources of livestock for the Khoi and the transference of herding culture. The people who owned these cattle and sheep. or both at different times.. Perhaps there was a movement of both ancestral Khoi and Negro or Cushitic people southwards in advance of any Bantu-speaking migrants? New pottery evidence from East Africa definitely proves an earlier infusion of pre-Bantu agriculturalists than had been considered ten or twenty years ago. and the period of a thousand years or more after the time of Christ seems very plausible... Supporting the second possibility. Professor Roland Oliver in The African Experience (1991) gives his summary of events that led to the evolution of a Khoi society: It may even be that. It may mean simply a linguistic evolution within a stationary and stable population. at Cambridge in 1994 there was little attention given to Late Stone Age agriculture and none to the Khoi.. Oliver pointed out that remains of cattle and sheep have been found at excavations in the savannah belt to the south of the Congo rainforest with dates from the third to first centuries BC. before the Bantu closed in to the south [of East Africa] there was some direct contact between the southern Cushites and the most northerly of the ancient Khoisan peoples.

However. with the necessary wide spanning of time and place. within the paper Sadr describes in detail the objections to a purely diffusionist theory on the grounds that hunter-gatherers. Sadr wrote: The textbook Khoi migration hypothesis would have been supported if. there would not be so much fun in pursuing the answers! The paucity of fossil and pottery evidence available today tempts an over-simple historiography of the Khoi and their ancestry. because of their powerful inheritance of a ‘sharing’ egalitarian lifestyle. The diffusion scenario has received added support from evidence which suggests that the Khoi may have arrived at the Cape around the end of the first millennium AD. if all the speculations about the evolution of mankind had been settled. Chami provides definitive evidence of pre-Bantu Late Stone Age agricultural communities on the Tanzanian coast from pottery at sites dated to the second and third centuries BC. The First Herders at the Cape of Good Hope. Dr Karim Sadr of the University of Botswana prepared a paper which is highly regarded and published in the African Archaeological Review in 1998. Thus there was a lack of clear consensus and unless there are more archaeological finds. it may be impossible to find scientific proof of how and when herding and the beginning of agriculture first spread on the savannahs of central-southern Africa But there is so much of the pre-history of mankind which is unproven that this bothers me not at all. They are by migration of herding people and diffusion of knowledge and practice through existing hunter-gatherer communities. the earliest livestock and pottery had consistently appeared together as a package in LSA [Late Stone Age] sites of southern Africa and. Indeed.particular work of Prof Felix Chami of the University of Dar es Salaam. second. The conflicting possibilities of migration and diffusion is a perennial discussion when considering the movement of culture in Africa. and the source of herding culture in parallel to hunter-gatherers in this huge region of Africa before the arrival of more organised cattle-herding. But we are looking into at least two thousand years and possibly as much as three thousand years. He concludes: Diffusion is thus considered theoretically impossible : livestock and pottery must have reached the Cape by a migration of herders. a stylistic chain linked the earliest pottery from the Cape to northern Botswana. In the conclusions to his paper. with mixed agriculture of the Iron Age carried by Negro Bantu-speakers. first. he refers to the two alternative ways in which Late Stone Age herding culture reached southern Africa. For a 104 . would find it difficult to adopt a herding culture which implies personal property. The clear regional diversity in the earliest ceramic styles and the unsynchronized appearance of livestock and pottery instead favour the alternative diffusion hypothesis. He summarised the archaeological evidence from pottery and animal fossils and the intellectual arguments regarding the arrival of herding culture and the Khoi at the far end of Africa. long after the first sheep and pottery reached the southern tip of Africa.

Observers of Khoi clans in historical time described how they had an easy system of coalescing into ‘hordes’ under a trusted chieftain when convenient for the movement of flocks in season and splitting up again when it was no longer necessary for mutual help or protection. Every aspect and problem of living was thrashed out in finest detail sitting around the camp fire before decisions were taken. Hunting was a communal male activity. it was a conclave of elders which gathered for days of talk.start. A change in technique towards animals was rather more easy than a radical change in society from sharing to property-owning. The diffusion of the technique of herding would have been accompanied by diffusion of advice and understanding of the social consequences. and Sadr covers them in his paper. but not all men in a band were equal in their prowess. intimately. which was an integral part of their communal lifestyle. Gathering by women and children was a shared activity but the spoils were not shared unless necessity required it. but ‘survival of the fittest’ feedback eventually resolves these situations in the wilderness with surprising rapidity. is not sensible. both hunter-gatherer San and herding Khoi. W hen the group became too large for all members to take part. as I would expect from consideration of the enormous power of their continual intimate daily communion. They lived close together. They had the enormous unifying strength of their singing and dancing and guidance from the trance-induced visions of their spiritual leaders. that the San hunter-gatherers exhibited considerable flexibility when confronting different problems. Judging them by our criteria for formal ‘civilised’ society. in historical time showed that they were old masters of their environments and the social cultures needed for that mastery. all the time. I have suggested that hunting may have translated to herding more easily than gathering to cultivating because of intimate knowledge of herd animals as prey since the mists of time. Anthropologists have noted in other contexts. I cannot accept that diffusion is unlikely or impossible as a method for the movement of herding culture on the grounds that hunter-gatherers would have difficulty in changing from a sharing ethos to a limited property-owning ethos. The rest of the numerous communal aspects of life continued with little change and there was a prevailing culture of sharing no matter whether this was applied in detail to particular activities. then entrusted to the most expert family while others learned and numbers of animals expanded until a natural adoption of separate familyowned flocks or herds within the group evolved. how did it ever occur anywhere? Elsewhere. clan or tribal group is a particular African trait displayed by all the different cultures across the major racial divisions. Every observer wrote about there fondness for frequent singing and dancing together. it could have been a gradual transition with the first experimental herds being held by the community in common. There were always the better hunters and the stumblers. These Khoisan people. This ancient ability to change in the face of environmental or social challenge by mutual consensual agreement within all members of a family. Khoisan were especially notable for their endless discussion and internal communication on every issue of life. bound by laws and rigid structures. If this was not possible in several hundred years in southern Africa. 105 . But. No doubt there were tensions and conflict during transition.

the sorghums and millet cereals. It was the ancient strength of African society brought down by unbroken lines of tradition not damaged by the far greater traumatic changes into urban national structures which was endured in the Indus. are the remnants left at the southern end of Africa. and for the healthy grasslands needed by their cattle. They tended to keep to the valleys of major rivers and the lands they found suited best were around the southern end of the Cape where there was a Mediterranean-type climate of winter rain. * * Our main problem with studying the Khoisan and endeavouring to produce a satisfactory historiography is that the only people of their race and their two distinct cultures who have been in contact with observers in historical time who have left records. This universal tradition has been commented on by both medieval Arab geographers and modern Europeans. By the sixteenth century. the larger territorial regions divided amongst Late Stone Age Khoisan and Iron Age Negro people had long been stabilised. or the actual people themselves. Middle Eastern and Nile civilisations. Diffusion of ideas and knowledge did not progress only by observation or propinquity. Chiefs ruled by consensus of the people and if they were seen to have failed their people they were deposed and sometimes ritually put to death. They had to have sufficient time to consider properly. was acceptable. Mesopotamian. A certain amount of nomadism. The mechanism of clientship must also not be forgotten. It probably moved fastest by one group having to become clients to another in the face of disaster or trial. The San had found it advisable to live where domesticated flocks and herds could not easily survive. 106 .Demagoguery can be present in any community when a charismatic leader emerges. about 600 mm of rain per annum was the minimum and there had to be perennial water. The San could survive almost everywhere but kept away from the belligerent Bantu-speakers and Khoi who were protective of their jealously-guarded herds. especially the moving of herds to winter grazing. Therefore they could tolerate the arid conditions which were of no use to the Bantu-speakers. the Bantuspeaking Negroes needed adequate summer-rainfall zones for their main foodcrop. Hunter-gatherers forced to become clients to herders learned thoroughly. but had to move almost constantly in order to conserve the vegetation of their ranges. Tsetse-infested bush was no good. in the deserts and mountains. but there is no real proof of this. I feel that clientship is a force in Late Stone Age societies and changes within them that is often given insufficient attention. European colonial administrators jibbed at the apparent lethergy or indeciveness of Africans when asked to consider new ideas. The Khoi did not have the same need of rainfall. depending on the climate. W e can assume that they lived all over the savannah plains from the far south and well into the Sahara. Each group occupied the lands best suited to their economy . but ruthless despotism by tribal chieftains in Africa such as seen with King Shaka in Zululand in the 19th century were exceptions or aberrations. but they had to have perennial water and seasonal grazing.

. Boomplaas and Kasteelberg A have yielded pottery in layers dated to the first few centuries AD. Farther north in Namibia. Die Kelders. It cannot be assumed that the Khoi first met in 1488 by the Portuguese were the particular people who were responsible for this cultural migration. There was a more complex movement of people around in southern Africa in the last 2. but I favour a mix or matrix of processes anyway when one is considering long periods of time like 2. at least to Karim Sadr. The consideration of pottery from the Late Stone Age and its relationship to the distinctive styles of the Early Iron Age is a complex matter. It is entirely likely that they were the inheritors of a second or third. 1960. at Blombos on the southern Cape coast. and 1880 B. 107 . Had the Khoi migrants brought sheep and pottery.000 years. The principle problem is that fossil evidence of exotic sheep have been found with dates of about 2. or both! There is only one thing which is sure. is that there were at least two identifiable activities.. [before present]. Argument about diffusion versus migration may be interesting for academic precision. but the AMS date of the bone overlaps with the radiocarbon date of the pottery level. Given that this is the current state of knowledge.. That seems satisfactory for a migration theory. while several sites such as Hawston. going back beyond that 35. respectively. sheep bones were found in a layer underneath the first pottery.000 years ago in distinct sites on the southern shores of the Cape but pottery does not necessarily align itself with fossil bones. Karim Sadr: There is little doubt that small livestock and pottery reached the Cape at least 2.It is difficult therefore to plot precisely the first movements of herding culture from the north down to the south. AMS dating shows that the sheep bones at KBA (and Die Kelders) are younger than the radiocarbon-dated potterybearing layers.000 years ago. it can be stated that so far the evidence provides a better fit to the proposition that sheep and pottery diffused at variable rates. Sadr: However. ... And the movement of that culture is also subject to the usual controversy of migration versus diffusion.000 year old threshold of the African Late Stone Age. 2105. but it is not simple.. There were herders with pottery and herders without. or a combination of both either sequentially or in parallel. . the Falls Rock Shelter and Snake Rock sequences contain pottery long before the appearance of sheep. W hat is clear. The Khoisan were a distinct race with the most ancient of roots. or even fourth. Dr Karim Sadr covers the archaeological and linguistic issues in his paper. possibly attributable to at least two separate groupings of Khoi people. and that is the genetic trail. then both traits ought to have appeared together regularly. Conversely. Sheep bones from the Late Stone Age (LSA) sites of Spoegrivier and Blombos..P.000 years then a simple migration of herders. in the northern and southern Cape have been AMS dated to ca. Again. ‘wave’ of culture originating somewhere in central or eastern Africa. .

but there is the hint of a general herding culture connection along the whole length of eastern-southern Africa at 2. I find the pottery vessels most illuminating. Vessels are quite small. herders do not need pottery. Pottery is a sophisticated luxury to herders and a nuisance if they are on the move. The difference between Late Stone Age and Early Iron Age pottery was pointed out to me by archaeologists John Kinehan and Leon Jacobson when I met them for discussions in the 1980s. ostrich shell jewellery was small and fine in comparison to the coarser work of the Iron-age. well-fired. Pots are possible utensils for carrying milk or its processed derivatives. A second cultural change was more definite. an archaeologist with years of fieldwork in southern Africa told me that the pottery which pastoralists made in southern Namibia about 2000 years ago was of finer quality than that associated with the Late Iron Age of 1200-1500 AD. It was not used for cooking. Not only do spouts immediately suggest the use of the pots for liquids. Lugs. they had a kind of transitional economy where most food procurement was through traditional methods and sheep or goats were communal assets. are occasionally found in early Namibian and Botswana/Zimbabwean assemblages. Decoration is important in divining the relationship between people and their ancestry. Cattle were prominent and used as pack and riding animals. He said: “It is beautiful. for pots have to be carried or discarded and new ones made at the next stop. and the social system was probably that of conventional pastoralists with family groups owning flocks and herds which join with other families into clan groups. Leon Jacobson. Spouts. Pottery indicates settlement for a reasonable time. thin-walled.” His face was lit with enthusiasm as he spoke. some with lugs. burnished pottery with distinctive patterning. Indeed. In Iron Age agricultural society this structure evolved into a formal and disciplined state with a hierarchy of elders and chiefs but was never adopted by the Khoi. Dr. occasionally with pottery.As I have said elsewhere. clearly indicate that they were slung from pack animals and that this was a common enough activity to make vessels with those features as a standard. All these wares [Late Stone Age] are thin walled and well fired. but leather or skin bags have been used by any number of people all over the world for carrying and storing liquids. Sadr has this to say: 108 . the culture included a larger range of tools and equipment. pointy-bottomed.000 years ago and before. “At the same time. but for storage. it is cultivators who needed pottery to store and cook their grains and tubers . requiring the need for pack animals when on the move. and probably practised what Sadr calls a ‘hunter-herder economy’. which apparently appeared maybe a thousand years later. significant for herders.” Sadr confirmed the differences with more and recent examples. Therefore I am not concerned that sheep bones were not always found with contemporary pottery. That is. I assume from this evidence that the first people who introduced herding culture to the far south of Africa had sheep. a common feature of the earliest ceramic assemblages at the Cape. they can be found as far north as Kenya and Nubia. ultimately into some larger loose federation.

That simple narrative was that the Khoi came from a misty heartland. oral history and historical record provided a reasonable exposition of the migration routes of the Khoi who were found in particular regions by European settlers and explorers. the last 500 years. There are also differences in other stylistic aspects of vessels. north of the Zambezi river. Namibia. Linguistic research.. or heartlands. those animals and the people who herded them were at the end of Africa by 2. It is clear that there were pronounced regional stylistic differences. There is no quick and simple solution to be seen of one group of people migrating down Africa with sheep. but it is dictated by the limited facts as we know them now. there was a generally accepted story of origins.000 years ago. which belonged to a loose federal union sometimes described as a ‘horde’ kept to a roughly defined territory. W ith cattle and 109 .Clearly. although a few sherds do suggest interregional contact: . the Khoi moved their flocks and herds but each group of linguistically related clans.. where there was much water.000 years ago who had pottery but had different cultural allegiances. In addition. overall vessel shapes from Botswana and ther Cape differ radically .. the ceramic decorations from Botswana.. which are very clear-cut in the Cape from wet winter to hot dry summer. Karim Sadr analyses the meticulous work done on the archaeological sites and theoretical discussion carried out by himself and other archaeologists and anthropologists in the last twenty years or more in his authoritative paper. especially regarding the great extent in time during which herding was prevalent. from the sun. is clearer.. . . This may seem to be a very superficial overview encompassing all possibilities. At least the romantic myth of a great surge of migration by some strange Hamitic or other colonising race has been laid to rest forever. and the southwestern Cape are quite different. but which were not occupied by Iron Age Bantuspeakers because of their unsuitability.. I am sure in my mind that there were a number of different movements of people at different times and the sheep and the techniques of husbandry and associated pottery industry were both carried by migration and diffused to some hunter-gatherers either by propinquity of by clientship. One of the Khoi’s own stories of origins is that they came from the east. Early colonial records and descriptions describe the several clans with language differences who lived along the well-watered southern Cape mountainous regions (quoted above). Until archaeology provided greater detail. W hat is also clear is that there were different groups of people moving about in southern Africa from 2. W hether by diffusion though the San huntergathering communities or by particular movements of established herding clans.. Through the changing seasons.. * * The matter of the Khoi in historic time.

. Early travellers described both men and women carrying loads on the back. The Khoikhoi herders had large flocks of fat-tailed sheep and herds of cattle. with fifteen or sixteen hundred cattle and sheep besides . Monica W ilson. Having been carried by geography to the Atlantic side of the sub-continent. W hen meat was plentiful they dried it to make biltong.had goats. They prized beads used by Europeans for barter and did not care that much for iron utensils like knives. The herders did not ordinarily kill stock for meat. Others migrated in the short wet seasons down the west coast to the southwest corner and then along the southern mountain zone until they met Negro Bantu-speaking Iron Age agriculturalists with their cattle-cult and came to a stop. Copper was mined and smelted by Khoi clans who lived close to the source in Namaqualand or Namibia. ancestral to the modern Afrikander strain. men drinking cows’ milk only.the Sotho-speaking Thlaping . Monica W ilson in the Oxford History of South Africa (1969) summarises the Khoi from observations in the 17th and 18th centuries. and milk was their staple food. and women and children that of ewes. and Sofala in the tenth century. . The Nama alone. further north. and they were numerous in proportion to the men. Another horde had eleven to twelve hundred cattle and six hundred sheep. and perhaps it is characteristic of hunters and collectors. and honey was used to brew mead.. but only on the celebration of rituals.. living in open country like the Nguni and Sotho. They did not follow the Zambezi or Limpopo into the eastern lowveld for the obvious reason that it was a tsetse-fly zone anathema to cattle. herded and sent infuriated against an enemy. Oxen were used as pack animals and for riding and bulls were used in warfare.. fishing and collecting of veldkos [literarily : field food] and honey. They wore sheepskin for clothing and enjoyed the use of jewellery and decoration. Van Riebeeck [17th century] speaks of a camp of ‘Saldanha Man’ with fifteen huts and a population of about two-hundred-and-fifty. following other rivers. and children. the women carry loads on their heads. and they depended for food not only on their herds but on hunting... The absence of these techniques among the Nguni and Sotho peoples [Bantu-speaking language groups in South Africa] suggests that some Khoikhoi ancestors may indeed have learnt from these men of Sofala. was impossible because those lands were occupied by other Bantu-speaking tribes. . said: Riding was common in the Sahara and East Africa. This is what forest people do. writing with the knowledge available in the 1960s.. whereas among cultivators. The cattle were the longhorned type. Movement from the river roads which they had followed into the healthy highlands to the southeast. and 110 . some settled there.six head of cattle per person. who were trading with the ‘goat people’ . generally following river roads : the Zambezi-Chobe-Okavango and the Limpopo-Vaal-Orange. men women.sheep they moved into southern Africa.

This is an interesting thought and follows the trail of evidence suggesting an early connection between Khoi. 1200 and 900 B. That Bantu-speaking people of South Africa did not ride cattle and the Khoi did suggests a different source of cattle by these two people of different racial and cultural origins. but whether this was a wholesale movement bringing different styles with it. If. or the infusion of small numbers with those ideas which gradually spread cannot be decided. Only KBB in the southwestern Cape clearly correlates with a major change in almost all aspects of material culture. It would seem that the Khoi whom Europeans met from the late 15th century onwards had been subject to some major cultural shift. Most archaeological sequences do not cover both the pre.and postlug periods.remained isolated from them thereafter. The cattle themselves were apparently of different breeds and this is a matter I go into in the next chapter.200 . It could appear from my understanding of the evidence that both styles are evident at different times indicating different people living in either of the two ways probably mostly because of the environment where they were at particular times. until the eighteenth century. If the appearance of lugs is the only noticeable change.000 AD was a time of a general shifting about of all people in Africa. The particular manifestation of this movement within the Khoi is their pottery with lugs.P. there should be a concomitant disjunction in many other aspects of the archaeological record. on the other hand. This warm period also has importance when considering the social changes within Bantu-speaking society. 111 . Karim Sadr wrote: As a further test implication of the late Khoi arrival hypothesis. Because it has not been possible yet at this or other sites to determine how fast changes occurred (slow change over a hundred years or more could indicate internal evolution).900 years ago. Radiocarbon dates bracket the cultural disjunction between ca. I am sure in my mind that there were new movements of people involved. it would suggest diffusion of an isolated trait which was then accommodated into the existing. More evidence from more sites is necessary for proof. it is proposed that the appearance of the pierced lugs in the archaeological sequence of Namibia and the Cape should correlate with a sudden shift in other aspects of material culture. the lugs were brought by foreign settlers. Sadr and his colleagues are reluctant to declare certainty. The centuries around 1. with strong population movements. in most of eastern-southern Africa dividing the Early and Late Iron Ages. indigenous material culture. These are important and confusing issues and archaeology has not been able to give clear answers. The division between Late Stone Age pottery with the arrival of lugs occurred at about 1. There is also the question as to whether the general lifestyle of the earlier or later Late Stone Age herders were hunter-gatherers with a sharing culture who herded livestock as a secondary and largely communal activity or pastoralists to the extent of individuals having ownership of specific animals. coinciding with a warm climatic period. their cattle and East Africa.

In other words. there were people in the period of several centuries who could have switched from one to the other economic style and back again as climate and their movements required without being joined by strangers or joining up with others. * * It may not be sensible to attempt a general conclusion. on the Atlantic side of the Congo forests without cattle and carrying forest cultivation technology. from East Africa via the Tanganyika-Malawi gap carrying the cattle-cult. had filtered down from northeast Africa into healthy country in the hinterland of the coast and on the highlands of East Africa. agriculture from the interlacustrine zone and Urewe pottery. But the Khoi took over from them some of their culture which complimented their own from their ancient roots and the customs and knowledge they had received from previous herding people. as I visualise the lands and the timescale. All those people were of the Iron Age and thoroughly used to metals. but they were not as all-enveloping as the Bantuspeakers who followed in succeeding centuries. herders and cultivators. The first step to advancing the hunter-gatherer’s economy is provided by hunter-herding. according to the environment. My speculative story. Presumably. or climate changed. a mixed ‘hunterherder’ economy was best and if the place and climate was congenial. Bantu-speakers began moving into southern Africa from three directions. rough and ready. moved onwards in slim trickles. other ideas and different animals including cattle. The first Bantu-speakers met the Khoisan and absorbed them or pushed them aside. they learned about metals though they did not acquire iron technology. and is an attractive one. Pottery trails and other evidence of Late Stone Age agriculture such as livestock kraals. but I will do so anyway. as described by Sadr. Some of these people may themselves have reached the far south but the culture itself moved either with them or was diffused ahead of them through their related Khoisan people. and mixed. if the place and the climate was harsh. They acquired other strains of animals and their pottery wares became coarsened. in the late second and throughout the first millennium BC. The story is not complete. is that Nilotic Late Stone Age agriculturalists. during the first millennium AD. They came from the west. Some hunter-gatherers learned herding from them and as populations grew. cultivation terracing and irrigation channels continue to be surveyed and analysed. But. especially at attractive places for permanent or extended settlement which become discoverable archaeological sites centuries later. These farmers of whatever origin and economy absorbed the indigenous hunter-gatherers. Nilotic and/or Cushitic. mopping up Cushites and Khoisan as they came. avoiding the central dry acacia belt. I am sure that mixing by clientship at least was possible many times. There were Cushitic people from Ethiopia on the move too. Successive ripples of both people and diffused culture moved down Africa bringing pottery culture. and down the Indian Ocean shore without cattle but with an economy of fishing and cultivating. Probably in Zambia or northeast Angola they passed cattle on to the Bantu-speakers who arrived from the western stream through the Congo- 112 . a conventional pastoral-herding economy was more suitable.

Through the long centuries the Khoisan of both economic regimes learned to live with their powerful Iron Age Bantu-speaking neighbours. * * * In 1977 I was driving along a rough gravel road from Steinkopf in Namaqualand through the Anenous Pass down to Port Nolloth on the Atlantic Ocean. As for the huts. one meets descendants of the ancient Khoi. Maxwell described them 270 years before in the letter to his eminent friend. traditional Nama (Khoi) territory. The Bantu-speakers were dominant and no doubt clientship extended to what could be technically called slavery from time to time. but the Khoisan learned from their neighbours too and there was benefit from clientship. The huts were exactly as Mr. I have seen almost identical constructions from the lands of Nilotic Samburu in northern Kenya to Bantu Himba in the semi-desert of northern Namibia to those Nama-Hottentot people in the Cape Province. But there was also clientship and bartering. The use of such hemispherical huts by nomadic herders was universal in sub-Sahara Africa. keeping their own distinctive cultures best suited to the environments to which they had become habituated. and were absorbed or moved away south to Botswana and Namibia. that vast semi-desert that covers much of the Cape provinces of South Africa. On their heads they had the multi-coloured hand-knitted woollen caps seen all over southern Africa which look like tea-cosies. with a bit of luck. their delicate apricot-skinned. I suddenly caught sight of a huddle of hemispherical huts nestling against a hillside. This road traversed empty country in the northwest Cape Province of South Africa. and wary mutual assistance. that is how their old people always lived and when they were travelling it was still so much easier to use the old ways. If you were in dire straits you could always go and be a servant to a Bantu family and disappear back into the bush if you were intolerably abused. They said that their menfolk were working as labourers on a survey for a big construction firm. high cheek-boned faces smiled at me and they were dressed in blue jeans and shirts with bright floral prints or plain-coloured in cheerful pinks and yellows. who were going to re-build the road. * 113 . I asked them what they were doing there and why they had built traditional Hottentot huts of skins and cloth lashed over a framework of withies. They are distinctive with their apricot-coloured faces.fringe forests. ‘peppercorn’ hair and the bright colours the women wear. especially when there was drought and animals from both sides urgently needed water and marginal pastures. you probably knew more about the animals than your Bantu master. Savage and Lovemore. After all. W hen travelling in the Karoo. At the interface there was friction. Perhaps you could herd away a few sheep or cows too. They were fresh-faced and jolly. It is still most exceptional to see women without a head covering. but the young women whom I went to talk with were not dressed as they might have been then.

both Khoi and San. A nomad family set up camp on the Angola side of the river opposite. OR THE AFTERLIFE: The Moon. with a dog and two donkeys to carry their possessions. they say. I believe that I have personally experienced it and that expert hunters. There were two men. animal handlers and trainers do it continually without conscious effort. a woman with a baby and a boy in their party. W hat happens in meditation? Is that not moving into language-free thought: clearer and simpler. They met their nearest neighbours every month or two and visited the nearest trading store maybe twice a year to exchange their surplus stock for cereals. Their fire made aromatic smoke which drifted up to me. sugar. No doubt this activity is inexplicable simply because it happens without language. Their haunting music and trance-dances with stress-removal.000 years in southern Africa. shepherds. I watched a satisfying lifestyle there almost unchanged by modern civilisation and undoubtedly similar to a family group living in similar harsh environment at any time in the last 2. with lesser clarity. the adult goats were moved up and down. Anybody who has kept pets knows something of this. They had about 120 goats. Their herds browsed the riverine scrub for a few days in each place. RESURRECTION. and precisely inexplicable by definition? I believe that San-Bushmen communicated psychically with other animals with ease. Remove the complexities of language codes and perhaps people communicate easily with each other and. Their dog barked as the sun set and often during the night. * Perhaps of all the reasons why it is a pity that the Khoisan. Baboons also barked along the river cliffs. Maybe there was also a connection between their psyches and those of other large mammals with brains that work not so very differently to ours. cattlemen.In 1989 I was able to observe a pastoral herding group on the banks of the Kunene River in the Kaokoveld wilderness on the remote border between Namibia and Angola. It was a truly ancient scene which I watched until the sun set. A family of half a dozen needed an average of 80 goats to survive. Their mastery was simple and profound. then we would be using our minds like gorillas or elephants. religious and creative objectives are obvious. which I presume is what happens in a trance. called Mantis. I watched the woman preparing food in a pot and the boy tethering the donkeys with shouts and braying and laughter from the men. sent him with life to people saying: Go to men and tell them this - 114 . They built a rough kraal and herded the kids within it while allowing the adult goats to roam about feeding on the acacia trees and riverine scrub. while the kids were kept safely in camp. There was a bright moon in the crystal desert air. with most other higher mammals. During the day. disturbed by the nomads’ dog. If we could concentrate thought within the right side of our brains and eliminate language. clothes and tools. have lost their culture in the 20th century is that they seem to have had a particular mastery of the subconscious mind. salt.

had an entrenched and central belief in an afterlife. Bleek (1864). in South African literature and common speech it was often named ‘Hottentot god’. the messenger who brought the news of an afterlife to mankind. remote from the centres of modern religion and ‘Civilisation’. A Hottentot poem translated by W .I. 115 .H. Because of the reverence which Khoisan people had for the praying mantis.As I die and dying live. I have always been fascinated that the Khoisan people of southern Africa. you too shall die and dying live.

Horses were used to pull chariots in the Sahara 3.000 years ago. There is archaeological evidence from settlement remains that goats and sheep along the North African shores were probably managed and selectively culled. Hunter-gatherers knew that antelopes and all wild animals were part of the Universe. in many ways.000 years ago was described in the previous chapter and the early interaction between people with herding culture and the indigenous Khoisan of eastern and southern Africa examined. but they were not zebras. to be studied. but the African buffalo has never been domesticated. wise and thoughtful old bull? The evolutionary track of domestic livestock is fascinating and a vital strand in a search for an understanding of Africa. becoming more important because they were integrated into human culture in the role of property in ways that wild game never could with hunter-gatherers. From 10. but cattle were at the heart of their social structures and their group psyches. Some animals were icons and totems to be revered.000 years ago cattle. sheep and goats have played a powerful role in all societies outside of the tropical forests. Africans probably herded cattle in the north-east before 116 . The evolution and descent of domestic cattle has been investigated with genetic and biochemical techniques which have adjusted and confirmed historical assumptions. The wild cattle of Europe were painted gloriously by the Cro-Magnons in the Dordogne and some survived the Late Stone Age hunters in places like northern Britain but the world’s domestic cattle are well documented. Buffaloes were hunted in the Sahara when it was savannah. The plains antelope dominated hunter-gathering society on the savannahs and cattle increasingly played a similar role. is as complex as that of their human masters and a wry. although the milk and derived products from their herds gave them regular protein in their diets. Cattle were not the principal source of daily food.CHAPTER TWELVE : CATTLE POINT THE WAY The difficult task of attempting a story of the Khoi and the advent of herding in southern Africa involves the pre-history of cattle in Africa. W hat would a history be like if written by a bright and intelligent. hunted periodically and feasted on. Domestic cattle came originally from India and after selective breeding were passed on by herders from the Middle East to Egypt and onwards into Europe. to be part of their trance-dances and the subject of their songs and paintings. The more powerful and sustained colonisation of that vast realm of the ancient roots of mankind was undertaken by Iron Age people whose agriculture was primarily motivated by cattle-keeping. they were breeds introduced from the Middle-East. whimsical thought has come to me at times. Horses have always been hunted and the giant Cape horse became extinct in southern Africa about 10. followed across seasonal grasslands.000 years ago. they were as free as the people themselves and the plants of the soil. Their story. but if they were ever bred and herded they were superseded by types more successfully domesticated previously in the Middle-East and Persia. The arrival of sheep in southern Africa 2. But none of them was property.

After domestication and selective breeding in the Middle-East. clientship and symbiosis led. Over several millennia of artificial selective breeding. after its desertification.they made their appearance around the European Mediterranean and long before the bulls were leapt over in Crete. The phylogenetic tree for the ten major cattle breed groups can be superimposed on a map of Europe and western Asia. Down the centre of the continent there are hybrid races. the root of the tree being close to the ‘fertile crescent’ in Asia Minor. Bos taurus are not humped and have a less robust dewlap. In Africa. believed to be a primary source of bovine domestication. which are often known as sanga. Bos taurus types spread across the Sahara and. Domestic cattle moved with their owners and so tracing them not only shows where the original introductions took place. became confined in a W est African pocket. I have long been fascinated by the present location of these races of cattle in Africa. Bos indicus are humped with a heavy dewlap and do not have such long horns. but indicates with some sureness how their owners migrated or where the trails of trading. presumably during selective breeding. Two major sub-species emerged. They are the native cattle of India where they are confusingly also known as zebu because that is the origin of all the races. They spread into northern Africa across the Sahara and north and west through Turkey into southern Europe and eventually to the northwest limits. Manwell and Baker’s map shows that the origin of domestic cattle lies in northern India and the genetic trail moves to southern Arabia. describe the evolutionary trail and its investigation. Clyde Manwell and C. with the most extreme gene frequencies in the Zebu breeds of India. Chemical Classification of Cattle (1980). where they are noted for the spectacular broad stretch of their horns.M. as were their owners at the time. the Negro Congo-Nilotic core-people. The modern fighting bulls of Spain may be descended from this 117 . Bos taurus evolved into the distinct races and hybrid mixes that can be found today and which have been introduced around the world during the last five hundred years of European colonial activity. along the watered escarpments on the edge of the Indian Ocean and up to the Middle East where a separation occurred. In Africa the bos taurus types are usually known inaccurately as zebu and are found in the Sahel of western Africa. Ann Baker in a University of Adelaide paper. Bos indicus are found in their purest strains in the Horn of Africa and down the eastern coast. It has been suggested that some of these Saharan Bos taurus were taken across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain and thus introduced their particular race separately to the general spread from eastern Europe. genetic drift and environmental pressures. For some but not all protein variants there is a cline of gene frequencies as one proceeds from the British Isles and northwest Europe towards southeast Europe and Asia Minor.

and some moved southward into west Africa.D. to Ethiopia by sea. They thrust a cistus stick through the nostrils of those cattle they wish to barter and lead them by that. Sanga cattle were encountered by Portuguese ocean explorers in 1488 and 1497 on the South African coast. probably 4-3. and some of them do not have horns. still economically in the Late Stone Age. In that part of Africa. Starkey wrote in World Animal Review.. the sanga cattle of the Khoi developed by breeding into the pedigree Afrikander with its rich red colour. which had already spread across the Sahara to the southern Sudan and the savannah parts of today’s Central African Republic and Uganda. v 50 (1984): It is thought that Hamitic long horn cattle entered Egypt around 7. Their six feet tall battle-shields were made from these ‘regimental’ herds so that each regiment in formation presented an awe-inspiring. Bos indicus. like those of the Alentejo. they found that King Shaka had a military organisation in which different regiments were responsible for herds with distinctive colouring and hide patterns.particular African sub-species with its ancient pedigree.. This refinement of selective breeding was perfected by King Cetshwayo whose personal herd was pure white. P.000 years ago. and it was very fat. like those of Castile. Certainly they went south down the central savannah trail in the first millennium A.. The oxen of this land are very large. taken there by Nilotic herders. uniform appearance. From there they spread southwards with Cushitic-speaking nomads and also became mixed with Bos taurus. were primitive. 118 . These sanga hybrids may have been introduced to the aboriginal Khoisan people who became the Khoi herders of southern Africa..000 years ago. After the Dutch colonised the Cape. and on top of the pack-saddles some sticks to serve as litters. and their owners migrated across North Africa about 5.. they are castrated. in southwest Arabia. and they ride on top of them. . the closest domestic race to the original Indian progenitor.and there [Mossel Bay] we traded a black ox for three bracelets. some of these cattle moved northward into Europe. large hump and swinging dewlap. The Diário da Viagem of Vasco da Gama’s voyage says: . the Zulus used particular breeding technique in modern times and when Europeans first settled there.. small horns. Late Iron Age cattle in KwaZulu-Natal have been identified as sanga. but they admired their cattle which no European had seen before. W e dined off this on Sunday. and the flesh of it was as savoury as that of Portugal. were introduced from the Yemen. And the negroes fit the fattest of them with pack-saddles made of reeds. and very marvellously fat. From north-west Africa. They thought that the Khoi herders. and have particular relevance when tracing Iron Age migrations into southern Africa. A remnant of this royal herd was husbanded by the KwaZulu Cultural Museum at Ulundi in the 1980s.. and very tame.000 years ago.H.

Semi-sedentary people. Bleeding was not only an African practice and Mongol nomads of the central Asiatic plains got their protein nutrition by bleeding their horses. Conflict between the Kamba and Masai in East Africa and the Zulu and neighbouring Nguni and Sotho clans in South Africa are typical examples. Increasingly. King Shaka of the Zulus would reward. mixed agriculturalists and farmers. The first serious conflicts between established European settlers and native Africans in South Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries was always over cattle or their foraging ranges. cultivation and fishing kept a few domestic cattle or goats where they could survive disease for prestige. W hen population pressures increased in optimum mixed agriculture geographical zones during the last few centuries. a celebration. Rainmaking and the celebration of harvests was a central role of chiefs. or could be kept in small numbers by mixed farmers where cattle could not survive. or priests when there was a separation of religious and executive functions. The modern Masai of East Africa are the tribal people most quoted in this respect and numerous books and TV documentaries feature the charismatic Masai. the currency of bride-purchase and the tribute of client clans and tribes. cattle-raiding leading to prolonged inter-tribal feuding and warfare became endemic. used for essential barter trade and prestigious presents. a particular feast or entertainment. Instead of managing and breeding their animals for meat. Livestock became precious property. Surplus domestic cattle and small stock were killed and eaten.Camels replaced cattle. Modern African herders captured sentimental imaginations with their ‘nobility’. herders developed an economy of feeding off their milk and processed dairy products.000 years ago. living almost entirely from gathering. and it influenced the early pastoral herders. They were not mere walking larders to be casually slaughtered for daily food. Sheep and goats were able to resist some tropical diseases which afflicted cattle and often preceded them southwards. The Nguni offshoots. cattle-cults and heroic warrior traditions. Some added blood to their diets by carefully calculated regular bleeding. train or entertain his army by sending them off on cattle raids. sheep and goats throughout the Sahara and in the more arid parts of the Sahel as desertification progressed. it became the trading link between them and the miners and metallurgists as iron became dominant in society. Those later Iron Age people who developed mixed agriculture in the tsetse-free healthy zones of eastern and southern Africa revered their cattle as much as the nomadic herders did and. Livestock became a powerful common currency of Africa: the link between herders. but the produce of the soil was vital to life and much ritual was also applied to cultivation. The fat-tailed sheep of Persia arrived in southern Africa ahead of cattle. Precious animals were sacrificed to promote the rains in the fickle climate of the eastern and southern 119 . many kept to a cattle-cult. which might be considered to be a universally instinctive trait of mankind today. in East Africa were notorious for their cattleraiding which disrupted previously peaceful societies. I consider that the dominating concept of property is central to civilisation. especially goats and sheep. the Ngoni. despite their bulk nutrition coming from cereals and vegetables. but this was usually practised for a ritual. rituals and their milk. about 2.

delaying change by hundreds of years. Territories became increasingly demarcated and warfare occurred as populations grew and the Sahara expanded.000 years ago. The Congo rainforest waxed and waned in wealth and distribution as climate cycles demanded. The king’s senior or most influential wife at his death chose a suitable daughter to be queen and her choice of spouse became the next king. when agriculture with iron tools and advanced herding technique became generally practised. a balanced ruling system and tradition of dynastic inheritance was generally established which had Egyptian origins. with warrens of square houses within. but descent proceeded down the female line. W ith the resources of an Egyptian heritage onto which to build new ideas and adjustments. particularly around Lake Victoria and along the two branches of the Great Rift Valley. creating compression and structural changes in society. Cattle could not be moved through it and extensive cultivation could not take place without clearing the great trees. W alled towns were built for defence in territorial war and to combat Arabic slave-raiding. squeezed people around the Congo forests and southwards along the ancient route of the Great Rift Valley. during his travels in the early 1800s. and so on. The explosion of population along the southern fringes of the Sahara in the first millennium BC. Mungo Park described their remnants and their cultures. the people of W est Africa evolved complex and highly organised national feudal states and empires. tribal structures and the evolution of many dialects and languages proliferated. It was a matrilineal system and this was applied to property in the general populace. The precise racial or cultural 120 . Today. These kingdoms and empires drew their military strength from the traditions of nomadic people who kept to a cattle-cult and revered domestic animals. Organised societies. Their armies included cavalry mounted on horses introduced from Arabia as well as camel corps. titular chiefs and Emirs in Northern Nigeria continue to hold ceremonial ‘durbars’ featuring processions of cavalry and wild charges of men on horseback. before metals were available. It was a workable system of checks and balances which lasted for millennia in an introverted semi-urban society within harsh lands. farmers starved and so did domestic livestock. Matrilineal ways of determining inheritance have persisted not only in W est Africa. seems to have been about 4.African savannahs. in W est Africa the influence of Nilotic civilisations was powerful. but amongst those people who migrated from there most directly into southern Africa in the first millennium after Christ. The considerable effort was seldom worth it until iron tools were readily available and difficult and tedious thereafter. Ruling these towns and the agricultural fields and range-lands about them. There was a ruling king at the head who symbolised the nation and its ancestors. Africa was big enough for the earliest cultivators and herders to seek other pastures rather than to force their way through the rainforests. It has been an impenetrable island in central Africa for millennia around which people who were not adapted to subsistence within it have had to migrate. because without rain. The earliest appearance of agriculture southwards of the swamps and floodplains at the head of the W hite Nile. No matter that the Sahara acted as a filter. still complex.

the core-lands of all mankind. exotic livestock from the shrinking Sahara grasslands was endangered. Afro-Asiatic people.000 years ago. * * A picture can be drawn with the crudest of strokes at about 3. A concentration of mixed farmers and herders with Bos taurus cattle and horses grew in the western Sahel and infiltrated towards the Atlantic coast as population and climate pressures dictated. settled near lakes and rivers where they could fish for protein. animals and goods: the geography was similar and the Horn of Africa had access to the highly developed nations of the upper Nile. Those that entered the fly-infested forest margins lost their cattle and mixed with the native forest-dwellers. From the north of the Rift Valleys and the Kenya Highlands. The eastern cattle-people had Bos indicus strains which were transported across the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb from the wealthy and prosperous kingdoms which developed on the escarpments and highlands of southern Arabia. but the first were undoubtedly Nilotic coming south followed rather later by Bantu-speaking people from the west following a route northward of the rainforest. through diffusion of the cattle-cult.origins of these people are obviously not known. farmers who learned to cultivate millets and sorghum. but the nations and cities that grew there had direct impact on eastern and southern Africa. In the centre. 121 . southern Ethiopia and the eastern Sudan. and onwards. were moving south out of Somalia. Nilotic herders moved south and Cushites came from Ethiopia. Until the climate changed sufficiently and enough bush was cleared by these farmers. Nubian kings ruled Egypt itself briefly during the first millennium BC and there was trade connecting the Mediterranean and Ethiopia up the Nile as well as along the Red Sea. It was those kingdoms which became great traders. keeping to healthy ranges where there was either perennial water. further east. Coincidentally. The resident hunter-gatherers and fishermen became clients and were absorbed in time. Ethiopia and the southern Sudan may have been overshadowed by the marvels of Lower Egypt. supplying frankincense to the Middle-East and providing entrepôts for the growing coastal trade between India and Egypt. presumably Cushitic. or water could be found my moving back and forth with the seasons. Ethiopia and the Yemen became linked by trade and the exchange of people. the great cities of Meroe and Axum.

(Please see Book One for details. held onto floating objects and kicked themselves along when crossing rough or dangerously long stretches. like children in a swimming pool. Maybe Early Stone Age people. The peopling of the W orld (2003). they must have had prior knowledge of some kind of seafaring however primitive. they could fashion a canoe identical to any that are presently in use. But Late Stone Age people certainly cut down trees and if they could do that.000 years ago. that would defeat the ingenuity of Stone Age people many thousands of years ago. If this was their method of migrating. Nevertheless it was shallow and there were islands and reefs which are not visible today. Today they are made with steel axes and adzes and stone tools would have taken longer. carry-bags and fish-spears. devotes much space to the thesis that one of the two main routes for the genetically-proven migration of Middle Stone Age modern Africans to Arabia and thence along ocean shores into Asia was across the Strait of Babel-Mandeb. This strait is at the Horn of Africa where the Red Sea narrows before opening into the Indian Ocean. After the Toba volcanic winter and the ice age that followed and the oceans were lower. so people at that time must have used rafts and canoes to cross over. Heyerdahl attempted to prove particular theses in which he believed 122 . Out of Eden.) The modern people who migrated out of Africa traversed the shorelines of Asia. Today it is a mere thirty kilometres wide and has the island of Perim within it to reduce the actual sea distance. island hopping. At about 80.CHAPTER TEN : INDIAN OCEAN SEATRADERS Stephen Oppenheimer in his book. and reached Indonesia probably about 75. There is nothing about a large sea-going dugout canoe which is still being used today all around the rim of the Indian Ocean. promulgated his belief in the spread of Late Stone Age culture across the oceans. long before the mass movements across the dried-out Bering Strait about 18. so floats must have been used as early as stone hand-axes. and in the Pacific. famous for the Kon-Tiki voyage early in his career.000 years ago. people crossed the channel from Timor to Australia where the sea was too deep to dry out. and coincidentally succeeding ice ages and warm periods caused the ocean levels to rise and fall.000 years ago. Thor Heyerdahl. All people with access have played in the water since childhood and harvested it for food. the strait was open and the Red Sea was flooded. Therefore I believe there can be no doubt at all that there were regular island-hopping seafarers and fishermen in boats off the East African coast 35. were paddling logs and rafts a half-million years ago. when there was a major migration from the Horn to Arabia. Geological evidence shows that this part of the Red Sea was unstable during the last two million years and more.000 years ago. One commodity that pre-civilisation people always had in quantity and which they never bothered to measure with any anxiety was time. Probably Australopithecus hominids. There is speculation that the first migrants from Asia to North America moved by sea. moving up river valleys when they found them.

with intercontinental megalithic cultural links. I was particularly charmed by one fact they established. Density of urban populations within those early civilisations reached levels comparable to modern industrial nations through the richness of their agriculture. metallurgy and the centuries-long stability and order of the state. A characteristic of three centres where earliest civilisation emerged. the palaces. His more mundane yet important researches have had far less attention than ‘Kon-Tiki’ and his Pacific obsession. Tigris. in the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean. Boats and ships could ply the rivers with ease and carry quantities of goods with little effort. is their dependence on great rivers. W ith masses of people available for public works every year after the harvest was gathered and before the next sowing season came around. Separated by millennia or oceans. I cannot doubt that some ancient South American people sailed the Pacific in balsa rafts like the Kon-Tiki. megalithic buildings were 123 . He and a professional team got permission to investigate Late Stone Age and 1st millennium AD seafarers. Sailing ships were invented and in widespread use by Egyptians on the Nile before 5. Heyerdahl’s much publicised first voyage across the Pacific in Kon-Tiki from Peru and the simplistic thesis he promoted then was overtaken by other evidence that Polynesia was colonised by people from southeast Asia and the substance of his beliefs and his reputation suffered. Euphrates and Indus provide ideal environments in which to perfect agriculture and build complex urban societies. Copper tools enabled precise carpentry which enabled efficient brick making. Egypt. W hen alloying was discovered and bronze was invented. also dated to about 5. some eight miles from the present course of the Nile. the same pattern emerged in Central America. temples and monuments which were created exceeded in wealth and sheer size anything that later European empires would attempt. but they provided marvellous highways. India and southeast Asia. However. All along the northern sub-tropical zone where these favourable conditions of seasonal river flooding or heavy rainfall occurred. Metals provided these first great civilisation with another spur. a form of currency over vast areas of Asia and Africa until the 20th century. irrefutable contrary evidence increasingly damaged his reputation. Not only did the Nile.000 years ago. there were similar explosions of people and material wealth. proven by pictures on pottery. Egypt and Mesopotamia and northwest India. precise stone masonry became practical. An ancient ship. But Egypt and Mesopotamia were first. house construction and shipbuilding. A University of Pennsylvania expedition led by David O’Connor in September 1991 discovered a fleet of sea-going vessels ritually buried in the desert near the temple complex of Abydos.000 years ago. Attempting to argue his corner against accumulating. Mesopotamia.000 years ago is preserved at Giza. These ships were buried about 5. He sailed a reed vessel from the Persian Gulf to the Horn of Africa. Heyerdahl carried out a lifetime of work on ocean-voyaging by Late Stone Age peoples right around the equatorial belt as well as the maritime excursions of the grand civilisations. that the Maldives were a source of cowrie shells traded all around the western Indian Ocean and which have had a value far exceeding any intrinsic worth.by carrying out spectacular voyages in careful reproductions of ancient sailing craft.

Not only was the land of Egypt particularly blessed. probably from the seaport of Susa on the Persian Gulf. manganese and asbestos. the same hilly country along the Red Sea is still a source of some copper. but it had easy access to its equally blessed neighbours in Mesopotamia. Innovations. The next jump forward could only happen with a greater knowledge of physics and chemistry and the world had to wait for the likes of Leonardo da Vinci. The science of iron-smelting came originally from Anatolia. Luxor. clean-shaven Egyptians. The Egyptians had easy sources of copper.000 AD enjoys life more than his equivalent in 2. Minoans. chrome. nearest the mines. Iraq or Pakistan in 2. and who used ships with tall. The strangers were certainly from Mesopotamia. There was also some gold in those hills. but Egypt had much to offer. gold. bearded strangers. Persians or Romans improved this or that technique. but also to the Red Sea.erected and weapons of war greatly improved. Naqada. metal mines. Intellectual ideas as well as agricultural and iron technology were exchanged between Egypt and the Middle-East and Mesopotamia to be exploited by the industry of the Nile peoples. who were very different in appearance from the linen-kilted.000 BC? I believe that his quality of life has declined.000 years ago which prevailed. refined knowledge and experience in one direction or another. modern machines and the harnessing of electricity and complex chemistry has maybe altered only the speed of our lives. zinc. Karnak. peasant or petty trader in Egypt. exceptional scholarship. then the material advance of mankind in the ambience of those civilisations was limited only by mankind’s ingenuity in developing machines to speed work. particularly the products of its efficient farms. backward-curving prows. new products and ideas were introduced from one to the other and traded as profitably as goods. So too did ocean voyagers. The riches of Egypt were indeed almost magical. the bases were all there. a cluster of temples. linen industry. until the Renaissance and succeeding Industrial-age in Europe. zinc and tin in the Eastern Desert between the Nile and the Red Sea. more-or-less. palaces and cities grew over the centuries at Abydos. Isaac Newton and Michael Faraday. but the foundations were laid. Even so. brought by the Hittites. Has it improved the daily quality? Can anybody be sure that a fisherman. well-depicted in contemporary paintings and carvings. Greeks. Chinese. Thebes and Idfu. whence came long-robed. Today. As Roland Oliver wrote (1991): The W adi Hammamat led not only to the mines. Dandara. quite unlike those which plied on the Nile and Mediterranean. Indians. The Egyptians progressed to the limits of the development of machinery by 5. Improved grain and domestic animal species were introduced to Egypt from the Middle-East and these fuelled Egypt’s agriculture and population explosion. 124 . tin. On the Nile. culture and the enormous stability of its civilisation at a geographical cross-roads. And when the mysteries of extracting iron from their ores and the smelting of steels were mastered.

Egyptian ships sailed the Levantine coast in advance of the great Phoenician seafarers who followed. These were practical routes for armies and caravans and much used by both. W ood was always one of the mainstays of this regional trade.000 years ago. the slower his cash turnover and the less his profit over time. were long. inhabited by wild tribes with brigandish morals. of course. Camels were domesticated before 3. and via Syria to Anatolia and the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates. Arabian overland trails were used. Egypt and the Indus Valley civilisations thrived and were interconnected by trade. between 4-5. Phoenicians. especially when the camel came into general use. At the entrance to the Persian Gulf. After establishing efficient agriculture and the technology for constructing cities and monuments. Hormos. the path to magnificence was trade. Trade is a ‘driving force’ of civilisations and the universal natural laws apply. Egyptians. but Egypt had a special position in relation to seaborne trade. Sumeria. in the Gulf of Cambay. Considerable effort was devoted to the development of shipping. hard and dangerous. The Nile itself was the highway into the interior of Africa and the wealth of Nubia. typically to the Yemen for aromatic resins. Egypt. trading cities grew in what was to be called Oman by later Arab inhabitants. It is the only way to exploit your own surplus goods and to obtain peacefully the surplus goods of other societies. No doubt the Indus River encouraged the construction of barges and canoes which led naturally to sea-going vessels as that civilisation expanded in trading activity and technology. near today’s Quseir. The longer a merchant’s wealth is tied up in transit. you make three or four times as much profit in a particular period and your rate of reinvestment and expansion compounds that much faster. If you can buy and sell a parcel of goods in a year rather than three or four. There were deserts and mountains between them. Sumerians. Assyrians. The Suez land-bridge led straight to the rich Jordan valley. The Indian Ocean became the best highway. Jews. Owing to a lack of forests of large trees. reed boats were developed in the Persian Gulf for fishing and coastal trade and improved to sail further afield. back and forth. At Lothal. The Indus Valley Civilisation.The caravan routes connecting the three great centres of wealth and power. built fine port cities and fleets of wooden ships. During the second millennium BC.000 years ago and the long lines of their caravans began moving across the lands of Arabia and North Africa 125 . From the Red Sea there was access to the Indian Ocean from ports close to those mines in the Eastern Desert and the centres of power at Thebes and Luxor. and remains so today. and Berenice were the Red Sea ports. with capitals at Harappa in the Punjab and Mohenjo Daro in Sind. especially for the transport of valuable cargoes which benefited most from speedy transport. a dock with gates and sluices was built so that ships could lie afloat alongside the loading quays at all states of the tide. The southern entrance to the Red Sea achieved importance and the foundations of the trading kingdoms of the Yemen in southwestern Arabia were laid. Babylonians. Persians and Indians understood this simple rule of commerce and growth. Egyptian ships could sail the Mediterranean from ports in the Nile delta. Mesopotamia and India. Egyptians became great traders.

9 & 10. Marib. (New International Bible): King Solomon also built ships at Ezion-Geber. They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents [about 15 tons] of gold.where the deserts were spreading as climate changed. Exotic plants. The Assyrians in northern Mesopotamia also obtained iron technology from their neighbours in Asia Minor and began flexing their muscles. From the First Book of Kings. had broken up decaying and corrupt regimes on the Levantine coast. the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. iron and copper. King David wrested the secrets of iron from the Philistines and the good fortune of abundant ores along the Rift in southern Israel enabled the growth of trade in metals. timber. cloth and grain and they could equal the speed of ships on direct overland routes where there were no geographical or human barriers. They carried valuables which the great nations increasingly desired from each other and could sail directly across the oceans between India. which is near Elath in Edom. works of art and crystalline rocks and stones. ivory. in the Yemen had to follow. the Hittites and the Philistine ‘Sea People’. an alliance was made with the Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre and the combined Phoenician and Israelite fleets commenced ocean trading. spices. From Greece and Macedonia the Iron Age surged across the Mediterranean. Egyptian authority outside the Nile Valley was lost and the Israelites under Joshua conquered the rich and fertile Jordan Valley. From Egypt it crossed the Sahara. Metallurgy flourished there within easy access of copper and iron-ore mines and archaeologists have found a system of furnaces in a well-organised town. Another enormous technical jump was occurring. where the Great Rift Valley is near its beginning. an industrial city was built in King Solomon’s time. silver. Ships crossed from southern Arabia to the Horn of Africa which shared in the frankincense boom. By the beginning of the first millennium BC. 126 . And Hiram sent his men . Copper and its alloys of bronze and brass continued to be widely used. Iron was first exploited by the Hittites and the technology was obtained by the Philistines and carried onwards to Palestine and Egypt. animals and slaves were passengers. It was called Ezion-Geber. especially for ornaments and decorative ware. King David expelled the Philistines from Palestine and the golden age of Israel followed. controlling the entry to the Red Sea from her capital. But ships continued to have a principal part to play. Solomon’s alliance with the Queen of Sheba. fine timber. which they delivered to King Solomon. Ships carried refined gold. splitting Sinai from Arabia. From Mesopotamia. tin. hard country and wild men. Israel in Solomon’s time became an important regional power. two invasions from Asia Minor. The frankincense trade between southern Arabia and the Middle-East was carried by camels. on the shore of the Red Sea. near Elat where European tourists today flock for enduring sunshine beside the sea with its coral reefs. in the 10th century BC. the technology travelled eastward through India.sailors who knew the sea . At the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Lacking knowledge of the sea. but iron replaced them for tools and weapons. lead. routes which were not easy for caravans because of mountains. Camel caravans carried bulky cargoes: salt. minerals.to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men.

a year to explore.. No doubt the Sabaeans exchanged gold for the manufactured metal tools and weapons of those furnaces at Ezion-Geber India had ivory and monkeys.or both. . calling on merchants at the ports in the Red Sea inwards and outwards: requiring the friendship of the Sabaeans of the Yemen and prompting the Queen of Sheba’s “hard questions” of Solomon’s motives. King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for. large quantities of spices and precious stones.W hen the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord. Exotic animals and their skins were probably picked up around the Horn of Africa.. Once every three years it returned carrying gold. and controlled the southern Red Sea and its outlet to the ocean.. The Queen of Sheba came from her stronghold in southwest Arabia with gold for Solomon. Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir.. And she gave the king 120 talents [about 4 tons] of gold. Ivory was also easily available there. and apes and baboons. They used some of their Indian goods in exchange for the animals and 127 . still used today. silver and ivory. They were seafarers and advanced cultivators. and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. King Solomon of the Jews and his Phoenician sailors imported gold and ivory. which suggests Africa. For a thousand years or so they ruled the southwestern corner of Arabia. scented woods and exotic animals.. The destinations could then be as far as southern India or eastern Africa . Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country. which would confirm India. . . The Sabaean dynasty was superseded by that of the Himyarites about 115 BC. but if I were a captain facing a journey of several months I would be most reluctant to ship live monkeys needing water and the same kind of food as my crew earlier than I had to. fine cloth and other quality manufactured goods using the gold of Ophir to pay for them. certainly not near the coast. There have been many attempts to locate Ophir and these sparse verses from the Bible have been analysed over and again. According to the Bible. The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. King James’ Bible states that “apes and peacocks” were brought back. building famous dams and irrigation works and the fabled agricultural terraces on mountainsides. The Sabaeans are of great importance for the Indian Ocean sea trade.. so Ophir was probably in Arabia. East Africa has no large or easy sources of precious metals.. trade and refurbish and a year to return. but that was a political change and did not affect the activities of the merchants and sailors who continued to trade throughout the region. which can only mean that these fleets were using the Indian Ocean monsoon system: allowing one year on the outward journey.. I think India was where they picked up jewellery. . she came to test him with hard questions. whereas the New International Bible translates the Hebrew as “apes and baboons”. The critical reference is the length of the voyages.

* It has been suggested that East Africa. Certainly there is evidence of Indian goods reaching Egypt. The oft-quoted motto. an amazing circling migration of knowledge and tradition. Alexander extended Greek influence throughout the region and Greek skills and enterprise were added to the trading and seafaring networks. Apart from the activities of Indian seafaring merchants. And there were Egyptian and Nubian merchants from whom they could take commissions and offer trade to. before the Romans. local navigators in the Indian Ocean were principally Arabs and Islamic. fine timber from the Lebanon whose forests were being steadily demolished. Africa and Arabia from at least the middle of the first millennium BC and possibly earlier. Indian ships were trading with the Persian Gulf. The Indus Empire was so advanced in seafaring that they built fine ports for oceangoing vessels even to the extent of devising docks in which ships could lie undisturbed by the tides. Indian ports of the Malabar and Coromandel Coasts served as peaceful entrepôts for traders of all nations. The industry and commerce of southern Asia exceeded anything that existed in Europe until the Industrial Age following the Renaissance. W hich is translated : “W hence it is commonly said amongst the Greeks that ‘Africa always offers something new’”. India was always a convenient halfway point between the two Indian Ocean monsoon systems and the nations faced by them. bronze and brass from 128 . they inherited control of a golden domain of trading and commerce and extended it to encompass a network which stretched from Britain to China. Israelite and Phoenician fleets of 3. when sailors arrived there because they were off course. for many centuries. They were great traders and their city of Petra in Jordan proves their wealth and success. W hen the Romans conquered Palestine and Egypt. from as far as China. Indian trading with Indonesia and further east was huge in quantity and value for many centuries. There is a not so subtle enlargement in Pliny’s more correct quote. knowledge and culture proceeded with goods. is more correctly : Unde etiam vulgare Graeciae dictum ‘semper aliquid novi Africam adferre’.atributetohinduism.com. In the tradition which I have repeatedly ascribed to traders elsewhere. ) The Nabateans were also of importance during the first millennium BC. became a part of the Indian Ocean trading system almost by chance. and metal manufactures of iron. (A voluminous source of literary and academic references to Indian and Indian Ocean maritime trading can be found on the website : www. “There is always something new out of Africa”. after 1500 AD. He is acknowledging that the Greeks. They carried linen cloth from Egypt. Buddhism moved to China and through that vast country to become entrenched in Tibet on the other side of the Himalayas from where it originated. maybe because in European historiography. I believe that the ivory trade actually promoted contact with East Africa in the first millennium BC. Indians are often bypassed when considering ancient seafarers and ocean traders. Hinduism and Buddhism became deeply entrenched in Indonesia and southeast Asia. south of the Horn.ivory on their way up the Red Sea.000 years ago were engaged in a three-cornered trade. had extensive knowledge of the African trade.

They did not set up colonies to do their own hunting for ivory. On the coasts of the Horn of Africa there were frankincense and other aromatic gums. spices. a strange piece of intelligence was provided by Dr Shared Master of the University of the W itwatersrand in South Africa. and therefore usually avoided. ivory and animal products may have been a better bargain for shrewd traders prepared to spend a few more weeks at sea. Lightly-constructed vessels with square sails could use these reciprocating winds since they are quite accurately predictable. but what about East Africa? The first millennium BC saw gradually increasing disorder in the whole region of ancient civilisation as populations grew and the climate changed. further south. mining and the gathering of valuable goods for seaborne trade. The problem has always been the question of an incentive and lack of information about who they might have been trading with. cooler hemisphere. Destruction of forests and scrub bush accelerated desertification. southern Arabians and Persian Gulf people were seamen and merchants. Draining of the marshes by Saddam Hussein’s regime to combat the Marsh Arabs in the 1990s had revealed this crater-like geological 129 . In India there were precious metals. proved by history. From southern Arabia they could pick up frankincense. fertile lands becoming increasingly inhospitable under the onslaught of intensive agriculture and declining rainfall. as has been pointed out earlier. Robert Mathews in The Sunday Telegraph of 4th November 2001described how Master and colleagues had analysed satellite images which showed a peculiar and regular circular feature in the Al ‘Amarah region near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq. There is no doubt that seatraders had the ability and knowledge to reach the East African coast before the first millennium BC. May-November. India and south-east Asia. During the northern hemisphere summer. But. The legendary shrewdness of Jewish traders and their allies was forged in the Levant but also around the western Indian Ocean. There were suitable peoples. they blow from the north. Indians. Egyptians. ivory. classical literature and archaeology. fine cotton and silk cloth and new food plants. Phoenicians. the Indian Ocean monsoons blow from the south and during the winter. this engine moved ships back and forth across the northern Indian Ocean and up and down it as far as the tropics. produced the climate to provide good rainy conditions for evolutionary progress in East Africa (and hence the Nile valley) and in Mesopotamia. They needed local people with whom to build a trading tradition. These reversals occur because low pressure created by hot air rising from summer-heated continental land-masses draws in wind from the opposite. ships and firewood. In addition.the furnaces and smithies of Ezion-Geber for as long as there was sufficient local wood for smelting. Israelites. along the African Red Sea coast and around the Horn. ivory. It is a marvellous and unique atmospheric engine which. exotic animals and their skins. Recently. Metallurgy and large urban populations need great masses of firewood and the reason for the decline of the great Mesopotamian and other cities can easily be proposed to be the exhaustion of tree stocks on the fringes of expanding deserts. Trees were cut out for building materials. December-April. Areas of potential seasonal storms could be defined and understood.

still being built today. overshadowed by the recorded voyages of Arabs. Following the trails of exotic food-crops. would have opened new niches of opportunity for Red Sea seatraders. It is the siwa horn.300BC and it would have contributed to the sudden decline of Mesopotamian civilisations. Phoenicians. but because of an opinion that such early contact was unlikely. believes that Indonesians traversed the southern Indian Ocean and sailed around the Cape into the Atlantic. One cannot forget the colonisation of Pacific Islands by seatraders of south-east Asia and Indonesia. invaded by Assyrians.000 years ago. There is a clear parallel with Colombus desperately petitioning the royal courts of Portugal and Spain to support his ideas. ruled by Libyan and Nubian pharaohs. Other evidence suggested that a meteor struck this place about 2. on the African mainland shows that Indonesians traded with the East African coast and may have had trading depots there. Some scholars have identified it directly with Assyrian horns of 3. of that 26th Dynasty. used for the same purpose. The prowess of Indonesian sailors and seatraders has often been neglected. 130 . a ceremonial instrument. The siwa horn survived in East Africa throughout the Islamic Arab period and tourists can buy replicas of them in Lamu or Mombasa curio shops today.000 years later. There is controversy about the motive for this exploratory voyage and this has fuelled doubts as to its authenticity : why should Neccho have commissioned such an extravagant expedition? It suggests to me that there was firm belief in the concept of an ocean route around Africa and that some knowledge of the value of the coasts to the southwards on both sides of the continent was already available. are one of the fine relics of early Indian Ocean voyaging. not because it was impossible. apart from general political changes of the whole power structure of the geographical zone. long and curved in the symbolic shape of an elephant’s tusk which was blown to draw attention to a ruler’s presence or some official occasion. especially bananas. particularly the possible influence of Indonesians on the birth of a distinct Swahili culture on the East African coast. it was used as a symbol of authority like a mace or ceremonial sword. During the 26th Dynasty (663-525 BC) there was a brief resurgence of power through sea trading in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean with the help of Phoenicians. Others have dismissed the connection. King Neccho II. Often. Nation states thrashed about. Archaeology proves that Indonesians were in regular contact with Madagascar in the first millennium of the Christian era and there is the clear proof of this in their colonisation of that large almost-forgotten island. Greeks. Robert Dick-Read. The decline in Persian Gulf activities. Israel was ravaged by Egyptians and Egypt itself began a slow decline. A correspondent. The magnificent sailing catamarans of Indonesian islanders. There is a persistent clue to Persian Gulf contact with East Africa from the first millennium BC. Maybe it was the Phoenicians who had the urge to explore and petitioned the Pharaoh who was sympathetic and ready to try new markets.shape. hired a Phoenician fleet to circumnavigate Africa. the only recorded voyage between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans until the Portuguese achieved it again 2. Dick-Read’s researches investigate references which are often neglected. Romans and Indians.

The destruction of the library at Constantinople where much was preserved was a 131 . most probably Mount Kilimanjaro. Nearkhos. crystalline rocks and stones. W hen Roman Civilisation began running with accelerating speed. W hatever happened to the fortunes of Egypt. all were increasingly desired around the Mediterranean and the interior of western Europe. Roman fleets sailed the Indian Ocean whether passing through the Nile delta by canal or built in Egypt. Alexander’s admiral. it has to be remembered that Assyrians became bold sailors when their empire encompassed Babylonia. but it never stopped. There are Indian epics which suggest that their explorers penetrated as far as the Great Rift Valley lakes. transported an army from Thatta in the Indus delta. Incense. ivory. The Roman empire was arguably the greatest trading machine the world had produced. the middle centuries of the first millennium BC. The great mass of ancient writings which were lost in the sacking of cities such as Jerusalem and Alexandria and the destruction of their libraries were available then within the sweep of literate society from the Mediterranean to India. Much scholarship which flourished and retained knowledge in the great Islamic universities in Spain was lost during the wars to expel the Moors. as dynasties rose and fell and one kingdom or empire succeeded another.However. Herodotus and Pliny compiled important collections of historical information. having travelled up the Pangani River. Trade may have faded and revived. the Indian Ocean trading system prevailed. After Alexander the Great conquered all these lands and moved onto the Indus plains of northern India. to the Persian Gulf by sea. That started the remarkably accurate legend of the mystical African ‘Mountains of the Moon’ which sourced the Nile and described by Ptolemy. who recorded trading voyages to East Africa. This legend was still inspiring Livingstone and other explorers in the 19th century. Arabia. refined metals. city-states rose when older ones failed. During wars in the eastern Mediterranean. exotic animals and their products. Strabo recorded that an annual Roman fleet of 120 vessels sailed to India at about the time of Christ. For example. in today’s Pakistan. Ptolemy is the best-known of early geographers. naval fleets became strategic weapons as potent as a modern nuclear arsenal. its appetite for luxurious and exotic goods became voracious. The monsoons were too convenient. fine cloth. the variety of goods within the easy limits of navigation too tempting and the energy of ordinary merchants and sailors sufficient to keep it going whatever political events intervened. Greeks and Trojans learned early and the Hittites and Philistines taught Egypt the lesson. they conquered Egypt and ruled the Red Sea trade. Mesopotamia and India. Greek influence and the activity of Greek merchants spread far. basing his writings on the lost books of Marinos of Tyre. named Diogenes. is the first identified foreign person to have seen a snow-capped equatorial mountain in Africa. that trade with East Africa became firmly established and the siwa horn is a thin thread of evidence. Persians and Arabs had their stories of Indian Ocean voyaging. and compiled interpretations of information from many other sources for his famous Geographia. A Greek. Sea trade maintained its momentum and I believe it was during this time. Along the northwestern rim of the ocean. Ethiopia.

The important surviving works of Herodotus. Our knowledge today of what was going on is only a few outline sketches of sections of a great canvas. Pliny. 132 .great disaster in the 15th century. The same applies to the maps based on earlier works which were produced in the 16th century. Strabo and Claudius Ptolemy were their own selections from and interpretations of other reports and books which have been lost.

The unknown author did not know much about the Persian Gulf. linen cloth. imitation murrine ware (a semi-precious crystal) made in Diospolis. or practical manual. big bronze drinking-cups. For royal customers . unlined garments not of much value (presumably for servants. It is an extraordinarily valuable document for anybody interested in eastern Africa. according to the Periplus. East Africa as far as Zanzibar and the Tanzanian coast. Huntingford’s translation and commentary. The Periplus describes the Red Sea coasts. briefly describing the rough distances usually in terms of easy sailing stages. requiring them to transship their cargoes at an entrepôt such as Salalah. There was a rich range of products traded with these wealthy and sophisticated northeast African kingdoms. swords. I hope the publishers will remedy this. principally Meroe (near modern Khartoum). Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. Ladikean and Italian wine. G. these books are out of print and difficult to get hold of. Most of the seaborne African trade at that time.CHAPTER ELEVEN : THE SWAHILI COAST It is the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea which is the earliest clear and detailed record of sea trading with East Africa which has been handed down to us. Its date has been bandied about by scholars but is now accepted to have been written about 100 AD. Its simplicity and lack of extravagant language or editing gives it potency. Lionel Casson’s version. rokhalkos used for ornaments and money. Arsinotic robes. published in 1989 by Princeton University Press.W . several sorts of glassware. soldiers and slaves). perhaps he never sailed there. fringed mantles. Unfortunately. to the ports and markets of the Indian Ocean written by an anonymous Alexandrian Greek. 133 . the regional economy and the trade that could be expected. at the time of writing. spurious coloured cloaks. was with the markets on the coast of modern Sudan. It was a guide. the landfalls. Arabia and India and their ports on the Indian Ocean known to the author and his associates and contacts at that time. These places were within easy caravan distance of the cities of the southern Sudan. was the standard reference for some years and remains a valuable source. the capital of an impressive empire for a thousand years.Silver and gold objects custom-made in the design of the country. adzes.Unscoured Egyptian cloth. southern Arabia and around India from the Indus to the Ganges. Huntingford’s edition provides this information which I have summarised: IMPORTS FROM EGYPT . material called ‘copper cooked in honey’ for pots and armlets and anklets. iron used for spears for hunting elephants and for war. or Taqa in the kingdom of Dhofar on the southern coast of Arabia. probably Arabs and Persians of the time did not encourage Egyptian and Greek traders. towns and their inhabitants.B. issued by The Hakluyt Society in 1976. and Axum in northern Ethiopia. is now the more important reference because it had up-to-date background from later archaeology and literary research. cloaks of cloth. axes.

India]. W hen one adds the hazards of sailing ships with sewn planking without modern navigation aids to the commercial problems. working with sewn boats and basket-ware fishtraps. mallow-cloth. then one realises that the Indian Ocean seatraders 2. shipmasters and sailors. A merchant sailing in his own tramping vessel along that coast had to have an intimate knowledge of local needs and customary rules the equal of any equivalent in the modern European era. axes. incense (named ‘from beyond the straights’). EXPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN RED SEA PORTS . rhinoceros horn. One is reminded of a catalogue that a 19th century Liverpool merchant might have offered to a trading house in Zanzibar 1. broad Indian cloth. therefore. tortoiseshell and a little coconut. Menouthias (Pemba Island or Zanzibar) and Rhapta (a ‘lost’ town identified with somewhere on the Tanzanian coast. see below). garments called Gaunakai. some of it in local vessels across to the Yemen. The trade was important but not as sophisticated as that with the Red Sea coast and the Horn. belts. several kinds of glassware. This southern Somali coast was called Azania. awls. Sailors and travelling merchants knew the people of Rhapta well. wine and corn (all manufactured in Mouza on the Red Sea shore of today’s Yemen). EXPORTS: Much ivory. Azania was somewhat barren until the East African markets were reached: the Puralaon Islands (Lamu Archipelago). frankincense and a variety of other aromatic gums were exported.800 years later. The Huntingford edition defines the trade at Rhapta: IMPORTS: Spears.000 years ago were intelligent and experienced. It can be seen from these brief catalogues that it was a complex business. special woods. Beyond the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb dividing Africa from the tip of Arabia at the Horn of Africa.Indian iron and steel. that elephants became rare in those parts and ivory trading had to move on to East Africa. and hums with business: for they use their own ships for commerce with the opposite coast [of Africa] and with Barugaza [in the Gulf of Cambay. Tortoiseshell and Rhinoceros horn. spices. The kingdoms of Meroe and Axum must have exported much ivory in exchange for all those manufactured goods from the industrial nations of the day. Huntingford translates the description of Mouza.Ivory. cloth called Sagmatognai. 134 .IMPORTS FROM ARIAK (the Gulf of Cambay in India) . a major trading port in Yemen : The whole place is full of Arabs. On Menouthias the locals were fishermen. (derived from “dried” or “parched” and used by Pliny and Ptolemy as well as in the Periplus). It is not surprising. small swords. His product knowledge and financial planning had to be excellent for sustained success. muslin cloth and coloured lac (a dark-red resin). brave and bold entrepreneurs.

which has its name from the aforementioned sewn boats. and coincidentally they were people with whom seatraders could easily encourage a trading connection. but organised for trade before the beginning of the Christian era. In 1989 the new translation of the Periplus was published by Lionel Casson. and each place likewise has its own chief. with his notes and commentary. Casson’s translation of the same chapter concerning Rhapta : 135 . and that conclusion seemed reasonable to me at the time. and in conversation with me. titled The Periplus Maris Erythraei. These people were amenable to trading with strangers and became clients to seatraders from Arabia. Research is being pursued which may show a regular connection over several centuries in the first millennium BC between the Nile. where there is a great deal of ivory and tortoiseshell. There is a particularly important key word which Casson re-translates and interprets. These are routes for people and their hominid ancestors which have been used since the dawn of humanity. with the necessary gathering of desired raw materials and the distribution of imported manufactured goods. the East African highlands and the Lacustrine Zone generally. the eastern African coast as far south as Mozambique had not only been explored geographically. Under the king the people of Mouza hold it by payment of tribute. Huntingford describes the people of Rhapta (Chapter 16) : From here after two courses off the mainland lies the last mart of Azania. They were not Bantu-speaking Early Iron Age farmers from the interior who settled later at places such as Kwale near Mombasa. People moved down the coast pursuing agricultural advantage in a time of changing population and climate. But latest pottery evidence presented by Chami and several others shows that they had Nilotic traditions with far contact into the Nile region of the Sudan. The natives of this country have very large bodies and piratical habits . and send ships with captains and agents who are mostly Arabs. called Rhapta. It is possible that some may have been nomadic herders converted to cultivation and fishing for subsistence wherever cattle were inapplicable because of disease. Richard W ilding in his Shorefolk (1987). It seems obvious that the seatraders of the time of the Periplus were in contact with elements of Late Stone Age agriculturalists from the north or west who had settled the hinterland of Rhapta. and down to the coast via river roads.It must also be recognised that the system that was working at that time could not have arisen suddenly. suggested Cushitic. I firmly speculate that there was a symbiotic beginning to both extended settlement of the coast and the commencement of trading. It was developed over time and therefore it must also be recognised that if Rhapta was well-established by 100 AD. Mindful of the influence that trading has on people generally. The Morpharitic chief rules it [Rhapta] according to an ancient agreement by which it falls under the kingdom which has become first in Arabia. and are familiar through residence and intermarriage with the nature of the places and their language.

each in his own place. This view had also been part of Richard W ilding’s thesis in his Shorefolk (1987). 1996). The merchants of Muza hold it through a grant from the king and collect taxes from it. Azania XXIX-XXX. writing maybe fifteen years. The region is under the rule of Mapharitis. Casson. in 1994 when he described his excavations at that time and interpretation which showed a continuity and growth of people. It is not easy. a name derived from the aforementioned sewn boats. England. inhabit the region. with different nuances. (Chami’s paper : The first millennium AD on the East Coast. called Rhapta. Dr Mark Horton. Here is the first historical reference. probably Pemba or Zanzibar] comes the very last port of trade on the coast of Azania. The key to the people of Rhapta in which the two translations differ are the two interpretations of a Greek word which could be interpreted as either describing pirates or farmers. just like chiefs. This indicates that Rhapta has a long-standing position as a trading town with some kind of monopoly claimed by Sabaean seatraders. I first heard Chami deliver a paper in Cambridge. these behave. an archaeologist who worked for some years earlier on Swahili-Arab sites in East Africa. possibly firsthand. in the 1970s. Rhapta is described by both translations as having an ancient subordinate relationship to Mouza / Muza in the Yemen and that Arabs who have intermarried with locals are favoured as captains or supercargoes. Chami was exploring with archaeology and commentary an era and area often missed by other professionals or scholars. ‘Tillers of the soil’ is clearly the correct interpretation and of great significance. like a number of us. Professor Felix Chami of the University of Dar es Salaam has been working for many years on the archaeology of the Tanzanian coast and. Horton described how their 136 . to agriculture on the East African coast. has obviously been captivated by the challenge of unravelling the mysteries of early contact and trading links between the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa and the kingdoms of Arabia. and their trading activity from the 1st to 8th centuries on the Tanzanian coast. It should be noted that. Very big-bodied men. firstly. characterised by what Chami calls TIW (triangular incised ware) pottery and which others have traditionally called TanaRiver pottery. where there are great quantities of ivory and tortoise shell. had suggested that the spread of Tana-tradition pottery during the period covered by the Periplus indicates that the inhabitants of Rhapta were descended from a ‘Pastoral Neolithic’ people of probable Cushitic-speaking cultural origin. tillers of the soil. and usually considered to be dominated by the Early Iron Age of Bantu-speakers with Kwale style pottery. it was not considered that agriculture had spread to the Tanzanian coast.Two runs beyond this island [Menouthias. Egypt and the Mediterranean. are familiar with the area and its language. They send out to it merchant craft that they staff mostly with Arab skippers and agents who. through continual intercourse and intermarriage. later had the benefit of new archaeological discovery and academic opinion. a new look at the cultural sequence and interaction. since by some ancient right it is subject to the kingdom of Arabia as first constituted. Huntingford spends much time over the word in his notes and decides to use ‘piratical habits’ because when he was writing.

Msasani near to Dar es Salaam. Chami’s excavations in the 1990s show that the Rufiji Delta area and the immediate offshore islands of the Mafia group can almost absolutely be identified with Rhapta. Tanga. It had been tentatively recognised at Chibuene in southern Mozambique. and the Rufiji is one of East Africa’s most important. Kilwa became the wealthiest Arab-Swahili trading city in eastern Africa during the height of the gold trade with Zimbabwe in the 14th-15th centuries AD and I have often believed that places which are chosen and flourish under one people must be equally attractive to others. Kisiji and the Rufiji Delta. Felix Chami’s principal archaeology has been centred on Mafia Island and offshore associated islets and the mainland around the Rufiji River delta and the coast north of Dar es Salaam as far as Bagamoyo. Felix Chami’s work progressed and he published on several occasions. which together with other evidence proves the presence of neolithic agriculture and seatrading. away from the sea could have both strategic and geographical reasons. had been found all along the coastal region of Kenya and Tanzania with a variety of dates from the late 1st millennium BC onwards. the Coast and the Interior of East Africa (2003) and Kaole and the Swahili World in the Dar es Salaam University publication. These were Pangani. most northerly evidence of it could be seen as a landmark cape by approaching sailors. There is no prominent cape on that low-lying coast. Neolithic Pottery Traditions from the Islands. W hen Huntingford published his Periplus. The first. known as Tana River pottery different from Early Iron Age Bantu pottery of the Kwale style. Ptolemy suggested three clues to the position of Rhapta : it was at the mouth of a river. and that is the medieval trading centre of Kilwa. Chami’s excavations show that a main centre was at the Mkukutu-Kibiti (about 35 kms from the sea) with seatrading evidence from Roman beads. Obviously Zanzibar and Pemba Islands are within his area of interest. and it was at a cape. both of whom are assumed to have actually visited Rhapta. It was away from the immediate danger of any oceanic rivalry and away from the heaviest rainfall of the coastal monsoon. Ptolemy was quoting other travellers. the town itself was some way back from the coast or port. but the Rufiji delta protrudes some distance from the mostly regular shoreline. Mafia Island lies immediately offshore. Diogenes (the first to confirm snow-topped peaks on the Equator) and Marinos of Tyre. The placing of a ‘metropolis’ or ‘capital town’ of the Rhapta people. General opinions seemed to favour the Rufiji. I visited Kilwa and the Rufiji area on 137 . excavated by Paul Sinclair. and associated with Sofala. five possible locations for Rhapta were proposed by scholars attempting to equate modern places with the descriptions in the Periplus itself and Ptolemy’s geography. and that the town was back from the port. I find his particular papers. Late Stone Age pottery of Chami’s TIW (Tana River style) have been discovered with dates to the latter half of the first millennium BC. Southern Africa and the Swahili World (2002) to be most significant.pottery. as described by Ptolemy. Two of Ptolemy’s criteria were immediately satisfied: the presence of a river. together with Kwale-type. Another possibility has been tentatively suggested and for a time I was strongly attached to it.

* * The pattern of contact with East Africa that had been established in the late first millennium BC continued after the time of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. whether Italians or natives of other parts of the Empire. Roman coins and beads have been recovered along the East African coast. Indians from Cambay and the trading city-states along the Malabar coast were active. roamed widely. It waxed and waned. Arabia. Indian sailors were active on the East African coast.Sutton in the General History of Africa (1981) wrote: The demand for ivory grew enormously as the Romans began to use it not only for statues and combs but also for chairs. of course. perhaps because there was nothing like it in Europe until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. India was always a transhipment centre for goods travelling between Europe. I had to remind myself. The people of Rhapta. and often there would have been gaps of several years. went to India and began a Christian tradition taken up by missionaries from Syria and Persia that persists until today. J. the reasons for founding a trading city on an island with a good harbour by Swahili seatraders in the second millennium AD would be very different from the needs of neolithic farmers of the first millennium BC.a personal quest to see the famous medieval ruins and my romantic attachment to the area was established. Africa and the Far East. Roman traders. Foreign trade was a brief and periodic luxury. St. India and further east did not build permanent stone palaces and cities on the East African shores until the present millennium principally because the climate was not suitable. Madurai. no matter how thoroughly they exploited trade there. Any view that assumes that eastern Africa was a terra incognita to seatraders until the rise of Islam is one which is blinkered. In medieval times they were pirates.Thomas. Eurocentric history and opinion seldom recognises the shear volume and sophistication of the industry and commerce of the nations surrounding these seas. Chinese traditions may be seen on the Malabar Coat persisting until today. tables. in 138 . Arabia. there was even an ivory stable for the imperial horse. bird-cages and carriages. who commanded several expeditions with fleets of huge junks into the western Indian Ocean in the 15th century AD. but there were merchants and sailors who knew where to go and what rewards there were. Jesus’ apostle. were primarily cultivators and some were fishermen. For the same reason that Europeans did not colonise the W est African coast.G. a trading city on the eastern side of India.E. A few ships may have come once a year if they were lucky. People from Egypt. But. The industrial might of civilised humankind for three millennia was located in Asia and the Indian Ocean was one of the main pathways for the commerce which served this enormous engine of production. Apart from the direct trading voyages of the great Chinese admiral. Indonesians sailed across the ocean and colonised Madagascar and some even settled on the adjacent mainland coast as farmers but also as traders. Zheng He. was a particular outpost of Roman trade. Ivory increasingly had to come from Africa. The engine of the Roman Empire that generated trade wherever ancient civilisation had placed its mark had an effect on eastern Africa which persisted into the 4th century AD.

It is likely that plants such as coconut and banana were also domesticated. Felix Chami has been most energetic with his publications on eastern African trade and the Swahili coast and I can refer the reader to two more papers: The Graeco-Romans and Paanchea/Azania : sailing in the Erythraean Sea (The British Museum 2003) and Kaole and the Swahili World (University of Dar es Salaam 2002). Chami’s latest publications also shed a clear light on the emergence of the Swahili culture. Their principal contribution was the supply of raw ivory. I have long believed this. 139 . These are people trading with the Romans via the Red Sea with their capital identified by the Periplus and Ptolemy as Rhapta. The Indian Ocean islands. People ar4e more cultivating and more settled.the fifteenth to early twentieth centuries. The communities of East Africa grew in size and now trading with the Romans and people of Arabia. The core of these communities may have been in the Rhapta-Rufiji region where many sites of that time period are found some with remains of trade goods from the Mediterranean region. it must be remarked that Rhapta and East Africa were not major trading partners of that system during the pre-Islamic period. This has always been something of an emotive subject. almost a footnote. dogs and cats. The culture and the economy of these people spread quickly to the deep inferior and as far south as southern Africa. These are people reported by Iambulus and other Greek writers having a capital called Panara. I assume that when stating that the people of Rhapta traded with the Mediterranean and the Far East. W hat he is pointing out is that Rhapta (which was a client to the people of Mouza according to the Periplus) was a part of the Indian Ocean trading system whose tentacles extended from the western limits of the Roman Empire to India. The new era came with the adoption of iron technology in the early centuries AD or slightly before. Indonesia and China. apart from hunting wild animals and fishing did domesticate animals such as chickens. He wrote as a conclusion to his paper. These communities. Chami traces the continuing contact between East Africa and the great nations of the northern hemisphere until the conversion of all Swahili towns and cities to Islam by the end of the 13th century AD. It is at this time of Neolithic that these East African communities entered in trade relations with the north reaching the Mediterranean regions and east reaching as far as south-east Asia. Nevertheless. people from the northern temperate zones of Asia did not colonise East Africa until Islamic expansion forced the pace. Chami is not claiming that they initiated the trade in their own ships. were then occupied by such Neolithic people. so it is a pleasure to know that archaeology has shown it to be more substantially factual than the marginal reference in the Periplus. The Graeco-Romans and Paanchea/Azania : It has been shown that the coast of East Africa had Late Stone Age / Neolithic communities established probably from about 3000 BC. East African importance grew to world wide influence when it controlled the gold trade with Zimbabwe in the second millennium AD as a peripheral part of the Islamic-Arab medieval hegemony. for example Zanzibar.

They did the cause of the understanding of African history no good at all. This general picture was not an unreasonable assumption. Their distortions were risibly transparent but only to those few who had some serious general knowledge of the larger historical picture. Post-war professionals. Racist bias from whatever direction serves a poor master. opinion was much influenced by the state of East Africa as described in contemporary European literature. had been attracted by Islam and taken from it what they needed whilst their native African culture was hardly affected. There were the historical records. Kilwa and other medieval towns which were not properly cleared and studied until after W W II. and the Sultan of Zanzibar was of the same ruling family as the Sultan of Oman. There were the ruins of Gedi. Neither the Portuguese nor the British told us much about the ordinary ‘natives’ of the coast. Similarly. calling themselves Sultans or Sheiks. Those with Omani ancestry were the majority of the ruling class who also controlled the plantations and the extensive slave trade. Chittick and Kirkman in East Africa and Somers and Garlake in Rhodesia. The Portuguese themselves broke up the courts and governing structures of the ruling dynasties in their efforts to subjugate those Sheiks who refused clientship and in appointing local chiefs who were pliant. British literature described the influential people with whom they had dealings. was mainly concerned with relations with the hierarchy. or in the case of explorers they described the Zanzibaris or similar who were their principal servants and factotums. Populist historiographers such as Basil Davidson and Ali Masrui. laboured over the evidence which was most obvious. Therefore. it seemed to them. The Swahili. roughly as I have described them. mostly Portuguese until the 18th century and British in the 19th. A consequence of the prevailing understanding of the Swahili Coast history in recent time was that it was assumed that the Swahili people were gradually created by a merging of local Africans and Arab trading immigrants after the rise of Islam which slowly gained momentum until fuelled by the legendary gold of Sofala and Zimbabwe.Before archaeology did more than scrape at the surface of early East African history. there was little description of the ordinary citizenry. The activities of Arabs in the Indian Ocean were related to the familiar British colonial framework. Allied with this superficial information was a quite widespread vision of Zimbabwe itself as an Arab colonial outpost. Zanzibar and the coast was nominally the sovereign territory of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his aristocracy. The Portuguese found that the rulers of the several wellorganised and independent city-states from Moçambique Island to Malindi were clearly part of formal Arab government and religious culture. Portuguese literature. drawing a picture of an almost wholly indigenous African Civilisation with minimal heritage from Arabia or elsewhere. or the captains of slave-trading caravans and depots in the interior. A ridiculous parallel would be to claim that the industrial cities of South Africa in the 20th century were a product of an indigenous African culture. who published books and presented major TV documentary series in the 1970s and 1980s were unashamedly anti-European and glossed over the detailed structure of East African coastal society. In the British time these influential Arabs and Swahilis were of the period after the Omani Arab conquest of East Africa. mostly reports to home authority. They began a balanced understanding of the effects of the Indian Ocean system and who was involved 140 .

The British have done that often enough and if one wishes to compare. bordering the undoubted Cushitic-occupied lands of Somalia (Azania as the Greeks and Romans called it). is that the language and generally urbanised society first appeared in the area of the Lamu archipelago. If it was Cushitic. and change them both again.. If they were Bantu. Especially. Pottery seems not to have helped over much in resolving this particular issue because language and genetic evidence of race cannot be ascribed to pottery. It is Chami’s generation who have been able to get to grips with greater depths. founding agriculture as they travelled. Obviously. one can point out that the time scale is virtually the same. The ‘Africanist’ school became split into the one that favoured the African base to be Cushitic (Afro-Asiatic) and that which saw Bantu-speaking Negroes as the base. those who went north being the ones who first became involved with the ocean trade. recent studies have shown the Swahili culture was established along the coast of East Africa from about AD 1250 when a cultural package developed on the northern coast from about the 10th century. the ancestral coastal tradition of what came to culminate as Swahili tradition can be traced back to the EIW [Early Iron Age pottery] tradition. Chami enters the discussion about the two opposing traditions regarding Swahili culture.in it. Previous scholars have seen the Swahili tradition of East Africa to date back to the 8th century AD. they migrated from the Interlacustrine Zone to the coast in the vicinity of Kwale and spread along the coast. Chami and colleagues are rightly influenced by their more-orless definite identification of Rhapta near the Rufiji and other sites in the Mafia islands. Indeed. Zanzibar and Kaole. have found sites with continuous occupation from the last centuries BC to the 12th century AD when the Swahili culture was being formed. And it could be said that it is equally futile to try to define precisely the racial and cultural heritage of the Swahili as it of the English today. Now is an exciting time! Chami in Kaole and the Swahili World : The Swahili culture has been defined as all archaeological sites along the East African coast dating from AD 1250. However. which is soundly logical. Archaeology has failed to produce similar 141 . These discussions proceeded in the 1990s. change it and the language in common use. from Swahili tradition itself. not on the Kenya coast but on the central coast of Tanzania. The assumption. between Kilwa and the Zanzibar channel. then the African component would have moved south from EthiopiaSomalia as Neolithic pastoralists who went on further to southern Africa. [and] was spread to the south. there are other superficial similarities between the story of East Africa and the story of Britain. Archaeologists working on this area.. people of a particular race can adopt more than one culture. Chami adds to the discussion by suggesting : . after my own sojourns on the East African coast and talks I had then with Richard W ilding and others. There is the ‘colonial’ or ‘Orientalist’ view that it was an Arab culture imposed on Africans and the ‘Africanist’ view that it had existed on the coast for a long time before the Arabic influence appeared.

they had no authority on land in those early centuries. They certainly impinged on the coastal people by raiding and periodic invasion in oral tradition. matters which I have already touched on in earlier chapters. Kwale and the medieval towns of the Kenya coast. The general adoption of Islam is illustrated by the construction of permanent and imposing mosques. And why should this thesis exclude Cushitic pastoralists? Or the possible earlier Nilotic neolithic farmers of Rhapta in the centuries before the Christian Era? I have no doubt that Cushites were moving with their cattle culture out of Ethiopia and Somalia along the Rift Valley and down the coast from time to time. Arabs claimed suzerainty but that was only in respect of the seaborne trade.continuity in time in the Lamu archipelago. If traditional Cushitic culture became invisible later. the arrival of cattle and the spread of iron technology. 142 . with the rise of the Zimbabwean Empire in the south and the flow of gold. presumably it was because the Bantu Iron Age absorbed it or scoured it away as more Bantu-speakers migrated down from the highlands as centuries passed and populations grew. The locals were chiefs in their own land as the Periplus pointedly makes clear. but a pursuit of all the strands is not really in the scope of this book. gradually combining with that of Islam after 800 AD as being that of an essentially feudal style. any more than there was of Portuguese in the 16th century. were at home in high-rainfall zones and thus were better adapted to the East African coast than the Cushites from Somalia. There was no invasion or mass immigration of Shirazi Persians or Arabs. was maintained in varying degrees of formality right up to the establishment of the Omani Sultanate based on Zanzibar in the 18th century. including the language and literature. I have always seen the history of the East African coast and the evolution of the Swahili culture. This flowering began in the 13th century and it coincided. Chami defines the beginning of the true Swahili cultural era with the commencement of the construction of substantial stone towns and a burgeoning of seatrading. The Bantu-speakers were mixed agriculturalists. the Interlacustrine Zone and the Tanzanian coast using the river roads are entirely logical if one examines the geography and considers the other wider problems of cultivation (with accompanying pottery). mythology and Portuguese history. strictly limited to the trading towns or depots. It is easy to become fascinated in this detail as more information becomes available. There were coconuts at Rhapta and bananas are generally accepted to have moved up the ‘Tooke Corridor’ from its vicinity to the Interlacustrine Zone and further into the Congo. I see that this tradition. There is also the assistance of the rather less clear but equally interesting trail of exotic food plants such as coconut and banana. not unsurprisingly. established in the last centuries of the preChristian era. W e have the evidence that in the first millennium BC possible Nilotic cultivators had already colonised the coastal regions and had begun a trading tradition with Sabaeans and their Arab successors. Ancient connection between the Nile. and eventually W est Africa. It was based on new and high-value trade.

must be accumulated from hunting and gathering expeditions in advance. Much misinformation has been irresponsibly bandied about regarding the Portuguese in East Africa. the Zanzibaris traded for slaves and ivory. like the Arabs before them. Zanzibar and Kilwa and resuscitated the great fortress on Mombasa. a local hierarchy emerged which claimed suzerainty over the enclave. and as the centuries rolled there were new people on the coast who did not know or understand the mechanisms. and millennia before. as at Kilwa. If this suited both sides. A pattern was set early on. Occasionally. old trading partners passed on. this aristocracy aligned itself with the overseas powers who were their trading partners and their support. It was all a natural progression. A feudal system grew. they inherited an existing system and structure. W hen the Portuguese came in the late 15th century and established their hegemony in the 16th. The Sultans of Zanzibar established a slave economy which lasted to the end of the 19th century and its tentacles reached Lakes Tanganyika and Nyassa and the upper reaches of the Congo River. were used as routes between the coast and the fertile and populous interior. 143 . The same routes which served people for centuries. who then imposed a similar regime. to maintain continuity permanent agents and residents of the overseas traders were established on the African coast. The local hierarchy became integrated into the local population but naturally maintained an aristocratic posture for their ruling class. tortoiseshells and beeswax. Trust is vital when the monsoon wind system means that the ships will come once a year and much of the trade goods. W herever some Swahili is understood today.which itself was taken over by the German and British colonial administrations in the 19th. such as the Masrui family of Mombasa. Their conflict was with the aristocratic rulers of the city states. They were not settlers. If there was instability. That was the way of the times. Stone towns grew and when wealth accumulated. palaces and trading caravanserais were built. Sooner or later. Their objective. the ships would not come. After the launch of Islam. W herever possible they maintained a friendly and cooperative local sheik in power and when this cooperation was not offered. was to trade and milk best commercial and fiscal advantages from the Indian Ocean trading system. these enclaves grew. they ruthlessly deposed the recalcitrant one. appointing their own sheiks in control of major towns. elephant tusks. Some of them. revolted in time and the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar established fortresses on Lamu. Trade can only flourish in a land of peace and stability and for most of their time there was tranquillity. rhino horns. The Portuguese were ousted in their turn by the Omanis after the brutal siege of Fort Jesus in Mombasa. As has happened over and again all over the world. The Swahili people and culture developed. Traders from the powerful and sophisticated civilisations of the northern hemisphere established connections with coastal people with whom a relationship of trust could be established. not with the mass of African inhabitants. the trading communities strengthened their settlements and towns were established. So there were inevitable periods when the trade failed and both sides would have been disillusioned with conflict and hiatus.

which is a large town on the coast. Bagamoyo and Kaole on the same quest. is the most authentic of all medieval descriptions of the Indian Ocean lands. Batuta’s description of Kilwa in the early 14th century has been quoted often and I add it here. Exploration went on down the Mozambique coast. jet-black in colour. from the Gibb translation: W e stayed one night in this island [Mombasa] and then pursued our journey to Kulwa. The obvious material reasons are the ruins of the fine palace on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Descriptions of the ruined stone towns I visited are in my book. The majority of its inhabitants ae Zanj. almost exactly on the Tropic of Capricorn (23ºS). and various places in between. Islamic Arabs from the Yemen and Oman and Persians from the Gulf began founding outposts in the Lamu Archipelago in the 8th century AD and their trading depots appeared southwards at Malindi. Two Shores of the Ocean. I had travelled to several of these places in a more casual way.* * After the explosion of the Islamic Jihad which swept through Arabia and across North Africa in the 7th century AD. W ilding. there are important literary relics. Archaeologists continue to explore the early Islamic towns and colonial depots established by a number of trading hierarchies. and that gold dust is brought to Sufala from Yufi [Zimbabwe] in the country of the Limis. past the Zambezi delta. The Lamu Archipelago and the Kenya coast have been a rich source of archaeological sites where Chittick and Kirkman pioneered and Horton. at different times from 1965 onwards. In 1987 I made a deliberate personal survey of the relics of the Islamic stone towns on the Kenya coast from Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago to W asini on the borders of Tanzania. Mombasa. therefore. but Ibn Batuta personally visited the places he described. and the two later Arab-Swahili fortresses. So Ethiopia was bypassed and the Somali and Kenyan coasts were early objectives of direct colonisation. I was told by a merchant that the town of Sufala lies a fortnight’s journey [south by sea] from Kulwa. which is a month’s journey from it. more as an interested tourist. Zanzibar. Sailing instructions and trading information began circulating and the safe boundary of navigation was accepted as being Cape Corrientes (Cape of the Currents). after which the monsoon winds become fickle and the southward-flowing current could carry ships to oblivion. There are many reasons why Kilwa has always fascinated me. There are several Islamic geographers or chroniclers whose descriptions of East Africa may be referred to. Mafia Island and Kilwa. Its inhabitants are constantly 144 . and then on to Zanzibar. as far as the mouth of the Save River and the two fine bays of Bazaruto and Inhambane. I visited Kilwa. But. There are also descriptions of Sofala and Moçambique Island. Abungu and others have worked in recent years. and all its buildings are of wood. it is not surprising that there was an effect on East Africa. Ethiopia was determinedly Christian and the people of that region resisted Islam for religious as well as nationalist reasons. Pemba. Ships designed to sail with the tropical winds could not face the frequent storms off Natal and the Cape of Good Hope. His biography. and with tattoo-marks on their faces. Kulwa is a very fine and substantially built town. the two mosques with corbelled roofs which still stand today. which is available on this web site. In 2000.

Around Kilwa Island are many small islands. Barros. W hales circle the 'naos'. it has a great deal of millet like Guinea. he would say : He who gave is dead. The streets are as narrow as these orchards are large. and lots of fish. Herbert Prins. The reference to the town being built of wood has sometimes been a source of confusion. W hen this liberal and virtuous Sultan died. Here the streets are so narrow that one can jump 145 . all of them inhabited.in a jar of three 'almudes' with the mouth covered by a palm mat with holes for the bees to go in and out. principal mosques and other homes of the ruling class. He is describing the town of the general Swahili populace. lambs. The Sultan at the time of my visit was Abu’l-Muzaffar Hasan. sheep. with flat roofs.engaged in military expeditions. The sheep and lambs have no wool but are like goats. The land is very hot. The city of Kilwa lies upon an island that can be circled by ships of 500 tons. The greater number of the houses are built of stone and mortar. The city and the island have 4000 souls. that they may be better to defend themselves. so that at last people gave up going to his gate.namely . and finally he would give them some small gift. as quoted by Neville Chittick in Kilwa (1974) and summarised by Prof. The meat is plump: there are oxen. for their country is contiguous to the heathen Zanj. it grows quantities of fruits. who was at the opposite pole from him in this respect. In Kilwa there are storied houses. Visitors would stay at his court for months on end. Clearly Ibn Batuta was not referring to the Sultan’s palace. and at the back there are orchards planted with fruit trees and palms to give shade and please the sight as well for their fruit. Here are found many domed mosques and one is like that of Cordoba. he was succeeded by his brother Dawud. as is described in the Koran. cows. goats. and I have seen him give the clothes off his back to a mendicant who asked him for them. His reference to the military expeditions is also noteworthy. The hives in the trees . The soil is red on top and there is always some green thing to be seen but there is no fresh running water. He used to devote the fifth part of the booty made on his expeditions to pious and charitable purposes. and others on the first Portuguese fleets. butter honey and wax. who was noted for his gifts and generosity. (Some of these) sturdy houses (are) vaulted in such manner that each house is a fortress. the Portuguese were travelling the coast and here is a description of Kilwa Island as it was at the beginning of the 16th century from the Portuguese chronicler. very stoutly built of masonry and covered with plaster that has a thousand paintings. Three hundred year later. and the way he describes the neighbouring people on the mainland as the heathen Zanj to discriminate them from the Zanj of the town who are presumably native Africans of the evolving Islamic-Swahili culture. this being the custom among the Moors. and left nothing behind him to be given. W henever a petitioner came to him.

few swords.from one roof to the other on the opposite side. Facing it was a large open space where they hauled their vessels up. built in the style of a fortress. The white Moors. mostly palms and others different from those of Portugal and the same on the mainland. In this land there are more Negro slaves than white Moors who work the gardens tilling the soil. The leaves turn the mouth and teeth deep red and it is said to be very refreshing [more likely actually it was the leaf of the tamarind tree. who are the owners of these slaves. At one part of the town the King has his palace. the Moors of quality eat this leaf with a kind of lime made to look like ointment. in front of which our ship had anchored. radishes. there are some that give wine [i. There is great amount of very good cotton that is grown and sown on the island. sweet marjoram and sweet basil in the gardens which they water from the wells. with towers and turrets and every kind of defence. but they are not sure about gunpowder. They grow betel. All persons of quality carry praying beads. and many kinds of cotton cloth. There were large quantities of glass of all sorts. Here they grow very sweet oranges. Their bodies of these white Moors are well shaped. and vials of good perfume for export.e. namely one tied at the waste that reaches to the feet. all the rest is naked. palm wine from the juice of the flower stalks] from which they also make vinegar but they do not bear coconuts 146 . and another large door on the side of the fortress that opened on the town. with a door opening to the quay to allow entrance from the sea. Here they make lime thus: they pile up in a circle a lot of logs and upon them they place the corral stone and the burning logs turn the stone into lime like that made in Portugal. W e saw large sacks of resin and gum. wear two cotton cloths. The slaves wear a cloth from the waist to the knees. and their beards are large and frightening to see. In Kilwa grow large quantities of peas on a kind of weed as large as the mustard plant and they pick them ripe and store them. Here the palm trees do not bear dates. together with the lime and the betel nut]. The landing party saw four bombards. W e saw large quantities of distilled water. which has a leaf like ivy and it is grown like peas each with a stick next to it. and tiny onions. Assegais like those of Guinea and better. Another that falls loosely from the shoulder and covers the waistband of the other. Their arms are barbed arrows and well-shaped shields made strong with palm woven with cotton. All the gardens are surrounded by wooden fences and canes that look like a cane-break. There are many trees. lemons. the grass is the height of a man. The people sleep off the ground on palm nets that hold one person. and a great amount of gold and silver and pearls.

drove north along the coast in lush coastal lands: coconuts. the women fully covered. groundnuts. These coconuts are as large as good sized melons with a thick skin from which they make all kinds of ropes. stands on the edge of a long. They didn’t encourage photographs.. It was the port at the end of the up country trading routes from where slave coffles were shipped and became a base for European explorers and missionaries in the 19th century. dark crystals of native-produced sugar. rough coral walls plastered with coral lime and whitewashed: all a bit mouldy and some buildings crumbling from neglect.. We arrived at Bagamoyo and it was all that I had hoped for. rice. Lots of people in the market in Swahili dress. The ‘hotel’ on the seafront. they break the fruit and eat it. long beach backed by endless groves of coconut palms. tamarind seeds. In the interior the antelopes are numerous . beans. bananas. They dry these coconuts and get from them oil in great abundance. I camped on the beach and wrote in my diary: Kunduchi to Bagamoyo. though it functions as little more than a local bar and prostitutes’ rendezvous. I was lucky to have the opportunity to spend time in Bagamoyo in October 1985. One advantage of the socialist regime in Tanzania following independence and the lack of commercial exploitation was the relative unchanged appearance of out-of-the-way towns. others are smaller in size.. fresh and dried fish. sugarcane. maize kernels. I walked in a very good market with okra. The Captain-major went twice through the greater part of the island and once saw at least 25 antelopes though they are hunted here. which holds about a 'quartilho' of water that is very tasty to drink. dried copra. The sea here is the Zanzibar Channel. Its inside tastes like a walnut that is not quite ripe. but hot and humid. the decking is lashed with palm bands and the rudder is also lashed with them. Arab houses with carved doors and wooden shutters. sugarcane in small shambas and between scattered villages. onions and tomatoes and other vegetables. coconut oil. The large mtepes lie aground and are set afloat when they have to go to sea. rock-salt. and larger sailing jahazis lay out at anchor beyond the shallows. and inside them they have a fruit as large as a pine.which is the fruit of the others. There are no nails in these ships. several fresh and dried spices. and there can never be any 147 . . some with outriggers. Drawn up on the beach were maybe twenty big dug-out canoes. cashews. A reasonable dirt road. mangoes. manioc leaves and roots. the island lies just over the horizon. There are a great number of 'sambuks' as big as caravels [the Portuguese type of ship] of 50 tons. Bagamoyo lies opposite Zanzibar on the mainland. Once they have taken out this water. They are held fast by white resin and gum.

They were built of sawn planks but were sewn together with coconut fibre. with many mountains and sandy deserts. 6/1. Masudi sailed with Omani merchants from Sohar to Kanbalu which James Kirkman tentatively identified as the island of Pemba in The Journal of Omani Studies (vol. referring probably to the Zambezi. but the sewn construction was used to the end.. Chinese trading fleets regularly reached the Indian Malabar Coast at this time. .. The neighbourhood of Sofala was wealthy.. they wore iron in place of gold and silver. then he was slain. The elephant was especially hunted for its ivory. it produced gold in abundance. . In the last centuries canvas replaced the macuti. The region abounded in wild animals. 1983). Arabs wrote about them. the same material used universally for roofing. It is interesting that archaeological evidence which emerged in 1996 at Thulamela near the Limpopo River confirmed oral tradition that a ruler who had 148 . The mtwepe ships were a living connection over more than 2. It was not far from that port that the Zanj had their capital. Bow and stern were surmounted by tall figureheads. They had a single mast with a single square sail set on a yard and the sail was made of strips of plaited coconut fronds.ocean swell. Murz al-Dhabab wa. Masudi stated that ivory loaded at East African ports was transshipped in the Oman and despatched onwards to India and China. It was customary among them to elect a king.000 years of seafaring. If the W aqlimi ceased to govern justly. Masudi declares. those in the bow traditionally in the shape of a camel’s head. There are coral reefs offshore which protect the anchorage from the adverse monsoon. meaning “Son of the Supreme Lord” [or son of God]. which was the limit of their land. They were extraordinary reminders of the first seatraders. the most interesting relics of those centuries were the mtwepe ships which were still being built early this century. . Eric Axelson in South-East Africa. They inhabited the country as far as Sofala. Mas’udi declares. summarised the surviving abridgement of a great lost work of thirty volumes. Before the first Portuguese sailed the East African coast and began recording their visits and these lands entered European history. for besides being naturally fertile. * * Apart from the excavated ruins of the medieval towns and their mosques. Here is an interesting note from Axelson: The Zanj [negroes] were the only tribe to cross the branch of the Nile that flowed into the Ethiopian sea [Indian Ocean]...Ma’din al-Jawhar which was completed by Ali al-Mas’udi (Masudi) in 947 AD. and his posterity debarred from the succession. In their ornamentation. whom they called W aqlimi. This was their furthest port and thereafter local vessels traded southwards..a people usually accepted as being the Bushmen. Beyond Sofala the land of the Zanj marched with that of the W aq-waqs . images of Assyrian and Babylonian vessels of millennia ago. The land was broken... 1488-1530 (1940). Not many descriptions have survived and some lose accuracy in poetic licence.

I have already referred to Shaykh Ab Abdallah Ibn Batuta (1304-1368) and quoted his description of Kilwa.. Persia. identified as people of Indonesian descent. and although their height is not proportionate to their girth they are so stout and so large-limbed that they have the appearance of giants. They are quite black and go entirely naked except that they cover their private parts.. They have elephants in plenty and drive a brisk trade in their tusks. Marco Polo accurately described the navigational problems to the south of Zanzibar and Madagascar. the Maldives and went to China as the envoy of the Turkish Sultan of Delhi. India. They have big mouths and their noses are so flattened and their lips and eyes so big that they are horrible to look at. On the East African coast he did not go further south than Kilwa. Ibn Majid described the altitude of stars at various landmarks at different times of the year along the East African coast and at oceanic islands. including Sofalia (1495). .failed or was incapable was ritually killed in the 17th century. This tends to show that Masudi’s observations of customs in the interior of Africa was accurate. He wrote that Arab seatraders. Sofala is always referred to as being a source of gold. Another geographer was abu-Abdullah Muhammad Ibn-Muhammad al-Idrisi who lived between 1100-1160 and his compilation was from other reports and particularly from agents that he despatched to bring back information. They also have lions of a different sort from those found elsewhere. the trading-city which firmly controlled the Zimbabwean gold trade from Sofala. W est Africa.. probably the Comores.. but he is particularly noted for details of the many islands off eastern Africa and his descriptions of Sofala and its hinterland.. warning of the southward flowing current. . They are a big-built race.. did not willingly proceed to those regions whose trade was carried out by locally-based [Swahili] sailors. Ahmad Ibn Majid. He wrote of Zanzibar: Zanzibar is a large and splendid island .. having explored there. who had long hair and an “easier temperament”. Their hair is so curly that it can scarcely be straightened out with the aid of water. W hat need of more words? They have all their animals different from those of the rest of the world. His works proved that Arabs were sailing directly 149 . His narrative is filled with fascinating personal observations and descriptions of his adventures. besides giving instructions about the winds and sea-current cycles. Ceylon. but he spent years in Arabia. identified with modern Sena. An Omani navigator of great renown. Although Marco Polo did not set eyes on the African shores of the Indian Ocean. in the late 13th century. which it still was when the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century. Abu-al-Fida (1273-1331) recorded that Arab or Swahili vessels plied the Zambezi from Sofala to Seyouna. Idrisi describes colonies at Malindi and Zanzibar. published important navigation manuals.. described the people on islands in the vicinity of Madagascar. besides lynxes and leopards. Dimashqui. copper and iron. his hearsay descriptions of various places and their trade was often remarkably accurate.

Hadramawt does not have a history of a colonial power in the Indian Ocean. fading photographs of them from the 1920s. that trade not only fosters the movement of goods and technology but it creates a movement of general and esoteric culture. more important. Offshore fishing and coastwise trade from Cape Corrientes in Mozambique to Cape Cormorin at the tip of India still goes on in sailing ships whose design is as old as Ibn Majid. W ith them travelled goods and ideas. unfortunately some of it with unacceptable 150 . I have made a point. There are many references. Irena Knetle writes in her review: Unlike Oman. fashion. I go into some of that story in the chapters following. traders. the most notable being the religion of Islam. But there is more to scholarship and cultural transfer than the more general evidence which is usually observed. and habits. * * The Swahili coast does not end in Tanzania. They left their imprint on the place. To them the Ocean was no barrier rather a long established arena for cultural and intellectual exchange. including the East African coast. On both sides of the ocean great dug-out canoes with outriggers are used by fishermen on the open sea. from time to time. By an extraordinary quirk of fate. There is a relatively enormous quantity of historical records on Mozambique because of the long years of Portuguese occupation.across the Indian Ocean employing celestial navigation aids and better compasses than Europeans had at the time. The Islamic religion became entrenched as part of the Swahili culture. and absorbed cultural elements that were not Arabic in origin. even though it was diluted by African native religion to a greater and lesser degree in different parts forming magic cults. Sufis and Scholars of the Sea by Anne Katrina Bang. The South African Victorian historian. They were religious scholars. accumulated many references and re-told much Mozambique history. word of mouth. The ruler of Moçambique Island in the 15th century claimed the title of Sultan. Swahili people traded and settled in coastal trading posts as far south as Inhambane (24ºS latitude) and up the Zambezi River as far as Tete. cultural brokers. although in practice he was probably a Sheik in the fiefdom of the Sultan of Kilwa. but my attention was drawn to a recently published book. he was at Malindi in 1498 and piloted Vasco da Gama’s Portuguese fleet to Calicut on the Malabar coast of India. Both traditional African religion and Islam were corrupted in the same way that Christianity and native religion corrupted each other to result in the grosser attributes of the W est African ‘juju’ cults which were also carried to Brazil and the Caribbean. and word of writing. directly across the ocean. Sofala was the entrepot for the gold trade with Zimbabwe. and seeds for new agricultural crops. George Theal. In the museums of Lamu and Fort Jesus at Mombasa there are models of mtwepe ships and. whose impact on both recipient and home country is a topic which has aroused much interest in recent years. Many types of vessel which have been used in the last millennium can be seen in the western Indian Ocean. linguistic patterns. Hadramawt is known for its continuous export of people to the land of the Indian Ocean.

bias from today’s viewpoint. The Southern Swahili Coast in the first century of European Expansion. 151 . I quote a passage: South of the Zambezi the picture is somewhat different. It appears that when the Portuguese arrived there were a number of thriving Muslim settlements. Muslim traders went into the hinterland to trade and the Muslims of the Bazaruto Islands appear to have lived under the protection of a chief called Moconde who cooperated closely with them. there was an important town at Chiluane (Kilwani).] Paul Sinclair carried out an archaeological survey later and excavated at Chibuene in Bazaruto Bay (22ºS latitude) which showed Swahili occupation from the 9th century. One difference along this coast was the extent to which the Muslims had mixed and merged with the local population. These are all mentioned by Majid [the Omani Arab navigator] and in addition he mentions other settlements which are more difficult to identify but which may show that Muslim traders were already active at Mambone at the mouth of the Sabi [Save}. Dr. in Azania XIII (1978). Malyn Newitt presents a useful summary at the time. Eric Axelson in the 1980s was an acknowledged expert on early Portuguese African colonial history. Chibuene would not have been in any way unique. and there were settlements in the Bazaruto islands and on the mainland opposite them. There were at least three settlements around Sofala itself. The sheikh of Sofala had villages inland and had good relations with local chiefs. Prof. [and so on.

sub-tropical climate. They were probably Bantu-speaking and were farmers and fishermen. there is what some claim to be the earliest clearly identified mine in the world. especially Middle Stone Age from the ‘pulse’ in the warm period. Modern people. in Shorefolk (1987): After arriving at the coast down convenient corridors across the Nyika.CHAPTER TWELVE : A BEAUTIFUL IVORY BANGLE KwaZulu-Natal is a soft and lovely land lying between the high Drakensberg escarpment buttressing the southern African plateau and the warm Indian Ocean. About 250 AD. and East Africa at around 200-300 AD. notably at Matola and XaiXai. Iron Age South of the Zambezi. KwaZulu-Natal has a moderate summer rainfall and a temperate. Tim Maggs in his review. The volume of Drakensberg Late Stone Age paintings alone has been said to exceed. with continuity of occupation at least from that time. at a high level of artistic and technical merit. Silver Leaves in the Mpumalanga (eastern Transvaal) lowveld. just north of KwaZulu-Natal. in Southern African Prehistory and Palaeoenvironments (1984) wrote: 152 . In Swaziland. W hen this rich iron ore was ground to powder and mixed with animal fats it produced an attractive red-coloured cosmetic and insect barrier. Remnants of San-Bushmen hunter-gatherers were still living a traditional lifestyle there in the last part of the 19th century. and has been found in some profusion. On the peak of Ngwenya Mountain. They had iron technology and their pottery was related to that of Kwale near Mombasa in Kenya. people mined haematite about 45. maybe 125.. their pottery has been found in profusion. migrants arrived on the coast from the north.000 years ago (also coincident to the beginning of southern African rock-art). suggests the relatively rapid migration of the eastern stream of cultivators and fishermen. unencumbered by livestock. the total of all European examples... Dr. and the world.000 years ago. loved to smear themselves with similar mixtures. these people [Bantu-speaking farmers] fanned out and filtered along the coast. It is dated by comparison with the material at Kwale at the earliest and Kilwa and Manda at the latest. There are many perennial rivers flowing from the Drakensberg to the sea and over very long time people have found a good life there. The remains of Early and Middle Stone Age people have been found. Richard W ilding wrote. all over eastern-southern Africa. the colour depending on local earths or mineral ores which became traditional amongst them. coastal southern Mozambique. In the Drakensberg Mountains there are thousands of San-Bushman paintings of variety and beauty at hundreds of sites. Along the Mozambique coast. high above the surrounding valleys. The Border Cave archaeological site in the Lebombo Mountains on the modern border between KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland is one of the more important in Africa. The similarity between pottery style and design from sites in seaside KwaZuluNatal such as Mzonjani and Enkwalini.

is proven and will not go away. the low-lying confluence of several valleys leading to the Thukela River in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. The broader issue may be unresolved for the time being and remains a matter for fascinating speculation. Dr. It was when the Middle Stone Age changed to Late. In KwaZulu-Natal there had been changes then which archaeology was beginning to clarify with increasing precision. a condition supplied by the KwaZulu-Natal ecological model and perhaps applicable to the coastline further north as well. 153 . Aron Mazel provided a review of recent work on the Late Stone Age of the period from about 30.000 to 500 years ago in the Thukela Basin. I have broached the problem of the origin of the first agriculturalists in southern Africa in previous chapters. There was another site where work was recently completed on the Mhlatuzana River near the motorway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The question of Khoisan sheep and pottery at the far end of Africa 2000 years ago. New archeological work in Tanzania and in the Interlacustrine Zone in east-central Africa suggests that neolithic agriculture may have been carried southwards by Nilotic farmers and Cushitic herders during the 1st millennium BC in advance of Early Iron Age migrants down the east coast. Settlements scattered over some 3200 km from Kenya to southern KwaZulu-Natal may be within 150 years of each other. I was warned not to be misled down blind alleys! That does not preclude me from being personally certain that Late Stone Age agriculture in more than one form had seeped down the continent in trickling streams of migration according to climate and population stimuli. His discussion brought the broad band of time around 30. Aron Mazel expounded on the Late Stone Age.000 years ago to my attention once again. Movement at anything approaching this speed would seem to require special economic circumstances.Tim Maggs kindly invited me to an archaeological seminar at the Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg in 1989. was described showing correlation in the early centuries of the Iron Age. and later cattle. Indeed. W ork in the neighbouring Transkei. south of KwaZulu-Natal where the Xhosa-speaking group of Nguni live. including that by myself in this book. and had also moved by diffusion. * * Dr. but apparently there has not been any revelation. Leonard van Schalkwyk described his Early Iron Age sites in the Thukela Valley and Gavin W hitelaw told the story of exciting finds at the new Inanda Dam near Durban. There has been informed speculation.The ecological pattern of Matola sites [similar pottery to Kwale] in KwaZulu-Natal is significant in terms of the present evidence for very rapid initial expansion of the EIA [Early Iron Age] down the east African coastline. A number of papers were discussed. with a switch to finer techniques in the manufacture of implements such as spear tips and the appearance of carefully worked ostrich egg-shell jewellery. I have enquired about new archaeological work in South Africa which may enlighten this matter.

As time passed. my immediate conclusion was that the pottery showed that there were sheep-herding Khoi in KwaZulu-Natal then.000 years ago could not then take place. Cattle-keeping increased in those three centuries and farming methods changed. The dates were from about 600-950 AD and the communities were cereal farmers with sheep and later cattle. Particularly there was association with magnetite outcrops used by iron smelters and smiths. ironware and maybe later preyed on domestic animals. presumably because he had no fossils to prove it. There was evidence that there was denser coverage of scrub bush at the beginning of the period which was home to tsetse fly which would have inhibited the husbanding of exotic cattle. If the first immigrants into that area had no cattle.000 years ago as they did in many parts of the world and Mazel could see possible changes in social structuring with specialisation into different groups. Mazel’s investigations seemed to be making 500 years ago the time when this absorption reached its conclusion in KwaZulu-Natal.000 years ago. Although Aron Mazel did not speculate. The Khoisan seemed to have abandoned occupation of higher altitude sites after the time of Christ and moved towards the coast. and Phillip Tobias has shown that in some Nguni communities.000 years ago in the Thukela Basin itself there seemed to have been a hiatus in occupation and people did not resettle the area until 10. coincident to the arrival of Early Iron Age farmers and fishermen. or could not sustain them because of fly-born disease before the bush was thinned out. This was probably related to the particularly cold period of several thousand years at the conclusion to the last Ice-age. The people had to learn how to prosper in this virgin territory. appeared about the time of Christ before Bantu-speaking migrants. exchanging hunted meat and skins for grain.Mazel pointed out that there were environmental changes and evidence of social change at that time and one could draw conclusions that one influenced the other. Leonard van Schalkwyk described Early Iron Age sites he had worked in the Thukela Valley. Populations grew steadily after 10. as in the Cape of Good Hope and Namibia. This suggested that they became clients or lived in symbiosis. suggesting to me that the Nguni began arriving maybe 800 years ago. as much as 60% of certain genes can be identified with Khoisan ancestry. He saw that there was cooperation between communities probably because of the rigours of the climate with cyclical droughts and crop failures. who settled along the rivers on suitable lands. Pottery. Any speculation about the supernova “Cygnus event” at about 35. The marvellous infusion of ‘click’ sounds into the sonorous Nguni language has long been accepted as the result of absorption of San-Bushmen and Khoi into Nguni society. I have seen San-Bushman facial characteristics in many Nguni people as the physical manifestation of this absorption of their genes. for the special characteristic of all Khoisan languages is the extraordinary variety and spread of clicks throughout their speech. After about 30. they could have been obtained later from nomadic herders in exchange for grain and iron 154 . At about the 15th century AD. distinctive San-Bushmen culture retreated to the Drakensberg. the bush would have been cleared for cereal farming and fuel by slowly increasing populations and conditions for cattle would have improved.

There were hut circles and sheep and cattle byres at the later levels. There were artifacts from the Stone Age.which was an important industry in the Thukela valley with its abundance of iron ore. There were no burials in byres at Inanda. Clay walls and stone-lined pits were unearthed which immediately reminded me of the Hyrax Hill site in the Great Rift Valley and the widespread Sirikwa Holes on the East African Kenya highlands. Gavin W hitelaw was entrusted by Tim Maggs with the task of excavating at the Inanda Dam site near Durban. Time was short. Mixed-farming agricultural occupation throughout KwaZulu-Natal expanded into the highveld leading to the Drakensberg escarpment and other archaeological exploration has shown that this coincided with a switch to social culture dominated by a cattle-cult on lands above 1000 metres elevation. a tradition in later Nguni cattle-oriented society. Another explanation is that it shows links with Middle East Semitic food taboos carried via Cushitic cattle-oriented people from the Horn of Africa. but there was a child’s skeleton in a pot and other burials. a large sea fish. that fish are like snakes for example. A huge dam on the Mngeni River was being constructed to add to the supply of water for the rapidly expanding city. Amongst the fish bones there were identifiable remains of a mussel-cracker [sparadon durbanensis]. Areas were cleared of bush and topsoil removed rapidly as the dam wall rose. 100 kilometres to the north. contemporary with Leonard van Schalkwyk’s sites on the Thukela. drastic methods had to be used. The latter seems to fit the scenario I favour. The valley floor had shown evidence of early settlement and since it was going to be flooded. It was a lucky place for archaeology and several important excavations followed. ostrich egg-shell jewellery. I have yet to find a convincing one. 155 . It is a 30 kilometre walk down the Mngeni valley to the ocean from the Inanda Dam site and the fish bones and seashells indicate that these Early Iron Age people continued their coastal fish-eating tradition. Although there are explanations for this taboo. and this may have aided the changeover from cereal-orientation. which also confirms a cultural divide around 900 AD. and settlements were soon revealed. remains of cultivated millet and local fruits. The dates obtained were from about 600-800 AD. During 8-900 AD there was dramatic change. but it was the Early Iron Age that was the target. cowrie shells (universally admired around the Indian Ocean rim suggesting the pervasive influence of seatraders) and large quantities of ivory shavings and worked ivory. San-Bushmen maintained their client or symbiotic relationship and there was considerable communication and interchange in the region. brought by people who had developed them in similar country to the north. Gavin W hitelaw reported masses of pottery of different styles. There was some evidence of cattle. substantial quantities of fish bones and shells. a cattle-dominated socio-economy required settlement in healthy uplands. Probably new strains of cereals also arrived at that time. Leonard van Schalkwyk told me that he found a bau [warri] game board carved in soapstone associated with ± 800 AD in the Thukela valley similar to the boards carved from living rock at Hyrax Hill. Modern Nguni people abhorred fish which is a cultural characteristic of all eastern African cattle herders. Although the reduction of bush and improved husbanding methods in the lowveld may have increased prospects for cattle.

infested with tsetse fly and unfavourable to cultivation between the lush monsoon-watered littoral and inland mountains all down eastern Africa to the Tropic of Capricorn. Early Iron Age coastal sites had been identified. The latter had become a definitive site with pottery identified as being of the same culture as that of Kwale near Mombasa. despite the years of civil war in Mozambique. By 1985. there was a whole elephant’s tusk. The ceramics and distribution of pioneer agriculturalists in KwaZulu-Natal . The sites. The environment was familiar all the way until the more temperate sub-tropical lands of KwaZulu-Natal were reached. Manufactured glass beads have always been associated with trade goods from the Middle East or Europe. discarded pendants and arm-bands could be enhanced by that bead. The introduction begins : W e recorded four Matola phase Early Iron Age (EIA) sites during a cultural resource management project in the Mngeni valley. there was a clear connection with Indian Ocean seatraders that far south. maybe as early as 5-600 AD. had worked on or supervised investigations revealing much of the information available at the KwaZulu-Natal end of this movement. Since the cultural transfer. Chibuene is a key site proving an early seatraders’ presence. Muaconi. 156 . inland of Durban. dating to the fifth and sixth centuries AD. In the south there are sites at XaiXai and Matola. at the Natal Museum. but it had been processed into jewellery in the large quantities required for trade. written together with Michael Moon and published in 1996.000 years ago had stabilised and was similar to the present. associated with Iron Age people and cultivation. I see the fastest and most direct route along the coast from East Africa. represent the earliest agricultural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. there was a band of dry savannah bush. Tototo and most important. * * Tim Maggs. There are sites at Namalu. in the north. There were only three possible routes for this particular migration. it has to be accepted that it took place directly through the migration of people. two of them from East Africa and one from the west. together with similar sites elsewhere in the province. Not only was there ivory at Inanda. Assuming the climate 2. nevertheless it seemed clear to me that there was potential archaeological evidence confirming both Early Iron Age migrations down this coast and subsequent seaborne exploration. One stream must have felt compelled to keep to the coast.000 kilometres in a short time was a manifestation of the remarkable colonisation of parts of a quarter of the African continent by presumed Bantu-speaking people of the Early Iron Age. That was really exciting. This movement of people over distances of up to 5. Gavin W hitelaw recently provided me with a copy of his paper. His detailed paper describes the state of knowledge at this time. The significance of quantities of ivory shavings. Assuming that it was not some random aberration.In addition to ivory shavings and artifacts. had occurred across vast territory previously occupied solely by Late Stone Age people. A glass bead was found with a possible date of about 850 AD. presumed to be Khoisan. Neither people nor resources had been available for extensive excavations.

or promoted by them as potential future partners on a hitherto superficially explored coast? I believe that the several strands combining here involved sophisticated people with mixed motives and time to work them through. together with stimulation from the seatraders. being compressed through a narrow coastal corridor or squeezed through the forest itself. created a dynamic new population which grew in numbers and needed space. may have reached the savannahs of northern Angola.Those that moved directly south from the Cameroon. there had to be a trigger. of the seatraders: either flight from their unwanted influence. But the speed of the movement remains an issue. Especially. Maybe they were a mix of the original ‘Rhaptarians’. but was it really so fast? Two or three hundred years is a very long time. Maybe. 157 . The space most easily available was the long tropical seacoast. there was no single motive but a combination of several affecting several groups of similar people over an adequate time span. keeping their agricultural. and it makes good sense that they did because their hesitant or spasmodic migrations must have had their origins in Cameroon many centuries earlier. Tom Huffman of the University of the W itwatersrand has spent much effort examining these themes and exploring the archaeological record that has been found. however subtle. I remark on the speed of the migration. But movement in that region would have been sluggish. as usual. If Late Stone Age farmers had been accumulating on the East African coast in pockets of settled society promoted by seatrading Arabs from the Yemen before 100 AD. W as it some kind of influence. The agriculture which had been successful in the forest would not be successful on the savannah. Zambia and the southern Congo before any concerted migration down the Indian Ocean coast. there had to be a trigger for the rapid coastal migration and the only historical clue I have is the brief references in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. iron and pottery technologies precious until they found places to settle scattered along the way. Prof. It seems likely that the arrival of Iron Age technology from the Interlacustrine Zone on the coast. and Bantu-speakers with Iron Age technology. W hat propelled them so fast? The new lands they passed through presumably were sparsely inhabited by coastal hunter-gatherers with whom they should not have had significant conflict until numbers built up. animals and know-how. whom I have written about at length earlier. Accepting that the movement of Early Iron Age people was easier and faster down from East Africa. Maybe. some Bantu-speaking Iron Age farmers arriving at the coast from the Kenya Highlands may have had an incentive to move on southwards along a hospitable coastline. They lacked appropriate food crops and animals and would have had to await the arrival of better equipped people from eastern Africa with whom they could mingle or obtain the necessary foodstocks. the people who moved south were not exclusively Bantuspeaking. Or maybe they lost their animals and therefore became unencumbered. However triggered. Probably many perished. no matter how sparsely. to the west of the Congo rainforest. I believe the speed of this coastal spearhead was possible because they were unencumbered by animals having to be husbanded through tsetse-fly belts. They could have resorted to reliance on hunter-gathering and fishing while on the march.

An obvious cause of this was the filling up of the best lands for agriculture by people which demanded structures and hierarchies to settle disputes over territory. Perhaps it was the dominant one. tsetse flies and ticks. The availability of iron ore seems to be one of the primary reasons for deciding on settlements and perhaps the rapid movement down the long sandy Mozambican coastline was caused by a searching for sufficient of this essential commodity for their culture. The widespread evidence of major socio-economic change in KwaZuluNatal at about 8-900 AD suggests the continuing arrival of new people. with groups dropping off here and there. Zimbabwe and the South African Highveld. In that way. They had to feel their way past the best lands which were already settled. They had to get to know how to cross disease zones and river valleys on the way. peaceably or otherwise. Dominating these various interactions and exploration. the need to care for their exotic cattle caused the inland migrants to take longer to reach the southern limits of viable farming and ranching country. Zambia. a thin scattering colonised the watered and healthy highlands of southern Tanzania. Once having mastered iron smelting and become reliant on iron tools and weapons. Livestock became a universal part of these structures wherever it was healthy for them and the importance of cattle becomes emphasised. I believe this is a most important factor in considering the fast migration of the Early Iron Age from East to South Africa. confirmed that early cultural traditions proceeded through this Tanganyika-Malawi gap. with sufficiently high annual rainfall for successful cultivation. This change is often loosely described for convenience as the divide between the Early and Late Iron Ages. East Africa between the coast and highlands along the Rift Valley is not hospitable country. 158 . Natal provided those suitable locations in river valleys. with increased clan and tribal organisation and the establishment of more clearly defined structures in eastern-southern Africa. The inland route for migrants was longer with varied geography and contact with earlier mixed-agriculture colonists who had preceded them into the woodland savannah of Zambia. Therefore. Pottery trails. this time more firmly committed to cattle. There was probably mixing and merging and territorial dispute. or immediately to the west of Lake Tanganyika. however sparsely. close to the coast with its familiar seafoods. people and their exotic cattle had to use the chain of inland mountains and the escarpments of the Great Rift Valley as a highway. In the dry season there is little surface water and in the wet there are diseases carried by mosquitoes. pursued by Tom Huffman. Evidence from the valley sites in KwaZulu-Natal suggests that the inland migrants began arriving two to three centuries after the coastal stream.Gavin W hitelaw in his paper has pointed out that Early Iron Age sites in KwaZulu-Natal are within easy access of iron-ore deposits. It is at about this time that a divide in socio-political organisation is perceived. Malawi. finding easy sources of iron would be a most powerful incentive to move on. * * The other route from East to South Africa was inland through the gap between Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi (I call it the Tanganyika-Malawi gap). coincident to population growth amongst the residents causing environmental problems in those deep KwaZulu-Natal valleys.

It figures in discussions of the pre-tenth century southward movements of peoples and probably represents a phenomenon lasting very much longer. aromatic gums. in East Africa there was the excitement along the coastal strip caused by the establishment of Islamic ocean-trading contacts from Mogadiscio to Mozambique. The only indirect evidence is the changes that archaeology have shown to have occurred in South Africa at what might have been the furthest reach of a chain of reactions. W ilding in Shorefolk (1987): The story is undatable. This trade waxed and waned. The whole coast was raided by the ragged ‘Simba’ horde from the south in the late 16th century and recorded in Portuguese records. but its character was not altered until the 18th-19th centuries with the conquest and colonisation of Zanzibar and Mombasa by the Omanis and intensive slave-trading was introduced. skins. Gedi visited by many tourists in Kenya with its palace of the Sultan. W ilding also referred to the persistent ‘Shungwaya myths’ which told that there were aggressive people of Cushitic origin who put pressure on East Africa from a northern base and caused turmoil and migrations. for their country is contiguous to the heathen Zanj [mainland Negroes].. rock-crystal and other produce.16th century trading city. .. Richard W ilding. several mosques. writing in Shorefolk (1987) described trade between the coastal towns and the highland interior along river-roads which commenced before the Islamic expansion and continued thereafter with what must have become regular frequency. there is no local archaeological or historical support in East Africa for the idea of a southward movement about 800 AD. rhino horns. Indian. * * Presently. and violence. but the virility of Islam was felt from its inception. It was not always peaceable and Ibn Batuta (1304-1368) wrote of Kilwa : It’s inhabitants are constantly engaged in military expeditions. Arab chroniclers have described not only the increasing prosperity of the seatraders’ colonial towns and the emergence of the Swahili mixed-race people but also the interaction with people of the immediate interior. town walls and warren of alleyways. The basic motif is that the Oromo [of Cushitic origins] or their immediate predecessors began to unsettle the farming communities before the turn of this [first] millennium. The medieval Swahili stone town. of course. and its emphasis changed as centuries rolled. It was sacked on at least two occasions by Cushitic Galla invaders from the north and even occupied by them for a while.About 800 AD. As has been discussed in the previous chapter. It persisted into the sixteenth century. this was perhaps gradual and a settled and formal hierarchical Islamic Swahili society may not have been fully established until after a few centuries. is the best undisturbed example of a 14th . This disruption took the form of competition for land. honey. Academics might be alarmed at claims for a trail of organised cattle-oriented tribal 159 . Arab and Swahili traders remained in the towns and the people of the interior acquired and transported the ivory.

movements southwards. were disrupted and displaced. moved north with their armies and in a matter of a few decades carved out new tribal estates in Swaziland. News of increasing trade with Dutch and British settlers from the Cape of Good Hope and the commencement of territorial warfare at the interface between Europeans and Nguni-Xhosa clans in the south sent disturbing waves through KwaZulu-Natal. It was sparked by ocean trading. principally the Sotho and Tswana of the western South African highveld and Tsonga of the southern Mozambique lowlands. Empire-building by Nguni clan chieftains in northern KwaZulu-Natal who wished to control the increasingly important trade with the Portuguese precipitated dynastic ambitions. Shaka was a charismatic leader who seized the chieftainship of the small Zulu clan to which he had some hereditary claim. Zimbabwe and Malawi. with all its ramifications which affected settled communities over hundreds of thousands of square miles in the 19th century. Nevertheless. Cyclical droughts which are endemic in Africa caused famine at a time of population growth and political change and general dynastic warfare broke out. Tribal groups of other cultures. One Nguni army moved directly north along the ocean and sacked every Portuguese trading post as far as the Zambezi. There is also some evidence of population growth following the introduction of maize by Portuguese traders in southern Mozambique. Henry Francis Fynn. Clan leaders and generals who did not wish to be swept into Shaka’s Zulu empire. The British and Portuguese colonial authorities and Afrikaner pioneer settlers became embroiled in knock-on effects and their reactions fuelled the flames. including slaving. makes no mention of maize in his description of cereals and grain grown by the Zulus in the 1820s: maybe maize was adopted only by some Nguni clans. They may have raided as far as Lake Victoria. and pressures from European colonists in the eastern Cape Colony during the late 18th century. Maybe population growth was the result of disrupted society and increasing inter-clan warfare. at Delagoa Bay on the southern border of Mozambique. It has been likened to an Nguni Diaspora. which is to be expected. Clues may be found in the reverse movement of highly organised tribal groups from KwaZulu-Natal to Tanzania in the 19th century which has been described in a mass of firsthand and hearsay historical records. It is an immensely complicated saga which is available for study because it happened within the historical time of early European exploration of the same territory. Fleeing Tswanas moved into Zambia and Nguni regiments ravaged Malawi and Tanzania looking for living room. about which there is controversy. a diarist and source of much information on the Zulus of his time. is a striking model of how physical and cultural pressures from 160 . resulting in years of anarchy. I believe it is sensible speculation. This series of remarkable movements northwards from KwaZulu-Natal was precipitated by what has become traditionally known as the mfecane by the Zulu and the difaqane by the Sotho. The story of the mfecane. either by long-range migrations or a series of shunts and one has to be careful of circular arguments. In a fast-moving military campaign. Shaka gained control of a confederation and welded the Zulu empire together out of all the northern Nguni clans in KwaZulu-Natal. Mozambique.

He also had many conversations with his chiefs and generals and travelled the country widely. E. was a confidant and friend of the Zulu king. I believe that the mfecane and its aftermath is the dominating historical story of southern Africa in the 19th century and vital to an understanding of the Iron Age in general.000 years and more before in East Africa. He personally observed the empty lands from where people had fled or where clans and clan groups had been massacred or dispersed.F. may seem even more remote. feeding on each other. The story becomes merged into conflicts between British imperialism and the Afrikaner struggle for independence and are therefore often lost in increasingly detailed European colonial history. The mfecane may seem irrelevant to events 1. edited by James Stuart and D.McK. which had adopted Christianity in the 5th century. But I believe it is a model of what happens in Africa when external pressures exceeded the resilience of ancient African inertia. Prolonged Islamic Arab pressure on the Axum empire in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. Fynn’s diaries and papers were assembled and voluminously edited quite recently. Some three or four thousand refugees attached themselves to Fynn as clients and he managed to obtain Shaka’s permission to keep them under his protection. Parallels with the tumult and empire-building during the medieval period in W est Africa. but I see them. cultural and territorial colonialism and indigenous counteractions. thus precipitating Galla 161 . Although they were not present during the beginnings of the mfecane. following the arrival of the Islamic invaders in the Sahel. Young. caused chaotic chain reactions. describes his firsthand experiences as well as much hearsay in Nyassa. Shaka. and especially when considering the difference in the numbers of people involved it may seem ludicrous to suggest parallels. Owen’s Narratives of Voyages to Explore Shores of Eastern Africa. they were present in the decades afterwards and Henry Francis Fynn.Malcolm. But the essential thread stands out. (The Diary of Henry Francis Fynn 1969. in particular.) Other original sources are Nathaniel Isaacs’ Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa and Captain W . Early KwaZulu-Natal European pioneers wrote about this period. Axum had been a powerful stabilising force and wealthy trading empire from before the time of Christ and in its decline there had to be increasing regional instability. resulted in its collapse in the 10th century. Several early travellers in Malawi and its vicinity wrote about the activities of the Ngoni offshoot of the KwaZulu-Natal Nguni’s warlike migrations and their effects in Central Africa during the later half of the nineteenth century. The continual interaction of European trading activity. David Livingstone’s journals have references and the respected explorer.outside could cause turmoil and rapid movements over decades within the continent. Arabia and Madagascar.D. Coincidental founding of Islamic trading colonies on the East African coast seem to me to be powerful reasons for widespread effects which could have reached South Africa about 900 AD. Those who question the relevance of the East African ‘Shungwaya myths’ should study the mfecane and the parallels between its causes and the effects of the Islamic conquest of the Axum empire. a Journal of Adventures (1877).W .

They sacked Kilwa and in 1589 were involved in turmoil and massacres at Mombasa during battles between the Portuguese and an invading Turkish pirate. often children. resulting in the decline or extinction of several such as Gedi. It was the strange ‘Simba’ invasion of Tanzania and Kenya from the south. It is additional evidence. there are a number of reports of this practice by them on the Zambezi. The home base of the Simbas. In the 16th century there was another event in the historical record affecting eastern Africa. with a ‘cattle cult’ and a sharp knowledge of the trading tradition that was causing disruption on the coast. The fact of the break-up of the feudal Zimbabwean empire in the 15th century is not disputed and the continuing rumblings of that event could have been the underlying cause. I doubt if they were cannibals in the sense that they fed on other humans. two years after the failed Barreto-Homen Zambezi venture and ten years before their appearance in East African records. are the obvious and clearly-perceived trigger. I see the Simba heading north in a precise preview of the Nguni mfecane. The massive movements of the mfecane-induced invasions. Supporting the stories of their cannibalism in Kenya. Portuguese records have the Simba crossing the Zambezi and sacking the trading and administrative post at Tete in 1577. Because this invasion has been romanticised and there have been frequent references in tourist guide books and popular writings in the British colonial period to their “eating their way” in cannibalistic fashion to the north of Mombasa. This practice has been widely reported throughout Africa in modern times. Portuguese attempts to establish a trading hegemony on the central Zambezi by means of the ill-fated Barreto-Homen military expeditions in 1569-75. They were eventually defeated and dispersed by a Portuguese-led army of local tribesmen and the forces of the Sheik of Malindi. Kilifi and Mnarani. It is in the historical record that Galla (Oromo) Cushitic-speaking nomadic pastoralists from the north repeatedly ravaged the Swahili coastal towns of Kenya in the later medieval period. whom I assume were of the Shona-speaking tribal group. sacrificed to produce ‘medicine’ for the blessing of warriors. Professor Tom Huffman writing in The African Archaeological Review (1989): 162 . followed the age-old route through the Tanganyika-Malawi Gap into southern Africa during the Iron Age transition. have been historically traced and there is no reason why the Simba phenomenon was not similar. Ali Bey. The Galla continued sporadic attacks after the Portuguese were established in Kenya in the 16th century. But I cannot escape my fascination.invasions southwards. that disciplined and mobile cattle-oriented warrior people moved rapidly about eastern-southern Africa. they have been derided. who stirred up the northern Kenya coast. which faced greater opposition and population density. W hat is more likely is that they used the parts of people. remained on the Zambezi north of Tete where for many years those that stayed behind were an unruly thorn in the side of traders and missionaries. * * It is reasonable that groups of aggressive East African nomads. if it is needed.

which then enabled them to keep more livestock.W hatever the precise origin. People of the same totem from different clans. The Zulus under Shaka organised their army and labour force in circumcision age-sets. Very roughly. Economic improvement and diversification provoked necessary changes in social and political structures. Sutton describes archaeological exploration in these two zones and reaches some conclusions. Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa at Nairobi.) Reading John Sutton’s description of these East African Nilotic-speaking 163 . 1000 AD or so.. W hereas the two cultures were separated by language and lifestyle. Bantu-speaking farmers and Nilotic-speaking pastoralists. Sutton describes the Sirikwa livestock specialists who built defensive sunken byres (kraals). in A Thousand Years of East Africa (1990) describes quite abrupt changes in the culture of two main areas of ancient settlement: the ‘interlacustrine zone’ around Lake Victoria. surrounded by semi-permanent living huts.. began to clear greater areas of bush to increase their agricultural output. Socio-economic cultural evolution similar to events in KwaZulu-Natal at the watershed of the Iron Ages occurred in East Africa at about the same time. exemplified at Hyrax Hill near Nakuru. but this did not necessarily mean mixing of people or new political overlords. but does conclude that they were ancestral to the modern Kalenjin Nilotic-speakers who are cattle-oriented cultivators with a society strongly organised about circumcision age-sets. and the section of the Eastern Rift Valley and its highland periphery that stretches through western Kenya and north western Tanzania. Sutton was not ready to speculate on the origin of the ‘Sirikwa’ people. Two distinct peoples inhabited this area... People in the high-rainfall forests within which they cultivated small patches of land. Bantu-speaking farmers in the interlacustrine zone who had some cattle (rather like the Early Iron Age people in KwaZulu-Natal) acquired more cattle and culture switched in orientation (as it did in KwaZulu-Natal). These changes detected by archaeology in East Africa confirm the general trend typifying the division between the Early and Late Iron Ages in eastern and southern Africa. in the lush pastures of the interlacustrine zone their history seems a lot shorter. Quite plausibly it was not till around the middle of the Iron Age. or even tribes. that specialised herding began here. The exchange of grains for cattle between farmers in the forest and herders on the savannah plains developed and knowledge and expertise followed trade. had close affinity. Unfortunately. The distances involved do not diminish the validity of the migration itself. John Sutton. the Sirikwa Holes. they were interdependent through trade. Dr. Sutton writes: W hereas cattle have been kept in the high grasslands close to the Rift Valley of Kenya and Northern Tanzania for quite three thousand years. Sutton suggests that social modification occurred not because of an invasion from elsewhere but because of changes promoted by population growth within the Bantu-speaking farmers and surrounding Nilotic-speaking herders. both Sotho-Tswana and Nguni ceramic styles probably had an EIA [Early Iron Age] Urewe tradition origin in East Africa.. (Circumcision was the powerful coming-of-age ceremony amongst many cattle people in Africa and often related to a living symbol or ‘totem’. about 1000 AD there was merging of economies and cultural change.

rumours and the gossip of passing strangers has an accumulative effect. If rapidly repeated infusions of new technology and dogma continue to be imposed from outside. the development of social and economic structures and the evidence of technical change in eastern and southern Africa in the last 1000 years has some uncanny parallels. The walled villages around Lake Victoria. I do not believe they occurred spontaneously in isolated pockets by cultural convergence and internal evolution.and earth-walled chiefly capitals around Lake Victoria where there was some merging between Nilotic warrior herders and Bantu farming peoples. Agricultural terracing in Tanzania and eastern Zimbabwe was practised in the medieval period and died away in the 17th century and I have already commented on it in a previous chapter. John Sutton also described the elaborate irrigation and terracing agriculture in the Rift Valley and feudal stone. suggested by the Shungwaya Myths. Time has speeded up since the jump to civilisation and technology began driving evolution instead of climate-induced environmental change. with exponentially increasing variety and strength. In East Africa.000 years are different from the previous major evolutionary jumps within the Stone Ages. Slaving by the first Islamic settlers on the coast must have had serious effects on people of the interior. Through the work of archaeologists in East and South Africa. may not have had any direct effect on the people of the lakes and the Great Rift Valley. but over two or three centuries. at the southerly point of Lake Tanganyika and near to the medieval Ivuna saltworks on the shore of Lake Rukwa (precisely at the Tanganyika-Malawi gap) has styles that appeared in KwaZulu-Natal. But whether evolution became primarily technology-driven rather than environment-driven I do not believe the social principles or means of communication and interchange of knowledge. Violent invasions and political revolutions result in cultural degradation before the wounds can be healed and progressive change begins. European pioneers were always surprised at how quickly news would rapidly travel hundreds of miles through disparate people. this is being demonstrated. They may seem to have been isolated from the fall of empires in Ethiopia or the setting up of trading towns on the coast.Kalenjin. then societies become confused and degraded and change is forced because there is no time to absorb each shock before the next has started. expertise and ideas changed. especially the stone walls with lintelled doorways of the ohingas appeared contemporaneously with the stone buildings of the Zimbabwean empire and look much the same. The socio-economic changes in eastern-southern Africa in the last 2. Archaeology has shown that there were major coincidental changes from Lake Victoria to KwaZulu-Natal. but they would have been aware of it. Tom Huffman has noted that pottery from Kalambo Falls. one could imagine he was describing the Bantu-speaking Nguni of KwaZulu-Natal and Transkei. because they started happening with bewildering speed. political unease resulting in warlike activity at this time of changes from the Early to Late Iron Ages. In his wide-ranging review of the more important East African excavations. Is that not precisely what happened to Africa in the 20th century? * * 164 . Again.

I met Gavin W hitelaw. slim pear-drop shape with superbly precise curves.On a later visit to Pietermaritzburg in 1987. the ivory perfectly preserved even though its surface was badly stained. it was from the Early Iron Age. It was a section of a bangle. primitive Africa of more than a millennium ago. W e penetrated the nether regions of the museum and Gavin unlocked a cupboard in a dark corridor. the surface smooth and polished and the shape was perfect. He offered to show me an example of the craftsmanship of the people who lived there at about 800 AD. But it was a beautiful bangle. I suppose I had been expecting some rather crudely worked piece with coarsely scraped and smoothed surface and an awkward asymmetrical shape. He took out a dirty-looking object and handed it to me. 165 . The cross-section was an extraordinarily pleasing. After all. He told me more about his work at the Inanda Dam.

vigorous innovator of thought about southern African pre-history. Professor Tom Huffman. with Kwale-style pottery. which progressed as far south as Natal by ± 250 AD. before the arrival of herders. The earliest pottery to appear in South Africa was notably of fine manufacture and is associated with exotic sheep and the Late Stone Age. and subsequent migrations as far south as Natal.000 years ago. husbanding their cattle. I believe that evidence of a coastal spearhead movement. About 3. 166 . or influenced. Subsequent movements were of the Early Iron Age and it is generally assumed that they were Bantu-speaking Negro migrants. is clear enough. Starting at about the same time. the drying of the Sahara and its degradation by domestic herds and flocks started the squeeze on W est African peoples and one consequence was the infusion of Bantu-speakers around the Congo Basin into eastern Africa. W hoever brought this pottery culture and the sheep southward merged with. Like stone tools. People who made pots in the same way with similar quality. or mixed herding-cultivating farmers. They settled healthy areas in Zambia and Zimbabwe and reached the South African highveld. Movements of culture into southern Africa and the people associated with them is illustrated by pottery. but clues about their movements and affiliations with others can be followed. Bantu-speaking mixed herding-cultivating people began moving through the Tanganyika-Malawi gap and felt their way through tsetse-fly belts and gaps between earlier emigrants. Their cattle made an appearance amongst people in Natal as shown by the excavations in the Thukela valley and at Inanda Dam in the Mngeni valley. explores pottery and other trails. pottery is a significant guide to later societies and through comparison of style. shape and decoration are accepted to be of the same culture though they may be quite far apart in time and space. Huffman considered that coastal Kwale and inland Nkope pottery styles illustrated the extent of the main Early Iron Age migrations from East Africa directly to South Africa in the first centuries AD. to the design known as Msuluzi. Bantu-speakers also pushed into the rainforests of the Congo on the western side and eventually emerged into the savannahs directly to the southwards where they established a savannah culture in northern Angola. Structures of settlements changed to accommodate cattle byres and there was a change to their pottery. some of the aboriginal Khoisan and the Khoi society resulted.CHAPTER THIRTEEN : IRON-AGE CONVERGENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA Pottery is a powerful key to the culture and history of all pre-literate peoples. which form a basis on which to judge the status of early mankind. indicating some merging of people. technique and decoration not only may the expert divine much information about the skills of the people and their economic circumstances. Huffman traced the movement of Nkope pottery styles of the originating East African Urewe tradition from the Interlacustrine Zone through the Tanganyika-Malawi gap as far as the Transvaal.

if they had any at all.Zambia and southern Congo.000 and 2. at ± 3. Jan Vansina in his paper. . grinding stones for oil palm fruit. [but] Once farmers acquired new crops . and within the forest there could be no cattle. Population pressures had nothing to do with the search for an early farmers’ Eldorado. Such migrations are believed to have been slow and erratic in the rainforest between the Yaounde area in Cameroon and the equatorial centre of Gabon.000 years ago and described archaeological sites at Obobogo...... these two ‘streams’ found each other... . South of the rainforests. others changed through clientship. and this change contributed to a rapid spread of metallurgy from the middle reaches of the Ogooué river to the south-eastern region of Gabon’s Upper Ogooué province as well as to the more southerly regions of Congo. In the Great Lakes area they also mastered techniques for smelting iron and eventually they carried cereal 167 ..000 before present where there was pottery. Eastern Bantu speakers had cereals ever since they left Cameroon. remains of oil palm kernels and edible fruits in a large village. proposes that Late Stone Age proto-Bantu people can be identified in the Cameroon as early as 5. However. whether maintaining distinct tribal structures or not.. Bantu-speakers from the western migration route mixed into this conglomerate and re-acquired cattle.. . The western stream met people who had migrated southwards down the eastern side who had cattle and sheep. seem to have followed two distinct routes in the grasslands of western Cameroon into Gabon . There was no sign of grains or metals. kept much of their original traditions. . Some groups from either side of the Congo forests. during a marked dry phase.one along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and the other along the numerous inland ridges bordering the Congo Basin. During their push through the forests their cattle must have been lost. the incentive for this [expansion] was certainly local population growth.. The eastern stream of Bantu-speakers brought a new infusion of culture and cattle and both streams absorbed Late Stone Age agricultural predecessors.. enclosed savannas became more extensive.000 years ago. . The western and eastern streams co-existed and there was a range of activity. and yet others created a merged culture and structure. Western Bantu Expansion (1984). near Yaounde. the southerly movements of the western Bantu people in W est-Central Africa. between 3. He wrote: Original expansion of western Bantu speakers resulted in a very thin occupation of the area as people moved to more favourable locales. Dr Richard Oslisly in a paper presented to the Cambridge conference on agriculture south of the Sahara in 1994 said: During the late Holocene. A particular pottery tradition called Kalundu after a site in Zambia developed where merging occurred. Zaïre and Angola.

whether diffused from the west or moving more purposefully from the east. coincident with more immigrants from the west. gradually merged their economic culture and pottery styles whilst retaining distinctions such as language and tribal identity. in the course of that relatively long time. Both John Kinehan and Leon Jacobson. there were the more forthright and organised tribal movements of increasing numbers in the Late Iron Age. Owambo mixed agriculturalists and related people settled the well-watered lands around the Kunene and Okavango Rivers in Namibia and established a stable society. through the Namib fringes of the Kaokoveld. and supported by continuing pressure from the west. It can be seen that there will be some difference of opinion as to precisely which of the Bantu streams first occupied the savannah south of the Congo.. previously settled by western Bantu speakers. W hen more eastern Bantu-speakers with Nkope pottery joined these settlements in Zambia. nomadic herders and farmers coexisted: their needs were different and there was no conflict..agriculture. in a reverse movement adding to the stimulation of cultural and economic change? There is no reason why not. Jan Vansina has proposed that western Bantu-speakers were in that area before eastern Bantu-speakers brought cattle and metals and Roland Oliver has pointed out that remains of domestic livestock have been found in Zambia from the third to first centuries BC. It was only when farmers acquired animals from the herders and they became concentrated to the limits of the habitat that conflict arose. Nguni warriors did it in the 19th century. a diffusion southwards began. they were denied southern movement by the Owambo and were forced to detour around them to the west. The KwaZulu-Natal river sites recognise the arrival of new culture in the appearance of local Msuluzi styles of pottery at about 600 AD. reminded me that by the late 1980s no sign of the Early Iron Age had been discovered south of the vicinity of the Okavango River. who worked extensively in Namibia. In Iron Age Africa. I think that there were trickles of people from both sides over a period of several centuries who. People moved into Malawi from the west as well as from the north. in what was today called Owamboland. * * Other western Bantu-speakers moved directly south towards Namibia although present evidence suggests that this was several centuries later than their colonisation of the central savannahs and their complex relationships with people from the east. which were undoubtedly carried there by migrants from East Africa. maybe pre-Bantu. if populations were thin enough. which could have included elements of western Bantu culture mingling rather earlier with eastern Bantu in Zambia. Later. Interpreted oral history suggests that when the Herero arrived in southwestern Africa before 1500 AD with cattle. cattle keeping and metallurgy all through eastern and southeastern Africa in the first centuries AD. Maybe some of these wanderers went through the Tanganyika-Malawi gap northward. provided the herders kept their animals out of the gardens and there was enough water for all. carrying Kalundu tradition pottery. They could not go round to the 168 . stimulating them. Their pottery and iron are found in portions of Zambia and Shaba [southern Congo]. .

There is a hunter-gathering tribe living in the Baynes Mountains who call themselves Tjimba. . I observed a Himba settlement at Purros beside the dry Hoarusib River on the Namib Desert fringe. a row of people were sitting. Leon Jacobson told me that the Herero were judged to have moved into their traditional territory in the central highlands of Namibia between 1200 -1500 AD. Some were working on necklaces and bracelets made from tightly braided grass 169 .food . the Dama and the Tjimba. pale pimples were seen scattered on the sand which became beehive-shaped huts on closer approach.. They were dependent on the generosity of the Nbwambwe tribe and forced to beg himba . This suggests that the Owambo had already acquired cattle and goats long before from other herders and filled their land to capacity. They were finely prepared in traditional style of dress and adornment. the Herero group either changed to a cattle-oriented lifestyle. Bothma summarise the story in their book Kaokoveld. I do not suppose it will ever be determined which it was. For this reason they were called ‘the beggars’ or ovaHimba. My own observation of the Himba in the Kaokoveld.and their pride . they must have coexisted with and received cattle and cultural transfer from people from East Africa. Anthony Hall-Martin.east because of the tsetse infested wetland of the Okavango system. About 140 years ago.back to the hunter-gatherer existence of the San. For the Herero there was only one option . [They became clients]. Clive W alker and J. or to a western Bantu language and culture.. One way or the other. The name Tjimba-Herero might therefore indicate the ‘hunter-gatherer Herero’.between 1850 and 1870. and their striking resemblance to Samburu of northern Kenya.and a place to live. In about 1870 a large group of Tjimba-Herero fled north across the Kunene into Angola to escape Nama raiders..du P. In 1989. There is the other obvious possibility: that they were eastern Bantuspeakers who came with their cattle to the region... Therefore. by definition. Khoi Nama bands who had traded horses and guns from Europeans raided the area. the Last Wilderness (1988): These [Nama] buccaneers relieved the Kaokoland Herero of their cattle . must have penetrated through the Congo forests and could not have had cattle from their W est African origins.. All authorities seem agreed that the Herero and their relations such as the Himba are western Bantu-speakers whose ancestors. retaining their genetic inheritance and then by clientship or some other mechanism adopted a western Bantu language and social structure. . archaeologically suggested by markedly increased evidence of cattle. So the Kaokoland Herero came to be called the Tjimba-Herero. they became strongly cattle-oriented and arrived a thousand years after the first Early Iron Age migrations. Beside one of the groups of huts. Yet. is fixed in my memory because when I met them they were still living relatively undisturbed by modern civilisation. the indigenous people of the Kaokoveld. From the landing strip.

These rectangular houses were usually arranged in a rough rectangle or in parallel rows on opposite sides of a street. had used the head of a Cape fox or jackal. The sand plain was patterned by prints of goats and people. He wrote: There [Angola and western Congo]. but their decorations were elaborate. made from a lattice of withies then plastered smoothly over with clay brought from a source in the bed of the Hoarusib. arms and necks were encircled by collections of bracelets and necklaces made from braided grass and thongs of plaited skin and leather. Their hair was straightened and plaited out into long. Some of them had created headdresses from parts of cured wild animal skin with the fur carefully preserved. My guide thoughtfully remarked that he had been accompanied by a linguist some time before who told him that he noted strange word usage which was more similar to Swahili than other Bantu languages. Their clothing was simple.strengthened with animal fats and there were a number of these displayed together with decorated purses and other articles made from goatskin. Ankles. I remarked on the resemblance between the Himba and the Samburu to my guide and said this was a puzzle since there seemed to be cultural contradictions in their remote past. in particular. their lifestyle and appearance was strikingly similar. a well-worked loinskin. * * Tom Huffman in Ceramics. faces. the fire places were small and well-tended and the few utensils were neatly kept. Despite there being no reason for them to be related in any way. Hair arrangements. bits of copper and other soft metal were strung on the thongs in pleasing patterns. There was no litter in sight. Ethnic origins and their progression often have an element of insoluble mystery in Africa. all were a matt red-bronze. settlements and Late Iron Age migrations (1989) devoted space to the construction of huts as being evidence of the origin of people in southern Africa. the Samburu. cowrie shells and seeds. There was a small kraal with precious baby goats tethered within. and a teenage boy. with aristocratic faces. The bare plain was dotted with their finely constructed beehive-shaped huts. bracelets. thin locks. Ostrich shell beads. The frequent use of the fatty ochre paste on their faces and bodies had resulted in soft and unlined skin despite the harshness of the desert air. in contrast to a circle of round houses arranged around cattle byres in the Central Cattle Pattern. There were about a dozen women and girls there. Since this paste worked its way into the plaited grass and skin jewellery. They were handsome people. accentuated by their straightened and plaited hair. One woman. 170 . naked bodies. They were all smeared from head to toe with a thin paste made from finely ground red ochre mixed with goats’ butter. well-chiselled lips and noses and bold eyes. domed foreheads. villages characteristically consisted of rectangular houses that often incorporated separate kitchen and sleeping rooms. The group of Himba women sitting by their huts on that desolate plain was strongly reminiscent of people in northern Kenya. they presented a strange monochrome appearance. Their skull-shapes uniformly created high.

Apart from Arab. constructed of wattle-and-daub with palm-thatch roofs. Khoi built beehive shelters from withies and cow hides. The association of square permanent dwellings with cultivation and round huts with nomadic pastoralism goes back far beyond the Iron Age and the movement of Negro people out of western Africa. because they are the easiest to put up. just as Huffman described. or whether there are grassy patches in a swampy section. were still building beehive huts in the 20th century and their kings were famous for the magnificence of their great grass-thatched hemispherical residences. trading for other foods and goods.” Tom Huffman told me. and the Zulu and other Nguni are typical. stock-herders and cattle-people at opposite ends of the African geographical mirror illustrate the concept of round huts and added to the discussion. collecting palm oil and growing yams. huts were rectangular and laid out in streets. the storage and beds at the other and the ancestral symbols are around the doorway. W hat was outstanding and overlying any local construction variety. The Zulus of Natal. “W here the Kalundu and Urewe pottery traditions mixed. In the rainforest. the fire is at one end. In the rainforest zone of the Niger delta in the late 1950s. the huts were round and the homesteads roughly circular in layout. The Himba and Samburu.” 171 . whatever the poverty or abundance. with cultivation. In the rectangular Forest Pattern.a quite different layout. The people within the delta itself who lived almost entirely by fishing.In central Africa I have observed differences between the huts in traditional simple villages or homesteads during the traverse of many miles and different country. was the clear distinction between people who had domestic livestock. The only red meat those people had was what they hunted and for a thousand miles of my journey through the Congo Basin there were no cattle.000 years ago. for example. Tom Huffman described the significance of hut design to me in conversation and we discussed examples. Nomads build ‘beehive-shaped’ huts. often constructed their huts on stilts but they were rectangular. to W est Africa from the Egyptian Nile civilisation maybe as much as 5. The Zulus were powerfully oriented to cattle and their huts seem to prove that a nomadic cattle-cult with minimum reliance on cultivation is not far distant in time. In the Zambezi valley. Persian and Indian influences on the East African coast in the last thousand years. and those who were mainly cultivators without domestic animals except fowls and sometimes pigs. has the fireplace in the centre of the round hut with the storage area and symbols of the family ancestors directly opposite the doorway. Tonga people have round huts with a layout as if they were rectangular. The Central Cattle Pattern layout. the ‘native’ huts in simple villages were all rectangular. bamboo groves or an increase in the number of palm trees. There are. “there is the interesting phenomenon of round huts in the Central Cattle Pattern which have the particular internal arrangement of sacred areas and living areas of the western Bantu Forest Pattern . outside of the towns which had various European influences. W here there were cattle and goats. the interesting differences in the building materials which reflect the environment: more or less rocky. in Zambia for example. although mixed agriculturalists. a clue to hut shapes is that Saharan people carried the rectangular house. of course.

and continued intermittently until major sub-continental movements took place at the advent of the socio-economic changes to the Late Iron Age. as I have seen them. [But he does write:] . Broederstroom was putting this mix of eastern cattle-herding and western forest cultures back in time and bringing it much further south than had been previously accepted. In his review of the state of Mozambican archaeology (1984).He was busy with further excavations in the Broederstroom Early Iron Age complex (± 500 AD) near Pretoria which he hoped would shed more light on the whole matter. however Zitundo is the first stratified site in Mozambique where characteristic features of both Phillipson’s so-called ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ streams can be shown to co-occur. at that time: It is at this stage. cautiously. João Morais remarks on the number of secondary sites in southern Mozambique which have provided Early Iron Age pottery of the local Matola (Kwale-coastal style) tradition and evidence of ‘Broederstroom’ type. there were domestic livestock and the layout of homesteads appeared to be in the Central Cattle Pattern which indicated an eastern origin. I have described my own observations. that of the eanda by nature matrilineal. for the equal power held by both the matrilineal and patrilineal lines of descent: the maternal hereditary line. which is patrilineal. and ideally situated in Huffman’s classic Central Cattle Pattern. It is the collective belief that an individual inherits the blood of his mother and the spirit of his 172 . Dr. Tom Huffman’s idea of a convergence of people from several northerly directions on the hospitable. collaborating with Bergerot and Robert in their well-illustrated book on the Namib Desert. Dawn to Twilight (1989). indicating a merged culture with western Bantu-speaking elements. . which also coincided with the arrival of seatraders on the Mozambique coast. He wrote. neatly describes the homesteads and principle cultural attributes of the Himba. the authors state: The Himba social structure is remarkable. The principle importance of Broederstroom was that although the pottery tradition was Kalundu. and even more so that of the Herero.. Yet the position of the family sacred area is to the left of the headman’s hut facing the cattle byre and the people have an inheritance system which seems to be a good example of ancient merging. counterproductive to direct research towards the detailed identification of EIA migration routes. It happened in the first centuries after Christ. and that of the oruzo. Their huts are beehives. healthy lands of the South African sub-tropics is broadly confirmed by archaeology. Broederstroom-type homestead constructions with Central Cattle Pattern layouts in southeastern Africa from a thousand years ago and more seem to be confirmed by the enigma of the Himba of Namibia in the late 20th century.. before a solidly based regional picture has been built up. Jean-Paul Roux. In Namib... The implications for KwaZuluNatal and the whole Early Iron Age historiography in southeastern Africa were important.

down the Zambezi and into Malawi and Mozambique.father.200 AD. population growth in the lush Interlacustrine Zone around Lake Victoria and the acceleration of seatrading activity on the East African coast with increased alien contact encouraging ivory hunting. * * In an earlier chapter. and stability. and Moloko and Blackburn [eastern stream] on the other are abrupt intrusions with separate source areas. migration hypotheses such as these should be assessed in terms of their assumptions. this apparently confusing double-clan inheritance makes sense even though as time passes there is increasing complication requiring prodigious group memory. I wrote about evolution from the Early to Late Iron Age in East Africa and speculated on a probable migration southwards coincident to those changes. The other was the Blackburn type characteristic of the Nguni tribal group between the Drakensberg escarpment and the Indian Ocean. Huffman wrote: Some Africanists will reject this two-stage revision out of hand because it involves at least two large-scale LIA [Late Iron Age] migrations. In this case. Looking at the eastern African situation at that time. and a burst of Arabstimulated slave-trading. W hen the chains of group-memory are broken. To create tribal structure and loyalty in nomadic herding people. Any observer of Africa during the 20th century sees this happening. the ceramic evidence is clear: Luangwa on the one hand [western stream]. the source of tribal culture disintegrates and there has to be social and moral degradation. 173 . Huffman’s theme strikes a grand note which makes sense. Rather than automatic rejection. I have concluded that the eastern migrations southward were stimulated by a general churning of peoples and societies in the region: breakdown of the Sudanic-Ethiopian kingdoms under Islamic impacts. He describes inland movements through the Tanganyika-Malawi gap which coalesced into two pottery traditions of the Late Iron Age. Continued pressure of people from western Africa resulted in their Luangwa Late Iron Age pottery being carried through Zambia.000 and 1. Tom Huffman in Ceramics. These are the homelands of the modern Tonga-speaking and Macua groups. He names one the Moloko type which became characteristic of the Sotho-Tswana tribal group who settled the South African highveld and the habitable fringes east of the Kalahari. particular reverence for ancestors. In the conclusion to this paper. where marriage is customarily sought outside small communities of a few dozen. evidential support and predictive consequences like any other potential explanation. Settlements and Late Iron-age Migrations (1989) saw significant and clear pottery trails indicating new movements into southern Africa from both eastern and western origins between 1. but there were two particularly onerous phases. Some historians or commentators have lowered the profile of Arab and Swahili slaving in East Africa. a belief which defines the respective functions of matrilineal and patrilineal clans.

southern Arabia and Mesopotamia. John Sutton somewhat understates the magnitude in A Thousand Years of East Africa (1990): In the 9th century ‘Zanj’ [Negro] slaves from East Africa were taken in numbers. to little effect. also probably precipitated by climate-induced hardship causing population stresses. Traditionally we have limited our examination of history to the effects of secondary events or activity.One was after the first Islamic trading presence and the other was after the wave of Arab colonisation when Omanis took over the Portuguese hegemony in the 18th century and began working a plantation agricultural economy. leaders. This is additional evidence for external activity precipitating the Early to Late Iron Age watershed.900 AD as it did again in the 1800s as described by David Livingstone and others in the historical record. black slaves in Lower Mesopotamia rose up. However. always the most potent of all external factors influencing societies must not be neglected. There can be no doubt that slaving also had an effect on the indigenous people of eastern Africa in 800 . Much has been written about how the 18th century W est African seaborne slave trade caused social and political disruption over large areas where slavers never penetrated. This is important to our consideration of the restructuring of African societies and the so-called divide between the Early and Late Iron Ages. It is the early period which is often overlooked. in particular to work the salt at Basra at the head of the [Persian] Gulf and to drain the marshes of lower Iraq. working in mines and plantations. A cold-dry period would have had an effect on people in the African tropical zones. Climate change is almost always at the root of sudden or apparently inexplicable events in human behaviour. by kings. rebelled in 770. causing people to be in turmoil and especially to migrate. As always. I seldom see one factor at work. They were used as cannon-fodder in armies. Then in 883. The powerful and stable tropical Mayan Civilisation in Central America suddenly collapsed and there is a reference in their writings to drought. or geology and archaeology. Advances in scientifically defining ancient climatic conditions and their abrupt 174 . unless there was clear evidence of external forces from literature in some form. to threaten Baghdad itself. the effect of climate. but were defeated and deported yet again to various parts of the empire. This time. social trends or other human sources. Coincidental Islamic activity on the Indian Ocean coasts. Ronald Segal in Islam’s Black Slaves (2001) described the famous revolts of East African slaves in Mesopotamia: They [Indian immigrant workers] were joined in their uprising by groups of runaway slaves. the rebels pillaged cities. It has been recently more firmly established from Scandinavian tree rings and Greenland ice cores that there was a definite cold-dry period around 8-900 AD. Black slaves. Thousands of Africans were transported to work the agriculture of the Nile. and usually it is several which form a matrix of factors causing a chaotic effect over large distances. is part of this time of great change. joined by disaffected peasants.

at about 1000 years ago. The Tonga who live around Kosi Bay in northeast Natal have lost their cultural purity in the face of sustained eastern-Bantu Nguni and modern European influences. W ith the spread of Islam across all of northern Africa. that W est Africa also had an Early and Late Iron Age which was separated at about 8-900 AD. population growth and Islamic pressures right across the Sahel resulted in the crystallisation of sophisticated feudal kingdoms and empires. This is a most important adjustment in our ability to study the past. The Kanuri migrated from north of Lake Chad into northern Cameroon and Nigeria as the Sahara continued its desiccation pushing at forest-fringe peoples who were descended from the Bantu core and probably activating new and substantial southern movements down the western pathway.variations with accuracy are powerful tools in determining the basic or primary reasons for change. In the central Sahel the empires of Songhai and Ghana rose in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.) There was an enormous and complicated feudalisation of W est Africa going on at that critical time for migration into southern Africa. In W est Africa. In the 10th and 11th centuries these kingdoms were converted to Islam. that hut types in the cattle country of the savannas north of Kumasi are circular about a cattle kraal (his word) and forest farmers had rectangular houses. Professor L. * The modern Tonga-speaking group of Bantu-speaking people can be loosely found in pockets suitable for cultivation and fishing. The Hausas built their emirates in northern Nigeria. Large numbers of slaves were taken from W est Africa across the Sahara and this added to the diffusion of culture and the disruption of societies. but not cattle-keeping. the famous Yoruba cities in Nigeria such as Ife. The Zambezi valley seems to have been their general orientation. they were established as far south as the St. Despite merging and the passage of time. western stream cultural traits have been retained within Tonga societies. but luckily the University of Natal carried out an extensive 175 . west of Kumasi at the northern fringe of the rainforest zone. people.B. He confirmed several of my assumptions. Zimbabwe and Malawi in the centre through southern Mozambique and into northern KwaZulu-Natal. that population compression following climate change and Islamic incursions triggered the medieval empires. (Slave caravans were still traversing the Sahara in the 20th century until finally arrested by the French colonial authority. the camel-caravan trade across the Sahara grew and under the umbrella of Islam there was a free flow of culture and knowledge. Lucia estuary. from Zambia. Kano becoming a walled city about 1060 AD. Recently. W ork had also been going on with the Kintampo tradition of Late Stone Age cultivators and herders in Northern Ghana who may have been one of the ancestral sources of the Akan-speaking.Crossland of the University of Ghana told me about the archaeological activities of his department when I visited him in November 1995. He was participating in work particularly on the terminals of the trans-Sahara trade routes at Begho. Oyo and Owo associated with fine bronze art followed. It seems that all this was also roughly coincident to a particular dry time. or Ashanti. scattered over much of southern Africa.

beans. sugar cane and maize. Provided it was properly maintained and serviced there was an everlasting source of fishes to be eaten and traded. heaping the sandy soil into sharply rectangular terraces with borders around each small plot. The surplus could be bartered daily in the market or dried and taken inland to trade for other goods such as pottery or iron. I travelled in the Inhambane District and found the exact same traditions still being followed. they were cultivators and fishermen. The use of reeds is not especially significant. It was the rectangular design that stood out. for all traditional building depends on the best local material. In 1998.Felgate. had converted to a patrilineal chieftaincy and headman system like the Nguni. At Inhambane. The Tembe -Tonga were not cattle-people. the fishtraps of the Kosi lakes swung from the shore far out into the centre wherever the water was shallow enough. Particularly fascinating was the strange status of language. Confirming Huffman’s hypothesis. Fishtraps are of the traditional culture of coastal 176 . ravaging the coast. As the water flowed gently to the sea with the ebbing tides. in the Inhambane District of Mozambique. pumpkins. Their hut design was also quite distinct. Felgate’s survey showed that there had been much disruption amongst the southern Tonga.S. Tonga huts were rectangular and constructed of reeds. rectangular reed houses were scattered in the coastal scrub and coconut plantations. W omen spoke the local Tsonga dialect and so did boys until puberty. ground nuts. often known as Tsonga. on the Tropic of Capricorn. for example.anthropological survey in 1968: The Tembe-Thonga of Natal and Mozambique by W . the construction of the huts was different to those of all other native people in South Africa. fish were trapped against the fences and could be harvested by men walking out or paddling along in dugout canoes. Made from mangrove poles sunk in the shallow bottom. The homesteads were not of the circular Central Cattle Pattern situated about an animal kraal or byre. The Tembe-Tonga. sweet potatoes. In Felgate’s time they still additionally obtained a measurable portion of their nutrition from gathering wild vegetation and reef shellfish. resulting in an extraordinary situation where conversation was conducted in two distinct languages: a particularly precise example of people on the cusp of cultural merging. In 1987 I observed a whole community of maybe fifty women harvesting the low-tide reef at Kosi Bay. In the late 1960s. Ownership of a fishtrap guaranteed wealth. during the Nguni mfecane of the early 19th century when Shangaan armies had moved north as far as the Zambezi. despite two decades of civil war and terrible social disruption. I observed the huts of the Inhambane -Tonga which were the same as the Tembe -Tonga of northern KwaZulu-Natal around the bay and lagoon system at Kosi. W ater was carried by hand in large pots to irrigate them in the dry season so that cultivation continued year-round. although retaining western-stream matriarchal attributes. The people cultivated their gardens precisely similarly to the people of Kosi: cassava. The men spoke Zulu amongst themselves and many refused to speak Tsonga with womenfolk. In the Kosi lake system there were hippos and crocodiles in the lagoons but great skeins of fishtraps formed aesthetic curved lines across the blue water. Each fishtrap belonged to a family over generations and formed part of the custom of marriage settlements and inheritance.

His hypothesis had been extended by an examination of the Macua peoples of northern Mozambique and the origins of the Nguni and Sotho-Tswana groups who respectively occupied the South African coastal zones and the interior highveld grasslands in historical time.000 -1. Today they speak a language of the western-originating Tonga group. I am not aware of fishtraps in use on the W est Africa coasts. They are another significant sign of common Early Iron Age culture still surviving at the end of the 20th century. W herever Early Iron Age pottery has been found. wherever rivers were close. still being used in 1998 despite depletion of fish stocks. fishermen ply their trade from magnificent dug-out canoes and use handlines or nets. I was lucky to observe them still being used in 1985 near Monga in the Bili River. This was already suggested in Huffman’s 1989 paper referred to above and expounded in his paper read at the Cambridge Conference on Iron Age agriculture in 1994. with mixing and clientship arrangements with existing settlers in northern Zambia and Shaba province of Congo. The Macua are culturally oriented to a matriarchal society and are arguably of 177 . There are no coral reefs and few silt-free estuaries on the W est African coast. In Ghana today. fixed to elaborate log structures across rapids or waterfalls in rivers. on the northern fringes where Bantu-origin people live. on the Atlantic side of Africa exhibit classic cattle-keeping culture from East Africa. and there are people harvesting reefs by hand for vital protein from KwaZulu-Natal to the Red Sea. expanded eastward along the Zambezi and up the Luangwa valleys. Naked men climbed out on the rough log structures to empty the traps. At Inhambane there were exactly the same fishtraps. The development of this scenario is that this thrust or movement progressed onwards to the Indian Ocean coast in northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania.200 AD. basket-ware fishtraps were used. Fishtraps were constructed in estuaries and on sheltered sandbanks all along the Mozambique and Tanzanian coasts. The concept is that western stream people. fish could be found together with wild game in the form of various birds and small mammals. As the western-originating Himba of Namibia. W ithin the Congo rainforest.eastern-Bantu used today by people who exhibit the house-building style of the western-Bantu tropical forest pattern. the present home of the Macua peoples. In this island they catch [fish] with a local form of basket [-work] trap instead of nets stretched across the mouths of the openings along the foreshore. I learned that Tom Huffman had progressed his theme of movements of people in southern Africa during the period of about 1. In markets throughout the Congo forest zone. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (± 100 AD) describes Zanzibar (or Pemba Island) nearly two thousand years ago: There are in it small boats sewn and made from one piece of wood [dug-out canoes]. there were fishtraps. * In 1996. which are used for fishing and catching marine tortoises. so the coastal Tonga of Natal and Mozambique mix language and hut construction of the western stream with classic eastern ocean littoral economy.

The Nguni and Sotho -Tswanas would then be seen to be essentially East African and eastern stream people. they would have accepted the impossibility of settling in the domains of the permanently settled Zimbabwean empire and filtered through to occupy more sparsely occupied lands in South Africa. Streams are born on the eastern side of the watershed in the vicinity which flow into the Oliphants and Crocodile Rivers. The critical role of climate must always be remembered. and the Shona. their western stream cultural attributes and their superficial resemblance to the Samburu of northern Kenya. a linguist at the University of Durban-W estville. Assuming that this occurred. merging with and absorbing existing Bantu-speaking and Khoisan inhabitants. He was puzzled since there was a large geographical divide between their modern homelands.the western stream. Before I had mentioned Huffman’s latest thinking. The force of the western stream movement from Shaba and northern Zambia into this zone and then as far as the coast. who researches the historical linguistic links between Bantu-speakers. This all took place probably about 1200 AD. explaining their eastern stream cattle cult. and further thought. Being semi-nomadic and forced into mobility. and the Sotho-Tswana with East African cattle people then becomes comprehensible. who were settled in the healthy highlands in southern Tanzania and about southern Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi. particularly tribal societies with strong organisation and cohesion. The Herero-Himba group’s arrival in northern Namibia about 1. which provide perennial river-roads 178 . Coincidentally. inheriting the ancient Urewe pottery tradition together with other cultural attributes. I had discussions with Richard Bailey. The thread of connection that I have continually seen between the cattle-oriented Nguni. and this was more obvious with Sotho. Following pottery evidence of the Blackburn and Moloko trails. caused the semi-nomadic Nguni and Sotho-Tswana to make a move. * * Lydenburg is a European settler town on the crest of the eastern Drakensberg escarpment of South Africa in the newly-created Province of Mpumalanga. Richard Bailey mentioned that he had recently moved toward the conclusion that Nguni and Sotho were somehow related to Macua languages. the Sotho-Tswana on an inland route (Moloko pottery tradition) and the Nguni along a route closer to the coast (Blackburn pottery tradition). Huffman’s developments may have helped resolve Bailey’s dilemma. During these past three millennia there have been climatic events and trends which undoubtedly influenced population growth and decline and promoted migrations. it seems reasonable to assume that this western stream intrusion caused the movement of the Nguni and SothoTswana groups southwards.and Tonga-speaking groups and others were interspersed in that divide. in particular. There are many remarkable examples of related and merged cultures in sub-Sahara Africa resulting from the movement of peoples during the past three thousand years.500 AD may also have been part of these events. They are famous for their beautiful and exceptional woodcarvings. then they would have absorbed existing populations and could have displaced others.

179 . which may be found across Africa. the Samburu prefer bold reds and blues. For example. their fashionable bead colours are quite different. is the importance of cowrie shells. They are exquisite and remind one of the bronze masks which were cast by people of the Yoruba culture in Nigeria at Ife and Oyo and the pottery of several W est African cultures. They were kept in hordes. The Masai like pastel greens and pinks. amongst many and which I have not commented on in any depth. Glass and ceramic beads are highly valued throughout Africa and their forerunners were circular ostrich-shell and sea-shell beads used as jewellery for thousands of years. Later regular contacts may be investigated by reference to the predominant colours in tribal fashions. Fine pottery masks were unearthed there and there are replicas in the small museum in the town. In Kenya today. I have not come across it.down deep valleys through the escarpment and then cross the inhospitable lowveld to the ocean. The valley where the Lydenburg Iron Age sites were excavated is not very different in appearance to the Mngeni at the Inanda Dam site in KwaZulu-Natal or the Pemba in the Kwale District of Kenya. Another uniform custom. for instance. Roman or Persian beads. though not comparable for quality. Cowrie shells were used as ‘currency’ or wealth and status symbols by most Africans however remote they were from the seas where they are found. threaded into necklaces or rather more elaborate body or house decorations and generally valued. visitors can buy roughly-fashioned Samburu and Masai pot-masks made for the tourist trade which. Very often the origin and dates of beads in a particular tribal culture define who were the first foreign traders they met peddling the manufactures of their home industry. thousands of miles apart. I have seen piles of them in a roadside curio store in Karatina on the package-tour route to the famous Treetops Lodge. are recognisably similar to the ancient masks found near Lydenburg. although the Samburu and Masai people of Kenya have Nilotic origins and are cattle people. Arabia and the African mainland. via the Limpopo and Komati Rivers. If there has been an Africa-wide research project on this theme. are very important clues. Thor Heyerdahl excavated in the Maldive Islands before that group was opened to foreign visitors and found the ruins of megalithic seatrading towns which had based their wealth on the cowrie shell trade with India.

.CHAPTER FOURTEEN : THE GOLDEN RHINO AND ZIMBABWE At Sofala on the Mozambique coast. all the other evidence ensures that the site was a shoreside village with clear trading connections to East Africa and Zimbabwe. similar to finds at the Mngeni and Thukela valley sites. There were also pottery sherds and glass beads which correlate to Zimbabwean sites and pottery similar to that of the last years of the Early Iron Age in KwaZulu-Natal... surmised that maybe Sofala was the name given to different sites in the past twelve hundred years as the actual trading town was shunted about by cyclonic disasters. he met well-dressed and sophisticated Swahilis who told him that occasionally ‘white Moors’. Sixteenth century Portuguese maps show that the estuary of Sofala was sheltered by offshore tree-clad islands which had all disappeared by the 19th century. 240 kilometres south of the Zambezi delta. visited as passengers or supercargo. But. Chibuene has become pivotal to a study of Swahili penetration along the southern African coast and the commencement of seatrading as far as 22 <S latitude during the period of transition from the Early to Late Iron Age. . Paul Sinclair in Chibuene . During the preliminary excavations at Chibuene only one satisfactory radio-carbon date was obtained. Most of the trade from Kilwa southwards was carried by local Swahili dhows based at Kilwa or Moçambique Island. The finds from Chibuene further suggest a possible point of entry for commodities that affected the early Iron Age societies 180 . searching for the original pre-Portuguese Arab-Swahili settlement. 770 ± 50 AD. Despite its tremendous importance for access to the gold of Zimbabwe. On the shores of Bazaruto Bay. Arabs. Paul Sinclair carried out excavations in 1977 and during later seasons at a site called Chibuene. Sofala had never been a substantial town before the Portuguese built their fort. there were significant finds of Persian glazed wares and glass beads whose style and type correspond with material excavated in the Lamu archipelago and Kilwa in East Africa. They bear out the suggestion that the coastal settlements south of the Save River maintained links to the north.. Indeed.an Early Trading Site in Southern Mozambique (1982) wrote: Finds from Chibuene demonstrate conclusively that southern Mozambique came within the early trading networks. the stone fortress of São Caetano which the Portuguese built in 1505 was destroyed by a cyclone and the old town washed into a sandbank about 1905. Apart from pottery of an East African Swahili style which could have been made locally to the order of Swahili immigrants. It is not surprising that medieval Arab navigators proscribed that coast for dhow-captains who were not familiar with the conditions. and possibly to KwaZulu-Natal. archaeologist Paul Sinclair who carried out a survey of Sofala. W hen Vasco da Gama visited Quelimane just north of the Zambezi mouths in 1498. five kilometres south of the town of Vilanculos.

I see no reason why there were not a number of relatively sophisticated trading villages scattered all along that portion of the Mozambique coast from the Pungue River estuary to Cape Corrientes. confirming oceanic trade links that far south. Sofala was the name of the country and not of a town at all. Unpredictable gales. at the Tropic of Capricorn. As examples. It is likely that Sofala was indeed the Arab-Swahili name for the capital of this coastal region which was not at a particular location for any great length of time. Krishna. many from the north-east. It was not a large town and nor did it occupy a site with any particular strategic importance or notable geography. Chibuene was not unique. There are any number of similar places either with some shelter on the mainland or on the lee of islands along a couple of hundred miles of coast from the known site of Sofala at the end of the 15th century to the Bay of Inhambane. and weather fronts typical of the temperate southern ocean climatic system begin to have an effect. where the coast becomes dramatically inhospitable with no sheltered harbours. That coast is subject to cyclones which may have resulted in the absence of any fixed towns or substantial seaborne immigration until the European colonial period when Europeans built in stone and other suitable material transported in their larger and stronger ships. which were ocean-oriented and had elements of Swahili seatrading culture by 8-900 AD. 880 kilometres northeast of Sofala and outside the usual cyclone zone.and those of the Kutama tradition of the Zimbabwe plateau and the Limpopo valley. The stone for the fort at Sofala was carried as ballast from Portugal. The significance of Cape Corrientes as the southern limit for practical navigation by Arab and Swahili sailors is not because at that point there is a sudden onslaught by south-flowing currents or because of the cyclone season. these villages came and went when overthrown by the occasional cyclone and might only be found by exhaustive archaeological survey. and has reasonable access. That piece of coast is low-lying. not bound by a regular cyclical season. Maybe. After the first traders set up their bases. with the particular exception of Delagoa Bay (at 26 < S). to the inland highways of the Save and Limpopo rivers. A crystalline statue found by a local building-sand trader in 1963 on the Umbeluzi River in Swaziland which was identified at the Department of Oriental Studies of the British Museum as being an imported Bengali image of the Hindu god. he quotes a pottery figurine found in 1901 by a German archaeologist in the mid-Zambezi which was identified by Sir Flinders Petrie as Egyptian. It is interesting that the Portuguese recorded substantial Swahili settlements on the Zambezi but none of importance on the coast south of Moçambique Island. through links along the coast. The adverse current begins hundreds of miles to the north. become more frequent the further south one sails. Cyclones destroy coastal villages of wattle-and-daub houses but the season is well-defined and not a bar to navigation by captains who understood it. It is southwards of Cape Corrientes. has a number of geological structures that result in bays of varying size opening to the north. Lyall W atson in Lightning Bird (1982) reminds us that there have been a number of surprising exotic objects found in southern Africa. thus providing shelter from prevailing southeasterly winds. 181 .

Enquiries about the source of metals would have been an obvious reaction. * * I have mentioned the Tanganyika-Malawi gap in previous chapters when describing the filling-up of southern Africa by Bantu-speaking cattle-herding migrants from East Africa. the answer would invariably have been that metal goods and cattle were traded with people from upcountry. Along that sandy and tsetse-ridden coast. that the coastline changes to monotonous and endless beach with pounding surf backed by high bush-covered sand dunes. however minimal their use was at that time. The Ruaha flows northwest through healthy highlands with spectacular gorges until it joins the Rufiji and proceeds to the sea opposite Mafia Island and just 75 miles north of the seatrading centre and entrepôt of Kilwa. simply. Trade routes with the interior along the river highways of the Zambezi. If Islamic seatraders could get all they needed in the way of ivory. The wealth of iron and copper ores had already been established by Early Iron Age land migrants by 500 AD. crystalline rock. before 100 AD sailors were traversing the northern Indian Ocean and down to the African port of Rhapta (Rufiji Delta at 8ºS). The 182 . so there is a watershed between the southern foot of Lake Tanganyika and the northern end of Lake Malawi. I have flown up and down in light aircraft and the change to a coast generally inhospitable to oceanic sailing vessels is dramatic.According to the Periplus. just south of Inhambane Bay. Any exploring Islamic seatrading entrepreneurs in the 8th century who stopped off along the coast as far as Inhambane Bay would have met people with an abundance of iron and copper. established themselves as far as Chibuene and Inhambane and explored further. Probably there were specialist clans who undertook one or two journeys a year during the healthy winter season. gums. It is one of those great natural overland gateways that geography imposes on the movement of people. Buckling and heaving of the crust along the line of the Great Rift Valley raised its floor precisely at the ‘gap’ and slid the line of the Rift sideways. Apart from a study of marine charts. W ith certain changes. Somewhere in the Rufiji delta is the probable site for the ‘lost’ town of Rhapta and Kilwa was the wealthiest of the Swahili trading city-states during the peak of the Zimbabwe gold trade. tortoiseshell. but the interior of southern Africa is a cornucopia. but I do believe they had decided there was no profit in that coast at that time. because it lies at a junction of the slow-shifting Great Rift Valley. sailors voyaged down Africa. Save and Limpopo Rivers must have been well-established. W hen the Islamic outsurge began in the 7th century. It is precisely at Cape Corrientes. south of Ethiopia. why should they have established trading links and settled as far south as the Tropic of Capricorn? The answer. East Africa. is metals. But beyond Inhambane they found nothing to tempt them to risk their ships and their lives. Two important rivers flow away north and south both of which form pathways which have been used by travellers through country which can be inhospitable in the dry season. rhino horn. is not rich in easily accessible metals. it will have affected mankind since the emergence of Australopithecus along the Indian Ocean shore of East Africa. I do not believe they had not explored further south than Rhapta. honey and slaves from the East African coast.

Its spectacular stone towns. is a great highway. providing a link between west and east and between the Congo basin and the savannahs of the south. providing healthy country with good rains and besides being suitable places for farmers to settle. people wishing to move easily with large herds of animals southwards from East Africa. It is the magnificence of Great Zimbabwe that has given it so great a prominence in southern African history. with its tributaries. in some comfort. W hile the often bitter populist arguments about the provenance of Great Zimbabwe continued. Before carbondating was invented. Great Zimbabwe was at its grandest in the 14th-15th centuries and 183 . professional archaeologists were at work. It was trumpeted as being unique and special. they found trading outposts with Swahilis.Rufiji was the East African river road which directly connected the ocean and the Tanganyika-Malawi gap. Indians and Arabs at Senna and Tete. * * The Zimbabwean Empire is certainly the best-known society founded by Bantuspeaking peoples. clambered over the hilltop ruins and wandered about the maze of interconnected stone dwelling areas on several occasions. but eventually the time-scale was established. Others claimed that it was astounding evidence of Arabian or even Phoenician colonisation of central Africa. Nevertheless. most especially the capital city of Great Zimbabwe. the next great jump in development came from an external stimulus. an African Civilisation to rival those of Asia or Europe. which was the Portuguese advanced trading station and mission outpost in central Africa off-and-on for 400 years. The Luangwa river flows south from the gap. W hen the Portuguese began exploring. are famous and have been visited by throngs of tourists. It is a magical place. An enormous quantity of racist or politically-inspired rhetoric and commentary from both directions was expounded on these themes and I don’t intend to waste space on that here. The Zambezi itself. The Luangwa flows to it from the gap. My mother visited them in the 1920s and I have camped in the shadow of the walls. dates were difficult. Migrations with cattle herds southwards through the Tanganyika-Malawi gap during the watershed of the Iron-Ages (8-1100 AD) undoubtedly contributed to the expansion of populations and the occupation of the whole of southern Africa to the limit of economic agriculture of that time. on the lower Zambezi which could be navigated as far as the Caborra Bassa gorge. from the Indian Ocean. The Congo rainforest begins immediately northwest of Lake Tanganyika and although it has been shown that cattle may have been moved westwards of Lake Tanganyika. are unavoidably funnelled through the gap. Escarpments rise on either side of Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. they form part of a great inland highway from the lushness around Lake Victoria and the East African highlands right down to the grasslands of the southern African highveld. and the Shire sends Lake Malawi’s overflow down to it. creating a highway down to the Zambezi valley which it joins at a historic place called Zumbo. The Shona-speaking group of people who today occupy most of the modern state of Zimbabwe must have moved in through the gap and merged with and absorbed existing Early Iron Age people in a style which was becoming classical Bantu-speaking tradition. 560 kilometres from the sea.

particularly in Uganda and around the general area of Lake Victoria. investigation began into the stone ruins on the top of the tableland and other remains in the surrounding valley. W hether seatraders themselves visited Mapungubwe cannot be proven and it could be surmised that all the trading was carried out through middlemen in a chain down the Limpopo which ended at the coast. gold beads. and enquiries and incentives must have led traders onward to where gold was more readily available westwards and northwards of Mapungubwe. that Swahili seatraders did not have sufficient curiosity and spirit of adventure to travel to the sources of gold and ivory. It was the cultural centre of a sophisticated feudal empire with strong trading links to the Indian Ocean system dominated by Islamic traders. 184 . Absolute evidence of trade with the Indian Ocean was established by the presence of imported glazed ceramics and glass beads. Fine though Great Zimbabwe is. Amongst artifacts buried in élite graves were imported glass beads and locally-made gold wire. the lowveld flanking the ocean teemed with tsetse-fly and mosquito borne disease affecting man and domestic beast and during the dry and healthy winter. some much earlier than those of the identifiable Zimbabwean period. Livingstone met Swahili and mestiço Portuguese traders throughout central Africa. During the summer months. as far as Angola on the west coast. other artifacts and gold-plated carved wood objects including a rhinoceros: a ‘golden rhino’. In the 19th century. Surplus wealth from trade stimulated these societies. There were traces of gold there too. Zimbabwe was certainly African. but it seems inconceivable that over the two or three centuries that Mapungubwe functioned as a feudal town. Before W orld W ar II. but it was not unique. there was no surface water away from the few major rivers. it does not equal the glory of the W est African empires of the same period. Botswana and South Africa meet. The first contacts for commercial gold and ivory were done by word of mouth through an existing chain of copper. Similar feudal and imperial societies with urban complexes within the Bantu-speaking umbrella have been identified in the Interlacustrine Zone in central Africa. * * Mapungubwe is a cliff-begird tableland on the South African side of the Limpopo River a short distance to the east of its junction with the Shashi where Zimbabwe. The river routes from the interior of southern Africa to the Mozambique coast had to be used for exactly the same reasons that they were used in East Africa. The immediate objective for seatraders wishing to make contact with a society with organised miners and metalsmiths would have been the middle reaches of the Limpopo where rich deposits of iron and copper were worked within easy distance at Phalaborwa and Messina. iron and cattle traders. as has happened over and again throughout modern human history. Many other stone towns and villages in southern Africa were properly surveyed and excavated. Subsequent periodic archaeological exploration revealed that two communities had lived there contemporaneously in a feudal society. growing in wealth and stature.was abandoned suddenly about 1450AD. and some later.

In June 1996. gold is soft and heavy. further confirming the existence of a line of sophisticated towns along the Limpopo and into Botswana. There are a great number of stone ruins all over southern Africa and Mapungubwe was just one of these Late Iron Age sites from the last thousand years. as far as the Kalahari. and others. The source of their economic power was principally mining and trade with metals and their artifacts. there is a chiefly residence on an eminence and the king was also a spiritual leader dominating a crocodile totem cult (derived from the Limpopo). there was a line across the valley where the archaeologists had dug an exploration trench. At the end of the valley there was green grass and a clump of trees with fleshy leaves which signalled the position of a perennial spring. Across the Motloutse River.000 people had lived there at one time or another. but surveying will have to wait for another time.The discovery of the Mapungubwe ruins caused speculation when it was publicised. Later settlements up to the 19th century overlaid the original town. Carbon dates of about 950 AD had been obtained and maybe 10. It was another ‘Mapungubwe’. there are well-constructed stone defensive walls with neat courses made from carefully masoned stone. evidence of a matriarchal structure (indicating a mixed west-east Bantu-speaking origin). There is another ancient town dominated by a fortified hilltop in the Mashatu Game Reserve. which lies on the Botswana side of the Limpopo between the Shashi and Motloutse Rivers. Huffman told me that it could be generally accepted that at about 1000 . fine-quality gold working should not have occurred. particularly the stone ruins of spectacular Great Zimbabwe.1100 AD there were a series of kingdoms along the Limpopo and into today’s Botswana at that latitude which belonged to the same culture group but had separated into different political entities: kingdoms or dynasties. Historically it has importance. It is another remarkable stone town. based on mining and trading. announced the forthcoming public opening of a remarkable Late Iron Age town they have called Thulamela. W ithout the stimulus of external trade. “That was inhabited. They were cattle-oriented semi-nomadic people. a separate but powerful 185 . the National Parks Board of South Africa. a long narrow tableland rears up from the plain. The cultural links are clear. On the flat top. will not alloy to make a harder material and was useless to them. He pointed across the plain to another gaunt mountain with vertical rock walls. Late Iron Age Bantu-speaking people apparently had no use for gold. Approaching from the north. I met a Canadian professor of archaeology surveying in July 1983 and he described what was there. The people who lived there centuries before Great Zimbabwe were numerous and had a powerful political system extending far beyond one isolated town. there are other ancient stone towns from the same era. situated in the northern part of the Kruger National Park near the Pafuri gate and not far from the Limpopo. But the particular paradox of the ‘golden rhino’ and other artifacts at Mapungubwe was understood for years as some eccentric outlying frontier town attached to the wealth of gold mining and craftsmanship in Zimbabwe. It was the source of water which made that place habitable. Below were hundreds of hut circles.” On the southern side. through the medium of a documentary series on SABCTV. but it was always overshadowed by the medieval Zimbabwean culture and empire. at the cusp of the Iron-age divide. On the summit there were traces of a number of terraces for circular huts as well as the defensive walls.

Shaka had by then caused misery and chaos in his kingdom by his excesses following the death of his mother. In 7th August 1996. they did not carry their gold away. Thulamela lies near the modern mining complex at Messina and gold wire and beaten gold were found there. W hen the people moved after the collapse of the local environment under prolonged pressure. may have been stabbed by a sharp instrument from the front before being entombed. the press released more detail of Thulamela. and some differences from. The Arab chronicler. The Royal graves excavated by Miller have already provided much valuable material for leisured interpretation. or Waqlimi. there was a drought cycle and an army had been defeated in a raid on the Gaza Kingdom of southern Mozambique. and 19th century Tswana-speaking towns within reach of the western Limpopo several hundred kilometres away. For example. he was ritually murdered. The notorious murder of King Shaka of the Zulus by his half brothers in 1824 should be re-interpreted in the light of this evidence. Clearly. This indicates that not only were Arabs and Swahilis in contact with the Limpopo culture at that time.stronghold of the king’s wives and all surrounded by the stone walls of family or clan communal residences. particularly the spectacular news that archaeologist Sydney Miller had commenced excavating two royal graves with gold ornaments dating from about 1550 AD. Obvious speculation follows that Thulamela existed as an important but minor tribal centre for several centuries because of its significant geography and sprung to greater importance when an offshoot of the Zimbabwean dynasty came to occupy it after 1450. failed his people. It would seem that King ‘Ingwe’ was the last ruler of Thulamela before it was abandoned about 1650. Mapungubwe. The modern Venda-speaking people who inhabit the region south of the Limpopo are considered to be the direct inheritors of the eastern Limpopo culture. Miller has suggested that this was according to a tradition that when a leader was perceived to have spiritually failed because of natural disasters or was incompetent because of health or age. Thulamela was part of the Limpopo cultural and trading system but had not reached its peak of development and sophistication until after the fall of Great Zimbabwe. A conservative estimate of the population of Thulamela proper is 2. but that the traditions were wellentrenched and lasted at least for 700 years. Masudi (947 AD). 186 . It is notable that when Great Zimbabwe was abandoned in the 15th century. when describing the people of the interior of southern Africa stated that if a chief. who has been symbolically named Ingwe. Photographs from the late 19th century of Venda towns show a remarkable coincidence of neat stone-walled communal areas which have clear resemblance to Thulamela. he was ritually murdered to make way for new blood. it was found that the king.000 but I would guess that it was greater in the surrounding urban and dependent agricultural complex. large quantities of worked gold were left behind. the modern Shona-speaking peoples who generally descend from the Zimbabwean Empire north of the Limpopo. the later Zimbabwean ruins. For me. the ‘golden rhino’ of Mapungubwe is a particular symbol of the cultural confrontation between ageless African peoples who never valued gold and the civilisations of the northern hemisphere who had murdered and waged wars to possess it for thousands of years. They have similarities to.

In the 1990s.N. bronze or iron ceremonial weapons or implements. since the site appears to have been the centre of cultural influences which spread throughout Rhodesia. just twenty five years ago. R. Sofala was the known entrepôt with a natural route. ± 1. wrote in Ancient Ruins and Vanished Civilisations of Southern Africa (1971): It is inevitable that this division of the Iron Age [Early to Late. described the quantities of gold found in Zimbabwean ruins at that time and the several typical manufactures : wire in several thicknesses made up in various styles of bangles. woven together into ‘basketwork’ and the finest used as thread to embellish cotton cloth . to be the original source of the great wealth and organisation of an empire with links to the ocean. it is easy to forget the difficulties faced by archaeologists and historians before carbon-dating became an essential technique. writing in 1904. bound on ceremonial wooden objects. 187 .000 square kilometres. In the historical record. the Zambezi was a pathway for Swahili and then Portuguese traders to northern Zimbabwe and Zambia. for there to be complicated arguments about the dates of the stone-walled trading towns in central southern Africa. Some estimates reckon a population of 20. not only as the source of the external trading system. Mapungubwe was on the Limpopo with no apparent easy access to Sofala.000 at Great Zimbabwe at its peak. and fine plating on copper. Neal. with reason. ferrules for the ends of ceremonial staffs . with all the necessary organisation and protocol of a tightly controlled and complex urban capital of a grand feudal state directly influencing people over maybe 250. beaten gold to cover wooden artifacts and sculptures (such as the ‘golden rhino’ of Mapungubwe) . Other sites such as Thulamela were occupied both before and after Great Zimbabwe. to Great Zimbabwe and its associated towns on the Zimbabwean plateau.Subsequent Shona occupiers of the ruins had no interest in the abandoned gold. Only recently has it been established that fortress towns like the archaeologically-undeveloped site I visited and Mapungubwe with its symbolic ‘golden rhino’ preceded Great Zimbabwe and the great imperial complex created by Bantu-speaking people. However. gold tacks for fixing beaten gold . via the Save River and its tributary the Lundi. Great Zimbabwe was always seen as the capital of an imperial nation that had been developed by people coming from the north who settled in that hospitable land of healthy high plateau and within reach of rich mineral deposits. an archaeologist in Zimbabwe in the 1960s.G. Zimbabwe was seen. but also as the stimulus for the change to the Late Iron Age. Zimbabwe was seen. westwards to Botswana and far away southwards. It was still possible. The idea of medieval seatrading stations as far south as Chibuene and Inhambane en route to the Limpopo was not seriously considered until the 1980s. Hall and W .000 AD] should go by the name Zimbabwe. gold beads of various sizes often etched with Zimbabwean symbols and designs . Roger Summers.

and the emergence of feudal empire is obvious. before moving north into Zimbabwe where gold was more prolific and accessible. and their herds of cattle. ..and built a new state (an outlier of the Zimbabwe Culture) of which little is known in detail..Beach.. Tom Huffman was suggesting that Zimbabwe may have been founded by people from the southeast who brought knowledge of ocean trade with them to found Mapungubwe and the other Limpopo-based towns. wrote in Great Zimbabwe (1973): . in Africa. and Huffman has pointed out elsewhere that this is illustrated in the archaeological record. but what was sure was that... D. a structured feudal society emerged coincident to the acquisition of wealth and its accumulation through trade. the Kutama [a designation coming from the Shona word ‘to migrate’] peoples originated in the high country on either side of the Drakensberg.. Ocean trading related to gold and ivory began on the Limpopo long before the foundation of Great Zimbabwe. An infusion of people towards the novelty of the developing Limpopo River structures followed.. the same kind of progress from early to mature Iron Age systems occurred with the so-called Mapungubwe Culture during the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Its peoples took over the settlements of earlier Iron Age populations . Garlake. wrote in The Shona and Zimbabwe 900-1850 (1980): The appearance of the Later Iron Age on the [Zimbabwe] Plateau south of the Zambezi can now be seen to be part of just such a local movement on a much grander scale.. could state as late as 1972: Further south again. Maybe. increased to the point where it became desirable to move back towards and beyond the Limpopo and the southern Zambezian plateau. beyond the Limpopo...N. In 1977. perhaps carried by a few outstanding entrepreneurs or a dominating élite clan. a Zimbabwean scholar. History of a Continent. an excavator in Zimbabwe at the time. Huffman’s hypothesis of a specific migration carrying the concept of trade was difficult to prove. But better dates and greater understanding were emerging.Basil Davidson.established here in the Transvaal between AD 700 and 1000 . embracing most of southern Africa and originating on the plateau south of the Limpopo [in South Africa]. Peter S. with the acquisition of traded artifacts from Arabia and India. The dates were now more-or-less certain and it was becoming accepted that Mapungubwe was a forerunner of Zimbabwe. Add external trading stimulus and the creation of surplus wealth within an expanding population. it is even possible that further investigations will show that the distinctions between the first Leopard’s Kopje [Limpopo-oriented society] and Zimbabwe people cannot be upheld and that they are culturally identical. In this favourable environment. Prof. This feudal society 188 . the numbers of people. as early as the 9th-10th century at Mapungubwe on the Limpopo.. well to the south of the Limpopo .. one can simply see what happened as a movement of ideas and information.

spread away from the royal and official buildings and these were separated and defined by a maze of lesser curving stone walls. but it began along the Limpopo in the 9th-10th. family and status. The tightly packed traditional round mud huts of the mass of inhabitants. The residences of the royal wives were separate from the king’s court and the queens held their own influential court with a complementary spiritual centre. A site with a prominent hill was chosen where the king’s royal court buildings were built. The Portuguese. public court of justice and storage for the national grain reserves. mining. usually with a defensive wall around it with easily defensible paths to the summit. interior circular partitions. both of the immediate agricultural environment and the surface-worked gold mines to the west. The physical layout of Great Zimbabwe is typical of all the stone towns of those kingdoms and minor chiefdoms which grew from the wealth generated by trade. subverted the independence of clans and the simple traditional vertical interlocking loyalty within clan structures typical of other Bantu-speaking people. the aristocracy emerged from immigrant ‘Kutama’ families banding together to manage the increasing complexity of the state as trade promoted surplus wealth. servants. It only needs one far-sighted charismatic chief to impose the concept on his colleagues and relations which then. At Great Zimbabwe the queens’ court is the most magnificent of the public buildings: the Great Enclosure with its massive. ordered by rank. W hen Great Zimbabwe went into decline and the empire broke up in the 15th century. thus forming an aristocratic class. about fifty years later. when it is seen to work for the benefit of the élite corps. becomes the accepted mode of government in subsequent generations. Possibly. slaves and clients is what distinguishes these trading states of the Limpopo and Zimbabwe from other local Bantu-speaking peoples. Clan chiefs had to evolve a separate loyalty to each other and to their acknowledged paramount chief for group security and coordinated administration.reached its peak of organisation at Great Zimbabwe in the 14th century. The king’s court was also the centre of tribal religion because the king ruled by divine right. The exhaustion of Great Zimbabwe. curtain walls and dramatic conical towers. manufacture and constructing royal buildings. wrested control of the Indian Ocean trading system from the Arabs and Swahilis and attempted to 189 . This revolution may have taken place quite suddenly in response to the needs of a situation getting out of hand. Below the hill of the king’s court there was the administrative centre. cattle herders. broke up the established empire in the mid 15th century and lesser feudal dynasties succeeded. This horizontal loyalty amongst clan chiefs and their extended families. agriculture. powerful dynasties also re-formed within the wreckage of the Zimbabwean Empire and a diminished and fractured feudal system persevered in parallel. being the living symbol of the tribal ancestors. warriors. Further out were farmlands and cattle posts. The concept of feudalism with an aristocratic class governing a mass of less privileged peasant farmers. decorative courses. miners. and from the necessity of organising their communities for armies. However. immaculately-constructed elliptical stone wall. Mapungubwe is typical of the earlier examples of tis evolution. some Shona-speaking people of Zimbabwe rejected the feudal system that had ruled for centuries and reverted to a simple structure of independent clans.

which in times past was wholly of the Monomotapan Empire [Great Zimbabwe]. declining over time. Mzilikazi’s invading Nguni-led army in the aftermath of the Zulu mfecane in the mid-19th century broke up this nation and dispersed the sophisticated and complex culture that had lasted a whole millennium. is situated in MoCaranga.. that of Quitere. finally reduced the authority of the Monomotapa state.. to wit.re-establish the precious metals trade in southern Africa. Machemma. however provincial it had become by then. João dos Santos wrote in Ethiopia Oriental (1609): The Kingdom of Monomotapa. is another good illustration of later small ruins with distinctive ‘Zimbabwean’ decorations lying south of the Limpopo in the Northern Province of South Africa. another son. sent his son Quitere to that part which runs along the River of Sofala. but now is divided into four kingdoms. If the surplus continues to accumulate. Thulamela may be considered the best example of this period. This division was made by a Monomotapa Emperor. north of the Soutpansberg and west of Messina. There are hundreds of these relics of the dispersed Limpopo-Zimbabwean culture. * * Despite dispersions and warfare. this of Monomotapa. but never in the quantities of the medieval period. that when surplus wealth accumulates in a society with common culture. to that which Sabia [the Save River] washeth. That endeavour largely failed because the easily-worked principal resources were exhausted and the tradition was broken. empires and then tribal confederations always break down to the natural ethnic groups of tribe and clan. Nalatale is an exquisite stone village with fine decorations lying halfway between Great Zimbabwe and Khami which was abandoned before completion. It is a tendency since the great jump to civilisation. often with prolonged violence. and Sedanda. The historically documented Monomotapa dynasty was founded in the north of Zimbabwe by one of the sons of the last emperor of Great Zimbabwe which persisted into the late 18th century. supporting this and then that member of the royal family. Territorial and trade wars with other dynastic chiefs attempting to find stability after the breakdown of empire and disruption by the Portuguese attempting to find a stable trading partner. empires are forged across cultures usually by conquest. W e have seen this happening despite the extraordinary complexity of W estern Civilisation in Europe in the 1990s. clan or tribal confederation always follows. who not willing or not able to govern so remote Countries. W hen there is economic regression. the social structures and the trading initiative of the medieval feudal states lived on amongst many of the heirs of the 190 . A particular later phase of stone-building feudal tradition continued in the west of Zimbabwe with its capital at Khami near Bulawayo (the Torwa state). Other dynasties rose and fell. Gold was still produced by native miners until the 19th century. a river which visits the sea before the Boçiças [the Bazaruto Islands] : and Chicanga a third son to the lands of Manica. the third of Sedanda and the fourth of Chicanga. almost an unbreakable law.

In the 19th century. The great Zulu kings. Shaka. One we observed painted red and yellow with some taste. Some were plastered on the outside and painted yellow. which made it look neat and comfortable. in Southern Bantu Settlement Patterns (1986). Contrarily. Europeans found that Tswana-Sotho society on the highveld interior of South Africa continued to favour large hilltop towns and they were avid traders. declined with their exhaustion and were revived again because of military pressures after the Nguni mfecane. described Kaditshwene. It was then a fine stone town of more than 10.. Kaffir picks and such things as they require. melting the ore for the manufacture of ornaments. assegais. made as level as a floor. Comparisons between medieval Mapungubwe and 19th century Kaditshwene illustrate this. untouched by Great Zimbabwe. Tom Huffman has described. They were laid out geometrically in a formal style of immaculate beehive-shaped grass-thatched huts within a perimeter wooden stockade or kraal. they make various kinds of instruments which produce pleasing sounds. shunned mountaintops and created vast circular or elliptical towns for thousands of people.Zimbabwean Empire. by a good circular wall.. a missionary writing in 1820. never built fortified hilltop towns or citadels. This historical continuity is conclusively demonstrated by documentary evidence and indicates that Shona oral history. Zulus were conquerors who feared nobody and did not need defensive fortresses on the top of hills with all the attendant inconvenience. Dingane and Cetshwayo. their work is beautifully executed. near the western Limpopo. in 1887: They are very expert in metal.000 people on a flat-topped tableland in the western Transvaal and one of several which still flourished.. John Campbell. at a convenient distance. W hen Moshoeshoe I gathered together fractured southern Sotho clans in Lesotho after the ravages of the mfecane. In Twenty-Five Years in a Waggon. They also make very neat mantles. the Nguni of KwaZuluNatal.. 191 . Time being no object. They are also very fond of music. The yard within the inclosure belonging to each house was laid with clay. He wrote: Every house was surrounded. how hilltop towns evolved during the pre-Zimbabwean Limpopo trading period. he sought out flat-topped mountains as his strongholds. myth and traditional values are just as relevant as the early ethnographic records. karosses and other kinds of materials for the women. Tom Huffman wrote in Snakes and Birds: Expressive space at Great Zimbabwe (1981): I have been able to reconstruct a cognitive model [of Great Zimbabwe] because of the well preserved archaeological evidence and the direct continuity between Shona speakers at Great Zimbabwe and the Shona speakers of today. Andrew Anderson wrote of the Tswana-speakers inhabiting the Transvaal-Botswana border. the men being the tailors and dressmakers for the tribe. and swept clean.

[They] are far more beneficial and useful in the country than the Boers. sheep and goats. Great Zimbabwe and Thulamela was still flourishing along the Limpopo in the late 19th century.. and have spans of oxen and everything complete like the colonists. Many of these Bechuana are rich in cattle. The Bechuanas throughout South Central Africa possess waggons.. are kept remarkably clean and tidy. They have their cattle-posts away in the bush. There were vestiges of it in the late 20th century despite all the pressures placed on it. would be looked upon as a superior race. 192 . and once or twice a week a pack-ox is loaded up with skins of milk and taken to the kraal for use. and if they had white skins.The interior of their huts and yards outside where they cook. called Vaalpans.. cows milked. and are a very harmless and quiet people. and their iron utensils also receive the best of attention.. These “viehposts” are in charge of their slaves. where the stock is looked after. They are the Bushmen of the country kept in subjection by the Bechuana tribe. The culture which descended from Mapungubwe. They are outstripping them in civilisation. which are surrounded by a high fence made of sticks.

The Cape was formally transferred to British sovereignty by the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the Napoleonic W ars in 1815. Admiral Don José de Cordova. other great maritime nations of Europe were beaten at sea: Spain. Until that time. a spoil of war. had the task of taking his fleet to Brest to link up with the French and Dutch in preparation for the invasion of England. It is a historical vortex. Some of the events were acts of war and some were the result of war or presaged wars and other social conflict.Vincent as having special importance for a number of reasons. The British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis K. was the first properly administered British colony in Africa and the European onslaught on the sub-Saharan region entered a new phase. Christopher Columbus sailed from there towards the Americas a half-millennium ago and. the Netherlands. This was the Battle of Cape St. Denmark and most spectacularly. The southwest corner of Europe is one of those geographical crossroads where many different symbolic events occurred. consisting of 15 ships-of-the-line and five frigates outgunned and outmanoeuvred 27 Spanish ships-of-the-line with attendant frigates. These maritime nations had been extending the impact of European Industrial Civilisation through trade and colonisation over the world. it was lightning fast.Vincent was the beginning of a remarkable chain of naval battles. In succession. and therefore of Europe and the rest of the world. The Spanish flag commander. not least for launching Nelson into prominence as something more that just another good and brave naval officer. Caribbean islands and India. as the popular media endlessly reminded us in 1992. Historians can endlessly debate the pivotal role of this or that particular event. The successful interception of this fleet was therefore an important strategic objective affecting the future of Britain. and then permanently after 1806.B. but in terms of our fourth dimension of time in Africa. in which Nelson dominated several. One of the more spectacular naval battles in this vortex was the one in which Horatio Nelson sprung into prominence as a bold and unconventional fleet tactician. The enormous territorial extent of the 193 .Vincent on the 14th February 1797. that event resulted in the greatest colonisation by an alien race of territory occupied by another.CHAPTER FIFTEEN : TERRA DA BOA GENTE Britain annexed the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. which pulled British mastery of the oceans together. which included seven giant four-deckers with more guns than any comparable British vessel at sea. St. I have long seen the Battle of St. backed by that nonpareil naval strength. The impact of Industrial Civilisation now became overwhelming. the French. Because this dominance was forged in a chain of naval battles during the first global war which raged from the Caribbean and North America to India. the British maritime ascendancy thereafter had to be maintained by formal annexation of overseas territorial bases and the imposition of political control. The Cape. first as a temporary measure in 1795 to frustrate the French. and Britain became dominant for a hundred years which were crucial to Africa. It may seem to have been slow at first. British overseas activity had been consumed by efforts to colonise North America.

not to acquire territory for settlement. Portuguese and Dutch in sub-Sahara Africa. the psychical and economic shock to sub-Saharan Late Iron Age Africans from Industrial-Age Europeans had begun to be increasingly devastating.. The African manifestation of the new British maritime ascendancy was the formal annexation of the Dutch enclave at the Cape in 1815 and a steady acquisition of trading castles and outposts in Ghana and Nigeria.British Empire. 194 . but also for essential trade .. public excitement about explorers’ journeys and exponentially expanding economies seeking ever-more trade gradually forced African lands. Professor Eric Axelson in the introduction to his book Congo to Cape (1973) wrote: It was no accident that Portugal became the first European country in modern times to explore and colonise beyond the seas. The Americas absorbed almost all surplus Europeans. into European political control and management. the greatest the world has known. The sheer power and remorseless progress of this cultural invasion had never been experienced before by the core-people of humanity. had encouraged the growth of a national spirit by the time .Portugal attained what are essentially her present frontiers. and almost incidentally the people that lived on them. Her medieval wars of independence against Leon and Castile. Competition between European powers was resolved at the Congress of Berlin in 1884 which. Portugal was forced to look to the sea not merely for communication with the rest of Christendom. At Cape St. a younger son of a Portuguese king dreamed of conquest through ocean voyaging and brought together the expertise and the men to launch Christian European exploration for trade with those parts of Africa not already occupied by or under the hegemony of Arabs and Islam.Vincent. Bounded by unfriendly and often actively hostile Spanish kingdoms and Muslim principalities. The need to safeguard trading bases.in the middle of the twelfth century . combat the slave trade and ensure the security of transit ports was the limit of ambition for many years and the British followed the pragmatic and superficial policies of the Arabs. and her campaign against the Moors in the Iberian peninsular. The notable examples of the Anglo-Boer W ar and the conquest of all the German African colonies in W orld W ar I by South Africans. saved Africa from being the cockpit of general colonial wars. French and British show just how bad it could have been. * * The first moves toward the colonisation of sub-Sahara Africa by Europeans began at the same historical vortex at the southwest corner of Europe more than four hundred years before Horatio Nelson tipped the balance in a most strategic naval battle. although much castigated these days especially for the arbitrary and destructive national boundaries. If political control of the continent by European states did not seriously begin until the late nineteenth century. began as a strategic necessity to protect trade. Later.

Gold.Portugal’s land is poor and there are no mineral riches. this expertise had to be extended beyond borrowed knowledge of the Mediterranean. Assumptions about the sky in the southern hemisphere which was unknown to them had to be made. Algiers. Dom Henriques. check compasses and calculate magnetic variation. Venice’s chief rival for the Mediterranean trade with the Middle-East. slaves. Genoa had concluded a treaty with Egypt in 1290. Not only was it difficult to obtain the ship’s position before then. Her fishermen and sailors were tough and experienced and the exploitation of seatrading was the most natural path to expansion. Over the next century. King João I took the next step. was the impossibility of calculating longitude without an accurate clock. In 1317. that their navigation and cartography was quite remarkably good. Theories and practice of cartography had to be worked from first principles to fit into the mathematics of spherical trigonometry and celestial navigation. as a nation. hides and skins were brought to Tunis. there is no visible pole star with which to arrive at latitude. if not survival. Hanging onto Ceuta was difficult but manageable. It is a tribute to the Portuguese. determined to make use of the continuing friendly relations with Genoa to extend Portugal’s knowledge of seafaring crafts. The practical problems of adapting spherical trigonometry to navigating by measuring altitudes of the sun and stars from the deck of heaving ships had to be mastered. went to the battle for Ceuta with his father. W hereas Venice had arrangements with the Turks and the Levantines. Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’. Moorish naval fleets and corsairs were swept from the southern Algarve coast and Portuguese ships and sailors were tried out in an expedition to the Canary Islands. Columbus’ spectacular failure to identify which continent he reached in 1492 was caused by this inability to measure longitude. therefore. was established when the Portuguese king appointed a Genoese as his admiral with the task of building a navy. There he learned of the trans-Sahara trade and the existence of gold in W est Africa. as he has become known. And since his idea was to tackle the Atlantic. South of the equator. Arab geographical know-how and the eastern trade. 195 . Tangier and Ceuta from the Sahel trading cities of W est Africa. and stayed on for a while as governor. and the legacy of Prince Henry’s school at Sagres. In 1415. a friendly relationship with Genoa. however crude. There was some crusading zeal in this attack but there were also practical objectives: the continuing war against pirates and corsairs who menaced the Straits of Gibraltar and because Ceuta was an important entrepôt for North African trade. Tables of altitudes for the sun had to be calculated. an attack on the African mainland of Morocco. the Infante. ivory. had some access to the knowledge and expertise of one of the major Mediterranean naval powers of the day and whatever secrets Genoa possessed about ship construction. It was an extraordinary task and the greatest block to a complete system. but charts could not be accurately drawn. Portugal. That particular problem was not solved until the trial of Harrison’s chronometer as late as 1761 provided sailors with the means to set easily a position with real accuracy at sea. Clear logic suggested that the only way to get at the W est African wealth was to make use of the ocean. King João I. and captured Ceuta. conquering all Morocco was an impossibility.

It was the proscription by Arabs of sailing beyond Cape Bojador which created a romantic myth of mystical dangers. Everything he may have wanted was there: magnificent and strategic landscape with remote mystical appeal. Much depended on the care and dedication applied by the navigator to his dead-reckoning of the relative passage east and west along lines of latitude. he built a fortified school and library for the collection of geographical and maritime information and its study. He rounded Cape Bojador in 1434 by this method and this ancient maritime barrier was overcome. local sailors used to the hard life of fishermen on the ocean waters and a town of reasonable size with a sheltered harbour. W hen the time came for ships to be built and sent off.Vincent.The maps of Africa and the western Indian Ocean which were drawn from Portuguese data in the 16th century were finely detailed and had relatively little distortion when considering these practical problems. latitude) in 1441 where he found people. Adverse winds and currents had to be tested carefully. Because of northerly winds and current on the Moroccan Atlantic coast and the difficulty of returning.Vincent because it pointed the way into the Atlantic and by its remote and savage beauty. Nuño Tristão reached Cape Branco (about 20º N. Eventually Gil Eannes discovered that he could master contrary winds that had inhibited Moroccan galleys in previous centuries by trying a bold triangular route. W hen beset by storms or beating labouriously into the wind. Henry sent out the first exploring voyages in 1422 and he died in 1460. He established a home there. dead-reckoning becomes notoriously difficult. The Portuguese could at last begin trading directly with W est Africa. Later that decade. Local lore tells that Prince Henry was attracted to Cape St. it was to bypass the 196 . peace and quiet for scholarly endeavours. Nearby. To this day there is controversy about exactly where Columbus made his first trans-Atlantic landfall. had no water and was difficult to approach because of offshore banks: useless for trade. there was the little fishing village of Sagres. probably at the base of Cape St. Ambitious captains often employed themselves with attacks on Moroccan corsairs and looting coastal Moslem shipping. Using a caravel. and within a larger bay further to the east there was the port of Lagos. but they could not calculate longitude either and relied on a ponderous system of star sites to establish position. sea monsters and boiling seas in southern oceans. and beyond lay prosperity. Indian Ocean sailors had long been practised trans-ocean navigators by the 15th century. Several voyages were undertaken along the African coast and each time lessons were learned and applied to the next one. The first years showed slow progress. Cape Bojador (about 26¼º N latitude) had been held with the same dread by Arabs as Cape Corrientes in Mozambique. The coast of Saharan Africa was uninhabited. sailing out into the ocean and returning via the Azores. trade had been established and his youthful dream realised. sheltered by another great promontory. Tristão explored the Senegal and Gambia Rivers. they sailed from Lagos. In Prince Henry’s lifetime. Near Sagres. Unknown currents can make a difference of more than a degree of longitude at the equator in twenty-four hours. That dream had not been to conquer the Indian Ocean as some have supposed. The caravel was an improvement in ship design and was introduced.

Eric Axelson: One of [King João II’s] first acts was to order the construction of a fortified trading post on the Mina coast. the Portuguese landed in their rich and colourful garments of brocade and silk. If southern African Bantu-speaking cattle-oriented people had little interest in gold as personal jewellery. this was not the case with W est African forest farmers who had been influenced by Arab and Berber trans-Saharan traders for many centuries. Alfonso de Aveiro led an expedition to Benin. ambassadors exchanged. the first permanent European outpost in sub-Saharan Africa was established at Elmina on the coast of modern Ghana. I have stood on the ramparts of this castle and enjoyed communing with the centuries of history held in the stones beneath my feet.Moroccans and trade with W est Africa. there had to be another solution other than letting her hard-won trading position melt away. bypassing the traditional Arab and Turkish middlemen and seatraders of the Levant. England. The Byzantine rulers of Egypt were dislodged by an Arab Islamic army in 639 AD. justifying Henry’s gamble. Competitors from other maritime nations of the Mediterranean and Atlantic seaboard of Europe were quick to follow once the Portuguese had found the way and developed the navigational and shipbuilding skills. and Christianity retreated to the highlands of Ethiopia where it became cut off from civilised commerce. The Portuguese built the fortress of São Jorge which still stands today. In the dank and equatorial heat.. Axum fell under Arab invasions. the coast of Sierra Leone had been reached. In 1482. Despite whatever military activity they could mount overseas and diplomatic pressures the Portuguese king could apply at home.. Before Henry died. 197 . The peppers began a tradition in Portugal which modern tourists enjoy when they eat chicken piri-piri in restaurants along the Algarve. In 1486. Since Portugal could not go to war with half of Europe including her oldest ally. From 1460 exploration proceeded. whose scanty garb of gold chains round his neck and gold beads in his hair excited his visitors’ cupidity. to the very source of far greater trading richness. southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf. In Ethiopia and the southern Sudan. Egypt. the sophisticated kingdom to the immediate westward of the Niger delta (not the present-day state of the same name). and assured the local ruler. This was the first recorded penetration by Europeans into the rainforest zone of tropical Africa. notably the Kingdom of Axum. Trading relations between the Portuguese and Obas of Benin were established. slaves and peppers were sent to Portugal. that their king wished to trade.. This was to go on to the next giant gamble: a sea-route to the Indian Ocean and Far East. promoted by succeeding kings as the value of the African trade proved itself and wealth began to accumulate. and in January 1482 a squadron under Diogo de Azambuja anchored off the Aldeia das Duas Partes. causing disruption to the general region. it was clear that Portugal could not sustain a monopoly of the W est African trade. grandly dominating the small sheltered bay divided by the Beya River. there were well-established Christian states before the foundation of Islam.

The myth of Prester John. Columbus’ desperate activity to get a sponsor to try his westward route increased. The Old Testament story of Solomon’s gold of Ophir was there to lend strength. and he and his men must have been full of the possibility of sailing the Indian Ocean. a veteran of W est African trading. a Christian king commanding great wealth amongst primitive Negroes and besieged by the hated Arabs. with a clear Indian Ocean objective. link with him and supplant Islam by Christianity. but it was a genuine motive. involving many men and different expeditions. latitude. to try a westward approach was dismissed as a fantasy. This place lies about halfway between the modern Angolan towns of Benguela and Namibe at about 13½º S. was frequently bandied about in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. It would seem that the Spanish monarchs’ agreement to sponsor Columbus was prompted by little more than curiosity and indulgent patronage. nearly ten years before Columbus’ first voyage. went on to rest in the harbour of Luanda in Angola and reached a point of land which was later called Cabo de Santa Maria. The Portuguese authorities had a more accurate appreciation of the distance involved than that presented by Columbus’ erroneous calculations. the little-known Genoese trader who had sailed on Portuguese ships.The kings of Ethiopia. Diogo Cão entered the estuary of the Congo River. They achieved trading links with Canton in China eight years before the Magellan expedition returned to Europe with proof that the vast Pacific separated the Americas from Asia. On his first expedition. W hen Columbus was exploring Central America in 1502-4. a padrão. still believing that he was on the coast of Asia. the petitioning of the Portuguese king by Columbus. the Portuguese were well-established on the Malabar coast of India. He stopped in the mouth of the Congo River and exchanged friendly messages with the king of the baKongo who later became clients of 198 . A stone pillar. was despatched on the first voyage of the second phase of exploration. The proposition that the Portuguese were lured around Africa by the dream of linking up with Prester John to form some great Christian alliance to exploit the gold of Africa has been exaggerated. managed to send ambassadors to Europe from time to time seeking help and an awareness of a Christian stronghold enveloped by Islamic neighbours in the heart of Africa was kept alive in Europe. achieved success. was erected there on 28th August 1483. The religious dimension added to commercial zeal. so Portuguese explorers received instructions to seek Prester John. Diogo Cão. in August 1482. leaving Portugal at the end of summer. brought to life occasionally by travellers’ tales and the infrequent appearance of Ethiopian supplicants. It is a measure of accumulating Portuguese expertise and confidence that whereas it took sixty years to explore W est Africa and establish a trading fort at Elmina. As Diogo Cão. Diogo Cão was at sea again in 1485. having exhausted his provisions and the stamina of his crew. tempered with a hint of greed at what he might actually achieve despite all the evidence against him. Having determined on the African route to the Orient. and he turned back. it took six years and three voyages to extend knowledge from the Bight of Benin to the Indian Ocean and one more voyage to navigate the eastern African coast and reach India. and then Bartolomeo Dias. hearing about the Crusades.

Pedro de Covilhâo and Alfonso de Paiva were Portuguese who were masters of Arabic and had extensive trading experience. where the lonely desert-begird lobster-fishing town of Lüderitz stands today. Covilhâo’s instructions were to report on the Indian Ocean and Paiva was to find Prester John. the oldest surviving European graffiti in the southern hemisphere were chiselled. but Covilhâo spent three years travelling between India. was given command. He made landfall and anchored for repairs and water south of Cape Cross within a beautiful rocky bay at Angra Pequena. 199 .Portugal. They went on overland to pay a courtesy call on the king of the baKongo whose capital was at the modern town of São Salvador. and to seek substantive information about the legend of Prester John. Apart from meeting Khoi who were not prepared to trade their cattle. the land was forbidding and apparently empty. Covilhâo’s information was supported by Dias’ voyage and by 1491 the Portuguese had positive and clear intelligence of the geographical outlines of the Indian Ocean and the political structures about it. Dias ended his voyage well into unknown seas. Paiva did not survive to report back. Diogo Cão sailed on past the furthest point of his previous expedition. where he died. discover who were the important potentates especially those who might favour trade with Portugal. along the notoriously dangerous land which has become known as the Skeleton Coast. He erected his last stone marker on that coast in Namibia. They were to supplement hearsay and traveller’s tales with firsthand knowledge of the Indian Ocean navigation systems. A new voyage was immediately planned and a veteran. where the coastline consistently heads northeast in the direction of India. Coincident to Dias’ voyage. specially designed for the Cape route by Bartolomeo Dias and armed with the best cannons to combat the Arab ships and forts reported on by Covilhâo. as translated: “Here reached the vessels of the distinguished King Dom João II of Portugal. Bartolomeo Dias. a forceful aristocrat and military man. Dias’ little caravels were hurtled around the Cape of Good Hope without sighting land in a storm lasting days and he did not know he was in the Indian Ocean until he found that the coast was finally heading east and north. There was no possibility at all that Columbus’ concepts could have been accepted in Lisbon. his ships battered and his crew exhausted. On rocks beside the falls of Yellala. It was left to Vasco da Gama. East Africa and Egypt. * * Vasco da Gama set sail in 1497 with a well-found fleet of four ships.” Diogo Cão’s name follows with some of his officers. where a Jesuit mission was eventually established. at Cape Cross. probably 150-200 kilometres past the modern city of Port Elizabeth. two spies were sent out to bring back detailed evidence directly from travel in the Indian Ocean. The coast continued southwards and shortly his ships were skirting the Namib Desert. to complete the Portuguese voyages of exploration to India. He sent a report back to Lisbon via Jewish traders in Cairo and then went on to follow Paiva to Ethiopia where he lived for the rest of life.

the momentum was great. Indeed. Ibn Majid.. granting security for Portugal’s eastern explorations and potential Indian Ocean empire. Most Portuguese archives were destroyed by fire in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and it would not be surprising if this was so. in which it is reported that Portuguese ships foundered off the east coast of Africa some time before da Gama set sail. considering the rapid advances in the 1480s and the excitement of Columbus’ voyages. The Islamic year 900 is 1495-96 AD and the feast of Michael makes a precise date of 29 September 1495.. explaining why a Portuguese fleet “stumbled.R.” Ibn Majid was the pilot who took da Gama to India from Malindi to Calicut in 1498 and it is not beyond belief that he not only had earlier dealings with the Portuguese.Boxer has pointed out in Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion. And the masts were submerged.. Hall’s assumption is that there were further voyages between the return of Dias and the departure of da Gama and that records have been lost. He quotes the published work of the great Arabian navigator. This Treaty was proclaimed in 1494. Hall also discusses the remarkable first part of da Gama’s voyage in which he sets off from the Azores to sail down the centre of the Atlantic to turn east almost at the latitude of the Cape. the Portuguese king was exercised after 1490 with negotiating to have the Treaty of Tordesillas agreed by the Pope which shared the ‘new worlds’ between Spain and Portugal. it seems . It is a most exciting notion! Richard Hall’s quotation from Ibn Majid’s Sofaliya (1500): It was here [near Sofala] that the Franks [Portuguese] stumbled. but might have made an appointment to meet da Gama that year. because they trusted the monsoon. This seems unlikely since Covilhâo’s despatches from Cairo were probably received in 1491 or 1492 at the latest. knowledge pointing to great success had been received and competitive pressures from Spain were increasing after Columbus in 1492. The waves fell on them. as C. This still seems unlikely to me.There had always been some mystery about the ten years lapse in time between the departure of Dias’ and da Gama’s voyages. throwing them to the opposite side of the rocks of Sofala. on the day of the feast of Michael. Eric Axelson in Portuguese in South-East Africa 1488-1600 (1973) merely states that the Portuguese king was awaiting news from Covilhâo before authorising the outfitting of a new expedition. They navigated during two whole years and they always intended to reach India. because they trusted the monsoon. [Much further north] sailed the ships of the Franks in the year 900... and the ships overflowed with water. Some were seen to drown. Therefore why was there a delay at this most critical time? Richard Hall in Empires of the Monsoon (1996) makes intriguing suggestions. It has always been something of a 200 . . 1415-1825 (1963). September-October is the time of the changing of the monsoons.. This was the longest mid-ocean voyage ever undertaken by a European navigator until that time and implies particular knowledge of the sailing conditions and navigational requirements for such an extraordinary feat. Axelson has suggested elsewhere that delay was caused by problems besetting the rulers in Portugal which included the death of King Joâo II and the accession of Manuel.

mystery how da Gama providentially met one of the most experienced Arab pilots of the day. and we observed many Negroes and negresses. and it was not until they made a landfall considerably further north that they met them... The Roteiro of the voyage: From here [near the present city of Durban] we went so far out to sea without touching port that we scarcely had any water to drink and our food had to be cooked with salt-water. . On the next day we put off in boats to go ashore. The Commander-in-Chief [Vasco da Gama] ordered one Martim Afonso.. The chief said that anything that he had in his land that we needed he would give us with goodwill. some red trousers. and absolutely established the places where Cão and Dias erected their padrões. and for drink we had but a quartilho: it was accordingly essential to reach a port.The Land of Good People . supported so well by Ibn Majid’s writing. Professor Eric Axelson who carried out much research on the first Portuguese voyagers. There were no Bantu-speaking Negro people in that part of Africa. To this land we gave the name Terra da Boa Gente [Land of Good People] and to the river Rio do Cobre [Copper River.. who was amenable to be the pilot for this foreign and infidel fleet. (1998). and a bracelet. and another man with him. It is strange that the precise location of that meeting is uncertain. who had wandered about in Manicongo a very long time. a cap. and all this the said Martim Afonso understood. Axelson does agree that it is likely that there were Portuguese voyages to Brazil and East Africa in the period 1487-97. That is a portion of the surviving first account of a meeting between Europeans and Bantu-speaking Negroes of southern Africa. Terra da Boa Gente . points out that there is doubt as to the authenticity of Ibn Majid’s own writing on this subject. * * Vasco da Gama’s small fleet met Khoi at Mossel Bay on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa.is a most interesting and significant name. because of the wealth of copper adornment on the people]. The Commander-in-Chief sent that chief a jacket. somebody wrote about it. and we returned to our vessels. where he and his men noted their fine cattle and danced in unison with the herdsmen. . 201 . author of navigation manuals and astronomical tables. The Diary of His Travel s through African Waters 1497-1499. with a chief among them. Eric Axelson in Vasco da Gama. was unable to place accurately the beach where da Gama and his men landed on the Terra da Boa Gente. I intuitively accept Hall’s thesis. That night the said Martim Afonso and the other man went with that chief to sleep in his houses. and the natives received them hospitably. large in body. to go ashore.. but whether Majid himself actually wrote the story of the Frankish wreck in September 1495. and there we stopped off the coast. And on Thursday which was the 10th of January [1498] we saw a small river.

W hat is important is that the first meeting between European and Bantu-speaking people in southern Africa was not only amicable. and it is possible that da Gama’s fleet anchored off Zavora point in latitude 24º31'S.The key to locating it is the sentence. like a river mouth. During this time we were anchored off the coast in the open sea. It is the Bay of Inhambane. It may seem trivial and unimportant. W e were five days here taking in water. There is another alternative which I have always intuitively preferred. The Portuguese never set out to conquer territory in Africa: their objective was always trade. which is why he was chosen to lead the most important expedition of the age. and there we stopped off the coast”. and its access to the ocean is narrow. It was the struggle for commercial supremacy on the high seas between Portuguese and 202 . I shall always believe that is the location of Terra da Boa Gente. Axelson correctly objected to it because there is no mention of a large bay in the Roteiro of da Gama’s voyage. but we did not take in all the water we wanted to because the wind favoured the voyage. but it was a sharp symbol of Portuguese intentions and first acts on the Indian Ocean shores of Africa. “we saw a small river. just south of Ponta Zavora which provides some shelter where sport-fishermen launch boats off the beach. but sufficiently so to be recorded so dramatically by a name that lasted to the present. and others have suggested the coast alongside the villages of Quissico or Chidenguele where there are beautiful lagoons behind the coastal dunes. but it is not a ‘small’ river and in January it should have been swollen by summer rainfall. But Axelson’s logic was powerful. but the instructions from his king and his execution of them stressed the need for the establishment of friendly relations with native peoples. and pour it into pits in the earth and make salt from it. probably several times. Da Gama was a haughty aristocrat and a proven tough military commander. about two miles north of a sensible anchorage off the Praia da Barra. It has also produced extensive shallows offshore for several miles on either side of its mouth on which waves break. Later the Roteiro states: These people carry great calabashes of salt water from the sea inland. Eric Axelson always favoured the Inharrime River. Cyclones have changed this coast. One river which could be the Rio do Cobre is the Limpopo. Right on the beach. Inhambane Bay is really a very large lagoon. In fact. Inhambane Bay is a huge enclosed estuary fed by two rivers and old maps show that the present-day sandspit enclosing it was considerably more substantial. which they carried to the boats for us. Aguada da Boa Paz [The W atering-place of Good Peace]. at the foot of a low bluff. From Cape Corrientes southwards to Delagoa Bay the coast is straight and the only rivers that enter the sea do so without creating any kind of delta: the small rivers have created extensive lagoons inland to accommodate seasonal surges and burst through high dune banks when in flood. these lagoons were used by later sailors as sources of fresh water and the area has another significant and evocative name. and trade cannot flourish within conflict. fresh water wells out within two hundred metres of the surf.

and cut off entirely their trade with Africa. Fleets and armies were gathered together and in the first sweep south a Portuguese squadron was overcome. Persia and northern India who rallied to the cause. break their monopoly of intercontinental trade with India and the East which was being funnelled through them to the Italians. British and their own behaviour in the Americas and Caribbean islands is not always known or understood. and several wars in the Arabian Sea zone. On the Angolan coast in the 18th and 19th centuries. it was the concentration of Portuguese colonial effort in Brazil that kept them out of interior Africa. In the end it was the Dutch and English East India Companies which broke this monopoly in the 17th century by sailing directly across the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese established friendly relations with a selection of Hindu princes on the Malabar Coast of India and trade began. In 1971. He defied them and his forces were defeated so he sent out a call for help which was answered by the Turkish Sultan of Egypt. During the 16th and 17th centuries. The ‘W hite Moors’ of the north [the people of Arabia] could not stand idle and see the Portuguese. The fate of the Indian Ocean was in balance. one of the more famous Portuguese colonial figures. Portugal established a loose and inefficient hegemony over the Indian Ocean seatrading systems of Swahilis. rallied his forces and in a great naval battle of 2nd February 1509. Arabs. For a hundred years. ironically. the Americas were the magnet for European settlement. the Portuguese were the masters of the ocean from the Cape of Good Hope to the East Indies. Persians. ill-fated expeditions were sent up the Zambezi seeking control of the dwindling gold production and weak military intervention was mounted from time to time to try and support trading partners who were propped up as kings of ‘Monomotapa’ in north-eastern Zimbabwe. Always. But the Moslem ruler of Diu could not tolerate the Portuguese. French. They established refreshment 203 . despite repeated efforts by Islamic nations. off Diu. But these were not effectively pursued. with improved ships and better navigational technique. I wrote: W here real martial strength was required by the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean it was in defence against the natural reaction of the Arabs to their arrival in the Arabian Sea and in their holding out against other Moslems of Egypt. slaving activity for the trade to Brazil was enormous and. Turks. defeated the combined Moslem fleets. in one stroke.established Indian Ocean Islamic seatraders that resulted in bloodshed and the sacking of port-towns by one side then the another. The comparison between the relatively benign activities of the Portuguese in eastern Africa compared to Spanish. Egyptians and Indians for less than a hundred years. bypassing the eastern African coast. Francisco d’Almeida. in unpublished papers.

Arabia and the Persian Gulf and generate resentment from those colonial Arab and Swahili merchants who briefly lost their lucrative dominance. Ahmed Hamoud al-Maamiry was born in Zanzibar of Omani descent and has written several books on Omani and East African history. She had come primarily for strategic and commercial reasons. W ith the failing of the gold trade from Zimbabwe. 204 . This fortress withstood three terrible sieges by the Dutch and forced them to find other routes to the Indies. Conflict between the competing European ocean trading nations had negligible direct effects on the eastern African coast in the 17th and 18th centuries and the people of the interior were unaffected away from the old-established Swahili towns. Their treatment of the local people depended upon the response they received from them on their arrival. the Cape and Mauritius and later called on the coast of Madagascar. Indeed. A small stone fort was built at Sofala in 1505. ruling from their bases at Mombasa and Zanzibar until the British took them under ‘protection’ in the latter part of the 19th century. W hat the Portuguese were defending was not an African colonial empire but their sea route to India. If they were resented they used force. compiling material from sources not always consulted by European or African writers. Helena Island. and if they were received with respect they reciprocated. their only achievements were to temporarily disrupt the trade with India. however. It became the headquarters of the Portuguese presence on the African coast and is without doubt the finest building of its type in sub-Saharan Africa.bases at St. Until the 19th century. but this treatment depended upon the attitude of the man in command. the Portuguese presence in Mozambique and eastern Africa was never profitable. In East Africa. Portugal had made a notable contribution to Europe of the physical and human geography of a large expanse of Africa. Eric Axelson sums up the first European colonial activity in eastern and southern Africa quite neatly in Portuguese in Southern Africa 1488-1600 (1973): By and large. the Omani Arabs were considerably more successful in establishing a colonial presence in East Africa. In Omani-Portuguese History (1982) he states: The Portuguese have been described as people who had no colonial interests in their adventures and they did not interfere in the administration of the local affairs of the countries they visited. Their principal aim was to monopolise trade from the Arabs and to convert people to Christianity. the massive if ugly monster of Fort Jesus was built hastily at Mombasa when Omani strength was growing. But of course Portugal had not come to south-east Africa to indulge in individual’s scientific curiosity. A fine fortress in classical renaissance style later rose in fits and starts on Moçambique Island but it was to counter expected rival European aggression. There are references of use of force even before the behaviour of the local people was ascertained. There was no extensive building programme as there was in India.

Italian. It was an historical and evolutionary imperative: as certain as night following day. an essential cog in the vastly more important machine tapping into the wealth of the Indian Ocean trading system. Livingstone’s writings and public lectures undoubtedly stimulated the exploration and then colonisation of the interior of Africa.from India that was of paramount importance to the Portuguese monarchs and their advisers throughout the sixteenth century. they endeavoured for the next 140 years to restrict settlement and contain the energies of the few numbers of Dutch. Livingstone was arguably the most potent publiciser of African colonisation. Equally. He believed that colonisation from one source or another was inevitable and that Victorian British ethics would be the best safeguard for indigenous Africans. the East Indies and China. The prize was always trade with India. 205 . There is no doubt that the European colonisation of Africa in the 19th century was inevitable.. Austrian and German names are written into the history and geography of Africa. the Dutch did not come to South Africa to establish a colony in the 17th century. The ownership of the Cape was one of several reasons for the reopening of the worldwide Napoleonic W ars between Britain and her allies and France in 1803 although the trigger was control of Malta. W ith Britain in the ascendancy in India. Cape Town was established as a refreshment station on the Dutch route to the Indies and this became a necessity after their failure to wrest Moçambique Island from the Portuguese. There were a number of other explorers from the several nations in Europe who played a similar role. W hen the Dutch founded the great city of Cape Town in 1652. no matter how much ethical and enlightened arguments were also stirred up by the manner of it. about the methods and the results.. and particular British. for a long time to come. The Cape of Good Hope was a reluctant colonial outpost which had to be brought under British control. His theme was that systematic British colonisation and orderly commercial development was needed to counter the increasing Arab and Swahili slave-trade and ‘civilise’ the natives. French. In this light the continent’s southerly projection was only an unfortunate impediment that lengthened. an African base on the way was imperative. But. Argument will proceed. complicated and prejudiced the voyage. Moçambique [Island] was established primarily as a marine station .especially . peasant farmers and ranchers whose descendants became the white Afrikaners of today.. French and German townsmen.It was the maritime traffic to and . The engine of the modern Industrial Revolution was running too fast for their to be any brake on colonial activity by Europeans.

Quantos filhos em vão rezaram! Quantas noivas ficarem por casar Para que fosses nosso. how much of your salt Are tears of Portugal! For us to sail you. * For to admire an’ for to see. Rudyard Kipling. How many sons prayed in vain! How many brides forewent marriage So you could be ours. O mar! “O salty sea. For to be’old this world so wide It never done no good to me. quantas mães choraram. O sea!” Fernando Pessoa. But I can’t drop it if I tried. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 206 .O mar salgado. how many mothers cried. quanto do teu sal São lágrimas de Portugal! Por te cruzarmos.

There is no beginning and no end: one is inevitably drawn into an attempt to understand Life and how it has evolved on this planet. and this masterwork has obvious deficiencies. explains contemporary opinion succinctly. Lacking literacy. Today. Reading is not a typically African recreation. producing its General History of Africa in eight volumes under the general direction of Professor B.. After all. which was when most written records began. Each volume had its own editor and the texts were provided by dozens of contributors. These qualities also create difficulties for people who wish to understand Africa. yes. The first written descriptions of the inner Congo are those of Henry Morton Stanley’s diaries from 1877. It is not our way. The fictional character.M. talking. W e find it a bit crazy.lots of talking.. Every ivory hunter. inevitably interpreting what they saw through the lens of their own cultural bias. W hoever wrote or caused written documents in Africa was involved in creating change. Professor A. yes. Adu Boahen. The European colonial period in the interior of sub-Sahara Africa is less than two hundred years long. has one of the characters in his book Elizabeth Costello discuss literature in Africa. By 1998 the publication of the abridged version for general reading had not been completed. mineral prospector or government administrator created a small focus of external influence as he moved in the interior. Literate societies depend on literature for understanding. but South African academics and scholars are notable by their absence. trader. The Nobel prize-winning South African novelist. Africa is a continent where people share. dancing. Africans had different slants on life. Many distortions in the character of Africa and its people are directly related to the impact of modern industrial W estern Civilisation. It is like eating alone or talking alone.A.. Music.Coetzee. W e do not know exactly and precisely what sub-Sahara Africa was like before literate Asiatics or Europeans travelled and wrote. Ogot and his successor.” 207 .AFTERWORD UNESCO began a massive African historiography in 1965.. yes . a successful Nigerian author with a vogue amongst intellectuals of Europe and the US. J. . but such practice is not the tradition of sub-Saharan Africans. eating. where is the beginning? I have probably made that point enough times in the body of these two books. He says: “. Reading a book by yourself is not sharing.000.000 years long. yes. and when considering humankind in Africa. There are few documents on much of sub-Sahara Africa before it was caught up in the agony of the jump to the Industrial-age and 20th century technology. missionary explorer. The timelessness of Africa is part of its unique character and its extraordinary fascination. a large proportion of Africans are still illiterate and many who read and write use this ability as nothing more than a convenient tool in daily affairs. Africa’s human history is at least 4.

It did not matter that only a minority of Roman citizens or medieval Europeans could read and write. Priests and other clergy were literate and interpreted literature for their congregations. commentators and politicians. political mismanagement and corruption. The core of their culture was enshrined in books written by people over the past hundreds of years and those kings or barons who were illiterate relied upon the advice of learned. many states have no national cohesion and motivation. varying international commodity prices. despite notable national efforts and the fact that most of the population is young. bureaucratic barriers to trade. European civilisation and culture was guided to a large extent by the Christian Church which was bound together by literature. Anthony O’Connor examined in detail the many causes of poverty in Africa. including exponential population growth. endemic civil war and the inability of post-colonial societies to produce stable and progressive government. falling per capita food production. The simple reason is that we have been separated from non-literate society for a thousand generations. The average is about 50% in populous nations such as Nigeria. literate men. Because African states have boundaries and structures resulting from arbitrary divisions made by European powers in ignorance of natural geography and ethnography. the debt burden. * * In his geographical text. Much has been made of this enormous millstone hanging about the neck of Africans by many writers. failure of local industry and the old colonial infrastructures. giving them back nothing but incomplete detail of colonial times or a brief overview of our own often irrelevant history.Despite the lack of written records. Algeria or Egypt. Most of these are paraded in newspaper or television revues of the latest African catastrophe. Communities have become desperate for freedom from domination by people of another tribe 208 . Africans were more personally involved with history than modern Europeans or North Americans. literacy is almost 100% in Europe whereas in Africa. there was the colonial legacy of arbitrary state boundaries. one-party governments and tyrannical dictators. uncontrolled urbanisation. Islam and Christianity have probably had less effect on African culture than the teaching of literacy and reverence for the written word. it varies from about 20% in countries like Sierra Leone or Birkina Faso to 75% in South Africa. It may be almost impossible for Europeans and North Americans to understand sub-Saharan African culture. Repeatedly. O’Connor returned to his theme that the ‘states’ of Africa did not reflect ‘nations’. Literacy and literate precision in history teaching damaged the religion of Africans and affronted their culture. degradation of land. Poverty in Africa (1991). At the heart of all African religion and the structures of their everyday society was an understanding and reverence for the spiritual and practical inheritance of the ancestors and their deeds. Today. Apart from the obvious problems besetting the continent. but it is usually presented in the light of politics: the difficulty of governing people of different tribes. Every civil war in Africa in the post-colonial period since 1960 has had roots in ethnic problems exacerbated by population pressures. which is the excuse for authoritarian.

Life has been made intolerable by the difficulties of ordinary day-to-day living in an over-crowded. or have never learned. ordinary people caught up in events about which they did not have a clear understanding. parts of the Great Lakes region have the highest density of population in Africa. was popular in the 1960s. The emigration of large numbers of the best of the professional and managerial classes followed. Enforced multi-racialism and multi-culturalism. flagrant financial and moral corruption. and the problem does not go away with time. or has been an attempt to adapt European Marxist theory. hopelessly inefficient and naive bureaucracies and the limitless avarice of amoral businessmen. In Africa. like most ‘isms’ of W estern Civilisation. has probably equalled if not exceeded the world-wide total for W W II. This is a most terrible indictment of the way that African people have been misused and mutilated in the post-independence period by cynical and corrupt nationalist politicians. there has been endemic violent crime. grieving for the massacred. the civil wars in Yugoslavia and the newly independent states of the Soviet Union are potent examples. The ever-open sore of the Middle-East. Revolutionaries often ignore. W idespread civic violence based on tribal divisions marred the political transition in South Africa from minority white to majority black rule. the lessons of history: that evolution. however attractive these concepts might be intellectually. In post-colonial Africa. But those kinds of revolution have notoriously failed. the various state governments and rulers have sought some form of structure or ideology which would knit the old tribal authorities together. but the light dimmed. of course. the need to destroy the colonial and tribal structures to enable a new polity to emerge. In all this time the United Nations has been vociferous about ‘liberation’ from the ‘evils’ of European colonialism but did nothing to stop the endless slaughter of innocents. the civil war in Rwanda in 1994 with continuing anarchy and fighting in the Great Lakes region is frightening. South Africa seemed to be a shining light in 1994 under its revered leader Nelson Mandela. 209 . whether physical or social. Frequently this structure has been a corruption of both an inherited European colonial system and that of one or another tribal tradition. The same process occurs outside Africa. If the future of this one nation in sub-Saharan Africa which stood at the gate of global economic integration in the 1990s is questioned. Force always creates waves which will often swamp the ship of state floating on the sea of the people. economic stagnation. newly-urbanised society. what hope is there for the rest? Death in Africa from civil wars and their spin-off effects since the 1960s when most nations gained independence. The theory of revolution. In the 21st century instead of surging ahead into that bright future that was forecast to follow liberation from racist apartheid. psychotic warlords. Significantly. leaving people in cultural wastelands with devastated economies. The bewilderingly immense volume of human slaughter that accompanied it. despite fashionable disparagement of the concept of diverse ethnicity.or religion who have acquired power over the state. follows natural laws. And it has not stopped. and the impotence of the United Nations to do anything about it. do not work. The majority of casualties was noncombatant . characterise the chaos that will continue until real solutions are gradually worked through. the rising of a phoenix from the ashes.

Africa’s most populous state. In December 1992. But Africa’s share of the world’s GDP had sunk to 1. Trials are going on in selected British schools in which all course-work is done on computers. but the attempt is often devastating. and in all Africa by implication. I believe Soyinka was right to emphasise the effects of trade.Forcing a ‘jump’ within one generation so that the results can be seen in one’s own lifetime is a tempting objective. He pointed out that the technical and political onslaught on Africa in the 20th century was an extraordinary burden. The divergence of most of the developed industrial nations away from Africa in some kind of exponentially soaring flight into the future may be illustrated most vividly by this most important issue of education. W ole Soyinka. Frequently. even gentle. He said that the only optimistic sign was the bedrock strength of the efforts of the ordinary masses to pursue trade and a parallel ‘maintenance’ industry unrecorded by the official sector. yes: but the concept and practice of trading. all that a powerful revolutionary leader can achieve is to see his revolution fail because of the inertias it is up against. Modern externally-imposed political boundaries are probably the most important contributors to the material and spiritual poverty of Africa. resulting in widespread corruption and a disregard for political boundaries. It was also a plea to understand that Africans were finding their own way.000 years. itself ripe for the next revolution. If any part of the world would immediately benefit from a giant common market with no tariffs. Of all the activities of nations (or states) in the past 10. or to watch the bright flames of an ideal smoulder into the ashes of a damaged and miserable society. Chief Emaka Anyaoku. But national frontiers and the commercial conduct of governments inhibit this enormous potential energy and much of it is burned away in combatting bureaucracies. He described the political changes that were occurring and the enormous efforts being made by African politicians to work towards common economic and trading systems. then it is Africa. spoke on a TV programme early in 1992 about the W est’s lack of understanding and media distortions of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. There is an intuitive drive for trading amongst Africans. reduces territorial and cultural stresses. Trade enhances wealth. The changes thrust on Africa. spreads knowledge and understanding. and examinations take place orally or by text messaging with pupils on their mobile cell-phones with voice-recognition controls to combat fraud and 210 . either at school or at home in a network connected to the school. criticism. trade seems to be the one which has been the most benign and progressive force.5% of the population by 2001 and the trend continues. It was a reasoned. no matter what political system is carried on within the ‘states’. the British Commonwealth Secretary-General. They knew perfectly well that these were needed to begin to solve problems. the Nigerian Nobel Laureate. was the freeing of his country from oppression by authority and the fast-track corrupt elite.75% with 13. were the kind of changes Europeans had been generating within their societies over centuries. Nobody has ever had to teach Africans to trade. Literacy or written-down accounting. He remarked that what was needed in Nigeria. presented a TV programme in the BBC Assignment series in which he described the enormous problems facing Nigeria. particularly since 1960. no.

W e keep talking about what is wrong but we hurtle. Poverty is holding Africa back in all the directions needed to improve the life of its people. Perhaps it is because I began my career as a trader in Nigeria for five years in the late 1950s. Thereafter. seemingly unstoppable. I learned the importance of trade in all its aspects in a milieu which concentrated on trading to the exclusion of almost all other commercial activity. That order of money spent on every child must seem quite obscene to most Africans. It may seem to the reader that I have put excessive emphasis on trade and trading both in the general narrative of this book and in this ‘Afterword’. He has correctly diagnosed the central problem.000) spent on its upbringing and education by its parents alone. and many of those who are at school have no books and write on scraps of paper or on slates. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has made the problems of poverty the theme of his call for an ‘African Renaissance’. and to have respectful congress with others in an atmosphere of free speech and movement. * * On the title page of this book I quoted the bard: “W hat is past is prologue. there can not be doctrinaire. but resources were not made available as easily as promises. A recent study in England shows that the average child may expect to have £140. free trade and security of the individual have been recognised as imperatives in resolving exponentially increasing problems of poverty in Africa. then unnecessary children would not be born. Maybe Africans could show that the way to survive and progress along a positive evolutionary path is to return to traditional moralities around natural ethnic and social vortices. especially in Africa. Personal security within cohesive and harmonious communities is the essential basis for stable society and natural evolution. This path has been thoroughly discredited over and over again. Nevertheless.” So what do I see as the future for Africa? Mostly I see continuing disaster for many years to come.000 (US$240. The vital matter of the education and upliftment of women in Africa in order to combat exponential population growth has been addressed. I believe the power of the free market must be released. junk food and treats. literacy and a broader concept of education. If Africa is to forge ahead. The study suggests that much of that enormous sum is taken up by expensive toys. but the solutions seem beyond the abilities of 211 . the career I followed frequently was intimately concerned with trading in its purist form .cheating. W hilst these kinds of trials progress a large proportion of the children in Africa do not even have a school to attend. In particular. excursions and vacations. destructive revolution imposed by a political elite assuming power on the excuse that they have a vision magically denied to ordinary people. the willing and advantageous exchange of goods and knowhow by people far apart both geographically and culturally. Various resolutions were made to enable this. Delegates at the Cairo Conference on Population Development in 1994 agreed that if women were literate and were free to make their own choices on the base of a sound understanding of reproductive health. along a path of disaster. Ordinary people need to be able to associate with members of their own immediate culture without interference and false accusations of racism. quickly abandoned or made obsolete. fashion or designer clothing.

African politicians have to address these issues with immediate urgency and energy. and doctrinaire socialist and ‘liberal-intellectual’ ideals imported from the outside.any one politician. That is the common and ongoing problem of Africa. Mangosuthu Buthelezi and his Inkatha Freedom Party in Natal proposed a federal government and moves towards free trade for the future of South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime. but few seem to have cognisance of them and make no real efforts to tackle them. . But the quest must continue. travelling and learning. I have to admit that I do not have any optimism for the immediate future. [Nigeria] 212 . Freedom from European colonial rule has often meant the throwing off of the most essential and positive advantages of that rule while maintaining the worst aspects of it.Mindelense. a The lights of the city glide within me but do not pierce me with their glitter deep in me there still persists the black depths of the black history I hear singing.Ifeanyi Menkiti. discussing and arguing with others and within my own mind. These most simple bases for progress were imposed by European colonial powers in their day. but that enlightened policy was dashed on the rocks of tribal prejudice. personal political ambitions or financial greed. The only way to begin to tackle poverty is to create a stable. In the end. They also imposed the national boundaries which are now causing some of the most difficult problems. and I see no immediate hope of practical solutions. moral and orderly society and remove the barriers to trade. In the 1980s. For more than fifty years I have been listening and reading. [Guinea-Bissau] a Heart of the Matter It is the vital deprivation Of the underdeveloped countries That they do not have factories For the manufacture of chewing gum Nor grandstands for Coca-Cola dispensation. and the first step is always to try to understand. .

Suffolk. . 12 November 2003 213 .a Yet. though the voice I hear in the icy dawn is still frail and tremulous and the mists are a portend of a familiar and savage storm. Chedburgh. [South Africa] Denis Montgomery. I can write of hope.Achmat Dangor.

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . . 127 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130. . 121. . . . . . . 41. . . . . 14. . . . . . . . . . bos indicus . . . 116. . . . . Anatolia . . . . . . . . . . . 163. . . . . 87. . . . . . . . . 161. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 . . 106. . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benin . . . . . . . . 124. . . 99. . . . . . . . . . 191. . 126. . 151. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Apollo XI . . . . . 154. . . . . Blackburn pottery Blombos Cave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3 . . . . . . . . . 19. 78 . 30. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178. . . 83. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187. . . . . 139. . . . . . . . . 185. . . . 118. . . . . . . . 180 . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . . 73. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . beachcombing . . 77. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68. . 151. . . . . . . . 25. . Berenice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 . . . . . . . Angra Pequena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90-93. . . . 157. 204 . . . . . . . . . . . 108. 54. 82. . Aguada da Boa Paz Alexander the Great Algarve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82. . . . . . . 19-21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 . . . 184. . . . . . 20 . Afrikaners . . . . . . . . 195. . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 . . . . . . . . . 189. . . 20. . . 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bagamoyo . . . . . . . Botswana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . antelopes . . . . 76 . . . . . . . . . . 125 . . . . . . . . . 124 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. . . . . Azania . . . 113. . 194. . . . . . . . . 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109-113. . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52. . . . . . . 135-137. . . . . . . . . . . . 42. . . . . . . . . . Australopithecus . . . . . . . . . . . 205 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . baboons . . . Australasia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 . . . . . . . 141. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32. Aqaba . . . . . . . . 20 . . . . . 137. Brandberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202 . . . 80. . . . . . . . . 196 . . . . . . Bible . . . . . . . . . . 127 . . . . . . 59. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28. . . . . . . . . . . . . 198 . . . 81. . . 151 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58. . . aquatic ape . . . 9. . . . . . 71. . . . . . 131 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126. . . . . . . 16. . . . . . . . . 98 . . . . . 92. . . . . . . . . 125 . . . . . 94. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125. . . . 197. . . 21. . . . .GENERAL INDEX Aborigines . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . Border Cave . . . . . . Berber . . . . . . . . . . . bananas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187. . . 21. Ardrey . . . . . 23. . . . . . . 117. . 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166-172. . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 . Bogoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Babylonians . 56-58. . Antarctic . . . . . . . 202 . . . . . . . . . 148. . . . . . . . . Bojador . . . . . . . Antarctica . 197 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Afro-Asiatic . . . . . . . . 109. . . . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benue . . . . . . . 147 . . 177. . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . 122. . . . . . Axelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Abydos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adam . 147 . . . . . 104. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49. . . . . . . . . . . . Bantu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152. . . . . . 49-51. . . . . . . . . . 114. . . . . 97. . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142. . . . . 118. . . . . . . . . . . . 15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 . . . . . . . . . . . 74. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200-202. . . . 201. . . . . . . . 94-104. . 62. . . . 12. . . . . . 95. . . . . . . . . . . . 83. Bazaruto Bay . . 199 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58. . . . . . 82. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bos taurus . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. . . . . . . . 134-136. . . . . . . . . . . . . Axum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 . . 141 . . African Eve . . . . . 57. . . . . 164. . . . 152 . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-25 220 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 . . . . . . . . . . 69. . . . . 144. . . 12. . . . . 30. 130. 57-59. . . . 84-86. . . . . . . . . . 126 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31. Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Assyrians . . . . 142. Altamira . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98. . . . . 84. . . . . . . 1-3. 84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103. . . . . . . . . . . 117. . . . . . . 86 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182-185. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 . . 21. 121. . . . 197. . . . . . . . . . . .

. 189. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74. 201 . . . climate . . . 18. . . . . . . . . . . Columbus . 75. . . . . . . . . 85. . 75. . Christian . . . . . 198 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158. . . . 184. . . . 41. . . . . . Cape Cross . 198. 135. . 143. . . . . 66. 187 . . 135. . . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69. . . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . 201. . 40. . . . . . . . 68. . . . . 110. . . . . . . . . . . . Chicxulub . . 75. . 90. Chad . 70-78. 55. . 112. . . . . 156. . 146. . 30. 131. . . . . . . 21. . . . . . 138. . . . . . 129. . . 61. . 170. . . . . . 125. . . 89-98. . . . . 84. 126. . . 49. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112. 187. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . chimpanzees . 205 . . . 69. 166. . . 84. . . 129. . . . . . 163. . 77. . . . . . . 41. 176 . 170-172. . . . . . . 126. . . . . . 155. . . . . . . . 74. Broederstroom . . . . . 89. 166-172. . . . Combarelles . 5. 86. . . . . 138. . 196. . 17. 31. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cassava . . . . 71. . . . . . . . . . 144. . 203. . 83. . . . . . 74. creole . . 140. . 36. . . . . . . . . 195 . . . . . . . 119-121. . . . . 169. . . . 142. . . 14. . 193. 207-209 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. . . . . . . . . 53. . . . . . . 47. . . . 138. . . . . Chami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 . . . 193. 166-169. .Brazil . . . . . . . 81. . 172 8. . 89. . . 191 . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . 19. . . . . 183. . . cattle-cult . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Congo River . . . 88-90. . . . . . . . . . 13. . . . 180-182. . . . . . . 89. . . 53. . . . . 188. . . . . . . 164. . 120. . . . . . . . . . 27. . . . . . . . . 181. . Comores . 124. 59. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47. . . . . 103. 19. 117. . . . . . . . . . . . . 202 . . . . . . . . 15. . . . . . 129. . 120. Ceuta . . . . . . . . 108-112. 121. . . . 117. . . . 4. 42. . . 177 . 55. . 126. . . . 116-121. 10. . . . . . . . . . . 28. . . . . . Chibuene . . 167. . 175 . . . . 144. 139. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44-46. . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . 148. . . . . . . . . . Central America . . . . . 154. . . . . . . . . 28. . 139. . . 136. . . . 33. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171. 142. 44. . . . . . . bronze . . . . . . 63. . . 52. . . . . . . . . . . . . 59. . . . 85. . . . . . . . . . . 205 . Chinese . . . . 123. 160. . . . . . . . . 44. . . . Cape of Good Hope Cape Town Capricorn . . . . . . . 13-17. . 106. . . . . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53. 23. . 106. . 198. 96-98. 119. . . . 174. . . 47. . . cowrie shells Crawford . . . . . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Congo . 98. . 112. . . . 64. . . . . 151. 31. 157. 161. . 135. . . 135. 57. . . . . . 144. . . . . . 16. . . . . 159. . . . . . . 130. 64. . 203 . . . . . . . . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . civilisation . . . . . . 41. 137. . . . . . 156. . 198. . . . . 140. . . . . . . . 171. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . . . . 42. . . . . . . . . . 16 . . . . . . . . . . 205 . . . 133. 44. . . . . . . 22. . . . 5. cattle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189. . 104. . . 55. . . . . . . . . . . 29. . . . 81. 48. . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 . 170. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 . 187 . . 170. . . . . . . 74. . . . . 76. . . . . . 198 . . . . . . 142 . 178 . . . . . 82. . . . . . . . . . . 90 . . . 114. . . . . . . . . . . . China . 199. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192. . copper . . . . 183. 109. . . 79. . . . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . 83. . . . 154. . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . . . . . . 203 . 182 . . . . . 174. 147 . . . 123. . . . . . . . 174. . . . . . 54. 196. . . . . . . 192. . . . . 164. . . . 119. 100. . . . . . . 198. . . . . 197. 52. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 . . . . . . 38 . . . . . . . . . 53 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . 198 . . 128. . . . . 113. . . . . . . 181. . . . . . . 175. . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102. . 141. . . 126 . 123. . 47. . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190. . . . . . 175 . 149. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Central Cattle Pattern Cetshwayo . . . . . . . . 146. . 61. . . . citrus . 45. . . . . 200 . 175-179. . . . . . . . . . . . 174. . . . . . . 144. . . . . . 167. . . 62. 198 . 138. . 194. . . . . . . . . . . . . 143. . . . . 22. . . 53. 64. . . 193. . . 53. 75. . . 110. . . 193. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106. . . . . . 187 . . . . . . . . 32. . . . 199 . . . . . . . . . . . . 197. . 171. 63. 94. clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77. . . . Caribbean . . . . . . . . . . . . Congo Basin . . . . . . 47. . . . 155 . . . . . . 24. . . . . . . . . . . . . 96. . . . . 69. . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 3. . . 183 . . . 221 . . . . 33. . . 74. 152-154. 118. . . . . . 48. . 104. . . 179 . . . . 199. 169. . . . . . . . . . . . . 128. . 124. . . . . . . clientship . . . 162. . . . . . . 84-87. . . . 69-71. . . . . 150. . . . . . . . 43. 150. . . . . . . . . . . . . 142. Canton . 68. . . . . 99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149. 142. . . . . . . . . . 106. 35-37. . . . . . . . . . . . . 150. . 104. . . 182-185. 63. . . . 153155. 56. . . cotton . . . . . . . . 179. . . . . 103. . . 156. . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . climate change coconuts . . . . . . . . . Corrientes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . camels . . . . . . . . . . 86. . . . . 45. 194. . . . . . . . . 92. . . . 94. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122-125. 26 . 176. . . . 76 . 149 .

. 93. . . . . . . . . 84. 133 Gauteng . . . . . . . . . . . 144. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71-75. . . . . . 169. . 42. . . . . . . 198-201 difaqane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93. . . . . 203. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153-158. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41. . . . . . 161. . . . 19. . 141. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159. . . . . 108. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102. . . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . 140. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . . 45. . . . . . . . . . . 110. . . . . . . . . . . 114. . . . . . . 54. . . . . . . 199-202 Delagoa Bay . . 191 dinosaurs . . . . . 139. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198 Enkwalini . 121. 136. . . . . . 180. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162 genes . 134. . 10. . . . 141. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 Early Iron Age . . . . . . . 197. . . . 40. . . . . . . . . . 27. . . . . . . . . . . . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . 155. 154 da Gama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . . . . 195. . . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . 21. . . 125. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . . 107. . 167 Gaia . . . 125. 131. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. . 9. . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3. . 173. . . . . . . 5. 208 Elementeita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182. . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32. . . . . 87 Elmina . . . . . . . . . 8. . . . . 80 Ganges . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 elephants . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . . . . . . . 168. . . 158. . 197-199 Euphrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . . . 128. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. 171. . . . . . 180. . . . 164. . . . . 107 fishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . 35. 50. . . . . . . 23-25. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Early Stone Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127. . 135. . . 11-13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88. . . . . 159. . . . 13. . . . . . . . . . . . 55. . . . . . . . 166. . . . . 142. . . . 81. . . . . 37 Galla . . . . . . . 94. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182. . . 123-126. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124. . . . . . . . 101. . . . . . . 160 Dingane . . 197. . 92. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161. . . 25-29. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150. . . . . 177. . . . . . 176 Dias . 129 Eurasia . . . 112. . . . . . . . 119. . . . . . . 74. 84. . . . . . 118. . . . . . . . . 37. . . . 46. . . . 197. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. . . . 24. 163. 121. . . . 196. . . . . . 199 fishtraps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184-190. . . . 202 dialect . . . . . 137. . 165 Gedi . . . . 43. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Drakensberg . . 43. . . . . . . 86. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. 49. . . . 44. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Cushitic . . . . . . . . . . 79. . . 198. . . 74. . . . . . . . . 72. . 99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91. . . . . . . . . . 38. . 82. . . . . . . 152. . 134. . . . . . . . . 146. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47. . 44. . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . . . 39. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126. . 88. . . . 61. . . 172. . 131. . . . . . . 122 East Indies . . . 14. . . . . 199. . . . . . 116. . . . . . . . 21 Ethiopia . 205 Egypt . . . . . . 10-12. . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142. . . . 152 Erongo . . . . . . . . . . 149 Elgeyo Escarpment . 178 Dutch East India Company . . 123. 165. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176. . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136. . . . 43. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Genoa . 203 DNA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Diu . . . . . . . . . . . 177 Gabon . 139. . 46. . 92. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. 78. . . . . . . 195 Ghana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112. 127 Falls Rock Shelter . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181. . . 35. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83. . 142. . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101-103. . . . 190. . 180. . . . . 98. . . 194. 153. . . . . . . . . . . 53. . . 175. . . . . . . 196 gaming boards . 50 Eve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138. . . 175. . . . . 204 222 . . . . . . 157. . . . 155. . . . . . . . . 32. . .Cro-Magnon . . 118. . . 20. . . . . 159. . . . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . 92. . . . 60 gold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32. . 37. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Dordogne . . 162 Cygnus Event . . . . . . 197 GiKwe . . . . . 140. . . . 97 Eannes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . 11. . . . . . . . . . 148-150. . 12. . . . . . 130. . . . . . . . . . . . . 36. . . 203. . . . . . . . 47. . 162 Gambia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70. . . 52. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195. . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Gavin W hitelaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135-137. . . . . . . 83. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Ezion-Geber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 Durban . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118. . . . . 90. . . . . . . . . . . . 86. . . 19. 203. . . 121. . . . . . 52. . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . 154 genetic imperative .

. . 97. . . . . . 179 India . . 177. . . . . . 53. . 47. . 82. . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . 39. . 123. . . 48. . . . 89. . . . 19. . . 15. . . . . . 86. . . . . . . 78 Hyrax Hill . . . . . . 8. . . . 113. . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71. 138. . . . . . 79. . . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . 188. . 17. . . 205 Indian Ocean . . . . . . . 91. . 79. . . 155. . . . . . . . . . . 136. . . . . . . . . 84-86. 148-150. 105. . 20. . . . . . . . . 117. 191 hunter-gatherers . 74. 74. . . . . . . . 79. 189. . 34. . . . . . 121. . . . . . . 144. . . . 88. 200 Ice-age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170. . . . . . . 42. . . . . . . . 133. . . . . 163 Ibn Batuta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28. . 86. . 193. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70. . 68. . . . 69. 74. . . . . . . 51. . 114 Great Rift Valley . . 49. . 169. . . . 17. . 80. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139. . . . 85 Harappa . . . . . . . . . . . . 110. . . . . . . . . . . . 183. . . . . 16. . . 79-81. . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . 83. . . 192 hybridisation . 182-184. . 54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . 48. . . 177. . . . . . . . . 63. . . . . . . . . . . 76. 141 Hadza . 159 Ibn Majid . 122. 94. . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Homo erectus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . 166. . . . . . . . . 81 Idrisi . . . 77 gorillas . . . . 30. . . . 134. . 134. . . . 46. . . . . . . . . 173. . 117. . . 164. . . . . . 203 Hittites . . 90. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79. . . . . . 122. . 109 hunting . 62. . . 64. 117. . . . . 136. 152 hunter-gathering . . . . . 55. . . . . . . . . . . 61 Herero . . . . . . 78. . . 12. . . 127-131. 67. 99. . . 172. 124. . . . . . . . . . 65. 70. . . . . . . . . 134. . 52. . 158. . . 177. 86. .Goodall . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Horton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . . 125. . . 173. 75. . . . . . . . 9. . 144 Hottentot . . . 168. . 131. . . . 100. . . 73. . . . . . . . . 47. 116. 174. . 172. . . 112. 164. . . . . . 136. 10. 85. . . . . . . . 123. . 131 Hoggar . . . 149. . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198-200. . . . 223 . . . . . . . . 89. . 178 Hindu . . . . 102. . . . . 7. 159. . . . . 203-205 Indian . 97. . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143. . . . . . 94. . . . . . . . . 179. . . . . 126. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85. 51. . . . . 51. . . . . . . . 73 homesteads . 131. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77. . 37. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158. 104-106. . 139. . . . . . . . . . 191. . . . 183-192 Greeks . . 126. . . . 76. . 94. . 39. . . . 54. . . 127. . . 97. . 111. . . . . . . . . . . . . 110. . 158. . . . . 87. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93. . . 36. . . . 97. . . . . 134. . . . . . . 88. . . . . . . . . . 178 Herodotus . . . 14. . . . . . . . 14. . . 9-12. . 44. . . . . . . . . 42. . 9-11. . . . . . . . 44. 129. . . . . 126. . 88. . . . . . . . . 100. . 15. 70. . 55. . . . . . 133. 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. 143. . . . . 52. . . . . 188. . . . . . 115 Huffman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49. 173 huts . 70. . . . . . . . . . . 83 Hormos . . . . . . . 17. . . . 176. . . 185. . . . 51. . . 69. . . . 27. . . . . . . . . . 39. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. 70. . . . . . . . . . 42-46. . . 48. 20 Homo sapiens . 185. 181. . . . . . . . 79. 169-172. . . . . . . . . . . 24. . . . . . . . . . . . 157. . . . . . . 54. . . . . . 150. . . . . 144. . 42-46. . . . . . 20. 4. . 9. . 148-150. 101. . . . . . . 191 Himba . . . . . . . . . . 171. . . . 8. . . 81-84. . 132 Heyerdahl . 21. . . . . . . 41. . . . . . . 67. . 94. . 133. . . . . . . . 76. 125 Heinz . . . . 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. . . . 125. . . . . 166. . . . . . 49. . 173. 48. . . . . . . 54. . . . . . . . 113. . . 179 Ijaw . . . . . . . . . . . . 80. 138140. . . . . 38. . . . . 52. . . 125129. . . . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . . . . . 42. . . 121-123. . 127-131. . 143. . 64. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . 8. . . . . 90. . . . . 10. . . . . 182 Great Zimbabwe . . . . 15. . . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . 149. . 88. . . . . . . . . . . . . 26. 118. . . . . . . . . . . 25. . . . . . . . . . . 88. . . . 92. . . . . . 44. . . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166. . . . 171. 39. . . 94. . 75. 130. . . . . 113. . . . . . . 3. . . 171. . . . 123. . 93 Homo Neanderthalis . . . . . . . . . . 109. 175. . 33. . . 46 Holocene wet phase . 119-121. . . . . . . . . 128. . . . . . . . . . . 90-92. . . . . . . . . . 179 highveld . . 78. . . 62. . . . . . . . . . . 155-157. . 129. . . . . . 89. . . . . . . . 131. . . . . . 120. . . . 165. . . . . . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . 48. . . . . . . 95. . . . 112. 89. . . . . . . 149 Ife . . 138-140. . . . . . 91. . . . . . . . 20. . . . . . . . . . . 9-12. . . . 196-203. . . . . . . . . 122. . . 163. . . . 54 Inanda Dam . . . . . . 30. . . . . 189. . . . . . . . . 93. . . . . 117. . . . . . 155 horses . . . . . . . . . . 92. 131. . . . . . . . . . 14. . . . . . 56. . . . . 125 Horn of Africa . . . . 176 Homo . . . 162. . . . . . . . . . . 83. . . . . . . . . . . . 124. . . 169-172. .

. . . 1. . . . . . . 53. . . . . . . 119 . . 182 . . . . . . 205 . . 149. . . . . . . . . . Indus . . . . . . . 182. . Kaokoveld . . . 141. . . . . 178. . . 161-163. . . . . . . . . . . 142. . . . . . . Kaditshwene . . . . . 113. . . . 159. . King Solomon . . . . 159. . . . 119. . . . 155. . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . 34. . . 114. . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . . . . 79. . . . . . . . . . 194 . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . 170. . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . . Kanuri . . . . . . . . . 76. . . . 142. 165. 155-157. 24. . 188. . 128. . . . . . 116. . 163. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157. . . . . . . . . . . . . 65. . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . . 118. . 24. . . . . . . . . . . . 158 . . . . . . 190 . . . . . . 113 . . . 127 . . . . . . . . . . 87. . Kilimanjaro . . . . 24. 44 . . . . . . KhoiKhoi . . . . . . . Kosi Bay . . . . . . 126. . . . . . . 87. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 . Karnak . . 187. . . 116. . . . . Kikuyu . 75. . 106-113. . 152. . . . 74. . . . . . . . . . . . . 38. . 78 . .Indonesia . . . . . . . . . . . 23. . . . . . . . . . . . . 60. . . . 98. 106. . . . . . . . . . . 61. . . 173. 150. . . . . . . . . 129 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66. . . . . 8. 164 . . . . . . . . . . 12 . 141. . . . . . instinct . . . . . 47-54. . . . 80-82. . . . 93. . . . 122. . . . . . . . . . . 191 . . . 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ituri Forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175. 112-116. . . . . . . . . . . 46 . . . 180. . . . . . . . . . . 202 . . . . . . . Inhambane . . . . . . . . . . 125. . . . . . . . . 185. . . . 141. . . . . . . . Jacobson . . . 93. . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . 153. . 128 . . . . . . . 97-101. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 . . . . 74. . . . . . . . . . 152. . . . . . 142. . . 32 . . . . . . . . . . . 108. . . . . . 162. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91. . . . 189. . . 196-203. . 157. . . 152. . . 113. . . . . . . 118. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103. . . . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . 149. 174. . . . . . . . . . . . 139. . . . . . . . . . Jews . . . . . . 176. 86. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83. Kano . 168. . 130 . . . . . . . 86. . . . 185 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108. . . . . . . . 141. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . 182. . . . . . 128. Kwale . . . . 125. . . . . . 168 . . Kerio Valley Khami . . . . . . irrigation . . . . . . . . . . 44. 92. . . . . . . . . . . . 24. . . . . . . . . . . 80. . . 182-185. . . . . 55. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. 16. . . . . . . . . . 198. . 7. . . . . . . . . 7. . . 139 . 82. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Khoisan . . . . . . . . . . . 169 . . . . 140. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . . . . . . 194. . . . . . . 159. . . . . 24. . 33. . . 82-84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36. . . interglacial . . . . . . . 168-175. . . . . 166. . . . . . 127. . . 31. 19. . . . . . 127 . . 173. . . . . 19. . . . . . 177. . . . 87 . 79. . . . . . . . . . . . . Islam . . . . 67. Kruger National Park Kunene River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 . . 172. 3. . . . . . . . . 143-146. . Kinehan . . . . 126. . . . . . . Kalambo Falls . . . . 137. . . . . . . . . . . . . 161-177. 9. . . . . . interlacustrine zone iron . . . 121. . . 166. . . . . 169. 124 . . . 138-140. . iron ore . 8. 55-65. . . 156. . . . . . 154. . . . . . . . 178 . 152-158. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81-83. 12 . 179 224 . 202 . 11. . 142. . . . . . . 40. . . . . . . . 163. . . . . . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84. . . . 42. . . . . . . . . . Klasies River . . . . . . . . 149. . . . . . . 92. . . . . 168. . . 184 3. . . . . . . . . . . . Kalemba rock shelter Kamba . . 43. . . . . . . . . . Israel . . . 141. . . 187. . . . . . . 85. . . . 80. . . 187. . . . . . . . . . . . 135-137. 175 . . . . 128. 179. . . Iron Age . . 112. . . . . . 94. . . . . . . . 105-107. . 79. . . 41. . 93. 131 . 19. . . . . 75. . . . . 141. . . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . 80. . 173. . . . . 24. . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142. . . 142-144. . 63. . . Israelites . . . . . 124. . . . . . . . . . . . 150. . . 82. . . . . . . . . . 126. . 30. . . . . Kung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162. . 152. . . . . . . . . 179. . . . . . . . . . 197. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kilwa . 185 . . 180. . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . 133-137. . . . . . 44. . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. . . . . 106-110. . . . . . . . . . . Kenya . . . . Karoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33. . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . . . 100. 150. 32. . . . . . . Khartoum . . . . . . . . 152-158. . . . . . 131. 181. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118-120. . . . 99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93. . . . . . . . . . . 126. . . . . . . 183. . . . . . . . . . . 72. . . . 108. 74. . . . . . . . . . . . 155. 177. . . . . 88. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31. . . 81. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148. . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 . . . 65. . . 130. 114 . . . . . . . . . . . . Inharrime River . . . . . . . . . . . 30. . . 126. . . 42. . 180. . . 133 . . 192. . 179 . 104. . . . 188. . . 182-184. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kalahari . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . 176 . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . . . . . . . 85 . . . . . . 144. . . . . . . . . 86-90. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137. . industrial age . . 43. . . . . . . . . . . . 110 . . . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . 104. . . . . . . . . . . 150. . . . . . . 133 . 135-137. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . . . 144. . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . . . 87. . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Manda Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41. 84. 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. . . . 111. . . . . . 172-175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Malawi . . . . . . . . . . . . 56. . . . . . 19. 74. . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99. 94. . . . . . . . . . . 168. 24. 156 Makgadikgadi . . . . 136. . . . . . . . . 180. . 137. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. 114. . . . . . . . . . . 179 Mashatu Game Reserve . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . . . 211 Livingstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150. . . . . . . . . 12-14. . . . . . . . . . . . . 122. . . . . . . . . . . . . 53-55. . . . . . . . . . . 130. . . . . . . 4. 137. . . . . . . . . . . . . 184. . . . . 51. . . . . 82. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77-79. . . 68. 158. . 103. . . . . 160-162. . 106-108. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 Leakey . . . . . . . . . . . 168. . . 185. . . . . . . . . . . . . 162. . . . . . 149. . . 26 Late Iron Age . . . . . . . . . 198 Luangwa River . . . . . . . . . . . . 192 Marco Polo . . 175-177. . . . . . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123. . . . . 94. . . . . . . 58. . . . 67. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 MacMillan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-33. . 167. . . . 79. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152. . . . 88. . . . 182 Maggs . . . . 24-26. . . 187. . . . . . . . . . . 97. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153. . . . 60. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. . . 92 KwaZulu-Natal . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . 168. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130. . 142. . . . . 173. . 141-144. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Les Eyzies . . . . . . . . . . . 158. . 8. . 92. . . . . 191. . . . . 80. . 82-85. . . 174 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 Masudi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77. . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . . 63-65. . . . . 77. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 language . . . . . . . . . . . . 100. . . . . . . . . . . . . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . 91. . . . . . . 152-156. . . . . . . . . 180. . . . . .Kwale pottery . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . . 194 Late Stone Age . . . . . . . . 129. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 Mafia Island . 163. . 186 Matopos . . . . . . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 Meroe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182. . 83. . . . 118. . . . . . . . . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . . . 19. . . . . . . . . . 144 Mande . . . . . . . . . 80. . . . 21. . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . 148. 91. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . . . . . . . 83. . . . . . . . . . . . . 123. . . . . . . . 54 Mapungubwe . . . . . . . . . . 85. . . . . 35-37. . . . . . . . . 164. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81. . . . . . . . . . 82 Lebombo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173. . . . . . . . 60. . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . 131. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Macua . . . . . . . . . . . 116. . . . . . . 179 Malindi . . . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104. 109. . . . . . . . 19. . . . . . . . 149 Marib . . . . . 161. 29-31. . . . . 158. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79. . . . . . . 139. . 197 Limpopo Province . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141. . . . . . 62 Mazel . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51. . . . . . . 163. . . . . . . . . 154 megalithic . 102. . . . 188 literacy . . . . . . . . . . . 178 Madagascar . . . . 134 Mesopotamia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164. 118. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56. . . . . . . . 75. . . 86. . . . . 198. 134. . . . . . . . . . . 11 Levant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120. . . 47. . 57 Malabar Coast . . . . 184 Lamu . . . 80. . . 23. . . . . . . 138. . . 176. . 174. . . . . 168. . . . . . 160. . 184. . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Lydenburg . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . 70-73. . 47. . . . 78. . . . . . . 20. . . . . . . 184-189. . . . . . . . . . . . . 170. . 42. . . 73. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140. . . 129. 7. . . 90. . . . . . . . . . 86. . . . . . 172. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. . 138. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163. . . . . 126 Masai . . . . . . . . . . 164. . . . . . 169. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52-54. 131. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72-74. . . . . . 205 Luanda . . . 207. . . . . . . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . . 210. . . . . . . . . . . 177 Lascaux . . . . . . . . . . . 47. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183. . . . . . . . 182 Lake Tanganyika . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119. . . 179 Machemma . . 150. . . 166. 99-101. 110. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91. . . . . 150. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148. . . . . . . . . . . . 161. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121. . . . . . 164. . . . . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . 183 Maldive Islands . . 157. . 30 Limpopo River . . 118. . . . 123-126. 46-48. . . 153. . . . . 208. 144. . . 183 Luxor . . 96. . . . . . . . 10. . . 191 Lake Chad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124. . . . . . . . . . . 149. . . . . . . . . 175 Lake Malawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . 3941. . . . . . . . . . . 108. . . . 133. . . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . . . . . . . . 112. . . 81. . . . . . . . . . . . 148. . 183 Lake Victoria .

. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . 201 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 . 125 . . . . . . . . . 163 . 17. . . . . . 140. 78. . . . . . . . . . 190. . . . . . 124 . 116. . 94-96. . . .. 8. . . . . . . . . . 194 . . . . . . . . . . . 190 . . .. . . . . 175-177. 21-23. . . . . . 77. . . . . . 181. . . . 16. . . . . . . . . 68. . . . . 90. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 156 . . . . . 75. . . . . 49. . . 114. . 113. 176. . . . . . . . . . . . . . music . . . . . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . 9-14. . . . . .. . . . . . 21. . . . 51. . . . . . . 117. 173. . . 156. . . . .. . 156158. . . . . 150. . 60. . . . . 181. . . 100. . 4. . Morais . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . 160-162. . . .. . . migration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 141. . . 80. 16 35. . . . . 57 . . . . . . 7. 101. . . mutations . . . . . . 110. . . Motloutse River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . monkeys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mungo . . navigation .. . . . . . . 135. . . . . . . . . . . . 78. 137. 106. . 29. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150. . . . . . . . 156. . 118. . . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166.. . . 153 . . . . . Neolithic Ngami . . . 84. 52. . . . . . . . . 199. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159. . . . 7. . .. 175-177. . . . . mfecane . . . 1. . 95. . . 191 . . . . . 193. . . . . . 10-13. . . . . . 150. . . . 92. . Moslem . 23. . . . . . 180. Mungo Park . . 201 . . . . 7. 43. . 16. . . . . . . . . 51. . . . . 152. . . . . . . Moçambique Island Mogadiscio . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . 81. . . . . . . 180. . . . 195. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . Negroes Nelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 153 . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191. . . . . . 188 . . 178 . . . . . .. . 172. . 131. . . . . . . . . . 41. . . 161. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 155 . . . . 163 . . . . .. . . . 120 . . . . . . . . 88. . 50. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167. . . 171. . . . . 32. . . Nairobi . . . . . . . . . . 159. . . . . 144. . . . . . . . . . . . 118. 97. . 42. . . 56. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mitochondrial .. . . . . . . . . 104. . . . . . . . 26. 144. 48. . .meteor . . 55. . . . . . 80. . .. . . . . . 32. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . . . . . 201 . . . . 106. . . . . . . . . . .. 104. . 152. 89-91. . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . . . . . . . . . 134-136. . . .. . 179. . . . . . . 46. . . 144. . . . . . 150 . . . . . . 168. . 180. . .. . . 163. . 212 . . 148. . . 70 . . . . 110. . . . . . Mossel Bay . . . . 113. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152. . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81.. 186. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172. . . . . . . 107-111. . . . . . . . . 120 . . 20.. . . . . . . 185 . . 209 . . . . .. . . . . . . 142. . . . . . . 141. . . . . . . 145. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mohenjo Daro . . . 30-32. . . . 196. . . . . . . . 95.. . . . . 48. . . 69. 25. . . . . . . .. . 24. . . . . 144. . . . . . . 172 . 143. . .. . . . . . . . . 45. . . . . . . . 30. . . . . . . 14. . . . . . . . . . 200 . . . . . . . .. . . . . mtwepe . . . . 169 . . . . . . . . 155. . . . 159 . 201 . . . . . . 128. . . . . . . . . 103. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19. . . . . .. . .. . . . Muaconi . . . . . 69. . .. 152. . . . . . . . 44. . . . . . . . 10-12. 226 . . . . 71. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 152 . . 191. 131. 82. . . 99. . . . 51. . . 204. .. . . . . 191 .. . Middle Stone Age . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 76. . . . . . . . . . . . 79. . Natal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172. . . . 5. . . 86. . 13. . . . . . . . 150. . . . . . . . 152-156. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137. . . . . 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . 168. . . . 207 . . 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. 43-46. . 169. . 4. . . . Mouza . . . 144. . . 148. . . . . . . . . . . . 85. . 86. . . . . . . 130 . . . . . . . 57. 135. . . . . . . . .. . 109. . . . . .. . 163. . . . . 169. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Namaqualand Namib Desert Namibia . . . . . 146. .. . . . . . .. 171. . . . . . . 149. . 33. . . . 51. . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . .. . . . . Neanderthal . . . . . 97. . Monomotapa . . . . . . . . . Mpumalanga .. . 164. . . . . . 73. . . . . . Mhlatuzana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. .. . 67.. . . . . 20. 122. . . . . . . . . . . . . 25. . Mozambique . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81. . . 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 . . . . Moors . . . 92. . . . . . . 178. . . . . . . . . 199 19. 37-39. 177. . . . . . . . . 102. . . . . . . . . . . 117. . . . . . 130. . . . . . . . . . . . . 172. . . 137-139. . 127. . . . . 196. . . . 199 .. . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Crawford Middle East . . . . . . . . . . . Nakuru . 204 . . . . . 162. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53. . . . . . Nama . . . 190 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Negro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100. . . . 48. . . . . Mngeni River . . . . . 152. 146. . Mnarani . . . . . . 205 . . . . . 80. . .. . . . . . . 204 . . . . 92. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114. 94. 113 . . . . . . . Mzonjani . . . . . 194. . 42. Minoans . . . . . . 175. . . 127 . . 156 . . 107. . . . . . . . monsoon . . . . . . . . 93. 54. . . . 50. . . 134. . . . . 198. . . Moshoeshoe I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173. . . . . . 181. .. . .. . 110. . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. . . . . . . 143. . . 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71. 154. . . . . . . . 9. . . 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69. 184.. . . . . . . . . . 10. 128. .. . Mombasa . . . . . . . 88. . . . . . . . . 162 . 96. . . . Nalatale . . . . . . 158. . 153 . . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . . . . . 122.

. . . . 107. . . . 48. . . . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30. 171-173. . . 165 Pleistocene . . . . . . . . . . . . 47. . . . 162-164. . . . . . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42. 153-155. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26. . 144. . 84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54. . . . . . 192. . . . . . . . 180. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41. 96. . . . . . . . . . . 125 nutrition . . . . . . . 184 Philistines . . . . . . . . . 187. 124. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Pangani River . . . . 182 Periplus of the Erythraean Sea . . . . . . 152158. . . . . . . 44. . . 28. . . 128-131. . . . . . . . . . . 199 Pretoria . . . . . 131 Pemba Island . 88. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Palestine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74. . . . . 112. 143. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100. 15. 154. 14-17. . . 10. 22. . . . . . . . . 142. . 133-139. . . . 175 Pakistan . . . 40. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113. 52. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119. . . . . . . . 135. . . . 197. . 35. . . . 197. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Nkope pottery . . 160. 19. . . . . . 171. 50. . . . 63. . . . . . . . . 125. . . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . . . . . 106 Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Ngwenya Mountain . 198 out of Africa . . . . . . . . . 177 Persian . . . 173. . . . . . 102. . . 14. . . . . 78. . 163. . . . . . . . 67 Pleistocene Overkill . . . . . . . . . 168 nomadic . . 164. . . 134 Polynesia . . . . . . . . . . . 122. 80 Nilotic . . . . . . . . . . 9. . . . . . 54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . 60. . . . . 172 primates . . 147151. . . 28. . . . . . . . . 82. . . . 67. . . 81 Oman . . . . 110. 53. 36. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56. . . . . . . . . . 138. . . . 141. . . 120. 140. . . . . . . . . 160. . . 164. . 25. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . . . . . . . . 131. . . . . . . . 117. . . . . . . . 132. . . . . . . . . . 118. . 174. . . . 196 Okavango . . . . . . 101. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53. 104. 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 nutritional driving force . . . . 204 Phalaborwa . 130. . . 162. 189. 68-71. . . . . . . . . . . 55. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118. . . . . . 181. . 177 Periplus . . . . . . 176-181 Prester John . . . . . 56. . 118. . . . 68 oceans . 102. . 119. . . . . . . . . . 154 Phoenicians . . . . 79. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . . . . 133. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. 178. . . . 92. . . . . . . . . 168. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. . . . . . 125. . . . . . . . 161 Nguni . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180. . 72. . . . . . . 123 Portuguese . . . . . 96. . . . . 57. . 84. . . . . . . 171. . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . . . 60. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61. . . . . 54. . . . . . . . . . 79. . . 111. . 131. . . . . . . . 198. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. 14. . . . . . . . . . 71. . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 Olorgasailie . . . . . . . . . . . . 168. . 101. . . . . 162. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79. 193 227 . 33. . 72. . . . . . . . . 83 Qafza . . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123. . . . . . . . . . . 157. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 Njemps . . . . . . 52. . . . . . . . . 73. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60. 56. . . . . . 108. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168. 71. . . . . . . 51. . . . . . 122. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171. . . . 179. 127. . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . . . . . . . . . . 119. . . . . 169 Oliver . 190. . . . . . . . . . . 157. . 75. . . . . 152 Niger River . . . . . . . . . . . 94. 50 pyramids . . . 139 Pygmy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Ptolemy . . . . . . . . . 70. . . . . 166-168. . . 133. . . 78. . . . . . 15 Pliny . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . 103. . . . 141. 32. . . . 129. . . . . . . . 180 race . . . . . . . 55. . 126. . 123-126. . . . . . . . . . . . . 145. . . . . 3. . 109. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135-137. . . 54. 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49. . . . . . . . . . . . . 61. . 55. 43-46. . . . . . . . . . . . . 153. . . . . . . . 150 Ophir . . . . 20. . . . . . 38. 132. 40. . . . . . . . . 120. . . 10. 97. . . 47. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190. . 140. . . 43. . . . . . . . . . 130. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110. . 113. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123-126. 124. . . . . . . . . . . 103. . . . 126. . . 93. 107. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54. . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . 183. . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Quelimane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46. 93. . . 173. . . . 11. . . . 121. . . . . . . . . 131 Phillip Tobias . . . . . . 84. . . . . 24. . . . . . . . . . 126. 137. . . . . 184. . . . . 194-205 pottery . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . 64. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106. 130 Pietermaritzburg . . . . . . 117. . . . . 7. . . 142. . . . . . . . .Ngoni . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . 128-131. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 Persian Gulf . 126. . . 119. . . . . 159. . . . . . . . . . . 15. . . . . . . . 148. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. . . . 41. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . 142. . . . . . 149. . . . . . . . . . . 107-109. . . . . . 68. . . . . . . . . . . . 94-97. . . . 11. . . . . . 85. . . . . 193. . . . . . . 103. . . 37. . 54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175-178. . . . . . . . 134. . . . . 12. . . . . 128 Owo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 nomadism . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . 119. . 178 South Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137. . 10. . . . . . . 113. 110. . . . . . . . . . 199 savannah . 203 Senegal . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . 192 shellfish . . . . . . 55. 65. . . . . 63. . . 26. . . . . . . . 100. . . . . . . . . . . . 13. . . . . . . 104. . . . . . . . 58. . . . . . 182 rock-art . 67-69. . . . . . 191 Shungwaya Myths . . . . . 7. . . 64. . . . . . 93. . . . . . . . . . 100. . . 106. 55. . . . 166. . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . 30. . 88. . . . . . 13. . . . . . . . . . 60. . . . 194. . 47. 75. . . 163 slavery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155157. . . . 126. . . 91 Ruaha . . . . . . . 40. . . . . . . . . 153-155. . 208. . . . . . . . . . 47. . . . . 122. 9699. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. 107-110. . 184. . . . . . . . 36. . . . . 145. . . . . . . 71. . . . . . 160. . . . . . . 116. 31. . 7. . . . . . . 164 Sierra Leone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. . . . . . . . . . 116. . . . 197. . . . . . 113. . . 178 Shaka . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45. . . 54. . . . . . 94-96. . . . . 87. 137. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . . . . . 178. . . . . . . . . . 126 Sirikwa Holes . . . . . 84. . . . . . . 117. 171. . 122. . . . . . . . 182 Rufiji . . . 30. . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164. . . . . . . . 124. . . .rainforest . . . . . 89. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. 114. . 138. . . . . . . . . . . 121. . . . . 106. . 66 São Salvador . . . . . . . 190. . . . . . 126. . . . 119. . 163. . . . . 177. 60. . . . . . . . . . 128. 205. . . 152 Simba . . . . . . . . . . . . 74. . . . . . . 111. 74. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110. . . . . 148-151. . . . . . . 33. . 148. . 142. 119. . . . . . . . 88. . . . . . . . . . 49. . 17. 190. . . 53. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159. 139. . 7. . . 109. 91. 103. . . . . . . 177. 55. 140. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . 4. . . . 46. . . . . . . 106. . . . 28. . . 55. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155. 156-158. . 54. . . . . 36. 67. 54. . . . . . . . . . . . . 74. . . . . 169 sanga . . . 103. . . . . . 134. . . . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96. . . . . . . . . 167. 130. . 5. . 68. . . . . . . . . . 106. . . . . 33. . . . . . . . . . 167. . 17. . . . . 163. . . . . . . . . 118 San-Bushman . . . . . . 61. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73-77. . 85. . 80. . 140. . . . . . 32. 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48. . . . . 183. 181. 187 Scavenging . . . . . . . . 70. . . 183. . . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . 139. . 50. . . . . 173. . 124-131. 153. 53. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 Salalah . . . . . . 118. . . . . . . . . . . . . 121. . . . . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . 207 Sahel . . . . . . . 191 Shangaan . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. . . . . 52. . . 97 Sofala . . . . . 93. . . . . . . . . . 186. . 186-189. . . 187. . . . . . . 119. . . 144. . . . . . . . . 82. . . . . . . . . . . . 77. . . . . . . . . 209. . . . . . . . . . . . 175. 129. . 178. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129. . 191. . . 28. 163. . 92. . . . . . . 46. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161. . . . 20. . . . . 130. . . . . . 121. . . 180. . . . . . . . . . . 77. . . 175. 204 Songhai . . 118. . . . . . . . 97. . . 158. . . . . . . . 83-85. . . . . . 113. . . . 103. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. 177 Rhapta . . 78. . . . 169-171. 172. . . 139. . . . . . 144. . . . . . . 42-48. . . . . . . . 191 Sotho-Tswana . . . . . . . 154. . . . 182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166. . 161. . . . . 41. . 197. 19. . . . . . . . 176 Shona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29. . . . . . . . . . . . . 152. . . . 74. . . 134-136. 74. . . . . . . . . . . . 105. . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Romans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184. . . 117. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63. . . 195. . . . . . . 175 Sotho . 71. . . . 95 seatraders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90. . . . . . 34. . . . . . . . . . . 54. . . . . . . . . . . . 211. 94. . . . . . . . . 78. . . . . . . . . . . 162 Sinai . . 127 sheep . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30. 201. . . . . . . 179 San . 149. . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . 63. . 42. 178. . 82-86. . . . 160. 133 Samburu . 65. . 180. . 91. . . 110. . 168 Save River . . . 120. . . . 51. 96. . . . . 176 Sheba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138. . . . . . 168. . . . . . 177. 103. . 33. . . . 200. 31. . . . . . . 23. 212 228 . . 8. . . . 208 Silver Leaves . . . . . . . . 119. . . . . 116-121. . . 113 slave-trade . . . . 166. . 52. . . . . . . . . . . 44-48. 141. . . . 84. . 197 Red Sea . . . 167. . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . 113. 195. . . 183 Sagres . . . 56-66. . 23-25. . . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . 141 Rovuma . . . . . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 Sahara . . . . . . . 157. 40. . 176. . 30. . . . . . . 162. 60. 161. . . . . . . . . . 134-139. . . . . . . 94-99. . . . . . . . 155. . . 19. 196 Shaba . . 141. 178.

. . . . . . . . . 23-26. . . . . . . . . 188-190. . . 137 Tanganyika-Malawi gap . . . . . . . . . . 180-182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162. . . . . . . . . . . 171. . . . . 116. . . . 170. 194 Sudan . 75. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97. . . . 83. . . . . . . . 47. . . 22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147. . 30. . . . . . . 118-121. . . . 67-73. 131 Thebes . . . . . . . 157. . . . . . . . . 193. 97. . . . . 63-65. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. 118. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155-157. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 229 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190. . . . . . . . . 170. . . 94. 176 Sumerians . 97. . 44. . . . . . 163. . . . . . . . 74. 21. . . 130. . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . . . . . . . . 80. 8. . . 166. . 148. 159. . . . 92. . . . 188. . . . . . . . . 156 Timor . . . . 152. . . . . . . 19. . . 47 Tim Maggs . . . . . . . . . 23 Tyrolean Alps . . . . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. . . . . . 184. . . . . . . . 86. . . . 29. . . . . . . . . . 174. . . . . 67. . 184. . . . . 71. . . . . . . . . 185-187. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78. . . 75. . . . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167. . . . . 133. . . . . . . 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46-48. . . 152. . . . 74. 104. . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . . . . . 121. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35-38. . . . . 188. 177. . . . . 201. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64. . . . . . . . . . . . . 86-88. . 3. 136-145. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81. 125 sugar cane . . . . . . . . . . . . 173. . . . . . . . . . . . . 152. . . 62. . . 125129. 46-48. . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . 173. . . . . . . 193-197. 87. 93. . . . . . . 164. . . . . 183 Thatta . . . . . . 37. . . . . . . . 9. 147-150. 141. . 210. . . . . . . . . . 191 Tugen hills . 202 Tete . . 170. . . . . . 131. . . . . . 153 Thulamela . Helena Bay . . . . . . . 39-41. . . . . . . .southern Africa . . . . . . 119. . . . . . . 95 Stone Age . . 89. . . . . 43. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. . . . . . . 203-205. . 161-164. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192 Tibesti Mountains . . . 174177. . 81. . . . . . . . 175 Stringer . . . . 133-140. . . . . . 211 Transkei . . 183 Terra da Boa Gente . . . . . . . . 25. . . . 159162. . . . . . . . . 184 Tswana . . . . . . . . . . 196 tsetse-fly . . . 9 sub-Sahara Africa . . . 173. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52. . . 103105. . . . . . 199. . 55. 58. 49. . . . . . 94. . . . . 119. . . 166. . 125 Thukela River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Swahili . . . . . . . . . . . 155. . . . . 83. . 30. 175-178 trade . 49. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 Tana River . . 194-199. . . 58. . . 163. . . 154 supernovae . . . . . 69-71. . . . . 190. . 19-21. . . 61. . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . 197 Sudd Swamps . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201. 123. . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Twyfelfontein . . . 173. . . 10-14. 187. . . . . . . 142-144. . . 88. . 65. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112. 53-55. . . 149-151. . . . . . 164. 5. . . . . . . . . 210-212 trading . . 86. . . . . . . 202-205. . . . . . . . . . . 74. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139. . . . 137. . 71. . . 171. . 158. . . . . . . . . . . . . 166. . . . . 51. . . 96. . . . 85 Suez . . . . 152. 41. . . . . . . 32. 28-33. . . 80. . . . . 55. . . . . 204. . . 57. . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5356. . . 7. . 133. . . . . . . . . 118. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106-108. 30. . . . . . . 162. . 7. 82 Turkana . 80. . . . . . . . . . . . 54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153. 185. . . . . . . . . 88. . . . . . 149-151. . . . . . . . . . . 122. 47. . . . . . . 153. . . . . . . 117. . . . . . . . . . . . 11. . . . . 60. . . . . . 166. 114. 122 Tobias . . . . . . . . . . 124. . . . . . . . 208. 19. . . . . . . 23. . . 96. . . . . . . . . . . . 121. 85. . . . . . . 35-37. . . . . 137. 173. . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . 159. . . . . . . . . 88. . . . . . 52. . . . . 75. . . . . 90. . . 21 St. . . . 191 Tonga . . . . . . . 49. . 8. . . . . . . . 179-182. . . 178. . . . . . . . . . 171. . . . . . . . . 75. 164 Transvaal . . . . . . . . . . 112. . 173. . . . . . . 94. . . . . . 204 Spitzkoppe . 82. . . . . . . 205 Swaziland . . . 91-93. . . . . . . . . 43. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98. 180-191. . . . . . . . . . . 77-79. . . 181-188. . . 150. . 103. . . . . . 83. . 139. 111. 125-131. . . . . . . . . 78. . 110. . . . . 110. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99-101. . . . . 133-143. 162. . 153. 46. . . . . . . 14. . . . . . . 75. . . . . . 51. . 135. . . . . . . . . 107-116. . . 191 Tristão . . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . . . . 125 supernova . . . . . 158. . . . . . . . 154 Tom Huffman . 202. . . . . . . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 . . . . . . 52. . 180-192. . . 192. . . . . . . . . . . . . 92. . . . 64. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 . . W ilding . . . . 103. . . . 134. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. . . 159 . . . . . . . . . . . . . W itwatersrand XaiXai . . . . 150. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119. . 139. . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoruba . . . . . . . Denis Montgomery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 . . . . . 120. . . . . . . 175. Zulu . . . . . . . . . 179 . . . . 147. . . . . . 86. . 205. 176. . . . . . . . . . 21. . . . . . . . . Zululand . . 147. 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141. 165 . 25. . . 103. . . 159. . 159 . . . . . . . . . . . . Xhosa . . 160. . . 12. . . . . . . 88. 23. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80. . . Zambezi River Zambia . Zavora . 99. . . . . . . . . . 106 . . . . . . . . . 203. . . . 100. . Zanj . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99. . . . . . . . 124 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177. . . . . . 171. . 25. 160 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101. . . . . . 153. . . . . . . . . . . 175. 173. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. . . . . . . 16. 171. . 134. . . . . . . 177. . . . 125-127. . . . 184 . . . . . . . . . . . . 140. . . . 156 . . . . Versailles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 . . . . 175. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40. . . . . 139-144. . . . . . . . . . . . 166-168. . . . . 167 . . . . . . . . 178. . . . . . . 157. . . . . 89. . 98. 22-24 6. . . . . . 160. 112. 187 . . . . . . W hitelaw . . . . . . . . . Victoria . . . . . . . . . . . 148. 75. . . . . . . . . . . 164. . . . . . . 136. . . . . 53. . . . . . . . . . . 31. . . . . 160. . Zaïre . 91. 183. . 64 . . . . . . . . 157 . . . . . . . . . . . . 112. . . . . . . . . 164. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118. . . . . . . 10. . . Zanzibar . . . . Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149. . 157 . 163. . . . . . . . . . . . . 133. . . . . . . . 59. . 155. . 23. . 52. W adi Hammamat W endt . . . . . . . 82-85. 19. . . . . 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158. . . . . 109. . . . . 190. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . zebu . 150 . . . . . . . . . . 97. . 90. . 94. . . . . . . . 80. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yemen . . 92. . . . . . . . . . Zumbo . 161. . . . . . . . . . 52. 173. . . 146. . . . . . 121. 94. . 129. . . . . . 160. . . . . . . . W indhoek . . . 152. . . . . . . . . . . . 193 . . . . . . . . . . . 137. . . . . . . . 137. . . . . 171. . . 204 . . . . . . . 102. . . . . . . . . . 202 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chedburgh. . . 85. . . . . . . . . . . . . 144. . . . . . . . . .Urewe pottery . 144. . . . van der Post . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vézère . . . . . 158. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . W hite . . . . . . . . . . . . 166. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . 158. . . 204 . . . . . . . . . . . . Suffolk 21 November 2003 230 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 . 26 . . 88. 118. . 153. 3. 120. . . . .

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