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Perhaps the most explosive issue in South Africa today is the question of land ownership. The central theme in this country’s colonial history is the dispossession of indigenous African societies by white settlers, and current calls for land restitution are based on this loss. Yet popular knowledge of the actual process by which Africans were deprived of their land is remarkably sketchy.
This book recounts an important part of this history, describing how the Khoisan and Xhosa people were dispossessed and subjugated from the time that Europeans first arrived until the end of the Cape Frontier Wars (1779–1878).
The Land Wars traces the unfolding hostilities involving Dutch and British colonial authorities, trekboers and settlers, and the San, Khoikhoin, Xhosa, Mfengu and Thembu people – as well as conflicts within these groups. In the process it describes the loss of land by Africans to successive waves of white settlers as the colonial frontier inexorably advanced. The book does not shy away from controversial issues such as war atrocities on both sides, or the expedient decision of some of the indigenous peoples to fight alongside the colonisers rather than against them.
The Land Wars is an epic story, featuring well-known figures such as Ngqika, Lord Charles Somerset and his son, Henry, Andries Stockenström, Hintsa, Harry Smith, Sandile, Maqoma, Bartle Frere and Sarhili, and events such as the arrival of the 1820 Settlers and the Xhosa cattlekilling. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand South Africa’s past and present.
In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
In The Eight Zulu Kings, well-respected and widely published historian John Laband examines the reigns of the eight Zulu kings from 1816 to the present.
Starting with King Shaka, the renowned founder of the Zulu kingdom, he charts the lives of the kings Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo, Dinuzulu, Solomon and Cyprian, to today’s King Goodwill Zwelithini whose role is little more than ceremonial.
In the course of this investigation Laband places the Zulu monarchy in the context of African kingship and tracks and analyses the trajectory of the Zulu kings from independent and powerful pre-colonial African rulers to largely powerless traditionalist figures in post-apartheid South Africa.
How are we to explain the resurgence of customary chiefs in contemporary Africa? Rather than disappearing with the tide of modernity, as many expected, indigenous sovereigns are instead a rising force, often wielding substantial power and legitimacy despite major changes in the workings of the global political economy in the post–Cold War era—changes in which they are themselves deeply implicated.
This pathbreaking volume, edited by anthropologists John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, explores the reasons behind the increasingly assertive politics of custom in many corners of Africa. Chiefs come in countless guises—from university professors through cosmopolitan businessmen to subsistence farmers–but, whatever else they do, they are a critical key to understanding the tenacious hold that “traditional” authority enjoys in the late modern world.
Together the contributors explore this counterintuitive chapter in Africa’s history and, in so doing, place it within the broader world-making processes of the twenty-first century.
Oklahoma is home to nearly forty American Indian tribes and includes the largest Native population of any state. As a result, many Americans think of the state as 'Indian Country.' In 2009, Blue Clark, an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, produced an invaluable reference for information on the state's Native peoples. Now, building on the success of the first edition, this revised guide offers an up-to-date survey of the diverse nations that make up Oklahoma's Indian Country. Since the publication of the first edition more than a decade ago, much has changed across Indian Country - and more is known about its history and culture. Drawing from both scholarly literature and Native oral sources, Clark incorporates the most recent archaeological and anthropological research to provide insights into each individual tribe dating back to prehistoric times. Today, the thirty-nine federally recognized tribes of Oklahoma continue to make advances in the areas of tribal governance, commerce, and all forms of arts and literature. This new edition encompasses the expansive range of tribal actions and interests in the state, including the rise of Native nation casino operations and nongaming industries, and the establishment of new museums and cultural attractions. In keeping with the user-friendly format of the original edition, this book provides readers with the unique story of each tribe, presented in alphabetical order, from the Alabama-Quassartes to the Yuchis. Each entry contains a complete statistical and narrative summary of the tribe, covering everything from origin tales to contemporary ceremonies and tribal businesses. The entries also include tribal websites, suggested readings, and photographs depicting visitor sites, events, and prominent tribal personages.
Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 is ’n heruitgawe van ’n boek wat ses keer tussen 1976 en 1979 deur HAUM gepubliseer is. Die lotgevalle van die Hererovolk word in hierdie boek geskets, ’n stuk geskiedenis wat ’n sentrale plek in Namibie se kleurryke geskiedenis beklee. Die opstand van die Herero’s in 1904 teen Duitse koloniale gesag kan beskou word as die enkele gebeurtenis wat die gebied se volksverhoudinge die ingrypendste verander het. Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 vertel van die geleidelike opbou na die konflik, die skielike uitbarsting van geweld en die tragiese afloop vir die Herero’s toe duisende verhonger het en hulle grond en politieke seggenskap verloor het.
After immigrants flooded into central Oklahoma during the land rush of 1889 and the future capital of Oklahoma City sprang up ""within a fortnight,"" the city's residents adopted the slogan ""born grown"" to describe their new home. But the territory's creation was never so simple or straightforward. The real story, steeped in the politics of the Gilded Age, unfolds in 1889, Michael J. Hightower's revealing look at a moment in history that, in all its turmoil and complexity, transcends the myth. Hightower frames his story within the larger history of Old Oklahoma, beginning in Indian Territory, where displaced tribes and freedmen, wealthy cattlemen, and prospective homesteaders became embroiled in disputes over public land and federal government policies. Against this fraught background, 1889 travels back and forth between Washington, D.C., and the Oklahoma frontier to describe the politics of settlement, public land use, and the first stirrings of urban development. Drawing on eyewitness accounts, Hightower captures the drama of the Boomer incursions and the Run of '89, as well as the nascent urbanization of the townsite that would become Oklahoma City. All of these events played out in a political vacuum until Congress officially created Oklahoma Territory in the Organic Act of May 1890. The story of central Oklahoma is profoundly American, showing the region to have been a crucible for melding competing national interests and visions of the future. Boomers, businessmen, cattlemen, soldiers, politicians, pundits, and African and Native Americans squared off - sometimes peacefully, often not - in disagreements over public lands that would resonate in western history long after 1889.
Black Elk of the Sioux has been recognized as one of the truly remarkable men of his time in the matter of religious belief and practice. Shortly before his death in August, 1950, when he was the "keeper of the sacred pipe," he said, "It is my prayer that, through our sacred pipe, and through this book in which I shall explain what our pipe really is, peace may come to those peoples who can understand, and understanding which must be of the heart and not of the head alone. Then they will realize that we Indians know the One true God, and that we pray to Him continually."
Black Elk was the only qualified priest of the older Oglala Sioux still living when "The Sacred Pipe "was written. This is his book: he gave it orally to Joseph Epes Brown during the latter's eight month's residence on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where Black Elk lived. Beginning with the story of White Buffalo Cow Woman's first visit to the Sioux to give them the sacred pip, Black Elk describes and discusses the details and meanings of the seven rites, which were disclosed, one by one, to the Sioux through visions. He takes the reader through the sun dance, the purification rite, the "keeping of the soul," and other rites, showing how the Sioux have come to terms with God and nature and their fellow men through a rare spirit of sacrifice and determination.
The "wakan "Mysteries of the Siouan peoples have been a subject of interest and study by explorers and scholars from the period of earliest contact between whites and Indians in North America, but Black Elk's account is without doubt the most highly developed on this religion and cosmography. "The Sacred Pipe, "published as volume thirty-six in the Civilization of the American Indian Series, will be greeted enthusiastically by students of comparative religion, ethnologists, historians, philosophers, and everyone interested in American Indian life.
Shootin' - Lynchin' - Hangin',"" announces the advertisement for Tombstone's Helldorado Days festival. Dodge City's Boot Hill Cemetery sports an ""authentic hangman's tree."" Not to be outdone, Deadwood's Days of '76 celebration promises ""miners, cowboys, Indians, cavalry, bars, dance halls and gambling dens."" The Wild West may be long gone, but its legend lives on in Tombstone, Arizona; Deadwood, South Dakota; and Dodge City, Kansas. In Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge City, Kevin Britz and Roger L. Nichols conduct a tour of these iconic towns, revealing how over time they became repositories of western America's defining myth. Beginning with the founding of the communities in the 1860s and 1870s, this book traces the circumstances, conversations, and clashes that shaped the settlements over the course of a century. Drawing extensively on literature, newspapers, magazines, municipal reports, political correspondence, and films and television, the authors show how Hollywood and popular novels, as well as major historical events such as the Great Depression and both world wars, shaped public memories of these three towns. Along the way, Britz and Nichols document the forces - from business interests to political struggles - that influenced dreams and decisions in Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge City. After the so-called rowdy times of the open frontier had passed, town promoters tried to sell these towns by remaking their reputations as peaceful, law-abiding communities. Hard times made boosters think again, however, and they turned back to their communities' rowdy pasts to sell the towns as exemplars of the western frontier. An exploration of the changing times that led these towns to be marketed as reflections of the Old West, Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge City opens an illuminating new perspective on the crafting and marketing of America's mythic self-image.
Native to the Kalahari Desert, Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant known by generations of indigenous San peoples to have a variety of uses: to reduce hunger, increase energy, and ease breastfeeding. In the global North, it is known as a natural appetite suppressant, a former star of the booming diet industry. In Reinventing Hoodia, Laura Foster explores how the plant was reinvented through patent ownership, pharmaceutical research, the self-determination efforts of indigenous San peoples, contractual benefit sharing, commercial development as an herbal supplement, and bioprospecting legislation. Using a feminist decolonial technoscience approach, Foster argues that although patent law is inherently racialized, gendered, and Western, it offered opportunities for indigenous San peoples, South African scientists, and Hoodia growers to make claims for belonging within the shifting politics of South Africa. This radical interdisciplinary and intersectional account of the multiple materialities of Hoodia illuminates the connections between law, science, and the marketplace, while demonstrating how these domains value certain forms of knowledge and matter differently.
Taking an archaeological perspective on the past, Jeffrey S. Girard traces native human habitation in northwest Louisiana from the end of the last Ice Age, through the formation of the Caddo culture in the tenth century BCE, to the early nineteenth century. Employing the results of recent scientific investigations, The Caddos and Their Ancestors depicts a distinct and dynamic population spanning from precolonial times to the dawn of the modern era. Girard grounds his research in the material evidence that defined Caddo culture long before the appearance of Europeans in the late seventeenth century. Reliance solely on documented observations by explorers and missionaries- which often reflect a Native American population with a static past- propagates an incomplete account of history. By using specific archaeological techniques, Girard reveals how the Caddos altered their lives to cope with ever-changing physical and social environments across thousands of years. This illuminating approach contextualizes the remnants of houses, mounds, burials, tools, ornaments, and food found at Native American sites in northwest Louisiana. Through ample descriptions and illustrations of these archaeological finds, Girard deepens understanding of the social organization, technology, settlement, art, and worldviews of this resilient society. This long-overdue examination of an often-overlooked cultural force provides a thorough yet concise history of the 14,000 years the Caddo people and their predecessors survived and thrived in what is now Louisiana.
When Andrew Jackson's removal policy failed to solve the ""Indian problem,"" the federal government turned to religion for assistance. Nineteenth-century Catholic and Protestant reformers eagerly founded reservation missions and boarding schools, hoping to ""civilize and Christianize"" their supposedly savage charges. In telling the story of the Saint Francis Indian Mission on the Sicangu Lakota Rosebud Reservation, Converting the Rosebud illuminates the complexities of federal Indian reform, Catholic mission policy, and pre- and post-reservation Lakota culture. Author Harvey Markowitz frames the history of the Saint Francis Mission within a broader narrative of the battles waged on a national level between the Catholic Church and the Protestant organizations that often opposed its agenda for American Indian conversion and education. He then juxtaposes these battles with the federal government's relentless attempts to conquer and colonize the Lakota tribes through warfare and diplomacy, culminating in the transformation of the Sicangu Lakotas from a sovereign people into wards of the government designated as the Rosebud Sioux. Markowitz follows the unpredictable twists in the relationships between the Jesuit priests and Franciscan sisters stationed at Saint Francis and their two missionary partners - the United States Indian Office, whose assimilationist goals the missionaries fully shared, and the Sicangus themselves, who selectively adopted and adapted those elements of Catholicism and Euro-American culture that they found meaningful and useful. Tracing the mission from its 1886 founding in present-day South Dakota to the 1916 fire that reduced it to ashes, Converting the Rosebud unveils the complex church-state network that guided conversion efforts on the Rosebud Reservation. Markowitz also reveals the extent to which the Sicangus responded to those efforts - and, in doing so, created a distinct understanding of Catholicism centered on traditional Lakota concepts of sacred power.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn has long held an eminent position among the chronicles of the mythic West. None of the men who rode with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer to his ""Last Stand"" survived to tell the tale, but this stunning photography book provides a view of the battlefield as it must have existed in 1876.To create Where Custer Fell, authors James S. Brust, Brian C. Pohanka, and Sandy Barnard searched for elusive documents and photographs, made countless trips to the battlefield, and scrutinized all available sources. Each chapter begins with a concise, lively description of an episode in the battle. The narratives are graphically illustrated by historical photos, which are presented alongside modern photos of the same location on the battlefield. The book also features detailed maps and photographs of battle participants and the early photographers who attempted to tell their story.
The Popol Vuh is the most important example of Maya literature to have survived the Spanish conquest. It is also one of the world's great creation accounts, comparable to the beauty and power of Genesis. Most previous translations have relied on Spanish versions rather than the original K'iche'-Maya text. Based on ten years of research by a leading scholar of Maya literature, this translation with extensive notes is uniquely faithful to the original language. Retaining the poetic style of the original text, the translation is also remarkably accessible to English readers. Illustrated with more than eighty drawings, photographs, and maps, Allen J. Christenson's authoritative version brings out the richness and elegance of this sublime work of literature, comparable to such epic masterpieces as the Ramayana and Mahabharata of India or the Iliad and Odyssey of Greece.
On September 4, 1805, in the upper Bitterroot Valley of what is now western Montana, more than four hundred Salish people were encamped, pasturing horses, preparing for the fall bison hunt, and harvesting chokecherries as they had done for countless generations. As the Lewis and Clark expedition ventured into the territory of a sovereign Native nation, the Salish met the weary explorers with hospitality and vital provisions, while receiving comparatively little in return. For the first time, a Native American community offers an in-depth examination of the events and historical significance of their encounter with the Lewis and Clark expedition. The result is a new understanding of the expedition and its place in the wider context of U.S. history. Through oral histories and other materials, Salish elders recount the details of the Salish encounter with Lewis and Clark - their difficulty communicating with the strangers through multiple interpreters and consequent misunderstanding of the expedition's invasionary purpose, their discussions about whether to welcome or wipe out the newcomers, their puzzlement over the black skin of the slave York, and their decision to extend traditional tribal hospitality and gifts to the guests. What makes "The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition" a startling departure from previous accounts of the Lewis and Clark expedition is how it depicts the arrival of non-Indians - not as the beginning of history but as another chapter in a long tribal history. Much of this book focuses on the ancient cultural landscape and history that had already shaped the region for millennia prior to the arrival of Lewis and Clark. The elders begin their vivid portrait of the Salish world by sharing creation stories and the traditional cycle of life. The book then takes readers on a cultural tour of the Native trails that the expedition followed. With tribal elders as our guides, we now learn of the Salish cultural landscape that was invisible to Lewis and Clark. "The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition" also brings new clarity to the profound upheaval of the Native world in the century prior to the expedition's arrival, as tribes in the region were introduced to horses, European diseases, and firearms. The arrival of Lewis and Clark marked the beginning of a heightened level of conflict and loss, and the book details the history that followed the expedition: the opening of Salish territory to the fur trade, the arrival of Jesuit missionaries, the establishment of Indian reservations, the non-Indian development of western Montana, and more recently, the revival and strengthening of tribal sovereignty and culture. Conveyed by tribal recollections and richly illustrated, "The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition" not only sheds new light on the meaning of the expedition, but also illuminates the people who greeted Lewis and Clark, and despite much of what followed, thrive in their homeland today.
Many stories that non-Natives tell about Native people emphasize human suffering, the inevitability of loss, and eventual extinction, whether physical or cultural. But the stories Northern Cheyennes tell about themselves emphasize survival, connectedness, and commitment to land and community. In writing Webs of Kinship, anthropologist Christina Gish Hill has worked with government records and other historical documents, as well as the oral testimonies of today's Northern Cheyennes, to emphasize the ties of family, rather than the ambitions of individual leaders, as the central impetus behind the nation's efforts to establish a reservation in its Tongue River homeland. Hill focuses on the people who lived alongside notable Cheyennes such as Dull Knife, Little Wolf, Little Chief, and Two Moons to reveal the central role of kinship in the Cheyennes' navigation of U.S. colonial policy during removal and the early reservation period. As one of Hill's Cheyenne correspondents reminded her, Dull Knife had a family, just as all of us do. He and other Cheyenne leaders made decisions with their entire extended families in mind - not just those living, but those who came before and those yet to be born. Webs of Kinship demonstrates that the Cheyennes used kinship ties strategically to secure resources, escape the U.S. military, and establish alliances that in turn aided their efforts to remain a nation in their northern homeland. By reexamining the most tumultuous moments of Northern Cheyenne removal, this book illustrates how the power of kinship has safeguarded the nation's political autonomy even in the face of U.S. encroachment, allowing the Cheyennes to shape their own story.
In June 2015, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action that urged reform of policies and programs to repair the harms caused by the Indian Residential Schools. Decolonizing Discipline is a response to Call to Action 6 - the call to repeal Section 43 of Canada's Criminal Code, which justifies the corporal punishment of children. Editors Valerie Michaelson and Joan Durrant have brought together diverse voices to respond to this call and to consider the ways that colonial Western interpretations of Christian theologies have been used over centuries to normalize violence and rationalize the physical discipline of children. Theologians, clergy, social scientists, and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis leaders and community members explore the risks that corporal punishment poses to children and examine practical, non-violent approaches to discipline. The authors invite readers to participate in shaping this country into one that does not sanction violence against children. The result is a multifaceted exploration of theological debates, scientific evidence, and personal journeys of the violence that permeated Canada's Residential Schools and continues in Canadian homes today. Together, they compel us to decolonize discipline in Canada.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the land known as ""Indian Territory"" was populated by diverse cultures, troubled by shifting political boundaries, and transformed by historical events that were colorful, dramatic, and often tragic. Beyond its borders, most Americans visualized the area through the pictures produced by non-Native travelers, artists, and reporters - all with differing degrees of accuracy, vision, and skill. The images in Picturing Indian Territory, and the eponymous exhibit it accompanies, conjure a wildly varied vision of Indian Territory's past. Spanning nearly nine decades, these artworks range from the scientific illustrations found in English naturalist Thomas Nuttall's journal to the paintings of Frederic Remington, Henry Farny, and Charles Schreyvogel. The volume's three essays situate these works within the historical narratives of westward expansion, the creation of an ""Indian Territory"" separate from the rest of the United States, and Oklahoma's eventual statehood in 1907. James Peck focuses on artists who produced images of Native Americans living in this vast region during the pre-Civil War era. In his essay, B. Byron Price picks up the story at the advent of the Civil War and examines newspaper and magazine reports as well as the accounts of government functionaries and artist-travelers drawn to the region by the rapidly changing fortunes of the area's traditional Indian cultures in the wake of non-Indian settlement. Mark Andrew White then looks at the art and illustration resulting from the unrelenting efforts of outsiders who settled Indian and Oklahoma Territories in the decades before statehood. Some of the artworks featured in this volume have never before been displayed; some were produced by more than one artist; others are anonymous. Many were completed by illustrators on-site, as the events they depicted unfolded, while other artists relied on written accounts and vivid imaginations. Whatever their origin, these depictions of the people, places, and events of ""Indian Country"" defined the region for contemporary American and European audiences. Today they provide a rich visual record of a key era of western and Oklahoma history - and of the ways that art has defined this important cultural crossroads.
This provocative examination of Aztec marriage practices offers a powerful analysis of the dynamics of society and politics in Mexico before and after the Spanish conquest. The author surveys what it means to be polygynous by comparing the practice in other cultures, past and present, and he uses its demographic consequences to flesh out this understudied topic in Aztec history. Polygyny provided Aztec women with opportunities for upward social mobility. It also led to increased migration to Tenochtitlan and influenced royal succession as well as united the empire. Surprisingly, the shift to monogamy that the Aztecs experienced in a single generation took over a millennium to occur in Europe. Hassig's analysis sheds new light on the conquest, showing that the imposition of monogamy - rather than military might, as earlier scholars have assumed - was largely responsible for the strong and rapid Spanish influence on Aztec society.
Akwesasne territory straddles the U.S.-Canada border in upstate New York, Ontario, and Quebec. In 1979, in the midst of a major conflict regarding self-governance, traditional Mohawks there asserted their sovereign rights to self-education. Concern over the loss of language and culture and clashes with the public school system over who had the right to educate their children sparked the birth of the Akwesasne Freedom School (AFS) and its grassroots, community-based approach. In Free to Be Mohawk, Louellyn White traces the history of the AFS, a tribally controlled school operated without direct federal, state, or provincial funding, and explores factors contributing to its longevity and its impact on alumni, students, teachers, parents, and staff. Through interviews, participant observations, and archival research, White presents an in-depth picture of the Akwesasne Freedom School as a model of Indigenous holistic education that incorporates traditional teachings, experiential methods, and language immersion. Alumni, parents, and teachers describe how the school has fostered a strong sense of what it is to be ""fully Mohawk."" White explores the complex relationship between language and identity and shows how AFS participants transcend historical colonization by negotiating their sense of self. According to Mohawk elder Sakokwenionkwas (Tom Porter), ""The prophecies say that the time will come when the grandchildren will speak to the whole world. The reason for the Akwesasne Freedom School is so the grandchildren will have something significant to say."" In a world where forced assimilation and colonial education have resulted in the loss or endangerment of hundreds of Indigenous languages, the Akwesasne Freedom School provides a cultural and linguistic sanctuary. White's timely study reminds readers, including the Canadian and U.S. governments, of the critical importance of an Indigenous nation's authority over the education of its children.
Artists and filmmakers in the early twentieth century reshaped our vision of the American West. In particular, the Taos Society of Artists and the California-based artist Maynard Dixon departed from the legendary depiction of the ""Wild West"" and fostered new images, or brands, for western art. This volume, illustrated with more than 150 images, examines select paintings and films to demonstrate how these artists both enhanced and contradicted earlier representations of the West. Prior to this period, American art tended to portray the West as a wild frontier with untamed lands and peoples. Renowned artists such as Henry Farny and Frederic Remington set their work in the past, invoking an environment immersed in conflict and violence. This trademark perspective began to change, however, when artists enamored with the Southwest stamped a new imprint on their paintings. The contributors to this volume illuminate the complex ways in which early-twentieth-century artists, as well as filmmakers, evoked a southwestern environment not just suspended in time but also permanent rather than transient. Yet, as the authors also reveal, these artists were not entirely immune to the siren call of the vanishing West, and their portrayal of peaceful yet ""exotic"" Native Americans was an expansion rather than a dismissal of earlier tropes. Both brands cast a romantic spell on the West, and both have been seared into public consciousness. Branding the American West is published in association with the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, Utah, and the Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas.
If you drive through Mpumalanga with an eye on the landscape flashing by, you may see, near the sides of the road and further away on the hills above and in the valleys below, fragments of building in stone as well as sections of stone-walling breaking the grass cover. Endless stone circles, set in bewildering mazes and linked by long stone passages, cover the landscape stretching from Ohrigstad to Carolina, connecting over 10 000 square kilometres of the escarpment into a complex web of stone-walled homesteads, terraced fields and linking roads. Oral traditions recorded in the early twentieth century named the area Bokoni - the country of the Koni people. Few South Africans or visitors to the country know much about these settlements, and why today they are deserted and largely ignored. A long tradition of archaeological work which might provide some of the answers remains cloistered in universities and the knowledge vacuum has been filled by a variety of exotic explanations - invoking ancient settlers from India or even visitors from outer space - that share a common assumption that Africans were too primitive to have created such elaborate stone structures. Forgotten World defies the usual stereotypes about backward African farming methods and shows that these settlements were at their peak between 1500 and 1820, that they housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development, and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation and productivity. The Koni were part of a trading system linked to the coast of Mozambique and the wider world of Indian Ocean trade beyond. Forgotten World tells the story of Bokoni through rigorous historical and archaeological research, and lavishly illustrates it with stunning photographic images.
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