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Africa: History, Cartography and Exploration

Evolution of the Map of Africa [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 7, 2011 - 15 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

RIP Hamilton Naki

RIP Hamilton Naki, the black surgeon working unrecognised behind the scenes at Christiaan Barnard's pioneering South African heart transplant.
posted by iffley on Jun 21, 2005 - 7 comments

The Rain Queen

The Ethnographic Lens: Images from the Realm of a Rain Queen. Between 1936 and 1938 social anthropologists Eileen and Jack Krige undertook intensive fieldwork in the north-eastern regions of South Africa among the Lobedu people whose chief Modjadji was widely acclaimed as a rainmaker.'
'In 1943 their book 'The Realm of a Rain Queen' was published and has remained in print ever since. Some of the photographs taken by the Kriges were used as illustrations in the book but many remained unpublished and little known ...' Via this collection of archaeological and anthropological resources from the South African Museum.
Princess Makobo Modjadji of the Bolobedu has just been crowned as the new Rain Queen, Modjadji VI. A light drizzle greeted the inauguration, which may be a good sign.
The Rain Queen was the inspiration for H. Rider Haggard's 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'.
More on the world of the Rain Queen - including biographical details on the last Rain Queen, and her relationships with politicians such as Nelson Mandela in a changine South Africa - here.
posted by plep on Apr 12, 2003 - 5 comments

Dogs in funny hats

Just Nuisance, Able Seaman. The only canine enlisted in the Royal Navy, Just Nuisance served from 1939 to 1944 in Simon's Town, South Africa (on his papers his occupation was listed as 'Bone Crusher' and his religion 'Canine Divinity League [Anti-Vivisection]'). Providing a great source of morale to sailors stationed there he would escort them on train trips and make sure they made it back to base after a night on the town. Of course being a sailor himself he was privy to a few brushes with the law as well by traveling on the railways without a pass (punishment: Confined to the banks of Froggy Pond, Lily Pool, with all lamp posts removed) or sleeping on an Officer's bed (punishment: Deprived of bones for seven days.). Married, and survived by five children, on his death he was afforded a funeral with full military colours. You can read his biography (which spawned a television series), or merely pay respects at his statue next time you're in Simon's Town.
posted by PenDevil on Mar 19, 2003 - 3 comments

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