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Friday, May 27, 2016

Geography Pays Off--Again

I was looking something up for a friend, and came across someone with an African name. I thought maybe Nigerian, but couldn't find it as Yoruba or Igbo or anything else connected with Nigeria, so I looked further and found a remote possibility of connection to Namibia. And I was right. The person's father seems to have come from Namibia. 

Quick--go do your Sporcle Geography quiz and you, too, will immediately know where Namibia is--just below Angola, just above South African, and connecting inland to Botswana and Zimbabwe, and by a panhandle, with Zambia. (Truth-telling, I didn't know until this moment that there was a panhandle in Zimbabwe or any of the information that I will herewith divulge as though I am an expert.) The name appears to be from the Mafwe people of the Caprivi region, which has recently been renamed the Zambeze region in an effort to erase the marks of German colonialism on the area--remember The African Queen, how Rose Sayer and Charlie Allnut travel down the Ulanga River--no relation to the rivers of Zambeze-- to Victoria Falls, where they encounter the Germans? Yup--there you go.)  

And by the way, in case you want to dazzle your friends, the name Caprivi comes from  Count Leo von Caprivi, chancellor of Germany, from 1890 to 1894. 

Is this not exceptionally gorgeous? The Zambeze area. 
The Caprivi/Zambeze area is along rivers, and most people who live there farm for a living, mostly surviving hand-to-mouth. (This is what they mean when they use the fancy word, "subsistence farming," meaning you also fish and harvest wild things, and hunt and struggle to subsist, pretty much like Laura Ingalls Wilder's family during her entire life.)   

Most of the images I can find of the Mafwe people come from what looks like an amazing living history museum. 
Yes, they're topless. Get over it.

So I'll include one here, along with this, so you know that these images are from a museum, while the modern one is of a reporter talking about opposition to a tobacco project. 

So, hello Namibia and hello Mafwe people. Google doesn't give me translation from English to Mafwe, so I'm having to write this in English. If someone logs on and tells me how to say hello, I will be happy to do it. 

How connected we all can be these days. (And hello Maldives. I am thrilled that you are looking at this blog.)

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