Friday, July 16, 2010
History, Art, and Where We All Started?
The exhibits at the Botswana National Museum in Gaborone took us through Botswana history. The museum also had an art gallery which displayed contemporary paintings by artists in Botswana. We saw beautiful modern paintings in the gallery. Walking though the museum offered an opportunity to see the beginning of life in Africa, from the insects and plants to the actual human skulls of the first natives. Further into the museum I was able to read about their agricultural development and their discovery of diamonds. Something that I found interesting was how one of the tribes which fled to Botswana to get away from oppression in neighboring countries believed in a Tree God. The many ancient beliefs of the people of Botswana are still a daily part of life here today, and from what I have heard through the many presentations at the Univ. of Botswana, the struggle to retain a living link between a cherished past and a changing present is one Botswana’s biggest issues. It is interesting that the many tribes of Botswana still remain very traditional. Another thing I found interesting while in the museum was the history about the caves. The people of Botswana believed that the caves had magic power and that a Snake God guarded it. Thus they would often put their valuables in the caves to keep them safe. They would also place “inorganic” objects in the caves, including twins. Twins were mystifying and considered to be unreal and “inorganic.” After reading this it made me realize how special and rare twins must have been. Being a twin myself, this was most fascinating to me! I find beliefs in different regions to be fascinating because it documents the growth of cultures. The birth of man, for the people of Botswana, is believed to have occurred through a hole in a place called Matsieng. The Batswana know this from the ancient footprints which surround this hole, a hole which always has water, when there is none anywhere around. May be this is where we all started!