Changes in cul­ture seen in old tools

Saturday Star - - METRO -

FOL­LOW­ING an in­ter­na­tional out­cry and neg­a­tive me­dia head­lines in the wake of the ar­rest of South African jour­nal­ist An­gela Quin­tal and Kenyan coun­ter­part Muthoki Mumo from the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists (CPJ), the Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties have at­tempted to jus­tify their de­ten­tion, claim­ing the two mis­rep­re­sented their pur­pose in vis­it­ing Tan­za­nia, the Na­tion re­ported yes­ter­day.

The jour­nal­ists were de­tained on Wed­nes­day by Tan­za­nian im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials while on a re­port­ing mis­sion for the CPJ. They were even­tu­ally re­leased by the au­thor­i­ties to their ho­tel in Dar es Salaam, but their pass­ports were with­held.

Fol­low­ing an in­ter­na­tional out­cry, in­clud­ing from the US State De­part­ment, and the in­ter­ven­tion of the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion (Dirco), their pass­ports were re­turned and the women were al­lowed to leave the coun­try.

The crux of Tan­za­nia’s im­mi­gra­tion de­part­ment’s de­fence was that the women on ar­rival in the coun­try never in­formed im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials that they were there to carry out a jour­nal­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and that be­fore con­tact­ing lo­cal jour­nal­ists they should have con­tacted the au­thor­i­ties.

Im­mi­gra­tion spokesper­son Ally Mtanda told The Ci­ti­zen that the de­part­ment had ar­rested the two and ques­tioned them, say­ing, “they ar­rived in the coun­try on Oc­to­ber 31 through Julius Ny­erere In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Dar es Salaam and said the pur­pose of their trip was a nor­mal visit.

“How­ever, our of­fi­cials es­tab­lished they started hold­ing meet­ings with lo­cal jour­nal­ists and that’s con­trary to the con­di­tions of their en­try per­mits.”

Mtanda said that “if they were in­tend­ing to hold meet­ings with jour­nal­ists, then they should have con­tacted the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties be­fore they started do­ing those ac­tiv­i­ties”.

Con­firm­ing that the jour­nal­ists had left Tan­za­nia safely, CPJ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Joel Si­mon urged the Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties “to halt their on­go­ing crack­down against a free press”.

“An­gela Quin­tal and Muthoki Mumo trav­elled to Tan­za­nia to un­der­stand the chal­lenges fac­ing the Tan­za­nian press and to in­form the global pub­lic,” the CPJ boss said. “It is deeply ironic that, through their un­jus­ti­fied and abu­sive de­ten­tion of our col­leagues, Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties have made their work that much eas­ier. It is now abun­dantly clear to any­one who fol­lowed the lat­est de­vel­op­ments that Tan­za­nian jour­nal­ists work in a cli­mate of fear of in­tim­i­da­tion,” he said. | African News Agency (ANA)

SHAUN SMILLIE

TENS of thou­sands of years ago, our an­ces­tors were net­work­ing and trad­ing ideas with com­mu­ni­ties that were hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away.

Re­cent dis­cov­er­ies of stone tools at Howiesons Poort, in the south­ern Cape have been found to have dis­tinct sim­i­lar­i­ties with tools ex­ca­vated in sites in the West­ern Cape, more than 300km away.

“While re­gional speci­fici­ties in the tools from the var­i­ous sites ex­ist, the sim­i­lar­i­ties of Klip­drift Shel­ter with the site of Diep­kloof Rock Shel­ter are as­ton­ish­ing,” says Dr Katja Douze, a re­searcher at the lab­o­ra­tory of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Pop­u­la­tions in Africa.

The team ex­am­ined thou­sands of stone tools from var­i­ous lay­ers at the Klip­drift Shel­ter in the West­ern Cape. The lay­ers rep­re­sented a time pe­riod of be­tween 66 000 and 59 000 years ago.

They did this to es­tab­lish how stone tool de­sign changed over time.

The stone tools were then com­pared with those that were found at other sites in Howiesons Poort.

“The site of Klipdfrift Shel­ter is one of the few con­tain­ing a long ar­chae­o­log­i­cal se­quence that pro­vides data on cul­tural changes over time dur­ing the Howiesons Poort,” says Douze.

“This makes it per­fect to study the change in cul­ture over time.”

The re­searchers showed from the data, that there was close in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dis­tant com­mu­ni­ties, and this was shown by how they de­signed their stone tools.

“There was an al­most per­fect match be­tween the tools from the Klip­drift and Diep­kloof shel­ters.

“This shows us that there was reg­u­lar in­ter­ac­tion be­tween th­ese two com­mu­ni­ties.”

“This is the first time we can draw such a par­al­lel be­tween dif­fer­ent sites based on ro­bust sets of data, and show that there was mo­bil­ity be­tween the two sites.

“This is unique for the Mid­dle Stone Age,” says Douze.

Their re­search ap­peared in the lat­est is­sue of Plosone jour­nal.

The re­searchers are hop­ing their study might help in solv­ing a mys­tery as to why and how the Howiesons Poort ended.

“The de­cline of the Howiesons Poort at Klip­drift Shel­ter shows a grad­ual and com­plex pat­tern of changes, from which the first “symp­toms” can be ob­served much ear­lier than the fi­nal aban­don­ment of typ­i­cal Howiesons Poort tech­nol­ogy and tool­kits,” says Douze.

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