Changes in culture seen in old tools
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)
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.