over south african golden rhino figurine
Last Updated : GMT 13:03:42
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Culture war brews

Over South African golden rhino figurine

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Over South African golden rhino figurine

The "golden rhino" figurine on display at the University of Pretoria in South Africa
Pretoria - Arab Today

For years, South Africa's apartheid government ignored the significance of a "golden rhino" figurine that provides undeniable proof of a sophisticated society existing before white men arrived.

But since the end of racist rule in 1994, the stunning object -- just 15 millimetres (six inches) long and more than 700 years old -- has become a defining symbol of precolonial civilisation in South Africa.

Described as southern Africa's equivalent of Tutankhamun's mask, the golden foil rhino could be displayed overseas for the first time in the British Museum at an exhibition of South African art late next year.

With more than six million visitors passing through the London museum's doors annually, it would make a dramatic world debut for the rhino, which is currently in a little-known gallery at the University of Pretoria.

The question is whether or not the South African government will sign off on the loan.

"I think because South Africa has this colonial legacy, people are concerned about heritage objects leaving the country," said Sian Tiley-Nel, manager of the University of Pretoria museums.

"But these are just temporary showcases, they will come back," she told AFP.

After centuries of political, commercial and military exploitation, history in Africa -- and who gets to tell it -- is a hotly contested subject.

European museums, with their vast collections of colonial artefacts ranging from Benin bronzes to Ugandan headdresses made of human hair, have a controversial track record on the continent.

In August, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lashed out at Britain's National History Museum for failing to turn over the skulls of African freedom fighters.

"Surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity," Mugabe said.
To date, the South African government has declined to say whether the golden rhino, will feature as a star exhibit at the London show.

"This matter is still under negotiation and has not been finalised as yet," South Africa's Department of Arts and Culture told AFP.

- Left in limbo -

In 1932, a group of white men hunting for treasure discovered the rhino in Mapungubwe hill, a rocky outcrop in the country's northern Limpopo province, where baobab trees tower over herds of elephant.

They had stumbled across the remains of a graveyard for the elites of a lost kingdom that was a trading hub in 1220, exchanging ivory and gold for glass beads and cloth with Egypt, India and China.

A former student at the University of Pretoria turned over some of the cache to the school.

Despite its obvious significance, the golden rhino was ignored by the colonial -- and, later, apartheid -- governments, whose regimes were premised on the belief that Africans were primitive.

The rhino and other gold artefacts, including a leopard figurine and necklaces, challenged the colonial version of history that South African civilisation started when Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck landed in 1652.

"Mapungubwe has come to show that South Africa has a very rich history," said Tiley-Nel, speaking in the dimly lit gallery where the golden rhino is on display.

"The southern part of Africa was not an empty myth land."

Since Nelson Mandela was elected the country's first democratic president in 1994, Mapungubwe has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Order of Mapungubwe is South Africa's highest honour (Mandela was the first recipient in 2002).

However, controversy surrounds the figurine, with a long-running custody battle in South Africa highlighting the country's struggle to recast its history more than 20 years after the fall of apartheid.

A special centre was built at Mapungubwe to house the rhino, which weighs just 42.8 grammes (1.5 ounces), but it doesn't meet the professional museum requirements needed to protect the figurine.

As a result, custody of the rhino has remained with the University of Pretoria -- a location that angers many.

"We can't just keep on relying on the old institutions which acquired these artefacts under dubious means," said Ciraj Rassool, history professor at the University of the Western Cape.

"It's a tragedy there was a failure to create a suitable museum," he said. "The golden rhino is left in limbo."

Still, Rassool hopes that before the rhino heads home to Mapungubwe, it first goes on tour to London to be shown to the world.

"It is important that these aspects of South African culture be known about in as many countries as possible," he said.
Source: AFP

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

over south african golden rhino figurine over south african golden rhino figurine

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

over south african golden rhino figurine over south african golden rhino figurine

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today The Big Apple bike boom

GMT 10:47 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

The Big Apple bike boom
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet

GMT 10:12 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet
Arab Today, arab today 'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia

GMT 10:18 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Honda recalls 800,000 minivans

GMT 11:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Honda recalls 800,000 minivans
Arab Today, arab today VW says will invest over 34bn euros

GMT 07:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

VW says will invest over 34bn euros
Arab Today, arab today Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions

GMT 07:56 2017 Monday ,20 November

Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 09:23 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 13:41 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

French choke up over proposal

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday