south africas new human ancestor sparks race row
Last Updated : GMT 02:57:08
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Theory designed to cast Africans as 'subhuman'

South Africa's new human ancestor sparks race row

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today South Africa's new human ancestor sparks race row

The skeleton of Homo Naledi, a newly discovered human ancestor
Johannesburg - Arab Today

Some prominent South Africans have dismissed the discovery of a new human ancestor as a racist theory designed to cast Africans as "subhuman", an opinion that resonates in a country deeply bruised by apartheid.

"No one will dig old monkey bones to back up a theory that I was once a baboon. Sorry," said Zwelinzima Vavi, former general secretary of the powerful trade union group Cosatu, a faithful ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

"I am no grandchild of any ape, monkey or baboon -- finish en klaar (Afrikaans for "that's it")," he said on his Twitter account, which is followed by more than 300,000 people.

His comments were backed by the South African Council of Churches (SACC), which was historically involved in the fight against apartheid.

Vavi recalled that when South Africa was under apartheid rule he was a target of racist remarks: "I been also called a baboon all my life so did my father and his fathers."

Apartheid ended in 1994 after Nelson Mandela was elected as the country's first black president in a democratic South Africa.

Vavi's comments came after last week's discovery of Homo naledi, described by scientists as a new distant ancestor of humans.

The discovery of the ancient relative generated a huge amount of international interest.

But the South African backlash has perplexed people around the world at a time when Darwin's theory of evolution is widely accepted as fact.

It "breathes new life into paranoia," said prominent British biologist Richard Dawkins on his Twitter account this week. "Whole point is we're all African apes."

Lee Berger, an American working at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand and overseeing the Homo naledi dig, tried to keep his distance from the charged debate, though he did specifically clarify that man doesn't descend from baboons.

"For our scientists the search for human origins is one that celebrates all of humankind's common origins on the continent of Africa," he told AFP.

"The science is not asking questions of religion nor challenging anyone's belief systems, it is simply exploring the fossil evidence for the origins of our species."

The body of Homo naledi resembles that of a modern man, but researchers say its orange-sized brain places it closer to Australopithecus, a group of extinct hominids that walked on two legs and lived around 2 million years ago.

Some 1,550 fossils were unearthed in the "Rising Star", a cave located in the "Cradle of Humankind", a site 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg that has proven over the years to be a rich source for palaeontologists.

The bones haven't been dated, but researchers claim they will reveal more about the transition between the primitive Australopithecus and the Homo genus, the family tree of our direct ancestor.

- 'Africans not respected'-

The discovery of the new ancestor supports the West's "story that we are subhumans," said ANC member of parliament and former chief whip Mathole Motshekga.

"That is why today no African is respected anywhere in the world because of this type of theory," he said in an interview with television network ENCA.

The finding "seems to be calculated to affirm what apartheid and colonialists did to say that we are subhumans who develop from the animal kingdom and therefore gave us the status of subhuman beings to justify slavery, colonialism, oppression and exploitation."

The South African Council of Churches (SACC), added fuel to the controversy.

"To my brother Vavi, I would say that he is spot on," SACC president Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa said in response to the former Cosatu leader's comments.

"It's an insult to say that we come from baboons. We must continue to engage," he said.

Scientists should continue to provide evidence but also "listen to what God is saying to us and not make a jump to quick, foolish conclusions."

The official government reaction to the Homo naledi find was, however, positive, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa saying "our common umbilical cord is buried" in Africa.

Homo naledi underlines that "we are bound by a common ancestor," he declared.
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*

south africas new human ancestor sparks race row south africas new human ancestor sparks race row

 



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*

south africas new human ancestor sparks race row south africas new human ancestor sparks race row

 



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 Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb
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 Saudi, Bahrain target Iran

GMT 00:48 2017 Monday ,20 November

Saudi, Bahrain target Iran
Arab Today, arab today Europe turns on Facebook, Google

GMT 02:26 2017 Monday ,20 November

Europe turns on Facebook, Google
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 Driverless, electric future just round

GMT 02:45 2017 Monday ,20 November

Driverless, electric future just round
Arab Today, arab today Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck

GMT 02:59 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck
Arab Today, arab today Hanan Metawe denies apology for “Major Treason”

GMT 12:22 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Hanan Metawe denies apology for “Major Treason”
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 08:06 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Ayten Amer happy for “The Flood” 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 02:28 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Anti-drug operation nets 4 tonnes

GMT 01:34 2017 Friday ,17 November

Banyan Tree Phuket Takes Festive Season

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