Masks are a well known feature of African culture. They’re used in many circumstances and in psychological terms represent the persona of the wearer. As such they’re a language on their own, communicating to the viewer what is being said.
In Uganda a young man, called Bright Niwagaba, explained the meanings behind some of the masks he was selling. He said they were made and worn by Pygmies, Africa’s forest dwelling hunter-gatherers, and represent everyday political and social events as well conquest and subjugation by other tribes.
Here are some of his stories.
Continue reading Behind the masks
Twenty five years ago the Government of Uganda took a decision to preserve the Budongo Forest in North West Uganda for man’s closest relatives.
Resident chimp predators, such as lion, were moved to the far side of the Nile River.
In partnership with Jane Goodall, The National Forestry Authority started the long process of habituating a community of chimpanzee for tourism, as a way to finance the forest’s conservation.
Since then tourist dollars have helped the authorities to teach villagers alternative ways of obtaining food protein. They now farm pigs and chicken. As a result snaring in the forest has been reduced by 90%.
Chimp Tracking is a great experience. Watch the video here.
The ugly face of human nature
The documentary film Blood Lions shines a spotlight into a dark corner of the human psyche, one that is driven by vanity, and fed by greed.
In South Africa there are an estimated 8,000 predators held in captivity, most of them lion. The animals represent a lucrative income for their captors. Until now it’s a story that has been untold.
Continue reading Vanity, vanity, vanity
The most important publication issued since the first report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has gone largely unnoticed in the conservation world.
The Laudato Si is a 200 page position paper issued by the Catholic Church on the impact humans are having on Planet Earth. Published in May 2015 the document is a call-to-action to redress the damage we’ve caused to Mother Nature.
Continue reading The Pope on Conservation
The reaction of the Botswana Government to a black rhino hunt in Namibia has thrown the conservation/hunting square-off into stark relief.
Continue reading If It’s About The Money
Most conscientious travellers have asked themselves at one time or another what is the etiquette around taking photos of locals in the places they visit. I’ve always gone by the rule of ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’
Continue reading Photographing locals
I was intrigued to hear Adam Welz of WildAid speak out on a pivotal point in the rise of demand for rhino horn in Vietnam. He said a rumour started that General Giap, a general in the Vietnam People’s Army, owed his long life to the use of rhino horn. I think there is more to it.
Continue reading General Giap and the demand for rhino horn