Category Archives: People and Culture

Behind the masks

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.

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Vanity, vanity, vanity

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.

Blood Lions

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Mapungubwe: Rock of Sacred Leaders


It was Heritage Day and full moon. And then someone reminded me that it was also the spring equinox, the time of cosmic equilibrium.  Well that did it.  A magical veil drew down as I stepped into the past, and the Land of Molten Metal – Mapungubwe.


(c) University of Pretoria
(c) University of Pretoria


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