Govt needs to provide greater security after public events

first_imgDear Editor,I agree with Mr Nazar Mohammed (Guyana Times Oct 8) that it was indeed great CPL 20/20 cricket last week at Providence, East Bank Demerara. Congrats to our Amazon Warriors and the management and owner of the team. The GAW made the nation feel proud even though not all players were Guyanese. The matches and the team’s performance brought Guyanese of all ethnicities together. However, there are some minor non-cricketing issues that need attention.Nazar made some poignant observations and offered valid suggestions on improving the surrounding areas of the Providence Stadium whenever cricket, or entertainment, or expos are staged. Like him, I too observed issues pertaining to cleanliness (pollution) and security that need to be improved. All stakeholders – the management of the stadium, and the Government — need to come together to address public concerns of safety and garbage collection (to maintain a clean environment).Mr Mohammed is right about garbage being strewn around or in the vicinity of the stands including in the VIP and VVIP areas. This makes our country look bad in the eyes of the international community. Cleanliness and a green environment should be a concern of all. Matches are broadcasted live and many visitors fly into Guyana to take in the entertainment. We don’t want the world to get an impression of Guyana as an unkempt place.Like Mr Nazar, I too witnessed people being robbed and molested on the roads post-event. The large presence of people on the roads did not deter bandits determined to pillage and rob. Even people inside minibuses were targeted, held up (robbed). Bandits (thugs) grabbed peoples’ phones and ran away. Girls received unwanted touches. In the late evening, some were stranded without transportation and placed under threat.Police were not to be found. They were inside the stand and/or directing traffic coming out of the stadium or sent off duty or gone elsewhere. A larger police presence is needed at these events. And armed units need to be spread out on the East Bank at least a mile from the stadium particularly going towards town. This will serve as a deterrent to those aiming or planning to prowl on unsuspecting victims.Government earns a lot of revenues when these events are staged at providence. Government needs to place greater attention on post events security. Government or management needs to do more on cleaning the stand area – inside and outside. Government needs to provide ample security post-event. Government should revisit the requisite tools and guidelines to improve security for fans and so instruct ranks. Everyone should feel safe after an event. There should be Police presence until every fan has left the area unless they choose to remain.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

Processing fee for gold declaration increases

first_imgAll miners, including small and medium-scale miners, will now have to pay an increased processing fee of 00 per ounce of gold they declare to the Guyana Gold Board (GGB). The fee was previously just 00 per ounce.Had the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) not intervened when a public notice announcing the hike first appeared in the daily newspapers, that fee would have been a whopping $4000 per ounce.According to a missive from Avalon Jagnandan, the Administrative Manager at the GGDMA, the Association first became aware of the hike when a public notice appeared in the newspapers declaring that all miners and dealers selling gold to the Gold Board would have to pay the $4000 fee.“This was immediately rejected by the GGDMA in a number of media publications,” he said. “Since miners and dealers were only paying a processing fee of $1000 per ounce of gold. This $3000 proposed increase by the GGB was strongly opposed at all levels by the GGDMA.”“Subsequently, the Association met with the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and the Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board on this matter to represent the miners’ interest. This meeting was held on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at the Ministry of Natural Resources. Coming out of this meeting, the Minister had proposed a processing fee of $3000. The GGDMA again felt that this was too much for the miners to bear and rejected that amount.”Jagnandan related that after lengthy negotiations with the Ministry and the Gold Board, and considering that the fee was not raised for some time, the GGDMA renegotiated for an increase taking the fee to $2000.“However, the GGDMA has since been informed in writing by Minister of Natural Resources (Raphael Trotman) that the new processing fee will now be $2500 per ounce of gold and will take effect from September 1, 2017,” Jagnandan stated.Guyana has had issues with loss of revenue as a result of gold smuggling and some are questioning whether this hike will exacerbate the situation. Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Homeland Security from the United States of America visited Guyana last year, and briefed top officials, including Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, about gold smuggling from Guyana.According to Minister Trotman, it was estimated that approximately 15,000 ounces of the precious metal was smuggled overseas weekly. Trotman said 50 per cent to 60 per cent of local production is lost to smuggling.“Indicators are that the gold is going to Brazil. It is going over the borders to Suriname, not to stay in Suriname but to go to Europe. It is being landed at Miami International Airport. It is being landed at John F Kennedy (Airport, New York) and it is going to the Middle East,” he had told reporters.For the year, some 163,000 ounces of gold had been declared for the first quarter. This follows last year’s healthy declaration of 713,000 ounces. Small and medium-scale miners accounted for some 70 per cent, while Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources, large gold-mining operations, contributed the remainder.The GGB recorded 451,490 ounces of gold in 2015. In December last year, Trotman said the Natural Resources Ministry would be aiming for 700,000 ounces in gold declarations for this year. He said the Government was looking forward to all miners producing and declaring high numbers in 2017, and had even pledged to continue to support the industry.Already, repeated calls from the GGDMA for a meeting with President David Granger in order to air various grievances have gone unfulfilled.last_img read more

USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK Carroll refuses to be backed into a corner

first_imgNo pressure Carroll said there is no extra pressure on the offense to produce against lowly Stanford following last week’s inconsistent performance, especially by quarterback John David Booty. “I don’t know that they lost confidence,” Carroll said. “Every week we’re looking for a strong effort. It makes no difference who we play or how we did before.” Who starts? It appeared senior Alatini “Tiny” Malu would start at right guard following Chilo Rachal’s sprained knee. But Carroll said freshman Zach Heberer (San Pedro High) also will play and he refused to name a starter. “I don’t know yet,” Carroll said. “Zach had a good week of practice.” O’Dowd recovery Center Kris O’Dowd, who underwent surgery on his knee to remove loose cartilage, said he hopes to return for the Notre Dame game on Oct. 20. Johnson update Tailback Stafon Johnson did some light running but did not practice all week, which makes it doubtful he would play against Stanford. However Carroll said, “I wouldn’t rule him out.” Said Johnson: “I don’t know anything right now. The pain went down but it still bothers me.” Odds and ends Tailback Broderick Green, who underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot, jogged Thursday and could return to practice in two weeks. “He’s a big dude that hammers the football,” Carroll said. It looks like USC will try to play Green if possible, instead of redshirting him. “It just depends, we need to see how he comes back,” Carroll said. … Booty after watching the Washington films: “It really wasn’t that bad,” he said. “It wasn’t my night. I never really played in the Northwest. I put it behind me, I moved on. Nothing technically was wrong” … Linebacker Thomas Williams will start his second straight game in place of Brian Cushing (sprained ankle). Clay Matthews, who sprained his shoulder two weeks ago, is healthy and will back up Williams. scott.wolf@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Three of the Trojans’ top cornerbacks are injured. Josh Pinkard tore knee ligaments last month, Cary Harris dislocated his shoulder two weeks ago and Shareece Wright pulled a hamstring last week. Carswell played cornerback in high school and also tried the position in summer workouts at USC. He is expected to redshirt this season, but his name has surfaced in coaching meetings in regards to the cornerback crisis. Harris wants to play against Stanford Saturday, but Carroll said Harris would need to be cleared by doctors before the game. Harris said doctors already cleared him. “The doctors cleared my shoulder. It’s up to me if I want to play. I’m playing,” Harris said. “But it’s really up to the coaches.” Carroll said he wanted Harris to play but needed doctors’ approval before the game. By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER USC coach Pete Carroll said Thursday he considered moving wide receiver Brandon Carswell to cornerback because of injuries in the secondary. “If in an emergency we needed someone the last couple weeks, we looked at it, but it’s not permanently,” Carroll said. last_img read more

Tired neighbors are crying foul

first_img“We’ll pick up trapped animals, but we don’t run around chasing wild animals,” Ballenger said. “They don’t stay in the wild by being dumb. They can be tricky.” Two visits from the city’s code enforcement officers confirmed that Van Campen was in a Catch-22 situation. “We cannot respond to a complaint if we have no responsible party,” said Steve Wilkomm, spokesman for the Whittier Code Enforcement Department. “Basically, it’s an Animal Control issue if it’s a wild unclaimed animal that’s wreaking havoc in the community.” Jack Halterman, recent neighbor and manager of a neighboring apartment complex, offered to catch the rooster by using a mirror to lure him into a cage. If his wife lets him, he wants to take the rooster to his new home in Santa Fe Springs, where he already owns a small collection of animals, including two hens. “Show him an image of himself and he’ll do the `Cock of the Walk’ thing,” said Halterman, who grew up on a farm in Iowa. “They think it’s another rooster and they want to fight. He’ll come right up to it.” According to neighbor Ray Rios, someone did manage to catch the rooster several months ago. “A man came to my door with the rooster thinking it was mine,” Rios said. “The rooster looked like it had been in a fight, all skinny and with missing feathers. It had a leash around its leg. “But now it’s loose and he wakes me up at 4 a.m. every day. In fact, I don’t even set my clock anymore. He the noisiest little guy.” Laurel Meyer said she likes the early morning wake-up calls from Mr. Cogburn, saying it reminded her of her childhood on a Pico Rivera farm. “He was just a little guy when he first showed up,” Meyer said. “Then one morning I heard him crowing and I thought, `Oh no, he’s a rooster.”‘ As for Van Campen, she’d just as soon the rooster crossed the road to get to another yard. pam.wight@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – When a young chicken took up residence in Uptown Whittier five months ago, he became a cute little novelty – chased by cats and kids alike.But with the onset of adolescence, his innocent clucking soon turned into the signature cock-a-doodle-dooing of mature roosters, leaving residents with plenty to crow about. The rooster – neighbors have dubbed him Mr. Rooster Cogburn after a John Wayne character – decided the shady, fenced back yard of Edith Van Campen provided a perfect smorgasbord of freshly laid grass seeds, water and shelter. So comfortable is he that occasionally he even jumps up and peers through the front porch window into Van Campen’s home. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“He first showed up in the area with a cord around his leg,” Van Campen said. “But when I had my yard re-seeded, it became the dining room for the rooster. Now it cock-a-doodle-doos at all hours, starting at about 4 or 5 \. “Some of the neighbors have complained to me. Some like it and some not. I’m becoming one of the people who doesn’t like it.” Twice so far, officers from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control have left warnings for Van Campen about the city’s prohibition against the keeping of fowl. “The first warning just told me that roosters were illegal in Whittier and the second one said the rooster must go,” Van Campen said. “I told them it wasn’t my rooster and that I had no way to catch him. They told me I had to catch him first, then they’d come and get him.” Bob Ballenger, spokesman for Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, said his department does not trap animals. last_img

ARC organise transport for upcoming March for Choice

first_imgThe Donegal branch of the Abortion Rights Campaign are set to travel to Dublin this Saturday for the upcoming March For Choice.The march is part of a national campaign from the pro-choice movement for legal abortion in Ireland.The ARC have arranged a bus to travel up to the capital at 9am on Saturday morning from Charley’s Cafe in Letterkenny and it will cost €10 for a return ticket. They will be making placards on the journey down to Dublin. They are hoping to arrive in Dublin for 1pm, as the march begins at 1:30pm at Parnell Square.They will then be leaving Dublin at 6pm to be back in Letterkenny for 10pm.If you are interested in getting a lift with them you can book your seat by emailing abortionrightsdonegal@gmail.com with the subject title “March for Choice Bus Booking” along with the following information;(1) The names of all passengers you are booking for(2) Your mobile number and emergency contact(3) Details of how they can arrange paymentThe ARC comments; “The U.K Department of Health statistics show that 67 women who attended U.K clinics listed Donegal as their address. These figures do not take into account the women who used a UK address or those who ordered and took abortion pills at home.” “Every meeting Abortion Rights Campaign Donegal has held has been extremely well attended, with many Donegal men also coming along to give their support to the campaign.”Over 10,000 people are set to attend the fifth annual March for Choice.ARC organise transport for upcoming March for Choice was last modified: September 22nd, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:abortionarcdonegalmarch for choicelast_img read more

MAYOR MCBREARTY SLAMS POLITICIANS FOR MAKING ‘POLITICAL FOOTBALL’ OUT OF GARDA ISSUE

first_imgThe Mayor of Donegal, Cllr Frank McBrearty, has slammed politicians for blaming the lack of Garda manpower in Donegal for rising crime.The Labour Party councillor accused Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Independent Thomas Pringle of making a politicial football out of the situation.Mayor McBrearty told Donegal Daily that the constant griping over the lack of Garda manpower was alienating the county. “These parties and their members are merely using the issue as a political football.“Of course there is an issue with Garda numbers but it is a reality that we are in the middle of an economic crisis and the money simply isn’t there.“But the constant moaning and complaining and blaming the lack of Gardai for everything is not the answer,” he said.In recent days there have been a number of meetings about the lack of Garda manpower across Donegal including Newtowncunningham and Kincasslagh. The public are blaming a lack of Garda manpower for the rise in burglaries and other attacks.While Mayor McBrearty said he accepted there was an issue with crime in Donegal, he said politicians were only concerned about their careers.“They are only concerned about being heard and it is popular to slam Gardai in the middle of a rising crime problem.“The Gardai have a job to do and they are trying to do that with fewer and fewer resources.“All we keep hearing from these politicians is how many parts of Donegal have become no-go areas. “We are sending out the wrong message to the rest of the country. Who would come to Donegal on holiday or invest in the county with all this scaremongering,” he asked.MAYOR MCBREARTY SLAMS POLITICIANS FOR MAKING ‘POLITICAL FOOTBALL’ OUT OF GARDA ISSUE was last modified: October 17th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:crimedonegalGarda manpowerMayor Frank McBreartylast_img read more

Gutted Groves says he proved he belongs at the top level

first_imgGeorge Groves says he proved he is a world-class fighter during his controversial defeat against Carl Froch, who retained his super-middleweight titles after what seemed like a premature stoppage.Groves floored the rugged champion in the first round and dominated most of the fight before an abrupt ending in round nineVideo courtesy of iFL TVSee also:Heartbreak for Groves in world title clashFroch insists ref was right to stop fightPromoter predicts Froch-Groves rematchGroves: I’ll bounce back and be championGroves’ trainer reveals he had reservations about fight refereeFroch claims Groves rejected rematch offerFroch ordered to face Groves in rematchGroves to face Froch in rematch on 31 MayFroch-Groves rematch will be at WembleyGroves vows to avenge ‘stonewall robbery’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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

MLB Winter Meetings: A’s trade for Phillies’ Rule 5 pick in transaction flurry

first_imgThe Oakland A’s are on the hunt for a left-handed hitting middle infielder.They acted quick during Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, passing initially in the draft itself before trading cash considerations to the Philadelphia Phillies for left-handed hitting infielder Vimael Machin. Machin could slide into the 26th active roster spot, should the MLB enact the new rule.The Phillies had selected Machin, 26, from the Chicago Cubs organization with the 15th …last_img

Darwinians Still Justify Genetic Determinism

first_imgOne of the most dangerous philosophies in the history of mankind is still embedded in modern Darwinism.In a recent post, we laughed at two evolutionary just-so stories that extrapolated animal behavior into human behavior. Remember, though, that animal behavior is encoded by their genes, and that’s no laughing matter when genetic determinism is extrapolated to humans. It sucks all the air out of morality, making humans pawns of an amoral, aimless natural process with no accountability.Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics (Science Daily). The authors at Penn State try to qualify their genetic determinism with the word “some” — “some personal beliefs and morals” may stem from genetics. What other source is there? To evolutionists, genetic change by mutation and selection is ultimately all there is.“Most people assume that parenting shapes the development of virtuous character in children via entirely environmental pathways,” Neiderhiser said. “But our results suggest there are also heritable influences. This doesn’t mean that if parents are conscientious that their children also will be regardless of how the children are parented. It does mean, however, that children inherit a tendency to behave in a particular way and that this shouldn’t be ignored.”Who decides what is virtuous in Darwinland? The only standard is survival, isn’t it? That is completely amoral. Genocide qualifies for the fittest group that survives. Later, the determinists again qualify their stance, saying,“Your genes are not totally deterministic of who you are,” Ramos said. “Genes simply give you a potential. People still make their own choices and have agency in shaping who they become.”But once again, Darwinists have no choice or agency in their toolkit. It’s all mutation and selection, resulting in genetic changes. To have choice, you have to have free will and a soul.How did reading and writing evolve? Neuroscience gives a clue (The Conversation). Your clue that Derek Hodgson is a genetic determinist is in the thought that reading and writing “evolved.” No free will in that idea; you just carry out behaviors when you scratch on a stone or type at a keyboard. The self-refuting nature of this assertion is self-evident, because Hodgson’s genes made him say this. It could be argued that language and writing “evolve” by convention, which implies human minds that can freely choose how to represent their thoughts on material substances and in vocal sounds, but that is not what he is talking about.But how was this possible? Neuroscientific research has shown that writing text involves the premotor cortex of the brain, which drives manual skills. My theory therefore suggests that reading and writing evolved when our passive perception for discerning things started to interact with manual dexterity.In other words, you are a passive marionette governed by invisible strings reacting to natural selection. Words in a book are mere marks on a page like scratches on a stone.That said, some researchers believe that early marks were symbolic rather than aesthetic and that writing evolved from encoding information in them. However I argue this now seems increasingly unlikely. Early marks look similar to each other over an immense period of time. If the marks were symbolic, we would expect to see far more variation across space and time, just as we do in modern writing systems. But this is not the case.All this points to the probability that the earliest marks were aesthetic in that they derive from the early visual cortex’s preference for basic configurations. And it could have begun as early as Homo erectus, which lived from about 1.8m to 500,000 years ago.How evolutionary theory guides policy (Nature). This is the scariest of the three articles we are taking a look at. David Sloan Wilson, the New Teacher who wants Evolution for Everyone, is back. He sees all the detailed negotiations in national governments and foreign policy as mere manifestations of Darwinism. And Nature likes his new book about it. Even the title is scary for lovers of liberty and justice for all: This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution. Head for the hills! The Brave New World is upon us.Wilson’s passion for multilevel selectionist thinking, and his relentless optimism, give the book something of a messianic flavour: in places, I detect leaps of faith, for example in the belief that well-functioning groups can solve our problems of collective action. There is no false advertising, however. The very title (albeit cribbed from the end of Charles Darwin’s 1859 On the Origin of Species) portends a personal perspective. The result is utterly fascinating and beautifully written.He addresses deep questions about humanity: how we can avoid physical or mental illnesses, raise children, make groups more effective, create sustainable economies and nurture better planetary stewards.This is a recipe for global socialism, which always brings with it totalitarianism, elitism, and slavery. The elites will try to keep the peasant hens producing eggs for them.Things get more interesting for policy when Wilson turns to what he calls the “problem of goodness”. Literature on the evolution of cooperation — such as the 2011 A Cooperative Species by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis — gives us plausible scientific reasons for goodness triumphing over evil, or selflessness over selfishness. Multilevel selection is important here. Wilson’s favourite example is an experiment showing how to increase caged hens’ egg production. You select not for the most fertile hens in each generation (co-housed, they will peck each other to death), but for the multi-hen cages with the highest productivity (where more positive social interactions predominate).Humans don’t live in cages, but group living is a fundamental adaptation of our species. In a wink of geological time, humanity moved from small pre-Neolithic tribal groups to large nation-states, with transnational religious identities and (albeit weak) global governance institutions. All this reasonably suggests a role for multilevel selection. We know that social groups work effectively when they have clearly delineated membership, are relatively egalitarian and police themselves. Wilson recounts the huge success of a “school within a school” programme with these features for students in Binghamton, New York, who were at risk of dropping out of high school. He also discusses the effectiveness of local “block clubs” in run-down parts of Buffalo, New York, and other often well-controlled studies demonstrating the success of groups that follow these design principles in producing socially preferable outcomes.Isn’t that nice to speak of “design principles” for multilevel selection? Beware fake words. Who defines what is “good”? Who designs “socially preferable outcomes”? The powerful elites who run everything, of course, and teach the peasants that they are products of selection. The elites, meantime, excuse themselves from the same rules of “multilevel selection” that everyone else is enslaved to. They make the selections now. They have reached godhood.Reviewer Monique Borgerhoff Mulder welcomes this study on Darwinian solutions to social issues. She says Wilson’s book should be on everyone’s bedside table. Everyone’s cell table, that is, next to the hole in the floor.People have no idea the horrors they are in for if this kind of thinking goes mainstream. The 20th century was a huge, awful demonstration of “selectionist” thinking imposing itself on national policy. Now that we have instant access across the globe and orbital surveillance, there will be no place to hide. We will be praying for a Rapture. (Visited 416 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mapungubwe: South Africa’s lost city of gold

first_imgOne thousand years ago, Mapungubwe in Limpopo province was the centre of the largest kingdom in the subcontinent, where a highly sophisticated people traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt.The most spectacular of the gold discoveries in Mapungubwe is a little gold rhinoceros, made of gold foil and tacked with minute pins around a wooden core. (Image: South Africa Tourism, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)The Iron Age site, discovered in 1932 but hidden from public attention until only recently, was declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in July 2003.Mapungubwe is an area of open savannah at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers and abutting the northern border of South Africa and the borders of Zimbabwe and Botswana. It thrived as a sophisticated trading centre from around 1220 to 1300.In its statement on the listing, Unesco describes Mapungubwe as the centre of the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century.“What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years,” Unesco said.Mapungubwe was home to an advanced culture of people for the time – the ancestors of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They traded with China and India, had a flourishing agricultural industry, and grew to a population of around 5 000.Mapungubwe is probably the earliest known site in southern Africa where evidence of a class-based society existed (Mapungubwe’s leaders were separated from the rest of the inhabitants).Mapungubwe thrived as a sophisticated trading centre from around 1220 to 1300. (Image: South Africa Tourism, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)Gold, copper, exotic beads …The site was discovered in 1932 and has been excavated by the University of Pretoria ever since. The findings were kept quiet at the time since they provided contrary evidence to the racist ideology of black inferiority underpinning apartheid.Nevertheless, the university now has a rich collection of artefacts made of gold and other materials, as well as human remains, discovered there. According to the University of Pretoria’s Mapungubwe website, “Subsequent excavations revealed a court sheltered in a natural amphitheatre at the bottom of the hill, and an elite graveyard at the top – with a spectacular view of the region.“Twenty-three graves have been excavated from this hilltop site”, the website continues. “The bodies in three of these graves were buried in the upright seated position associated with royalty, with a variety of gold and copper items, exotic glass beads, and other prestigious objects.“These finds provide evidence not only of the early smithing of gold in southern Africa, but of the extensive wealth and social differentiation of the people of Mapungubwe.”The most spectacular of the gold discoveries is a little gold rhinoceros, made of gold foil and tacked with minute pins around a wooden core. The rhino, featured in one of South Africa’s new national orders – the Order of Mapungubwe – has come to symbolise the high culture of Mapungubwe. The rhino is also a symbol of leadership among the Shona people of Zimbabwe.Other artefacts made in similar fashion include the Golden Sceptre and the Golden Bowl, found in the same grave on Mapungubwe Hill.Evidence of complex social formationsWhat is so fascinating about Mapungubwe is that it is testimony to the existence of an African civilisation that flourished before colonisation. According to Professor Thomas Huffman of the archaeology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Mapungubwe represents “the most complex society in southern Africa and is the root of the origins of Zimbabwean culture”.Between 1200 and 1300 AD, the Mapungubwe region was the centre of trade in southern Africa. Wealth came to the region from ivory and later from gold deposits that were found in Zimbabwe. The area was also agriculturally rich because of large-scale flooding in the area. The wealth in the area led to differences between rich and poor.In the village neighbouring Mapungubwe, called K2, an ancient refuse site has provided archaeologists with plenty of information about the lifestyles of the people of Mapungubwe.According to the University of Pretoria website: “People were prosperous, and kept domesticated cattle, sheep, goats and dogs. The charred remains of storage huts have also been found, showing that millet, sorghum and cotton were cultivated.“Findings in the area are typical of the Iron Age. Smiths created objects of iron, copper and gold for practical and decorative purposes – both for local use and for trade. Pottery, wood, ivory, bone, ostrich eggshells, and the shells of snails and freshwater mussels, indicate that many other materials were used and traded with cultures as far away as East Africa, Persia, Egypt, India and China.”Mapungubwe’s fortune only lasted until about 1300, after which time climate changes, resulting in the area becoming colder and drier, led to migrations further north to Great Zimbabwe.Mapungubwe National ParkIn 2004, South African National Parks (SANParks) opened Mapungubwe National Park, incorporating the Unesco-designated Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in an area covering well over 28 000 hectares.The park forms part of an ambitious project to develop a major transfrontier conservation area, the Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Park, which will cross the borders of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, linking Mapungubwe National Park with Botswana’s Tuli Block and Zimbabwe’s Tuli Safari area.Besides the rich cultural heritage of Mapungubwe National Park, most of the continent’s big game roam here. There is also a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life.Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands and unique riverine forest and baobab trees form an astounding scenic backdrop for a rich variety of animal life.Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur naturally in the area, while visitors can spot predators like lions, leopards and hyenas, and birders can tick off 400 species, including kori bustard, tropical boubou and pel’s fishing owl.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more