The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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28th February 2004

The owners of the above Ranch just outside Chiredzi in the Lowveld of
Zimbabwe were barricaded into their home on Saturday at 5.30 AM in the
morning. A large crowd of people had collected at their gate armed with
pangas, choppers, and hoe handles. They barricaded the entrance off with
logs and then proceeded to intimidate the owners and staff.

Attempts by the owners and friends in Chiredzi to get the police there
quickly only drew a response some 2 hours later. When the police left
Chiredzi for Maranatha Ranch a message had proceeded them and the violent
crowd hid their weapons, and suddenly became passive. The police did fine
one person found with a weapon $25,000, but no other arrests were made for
what was plainly a case of PUBLIC VIOLENCE and they the police, were seen a
little later driving around the property with the vehicle full of part of
the violent crowd. This crowd of thugs had been collected and brought there
by an A2 settler B. Mavhuhdure (ex soldier from the DRC) who had claimed
land on the property.

The owners are confused, as they had also received the good news from
Minister Nkomo and the Chiredzi police that there would not be any more
JAMBANJAS. (Public Violence in our language.) The owners will proceed and
try to get the A2 B. Mavhuhdure and others charged with public violence,
their first attempt on Monday morning failed.




JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
    (011) 205 374
       (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
       (091) 317 264
    (011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 3, 2004

Message to the Congress of the United States


Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication. It states that the national emergency blocking the property of persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe is to continue in effect beyond March 6, 2004.

The crisis caused by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved. These actions and policies pose a continuing, unusual, and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, blocking the property of persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat.

March 2, 2004.

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The Star

      Mugabe's man fabricates lies to refute facts
      March 4, 2004

      By Basildon Peta

      So there goes Simon Khaya Moyo, the Zimbabwean ambassador to South
Africa. The man from a regime that has closed newspapers and bombed their
offices, expelled all foreign journalists, arrested many local scribes and
introduced draconian media laws, among many other transgressions.

      Yet the man stands up to unashamedly pontificate about the need to
"learn to live by the truth" in "Peta confuses corruption fight with rights
violations" (The Star Letters, February 25). How interesting.

      I do not normally respond to the diatribes against me from Zimbabwean
government mandarins. But silence can at times be misconstrued.

      Moyo tries to besmirch me by refuting a story that is 100% correct and
by concocting a story that I was expelled from the "Union of Zimbabwe
Journalists (sic) because of conduct unbecoming of a journalist". Hardly the
kind of stuff to expect from a regime that "lives by the truth".

      Moyo argues that a new apartheid-style amendment law empowering the
police to detain without trial for 21 days is motivated by an "urgent duty
to confront the scourge of corruption". Congratulations, Moyo for your
regime's new realisation of the "urgent need" to fight corruption. Never
mind that it's 24 years late.

      But Moyo falsely claims that this detention can be sanctioned only by
the courts. He says: "This amendment gives powers to the courts to extend
the period of detention for certain offences by up to 21 days, to facilitate
further investigations. Contrary to what Peta says, only the courts have
this power and not the police ..."

      What planet are you living on, Moyo? Where did Mugabe pick you from?

      Let's consider what Supreme Court Judge Vernanda Ziyambi said of this
law, a day after your letter, in the case involving businessman James
Makamba: "The judge or magistrate before whom the accused person appears in
terms of the amendment law is deprived of his discretion whether or not to
grant bail and merely acts as a rubber stamp to give a semblance of legality
to the detention ... This strikes me as being patently unconstitutional."

      Even before Judge Ziyambi's opinion, various groups had condemned this
law specifically because it deprives the courts of their right to decide on
bail once it is invoked by the state.

      This is articulated even in the regime's own Herald newspaper (see The
Herald of February 27 at

      The fact that Moyo does not even bother to understand the laws he
should defend speaks volumes about him. It could be ignorance or stupidity,
or both.

      It could be Mugabe's favouring of drooling sycophants and hoodlums for
appointments. Moyo knelt on airport tarmacs to greet Mugabe and his wife. No
wonder Zimbabwe is where it is today.

      Moyo calls my description of Makamba as a foe of Mugabe a "shameless
fabrication". But he knows that Makamba won primary elections to contest the
Harare executive mayorship on a Zanu-PF ticket and that Mugabe cancelled
this nomination to impose a crony, Solomon Tawengwa.

      I am unaware of the Union of Zimbabwe Journalists that Moyo says I was
expelled from. He maybe referring to the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ), of which I was secretary-general. I automatically relinquished the
position and membership the day I was hounded into exile by Moyo's regime.
But that didn't stop Moyo and some goons in the ZUJ from fabricating
statements against me even though I was at no stage ever charged with any

      The ZUJ is dominated by regime journalists because of the state's
broadcasting monopoly. How they resisted my efforts to get the union to do
more in fighting private media repression is a matter of public record in
Zimbabwe. Hence frustrated private media colleagues left the ZUJ in protest
to form the splinter Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe.

      I was of course happy to learn from Moyo about my "expulsion" from an
organisation to which I had long ceased to be a member. It should be no
wonder that, since I left, not a single statement from the ZUJ criticising
Mugabe's siege of the private media has been read in South Africa.

      To me, the best example of expulsion remains the decision of voters in
the Bulilamangwe constituency to dump Moyo from parliament in favour of a
worthy candidate in the 2000 elections. That should have been the end, were
it not for his bended knees.

      South Africans have a choice to get Zimbabwean news from their diverse
media or from Moyo directly in Pretoria. It is their choice.

      .. Basildon Peta is the Africa correspondent of The Independent,
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A Touch of Zimbabwe In The United Kingdom
Sandra Nyaira
Luton - 20 Feb 04

The city of Luton is earning a reputation as the Harare of the United
Kingdom. Located between London and Birmingham, Luton is home to an
increasing number of Zimbabweans. Not only can you hear Shona being spoken
on the streets of the city, but a number of stores sell products more
commonly seen in Zimbabwe, such as maize meal, traditional vegetables,
peanuts and madora. Some shopkeepers are even marking price tags of goods'
Shona and even Ndebele.
A Zimbabwean born lawyer, Oswald Ndanga, has lived in Luton for more than a
decade. He says the number of Zimbabweans moving into the city is
increasing. "You find Zimbabweans all over, " he says. "I don't know what
the number is but it's very large." He adds that there are a large number of
Zimbabweans in Luton who came "to seek asylum, or to run away from
persecution and harassment by their government in Zimbabwe."

Mr.Ndanga figures that the city, with a workforce of 185 thousand, is
appealing to Zimbabweans because of its factory jobs and positions with
manufacturing companies. He acts as legal representative to many
Zimbabweans, some of who are in the country illegally. Mr.Ndanga says
several clients have told him they would like to return home eventually.

But 33-year old Eunice Harahwa, who has lived in Luton for three years, says
she has no plans to leave. "We have got everything we need. We have got a
place where we go for braais, eat our traditional foods, sadza, we eat guru
and everything here." As enterprising Zimbabweans provide her with the goods
she wants, she says she has no plans to leave.

Forty year old businesswoman Tanaka Pfebve is well known among Zimbabweans
in the city. Her popular Kumusha restaurant serves traditional dishes on the
same level as the popular Mereki and Zindoga in Zimbabwe. "The fact that
there are so many Zimbabweans living here brings us good business," says Ms.
Pfebve, adding "it's good to be in Luton because it is improving my

She admits, however, that life in Luton is not all rosy for Zimbabweans. She
says many of the Zimbabweans she knows share a room with as many as 10
people. Mr.Pfebve says they live as inexpensively as possible, in order to
save money to send home to their families.

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Institute Launched to Influence Political Change in Zimbabwe
Bernard Mandividza
Johannesburg - 26 Feb 04

A think tank, dedicated to influencing political change in Zimbabwe was
launched Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Zimbabwe Institute says
it plans to forge a new political culture in the country, once there is a
change of government.
Prominent academic Brian Raftopolous launched the Z-I at a press conference
in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank. He says the institute comprises
Zimbabwean academics and researchers who are advancing an agenda of "social

Professor Raftopolous says Z-I is an autonomous organization, independent of
government and political parties. However, MDC officials were present at the
announcement of the institute's launch and journalists asked him about this.
He said the creation of the institute is partly due to talks within the
opposition party.

"The discussion on such a research body came out of discussions within the
MDC. They felt a need to have greater policy debates, Professor Raftopolous
said. "But we were very clear that the establishment of such a body could
not be the hand maiden of the MDC. It has to be a body that, while linking
with the MDC, is also able to be critical of issues in the MDC itself and

Some reporters wanted to know why the Z-I will be based in Johannesburg,
when it is primarily a Zimbabwean organization. He said the political
environment in Zimbabwe make it difficult to operate in the country this

He said "the problems of Zimbabwe can be discussed anywhere and the work of
the Institute will be to carry out work in Zimbabwe itself, carry out
research work in Zimbabwe, to begin to generate policy debates within
Zimbabwe itself."

The MDC secretary for economic affairs, Tendai Biti, was visibly incensed
when asked why the opposition party is initiating think tanks in South
Africa in stead of mobilizing individuals in Zimbabwe. Mr Biti said it is
simplistic to assume say the party must only examine the process of
achieving change.

"The critical issue is that it's not just change for change's sake but
change for a better Zimbabwe and if you are going to achieve that you must
engage in intellectual discourse," he said.

Mr Biti said that once it come to power, the MDC will implement policies
formulated by the Z-I.

The Z-I has an initial budget of up to 300-thousand US Dollars. Professor
Raftopolous refused to name the donors.

MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda, party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi,
presidential aide William Bango and shadow economic affairs minister Tapuwa
Mashakada were among the MDC officials present at the launching of the
Zimbabwe Institute.
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WOZA means 'Come forward'.  By women for women and with women, across race,
colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be
courageous, caring, committed and in communication with their communities.
Women in Zimbabwe are not celebrating, they are crying because they are
being stripped of their rights. Join us at 9 am for a thirty-minute
inter-denominational service, followed by a peaceful procession at:

Harare Central Baptist Church 2nd St/ Fife Ave
Bulawayo: St Marys Catholic Cathedral, Lobengula St  /9th Ave
London: Solidarity protest at Zimbabwe House in London, at 5.30pm.
Zimbabwe House, 429 The Strand, WC1 (Nearest tube: Charing Cross)
email for more info:



What we expect of participants:
¨ Attend the walk in solidarity from 9 to 11am on Monday.
¨ Or gather friends together at your home to hold a prayer meeting for
Zimbabwean women.
¨ Those attending street processions should show their love by bringing
flowers to hand out as they walk. Come dressed in white for peace.
¨ If you cannot join us, demonstrate at your closest shopping centre.

We, the mothers of the nation, would like Zimbabweans to realise that the
Constitution is supposed to be the mother of all laws. Zimbabweans no longer
respect this mother and have neglected her badly before and after
Independence. We believe that this is the reason this mother is now giving
birth to abnormal children. Public Order & Security Act, POSA and Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA are two of her notorious
children. POSA is mad and out of control and AIPPA makes us dummies. It is
from a woman's body that life begins and this is also true of the
Constitution. We appeal to Zimbabweans to respect and dignify the
constitution as they would any mother. This mother of ours was only half
dressed in Lancaster and her clothes are now tattered and torn leaving her
naked and open to abuse by evil men. We, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
are saying that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is being gang raped and forced
to produce the most notorious kinds of children. As mothers, we are calling
for the nation to respect us and dignify us with a new Constitution. Only
then can good and clean laws be birthed and nurtured for growth. DIGNIFY US


Together with other African leaders, Robert Mugabe signed the "PROTOCOL TO
AFRICA" on 16 November 2001, to make sure that ALL rights of ALL women are

By signing this Protocol, Robert Mugabe promised to [among other things]:
¨ End discrimination against Women
¨ Respect Women's dignity
¨ Protect Women's right to life and security

Mugabe pledged that to do this he would:
¨ Prevent and prohibit violence against women in public and private spheres
¨ Promote peace education to break the culture of violence against women
¨ Punish perpetrators of violence against women
¨ Focus on the rehabilitation of women victims of violence.

For women to be fully dignified they must have equality, freedom, peace,
justice, solidarity and democracy.  They must not be exploited or degraded.


From more info on WOZA, write: Box FM701, Famona, Bulawayo Telephone (+263)
11-213-885 / 91 300 456 / 23 514 895 Telefax 9-63978 Email:

For progress reports on the day, please call
Crisis Coalition (+263) 4-442988 Harare or mobile (+263)91 288 605 email:
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (+263) 4-706981 email: []
From the Shona and Ndebele translation of this email and full ratified
Protocol To The African Charter On Human And Peoples' Rights On The Rights
Of Women In Africa" pls email
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1: Subject: Lost Friends

We live in Dallas, Texas and would like to thank JAG for the great work
that you are doing over there.  You are all in our hopes and prayers.

We have had such success with finding lost friends that we are hoping that
we can find some others.  We just heard terrible news that our friends Piet
and Myrna Conradie lost their daughter recently.  If anyone knows how we
can get hold of them we would greatly appreciate it.  They were farming in
Mutepatepa.  Also Donny and Anne Huxham also of Mteps...

Basil and Grace Bates


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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The Herald

Troubled banks face closure

By Brian Benza
SOME commercial banks facing liquidity crunch may be forced to close
operations or merge with other players when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) withdraws the Troubled Banks Fund at the end of this month.

Inside sources at the central bank revealed that some of the financial
institutions, which received a lifeline under the fund, have close to zero
chances of returning the money as they are still reeling under liquidity
stress despite having received the necessary support.

They said the financial landscape was headed for change, as some players
were likely to close shop while others would mull new survival strategies.

"The other turning point are the new capitalisation requirements and the
attendant boardroom restructuring and re-organisation as demanded by the
central bank.

"It is very likely that some will not meet the requirements,'' said an
official within the banking sector.

The Reserve Bank has directed all commercial banks to be capitalised to the
tune of $10 billion by June 2004 from the current capitalisation level of
$500 million.

Of the banks that received liquidity support from the RBZ, only Barbican is
reported to have been able to reimburse the funds on time while the other
banks are said to be struggling to repay the funds.

"We have paid back the loan we got from the central bank on February 19 2004
plus the interest of 300 percent through the tremendous support we were
given by our shareholders and clients.

"The loan has been repaid fully and we have now redirected our efforts to
meeting the new capitalisation target for commercial banks set by the
central bank," said Barbican Holdings chief executive Dr Mthuli Ncube.

"We are now in the process of working out ways to recapitalise the bank and
we are going to seek support from the existing shareholders and there is a
chance that we might also increase our share capital and bring in new
shareholders" added Dr Ncube.

Century Bank public relations manager Miss Farayi Mangwende declined to
comment on whether her bank has paid any part of the funds they received
under the fund referring all questions to the RBZ.

Trust bank, which received the lion's share of the fund, confirmed that they
received over $120 billion and they were likely to repay the money within
the next two months.

Efforts to get comment from officials from other banks proved fruitless

Although the governor's new measure of ensuring that commercial banks are
adequately capitalised is noble, sources said chances were that some banks
would fail to meet the new requirements resulting in mergers, takeovers or

Once a bank collapses in such a highly sensitive sector, the ripple effect
might be devastating as more institutions could be caught up in the web.

If any bank collapses, it will be what RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono termed
short-term pain in his monetary policy statement. He said, however, 2004
will be a year characterised by re-organisations and failures as competitive
forces, tighter monetary policy and regulation and increased capital
requirements take toll.

Talks of mergers and takeovers have been extensive with some commercial
banks expected to join arms with other financial services firms for the
purposes of diversification.

Some banks have placed their minimum lending rates at unreasonably high
levels compared to their counterparts so as to discourage any potential
borrowers because of their illiquid status.

Of the $198 billion disbursed by the RBZ to troubled banks, Trust received
the highest share of $140 billion, Metropolitan got $23 billion, Century
($30 billion) and Barbican ($6 billion).
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Six forced confessions thrown out

AP in Harare
Thursday March 4, 2004
The Guardian

A Zimbabwean court has rejected the alleged confessions of six opposition
activists accused of killing an official of the government party, Zanu-PF,
28 months ago.
Judge Sandra Mungwira said the police had assaulted the six and their
relatives, deprived them of sleep and food, threatened them with guns, and
denied them medical attention and access to lawyers.

The men's lawyers said they would ask the state to withdraw the charges and
free the men, who include a Movement for Democratic Change MP, Fletcher
Dulini Ncube.

State prosecutors said they reserved the right to call further witnesses.

The six were arrested for killing Cain Nkala in November 2001 near Bulawayo.
Nkala was strangled after being accused of kidnapping and killing an
opposition election agent.

Police submitted a video purporting to show the accused leading them to a
shallow grave where Nkala's body was buried.

The judge said the officer who filmed the scene arrived late, admitted that
his recording was incomplete and testified that he forgot to switch on the
time and duration indicator.

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Summary.  “The Phantom Voyagers”.

by Robert Dick-Read


    From all that has gone before we can build a historical scenario that must have been something along these lines:

    When the ‘Lapita’ people set off on their first tentative voyages of discovery in the Pacific about three and a half thousand years ago, some of them also sailed west, carrying their Austronesian language through the populated islands of the Indonesian archipelago, and across the open ocean to Sri Lanka and Southern India.   Though their language was later replaced by that of Dravidian people who migrated overland into the peninsular, these ‘Polynesian’ mariners maintained their dominance on the coasts of both India and Sri Lanka  where their ancient boat designs can still be seen.   

     From the early days of the Roman Empire substantial trade developed between the Mediterranean, India and the Far East.     Particularly valued in Rome were items such as Chinese silks, Indian muslins, and oriental spices of many sorts.   Fleets of Greek and Roman ships conveyed these goods from Indian ports to the Mediterranean; but as, at that time, neither the Indians nor the Chinese had ocean-going vessels of their own, transport between China and India was dependant upon Indonesian vessels – the famous kun-lun-po as the Chinese called them, known to Greeks as kolandiaphonta.

     One or two popular spices then obtainable only in the islands of Indonesia – notably cinnamon and some types of cassia – did not pass through India, but seem to have been shipped direct from the Indonesian islands to ports on the Horn of Africa, from where they were carried on up the Red Sea by Arabs.    The only mariners then capable of this trans-Indian Ocean traffic were Indonesians; and it was probably as a direct result of this trade that many of them began to settle on the African coast before people speaking the Bantu languages had migrated across Africa in any strength, and long before Arabs put down permanent roots.

     Did women travel along with these Indonesian sailors?     One suspects that they did not, and that from the earliest days, maybe from the second or third century BC, there developed a mixed population of Cushites and San, some already mixed-blood Hottentots, and eventually early Bantu–speaking migrants.     It was these who formed the basis of an ‘Afronesian’ population which spread rapidly – by sea, and overland - down the coast almost as far as Durban, with a material culture that was essentially ‘African’, but which is almost universally, and probably mistakenly, regarded as having been ‘Bantu’.  (How archaeologists feel they can tell from shards of pottery what language the people spoke is a mystery!)     In actuality, for hundreds of years the lingua-franca of the coast is more likely to have been built around an Austronesian framework, for it was from amongst these ‘Afronesians’ that the first, Austronesian speaking, inhabitants of Madagascar came.      But we are leaping ahead.

     Back home in Southeast Asia, still in Roman times, with the Cambodian state, Funan, in full flower as the intermediary between the Mediterranean and China, a growing demand for African goods – ivory, ebony, skins, ambergris, incense, and minerals – added impetus to the Indonesia/African ‘cinnamon’ connection.  When the axis shifted from Funan to Kan-to-li, and eventually to the tremendously powerful state of Srivijaya based on Palembang in Sumatra, interest in Africa grew even greater.

     In the early centuries of the 1st millennium Srivijayans discovered gold in Sumatra’s western mountains, possibly with the help of southern Indians whose mines were nearly worked out by the 5th century.    Subsequently gold became of fundamental importance to the Srivijayan political system, fully justifying the name by which Sumatra  was known, Suvarnadvipa, the ‘Island of Gold’.   Thus, when their prospectors found gold  in Central Africa, a new era of trading activity was immediately opened up.   What is now Zimbabwe became the centre of focus for Indonesian activities.     With destinations at Sayuna (on the Zambezi), Chibuene (in Moçambique), and other ports in the Ard as-Sufalah … as chronicled by El-Edrisi, “the people of the Zabaj islands travel[led] to the Zanj … and engage[d] in trafficking in their goods because they understand each others language”.           

    Who were the Indonesians who came to Africa?     A cursory study of the vast number of ‘sea-nomad’ tribes who, for thousands of years, have roamed the Indonesian islands, reduces the number most likely to have undertaken responsible long-distance trading, to a small handful.    Most prominent among these are the Bajau or Bajo, who had settlements from one end of the Indonesian archipelago to the other; and the Bugi, who are still the most prominent among Indonesian merchant seamen.   It is more likely to have been people such as these to whom the rulers of Srivijaya would have looked for their ‘navies’ than people of the smaller, piratical, less reliable sukus off the Sumatran and Bornean coasts.   From Indonesia there is linguistic evidence to support the Bajo/Bugi contention.     And from the African side, they offer a tentative solution to two ‘mysteries’ – the origins of the ‘Bajun’ people in the islands between Lamu and Kisimayu; and the otherwise inexplicable reason why the Swahili call Madagascar and its people ‘Buki’ or ‘Bukini’.      Indeed a major suku related to the Buginese, the ‘Makassar’, or ‘Mankassar’, may have a better claim to providing the origin of the name ‘Madagascar’ than Marco Polo’s suggestion that it was from the arid coastal town of ‘Mogadishu’ that his huge ‘green and fertile’ island took its name.

     Sailing from Indonesia via the Maldives to East Africa presents no problems.    There is a theory that with winds and currents in their favour, Indonesians used to sail direct to Madagascar from Sumatra or Java.    But had they done so they would have found and settled the Seychelles, Amirantes, and other islands on the Mascarene ridge.   That these fertile and well watered islands remained unoccupied until modern times amounts to a near-certainty that the route they took was to the Horn, and from their, down the coast. 

    With the Agulhas Current driving down the Natal coast to the Cape, and the Benguela current flowing northward once round it, there is no reason why adventurous seamen should not have gone on to explore the West African coast; and there are plenty of reasons to suspect that that is precisely what they did.    These reasons can be listed as follows:

·                          It is likely that the common West African plantain, Musa AAB, that is a staple food from the Congo to the Gambia, together with cultivated yams, and cocoyams, were all introduced to Africa from their original Southeast Asian homeland directly on the west coast, conditions being largely unsuitable in East and Central Africa.   

·                          The entomologist, Dr Laurence, has remained unchallenged in his belief that elephantiasis – a disease of the swampy Southeast Asian coast that has been portrayed in Nok and Ife sculptures – must have been introduced directly into West Africa, and that it could not have spread overland from the East coast.   

·                          The intricate, quasi-religious Ifa divination of the Yoruba has fundamental  similarities with the Bwe divination of Micronesians that go beyond the possibility of ‘coincidence’ or ‘independent invention’.    The basis of both, and other Central African and Malagasy systems, have a mathematical basis that is oriental, not Arabic, and to say, as many do, that Ifa was introduced by Arabs from the north is an over-simplification.    There is no record of Arabs  penetrating Yorubaland until the fifteenth or sixteenth century, by which time Europeans were present on the coast.     But Arabs did introduce a simplified version based on their al-raml sand divination, called atimi in Yorubaland, at a later date than Ifa.

·                          Many West African ‘box’ xylophones, strikingly similar in tuning, and other ways, to those of Southeast Asia, differ from Central African xylophones in ways that suggest an independent introduction.      Other musical instruments, and their tuning, share the same features as those of Southeast Asia.

·                          Professor Hutton’s evidence on many headhunting and cannibalism traits common to both regions, but not elsewhere, cannot easily be dismissed.

·                          The introduction of maize to Yorubaland (evidenced in impressed corn-cob designs in paved floors at Old Oyo) several centuries before Europeans ‘discovered’ the region can best be explained as having come from South America via Southeast Asia.

·                          At 9th century Igbo Ukwu …  Prospecting for tin and copper; mining and smelting them in correct proportions for true bronze; preparing cire-perdue moulds; casting objects of extraordinary fineness; ‘inventing’ repousse techniques; creating sophisticated designs such as the Igbo bells that are a-typical of the region, must have involved an introduction of technology from outside that may have come with the thousands of foreign glass and carnelian beads that were buried with them.     Reasons were given at length in the text why it is unlikely that theses came across the deserts or over the Sudan from the north, and why it is far more likely that they came to the Niger Delta from the sea … i.e. from Southeast Asia.

·                          Some stylistic similarities were pointed out between some of the bronzes and terracottas of the ‘high art’ of Ife, and Southeast Asian bronzes of approximately the same period which, taken as a corpus with other evidence, cannot be overlooked.

     Obviously there is an element of speculation in all this.   How we might wish that some chronicler had been at hand to write down all the details at the time!     But winkling out the traces that the phantom voyagers left in their wake, clearly some scenario such as I have sketched must have unfolded over the centuries between Roman times and the voyages of Diego Cao and de Gama.


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