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THE LOST KINGDOM – THE RISE AND FALL OF THE IKALANGA MONARCHY (PART 3)

Jeff Ramsay
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA

In our previous instalment we noted that traditional Chishona and Ikalanga accounts support the view that the abandonment of the Great Zimbabwe settlement was accompanied by the founding to the north-east of the Mutapa state, known to the   Portuguese who settled along the Mozambique coast thereafter as the "Monomotapa".

At about the same time a number of Ikalanga traditions further trace the formation of the Butwa or Bakalanga Kingdom to the south-west migration of people from Mutapa during a period of strife fuelled by the Portuguese sponsored expansion of ivory, gold and slave trading into   eastern Zimbabwe.

Amidst this turmoil a legendary leader remembered as Madabhale emerged to lead the Bakalanga to peace and prosperity

“(Translation) It happened the Munamutapa kingdom was torn by internal fighting, civil warfare that destroyed the Bakalanga. It was then that Madabhale broke away with a very big following and went down to the west of the country, into [modern] Matabeleland. He went there to build a kingdom, having left with a very large following. It was a big kingdom and he had his councillors such as Nimale, Hungwe, Zwikono, Vunamakuni, Nkami, Nigwande, Ninhembwe and many others of the tribe.

After his arrival Madabhale found that that country belonged to the Bakwa [Khoe/Basarwa], and so he came and conquered them. Then we ruled and sounded his war horns. That is where the name Chibundule came from [-bundula = roaring of a bull, war trumpet].”

Thereafter the name Chibundule was associated with the rulers of the first Bakalanga Kingdom, which is referred to in Portuguese records as the Torwa or Tolwa state.

While the above construction is compelling in both the detail of the Ikalanga sources and their consistency with other local and Portuguese accounts, it diverges from alternative interpretations arising from archaeological evidence. Whereas the debilitating influence of Portuguese expansion on Mwenemutapa is well documented from the late 16th century, archaeology dates prominent Chibundule associated sites, including the royal ruins at Khami, to least a century earlier, which is the period that also neatly coincides with the abandonment of Great Zimbabwe.

The conclusion on the part of some archaeologists of a material link between the Bakalanga and the 11th century Mapungubwe civilisation calls into further question the notion that Bakalanga state building began with a breakaway from Mwenemutapa.  Available evidence rather suggests that although Madabhale is the earliest known Mambo or King of Bukalanga, his lineage may very well have been preceded by any number of other now forgotten dynasties.

The post-16th century legacy of the Chibundule dynasty is at least clearer, being associated with the contemporary Balilima or Bahumbe section of the Bakalanga, which incorporates such modern Botswana based branches as Mosojane, Madandume, Nshakashongwe and Majambubi.

Returning to the dynastic traditions, by the end of Madabhale's reign the boundaries of Chibundule royal authority are described as having extended from western Zimbabwe into the Kgalagadi as far west as Makgadikgadi.

To the south the Kingdom is said to have extended as far as Palapye, at its height including much of the Limpopo valley and Venda country. Its northern boundary was the Zambezi. From an Ikalanga account recorded by Masola Kumile as transcribed by P.J. Wentzel:

“Obusa Bakalanga naBakwa, wakabusa xango sawoku: Wakabe ebvila kuDzimbabwe kanoti kumunya [“at the salt”= Makgadikgadi]; kunta yobuVenda eme ngeHuri [Limpopo]; kunta yoBurwa eme ngePalapye; kunta yoBunanzwa eme ngeZambezi. Kabusa yose odan’wa Chibundule.”

It may be further noted that the monumental stonewalled architecture found at the royal ruins at Khami, which are located just to the west of Bulawayo, differs significantly from those at Great Zimbabwe. The walls are elaborately decorated with “check” and “herring bone” patterns.

Well-built houses, presumably belonging to members of social elite, were constructed on the top of stone platforms consisting of layers of retaining walls with rubble fill. The remains of fourteen such platforms can be found at Khami itself, while similar constructions exist throughout north-eastern Botswana as well as western Zimbabwe. Though less massive than Great Zimbabwe, to this author’s own subjective eye the aesthetics of the Khami style ruins are more elegant.

Excavations at Khami and other Chibundule era sites further confirm that from 16th century the Bakalanga and their neighbours continued to be connected to extensive international trading networks. Ceramics and glass objects of Dutch, German and Portuguese, as well as Asian including Chinese origin have been unearthed, along with fragments of both imported and locally manufactured cotton cloth, indigenous pottery and objects made of gold, iron and copper. Also common are glass beads, which as we have previously noted for many centuries served as a regional currency.

Traditional manufacturing is reflected in the following text, also recorded by Kumile:

(Translation): “They knew the iron which is in the earth and families collected copper ore, which was taken to the enclosures for extracting and smelting. There the following things were cast: hoes, spears, axes, knives, earrings, bracelets, blades, long needles, hoop irons, pairs of pliers to hold other iron and adzes for carpentry…”

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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