Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs

Mathematician Ron Eglash gave this TedTalk several years ago. Eglash is the author of African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design (1999), a work that examines the presence and use of fractal geometry in traditional African art, architecture, textiles, and everyday objects.

In less than 20 minutes Eglash demonstrates new ways to identify and analyze complex knowledge systems indigenous to the African continent. Embedded in and integral to the art and design of various African peoples, these systems have been preserved for the discovery of later generations. We need but look, as Eglash so artfully demonstrates. But our worldview has been dominated and colonized by the West with the obvious results being our tendency to see Africa and the rest of the world as beneficiaries rather than initiators and innovators of science and technology.

Eglash’s work reminds us of the opportunities that await those with the insight and fortitude to pursue the study of the history of science and technology in Africa. It reminds us of the work that remains to be done to tell Ourstory … the story that is the shared heritage of all humanity.


Other recent work on African Fractals can be viewed here.


The plight of Yemen’s ‘untouchables’

They’re outcasts in Yemen, living in isolated communities. During the day they are street sweepers; at night they return to their homes in garbage-filled slums. Many of them joined the protests at Change Square, hoping the uprising would bring them a better life. But so far, nothing has changed. We examine the plight of dark-skinned Yemenis who are called “al-akhdam” or “servants”.

Cuba: Island of Music

Filmmaker Gary Keys’ tribute to Afro-Cuban Jazz. – The film is a behind-the-scenes look at Afro-Cuban music’s role in the daily life of Cubans. Filmmaker Gary Keys (Memories of Duke and Dizzy’s Dream Band) brings the audience into the heart and soul of Havana, through a vibrant mosaic of street musicians, big bands, dancers, religious rituals, and classic cars. Keys shows us Afro-Cuban music in New York City, with the music and commentary of jazz legends Billy Taylor, Candido Camero, and Chico OFarrill.

Jan Carew

Jan_Carew_(24 September 1920 – 5 December 2012)

For his wiki entry click here …This feature page on Chickenbones, written by his dear friend and countryman Eusi Kwayana, contains detailed information on his life, career, and literary oeuvre.

Travel in peace, Baba Jan, on your journey to the village of the ancestors …