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.