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Forum LockedIndonesian influence in Africa

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Indonesian influence in Africa
    Posted: 23-May-2009 at 13:32
There is a "forgotten" story of colonization and influences in Africa that most people is not aware of: the influence of Indonesian-Malay sailors in Africa in a period that goes from circa 1 A.D. to the 15th century. First, everybody knows Indonesians sailors were the best of South East Asia, and covered the trade routes to India and Arabia. Less well known is the fact they reached from India straight into Madagascar, and had there a permanent route.
 
Indonesians made a colony in Madagascar, where still today Malgache is spoken, which is an austronesian language, part of a family that includes South East Asian and Polinesian languages. Malgache people mixed Indonesian African and many still today display the physical features of theirs ancestors.
 
Miss Malgache
 
Well, from Madagascar the Malgaches probably influenced South East Africa. However, nobody knows how much was the extend of that influence. Bananas and other products probably were brought by Indonesians to Africa.
 
There is a more fascinating family of material things that probably arrived from Indonesian as well: musical instruments. From a long time ago, musicians have suspected a relation between the Indonesian and the African, particularly in the case of the Xylophone. In the following picture, there are Indonesian instruments, all of which have an exact match in Africans.
 
 
There are many theories that attribute many things to Indonesians, perhaps to much. You can find them in places like the following, and are known as the "Indonesian Jones" theory.
 
 
And in this site. I have the book and I find good, but I can't  tell how much is true or false.
 
 
 
He claims that even Great Zimbabwe architecture shows Indonesian influence.
 
 
(Ancient Javanese ship)
 
A replica that reached Cape Town from Indonesia. The Borobudur expedition.
 
 
Information in Spanish:
 
 
But how much is true or false? Nobody knows as yet. What is true, though, is that there was early contact between subsaharan Africans and Indonesians long before Arabs and Europeans moved south.
 
Finally, in Jared Diammon series, "Guns, Germs and Steel",  an archeo
logist found an Indonesia collar found in the ruins of a town right in the middle of Africa. The collar was presented by archaeologist Alex Schoeman, of the university of witwatersrand
the place were was found sounded to me like "Makun-guwe".
 
The chapter of the series where the collars is shown is here:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 23-May-2009 at 14:55
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 14:55
Originally posted by pinguin

 
Finally, in Jared Diammon series, "Guns, Germs and Steel",  an archeologist found an Indonesia collar found in the ruins of a town right in the middle of Africa. The collar was presented by archaeologist Alex Schoeman, of the university of witwatersrand
the place were was found sounded to me like "Makun-guwe".
 
It is  Mapungubwe:
 
 
Places like Mapungubwe was parts of extensive networks of trade that went from the coast deep inland. Wares from the countries along the Indian Ocean is now and then found on sites like Mapungubwe.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 15:20

From the geographical point of view Indonesia seems one of the very best places on earth to develop great maritime civilisation, since it is a chain of fertile and hospitable isles with extremely long coastline, and probably few people living far away from nearest shores.

One of the factors preventing southeastasia  from being the permanent leader in navigation, ahead of western Europe may have been devastating tsunamis. If any area of the world should be expected to colonise the rest over the oceans before western europeans it should have been that part of the world!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 15:29
Actually, they were one of the greatests maritine civilization of all times. The cousins of Indonesians are the Polinesians, who also speak an Austronesian language. And they conquered the Pacific alone.
 
 
Austronesian sailors, from Taiwan to Indonesia, and from there to Madagascar and Easter Island, where the greatest sailors before the Age of Discovery.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 19:59
Originally posted by pinguin

 
And in this site. I have the book and I find good, but I can't  tell how much is true or false.
 
He claims that even Great Zimbabwe architecture shows Indonesian influence. 
 
There has been many, many claims about foreigners influencing or building Great Zimbabwe. People have claimed Fenician, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic, Portugese influence or origin. One book that I read proposed that South indian merchants should have built it and so on. It seems that some people find it hard to accept that local Africans built Great Zimbabwe and similar structures. Also they find it hard to accept that the architecture of Great Zimbabwe and the other similar centras are deeply rooted in traditional African architecture and building traditions.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 22:35

Great Zimbabwe have a curious similarity with Indonesians temples. Nobody says it was build by Indonesians, but why couldn't they have seen a model? In any case, we are talking here about Indionesians, a people that lived in Madagascar and that traded with West South Africans, not people from the Mediterranean like Phoenicians, Hebrews or Romans! The glass stones found in Mapungubwe and elsewhere, shows we aren't talking of fantasy now, but a serious hypotesis.



Edited by pinguin - 23-May-2009 at 22:37
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 22:58
Originally posted by pinguin

Great Zimbabwe have a curious similarity with Indonesians temples. Nobody says it was build by Indonesians, but why couldn't they have seen a model? In any case, we are talking here about Indionesians, a people that lived in Madagascar and that traded with West South Africans, not people from the Mediterranean like Phoenicians, Hebrews or Romans! The glass stones found in Mapungubwe and elsewhere, shows we aren't talking of fantasy now, but a serious hypotesis.
 
Close analyzes show that Great Zimbabwe (and the other similar structures) has its roots in traditional African building practise. The main difference was that many of the precursors were smaller and not always made of stone.
Superficial likenesses between buildings in different parts of the world can always be found. The author of the book about Indian merchants also thought that he saw similarities with Indian architechture.
And trade goods from all around the Indian ocean is abound along the East coast of Africa and far inland. There were extensive networks of trade between different groups at that time. One can even find goods from as far as China both on the coast and further inland.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 23:06

Show evidences, please, of the African origin of Zimbabwe architecture. I believe you are trying to discard a valid hyphotesis without seeing the evidence. Traders were just across the ocean, in Madagascar. Not in Eurasia.

Influences entered Africa from the north. The cows and goats are a proof of it, and without those the Bantu expansion probably wouldn't had happened. It wouldn't be extraordinary that influences also entered from the East as well, given the arrival of bananas, and also the presence of musical instruments almost identical to the Indonesians. (In the Americas, by constrast, musical instruments are absolutelly different from the rest of the world. That's is what I would expect from Africa if it was isolated)


Edited by pinguin - 23-May-2009 at 23:11
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 23:45
Originally posted by pinguin

Show evidences, please, of the African origin of Zimbabwe architecture. I believe you are trying to discard a valid hyphotesis without seeing the evidence. Traders were just across the ocean, in Madagascar. Not in Eurasia.
Influences entered Africa from the north. The cows and goats are a proof of it, and without those the Bantu expansion probably wouldn't had happened. It wouldn't be extraordinary that influences also entered from the East as well, given the arrival of bananas, and also the presence of musical instruments almost identical to the Indonesians. (In the Americas, by constrast, musical instruments are absolutelly different from the rest of the world. That's is what I would expect from Africa if it was isolated)
 
Just read the books, excavation reports and similar from archeologists like Peter Garlake and others who have made excavations and surveys in those structures and analyzed them. There is rather many studies made on this subject. One must also remember that, eventhough it is the biggest, Great Zimbabwe is far from the only center built in stone in this part of Africa. There is actually around 300 similar but smaller structures. And according to archaeologists working in these areas they are based on local building traditions.
 
And as I wrote those peoples were parts of trading networks that stretches from the coast to the inland, and goods from different parts of the Indian Ocean ended up in these parts of Africa.
And many people came to the east coast of Africa for trade: Arabians, Indians, Indonesians and even the Chinese.
 
A contributing factor to the Bantu migration was the drying up of the Sahara that made many peoples starting to move in different directions. One of these migrations was the Bantu migration.
 
Researchers also talk about a separate domestication of cattle (cows) in Sahara and /or the Nile valley somewhere between 6000 and 9000 years ago.
 
About music instruments. Doesn´t the pan flute exist in both the Old and the New world?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 00:05
Show the references, please. I am not asking you to read any books; like the one I posted above, for instance.
 
With respect to the pan flute, indeed, it exist in the old and the new world, like the regular flute and the drums. Those instruments are found everywhere. Others like the javanese style xylophone and the hourglass drums are more complex and aren't found everywhere but only in Indonesia and Africa... what a coincidence! Confused
 


Edited by pinguin - 24-May-2009 at 00:09
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 01:12
You can start by seeking out the writings of Peter Garlake who wrote a couple of books on Great Zimbabwe. One of the books is simply called "Great Zimbabwe".
 
There are more in detail studies like "The chronology of Zimbabwe", by TN Huffman and JC Vogel in South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1991.
 
Relations between Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe are discussed in "Mapungubwe and the Origins of the Zimbabwe Culture", by Thomas N. Huffman, South African Archaeological Society, 2000
 
The origins of Great Zimbabwe is a rather well studied field  among schoolars working with it and the other comparable sites. Unfortunately there are still ideas about different foreign influences (and worse) by amateurs that are not Africanists or archaeologists or architecture historians.
As i mentioned there was a book about proposed south Indian influence on Zimbabwe some years ago that compared South Indian architecture with Great Zimbabwe and saw some similarities. So similarites can be found everywhere if one just like them to be there. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 01:21
And as I mentioned before, the East African coast has been involved in trade with countries around the Indian Ocean for millenia, so finding foreign objects are no surprice. Arabs, Indians, South east Asians, Chinese, they have all visited the East coast of Africa. And as stated there were trading links inland from the coastal regions. So noone said that the area was totally isolated.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 01:23

I don't think the introduction of bananas, yams, and the xylophone in Africa is just "similarities" or "bad mood". With respect to the construction of Zimbabwe I declare myself ignorant. However, you can't deny by the time that society appeared, they traded with people overseas. The glass marbles found in Mapungubwe is enough evidence for that.

With respect to the origins of Zimbabwe, nobody knows who build it, no matter it seem reasonable a bantu group of the region built it. Your comment about how well has been studied should have the comment that no final evidence has been found either.
 
Afrocentrists simply don't want those evidence are known, and ashamed South African schollars just follow the game. Science should be about facts, I think. If they don't exist, just search for it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 01:25
Originally posted by Carcharodon

And as I mentioned before, the East African coast has been involved in trade with countries around the Indian Ocean for millenia, so finding foreign objects are no surprice. Arabs, Indians, South east Asians, Chinese, they have all visited the East coast of Africa. And as stated there were trading links inland from the coastal regions. So noone said that the area was totally isolated.
 
So, then why to put in doubt the influence that Indonesians had on West Africa, and by transitivity in all SS Africa? There are several material things that seems to be influenced by theirs presence. It doesn't mean everything came with them, but why not something?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 01:59
Many things can have been influenced by Indonesians, Indians, Chinese and others. But it seems that the Zimbabwes and similar centra are so well studied that their roots in traditional architecture are well established.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 02:10
Originally posted by pinguin

 
Afrocentrists simply don't want those evidence are known, and ashamed South African schollars just follow the game. Science should be about facts, I think. If they don't exist, just search for it. 
 
All schoolars who work in South Africa or Zimbabwe are not South African, there are also many foreign schoolars working in these countries (even if it have been difficult to work in Zimbabwe for a while now, because of the political situaiton there). Among others are Swedish schoolars, mostly from the University of Uppsala. Most of these foreigners have no couse to follow some Afrocentric agenda.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 14:07

Is there any serious comparative study of African architecture before Zimbabwe?

It is known that contemporary tribal architecture of African villages is fractal in design. Is anyone studied the fractal mathematics of Zimbabwe?
 
Other question. How much is known about the influence of Madagascar in Mozambique? A land just in front of Madagascar and neighbour to Zimbabwe?
Has the linguistic and genetical evidences studied fully?
In Zimbabwe there is a tribe, the Lamba, that claim they descend from Middle Eastern Jews. Curiosly, DNA has shown they indeed descend from Jews that migrated to the region thousand of years ago. The people today look fully Bantu, but the genes show otherwise.
 
 
If that happened with the Lamba, why couldn't happen with Indonesians that lived a lot closer?
 
Do you see what I mean, more study is needed about the ancient trade, routes and contacts in Africa.
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 24-May-2009 at 14:09
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 18:26

Originally posted by pinguin

Is there any serious comparative study of African architecture before Zimbabwe?

 

At least there are many archaeological studies which discuss such things. When I come to the university library I shall see if I can find some of them. Otherwise I can ask around among Africanists in Uppsala who has participated in excavations in Zimbabwe.

The things I read hitherto and also by speaking to Africanists are that they claim that Zimbabwe is a large scale representation of earlier, smaller local structures.

 

Originally posted by pinguin

It is known that contemporary tribal architecture of African villages is fractal in design. Is anyone studied the fractal mathematics of Zimbabwe?

 

 

I shall try to find out more about that. But it seems that there are studies among others by the Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa (AMUCHMA), on numeration and geometric figures in the Great Zimbabwe. 

 

Originally posted by pinguin

Other question. How much is known about the influence of Madagascar in Mozambique? A land just in front of Madagascar and neighbour to Zimbabwe?

Has the linguistic and genetical evidences studied fully?

If that happened with the Lamba, why couldn't happen with Indonesians that lived a lot closer?

 

What I know is that one have found goods from many different parts of the Indian Ocean along the East Coast, including Mozambique. Among other things found in Mozambique is a lot of chinese ware and Swahili coast ware.

It´s rather complicated to discern what is direct influence and what is the result of trade. And what time do we talk about? Was it in the haydays of Great Zimbabwe or was it earlier, or maybe later?

 

Lemba is not the only people who claims ancestry from Great Zimbabwe. And most researchers don´t connect Lemba in particular with Great Zimbabwe.

One must also remember that Arabs and others also have traded with the the East coast of Africa for millenia.  And Jews in Africa are not totally unique, there are the so called Black Jews in Ethiopia too (nowadays many of them live in Israel).

Then we also have the aspect of time. When did the Lemba come to this particular place? When did their ancestor mix up with Jews? What is their connection with Great Zimbabwe?

 

 

And how reliable are these kind of DNA studies? Some reserchers in USA for example claim to have found Jewish DNA in Native Americans too:

 

http://www.mormontimes.com/studies_doctrine/?id=3123

 

Also here is the so called cohen-associated genetic signature involved. This genes seems to pop up both here and there in the world.

 

 It´s also interesting to notice that everytime local Africans build something in stone then there always come people and speculate and theoretise about which foreign people can have influenced them to do so. It is as if the idea to build in stone could not come from Africans themselves.

One can see some of this speculations also concerning Engaruka in the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 19:04
Don't be silly, Mormon science is balooney and you know very well about it.
The rest of your post is interesting, though. I put the Lemba not as an example that Jews build Zimbabwe (wild idea), but as an example of ancient genetical influences in Africa from outsiders. My point there was simply that more studies are needed to find out the influence of Indonesians in the Mozambique and surroundings.
With respect to fractals, there is a tread here about African Mathematics which is quite interesting, and that I recomend it to see, videos included.
 
I will wait for your research. This topic interest me quite a bit. I am interested (believe me or not) in the strange journey of the Xylophone, from Indonesia to Africa and from there to the Americas!! That's wild, isn't?
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 19:13

I just used the mormone DNA studies as a little warning to be cautious about genetical claims. I don´t believe in mormone science either.

I think that I will read the book by Dick (funny name) -Read. It is easier to evaluate his arguments, methods of research and ideás then.

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