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 Date: Wed, 26 Feb 97 From: David Lee Schoenbrun <DSCHOENB@uga.cc.uga.edu> In regard of African explorers, might I suggest a different sense of what "exploration" might mean in different contexts? For example, a common theme in many African epics has the culture hero journeying to different parts of the "world" she or he will soon bring together into a political or cultural unity. One thinks immediately of Isis's journey throughout the nomes of pre-dynastic Egypt or of Sundiata Keita's journyeys while in exile from Niani and on his way home after defeating Sumaoru at Krina. This approach would allow you to grapple with African concepts of exploration and let you talk about how different cultural zones are imagined to compose a kingdom. I am beginning work on a historical novel which will begin in eastern Kalahari (at Toutswe) and move from there to Great Zimbabwe, then to Chibuene, Kilwa, and up the coast to a Red Sea port, thence to the middle Nile valley and on to Cairo. From Cairo, my historico-imaginary family members move to Timbuktu where the story ends with the great-great-great-great grandson becoming embroiled in clerical contests between Gao and Timbuktu. The individuals I shall name in this-multigenerational family will not always appear in the historical record, but their "experiences" will be based on the total available historical material for the late 13th and all of the 14th century. I have the feeling that such a book will prove most useful in teaching students in Africa and in the North how Africans discovered Africa and how they preserved memories of the different generational experiences (again, in quotes) in their own story-telling to their children. Good luck with your project.  Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 From: Jean-Luc Vellut, Universiti de Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) <J.L.Vellut@nias.knaw.nl> Concerning your inquiry on African explorers A well-known historian of Zaire, Fr. Bontinck, living in Kinshasa, has written numerous life-stories of African travellers in the Congo Basin region. They were published in a number of issues of _Zaire-Afrique_, from 1977, a periodical which is published in Kinshasa, but available abroad. Fr. Bontinck is also the editor of, by far, the best available version of Tippo Tip's autobiography. It is distressing that this important work, published in 1974, should still be ignored while reference is made to an English translation dating from 1938. The easiest way to contact Fr. Bontinck is through the following address : R.P. Fr. Bontinck, c/o Missions de Scheut, 33 rue Berckmans, B-1060 Brussels, Belgium. With best wishes.