Gayre Robert - The origin Zimbabwean civilisation

Author : Gayre of Gayre and Nigg George Robert
Title : The origin Zimbabwean civilisation Appendices on some of the Principal ruins of Rhodesia
Year : 1972

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Introduction. This book arose out of a discussion I had with Major Layland and the publisher, during a visit to Rhodesia. I had worked on the subject for a number of years, frequently visited the ruins, and knew well many of the Bantu peoples involved. I am indebted to Major Layland for his assistance, where I have been able to make use of it. This book has been undertaken to present what I consider to be the most rational and scientific interpretation of the evidence produced by the phenomena associated with the megalithic ruins of Rhodesia of which Great Zimbabwe, Khami, Naletale, Dhlo-Dhlo, and the terraces of Inyanga, with Mapungubwe in the Transvaal, are the best known examples. I have not thought it necessary to set out a detailed description of these sites in the body of the text as there is ample literature dealing with them. There are some short descriptions written by Major Layland in an appendix for the benefit of those who have not ready access to the existing literature on the subject. My purpose has been to interpret certain facts of archaeology, and to make a synthesis of them with those of anthropology, and particularly ethnology, comparative religion, geographical communications and distributions. The whole subject of non-Negroid influence in East and Southern Africa before the coming of the Bantu is a very wide one. The evidence to be culled from rock paintings and engravings alone is something of the greatest importance in this respect. I have, however, rigorously confined myself to the civilisation alone. In this I have found myself on the side of Professors Keane, Dart, Galloway, and the other distinguished scholars who have been forced by the sheer weight of facts to reject a Bantu origin for Zimbabwe. I have not, however, in reluctantly pursuing the task of showing how impossible the pro-Bantu concept is, felt it necessary to present an historic ethnology of Southern Africa. What is so astonishing is that, faced with a huge complex of irrigation terraces at Inyanga and the size of those megalithic sites which obviously required such an agricultural organisation to feed their inhabitants, anyone should have irresponsibly plunged into the development of a theory of independent Bantu evolution of this civilisation. It is completely out of character of the Bantu and has no justification from other Negroid parts of Africa past or present. Irrigation is limited to the Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Amerindian peoples. The Negroes never have possessed the technical knowledge nor expended labour in such massive enterprises. Irrigation is a characteristic of ancient Egypt, Arabia, Abyssinia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilisation, of Iran, Turkestan, Syria and the Mediterranean countries, of Malaysia, Indo-China, China and the Meso-American civilisations. In the face of such facts sufficient warning was provided for those who have sought to deny the obvious and create this Bantu myth. It is a myth which was not created by the Bantu themselves, who have never made such claims, but is the work of modern European writers. Indeed, Mutwa, a Zulu, who has written two large works on the traditions of the Bantu, categorically states his people were not responsible for this civilisation, which he attributes to a white people he calls the Ma-iti. It is my view that the case presented is unanswerable in so far as it destroys the concept that this civilisation is due to the Bantu. Whether I have correctly identified those to whom the civilisation is to be attributed may well be arguable as there are so many peoples involved. But, whatever is the final judgement, those indicated cannot fail to have played some important part in the creation of the Rhodesian antiquities we have described. It is important to point out that I take full responsibility for the writing of the book, for the adopting of any particular theory, such as the rejection of a Phoenician or an Islamic origin for the megalithic buildings we now see in Rhodesia, and, above all, I accept full responsibility for any severe comments which may be made in this book concerning the work of other investigators alive or dead. These views are not necessarily to be attributed to Major Layland, who, in his work as a collaborator, is not responsible for the actual writing of this book and these views to which I have referred. I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the publishers for collaboration in providing the excellent illustrative material which has been gathered together by them to illuminate the subject. Although it is the modern custom in scientific writing to put the name of the author, and year of his publication in brackets, in the text, we have not followed this economy habit. It breaks the sentence unnecessarily and does not lend itself to exact citation with any necessary comments from the author. I wish to express my indebtedness to Miss M. E. Arbuthnot for undertaking to read the manuscript, as a result of which, faults of which an author is capable in the course of the hurry of writing, have been corrected. December 1970 R. GAYRE OF GAYRE AND NIGG. ...

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