LOST WORLDS OF AFRICA by James Wellard

LOST WORLDS OF AFRICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An intelligent, well-organized book that raises questions, recounts possibilities and offers insights into contemporary Africa, this is divided into five sections. In the first, Mr. Wellard, a travel-writer, takes us to the almost inaccessible tribe of the Dawada--400 to 500 survivors living in the middle of the Sahara who represent total isolation from the Western world in time and space as well as spirit. Secondly he discusses the ""art galleries"" of the Acacus Mountains, pictorial records which extend over a period of 10,000 years as an indication of comparable or even superior early development of prehistoric African man in relation to his European counterpart. These also reveal the start of the third lost world, the Empire of the Garamantes, light skinned invaders who dominated the Saharan world and formed a liaison with Rome before disappearing without a trace but whose descendants might be the ""last of the noble savages,"" the Tuaregs. The last parts deal thoroughly with the advent and downfall of early Christianity and the aspects of slavery both black and white. Through his examination Mr. Wellard refutes the argument of racial inferiority as the reason for the ""cultural delay"" on the dark continent citing three major factors: environment, western invasions that limited development, and the lack of the humanizing and civilizing influences of Christianity (he also does a sound job of explaining why the Islamic rites and doctrine held more appeal). Readable, it should be read.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1967
Publisher: Dutton