THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
A GUIDE TO CAPE TOWN
The oldest South African city is a celebration of culture, art and nature’s wonders. This is NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine’s guide to this scenic place that will make you want to map out your next adventure in South Africa
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Leo Moko
26 February 2019
One of the safest places in South Africa, Cape Town is so much fun. From a tourist point of view, the city holds a challenging charm that teases those with a sense for adventure. Whilst visiting, one can learn to surf, go hiking or even abseil from the top of a mountain. The terrain is incredible, providing endless opportunities for the place to be explored. From the locals’ point of view, Cape Town is ever-changing, alive and proud to be culturally diverse. In fact, in 2014 the city was declared a World Design Capital, so they know a thing or two about art and culture.
English is the common language in the more crowded areas, but if you wander around the smaller streets and more distant neighbourhoods, you will most likely hear locals speaking Xhosa and Afrikaans. The diversity in the South African city is beyond amazing. On a typical weekday, you will see people dressed in summer dresses, some working and looking smart in suits and blazers. The city seems to never stop, and people move to their own tempo. Locals and tourists blend, the café houses are usually full and over the weekends the restaurants are mostly fully booked.
The best time to explore the city is during the months of December to February when the summer is at its peak. The nice weather will give you the chance to explore some of nature’s wonders in the area such as the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden or go hike the Table Mountain. Summertime is known to be hot, whilst during the winter the climate changes due to the close location to the ocean. The air becomes crispy because of the wind coming from the shores, yet Cape Town is a gem of a place all-year round.
In terms of accommodation, the city is no stranger to tourists. Many people plan a visit there each year, some come back and make it a regular destination. This is why, regardless of your budget, you can find a suitable place to stay at. Some accommodations have a great view of the Atlantic so make sure to make the most out of your stay and spend some lazy afternoons hanging on a hammock on the beach.
Getting around with a car seems to be the most preferred way for tourists to get around and see as much of the city as possible. We recommend mapping out your trip in the city wisely so that you diversify it. The central locations are not the most interesting part. Although a megapolis, the natives’ cultural values are on show and worth exploring. We recommend you spend some time wandering around the narrow streets and explore the corner of Cape Town that are not so popular with tourists so that you can see the place from the viewpoint of the locals.
As nature has been generous to the area and gifted the city and the villages nearby with some stunning places. You can plan to do something different every day to get to know the wild side of South Africa. For those of you, who are not afraid of sharks, you can go on an organised shark cave diving expedition. If you prefer to keep your distance, head to Hermanu, which is a popular destination for whale watching. Discover the beauty of the mountainous landscape of Cape Point, hike Lion’s Head at sunrise, one of the most breath taking hikes in the city from where you’ll see Table Mountain and Twelve Apostles or go for a surfing experience in the Atlantic. Whatever your interests are, Cape Town will deliver and leave you amazed by the natural beauty of the city.
Hanging out with penguins at Boulder’s Beach is a cool way to experience the Cape Town feel, but since you have planned a visit to the oldest city in South Africa, why not consider going beyond it? There are quite a lot of impressive activities and small corners to explore in South Africa. Recently, in 2018, co-founded by the African Development Bank, the 10 228 km long Dodoma-Babati road linking Cape Town to Cairo was completed. The road serves as a link to nine countries in Africa from South Africa to Egypt, through Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. This improvement shorthand significantly the travel time for people and the area and made it easier for families to reunite and see each other more often. The road benefits travellers as well, as you can roam from Cape Town all the way to Cairo.