Blame my Western focused education, but it wasn’t until late in my schooling that I ever heard of a large civilization existing in Africa (besides Ancient Egypt) before the Europeans arrived. To me it had always been the “Dark Continent” where awful pillaging and plundering had gone on for centuries. Of course over time my understanding and opinion on Africa and it’s politics and people has changed, but no site in all of Africa shed my Western-centric world view like Great Zimbabwe.
To be sure things are incredibly difficult in Zimbabwe at the present and have been that way for a long time. That meant we were practically alone at the important cultural site. The ruins, although heavily destroyed are of a larger scale than I had imagined and more extensive than I had pictured. The site, which means House of Big Rocks, lends it’s name to the nation and a sculpture found among the ruins, the fish eagle, serves as the country’s symbol. The ruins, despite their destruction today, prove that an extensive civilization existed in Africa well before the Europeans arrived, debunking and peeling layers away from our Western-centric world view.
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