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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On mathematical elements in the Tchokwe sona drawing tradition
Author:Gerdes, P.
Year:1991
Periodical:Discovery and Innovation
Volume:3
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:29-36
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Angola
Southern Africa
Subjects:Chokwe
drawing
science and technology
Chokwe (African people)
mathematics
art
Abstract:The Tchokwe people (or Quiocos), with a population of about one million, inhabit predominantly the northeast of Angola, the Lunda region. When they meet at their central village places or at their hunting camps, they have conversations illustrated by drawings on the ground ('sona', sing. 'lusona') which belong to a long tradition. The drawings refer to proverbs, fables, games, riddles, animals, etcetera, and play an important role in the transmission of knowledge from one generation to another. In order to facilitate the memorization of these standardized pictograms, the Tchokwe drawing experts invented a method which reduced the memorization of a whole 'lusona' to that of mostly two numbers and a geometric algorithm. On the basis of an analysis of implicit cultural values in Tchokwe 'sona', the author reconstructed important mathematical elements in this drawing tradition. He advocates the use of this drawing tradition in mathematics education. Bibliogr.
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