The night sky of southern Africa offers some of the best stargazing on the planet. Consequently, the indigenous people of the subcontinent have been exposed to a cosmic clarity since time immemorial, developing complex knowledge systems in the process.
Flowers in the Sky is a collection of stories that provides insight into our traditional cosmologies.
Legends of failed hunts, of Lynx losing her jewellery and moon water pouring out of the sky are interspersed with common practices such as: why the Chief awarded a cow to the first person to see Canopus, and why Achenar’s rising was a time to avoid getting married.
The introduction of a child to the moon exhibits the kind of intimacy that existed between people and the celestial bodies and highlights the sense of participation in universal events that our forebears acknowledged – one that the author, Clarissa Hughes, maintains is useful in facing the challenges of the twenty-first century.
Why are the Digging Stars called by that name? Why was their dawn raising a significant event on the annual calendar? What do they represent in the minds of the people? And how does this relate to scientific discovery?
These are some of the questions the author tackles in this sensitive and timely work.
Told in an empathetic style, the explanation of the symbolism is often inspiring, at times confirming scientific discoveries in the exquisite language of metaphor.
Flowers in the Sky is essential reading for anyone interested in astronomy and indigenous cultures, and the links they share.
|Fast facts about Flowers in the Sky:|
|Price||South African Rand R239|
About the author:
Born and bred in southern Africa, Clarissa’s fascination with Africa’s wild places began at an early age. Naturally interwoven with this enchantment was the experience of African culture. Cape Malay, Ndebele, Bushman and Zulu. From the sweet singing of a domestic servant and the patient instruction on how to tie a little girl’s shoelaces, to the vibrant, awe-inspiring power of Johannesburg’s mine dances on Sunday afternoons – together they form part of an old memory bank in Clarissa’s mind of her growing exposure to Africa’s different cultures.
A 25 year career in ecotourism took her from South Africa to Botswana to Zambia, Zimbabwe and back, and enabled Clarissa to interact with the indigenous people of southern Africa on a daily basis. With this exposure came a growing appreciation of the different cultures she encountered. As a co-founder of the Nhabe Museum in Maun, a town on the edge of the Okavango Delta, she hoped that the showcasing of African culture would open it up to others and provide a worthy platform for the region’s indigenous people.
Researching this title entailed scouring academic records, reading widely and interviewing traditional healers and members of numerous indigenous societies.
Over the years an idea that started out as intuition has slowly taken form in her mind. African culture reveals an intimacy with the natural environment that can provide an essential key to retrieving a global sense of kinship with nature. In other words, the sense of dis-ease that results from a spiritual separation from the cosmos may be repaired by exposure to these cultures.
For all media enquiries, review copies or interview requests please contact:
For reviews go to www.clarissahughes.com/books
Date: 21 May 2013