|Maano Ramutsindela presents|
Yet, the danger in “recovering” these local sights of knowledge lies in failing to recognise its “elastic” and adaptable nature, and perpetuating the “native in nature” stereotype. The biography of things – like the gun – narrates a movement from the global into the local, where it was actively sought after and appropriated, as Makuleke was appropriated by it. To sustain the gun’s utility, ironsmiths made bullets from bat droppings and networks of travelling gunpowder emerged. The weapon also morphed into the cultural context of its locality: technology was part of religion, faith and the process of becoming a man.
What brought the two presentations together were questions of power and knowledge in the space of conservation. Maano presented the political figures behind the territorial mapping of nature parks in Southern Africa, while Clapperton presented the local knowledge resources criminalised or denied by these power demarcations. The result was a mapping from above that mimicked older colonial habits and a mapping from below that traced local technologies. The discrepancy remains within the gap between the power involved in the former mapmaking process and the criminalisation involved in the latter.