Cosmic Africa | Chicago Reader

Cosmic Africa

72 minutes

The gifted young astrophysicist Thebe Medupe lived through South African apartheid as a child, learned self-confidence through fireside tales of his mythic forebears, and now dedicates himself to teaching students about the African origins of astronomy. This DV documentary (2002) by Craig Foster and Damon Foster follows the genial Medupe as he visits Namibia, Mali, and Egypt in search of ancient ruins and present-day shamans, hoping to prove that study of the heavens began in Africa. Breathtaking landscapes and colorful tribal rituals make for a fine travelogue, and although science often takes a backseat to folklore, a trip to the Saharan site of Nabta yields a rare look at megaliths that predate Stonehenge by a thousand years. In English and subtitled Ju/'hoan, Setswana, and Toro So.

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