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May 2024

20240510
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"San and Aka: Indigenous Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa"

Date: 10.05.2024 - 25.05.2024
Start Time: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2pm
Place: Exhibition Hall of the Jagiellonian Library (entrance from 3 Oleandry St.)
"San and Aka: Indigenous Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa"

The exhibition "San and Aka: Indigenous Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa" presented in the Exhibition Hall of the Jagiellonian Library is an event accompanying the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Jagiellonian Research Center for African Studies and the 7th Congress of Polish Africanists.

The event is a joint initiative of the Jagiellonian Research Center for African Studies, the Jagiellonian Library, and the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, which has a significant collection of African artefacts in its archives.

The exhibition, which presents the daily life and material culture of the Aka Pygmies from the Central African Republic and the San people (Bushmen) from Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, aims to familiarize visitors with various aspects of the daily life of these peoples, both from a historical perspective of the 1930s (San) and contemporary times (Aka). The pairing of these two cultures is no coincidence. Pygmies and Bushmen belong to the same archaic group of short-statured people, considered to be among the oldest peoples in the world. They lead a nomadic lifestyle, hunting and gathering, but they have no common language, no sense of a shared history, and are small, distinct communities. Pygmies live in the tropical rainforest, while Bushmen live in the savannah areas (bush) of southern Africa.

The exhibition features unique objects and archival materials related to the San culture from the collection of Prof. Roman Stopa, currently housed in the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, as well as a collection of Prof. Stopa's works housed in the Jagiellonian Library. It also includes original Pygmy everyday objects along with an authentic Pygmy hut from the private collection of Izabela Cywa, who has been working among the Aka people in the Central African Republic for over a decade.

The exhibition is part of the project "Interactions and Influences: African Studies in Dialogue with the Social and Cultural Environment of the University", which was part of the Faculty of International and Political Studies (WSMiP UJ) competition to develop cooperation with the University's external environment.