[FOUNTAIN]Out of Africa

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[FOUNTAIN]Out of Africa

Many archaeologists insist that the Garden of Eden is located in East Africa. Their theory is based on a savanna field where all types of natural beings survive. Also, archaeologists say, there is evidence that Australopithecus africanus, the earliest man, lived there.

The African highlands, which run through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania like a backbone, is located on the equator, along the coast, but experiences a mild climate because of its altitude.

The 1985 film "Out of Africa," a love story between Denys Finch Hatton, played by Robert Redford, and Karen Blixen, played by Meryl Streep, uses as its theme music Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major.

In the film, Africa is depicted as a land where flocks of flamingos wander by softly and where prides of lions move about mightily in the fields. In the background stand the stunning Victoria Falls and the snow-topped Mount Kilimanjaro.

Another piece of proof that supports the notion that man's past started here is the Olduvai Gorge. In appearance, Olduvai Gorge looks a great deal like Grand Canyon in the United States. This valley was made naturally by small rivers flowing on the high land covered by volcanic ash, the product of four eruptions. The gorge is 100 meters deep and along the valley one can see the remnants of four million years of history. An ancient human skull, which was one-third the size of modern human skull, was found there.

This beautiful land, which was home of all kinds of living creatures, including man, was dominated by a primitive order and a peace before the imperialists from Europe invaded it in the 19th century.

During this imperial age, which lasted 100 years, many native Africans had to face miserable destinies, including the worst, of course, being sold as slaves.

With the start of the 1960s, many Africans experienced liberation from the hands of greedy Europeans. However, the sad destinies of Africans were not yet over.

Following liberation, Africans came face to face with dictatorships, civil wars, poverty and serious diseases of every type imaginable. Indeed, more than 6,000 Africans die of AIDS every day.

The continent's long history of pain was led by the Organization of African Unity. This group was criticized for being a "Social Club for Old Dictators." The Africans launched a new regional organization, the "African Union," which this week takes the place of the Organization of African Unity.

The writer is a deputy culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Oh Byung-sang

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