History of Astronomy

Participating Researchers: Brian Warner, Thebe Medupe
Current Masters Students: Kaitano Dzinavatonga (North West University, Mafikeng), Motheo Koitsiwe (North West University, Mafikeng)

The 19th Century astronomy at the Cape of Good Hope has been a theme that his been explored in detail for many years. Recently this was expanded to include History of Science in Africa is a very unexplored subject as Africa has been considered an oral continent with no history of writing to talk about. While, ancient Egypt and probably ancient Nubia have been studied in detail, Black Africa has been neglected. The ancient manuscripts from ancient cities like Timbuktu in Mali provide a different version of the writing culture of Black Africa, and UCT is taking a leading role in searching for ancient astronomy and other sciences in these ancient documents from Timbuktu. We seek to uncover the extent of astronomy research during the heydays of scholarship in Timbuktu, the study and publication of the interesting manuscrip and the characterization and dating of the manuscripts.