America's African heritage; 25 And 26
The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall. Program 25 from LA goes to Cape Town. Here is Skip Westfall on a trip such as I have been making to Africa for the past few weeks. There are some things which happen so fast that there just isn't time to work them all into a programme. So today we're going to try to catch our breath a bit and work in some of the interesting experiences which up to now we haven't been able to use. Let's begin with this recording of my impressions of Lagos Nigeria. There are three hundred eighty thousand people crowded into this unhappy place living under conditions of filth and squalor which are indescribable. Along the sides of the narrow winding streets run the open sewer dist ditches into which the inhabitants dump all manner of filth and refuse out of these dirty ditches crawler rats spreading disease wherever they go. The stories are little more than cubbyholes in the poorer section of the city and due to the almost unbearable heat the
merchants display their meager wares on boxes out on the street during most of the year. The houses are so suffocatingly hot that half of the population sleeps out on the street alongside the sewers indifferent to the rats. As I stood on a street corner among these crowds of people one evening with this sweat trickling down my face I realised what a depressing thought it is to know that most of these poor souls are doomed to live in this hot crowded vermin infested city for the rest of their natural lives. And then I recalled my peaceful farm home in Iowa. The cool green lawn. The sheep grazing contentedly in the barnyard. The cattle across the road chewing their cuds in the Who made of the cottonwood trees the fields of waving corn the acres and acres of clover and alfalfa and the yellow fields of ripening oats the people of Legos could be transported to an Iowa farm where there was room for one family to live on one hundred sixty acres of land. I
know they would be convinced that they were surely in paradise. As I stepped ashore in Legos I picked up a copy of the Nigerian Daily Times reporting the story of several young boys who were picked up by the police for stealing the article reported that when the boys learned that they were to sleep in jail at night they jumped up and down for joy. Newspaper story continued. It has probably been months since those boys that had a bed to sleep in. In America it's difficult very difficult for us to realize that there is a part of the world where children will jump up and down for joy at the thought of having a bed for the night even though that bed is a cot in a jail cell. Well there is a part of the story behind our cup of cocoa and our chocolate candy bar. For it is through the port city of Lagos that comes a large percentage of the cocoa which is used in our American homes. Now without any further explanation we'll play a recorded interview main at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Professors ORNSTEIN I understand that in recent years large numbers of farmers have been shipped from South Africa to the United States and to other countries throughout the world. Yes that is right. What kind of a frog is this. Let it off its corn is inapposite Lavers in the Pacific Sea and its meaning stranger put it because it's got three sharp warning doors on the cares and labors in be I is meaning smooth sand we have the strange footed smooth creature. Whoa is this frog to be found only in Africa. Yes it's found only in Africa and nowhere else in the web. Well have you any idea because it's worn Steinhauer many frogs have been exported from Africa in recent years. Oh I should say many cars in recent years thousands of them. Yes but what is the main purpose for which they are used to make probably sandwiches. No I wouldn't say probably extended just because they landed in New York because they would cost
about $6 apiece and that would be rather expensive sandwich as well what is their main use their main use actually is for a pregnancy test for pregnancy tests testing for pregnancy. Well the type of problem that we have in America there isn't that respond to this type of test. If you don't respond but the difficulty is that the female doesn't respond right throughout the game but as the syllabus does respond to RPM the same one I understand you were to discover this test. Well when we say discovery I think we should rather say that we applied the older kids live action items. Become mice and treatment on rabbits we applied that case too out of control. Certainly an unusual accomplishment anyway. Well now how are these amazing frog shipped abroad. But first of all they they are court also. Actually at the Department of nature conservation that's killing mostly at Cape Town. Then they are put into tanks and taken into account that they are put on board ship in water tanks in the US
for one of their purposes are they use the nightly pregnancy test which you mention but overseas they may need to do experiments on that kind of change. Well thank you very much Professor is warm Stan for giving us this little glimpse into another phase of Africa's contribution to medical science. You know I think that from story is appropriate to this program for today. We seem to be hopping about from one part of Africa to another. We started in Nigeria then we jumped over to Cape Town and now we're going to Durban for our next recording another of Africa's interesting contributions is in the form of a simple little musical instrument called the penny whistle recordings of this tin flute are being sold by the tens of thousands all over the world. It was started actually by a 12 year old boy who played the flute for a few pennies that he could pick up on the street corners of Johannesburg. Here is a recording I made one evening on a street corner in Durban. It's the music of three tin whistles a guitar and a drone.
And now to Kimberly for our final recording. When we made our recording two weeks ago at the nine mines of Pretoria I thought I'd covered the African diamond story but when I arrived in Kimberley I found there was another phase of it which we simply couldn't pass up. To get this story we travel out into the country about 20 miles from Kimberley to the diamond diggings. Here we found an area where there are no huge pits no drag lines and bulldozers just open country covering several thousand acres where men are working with pick and shovel just as their fathers did 50 years ago. Here diamonds are to be found within a few feet of the surface of the ground. But there are not enough of them to make it worthwhile for the mining company to move in all of its expensive equipment to do the job. And so the company has issued permits to the oldtime diamond diggers to try their luck. Each man has leased a small plot of ground where he stakes out his claim. At the present time there are 51 men digging for the diamonds in this area. For the most part the pickings are pretty slim as
indicated by the fact that the average yearly income for these old prospectors is only $800 a year. Why do they continue to work with pick and shovel week in and week week out knowing that according to the law of averages they can realize only $800 a year for their efforts. What keeps them going is the hope that they might dig up a really valuable stone. It was only six years ago and almost the very spot where I'm now standing. But a diamond digger unearthed one of these precious dome which was worth fifty one thousand five hundred forty eight dollars. At any moment one of these grizzled prospectors just might discover another stone worth fifty thousand dollars. And so these men gambling on the chance keep plugging away digging and hoping for a lucky find which will make them rich. Let's have a chat with one of these old time prospectors. The star looks just like you would picture a diamond prospector. He has a bronzed face shaggy red beard and wears a
battered felt hat. I have the privilege you know of talking to and Diamond digger Fred Jacobus Van Arsdale who is I believe about 80 years old is that right. Oh yes. And how long have you been digging for diamonds. Mr. Van They are invited me about 53 years old yeah. I suppose in those 53 years you must have made quite a fortune in diamonds. No I had to do as I was to be the way you would have been here digging you know if you had a fortune. Well what was the biggest find that you ever made as doing this and and how much how much money did you get for that then. Two thousand three hundred so that would be $7000 one day and then I suppose you
put all that $7000 in the bank. Well being a bit is just saying that because I was a what did you do then with the money. Oh I see you had debts for that amount yes. Yeah now you had to pay the company how much and how much did you have to pay the man from whom you borrowed the money 50 percent of Buffett's see that didn't really leave you a whole lot of money then did it. Well as soon as interest it goes splendidly well I understand that's true of most of the of the diamond diggers when they do make a fine and they get so many debts that most of it has to go back again to their debts. Well I suppose whether you find expensive diamonds or not you never get discouraged you know. You know there's something fascinating about this place. Well I hope Mr.
Van's AOL that this will be your lucky day if you end that you will find a valuable diamond before the day is over. Mr. Van Zyl tells me that last week 31 of the man working here in the diggings failed to find even one diamond but 20 of them on earth a total of 40 times. Most of them however were industrial stones and were worth only a few dollars apiece. With most of the diamond diggers when they do find a really valuable stone it takes all of the money to pay their debts and then they start over again. Each digger must hire native help at least for five men to carry water and shovel of dirt and that's where the profit goes. Anyway it's a fascinating job and the men are inspired by the thrill of the search. And after all isn't it true that one of the greatest satisfactions in life is in striving for a goal even though that goal may seem to be his far away is the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow. Well I feel that I must not pass by the opportunity of
recording the sound of the sifting of the gravel here in the diamond diggings. Let's get a recording of this one to conclude our program. This machine is a kind of a ramshackle affair to native workers are manipulating it by turning a hand crank. I wouldn't be surprised if this old gravel sifter is almost as old as the prospector who owns it. The sound of this machine is music to the ears of the diamond ear for in this grab may be the precious stone. He's been looking for all ways many months right. This has been programmed 25 of America's African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to Africa. The series is made possible by a grant and a do radio station WOIO Iowa State College from the educational television and radio
center production is under the direction of Norman B Clary. This is Reagan speaking for the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end Radio Network. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip West 12 program 26 conserving wildlife in Africa. There is Skip Westfall will begin this program with a recording on AIDS a few days ago at Victoria Falls in Southern Rhodesia one of Africa's most important contributions to American life is the wild animals which populate our zoos and perform in our circuses. To get a look at some of those wild
animals we're about to take off on a plane trip over wild animal country in the area surrounding Victoria Falls in Southern Rhodesia. This trip will not take us to the game reserves but in the area beyond the game reserves well over wild uninhabited country which is the stamping ground of huge herds of elephant zebra giraffe lion and many breeds of antelope. We're going to make this trip into two Mordred biplane appears to me to be a rather frail little craft for this kind of a hazardous trip. But the pilot seems to be well qualified for the job and will no doubt bring us safely back. There are eight people in our party. The motor is warming up now and we will soon be taking off. We'll continue the recording in a moment when we start down the runway.
We're headed down the runway now the plane is beginning to lift and we're circling to the left headed for a densely wooded area to the north of us. Our pilot says it will be over a wild animal country in about 15 minutes. As soon as we see something really interesting We'll tell you about it. This is one of the most exciting experiences I've had my travels through Africa. We seem to be barely skimming the treetops as we pass over herds of zebra giraffe and antelope whenever the pilot spots something interesting he bangs the plane sharply to the right or to the left and swoops down so that we can get a good look. I've been so excited that I've almost forgotten that I'm supposed to be giving a description of what is taking place. Mr where we think of me giving the three nods about how high when you say remind us of the then you know when we're flying over the
river to go live to me like that where I was wrong was touching the water were good we get it done you know you have to get down to about 15 feet. What is the length of this flight. Miles Levin you take him out of the way the game is good. And how many miles from him in the morning they're giving you the I see our development over there by that that water hole over the right which is going over the they're very dense bush so you have to be very quickly your pictures as in to be above the 60 to a hundred of them. What's that over there about that water hole the world looks to me like go to this to the level of these you're a couple who's evil except for the
view him as above the law rigs the. And that was the recording we made of our flight over the wild animal country of Southern Rhodesia. An experience such as that makes us realize the importance of the conservation of wildlife in the continent of Africa. Not just so that a few fortunate people can have the opportunity of seeing lions and elephants in their native habitat but more important so that both children and grownups back home can have the pleasure of seeing these wild animals in the zoos and circuses throughout America. The other day I had an interesting visit with a member of the Wildlife Conservation Board in Pretoria who referred to the fact that one of the biggest threats to wildlife in Africa is the poaching by native Africans not just to get animals for food but to use parts of those animals for what they call medicine. Many Africans still believe for example that to eat the flesh of a lion will give them courage. They think that they give a
boy a beating with the tail of the sesame the fastest of all the envelopes will cure him of stealing. They make love potions from such things is the ear of an elephant or the skin of a baboons. This magic potion is supposed to get them a girlfriend or help to make an indifferent girlfriend fall in love with them. This phase of the conservation of wildlife came to my mind the other day when I stopped in a native medicine shop in Johannesburg where these potions are sold. The manager of the shop let me up a narrow stairway to an attic room which was filled with the strangest collection of articles I have ever seen. Elephant ears dried up baboons snake skins tails of lions row upon row of small bottles filled with crocodile fat sea water and other strange concoctions which are guaranteed to drive away evil spirits protect you from your enemy or heal all manner of diseases. It is the native belief in the potency of these
so-called medicines which is one of the problems facing those who are concerned about the conservation of the wildlife of Africa. The subject of Africa's wildlife is deserving of much more consideration than we've been able to get today. But we've almost reached the end of this radio series and I'd like to take just a minute or two for a brief summary of the programs we have presented. The subject of Africa's contribution to 20th century America has been the theme of the twenty six radio programs I've recorded during my four months trip through Africa. And I feel as if we have hardly scratched the surface of this fascinating subject. In developing our thesis we have talked about a rubber from Liberia cocoa from gun medicines from the Belgian Congo. Such is the raw Wulfhere route which is being used in the treatment of heart disease and mental illness. We learned how much the health and well-being of our children is dependent upon Africa. When
we discovered that many thousands of monkeys from Africa have been used in the development of the polio vaccine we learned how for many years the monkey's nervous system was the only tissue outside of the human body in which polio virus would grow and live. Medical authorities believe that without the monkey we probably would not have been able to develop the polio vaccine and thousands of those monkeys came from Africa. We realize how much we owe to Africa when we are aware of the fact that many American children who are alive and well today would be crippled for life had it not been for the valuable contribution Africa has made to medical science. In addition to our report on medicines from Africa we told the story of the palm oil from Montana and other parts of the Congo which is used in the making of steel.
Where is the diamond mines. The report on the many ways in which industrial diamonds are employed in American industry. Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut.
Tut tut tut tut. We discussed the use of radio activated in the treatment of cancer and its many other industrial use. And we have Dowd into the romantic story of the fabulous goldmines of South Africa.
It's rather difficult in two minutes time to try to point out any general impressions which have come to me from this experience. Among other things it has been most interesting to visit cities in the heart of Africa which are just as modern as our American cities with air conditioned supermarkets swimming pools tennis courts paved streets and every modern given convenience. It's been a revelation to as we traveled into the bush country not more than an hour's ride from some of these modern cities to find people living as primitive a life as the wild Indians of early America. With no automobiles no radios no electric lights where the throbbing drum takes the place of the telephone the telegraph and even the daily newspaper where you meet on the road native hunters with spears and bows and arrows struggling for their existence like their grandfathers did a hundred years ago. One of the things I like to recall is the courage of the men who scaled those towering palm trees 60 or more feet in height knowing that
poisonous snakes may be lurking among the branches and we remember the gold miners working ten thousand feet below the surface of the earth on their hands and knees in a tunnel no more than three feet high. Risking their lives to get for us the precious yellow goat for our wedding rings and our jewelry saying that these men are lacking in education as most of them are saying that you must treat them like children. But don't say they have no courage. They have the kind of courage which commands our deepest respect. This has been programmed 26 of Americas African heritage. These programs featured recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to Africa. The series was made possible by a grant and aid to radio station WOIO Iowa State College from the educational television and radio center production was under the direction of Norman B Cleary. This is reggae speaking for the National Association of educational broadcasters.
- America's African heritage
- Episode Number
- 25 And 26
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 4905 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “America's African heritage; 25 And 26,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-m9023k1s.
- MLA: “America's African heritage; 25 And 26.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-m9023k1s>.
- APA: America's African heritage; 25 And 26. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-m9023k1s