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Wonders: City of Thulamela


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Photo: Thulamela The ruins of the ancient stone city of Thulamela were uncovered less than a decade ago in the Kruger National Park of South Africa's northern provinces. Thulamela, whose name means "place of giving birth," was built by the Shona people about 800 years ago. The city thrived between 1350 and 1650 A.D. and its people employed sophisticated mining skills, and succeeded in converting iron ore into carbon steel for use in tools and weapons, and traded along the Swahili Coast.1

While Thulamela, like its fellow ancient state Mapungubwe, also was excavated by the University of Pretoria, its recent discovery has been handled very differently from the latter seventy years ago: the Thulamela site is open to the public. This is the result of the new, open spirit of post-apartheid South Africa.

Compiled by Jamila White

1 From Wonders of the African World (1999) by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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