Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kenya and Mary Leakey's 100th Birthday

Today when I used Google I accidentally ran the mouse over the picture and discovered it was celebrating Mary Leakey, the archaeologist.

Mary Leakey (6 February 1913 – 9 December 1996) was a British archaeologist and anthropologist, who discovered the first fossilized Proconsul skull, an extinct ape now believed to be ancestral to humans, and also discovered the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge. (from Wikipedia)

The Google picture for today celebrates her 100th birthday, although she died in 1996.

The picture made me think about my childhood in Kenya.

In 1972 Louis Leakey and Richard Leakey came to my school (Hospital Hill School in Nairobi) and gave a talk about the different skulls they had found. It was a fascinating talk and may have been partially the reason I studied Zoology when I left school.

We had a temporary art teacher at that time called Miss Elizabeth who I think had been working on the Olduvai dig and arranged the visit. Afterwards she gave us skulls to draw, although I have no idea whether they were contemporary or ancient skulls but. I'm not sure many teachers these days would give 12 year olds human skulls to draw.

Also in 1972 my Mum took me to the Nairobi Museum for the launch of a movie about Joy Adamson and the lions, I have just googled it and it was called "Living Free', a sequel to Born Free. I remember I enjoyed the movie but was more impressed by Joy Adamson's watercolour paintings of different African tribal costumes which were hung on the walls of the Museum.

Kenya has been on my mind a bit since Saturday when the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team came so close to winning the Wellington Sevens. I don't usually watch rugby and only turned on the tv to watch a dvd,  but got hooked when I saw that Kenya was beating the New Zealand team.

Here are some pictures from the past.

Hill School choir in 1971

 Me in 1972 with Cheetah

Me with pet chameleon

Now I need to go and design some quilts that are about Africa. Maybe it is time!

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