Essay on Africa Counts: Number systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

As the population of Sub-Saharan Africa live in relative isolation from the rest of the world, local peoples have developed their own number systems. Zaslavsky points out that these systems may be quite original and unusual but they are logical, rational and interesting. Often number systems are very simple but highly practical. At any rate, existing number systems meet perfectly needs of the local population.

6 Mathematics and mathematical skills in non-mathematical fields in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mathematics is widely-used in areas which are not directly related to mathematics proper. For instance, mathematic patterns in music in Sub-Saharan Africa may be traced when local people attempt to record the rhythm of their music.

Mathematic patterns in poetry in Sub-Saharan Africa are also quite widely spread and comprise a part of the local literature.

In fact, mathematic patterns are closely integrated in art of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mathematic patterns are particularly significant in architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa since people have to make accurate calculations while constructing their dwelling or other facilities.

Mathematic patterns in games are also popular among children. Zaslavsky points out that mathematics pattern used in games are applied mainly to teach children mathematics and mathematical skills. For instance, the author refers to the game mankala which is a version of tic-tac-toe game. I such a way, the author uncovers the close correlation between mathematic patterns used in games in Sub-Saharan Africa and games in other parts of the world (Eglash, 2010). On the other hand, Zaslavsky proves that Sub-Saharan African people have developed their own original games to teach children mathematics and some experience may be useful for educators in western schools as well.

7 Mathematics and mythology and rites in Sub-Saharan Africa

However, mathematics is not a mere science in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, Mathematics and numbers are a sort of magic in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zaslavsky draws myths related to mathematics and uncovers superstitions and sacred respect of mathematics by the population of Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, mathematics is closely intertwined with some taboos in Sub-Saharan Africa. Taboos refer to certain cycles which are counted with the help of mathematics and other issues.

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