Brazil Unearths a 14-Century Muslim to Teach African History to Children

Ibn BattutaIbn Battuta, a Moroccan Muslim scholar and traveler who lived in the 14th century and spent 30 years of his life traveling and talking about his travels on the African continent is going to be a character for the teaching of African History at schools in Brazil.

The Ministry of Education (MEC) should distribute still this year, teaching material using Ibn Battuta. It will be included in a video documentary, called “Viajando pela África com Ibn Battuta” (Traveling around Africa with Ibn Battuta), a teacher’s book, a student’s book and a site.

They were elaborated by historian José Rivair Macedo, from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), with funds granted by the MEC.

According to information disclosed by the ministry, the video, book and booklet should be made available on the MEC Portal and at TV Escola by June. The material will be printed and the film reproduced for distribution by the end of the year.

The idea is for them to serve as subsidies for lessons about Africa. “Rebuilding Ibn Battuta’s trip to Mali seemed a different proposal for the teaching of History, as it is a different focus from the traditional one, a change in the form of eyeing the Old World,” said Macedo.

In the film, amidst interviews, images and historical information, Ibn Battuta narrates part of his impressions of the trip he took, between 1352 and 1353, crossing a region of the Sahara Desert, then known as the Mali Empire. The area currently includes countries like Mauritania and Nigeria, as well as Mali itself.

Protected by the sultan of Morocco, Ibn Battuta traveled with a caravan seeking gold, salt and slaves for a period of two months. “The report by Ibn Battuta is the only eye-witness of the period of splendor of the Mali Empire. Other Arab writers wrote about the African kingdoms, but they did not travel there,” said Macedo.

The site should include stretches of the memoirs of the travels of Ibn Battuta, recorded by poet Ibn Djuzzay, including information about the graves of tradesmen and poets found en route, snake hunters and meetings with Sudanese travelers.

In one stretch, he speaks about the djinns of the desert: “In the desert there are many evil djinns. When the guide of the caravan is alone, they show up and play with him, attracting his attention, guiding him away from his route or to death, as there is no visible route or point of reference, just the sand that moves constantly in the wind,” said the traveler.

The author of the teaching project is originally from the state of Paraná, but was brought up in São Paulo. He has been at the UFRGS, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, since 1993. At the institution, he teaches History of the Middle Ages, with special emphasis on research on the Iberian Peninsula.

“But since 2001, I have been interested in matters related to Christians and Muslims. I published some academic articles on the matter and, on coming across a report by Ibn Battuta, it seemed I would have an opportunity to explore such a fascinating and rich text as that of Marco Polo, who is an icon in the West,” he explained.



  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


You May Also Like

Nike and Puma Had Coach Parreira as Hostage, Say Brazilian Fans

Brazil returned home from the World Cup on Monday, June 3, to little fanfare, ...

Brazilian Expats Send US$ 2.8 Billion Home

Currently, Brazil ranks second in Latin America in terms of cash inflow from foreign ...

Brazil’s Urban Reform Group Meets Lula, Makes Demands and Gets

Representatives of the four organizations that are coordinating the National March for Urban Reform ...

Bolivia’s Oil Nationalization Can’t Stop Brazil from Reaching Record High

Latin American stocks bounced higher, after a long holiday weekend. Monday, May 1st, Brazilian, ...

Brazil Doubles Spending on Tourism. Most of Money Goes into Hotels

The sum of federal funds allotted to tourism by Brazil nearly doubled in the ...

Brazilian Companies Shed Debt and Get Ready to Invest

The great Brazilian factories will face a favorable situation to invest more in 2005 ...

Brazil’s Lula and the United States of South America

Talking in Peru, Lula said that integration in South America will make it possible ...

The Twilight of the Gods in Manaus

A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest: Part II

For the record, the Brazilian operatic event of the year – the Teatro Amazonas’ ...

US Helps Brazilian Police Arrest 43 from Visa Gang That Sent People to the US

Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) operating in the southeasterb Brazilian states of São Paulo and ...