Studies of the Afrikaans, Francophone and Lusophone Atlantic worlds do not often join the dots or carry out truly comparative work across the ocean. This chapter attempts to revisit, albeit necessarily briefly, the work of three twentieth-century luminaries, namely, Gilberto Freyre in Brazil, Léopold Senghor in Senegal and N.P. van Wyk Louw in South Africa. It does so by resorting to the concept of creolisation, especially as theorised by Françoise Vergès in relation to the Indian Ocean. Creolisation allows for a different take on the authors tackled, showing that in fact, though writing in different languages (namely, Afrikaans, French and Portuguese) and in diverse contexts, these intellectuals had more than a little in common, as their work is – and they themselves are – rooted in subtly interlinked historical processes of creolisation.
In this paper I attempt to tackle the issues of creolisation, magic, and mimesis, as well as colonialism. I will approach this last via the the first three. I begin by discussing two travel and ethnographic accounts, and then a piece by Diderot. I also discuss Taussig’s work. My overall argument, following closely on the heels of Diderot’s and Taussig’s work, but also somewhat expanding them, is that writing ethnography or any account of ‘others’ involves closely linked and complex processes of creolisation, mimesis, and magic. There is also, of course, a personal dimension to them. Such processes in fact affect not only ethnographic writing, but perhaps any writing. I also include myself in this narrative, albeit only marginally, as someone born and raised in Brazil, perhaps the most famous hub of creolisation ever, and who ventures not only across the South Atlantic, but eventually also into the Indo-Pacific world.
Moving Spaces: Creolisation and Mobility in Africa, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean addresses issues of creolisation, mobility, and migration of ideas, songs, stories, and people, as well as plants, in various parts of Africa, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean worlds. It brings together Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone specialists from various fields – anthropology, geography, history, language & literary studies – from Africa, Brazil, Europe, and the Indo-Pacific. It is a book which, while opening new perspectives, also intriguingly suggests that languages are essential to all processes of creolisation, and that therefore the latter cannot be understood without reference to the former. Its strength therefore lies in bringing together studies from different language domains, particularly Afrikaans, Creole, English, French, Portuguese, and Sanskrit.
Contributors include Andrea Acri, Joaze Bernardino, Marina Berthet, Alain Kaly, Uhuru Phalafala, Haripriya Rangan, Fernando Rosa, António Tomás and Shaun Viljoen.
The gonads of six adult giant otter males (Pteronura brasiliensis) and of one adult neotropical otter male (Lontra longicaudis) were analyzed both for histology and gross anatomy. The mean testes mass/body mass ratio in giant otters was 0.046 ± 0.0071%. The presence of spermatozoa inside the seminiferous and epididymal tubules revealed that two-year-old giant otters were already sexually mature. The mean diameter of the seminiferous and epididymal tubules of mature giant otters was 126.3 ± 13.37 μm and 198.8 ± 31.19 μm, respectively. The small amount of spermatozoa in the testes and epidimydes of 5 out of 6 giant otters analyzed suggests a seasonal testes activity in this species, which is in accordance to the observations of a monogamous mating system and seasonal reproduction of free-ranging giant otters. The testes of the neotropical otter were proportionally larger, wider and heavier than the testes of the giant otters. The testes mass/body mass ratio in L. longicaudis was 0.25%, 5.5 times greater than that of giant otters. The mean diameter of the seminiferous and epididymal tubules of the neotropical otter were 179.8 ± 17.01 μm and 238.5 ± 24.64 μm, respectively, which were significantly larger than those of the giant otter. The differences in testes size between these two otter species might be related to different mating systems. The greater dimensions of the testes of the neotropical otter, together with the greater body size of males when compared to females, suggest a non-monogamous mating system in this species, probably polyginy or promiscuity, which, however, needs to be better investigated.
Top of the food chain predators are often not predated upon. However, even though the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is in that category, the literature mentions many species as potential predators, including the jaguar (Panthera onca). Notwithstanding up until now there has been no registered confirmation of jaguar predation on giant otters. A predation of a jaguar on an adult female giant otter was recorded for the first time during our radio-telemetry study on giant otters in Balbina hydroelectric reservoir in Central Brazilian Amazon. The female had had a transmitter implanted on February 2012 and was killed by a jaguar ninety-four days after the surgery. This giant otter was a solitary specimen, which was captured by a jaguar while asleep in a shelter under a fallen tree trunk on the banks of one of the reservoir’s islands. The solitary pattern found in such individuals combined with the frequent use of shelters, allows predators to access them more easily and may have contributed to the predation observed in this study.