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The Elephant and The Obelisk
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Prominent scholars celebrate Stuart Saunders. UNDER THE BAOBAB was launched on Sunday 28 August, in Cape Town, to honour South Africa’s most remarkable university vice-chancellor of the past half century. Scholarly essays by Arthur Chaskalson, past Chief Justice of South Africa; David Potter, the founder of Psion who revolutionized digital mobility; William Bowen, the American educator and past president of Princeton University; and many others. This first volume of the Series is a limited, de luxe edition.

The Elephant and the Obelisk

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About the Special Series of the African Yearbook of Rhetoric

In the fantastical imagination Europe held of Africa the Elephant and the Obelisk have an enduring presence. During the Renaissance their images lent an African presence to the culture of emblems, not much different in purpose and means from the modern obsession with branding logos supposed to encapsulate a corporation’s ethics beyond selling goods. In rhetoric (of which emblems were the visual analogue) the Elephant spoke to the virtue of memory and the prudential value attached to formulating forward-looking arguments heeding past lessons. The Obelisk, not unlike Neptune's trident, emblematised the penetration of wit – a point driven home by its engraved hieroglyphics. Memory and intelligence, prudence and projection, sure footedness and quick sharpness – the Elephant carrying the Obelisk on its back told a telling tale about the distanced virtue European high culture, at the very time of Portuguese descobrimentos, attributed to a continent, Africa which had always been part of it, in reality or in imagination. Africa has always afforded Western minds an occasion to reflect.

The copyright © of The Elephant and the Obelisk special issues of the African Yearbook of Rhetoric is held by Africa Rhetoric Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright holder.

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