Sharing knowledge for peace
The ISHANGO MILELE Foundation encourages and stimulates youth awareness and understanding of the importance of science and technology as a force for harmony and progress. It does this by celebrating the achievements and creative endeavours of Africa in science, technology and the arts. It builds awareness of Africa and its place in the modern world, based on its contribution to progress throughout the ages as well as on the genius and creativity of its people today.
The story starts with the Ishango Bone, an archaeological artefact discovered in central Africa in 1950. Considered the oldest mathematical object found anywhere in the world, it is evidence of the existence of a complex sophisticated civilisation twenty-two thousand years ago on the border between modern day Congo and Uganda. The people of Ishango invented a number system and basic mathematical tools to help them carry out complex calculations, perhaps for building, surveying and collecting taxes. Twenty-two thousand years later the whole of humanity continues to build upon such early abstractions to provide itself with tools that are essential for all aspects of life on earth, tools that will one day help us to move between and live among the planets and the stars.
The foundation derives its name from the Ishango bone, which symbolises the humanitarian ideal of sharing knowledge for peace. This artefact provides a starting point for telling the story of African invention and creativity, from the time of the Ishango people up to the present day, and into the future based on international cooperation in science, education, culture and the arts.