Notes and Thoughts

Discursive working and evergreen notes


Xhosa meme plague

In the 1850s the Xhosa, a Nguni ethnic group in Southern Africa, engaged in a riot of self-destructive behavior. In 1856 a fifteen year old Xhosan girl received a divine message from her ancestors; if they killed their cattles and destroyed their stores of grain their ancestors would return from the dead, and the Boers (Dutch settlers) would be driven from their land.

The Xhosa embraced the message; they killed their cattle, 400,000 by the end of 1857, and burned their crops, planting nothing for the next harvest. ~40,000 Xhosans starved to death, and by 1858 3/4s of the Xhosa had fled in search of food or died.

B: Where is my flying car? Memetics: The science of information viruses