sub saharan africa

This is a baby hippo. Hippopotamuses are thought to be around 55 million years old. They come from Sub-Saharan Africa, and their name means ‘River Horse’ in Ancient Greek. They’re generally considered to be the third-largest land mammal after elephants and white rhinos, and although you probably wouldn’t guess it, their closest relations are actually whales and dolphins.

Source: tomotomotomomo

Dear white supremacist/racial purist dweebs and fools:

Every last one of us is related to people who evolved in Africa.

Some groups of sub-Saharan Africans remained in Africa, while others left Africa and spread across the world.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – is therefore genetically at least partly African.

People who have descended from those African groups that left Africa have a series of genetic adaptations and mutations that have helped them adapt to the environments they settled in. European “White” people are almost entirely the product of changes that have occurred in the last 8000 years or so.

If – IF – anyone is “racially pure” (a horrible phrase and concept), it’s people whose ancestors never left sub-Saharan Africa, AND whose ancestors never had children with anyone who had any ancestors who were from anywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa. The rest of us – which is pretty much everybody – are all cousins.

Whether you like your cousins or not.

black bodies are floating in the mediterranean ocean. less poetic... black bodies are drowning in the mediterranean ocean. less poetic... unidentified black bodies are being washed up on shores and buried without names. less poetic... sub-saharan africans drowning make up less than 1% of the news when the total amount drowned so far in 2017 exceeds 2000 people. less poetic... there’s a genocide happening right before our eyes.

i love that charles dickens got paid by the word. like i cant even be mad when he’s boring and long-winded bc i would do xactly the same??? i wouldnt use contractions or colours at all. want to say the word red? too bad. we r now only using “the colour of freshly-spilled blood on snow; the hue of the horizon when the sun sets over the deserts of sub-saharan Africa” BOOM guess who can afford 2 eat now: me and my boi dickens 

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10 amazing animals you’ve never heard of before - but need to hear about now as some are endangered

1. Okapi - found in Central Africa. Endangered
2. Quoll - native to Australia and New Guinea. Threatened
3. Mara - native to South America. Threatened
4. Rock hyrax - native to sub-saharan Africa and South Africa. Not threatened
5. Dhole - native to Asia. Endangered
6. Japanese dwarf flying squirrel. Not threatened
7. Ring-tailed coati - native to South america. Not threatened
8. Pink fairy armadillo - native to Argentina. Currently no conservation status
9. Marble fox - native to Canada. Endangered
10. Australian golden possum. Not threatened

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There were many other Kingdoms in Africa, not just the Kingdom of Egypt, that are worthy of praise and honour. Indeed, Egypt played a great role in civilization, but it was only one of many on the continent.  Below are few of the many greats:

While Europe was experiencing its Dark Ages, a period of intellectual, cultural and economic regression from the sixth to the 13th centuries, Africans were experiencing an almost continent-wide renaissance after the decline of the Nile Valley civilizations of Egypt and Nubia.

The leading civilizations of this African rebirth were the Axum Empire, the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Ethiopian Empire, the Mossi Kingdoms and the Benin Empire.

Axum Empire

The Aksum or Axum Empire was an important military power and trading nation in the area that is now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100 to 940 A.D.

At its height, it was one of only four major international superpowers of its day along with Persia, Rome and China. Axum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers, almost half the size of India. Axum traded and projected its influence as far as China and India, where coins minted in Axum were discovered in 1990.

Axum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) on the basis of Conti Rossini’s theories —but most scholars now agree that when it was founded it was an indigenous African development.

Kingdom of Ghana

Centered in what is today Senegal and Mauritania, the Kingdom of Ghana dominated West Africa between about 750 and 1078 A.D. Famous to North Africans as the “Land of Gold,” Ghana was said to possess sophisticated methods of administration and taxation, large armies, and a monopoly over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.

The king of the Soninke people who founded Ghana never fully embraced Islam, but good relations with Muslim traders were fostered. Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the use of the camel increased the quantity of goods that were transported. One Arab writer, Al-Hamdani, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on Earth. Ghana was also a great military power. According to one narrative, the king had at his command 200,000 warriors and an additional 40,000 archers.

Mali Empire

After the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire rose to dominate West Africa. Located on the Niger River to the west of Ghana in what is today Niger and Mali, the empire reached its peak in the 1350s.

The Mali Empire was founded by Mansa (King) Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa. He was the grandson of Sundiata’s half-brother, and led Mali at a time of great prosperity, during which trade tripled. During his rule, Mansa Musa doubled the land area of Mali; it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.

The cities of Mali became important trading centers for all of West Africa, as well as famous centers of wealth, culture and learning. Timbuktu, an important city in Mali, became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Vast libraries and Islamic universities were built. These became meeting places of the finest poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.

The Kingdom of Mali had a semi-democratic government with one of the world’s oldest known constitutions – The Kurukan Fuga.

The Kurukan Fuga of the Mali Empire was created after 1235 by an assembly of nobles to create a government for the newly established empire.  The Kurukan Fouga divided the new empire into ruling clans that were represented at a great assembly called the Gbara. The Gbara was the deliberative body of the Mali Empire and was made up of 32 members from around 29 clans. They were given a voice in the government and were a check against the emperor’s (mansa’s) power. It was presided over by a belen-tigui (master of ceremonies) who recognized anyone who wanted to speak including the mansa. The Gbara and the Kurukan Fuga remained in place for over 40o years until 1645.

According to Wikipedia, Disney’s “Lion King” movie was based on the real life narrative of Mansa Sundiata Keita.

Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was the largest state in African history and the most powerful of the medieval west African states. It expanded rapidly beginning with King Sonni Ali in the 1460s and by 1500s, it had risen to stretch from Cameroon to the Maghreb. In 1360, disputes over succession weakened the Mali Empire, and in the 1430s, Songhai, previously a Mali dependency, gained independence under the Sonni Dynasty. Around thirty years later, Sonni Sulayman Dama attacked Mema, the Mali province west of Timbuktu, paving the way for his successor, Sonni Ali, to turn his country into one of the greatest empires sub-Saharan Africa has ever seen.

Perhaps, it’s most popular leader was Muhammad Askia the Great. At its peak, the Songhai city of Timbuktu became a thriving cultural and commercial center. Arab, Italian and Jewish merchants all gathered for trade. By 1500, the Songhai Empire covered over 1.4 million square kilometers.

The Ethiopian Empire

The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia covers. It existed from approximately 1137 (beginning of Zagwe Dynasty) until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d’état.  In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite emperors and, hence, Solomon. The thus-named Solomonic Dynasty was founded and ruled by the Habesha, from whom Abyssinia gets its name.

The Habesha reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century. It was under this dynasty that most of Ethiopia’s modern history occurred. During this time, the empire conquered and incorporated virtually all the peoples within modern Ethiopia. They successfully fought off Italian, Arab and Turkish armies and made fruitful contacts with some European powers, especially the Portuguese, with whom they allied in battle against the latter two invaders.

Mossi Kingdoms

The Mossi Kingdoms were a number of different powerful kingdoms in modern-day Burkina Faso which dominated the region of the Upper Volta River for hundreds of years. Increasing power of the Mossi kingdoms resulted in larger conflicts with regional powers. The Kingdom of Yatenga became a key power attacking the Songhai Empire between 1328 and 1477, taking over Timbuktu and sacked the important trading post of Macina.

When Askia Mohammad I became the leader of the Songhai Empire with the desire to spread Islam, he waged a Holy war against the Mossi kingdoms in 1497. Although the Mossi forces were defeated in this effort, they resisted attempts to impose Islam. Although there were a number of jihad states in the region trying to forcibly spread Islam, namely the Massina Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate, the Mossi kingdoms largely retained their traditional religious and ritual practices. Being located near many of the main Islamic states of West Africa, the Mossi kingdoms developed a mixed religious system recognizing some authority for Islam while retaining earlier African spiritual belief systems.

Benin Empire

Once a powerful city-state, Benin exists today as a modern African city in what is now south-central Nigeria. The present-day oba (King) of Benin traces the founding of his dynasty to A.D. 1300. The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial Edo state. Until the late 19th century, it was one of the major powers in West Africa. According to one eye witness report written by Olfert Dapper, “The King of Benin can in a single day make 20,000 men ready for war, and, if need be, 180,000, and because of this he has great influence among all the surrounding peoples… . His authority stretches over many cities, towns and villages. There is no King thereabouts who, in the possession of so many beautiful cities and towns, is his equal.”

When European merchant ships began to visit West Africa from the 15th century onwards, Benin came to control the trade between the inland peoples and the Europeans on the coast. When the British tried to expand their own trade in the 19th century, the Benin warriors killed their envoys.

Source: http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/05/7-midieval-african-kingdoms/4/

Numerous African Cultures revere the elephant as a symbol of strength, wisdom, and even hope. Not only because it’s the largest known land mammal, but also because they are masters of their environments. They hold very strong bonds to each other and even create burials for dead members. They even have herds lead by the eldest females; Matriarchy.  That’s why you see the animal represented so often especially in the Ivory Coast. A symbol of hope when the trunk is pointed upward. Just something to think about.
Written by @KingKwajo

Who built Great Zimbabwe?

Stretched across a tree-peppered expanse in southern Africa lies the magnificent ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a medieval stone city of astounding wealth and prestige. Located in the present-day country of Zimbabwe, it’s the sight of the largest known settlement ruins in Sub-Saharan Africa, second on the continent only to the pyramids of Egypt. But the history of this city is shrouded in controversy, defined by decades of dispute about who built it and why.

Its name comes from the Shona word madzimbabwe, meaning big house of stone for its unscalable stone walls that reach heights of nearly ten meters and run for a length of about 250 meters. For its grandeur and historical significance, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Back in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was a thriving city. 

Spread across nearly eight square-kilometers, Great Zimbabwe was defined by three main areas: the Hill Complex, where the king lived; the Great Enclosure, reserved for members of the royal family; and the Valley Complex, where regular citizens lived. Rulers were both powerful economic and religious leaders for the region. At its highest point, the city had a bustling urban population of 18,000 people and was one of the major African trade centers at the time. What enabled this growth was Great Zimbabwe’s influential role in an intercontinental trade network. Connected to several key city-states along the East African Swahili Coast, it was part of the larger Indian Ocean trade routes. The city generated its riches by controlling the sources and trade of the most prized items: gold, ivory, and copper. With this mercantile power, it was able to extend its sphere of influence across continents, fostering a strong Arab and Indian trader presence throughout its zenith. 

Archaeologists have since pieced together the details of this history through artifacts discovered on site. There were pottery shards and glassworks from Asia, as well as coins minted in the coastal trading city of Kilwa Kisiwani over 1,500 miles away. They also found soapstone bird figures, which are thought to represent each of the city’s rulers, and young calf bones, only unearthed near the royal residence, show how the diet of the elite differed from the general population. These clues have also led to theories about the city’s decline. 

By the mid-15th century, the buildings at Great Zimbabwe were almost all that remained. Archaeological evidence points to overcrowding and sanitation issues as the cause, compounded by soil depletion triggered by overuse. Eventually, as crops withered and conditions in the city worsened, the population of Great Zimbabwe is thought to have dispersed and formed the nearby Mutapa and Torwa states.

Centuries later, a new phase of Great Zimbabwe’s influence began to play out in the political realm as people debated who had built the famous city of stone. During the European colonization of Africa, racist colonial officials claimed the ruins couldn’t be of African origin. So, without a detailed written record on hand, they instead relied on myths to explain the magnificence of Great Zimbabwe. Some claimed it proved the Bible story of the Queen of Sheba who lived in a city of riches. Others argued it was built by the Ancient Greeks. Then, in the early 20th century after extensive excavation at the site, the archaeologist David Randall-MacIver presented clear evidence that Great Zimbabwe was built by indigenous peoples. Yet, at the time, the country’s white minority colonial government sought to discredit this theory because it challenged the legitimacy of their rule. In fact, the government actively encouraged historians to produce accounts that disputed the city’s African origins.

Over time, however, an overwhelming body of evidence mounted, identifying Great Zimbabwe as an African city built by Africans. During the 1960s and 70s, Great Zimbabwe became an important symbol for the African Nationalist movement that was spreading across the continent. Today, the ruins at Great Zimbabwe, alluded to on the Zimbabwean flag by a soapstone bird, still stand as a source of national pride and cultural value.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Who built Great Zimbabwe? And why? - Breeanna Elliott

Animation by JodyPrody

“Hey, wanna see a Pixie Frog?” I ask

“Sure,” you say, holding out your hands

I plop this into your arms.

“hold him like a baby, he’s heavy” I instruct you

“what,” you mutter “the fuck.”

congratulations, you have  been forcibly introduced to the African Bullfrog, also 

known in pet-owner circles as the Pixie Frog.

look at his little hands!

while they are indeed adorable, the nickname actually derives from the scientific name of the species (pyxicephalus adspersus), and not any positive qualities they possess. 

hoo boy they don’t have many of those, lemme tell you

found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, the Pixie Frog lives in wet areas where they eat pretty much anything they can fit into those ginormous mouths. (this includes fish, other frogs, bugs, snakes, lizards, other frogs, rodents, unattentive birds, other frogs, and probably you too if you hold still long enough)

this is a creature born with neither fear nor conscience

and it’s no idle threat either, because Pixie Frogs can grow to 10 inches long, which is well within ‘unreasonably huge’ for an amphibian. also, unlike most frogs, Pixie Frogs have fucking teeth

ALL THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH, MY DEARRRRR

in spite of all of this, Pixie Frogs remain popular pet animals, possibly because they will allow you to pick them up and carry them around like a newborn.

and we can respect that.

she has four of them and they’re named after her grandchildren

just, you know, make sure you count your fingers after you hold one.

Portuguese map of the Western Mediterranean and Western Africa, 1563. In Africa one can see a depiction of the Elmina castle, the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa and a key hub of the transatlantic slave trade. Various colonial claims are also depicted with flags in Africa.

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“Quand le village se réveille …” (When the Village Awakes) is a project to collect and share the culture and traditions of Mali through new information and communication technologies, sharing texts, videos, audio, and testimonies drawn from elders – the guardians of tradition, culture, and collective memory of African society.

When the Village Awakes: A New Malian Culture Blog

Ball python (Python regius)

The ball python is a python species found in sub-Saharan Africa. Like all other pythons, it is a non-venomous constrictor. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade, largely due to its small size and typically docile temperament. The name “ball python” refers to the animal’s tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. Maximum adult length of this species is 182 cm. Ball pythons prefer grasslands, savannas, and sparsely wooded areas. Termite mounds and empty mammal burrows are important habitats for this species.In the wild, their diet consists mostly of small mammals.

photo credits: Mokele

West African Mosques 

Mosques built in parts of the Muslim world where Arabs migrated or took control of through wars developed a distinct tradition of domes and minarets. In areas where Islam spread mostly by returning traders, traditions of mosque building were determined more by local skills and approaches.

According to Al Sayyad, the Arab conquest of the Middle East was motivated by three aims that conform to the notion of colonialism: a divine mission of spreading the Islamic religion, the maintenance of political power by the ruling Arab elite whilst expanding trade and finally to gain profit from resources of conquered lands. However, the Arab conquest did not always encounter confrontation. On the contrary as in the case of Damascus and Sicily, Arab dominion was preferable to Byzantine exploitation:“Appropriating and dismantling the religious and political buildings of earlier civilisations became common Arab practice. The symbolism associated with such transformations cannot be considered anything but colonial. The takeover of churches, and their later transformation into mosques, and the constructions of ruler’s palaces in the center of new or existing cities, represent colonial urbanism at work.” In contrast, Islam’s penetration of Sub-Saharan Africa dates to around the 9th century via the Saharan caravan routes. Two strands of influence shaped Islam in West Africa. One was the link between the Maghreb and the Berber-African gold-trading centres such as the pagan Soninke state of Ghana. The other was the eastern route that connected central Sudan – Kanem, Bornu and the Hausa states with Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Although characterised by regional and ethnic variety, one unifying factor in African Islam is the predominance of the Maliki madhab – the same school of thought adhered to in the Maghreb. In addition to the commercial link between the two regions, a spiritual bond existed with North Africa. Indeed, the majority of Sufi brotherhoods in West Africa originate from the Maghreb but the spread of the so-called turuq (Arab. ‘path’ used to describe the Sufi brotherhoods) did not happen until much later in the 18th and 19th centuries.

As the equivalent of the word “masjid ” in various African languages indicates, like its Arabic root, that the mosque is nothing more than a place of prostration: massallatai in Nigeria, missidi in Futa Diallon. By contrast, diakka in Wolof literally means to face east. West African mosques vary from simple roofless enclosures serving the function of places for communal prayer, to magnificent buildings. It would be impossible to do justice to the vast array of stylistic variants of mosque architecture in West Africa alone, therefore the regions covered here are primarily Senegal and Mali.
Mali was impregnated with a tradition known by the name of its dominant group, the Mande, whence Manding. Among them, those who were islamised were known as Dyula or Wangara. This group also covered a large area during their migration, spanning part of Senegal, Northern Nigeria, the Upper Niger Bend, Guinea coast and over to Kong in the Ivory Coast. Mande style is characterised by the use of conical forms particularly found on monumental entrances of courtyard houses and mosques. Decorated with pilasters and elements in relief alternating with voids, these façades are also found in Dogon architecture. But apart from the close affinity between domestic and religious architecture, additional elements such as the phallic pylons testify as to the integration of ancestral practices with Islamic ones.Thus the Mande style – which has come to be associated with the Soudanese style – was transmitted by traders who taught mystical Islam throughout this vast region. Nowadays, however, the transmission of the djennenké style takes place with the movement of master-builders whose craftsmanship is much sought after.

The origins of the Soudanese mosque are not clear-cut: their monumental and fortress-like exteriors are reminiscent of the defensive architecture of West Africa known as tata. There may also be a relation between these mosques and domestic architecture. The Great Mosque of Djenné typifies the Soudanese mosque and furthermore it may have been the progenitor of this type of mosque architecture. Although it was rebuilt under the aegis of the French administration in 1907, the craftsmen, as along with the building technology, are more local than French. This vast mosque dominates the market place from its raised platform. Like its relatives, the mosque is characterised by its use of buttressing, pinnacles and attached pillars all of which are punctuated by the toron spikes. Unlike many other Soudanese mosques, the ceiling of Djenné’s great mosque are very high. The western side of the mosque opens onto a large courtyard at the rear of which are situated the women’s galleries, one on each side of the entrance.This mosque has become almost iconic in terms of West African mosque architecture and numerous village mosques in the surrounding area emulate the Djenné mosque albeit on a miniature scale. Dominated by their minaret tower, courtyard and the flat roof from where the adhan is made, each mosque has its own distinctive character.Relatives of the Soudanese mosques in Mali can be found in the Futa Toro in north-eastern Senegal. Here dwellings are generally preceded by a wooden veranda or mud porch typical of all Tukolor housing in the area. This structure is echoed in the sacred enclosure around Futa mosques consisting of a projecting straw roof supported by posts whose function is to accommodate the overflow of worshippers and protect them from the sun. As for the central and coastal area of Senegal, the influence of colonialism left its mark on mosque building and the mosques of Saint Louis, Gorée and Dakar (Blanchot) are all equipped with a front porch defined by arcades with pointed arches.

Text by: Kafia Cantone

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Violet Backed Starling

The violet-backed starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster), also known as the plum-coloured starling or amethyst starling, is a relatively small species of starling. One of the most striking of the world’s 114 starling species, male amethysts are clad in a deep violet set off by a brilliant white breast.  In the sunlight, they are, like most starlings, as iridescent as any hummingbird. This strongly sexually dimorphic species is found widely in the woodlands and savannah forest edges of mainland sub-Saharan Africa. It is rarely seen on the ground, but instead commonly found in trees and other sources away from the ground.

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Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)
  • 29 - 33.5 in (75 - 85 cm) at the shoulder, tail length of 10 - 14 in (25 - 36 cm); average weight 110 - 190 lbs (50 - 86 kg)
  • average life span in wild is up to 25 years; found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and east through Arabia to India
  • largest of the three hyena species, and the second largest carnivore in Africa; although they look like dogs, they are actually more closely related to cats
  • historically, spotted hyenas were thought to be hermaphrodites - this is because females have an enlarged clitoris, often called a pseudo-penis
  • famed as scavengers, but they are skilled hunters and can even take down wildebeest or antelope by working in groups; consume up to a third of their body weight in one meal, even crushing and eating the bones
  • live in matriarchal clans that may include up to eighty members; while males will eventually leave their birth clan, females generally remain in the same clan for life
  • females give birth in isolation, generally to two cubs, although litters can range from 1 to 4; after two to six weeks, mothers transfer their cubs to communal dens
  • cubs are born with their eyes open and can begin fighting to establish a hierarchy within minutes of birth, which may result in the death of weaker cubs; although they begin eating meat at nine months, cubs are not weaned until they are 12 to 16 months
  • current IUCN status is Least Concern

Photograph: Nik Wittmann

August 27, 2017 - Pin-tailed Whydah, Pintail Widowbird, King’s Whydah, King of Six, or Pied Widowbird (Vidua macroura)

Found in much of sub-Saharan Africa, these whydahs have been introduced to parts of the Caribbean and possibly some parts of the United States. They eat small grass seeds and insects, such as flying termites. Nest parasites, they do not form monogamous pairs or build their own nests. Males perform display flights for females, hovering in the air while singing, then breeding with several females. Females also breed with multiple males and lay their eggs in the nests of several other species of birds, mostly estrildid finches. A female may lay more than 20 eggs in a single breeding season.

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Goliath Heron

The Goliath heron (Ardea goliath), also known as the giant heron, is a very large wading bird of the heron family, Ardeidae. It is found in sub-Saharan Africa, with smaller numbers in Southwest and South Asia. This is the world’s largest heron. The height is 4-5 feet, the wingspan is 6–7 ½ feet and the weight is 9–11 pounds. In flight it has a slow and rather ponderous look and, unlike some other herons, its legs are not held horizontally. 

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The Ape Man

Rating: Explicit

Chapters: 2/?

Words: 5,985

Summary:

When the chance arises for up and coming Explorer Louis, from his best friend Liam Payne, slash world famous globetrotter; too travel to Congo, located in central sub-Saharan Africa, in order to find and study Gorillas, he was over the moon. Accompanied by highly more famous Globetrotters, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan, Louis couldn’t be more excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Stumbling across a unique creature with long brown hair, piercing green curious eyes causes a fault in Louis trip. For good or bad, he’s not quite sure.

(Tarzan AU.)


Read on AO3 here; http://archiveofourown.org/works/10128467/chapters/22523321

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Yes, guess whose back to writing again? It would be me, I hope everyone is going too enjoy this! I’ve always wanted to write a Tarzan AU and this is me finally doing it! Chapters are posted randomly! :) xx