Another ancient African wonder, capturing the attention of mathematicians and anthropologists alike is this traditional Ba-ila settlement in Southern Zambia.
Home to the Ila people, thought to be the first of the Bantu groups to settle in what is now modern day Zambia, the settlement is notable for its fractal properties. Made up from a seed shape of a ring, it has been described as a ring of rings. Constructed on flat arid lands,it has a front/back social distinction: The entrance is low status, and the back end is high status. Thus, there are no family enclosures at all for the first 20 yards or so!
The farther back one goes, the larger the family enclosures become, with the chief’s being the largest right at the back. Besides his own house, he also has three or four miniature huts: where offerings are made to the ancestral spirits. At the back end of the interior lies a smaller detached ring of houses; a settlement within the settlement. This is the home of the chief’s extended family.
If we were to view a single house from above, we would see that it is a ring with a special place at the back of the interior: the household altar.
Interestingly, the word applied to the chief’s relation to his people is kulela:which means to nurse, or to cherish’ the chief is the father of the community and they his children, and what he does is lela them.
This relationship is echoed throughout family and spiritual ties at all scales, and structurally mapped through the self similar architecture. The nesting of circular shapes—ancestral miniatures to the chief's house ring to chief’s extended family ring to the great outer ring—was not a status gradient, but successive iterations of lela.