The San didn’t leave us impressive monuments but, like all great cultures, they have left us their evocative art; tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of beautiful enigmatic paintings, spread over the entire southern African region.
The oldest dated painting in Southern Africa is 27 000 years old. Rock art has been studied in detail and yet many mysteries remain. Who were the artists in the Stone Age clans? How much artistic license was allowed? Was the painting accompanied by ritual and celebration? How many paintings are associated with trance, magic, healing, or memorable events? Why are elephants frequently painted yellow?
Now the rock shelters are silent of voices, and the paintings remain largely unseen, except for the infrequent hiker, or curious archaeologist. This thought makes me melancholy, and I imagine that our ancestral artists would, perhaps, prefer their paintings to still be part of the human experience.
While hiking in the Cederberg, and working on archaeological exhibitions Rockary was born.
I invite you to share this captivating legacy. Let’s bring it back into our homes, and celebrate the mystery and artistic beauty of these enigmatic paintings and the creative human spirit.