The uKhahlamba Drakensberg region of Kwa-Zulu Natal is rich in rock art left behind by the Koi-San people. These exquisite paintings tell stories of yesteryear and teach us more about the mythology, ritual, and beliefs of the San.
Paintings were made using mostly black, white, red and orange pigments gathered from the surrounding natural environment.
Long thought to be merely pictorial journals of hunting trips and everyday life, researchers have now uncovered some of the deeper meaning of the art. The most frequently depicted animal is the eland, the largest antelope of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg and vital to the wellbeing of the San, providing meat, fat and skins.
The eland became an important symbol to the San and was viewed as an animal of power, with supernatural potency and great religious significance. Some paintings show mysterious figures with combined antelope and human features that relate to the San spirit realm.
More recent paintings depict friendly interaction between the San and African and European migrant groups, as well as conflict. Today the descendants of these artists live among local African communities.
Although they have changed their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, they still strongly associate with the rock art of their ancestors.