Once upon a time long long ago, an asteroid the size of Table Mountain crashed into a spot marking out what was to become South Africa. In the Barberton Mountains east of Johannesburg, ancient greenstone rocks preserve the fossilised remains of ancient bacteria and record the earliest evidence of life 3.5 billion years ago. The wealth of pre-human and human history within its borders allows South Africa to lay claim to being the cradle of life.
In the Karoo rocks, from the foothills of the Drakensberg are fossils of the oldest known dinosaurs. These include the oldest dinosaur eggs (200 million years old). Dinosaurs were present throughout the world 180 million years ago and dominated the landscape until they succumbed to an extinction event 65 million years ago.
Only between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago did we begin to find clear evidence of the emergence of modern humans: Homo Sapiens. The oldest reliably dated specimen from 195,000 years ago was found in Kenya.
A much younger skull, also from the Eastern Cape, near the small village of Hofmeyer, was found to be 36 000 years old and demonstrates that only after human beings spread out of Africa 50 000 years ago did modern geographic variability emerge.
This means that Africans spread to different corners of the globe and over time changed in their appearance influenced by the local geographical conditions. They gradually developed the tools and skills that helped them master their environment and become the dominant species on earth.
Current thinking is that the more complex human language and symbolic thinking began to emerge between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago. By this time Homo Sapiens, maker of tools , controller of fire and effective communicator was, as we have seen, beginning to move out of Africa into Asia and Europe to inhabit virtually the whole planet.
Evidence also exists that life all those years ago in this part of the world was not just about catching fish and hunting animals. It was also about song, dance and art. In a coastal cave east of Cape Town, an exciting find of pierced shells and a patterned ochre fragment has enabled archaeologists to push back the earliest known instance of art and jewellery to some 77 000 years ago. The wealth of rock paintings in southern Africa – from the Cape to the Zambezi River there are an estimated 30 000 sites – conveys invaluable information about human history, a hunter-gatherer past that lasted , for some groups of people, for millennia and well into the 19th century.
African Rock Art is amongst the world’s oldest surviving art, predating writing by tens of thousands of years. Today, it helps us understand how our ancestors thought, saw and portrayed their world. Some rock paintings and engravings are themselves magnificent art, comparable to some of the finest works found in the World’s art galleries. African rock art is not just an African heritage, but a World heritage.
The earliest people known to have lived in this part of the world were the San and the KhoeKhoe peoples (described individually by social scientists as the Bushmen and Hotentots or Khoikhoi and collectively known as the KhoiSan.
Our First Nations
The KhoiSan were resident here for thousands of years and according to archaeologist, modern human beings had lived here for more than a 100,000 years.
The hunter-gatherer San ranged widely over the area; the pastoral Khoekhoe lived in those comparatively well-watered areas, chiefly along the southern and western coastal strips, where adequate grazing was to be found. Over time they moved north into what is known as the Eastern Cape today and intermingled with the Amaxhosa enriching the local language with their clicks. Today there are sixteen different clicks in the Xhosa language as a result of the influence of the KhoiSan whose languages were drawn from the sounds of nature. (Interestingly Madiba comes from this mix. He is maternally KhoiSan and paternally Southern African Bantu according to his DNA)
Evidence of KhoiSan presence remains in the Drakensberg areas as well. Today, 516 sites have been properly surveyed, containing a total of 29 874 paintings. By the third century AD, there was also the migration down the Eastern side of Africa from as far as Kenya. This resulted in settlements of people in the KwaZulu-Natal area where their distinctive Nguni-speaking culture had developed within their own region.
One of their great leaders, Autshumayo, was recognised by Madiba when he became president.
Further north, artefacts at the Thulamela site indicate that the northern Kruger National Park was first occupied in the 13th century. The ruins of Mapungubwe, where artefacts from as far away as China have been found, are the remains of a large trading settlement thought to stretch back to the 12th century. Agro-pastoralists, these people brought with them an Iron Age culture and sophisticated socio-political systems.
The Europeans came to settle much much later in 1652 under the auspices of the Dutch East India company which needed a refreshment post on their trading route to the East. But then they became aware of the potential and beauty of our land and decided to stay.
Birth of Resistance
Their relationship with the KhoiSan was initially one of bartering, but a mutual animosity developed over access to pastures making the KhoiSan realise that they were under threat. The first major sign that the threat was to be realised came in 1657 when nine men working for the company were released from their contracts and by royal decree granted title deed to land along the Liesbeeck River. Each were granted 15 morgen of land in what is now known as Bishopscourt very close to the Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s residence. And so began the systematic appropriation of our land and the 150 year resistance of the KhoiSan. Land ownership was organised differently in the oral tradition – something which the Europeans refused to recognise. The written title deed of the Queen of the Netherlands had more validity in their eyes. Just imagine if the Khoisan or the Sothos had landed in their country and imposed their system on the Dutch.
In that same year, 1657, the first slaves were imported from the Indonesian Islands and India, bringing the skill and labour that built the Cape. In 1659, they started building a wooden fence, with watch towers, from the mouth of the Salt River, through Rondebosch to Kirstenbosch, using the deeper parts of the Liesbeeck River as part of the barrier. To finish the barrier quickly, a hedge of indigenous wild almond trees (Brabejum stellatifolium) and thorny shrubs was planted along the section between the river and Kirstenbosch.
It locked out the indigenous people who had freely enjoyed access to the Salt River, the Black River and the Liesbeeck River so named by the Dutch East India Company.
The earliest discernable presence of Xhosa-speaking people can be traced back to the seventh and eighth century AD. By the end of the sixteenth century, they were living around the Mtata river, the Kei, Keiskamma and Great Fish Rivers.
Like the Khoisan they too resisted the European encroachment and for a 100 years and in nine wars they fought heroically. The pattern was similar for the Zulus and a number of other groups. Shaka kaSenazangakhona was one of the most powerful of our leaders who had succeeded in building a sophisticated state. The British only managed to defeat him through a lengthy military campaign and then broke up his land into pieces and handed it to European farmers.
As with most matters in life, every experience has two sides – the negative and the positive. The Europeans brought war and dispossession but also brought the written word around the beginning of the 1800s with the coming of their missionaries and their Churches.
Through exposure to this skill, we slowly added it to our ways of recording our stories alongside our oral traditions kept alive by the imbongis and oral story-tellers across the country. The most well-known being Gcina Mhlope who straddles both traditions. Today we have a mix of skills contributing to a rich culture within which our profession finds itself. And this is the story of those who brought us to where we are today….
I like this blog very much so much great info .
Thank you so much for giving everyone an exceptionally brilliant possiblity to read in detail from this blog. It’s always so brilliant plus full of a good time for me personally and my office mates to visit your website more than three times weekly to learn the newest guidance you will have. And indeed, I’m also actually pleased concerning the unbelievable guidelines you give. Some 1 points in this article are unequivocally the most efficient we have ever had.
Hello there I am so delighted I found your web site, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great work.
Some truly nice stuff on this site, I enjoy it.
That is the precise blog for anybody who needs to seek out out about this topic. You realize so much its virtually onerous to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply great!
naturally like your website but you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.
Good write-up, I’m normal visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.
hi!,I like your writing very much! share we communicate more about your article on AOL? I need an expert on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.
Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good web site with interesting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this website, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.
Regards for this post, I am a big big fan of this internet site would like to keep updated.
I see something genuinely special in this internet site.
Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!
I together with my pals have already been looking at the best tips and tricks from your web site and so instantly I had a horrible feeling I never expressed respect to the web blog owner for those tips. Most of the ladies became for this reason very interested to learn them and now have definitely been taking pleasure in those things. We appreciate you turning out to be well kind and also for going for such helpful subject matter most people are really needing to know about. My personal sincere regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.
Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!
Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Appreciate it
I will right away snatch your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me understand in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.
Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.
great post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!
You made some nice points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most guys will approve with your website.
Just what I was looking for, appreciate it for posting.
whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are looking around for this information, you could aid them greatly.
Great site. Lots of useful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks on your effort!
There is obviously a lot to identify about this. I assume you made various nice points in features also.
Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?
so much great information on here, : D.
Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care
I saw a lot of website but I believe this one has got something special in it in it
Whats Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.
I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were very helpful handy
This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.
I wanted to post you this tiny word so as to give many thanks over again for these spectacular opinions you have discussed above. This is simply remarkably generous of people like you to give publicly precisely what some people could possibly have supplied for an e book to make some profit on their own, certainly given that you could have tried it if you wanted. Those thoughts as well served to become great way to understand that the rest have similar keenness the same as my very own to see a little more with reference to this problem. I think there are a lot more enjoyable moments up front for those who take a look at your site.
hi!,I love your writing so a lot! proportion we be in contact more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist in this area to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Taking a look forward to peer you.
I just like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again right here regularly. I’m reasonably sure I’ll be informed many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!
This really answered my problem, thank you!
I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?
What i don’t understood is in fact how you are no longer actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You know thus significantly when it comes to this topic, made me individually imagine it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved until it is something to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs great. At all times handle it up!
This is a topic close to my heart cheers, where are your contact details though?
Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was searching for! “It’s the Brady Act taking manpower and crime-fighting capability off the streets.” by Dennis Martin.
you’re really a good webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a great job on this topic!
There is apparently a bunch to identify about this. I suppose you made various nice points in features also.
Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired! Very helpful information specially the remaining part 🙂 I handle such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thanks and good luck.
Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Excellent job!
Hi , I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it on Yahoo , i will come back once again. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and help other people.
Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you
This web page is really a walk-via for all of the information you needed about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you’ll undoubtedly discover it.
Мостбет (MostBet) – официальный сайт букмекерской конторы в Казахстане. Вход и регистрация у букмекера. Ставки на Мостбет – футбол, хоккей, теннис.
I genuinely enjoy reading on this internet site, it contains good content.
What i do not understood is actually how you are not actually much more well-liked than you may be now. You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!
I have learn a few good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you put to make this type of great informative site.
I will immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.
Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!
Thank you for every other informative blog. Where else may I am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I’m simply now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such info.
I have read some just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you set to create such a fantastic informative site.
Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog glance easy. The full glance of your site is wonderful, let alone the content!
It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
I beloved up to you’ll receive carried out right here. The cartoon is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nevertheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you want be handing over the following. ill surely come more until now once more since precisely the same nearly a lot regularly inside of case you defend this increase.
I enjoy what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve you guys to our blogroll.
You are my inspiration , I own few web logs and often run out from to brand.
Hello. excellent job. I did not anticipate this. This is a impressive story. Thanks!
I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again
The next time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my choice to learn, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you possibly can repair for those who werent too busy in search of attention.
Great – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task.
Of course, what a fantastic website and informative posts, I will bookmark your blog.Best Regards!