I started climbing in the Drakensberg at the age of 18 and over the years (40), I managed to climb most of the high peaks in the southern part of the berg. These included Cleft Peak, Cathedral Peak (three times) Elephant, Rhino, Wilson, and Walker.
Regrettably I did not manage the Bell, which was too shaley and beyond my ability. Obviously, in these wonderful mountains, I slept in many a cave and witnessed a fair lot of Bushman paintings.
After my retirement I worked hand in hand with the Natal Parks Board and was very privileged at getting the chance to view ‘The Moonlight Princess’ - a Bushman painting of a white woman.
I believe there is only one other painting on the same subject in South Africa, and that is in the Cape somewhere. I have never seen it.
‘The Moonlight Princess’ shows a white lady with a halo and a very ornate blouse, with quite a bit of fine work. It is situated in an overhang, not really a cave.
In the CXPRESS report [read ‘Ochre on rock before oil on canvas’ on page 2 of the September 18 edition at www.cxpress.co.za], Bob Hopkin mentions that the artists sometimes depicted beings that are half-human, half-animal in their paintings.
So here follows an interesting story.
I read two books, one called Eight Months in an Ox-wagon and the other, Five Years in an Ox-wagon, the latter by Anderson - an Englishman who had walked from the Cape to the diamond fields at Kimberly.
He was more interested in adventure than trying his luck in finding diamonds, so he bought an ox-wagon and with 16 oxen and five or six Bushmen as guides and voorlopers, he set off in a north-westerly direction.
On his travels he found old ruins, which he described as being about 100 metres long and not unlike the famous Zimbabwe Ruins, in well laid stone. (I wonder if they have been covered by sand, as there has never been mention of them…)
To get back to the point: Anderson said he met a tribe of very different Bushmen to the crew he had with him. They had long hair on their bodies and faces, arms and legs, and while they spoke a different language, his men could understand these strange people, whom they had never met before.
Anderson said he had managed to talk to ‘his’ Bushmen, and the clicks and sounds they made reminded him of the Inca tribes of South America.
The strange Bushmen told Anderson’s team that they could converse with animals. So the question is this: did our Bushmen originally come from Peru?
Gordon Button, Plett