Visit to uMhwabane (eBusingatha) rock shelter, Ukahlamba-Drakensberg, KZN

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Recently, staff and volunteers of the Human Sciences Department and Exhibitions Department of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum had the opportunity to visit the rock art site eBusingatha, or uMhwabane as it is known locally. The site is situated in the AmaZizi Traditional Authority area, adjacent to the Royal Natal National Park. Many rock art panels were removed due to concern over vandalism. They were taken to the Natal National Park Hotel where they were viewed by the British royal family during their 1947 visit. The rocks are now in the care of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum with one, portraying the well-known ‘elephant-man’, on display in the Hunter-Gatherer Gallery.

Only one large painted panel remains in its place at the site. Beautiful shaded polychrome eland, human figures, and the remains of a huge snake can still be seen (see image above). Unfortunately, the rock surface is exfoliating and slowly the images are being lost. Every time we visit we see more has flaked away. Below are two copies of this panel made in 1929 showing how the rock art has degraded over the last 90+ years.

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This copy shows the snake and surrounding figures, many of which can still be matched up to what survives at the site. Use this image to spot the snake in the photograph above! Courtesy of the Frobenius Institute (Search for “FBA-D2 01574” (include the quote marks in your search)).

 

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This copy, over 3m long, shows a detailed row of figures that used to adorn the stretch of rock below the snake. The white oval shows what is virtually the last fragment of this imagery (match to the white oval in the photograph). Courtesy of SARADA.

 

The site is open to the public. Those interested in visiting can contact Bawinile Mtolo of the Mdlankhomo Rock Art Monitoring Group on 074 724 7826.

 

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KWAZULU-NATAL MUSEUM PUBLISHES NEW BOOK

 Chronicles 1 cover print 2021 02 03

The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is pleased to announce the publication Chronicles of the Seekoei River Bushmen and their Neighbours, Volume 1 by Garth Sampson and Dennis Neville. The book is a companion volume to 2018’s The World of the Seekoei River Bushmen, also published by the KwaZulu-Natal Museum. In Chronicles 1, the authors collate the extensive historical material for the Seacow River area. Lavishly illustrated, with detailed maps, this book represents a small part of a lifetime’s work. Garth Sampson’s interest for the Seekoei River Valley’s archaeology, history, and environment is almost unbounded in its intellectual passion. In this account, the authors leave no stone unturned.

Most South Africans have never heard of the Seekoei (Seacow River), which has its origins in the Sneeuwberg (Snow Mountains) and flows northwards into the Orange River and that is a pity; this seemingly remote and minor river was, for a time, at the heart of Bushmen resistance against colonialism. This volume covers the time-period 1770 to 1830, with a second volume in preparation to cover the period after 1830. These volumes form part of the Occasional Publication series published by the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, edited by Dr Gavin Whitelaw of the Department of Human Sciences. Volumes on other archaeological topics are currently in preparation. The volume is for sale directly from the KwaZulu-Natal Museum currently for a special introductory price of R510, excluding the cost of postage.

If you would like to purchase Chronicles Volume 1 as well as 2018’s The World of the Seekoei River Bushmen, they are available as a set for a short period at the special price of R750, excluding the cost of postage.

If you would like to order a copy, please complete the order form here and email it through to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Please note that the KZN Museum will be closed to the public until further notice.  
We do apologize for any inconvenience caused. Please contact the Museum should you require any assistance.  033-3451404.
Stay safe and reduce the risk of infection. 
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Opening Times

Monday to Friday - 9:00 to 15:30 
Saturdays - Closed 
Sundays - Closed

ENTRANCE CHARGES

Adults (over 17 years) : R10.00

Children (4-17 years) : R 2.50 

School Learners on tour : R 1.50 per child

Pensioners & toddlers : FREE