Google+ Followers


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Khwa Ttu # 4: How softly they tread!

There is no painting today but only photos. As heavy rains come down daily, accompanied by extreme cold, I stay indoors and ponder on what we know of the San.

Signs of their lives which go back thousands of years were found in this whole area stretching over Yzerfontein and Darling and at the present !Khwa Ttu. Even here where I live close to Kabeljoubank one of those mysterious rounded stones with the hole in the centre was found when the neighbours laid their foundations.

How very softly they treaded, these gentle people, the first inhabitants of the Cape! They did not excavate or build or cultivate or plant! They truly left the earth as they found it! What they needed in their daily lives was only a little food and water, and some protection for the body. My few photos show all the possessions they needed. With bow and arrow the men followed and killed buck, which they cut into pieces with flintstones. They made "Boy-scout fire" and some meat and vegs were cooked. (On the tour that I will take on a sunny day, we are going to be instructed in making a fire with two sticks, oh my, I am going to fail class!)

The women and girls collected medicinal and edible plants and roots, using the heavy stones as levers on their sticks to lift out underground tubers. The San valued water most highly and collected it underground by means of grass straws pushed down into melon-like watery roots. Water could also be stored in ostrich shells and carried around like quivers by using leather straps. All clothing and blankets were made of animal skins. The only other thing they needed was entertainment, which took place in the form of stories en-acted by the elders.

Once an area was depleted of food, the San would move away, but they were not nomads in the full sense of the word, as they would gladly settle in a good spot, like here at !Khwa Ttu, The Place of Water, with many little discoveries still in store for us... (To be continued)


  1. Thank you so much, Marie, for your posts about these fascinating early people; it is somewhat humbling to realize the many ways they "got life right". I also enjoyed the lovely paintings that accompanied some of the entries and look forward to more.

  2. Will have to add Darling museum to our list!

  3. I have always admired our Native Americans and how they lived and respected the land that provided for them.

    Too bad we modern people tend to destroy everything around us.

    Do you suppose those rounded rocks with the holes were some sort of jewelry or other ornamentation?

  4. Thank you, Mary! I am glad you read my series about !Khwa Ttu, a place close tpo my home and my heart! I am having lunch there today!

    Diana, Darling Museum is amazing! I love the old dairy paraphernalia they have there!

    Marian, I agree, they treated the earth well! About that stone: A sharpened stick goes through the hole and it weighs down the stick. I am going there for lunch today as the rain has stopped for a while. I will ask for a photo that demonstrates the tool.

  5. I am so enjoying hearing the history of this tribe, Marie. And why do I suddenly desire a donut??

  6. Is hierdie mense enigsins gekonnekteer met die Boesmans van die Kalahari? Ek is van die Kalahari :-) Thank you again for the interesting information. Again tonight it is extremely cold here - we had light snow on the mountains. Have a great weekend. Stay warm.

  7. Thank you Marie for sharing once more with us some wonderful facts about the history of your country. We take so much for granted. These people must have had a difficult time yet respectful life.

  8. Very interesting Marie! I love delving into the past. Did you manage to make a fire?
    And thanks so much for your comments about color palettes. It is very interesting, the colors you use for the different mediums. Let me know what you think of the Zorn palette if you give it a try.

  9. Thank you, Sherry! Mmm nice fat one too!

    Ilse, they are! There are only 200,000 San people in all of Africa. Being from there, I suppose you know more than us here on the coast!

    Thank you for those lovely thoughts, Cathyann! We owe them endless respect!

    Thank you, Catherine, and I still have that palette in mind! About the fire: As I am quite brittle, I will have to wait for warmer weather to do the tour!

    Thank you, Diane!

  10. Very interesting, as usual. Were you a history teacher in a former life? I will be waiting to hear the rest of the story.

  11. Very interesting Marie, I always enjoy visiting your blog. So is it winter there now? It is spring here but the rain just won't let up. I know it will soon and then we will be in a drought. Always extremes with the weather.

  12. Hi Carol, I am glad that you found it interesting, and no, I was only ever an art teacher, but am very interested in all history: British, Roman, US, ancient, etc.

    Thank you for the kind words, Barbara. Winter caught me unawares. One day and there it was!

  13. Very interesting about the Bushmen and the lifestyle they use to live.I recently went to Ghanzi Northern Botswana which has a large population of bushmen and enjoyed seeing some of their modern day art.You are welcome to visit my Blog and find the link to their art website .


I love your comments, they make my day!