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)