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Tracks in a mountain range: exploring the history of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Aron Mazel


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Since the arrival of literate European settlers in what is now KwaZulu-Natal in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, numerous stories about the Drakensberg region have made their way into print. But for every story which happens to have been written down, there are many others which have not, and which are therefore unavailable to us in our aim of wanting to establish a modern-day understanding of the history of the Drakensberg. This applies especially to the stories told by the unlettered San hunter-gatherers and their forebears during the several thousand years for which they inhabited these mountains, and by the isiNtu-speaking black farmers who have lived in the neighbouring uplands for the past thousand years or so. But it also applies to the unwritten stories told by European colonizers and their descendants over the last century and a half. The declaration of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site - on the basis of its scenic beauty, high degree of biodiversity and the exceptional cultural value of its heritage of San rock art - provides an occasion for reflecting on the history and people of the region, from the earliest known times to the present. Constructed from archaeological and written sources, this book highlights the histories of the indigenous San hunter-gatherers and black farmers, as well as of the European colonisers. The accessible text is complemented by photographs of the landscape, rock art and archaeological finds. The authors have not aimed to write a definitive history, but have tried to open up ways of looking at the region's past which go beyond the mainly 'colonial' views which have predominated in the literature up to the present.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wright JB, Mazel AD

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Year: 2007

Number of Pages: 155

Publisher: Witwatersrand University Press

Place Published: Johannesburg

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781868144099