chapter  5
25 Pages

Driekopseiland Rock Engraving Site, South Africa: A Precolonial Landscape Lost and Re-membered

Uniquely in the historiography of South African rock art sites, the engravings at Driekopseiland near Kimberley (see Figure 5.1) entered the written record as part of a fervent exposé on land loss by indigenous people in the nineteenth century. In the 1870s the engravings remained as one of the few tangible traces-indeed, as George Stow (1905:397) would have it, as the title deeds-of previous occupancy by “Bushmen.” Some decades before this, Khoe-San1 groups in the region were losing their independence, with land and access to water being seized by encroaching colonial pastoralists as the frontier shifted inland (Penn 2005; Stow 1905:394-395). From the 1870s the discovery of diamonds led to the rapid extension of colonial hegemony here and the beginning of the industrialization of South Africa’s economy.