Rock Painting S01321, Ficksburg, Dihlabeng District Municipality, Free State


This red-and-black San rock-art image of people and a rain-animal depicts aspects of the Great Dance. Among all San groups, the most important ritual is the Great Dance in which, through trances, the San say they harness a kind of spiritual power. They use this power for healing, hunting, removing societal tensions, making rain, and other tasks. San communities also believed that rain-animals had to be captured and slaughtered by shamans in order to bring rain. The image of the painting is part of the Woodhouse Rock Art Collection of the Department of Library Services at the University of Pretoria. The collection includes more than 23,000 slides, maps, and tracings from a large number of rock art sites in South Africa. The San are hunter-gatherer people who lived throughout southern and eastern Africa for thousands of years before being displaced by African tribes and European settlers. The San people continue to live in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia.

Last updated: January 8, 2018