Rock Painting S01392, Ficksburg, Dihlabeng District Municipality, Free State


This San rock painting depicts black-and-red colored magical objects, including rain-animals, such as snakes with animal heads, which are encountered by dancers in their out-of-body vision journeys that are part of the Great Dance. Among all San groups, the most important ritual is the Great Dance in which, through trances, the San say that 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