THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . . 22
The earliest known inhabitants of the Low-Veld were the BUSHMEN, now the SAN or KHOI SAN or as I prefer, the LITTLE PEOPLE.
They knew nothing of agriculture, they never built themselves a permanent dwelling, but they left their history book on the surfaces of the rocks which gave them shelter long before the first European made his appearance. should you be fortunate enough, you may come across these books of history, drawn with great care, using a brush chewed from a stick, using whites and yellows and reds and blacks derived from the oxides, minerals and plants provided by the Creator.
The caves, rock reccesses and granite eaves in the hills and mountains between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers gave shelter and comfort to these LITTLE PEOPLE. They adorned these surfaces with images of men and animals and stars and many unknown symbols, which are still today to be viewed in an excellent state of preservation, by those who care to maybe walk a distance or climb over and up rocks . . . . . . .
The wild animals depicted, are such as still exist in the area in which they once roamed and were studied and hunted by these LITTLE PEOPLE. The human figures all represent men of uniform type, totally nude and armed with short bows and arrows which are usually shown, carried between the fingers of the left hand.
The paintings are of all ages; a few oblitterated by time and weather; others comparatively clear and fresh. Some may depict combat between small groups of warriors all equipped alike; others depict human figures in postures of supplication or devotion; kneeling with outstretched arms, or bending down with the forehead touching the ground.
These caves and shelters are all relatively close to water and to grassy valleys, doubtlessly the feeding place for wild game animals. The location of these shelters can therefore be assumed were chosen for their amenities and not as refuge from their enemies, those who hunted them down and slaughtered them, only arrived from north AFRICA and maybe EUROPE ,many centuries after their first arrival.
During the early part of the twentieth century natives living in the area denied all knowledge of the LITTLE PEOPLE, they had never seen or heard of them, not even by hearsay . . . . . . nothing, the LITTLE PEOPLE must therefore have disappeared from the area very many decades ago, after many areas, being the first and only permanent inhabitants for many thousands of years, living their uncomplicated little lives.
Chert arrow heads used by the LITTLE PEOPLE, may still today be found in the low country, indicating that the LITTLE PEOPLE of the period preferred to reside in a pleasant, well watered area, but from time to time also came down into the hot dry lowlands in pursuit of game.
Nothing is certain of these old days, but when reading their books of history, one may possible reconstruct imaginary scenes of the past.
Sitting under a shady tree in the drowzy heat of a summer afternoon, one can gaze over a kranz or a kloof or a green valley and subconsciously a vision may unfold itself - in the distance you may hear the far off grunting of some Hippos enjoying their pool, you may see some grey moving objects a distance away , their ears flapping, and between the green of the trees and the sparkling dew laden grass, some Wildebeeste or maybe Impala or maybe a Reedbuck or Zebra, Then two little men pass the base of the hill below us, they are quite naked, tawny yellow in colour, their hair growing in little tufts. Each carrying a small bow and some diminutive arrows, in a little hide satchel, slung across the body. The small sharp eyes glancing rapidly from side to side.
Then they stop and look - maybe a spoor - they kneel down and then point - they talk and then quietly seem to vanish. Looking very carefully you may see the shortish grass gently moving in the direction in which the two little hunters had pointed.
Then a sudden movement - a big grey bull ELAND, not noticed before, suddenly jerks as if sting by some insect, and takes off in a heavy gallop, which soon subsides into a trot and eventually into a walk slower and slower, eventually it drops. Two little reed shafts tipped by sharp little chert heads, dipped in a deadly poison had gone home in the great body. First it was just a slight sting, then discomfort, then pain, the beast sways and eventually comes crashing down to the ground.
Two little figures appear from where you may have noticed the grass gently moving and at a gentle trot follow the ELAND and if you listen very carefully you may hear them talking to one another with many clicking sounds, possibly discussing something . . . . . .
A smile on their weathered faces - they know tonight they will make a fire and the women and children will join the feast of this beautiful animal which will soon succumb to the poison, spreading through its body more and more with every heart beat . . . . . . They have taken what they need, nothing more, nothing will go to waste . . . . . and their hand clapping and little song and foot beats will last untill on and on until . . . . . . .
You notice the Elephants are still flapping their ears and the Impala and the Reedbuck and the Wildebeeste and the Zebras are still grazing peacefully and doing their things in the distance, all that has changed is that the dew is no longer glittering in the bright sunlight . . . . . . . Nature is undisturbed by this little tragedy - it is merely a part of a routine - like the huntings of a Lion or a Leopard - the LITTLE HUNTERS and their little families, are surely also the children of the Great Mother, and she accepts them on equal terms with her other winged and four legged and crawling children . . . . . .
Then in the distance you are brought to reality by the the " wurk, wurk, wurk, wukwakuk, wukwukak " of a YELLOW BILLED HORNBILL and you realise that you have just had an experience only had by the very fortunate . . . . . . here in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK also by a short stout man of Scottish descent dressed in neat khaki and wearing a wide brimmed hat, maybe sixty or seventy or even eighty years ago . . . . . . .
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 142 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.