Khoi-San rock art ‘mermaids’

2010-08-10 00:00

NATAL Museum curator and rock art researcher Jeremy Hollmann will present a talk on “Mermaids or Swift People? Unique Paintings from the Klein Karoo” on Tuesday, August 17, at 6.30 pm in the Natal Museum, 237 Jabu Ndlovu St.

The presentation is about rock paintings that are found in a restricted part of the mountains of the Eastern and Western Cape and which are best known from the find 150 years ago at a site at Ezeljagspoort in the George district.

The figures in the paintings are known as “mermaids” and are linked by Khoi-San descendants to beliefs about water spirits.

A detailed study of 15 sites that feature this kind of “mermaid” painting suggests these paintings represent a powerful spirit people with shamanistic powers who have taken on the shape of a specific kind of bird.

For tickets to a dinner party afterwards, contact Gavin at or at 033 345 1040.

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