CONCRETISING THE INTANGIBLE: THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF SAN DESCENDANTS IN THE GREATER DRAKENSBERG AREA
Frans Prins
University of KwaZulu-Natal,School of Anthropology, Gender and Historical Studies

 

Abstract
The cultural heritage of the original San inhabitants of the Drakensberg has traditionally been informed by archaeological notions ofheritage as is evident in the original nomination dossier for the Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site in the early 1990’s and the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act no 25 of 1999)as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act (Act no 4 of 2008). For many decades the Mountain San has been assumed extinct and the authorities were dependent on archaeological insights to aid heritage legislation and policy formulation. As a result great emphasis has been placed on the tangible which, for the Drakensberg area translates to the remarkable rock art heritage of this mountainous landscape as well as some Later Stone Age cave deposits. It was only with the relative recent “discovery” of Mountain San descendants that the San heritage repertoire has been expanded to include the non-archaeological as well as the intangible. The San descendants, like many other indigenous peoples, do not conceptually distinguish between cultural and natural heritage features.Many natural features are imbued with intangible cultural meaning. Examples include certain forests, pools, waterfalls, and mountains. These features are believed to contain powerful “live-giving force” that assists in maintaining human society and the universe.In fact, the entire Drakensberg range is viewed as a “sacred landscape” that still features prominently in the oral traditions and “dreamscapes” of San descendants.Intangible values have also been ascribed to certain rock art sites – and although significant they are not viewed to be as potent as some waterfalls and mountains.The rest of this paper will discuss particular heritage sites and their implications in terms of best management practise.

 

Presentation Topic
CONCRETISING THE INTANGIBLE: THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF SAN DESCENDANTS IN THE GREATER DRAKENSBERG AREA
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