THE 'LATE WHITES' ROCK ART PAINTINGS
This painting from the Waterberg District, Northern Province shows a figure in a posture distinctive of the area. The figure is viewed side on with an exaggerated thigh, elongated body and short arm out front. The posture is now called the 'Waterberg Posture'. Research by Ghilraen Laue has shown it is a localised manner of depicting a particular trance posture.
During the first stage of trance, people see geometric shapes called entoptic phenomena. These include zigzags, chevrons, dots, flecks, grids and U-shapes. These entoptic images are depicted in both the paintings and the engravings. Many of the engravings include 'star' or 'sun' shapes, thought to be variations of the entoptic phenomena, such as this image from the Gauteng Province.
The row of white giraffe belongs to a tradition of rock art paintings known in South Africa as 'Late Whites'. These rock art paintings are found, predominantly, in the far north of South Africa. The tradition comprises thick, white finger paintings that have often been placed over older San rock art paintings. These images were made by black farming communities.
Late White Rock Art Paintings
Late White Giraffes Rock Painting
This Late White painting of a train was painted by a Northern Sotho artist at the beginning of the 20th century. This image is the subject of new research being undertaken by Dr Benjamin Smith. He argues that this is South Africa's first protest art. The train stood as a symbol for white expansion. As train lines pushed ever deeper into Northern Sotho territory, conflicts with the colonial government grew more frequent and more vicious. The trains brought farmer settlers and these settlers demanded the appropriation of ever more Northern Sotho land.