Pre-colonial Heritage

Drawing primarily on careful analysis of oral traditions, scholars are in general agreement that most Tswana communities are offshoots of the Bahurutshe, who moved southwards through what is today Botswana and established themselves along the Madikwe (Marico) River, probably in about 1500 AD (see Carruthers 2014, p. 213). The Bakwena were one of the most prominent offshoots from the Bahurutshe.

In Episode 1 of this series (click here to read), mention was made of the agro-pastoralists (farmers who grew crops and kept livestock) who moved into the Magaliesberg region in about 225 AD. Scholars have categorised them as people of the "early iron age", as they possessed and made use of the technology needed for smelting and forging iron in order to make tools and weapons.

It is unknown when exactly human beings first arrived in the Magaliesberg, but stone tools from the area date back hundreds of thousands of years. There are, however, three important archaeological sites in the Magaliesberg where radio-carbon dating has revealed fascinating evidence of the way early occupants lived at least 6 000 years ago. These sites are Kruger Cave, west of Olifantspoort (excavated by Prof Revil Mason - see main image), and Jubilee Shelter and Cave James, east of Silkaatsnek (excavated by Prof Lyn Wadley).

In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals the rich history of Lonehill in Sandton. She also uncovers some wonderful details about the places, spaces and people of Sandton before it became the financial capital of South Africa. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 25 February 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work.

To the north of Johannesburg lies a hill of great historical, archaeological and geological importance. In the article below Lilith Wynne explores the archaeological aspects of the Lone Hill site. The article first appeared in the 1988 Journal of the Sandton Historical Association, two years after Professor Revil Mason made his 'discovery'.

This fascinating article appeared in The Star in the lead up to Johannesburg's Centenary Commemorations. It highlights the layers of significance attached to Northcliff Hill previously known as Aasvogel Kop. It is interesting to note the tussle between the forces of preservation and development on the ridge as well as the limited resources of the heritage authorities of the time.

Subscribe to Pre-colonial Heritage