Image and Identity: Modelling the Emergence of a 'New' Rock Art Tradition in Southern Africa
Geoffrey Blundell [+]
KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa
Southern African research on rock art traditions that are not ”San” has tended to make linkages between the images and some putative ethnic identity. At best, these research efforts lean towards essentialism; at worst they end up making simplistic correlations between material culture and cultural identity. Scholars rarely attempt the complex issue of how image and identity are intertwined. By considering rock paintings that are different to “San” imagery from Nomansland in the south-eastern mountains of South Africa, and by situating those images within a historical context, I argue in this paper that it is possible to model the entanglement between image and identity for some parts of southern Africa at least.