Deciphering South African Rock Art by Mallory Bernstein

Photographed by David Coulson/ Trust for African Rock Art (africanrockart.org)

All along the ridges of the Drakensburg Mountains in the highlands of KwaZulu-Natal, there are cliffs with paintings- people, giraffes, elands, ‘boks’ of all sorts (springbok, rooibok, etc.). In 2013, I was hiking through the Drakensburg with my university class-mates studying abroad in Durban, South Africa. We were hiking near Cathedral Peak, 3 hours in, going up steep terrain with a barely navigable trail and bracing ourselves for sunburn in the late summer sun. Suddenly, our professor pulled aside and gestured towards the wall of the cliff. On it, images dripped with colour as multiple eland and human figures in a circle danced about the rock. It looked as if they were painted yesterday, the detail and colour was preserved so well.

These were the work of the San (Bushmen) – long before the incoming of Europeans to South Africa.

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Unpacking Gendered Trajectories and Wellbeing in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso By Mallory Bernstein

In the second African Studies Lunchtime Seminar, (27th October 2016) Dr Sara Randall from UCL Anthropology presented original research into wellbeing and ageing in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Her work combines anthropology and demography and revealed a number of nuances in demographic surveys about how marriage responsibilities dictate life trajectories of the elderly.

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