Thaba Sione: place of rhinoceroses and rain-making

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Thaba Sione, an unusually complex rock engraving locale in the Bophutatswana District of the North-West Province of South Africa, is interpreted as an important San religious centre. I propose that a single engraved image class found at Thaba Sione constituted a cynosure which provided Thaba Sione with a conceptual focus and pre-eminence. I discuss the engraved cynosure in terms of three aspects of San shamanism, namely shamanic transformation, gender relations and rain-making. San shamanism is, however, an immensely broad, variable and pervasive phenomenon which requires caution and transparency in the use of theory and ethnography. Like rock paintings, the lesser-researched rock engravings promise new insights into facets of San belief and may be said to constitute the research field of the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-59
Number of pages29
JournalAfrican Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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