Three painted rock panels from ‘Upper Cingati’ rock shelter


  • Justine Wintjes


San/Bushman/abaThwa rock paintings, Litshana (kwaTshane Elibomvane) 2, Upper Cingati/Cinyati, uMhwabane/Lower Cinyati/eBusingatha, AmaZizi Traditional Authority, uKhahlamba- Drakensberg, Harry Wylde-Browne, Maria Weyersberg, Frobenius expedition, Meridy Pfotenhauer, rock art removal


In 2003, Meridy Pfotenhauer recorded a small painted rock shelter in the upper reaches of the eBusingatha Valley (northern KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, South Africa), under the name Litshana (or kwaTshane Elibomvane) 2. One of the walls in this shelter is covered with chisel marks attesting to the removal of hunter-gatherer (San, Bushman, abaThwa) rock paintings at an unknown time, pointing to an earlier generation of people with knowledge of this place. An exploration of archival records revealed that this shelter was formerly almost as well known as the famous eBusingatha (uMhwabane) Shelter, located at the bottom of the valley. Harry Wylde-Browne referred to the higher site as ‘Upper Cingati’ and took photographs there in the early 1920s, and Maria Weyersberg of the Frobenius expedition copied its rock paintings in 1929. Archival investigations led also to the identification of three panels removed from this site, now housed at the Old Court House Museum in Durban. Establishing a provenance for these fragments restores something of the earlier painted world of the rock shelter and adds to the body of provenanced rock art pieces from the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg.



How to Cite

Wintjes, J. (2021). Three painted rock panels from ‘Upper Cingati’ rock shelter. Southern African Humanities, 34, 205–233. Retrieved from