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Koma: Expressions of cultural identity

The crocodile motif in the rock art of the Makgabeng Plateau, Limpopo Province, South Africa

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Bibliografische Daten
ISBN/EAN: 9783843382052
Sprache: Englisch
Umfang: 80 S.
Format (T/L/B): 0.4 x 22 x 15 cm
Auflage: 1. Auflage 2010
Einband: kartoniertes Buch


This research project investigates a recurring spread-eagled motif found in Northern Sotho rock art in the Makgabeng Plateau, Limpopo Province, South Africa. This motif is found in association with rock art that relates to boy''s initiation and protest images relating to the Maleboho war of 1894. The local inhabitants call this motif koma and say that it is part of Northern Sotho boy''s initiation. I question this living testimony and consider whether this motif forms a conceptual link between both types of Northern Sotho rock art. In the context of the complex cultural interaction in the Blouberg- Makgabeng area, I argue that this painted spread- eagled motif is a crocodile. I maintain that this important symbol not only reflects cultural identities but also plays an integral part in the construction of cultural identities.


Shiona Moodley is the head of the Rock Art Department at the National Museum. She completed her MA in Archaeology (Rock Art Studies) at the University of Witwatersrand. Her current research focus is initiation rock art in the Limpopo Province and San rock art in Lesotho.