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Please note the following concerning applications submitted to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) during the December 2023 to January 2024 period.

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Special Notice

Following comments received on the proposed Revised Schedule of Fees for applications made to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), made in terms of Section 25(2)(l) of the National Heritage Resources Act No. 25 of 1999 (NHRA) and published in the Government Gazette of 22 July 2022, SAHRA hereby publishes the final Revised Schedule of Fees for Applications made to SAHRA. Applications for provision of services submitted to the South African Heritage Resources Authority (SAHRA), in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999 (NHRA) must be accompanied by a payment of the appropriate fee, taking effect from 1 January 2023

Revised Schedule of Fees for Applications made to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)

Nomination of Game Pass as National Heritage Site






The presence of the Rosette-panel at Game Pass assisted Prof. David Lewis-Williams to uncover the symbolism of rock art and to conclude that many painted images can directly be linked to the trance-dance. The Shamanism theory of Lewis-Williams was established on the study of the Rosetta-panel and outcomes were applied to interpret rock art world wide


AESTHETICAL VALUE San rock art located within the MDP WHS represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and is material evidence of the aesthetic achievements of the San on an international level (Nomination document sent to UNESCO). Game Pass shelter includes monochrome, bichrome and shaded polychrome paintings contained within five panels that extend over an area of 80m on the parent rock. The majority of paintings were very realistically depicted; incorporating movement, difficult postures and care was taken to blend different colours into each other. The Alcove Panel also includes many kaross-clad figures adorned with necklaces, bead-decorated bands, and tassels at the bottom of the kaross and carrying flywhisks with tassels. The panels are complex and detailed. Lastly, the condition of the art is very good compared with other sites, where weathering and graffiti spoils the setting. SCIENTIFIC VALUE The presence of the well-known Rosetta Panel who led researchers to decode the meaning of the symbolism in the art, at Game Pass Shelter makes the site very significant since it relates to the establishment of the Shamanism Theory of Professor David Lewis-Williams. Professor Lewis-Williams outcomes were applied worldwide to interpret rock art. This panel was named the “Rosetta Panel” because it formed the basis of David Lewis-William’s Shamanistic school of thought and it acted as the key image to understand symbolism and the metaphysical belief-system of Bushmen society (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1999). In the image, an eland in a dying posture can be seen: his head is lowered; he is stumbling and his hind legs are crossed, the hair on his main stands erect. In a similar fashion the therianthrope or semi-human, semi-animal figure, holding the tail of the eland, was depicted copying this posture: His feet are also crossed, he is bending forward and the hair on his body was painted, standing erect (LewisWilliams and Dowson, 1999). Ethnography informed the viewer that going into trance was just as painful as dying and the Bushmen also called trance the “little death”. Shamans experienced spasms in their stomachs which they interpreted as supernatural potency that “boiled’ and moved up along their spine to explode behind their neck. It was extremely painful and would lead to shamans falling unconscious. This potency was also depicted as a white line painted on the back of the therianthrope and sometimes “exploding” behind the therianthrope’s neck (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1999). The Shamanism school is used world-wide to interpret Stone Age and Paleolithic Art and South Africa is a leader with regard to the interpretation of rock art, although we are lacking on the basis of conservation studies. The Game Pass Shelter was the first rock art site in South Africa that gained international attention when an article on it was published in the “Scientific American” in 1915. The presence of the Rosetta Panel that uncovered the significance of the dying eland and many other postures and metaphors linked with trance, is of exceptional value. Many rare metaphors linked with altered states of consciousness can also be found at Game Pass. For example, the San has three metaphors for their spiritual sphere – the sky, being under water and the space behind the parent rock. On two occasions, figures were depicted as if they are coming from a crack or painted linen on the rock surface. SOCIAL VALUE On an international level, this site is of a high value since it is located within the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and San rock art bears a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared (UNESCO criteria for World Heritage Site Nomination). Rock art in the MDW WHS is material evidence of the spiritual and cultural achievements of the San and it also serves as a medium through which their cultural continuity, change, cosmology and their life ways can be communicated to present and future generations (Nomination document sent to UNESCO). On a regional level Game Pass Shelter is still being used by San Descendants living in the central and southern Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. Game Pass is visited in September and during full moon, an eland is offered to the forefathers. Locals from Thendela Village, neighbouring Kamberg as well as San descendants from Underberg attend this function. Game Pass Shelter is a living heritage site and the social value of the site is high. Game Pass is a premium tourism destination on national and international levels because of the presence of the well-known Rosetta Panel as well as the diversity and amount of well preserved paintings. d) HISTORICAL VALUE The age of Game Pass Shelter is not known, however, the oldest indirectly obtained date for the Central Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site is 3 500 years BP. The oldest direct date for all rock art in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site is 4 000 years BP. Game Pass Shelter can be linked to both the Late Stone Age and the Proto-historic or contact phase of history, taken into consideration that both San paintings and Late White Daubing executed by the ancestors of the Sotho or Zulu people are present at Game Pass Shelter. Several red finger lines and smears are visible at the end of panel five at Game Pass. Prins (personal interview, 2008) explained that Sotho or Zulu initiates used San painted shelters and caves because the art was deemed to be spiritually powerful and this state of so-called “hotness” contributed to the success of rites of passage. The site was both significant because of the paintings charged the site with spiritual potency but it was also feared because it was “hot” and to neutralise the possible danger of the site, initiates smeared the parent rock with red paint (Prins, personal interview, 2008). The historical value of the site is high since it contains both Late Stone Age and proto-historic or contact art from two different cultures. LINGUISTIC VALUE Although the San was illiterate in a western sense, the fact that David-Lewis Williams broke the code of symbolism embedded in the Rosetta Panel and established a way to “read the art” by means of linking certain postures (hand to nose, bleeding nose, arms stretched out behind a person, bent forward position) to altered states of consciousness and by defining several metaphors for trance, for instance being under water, dying, being in the air or entering/exiting a crack in the parent rock, he was able to translate San “hieroglyphs” and communicate their meaning to the public. For this reason rock art, especially at Game Pass Shelter because of the presence of the Rosetta Panel, is of high linguistic significance.


Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 10:47





Lewis-Williams, D & Dowson, T (1999), Images of Power: Understanding San Rock Art. Cape Town: Struik Publishers
Anderson, G. (1990). Bushman Rockart in South Africa. Art Publishers
Derwent, S (2006). Heritage Sites in KwaZulu-Natal: A guide to some great places. Claremont: David Philip Publishers
Sycholt, A (2002). A guide to the Drakensberg. Cape Town: Stuik Publishers
Anderson, G & Wahl, E (n.d.) Bushman Art of the Drakensberg: A guide to he art, mythology and culture of the Drakensberg Bushmen. Art Publishers
Wright, J.B & Mazel, A.D (2007). Tracks in a Mountain Range: Exploring the history of the Ukhahlamba- Drakensberg. Johannesburg: Wits University Press
KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Services & AMAFA (1999). Nomination Proposal for the Drakensberg Park alternatively known as Okhahlamba Park to be listed as a World Heritage Site

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