the cave entrance

Best preserved image

MPIKA, Nachikufu Caves .......... As I said, the real reason for going north was to see the rock paintings at Nachikufu Cave. If you've never seen the San carvings and paintings in Namibia, it might be an impressive site. However, I had. The paintings were estimated to be 15,000 years old. Since their discovery in 1948, little had been done to protect them from human destruction. Most of the paintings were worn away from people touching them. It didn't keep the students' attention nearly as much as climbing the actual mountain.

My personal highlight of the experience was actually creating my own rock painting at the base of the cave. Just as the Stone Age people had done, we ground rocks into powder, then mixed it with animal fat, and applied the paint with reeds to the rock surface. It was a marvelous hands-on experience for the kids - and their art teacher. We brought the rock painting back to camp. I had planned to let them dry overnight before photographing them. Well, we learned a lesson. Either the Stone Age people didn't use animal fat or there were no ants back then. We had ants and overnight they ate away all of the animal fat, destroying the artwork in the process. Fortunately, I'm happy to say, many of the kids enjoyed the project so much that they repaired their paintings in their free time.

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved. ARTIN