Residents of Maphophe village, outside Malamulele in Limpopo, believe they may have stumbled upon a great discovery.
They have discovered what they call “rocks of wonders” that could date back to the Stone Age. The rocks have human footprints and other creative carvings on them.
The local communities have been visiting the area, and believe that it can be turned into a heritage site.
The rocks have a story to tell about what happened Maphophe many centuries ago. They have markings such as human footprints and small holes which look like those of an indigenous chess game, known as “morabaraba”.
They also have some other carvings, which are difficult to work out.
A local researcher says the government should send a team to investigate what happened at the place centuries ago and possibly turn it into a heritage site.
“We need the government to come and do something out of this because it seems like it’s gonna be a development, you know? Because if you look back to the history of South Africa, yes, we have discovered Mapungubwe. So, it’s not only Mapungubwe that they’ve got a what you call, a heritage, monument or gallery. Even Maphophe, we have these Morabaraba and the foot of human being. We’ve discovered that yes, there is a rock which has got the so-called juba. I can’t tell in English. I don’t know what it is. And it also has got a human foot. So, it’s something which is amazing. So we want the government to intervene so that people can come and see this. This can be changed into a tourist place. You can see it can attract tourists. It’s very rare to find something like this,” said one member of the community.
The place is now home to Tsakani Shivambu who found the place in the late 1990s. She says ever since, she has looked after the rocks, and ensured that they are well preserved and not destroyed.
“I always clean this stones to ensure that they remain intact and in good state. Groups of school children visit this place and learn about it and the history behind this. These stones seem to be very old and kids learn and write about this place. Although I clean this place, I ensure that these stones are well preserved and remain to their original state. Everyone is welcome to visit this place,” Shivambu added.
Limpopo Arts and Culture Department Spokesperson Kenny Mathivha says the community should assist the Provincial Heritage Council to ensure that proper research is done about this site.
“This particular site of a particular community will be assisted through such processes and it’s a good thing when communities realise they have places of value that need to be looked into by institutions of government and responsible institutions,” said Mathivha.
Residents are calling on the government to intervene and recognise the place as one of the heritage sites so it can attract local and international tourists as well as boosting the local economy.