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Since the arrival of literate European settlers in what is now KwaZulu-Natal in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, numerous stories about the Drakensberg region have made their way into print. But for every story which happens to have been written down, there are many others which have not, and which are therefore unavailable to us in our aim of wanting to establish a modern-day understanding of the history of the Drakensberg. This applies especially to the stories told by the unlettered San hunter-gatherers and their forebears during the several thousand years for which they inhabited these mountains, and by the isiNtu-speaking black farmers who have lived in the neighbouring uplands for the past thousand years or so. But it also applies to the unwritten stories told by European colonizers and their descendants over the last century and a half. The declaration of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site - on the basis of its scenic beauty, high degree of biodiversity and the exceptional cultural value of its heritage of San rock art - provides an occasion for reflecting on the history and people of the region, from the earliest known times to the present. Constructed from archaeological and written sources, this book highlights the histories of the indigenous San hunter-gatherers and black farmers, as well as of the European colonisers. The accessible text is complemented by photographs of the landscape, rock art and archaeological finds. The authors have not aimed to write a definitive history, but have tried to open up ways of looking at the region's past which go beyond the mainly 'colonial' views which have predominated in the literature up to the present.
This is an abbreviated version of Tracks in a Mountain Range, and is published in dual format in English and isiZulu. The uKhahlamba mountains have been the home of many different groups of people for a very long time. Small groups of hunter-gatherers began living in rock shelters there at least 27 000 years ago. Their descendants were San people who still lived there as recently as a hundred years ago. About 600 years ago, groups of African farmers began building their villages near the foothills, and grazing their cattle into the mountains. From the 1840s, European settlers in the colony of Natal began laying out farms for sheep and cattle in the foothills of the mountains. They drove out the San, and brought the African farmers under their domination. In the twentieth century the settlers and their descendants began to use the land for purposes besides farming, especially for developing tourism and leisure activities, and supplying water for industry. Africans became labourers on the farms and in South Africa's towns and cities. Exploring the History of the uKhahlamba Mountains tells about the coming of these different peoples to the mountains, and describes the different ways of life that they established, sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently. It is copiously illustrated with photographs in full colour.