Helen Tongue, Dorothea Bleek and paintings of ‘frogs’
David Witelson
Sun, 30/04/2023 - 10:30

Dear all


Please join us at the Branch AGM which will take place at Phansi Museum in Glenwood, Durban, on Sunday 30 April 2023 at 10.30 am.


The 34th Oliver Davies Memorial Lecture will follow the AGM, probably no later than 11.00 am. The speaker is Dr David Witelson from the Rock Art Research Institute at Wits University in Johannesburg. His talk is as follows:


Helen Tongue, Dorothea Bleek and paintings of ‘frogs’

by David Witelson



In the early 1900s, Helen Tongue and Dorothea Bleek published a copy of a rock painting from a site near Dordrecht in the Eastern Cape. They suggested that the painting depicted a scene from a ǀXam San myth in which the Rain – !Khwa: – punished girls who did not behave appropriately at the onset of pubescence. In the myth, the Rain turns a girl and her family into frogs. During recent fieldwork in the Stormberg area I relocated the site and realized that the paintings are far more complex than shown in Tongue’s copy, which shows only part of the scene. This new information allows for new interpretations that don’t involve depictions of scenes from myths. It also shows how our perceptions of the world shape what we see and record.


Also, I’ll confirm a suitable place for lunch after the talk for those who’d like a socialize a bit (own cost).


At the AGM we will elect a new Branch committee. The current committee nominates the following people for the next committee:


Jenny Gregory, Mary Furnivall, Ghilraen Laue, Jeremy Hollmann, Donald Davies, Robbie Cameron (as Treasurer) and Gavin Whitelaw (as Secretary)


Michelle House is stepping down from the committee as she is expecting a baby in mid-April. You are all welcome to submit other nominations. Please send names to me by end Sunday 9 April 2023. Please make sure the person you nominate wants to be on the committee!


Please also submit to me any items you’d like to see on the AGM agenda by end Sunday 9 April 2023.


Many thanks to all members who have paid the 2023 subscription fees. Please try join us for as many of the various activities as possible. For those who haven’t yet paid, please do so as soon as possible using your membership number as a reference. The account details are as follows:


Bank: Standard Bank

Current Account No: 07051 0121

Branch code: 025 009

Account Name : SA Archaeological Society

Swift code : SAZAZAJJ


You are welcome to contact me if you need any further information (subscription amount, membership number, etc.).