DER Documentary

Iindawo Zikathixo (In God's Places)


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by Frans Prins
color, 52 min, 1997




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Iindawo Zikathixo traces the Khoisan (Bushman) cultural legacy in south-eastern Africa. The film features the sublime Bushman rock art as a background against which the story of the Bushmen unfolds.

Bushmen hunter-gatherers were the first people to inhabit the southern African landscape. For thousands of years, they migrated over the Drakensberg foothills, following the wild animals they hunted and painted. Iindawo Zikathixo explores the cultural interaction that developed between the Bushmen, the Xhosa and the Sotho-speaking peoples, and exposes the merciless force with which European settlers dispossessed the Bushmen of their hunting and gathering grounds.

Some aspects of Bushmen culture survived the genocide, and Iindawo Zikathixo investigates these through music, dance, oral history and traditional rituals in communities that intermarried with Bushmen in past times.

Filmed in the beautiful, remote hills and valleys of the southern Drakensberg, Iindawo Zikathixo is a unique, visually powerful record of a suppressed culture. A central location of the film is the Inxu River Valley in the former Transkei, where the last known Bushman artist, Lindiso, lived, painted and made rain for the Xhosa-speaking Mpondomise until about 1930. We visit Lindiso's painted shelter with his grandson, Maqulana and with Sipani Togu, an Mpondomise diviner of Bushman descent. Mr. Togu conducts rainmaking and other rituals he associates with the Bushmen in the painted rockshelters of the Inxu Valley.

Iindawo Zikathixo is a timely record of a rapidly vanishing Southern African cultural heritage and will be of profound interest to all those concerned with the Bushman Legacy and with African traditional culture.

Note: although some people featured in this film are shown touching rock art, this occurs in the traditional or ritual contexts and is not usually acceptable because touching damages the paintings. In the interests of conserving rock art, visitors to painted shelters are advised not to touch the rock art under any circumstances.



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