Form 1 Field Trip To Nsalu Caves
On the 5th July, 2019, the Form 1s went on an amazing adventure to the Nsalu caves in Chitambo District. It was a long three hour journey with some stops on the way but we eventually got there.
We met our instructor Mr. Richard who welcomed us to the caves and told us the rules about the caves and warned us of the dangers of snakes and slippery stones. We left the buses at the base and we began our journey up the mountain. On the way we saw some cactus and a lizard and lots of different types of rock. We also saw some drawn arrows on the rocks directing us to the top of the mountain and to the caves. The walk wasn’t as tiring as we thought it would be but it was still challenging with all the slippery stones, but all the students and teachers eventually made it to the top.
The first thing which caught our eyes was the interesting and confusing paintings on the wall of the cave. The paintings were in different shapes and colours that included yellow, brown, red, and white. The one thing we could not forget was the beautiful and amazing view. We got to the top and rested for about 5 minutes, then our instructor asked for our attention and began to explain about the San people. We learned:
- The San people came from the Drankensberg Mountains in South Africa. They belonged to the Late Stone Age and that they lived in those caves before the Iron Age people.
- They moved in groups of about 10 which were led by a warrior who was also a skilled hunter. He was the chief of the family. If anyone needed to marry or have children they had to ask for permission. They did not want unnecessary burdens because of their nomadic lifestyle.
- Women were gatherers while men were hunters and they would eat the meat raw.
- If a younger man wanted to marry, he would ask for permission from the leader, then he would be asked to aim an arrow at a circle drawn on the cave. If he hit the middle then he would be allowed to marry but if he missed he would not.
- They also had to get permission to have a child if they were married. If they had a child without permission the child would be stoned to death.
- They drew nude pictures of themselves and that indicates that they wore no clothes at this time.
- The San also worshiped the praying mantis as their god because of its peaceful characteristics.
- If a hunter died they would place his body under the rock and leave him with his weapons by his side and move to another place.
- The paintings were way up high and the instructor told us that the floor of the cave was once higher but with chemical weathering the floor of the cave has been worn away leaving the paintings at a height where you need a ladder to reach them.
- We also saw the cave where the head hunter would sleep and he would keep the group’s precious and valuable belongings.
- We were also told that the name Nsalu means the animal skin they used to wrap and cover their clay pots in.
Finally, it was time to go and we had to descend the mountain. We got to the bottom and we had our lunch. It was unbelievable to realize that we had climbed to a height of 1,200m.
From there we drove to see descendants of the late Stone Age People Mr. Chintu Chilala and Mrs. Jenala Chilala before beginning the journey back to Chengelo. It was a memorable and interesting trip!
By Thabo Mwanamambo, Temwa Changala, and Mapalo Zyambo