National Geographic : 1963 Jun
Gautscha now because word had spread that we were there and gave presents of tobacco, salt, and beads. Besides, we caused a welcome diversion by handing out paints and paper. By now it is generally accepted that Bush men made the famous rock paintings in the mountains of southern Africa (page 848). Curious to see what would happen, we asked the Bushmen to draw for us. The adults were too shy at first, but the children drew beautifully. They made animal tracks, moving their free hand to imitate the head motion of the animal; then they drew fine, delicate stick figures of the animals them selves. At last the grownups painted too, laughing at each other and themselves as they did so. I asked one man what he was drawing that amused him so much, and he said, "I don't know. I tried to draw a gemsbok." The artists who made the rock paintings had a tradition of painting. The Bushmen at Gautscha Pan, of course, did not. But the paintings they did resembled the rock paint ings in some ways-in the fineness of line, in the slender, long-legged animals, and in the fact that various objects were sometimes painted as though seen from above. 874 Many people did not want to paint. In- Delicate stick figures sketched by young Bushmen on a white wall near Okwa Pan, Bechuanaland, are similar to the rock art of their ancestors throughout southern Africa. Long-legged cow, hand print, wooden pot, and pat terned apron dominate the painting of a hunter who presented it to the author at Gautscha Pan (left). Tracks of game birds ap pear at upper center. Art classes beneath a shade tree at Gautscha Pan appeal to both children and adults. Mrs. Thomas passes out paper and col ors to see what will hap pen when today's Bushman tries to paint (above). Playing House, Girls Build a Toy Skerm Often the children have watched their mothers erect grass shelters like the one in background in less than an hour. Bushmen keep belongings in skerms but prefer to sleep in the open beside fires.