To those as curious about the past as I am, often left behind by present trends, this post is for you!
They call Africa the cradle of mankind, the birthplace of modern-day man and other catchy phrases and theories along with that. But none of these appeal to me. What gets me though is the mystery surrounding artifacts and cryptic writing left behind by our predecessors. Honestly, we can only guess and convince ourselves that our line of interpretation is accurate, based on known cues and continuous discoveries. And yet, the speck of doubt left in us is what keeps us searching for even more mysteries, riddles or simply meaningless images.
Somewhere in Ngora district (formerly Kumi) lies a series of such rock paintings sites. And out of the many, we naturally selected Nyero Rock Painting site, as it is popularised by the local school syllabus. But I plan to head back and enjoy the mystery of the other rock art sites. (They are easily located on Google maps).
We enjoyed a guided evening tour with one of the local guides, but rather unusually, I did not pay attention. The action of the day had worn me out pretty quick, and I couldn’t wait to get back home and sleep it off. Also, sunset was fast approaching like a Kampala boda-boda. Therefore, it was agreed that visiting three of the six sites would be ideal, anything beyond that, the tour would have turned torturous.
Nyero 1 lies beneath the belly of a single low hanging giant rock and comprises of white circular drawings. Nyero 2 is slightly more dramatic with red painted art spanning the surface of two giant rocks lying opposite to each other. Nyero 3 was familiar as it is the white concentric circles beautifully displayed on the 1000 Uganda Shilling note (pretty sure you had never noticed – you’re welcome!). The art is believed to be works of the Twa hunter-gatherers, inhabitants of the land before the arrival of the present-day Iteso. It was painted between 1000 and 3000 years ago. Although I was worn out, the guide’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the art sites were impressive and refreshing!
The tour was wrapped up with a cake cutting to kick start the festive season. And with it, our new group photo cheer was coined – Nyero! We can all agree that “Cheese” needs a long-deserved rest. On dull days in the office, oops I meant of lock-down, I get nostalgic about this visit and in my mind shout it out – Nyero!