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Chapter 22 - Yellowstone, Kruger, Kakadu: Nature, culture and heritage in three celebrated national parks

from PART 3 - ON PRESENTING ROCK ART

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2018

Catherine Namono
Affiliation:
Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Christopher Chippindale
Affiliation:
Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; School
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Summary

In June 2005 the Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand was involved in developing a stakeholder-driven management plan for rock art sites in the Kruger National Park (hereafter ‘Kruger’) at the request of the South African National Parks (hereafter SAN Parks). The management plan sits within the strong political will of the government of South Africa, and takes cognisance of SAN Parks mission to preserve and conserve the wilderness qualities and cultural resources associated with Kruger. In tandem with this is a commitment to the conservation of rock art as a rare, cultural, valuable, non-renewable heritage resource that forms a link to South Africa's past. A general management plan would provide overall direction for managing rock art sites in Kruger.

The ideas developed in this paper emerge from involvement in the Kruger project. We begin with an overview of the conception of Kruger, then discuss the changes in the management strategies and conservation ethic and relate these to the founding of Yellowstone National Park (hereafter ‘Yellowstone’), United States of America, the world's first national park. We also explore the example of Kakadu National Park (hereafter ‘Kakadu’), Australia, founded more than half a century after Kruger, with its rock art as a central concern from the beginning. There are instructive aspects of both similarity and difference when the three are examined side by side.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

In the 1800s, advancing parties of European colonialists and Voortrekkers into the then Transvaal had an alarming impact on wildlife in the region (Carruthers 1993: 16; Mabunda and colleagues 2003: 6). Kruger was first established as a game reserve to meet hunting purposes of these advancing groups of people. Game reserves in the 19th century were created not so much to serve conservation interests as for political and economic reasons. Economically, there was a fear of competition from foreign hunters and politically there was a fear among fragmented Voortrekker groups that British traders would interest the British government in annexing the Transvaal area. Declining numbers of wildlife alerted politicians to the need for conservation to curb wasteful exploitation as well as to gain control of the utilisation of resources. The exact long-term purpose of game reserves was left to evolve with time (Carruthers 1995: 19).

Type
Chapter
Information
Working with Rock Art
Recording, Presenting and Understanding Rock Art Using Indigenous Knowledge
, pp. 293 - 304
Publisher: Wits University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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