Manyana’s awe-inspiring heritage sites

PHEMELO RAMASU
Friday, 26 February 2016
Manyana rock paintings are one of the few paintings that can be found in the southern part of the country Manyana rock paintings are one of the few paintings that can be found in the southern part of the country

Sometimes we all need to take time off, to unwind and relax in the good company of friends, family and loved ones.

More often than not there is a general perception that one needs to have a bucketful of money in order to enjoy the perks that come with a well organised getaway just for an hour or two. The one mistake that most people make is that the domestic market has nothing to offer when it comes to tourism products.

But on a surprisingly shocking note that is not the case. Domestic tourism if well planned by an adventurist is one of the easiest forms of leisure, that is, depending on where one sets their eyes on heading to. On a very hot Saturday morning, the Botswana Guardian team embarked on a short left just around the corner of Gaborone to experience a breath of fresh air, learn about some of the secrets that some of our places hold and will do a bit of sightseeing.

The destination was none other than Manyana, home to the Bahurutshe tribe. Rich in history, Manyana is home to three iconic heritage sites that if well tapped into and preserved, might bring some wealth to the local community trust and increase the footprints of the village both locally and internationally.

Less than an hour’s drive from the capital city, a city dweller can have an opportunity to be schooled about three incredible heritage sites - the Manyana Rock Paintings, Legaga la ga Mma Sechele as well as David Livingstone’s tree.

A guide at the now protected site, Justice Kiki who has been a guide here for close to eight years showed Style around the three sites. When the team finds him, he has just returned from taking a tourist from Canada through the sites.

First up is a thrilling find regardless of how many times one comes here to learn about this place, you are still left open mouthed and marvelling at the story of this place, back in the 1800s missionaries came out in large numbers to Africa, with the intention of exploring and converting Africans to christianity. One of these missionaries who made it into Botswana was the legendary David Livingstone who came to the then Bechunaland in 1847.

Of all the places that he explored in Africa, Botswana was the only place where he is said to have had a permanent residence in Kolobeng, where he built a house and a church. Now back to his ties with Manyana, Livingstone who also happened to be a doctor, would make trips daily on an ox-wagon to Manyana from Kolobeng where he would find residents sitting under a big wild fig tree that would later be called the David Livingstone tree.

It was under this tree that at some point had been used as a place where villagers could cook a meal, hold meetings and just relax that he would heal the sick and teach the residents about Christianity.

History has it that even back then this tree of life was still large, and still continues to grow. Branches that slip to the ground, still find their way to maintaining the life that has kept this tree alive for all these centuries.

Livingstone wanted to leave behind something that would show that he was once here, and he went on to inscribe his initials D.L on the tree, although the initials have since faded away. “He came here daily to teach the community about Christianity, the bible as well as heal those who were sick,” says Kiki adding that he inscribed his initials D.L on the tree that have since faded away.

Second up is the Manyana Rock Paintings dating back to around 2 000 years ago. Located amongst some of the hills here, a significant number of the paintings are losing their appeal with some degrading due to weather conditions. One can find paintings of animals such as

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