The White Lady of Brandberg
Near the town of Uis in Namibia there is a red mountain full of Bushman paintings; over a thousand of them and the most famous of them all is “The White Lady”. This is because the painting is accessible and full of mystery and as it happens erroneously named. The white lady is very obviously a man. A whole industry has spawned in Uis, a hotel, restaurant and many copies of this picture are for sale.
In January 1917 Reinhard Maack (a German Topographer) was climbing in The Brandberg and as darkness fell he and his friend sheltered under an overhanging rock. In the morning as the dawn light fell onto the rock face behind them, they saw appearing out of the rock this incredible painting a part of which is captured by my picture. Reinhard quickly made some sketches before he and his friend continued their climb to the top. Latter Reinhard described what he saw as “Mediterranean” which suggested to a French priest, who saw a copy of the art some years later, to consider that the painting was of a group of female athletes from King Minas’ court in Greece, who had made their way down to South Africa!!.
This myth continued well into the 1950’s, and now the figures that all have decorated penises are considered to be either an initiation ceremony of a young man or a Shaman ritual. It is an incredible picture and as you gaze upon the image, an image that seems so fresh, it is difficult to believe that it was painted thousands of years ago. You can imagine the ancestors of the Bushmen sitting and chatting about life the universe and everything, painting this important part of their spiritual life.