Vele “Christopher” Neluvhalani believes that on a fundamental level that people have always been connected to the earth, visible by the traces they leave behind, like the ancient rock art on the sandstone outcrops in Mapungubwe.
Neluvhalani feels a deep connection to this ancient place, because his ancestors lived there thousands of years before him. He is bound to the area not only by tradition, but when he visits there and climbs to the top of Mapungubwe hill, he feels he has returned home.
However, the recent announcement that authorisation has been given to an Australian mining company called CoAL to construct an open-cast mine just outside of the boundaries of the park will change all this. This is because Neluvhalani believes that “it would be an offence to our ancestors to start mining in the area.”
Neluvhalani was involved in the reburying of his ancestors’ remains at Mapungubwe, after they were recently reclaimed back from a museum collection and restored to their rightful place- a place that will be disturbed if mining is to go ahead.
“Once we tamper with Mapungubwe we will be tampering with the past,” says Neluvhalani, who feels that the ties we have to our ancient places like Mapungubwe compel us to prevent them from being compromised, and that “everyone in South Africa should be united to help preserve Mapungubwe”.
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