Fri, 21 Jan 2022

KASAMA, Zambia, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- A visit to Mwela Rock Paintings, a heritage site in northern Zambia, is incomplete without talking to individuals living near the area.

Residents of villages near the site are more than happy to share their knowledge about this fascinating place that consists of prehistoric art presented as a visual narrative of culture captured on rocks.

For 73-year-old Mary Bwalya who resides a few meters from the site, marketing Mwela Rock Paintings is of paramount importance because of the enormous benefits that it has to offer.

Bwalya has also made it a point to educate visitors to the site and younger people living near Mwela Rocks Paintings about the benefits to the nation of having more people visit the site.

"I am passionate about encouraging people to visit this heritage site because I believe it can contribute immensely to the economic development of the country," she assertively said.

Bwalya who mentioned she has lived near the national heritage site for over 40 years pointed out that it is the duty of every citizen to help the market as well as protect a national heritage site.

"For those of us living near Mwela Rock Paintings, it is both an honor and a great privilege to market and to help ensure that site is not vandalized," she said.

Bwalya later went on to narrate the legends associated with Mwela Rock Paintings.

Mwela Rock Paintings are located about 5 kilometers from Kasama town, the provincial capital of Northern Province. The paintings are associated with the Later Stone Age.

The heritage site extends over 100 square kilometers. More than 1,000 paintings have been recorded in the rock outcrops, making Mwela Rock Paintings one of the densest concentrations of rock art sites anywhere in Africa, according to UNESCO.

The site is protected under the National Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia and was declared as a National Monument in 1964.

The art at Mwela Rock Paintings offers insights into past human life of the later Stone Age hunter-gatherers and how they interacted with their environment. The paintings depict individual and social needs of people at different stages of human development.

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