April 11 2010: The spectacular flat barren landscapes of the Western Kalahari, some 50km west of the village of Sepopa on the banks of Panhandle, have been a great marvel and wonder for so many people to the point that some people committed themselves to research on these magnificent Tsodilo hills, and put their findings in written form. As such, one of the greatest natural treasures of Southern Africa was unveiled to scores of people. This was through the eyes, thoughts and views of three gentlemen; Alec Campbell, Larry Robbins and Michael Taylor, who were equally inspired by Tsodilo Hills.
According to Judy Campbell the book Tsodilo Hills Copper Bracelet of the Kalahari is a collective effort of numerous researchers whose work spans the last thirty years.
The researchers were keen to research on the age of the hills and the paintings and to know more on the cultural beliefs of the San people who are believed to have stayed there. The book provides revelations brought together in one volume and beautifully illuminated by more than 150 color plates, charts and maps. It also offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Kalahari Desert. The book brings together decades of research, academic discourse, personal reminiscences and contemporary community perspectives on Tsodilo.
The breathtaking Tsodillo hills were listed as a world heritage site in 2001, and are currently Botswana’s only world heritage site. The hills are listed as a cultural property which shows continued habitation by people at different times for one hundred thousand years, as evidenced by the more than 4500 rock paintings found there.
Speaking at the launch the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Samuel Otaadisa Rathedi said that the book radiates the incredible copper glow of a sunset that can be seen for kilometers across the flat sand of the Kalahari, thereby making it a place of beauty, mystery and awe.
Rathedi pointed out that Tsodilo hills have lived up to their reputation of attracting people from different walks of life. They have attracted archeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, religious practitioners and those who want to relax and enjoy nature.
According to Campbell, the Ncaekhwe, who lived at Tsodilo until the end of the 19th century, noted the copper glow on the western cliffs at sunset and called the hills in their own language, Copper Bracelet of the ‘Evening’. The authors borrowed this name and lent it to their book title, only replacing ‘Evening’ with ‘Kalahari’, because everyone knows of the Kalahari Desert.
Campbell said they wrote the book in simple language and used maps, drawings and lots of pictures to show just what an important, breathtaking, captivating and valuable place Tsodilo is. For the locals, the Tsodillo Hills are a source of life, shelter, water and food.
Rathedi Michael Smith, a senior archeologist at the national Museum of Australia, refers to the book as “a key point of entry to the growing literature on the Tsodilo hills, and an unsurpassed guide into an extraordinary world of the Kalahari Desert”.