A number of student research projects are running alongside the RASSA fieldwork.

Modiegi Kgowa, has been pursuing an Honours research project Enhancing community engagement: rock art surveys with the DStretch® cellphone App. Ms Kgowa has been liaising with the RASSA community Field Technicians who have been surveying rural mountain areas with tough smartphones equipped with GPS and the DStretch® rock art enhancement App. The Honours project assesses their progress, assists with processing results, and promoting their discoveries on our website and in social media. Fieldwork has, unfortunately been delayed due to Cobid-19 restrictions but interviews have proceeded by phone.

The Field Technicians head into the mountains of Matatiele in search of rock art, April 2021

Tselane Zitha has been conducting an Honours (4th Year) research investigation entitled: Advertising and graffiti: popularising rock art with unrestricted site access. A spectacular rock art site in the Eastern Cape has been badly damaged by graffiti. Ms Zitha has been enquiring as to how this site was discovered, marketed, and protected by the local community and provincial authorities, and how it came to pass that local school groups were able to damage San rock art. This will help develop more formal strategy for the protection of this and other sites while keeping them open to visitors.

One of many superimposed graffiti that have appeared since the site was advertised to the general public.

PhD student, Mfundo Hlangani, is focusing on rock art sites use by modern African doctors (traditional healers). He is speaking with these healers to determine whether rock shelters are associated with plant medicines and then whether these plants’ proximity to rock shelters can be used (with the assistance of GIS remote sensing) to locate further shelters in unsurveyed areas. His thesis Ethnobotanical survey and multilevel remote sensing of medicinal plants has so far aided immeasurably in the process of contacting local rock art custodians and with the training of Field Technicians on the RASSA project.

PhD student Mfundo Hlangani and Field Technician Puseletso Lecheko identifying plants with healing qualities located in proximity to rock shelters, April 2021