A final report on the location, investigation and documentation of cultural heritage sites related to the Litho Ndzundza landclaim case, Rust de Winter


In April 2007, Archaetnos cc was approached by Andre van Zyl Attorneys to assist in the location, investigation and documentation of cultural (heritage) sites linked to the Litho Ndzundza Tribe in the Rust de Winter area. These sites, located on various farms in the area, are related to a land claim case, lodged by the Tribe in 2004, against the Minister of Land Affairs and the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights. A first field session was undertaken in 2007, and a number of sites were visited together with representatives of the claimant group. A preliminary report was lodged for use during a Pre Trail in July 2007. During 2009, with the case moving into its next phase, we were approached again to continue with the location and recording of sites related to the claim. The fieldwork was undertaken in September 2009, during a four-day session in which claimants accompanied us to various areas and sites.

More than 20 sites linked to their history was visited and recorded, some of which are also known through oral records. Scrutiny of aerial photographs dating to 1939 also revealed a number of stone walled sites, all of which were located on the ground, visited and recorded.

The sites and features that were located and recorded include old settlements and graveyards associated with the Litho. The settlement sites include prominent sites such as those at Phetjheya and Uyskop, as well as wards such as Somaqhobodike, KoSomoya, KoSomhlangeni and Somagoane. The Royal burial sites were also recorded, as well as the burial sites of the followers or commoners. These settlement sites and burials, indicate a thriving community that had settled on the landscape on a permanent basis and on a large scale, practicing traditional subsistence farming and livestock herding, before being forced to move to a different location. Although an apparent effort was made to ?erase? traces of their settlement in some cases, this was not successful, and the evidence of the Litho?s presence in the area is clear.

Report by

A.J. Pelser & A.C. van Vollenhoven