The Chongoni Rock Art Monument Area

Date of Submission: 15/09/1997
Criteria: (i)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Antiquities
Coordinates: Lat. 14°06' - 14°21' S. ; Long. 34°04' - 34°19' E
Ref.: 916
Word File

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The Chongoni Rock Art Monument Area is slightly over 756 square kilometres in area. It is located about 10 km north west or Dedza Township in Central Malawi. The area is part of the Dedza Chongoni Highlands which is dominated by the Chongoni Mountain, rising above the Central Malawi Plain. Much of the area is protectad forest reserve. Over 200 rock painted sites have been located in the area. Most of the painted sites are rockshelters, but a number of paintings have also been found on isolated large and small rocks that are not shelters. The paintings are either in red or in white. Where both types of paintings occur on the same rock face, the red paintings always underline the white, indicating that this type is the older of the two. The red paintings are almost always schematic, depicting geometric designs. Very few realistic figures have been observed. The white paintings, on the other hand, are naturalistic, depicting zoomorphic and anthropomorphic designs. Some of the white paintings depic-t figures of the "Gule Wamkulu" or Nyau secret society. Nyau traditions are still practised today.