Botswana’s Matsieng Cultural Site: The Origin of Man


One of the longest debated themes on earth is the origin of humanity. Scientific, Archeological, and Religious assumptions on man have often conflicted on the matter. While some believe the Superior being created man, others argue that man evolved from the primates and even that man is a product of fertilization of male and female reproductive cells.

In this case, while looking at man’s origin, we trace it back to the Matsieng site. The name Matsieng is attributable to the mythical story of a giant believed to have created the first man on earth. Though contemporary societies do not believe in the Matsieng story, the ancient communities had a different view. Unfortunately, the great African forefathers were great believers of myths, more so as often they mislead.

What About the Story of Matsieng?

The story of Matsieng takes us back to a South African state, present-day Botswana. Matsieng was a local legend, believed to have emerged from the pools of Matsieng site. He was about his hunting expedition when he came through the waterhole. It is rumored that he was a one-legged giant with enormous feet.

According to local folklore, Matsieng’s arrival was preceded by animals and then his people. Hence the belief that he created the first beings on earth. While Matsieng and his people walked around securing areas to settle, they left footprints on the pool’s soft sandstones. Matsieng’s footprints were the largest. Today, the sandstones comprise large natural holes that collect rainwater, while the soft sandstones dried to form carvings depicting animal and human feet. An estimate of about 170 feet of carvings was uncovered in the region.

What is the Possible Truth?

Many have had something to say concerning the mystery at Matsieng. The big question, however, is which theory could be accurate? According to archeological research on the area, the alleged footprints engravings were a form of rock art created by the San people during the late stone age. Nevertheless, the Matsieng footprints have earned widespread popularity in the area; thus, the locals are reluctant to accept other ideologies.

In fact, they commemorate the site as an important ritual center. Occasionally they collect water from the site for ritual purposes, e.g., the rainmaking ceremonies. Matsieng is also one of Botswana’s national monuments, attracting tourists and contributing to the state’s revenue.

Meanwhile, scientists completely contradict the Matsieng mythical story. In 2019, scientists claimed that they had traced the exact homeland where man came from. And it was somewhere in Northern Botswana, to the south of Zambezi River. An area is distinct entirely to the Matsieng site. Although the area is filled with salt pans, it used to be the home of the Homo Sapiens 200000 years ago.

According to the scientific Nature journal published, the region was home to several human populations for at least 70000 years.

While natural phenomena could be full of history and scenic, they could be hard to comprehend. It is possible the locals in Botswana believe in the Matsieng myth because of the footprints, as they completely ignore that rock disintegration could have contributed to the phenomenon.




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