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Chongoni Rock-Art Area

MalawiSouthern MalawiLilongwe


Chongoni Rock-Art Area 

The 127 sites of this property, which are located inside a cluster of forested granite hills and occupy an area of 126.4 km sqaured high up on the plateau of central Malawi, have the richest concentration of rock art in Central Africa.

They include drawings by BaTwa hunter-gatherers who lived in the area since the Late Stone Age, as well as the comparably rare tradition of farmer rock art. Chewa agriculturalists conducted rock painting until well into the twentieth century, and their predecessors had resided there since the Early Iron Age. The Chewa retain cultural value for the rock art symbols that are highly associated with women, and the sites are actively associated with ceremonies and rituals.

The rock art of the Chongoni sites depicts the peoples of the Malawi plateau's cultural history and traditions, including the change from foraging to food production, the subsequent Ngoni invasion of the Chewa people, and the arrival of the white man.

Symbols used in initiation rituals and ritual acts are also included in the artwork. The rock art area embodies existing cultural traditions as a center for traditional and religious ceremonies.

The area's terrain, which includes rock overhangs among wooded slopes and grassy clearings, provides a protective setting that contributes to the rock art sites' high universal significance.

The Chongoni Rock-Art Area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

(Source UNESCO)


  • MalawiSouthern MalawiLilongwe

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