Some years ago I was fortunate enough to take a tour of the ancient Indo-African ruins near Uitsoek in Mpumalanga, with Dr. Cyril Hromnik. This tour changed my perceptions of the History of Southern Africa, and all History for that matter, and made me aware of the fact that one cannot just accept everything that is dished up as truth, and that history must be linked more closely to obvious evidence.
Dr. Hromnik studied, and specialized in Dravidian Culture, having spent many years in the Indian sub-continent. He came to Africa and discovered the signs of this same Dravidian culture which permeates the Island of Madagascar, as well as the East- African seaboard, and further inland, all the way from the Cape to Kenya and beyond. He also traces sources through language similarities.
Following the historical, onomastic and linguistic evidence collected and studied for many years, historian Cyril A. Hromník with a PhD.from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. focused his attention on the stone structures in the veld of MaShonaland, today’s Zimbabwe for many years. These ruins clearly show characteristics and features of extra-African origin. This lead him to write a book called Indo-Africa (Hromník, Cyril.Andrew. 1981. Indo-Africa: Towards a New Understanding of the History of Sub-Saharan Africa. Cape Town: Juta.), in which he shows, among other evidence, that Shona in the name MaShonaland is of Indian origin, where it means GOLD. All stone structures in MaShonaland are connected with the gold-prospecting by ancient Indians.
This discovery induced Dr. Hromník – upon his arrival in South Africa in 1979 – to pay attention to the thousands of stone ruins that litter the veld of this country.
Examination of the ruins and of the connected toponymy led him to the conclusion, that they are the product of the Dravidian prospectors and traders, whose priests conceived the idea of building stone shrines and temples at first only in the vicinity of the gold mines and later throughout the country, wherever their network of trade had taken them to.
Someone who realized that some stone circles he had stumbled across at Uitsoek, were more than just a coincidence, was sensible enough to let Dr. Hromnik know that he had found a circular ruin, which could perhaps interest him. Dr. Hromnik endorsed the find, as Dravidian Temple ruins, and actually discovered a host of other temples ruins nearby.
Dr. Hromnik maintains that before the time of Christ, Indian traders named Komates, crossed the Indian Ocean in sailing boats with their Indonesian slaves, and were driven along on the high seas by trade winds blowing towards Africa. Their mission was to seek for gold, and return on reverse trade winds to India with their bounty. From the Bible record, one reads that there was gold in Africa, which was being exploited and traded, from ancient times. From his knowledge of Dravidian history, Dr. Hromnik certainly knew that the Komates were seeking gold and trading along the eastern seaboard of Southern Africa.
The Komates settled with their Indonesian slaves in these regions, and then gradually moved further inland from the river mouths, seeking gold, and building their temples which were called litaku. They mixed with the local Kung, spawning the Ottentotu.
One of the interesting features of the region between Natal, South Africa, and Mpumalanga, South Africa, near the Swaziland border with South Africa, is the name Komati. One finds Komati Gorge, Komati River, Lomati River, Komatipoort, Komatiland etc. Where did the name Komati originate? It seems pretty obvious that it comes from the word Komates.
Incidently an American doctor from the Malagasy Republic came into my office some time back and told me that the Malagasy people are of Asian origins, and not Black. It makes one think.
Apart from the fact that Dr. Hromnik is exceptionally well qualified in a number of disciplines, he actually needs no further introduction, as he is looked upon as an outsider crackpot pseudo researcher, by the South African Academic Archaeological Fraternity, and others, because his findings do not suit current South African political views. This is such a pity, and it is most surprising, that these negative views emanate from amongst supposedly acclaimed, educated, academic leaders in their field, who should respect a fellow member of the academic community, even though they may be obliged to have differing opinions. The academics say that these ruins are nothing more than “beeskrale”. I suppose poor publicity is better than no publicity.
I attended a lecture on this culture given by Dr. Hromnik some time before I actually took the tour with him. This lecture included photographs of some of the sites we were to tour. One of the photographs on display showed a Hindu man kneeling with clasped hands, in prayerful reverence for his god, at one of the temple sites, which was a rather moving sight. In other words, this Hindu man was endorsing the fact that he was in fact at a sacred Hindu site. I should think that practicing Hindus would know what constituted one of their own sacred sites.
On the tour the first thing we were introduced to was a meandering low heaped pathway of small half hand sized stones, that stretched about 75 meters into the bush. We were informed that these stones were prayer stones that had been wrapped in leaves, containing prayers, and then placed on the pathway. Eventually the leaves dried, or rotted away leaving the stone on the pile. The pathway was the first step that people took on the road of life. It led through the bush to the first temple. All in all we toured six temples that day. One of the temples had a perfect Swastika at its center. This is an ancient Zoroastrian symbol. I wonder how it was that these “pastoral people” who built “beeskrale” knew about ancient Zoroastrian Swastikas? Maybe some “alien ancestral spirit” taught them.
Dr. Hromnik says that specifically the Zimbabwe Ruins, as well as Mapungubwe are all part of Indo-African culture, and that the local “pastoral folk” certainly didn’t go in for building structures like Zimbabwe Ruins, and were certainly not into the smelting of iron etc. He wants to know why the gold leaf covered rhino carving found at Mapungubwe had only one horn. African rhinos have two horns. Asian rhinos incidentally, have only one horn.
I attended a meeting of academics, including Dr. Hromnik, at Witbank about three years back. The debate was on these temples, and Indo-African culture.
One of the academics, a celebrated archaeologist, gave his input on “beeskrale”. It was the most elementary lecture I have ever heard, and no more than an insult to the intelligence of the slowest learner in grade 3. Furthermore, the meeting’s chairman didn’t even bother to give Dr. Hromnik an adequate opportunity to answer their views on this culture. Instead, when his “time” was up they systematically lambasted and vilified him in the cruelest fashion. They then threatened him with dire consequences if he persisted with his “nonsense”.
In the meantime, a “Complete History”of Mpumalanga has been published and launched with all the fanfare and pomp of a celebrated occasion. Indo-African culture is not even mentioned. Some of the other celebrated historians of the region say this work is a gross distortion of the truth.