Leopards

The Leopard Kaingo,is an important image in the initiation women’s teaching and represents many different things including powerful energies. Under the Leopard’s armpits are the moon and stars (women’s symbols) in the. On either side is the ‘kaingo’ or leopard’s skin stretched out after it has been killed. This is the same image that appears on the Kaingo rock site near Katete in Eastern Province. One of the stories around the leopard image is of the woman going to the river too late to draw water in the evening. A leopard attacks her and the husband comes and kills the leopard with his axe. The leopard and axe are recurring images on the rock paintings.
Just like their European counterparts the pubescent Kunda girls also have a scary wild animal in the psyche of folklore. Wild animals attacking and eating young girls in the bush (forest) is a theme of the coming-of-age in both Kunda and European folk tales. Instead of a wolf as in Little Red Riding Hood, the Kunda women have a leopard also portrayed on the ancient rock art of Eastern Province. 

Leopard sketch. Ink on paper. 40x30cms. (2010)

The leopard is dead in the symbol. Its skin is stretched.  After the death (the  leopard/the social death of the initiation) the girl is saved. The girl lives on. Dancing on a high platform she is reborn, revived, rejuvenated. An official woman.  The name of the image that represents this is KANGA JOWE.

Leaping Leopard. Mopane heartwood and steel. 200 x 115 cm. (2012)