'For real, that is not a shadow, but an upright being squeezed up against the edge. Kind of like a human form with two arms and legs, a narrow, oval face framed by a cap looking like a bare skull, clothed in a blue overall that they only had a glimpse of previously. Dead quiet. Francois lowers the torch, lifts it again. One thing is for sure: this being is just as afraid as they are.'
From Die Hemelblom (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie, 2nd edition 1974, Tafelberg, first published 1971. Translated from the original Afrikaans by Nic Grobler.
The first encounter with Marwa, the main alien character in Die Hemelblom takes place in a collapsed cave near the Cederberg - she hold hands with the humans to make it out alive.
‘Knersvlakte’, literally translated from Afrikaans means “gnashing plain”. The name is said to originate from the crunching sound made by contact with the white, quartz-rich gravel. The quartz also reflects the sunlight, which makes the rocks and soil cooler in temperature than surrounding areas. This unique condition has allowed a large number of endemic plants to proliferate - many of these are small succulents that can absorb heat during the long and dry summers.
These rocks contain a high percentage of iron and their dark appearance forms a truly ancient landscape. The rocks make a metal sound when played; they are referred to with different names such as ‘rock gongs’, ‘ringing rocks’ or even ‘bushman pianos’. Found in various areas around the world and Africa, tradition formed around communicating with the help of the rocks - evident by the ancient drumming marks often found on them.