Ouzman (1995) studied Mormyrid fish (which Labeo are not) in southern African rock art, and concluded that the nature of some Mormyrid fish to emit a mild electric current when handled was analogous to San perceptions of supernatural potency.
The fish, the shaman and the peregrination: San rock paintings of Mormyrid fish as religious and social metaphors, Southern African Field Archaeology 4: 3-17.
A more adequate identification of the Rose Cottage fish is that it represents a freshwater mormyrid (Willcox 1962: 6; Skelton 1996 pers.
Other rock paintings of mormyrid fish cluster in and around the southeastern mountains of southern Africa (Figure 4).
Mormyrid depictions are ideal metaphors for the supernatural nature and activities of San shamans (for a fuller discussion see Ouzman 1995b).
There are no mormyrid bones in the deposit, and palaeoclimatic evidence indicates that mormyrids probably never occurred in the environs (Butzer 1984; Butzer & Vogel 1979; Wadley 1991:127; Tyson & Lindesay 1992: 275 -- 6; Skelton 1993; Mitchell 1994: 85).
This find provides independent verification of extensive exchange networks hinted at by the painting of the `exotic' mormyrid fish.
In some instances the rock art and material culture corroborate: the long-distance exchange suggested by the mormyrid painting is confirmed by the pierced marine shell from the east coast.
Tilapia species were consumed with the highest frequency (18%), followed by Synodontis or catfish (14%) and mormyrops or mormyrids (11%).
A large number of fish species (24) were consumed in the fishing villages with tilapia, synodontis (catfish) and mormyrids dominating consumption.