Origins Centre, Johannesburg
Did you know?
Modern Homo Sapiens is only 150 000 to 200 000 years old. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.
Homo sapiens emerged as a distinct species in Africa about 200 000 years ago. From here they migrated to settle the Earth. It is this evolution of human life and their journey that is celebrated at the world-class Origins Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. It is a place that more than fulfills its motto to show: 'We are who we are because of who we were'.
Using cutting-edge technology combined with works by South Africa's foremost artists, this historical museum is the only one in the world to depict the evolution of humans alongside the development of their creative abilities. As such it is a riveting new chapter in the story of the role Africa has played in humankind's rich, complex and mysterious advance, which began in the Cradle of Humankind.
The Origins Centre South Africa is one of two interlinked facilities, with the second, focussing on fossil records, due to open in the near future.
This first phase concentrates on the hunter-gatherer San Bushmen, whose DNA is linked to the earliest Homo sapiens. There are exhibits of their early technology together with interactive displays describing the beginnings of culture through rock art, spirituality and dance.
What makes this unique is the manner in which advanced technology has been incorporated to stimulate the senses through light and sound, giving visitors the feeling they are returning to the roots of human history.
This link with the past is enhanced by the final exhibit where visitors can take an 'ancestry test' to learn more about their lineage. It is through these personal touches that the Origins Centre achieves its mission 'to restore the continent to its rightful place in history - as the place where everything that makes us who we are today originated'.