Cradle of Human Culture traces a journey 100 000 years into the past | Western Cape Government


Cradle of Human Culture traces a journey 100 000 years into the past

12 April 2019

Western Cape visitors and locals will soon be able to journey back to the “origins and development of human culture” following the launch of the Cradle of Human Culture at the Cape Town Convention Centre on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

Essentially a collection of three highly significant archaeological sites along two different routes, the Cradle of Human Culture showcases some of the earliest evidence of ancient human social, behavioural and cultural innovation.

The project is a partnership between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) , The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (through its public entity Wesgro) and the Cradle of Humankind, the Gauteng site where the oldest fossils of early humans were discovered and where human evolution is believed to have begun. If the Cradle of Humankind delves into where homo sapiens came from, the Cradle of Human Culture reflects how we became what we are today.

The route was officially launched by Premier Helen Zille, together with Ministers Anroux Marais and Beverley Schäfer. Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, said the project was a “journey of human expression and of humanity itself”.

“As will become evident, the Cradle of Human Culture is not a place, it is not even a destination, it is a journey that will take you back 100 000 years to not only learn about the origin of human culture, but to learn more about yourself as individual and us as the collective,” Minister Marais said.

“The route encourages tolerance and social inclusion and more importantly social integration by advocating a common human ancestry which is much needed in the sociopolitical climate in which we currently find ourselves. In exploring our cultural heritage, the expression and documentation thereof, we make it clear that we have more in common than that sets us apart and today we bear witness to how this was set in stone, long before any of us present came into existence.”

The two routes of the Cradle run along the Cape West Coast and the Southernmost Cape Coast. The West Coast route has been named the Artists Journey, because of the engraved ostrich eggs which were discovered in the Diepkloof Rock Shelter and many rock art paintings in the area. The Southernmost Cape route has been named the Coastal Journey, because the archaeological sites at Pinnacle Point Blombos Cave show the first evidence of consistent use of marine resources by early humans.

“The project, in partnership with the Cradle of Humankind, an already established World Heritage Site, serves to assist in showcasing the heritage of the Western Cape outside the province and the country as a whole,” continued Minister Marais.

“However, the launch affords all who call the Western Cape home the opportunity to gain greater insight into where we all come from as human beings before societal labels were imposed. If the Cradle of Humankind has the biological development that led to the appearance of Homo sapiens, the Cradle of Human Culture then showcases the behavioural development to Homo sapiens.”

DCAS works to preserve and showcase the rich history and heritage of Western Cape for the benefit of all. BETTER TOGETHER.

Media Enquiries: 

Dr Tania Colyn
Head of Communication Service
Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Tel: 021 483 9877 / 076 093 4913