3 things you can learn at Maropeng on Freedom Day 2015

  • April 24, 2015

Current debates raging in society are forcing South Africans to confront troubling questions about humanity and conflict, competition for limited resources and the things that divide us.

As our country marks 21 years of democracy, it's a time to reflect on where we've come from, where we'd like to go and how to get there. 

If you've been mulling these over, or perhaps wondering how to educate the young people in your life about such weighty subjects, we think it's high time you came to visit us. Here are three very relevant lessons you can take home from Maropeng on Freedom Day. 

1. You can trace humanity's roots to Africa

Read the stones lining the entrance to the Visitor's Centre closely

Most palaeoanthropologists believe that the ancestors of modern humans emerged on this continent and many left Africa about 2-million years ago and moved into Asia and Europe. This theory is known as “Out of Africa I” and is strongly supported by fossil evidence. The oldest hominid fossils from the Cradle are more than 3-million years old and belong to the genus Australopithecus.

After Australopithecus came the genus Homo, to which we humans, Homo sapiens, belong. The earliest named Homo species is Homo habilis or “handy man”, which researchers believe made the first stone tools. Homo habilis emerged about 2-million years ago. After Homo habilis came, among others, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo floresiensis and Homo sapiens – us!

2. We are all far more alike than you might think 

We may look different but, really, we're the same 

"Human populations appear to be different in terms of colour, body size, limb proportions, hair texture and other physical attributes. Beneath the surface we are virtually identical. There is no genetic boundary for race. We are one species."

These words in huge letters curve around the tunnel you'll step through as you get to the exhibition, and you'll recall them quite frequently as you take in our interactive exhibition. You'll learn that it was, in fact, a few key developments that led the evolution of modern humans. They include bipedalism, the development of language, living with others, the use of tools and the control and use of fire.

3. It's critical that we think about, talk about and master the concept of sustainability

Learning how to share and conserve our resources is becoming more urgent

Another Maropeng quote that will stick in your mind is Marshall Mcluhan's, "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth, we are all crew", and as you learn about the heightened need for humans to learn to share and save our precious resources, you'll understand the thinking behind this position.

From urbanisation to poverty to recycling, our exhibition will get you thinking about the future in a very constructive way.  

As a Fair Trade Tourism destination, Maropeng practices what it preaches. Read more about our environmental initiatives here

You can book your tickets here


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