MAROPENG OFFERS LOCALS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE OUR COMMON HERITAGE
September is Heritage Month, and what better way of celebrating our common heritage than taking a trip back in time at Maropeng, the official visitor’s centre for the historic Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
“South Africans of all ages should pay a visit to Maropeng to not only learn about their ancestors and this important heritage right on their doorsteps but also how to care for their home planet now and into the future,” says Tony Rubin, Managing Director of Maropeng.
The Cradle area is one of only eight World Heritage sites in South Africa and the only one in Gauteng. It was granted World Heritage Status in 1999 owing to its contribution to our understanding of humanity. More than 1000 hominid fossils have been found in the 47 000 hectares area – more than any other place on Earth. “All of humanity shares an African heritage. We are one, diverse species across the globe, with our roots in Africa. The Cradle area is where our collective umbilical cord lies buried,” comments Rubin.
Maropeng - which means ‘returning to the place of origin’ in Setswana -offers visitors the opportunity to explore the mysterious nooks and crannies of the Sterkfontein Caves, and discover the wonderful world of our past and future at the interactive Maropeng Visitor Centre, complete with underground boat ride, fun educational displays, and real fossils.
“After being recognised as an area of significance by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Maropeng partners with the Cradle of Humankind Management Authority each year to give learners from schools in the area the opportunity to visit. The partnership came about three years ago after the Cradle of Humankind Management Authority identified a number of local schools that did not have the financial means to visit Maropeng. It is also a cause that falls within the scope of Unesco’s mandate,” says Rubin
Maropeng supplies all visiting schools with resource packs which enhance each learner’s Cradle experience ensuring the excursion is educational, interactive and fun. The curriculum-linked resource pack is brimming with fascinating and practical educational material such as worksheets and suggested activities. It also enables teachers to prepare learners before their visit and give them follow-up assignments afterwards.
“The pack is carefully integrated with the South African education curriculum and has been endorsed by the National Department of Education. Learners at any level, studying any learning area and field, will be able to engage with appropriate content in the exhibitions. One of the themes focuses on heritage, what it is and why it is important,” says Rubin. “We want all learners to understand the importance of preserving the past and showcasing the identity of the community.”
All visitors also have the option of additional educational and fun activities such as star gazing, a specialised tour with a scientist or a tour to an excavation site. “I would like to urge all South Africans to visit Maropeng this Heritage Month. Not only will visitors have a real opportunity to experience our common heritage but they are also in for an exciting adventure!” concludes Rubin.
COMPILED ON BEHALF OF MAROPENG BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT NICOLLE KAIRUZ ON (011) 463 6372 OR NICOLLE@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA