Concept development

The Origins Centre had several key objectives in its development:

  • To present the extraordinary research undertaken by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) into the origins of humanity.
  • To change perceptions of ‘who we are’ as South Africans, by instilling a sense of national pride and sense of belonging: Africa is where all humanity became fully human. The earliest evidence of what makes us human – art, religion, language and cognitive behaviour – have been found on the African continent. This means that early South Africans were at the cutting edge of human development.

Origins is the product of five years of collaborative development work between architects, designers, representatives of the indigenous communities, filmmakers, educationalists, museum specialists and academics. This team, led by Francis Gerard, drafted the narrative structure for the planned museum followed by the development of the exhibition and complementary art works. 

Origins Centre is founded on the belief that ‘We are who we are because of who we were’ and, with this in mind, the Centre aims to help visitors to understand their personal genealogy and identity by revealing their hominid heritage,” says Francis Gerard, establisher of the Origins Centre. “The museum is therefore filled with thought-provoking material, much of which challenges visitors intellectually and emotionally. If visitors leave Origins Centre awe-struck and inspired by the experience, then we have succeeded in our aim.







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