Cradle of Humankind Celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary at Indaba

Event Africa Contributor 17/05/2019 Industry News

Africa’s Travel Indaba saw key note speaker and Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, announce the 20th anniversary of the Cradle of Humankind’s inscription as a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site on 3 May 2019.

The travel and tourism exhibition and conference in Durban, 2 – 4 May, welcomed delegates from all walks of life, including the acting CEO of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Pumla Ncapayi where she shared her thoughts on the destination, situated in North Western Gauteng.

The site, inscribed in Morocco on 2 December 1999, has developed over the years from a few tourism offerings back in 1999 to today’s diversified and must-see tourism destination in Gauteng. This has largely been through the efforts and co-operation between provincial government and partners like Wits University, the private sector, tourism establishments and local communities. Ncapayi also described the remarkable diversity of tourism offerings available in the site over and above its remarkable and unique fossil record.

This world renowned site was one of the first three World Heritage sites in South Africa, along with Robben Island and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Sites.

The claim to fame of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is the extraordinary abundance of fossils of human ancestors and their relatives dating as far back as 3.6 million years ago. The only other place that has yielded ancient human fossils of this kind can be found in East Africa.

The site has continued to produce an abundance of fossils, including two species new to science, namely Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. The Minister emphasised the importance of protecting and conserving this World Heritage site while at the same time developing it for tourism and showcasing it to South Africans and the World.

The Minister said “that despite what has been achieved, we cannot rest on our laurels. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site needs to contribute more to the economy of the region, society in general and the country. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our grandchildren.”

He added: “Well done to all those who have played a pivotal role in protecting and conserving this incredible World Heritage site for current and future generations of the world. May the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site grow from strength to strength so that our descendants can be handed a site that has been well maintained for future generations.”