We recently went to the Origins Museum based at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s a lovely museum with just enough richness and information to give you an appreciation for such a huge concept… the origin of our species. It also has amazing collections of books at the curio shop.
From several collections of first stone tools from several genus of hominids to a decent but light introduction to the khoisan of Africa, I really enjoyed what the museum had to offer.
What I found most intriguing is how people used to live back in the earliest days and the ingenuity of the cultural artefacts created.
The feature image above are samples of decorated ostrich eggs used to collect and store water for survival in the bush. The rope was made from the barks of trees. During our field guiding course we learnt a variety of indigenous trees that have great quality bark for making rope. We also learnt from one of our friends that making rope this way may mean unintentionally ripping the hairs of your legs as you rub the bark down your leg to create the twine.
This next image shows a beaded skirt where each bead has been crafted from ostrich eggs as well. Can you believe how long this must have taken with the primitive tools these guys must have had prior to colonials arriving to the continent??
The image also shows how they used other animal products for leather and jewelry. Incredible pieces.
What blew my mind even more was this creative use of cocoons which I can only hope was used after the pupae had left and blossomed into its imago.
So much to appreciate and learn from these cultures that were far more civilised with respect to harmony with nature and understanding the natural ways and processes of the world in order to survive and allow all life forms to survive. Much better than what we do now where we abuse this knowledge to make the world bend to our selfish desires.
One day we hope to meet the khoisan people and spend some time to learn from them their lifestyles.