The Origins Centre is a world-class museum that provides insight into the intriguing origins of humankind and human development. If you are fascinated by the theory of evolution, then this centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, is a must-visit destination when it comes to Johannesburg tourism.
Opened in 2006, Origins Centre showcases Africa’s unique heritage and culture through rock art paintings dating back thousands of years, collected from all over Southern Africa. The rock paintings were the work of the San and visitors can expect to learn about the fascinating beliefs and rituals – such as hunting and the trance dance – of this ancient tribe. The rock art collection has been sourced from various regions in southern Africa by the Wits Rock Art Research Institute.
The museum combines cutting-edge technology and the creative ingenuity of South African artists to guide visitors on a journey beginning at the earliest evidence of humans, working its way through the development of art, symbolism, and technology on the African continent. The displays includes fossils discovered in South Africa, as well as numerous palaeoanthropological, and archaeological materials.
The exhibitions are designed to cater to a wide range of age groups and knowledge, from young children to those with an academic interest in the subject. Information is packaged in a diverse range of mediums, including a virtual reality computer game, films and projections.
Origins Centre also houses an extensive range of ancient tools and artefacts of spiritual importance to early humans. On average, the museum experience runs for 90 minutes with the aid of an audio guide that is available in six languages: Zulu, Sotho, English, Afrikaans, French and German.
Visitors are also able to apply for a DNA test to trace their ancestral origins. The test is conducted at the National Health Laboratory Services, located at the corner of Joubert and De Kotze streets in Braamfontein.
Venues at Origins Centre are available for hire for corporate events and exhibitions. The Origins Centre can also incorporate special items such as drumming, a dance troupe, or musical performance into your event. The on-site gift store stocks a range book titles, South African art objects, décor and curio items. Merchandise is sourced from local communities, non-governmental organisations and individual South African crafters. The Origins shop is open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
A coffee shop, Café Fino, is located in Origins Centre and offers light meals and refreshments. Café Fino is open Monday to Friday: 7am to 4.30pm.
Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm
Seniors and Wits staff: R65
University students with ID: R40
Children (under 12 with adult): R40