DITSONG: Museums of South Africa’s vast collections at its various museums offer an exciting way to celebrate Africa Month this May. Africa Day celebrates the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The objectives of the OAU included the celebration of the independence of African states, the freedom from colonialism but also the creation of a sense and spirit of unity among member African states. It also promoted a central vision towards the development of Africa and a platform for cooperation with the international community through the United Nations.
The National Museum of Natural History has vast collections of specimens that were collected over many years and across provincial and even national boundaries. Specimens were collected inside South Africa but also in Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Some of these collections are the best (largest in variety) in the world and in Africa and represent the best evidence of species originating from a number of biomes.
The collections at the National Museum of Natural History include the exceptional collections of palaeontology of hominid remains such as Mrs Ples – a world-renowned skull that fits into the larger schemata of human evolution and links South Africa with the rest of Africa.
The National Museum of Natural History also displays the best collection of minerals and rocks occurring in the region and the larger Southern African subcontinent. These displays have become significant and very popular among school children as it is the best collection on display that is accessible to the public in the Gauteng region.
DITSONG is also the custodian of the Tswaing Meteorite Crater, a site of geological significance that can be visited by the public. It is one of the best-preserved meteorite impact craters of its kind and relatively small when compared to the Vredefort impact crater near Parys in the town of Vredefort. According to experts, ‘the 90 metres of sedimentary deposits on the original crater floor contain an unparalleled record of climate change in the Southern Hemisphere over the past 220 000 years.’
The National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg represents a very special period in the history of the region and may be considered the most representative museum of its kind. South Africa’s history has been characterised by different types of conflict. World Wars I and II are represented by numerous exhibits and photographs reflecting on the various expanded narratives regarding these periods of world conflict.
To read more about the vast collections of specimens at the various DITSONG Museums, purchase the May 2018 issue of Creative Feel or, to continue supporting our role in the South African arts and culture sector, subscribe to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 per year. SUBSCRIBE HERE!