An exciting exhibition, tracing the human history of the Southen Cape area, starting from the Early Stone Age when the first humans arrived in the region, opened last week at the Great Brak River Museum.
Inset: Gaynor Jantjies views some of the stone age artefacts, which is part of an exciting new exhibition, entitled 'The Story of Great Brak River People', which openend at the Great Brak Museum this month.
The exhibition, entitled 'The Story of Great Brak River People' was opened by Rob Phillips, who has been particularly active in the preservation of Mossel Bay's heritage and has been at the forefront in promoting the town as a leading venue for a world heritage flagship location. This would create enormous benefits for the community in terms of stimulating tourism.
Rob emphasised the importance of knowing where we come from and stressed the significance of recent archaeological research done in the Mossel Bay area, which suggested a common ancestry for all mankind in the Cape. He also outlined the origins of the Khoe, arriving possibly some 1 500 years ago from the north with their domestic stock, and the indigenous San or Bushman people, as well as more recent arrivals.
Rene' de Kock, the chairman of the Great Brak Museum and the main force behind the exhibition, thanked the various people who had made the exhibition possible, including the various sponsors.
The exhibition gives much attention to the findings at key sites, such as Blombos and Pinnacle Point, which have unearthed considerable information on the origins of modern man, especially his modern symbolic behaviour. The story then covers the San or Bushmen, probably direct descendants of the first people, and the arrival of the pastoralist Khoe. It ends by looking at the more recent history of the people of Great Brak itself.
This up-to-date exhibition is complemented by a book written by Rene' de Kock and Nisde McRobert and published by the Great Brak Museum, entitled 'Moving to Greener Pastures', covering more specifically the history of the local indigenous community. Both the exhibition and the book are a valuable addition to the history of the Southern Cape. They should prove popular to school parties, tourists and the local community.
"The museum is to be congratulated on their initiative and this is yet another example of what dedicated individuals can do to recapture and interpret our fascinating past."
The museum wishes to thank the main sponsors, the Department of Culture and Sport, who provided the funding for the project and the various people and organisations who offered their time and services to ensure that everything was in place for the opening.
Amongst these were Dr Nick Walker (Anthropologist), Robert Smith (painting and lights), Ina Stofberg (translations), Digi-Press and Blitsdruk (display panels and printing).
By Nick Walker