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Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour Exhibition at De Hoop Collection

Africa lives in all of us

There are many natural wonders in the world, but only a few offer such remarkable diversity as does the pristine De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve in the Western Cape, one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature and renowned as one the best spots for land-based whale watching in South Africa.

And now, some great news about an addition to this natural wonder comes with an announcement from William Stephens, founder of The De Hoop Collection – the first Tourism Private Public Partnership in the Western Cape that opened in De Hoop Nature Reserve in 2007.

“De Hoop Collection and CapeNature, in collaboration with the Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) and the University of Bergen, Norway, are proud and delighted to welcome you to the exhibition ‘Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour’, here at De Hoop Collection in the heart of De Hoop Nature Reserve.”

The ‘Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour’ exhibition highlights the Southern Cape coastline’s archaeological heritage and rich marine environment and showcases the unique archaeological discoveries that have been made at the archaeological sites – Blombos Cave, Klipdrift Shelter and Klasies River occupied by early Homo sapiens between 120 000 and 50 000 years ago.

The culmination of a lifelong passion and commitment to documenting human origins and indigenous wisdom by Craig Foster (co-founder of the Sea Change Project, the producers of the Oscar and BAFTA winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher) and Damon Foster and decades of archaeological research in the southern Cape by SapienCE scientists Professor Christopher Henshilwood, Dr Karen van Niekerk, Professor Sarah Wurz and their research teams, the exhibition first opened in 2018 at Spier Wine Estate.

Various iterations followed. Iziko South African Museum (2019 -2021); Origins Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (2021-2023) and The Sea Change Project (SCP) in collaboration with South African National Parks (SANParks), Wits University and the SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE), University of Bergen, Norway at the Cape of Good Hope Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre (BVC) in Table Mountain National Park in June 2023.

The De Hoop Collection exhibition has been curated by Craig Foster and archaeologist Petro Keene and will be managed and maintained for an initial three year period by the De Hoop Collection team.

Chosen by Craig Foster for their dedicated work ethic and strong aesthetic flair, the team – William and Nini Stephens, Hendrik Arendse and Dalfrenzo Laing will be working closely with CapeNature to enhance the legacy for cultural and natural heritage in the area as stewards of this unique and irreplaceable ‘heart of the world’.

“The exhibition at De Hoop Collection will offer visitors and learners to the De Hoop Nature Reserve the opportunity to enhance their cultural experiences of South Africa. The ‘We Are All One’ message features strongly throughout the exhibition, pointing to the clear genetic evidence that all Homo sapiens, people like us, have their origins in Africa,” said Stephens. “We are grateful to Sea Change Project for its support of the SapienCE palaeoscience team with its custom developed content and media, and a special vote of thanks to Foster Brother Film Productions’ Damon Foster and Craig Foster for so generously donating film footage and photographic images that span over 20 years.”

The De Hoop Collection’s Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour exhibition opens on 18 January 2024.

De Hoop Collection, a member of Cape Country Routes and just three hours from Cape Town, offers a range of affordable accommodation from campsite rondawels, self-catering cottages and houses (sleeping from two to six people) to romantic suites, an old stone Manor house and the new De Mond Villa andis arguably one of South Africa’s most perfect destinations for a weekend getaway. Here you get to experience a unique outdoor experience like no other – the sea, the beaches, a Ramsar listed vlei, rare indigenous plants, diverse animal and bird life, whales and now the Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour exhibition.

Book now and experience the magic that is De Hoop!

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