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Explore The History Of Mankind At The WITS Origins Centre

Explore The History Of Mankind At The WITS Origins Centre

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If you've always wanted to know more about the origins of mankind, then the WITS Origins Centre is the place to visit. Their impressive collection of rock art and ancient artefacts is sure to educate and entertain you. Read on to find out more about their impressive displays. 

The Origins Centre is located at the entrance to WITS University's west campus. The museum was opened in 2006 and celebrates the history of modern mankind. The museum is home to a number of displays, including collections of rock art from the Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) at WITS. The Origins Centre also houses significant artefacts and tools from San culture, documenting its history and advancements, as well as evidence of resistance against colonial domination. The Origins Centre offers school tours, workshops and public exhibitions. Bring the whole family along for a fun and educational day out. Here's what you can expect to find at the Origins Centre:

Museum Tour & Workshops

The Origins Centre offers school tours and is open to the public for workshops and seminars. The Origins Experience includes a guided tour of the museum's African Origin, Khoisan and Rock Art, and Early Iron Age Art exhibitions. Their workshops cover the use of ochre in the Middle Stone Age in South Africa and provide an insightful look into the ancient Hunter Gatherer way of life. The Origins Centre strives to promote indigenous knowledge and to foster a love of history, archeology and paleontology in their visitors, both young and old. The museum also offers a series of lectures designed in correlation with the school Social Sciences, Life Sciences and History curriculum. If you are a teacher or parent, book a tour as soon as possible to help bring those textbooks to life! Admission costs just *R45 per learner, so it's well worth your while.

To make a school booking please contact Origins Centre Curator Dr. Tammy Hodgskiss on [email protected] or call +27 (0) 11 717 4700. To book a private tour, please email [email protected].

Origins Centre

Upcoming Exhibitions

The Origins Centre is currently hosting the "Geology Through a Lens" photographic exhibition. The exhibition is being hosted in collaboration with the Geological Museums Association, the Faculty of Science and the newly established “Earth Sciences Cluster”. The exhibit includes rare and historically significant photographs taken by geoscientists over many years. There are also displays of special fossil, gem and mineral specimens.

The more adventurous types can get involved in some hands-on activities while the kids will be entertained by life-sized dinosaur and mammal ancestor reconstructions from the Evolutionary Studies Institute. These animals lived in Africa hundreds of millions of years ago and include, for the first-time ever, the only reconstruction of the carnivorous dinosaur Dracovenator or “dragon hunter”. This dinosaur lived in South Africa about 200 million years ago and its remains were discovered near the Drakensberg. How exciting?

The exhibition will run from 4 May 2021 - 30 September 2021. You can find more information about the exhibit here. 

Augmented Reality 

While the Origins Centre celebrates the past, they are looking to the future to bring the world of ancient man to you at home. The Centre recently launched its very own AR app. How it works is that the user points their mobile device towards a specific image in the Origins Centre – in the Rock Engraving Archive (REA) or in the Spirit World. A few seconds later they will be able to see the animal come to life on the screen. You can also download the Origins Centre AR App with your friends and family and see how many animals you can find. If you have the label, this can be done from home. The next phase of the app development will include dinosaurs. We can't wait!

Origins Centre

For More Information

Contact the Origins Centre on: (Tel) 27 (0)11 717-4700/8 | Email: [email protected] | Website:

Address: Yale Road, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.


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