There are about 10 world heritage sites in South Africa- all vetted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The Heritage Sites in South Africa are both natural and cultural sites that are worth preservation because they represent our only insights into the past; as well as something to pass down to future generations. Interestingly, South Africa has so many heritage sites due to the long and controversial history upon which the country is built.
The importance of heritage sites in South Africa cannot be downplayed because they put the country on the map and because they can go a long way to protect the nation’s legacy for future generations. In truth, South Africa would not be complete without the heritage sites. South Africa is the cradle of humanity, and as the rainbow nation, it is an exceedingly important case study as to how a multi-ethnic society can live in peace and unity.
When we look at each of the heritage sites in South Africa we have something different to gain. This is why South Africa and the world at large must not lose sight of the importance of the heritage sites in South Africa.
Importance Of Heritage Sites In South Africa
As mentioned above, the heritage sites vary in importance because they all tell different stories, and teach different lessons. In order to accurately describe why they are important, it is important to first analyze the heritage sites.
Cradle Of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind is an important heritage site, not just for South Africa but for the entire world. This is the location where fossils thought to be early ancestors of humanity have been found. This has now been made into a modern museum, in which the fossilized remains of these hominids are displayed
Importance Of This Heritage Site
At the cradle of humankind people from all over the world come in to study the remains; this is extremely important because it helps in the understanding of human development; for humanity to map out the timeline of its appearance and trace its origins.
One specific example is the fact that humans emerged around 3 million years ago; while varying figures have been thrown about by scientists over the years, the cradle of humanity has been able to prove conclusively that humans emerged about 3 million years ago.
The Vredefort Crater
The Vredefort Crater is the largest verified impact crater on Earth. It is also the second oldest impact crater on the planet. A crater is formed when an object travelling through space collides with a planet. The crater is supposed to be formed with an explosive sound and force. The Vredefort Crater happened around 2 billion years, and even when seen from space it is a very impressive thing to look at.
Importance Of Vredefort Crater
The Vredefort Crater is important because it can help geologists study the impact of Asteroids and Comets on the earth. This also important because there are several such bodies floating throughout space, and by studying these craters scientists can come to better understand them, and the danger they pose to earth and humanity based on their size; and the estimated size of the impact.
Vredefort Crater is also important because it puts the town of Vredefort on the map. Tourists come to the town from all over the world; they come to see the wonder that continues to be amazing millions of years after it happened.
Soil samples are also important to collect at Vredefort; they can give a hint as to the mixture of metals that are present in the asteroids floating around in space. Sometimes, scientists may be able to study bacteria that can be found in the soil down in the Vredefort Crater.
Robben Island is a testament of the long road that South Africa has taken to become a free and united country. This is one of the country’s best known heritage sites because it is the prison where the father of the nation Nelson Mandela spent the bulk of his 27 year prison sentence.
Robben Island has been several things through the ages: a livestock station, a sanctuary for people with highly infectious diseases, a prison holding mostly political prisoners, and now a tourist attraction.
The Importance Of Robben Island
Robben Island is an important heritage site because it reminds us of what life was like in Apartheid South Africa. This island helps the present generation understand the scale and power of Apartheid, and what it meant to be a freedom fighter during the years of Apartheid rule.
Robben Island also helps young people understand how small their problems, or the problems of their generation are when compared with the times past.
The Various Wildlife Sanctuaries In South Africa
There are several wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa, but some of them have been selected as world heritage sites because of the size of the land, the animals that live there, or the variety of flora that the land protects.
Some of these heritage sites include Mapungubwe National Park, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve. They are among the largest animal ranges on the continent.
Importance Of These Wildlife Sanctuaries
Some of these protected lands can help scientists study how it is possible for humans to life at one with nature without the need for destroying forests and the natural make up of the land.
Some of the heritage sites in South Africa represent a chance for humanity to save certain plant species; some of which may be found nowhere else on earth.
Medical science has not even begun to explore the medical potential of the plants that are endemic to these protected areas in South Africa.
The importance of heritage sites in South Africa is not restricted to money; this is true even though many of these sites have been developed so as to generate revenue as tourist sites. These heritage sites provide vital insights into the past, and it is for that primary reason that they are important.