Ceremoniously opened by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2006, the Origins Centre is a world-class museum dedicated to the exploration of humankind.
The centre houses an extensive collection of southern African rock art in collaboration with Wits University's Rock Art Research Institute (RARI). Visitors are thus afforded the opportunity to learn about the earliest images made by humans, and view complex southern African rock art.
Combining cutting-edge technology with the creative vision of artists, exhibits take visitors on a voyage of discovery, which begins with the origins of humankind in Africa, and progresses through the history, symbolism, and technology associated with the various traditions of southern African rock art. The museum's permanent exhibit begins with the oldest aspects of the human past. Here casts of hominid fossils focus on the contribution that these fossils have made to understanding the development of humankind.
Display exhibits also show how diverse southern African rock art traditions have been treated differently at points in history, and they contrast colonial ideas with the re-discovery of these ancient masterworks in a contemporary world.
The average museum experience takes between 90 minutes to two hours. Audio guides come with the price of admission and are available in six languages: Zulu, Sotho, English, Afrikaans, French and German.