My favourite place in South Africa is Twitter. I know that technically Twitter isn’t a place, but it’s where we get to see our cleverest and stupidest citizens interact in the space of just 140 characters. Which technically means that eventually the stupid people will always win, assuming they outnumber the clever people. But you can’t go on holiday in Twitter – unless you are really, really lonely, or are a minister of sport – so my next best is the Cradle of Humankind.
They recently discovered Homo Naledi there, our great, great, great, great-grandmother who was so clever she invented the idea of thought itself. She buried her dead, which means she had some idea of the afterlife, which means she had some concept of her own existence. It makes my little puppet brain explode. Imagine being a monkey who one day realises, “But wait, I am a monkey,” and therefore is no longer a monkey. This incredible event happened just a short ride out of Joburg.
The Cradle is a Unesco World Heritage Site, which is something you tell people without any clue what it means. You could tell me Unesco is a brand of coffee and I would believe you. According to The Cradle’s website it has 40 per cent of the world’s human-ancestor fossils. The other 60 per cent have jobs as rugby commentators on Supersport. The hotel and restaurant there are amazing and priced so high, that only billionaires can eat there. That being said, it’s worth breaking the bank, or befriending Cyril, and going there to see where humanity was born. We literally climbed out of the trees and became human beings just outside of Joburg.
The visitor’s centre is built under an amazing grassy mound, where you can also experience how it must have felt – cold, alone in a musty hole where our ancestors cowered, fearing for their lives in darkness. Basically it was like being in a townhouse complex in Fourways during loadshedding.