Creating an African tourist experience at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
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This article considers the example of palaeo-heritage tourism at Sterkfontein Cave, situated in a geographic area designated the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, or Cradle for short. The article looks at how a particular “African” tourist experience is constructed through the architectural vocabulary and the narrative built around the Sterkfontein Cave, which, with the adept use of a particular theory of human origins, allows the visitor to identify with a trajectory of a shared prehistory and shared humanity. These appear to be constructed in an attempt to redefine the visitor’s image of himself or herself in terms of a shared African history. This sense of a shared history is attempted through the architectural design of the interpretive centre, the virile narrative contained in the logo of the centre, and the process of appropriating seminal fossil artefacts found here. The constructed tourist experience is itself fed by a larger emerging discourse to rearticulate the identity of the African.