Sibudu rock shelter set for heritage status?

The Sibudu site outside Tongaat is one of the oldest inhabited archaeological sites in the world.

A few kilometres outside Tongaat lies the Sibudu rock shelter, an important archaeological site with evidence of human habitation stretching back more than 70 000 years.

Despite its obvious tourism qualities, the cave is not likely see visitors for years to come because it is still a delicate site and tourism could disturb the work being done.

However, plans to open the site to tourism are starting to take shape.

The Friends of Sibudu (FoS) group have a vision of a beautiful nature reserve which will also be an “interpretive centre” or open-air living museum for old and young to enjoy what they call the Sibudu Experience.

According to FoS the South African Heritage Agency has notified all stakeholders of their intention to declare the Sibudu Cave a national heritage site as it has “qualities so exceptional that it is of national significance”.

If successful, activities would be offered for visitors to learn about the plants and animals, as well as what life was like for hunter-gatherers 70 000 years ago – such as how to make and use stone tools or a bow and arrow or the art of weaving a sedge mat.

If you are interested in learning more about this uniquely South African archaeological treasure, or would like to get involved with the FoS, attend their AGM at the Education Centre of the Durban Botanic Gardens on August 26, at 9.30am or send an email to [email protected]

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Allan Troskie

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