Origins Centre is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the deep and rich history of Africa. The Museum provides visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage and boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute. Much of the museum showcases the history, lifeways, and beliefs of the Southern African San (Bushmen). The San suffered harshly at the hands of Colonial Europeans in Southern Africa. In some areas, they were systematically hunted and by the turn of the 20th century there were very few San left in South Africa, but in Namibia and Botswana they endured. While the harsh colonial treatment of indigenous people the world over is well documented, the same is not true of the San. While they tend to be portrayed as idyllic hunter-gatherers, the truth is that they suffered brutal treatment at the hands of Colonists, as did Indigenous populations elsewhere in the world. Today, San communities struggle to forge a better life for themselves. Exhibits take visitors on an extraordinary journey of discovery, which begins with the origins of humankind in Africa. It then moves through the development of art, symbolism and technology on the continent. The second phase of the Museum focuses on the fossils discovered in South Africa and the contribution that these fossils have made to understanding the development of humankind. The journey then continues, showing the destruction of the diverse Southern African rock art traditions – the world’s oldest continuous art forms, before ending with the rediscovery of these ancient masterworks in a contemporary world.
The Centre is part of the Wits Faculty of Science that houses a vast array of Palaeoanthropological and Archaeological materials - threads of evidence that weave a picture of the African past. The museum offers many opportunities for Art Students of all ages to participate in visual analysis of original examples of rock painting and engravings. They can also study the functional and symbolic meanings in tools and other artifacts; exploring how Early Artists made pigments, brushes and various methods of making. There are also five major contemporary artworks that can be studied and explored for the ways in which artists interpret and respond to the research of Archaeologists and Palaeontologists. Visitors to the Origins Centre follow a path of hominin innovation that began over 2 million years ago. The museum delves into the fascinating beliefs of the San. 
Opened by President Thabo Mbeki in 2006, the Origins Centre is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the History of Modern Humankind. It contains ancient stone tools, artefacts of symbolic and spiritual significance, and examples of the region’s visually striking rock art. It also captures the impact of the Colonial front and highlights examples of Resistence.
The Origins Centre boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) at Wits, affording visitors the opportunity to view some of the richest visual Heritage found in South Africa and to learn about its history and meaning. The Origins Centre's new wing, once complete, will house a collection of engraved boulders brought from parts of North West province.
-26° 11' 31.2", 28° 1' 40.8"