Stumbling into Sterkfontein

Sterkfontein is one of several sites in the World Heritage area labelled ‘The Cradle of Humanity‘, just northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. A group of us undertaking the first ever Qalehong course, designed and run by Br Kevin McDonnell cfc, of the Catholic Bible College in Johannesburg, visited Sterkfontein, as we began to sound the depths of evolution, cosmology and ecojustice.

Apart from a spectacular museum, Sterkfontein also offers sweeping views of the highveld, the local ecosystem, and a vigorous exploration of the limestone caves that have yielded five million years of human evolution, in the form of wonderful fossils. Our early ancestors stumbled into the sink holes here, died, were buried in rubble, and then were cemented into breccia. One clumsy step for a homind, but a giant leap for humankind! (To be fair, some were pushed – or dropped by leopards.)

As we reflect on these australopithecines and early humans, an enormous sense of a common task and common purpose grows. When does the awareness dawn? When do we become conscious of what we are, and where we are going?

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