29 Sep 2004


1. THE FIRST EVIDENCE OF LIFE ON EARTH: In eastern South Africa, scientists have found traces of blue-green algae dating back 3 500 million years. This is some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth.

2. IF ALIENS LANDED, THEY WOULD BE THE PROPERTY OF THE STATE: According to the National Heritage Resources Act, all meteorites are considered protected property of the nation and there are rules regarding what can be done with them. Interestingly, because a meteorite is defined as “any naturally-occurring object of extraterrestrial origin”, this means that if an alien landed in SA, he/she/it would become the property of the state. Should an alien arrive and find that SA did not suit its disposition, it would not need a passport to leave, but it would have to acquire an export permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).

3. SA HAS THE WORLD’S OLDEST REMAINS: The oldest remains of modern humans were found in the Klasies River Cave in the Eastern Cape. They are well over 100 000 years old.

4. SOUTH AFRICA HAS OVER 2000 SHIPWRECKS: There are more than 2 000 shipwrecks, dating back at least 500 years, off the SA coast and more than one, including the Waratah, simply vanished without a trace.

5. ARTISTS IN A TRANCE – TRANCE WAS HERE OVER 25 000 YEARS AGO: Trance is nothing new to South Africa. In fact, Bushman cave paintings in the Drakensberg are thought to be the work of Shamans operating in a ‘trance’ state. Some of these are up to 25 000 years old.

6. ‘WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST’ COMES FROM SA: The practice of ‘women and children first’ originated off the coast of Hermanus when the British ship, the Birkenhead, sank in 1852. Of the approximately 600 people on board, all 200 women and children survived. Unfortunately, almost 400 men went down with the ship.

7. KAROO BOASTS THE BEST DINASOUR FOSSILS: The Karoo region is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs.

SOURCE: South African Heritage Resource Agency

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