A lack of tolerance for others is one of the major problems in society today. But did you know that there is a 99.9% similarity between the genomes of any two people on earth?
To spread awareness of our common ancestry, the Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST) and its partners have announced that the popular and thought-provoking exhibition, All From One, will be on display at the Zindala Zombili African Music & Dance Festival, taking place at the Soweto Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa from 23 to 28 February 2016.
The All From One exhibition is part of a scientific campaign promoting social cohesion. The Soweto leg of the exhibition’s journey follows the highly successful launch of the campaign outside Standard Bank’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg in November 2015. The campaign celebrates Africa as the birthplace of humankind and is aimed at improving the public’s awareness of the shared origins of all people.
Zindala Zombili aims to be South Africa’s premier indigenous cultural festival. A project of the African Cultural Heritage Trust, the festival promotes the conservation and celebration of South Africa’s rich and diverse indigenous heritage and culture. The All From One exhibition fits in perfectly with the festival, in that it helps to create a broader picture of our heritage and drive a message of unity.
Rosemary Mangope, CEO of the National Arts Council (NAC), said: “We are proud to be a key supporter of an initiative that breathes to life one of our strategic objectives, which is to utilise the arts to drive nation-building and social cohesion. It is through partnerships such as this one that we can actively encourage and foster nation building and social cohesion within our various communities.
“This initiative drives home the basic truths of our shared origins and drives a message of tolerance and acceptance, which are key steps to social cohesion and nation building.
“To promote and develop excellence in the arts, you need to promote the free and creative expression of South Africa’s cultures,” added Ms Mangope.
For the upcoming event, influential figures like former Minister Jay Naidoo and others have had their DNA tested to get a breakdown of their personal ancient ancestry and highlighting the fact that science has proven that 99.9% of the 3 billion nucleotides in your genome are the same as any other member of the human species. “The scientific fact is humans are 99.9% alike, with just a few genes making for the differences in skin colour,” confirms Prof Robert Blumenschine, Chief Scientist at PAST.
Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology and a patron of the campaign, said: “The message that the exhibition conveys - ‘we all come from one’ - has never been more important, given the difficulties of this world. The exhibit tells us that we are indeed one and should be united as humanity.”
The exhibition is a long-term campaign with several stops scheduled in 2016 and 2017 to promote our shared origins. The exhibition is set to travel nationally and then to tour in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and then West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana). Following that, it will also launch in the UAE in Dubai hosted by Sheikh Nahayan, the Middle East Campaign Patron. In 2017, the PAST exhibition is set to land in London, New York and/or Washington. The global campaign will be promoted by patrons known world-wide for their advocacy of human rights.
For more information, visit the PAST website.
For more about the Zindala Zombili Festival watch the video below.