The great questions – who am I and why am I here; what comes before birth and after death – are explored at //hapo, which recounts the history of Africa. "//Hapo ge //hapo tama /hapo hasib dis tamas kai bo" goes the Khoi proverb, meaning "A dream is not a dream until it is shared by the entire community."
Named in Khoi for the word "dream", the //hapo interpretative centre tells the story of Africa, and of South Africa specifically, in seven parts. Each part is a distinct element in the evolution of the great continent.
Also called the Freedom Park Museum, //hapo draws together the park's elements to build a coherent and arresting narrative – from an African perspective – through interactive displays, vivid audio-visual presentations, performances and storytelling.
The story starts 3.6 million years ago with African creation legends, and describes the continent's, and South Africa's, rich and colourful history. It combines indigenous African knowledge and contemporary scientific thought to bring history to life. This story of the nation's rich and colourful history unfolds in seven eras.
The Seven Epochs
Epoch 1: Earth – this era explores an African perspective on the origins of the universe, life on Earth and our role and responsibility towards the environment and each other.
Epoch 2: Ancestors – this era explores how Africans deal with death and the afterlife, and explains the concept of ancestors from the physical and spiritual perspectives. It also documents early technological innovations.
Epoch 3: Peopling – this era showcases African innovations and the many vibrant civilisations and ideas from the continent that have influenced developments in the modern world.
Epoch 4: Resistance and Colonisations – this era shows how indigenous people used their own systems to resist the social, economic and political challenges of colonialism, and highlights how colonisation changed the relationship of African people to their land and cultures.
Epoch 5: Industrialisation and Urbanisation – this era highlights how indigenous people resisted, and adapted to, the social and economic changes and challenges that colonial industrialisation – especially large-scale minerals exploitation – brought to their lives.
Epoch 6: Nationalisms and Struggle – this era looks at the struggle for democracy as a backdrop to the birth of the new South Africa. It charts the movement to establish inclusive nationalism as the preferred model for a unified nation.
Epoch 7: National Building and Continent Building – this era begins in the last decade of the 20th century and explores South Africa's transition from the tyranny of apartheid to a constitutional democracy. It looks at how we create unity and promote development in South Africa and on the continent in general.