The Fountain Birth-Source of Humankind, a Freshwater Source Park joined through the Nature Corridors of the River- Source Sanctuaries joined through the Nature Corridors of the River- Source Sanctuaries with the Birthplace of Humankind Wildlife Nature Reserve
Proposal for creating a large Freshwater National Park formed around the natural spring-water system of central Gauteng safeguarding the riverside heritage sites representing the origin of Humankind. Two National Parks at the source of the Rivers and at their confluence connected by the Nature Sanctuaries formed around the riverine corridors, safeguarding the rivers and underground water system of the Witwatersrand. Protecting the ridges as well as the fountain sources of the rivers originating there with Sanctuaries flowing out along with the waters as they merge to form Spruits and rivers, to include their riparian zones and the connected Grasslands that are all severally threatened by human activities in this largest industrial powerhouse of Africa where they have a very high conservation value.
The biggest natural asset of our city is being hidden and currently in a highly polluted and degraded state with the rivers unable to sustain life and busy dying. It is crucial to restore these rivers originating on the Witwatersrand and protect them in a large Grassland Park, the Crocodile, Jukskei and Hennops rivers eventually merge on the north inside a large natural area proposed for the Birthplace Park already protected partly by the new Crocodile River Nature Reserve. The Klip river flowing to the south connects nature areas on this side near the Suikerbosrand Reserve while the Apies river and tributaries feed the nature of Pretoria- all these rivers rising in strong permanent fountain sources on the Rand.
The restoration process of this freshwater system can be started by saving the corridor of the Hennops River and its tributaries with their natural life as it was until recently the most pristine river in the system having two declared Nature Reserves at both ends. The original species can be revived here and used to eventually repopulate all the riverine ecosystems of these ancient waterways. One of the cradles of humankind, these magnificent spring-water river systems stretch back timelessly as the permanent water-sources of the first Hominids and even further back to the beginning of time, to connect us with the origin of life here and with our first ancestors who evolved here around the Witwatersrand.
A heritage area of humankind`s fresh-water origins should be declared around the sources and upper flows of the rivers that originate along the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, spanning from their fountain sources on the ridges of the Rand to incorporate their long meandering courses while widening in natural areas to form larger reserves. Forming nature corridors connecting isolated pieces of Grassland and open spaces from becoming wastelands consumed by urban sprawl, merging the smaller patchwork of pieces left over into the only large enough High Grassland Reserve to protect this severally endangered Biome so rich in biodiversity and ensure its future survival.
Great volumes of underground spring-water have been timelessly gushing forth forming the sources of the five large rivers that are born of the perennial fountains of the Witwatersrand. Since the beginning of time creating the constant life source for all creatures here, over countless aeons nourishing the first of our kind and making the long evolution of mankind possible. A place of origin shared with other early creatures even perhaps an area for the beginning of first life originating
inside the ancient shallow sea that existed here inside the Witwatersrand basin around three and a half billion years ago. In the middle of this first micro- continent on earth the Kaapvaal Craton, a central large basin formed by subduction and the sinking of the mantle after a failed rifting event created the ancient shallow sea where the first life-forms flourished for billions of years. The remains of these first creatures the Stromatolites which were colonies of cyanobacteria, still lie fossilised on the ancient seabed where sediment from this body of water was laid down as Dolomitic rock layers formed from the remains of the first life-forms that released the initial free oxygen to create our present atmosphere making it breathable for our kind.
Millennia later in this same basin where the fountain rivers now flow through the first hominids evolved over countless millennia with stone tools from the banks that have been dated at 2,8 million years ago corresponding to the earliest Cradle periods. The river-side sites point to continuous visitation and habitation through the Early, Middle and Later stone ages of our earliest formative times connected to this abundant freshwater supply making the long evolution of mankind possible by nourishing our first and thereafter the long continuous line of ancestors with health giving mineral waters from an abundant freshwater supply gushing from the Rand. The geological anomaly of the Witwatersrand Ridge can be seen as the mother-source of Humankind giving birth and life to our species by providing early man with constant nourishment over the countless aeons of their evolution, her ridges and waters should be protected by declaring the proposed Birth-source Fountain Park Nature Reserve around them.
The meandering strips of high-water riverbanks incorporating the flood zones represent almost all that is left of the place of origin of our species. These riparian zones need to be declared as Freshwater-river Sanctuaries creating an interconnected Riverine Reserve for the Birthplace of Humankind to be spanning out along with all the rivers born on the Witwatersrand. Saving the ancient haunts of our ancestors in a Birth-source Park starting in Johannesburg and including the rivers with their surrounding banks and any surviving connected Grasslands, to protect and thereby reconnect these isolated threatened islands of nature surrounded our urban world into one large Nature Reserve joined by these freshwater nature corridors.
A large Birthplace of Humankind nature Reserve can be created where three of these Rivers meet in the already partly protected though still severally threatened area for Biodiversity where the last intact remnants of the Egoli Granite Grasslands are protected by the newly formed Crocodile River Reserve. Recently declared it remains fragmentary relying on the voluntary participation of landowners with only connected pieces given Nature reserve status. A long perimeter fence on the border can unite the whole area into a large wildlife reserve with many animals of ancient original gene-pools still surviving here. With improved security internal fencing can be removed and this area can form the base zone of the three rivers stretching up from a fully restored ecosystem. Extending the Nature Reserve status to protect these riparian corridors stretching upstream from here would give the rivers protection to their sources on the Rand, ensuring clean water quality all along the way by conserving from source downwards and from the base where they merge upwards.
This part can serve as adjunct to the Cradle Of humankind on the other side of the road presenting the living areas of the first Hominids next to these freshwater sources in a restored ecosystem like a living museum to gain insight into their complex lives. Perhaps because of all the fossils found and the new evidence of communal burial at Naledi the Cradle was the sacred burial place for these early people while their living areas were along the myriad of streams in the Proposed Birthplace area.
The ridge tops of the Witwatersrand are ecological hot spots with high biodiversity and threatened endemic plants and animal life still surviving here. The fragile natural life harboured here must be protected from isolation and these areas should become a connected Central Park running along the tops of these ridges, safeguarding the watershed and formed around the various fountain-sources from where numerous springs flows to become the waterfalls and fountain-streams that merge as rivers, surrounded now by our urbanised world the last remaining vestiges of our Original Nature radiating out in all four directions from these watershed high points of the centrally located Witwatersrand. To protect the different types of grassland threatened to varying degrees on all four sides of Johannesburg, the Rivers and their banks can become thriving ecosystems again to save the last vestiges of our first paradise - restored to become our Grassland Garden of Eden again.
The Biblical description in Genesis of the Four Rivers of Paradise is written in a different tense from the rest of the account of Creation - in the present tense as if they are still flowing, described as dividing from a single river to form the heads of Four Rivers that Water the Garden of Eden and flow from there into the four primary directions. This passage is probably only matched in one place, being an accurate description of the Witwatersrand`s natural water system flowing from an underground river source to form the sources of four rivers that form catchments in the four surrounding directions. The First River of Eden is further described as being in the land of Gold and the gold of this Land is good; this could be interpreted to refer to the healing properties of the colloidal enriched spring-water from the Reef where the richest concentration of gold on the planet was contained inside the Rand.
Perhaps the memory of this first ancestral Grassland home was preserved by nomadic tribes as humanity slowly spread upwards into Africa and later to the world like the rivers of Eden flowing into all four directions. Preserving a living park for the origin of our species will be a place shared by all humanity, our common ground with our species having shared place of origin in the Southern part of Africa as shown by genetic tracing to the Mitochondrial Eve. This Basin of the Witwatersrand being the most likely candidate for our place of Origin –our first paradise formed among the myriads of fountains and streams that watered our first Garden of Eden.
Clean Water returning health to our overburdened environment in this densely populated area with urban parklands filled with natural life meandering through the suburbs of Johannesburg, Tshwane and to the South of Johannesburg with living corridors allowing for animal migration to connect isolated nature reserves thereby enhancing biodiversity and naturally connecting the two adjoining large metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane. Flowing through different municipalities and joining people through natural spring-water streams to bring a health giving environment to all while revitalising the riverine stretches of existing parklands that have become dangerous no-man`s lands, filled with rubbish and pollution, encroached by weeds and choked with alien growth, yet the best places of our city.
Allowing for the reconnection of man and nature here where the shared lives of the common ancestors of all our kind and of our species began. By restoring the Birthplace of Humankind we can help reconnect ourselves to mother earth for a healing and healthy planet, connecting through the living river corridors of the Apies river and Crocodile system in the north directly with the newly declared Unesco site of the Magalliesberg Biosphere so that the larger areas of nature can be physically joined to ensure the free exchange of healthy gene-pools and the survival of our unique High-veld Biome with its rich diversity of creatures, some already facing extinction.
The freedom to breathe mountain-fresh air and to be able to drink again from the healing mineral waters so abundantly given forth by the fountains of the Rand enriched from deep in her heart with the abundant precious metals contained in the Witwatersrand. Gushing from deep inside the hidden and still untouched veins of gold, dissolved in colloidal form from what is perhaps still the highest concentration of gold on the planet and can have a powerful healing effect on all drinking it.
The Restoration process helped by those who benefited most and started the destruction
Perhaps the mining houses that removed the vast amounts of Gold can put something back and finance the restoration of these fountain streams and aid the establishment of these parks and save everyone`s health and environment in this densely populated area of central Gauteng. Surely after taking more than half the gold ever mined one cannot leave the place a wasteland - returning a percentage perhaps of the huge amount of gold that was taken out to aid its recovery. The gold discovery caused the establishment of Johannesburg, the city often said to be one of the biggest not next to a river, yet it was built right on top of four major river sources with scant regard for their delicate nature. A huge debt is owed to the Witwatersrand for funding our city, and from humanity to this primary life-source that nourished our ancestors over the aeons of our shared Birth and long evolution here- bringing back the life giving water to the Birthplace and the Cradle of Humankind.
These healthy spring streams would have supported abundant life, attracting large numbers of animals to this healthy climate of the Highveld, permanently flowing even during times of drought keeping a constant level of clean mineral water. The existing and new reserves can be flourishing again when we restore this enormously precious Freshwater Fountain-River system. The ancient rivers of our origin made to thrive again and filled with clean living water that will be supporting again a whole host of endangered Grassland species. Mining activities started the destruction in an underground war with the water, now Raw-sewage pollution is the main reason for the vanishing of life making it one of the most severally polluted river systems.
By creating the only large Highveld Grassland reserve and utilising the meandering river courses as backbones to connect like the ribs the adjacent nature areas all along the river courses incorporating all the stretches of river banks while expanding in more natural areas and with larger Nature Reserves along the way filled with wildlife to maintain pristine ecosystems. Our original nature can be saved along with the Grasslands, what is left of the unique Highveld can be restored again with all their diverse ecosystems flourishing again. This Biome being one of the highest in biodiversity and one of the most severally threatened ecosystems on the planet with only a very small percentage protected and most already altered by human activity and agriculture, having a slow recovery rate and in a severally fragmented state existing only in small pockets, we stand to lose the nature of one of the most ancient high-altitude grassland systems, the ecology of the place of our shared ancestry.
Creating the Birthplace Grassland Wildlife Reserve in the heart of Gauteng
The Egoli Granite Grassland being endemic to Gauteng is one of the most threatened bioregions with seventy percent already altered and only a very small part under three percent protected. The Dolomitic veld has a very high biodiversity with forbs or leafy plants and bulbs forming a large part of the climax veld. Some parts are already being protected by the new Crocodile River Reserve but it is still fragmented and on a voluntary basis by land owners.
By forming at this base where 3 of the rivers merge a large Wildlife Reserve by integrating the nature areas around the new Crocodile River Reserve where the Jukskei and Hennops merge into the Crocodile system. Through integrating existing nature and Game areas by removing internal fencing(keeping camps around houses) and setting up a perimeter fence to form a large Wildlife Reserve. This whole area currently under enormous and increasing pressure from development on all sides can be safeguarded and become like another Central Park surrounded by the expanding new high density developments in progress around it- a grassland island connected through river corridors to their source uniting other smaller pockets of nature. A last refuge for endangered Grasslands and animal species can be set up, a study area for threatened Biodiversity and the interaction of this nature with our origin, to preserve the places where the first Hominids lived and restore them so that their original eco-systems can be flourishing again.
Forming an adjunct to the Cradle of Humankind in an area with the same geological formations and joining onto it, yet containing the myriad of streams and rivers representing the favoured place where hominids would have lived near these abundant water sources. The Cradle containing the fossils and burial places while here the remnants of their lives. A place to time-travel back to our origins and see the nature that formed us, intact again and able to shed light on the mysteries of our shared origin, and our harmonious existence here over ages.
The compact and spectacular mountain scenery of the Schurweberg along with the numerous streams and rivers meandering through this timeless place make it an ideal Original Wildlife Park. A dolomitic veld with ancient and largely intact Grassland ecosystems where the biodiversity is high and can spread back to the whole veld system through protected riparian ways. The high carrying capacity for grazing animals due to the rich mineral content in the grasses growing on limestone soil. Very high Calcium levels being present in the springs, some forming rare Tufa formations that build up pond walls used to attract and nourish great numbers of Grazing animals. They enriched and fertilised the thin soil while selectively trimming the grasses and propagating the seeds of certain plants while maintaining the right balance of grass species through their selective grazing to help keep the vibrant ecology of the grassland alive and intact, its true custodians need to be returned to ensure the survival of this threatened grassland with its biodiversity flourishing.
Uniting this large patchwork of smaller some already protected areas will create one of our premier Wildlife Reserves right in the heart of Gauteng. The transitional zone between Grassland and Bush- veld as well as the Dolomitic veld and riparian and aquatic zones form very diverse veld types rich in species and plant diversity. The spectacular and compact ancient scenery will make it one of the country`s most important reserves, preserving the miraculous Freshwater River system that is of great importance to our shared place of Human Origin.
The proposed area is neatly demarcated by four large roads along which the perimeter fence can be stretched with some areas are already game-fenced. The southern border can run along the N14 highway and r28 closing and rehabilitating the two damaging quarries here. The western border along the r512 borders the Cradle of Humankind is partially fenced and can integrate Lanseria airport on the edge which will be great for tourism. The northern border can run along the r104 to include the nuclear complex of Pelindaba and situating a main gate at the r511 crossing and
extending further on till near the edge of Atterridgeville. The eastern border will be slightly more complicated, running along a part of the r511 with a main gate at its turn-off and carrying on straight through on the newly revamped Erasmia main road to include Gerhardsville. Here in the corner where the Hennops enters a suitable edge should be found for a small part of the border to include the pristine nature close to the edges of Erasmia Laudium and Atteridgeville, with another smaller gate on this side.
By integrating the part of the R511 turning off and currently dividing the nature area of the Hennopsriver valley to allow animals to cross over this only through-fare that is bisecting the area by lowering the speed limit to a uniform sixty kmph, most of this dangerous road is already a sixty zone. Having two sets of entrance gates at either side to inform motorists the traffic load will be reduced and trucks ploughing through discouraged, slow moving abnormal loads could still use it.
This section of the r511 can be declared a scenic route as it meanders through the spectacular ancient natural scenery of this timeless river valley crossing the Hennops frequently, with wild-life and animals making it like a game-drive near the city. Bordering this route can be some limited environmentally friendly developments with stopping places and tourism areas along the way. The road will be giving access to the Park as a scenic route with its spectacular wild mountainous scenery meandering through the river valley and following the flow of the River through the Poort of the Schurweberg towards the Hartebeespoortdam, winding through the Hennops River Valley and crossing the river at three narrow bridges. Presently a very dangerous road with huge trucks and high accident rate due to speeding motorists on this narrow stretch, it can become a great asset when integrated with the Reserve.
The gateway to our Birthplace of Humankind Reserve will be formed, uniting this Riverine Grassland of Eden Park to see the natural areas thriving again. The land value and security will increase and the spate of unsightly and unscrupulous developments threatening the area will be stopped when formal protection is given to the whole area. Smaller ecotourism opportunities can give a livelihood to residents and adjoining areas. The hamlets on the edge of the park of Laezonia and Gerhardsville can be included in the park as buffer zones giving security and wildlife to these rural parts. The low- cost area of the one edge of Atteridgeville can be linked to the park benefitting the residents with satisfying conservation and tourism jobs while protecting the animals that will uplift the lives of all.
Some of the enormous positive benefits of the Freshwater Fountain River Reserve project
Freshwater is probably our most precious natural asset- this project aims to restore the whole natural water and river system of central Gauteng, currently one of the most polluted in the country. Treating it as the unit it is to save the vast and widespread reserves of underground water rising as fountains to feed the streams and rivers as well as the endangered Grasslands they give life to. Cleaning the environment on which the health of all depends in this most densely populated area of the country.
The positive impact will be great and touch many people`s lives, boosting eco-tourism and creating many stimulating careers in nature conservation,, uplifting poorer areas near the Park and bringing clean water and pristine nature areas right to peoples doorstep. Educating the city`s people about their surrounding nature through parks close to urban areas and river corridors meandering through. Bringing tranquillity and recreational parks that will function naturally with constantly flowing clean spring river–water to revitalise the nature and open spaces and protect them as reserves and sanctuaries.
The initial costs to set up the Reserves will be low compared to their huge benefit. Much of the riparian land belongs to the municipalities and is currently in a polluted run-down state needing extensive upgrading, isolated projects cannot succeed as the system needs to be treated holistically like the unit it is. The existing natural water system will be used that only needs to be restored to its original timeless clean state, no longer polluted, maintenance costs to parks will be low as it is a self- maintaining freshwater system. Acid-mine drainage however will have to be addressed with the help of the Mines who caused the problem in the first place, perhaps by natural filters and plants.
A healthy restored riverine ecosystem will be able to cope with some unavoidable pollutants from the city, cleaning our environment naturally like the arteries bringing life to our world. The original species of grazing animals can be employed to trim the grasses and help to restore the natural ecology and keep it flourishing. The animals must be protected and people educated about the essential role that they play in keeping the Grassland nature alive and in a pristine condition with each creature playing a vital role in this timeless ecosystem, an interdependent web of biodiversity.
A study of the lifestyle and diet of our ancestors within a living ecosystem and how they lived sustainably over the ages without destroying it like modern man. The knowledge that our ancestors were not meat eaters and evolved over millennia with the same frugivorous digestive system we have inherited that still can`t process meat or dairy properly causing a toxic build-up in our bodies leading to degenerative diseases and inflicting huge suffering on the animals and the environment.
The knowledge of where and how the first Hominids lived can help us to learn the truth about our ancestors that can change the behaviour and impact of people`s way of life on the environment, saving Humankind and the planet by finding our true peaceful, spiritual and noble first ancestors. Understanding the functional shape of our bodies and where we fit in through studying the nature and the environment that shaped us to find ways to return to paradise and health by amending our behaviour and diet to what our bodies evolved with over their formative ages. Perhaps other healthy sustainable food sources can be found in this way, some forgotten grasses and grains as well as the fruits that sustained us, their huge variety of stone tools and living and worshipping areas here containing the clues to their complex lifestyle.
Rehabilitating the open spaces and saving the endangered natural areas of Gauteng, making no- man`s lands into safe places while rehabilitating existing parks and providing recreational areas for to all interact with the wonders of nature while making a healthy environment for everyone. Sustainable careers in conservation, eco-tourism, natural health and many more will be created, the uplifting of surrounding areas resulting from the boosting of tourism and the economy will benefit disadvantaged areas near the parks and rivers. Restoration alien clearing and de-weeding will be long–term labour intensive projects providing employment for surrounding communities.
Through stimulating studies and research into our early history and the environment that shaped us, the Rivers can bring pride and identity to Johannesburg as the Fountain City, the Birth-source Park on the ridges of the Witwatersrand as place of origin for all mankind and possibly for first life- perhaps even site of the lost Garden of Eden. Tshwane will become the custodian of the large Birth-place of Humankind Park and will be put on the world map with this premier wildlife Park, a corner shared with the North-west province.
Healthy and clean spring-water for all from a natural abundance of fountains forming the sources of five large perennial rivers distributed through a living network of streams. By restoring mankind`s Birthplace a new bond can be formed between the Earth and Humanity to find harmony again with nature and ensure the future survival of our species inside the vital natural bio-diversity of our fellow creatures so necessary for a healthy planet to help protect us by warding off climate change.
A way to unite all people around their ancestral Grassland home, the spiritual base of mankind made whole again to flourish by restoring the Birthplace of Humankind the soul of our species can be healed again.