GTA interns at Maropeng

Posted on June 16, 2017 — Anthony Paton

Judy Shikwambana at home at Maropeng

Judy Shikwambana at home at Maropeng

Judy Shikwambana, Lindi Nkambule and Gift Lebea are interns with Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA).  They were recently posted to Maropeng to act as ushers for the duration of the "Almost Human" exhibition of Homo naledi.

Judy knew nothing about Maropeng or palaeoanthropology before arriving, but here interaction with the other interns and the Maropeng guides has made her increasingly more comfortable. She was quite surprised to realize that Homo naledi is a conceptual "cousin" and not a direct human ancestor as one would expect of a creature with "primitive" features.

Lindi Nkambule experiencing Maropeng from a new angle

Lindi Nkambule experiencing Maropeng from a new angle

Lindi Nkambule was also very ignorant of what Maropeng was about before being sent there to support guests and tour guides.  She didn't learn much about anatomy or evolution at school, so she has been on a huge learning curve and "an enlightening experience".  She has been inspired to switch from marketing, which was her original background to tourism, which she is finding very interesting.  Both Judy and Lindi said that they were inspired by their fellow intern, Gift Lebea, who appeared confident from the start.

Gift Lebea- easily fitted in at Maropeng

Gift Lebea- easily fitted in at Maropeng

Gift Lebea was trained as a nature guide and was thrilled to be temporarily posted to Maropeng. He has used his time at Maropeng to learn more about evolution and geological history, which he finds fascinating.  The most interesting question that gift has heard from a child so far is "Could Mrs. Ples pray to God?"  The guide said "no" and Gift thought that that was probably the correct answer, as Mrs. Ples had probably not reached the level of speech and abstract thought.  Gift loves wildlife and would love to find a job working in sustainable tourism.