Once the Open Africa vision could be proclaimed as something to which Africa’s people can subscribe, associated with pride and holding a promise in which all can genuinely believe, we needed a symbol to reflect the spirit of this. Quite different talents are required for such things and when an artist volunteered to have a crack at designing something, the only lead we could give him was that we wished it could somehow be associated with fossilized human footprints discovered near Cape Town. The earliest evidence of the existence of humanity in its present form, these footprints were whimsically referred to as those of Eve and noteworthy in terms of global interest in such things, the issue of the National Geographic magazine that carried the story of their discovery attracted the second highest readership count of that magazine ever recorded – second only to the landing of a man on the moon.
Rick Gore, the senior assistant editor of National Geographic, who wrote up the story of these footprints, ended the article with the following words, echoing the yearning of people everywhere to reconnect with the Earth and with their roots – one of the main themes of the Open Africa:
“We cover the prints with sand and head back down the beach. I turn and conjure a parting image of that lone figure standing atop the dune, hair blowing in the breeze, dark skin aglow in the sunset. In my mind she will forever be Eve. I know that’s romantic, but I’m a modern human, and I need my symbols and stories to make sense of this world. I imagine her taking that first step down the dune. It’s a small and tentative step, latent with curiosity, and 117 000 years later we still don’t know where it will ultimately lead.”
This African Footprint is intended to encourage amplification of the Open Africa vision in the minds of all those who care about Africa’s people, plants, and animals.