Underground vault will store the SA treasures of our time
Want to bore people with your poetry in 101 years? These time capsules will give a window into our lives
A subterranean vault holding thousands of time capsules – filled with anything from priceless artefacts to human DNA – will offer South Africans a chance to put their personal stamp in the history books.
The underground store, operated by Vault2120, will be frozen in time beneath terra firma at Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind, 50km from Johannesburg, for 101 years.
The capsules will store collations of information, art, ideas, tech and predictions, and will lie dormant for a century. Their opening in 2120 will provide a window into life in 2019 for future generations.
Everyday South Africans can secure their hermetically sealed capsule for R3,000, while corporates can own a themed time pod for R9,000.
Founder Dr Eugene Botha said the vault was borne out of the idea to preserve a slice of this century.
“What we do today, think today, make today and invest in today has consequences both for ourselves and for those who will come after us,” he said.
“We live in an uncertain and volatile world. At every turn there are things that fill us with hope, and things that deeply worry us.
“All these things matter: socio-economic inequality; racism and reconciliation; the environment; meteoric changes in technology; education; art; literature; music … they’re all part of what binds us as a nation,” Botha said.
“The vault gives us a chance, and an actual place, to record what we are today for the future.”
While the majority of the 4,500 capsules will be hidden beneath metres of earth, visitors will be able to see select capsules awaiting their opening.
A total of 22 special time capsules will be commissioned and stored in a visitor centre. Every five years throughout the coming century one of these will be opened and its contents made public.
With human DNA samples, future researchers will have a chronological record of the human genome.
“The genomes of children born 80 or 100 years from now may well be quite different from ours today, because of the probable use of gene-editing tools that have the potential to alter the human genome,” Botha said.