Wits University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, Professor Bruce Rubidge and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Wits University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, Professor Bruce Rubidge and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, Professor Tawana Kupe and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi are seen next to the bones of Karabo at the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, Professor Tawana Kupe and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi are seen next to the bones of Karabo at the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Professor Tawana Kupe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor and Professor Bruce Rubidge are seen next to the bones of Homo Naledi at The Crandle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Professor Tawana Kupe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor and Professor Bruce Rubidge are seen next to the bones of Homo Naledi at The Crandle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Professor Bruce Rubidge, Professor Tawana Kupe, Professor Ronald Clarke, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pando and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi next to the bones of Little Foot at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Professor Bruce Rubidge, Professor Tawana Kupe, Professor Ronald Clarke, Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pando and Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi next to the bones of Little Foot at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
The bones of Homo Naledi, Little Foot and Karabo are seen at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
The bones of Homo Naledi, Little Foot and Karabo are seen at the Cradle of Humankind. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
A man is seen taking a cellphone picture of the timeline of the last surviving species in the genus Homo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
A man is seen taking a cellphone picture of the timeline of the last surviving species in the genus Homo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
Bones of Homo Naledi, Little Foot and Karabo are on display at the Cradle of Humankind in West Rand. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
Bones of Homo Naledi, Little Foot and Karabo are on display at the Cradle of Humankind in West Rand. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa shows off a cast of Nelson Mandela's handprint which is on exhibit at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa shows off a cast of Nelson Mandela's handprint which is on exhibit at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa's Minister of International Relations, assists Xi Jinping, the president of the People's Republic of China to make an imprint of his hands in clay. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa's Minister of International Relations, assists Xi Jinping, the president of the People's Republic of China to make an imprint of his hands in clay. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin pushes his hands down into clay to make a cast of his handprints which will be placed next to a cast of Nelson Mandela's hands at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin pushes his hands down into clay to make a cast of his handprints which will be placed next to a cast of Nelson Mandela's hands at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Brazil's President Michel Temer pushes his hands down into clay. The cast will be placed next to Nelson Mandela's handprints at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Brazil's President Michel Temer pushes his hands down into clay. The cast will be placed next to Nelson Mandela's handprints at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Indian President Narendra Modi pushes his hands down into clay to make a cast of his handprints which will be placed next to a cast of Nelson Mandela's hands at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Indian President Narendra Modi pushes his hands down into clay to make a cast of his handprints which will be placed next to a cast of Nelson Mandela's hands at Maropeng. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Leaders of the five BRICS countries have secured a spot next to one of the world's iconic leaders Nelson Mandela. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian leader Michel Temer joined their counterpart, South African President Cyril Ramphosa in creating handprints which will be placed next to those of Mandela at the Cradle of Human Kind's Maropeng Centre, in Mogale City.

The statesmen, who engaged in deliberations on Thursday at the Sandton Convention Centre where the 10th BRICS Summit is underway, were scheduled to tour the world heritage site but were unable to due to logistical challenges in bussing all the leaders to the venue.

Ramphosa used the platform at the Summit to showcase the heritage site which he said was South Africa's pride which he said symbolises the unity of people in the world.

"It also profiles our continent of Africa as the birthplace of the human species and indeed more than 200 million years ago our continents were all joined in the single continent Laurasia. We have differences in languages, culture and beliefs but we are one species bound together by a single ancient history," Ramphosa said.

Shortly after his remarks, leaders at the Summit watched a live stream video of the unveiling of the nearly complete skeleton known as Little Foot to the public.

Speaking from the World Heritage Centre, Professor Ronald Clarke of the Wits University's Evolutionary Studies Institute who discovered Little Foot alongside other researchers said it had taken him over 20 years to extract the remains from rock .


He said the species  known as Australopithecus Promotheus - a female - dates back to 3.67 million of years ago.  It is also a few bones shy of becoming the first ever complete skeleton discovered by mankind dating back to this era. 

Delegates also witnessed the unveiling of the fossil known as Karabo.

For South Africa , this is yet another achievement which following the discovery of Homo Naledi , a new species of human ancestor that was discovered and unveiled in 2015 as well as Mrs Ples -  a 2.5 million-year-old Australopithecus africanus skull found in the Sterkfontein Caves in the 70s.


Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor told delegates through the live stream that the Brics countries all have sites that connect "our history."

She added: "Your excellencies and dignitaries, we trust that the evidence you have seen today of our common origins has been an inspiration" further saying the handprints of the leaders would symbolise their commitment to safeguarding the future of humanity.

Political Bureau