The "golden rhino" figurine, believed to have been made in South Africa between 1220 and 1290, as displayed at the University of Pretoria, September 23, 2015. Photo AFP/Stefan Heunis
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For years, South Africa's apartheid government ignored the significance of a "golden rhino" figurine that provides undeniable proof of a sophisticated society existing before white men arrived.With more than 6 million visitors passing through the London museum's doors annually, it would make a dramatic world debut for the rhino, which is currently in a little-known gallery at the University of Pretoria.To date, the South African government has declined to say whether the golden rhino, would feature as a star exhibit at the London show.The rhino and other gold artifacts, including a leopard figurine and necklaces, challenged the colonial version of history that South African civilization started when Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck landed in 1652 .A special center was built at Mapungubwe to house the rhino, which weighs just 42.8 grams, but it doesn't meet the professional museum requirements needed to protect the figurine.
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