On Friday Nash and I visited the Body Worlds exhibition at the V&A Waterfront. Man, it was so amazing. I haven't been able to stop telling people how amazing it is. If you have no idea what Body Worlds is, let me give you a brief breakdown: Prof. Gunther von Hagen invented a process called Plastination, which preserves the human body after death and makes it possible to present real human anatomy. This is the first time that medical students and the public alike have been able to view the real human body aesthetically and anatomically correct.
It was the first time I had ever seen a dead human body and I must admit, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that the exhibits were actually real humans who used to have lives and families and souls. It was kind of like I was just looking at dummies.
During their life, these humans had volunteered their bodies to be Plastinated and exhibited to help further education of the human anatomy. The exhibition is the first of its kind and has been to more than 70 cities around the world. So far, more than 50 000 South Africans have visited the Cape Town exhibition.
It was absolutely fascinating to see exactly what your body looks like underneath your skin. The exhibition is designed to showcase how the human body is both incredibly resilient and incredibly vulnerable. I was actually ashamed by how little I know about my own body (I didn't have Bio at school), especially the female reproductive organs. I mean, I've been living in this thing for almost 25 years, I should know how it works.
Some of the exhibits show the body in peak physical condition, while others are examples of bodies riddled with disease. I found it especially sad and interesting to see the physical difference between a set of healthy lungs and the lungs of a heavy smoker. I was also completely mesmerized by the exhibit that showcases a fetus from conception to birth. How magical the body is. How much tiny, tiny detail can be seen on a little fetus at just 4 weeks old.
I think the experience really delivered on its promises in the sense that it educated me as well as further instilled in me the belief that we MUST take care of our bodies. Yes, you could live a relatively happy existence being overweight, eating food that is made from chemicals and never feeling your heart rate increase as you run or jump or swim. But you could live THE BEST life if you spend every day making conscious decisions to run your body like your life depends on it.
Like, if someone gave you a car and told you that this is the only car you will have and that you must look after it because if it breaks you might not be able to fix it and then you'll be stuck with it forever. Would you leave it out in the rain and sun and fill it up with the cheapest, nastiest petrol that you could find? I don't think you would.
A healthy body has the fuel it needs to fight off disease and old age. A healthy body means that by the time you're seventy, you will still be able to do the things you love. And I mean the small things you love, like walking down the stairs to the beach as well as the big things you love like travelling to see new places. Places that you've been saving for your whole life to see.
If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, I urge you not to miss out. I can't image anything that should or would interest any person more. It's just been extended until the 20th of March. Tickets are available at the door. For more info, check out the Body Worlds SA website.