World Heritage Day (18 April 2018)
World Heritage Day is an annual event celebrated on 18 April of each year. It aims to preserve the human heritage and recognize the efforts of all relevant organizations in the field. In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) announced, 18 April as the “World Heritage Day”, approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind, and redouble efforts to protect and conserve the human heritage.
World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.
Diversity and inclusion at Rhodes Nyanga Historical Museum, Zimbabwe
The National Trust of Zimbabwe (NTZ) is proud to say that it is listening and responding to the changing needs of its visitors. Realising that diversity and intangible cultural heritage is being lost and the world is becoming poorer in culture and wiping away the traces of history and local distinctiveness the NTZ decided to start working to keep it alive, protect and promote it.
Over the past few years, at one of our sites in particular, the displays at the Rhodes Museum have expanded and become more inclusive to the rich cultural diversity in Zimbabwe. There is a now permanent display of early Manyika culture along with pictures and stories associated with renowned Tribal Chiefs and various people who have played a significant part in the country’s history. Traditional stone sculptures, pottery and woven mats are also a feature of the Museum.
In 2015 the Museum undertook an innovative, experimental pilot project for school children to re-discover their living traditions and identify their cultural roots. The project was drawn up using guide lines from a project Uganda, adapting the details to the Zimbabwean context. The successful ‘Cultural Heritage Education Project’, championed by Mrs Edone Ann Logan Chairperson of the Museum, resulted in a proven blueprint for cultural heritage education management that can be replicated in other schools countrywide. The project mentioned won a special award at the 17th Conference of INTO in Bali in September 2017.
The Museum has produced several heritage booklets including: Traditional Leadership and Shona Culture and in 2016 published a book entitled “Nyanga’s Rich Heritage’ (Khami Press, Bulawayo). The book was co-edited by Mrs Edone Anne Logan and Mr Robert Burrett, Archeologist and Historian. The book contains information on the many and varied aspects of the rich natural and social heritage of the area, and through knowledge and interest encourage a sense of pride and a wish to preserve this heritage. It is the authors hope that the book, which includes many historical black and white photographs, will serve as a historical reference for those interested in Nyanga – particularly the early pre-history period. Proceeds from sales of the booklet are generating funds for the Museum where it is on sale.
The Museum Committee, along with Marshall Nyanhanda, the Curator, continually work hard to organize various exhibitions that have included traditional customs of indigenous people portrayed by displays of relevant foods, tools, implements, and musical instruments. And, after making a very determined effort, last month committee members achieved the completion of the ‘Time Line Project’ which depicts salient historical events related to Zimbabwe during the period from BC to 1980.
The NTZ is actively encouraging schools to visit heritage sites in their area and experience hands-on traditional crafts, and most importantly, research their own family histories, collect stories from their grandparents, and find their own identities within their ethnic groups.
The NTZ will be celebrating World Heritage Day with the following two events (details of which will be posted after the event):
– The presentation of the inaugural Annual NTZ Heritage Award in Harare and
– The unveiling of a plaque at Worlds View for a long standing, very valuable and dedicated NTZ Council member
The NTZ believes that Nations prosper from their diverse heritage.