Liberation heritage to be better documented

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pretoria - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is concerned about the lack of readily available, documented liberation heritage and history on the continent.

This emerged from an Africa Liberation Workshop that was organised by the National Heritage Council (NHC) of South Africa and Africa World Heritage Fund in Pretoria.

The meeting was in preparation for a focused agenda by the Sub-Saharan countries to channel resources towards liberation heritage and align their preservation programmes to the current international legislation and conventions.

The countries that were represented are Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi and South Africa.

The NHC of South Africa has started working on the development of a Liberation Heritage Route, which will be submitted for consideration by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage property.

This route has some of its roots in other African countries where the struggle was fought, especially in countries that hosted freedom fighters in exile.

Chief Executive of the NHC Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa said: "South Africa will review the current tentative sites that are listed by UNESCO and prepare the country for celebrating the success of being the first to have a recognised route on the continent."

The representatives agreed that, firstly, each country needed to ensure that research and documentation of their roads to independence take place as a matter of urgency.

Secondly, South Africa is supported to proceed with the enlistment of the Liberation Heritage Sites (route) that will later stretch into other countries on the continent.

Consultant at the UNESCO office in Dar es Salaam, Dr Daniel Ndagala, referred to his organisation's resolution of the General Assembly on 31 January 2011, that "the history of the African Liberation struggles may be lost unless collected, documented and made accessible to the public."

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