The African Experts’ Virtual Meeting on Sites of Memory and World Heritage Convention in Africa and Inter-Ministerial Meeting

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31 Mar 2021

In line with the declaration of the year 2021 as the year for Arts, Culture and Heritage by the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, the Government of South Africa in partnership with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) will host a virtual meeting on Sites of Memory and World Heritage Convention in Africa, culminating in an Inter-Ministerial Meeting from 6th to 9th April 2021. The structure of the programme will be divided into three (3) components in the following manner:

Date Item
6 – 7 April 2021 Experts’ discussion and development of the declaration on Sites of Memory
8 April 2021 Presentation of outcomes to Directors-General (DGs) and Permanent Secretaries (PSs)
9 April 2021 Presentation of outcomes to Ministers of Culture in the African Continent

The aim of the meeting is to discuss issues around how best attributes related to memory in Africa can meet the requirements of World Heritage. Following the growth of interest in sites associated with memory, and sites associated with memories of recent conflicts, it has brought into focus the need to clarify some aspects relating to their evaluation in the context of the World Heritage Convention. The main objective is to identify key actions forward; to improve the current status and to further reflect on the operationalization of the concept of sites associated with memories of recent conflicts within the framework of the World Heritage Convention in Africa.

The four-day meeting will be led by Honourable Mr. Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture South Africa with a keynote address and will encompass African Ministers, Government Officials and Experts involved in the management of cultural heritage in Africa. Official authorities expected at the Opening Ceremony will include, Honourable Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, South Africa; Director General Mr. Vusumuzi Mkhize; Chairperson of AWHF, H.E. Mr. Albertus Aochamub, President of Africa Group at UNESCO; H.E. Ms. Amira El Fadil, African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development; Dr. Elizabeth Stikes, President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); Dr. Webber Ndoro, Director General of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM); Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC) and Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Culture.

As of 31 March 2021, Africa boasts one hundred and thirty-seven (137) World Heritage Sites in the world. The northern region has 41 sites in total (culture - 36, nature - 4, mixed -1), the southern region has 23 sites (culture - 13, nature - 9, mixed - 1), the western region has 28 sites (culture - 19 , nature - 8, mixed - 1), the eastern region has 34 sites (culture - 20 , nature - 13, mixed - 1) and the central region has 11 sites (culture - 0, nature - 9, mixed - 2).

Media Contacts:
Ms. Luyanda Sithole | Partnership officer I African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) | E-mail: Tel: (+27 66 384 1095)
Ms. Zimasa Velaphi I Head of Communications and Marketing (DSAC) I E-mail: Tel: (+27 72 172 8925
Ms. Masechaba Khumalo I Spokesperson for Minister (DSAC) I E-mail: Tel: (+27 82 858 4415)

Issued by the South African Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS)