A PROPOSAL FOR AN INCLUSIVE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR THE SHARING & SAFEGUARDING OF CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE. Presentation at the 2011 Inclusive Museum Conference University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa BY Rudo Sithole Ph.D.,- Executive Director -AFRICOM.
Presentation at the 2011 Inclusive Museum Conference
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
BY Rudo Sithole Ph.D.,- Executive Director -AFRICOM
Cultural and Natural Heritage are important sources of identity for communities and nations throughout the world
In reference to the famous Parthenon Marbles the Greeks have said “They are our pride. …They are the supreme symbol of nobility…They are the essence of Greekness”.
Nefertiti, Egypt, now in Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany
The African continent has been the subject of intense looting since pre-colonial times and this has continued unabated throughout the colonial and post-colonial eras
Africa, as well as Southeast Asia, China, Latin America and Middle East, is a major source market for the illicit trade due to the abundance in heritage treasures
The existence of lucrative markets in the West ensure that the artifacts end up in its museums and private collections.
Estimates on African cultural material currently out of Africa range from 50-90%
Recent articles indicate that there are more Dogon in France than in Mali
After the repatriation of a few Vigango back to Kenya, more than 400 have also been identified in American Museums but information on the families of origin is lacking
Maternity, Bandiagara, Mali, now in private collection, Paris, France
The illicit trade in cultural material has the potential to strip entire countries of their heritage material, for example in 2002 alone it was reported that Italy lost almost 19000 objects to the illicit trade
Stripping a nation of its cultural material is akin to robbing it of its identity
“without cultural identity, social cohesion gradually dissolves, and human groups lose their necessary reference point to relate with each other, and with other groups.” (Keynote Speech of The Aga Khan at the 2002 Prince Claus Conference on Culture and Development)
Golden mask, from Kumasi, Ghana, and now in the Wallace Collection, London
1. State parties are required to adopt preventative measures that include enacting relevant legislation, making inventories, staff capacity building and conducting information campaigns
2. It facilitates the process of repatriation of illegally imported cultural good between State Parties
3. It provides a framework of International Cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking
Horse rider, Djennenke, Mali, in a private collection in New York, United States of America.
4. Conduct workshops and information campaigns on the 1970 Convention and its implementation
5. Facilitate repatriation of important/significant artifacts
6. Conduct joint programs on documentation, security and conservation
Commemorative head of an Oba, Benin, Nigeria, in Ethnology Museum,
3. Safeguarding cultural heritage for posterity through shared responsibility
4. Improved understanding of shared heritage as well as between peoples from different parts of the world thus contributing to social harmony and world peace