Cultural shifting-sands: Changing meanings of Zimbabwe sites in Zimbabwe, South-Africa and Botswana

Sinamai, Ashton (2003) Cultural shifting-sands: Changing meanings of Zimbabwe sites in Zimbabwe, South-Africa and Botswana. In: 14th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Place, memory, meaning: preserving intangible values in monuments and sites’, 27 – 31 oct 2003, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

Heritage managers have for long failed to recognise the intangible aspects of immovable cultural heritage. With new developments in archaeology’s expanding disciplines, which have largely been influenced by fourthworld politics, many can now identify the intangible values of sites. Heritage managers continue, however, to face problems in the management of sites because of the failure to understand the simultaneous existence of different systems of value overlaying their official meaning. They have also failed to identify the origins of these attachments to a site and why there are constant clashes between other numerous competing values. This paper will examine sites in South Africa (Dzata), Botswana (Domboshaba) and Zimbabwe (Great Zimbabwe and Manyanga) to show that the ‘intangibility’ of a site is in constant movement, as it compromises with other competing values. It will show through the study of these sites that “intangibility” is simply a manifestation of power within a cultural landscape. Power is made visible to the common man or to the state through values that are ascribed to cultural heritage sites. This power may be used to control change within communities, or to effect change within that same community or nation. Thus, for traditional authorities, it is easier to control the community if the religious values of the site are intact, and for the state it might be easier if a site is made to represent the nation in new ways. Managing heritage sites like those mentioned above thus requires an understanding of the origins of values attached to these sites by different sections of the community/nations. This paper will use the aforementioned sites to prove that when one examines the ascription of values to these sites as manifestations of power, managing them becomes easier.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Sinamai, AshtonUNSPECIFIED
Languages: English
Keywords: historic sites; conservation; management; intangible heritage
O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Dzata, South Africa; Bomboshaba, Botswana; Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe; Manyanga, Zimbabwe
UNESCO WHC Number: 364
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2003, 14th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2010 11:43
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:16

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