The dilemma of preserving intangible heritage in Zimbabwe

Katsamudanga, Seke (2003) The dilemma of preserving intangible heritage in Zimbabwe. 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)

The incompleteness of cultural heritage without the inclusion of intangible heritage can not be overemphasised. The norms (behaviours, rules etc) and values (ideas and/or belief systems) a society ascribes to its cultural heritage determine its importance. Preserving intangible heritage is crucial for communities still practising their traditions, but might be an elusive undertaking as only the intangible heritage connected to visible physical remains can be identified. The Zimbabwean government recently gave more powers to chiefs, and consequently we have been seeing a series of documentaries on traditional practices on the national television station. Each chiefdom wants to show its identity, and most call for being accorded rights to practise traditional ceremonies even at sites that are now national monuments. This is quite proper and is in line with the concept of African renaissance. From a heritage management point of view, however, the problem comes when nomination for monument status has to be considered. Which shrine or place should be nominated and what is the significance of that for the nation? What cultural perception does the nominator has over the invisible significance? This paper intends to look at the dilemmas of preserving intangible heritage in the face of changing cultural perceptions in Zimbabwe. It is quite unfortunate that major historical developments have been antithetical to the preservation of traditional cultural values in Africa. The kind of education and the historical legacy left by colonial dogma is still affecting the preservation of intangible itineraries. The struggle in the management of intangible heritage in Zimbabwe is also a mirror of the struggles between the old and the young. It is also a struggle between the idealism of the past and the materialism of the present.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Katsamudanga, Seke
Languages: English
Keywords: intangible heritage; conservation; definition; legal protection
Subjects: O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 17. Intangible cultural heritage
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 11. Legal protection and Administration
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2003, 14th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2010 19:11
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:16
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