Africa 

Preserving Africa’s cultural heritage

Many people say the charity of African heads of state begins and ends abroad.

Several of them have joined the some of world’s wealthiest families in a fundraiser to rebuild the iconic 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral in Paris which was devastated by fire last Monday.

But how do these African leaders react to similar projects geared towards preserving the continent’s cultural heritage?

UNESCO has made calls for the continent to restore and preserve the 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of the 13th-century ‘New Jerusalem’, situated in the heart of Ethiopia.

The historic dug-out churches have been have been spoiled by rain, erosion, repairs and modifications. Yet, UNESCO’s calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

The historic Kasubi Tombs in Kampala were torched on March 16, 2010. Besides the Ugandan government and the Buganda Kingdom, UNESCO has received no support from other African leaders for the reconstruction of the 137-year-old Kasubi tombs.

What accounts for the luck-warmness of African heads of state towards measures to preserve the continent’s heritage plagued with tragedies?

Follow Claudia Nsono’s chat with UNESCO’s Regional Director for Central Africa, Salah Khaled.

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