World heritage to the fore in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
The Fifth International Volunteer Khami Restoration Camp (3-26 June) near Bulawayo is now in progress, to be followed by a “1972 World Heritage Workshop” for Zimbabwean journalists. Operating on an annual basis since its inception in 2000, this year’s camp groups a total of 20 students from Botswana, Cameroon, Germany, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They are helping to rehabilitate the site as part of a collaborative process begun by UNESCO in 2000 with the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe and the French Embassy in this country.
Built in the 15th century, Khami succeeded Great Zimbabwe as the Torwa State capital until the 18th century. It comprises an impressive cluster of stone-walled platforms and terraces with houses on top. First inscribed on the World Heritage List in Danger in 1986, it is the subject of a Management Plan providing for reconstruction and stabilizing. This year’s camp is concentrating on restoration of drystone walls and creation of drainage systems to prevent further collapse due to soil erosion. The camps are intended to develop knowledge and skills in heritage preservation and restoration, besides promoting solidarity among young people from a variety of cultures.
While the Volunteer Camp is progressing, a workshop for Zimbabwean journalists will be held at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel on 21 and 22 June. Some 15 journalists from public and private media are expected to attend the event which also focuses on the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Emphasis will be placed on cultural tourism in relation to the Zimbabwean heritage. Included in the programme are visits to the international youth volunteers on the Khami site. It is hoped in this way to sensitize the journalists to the importance of creating and maintaining public awareness of the nation’s heritage.