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Launching the Majestic Cinema Rehabilitation in Stone Town of Zanzibar

Monday, 27 May 2024 at 19:00
access_time 2 min read

On 8 - 9 May 2024, UNESCO, in partnership with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, through the financial support from the Governments of Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Fund for Culture at UNESCO, successfully launched the Majestic Cinema Rehabilitation Project during a two-day event in Stone Town of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. In collaboration with HIFADHI Zanzibar, the initiative intended to rehabilitate the Majestic Cinema into a thriving Cultural hub, transcends beyond the restoration of the building’s physical structure to unlocking and harnessing the latent socio-economic potential within its historic walls.

The event gathered more than 60 participants, including representatives of the embassies of Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Norway to the United Republic of Tanzania, government representatives, key stakeholders including Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and Reclaim Women Space, other local stakeholders, development partners and international experts in cultural heritage and economic development. The opening of the launch was graced by the Hon. Lela Mohammed Mussa, Minister of Education and Vocational Training, who expressed that:

This project is a bridge between our cherished heritage and our community's future prosperity. It embodies our commitment to revitalizing Zanzibar through the power of cultural preservation. 

Following which, the Ambassadors of Japan, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Republic of Tanzania, respectively expressed:

It is our belief that by preserving our past, we pave the way for future innovations. This project is a testament to our commitment to cultural sustainability, where the Majestic Cinema, a historic symbol, will once again stand as a centre of cultural and economic activity.

H.E. Yasushi Misawa, Ambassador of Japan to the United Republic of Tanzania

The revival of the Majestic Cinema as a historic and significant social symbol carries immense cultural value, and we eagerly anticipate the completion of the rehabilitation efforts.

H.E. Yahya bin Ahmed Okeish, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Republic of Tanzania

The event also hosted a panel discussion, that brought together international experts from Kenya, Egypt, Japan, the Netherlands, and the USA. The discussions centred around how to yield actionable insights into the adaptive re-use of cultural buildings, fostering discussions on sustainable economic strategies and community engagement in heritage sites. This project is keen to preserving the cinema’s architectural integrity while adapting it for modern use. Additionally, the engagement of a myriad of key expertise for the works has and will continue to provide detailed insights into the necessary conservation work, ensuring that every aspect of the cinema's historic fabric is meticulously preserved.

The launch marks a significant step in advancing the integration of cultural heritage into national and regional development agendas. With the strong commitment and partnership with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, and the support from the Government of Japan and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, together with other partners and local stakeholders, the Majestic Cinema is set to inspire similar transformations, making cultural heritage a cornerstone of socio-economic development in Zanzibar and beyond, to flag the vision of UNESCO Priority Africa.

Stakeholders exchange during session © UNESCO
Monday, 27 May 2024 at 19:00
access_time 2 min read