Exploring the potential of Modern Heritage of Africa

Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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Asmara: A Modernist City of Africa (Eritrea). © Asmara Heritage Project | Dr. Edward Edison

The African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) is coordinating the Modern Heritage of Africa (MoHoA) Programme in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to define, identify, protect, and promote modern heritage of Africa.

The AWHF together with the University of Cape Town and The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL hosted the first brainstorming meeting online 20-27 August 2020 to explore the potential of developing a programme on the Modern Heritage of Africa. The workshop sessions, organized across six themes, aimed to raise awareness and build capacity amongst key stakeholders on identification, protection and promotion of modern heritage of Africa. At the moment, Rabat and Asmara are two African cities which have been inscribed as modern heritage on the World Heritage List. Such an initiative could potentially aim to contribute to improve Africa's representation on the World Heritage List and highlight the role of modern heritage in promoting urban sustainability, in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

The workshop sessions took an inclusive approach to participation and were attended by over 100 participants from 34 countries. The brainstorming sessions generated lively discussions on the possible content of the programme and proposed new ideas and directions. The debate centred around six themes: 

  • African conceptions of modernity (African epistemologies). Moderated by Prof Shahid Vawda (UCT, South Africa) and Prof Abdoul Sow (Université Gaston Berger, Senegal).
  • Defining the Modern Heritage of Africa - towards a conceptual framework. Moderated by Prof Hamady Bocoum (Museum of Black Civilization, Senegal) and Dr Ishanlosen Odiaua (ICOMOS-Nigeria).
  • Modern Heritage and Sustainability in Africa. Sustainability, urbanity, youth and education, and the creation of smart cities. Moderated by Prof Philippa Tumubweinee (UCT, South Africa) and Ms Bakonirina Rakotomamonjy (CRAterre) 
  • Transcontinental infrastructures. Transportation as an activator of modernism across Africa. Moderated by Prof. Tomá Berlanda (UCT, South Africa) 
  • Public spaces, memorialization and commemoration in postcolonial Africa. Moderated by Prof Dawson Munjeri (University of Great Zimbabwe) and Prof Timpoko Hélène Kienon- Kaboré (Université Félix Houphouët- Boigny de Cocody, Côte d'Ivoire) 
  • Modern heritage of Africa and the World Heritage Convention. Moderated by Prof. George Abungu (Okello Abungu, Kenya and Dr Muhammad Juma (UNESCO World Heritage Centre).) 

The brainstorming sessions will be followed by an ambitious program of events to re-examine the meanings of the Modern Heritage of Africa, and advance its appreciation, understanding and representation in heritage lists, seeking to understand its role in promoting sustainable African cities. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020
access_time 2 min read
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