Harambee for African World Heritage

Asser Ndeutepo, one of the former interns at NACSO, shares his experience at the youth heritage forum in Cape Town.

"When I saw the application form for the first ever African World Heritage Youth Forum (AWHYF) to be held in South Africa on Robben Island I immediately started filling in the information required, however there was one element to the application that almost kept me from completing the application process and that was the video aspect. The application required a motivational letter, reference letter, curriculum vitae, copy of passport and a 2-minute video highlighting youth involvement in the heritage sector in our respective countries.  Despite my initial worries, producing the video was tremendous fun and a few weeks later I was notified that my application was successful and I was among the chosen 28 out of more than 400 applicants from across Anglophone African countries. 

Upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport on 28 April 2016, we were transferred to the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront.  A boat ferried us across to Robben Island and everyone was excited because the Island is synonymous with the triumph of the human spirit and the emancipation of the mind.  The South African Minister of Tourism, Honourable Derek Hanekom, officially opened the session after which presentations on the world heritage convention; implementation challenges; the world heritage committee; African world heritage sites; African youth in heritage and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) were given.  As part of the forum, we each had to present on the state of conservation of a world heritage site from our respective countries. 

Namibia has the Twyfelfontein, the Namib Sand Sea and the Omagongo/Amarula Festival (which is not a site but an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) festivity practiced by the Owambo people of Namibia and was recently enlisted on the UNESCO world heritage list).  Through my work with the Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO), I was exposed to various issues at the Twyfelfontein world heritage site. The site is found within a CBNRM area known as the Uibasen – Twyfelfontein Conservancy.  In my presentation, I spoke about the improved conservation and management it receives since it was inscribed as a world heritage site in 2007 via the multiplicity of legislations that applies to the site and the conservancy area. A diversity of legislation can sometimes prove to be a challenge but, they can be harmonised and help improve the conservation and management of all heritage within Namibia, Africa and ultimately the world.  We were then divided into groups of 5, the team I was part of looked at interpretation and presentation techniques and/or educational programs for a world heritage site like Robben Island.  We also simulated an African youth model, which assisted in showing us the type of deliberations expected in the world heritage committee.  We spent the following day compiling a youth declaration on world heritage that was read at the 10th Anniversary ceremony of the AWHF.  The declaration was also one of the prime objectives of the forum.  

Our visit to the mother city was not complete without an extraordinary tour through the city centre, Table Mountain and Camps Bay.  The closing ceremony was presented by the South African Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Honourable Rejoice Mabudafhasi. The forum was a very enriching experience and it certainly strengthened my spirit and further emancipated my mind from biased views of African Heritage."

 Asser Ndeutapo Manya, +264 81 3327516, assndeuman@gmail.com

Find more news stories on these themes:

Find NACSO Picture Stories on key topics under Resources

Find more news using the Monthly news archive links on the top right of this page. For download access to the photos in this story and others contact communications@wwf.na

Browse current and recent articles about climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and some solutions on the Environment Watch page.