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Ugandan youth celebrate African World Heritage at Kasubi Tombs

Youth involved in the reconstruction of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga at Kasubi Tombs World Heritage site in Uganda ©UNESCO/Sebastien Moriset

One of six finalists of the UNESCO regional competition to mobilize youth in the celebration of Africa World Heritage Day 2021 in Eastern Africa launched a project entitled "Raising awareness and engagement of youth in the protection and promotion of Kasubi Tombs in Uganda” through two activities carried out on 24 and 26 August 2021 in collaboration with the Ugandan National Commission for UNESCO.

A physical workshop was held on 24 August in Kampala to engage youth in protecting, promoting, and conserving the Tombs of the Buganda Kings at Kasubi World Heritage site. This was followed by a webinar on 26 August, which was organized in collaboration with the Buganda Youth Council, the Ugandan Ministry of Culture, the Ugandan National Commission for UNESCO and Buganda Kingdom, and attracted over 210 youth participants and key government officials.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Rosie Agoi, Secretary-General of Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, congratulated the two winning projects from Ugandan youth in the online competition “Mobilizing Youth Engagement in the Celebration of African World Heritage Day” launched by UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, and pointed out the importance of engaging youth in World Heritage preservation and promotion.

May 5th was designated as “African World Heritage Day” by UNESCO in 2015. Over the past six years, countries around the world—but especially in the Africa region--have used this day to celebrate the continent's unique cultural and natural heritage….Our belated celebration today of African World Heritage Day is also a celebration of the African Union Year 2021 for “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” We must make these celebrations daily rituals in Uganda, as each and every one of us—but especially our youth—play our part to promote and safeguard our natural and culture heritage. Every one of us here today is an Ambassador of our heritage. It is therefore up to each of us to learn as much as we can about the value of our heritage and its need for protection. Then each of us can do our part to ensure the safeguarding of our Ugandan heritage and of our World Heritage for future generations.
Ms. Rosie Agoi, Secretary-General of Uganda National Commission for UNESCO

The webinar included a presentation of the UNESCO World Heritage in Young Hands Programme by Mr. Daniel Kaweesi, Culture Programme Director at the Ugandan National Commission for UNESCO, and called on youth to increase their engagement in the safeguarding of Kasubi Tombs World Heritage site in Danger.

The Kitikiro (Prime Minister) of the Buganda Kingdom, H.E. Mr. Peter Mayiga called on youth to seek advice from their elders on protecting Ugandan heritage.

Youth are the elders of tomorrow and it is important that the youth in Uganda seek information from their elders to safeguard our heritage.
H.E Mr. Peter Mayiga, Kitikiro (Prime Minister) of the Buganda Kingdom

In addition to the youth projects launched for African World Heritage Day in Uganda, UNESCO has been providing financial and technical assistance to the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi in Uganda, which was victim to two devastating fires in 2010 and 2020 and led to the property’s inscription on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. Thanks to the generous funding from the Japan Fund-In-Trust (JFIT), World Heritage Fund and the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF), site reconstruction and disaster risk management activities are steadily progressing.

More information on the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage in the Africa region can be found on the following links:

World Heritage Convention, http://whc.unesco.org/en/convention/

World Heritage in Africa, http://whc.unesco.org/en/africa/

 World Heritage sites, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/

 African World Heritage Day, https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/africanheritageday

 African World Heritage Fund, https://awhf.net/

African Union Year, https://au.int/es/node/39887