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African Continent World Heritage

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Author Solivagant
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#16 | Posted: 2 Feb 2017 03:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
A number of the removed sites sound so interesting, just the material that could make a good nomination story (except for the conservation of course). Pilgrim's Rest, Kimberley, Prince Edward Islands.

Using the Web archive I have had a look at the original descriptions of these sites as placed on the UNESCO Web site when they were on S Africa's T List. They do indeed include some interesting sites - and some of them are described in great detail, implying a reasonable amount of preparatory work. I have also had a look at S Africa's 2 other "former T List" sites (actually removed in 2009 and not 2011 as recorded on this Web site - they must have been removed at the time of the 2009 T List update).
None of them seem to be complete "no hopers" though it could be argued that some of them duplicate existing WHS in terms of subject/region etc - though that hasn't prevented many European sites gaining inscription (Viticulture!!!!!)
Some highlights which I noticed
a. Modderpoort Sacred Sites - Early African christian and "fusion" religious aspects
b. Namaqualand Copper - was intended to be added to the Devon and Cornwall sites and others to create a transnational mining site - presumably taking the Mercury sites as an example. Doesn't seem a very good idea or even "necessary"
c. Cape Arc of Meridian - equivalent to Struve - but apparently with more "tangible" remains!!! 1 location is already inscribed as part of Cape Flora
d. Prince Edward Islands - a lot of evidence of this being a particularly pristine representative of sub arctic flora and fauna

I list below each of the Former T List sites and the Web archive link taken from a date just prior to the site's removal from the T List.
(ELS - at the moment Former T List sites have no information about them on this site. Could a similar format to that used for T List sites be provided - "Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the State Party and now held on the Web Archive". I am not suggesting that we immediately set to work to populate all former T List sites with this information but we may do a fair number in future "conversations" so the facility to record a link could be of use)

Pilgrim's Rest Reduction Works Industrial Heritage Site (added in 2004)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140712123903/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/10 75/
Kimberley Mines and Associated Early Industries (2004)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140808060442/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/19 09/
Alexandria Coastal Dunefields (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140712123128/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/54 53/
The Prince Edward Islands (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140712121347/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/54 57/
The Namaqualand Copper Mining Landscape (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140712123124/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/54 60/
The Cape Arc of Meridian (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140712125515/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/54 61/
Modderpoort Sacred sites (1998 – removed in 2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20090212195649/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/10 73/
Tswaing Meteoric Crater (2004 – removed 2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20090629112905/http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/19 11/

Author elsslots
Admin
#17 | Posted: 2 Feb 2017 10:32 
Solivagant:
Could a similar format to that used for T List sites be provided

I think it's a good idea. I'll have to look into it whether there's a pattern in the link adresses, that would be the most ideal instead of adding single link references to selected TWHS.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#18 | Posted: 2 Feb 2017 12:02 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
elsslots:
I'll have to look into it whether there's a pattern in the link adresses,

From trying that before elsewhere and looking at Solivagant's examples above, I think Wayback Machine uses the date and time of capture as the link, as such there never seems to be a logical way of producing them en-masse.

However I only ever gave it a cursory look over before, there may be another way around it.

Author GaryArndt
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#19 | Posted: 4 Feb 2017 20:57 
There is a lot of stuff in Africa, most people just aren't aware of it.

For example, I was in Ethiopia last March and we visited the Temple of Yeha. It is the oldest structure in Africa outside of Egypt dating back to 700 BC.

I've been to far less significant WHS in other countries. I think it would be a slam dunk as a WHS, yet I haven't even heard anything about it being put on the list.

There are dozens of national parks in Africa which deserve inclusion. For example: Etosha National Park in Namibia.

Author Solivagant
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#20 | Posted: 5 Feb 2017 03:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
GaryArndt:
I think it would be a slam dunk as a WHS, yet I haven't even heard anything about it being put on the list.

In fact Ethiopia submitted Yeha as long ago as 1978 and tried several times after that before removing it from its T List. See the history on this Web site Under "Former Tentatitve Sites" (With a review as well!) - http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/twhs.php?id=16
Ethiopia started its "World Heritage life" at a great pace and, by 1980, its nationalistic "Derg" government had managed to get 8 sites inscribed (Even USA which was also extremely "keen" on WHS back in those days before it left UNESCO in 1983 only managed 7 in the same time!). At which point things started to go very wrong with famine and civil war and Ethiopia had other things to concern it. The comment by the reviewer about the anti-Tigray bias of the government may have been true later, but didn't seem to prevent the original nomination - we certainly don't know why Ethiopia "gave up" on the site and removed it from the T List and further attempts. Eritrea (which was part of Ethiopia at the time of course) believes the same about the potential WHS within its boundaries - see my review of the site of Qohaito - http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/twhs.php?id=5600

In an ideal world one might hope that the countries of the region - Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen would cooperate to put forward a transnational nomination to represent the Kingdom of Saba whose remains straddle Arabia and Africa including sites such as Marib and Yeha - but, given the state of the region, it ain't going to happen! In any case the "WHS world" has moved on a long way since Ethiopia removed Yeha from its T LIst. The last Ethiopian T List revamp took place in 2012 with Yeha not getting back in. The list is quite small (5) so, with some success between now and the next revamp Yeha might make its way back?

Generally the relative lack of sites in Africa is more due to failure/inability to bring them to inscription than a lack of T List candidates. Ethiopia's orginal reasonably successful inscription "rush" reflects to some degree the lack of very careful scrutiny of Management Plans etc in those early days of the scheme.

But, whilst agreeing that Africa does contain a fair number of good potential WHS I am rather wary of arguments which rely too much on factors such as the need, because of fairness and avoidance of cultural discrimination, to achieve "equity of inscription density" across regions and countries. Each continent, region and country has its own specialisms, and the World Heritage concept is built primarily around tangible Cultural heritage with Natural heritage slightly uncomfortably "tagged on". IUCN has been rather stricter than ICOMOS in trying to avoid too many "duplications" of the same sort of geology and ecosystem and this partly explains why many fine National Parks in Africa are missing. It needs to be remembered that, whilst Cultural sites ONLY have UNESCO WH as the international standard for recognition and preservation, Natural sites have a range of other schemes - UNESCO Geoparks and Biosphere Reserves etc. And African culture is likely to be "disproportionately" represented on the Intangible Heritage list. UK isn't "complaining" that African countries are better represented on that list than it is!!

The answer isn't to keep identifying more and more areas of tribal "Cultural landscapes", rock paintings, sacred forests and wildlife parks in order to achieve parity by land area and population for Africa with other regions - but i fear that this is what is going to happen!

Author elsslots
Admin
#21 | Posted: 19 Feb 2017 14:17 
Solivagant:
elsslots: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is very highly rated among mammal watchers / safari tourists (even a Peace Park and transboundary)Yes -a very fine park!

A note about Kgalagadi: while adding the TWHS locations of South Africa to the website, I noticed that The !Xam Khomani Heartland (up for nomination in 2017) is actually within the borders of this park.
See https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kgalagadi/tourism/history.php (Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park)

Author Solivagant
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#22 | Posted: 19 Feb 2017 14:55 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
I noticed that The !Xam Khomani Heartland (up for nomination in 2017) is actually within the borders of this park.

Thanks for the info but, unfortunately, I didn't read it quite as clearly as that - whether or not all or some (or even none) of the Park would be included in the Cultural Landscape isn't stated unambiguously.
"In 1999, activism by younger descendents led to restitution of land to the south of the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park, the original home of the community, and restoration of certain land use rights within the Park. Young members of the community have since worked with elders on cultural mapping of these lands and 'reconstruction' of a cultural landscape, not dissimilar to that of the !Xam. There is a strong revival of traditional practices and use of this landscape in a manner that enhances conservation thereof. .....The two areas are the only San cultural landscapes that have enjoyed this level of attention and concerning which there is hence a fair depth of knowledge. Although covering extremely large areas the two components are in relative close proximity and are considered as a single nomination illustrating the heritage of a unique group of African cultures most of which have disappeared without record of the knowledge and practices they embodied."
And
"This land included 27 769ha in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park forming the Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park."
So at best a bit of the Kgalagadi park (in RSA only?) might be included within the AE!Hai KHP?? Have I misunderstood?

Author elsslots
Admin
#23 | Posted: 19 Feb 2017 23:08 
Solivagant:
So at best a bit of the Kgalagadi park (in RSA only?) might be included within the AE!Hai KHP?? Have I misunderstood

No, not the whole park. Just a part of it (the San cultural landscape). But I thought it was remarkable enough anyway.

Author Khuft
Registered
#24 | Posted: 22 Feb 2017 18:09 
This discussion on potential African sites is really interesting - and thanks, Els, for your blog post on modern African heritage! I remembered it today when I came across a Facebook post linking to this "Top 11" article on vernacular architecture:
http://www.archdaily.com/805415/11-vernacular-building-techniques-that-are-disappeari ng

While not solely focused on Africa, it does however offer a clue about what Africa may want to put on the WHS in a few years time: vernacular architecture (and not just cultural landscapes) and their unique indigenous building techniques. A few of them have made it onto the TL lists, but there are probably countless more... (I remember having read about giant reed-built mosques in Guinea, for instance - unfortunately I can't find it again, and anyway by now these may have disappeared).

It's not the Taj Mahal, of course, and nor are the cultural landscapes etc. But they represent a testimony of how humankind has adapted to the climate and the availability of resources in Africa - and thus, they represent civilization as it developed on the African continent. Is this less valuable than the dozens of vineyard sites on the list? As a specific representation of local culture with universal importance, are they less relevant than the Korean tomb sites?

Maybe we all just haven't given enough thought to that.

So what about a challenge to the group:
Can we identify e.g. The Top 30 Missing Cultural Sites in Africa?

Author meltwaterfalls
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#25 | Posted: 23 Feb 2017 05:53 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Thanks for that article Khuft, it was interesting to read through. And just wanted to second your thanks to Els, it was an interesting blog post.
Khuft:
I remember having read about giant reed-built mosques in Guinea, for instance - unfortunately I can't find it again, and anyway by now these may have disappeared

It wasn't this former Mosque in Timbu you were thinking of was it? I had seen pictures of it before but had mostly forgotten about it.

Khuft:
So what about a challenge to the group:
Can we identify e.g. The Top 30 Missing Cultural Sites in Africa?

I really like that idea. Every time I investigate cultural sites in Africa, I find much more than I thought I would do, though mostly I have always been interested in West Africa.

I quite like the idea of learning more about other sites across the continent, especially in regards to areas south a line from the top of the Gulf of Guinea and Mogadishu and north of South Africa.
In fact even outside those areas there are countries I know very little about. I could fit my knowledge of Chad or Central African Republic on the back of a postage stamp, pretty much everything I know about the latter is contained in its name.

Author Assif
Registered
#26 | Posted: 23 Feb 2017 06:08 
Khuft:
The Top 30 Missing Cultural Sites in Africa?

Some significant natural sites are missing too (Benguela Current, Sindou, Inner Niger Delta, Sudd, Karoo, Eastern Arc Mts and many others). Why should we only count cultural sites?

Author Solivagant
Registered
#27 | Posted: 23 Feb 2017 08:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
meltwaterfalls:
It wasn't this former Mosque in Timbu you were thinking of was it? I had seen pictures of it before

Regarding the "Reed mosque" in Timbo - I fear it is no longer extant in that form. See this article from 2014 which states "Home to Guinea's first mosque, built in the 1700s, Timbo has managed to preserve some bits of the original mosque. At the moment, a new and bigger mosque is being built around it by the Nigerian Embassy in Guinea. Although the structure was started by his predecessor, Dr Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Nigeria's current envoy to Guinea Amb. Adamu Babangida Ibrahim has promised to do all he can to see the building is finished."
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/weekly/index.php/travel-leisure/15576-one-hour-at-timbo- in-the-fouta-djallon#IXcvcSMkVbC2zBPu.99
The new building was eventually opened in May 2016 accompanied by riots and injuries to 59 people! - https://uk.news.yahoo.com/clash-guinea-over-opening-mosque-injures-59-people-12005393 3.html
Timbo is actually on Guinea's T List as part of "Route de l'esclave en Afrique segment de Timbo au Rio Pongo". The description of this makes no mention of the mosque.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#28 | Posted: 23 Feb 2017 09:39 | Edited by: Solivagant 
.
Khuft:
Can we identify e.g. The Top 30 Missing Cultural Sites in Africa?

We have visited 38 of Africa's 54 countries but large parts, even of those we have visited, remain pretty unknown. I fear we may be accused of both cultural ignorance and cultural bias in whatever we come up with! My initial thoughts (leaving some "spare") are as follows -I have ignored the Maghreb and Egypt (though the latter has what must be the World's finest non-inscribed Archaeological ruin on its T List - Abydos.)

I have tried to identify site topics and populate them as far as I know (Perhaps with a knowledge bias towards ex British colonies!)
Here are a few for "starters" -
Rock Art
1, Our old friend Las geel - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laas_Geel
Archaeological Sites
2. Surame - Nigeria - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surame
3. Bigo Uganda - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigo
Colonial Period
Mission villages - RSA has some fine ones which can be viewed as the equivalent of those inscribed in Latin America
4. Wupperthal - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wupperthal and Genadendal - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genadendal
Health
5. Lambarene - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambar%C3%A9n%C3%A9
Education
6. Fourah Bay College Sierra Leone - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourah_Bay_College
Planned Colonial Capitals
7. Asmara, Khartoum and Pretoria (inc the Voortrekker monument! But it won't happen)
Agriculture
8. Cocoa Plantation - Agostino Neto Sao Tome - https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g294441-d3906280-r449997943-Roca_Agosti nho_Neto-Sao_Tome_and_Principe.html
Mining
9. Gold/Diamonds in S Africa - 19th and 20th C
Salt Production/Trade
10 e.g Taghaza- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taghaza
Vernacular Architecture
11. Probably a "Stilt Village" - Ghana or Benin
12. Examples from Dorze, Hausa, Ndebele, Mousgoum and Zulu
Royal Palaces
13. Maybe a bit similar to Uganda's but worth having on I think for its 2oth C version as well - Nyanza in Rwanda https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyanza,_Rwanda

Author Assif
Registered
#29 | Posted: 20 May 2017 02:30 | Edited by: Assif 
barabanov:
And very very sad dynamics for Africa: just one nomination (only South Africa could more or less finance new nominations)!!!

Even when African sites are proposed and are found complete they are more often turned down that sites from other regions. Further, it takes a very long time before they are processed and proposed again.
Taking the last few years as an example:

Ghana - Tenzug-Tallensi (def 2014), not submitted since
Guinea Bissau - Bigajos (def 2013), not submitted since, planned for 2020?
Kenya - Thimlich Ohniga (ref 2015), not submitted since
Madagascar - Grotte de l'Isandra (ref 2013), not submitted since
Malawi - Mulanje (def 2014), not submitted since
Tanzania - Eastern Arc Mts (withdrawn 2012), not submitted since
Uganda - Nyero (ref 2015), not submitted since
Zambia - Barotse (ref 2014), not submitted since

Any news about these sites?

Author winterkjm
Registered
#30 | Posted: 20 May 2017 03:53 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Assif:
Even when African sites are proposed and are found complete they are more often turned down that sites from other regions.

Equally frustrating, there were nominations between 2012-2015 in Arab countries, Asia, and Europe that had similar Advisory Body recommendations and overcomed them during the WHC. The African countries below did not have strong bloc support, either from Asia or Europe.

2019 looks promising, but how confident are we of ALL 7 nominations submitting complete dossiers?

Africa (7)
Ancient Metallurgy Sites of Iron Production (Ronguin, Tiwega, Yamane, Kindbo, Bekuy, Douroula) (Burkina Faso) C
Le Camp de Concentration de Tarrafal (Cabo Verde) C
Parc National de Zakouma (Chad) N
Sultanats Historiques des Comores (Comores) C
Kamablon (Mali) C
Ancient Kano City Walls and Associated Sites (Nigeria) C
Memorial Sites of Genocide: Nyamata, Murambi and Bisesero Gisozi (Rwanda) C


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