Mar 2, 2018

Makorokoto! ("Congratulations!" in Shona)

Tanatswa shares her rich heritage in Nyanga
Tanatswa shares her rich heritage in Nyanga

Back in December 2016 we asked for your help to support young people in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe to better understand and appreciate their diverse heritage - and to preserve it for future generations.

Last week we received an update from our INTO partners in Zimbabwe announcing all the winners of the Schools Cultural Heritage Competition, which we wanted to share with you as without your help, none of this could have happened.

Thanks to your generous donations, children from Sierra Leone have shared stories of their agricultural practices and baby naming traditions. We've learned how to celebrate a successful harvest and the coming of age in Uganda. And young people from Zimbabwe have helped us understand how to build a traditional hut as well as uncovering the secrets of the bush.

And that’s not all! There were five short-listed videos from each country, all of which have now been published on the INTO website. Despite the sometimes dodgy sound (mainly caused by being outside in the wind) and image quality, the videos tell a wonderful story. Not only the story of each different cultural or conservation activity, but the way they are told: Lively, joyful and personal stories. And together they tell a story of intercultural learning, of the exchange of experience between members of heritage clubs in different countries.  Which is fabulous! And what INTO is all about.

We believe that this will be the most enduring outcome of the project: Increased understanding and appreciation of just how important it is to keep our cultural heritage alive. And evidence that that solidarity and cultural respect among young people across continents can provide energy and solutions to heritage preservation.

So we thank you again for your support and I hope you will join us in saying ‘Makorokoto’ (congratulations) to all those who participated. Every student should be very proud of their work and the fact that they certainly helped to make a difference to the future of African heritage!

Why not take a few minutes to learn about the fascinating cultural heritage of Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe! You can find links to all the shortlisted videos on our website.

With renewed thanks from us all!

Catherine

Planting season traditions by Ahmadiyya School
Planting season traditions by Ahmadiyya School
Grace from Kabaale talks about his family tree
Grace from Kabaale talks about his family tree

Links:

Dec 6, 2017

And the winner is ... !

Don't come between me and my culture: Sierra Leone
Don't come between me and my culture: Sierra Leone

You'll remember that we left our young people in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe making video clips about their heritage.  They had all joined Heritage Clubs and were learning a lot about their cultural backgrounds. 

The time had come to share this learning - and to find out more about the history and heritage of their neighbours!

So with help from their club leaders, the young people made short video clips about their community’s heritage.  These were then shared with the other countries where a local jury drew up a short list of the ‘best’ clips.   Zimbabwe selected the two best videos from Sierra Leone; Sierra Leone did the same for Uganda and Uganda voted on Zimbabwe’s clips.   

The young people then selected a single winner from each country.   (I was part of the email chain between the organisers and it was a technically complicated but really inclusive and wonderful process!)

I’m afraid some of the results are still under wraps but the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics Commission has announced their winner and there is a wonderful video of this event which you can watch below.  The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda will hold a special ceremony on 7th December for their awards.  Watch this space!

I personally found it heart-warming to see the joy and excitement amongst the young people in Freetown.  I felt so happy to have played a small part in this – and I hope you will too.   (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our cultural heritage made us all sing and dance like that?)

And it’s thanks to you that we’ve been able to make this happen!  Together, we’ve brought joy and knowledge and understanding to these young people in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.   And we hope that this experience will encourage future generations to preserve, enjoy and learn from their rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Thank you all for your generous support.  We couldn’t do it without you!

A nation without heritage is dead: Sierra Leone
A nation without heritage is dead: Sierra Leone

Links:

Sep 7, 2017

Youth linking minds across continents

Marie of Kawaala District, Kampala, making a video
Marie of Kawaala District, Kampala, making a video

Across the African continent, heritage is under threat.   And yet we know that if we can encourage younger generations to play an active part in learning about their heritage, their cultural backgrounds - and those of their neighbours - we can begin to ensure its protection.

Young people like Sylvia who visited Bunce Island in Sierra Leone for the first time as part of our programme: “A feeling of sombre despondency took over the pupils as they traversed the length and breadth of Bunce Island listening to the events that characterised the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  The tears that rolled down Sylvia's eyes were enough reason to preserve and save this endangered site from degradation” writes Mohamed Faray Kargbo, Education and Outreach Officer of the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics Commission.

So our project, "Encourage African Youth to Embrace their Heritage" is doing just what it says on the tin by bringing together young people's love of heritage and modern technology!

The latest news is that youth from Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Uganda are really getting to grips with their heritage through a competition to make video clips illustrating their passion for history and culture, or interesting activities they engage in through Heritage Clubs in their schools. The programme brings together the National Trust of Zimbabwe, the Monuments and Relics Commission of Sierra Leone, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) and INTO.

Many mini-films have already been submitted and the juries in the various countries will convene in October to choose the winners.   

Once again, huge thanks to you, our generous donors who have enabled this exciting and innovative project to take place!

All the partners involved have learned so much over the course of the programme (including me!) and we are delighted to see young people benefitting from exposure to their cultural heritage – and learning more about what they can do to protect it into the future.  

Thank you warmly for your continued support.

Best wishes, Catherine

Youth visiting Bunce Island, Sierra Leone
Youth visiting Bunce Island, Sierra Leone
A cultural heritage club in Mbale, Uganda
A cultural heritage club in Mbale, Uganda
 
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