News / Africa

South Sudan Preserves Historical, Cultural Sites

Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Just over a year since independence, South Sudan is working with the United Nations to preserve its most important historical, natural and cultural sites for future generations to enjoy. The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, is in South Sudan wrapping up a workshop to help the nation identify potential world heritage sites.

The three day workshop, held by South Sudan’s Ministry of Culture - in partnership with UNESCO and the African World Heritage Fund - is aimed at helping East African nations build their capacity to preserve natural, cultural and historic sites across the region. Representatives from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Seychelles attended the event in Juba.

UNESCO has helped preserve some of the world’s most famous sites, including Egypt’s pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, Mount Kenya National Park and the Nubian pyramids at Meroe in Sudan. South Sudan’s undersecretary for culture, Jok Madut Jok, will now be cataloguing its important sites.

“By putting some of our most valuable sites on this list, we hope that the world community - the donor countries, the NGOs that work in conservation - will help assist us to protect and maintain and conserve these important sites such as the wild life parks and cultural sites such as shrines,” Jok said.

Before, Southerners did not have the means to preserve such places during more than 20 years of civil war with Sudan. The Sudanese government routinely denied South Sudan the political power and economic support needed to establish such sites.

Many South Sudanese may not even be aware of  their country’s historic and natural sites. Millions were forced to flee to neighboring countries during the war, and those that stayed had little opportunity to learn about South Sudan history and culture.

Undersecretary Jok said many places should be preserved.

"There are what we refer to as the intangible culture which is the cultural practices of the people of South Sudan from artwork to dancing, to music, to paintings and all that. Then there is tangible heritage which is referring to actual material production of the people such as the burial sites, [and] the rock art,” Jok said.

South Sudan was also part of the vast slave-trading network crisscrossing Africa. Jos said establishing historical sites along that route will preserve the memory of the slave trade.

Jok said it is important to also preserve natural resources such as Nimule National Park and Boma National Park – both of which host some of the largest animal migrations in the world.

Many South Sudanese officials support preservation of the country’s resources and historical sites, but UNESCO’s culture specialist Elke Selter said that enthusiasm must be matched by strong government action.

"The major challenge at this point is to have the appropriate legislation," Selter said. "You need to have your national system in place so you basically have a site which has a value; sometimes we call the outstanding value which is the value that goes beyond the national importance."

The country is creating a national archive of important historical documents, but the project has only a handful of staff and right now is housed in a tent in Juba.

Listen to Mugume Rwakaringi report on important historical sites
Listen to Mugume Rwakaringi report on important historical sitesi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More