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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs