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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs