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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora